Life, Plans and Blogging

The human body really is an amazing thing, particularly when it comes to stress.  For three months this year I was under so much stress that I was not allowed to take a break or get sick.  My body wouldn’t let me because people were depending on me to get stuff done.  But now that the stress is gone and has been replaced by grief, I’ve been having a rough time of it.  Which leads me to why I had grand plans for this week that didn’t work out: I got sick.  Again.

I think the worst of it is behind me (thank goodness) but I’m still not 100%.  At least I don’t have a fever anymore.  Anyway, that’s why I didn’t get to blog much this week.  Hopefully next week will be far more consistent.  I’ve got some good stuff for you guys to look forward to content-wise but also a very exciting contest and an even more exciting announcement that will be made tomorrow.

Why I, a Woman, Enjoy ‘Game of Thrones’

 

 

Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t watched the first four seasons of Game of Thrones, don’t read this and get mad at me.

Game of Thrones SexismIn some places online (as well as in the real world), there’s this idea that of course women can’t enjoy Game of Thrones because it’s sexist.  They say it objectifies women, there’s gratuitous nudity, it’s an all boys club meant for medieval fantasy fulfillment and that I, as a card-carrying member of Team Woman cannot possibly enjoy such a sexist show.  This annoys me for many reasons but I’m going to explain my logic below for why I enjoy the show, how it could be improved and why these critics aren’t digging deeply enough.

I, as a human being, enjoy the TV show Game of Thrones.  It has nothing to do with my gender, but rather my general love of fantasy with good plot lines.  Fantasy is one of my favourite genres and while I wouldn’t describe myself as a hardcore fan I do read more fantasy than anything else.  I originally picked up George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series because of friend of mine wouldn’t shut up about the TV show and I wanted to read and watch the first season and the first book simultaneously.  I was actually impressed with both: the TV show for how well it captured the vivid world Martin had created and the books for actually containing that vivid, well thought out world. Continue reading

Stay Tuned for Actual Regular Posting!

I’ve been really flaky this summer and I have no excuse for it other than a) work has been super busy because it’s tourist season and b) I’m lazy.  I let my technology problems in July get me out of the daily posting schedule and now that everything has been resolved I’ve kept on with my laziness.  But I have some exciting announcements to make up for it:

1.  I will be posting consistently because I’ve made an effort now to catch up in my reading and all blog-related general maintenance.

2.  Tomorrow I’m going to rant on something more than a little controversial.  Yay, rants!  I haven’t had one in ages.

3.  I’m at 996 followers, which means I’m going to have my big 1000 follower giveaway any day now.  When I do, you should stick around because the prizes are pretty awesome.

So basically I’m sorry for the random inconsistency and I promise it’s going away.  Thanks for sticking through it though guys; you’re awesome.

Literary Games: Guess the Quote

I thought I’d do something fun this weekend, so I have a game for you all (in part to make up for the lack of posting lately).  Basically, I’ll provide you with five quotes and you have to guess which book they’re from.  They’re all from traditionally published novels this time around and they’re all most definitely not YA or at least they’re in the upper limits of the genre.  Two of them are classics within their genres while the other three have been fairly popular in the past couple of years.

So far there’s no prizes but I hope to be able to offer some little ones in the future.  Here are the quotes (and yes, if someone guesses right I’ll post the answer):

1.  “You can’t go hunting United States governors with a generic revolver.  It simply isn’t done.”  -Feed by Mira Grant

2.  “My father’s greatest victories were in the Alps, France, the Low Countries, but especially in Germany, where his name will, I think, never be forgotten.”  -I, Claudius by Robert Graves

3.  “Fifteen!  I’d hardly be fifteen and rousting villages.
By the time fifteen came around, I’d be King!”  -Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

4.  “You know, he never tried to find out what had happened to his relatives in Jamaica?  Never even asked.  He was so fiercely focused on the fate of our nation, so determined to preserve the dream that created it.  I don’t know if great times make great men, but I know they can kill them.”  -World War Z by Max Brooks

5.  “And hooptiously drangle me with crinkly bindlewurdles,/Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurgecruncheon, see if I don’t.” -The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

If no one has guessed any of them by the time I’m done work I’ll post some clues for this evening, with the answers to follow tomorrow morning.  So go on and guess away!

Book Blast: Lies Told in Silence by M. K. Tod

02_Lies Told in Silence CoverPublication Date: June 29, 2014
Tod Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction

Add to GR Button

In 1914 Paris half the city expects war while the other half scoffs at the possibility.

With knowledge gained from his role at the War Department, Henri Noisette fears that Germany may soon attack Paris. He therefore sends his wife, mother and two younger children to Beaufort, a small village in northern France. By late 1914, instead of a safe haven, Beaufort is less than twenty miles from the front.

As war unfolds, Henri’s daughter, Helene, grows up quickly and in 1917 falls in love with Edward Jamieson, a young Canadian soldier.

