Monday, 29 October 2012

Luminosity Blog Tour


The Luminosity Blog Tour 
hosted by Shane at Itchingforbooks stops here today!

Synopsis

My name is Beatrice. When I was born, I was blessed with the Sight. I was immediately removed from my parents and enrolled in the Institution. At the age of twelve, I had my first true vision, earning my raven’s wings. And when I turned seventeen, one of my visions came true. Things haven’t been the same since. 

The Institution depends on me to keep the City safe from our enemy, the Dreamcatchers, but I’m finding it harder to do while keeping a secret from everyone, including my best friend Gabe. It is a secret that could put us all in danger. A secret that could kill me and everyone close to me. 

But the enemy has been coming to me in my dreams, and I think I’m falling in love with him. He says they’re coming. He says they’re angry. And I think I’ve already helped them win.

Review


Luminosity by Stephanie Thomas presents us with a dystopian novel set in a distant future post an almost apocalyptic war that has decimated and ravished out planet. In the hopes of creating a better future the Maker activated a dormant gene that has given rise to two kinds of gifted people: the Seers and the Dreamcatchers.

The Seers have the gift of Sight and catch glimpses of the future and things to come. Sometimes they're fuzzy and sometimes they're clear. They are ruled by the Keeper and have been trained to protect commoners like you and me: the Citizens.

The Dreamcatchers have an array and multitude of gifts that all have to do with the mind and its manipulation. Through dreams, touch and the mind they hunt, hurt and kill; they are the enemy.

This is what every Seer is brought up knowing and that is all they know, a truth never to be questioned or argued with.
Seer Beatrice is no different until a Dreamcatcher boy begins to invade her dreams with requests for help and promises of freedom. Her visions also start to show her glimpses of such a bleak future that she fears it may not be a future at all!

Truthfully although the premises for this dystopian novel didn't sound that much different from others I had previously read, the synopsis caught my attention.
Stephanie Thomas then kept me fairly gripped as she unravelled Bea's story without giving much away.

Having characters with powers and knowledge of either the past or the future, you would have thought that any plot twists would be very hard to keep hidden from the reader. But that's where Stephanie Thomas did something that I haven't often come across.
Despite the snippets of information I felt like someone had tipped a box full of jigsaw puzzle pieces in front of me and then left me to it. I had all the information, but not a clue where any of it was going or how it was going to get there; and there lies the beauty of Stephanie Thomas's style of writing. It wasn't so much the actual twists as opposed to the"how" things came to pass that was truly intriguing.

The concept that knowledge is power was a strong undercurrent theme in this book, highlighted by the fact that all the main characters knew something but not everything. They either knew their past or the future and everyone else's. But never both. Reading how these two waged war upon each other was somewhat ironic seeing as how in actual fact  they are no more than two sides of the same coin. Afterall what is the future without history and vice-versa?

Luminosity is not what I would describe a fast paced novel, but most certainly steady and intriguing as you try to put the pieces together but are consistently unable to do so as you realise that perhaps you never had all the parts of the puzzle to begin with. I look forward to following Bea and the visions of her future into the sequel of this book.



Don't miss out on the amazing giveaway of this great Blog Tour!!!



A big thank you to Shane, Stephanie Thomas and Entagled publishing for organising this lovely Blog Tour and for providing me with a copy of Luminosity to read and review.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Unresisting by Shane Morgan Cover Reveal

Check out this cover reveal for

Unresisting

by
 our very own

Shane Morgan



Synopsis

Seventeen year old Natasha Johnson is having a rough year. Her twin brother, Sean, died last summer after a car crash, and her parents decided to pack up and leave the only home she’d known all her life. It's a lot to take in, and Nat has decidedly given up on the world, until moving to Stetson Valley and meeting high school ‘outcast’, Chace Owens.

Chace's dark and mysterious aura is not exactly seen as 'normal', but Nat already knows that not a lot of things are of the norm when it comes to her life. She soon finds herself unable to resist Chace's strange pull on her heart, unleashing a sudden attraction to the unnatural forces that have always been burning within her. But with uncovering her true self brings forth great danger, as Nat learns that her brother's death had a lot more to do with the side she's unable to resist.

