August 21, 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!

Free week: Favorite holiday in magical world

I am a little torn between Hallowe'en and Christmas. They both seem really magical, especially when you get to have them at Hogwarts or among other wizards in a magic-filled home, with magical treats and decorations as such. It must be an amazing, fun affair to have and I'd really love to experience it all.


Only because of the snow and trees and gifts and so on. I still think Hallowe'en is magical in itself, and has a different kind of appeal in the magical community, as its linked to witches and wizards. And it's also in Autumn which is my favorite time of the year. But Christmas has something else about it. I'm not religious myself and don't celebrate it for that; I love it for everything else it means - family, love, friendship, coziness. And of course gift. Duh.

Guest post: Casey Clubb + GIVEAWAY!

Today's guest post is written by Casey Clubb, author of Jacob, King of Portalia.

The Wonderful Gift Of Rejection

Many thanks to Ula for having me as a guest on her blog!

Writing Jacob, King of Portalia has been a powerful and humbling journey for me.
It started three years ago when I finished my manuscript and eagerly began querying agents.
I’d written a good story, one that I thought kids and parents would want to read.
But even so, for some reason, the agents I queried failed to express their undying gratitude to me for offering to send them my masterpiece.
Two years and dozens of rejections later, I tossed Jacob in a drawer and moved on.
I wrote more stories.
I attended more conferences.
And I read more articles on the art and craft of writing.
One day, I read a snippet of writing advice in Stocking Stuffers: 13 Writing Tips From Chuck Palahniuk that transformed my writing.
Tip number ten reads simply: “Write the book you want to read.”
At first I thought I’d misread the statement. I was supposed to write what other people wanted to read, right? Granted, It turns out that I’m a complete failure at mind reading, which admittedly makes it a bit of a challenge to know exactly what book someone else wants me to write.
So I thought about what stories I wanted to read.
One of those stories was about the struggles of a young gay man named Jake. Jake was a great character and I was looking forward to writing his story. But as I got to know him, I couldn’t ignore the fact that Jake seemed strangely familiar to me. Like an older version of another boy whose story I’d wanted to tell.
Every time I thought about Jake, I thought about the manuscript gathering dust in the drawer.
A year after I gave up on Jacob, I hauled the manuscript out and re-read it.
I realized that while I’d written a good story, I hadn’t written Jacob’s story. I’d written the story that I thought other people would want to read. Not the one that I wanted to read.
That’s when I knew that Jake’s story wasn’t the story I wanted to write. Because it wasn’t the book I wanted to read, Jacob’s was.
I’ve never been so grateful to have experienced so much rejection.
What if one of those more than fifty queries I’d sent out had resulted in Jacob getting published? I never would have had the opportunity to write it right.
Jacob, King of Portalia is a story about a boy who’s been hiding all of his life. He’s scared of his own shadow, scared to be who he is, yet he could save us all, if he can find the courage to come out of hiding and be true to himself.
I didn’t set out to write a story about a gay pre-teen boy. In fact, I was almost too chicken to do so. I mean, nobody wants to read a story about a boy who likes boys, right?
But Jacob’s story is the book I want to read.
When all is said and done, I am the only reader that any of my stories is ever guaranteed to have. I owe it to those stories to be true to them. I need to write the stories that I will want to read over and over again.
And so this is the story I’ve written—Jacob, King of Portalia—Jacob’s story.
About the book

Jacob is the only one who can protect us all from a vengeful lunatic.
But Jacob’s a tiny sixth grader who’s scared of his own shadow. And his only known talent
is hiding.
A misfit in his own home, a boy out of place in his own skin, Jacob has been hiding all his life—in his head, or behind his only friend.
His kind of different just isn’t accepted.
He thought hiding would keep him safe. But he was wrong.
For Jacob’s hiding has buried more than one truth, more than one secret. Including a destiny and a duty that are his to fulfill.
And a powerful talent. One that could doom his people.
Or save them...if he can find the courage to stop hiding from the thing that terrifies him the most—the truth about who he is:
A boy who likes boys.
A boy with a destiny foretold in an ancient legend.
A boy whose love could save us all.