The novel examines love and loss, duty and sacrifice and the unexpected consequence of lies.

Praise for Lies Told in Silence

‘Dramatically depicts the horror and heartbreak of war, while also celebrating the resilience of the human spirit.’ – SHARON KAY PENMAN author of A King?s Ransom

‘An intricate, well-researched novel of life forever changed by WWI yet still sweet with the tender innocence of the age.’ – DONNA RUSSO MORIN author of The King’s Agent

‘M.K. Tod is a powerful new voice in the historical fiction genre.’ – AMY BRUNO Historical fiction blogger at Passages to the Past

‘An absorbing and rewarding historical read .. depicting the ruinous impact of war on human lives across the generations.’ – MARGARET EVANS PORTER author of The Proposal

‘A compelling read right up to its taut page-turning ending.’ – RICHARD LEE founder of the Historical Novel Society

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK

About the Author03_M.K. Tod

M.K. Tod has enjoyed a passion for historical novels that began in her early teenage years immersed in the stories of Rosemary Sutcliff, Jean Plaidy and Georgette Heyer. During her twenties, armed with Mathematics and Computer Science degrees, she embarked on a career in technology and consulting continuing to read historical fiction in the tiny snippets of time available to working women with children to raise.

In 2004, she moved to Hong Kong with her husband and no job. To keep busy Mary decided to research her grandfather’s part in the Great War. What began as an effort to understand her grandparents’ lives blossomed into a full time occupation as a writer. Her debut novel is UNRAVELLED: Two wars, Two affairs. One Marriage. LIES TOLD IN SILENCE, her second novel, is set in WWI France and tells the story of Helene Noisette who featured in Unravelled. Mary has an active blog – www.awriterofhistory.com – which discusses all aspects of historical fiction and includes author and reader interviews. Additionally, she is a book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society. Mary lives in Toronto where she is happily married with two adult children.

Connect with M.K. Tod on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Lies Told in Silence Blog Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, July 28
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at Our Wolves Den

Tuesday, July 29
Review at Just One More Chapter
Book Blast at Book Babe
Book Blast at A Book Geek
Book Blast at Mel’s Shelves

Wednesday, July 30
Review at Bookish
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Book Blast at Passages to the Past

Thursday, July 31
Book Blast at Royalty Free Fiction

Friday, August 1
Book Blast at Back Porchervations
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time

Saturday, August 2
Book Blast at Mythical Books

Monday, August 4
Review & Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry

Tuesday, August 5
Book Blast at Layered Pages
Book Blast at Princess of Eboli
Book Blast at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, August 6
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes

Thursday, August 7
Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter
Book Blast at Kinx’s Book Nook

Friday, August 8
Book Blast at The Maiden’s Court

Monday, August 11
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Book Blast at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Tuesday, August 12
Book Blast at Book Nerd
Book Blast at The Bookworm

Wednesday, August 13
Review at The Writing Desk

Thursday, August 14
Book Blast at Words and Peace
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, August 15
Review at Lost in Books
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer

Sunday, August 17
Book Blast at Brooke Blogs

Monday, August 18
Review at The Librarian Fatale
Review at Historical Fiction Notebook

Giveaway

To win a copy of M.K. Tod’s Lies Told In Silence please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open internationally!

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 19th and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 photo 0739464c-670b-4fd2-87af-2b2ad8119519.png

Accession by Terah Edun

Accession by Terah Edun(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Sixteen-year-old Katherine Thompson wasn’t trained to rule a coven. That was her sister – perfect, beautiful Rose. But when a mysterious plane crash kills off the heir presumptive of the Sandersville coven she has no choice.

After stepping in to fill her sister’s shoes, Katherine realizes she didn’t have a clue – faery wars, depressed trolls and angry unicorns are just the beginning.

For centuries, her family has served the high Queens on both sides of the Atlantic but it is a well-known rule that mid-level witches stay away from high-level Queens.

But when Katherine’s youngest cousin vanishes without a trace in the Atlanta court and no one wants to investigate, Katherine decides to step into the darkness on her own. She will soon discover that nothing, especially in a queen’s court, is as it seems.

[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

First off, as with all of Terah Edun’s work (especially her Courtlight series), I was really impressed with the world-building here.  There are fairies, unicorns and trolls but they’re not really your typical fairies, unicorns and trolls.  Not only that, there are new creatures like Gestap that we encounter that are totally unique to Accession.  The politics between witches in different cities and towns was also interesting, even though we didn’t really see much of the inner workings of the courts in this first installment.  Still, what we did see was interesting and I’m definitely interested in finding out more.

Katherine is not a bad character but she’s not exactly my favourite narrator ever.  She’s more reactive than proactive as she comes into her new role as heir apparent to her mother, who rules the town as a Queen witch.  I’ll admit that it would be hard to find your feet in such a crazy place when you’ve never cared to learn the subtleties of area politics, but I was a little disappointed that Katherine didn’t really come into her own in the story.  She does grow stronger (I’ll admit) and grows as a character, but she really does have a long way to go.