Can Natasha calm the blazing flames and withstand the threat of danger, or will this new found power destroy her?

The scheduled release date is for the 27th of November 2012

I don't know about you guys but I'm quite excited by this book!

find out more on the official site for Unresisting and goodreads, and you can follow Shane on twitter!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Two Pound Tuesdays




Welcome to Two Pound Tuesdays a blog feature shared by Kerrie at Read and Repeat and myself! 

We're here to bring you twice a month a delectable bargain price selection of 6 Young Adult and Adult novels ranging from fiction, fantasy, paranormal, contemporary, romance and dystopian genres! Making you aware of amazing books for a great deal that just has to be shouted out because it would be a crime not to acknowledge it! Well at least we feel that way, but then again we are slightly book obsessed!

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This Tuesday's deals include:


£1.98 for more information go here

this is a self published title

"Forgetting who you are, your ambitions, your love is crippling….but remembering – embracing your purpose with a new sense of determination is more than empowering….its life altering.

Charlie Myers is on a life altering path that will cause the damned to humble in silence…

One night…just a few friends how could it go so wrong? That was the question seventeen year old Charlie Myers was asking when she found herself in the ER. Outwardly nothing was wrong with Charlie, she was a vision of perfect heath, internally she was battling a raging headache…one the doctor told her she would overcome shortly, but Charlie knew something else was wrong …very wrong.

Part of her had been stolen….she was missing memories. Those memories were sacred. They held the key to her sanity. They told her that the sinister whispers, the shadows that came to life before her were not as ominous as she felt they were. They held the bond with her late father, a famed musician. They caused her to forget the one talent that allowed her to face the darkness that haunted her every waking hour. They also masked a much deeper bond, the face of the one that had stolen her heart, long before the age of seventeen.

Sitting in the ER with her angry mother she couldn’t figure out what she missing – or even how. Her thoughts told her that she needed to protect Britain, a friend of hers, but that didn’t make any sense – Britain didn’t need to be protected from anyone, he was strong, young, and absurdly wealthy. Charlie also knew that even though her friend Bianca called Charlie her best friend that she didn’t trust her ….she was almost sure she despised her, but she couldn’t figure out why – or understand how random thoughts were telling her that she adored both Britain and Bianca – that they were her saviors – that they brought silence to the unstoppable whispers….but the silence scared Charlie. In her mind anyone or anything that could bring silence to something that dark could not be good.
Charlie wanted to stay in NY, figure out what she was missing, why, and who was behind it all, but her mother had other plans. Against her will, Charlie was sent to Salem to live with her sister….within that small town Charlie found her memories….and so much more.

Her story begins now." 

Although the cover of this novel may not be to everyone's taste, the debut to the Insight series is sounding pretty good to me!



£1.99 for more information go here

This is a self published Mature YA/New Adult book

"Southpointe High is the last place Lucy wanted to wind up her senior year of school. Right up until she stumbles into Jude Ryder, a guy whose name has become its own verb, and synonymous with trouble. He's got a rap sheet that runs longer than a senior thesis, has had his name sighed, shouted, and cursed by more women than Lucy dares to ask, and lives at the local boys home where disturbed seems to be the status quo for the residents. Lucy had a stable at best, quirky at worst, upbringing. She lives for wearing the satin down on her ballet shoes, has her sights set on Juilliard, and has been careful to keep trouble out of her life. Up until now.

Jude's everything she knows she needs to stay away from if she wants to separate her past from her future. Staying away, she's about to find out, is the only thing she's incapable of.

For Lucy Larson and Jude Ryder, love's about to become the thing that tears them apart"

Crash already has a digital spot on my kindle and should it live up to its synopsis so will it's sequel Clash!



