Novel Newcomers 2018 is currently on hiatus due to real life commitments.

Friday, July 31, 2015

, , , ,

ARC Review: Awake by Natasha Preston

Awake by Natasha Preston

Natasha Preston
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Reviewer: Sophia

Scarlett doesn’t remember anything before the age of five. Her parents say it’s from the trauma of seeing her house burn down, and she accepts the life they’ve created for her without question—until a car accident causes Scarlett to start remembering pieces of an unfamiliar past.

When a new guy moves into town, Scarlett feels an instant spark. But Noah knows the truth of Scarlett’s past, and he’s determined to shield her from it...because Scarlett grew up in a cult called Eternal Light, controlled by her biological parents.

And they want her back.
Advanced copy provided by Sourcebooks Fire for review via Netgalley - thanks!

Well, Awake is completely different from The Cellar.

(Once upon a time, I was bored at Walmart and The Cellar seemed interesting compared to all the "millions" of Fifty Shades of Grey and Divergent and the like. Oh, and there has to be something about Natasha Preston if a publisher swooped up her book from Wattpad, right?)

It's no brainer that Natasha Preston writes about the dark parts of human nature that makes you shiver and shudder in fear – it's shown in the third I read in The Cellar (I did buy a copy on Amazon later) and the sick beliefs of Eternal Light in her newest novel. From reading Awake, there's obviously something in Preston's writing that I liked, but Awake seems to be a bit of a downfall compared to The Cellar.

In the process of trying to decide if Awake should get a good rating or not, I literally had to check my notes multiple times, reread a few passages to make sure I'm not making a whopping mistake by letting Awake fall in this ever-growing land called "The Grey Area" that books fall into more often than not.

But in the long run, Awake unfortunately falls in that ever-growing land that will probably be forgotten within the next year. Let's get into whole detail shenanigans.

The romance. I have a few choice words about Scarlett's relationship with Noah.
  1. Noah makes his entrance in the book by staring unnervingly at Scarlett. How in the world is Scarlett not disturbed? She MAY be a little uncomfortable, but cheeks turning pinky pink is NOT exactly uncomfortable.
  2. Noah's first day with Scarlett: yip, yip, yip – all about learning Scarlett. I'm a little perplexed as to how she's not a little creeped out by the whole interrogation-like questions that I imagine Noah to be asking. Doesn't it raise a red flag?
  3. How long were they together? I mean, it may seem a little longer than actuality, but in rereading some parts.... they've probably been together for probably a month or two before they got close together. And I mean really, really close together. I won't be surprised if it's just a few weeks.
  4. Scarlett's kind of obsessed with Noah from the get-go. Over a hundred texts exchanged in the week they met, nonstop thinking about Noah, yada yada.
I slapped it, earning a glare from the guy I couldn't seem to get out of my head.
The romance doesn't overshadow the plot – I probably wouldn't have noticed how fast their relationship was going if I didn't make a really random note at a really random place that later raised a flag.

Awake is a little slow – definitely slower than The Cellar – in the whole development. Preston takes time to build up and uses Scarlett's and Noah's relationship as a filler, among Scarlett questioning a four-year gap of memories missing and Noah beginning to question Eternal Light's values. It's not a book that'll make me rage, but it's not a book I'll praise either.

Hence, Gray Area Book.

3 Owls

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

, , , ,

Review: The Leveller by Julia Durango (Cuz I'm All About that Name, About that Name, Nickname)

The Leveller by Julia Durango

The Leveller #1
Julia Durango
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Reviewer: Sophia

Nixy Bauer is a self-made Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids out of virtual reality and back to their parents in the real world. It’s normally easy cash, but Nixy’s latest mission is fraught with real danger, intrigue, and romance.

Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids in the MEEP, as they call it, play entirely with their minds, while their bodies languish in a sleeplike state on the couch. Irritated parents, looking to wrench their kids back to reality, hire Nixy to jump into the game and retrieve them.

