Review of Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Rating: 3.5/5

Recommend: Yeah, probably!

Review:

This was one of those books I’ve been meaning to read since I was a little girl. So many people have told me I should read it, or looked at me in shock when I revealed that I hadn’t yet read it. Now, at long last, I can finally say I’ve finished this book. And, you know what? It was a really fun read! I’m glad I listened to all those people who encouraged me to pick it up.

The characters grated on me a little bit and I had a hard time fully connecting with them, but they were all so developed and unique that it made me invested despite my lack of connection. And all the different species of creatures were so cool: troll, human, leprechaun, dwarf…and so many more. I had a lot of fun reading about these creatures.

And the world – or, worlds – were so interesting. I really enjoyed learning about and exploring the fairy realm. For such a short book, the amount of world building packed in was quite impressive!

Overall, I had a great time reading this book. I wasn’t quite as connected to the story as I’d like, but I’m still glad I checked it out. If you’re like me and have put off reading this book, I’d recommend giving it a go!

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Review of Webley and the World Machine by Zachary Paul Chopchinski

Rating: 4/5

Recommend: Yeah, probably!

Review:

This was such a cool concept for a story! I loved the idea of a whole new, strange world right under us. And this world was particularly awesome!

Sometimes I feel like things could have been explained a little better. There were a couple times when I didn’t quite understand how something happened. But for the lost part that wasn’t a problem.

And I really enjoyed the characters! Everyone was so unique and developed. I especially loved Kip. He was so spunky and delightful!

Overall, despite some minor issues I had, this was such a fun read. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

I was given a copy of this book as part of the release party put on by the author. Thanks so much for the chance to read it!

Webley Teaser 3

Webley & the World Machine by Zachary Paul Chopchinski - TOUR

 

Between The Heart and Blade Release!

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I am so excited to share this book with you all! Between the Heart and Blade is such a fun an unique story. The book goes on sale January 2nd. And to get ready for the release, I have some fun things for you guys! Including a GIVEAWAY! That’s right, folks. Read through this post for the chance to win your very own copy of Between the Blade and Heart!

First off, let me share what this book is about. Here’s a synopsis, provided by the publisher:

When the fate of the world is at stake
Loyalties will be tested

Game of Thrones meets Blade Runner in this commanding new YA fantasy inspired by Norse Mythology from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

As one of Odin’s Valkyries, Malin’s greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. But when she unearths a secret that could unravel the balance of all she knows, Malin along with her best friend and her ex-girlfriend must decide where their loyalties lie. And if helping the blue-eyed boy Asher enact his revenge is worth the risk—to the world and her heart.

Cover Between the Blade and the Heart.jpg Amanda Hocking NEW--credit Mariah Paaverud with Chimera Photography.jpg

If that synopsis drew you in, I’d definitely suggest checking it out! And if that doesn’t convince you, how about a review from yours truly?

So, my thoughts on this book: Well, I think it’s already been established that I really liked it a lot! There were a few parts in the beginning that dragged a little bit, but overall I had such a good time with this book.

The characters were so delightful and full of depth. I loved Oona is a doll and Asher is adorable. I wasn’t sure about Malin at first, but she grew on me too after the first couple chapters. I loved how each character had their own unique personality and history. Now I really need to know what happens to them!

And the world. Oh, I loved this world. I’m a huge mythology buff, so reading about Valkyries and immortals and gods/goddesses was just so fun! Plus I loved the mix of technology and mythology. I haven’t seen anything quite like this before.

So, overall, I was so glad to get the chance to read this. If you like urban fantasy and mythology, I’d highly suggest giving this gem a read!

GIVEAWAY:

Now that you’ve read through all my ramblings, how about I tell you how to win your own copy of this book? Just go to this link!

Don’t want to wait? Well, here are some links where you can get Between the Blade and Heart as soon as it’s released!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-a-Million

IndieBound

Powells

 

AUTHOR BIO:

Amanda Hocking is the author of over twenty young adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Trylle Trilogy and Kanin Chronicles. Her love of pop culture and all things paranormal influence her writing. She spends her time in Minnesota, taking care of her menagerie of pets and working on her next book.

Social Links:

Author Website: http://www.worldofamandahocking.com/

Twitter: @Amanda_Hocking

Facebook: @AmandaHockingFans

Author Blog

BONUS GOODIES! Amanda is such a delightful person. Here’s a little Q and A for you to peruse too!

Q&A with Amanda Hocking

Q: What or who was the inspiration behind Between the Blade and the Heart?

A: I have already written several books inspired by Scandinavian folklore, and I was always fascinated by Valkyries. But because I had already done in Scandinavian fantasy, I wanted to come at this one from a different angle. I imagined the Valkyries helping to police a gritty, diverse, cyberpunk metropolis, in a world filled with not just Norse figures but from many mythologies.

 

Q: What are the life lessons that you want readers to glean from your book?

A: That love is a strength, not a weakness.

 

Q: If you were given the chance to go on a date with one of your characters, who would you choose and what would you do together?

A: Oona. She doesn’t swing that way, but since I’m married anyway, it would be a friendship date. I think it would be fun to go to an apothecary with her and have her show me around the magic. Or maybe just veg out and watch bad movies.

 

Q: Would the essence of your novel change if the main protagonist were male?

A: Yes, it would be changed dramatically. For one, Valkyries are women. But I also think the book explores the relationships between mothers and daughters, and friendships between young women.

 

Q: What is your definition of true love in YA literature?

A: There has to be passion and desire – not necessarily anything physical, but so much of young love is about yearning. But I also think that true love is based on mutual respect and selflessness.

 

Q: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to be an author/start writing?

A: My biggest piece of advice is to just write. It’s so easy to get caught up in self-doubt or procrastination. There are lot of great books and blogs about the art of writing, but the most important thing is really to just do it. The best way to get better at writing is by doing it.

 

Q: What’s one book you would have no trouble rereading for the rest of your life?

A: It would be a toss up between Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli and Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. I’ve read both of those books a dozen times already, at least, and I never get sick of them.

 

Q: How did you name your characters? Are they based on people you know in real life?

A: It’s combination of names I like and taking inspiration from the world itself. With Between the Blade and the Heart, the names were inspired both by the mythology they come from – many Valkyries have Norse names like Malin, Teodora, and Freya, for example – and the futuristic setting of the book, so I wanted names that seemed a bit cooler and just slightly different than the ones we use now.

 

Q: Alright, Amanda, I know you’re a movie buff. What are some movies your characters would pick as their all-time favorites?

A: That’s a tough one. Malin – The Crow, Oona – Pan’s Labyrinth, Quinn – Wonder Woman, Asher – Inception, and Marlow – Twelve Monkeys.

 

Q: Which mythological character is the most like you?

A: Demeter, because she’s pretty dramatic – she basically kills all the plants in the world when her daughter goes missing – but she’s also determined, and will stop at nothing to protect those she cares about.

 

Q: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?

A: Oona or Bowie. Oona because she’s so practical, supportive, and determined, and Bowie because he’s adorable.

 

Q: What is your favorite scene and why?

A: I don’t know if there is one particular scene that I loved more than the others, but I really enjoyed writing about the city that Malin lives in and all the creatures that inhabit it.

 

Q: What cities inspired the urban haven where the Valkyries live?

A: I was really obsessed with this idea of an overpopulated metropolis, and so I took a lot of inspiration from some of the biggest cities in the world, particularly Tokyo, Mexico City, Mumbai, and Manila. The city itself is actually a sort of futuristic, alternate reality of Chicago (one of my favorite cities in the world), and I wanted to incorporate that into it as well.

 

Q: What came first: The world, the mythology, or the characters?

A: I usually say the characters come first, and the world builds around it. But for this one, it really was the world that drew me into it. I knew I was writing about a young woman who was a Valkyrie, but that about all when I began building up the world and the mythology.

 

Q: I love that these characters are in college. What inspired this choice?