£1.99 for more information go here

" Seventeen-year-old Elliott hasn’t slept properly for months. Not since the accident that nearly killed him. Sometimes he half-wakes, paralysed, while shadowy figures move around him. Other times he is the one moving around while his body lies asleep on the bed. His doctors say sleep paralysis and out-of-body experiences are harmless - but to Elliott they’re terrifying.

Convinced that his brush with death has attracted the spirit world, Elliott secures a job at a reputedly haunted museum, determined to discover the truth. There, he meets the enigmatic Ophelia. But, as she and Elliott grow closer, Elliott draws new attention from the dead. One night, during an out-of-body experience, Elliott returns to bed to find his body gone. Something is occupying it, something that wants to live again - and it wants Ophelia, too..."

Me and Kerrie thought we'd try and stick with the upcoming Halloween theme with this one and recommend a slightly more "scary" book :p We have both had the pleasure of meeting this lovely author and are the proud owners of signed copies of this book! This will def be one of my Halloween reads!


For more Two Pound Tuesdays unmissable deals check out Kerrie's selection




These are the prices found at the time of posting this feature. They may change subject to amazon, so if you'd like to see some more don't miss out on the next Two Pound Tuesday
We'd love to hear your thoughts of this new feature, any particular genres you are looking for and would like us to look at next time. So please drop us a line in a comment!






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Sunday, 21 October 2012

When I was Joe by Keren David

Title: When I was Joe

Author: Keren David

Series: When I was Joe (Book 1)

Genre: Mystery, contemporary, realistic fiction teen/Young Adult

Length: 384 pages

Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books 

Date of Publication: 31st of August 2010




Synopsis

When Ty witnesses the knife murder of another boy he identifies some very dangerous people and the police put him and his mother into hiding in a witness protection scheme. While they are packing, a petrol bomb is thrown through the front door of their flat, highlighting the extreme danger they face. Over the coming months, Ty becomes Joe, is given a new look and starts at a new school. To his surprise, he finds he is attracting the attention of the girls in his class, and the boys find his need to conceal his real identity cool - being Joe is not so bad. His ability as a runner is spotted and he starts training under a college student, a wheelchair user who is a Paralympics contender, but this special treatment attracts resentment. Somehow Joe keeps drawing attention to himself despite his efforts to remain anonymous. Then his beloved grandmother back in London is badly injured in an attack designed to flush Ty out of hiding and demonstrates the relentless determination to silence him.

Review

Having heard a lot of great reviews of this book and subsequently meeting the lovely Keren David I was very eager to read this book for myself.

Truthfully as I started it, and given the chosen theme, I expected it to be a heavy book to read that would demand a lot of time to get through it. I now realise that I was right as much as I was wrong.

Keren David narrated a complex and yet simple situation. Its simplicity lay in the fact that young 14 year old Ty has witnessed a crime and wishes to testify and do the right thing. But the situation becomes complicated as attempts are made on his life and those he loves to ensure his silence. The police are quick to bury him in witness protection and here begins the beautifully convoluted story of When I was Joe.

As Ty adopts a new identity, Joe, he is told to act differently to reduce being identified as Ty. This story starts as Ty living a fake life as Joe, and wearing him as a skin for the world to see to protect his true self. Keren David described it as Ty living a lie just so that he can tell the truth, a thought that rang incredibly true as much as its twisted irony.
But as time passes and his young and impressionable mind begins to grasp the true depth of what is happening and what it entails to those he loves, the Joe identity begins to take true form and a life of his own. Joe is no longer a skin. He's stronger than Ty, more popular, more confident and a lot smarter. He's not Ty and at the same time he is.
The transformation was absolutely beautifully written and subtly done, and had me pausing more than once to think about all the emotional complexities and their cruel beauty.

When I was Joe was a fast read written in the simple language of the mind of a 14 year old who is dealing with things that nobody, especially not someone so young, should ever have to. But the reading speed and simple language of this book, should not lead to the mistaken assumption that this is an easy or light hearted read. The themes and concepts she made Ty/Joe confront and deal with were beyond intriguing and made this novel a gripping read!
I cannot wait to begin with the sequel to see how Ty/Joe further develops and how his story proceeds!