But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. Wyn Salvador isn’t some lazy kid looking to escape his homework: Wyn does not want to be found. And he’s left behind a suicide note. Nixy takes the job but quickly discovers that Wyn’s not hiding—he’s being held inside the game against his will. But who is holding him captive, and why?

Nixy and Wyn attempt to fight their way out of a mind game unlike any they’ve encountered, and the battle brings them closer than either could have imagined. But when the whole world is virtual, how can Nixy possibly know if her feelings are real?

Gamers and action fans of all types will dive straight into the MEEP, thanks to Julia Durango’s cinematic storytelling. A touch of romance adds some heart to Nixy’s vivid, multidimensional journey through Wyn’s tricked-out virtual city, and constant twists keep readers flying through to the breathtaking end.

I really enjoyed The Leveller on two things: the concept and the writing. But of course, the concept is why I actually read many books. Whether it's good or bad, I have no clue until I actually crack open the book and actually read it.

In a virtual reality gaming world called MEEP, Nixy Bauer helps parents get their wayward kids back from spending too much time in the MEEP quickly and efficiently. Soon enough, she gets a job from the developer and founder of MEEP himself, whose only son has disappeared in the gaming world for several days, leaving behind a suicide note and world filled with horrifying challenges.

I will fully admit I'm a huge fan of technology and cool gadgets, and I honestly loved the technology The Leveller uses. It's quite similar to Grid Seekers, but in a gaming direction rather than an everyday-use direction. Durango explains MEEP simply and straightforward: it's a virtual reality where players can create their own worlds with their minds. Like any game, there are little cheats and codes. Durango's explanation of how MEEP works isn't written in a complicated and really scientific way – helpful for all of us who haven't actually taken physics (or ever will/did).

I am, however, still confused. What is the Black, and what is levelling? I have an idea, but I think I want an official definition of what the Black is, and what levelling is. Especially on levelling, because if I formulate my own definition, I'm pretty sure I'll butcher it and Durango will facepalm.

Her writing is also quite entertaining – it's fun, but it has puns in there that are sometimes so bad (read: common), it's good. There's not really a dull moment in The Leveller. It's not completely action, action, action, but I just like Durango's writing (then again, nonstop action can totally backfire unless you have breathers. You'll have to be like Joseph Bruchac.).
But the names. I'm quite horrified. It might be as bad as making a sad effort of being creative by drawing out letters (except that one you could literally tell it was a sad effort).

What kind of name is MEEP? MeaParadisus isn't exactly complicated (though it's a mouthful), but while MEEP sounds all adorable, it just... doesn't sound like something you would name a virtual reality gaming world unless there's a really cute world. I'm expecting chibi people now.

Nixy. Why Nixy? Contrary to what Ella thinks (she thinks it's lizard-like), Nixy sounds like Trixie. What does Trixie sound like? A cute dog name that does cute tricks. Oh, and that dog had better be oozing in cuteness.
There are so many nicknames used here by Durango – I swear I need a notebook to keep track of who's who at this rate. I mean, there's Nixy, Moose, Chang, Mama Beti, etc. Since The Leveller is the first in a series, there are bound to be more nicknames in the future as Durango introduces us to more characters. I'll have to keep track what's not a nickname, what's a nickname and who it belongs to, blah blah blah.

The ending was a bit of a downfall. It wouldn't be a downfall if I didn't read this in one day, but Durango throws in hints early on in the book that she uses in the end. Everything was going pretty well, but how the story plays out in the very end is predictable if you pay an ounce of attention. How the second book will play out, on the other hand, isn't too predictable yet. The Leveller ends on a solid note, so I'm looking forward to what Durango actually comes up with in the sequel.

3.5 Owls

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Monday, July 27, 2015

, ,

Review: Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee (ZERO GRAVITY!)

Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee

Fonda Lee
Publication Date: April 8, 2015
Publisher: Flux
Reviewer: Sophia

A Sci-Fi Thrill Ride Set in the Action-Packed Sports Arena of the Future

A rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing, Carr “the Raptor” Luka dreams of winning the championship title. Recognizing his talent, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association assigns Risha, an ambitious and beautiful Martian colonist, to be his brandhelm––a personal marketing strategist. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity and stolen his heart along the way.

As his fame grows, Carr becomes an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet that’s fallen into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. But when Carr discovers a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating secret. Not only will his choices place everything he cares about in jeopardy, but they may also spill the violence from the sports arena into the solar system.

Zeroboxer is obviously a book farrrr from my range. In fact, it's literally out of bounds. A sports-themed book is the last thing I'll ever read – I'll read contemporary romance any day over that.

But Fonda Lee's book is something different. Something completely different and out of bounds from what I usually read, and I didn't think I would actually enjoy her novel as much as I did. It's about boxing in zero gravity! On the moon! And Mars! Happy dance ensues – I'm a space nut.

Zeroboxer focuses on Carr Luka, a zeroboxer from Earth who is slowly rising the charts in the zeroboxing world and has dreams of becoming the Lowmass Champion of the Universe. But as Carr becomes more famous on Earth for zeroboxing and his career grows, he finds out something that could ruin not only his career, but his life as well.

Lee's debut novel is very fast-paced, which isn't surprising from a book based on boxing out in space. The book mainly focuses on Carr's career as a zeroboxer and how he grows career-wise in the span of two years. Putting all of that in a 350 page made everything – Carr's career, his relationship with his brandhelm – seem to go by a lot faster than it actually would. In all honesty, it's been a long time since I've last read a book that has a span of more than a year in one book instead of several.

The world Lee builds is an entirely different world and it takes awhile to get used to all of the slang and abbreviations that are used throughout the book. It's clear from early on that Zeroboxer is set really far away in the future – Earth isn't exactly a dominant planet anymore compared to those who found a home on Mars and the moon, and some of the places have definitely changed (New Shanghai, Asialantis, etc). The technological advances were really interesting and I would love to see an actual version of how the colonies on the moon and Mars really look like as civilizations with cities, towns, etc. Oh, and I would actually like to see a zeroboxing match one day.

Zeroboxer may be completely out of bounds from what I'm usually drawn to, but I highly enjoyed the entire journey. It's fast-paced and something different. I might feel a little biased here, but I can't ask for anything more from a debut novelist.

4.5 Owls

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Saturday, July 25, 2015

, , , ,

DNF Review: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan (Sophia is a Mad, Mad Reader)

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan

Daughter of Deep Silence
Carrie Ryan
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Reviewer: Sophia

I’m the daughter of murdered parents.
I’m the friend of a dead girl.
I’m the lover of my enemy.
And I will have my revenge.

In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process.

Sharp and incisive, Daughter of Deep Silence by bestselling author Carrie Ryan is a deliciously smart revenge thriller that examines perceptions of identity, love, and the lengths to which one girl is willing to go when she thinks she has nothing to lose.

You know what happens when you read a little over a hundred pages and rage for two full pages in a reading notebook?

You don't continue the book. You mark it as a DNF, because you don't want to spend approximately eight pages raging and raging over a four hundred page book when you can read another book.

As you can see, I did exactly that.

But never, never have I ever wanted to throw a book out the window SO BADLY as I want to do with Daughter of Deep Silence. This is an absolute, horrifying mess disguised as a book with a gorgeous cover and an absolutely beautiful interior layout. Daughter of Deep Silence is really about a girl who is so hell bent on revenge, she's become obsessed and obviously needs to get a move on with her life.

