Saturday, 30 June 2012

Vlog: Why We Like Reading Tag

From now on, vlogs will be posted regularly on Saturdays! If you have any comments or suggestions, please do let me know (:

This week's subject is the Why We Like Reading Tag. We all answer thirteen book-related questions. If you're interested in watching more Fanatical About Fiction videos, check out our Youtube channel.


Friday, 29 June 2012

All Series, All Summer Challenge


Hosted by Amanda from On a Book Bender and Kelly from Reading the Paranormal, All Series All Summer is a low-pressure challenge to finally get through all those series you've neglected. There are no goals other than the ones you set yourself, and no obligations like check-ins. For the Twitter-happy (guilty) there is a hashtag to converse with other challenge participants, #SeriesSummer.

I have a serious case of series neglecting, guys.

My main goal is to at least make a big chunk in my unread series, and I got a lot of those. I'm way too lazy to list them all, so I'm just going with the ones I think I'll be able to read. If I can get through more than half of these I'll probably be extremely happy already!

To Be Read List

Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris
#5 Dead as a Doornail
#6 Definitely Dead
#7 All Together Dead
#8 From Dead to Worse
#9 Dead and Gone
#10 Dead in the Family
#11 Dead Reckoning

Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong
#7 No Humans Involved
#8 Personal Demon
#9 Living with the Dead
#10 Frostbitten

Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick
#3 Silence

The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
#2 City of Ashes
#3 City of Glass
#4 City of Fallen Angels

The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare
#2 Clockwork Prince

Shifter series by Rachel Vincent
#2 Rogue

Demonata series by Darren Shan
#6 Demon Apocalypse
#7 Death's Shadow
#8 Wolf Island
#9 Hell's Heroes

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Book Favourites: Killer Unicorn series by Diana Peterfreund


In a perfect world, reviewers would be able to review every single book they read. But as most of you know, you can't. Sometimes it's because you simply don't have the time. Sometimes it's because you just can't find the inspiration. And sometimes the book you're reading is so awesome that you can't describe it without turning into a blubbering fangirl. Every week I will be highlighting one of such books in Book Favourites.

This is one of my favourite series ever. EVER. I still can't believe these books aren't more popular. They so deserve it! The books I'm talking about are the Killer Unicorn books. I've mentioned them before in my vlog, and I actually wrote a review of the first book, Rampant. I'm actually thinking of doing a readalong event kind of thing for Rampant, so if there's any interest in that, let me know!


Why these books are awesome:
  • It has unicorns. And not the fluffy, cute kind of unicorns. No, unicorns with venomous horns that would like to rip you appart
  • KILLER UNICORNS
  • The fact that, if the killer unicorns finally grows tiresome (which it never does) it's actually a really good story
  • The main character Astrid is a realistic girl. She's kick-ass, but not in a "let's push everyone around me away" kind of way. She has boy trouble, just like any other girl, but in the meanwhile she makes sure the unicorns don't rip her friends apart
  • The majority of the series is set in Rome. Rome is an amazing backdrop for a book
  • They're gritty. The girls get hurt in fights, and don't miraculously heal
  • I can only think of one downside of the books: there are only two of them!

I recommend these books if you like:
  • Paranormal or fantasy reads
  • Unique creatures
  • Kick-ass heroines
  • Amazing action scenes
  • Good worldbuilding & background
  • Messed up families

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Series: Matched #1
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

366 pages
Published 2010 by Razorbill


Goodreads | Author | Publisher | Amazon | Book Depository

Another of the young adult "must read" dystopian list, Matched left me disappointed by the potential that wasn't fulfilled.

In Matched everyone follows the rules of Society. The Society calculates what gives most people a happy life. For example, you die at eighty, no matter what. You get Matched to your life partner by statistics and probabilities. Calorie intake is measured so everyone is healthy and strong. But then something goes wrong, and a mistake is made during Cassia's Matching. Should she trust Society, or think for herself?

I absolutely adored the world building in this one. It was amazing. In contrast to the extremely weird world that was created in DeStefano's Wither, this world is actually likely. I liked the fact that they use science to create boundaries for personal life. The first half of the book, where pretty much all the world building is was extremely well done.

When I started this book I was completely blown away. I thought, this is going to be epic! And then the love triangle happened.

And the worst thing about the love triangle is that Cassia is NOT in love. Let's recap what happened (it's in the blurb, so not a spoiler). The night of her Matching, when she's at home and staring at her screen thingy, she is supposed to see the face of her match, Xander. Xander has been her best friend since forever. But then, another face lights up! And it's Ky, a guy she has known since forever but never thought was interesting!

And from that moment all she can think about is Ky, Ky, Ky. O wait, I shouldn't think about Ky but Xander! Ky. Ky.

She NEVER had ANY interest in the guy, and then she sees his picture and she's head over heels for him. If Cassia was one of my friends I'd smack her. Seriously.

Even though Ms Condie is amazing in the world building department, she isn't that strong in the character building. Almost every single character is rather bland and just a "filler". The worst thing for me is that Ky was an extremely bland character. How can we fall in love with him if he's nothing but someone with a pretty bad past? Boo hoo, your parents were killed. That's not a reason to fall in love with someone.