A big thank you to Keren David and Frances Lincoln Children's Books for providing me with a copy of this great book to review.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Tainted Innocence by Joss Alexander

Title: Tainted Innocence

Author: Joss Alexander

Series: No Name Yet (Book 1)

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Historical, Romance Young Adult/Adult

Length: 256 pages

Publisher: Carina Press

Date of Publication: 17th of September 2012




Synopsis


England, 1524
In Cambridge, the College of the Young Princes brings together all manner of people—with all manner of secrets. Among them is Bryony, an illiterate laundress and a stranger to the town, who lives in constant fear that her unusual upbringing and lack of friends will leave her vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft.
When Matthew Hobson, a scholar at the college, is found murdered and wrapped in linen that Bryony lost, she immediately becomes a suspect. But she is not the only one. Luke Hobson, a taciturn local tradesman who has sacrificed much for his charismatic but selfish brother, also has a motive for the murder.
With the university authorities eager to solve the crime, outsiders Bryony and Luke are forced into a wary alliance, knowing they have to track down the killer if they are to escape hanging. But can they trust in each other's innocence in order to uncover the truth?


Review

I had the pleasure of stumbling across Joss Alexander's historical mystery Tainted Innocence through a very good friend of mine. I have always considered myself very lucky to be her friend but having now read this murder mystery, I will cheekily admit that I think I'm even luckier than I thought.

Murder mysteries have so many details that need to be planned, clues to be dropped and alibis to be created that writing them is never easy. And when you decide to place it in a historical setting you really have your work cut out for you. Although I cannot consider myself an expert on history, I do read a fair amount of historical novels of different genres. With the knowledge I have acquired I can safely say that the manner of speaking amongst the characters, the vocabulary choices and style of language clearly demonstrated a depth of understanding that could only come from hours of research from a well versed and patient mind.

Her figures of speech, historical colloquialisms and social verbal etiquettes yanked me back to the tudor times where everyone fended for themselves, fists frequently flew at the slightest of disagreements and a man's word was only as good as the gold in his pocket.

The tale of the murder of the scholar Matthew Hobson rubbed raw the layers of lies surrounding Cambridge , as the freezing water of the stream does the hands of the washer girl unfairly accused of murder.

Clues were so subtly and cleverly dropped that despite my inquisitive and analytical mind I struggled to spot them and figure out the culprit.
Joss Alexander only further tantalised my ignorance of the murderer's identity by interlacing between the end of one chapter and the beginning of another, brief moments and flashes of thoughts of the perpetrator.
My curiosity was piqued as I scoured the pages for hints but Joss Alexander revealed little and yet enough to muddy the already turbid waters of the mind and the Cambridge stream with more blood and mystery.

Tainted Innocence was a very well constructed murder mystery that despite all the twists and unexpected turns also managed to remain faithful to the time it is depicted in. I very much enjoyed this novel and attempting to playing tudorian detective, but what really made me appreciate this book was the descriptive writing.
Being a murder novel the importance of setting the scene of the crime is crucial, and when it happens to be a historical one even more so. The beautiful descriptions of the locations were what really sold me Tainted Innocence. The way she described the chapel was done in such a way that I could almost feel the cold hard stone beneath my feet,  see the unfinished carvings, feel the light shining through the incomplete windows and hear the sounds of an empty chapel. 

Tainted Innocence was an intriguing read that had me guessing and then second-guessing myself until I finally gave up my private mental investigation, and let the author lead me to where I should be going. I will admit that some of the twists amongst the characters themselves, were foreseeable to such an avid reader such as myself. But when it came to trying to put the few hints that I did manage to put together, I failed miserably and was absolutely agape at what Joss Alexander threw at me. Tainted Innocence has most certainly been very well devised.
I will look forward to reading more of this series and see where else it might lead and which new and yet old places it'll take me.

The lovely Joss Alexander has not only allowed me to read and review her intruguing historical murder mystery, but has also agreed to patiently answer some questions in an interview!