It's obvious from early on in the book. I don't actually know much about Frances as a person from the fourth of the book I read. I know her plans and what happened on the Persephone with the flashbacks here and there, but I don't know Frances. The book screams revenge. It also screams obsessed, because what else could it be if you're keeping a bleeping notebook on each of the family members filled with little details among details about each member?
Over the past four years I've become an expert on Grey. An expert on everyone in the Wells family. I have the same kind of notebook on each one of them.
But Daughter of Deep Silence isn't just that. It's a carbon copy. An absolute carbon copy of Revenge, and I mean ABSOLUTE. It's worse than Unbreakable and Supernatural or The Hunger Games and The Testing and other dystopian novels put together, because there's actually some difference. There's a chance that I'll actually like the book. (It's happened. I PROMISE.)

Daughter of Deep Silence, on the other hand? I don't even know where Revenge ends and the book actually begins – I can distinguish nary a difference, and I'm completely disappointed.

There's revenge – obviously. There's a reason behind both Frances' and Emily's vengeance, and this whole revenge idea didn't bother me at all. It's only just one similarity right? This could have gone on an entirely different route from early on and I wouldn't have complained about a single thing. Maybe not a single thing, but there would be less rage. But I should have seen the signs from the moment I picked up the book.
*peruses new books shelves, sees book*
Hey, didn't I want to read this? *picks up book and reads synopsis again*
Sounds like Revenge. I'll come back and think about it. *looks at other books and chooses two more*
Screw it. Let's give this a whirl. If I don't like it, I've got plenty of papery ammunition.
There's a disguise involved. It's revealed in a later season View Spoiler ». Frances is asked by her best friend's father to change her identity to Libby O'Martin so she can be protected and be able to find a way to exploit the truth behind the fate of Persephone.
"It's the only way to keep you sage." He pushes the ring toward me. "It's the only way to figure out who did this and make them pay."
There's a politically powerful family. Both are senators, both are planning on running for president, both are famous, both have a mansion with French doors (at least, I'm pretty sure Revenge had the French doors). And both have a son named...

...wait for it...

Greyson. *whistles* Imagine that! I mean, so much is similar, and the son had to be named the exact same name as the one in the show I'm comparing this to? You have got to be seriously kidding me. View Spoiler »

I just... can't. Someone pick up my horrified self off the floor. I'll wake up later. Until then, Ella or Lupe can take over.

Daughter of Deep Silence is Revenge down to the very basic formula. Enough said.

1.5 Owls

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Thursday, July 23, 2015

, , ,

Review: True Fire by Gary Meehan (Why You Need This Book In Your Life ASAP)

True Fire (True Fire #1)
Gary Meehan
Links: The Book Depository
Publication Date: November 4th 2014
Publisher: Quercus
Reviewer: Ella

Sixteen-year-old Megan is pregnant.

As she prepares to tell her family, the unthinkable happens. Her village is razed by soldiers: her grandfather murdered, her twin sister taken.

On a desperate mission to rescue her beloved Gwyneth, Megan discovers a terrifying truth - that the destruction of her old life is inextricably linked to her unborn child. The feared witch soldiers, vanquished a generation ago, have returned to see the fulfilment of a prophecy: one that will put Megan and her new friends - Eleanor, a fiery ex-aristocrat, and Damon, a wayward charmer - at the heart of the greatest war her world has ever known.
Review copy provided by Publisher via Edelweiss for review – thanks!

Why you need this book in your life:

It is BEYOND hilarious. Like, I'm not joking, you will laugh SO much if you read it! My kindle copy has so many highlights in it!!
"With my brains, Eleanor's beauty and your sheer pigheadedness, what can stop us?"
"If you're the brains of the outfit, an awful lot," said Eleanor.
"Fine," said Damon. "I'll be the beauty, you be the brains."
"Act innocent," Damon whispered.
"We are innocent," said Megan.
"Oh, yeah. Still finding the concept a novelty."

The Characters! Every character in here is AWESOME! I have a special spot for Damon just because he's so pathetically adorable but Eleanor and particularly Megan, are brilliant as well!