I'm so for Xander. At least he's smart and brave, something Ky doesn't have going for him. But, Cassia treats Xander like shit for the whole book. Since they're Matched, they're boyfriend and girlfriend, but Cassia only wants to spend time with Ky, hold his hand, whisper poetry in his ear. And the whole while she thinks "oh yeah, I know what I'm doing is bad. I should tell Xander, but to be honest I don't feel like it now. I'll tell him in a few weeks when I've cheated on him several times". Where is their big friendship? How could you ever treat your best friend this way?

First half of this book was amazing, the second half a chore. There are so many faults in this book (people can read, but can't write) that I could go on and on. Overall, it was a big meh. I don't think I'll read the second book in the series, since I see where this is going and it's not a direction I'll like. My secret hope is that Ky dies because of the Society and Cassia remembers that Xander was her love all along. But since no such thing will probably happen, I'll stick to other books.

If you can tolerate stupid love triangles, I'd recommend Matched. The world is to die for.

Blurb

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Other reviews you might be interested in

Monday, 25 June 2012

Interview: Anderson O'Donnell (Kingdom)

The time has come! I'm interviewing Anderson O'Donnell on my blog today as part of the blog tour he is on hosted by Hannah over at Once Upon A Time. If you'd like to know more about him or his book, don't forget to check out his website.

The Interview

Nyx Book Reviews: Hi Anderson, welcome to Nyx Book Reviews! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Anderson: Hi! First, I want to thank Nyx for having me. I know a lot of time goes into your reviews, and I appreciate your granting Kingdom some space.

As for me, I live in the U.S. (the state of Connecticut, to be exact) with my wife and son. Kingdom is my debut novel, and the book in my Tiber City trilogy. Oh, and I love music—and punk in particular. The Clash, the Pistols, The Libertines…I could talk punk rock and dystopian fiction all day long…

Your book, Kingdom, is described as biopunk. That sounds creepy. What should we expect from it?

Biopunk has a lot in common with the more-familiar “cyberpunk” genre: the dystopian cities, the overreliance on technology, the anti-heroes struggling against a rigid world order enforced by mega corporations and faceless governments—all that sort of very uplifting stuff! But the key to biopunk is that, while cyberpunk focuses on the technological modification of the human body, biopunk considers the consequences of biological modification.

I gravitated to the biopunk genre because it allows for a discussion of what it means to be human. Cyberpunk modifications tweaked our humanity; I think the coming biotech revolution is going to re-define our humanity. And that, to me, is incredibly creepy.

What kind of research did you do before writing your book?

At first, not enough! But I quickly realized that, if I was going to tell this story right, I needed to know more about genetics. Granted, I didn’t need to be an expert—I just needed to know that I could talk about my ideas without making a total ass of myself. So I took a crash course in genetics. And by that I mean familiarizing myself with some concepts and terminology so I could the reader enough confidence to suspend disbelief—to lose themselves in my world.

Your book is self-published. Was this a conscious decision?

Yes. When I first started out, my goal was to publish via one of the traditional, mainstream houses. All my heroes were traditionally published authors, so it seemed the way to go. But as I learned more about where publishing was heading, and the opportunities available to indie writers, I began to consider self-publishing. Ultimately, I turned down a publishing contract. While I would never rule out traditional publishing, I’m determined to explore the different and exciting opportunities offered through self-publishing.

Is there a message that you would like people to get from your books?

Absolutely: There is more to this world than is readily apparent.

Do you still find time to read yourself? If so, what books have you read lately that you particularly recommend?

As Stephen King once said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.” And so, I’m borderline obsessed with reading—for pleasure, of course, but also as part of my writing. I find that reading is essential to honin my own craft…and it also inspires me: When I read a book that blows me away, I get pissed off that I didn’t write something as good—its almost like a challenge (granted, one I don’t feel I ever meet). Its inspiring, to see another author doing amazing things with the craft. It can push me to work harder, to go that extra mile, even if I’m tired and would rather still be in bed.

Thank you for answering my questions! (:

Thank you for hosting a stop on the Kingdom Blog Tour 2012! I’m a fan of your reviews, and I’m honored to have this opportunity.

Tour


Friday, 22 June 2012

Notice of Absence... I'm in Luxembourg!


Here I am again, telling you that I won't be around for four days! I'm going on a trip to Luxembourg (one of the tiniest countries in Europe) with my boyfriend. We'll do two days of sight-seeing in this pretty capital, and after that the scenery will be changed into something like this...


Which is a music festival called Rock-A-Field. I'm super excited but slightly nervous since I've never been there. So many of my favourite bands are playing, and a big bunch of my friends are going too, so I think it will be great fun.

Anyways, I won't be able to read or review during this time, but when I get back I have some cool new posts for you guys. Until then you can check out my vlogs, latest reviews, discussion posts or this picture of a dog wearing a shark costume.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Title: Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #2
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

525 pages
Published May 1st by HarperTeen
Review may contain spoilers for the previous books in the series

Goodreads | Author | Publisher | Amazon | Book Depository

Just as awesome as the first book.

As you might remember, I was completely at loss for words after reading Divergent. That book was just perfect for me. I had high expectations of Insurgent, and fear that it would all blow up in my face. I'm glad it didn't.

Insurgent begins where Divergent ended. Here is one of the only annoyance I experienced when reading the book - I had no clue who all the characters were again. It's been months since I read book one, and I'm not that good with remembering names. There was no recapping at all. I know I will be very glad of this when I read them back to back, but since it had such a gap between reads I had troubles getting straight who was who.