The only thing I felt was actually lacking in Accession was the plot itself.  It doesn’t seem to be having that greater, over-arching goal that gives the character a sort of purpose.  Instead, we get bogged down in little subplots through the entire book before at the end we finally, finally get to the meat of the story before the cliffhanger ending.  Sure, Katherine’s goal of finding her sister’s killer is always in the back of her mind, but she doesn’t really seem to care as much as you’d think she would.  Katherine may have had her disagreements with her sister, but she really did love her and that’s why her lack of drive to find her killer struck me as odd.  It made it feel like the story was lacking a coherent plot.

Still, I have faith in Terah Edun that this series will only improve as it continues, just like the Courtlight series.  With that cliffhanger ending, I really can’t wait for the next installment to see whether Katherine truly matures or not.

I give this book 3.5/5 stars.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble*     Goodreads

*Not available.

The Winter People by Rebekah Purdy

The Winter People by Rebekah L. Purdy(Cover picture courtesy of Bibliophilia, Please.)

Salome Montgomery fears winter—the cold, the snow, the ice, but most of all, the frozen pond she fell through as a child. Haunted by the voices and images of the strange beings that pulled her to safety, she hasn’t forgotten their warning to “stay away.” For eleven years, she has avoided the winter woods, the pond, and the darkness that lurks nearby. But when failing health takes her grandparents to Arizona, she is left in charge of maintaining their estate. This includes the “special gifts” that must be left at the back of the property.

 

Salome discovers she’s a key player in a world she’s tried for years to avoid. At the center of this world is the strange and beautiful Nevin, who she finds trespassing on her family’s property. Cursed with dark secrets and knowledge of the creatures in the woods, he takes Salome’s life in a new direction. A direction where she’ll have to decide between her longtime crush, Colton, who could cure her fear of winter. Or Nevin, who, along with an appointed bodyguard, Gareth, protects her from the darkness that swirls in the snowy backdrop.

 

An evil that, given the chance, will kill her.

 

[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Through the first few chapters of The Winter People, I kept thinking “Oh no, there’s going to be a love triangle just like every other YA book out there.”  Still, the premise of this book was interesting enough that even a love triangle couldn’t dissuade me.  I was resolved to give it a fair try and I’m so glad I did.

Yes, The Winter People seems like it has your absolutely typical love triangle in the beginning.  But I promise you that doesn’t last as Salome realizes not everything is as it seems and not everyone is deserving of her affection.  She really matures as a character and desperately tries to get over her justified fear of winter from a previously traumatic incident only to realize that she should still be afraid of it.  Very, very afraid.

The thing that really sets The Winter People apart from most YA books I’ve read lately is the quality of writing.  Rebekah Purdy really does have a beautiful, descriptive writing style that sucks you into the story.  She doesn’t describe things in mind-numbing detail but the way she describes them really does make you feel like you’re in all of these scenes, both magical and ordinary.  It takes a talented writer to do that and I really believe that if nothing else, the writing alone would be enough reason to read this book.

However, the main character is pretty awesome as well.  Salome is terrified of winter because she fell through the ice in her family pond at a very young age.  She was rescued by our mysterious Nevin at the time but she still retained a somewhat justifiable fear of all things wintery.  Now in high school she’s having to cope with taking care of her grandparents’ house when they go south for the winter because her dad is usually gone (as a trucker) and her mother has a broken leg.  Seeing how she deals with that really gives me a lot of respect for her because despite her fear, she’s determined to help out her grandparents.

In the beginning Salome is a bit naive but never falls into the ‘too stupid to live’ category.  She really grows and matures not only as she falls in love (then realizes what love really is thanks to a little help from a special someone) but as she fights for her life.  There’s a mysterious curse hanging over her head and no one will tell her anything about it so she’s absolutely determined to find out on her own in order to save herself and her family.  You really can’t help but love Salome as a character.

The plot isn’t insanely fast-paced because this is a character-driven novel but it is pretty exciting.  Just when you think you know how things are going to end, Rebekah Purdy throws a twist in and you’re left scrambling.  There were one or two twists I predicted but in general I was pleasantly surprised by most of the turns the story took.  They stayed true to the essence of the story while still throwing the reader for a loop and that takes talent on the part of the author.

Even if you’re not big into fairies, I can’t recommend The Winter People enough.  These fairies really aren’t all that they seem and they’re more like the fairies of old, not the sweet, innocent and ridiculously hot fairies of most books these days.  They’re more capricious and dangerous than your average YA fairy and it certainly makes the story more interesting in that things aren’t only in shades of black and white.  After reading this book, I honestly can’t wait to read more of Rebekah Purdy’s work.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads