The Sunday Post #11 | Update – 19/02/2017

The Sunday post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news – A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Happy Sunday! Except not really, because I have been sick since yesterday with Laryngitis caused by a Viral Infection. It’s rare that a virus takes me out to the extent that I can’t keep up with posting and responding to comments. It’s Sunday and I am doing nothing except procrastinating. When I’m ill, I prefer a bit of light television instead of reading – it requires less engagement, and is easier to nod off to.

Being sick, however, has a silver lining: it leaves you with tons of time to read. There is, of course, the not so minor issue of deciding on the right book for your current circumstances. Just like you need specific food and beverages to ward off a cold, you also need the right story, the right format and so on.

Currently Reading:

51hkos5w5il-_sy445_ql70_  Image result

Last Week on the Blog:

TBR Takedown 5.0 Wrap-Up
Review: The Golden Wizard by J.S. Jaeger
Cover Reveal: Fragile Chaos by Amber R. Duell
Trailer Reveal: As You Lay Sleeping by Katlyn Duncan
Review: Marked by P.C. & Kristin Cast
Cover Reveal: Savage Woods by Mary SanGiovanni
Review: Betrayed by P.C. & Kristin Cast
Review: The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde | Part 1 – Prose
Review: The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde | Part 2 – Short Stories

Coming Soon:

Red Dog: True Blue by Louis De Bernieres (Review)
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto (Review)
As You Lay Sleeping by Katlyn Duncan (Review)
Melancholy Ghost by Kat Mayor (Excerpt)

Books Read:

17290169  volume_5

Review e-copies Received:

Physical Review Copies Received:

The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1)We Come Apart

New on my Shelf:

Please comment below or make your own post. Tell me about what you have been up to! What are you reading? How was your week? Do you have anything planned for this coming week? Did you find any good books last week? Comment with the link to your own post so I can check it out.

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Review: The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde | Part 2 – Short Stories

Image resultThe Complete Works of Oscar Wilde
Genres: Poetry, Essays, Classics, Humour, Historical

Oscar Wilde was an Anglo-Irish playwright, novelist, poet, and critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest playwrights of the Victorian Era.

In his lifetime he wrote nine plays, one novel, and numerous poems, short stories, and essays.

Wilde was a proponent of the Aesthetic movement, which emphasized aesthetic values more than moral or social themes. This doctrine is most clearly summarized in the phrase ‘art for art’s sake’.

Besides literary accomplishments, he is also famous, or perhaps infamous, for his wit, flamboyance, and affairs with men. He was tried and imprisoned for his homosexual relationship (then considered a crime) with the son of an aristocrat.

The Sphinx without a Secret3

Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood.

This is a story of a gentleman who falls for a beautiful widow surrounded by some kind of mystery, who found pleasure in trying to look and act mysterious, even if she did not have much to hide. The main character in this short story falls in love with the “mysterious” woman and his attempt to understand the actions of the woman he loves leads to their break-up and, eventually, her death. He finds out the truth eventually, but is it the truth?

This story perfectly highlights why trust is important in a functional relationship. At the end of the day both, the woman and her lover are to blame for the occurrences which followed. The woman should have been more open about her hobby while her lover should have just trusted her.

Lady Alroy was simply a woman with a mania for mystery. She took those rooms for the pleasure of going there with her veil down, and imagining she was a heroine. She had a passion for secrecy, but she herself was merely a Sphinx without a secret

The Model Millionaire3

Unless one is wealthy there is no use in being a charming fellow. Romance is the privilege of the rich, not the profession of the unemployed.

This work was first published in the newspaper The World in 1887. Then, it was featured as part of the anthology Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories. A handsome, charming, but financially struggling young man falls in love, but her father wants 10,000 Pounds.

This story is merely a few pages long but was quite intense. His masterful prose, combined with silly cynical remarks on social injustice, is simply astonishing. Generosity and Kindness always pay off in the end. This is the message we, as reader, have to take home. It’s a simple story, full of wisdom, definitely worth a read.

Ultimately he became nothing, a delightful, ineffectual young man with a perfect profile and no profession.

The Happy Prince4

High above the kingdom, on a tall column, stood the statue of the Happy Prince. He was gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold, for eyes he had two bright sapphires, and a large red ruby glowed on  his sword-hilt.

A Swallow delays his migration to help the statue of the Happy Prince correct some wrongs that were overlooked when he was alive. This is a simple fairy-tale about sacrifice, selflessness and the responsibility of rulers to care for their subjects — but also about the ways in which good deeds can go unappreciated, and about the blindness which charitable people can exhibit in their desperate quest to serve the needy.