But after that, oh boy. The world Tris knows is falling to pieces. Factions are split, broken up, fight from within. There are more and more Divergent showing up. And of course, in the final pages, the proverbial shit is hitting the fan.

In this book Tris and Four have some relationship troubles. They are completely logical and life-like, but I don't want my favourite book couple to have relationship troubles. I was a bit scared Ms Roth was going to break them up - but I'm glad she found a way to make them work things out in a believable way.

Maybe this series isn't the best series out there. Insurgent might not be the best book in the series. All I know is that I read the damn thing in two days, and that I absolutely cannot wait for the next one.

Blurb

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Other reviews you might be interested in

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Vlog: Five Reasons Why Everyone Should Read

Hi guys, it's time for my second vlog! This time I will be discussing why everyone should read. For more vlogs of the Fanatical about Fiction group, visit our Youtube Channel.

If you have any suggestions of what you want me to talk about next time, feel free to leave them in the comments (:


Monday, 18 June 2012

Guest Post: Barbara Jolie on Common Mistakes While Guest Posting

Because of some bad planning on my part, I'm hosting two guest posts today. They are both interesting in their own way, so I hope you will check the other one out too!

The Guest Post

Three Common Mistakes People Make When Writing a Guest Post

As jobs remain scarce, more and more people are flocking to nontraditional areas of employment. One of the most popular routes people are taking is professional blogging. Newbie college graduates with minimal work experience and a need for more professional exposure are taking their college diplomas to the blogosphere. Blogging is a wonderful way to gain a name for yourself in a professional manner, offering a wonderful avenue for writing and sharing your interests and expertise. Guest posting has become one of the central facets of blogging in many ways in the online world. Not only is guest posting a wonderful way to expand your blogging repertoire, but it is also a great way to drive traffic to your blog. Many bloggers and webmasters enjoy the benefits of guest posting, with increased exposure and free quality content. However, with so many guest bloggers out there vying for a spot, there are bound to be some mistakes made. Keep things common guest blogging missteps in mind the next time you whip up a guest post.

It's Just Bad
Content is king. This little saying has ruled the blogosphere for decades now—and it's true. Blogging is all about quality content. If you write something well and the material is engaging, you're doing something right. Guest blogging is about sharing your writing style, voice, and knowledge with a new audience. You should strive to create well-written, carefully crafted, and thoroughly thought out content for any blog that you are writing for. Though sometimes we can find ourselves in time binds, it's important to realize that hastily throwing something together will only be a waste of the webmaster's time and your own.

You Don't Know Your Audience
One of the most thrilling and interesting aspects of guest blogging is writing for a new audience every time you compose something. As guest bloggers, we have to determine who it is we are writing for and what it is that will best fit with the blog we're servicing at the time. Every blog seeks to speak to a specific target audience. Whether you are writing for a finance blog, a blogging blog, a green living blog, or whatever else, you want to figure out what voice and style would best suit the blog. This is not to say that you are going to write in a way that is not your own—you just want to be sure that you are connecting as best you can with that specific audience. Know your audience and write material that you think would best benefit them.

You Fail to Review Your Post
I'm going to go out on the limb and say that editing is the number one pet peeve of all webmasters when it comes to guest posts. Guest bloggers should turn in material that is carefully crafted and carefully edited. Trust me, I know it can be hard as a guest blogger to catch some of the smaller grammatical mistakes, but you should take your time to revise. Read through your completed post and edit before you send it in. Have a friend or family member read it over briefly to see if they catch something you overlooked. As writers, we do this so often that it can be easy to overlook small mistakes or become over confident in our first drafts. Be sure to stop, slow down, and re-read your post before you send it in.

This guest post is contributed by Barbara Jolie, who writes for online classes.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: barbara.jolie876@gmail.com.

Book Feature & Guest Post: Sleeping Roses by RaShelle Workman

Today I'm featuring author RaShelle Workman here on the blog, as part of an Orangeberry Virtual Book Tour. To find more blogs participating, go here.

The Guest Post

Recently, I was asked the question:

Would you choose fame or fortune?
Immediately, I said fortune, of course. I'm a shy person, and I'd rather staple my finger multiple times than speak in front of a large group, or have the spotlight aimed on me. *shudders*

But as I thought about it, another question popped into my head.

Can you have one without the other?
In the writing world, the more you're "known", the more likely your book is to be purchased. When the big 6 market a book, they're marketing the author as much as her novel. It's why we're told to have a platform, and be involved in social media like Twitter, Facebook, blog, Wattpad, Pinterest... and on, and on.

What do you think? Is it possible?

About the Book

Sophie married into a lie.
Sick of her dangerous marriage, Sophie leaves her husband, determined to start a new life.

But her husband isn't going to let her go that easily. If he can't have her, no one can.
It's hunter versus hunted.

Praise for Sleeping Roses:
"It's strange, mysterious, and down right cool! It made me wonder if this really happened." Jek Jamison

"A suspense/thriller where nothing is as it seems." Heartsong Reviews

"From the first page to the last I was captivated by Sophie's journey as told by Ms Workman. Well crafted twists and turns kept me completely enthralled and unwilling to put it down. I found myself empathizing with the characters I closely identified with and feeling compassion, as Sophie did, for those less likable. The author's ability to express the feelings and emotions of the characters transcended the words on the pages." D. Olson


If you think you know how it ends, hold on. You have no idea.