Gary writes female characters REALLY well. I've often noticed that while female writers seem to write male POVs well, male writers a lot of the time completely FAIL in trying to write from a girl's perspective. Not to say that male writers ALWAYS suck at female POVS - not at all! - just sometimes they get it soooooo wrong, it's awful. But Gary writes female characters AWESOMELY, and that made me really happy.

There is zilch romance! Oh, alright, I tell a tiny lie. Damon is a little bit interested in Eleanor, but she's having none of it and it's SO funny to read! Plus it's really refreshing not having a romance involving the main character. LOVE IT.

Megan! Megan is AMAZING. She's sixteen, just discovered she's pregnant to a dude who doesn't want anything to do with the baby and who she wasn't really interested in in the first place, THEN her home and village is burnt down and everyone is murdered, so she's all alone, with her family dead, THEN she finds out she's might be the fulfilment of a prophecy that she actually doesn't anything to do with, AND THEN she goes on the run to try and stop the bad guys while avoiding being caught and killed by said bad guys! Did I mention the fact that she's also pregnant?! Basically: MEGAN IS AMAZING.

Did I mention the HUMOUR?! *dies laughing* SO GOOD!

"Try being more considerate. Listen to her. Stop making jokes in inappropriate situations."
"Not be myself, you mean?" said Damon.
"I didn't mean that." Megan considered. "Well possibly I did..."
"You were right. You are the last person I should be asking for advice on love."
Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

, ,

Review: Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac (Native American - Huzzah!)

Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac

Killer of Enemies
Joseph Bruchac
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Tu Books
Reviewer: Sophia

A post-Apocalyptic YA novel with a steampunk twist, based on an Apache legend.

Years ago, seventeen-year-old Apache hunter Lozen and her family lived in a world of haves and have-nots. There were the Ones -- people so augmented with technology and genetic enhancements that they were barely human -- and there was everyone else who served them. Then the Cloud came, and everything changed. Tech stopped working. The world plunged back into a new steam age. The Ones' pets -- genetically engineered monsters -- turned on them and are now loose on the world.Lozen was not one of the lucky ones pre-C, but fate has given her a unique set of survival skills and magical abilities. She hunts monsters for the Ones who survived the apocalyptic events of the Cloud, which ensures the safety of her kidnapped family. But with every monster she takes down, Lozen's powers grow, and she connects those powers to an ancient legend of her people. It soon becomes clear to Lozen that she is not just a hired gun. As the legendary Killer of Enemies was in the ancient days of the Apache people, Lozen is meant to be a more than a hunter. Lozen is meant to be a hero.

I never thought I would ever come across a book that dumps information on you AND like it.

With a post-apocalyptic world where people are ruled over genetically modified people who are barely human anymore, Joseph Bruchac has obviously planned this book very well and vividly, even with the amount of information he dumps on you for most of the book. I find that the information dump actually goes very well with the amount of action there is. Take away all of the information, and you'll be left with an empty husk of a book that is just full of nonstop action, which would definitely backfire big time on the author because it would be pretty undeveloped.

Bruchac is very detail-oriented throughout the book – it's not just the information being dumped. Lozen, our main character who is a monster hunter for the genetically modified people ruling over her home, apparently goes into excruciating detail about some things, such as talking about someone's body odor or eating a monster's heart (that was gross).

Killer of Enemies also promotes diversity in the young adult genre – Lozen is a Native American, and I can honestly say I have never had a Native American in any book I've read so far until now. There are hints of Native American traditions and culture woven throughout, and I find that it's probably one of the reasons why I actually enjoyed this a lot more than I would have without the Native American aspect.

Despite how awesome and diverse Killer of Enemies, there were just some things that knocked down some points. Throughout the information dumping, I don't think Bruchac actually mentions why or how the four rulers of Haven actually got their names. The Dreamer and Lady Time make sense, but the Jester doesn't really make sense, and Diablita Loca (how do you even say that?) makes no sense whatsoever.

There also doesn't seem to be a purpose, and while there does seem to be one, I just can't really tell at all. The entire book is pretty much described in less than ten words: hunting weird monsters, telling stories, flashbacks, and information dump.