- The first thing that sprang to my mind, even before I started reading Tainted Innocence, was: why did you choose to base your mystery thriller novel in Tudor times as opposed to another historical moment?

The Tudor era fascinates me—the architecture, the plays, the people and the events. Such a lot was happening in those dangerous and colourful times. However, so many Tudor novels are about the people at the top of society, like Henry VIII and his six wives. I wanted to write about ordinary people and how they would have lived.

- I fell in love with your description of the chapel. The lighting, the unfinished carvings, the sounds...It all felt so real that I wanted to go and visit it myself! Is the description how you imagined it to be as it was being constructed? When you visited it could you picture Provost Francis walking along the pews?

Yes. Cathedrals and great chapels took many decades to construct and I always marvel that these fantastic buildings were created centuries ago without the aid of modern technology. When I visit them I feel that the craftsmen who worked on them have left something of themselves in the fabric of building, and that if you listen, they will tell you their stories. After all, many workmen were killed working on these stunning buildings, plunging to their deaths when the scaffolding gave way or when they lost their footing on the roofs.

- I have read that you live in Cambridge and wondered what you think of its now finished chapel?

The College of the Young Princes is an imaginary one, and the chapel is imaginary too, although I draw inspiration from the chapels of other, real colleges in Cambridge. Cambridge has 31 colleges—dating back over 800 years—associated with the University, and every college has a chapel (or place of worship), a dining hall and a library. There are several really beautiful college chapels in Cambridge that I love, including the chapel at Jesus College, the modern chapel at Robinson College (it has amazingly dramatic stained glass windows), and the exquisite King’s College Chapel.
- Was Cambridge always your first choice as a setting for Tainted Innocence, or had you considered others?

First choice! It’s such a magical place and reeks with history.

- Tainted Innocence felt so realistic that it was almost possible. Were there any elements of truth to the story? Were any characters based on people who had existed?

The characters feel so very real to me—it’s hard for me to believe they didn’t exist.
Luke Hobson is inspired by Thomas Hobson—of “Hobson’s Choice” fame—who lived in Cambridge some decades later. Galyon Hone is the name of a real master craftsman of stained glass windows. I came across his unusual name when I was researching the book and immediately I could picture him so completely—it was extraordinary. He is so wickedly outrageous! I’m always smiling when I’m writing about him.

- Having asked about any possible truthful elements I am now very curious as to how Tainted Innocence came to be as both a murder mystery and a story?

I enjoy reading both mystery and historical novels, so it seemed obvious to combine the two. I hadn’t expected Bryony to start falling for Luke Hobson. Then Galyon Hone arrived on the scene and things started getting even more complicated, so I found I was writing a mystery, and an historical novel, and a romance.

- Despite her simple ways I very much liked Bryony’s cunning mind and sharp spirit. Who was your favourite character? Which did you enjoy the most creating and writing about?

They all interest me, and I wonder where they come from. I admire Bryony’s feistiness, and her courage and desire to learn to read. It must be so awful not to be able to read.  As for the men, like Bryony, I can’t quite make up my mind whom I like best and who deserves to win her in the end…

- I very much enjoyed how you stayed true to the language style and expressions of the historical time. Given our present language style, difference in terms and ways of saying, did you have any difficulty slipping in and out of it?

Oddly enough, the language came naturally to me—did I live there in a former life? My editor at Carina Press, Krystal Gabert, also had an extremely keen eye for historical language and detail, and she was brilliant at spotting any slight discrepancies.

- When doing research for your novel did you stumble upon any interesting facts or mysteries?

I kept getting sidetracked by all sorts of intriguing information, and had to resist putting it all in the novel. For instance, I found out that many Tudors slept sitting up—I really couldn’t get my head around that and it’s not in the book! I also discovered two actual murders that took place in Cambridge around that time which I’m going to use later in the series.

- You clearly enjoy creating murder mysteries for us readers. Do you enjoy unraveling murders as a reader too? If so which is your favourite? Or do you prefer to lose yourself amongst the pages of a different genre?