Author Bio


Lover of books, baking, and toffee-making. The author of Aligned: An Immortal Essence Short Story, Exiled, Sleeping Roses, and the soon-to-be released series, Blood and Snow. Honorary nerd with attitude.

You can find her over at her website, on Facebook and Twitter, or Goodreads.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

This Week's New Books

If you're wondering why I'm not having an IMM - read this post.

There are so many new "Look at my new books!" memes that I'm having troubles choosing. I know a few of the hosts personally and I don't feel like picking teams on this one. So, I introduce my own conglomeration of all the memes out there! If you're hosting a similar meme or if one of your friends hosts one, let me know and I'll add their graphic (:


I had a huge birthday haul last week, so I'm keeping my book buying at a bay for a little while. I did receive one book for review though, and it looks really good!

Click on the cover to go to the book's press page (since it doesn't have a Goodreads one yet).

For review:


A big thank you to Outskirts Press & the author for providing this review copy. I really like the cover, and I'm looking forward to read it. It's the third part in a series and I haven't read the first three, but since it's a thriller/mystery kind of thing that I've decided that it won't matter that much anyway. It came all the way from Jeruzalem! I never got a book from Jeruzalem.

So what do you have in your mailbox, on your shelf or to showcase? Leave a comment with your link so I can visit you back!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

What To Do If You Don't Know What To Post Today

So, I was not sure what to post today. I already did my vlog, don't have any guest posts or interviews coming up, no reviews that need posting. I decided to do a post about what to do when you feel like this!

First I want to say that if you don't have any content to post for a day, don't worry. Your blog doesn't need to be filled every single day. Taking a day off when you feel like it is perfectly fine. Only when you systematically notice that you are lacking content is when you need to get worried and reconsider your blogging ways.

I found an incredibly helpful article on this written by Parajunkee. You can find the original post "Book Blogging 101: Spice Up Your Blog Content" on her blog. In fact, pretty much her entire Blogging 101 series is very helpful. This is my interpretation (or summary) of that post. For the original, check out hers.
  • do a vlog
  • top best books
  • a picture post - no words
  • start a discussion
  • blog about something else book related, like music that fits a certain book
  • do a tips & tricks post
  • blog about a current bookish event
Just reading through this list inspires me for a big bunch of blog posts. A top 10 books I've read so far this year! Top 10 books on my wishlist! Discussion posts! Tips and tricks! And something I like to do myself, Cover Craving posts!

Sometimes you just need to change things up, and step away from your blogging schedule. Don't think about reviews and reading ARCs for a second, but just have fun with your blog.

What do you do if you're without inspiration? Do you search for ideas on the web, or just take a day off? I'd love to know what you all think about this (:

Friday, 15 June 2012

Review: Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle

Title: Kissing Shakespeare
Author: Pamela Mingle
Series: Standalone
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

352 pages
Expected publication August 14th by Random House
ARC received through Netgalley

Goodreads | Author | Publisher | Amazon | Book Depository

I started this book when I was in the mood for a quick, light romance. Something that makes you warm and fuzzy inside. Judging from the cover I was at the right place for that with Kissing Shakespeare.

Young want-to-be actress Miranda gets whipped away to Tudor times by a fellow player, Stephen Langford. Here she gets the mission to seduce Shakespeare, who is in his teens. If she doesn't succeed, all of his work might be lost.

The cover of Kissing Shakespeare is very misleading. It's very sweet, with the pink and delicate title and flower in the girl's hair. It's absolutely nothing like the story. During the late 16th century, Queen Elizabeth had started war against everyone from the "old faith". Protestantism was the state religion now, and Catholics were prosecuted. Especially Jesuits were wanted.

Kissing Shakespeare suffered from this background. It's so dark and angst-filled. At one point a man is burned alive. Not in much detail, but it happens. This was not what I was expecting in this book. The whole mission of seducing Shakespeare isn't romantic or swoony at all. It's a duty, and one Miranda is reluctant to fulfil. There is very little seducing going on, it's just a few stolen moments, but nothing that makes it feel special.

Shakespeare himself was a rather bland character. This was one of my major disappointments. He is one of the most popular people in human history, but he could have just been a boy next door. He is an actor - shouldn't he at least be a bit eccentric? I felt there was a lot more effort put in other characters like Stephen, and it felt just wrong that Shakespeare takes a secondary role in a story like this.

But I could have lived with all these faults. There is just one problem that I could not get around while reading this book: it has one of the biggest plot holes I have ever seen. There is absolutely no reason at all why history would go on a different course. Why is there a problem? What happened that history all of a sudden changes? It's not that there are different dimensions. No mention of a time traveller that messed up. This whole story is built on absolutely nothing. There were a few explanations that tried to cover up this problem, but nothing satisfactory. The whole time travel is shamelessly under explained. And the worst thing is that main character Miranda doesn't even question it.

The story itself isn't that bad. There is a lot of spying around, making assumptions, and romance. Only in my opinion it was with the wrong person. Read with caution.

Blurb

Miranda has Shakespeare in her blood: she hopes one day to become a Shakespearean actor like her famous parents. At least, she does until her disastrous performance in her school's staging of The Taming of the Shrew. Humiliated, Miranda skips the opening-night party. All she wants to do is hide.

Fellow cast member, Stephen Langford, has other plans for Miranda. When he steps out of the backstage shadows and asks if she'd like to meet Shakespeare, Miranda thinks he's a total nutcase. But before she can object, Stephen whisks her back to 16th century England—the world Stephen's really from. He wants Miranda use her acting talents and modern-day charms on the young Will Shakespeare. Without her help, Stephen claims, the world will lost its greatest playwright.

Miranda isn't convinced she's the girl for the job. Why would Shakespeare care about her? And just who is this infuriating time traveler, Stephen Langford? Reluctantly, she agrees to help, knowing that it's her only chance of getting back to the present and her "real" life. What Miranda doesn't bargain for is finding true love . . . with no acting required.

Other reviews you might be interested in

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Vlog: Introduction

Hi guys! So last week I was on Twitter contemplating whether or not I wanted to start vlogging... Something I have never done before, but it seems like a lot of fun. Then, Lauren from Northern Plunder invited me to a project of hers called Fanatical about Fiction! This is vlogging group, consisting of seven girls (including me) between the ages of 17 and 19 (I think), all passionate about books.

I was super super nervous while shooting this. I hope you'll enjoy it though! (:

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Guest Post: Reyna Hawk on Character Creation

Characters are what take a book from "good" to "amazing". I always wonder how authors go about creating them. Do they take pieces of the people around them, or do they just come to be inside of their heads? I asked author Reyna Hawk to speak her mind on the matter. Make sure you also check out her website!

The Guest Post

Character Creation

When I’m in the beginning processes of writing a novel or book I tend to begin with a scenario or chain of events and build my characters around the particular events. I will decide in the early stages whether the main character will be male, female, or perhaps a couple of main characters. I will then build the characters from there. I will try to do a small outline for the character’s events as a guide; although I do not always adhere to the outline. From the start I have decided what the characters will look like and their personality types. I have to be able to visualize each character as a person, if I can’t then they usually either get axed from the script or meet an early demise.

Many times the characters will have attributes of people in real life that I know; whether this is physical or personality wise. I may place a family member, friend, or even my own personality or mannerism to the character. I have also put celebrity faces to the characters in order to be able to visualize them in my head as I am progressing through the storyline. I must feel some kind of connection or warmth to the character and have even gotten attached to some of the characters. This always makes it rather sad when the book ends.

Many characters have evolved into the storyline or into a completely different person. As I am writing I may become unhappy with where the story is going; so I stop and completely re-work it and possibly add additional characters to help the progression. I usually have a general idea on what will happen with each character. However, there have been events that came out of the blue, but fit the plot or direction of the storyline.

In my recent book, “Looking Through Blind Eyes”, there are several events that were re-worked numerous times. I don’t want to say too much as not to give any of the details away. I will just say some of the events I didn’t know would happen as they did until that precise moment.

Bio

Reyna Hawk is a 44 year old mother of one son and grandmother to one beautiful 3 year old little girl. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio Reyna has always loved writing and story-telling. From a very young age she was making up stories to tell her school friends. Reyna has an Associate of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology.

Her newest book “Looking Through Blind Eyes” was released on May 17, 2012 and is book one in a series of three concerning the character Janie Valentine. This series follows the twists and turns of Janie’s life when she unknowingly becomes entangled with the Petrilo Crime Family.

Book two of the series is titled “The Reflection of Secrets”; book three is tentatively titled “Shattered Visions Haunted Memories” no release date has been set as of yet for either book. Other book projects Reyna is working on: Angels and Arrows and Family or Foe.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Review: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Forever
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

390 pages
Published 2011 by Scholastic
This review may contain spoilers for the previous books in the series

Goodreads | Author | Publisher | Amazon | Book Depository

This makes me very sad. I was so invested in this series. I liked Shiver, loved Linger. And absolutely hated the ending of Forever.

Grace has started shifting. In the months without her Sam barely lives. They have to find out a cure that makes sure they will be able to be together, forever.

Starting these novels, you know they aren't going to be action-packed. They're romance books of the dreamy kind. You float through them on a happy cloud of beautiful descriptions. Ms Stiefvater is a very talented writer, and her language is amazing.

Sadly, Forever fell flat for me. It was as if every bit of spirit was sucked out of the main characters. Dreamy Sam turns into whiny Sam. Independant Grace turns into numb Grace. They just mope around, feel bad for themselves and do absolutely nothing about it. Not even Grace who is such a do-person instead of a thinker. Cole and Isabel are a great couple, but there was way too little of them in the book. I wanted more chemistry, but instead there were more fights.

I'm one of those people that can't just abandon a series mid-way. I stick with the characters to the end. I want to know where they end up, and with who. I want to know who lives and who dies. Doesn't matter how long it takes, I like to have the closure of a series ending. I will not spoil it for you, but Forever ends on a big droopy cliffhanger. It ends with someone maybe or maybe not dying. That my friends, is not what I call closure. That isn't even what I call an ending for "open interpretation". That just damn sucky.

I wish I liked Forever better, I really do. It ruins the series for me now. Not feeling like rereading Shiver any time soon, to be disappointed by this book all over again.

Blurb

The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stievater

In Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

Other reviews you might be interested in

Monday, 11 June 2012

Interview: Theodore Weesner (The Car Thief)

Today I am interviewing Theodore Weesner, author of The Car Thief. Click here to find out more about the book and the author.