This story follows the friendship between the Happy Prince and a Swallow. The Happy Prince as a boy lived in complete luxury and happiness, unaware of the suffering outside his palace walls. The swallow by chance meets the prince after deciding not to migrate yet, because of his love of a reed. Upon meeting the bird the Prince tells the Swallow his story and of his sorrow for the suffering he now sees in his city.

Wilde really attacks social mores throughout this short story. The hypocrisy of the rich, the crudity of self worship as well as a comment on the poverty stricken working class provides the backbone for this story that ostensibly is one of sacrifice.

Whatever I read by Oscar Wilde I really like. The pattern in Wilde’s literature is so beautiful. This one is no different. Similar to “The nightingale and the rose” this one is about great sacrifices for people in need, sacrifices that go unnoticed by the shallow and rich people – which could really make a big difference.

He passed by the cathedral tower, where the white marble angels were sculptured. He passed by the Palace and heard the sound of dancing.

The Nightingale & The Rose3

What a silly thing Love is. It is not as useful as Logic, for it does not prove anything, and it is always telling one of things that are not going to happen, and making one believe things that are not true. In fact, it is quite unpractical, and, as in this age to be practical is everything, I shall go back to Philosophy and study Metaphysics.

The Nightingale and the Rose is an allegory of selflessness and selfishness often claimed as Wilde’s own agony and battle to find a place for his own feelings in this society. This is a heartbreaking story about the nature of love and sacrifice.

At the beginning of the story, we are given the impression that the love between the student and the girl is a true love. Later, we are struck with the truth. Their love turns out to be a shallow one based on materialistic happiness. At the end the student gives up on his love because it was not true in the first place.

The nightingale’s sacrificial nature is much reflective of Wilde himself during his end years when he sacrificed his freedom for the love of his male lover. There are people, who sacrifice their life and suffer to help someone, but at the end they aren’t returned with the same emotional intensity; possible, their actions were never even comprehended.

Wilde is portraying people’s idea of love as extremely shallow, while the nightingale serves as the only one with a true heart.

“Death is a great price to pay for a red rose,” cried the Nightingale, “and Life is very dear to all …..Yet Love is better than Life, and what is the heart of a bird compared to the heart of a man?”

The Selfish Giant3

“My own garden is my own garden,” said the Giant; “any one can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but myself.” So he built a high wall all round it, and put up a notice board.

It’s a lovely fairy tale and if the ending had been just slightly tweaked I would have liked it much better. But, my beliefs are, as usual, in the minority, and I assume most others’ feelings wouldn’t match mine. But parents who know nothing of this tale should know that death is a part of this story. I loved the message about sharing and reaping the benefits of doing that, and of giving to and being caring about others.

The story is about a Selfish Giant who owns a home with a beautiful garden. Upon returning to his home he discovers the local children playing in his garden, the sun shining and birds chirping. The Giant was enraged that the children had been playing in his garden, so he chased them all away and built a huge wall with a sign saying ‘trespassers will be prosecuted’.

He saw the most wonderful sight. Through a little hole in the wall the children had crept in, and they were sitting in the branches of the trees.

The Devoted Friend3

Sometimes, indeed, did neighbours thought it strange that the rich Miller never gave little Hans anything in return, though he had a hundred sacks of flour stored away in the mill, and six milch cows, and a large flock of woolly sheep; but Hans never troubled his head about these things, and nothing gave him greater pleasure than to listen to all the wonderful things the Miller used to say about the unselfishness of true friendship.

The theme of unrequited friendship — manipulation or abuse justified by “love” and even religious ideals — seems important to be exposed to. This story set in a fairy-tale setting focuses on two best friends; Little Hans the gardener, and Hugh the Miller. It’s about ‘devoted friendship’ and what it means to people. It’s beautifully written and is a short, simple story, yet it holds such a heavy meaning. It reflects on how much blinded by our own pride we can be, and the wrong values we impose on our children, and the true value of innocence in this materialistic world

The miller uses guilt and other methods to manipulate Hans, who in the end sacrifices everything. This is a good moral story for children, Wilde uses good detail to explain the characters and sets up many conflicts in the tale.

But somehow he was never able to look after his flowers at all, for his friend the Miller was always coming round and sending him off on long errands, or getting him to help at the mill.