About the author
Casey Clubb lives near Portland, Oregon with her husband and her ever-growing collection of stuffed Tiggers.

For news and updates on Book Two—Jacob, Portal Master, visit

Author Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Ruth from Booktrope Publishing has made it possible to give away Jacob, King of Portalia to FIVE lucky international winners! Thank you Booktrope Publishing!

5 e-copies of Jacob, King of Portalia (INT)

1. The Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL! (the book will be provided by the publisher directly to the winner via email on the day of release in September)
2. After the winners are announced, they will have 48 hours to respond or we draw another winner.
3. I reserve the right to disqualify anyone who breaks these rules.

Good luck!

August 20, 2014

Book review: Station Eleven

Thank you Sam and Picador Books for the ARC!

Goodreads synopsis

The Georgia Flu explodes over the surface of the earth like a neutron bomb.

News reports put the mortality rate at over 99%.


Civilization has crumbled.


A band of actors and musicians called the Travelling Symphony move through their territories performing concerts and Shakespeare to the settlements that have grown up there. Twenty years after the pandemic, life feels relatively safe.

But now a new danger looms, and he threatens the hopeful world every survivor has tried to rebuild.


Moving backwards and forwards in time, from the glittering years just before the collapse to the strange and altered world that exists twenty years after, Station Eleven charts the unexpected twists of fate that connect six people: famous actor Arthur Leander; Jeevan - warned about the flu just in time; Arthur's first wife Miranda; Arthur's oldest friend Clark; Kirsten, a young actress with the Travelling Symphony; and the mysterious and self-proclaimed 'prophet'.

Thrilling, unique and deeply moving, this is a beautiful novel that asks questions about art and fame and about the relationships that sustain us through anything - even the end of the world.

This is a very unique book. It's an adult dystopia told around theatric group. Whaaaa? I know, but it's a good one! I was excited when Picador offered us 30 copies in a giveaway (totally the coolest people ever!) and when I got a copy in the mail, I started it soon. It was just calling to me to pick it up.
It's a very poetic story and I really enjoyed it for it. It's a dystopia (or rather more of a post-apocalyptic story), which means there's much less people alive, the world is in ruins, food is scarce, no electricity etc. It sounds horrible, like the end of the world. But Mandel did a great job portraying that. There are memories of the 'old' world, lovely descriptions of the new one, and it's all so magical. It's almost like an oxymoron, I know, a magical world in ruins, but it's true! The start of the novel is happening during a snowstorm, and the reader gets a feeling of world ending in a fairytale. It's... I cannot even explain but it's so pretty! There's night, snow's falling, it's all pretty and glittery, but people are dying, and the world will end in a few weeks. But you just can't feel too bad about it.
The story drew me in instantly. I wanted to know more about the world, the survivors, their coping. And it was lovely to see people still gathered around travelers and listened to music, appreciated Shakespeare... This book shows you that only when you lose something, you start cherishing it. It was full of things we now take for granted, but imagine the world ending, there being no running water, no power, no internet! You see the world totally differently.
Then when I though this is just going to be a pretty story about travelers, weird things start happening. People are disappearing, strange symbols can be found in places... What's going on? It's  a very engaging story and I had to read on, know more! It just grips you completely. There are twists and so many unexpected moments. Just when you think you know what's happening, bam, new information! It was mind-boggling but in a good way; I loved how it all came together towards the end, how the various characters connected around the one man from the start of the novel. Loved it!
I haven't read any adult dystopias before and it was such a relief there was actually dystopian elements, and no crappy sappy instalove. There was also beauty in ruin, and there was this slightly sinister feel to it all. Like a soft undertone of something scary going on. It was totally awesome. It wasn't really action-packed but still very engaging. It didn't need explosions and stuff to hold one's attention.
I adored the writing so much. It was pretty diverse, with past and present, memories and 'in the now' moments, with a whole bunch of characters... But it was all connected in the most unexpected ways, coming together slowly but surely, and it blew my mind.
All in all, I didn't expect this when I picked Station Eleven up. It's beautiful, magical, but also sort of real. I loved it. It's so different and unique, I absolutely recommend this.