The Interview

Nyx Book Reviews: Hi Theodore, welcome to Nyx Book Reviews! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Theodore: I don’t like to talk about myself, you can get details from the nice young gentleman who published my book. I’m a writer. And for writers, that’s saying a lot.

Can you tell us some more about your book, The Car Thief?

What I like most about ‘The Car Thief’ are the moments---and I believe they’re there---when the drama becomes strong enough that something magical begins to take place, even for me. Alex’s discovery that his brother is not his brother brought me to tears when I first wrote the scene and has done so a dozen times since, on reading through the scene again.

Where do you find your inspiration?

(I’m working to answer those questions in a personal memoir I have underway called ‘Hoodlum Artist.’) As a short answer let me say that I lived a stupid and ignorant life of deprivation that commenced on being abandoned at age one, with my brother Jack, age three, to a 550 pound immobile woman named Alice Sleeseman, who took in children from broken homes in Flint’s ‘Little Missouri.’ We may have been dirty and scrawny but ours was a ‘Summerhill’ life of almost total freedom (I recall nothing but happiness, exploration, adventure) and I’m not complaining. If I was damaged on having been abandoned by my mother, I’m not smart enough to say. She was fifteen when she gave birth for the first time, on proceeding into a life devoted to drinking, dancing and honky-tonking.

She never visited, while my father stopped by every other weekend or so to see how Jack and I were doing. Grandma Sleeseman, as we called her, made her way each morning to a centrally-located rocker from which she issued instructions, sending Jack and me with some dollars and a rusty wagon to a grocery store on Fenton Road to buy food supplies, and instructing other children of the house in the preparation of meals in the kitchen. Jack and I always had an eye out for the appearance of our father’s green Chevy and the thrill we felt when it came into view.\

All along my life, in my writing, I had been exploring conflicts I had known before landing on my feet in the army and as a student. So it was that I called my first novel, which was inspired by need, experience, and artistic hunger, ‘The Car Thief,’ during the writing of which I drew on the guts of my own history in search of valid themes and exquisitely realistic details.

What do you like best about being a writer?

My autobiographical confession is that what I like best about being a writer is that it keeps accompanying me along every last road, lighting the way with smiles and fond feelings. What more could a person ask of the precious old craft?

Can you still find time to read yourself? If so, what books have you read lately that you recommend?

As a reader…I read mostly my own work-in-progress for several hours every day rain or shine, Christmas or Thanksgiving. For nearly two years now, getting blood transfusions every Monday that keep me alive and working, I take along a novel and enjoy a rare reading experience. My recent favorites include James Salter, for his use of language, Thom Jones for his intense power, Primo Levi for his philosophical seriousness, Jennifer Haigh and Stewart O’Nan and Bernhard Schlink for their fully orchestrated narrative brilliance…those and others I’m sure I’ll think of later.

Thank you for answering my questions!

Bio

Theodore Weesner, born in Flint, Michigan, is aptly described as a “Writers’ Writer” by the larger literary community. His short works have been published in the New Yorker, Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, Atlantic Monthly and Best American Short Stories. His novels, including The True Detective, Winning the City and Harbor Light, have been published to great critical acclaim in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper’s, The Boston Globe, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, Boston Magazine and The Los Angeles Times to name a few.

Weesner is currently writing his memoir, two new novels, and an adaptation of his widely praised novel—retitled Winning the City Redux—also to be published by Astor + Blue Editions. He lives and works in Portsmouth, NH.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

This Week's New Books

If you're wondering why I'm not having an IMM - read this post.

There are so many new "Look at my new books!" memes that I'm having troubles choosing. I know a few of the hosts personally and I don't feel like picking teams on this one. So, I introduce my own conglomeration of all the memes out there! If you're hosting a similar meme or if one of your friends hosts one, let me know and I'll add their graphic (:


I had an amazing week! It was my 18th birthday this week, and I celebrated with a nice BBQ. I got quite some bookish gifts, but most of them in the form of book gift cards. I will be able to buy a LOT of books! Still, a few of my family members and friends ventured to give me a book I don't own yet, and succeeded very well!

Click on the covers or links to go to the book's Goodreads page.

For review:


Requested this one from Netgalley (thanks Amulet!). It looks pretty interesting, kind of a young-adult mystery about a group of people bullying bullies. Or something like that. I'm looking forward to read it!

Gifted:


I got these pretty flowers from my boyfriend. Never thought I would be flower kind of girl, but I thought it was so sweet!


Couldn't find this one on Goodreads since it's a Dutch book (with an English title). It has all these pictures of weird places, hotels, items... It's a really cool book (:


From another friend I got this awesome "hang your book somewhere" thing! The bottom is a little flat metal bar that makes sure your book doesn't get damaged. A thank you to my mom for posing with it!


Books! Insurgent is actually a late-late Valentine's Day gift. I have been waiting for this book to come out for SO LONG. As you can see, I already started it. Dreamcatcher is a great addition to my Stephen King collection. And I finally got a copy of A Game of Thrones! And man, that book is scary. It's huge!


And I got some awesome non-bookish stuff too. I got lactose-free chocolate (yay!) and some Lush bathstuffs. If you've never heard of Lush, check out their website. All of their products have not been tested on animals, are vegetarian, and smell amazing. I wish it was my birthday more often!