The Remarkable Rocket2

“I am made for public life,” said the Rocket, “and so are relations, even the humblest of them,

It tells us about this narcissistic  Rocket/Firecracker and not realising how selfish he was. He thought a great deal of himself and disregarded everything else for he was ‘superior’ in nature compared to others. Things repeatedly go wrong, but he twist every negative word and even in a way to tickle his vanity.

Wilde was as selfish and vain as they came, so I suppose, you could say the Remarkable Rocket gives us a little glimpse at Oscar.

“That is a very selfish reason,” said the rocket angrily. “What right have you to be happy? You should be thinking about others. In fact, you should be thinking about me. I am always thinking about myself, and I expect everybody else to do the same. This is what I call sympathy”

The Young King4

The lad–for he was only a lad, being but sixteen years of age–was not sorry at their departure, and had flung himself back with a deep sigh of relief on the soft cushions of his embroidered couch, lying there, wild-eyed and open-mouthed, like a brown woodland Faun, or some young animal of the forest newly snared by the hunters.

The young king narrates the story of a young boy who is heir to the throne. He was sent away from home and raised by poor occupants of the kingdom. His mother who was a princess was murdered for falling in love with a man who was poor and had no honourable name or kingdom.

When morning dawns he refuses to put on his robe and crown and is blessed by the Gods. He is criticized and laughed at for his refusal but he does what he feels is right. I liked the three dreams that the king had and I think this story is not necessarily just for kids, everyone can enjoy reading it. Oscar Wilde weaves a web of allusions. A king who does not want a golden robe or pearls of white, is accepted not even by his subjects.

And the young king came down from the high alter, and passed home through the midst of the people. But no man dared look upon his face, for it was like the face of an angel.

The Birthday of the Infanta3

Although she was a real Princess and the Infanta of Spain, she had only one birthday every year, just like the children of poor people.

Set in Spain’s past, the King’s daughter, an only child, is celebrating her 12th birthday. For this one day each year, children below royal rank are invited to attend, to play with the Princess and watch the delightful array of entertainments arranged for the Infanta.

It’s a nice story about how every individual judges another through the eyes of beauty. If something is beautiful we are drawn to it. If it isn’t we sneer at it and create a mockery out of it. Its a tale of childhood innocence and how a dwarf comes to realize he is an object of fun and endless teasing.

But somehow the birds liked him. They had seen him often in the forest, dancing about like an elf after the eddying leaves or crouched up in the hollow of some old oak-tree, sharing his nuts with the squirrels

The Fisherman & His Soul3

For of a truth, pain is the Lord of this world, nor is there anyone who escapes from its net

The fisherman falls in love with a mermaid, but is unable to marry her because he cannot live underwater with her so long as he has his soul. He investigates a variety of different ways to get rid of his soul, and when he finally is able to do so, the soul comes back periodically to tell him of its adventures, trying to tempt the fisherman into reuniting with it. Unbeknownst to him, once reunited with his soul, he wouldn’t be able to return to his love.

‘I will sell thee my soul,’ he answered: ‘I pray thee buy it off me, for I am weary of it. Of what use is my soul to me? I cannot see it. I may not touch it. I do not know it.’

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Review: The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde | Part 1 – Prose

Image resultThe Complete Works of Oscar Wilde
Genres: Poetry, Essays, Classics, Humour, Historical

Oscar Wilde was an Anglo-Irish playwright, novelist, poet, and critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest playwrights of the Victorian Era.

In his lifetime he wrote nine plays, one novel, and numerous poems, short stories, and essays.

Wilde was a proponent of the Aesthetic movement, which emphasized aesthetic values more than moral or social themes. This doctrine is most clearly summarized in the phrase ‘art for art’s sake’.

Besides literary accomplishments, he is also famous, or perhaps infamous, for his wit, flamboyance, and affairs with men. He was tried and imprisoned for his homosexual relationship (then considered a crime) with the son of an aristocrat.

Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime 4

All the time Lord Arthur Savile had remained standing by the fireplace, with the same feeling of dread over him, the same sickening sense of coming evil.

I almost always hate parodies of the gothic genre. But, this was good. Rather than completely pissing on the genre, Wilde pokes fun at it; he teases it and makes it humorous. He doesn’t make it seem absurd or ridiculous, but a little silly in places. And it’s good humour rather than a tasteless satire. This is a great piece of writing.

This raises questions of Sir Arthur’s intellect, his sanity and his obedience, obedience to what he perceives as fate. He doesn’t ever question the situation; he takes it as an actuality: a simple task that he must perform. So he sets out to murder a few of his friends, then when that doesn’t work, he plans to take down a few of his relatives. But he isn’t a very lucky individual. All his plans don’t work, the situations become increasingly comic as the victims manage to escape.