I read and watch a lot of mystery/crime novels, films and TV programmes and I like trying to work out who the villain is. I saw the The Dark Knight Rises last week, and was really pleased that I guessed how it would end, and what the twist was.  I read nearly every sort of novel including those I mentioned earlier and also fantasy. I look for a book that will absorb me into another time or place or reality—books that make me feel sad that I have finished them. Earlier this year I read The Hunger Games trilogy and loved it. And I do like happy endings. Not that I always write them…

- I must confess that I have never been very good at putting clues together to solve murder mysteries, so as a detective I would be totally and utterly useless. But as a criminal I might be a little better. I’m particularly good at making chocolate disappear without a trace :p Have you ever given some thought as to the perfect crime?

Ah yes, but I can’t tell you what it was. After all, I might have already committed it and nobody has found me out!

- When you’re not creating the rise and downfall of criminals of Tudor times, what might we find you doing in your spare time?

Cycling, playing tennis and taking long luxurious soaks in the bath reading. Haven’t quite worked out how to read a Kindle in the bath though!

- I understand that Tainted Innocence is to be part of a series, will you be taking us back to Cambridge and it’s characters, or somewhere else?

The sequel is set in Cambridge; then later in the series, the action moves to the orchards of Kent, the wild mountains of Wales, Venice, and possibly Moorish Spain.  I’m totally absorbed in writing the next novel at the moment and readers will be able to find out what happens next to Bryony and many of the characters in Tainted Innocence, but a new and dark character is also introduced from Bryony’s gypsy past. Who is he—and why has he come to Cambridge seeking Bryony? Is he a friend? Or a dangerous enemy?

A big thank you to Joss Alexander for joining us today for this interview! I look forward to more!!!


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Gravity Blog Tour


Today the Gravity Blog Tour hosted by Shane at itching for books, stops here!


Synopsis


In the future, only one rule will matter:

Don't. Ever. Peek.



Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed — arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die.

Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know — especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.


Review


The synopsis for this book promised a novel filled with different experiences, making it a book that would be enjoyed by those seeking a mesh of a variety of genres and themes.
In truth I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but Gravity met all my unspoken expectations.

Melissa West is not one of those authors to waste time when telling a story. She cut straight to the chase sparing no time for me to catch up. Ari and Jackson were running short on time, lives  and the future of two planets and species were at stake and they had to act fast, so who was I to slow them down. Gravity was therefore a most certainly fast paced story that perhaps didn't always allow for character and plot development, meaning that twists were for the most part a little foreseeable.
But do not let this fool you, Gravity was a book that I very much enjoyed and finished in the span of a ridiculously short amount of time (just over half a day).

In a dystopian future Ari is what is known as a Legacy, a child designed and destined for a great purpose: to be the next Commander of her region of human civilisation. The reality she lives in is that of a world held together by a fragile treaty between humanity and the aliens, Ancients, allowing for a deceptive appearance of co-existance. But Ari knows better and wants her planet rid of these creatures. Driven by her father she is a strong fighter with a cunning mind ready to liberate the world. Or so she thinks.
Until one day she forgets her eye patch, and sees the alien who has been assigned to her: Jackson Locke.

The gorgeous alien turns everything she knows on its head and challenges all her preconceptions. And in a short span of time he has her doing what she never thought was conceivable: helping the enemy. Why? Because deadly truths have been hidden, reality is run by lies and two worlds, two species and two futures are at risk.

With a gripping combination of aliens, spies, betrayal, love, lies and the forever difficult task of doing what's right whilst saving not one but two worlds, Gravity was an absorbing read that kept spurring me on for more. It presented with many different facets that hold the promise that there's something in it for everyone. 

Melissa West has created a great novel as debut to the Taking series, which I will be very much looking forward to reading more of.

Now don't miss out on the fantastic giveaway for this blog tour!