I did, however, like how Bruchac ends Killer of Enemies by saying something along the lines of, "Just because this story is over doesn't mean everything is now peachy and happily ever after. It's just uncertain, but right now, everything is great."

3.5 Owls

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Sunday, July 19, 2015

, , , , ,

Chibi Views: Dare to Dream (the) Red Queen

Chibi Views are basically mini reviews - inspired by the small sizes of chibi in Japanese manga. They're usually really short, have big heads, and yep... adorable. Usually longer than tweets, but not it's not enough to technically qualify as a long and detailed review.
Dare to Dream by Carys Jones

Dare to Dream
Carys Jones
Publication Date: February 14, 2015
Publisher: REUTS
Reviewer: Sophia
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
“The world was going to end. Of that, Maggie Trafford was certain.”

Fourteen-year-old Maggie Trafford leads a normal life. Well, as normal as being crammed in a three-bedroom house with four siblings and a single parent can be, anyway. But despite being somewhat ignored at home, Maggie excels, earning top grades, a best friend who would do anything for her, and stolen looks from a boy in Maths.

It’s not until the dreams start that Maggie realizes “normal” is the least of her problems. Every night, she lives the same nightmare—red lightning, shattered glass, destruction. But nightmares are just that, right? No one believes her when she says it’s an omen. At least, not until the already mysterious pillars of Stonehenge start falling.

No longer alone in her fear, Maggie and the world watch with bated breath as one after another, the historic stones tumble, like a clock counting down. But only Maggie knows what it means: when the last stone falls, destruction will reign. And when the world ends, there’s only one option left—survive.

Horrifying and raw, Dare to Dream is equal parts tragedy and hope, detailing the aftermath of apocalyptic catastrophe, the quest for survival, and the importance of belief.
Review copy provided by the author – thanks!

Dare to Dream isn't so much as horrifying as to a novel aimed at a younger audience rather than the upper teens running amok from book to book behind Bookwyrming Thoughts (and of course, their own blogs). Simply put: Ella will butcher this, Lupe will make this sprout unicorns, Rundus will dissect this in a manner as seriously as possible, and Sophia might do a combination of blandly blunt dissection while trying to sprout at least one unicorn so no one (hopefully) will get a headache in the process.

But of course, the very last reviewer might be exaggerating a little. She may also be hitting the truth button at the exact same time she decided to press the "write a review in the third person" button.

In this ever so "blandly blunt dissection" of a mini review, Dare to Dream is essentially divided into two parts: the first part is before the apocalypse, and the second part is the aftermath. It is really just a book that has a main character with a broken family, cries often (well, she is fourteen), and finding her place in the world – all while receiving dreams of the end of the world in the same way nightly and finding out it's in connection to the demise of Stonehenge. Oh, and it is also a day by day play of events that feels more proper in a sleeptastic documentary.

Basically, it's just tales of family drama from a fourteen-year-old British schoolgirl. The whole apocalypse thing? It might as well be a subplot until you get to the second part, where the primary purpose is surviving it day by day. But the point is, middle school Sophia might like this better than high school senior Sophia, who actually likes the whole Stonehenge aspect.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen #1
Victoria Aveyard
Narrator: Amanda Dolan
Length: 12 Hours, 40 Minutes
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Publisher: Harper Audio
Reviewer: Sophia
Rating: 5 out of 5
Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own—an ability she didn’t know she had. Except…her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betrothes her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince—and Mare against her own heart.

From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.
In quick and rapid-fire succession about Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen...
  1. Amanda Dolan is a phenomenal narrator. She makes the pages come alive in the ears, if you know what I mean. Regal accent for the queen, awesome rambling skills that show Mare is actually nervous, fabulously "bitchy" voice for Evangeline, etc. Dolan might even top Fontgang. (Don't worry, Lauren. I still like your skills.)
  2. Someone tell me the song title and composer of the music at the beginning and the end of the audiobook, because I love it. It has this ominous feel that I like. Oh, and I admit I'm a music geek.
  3. There are some things I question. 1) Why would you use a shield that contains Mare's powers if you're trying to kill her? I mean, you KNOW her power. 2) I don't think I caught how Silver blood became silver. Is it something as simple as, I don't know, putting a bit of silver in Botox before injecting it? *strokes imaginary beard thoughtfully*
  4. The end. Any book that actually has an unpredictable ending is instantly music in my ears (not that I'm being biased, but let's just say you get more merit) – when you read so many books, things tend to repeat. But that's a discussion for another day.
  5. You're like The Winner's trilogy. I don't need to say anything more, because this letter explains it all. If I write this one as a letter, I'll plagiarize my own self.

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Friday, July 17, 2015

, , ,

DNF Review: Grid Seekers by Logan Byrne (Sophia Should Totally Learn How To Draw Legit People and Not Sticks)

Grid Seekers by Logan Byrne

Grid Seekers #1
Logan Byrne
Publication Date: May 4, 2015
Publisher: Self Published
Reviewer: Sophia

In a dystopian future, WorldNet, a semi-autonomous evolved form of the Internet, controls daily life.  WorldNet allows people to plug themselves in, transporting their minds and sensory organs into what citizens call the grid while their physical bodies stay put.  Inside WorldNet they can shop, bank, dine, travel, and do everything they can do in the real world, and although WorldNet itself is free, there’s a cost for doing business.

Any citizen aged sixteen to sixty who accesses WorldNet during the year is entered into a lottery. Twenty-four people, four from each of  six megacities, are randomly chosen to compete in an annual televised competition in which they’re plugged in and forced to search for one of two hidden talismans.  If they fail to find one of the talismans, or if they die in the process, they’re sentenced to three years of hard labor.  But if they win, they’re granted one wish, any wish, that could completely change their lives—or the world.

Alexia Meyers, a seventeen-year-old from New York City, hardly has any chance of being drawn in the lottery—after all, she lives in a megacity of millions.  When Alexia is chosen, though, her entire world crashes and she realizes that her life is going to change in the worst of ways.  She’s quickly taken to train for the competition, where she learns self-defense, survival, and strategic tactics for surviving—and winning—the competition. Alexia and her partner, Liam, must learn to work together to outwit their competitors and find the talismans, but they quickly learn it won’t be easy—especially when another team decides to take Alexia and Liam down.

Review copy provided by Xpresso Book Tours – thanks!

Grid Seekers. Fantastic idea. Interesting world. Seemingly dull characters. Snooze-worthy writing.

When you first start Grid Seekers, the world and idea sounds quite similar to The Hunger Games – a competition every year with twenty-four competitors randomly drawn from a certain age range where winning might as well be everything and losing is quite literally losing everything, because losing gets you sent to a labor camp for three years.

A book with a similar recipe to another book isn't exactly my cup of tea, but I find that I enjoyed the world Byrne builds here. It's interesting and I loved every aspect of the competition and how it works – the cards with powers, the competition being in a digital arena. But....

The writing is boring. I wanted to sleep more than I wanted to read the book – it's that snooze-worthy. Literally 50% of the book is focused on training itself – after the beginning 10-20% that introduces us to the world before the competitors are chosen. That's not exactly bothersome aside from the fact there isn't actually enough room for the competition.

Obviously the ending is clear, but here's the math:

Roughly 20% of the book is spent opening the book – introducing the characters and the world, and choosing the competitors. That also includes the trip over to the training center and introductions to the trainers and whatnot. Another 50% – half the book! – is focused on training. The training Byrne builds here consists of five parts – approximately 10% or more for each part of training. The rest – 30% of the book – is focused on the competition, and the whole winning shebang, which I didn't bother reaching the winning shebang.

Here's the kicker. The whole winning shebang will probably need about 5%, maybe 10% of the book, which sadly leaves 20% of the book to actually be focused on the competition, and where the most action is going to happen.