The story is so fun to read. Arthur’s choices make no sense for society doesn’t make sense either. He just does what he is told and doesn’t really think outside of the box. The wittiness delivered at the end really brought the nature of this story to my attention.

I really enjoyed this one! This was an absolutely hilarious parody of the Gothic genre in true Oscar Wilde fashion. Highly recommend this for a short and funny introduction into Wilde’s writing.

Oscar Wilde is one of the few writers whose short stories I can tolerate. He had his obvious wit and his subtle humour to go along with characters that are both expressly Victorian and curiously of the new age.

Lord Arthur rushed across the room, and seized the box. Inside it was the amber-coloured capsule, with its poison-bubble.

The Canterville Ghost4

Never having seen a ghost before, he naturally  was terribly frightened, and, after a second hasty glance at the awful phantom, he fled back to his room, tripping up in his long winding-sheet as he sped down the corridor.

For a story less than 30 pages long, Wilde accomplishes so much, using scalpel-like precision in both his language and his plotting to tell a story with a little bit of everything. The funny is considerable, the sadness and softer emotions are amply represented, and the brilliance is ubiquitous throughout.

A family of flag-flaunting United Staters acquire an historic English mansion from the thoroughly prim, thoroughly British Lord Canterville. Throw in a murderous, aesthetically-minded ghost with a penchant for high drama and theatre, and you have a classic, joy-inducing tale of clashing cultures, progress vs. tradition, and Wilde’s self-mockery of his own philosophy of decadent aestheticism.

Here, Wilde even aims his high powered criticism at himself, as the ghost, Sir Simon, is a thinly veiled reflection of the author. Initially, we see Sir Simon, this artistic spook with flair and panache, as a victim of the boorish Yankees who have invaded his haunt, and who are totally unmoved by any of his scare tactics. They apply stain remover to the recurring blood stains, oil his chains to avoid excessively rattling, and medicate his evil laugh after mistaking it for coughing. For them, he is simply a problem to solve.

But Wilde slowly starts to show us that the ghost is far from innocent. We learn of his previous murders and his complete amorality and self-centeredness. Wilde slowly closes the trap and we begin to see the truth behind the ghost’s façade. The humour is steady throughout. Wilde adds enough little splashes of depth, of emotion, to make the entire story more resonant and, ultimately, more enjoyable.

On reaching a small chamber in the left wing, he leaned up against a moonbeam to recover his breath, and began to try and realise his position. Never, in a brilliant and uninterrupted career of three hundred years, had he ever been so grossly insulted.

The Portrait of Mr. W. H. 4

He felt, as indeed I think we all must feel, that the sonnets are addressed to an individual–to a particular young man whose personality for some reason seems to have filled the soul of Shakespeare with terrible joy and no less terrible despair.

The fact that William Shakespeare’s Sonnets are dedicated to one Mr W. H. has been the source of much speculation. The Portrait of Mr. W.H. is a short story by Oscar Wilde.

Although only 88 pages long, in this, Wilde argues in an incredibly witty, elegant and above all – convincing way that Shakespeare’s Sonnets are in fact dedicated to an unknown Elizabethan boy-actor called Willie Hughes.

How curiously it had been revealed to me! A book of sonnets, published nearly three hundred years ago, written by a dead hand and in honour of a dead youth, had suddenly explained to me the whole story of my soul’s romance.

According to the theory, Hughes was in fact Shakespeare’s biggest Muse and the two of them had a long and passionate relationship, disrupted only by the Dark Lady and Hughes’ artistic vanity. The theory itself is presented in a very convincing fashion and the story that surrounds it is wonderfully written, moving and engaging.

The Portrait of Mr. W. H. looks at a piece of literary criticism that has been around for a long time and is often talked about. I don’t agree with this theory and it is important to know that Oscar Wilde didn’t either, although by the end he almost did. What I really liked about this story is the fact that Wilde took a differing view of the Sonnets and tried to explore it.

As with much of Wilde’s fiction, this is less a story than an exploration of an idea. Here, the exploration has to do with obsession; the fallacy in much literary theory when someone wants to prove the point of their obsession; and how that obsession can disappear as quickly as it came once the idea has been shared with someone else.

No sooner, in fact, had I sent it off than a curious reaction came over me. It seemed to me that I had given away my capacity for belief in the Willie Hughes theory of the sonnets, that something had gone out of me, as it were, and that I was perfectly indifferent to the whole subject.