Giveaway code: a Rafflecopter giveaway

A big thank you to Shane at itchingforbooks and Entagled Publishing for providing me with a copy of this lovely copy to review and for organising this great Blog Tour!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Title: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares

Author: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Series: Standalone

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Self Discovery Teen/Young Adult

Length: 304 pages

Publisher: Mira Ink (Harlequin UK)

Date of Publication: 5th of October 2012




Synopsis

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors ofNick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?
Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.


Review

The book begins its story in New York city under christmas. A romantic setting in a city where anything is possible, including meeting the right guy through a red mole-skin notebook in a second hand book store.

With one hating christmas to the point that he's willing to lie and con both his parents so he can spend it alone, whilst the other loves christmas to the extent that she creates her own carolling society; Rachel Cohn and David Levithan promised things would be interesting straight from the beginning should these two ever meet in real life aside from on paper.
I really started to laugh when the dares turned slightly dastardly evil at the expense of one another's unbeknown weaknesses.

I enjoyed how each dare pushed both characters to think differently, cross boundaries, explore new things and dare to do what they would have not done before. Adding to this each chapter was written alternatively from the point of view of Dash and Lily. The style of writing was somewhat uncommon, written almost directed at the reader, as though the characters were writing in a journal.

Lily was not your average girl but at the same time not a rare breed either. Enjoying and preferring her own company and that of animals to that of fellow students, Lily was somewhat detached but not a recluse. I liked Lily as a character, but Dash was by far my favourite. Quirky, bookish, with a blunt sense of humour and absolutely no regard for the unspoken courtesies of society's manners. For instance: I ask you something, you ask me something and therefore we have the beginning of a conversation. Dash's take is you ask me something and I'll ask you something if I want to talk to you, if not I won't in the hopes that you'll leave that much faster.
It was obvious that a great deal of thought went into this character. Being a boy of words and books, his favourite being the dictionary, his language was unbelievably well researched and sarcastic. Resulting in a combination that created a wonderfully interesting character. The kind of person you've never met, but that you'd love to just to be able to actually have a conversation and see how many words like "persnickety" he can fit into one sentence.
He made me look up quite a few of them!

Dash and Lily were two people that no match maker would put together, and yet on a simple red mole-skin, where they could be themselves without the fear of judgement and mockery, hiding behind the strength of fragile pages something happened. The romantic feeling was slow to build throughout the novel but strong and withstanding, born of something more than human attraction or a common acquaintance.


This book however wasn't so much about romance, although it was an important and present theme, as it was about discovering one's self and daring to be just that. Trying new things, moving out of your comfort zone and realising that sometimes the things you have steered well clear of in life aren't half as bad as you think if you give them a chance.


Dash and Lily's Book of Dares was somewhat unique in its genre and not entirely what I thought it would be. With the expectation of romance but with the discovery of a strong unexpected theme of self discovery Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have created an interesting story, and I can easily foresee myself casually perusing the shelves of book shops in the hopes of finding a red mole-skin notebook.

If you liked this and would like another contemporary romance that follows similar lines of self discovery then I recommend Cross my Heart by Katie Klein. A more easy going but very romantic novel would have to be Breathe by Abbi Glines. If you would like to venture into something with a stronger current of romance, deeper roots in our not always peachy reality and wish to step out of old boundaries the I strongly recommend a book that I have fallen in love with Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. If on the other hand you'd like a pinch of magic and fairy tale but with still with real truths then I suggest Beastly by Alex Flinn.


A big thank you to Mira Ink for providing me with a copy of this book to review

Friday, 12 October 2012

The Fargoer series by Petteri Hannila, Anne Petelius and Miika Hannila

Having done the Blog Tour for Valkyrie and having enjoyed the realm of the vikings, I didn't feel quite ready to leave it just yet. So I thought I'd remain in theme and present to you the finnish viking series Fargoer




Synopsis of Fargoer 1: End of Innocence

Part 1 of a short story series set in mythic Viking Age Finland.

Somewhere far in the north, in the middle of a dense forest, two girls have embarked on a sacred journey: a journey that is to end their carefree days among the children of their tribe. Grim as their world is, the destiny that is set upon them seems even darker, but such is often the way for the people of this land.