So what do you have in your mailbox, on your shelf or to showcase? Leave a comment with your link so I can visit you back!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Review: Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
4 out of 5 stars

Published 2009 by Macmillan

I don't know what it is with asylums that attracts me so much. Is it the horror of treatment? The mental illnesses? The big question of how they will get out? Will they be able to escape? Whatever it is, asylums make for great settings in a book. Wildthorn was no exception.

Louisa is a little different than the other girls of her age. She wants to be a doctor. Everyone in her family thinks she is being ridiculous, as doctor is clearly a profession only for men. Louisa should concentrate more on finding a suitable husband, and getting ready to start a family. A few months after the death of her father, she finds herself locked away in an insane asylum. Who sent her here and why? And more importantly, how will she get out?

A common theme in fiction set in the Victorian age is feminism. More often than not the main female character rebels against the set role for women, namely motherhood. What I found interesting in Wildthorn is that even though Louisa rebels against the prejudices, she is no revolutionist. She doesn't want to change the world, call all women to arms, overturn the world's thinking. The only thing she wants is to be left alone, so she can pursue her dream and become a doctor. Her goal is a personal one. She doesn't resent other girls for wanting to marry. She just acknowledges that it's not right way for her. I thought this was very well done, and I admire Ms. Eagland for taking this road, and writing something believable, something that might have actually happened a few hundred years ago.

Louisa is a likeable character. I really felt for her. With flashbacks set at a regular interval throughout the books we learn about her past, everything that has happened to her the past years. I though it was very interesting to read about these events in first person, instead of just being told "hey, five years ago, this happened!". If I would have been in her shoes, I probably would have handled everything the way she did.

A fair warning, this book is not for homophobes. Please don't read this book if you're against lesbian romance. Or if you're against the gay "lifestyle", like most homophobes put it. Don't get me started on homosexuality being a "lifestyle", I can rant about this all day. So I'll just give you a warning. There is a romantic plot, and yes, it's between two girls. Deal with it. It would be such a shame to let your prejudices stand in the way of this great book.

Wildthorn is a very quick read, and a very exciting one. As Louisa slowly unravels the secret of her incarceration, her situation becomes more and more bleak. This book might not be that suitable for the faint of heart. Life in an asylum just isn't roses and sunshine, it's brutal and unfair. Especially towards the end of the book, I couldn't stop reading any more. And when the ending came, I could finally sigh a content sigh. The ending is sweet, cute, and everything it should be.

I definitely recommend this book for anyone that likes historical romance in young-adult form. I think fans of Sarah Waters's Fingersmith might enjoy this too.

Blurb

Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove longs to break free from her respectable life as a Victorian doctor's daughter. But her dreams become a nightmare when Louisa is sent to Wildthorn Hall: labeled a lunatic, deprived of her liberty and even her real name. As she unravels the betrayals that led to her incarceration, she realizes there are many kinds of prison. She must be honest with herself - and others - in order to be set free. And love may be the key...

Other reviews you might be interested in
More links

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Book Favourites: Fracture by Megan Miranda


In a perfect world, reviewers would be able to review every single book they read. But as most of you know, you can't. Sometimes it's because you simply don't have the time. Sometimes it's because you just can't find the inspiration. And sometimes the book you're reading is so awesome that you can't describe it without turning into a blubbering fangirl. Every week I will be highlighting one of such books in Book Favourites.

This is my first Book Favourites post that doesn't feature a series. This book is so amazing, it deserves a post all on its own. I am talking about Megan Miranda's Fracture. It had been on my wishlist for quite some time, and since it came highly recommended by some bloggish friends, I decided to pick it up. And I didn't put it down for the rest of the day.


Why this book is awesome:
  • It's so good, I couldn't write a review afterwards. You know a book is good when that happens
  • The whole story. It's about a girl that falls through ice, and dies for eleven minutes. No one comes out of a coma when their brain hasn't had oxygen for such a long time. Yet Delaney does. After being dead, her whole outlook on life is changed. She is forced to examine what makes her want to live
  • Dying didn't come without a cost. Her brain is damaged; she gets massive headaches, can't concentrate on reading anything. And she can sense when someone is about to die
  • There is a slight mystery part which was predictable, but entertaining
  • It's short, yet has so much depth
  • A best friend kind of love interest! Those are the best kind, in my opinion
  • I can't describe it, but this book is so much more than just a paranormal love story
  • I'm slightly squeamish with non-paranormal books. This is the perfect mix of contemporary with a slight dash of paranormal

I recommend this book if you like:
  • Contemporary novels
  • Fast reads
  • Books that make you think
  • Novels dealing with death and it's aftermath
  • Teen love stories

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Release Day: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.


> Read my review of Monument 14

Goodreads | Author | Publisher | Amazon | Book Depository

Monday, 4 June 2012

Kingdom Blog Tour: Kick Off

Hi everyone, today I'm presenting the kick off post of the Kingdom Blog Tour, hosted by Hannah from Once Upon A Time. I'll be having an interview with the author soon, and there's even a Kindle giveaway! Here is the author's introduction to the tour.

The Tour


Welcome to day one of Anderson O’Donnell’s “Kingdom” blog tour!

First off, I want to thank each and every blogger who graciously agreed to join the tour. And a special thank you to Hannah Richardson for helping me organize this tour—she has been tremendous.

Now, about the tour itself: Beginning today, and running through July 3rd, the
Kingdom blog tour will feature reviews, interviews, guest posts, giveaways, and a few other surprises—including an international contest to win a Kindle Fire.