With his usual wit, Wilde also shows how art can be corrupted and spoiled of its beauty when we forget to look at a poem or a picture as a work of art and we try to bend it to our purposes.

Though we may never know the identity of Mr. W. H., the young man the poet so passionately addresses in the Sonnets, Wilde’s version is an enjoyable literary mystery story as well as an exploration of the Artistic Muse, and of obsession to an idea.

However it came about, I cannot pretend to explain it, there was no doubt that Willie Hughes suddenly became a mere myth, an idle dream, the boyish fancy of a young man who, like most ardent spirits, was more anxious to convince others than to be himself convinced.

In conclusion, I enjoyed the book and was once again enchanted by Wilde’s writing. The charm of this little short story mainly resides in Wilde’s ability in turning a piece of literary criticism in a compelling mystery with gothic hues. I would recommend it to anyone interested in either his work or the mystery of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

No man dies for what he knows to be true. Men die for what they want to be true, for what some terror in their hearts tells them is not true.

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Review: Betrayed by P.C. & Kristin Cast

Betrayed Betrayed (House of Night, #2)by P.C. & Kristin Cast
Published by: Atom
Publication Date: April 2010 (First Published in October 2nd, 2007)
Series: House of Night, #2
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance
Format: Paperback
Pages: 375
Rating: 2
Date Read: February 1st, 2014
Links: Goodreads | Website (UK) | Author’s Website (P.C. Cast) | Author’s Website (Kristin Cast)

All any of us could talk about was Chris’s disappearance and how bizarre it was that he had last been seen close to the House of Night. I didn’t want to believe it. But everything inside me said that the kid would be found but he’d be found dead

Things seem to be going pretty well for Zoey Redbird. She’s settled in at the House of Night finishing school and is coming to terms with her incredible new powers. It all seems too good to be true. And guess what?

Someone has begun murdering human teenagers, and all evidence point to the vampyres at Zoey’s school. Which means her first assignment as the leader of the Dark Daughters is finding out which one of her classmates or – gulp – teachers is a killer.

Sigh. And she thought her boyfriends (yes:plural) were going to be her biggest problem this year …

This is the second book in the House of Night series. I’m a little frustrated with this series. It has the potential to be good, but it continually falls short. The main reason is the writing. I liked Betrayed a bit more than Marked. I thought the story was more interesting and complex, and some of the characters have been fleshed out more.

It could have been a good book. It could have been a story about a strong, independent heroine who suddenly became a vampire, who had to adapt to her new life. Instead it turned out to be a story about one super duper amazing vampire who rides her horse of specialness along with her little minions in the lands of Double Standards, where everyone else is a hoe.

And that’s the worst thing about Betrayed and about House of Night, for that matter. It is crawling with unused potential. Besides wasted potential, writing was one of the biggest problems this book had.

In this book Zoey is all settled, she is the new “queen” of the school since she became the leader of the Dark Daughters. On the outside, humans are being killed and the House of Night is blamed. Zoey makes it her mission to solve this mystery.

Zoey is not like other girls. Zoey is special. Sun shines only for her. Poets compose songs about her beauty. Models hide their face in shame when Zoey’s beautifulness walks by, wind is afraid of blowing because it might ruin her perfect hair, when she smiles mountains move, stars fall from the sky and diamonds burst in flames because they’re nothing compared to Zoey’s wonderful smile.

Zoey is beautiful. Zoey is wonderful. Zoey is great. Zoey is amazing. Zoey is a horrible, disgusting, repulsive person that needs to be smacked across the head. Her worst trait is that she is so judgmental. She judges people she knows, she even judges people she doesn’t know, people she just saw on a street. She was like that in the first book, she is like that here.

Zoey never misses a chance to remind us that she is The Most Powerful Fledgling Ever. She would rather explain to you, in laborious detail, what every event means, instead of letting you judge for yourself from the consequences of each plot turn. She will describe every other character’s personality for you, because apparently you’re too dumb to draw your own conclusions from their dialogue and behaviour.

Everyone outside Zoey’s group of friends is a hoe, a hag, bitch, whore, racist, homophobe, anorexic, bulimic, stupid, close-minded, loser, etc.

Especially Aphrodite. She seems to use these words a lot to describe her arch nemesis, Aphrodite, who she happened to catch once in a slightly compromising position in the first book. Yet, Zoey is confused over not one, not two, but three guys in this book. I find it horrible that a book clearly designed for teen girls feels the need to use these words to such an extent. They appear practically every other page and it’s highly distracting and preventing me from being able to stay wrapped up in the story.