August 19, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling You That You MUST Read

I am a bit behind with trends so I have a whole bunch of books people have been telling me to read, and I will, eventually. I want to as well but there's just so much other stuff... UGH.

This weekly meme is from The Broke and the Bookish.

August 15, 2014

Guest post: Karen Wrighton + Giveaway!

Today's guest post is written by Karen Wrighton, author of Ascension of the Whyte.

My Journey into Self Publishing

It was quite a decision, whether to tout my beloved ‘new born’ debut novel, Ascension of the Whyte, around a myriad of publishers and agents in the hope that one of them would recognise it’s (to me) obvious brilliance, or to self publish and let the public decide whether it really was as beautiful as I believed it to be. The gestation time is long with a book, it grows inside you much longer than the nine months you would carry a child, and you become very attached and protective of it.

Choosing between self-publishing and traditional publishing methods is not an easy matter as there are many and varied options available to authors today, with different pros and cons associated with travelling either route.

Stories of popular and even great novels being rejected tens or even hundreds of times, before finally being published, deterred me from proffering my beloved first ‘child’ for judgement. Through much research I unearthed these thought provoking examples amongst many others: Lord of the Flies by William Golding - rejected twenty times, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - rejected thirty eight times, Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen – rejected one hundred and forty times. Carrie by Steven King – rejected thirty times and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling - rejected twelve times and she was told not to give up her day job!

Can you imagine if J. K. Rowling had decided after ten rejections that she would just give up trying and stick to her ‘day job’? There would be no best-selling book series, no blockbuster films, no Warner Brothers World of Harry Potter and possibly no fame as an actor for a young man called Daniel Radcliffe. Also of course, J. K. Rowling would not now be one of the richest and most well known women on the face of the planet.

When most of the above authors were attempting to become published there was little option but to go through the traditional corporate publishing houses. Self publishing then was expensive and much disparaged, being mockingly referred to as ‘the vanity press.’

August 14, 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!

If you could be a character for a day, who would you be?

That's a tough pick! I probably can say I don't want to be Harry, even for a day. I mean he's great and all but I've got enough problems on my own without adding his as well. I'd pick between his best friends then, either being the smart kickass girl or the loyal brave Weasley. Being a Weasley is totally awesome and it's my life plan, kind of. So to make both come true, I'll pick

Hermione Granger

cause I'd end up with Ron and all so *wink wink*. No but really. She's brilliant, brave, totally awesome, and I'd love to be in her shoes for a day. I'd be able to do magic which is awesome, I'd have great friends and awesome adventures, even though those are dangerous.

Hermione Jean Granger (b. 19 September, 1979) was the only daughter of Muggles Mr and Mrs Granger, both dentists in London. At age eleven, Hermione learned that she was a witch and had been accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She began attending the school on 1 September, 1991 where she was subsequently sorted into Gryffindor House. She possessed a brilliant academic mind and proved to be a gifted student. She was very studious and bookish. Along with Harry Potter and a few others, she was relatively little intimidated by Lord Voldemort's name, calling him by his name, instead of You-Know-Who or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

Hermione first met Harry Potter and Ron Weasley aboard the Hogwarts Express. Both boys found Hermione unfriendly and a know-it-all. Later her eagerness to please her professors and her constantly correct answers reinforced their initial impression. However, in spite of the cool relationship between the three, Hermione stepped in to take the blame from Ron and Harry after they had saved her from a troll on Hallowe'en. Harry and Ron were surprised but grateful, and the three quickly became friends. In her second year, Hermione fell victim to a basilisk unleashed upon Hogwarts following the opening of the Chamber of Secrets but was returned from her petrification under the care of Madam Pomfrey with the assistance of Professor Sprout's Mandrake Restorative Draught. The following year, Hermione was granted permission to use, and was sent, a Time-Turner from the Ministry of Magic to facilitate her volition to study far more subjects than was possible without time travel. Later in the year, she and Harry would use the Time-Turner to rescue Sirius Black from the Dementor's Kiss as well as Buckbeak the hippogriff from execution. During her fourth year at Hogwarts, Hermione became an advocate for the better treatment of house-elves, forming the association S.P.E.W. In her fifth year, she was the driving force behind the creation of Dumbledore's Army. Later in her fifth year she fought in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. In her sixth year she fought in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower and, at the beginning of what would be her seventh year, the Battle of the Seven Potters in 1997. Hermione, as well as Ron — with whom she had become romantically involved — decided not to return to Hogwarts for their final year of studies and instead chose to accompany Harry on his quest to find and destroy Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes. She then fought in, and survived, the Battle of Hogwarts.