The blog tour is being conduced to promote Kingdom, a dystopian, biopunk-thriller, and the first part of the Tiber City Trilogy.

Most people are familiar with the term “cyberpunk,” but “biopunk” is harder to nail down. In many ways, biopunk is similar to the cyberpunk genre, and shares many of the same themes and archetypes: the dystopian future; the overreliance on technology; mega-corporations; a constant and overwhelming flow of data; the anti-hero—these elements are integral parts of both genres. And both genres are fueled, to some extent, by the sense of rebellion and desire for individual freedom expressed by the original punk rock revolution. But the main difference—the most important difference—is that while cyberpunk focuses on invasive technological modification of the human body, biopunk explores the dehumanizing consequences of biological modification, of re-arranging our DNA in the pursuit of perfection.

And it’s these consequences that fuel the action in Kingdom.

Here’s a brief introduction to Kingdom:

In a secret laboratory hidden under the desert, a covert bioengineering project—codename “Exodus”—has discovered the gene responsible for the human soul.
Somewhere in the neon sprawl outside the nation’s collapsing economic core, a group of renegade monks are on the verge of uncovering a secret that has eluded mankind for centuries.
In a glittering tower high above the urban decay, an ascendant U.S. Senator is found dead—an apparent, yet inexplicable, suicide. And in the streets below, a young man races through an ultra modern metropolis on the verge of a violent revolution...closing in on the terrible truth behind Exodus—and one man’s dark vision for the future of mankind.


Welcome to Tiber City.

If you’re intrigued, you can grab a copy of Kingdom (paperback or Kindle format) over at Amazon. Or, if you’re still on the fence, check out the first four chapters at my website, Tiber City Noir.

And, if you’re interested in entering the Tiber City Kindle Fire Giveaway, you can enter the contest through the widget on the sites hosting this tour.

Thanks again for checking out the Kingdom blog tour.

Cheers,

Anderson

Giveaway

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Sunday, 3 June 2012

This Week's New Books

If you're wondering why I'm not having an IMM - read this post.

There are so many new "Look at my new books!" memes that I'm having troubles choosing. I know a few of the hosts personally and I don't feel like picking teams on this one. So, I introduce my own conglomeration of all the memes out there! If you're hosting a similar meme or if one of your friends hosts one, let me know and I'll add their graphic (:


Okay so maybe being on a ban isn't that easy. I went on a trip with my boyfriend yesterday to the city I'll be moving to in a few months and he kind of forced me into the book stores (how awful when that happens!). The Charlaine Harris is a gift from him, and the Terry Pratchett one I bought myself. They're both from series I already own, so I don't have to feel bad about starting a new series again ^^

Click on the covers to go to their Goodreads page.

Gifted:


I'm currently rereading this series and still loving it! I'm at book three right now, the furthest I've come was book four a few years ago. I hope I'll like the last few books, the reviews have been rather aggressive.. 

Bought:


I absolutely love the crazy Discworld books Terry Pratchett has written, and I'm collecting his books now. That should keep me occupied for a while!

So what do you have in your mailbox, on your shelf or to showcase? Leave a comment with your link so I can visit you back!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Jubilee Giveaway Blog Hop


Welcome to this awesome giveaway blog hop hosted by Ellie from Curiosity Killed The Bookworm! The only requirement to this hop is that your giveaway is open to UK participants. As always, my giveaway will be open internationally.

I will be giving away a book of your choice up to $10 from the Book Depository. To enter, simply fill in the Rafflecopter below.

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Friday, 1 June 2012

Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
(Monument 14 #1)
4 out of 5 stars

Expected publication June 5th by Macmillan Children's
ARC received through Netgalley

This book very much reminded me of Mike Mullin's Ashfall, only where Ashfall seemed like a Discovery Channel documentary, Monument 14 reminded me of an MTV show.

On their way to school brothers Dean and Alex get stuck in a hailstorm of massive proportions. Because of their heroic bus driver they are brought to safety in a shopping mall together with the other kids. Here they have to survive one of the biggest natural disasters ever, without any parental control.

This was an extremely quick read which I just breezed right through. Where other apocalyptic books are bogged down with descriptions of the world ending, Monument 14 is rather light on the gruesomeness. Most of the book it's just an afterthought - the only thing the main characters think about is how to survive in the here and now, not about what is going on outside.

For me that was both a good thing and a bad thing. It was good because I was looking for a light read, something more focussed on characters instead of plot. Bad, because at the end of Monument 14 I was left wondering what the hell I actually just read. It was a very entertaining book - but not that memorable.

I was glad that the little romance in this book didn't feel too forced or clich├ęd, but stayed very down to earth and teenager-y. The cast of characters is very diverse, with five year old twins, to high school seniors. It was interesting to read of such an odd bunch of kids, being thrown into a surreal situation where they have to care for themselves. I've seen it compared to Lord of the Flies, but even though I haven't read that one I am quite sure that there was a rather extreme anarchy in that one. That isn't the case in Monument 14. To be honest the whole bunch seemed to be very organised and responsible.

For an apocalyptic read Monument 14 is very low on graphic details or gruesomeness, and I would recommend it for people liking their books not too heavy. It also makes it accessible for a slightly younger audience, which most YA apocalyptic reads aren't. I'm looking forward to see what happens with all the kids from Monument 14.

Blurb

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.

Other reviews you might be interested in
More links