Also, this book constantly kept reviewing what happened in the first book to a point where it was repetitious and annoying. Every single thing from the first book, does not need to be re-explained. We are not idiots. I mean, who is reading book Two without having read the other book?

I realise that it’s a young adult book but it just seems too childish. Now having said that, I must admit that about half way through this one, I started to enjoy it. At least the other characters started showing some more personality than just simple stereotypical character traits.

I truly wish that I had something better to say about this book or the series for that matter. I wanted to enjoy this book, because it was better than the first one, but heavy foreshadowing constantly ruined my reading experience. It made the characters seem extremely stupid.

So I might be willing to read the next volume, because I simply want to know what’ll happen next. I like to give things a try and I just can’t stand the fact that I already started this series and I have to know where this story and characters are going to lead me. I was determined to finish what I began. And, of course, there’s the off chance that somewhere along the line, this series will actually manage to get better.

I would like to end this review by saying it’s perfectly alright for other people to like this book or series.

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Cover Reveal: Savage Woods by Mary SanGiovanni

SAVAGE WOODS

by Mary SanGiovanni

Genre: Horror

Pub Date: 9/26/2017

Amazon | B&N | GooglePlay | Kobo | Apple

Bram Stoker award-nominated

author Mary SanGiovanni returns with a terrifying tale of madness, murder, and mind-shattering evil . . .

Nilhollow—six-hundred-plus acres of haunted woods in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens—is the stuff of urban legend. Amid tales of tree spirits and all-powerful forest gods are frightening accounts of hikers who went insane right before taking their own lives. It is here that Julia Russo flees when her violent ex-boyfriend runs her off the road . . . here that she vanishes without a trace.

State Trooper Peter Grainger has witnessed unspeakable things that have broken other men.

But he has to find Julia and can’t turn back now. Every step takes him closer to an ugliness that won’t be appeased—a centuries-old, devouring hatred rising up to eviscerate humankind. Waiting, feeding, surviving. It’s unstoppable. And its time has come.

Mary SanGiovanni is the author of the Bram Stoker nominated novel The Hollower, its sequels Found You and The Triumvirate, Thrall, and Chaos, as well as the novellas For Emmy, Possessing Amy, and The Fading Place, as well as numerous short stories. She has been writing fiction for over a decade, has a masters in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University, and is a member of The Authors Guild, Penn Writers, and Internationa Thriller Writers.

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Review: Marked by P.C. & Kristin Cast

Marked (House of Night, #1)Marked by P.C. & Kristin Cast
Published by: Atom
Publication Date: April 27th, 2010 (First Published in May 1st, 2007)
Series: House of Night, #1
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance
Format: Paperback
Pages: 348
Rating: 2
Date Read: January 29th, 2014
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Website (UK) | Author’s Website (P.C. Cast) | Author’s Website (Kristin Cast)

So the bad news was that I’d have to move into the House of Night, a private boarding school, known by all my friends as the vampyre finishing school, where I would spend the next four years going through bizarre and unnameable physical changes, as well as a total and permanent life shake-up. And that’s only if the whole process didn’t kill me.

But the good news was that I wouldn’t have to take the geometry test tomorrow.

When sixteen-year-old Zoey is marked by the Tracker, she knows her old life is over. Now she has to leave her friends and family to join the House of Night school, where there’s only one subject Zoey needs to study: Vampyre 101.

Of course, there’s always a catch, and this one’s nice and simple: if you fail, you die …

“Believe in yourself and you will find a way. But remember darkness does not always equate to evil just like light does not always bring good.”

The House of Night Series starts off with Zoey Redbird being marked and becoming a vampire. After Zoey Redbird was mysteriously marked, she goes to a boarding school for vampyres called the House of Night. This is a special school for vampyres.  In this book you follow Zoey on her adventures throughout the school, you see how shes adjusting to her new life.

This is what the whole book is about. It’s fine if there’s not much of a plot if it’s meant to be character-driven. Sadly, I can tell that Marked was supposed to be more plot-driven. The House of Night Series is yet another addition to the vampire genre. Veering off of the traditional vampire path, in this series, vampyres are chosen and Marked, not Changed by being bitten, and not all those who have been Marked actually live through the Change.

This book was a very short read, I felt like it didn’t have much detail. The author did not use a good choice of words, the way she was writing just didn’t make sense, she was using swear words but the writing was fit for like 10 year olds.