Following the Second Wizarding War, Hermione went back to Hogwarts to complete her education at Hogwarts. Later she found employment with the Ministry of Magic, furthering the cause for the better treatment of house-elves, before being promoted to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. She eventually married Ron Weasley, and together they had two children: a daughter, Rose, and a son, Hugo. Hermione became the godmother of Harry and Ginny Potter's eldest son James.

Sources: gif - text

August 12, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I'm Not Sure I Want To Read

There's a whole bunch of books I'm conflicted about, maybe I own them, maybe not, depends on when I got them and how I felt about them at the time, or before someone told me something that changed my mind. Here's a bunch of books I kinda-want-to-read-but-not-really, and in no particular order...

1. Fifty Shades series
I am super curious, and even though I know I'll probably join the throng of not exactly haters but those that are finding this ridiculous and make fun of it, I wanna see for myself how bad this really is. But on the other hand, I don't want to waste my time with such books...

2. Sookie Stackhouse series
I own a few books that I bought years ago when I was watching the show and really enjoying it. Well, since then, the show got weird, I stopped watching, and to top it all a friend told me the books aren't really good and I'd probably dislike them. So now I'm torn on when to try them. I am not in a hurry though.

3. Vampire Diaries series
Same as SS books, I was watching the show, got sick of it, and then the same friend said "The books are a bit of a let down" and here we are again. Same story, really. I am in no hurry to get to these books.

4. Night Angel series (The Way of Shadows)
I bought these books forever ago, and I read the first one. Despite being a bestseller and whatnot I was a little disappointed. I think I expected too much, and even though I want to finish the series because they are popular for a reason, I am a little icky over them. I don't think I'll read them anytime soon.

5. Inheritance Cycle
I read Eragon and Eldest and enjoyed them (not omg these are the best ever!!!! but close enough) so after I heard from multiple sources that the ending to the series is somewhat weird and people were let down by it, I put the last two novels on hold for the time being. I want to finish, I liked the series enough so far to know that for sure but I am in no hurry.

6. Classics
I never read a classic before. Here I mean Brontë, Austen, Tolstoy books and the likes. I never had them in any curriculum so they never got on my reading list, one way or another. I started Gatsby but could not finish. And that is saying something since it's like a hundred pages. I want to read a few because I feel a little ignorant and all, but I'm just... if they're all like Gatsby, I feel like they are not books for me at all.

7. Orson Scott Card's books
I want to read them because people really like them and I am sure I will, too. I also want to see the Ender movie so I want to read the books beforehand, but Card is such a colossal moron that I am extremely conflicted here. I definitely don't want to support a person like Card... Ugh. Why do people need to be so sucky?

8. City of Heavenly Fire
It's no secret that in the light of 'recent' events (or rather me finding out Clare is a thief) I lost a ton of respect for the woman and also refused to read anything by her since. Not that I am missing out as Bane Chronicles are just a bunch of bollocks. So I am in no hurry to finish TMI series, especially because some friends have been let down terribly.

9. Stephen King's books
I tried Cujo forever ago and didn't finish. I bought Under the Dome for the show and still haven't read it. I just don't know if I'd like any of his books. Besides, reading scary books is so not my thing. I might try one of his works soon so I see what he's like.

10. The Host
I am not a fan of Twilight. I read all the books in that series and my first impression was 'wow', but the more you think about what you read, the less sense it makes and soon the magic ends. I am glad I got back into reading because of those books but that is all. So starting her Host is a bit of a tricky thing for me. Everyone is saying it's better and totally different so I might give it a go.

This weekly meme is from The Broke and the Bookish.

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