October 31, 2014

Monthly Wrap-up: October 2014

Book haul

Books read

Tell Me My Name by Mary Fan (★★★★ - review)
The Clearing by Dan Newman (★★★★ - review)
Catalyst by S.J. Kincaid (
Other things on the blog

Top Ten Tuesday

Guest posts & Interviews
The Clearing (ended)

A Glimpse into District 13

Are you excited for Mockingjay part 1?! I am very very excited, and I cannot wait to see the movie! It's about a month away so until then, have some D13 to go along with the brand new delicious trailer!

October 30, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week

This is a meme hosted by Leah at Uncorked Thoughts. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related!

Could you ever double as a spy like Snape?

I don't think I would. I mean first off you'd need a strong motivation, and then the means. He was an actual Death Eater long before he was a spy. He only became a spy out of his personal and somewhat selfish reasons (and don't talk to me about love here). But I can't deny he wasn't brave and daring. He risked a lot, especially with someone as ruthless as Voldemort. And above all, he remained calm and collected (more or less) when Bellatrix kept firing doubts and suspicions at him. 
Maybe I could be a spy, who knows, it takes a lot to intimidate me, and I am a master of deflection with my runny mouth. Who'd have thought someone who lacks a filter would be able to keep a secret? *wink* Maybe I'd be a kickass spy.


October 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween

We don't have Halloween here, or rather never had until it became commercialized and spread all over the world. So I refuse to participate in costume parties and so on, but I still wonder what I'd be if I was taking part. So here are my top ten picks. 

1. A Harry Potter character
Basically anything from HP - Hermione, Luna, Tonks, or a Death Eater. Yeah, a big leap, but I loved the costumes from the bad guys in the movies, those masks were scary ass cool.

2. Katniss Everdeen
I love Katniss, I think she's someone I can somewhat relate to. Plus she's kickass, why wouldn't I pick her?!

3. Arya Stark
I adore Arya to pieces, she's my all time favorite literary character. I would probably find a few other awesome costumes in ASoIaF universe but Arya would definitely be my first pick.

4.  Rose Hathaway
You see the pattern here? A strong kickass heroine that would probably growl at you if you asked 'What are you supposed to be?'. Which could have been the case since Rose more or less looks normal, save the stake. 

5. Celaena Sardothien
An assassin? Of course. Need I say more?

6. Middle Earth character
An elf or a Hobbit, either way. Love both for different reasons so either would do. 

7. Lyra Belacqua
I adored Lyra as a kid, and I probably still will when I reread His Dark Materials one of these days. She was brave and outspoken, and she had the cutest daemon possible. I'd just get me a ferret or something to go along with the costume!

8. Cinder
A CYBORG!!! She's a bloody cyborg. How cool is that?! I'd love to be Cinder for Halloween, that would not only take loads of time to prepare and test my creativity, Cinder is also such a cool character. And everyone would get it, I hope!

9. A Shadowhunter
Leather and rune tattoos? Sign me up. As much as I am getting more and more annoyed but this world Clare created, I can't help but think those fighters are still pretty awesome. 

10. Something Ancient Greece
I love myths from Ancient Greece, so I loved Percy Jackson and The Song of Achilles. I'd love to dress up as a god or an ancient hero. 

This weekly meme is from The Broke and the Bookish.

October 27, 2014

Guest post: Ryan Mark

Today's guest post is written by Ryan Mark, debut author of Tremor, Britain's Next Bestseller!

Uncovering Change Between the Pages of YA Dystopian Fiction/Understanding

We all know our world is changing at a drastic rate – but keeping up with how and why is difficult without becoming confused or feeling patronised. Global changes - whether environmental or social - can seem dry and boring or difficult to understand coming from news readers or journalists. A better way to approach them might be to pick up a YA novel.

Showing, rather than telling a specific issue, i.e. wars or the melting of the polar ice caps, is one of the most important skills a writer can use when trying to get a reader to fully engage with the issues that are contained within their stories, especially environmental ones, which as previously discussed in the above paragraph, can sometimes be hard to understand.

Two books that I’ve read which have been successful in this sense for me are: Floodland by Marcus Sedgwick, and, The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Both of these authors managed to successfully explain the issues which led to their stories through their clever use of description and character’s emotions – which are two great ways in which a writer can successfully hold onto a reader’s attention and engage them in the issues of their world and what their characters are going through, thus showing the reader the state of the world of their stories.