A: Because of the complex relationship Malin has with her mother, I knew I wanted some distance between them, so I thought putting her in college, living away from her mom, was a good way to do it. Plus, I thought it would be fun to explore the all the supernatural training that would be needed to do these specialized jobs that come up in a world where every mythological creature exists.

 

Q: What songs would you include if you were to make a soundtrack for the book?

A: This is my favorite question! I love creating soundtracks that I listen to while writing a book, and here are some of my favorite tracks from my Between the Blade and the Heart playlist: Annie Lennox – “I Put a Spell on You,” Daniel Johns – “Preach,” Halsey – “Trouble (stripped),” Meg Myers – “Sorry (EthniKids Remix),” and MYYRA – “Human Nature.”

 

Q: Was this book always planned as a series or did that develop afterwards?

A: It was always planned as a duology. I don’t want to go into too much or risk spoiling the second book, but I had this idea that one book would be above, and the other below.

 

Q: Your novels and characters are so layered. How do you stay organized while plotting/writing? Do you outline, use post-it notes, make charts, or something else?

A: All of the above! This one was the most intensive as far as research and note taking goes, and I also had maps, glossaries, and extensive lists of various mythologies. I think I ended up with thirteen pages of just Places and Things. I do a lot of typed notes, but I also do handwritten scribbles (which can sometimes be confusing to me later on when I try to figure out what they mean. I once left myself a note that just said “What are jelly beans?”) For this one, I really did have to have lots of print outs on hand that I could look to when writing.

 

Q: You’ve said that pop culture and the paranormal both influence your writing. How do these things intersect for you?

A: In a way, I think they’re both about how humans choose to interpret and define the world that surrounds us. So many mythologies come from humans trying to make sense of the seasons and the chaos of existence, and even though we’ve moved past a lot of the scientific questions, pop culture is still tackling our existence. Even when looking at shows made for kids, like Pixar, they handle a lot of difficult concepts, like what it means to love someone else, how to be a good friend, facing your fears, and overcoming loss. These are things that mythologies and stories have been going over for centuries.

 

Q: Did you choose the title first, or write the book then choose the title?

A: It depends on the book, but I will say with this one that it took a very, very long time to come up with a title. It was already written and edited, and we were still bouncing around different names.

 

A: How many more books can we expect in “Between the Blade and the Heart” series?

A: One more! From the Earth to the Shadows will be out in April 2018.

 

Q: What scene from the book are you most proud of (because of how you handled the atmosphere, characters, dialogue, etc)?

A: I don’t want to say too much or risk spoiling it, but there’s a scene near the end of the book where a confrontation leaves Malin reeling. I wrote it in an almost present tense, stream-of-consciousness way because I thought that was the best way to capture the raw intensity of her emotions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Book Release: Webley and the World Machine by Zachary Paul Chopchinski

Webley Pre Order Banner

Hey everyone! If you’ve been following my reviews for a bit, you might have noticed that I’m a big fan of the Gabrielle series by Zachary Paul Chopchinski. And I’m so excited to announce that he’s coming out with a new book! It will be available on January 11th and it looks so amazing! But don’t take my word for it. Here’s some info directly from the author!

 

Webley Teaser 1

Blurb:
A world beneath our world.

An army of mechanical monsters.

A war to end all wars.

When Adalwolf Stein and Arija Rapp discover a mechanical world hidden deep within the earth, the result is life changing. Webley and the creators of The World Machine work to keep the Earth turning. But when Arija and Adalwolf discover a growing conflict that will destroy the Earth, they find themselves forced to fight.

Will they be able to stop the war in time or will they regret ever having set foot in The World Machine?

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35384596-webley-and-the-world-machine

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Author Bio:

Zachary is a bow tie wearing, formal vest rocking, pocket watch using, sarcastic monster of a writer. Currently residing in Orlando, Florida, he spends his days working, writing and procrastinating.

Zach has multiple college degrees, in the fields of criminal justice and criminology…because he wanted to catch ALL the bad guys. Now, coupled with being an author of young adult fiction he spends his days yelling at people for breaking regulatory laws.