Zoey was absolutely frustrating and so easy to hate. That’s horridly inconvenient since she’s the main character, and we’re being told this story from her perspective. I’m not sure if they deliberately created Zoey for the sole reason that we should all hate her. She spent a good deal of time passing harsh judgments against particular types of people and behaviour. Girls who wear lots of makeup are losers. Teenagers drinking and smoking is horrifying and disgusting. Wanting to kiss someone you are attracted to apparently makes you a slut. She dislikes one of her classmates because he is not only annoying but also unattractive. Also, Zoey’s friends serve no other purpose than to make Zoey seem more lovable and special. Really, they can’t stop gushing over how pretty and great Zoey is.

The authors tried to make so many references to pop culture, which sounded ridiculous. Also,  I felt like the author was trying to push their point of view and moral agenda. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the values they project in this book, they make it so plain that they are trying to jam-pack the book with certain ideals. What annoyed me most about this one was the author’s attempt to address every controversial teen issue imaginable, while instilling good morals without being condescending. The random commentary on sex, drugs, alcohol, homosexuality, religious fundamentalism, paganism, etc., felt forced and way too obvious.

However, the plot is intriguing and very fast-paced. This book has many flaws, but I sped through it, and I can see why so many people find this a highly addictive series. Although, while there are elements in this series that are interesting, it’s nothing special.

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Trailer Reveal: As You Lay Sleeping by Katlyn Duncan

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As You Lay Sleeping
by Katlyn Duncan

Genre: YA Thriller

Release Date: February 22nd 2017

HQ Digital

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I did it all for you…

Cara’s boyfriend is dead.

When fingers start pointing at her, she knows she’s in more trouble than she originally thought. Because Cara can see that something isn’t right.

As her carefully constructed life begins to crumble, Cara isn’t sure who she is anymore.

But maybe that’s exactly what someone wants her to think…

 

 

Displaying katlyn duncan.jpgAbout the Author:

I’ve been writing and reading since I can remember. My fondest memories were pushing mom out of the house to get the latest Goosebumps instalment. Even though I went to school and worked in the field of science, my head has always been in the clouds. Outside of writing, I enjoy spending time with my hubs, pup, and sometimes a good rom com.

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Cover Reveal: Fragile Chaos by Amber R. Duell

Fragile Chaos
by Amber R. Duell

Genre: YA Fantasy Romance

Release Date: July 11th 2017

Radiant Crown Publishing

A GOD OF WAR SEEKING RESTORATION.

AN UNWILLING SACRIFICIAL BRIDE.

BETRAYAL THAT COULD DESTROY THEM BOTH.

“[E]very fiber of my being is woven from the rage of mortals.”

Theodric, the young God of War, has a talent for inciting conflict and bloodshed. After being stripped of his powers by his older brother, King of Gods, he sets out to instigate a mortal war to prove himself worthy of being restored to power.

“I loved Kisk once; it was my home… But that was before. This is now.”

Sixteen-year-old Cassia, like many in the modern era, believes gods and goddesses to be just a myth. Enemy to her country and an orphan of the war, she has no time for fairy tales. That’s until religious zealots from Theo’s sect offer her up as a sacrifice.

Can Cassia and Theo end the mortal war and return balance to the earth and heavens? Or, will their game of fate lead down a path of destruction, betrayal, and romance neither of them saw coming?

 
About the Author
Amber R. Duell was born and raised in a small town in Central New York. While it will always be home, she’s spent the last six years living in Germany and Maine as a military wife where the next step is always an adventure.

When Amber isn’t writing, she’s wrangling her two young sons. She is a lover of history, a fan of snowboarding, and a travel enthusiast. In her downtime, she can be found curling up with a good book and a cat or two.
For more information, visit www.amberrduell.com.
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Review: The Golden Wizard by J.S. Jaeger

The Golden Wizard The Golden Wizard (The Scrolls of Zndaria, #1)by J.S. Jaeger
Published by: Synergy Books Publishing
Publication Date: January 17th, 2013
Series: Scrolls of Zndaria, #1
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure
Format: eBook
Pages: 327
Rating: 3
Date Read: February 12th, 2017
Links: Goodreads | B&N | Amazon | Zndaria

Join Nathanial “Nate” McGray, the fifteen-year-old son of the king’s woodsman, on an unforgettable adventure. He is determined to be the first peasant to become a wizard in the magical world of Zndaria. Wedged in a sticky spot, Nate is saved from the town bullies by a mysterious elf named Blinkly. Together, Nate and Blinkly embark on a journey to the Halls of Magic. Along the way, they encounter vicious Dread Vikings, deadly bounty hunters, and a deranged beast. Just as Nate begins to learn magic, the Infinite Wizard and a devilish army attack his kingdom. Will Nate become a wizard? Can he save his kingdom? The story unfolds in the Scrolls of Zndaria: Scroll One: The Golden Wizard.