One of the issues I looked in my YA Dystopian novel, Tremor, was the depletion of the Earth’s oil resources, and the problems that could stem from complete exhaustion. I found the best way to put this issue forward was not to use large descriptions or speech from one character, which could overwhelm a reader, but to incorporate it fully into the events of the storyline, rather than breaking away from the events and going into mass explanation on the issue, therefore showing, rather than, telling.
About the book

The life William knew has gone. His world has been left devastated by the Fossil War. All major governments have been wiped out and the land is now under the control of the company Terrafall. Although Terrafall's intentions seem honest, William wonders if the company will live up to its promises and stop the tremors, which have been plaguing the Earth since the end of the war. And can Terrafall really find out who is behind the recent wave of abductions?

When someone close to William disappears, he decides it's time to take matters into his own hands. But in a land that is on the verge of tearing itself apart, is it a life worth fighting for? If your world was falling apart, how far would YOU go to save it?

About the author
Ryan lives and writes in the rural county of Cumbria, on the outskirts of the Lake District in the United Kingdom. Tremor is his first full length novel, and is part of the Tremor Cycle, a series of Dystopian stories set in a shattered world. He is currently working on book 2 in the series, titled Tremor: The Fracture, which he hopes to release within the next year. Ryan is passionate about: writing, equality and helping children learn to read. He has always loved to write and create different worlds, drawing his inspirations from his family and the place where he lives.

October 26, 2014

Book review: Catalyst

Thank you S J Kincaid for the ARC!

Goodreads synopsis
The explosive conclusion to the series reviewers have likened to Ender’s Game and “Hogwarts-in-Space”.

This exhilarating, explosive, and heartrending conclusion to the Insignia trilogy brings Tom and his intelligent, passionate, and brave young friends stunning tests and dangerous confrontations and through to an impossible future they could never have predicted.

Tom Raines and his friends are eager to return to the Pentagonal Spire to continue training for the elite Intrasolar Forces, but they soon discover troubling changes: strict new regulations and the revelation that the Spire is under new military control. What begins as an irritating adjustment soon reveals a dangerous shift in reality. Those now in control are aligned with corporate sponsors and their ruthless agendas. And when the military academy begins welcoming new cadets with suspicious neural processors, the first step in a plan with horrifying worldwide ramifications, Tom is desperate to stop it, even if that means keeping secrets from his closest allies.

Then a mysterious figure, the other ghost in the machine, begins fighting against the corporations, but with methods even Tom finds shocking. And when the enemy comes for Tom, how much can Tom endure in the battle to save himself? He must decide if he can still fight when the odds of success seem to be sliding from his grip.

After a slightly mellower sequel to the series, Catalyst follows the more explosive path of the first novel, Insignia. It starts off with a bang, and doesn't let go. There's a lot of action and twists in the new regime of the story, which absolutely gripped me immediately. 
It starts with Tom being arrested and them thrown back into the Spire under the new regime. The things have changed drastically, and as bad as it got in Vortex, things are even worse now. There are a million new rules than can get you in trouble for the smallest things, there are secrets and lies, and above all, new alliances that will do more damage than good. And Tom has taken it upon himself - yet again - to fix this.
I love the characters of this series. First of all, Tom is, after all this time, still a dumbass. I mean oh my word, he's such an eejit. Nevertheless, he did grow during the series, which was awesome to witness. He is actually learning, even though very slowly, and he's definitely growing as a human. But it's a slow and painful process, but that makes it so much more real! In a book full of fantastical things - chips in heads, space warfare and so on, there are still so many real things. Kincaid really knows how to write well. It's simple, engaging, makes sense, and is so lifelike you don't even bat an eye at improbabilities. 
Other characters - Wyatt, Vik, even Yuri and Blackburn, have all grown during the series as well. It's small things, but they are obvious. There's less awkwardness, less hate, more self-confidence... They are slowly improving, like Tom, but it's still there, and character growth is absolutely something that makes me give out brownie points to authors. There's no lame love stories here, no unrealistic feelings, nothing of the sort, and it's so refreshing!
The story itself was much better than in Vortex. Thing just kept getting worse and worse, and the stakes kept getting higher, and as much as it seemed there's no way out, Tom seemed to find a way. He never had anything good happening for him, growing up as he was, but he's turning that around, and applying his 'lame loser skills' to right things. It's really empowering in a way!
The twists and turns in this novel, oh my! So many I lost count, and so many I didn't even see coming! I often solve the book before something happens, and predictability is definitely something I hate. I had nothing to worry here. It was so good, so unexpected, so captivating, so so so!
It's hands down the best book in the series, and one of the best finales to a series I have ever read! It's absolutely mind-blowingly awesome, and I loved reading this book so much! Remember how I gushed over Insignia? Yeah this is twice as badass! It's one of the best reads of 2014 for me!
It was a real honor for me to read this, not only as an ARC but to have a signed copy as well! Absolute love! I am desperately looking forward to other writing projects Kincaid might publish. I'll be among the first in the line to get my hands on them! A new author on my insta-buy!