We welcome you to step into the dark northern forest. A place where no plow had touched the ground this far in the wilderness. Where the tall shapes of Viking ships struck terror and awe everywhere they set their sails. This was the age of dreams and legends, of powers now long forgotten. Tales carried by whispers in the cold wind in this dark land.

Vierra is a young woman among the Kainu people, a tribe of age-old traditions and ways. Hers is the grim and solitary existence of a woman cursed with greatness and destiny.

Can she break her path painted in stone and find a place for herself in her tribe and in her turmoil-filled world? Or will she become 'the Fargoer?'

Fargoer is a series of fantasy short stories that draws its power from the harsh yet beautiful nature and folklore of Finland. The combination of fast-paced action and wonder for the long lost worlds of yesterday borrows heavily from pulp-literature of the 1930's... with a bit of human touch and drama in the middle.


Author Bio


Petteri Hannila

I am a writer from Central Finland, a software designer by day and a dad/husband/dreamer/martial artist by evening.
It all started when I was eight. I found out that there were books of Tarzan, my favourite hero. My mother started to read them to me, but she censored them (all of you who have read them know why). Annoyed of this, I started to read them on my own. Dreams and legends have followed me from that time, as my companions on my voyage through life.
Since then I have always thought of becoming a writer, but somehow it just didn't happen for a long long time. There was always something more important to do. Until, finally I understood it would never happen if I just didn't start, and so I did.
From the days of Tarzan, exciting adventures and fantasies set in the past and in the future have been my interest. For me then, it was a natural thing to start writing science fiction and fantasy. Few of my short stories have been published in Finnish genre magazines, but fairly quickly I gravitated towards the Fargoer -project. You could say Vierra has been my love interest for some years now, and I don't see it stopping any time soon.
So the dream to become a writer, almost 30 years after I first read of fTarzan's first adventures, is on it's way to becoming a reality. At least I'm going to give my damsned best to try.

Is this viking short story series appealing to you but you'd like a taste?
Well read the excerpt below and see what you think!

Excerpt from the 1st story: End of Innocence

Vierra winced awake and noticed she was lying on an opening that led inside the cliff. Underneath her, she could feel the cold surface of the rock, and behind her twinkled the bare, star-filled sky. Forward, somewhere in the depths of the corridor, she could see a fluttery gleam of light.
Vierra got up and approached it cautiously. Soon the corridor opened up into a big cave. In the middle was a fire, and behind the flames was the Mother. She stood facing the wall, away from Vierra, painting the wall with a color as red as blood. The huge walls of the cave were covered in pictures of men, animals, and life. There were the deer, the salmon, and the moose, the most important game for the Kainu. Amid them were the gallant wolf, bear, and wolverine. The entire history of the tribe was painted on the walls. Somewhere they hunted, somewhere they loved, here and there the children ran around playfully. The gloom of the fire made the wall paintings flicker and overlap. Some showed battles against men or beasts, in which the red paint looked the most like blood. The changing light made one picture disappear, only to reveal another one beneath it. In turn, this one also disappeared and made way for a third. The movement of the lively flame made Vierra doubt her eyes, and she blinked furiously to clear them.
Extending her hearing, Vierra could discern the low voices. The pictures were alive! People were talking and animals grunting. Here and there, children laughed or cried. As Vierra kept looking, the voices became louder and more numerous until they completely filled her head and she had to close her eyes.
The Mother turned towards Vierra, and her wrinkled face was full of surprise.
“What are you doing here? It is not your time yet.”
“I don’t know. I must be dreaming.”
“A dream this is not. There must be a reason that you are here, though; you must know because you are the last.”
“The last what?”
“The last of the Kainu, the last Mother. The greatest of us all, and yet still so small and powerless. Everybody else I will paint to this wall, but in time, you will paint yourself.
...

You can find more information on Fargoer 1: The End of Innocence here
Fargoer 2: The Autumn Flames here
Fargoer 3: Of Fire and Stone here
Fargoer 4: The Roots of Evil here
Or for information on the complete series Fargoer: The Beginning go here