I received a copy of The Golden Wizard from the author for review Consideration. This in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

The Golden wizard is the first book of The Scrolls of Zndaria series. It follows Nathanial “Nate” McGray, a peasant boy, who dreams of being a wizard, in his quest to become the first peasant wizard, with the help of a new friend. This is a fun fantasy story full of magic and adventure for younger readers. It is easy enough for younger kids to read and understand, but the plot was fun enough that older kids can read and enjoy it too. I found myself really enjoying this.

However, I was disappointed in a few things. It had an interesting storyline but was a little too fast paced at times. I would have appreciated more details on the creatures mentioned in this book. A little less variety in exchange for some more depth about a select few. Demon was a great character that I would have liked to have seen a little more involved in the story.

I also felt that the story had a relatively slow start, and then once the story got going, it suddenly jumped ahead leaving out some important details, it skipped all of his schooling and jumped ahead to when the war breaks out and he has to go fight, and with all of this  new-found magical talent that we didn’t know he had. It made it confusing and it felt at times very rushed. I would have liked more detail in some places, like with the halls of magic. Also, I adored the setting of Zndaria and I would have liked to see more world-building.

Although, It felt a bit rushed and it didn’t feel properly developed or completed. Aside from those issues, I really did enjoy this book, it is a fun and easy read. It has potential and very likable characters. And I would definitely like to carry on with the series.

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TBR Takedown 5.0 Wrap-Up

If you read my TBR Takedown 5.0 | The Pile Post, You’d know I participated in the TBR Takedown 5.0 Read-A-Thon this month. There are 5 Challenges given, and the goal was to complete all five challenges. I managed to read 3 out of the 5 books I set for myself in TBR Takedown and 2 extras. Here are some of my thoughts on the books I read, and I will be doing more full-length reviews for them later on.

My TBR:

TBR Shelf for over a year ~ The Carnivorous  Carnival by Lemony Snicket
Most Recent Book Haul ~ That Summer by Sarah Dessen
First Book in a Series ~ The Golden Wizard by J. S. Jaeger
Catch Up on a Series ~ An Author’s Odyssey by Chris Colfer
Out of your Comfort Zone ~ Calamity Jane: How the West Began by Bryan Ney

What I actually read…

324277TBR Shelf for over a Year – The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket  4

I loved the carnival theme this book had going, I was excited that Klaus, Violet, and Sunny dressed up in disguises, the mystery of V.F.D is still unsolved, one of their parents might be alive. This wasn’t the most memorable in the series but I absolutely loved the intensity of the ending! I thought the kids starting to question and doubt themselves and their actions was really interesting too! This was a slightly drearier book in tone than the others, I can feel the ending getting closer and I’m looking forward to finally getting some answers soon.


The Golden Wizard (The Scrolls of Zndaria, #1)First Book in a Series – The Golden Wizard by J. S. Jaeger 3

I enjoyed this book! I started of a bit slow, I thought that it wasn’t interesting.    But this ended up being a fun book to read. It’s easy enough for younger kids to read and understand, but the plot was fun enough that older kids and adults can read and enjoy it too. It’s the first book in seven-book Middle-Grade fantasy series that introduces young readers to five heroes in the magical world of Zndaria. It had a very interesting story line but was a little too fast paced. I would have liked more detail in some places, like with the Halls of Magic.


O61u0oehaxflut of your Comfort Zone – Calamity Jane: How the West Began by Bryan Ney 3

The writing was solid, and once the pacing issues were resolved, the story started to take flight. Intriguing and well-placed moments of history added to the story, as descriptions did make the story feel of its time. Although it would be another 15 years or so before the nickname Calamity became her moniker, her parents were long dead before she moved herself and her siblings to Montana in 1868, and those years were spent working various jobs to maintain her household. Little moments, but things that when using an actual historical figure are easy enough to get right. Ignore the factual errors and you get a clever historic fiction that doesn’t rely on the persona of Calamity Jane, but on the development and story about the young Martha.


These were the extra books that I read:

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I’m pretty proud of myself, though I wish I would have been able to stay on top of my TBR a bit more. Did you participate in TBR Takedown? How did you do? What did you read? Leave a comment or link to your own post, so I can check it out.

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