Zach is the author of the Gabrielle series, a young adult fantasy with a paranormal-historical-time traveling twist (try saying that five times fast)

Author Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Zachary-Paul-Chopchinski-772308849490741/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Website: http://zachchop.com

Tumblr: http://an-author-and-his-books.tumblr.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZachChop

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9853623.Zachary_Paul_Chopchinski

bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/zachary-paul-chopchinski

Pre-Order Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2AWHIKF

 

Thank you to Lady Amber’s PR for putting on this exciting event!

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Review of Light’s Rise by Yvette Bostic

Rating: 3/5

Recommend: Possibly

Review:

I was a bit conflicted about this book. On the one hand, I really love the idea of mixing real history with magical elements. And the basic premise was super interesting. But, I feel like the book itself needed a little more work.

The plot kind of dragged a bit. In fact, it was a little difficult at times to figure out exactly what the plot was supposed to be. I mean, I got the basic idea: There’s an evil group that’s trying to destroy the world and then a good group working to stop the evil guys. But exactly how the good guys planned to stop the bad group was unclear until the last quarter or so of the book. There seemed to be a lot of just traveling around without a clear purpose.

But the characters were what saved this book for me. I loved the main group of characters. They each had their own unique personalities and histories, although I would have loved to know even more of their backstories. I especially enjoyed Magdelin.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. It’s a different sort of fantasy than I typically read, but it still had many of the elements I love in a good fantasy book.

Review of The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

Rating: 4.5/5

Recommend: YES!!!!

Review:

Holy. Moly. This book was sooooo good! I mean, I figured it would be great, considering how much I loved the second one. But, seriously. So fantastic. I don’t know how I’m going to be able to wait until next year to get my hands on the final book. I need it now!!!!!

Given my slightly incoherent gushings, it might surprise you that I only gave this book 4.5 stars. Honestly, this actually might be more of a me-problem, rather than an issue with the book itself. For some reason, I had a really hard time getting into the story. Maybe it was because I had to stop and start a few times at first because life got in the way. But, thankfully, my struggles didn’t last long. After the first chapter or so, I was hooked.

This story is just so beautiful. I loved the fairy tale feel, and the heartrendingly real emotional depth. It truly was magical, both in the literal and figurative sense. At times the story seemed a bit slow, but I was so invested in the plot and the characters that I actually didn’t mind the slower parts. It gave me a chance to really get to know the characters and this world.

Speaking of characters. Oh my goodness. Vasya is one of my favorites. She’s so precious, but at the same time one of the toughest, most stubborn humans. And Solovey is an absolute doll that deserves all the porridge and treats he can handle. They both had better get a happy ending or I will be verrrrry upset.

Basically, you guys need to read The Girl in the Tower when it comes out. And if you haven’t read The Bear and the Nightingale, get on it! This series is so freaking good!

Thank you to Del Rey for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review of Artemis by Andy Weir

Rating: 4/5

Recommend: Yes, if you like hard SciFi

Review:

This was such a fun read. It’s got some of my all-time favorite things: sassy, morally ambiguous characters, a high-stakes heist, and SPACE! Seriously, all it needed was a few dragons and it would have everything I need. However, despite the sad lack of dragons, I had such a good time reading this book.

Jazz is so fantastic. She’s the kind of character I would probably hate to interact with in real life, but absolutely love in a story. She’s sarcastic and selfish, but there’s some humanity buried somewhere deep down. And the rest of the cast complimented her so well.
I will say that the deluge of technical information slowed things down for me at times. While the inner nerd in me loved reading about how a city could survive on the moon, sometimes I got a little bored with all the details. But, the plot was interesting enough to keep me going.
All in all, this was definitely worth a read. I already knew I liked Weir’s work after reading The Martian, but I feel like in many ways Artemis is even better. I especially appreciated the diverse, well-developed set of characters he created. If you like hard scifi, I’d highly recommend checking this book out!
Thank you to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for proving a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!