Here's another kicker: my math there is pretty accurate. According to my tablet, the competition starts at 70%. My computer says 69%, but that might as well be 70%.

But back to the writing. It's boring. The dialogue sounds robotic and uninterested. I felt like I was a children's book all over again, with a moral and mentors who pretty much just praise the main character with "Good girl, good girl. Keep up the pace and I'll give you a yummy little treat" and a pat on the head.
“I just wanted you all to know, so that you didn’t get ambushed or whatever. I know it probably isn’t the best move strategically for myself and Liam, but it’s the right thing to do,” I said.

“And we commend you for telling us. We definitely aren’t here to fight, and even though you’re apprehensive, I’m willing to bet you’ll be rewarded for your actions someday. It’s always best to do the right thing in life, even if it’s the hardest thing,” the front man said.
The threats are written in a way that is absolutely amateur. It's literally this:
Predator: Yo, got a problem?
Prey: Yeah! We aren't gonna let you bully others!
Predator: Uh huh. You gonna apologize for telling them or else.
Prey: HELL TO THE NO. Go back to your life and stop causing trouble.
Predator: Who do you think you are? Sweetie, don't make it any bigger – this has nothing to do with you, so mind your beeswax.
Prey: Oh, it totally has everything to do with me.
*staring contest, scuffle ensues, grudges made*
I would totally draw a cheesy comic, but I really don't want to show the world my drawing skills of people. I draw inanimate things better. But... my face.
It's also full of "You're making a big mistake" and "You won't win" – it's really a lot degrading among the competitors throughout that fits quite well in a playground.

By the time the third or fourth phase of training rolled around, I started having a devil-and-angel-on-the-shoulder moment just to decide if the book was worth finishing or not worth it at all. I eventually decided to make my decision when the competition started to see if the book won't be as much of a snooze fest, but I was sorrily disappointed. Within the first two days of the competition, all I've seen were find a safe place, run, threats (I could have sworn I saw a variation of "You're making a big mistake" three times in a row), and half of a talisman being found.

Grid Seekers is really just a book full of characters threatening each other (even The Hunger Games didn't have threats), morals, and stalling. It had a really interesting idea, but the book is just executed poorly to the point where I'm ready to fall asleep.

1.5 Owls

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

, , ,

Blog Tour: Promise of Mercy - Interview + Giveaway

Tour Schedule
Title: Promise of Mercy (Dreamscape Warriors #2)
Author: Kurt Springs
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Deirdre watched as Marisa turned and looked at her. She was shocked when she saw the child in her enemy's arms. The Gothowan woman turned away to shield the child. Deirdre saw the child's face. The child was looking right at her. Her expression was more curious than frightened. Deirdre knew she could take the fugitive without touching the child. She reoriented her aim, and her finger began to tighten.

It is twenty-five years after the events of Price of Vengeance. Deirdre and her sisters have returned to their home planet of Etrusci after completing their training with the Finnian Shock forces. Their homecoming plans are disrupted when their mother, High Priestess Celinia, and other leaders of the clergy are taken hostage, and their father, Colonel Liam O'Connor, disappears. In their desperate search for their father, they discover that the Rebellion is secretly building weapons that could end civilization as they know it.

Meanwhile, Liam has been befriended by a Rebel war criminal, a woman Deirdre has sworn to kill. Will deirdre cast herself into the role of judge, jury, and executioner, or will she discover the promise of mercy?

Interview with Kurt D. Springs

  1. When did you first discover that you liked to write?

    I was in the fifth grade when I first discovered my love for story telling. I would write short stories about various topics the teacher would assign. I pulled things from favorite TV shows and tried to spin tales. The stories weren’t as polished as I try to make them now, but it was fun.

    My teacher at the time, Miss Dougherty was very supportive of my writing. Sadly she got sick and died before the end of the fifth grade. However, she made such an impression on me that dedicated my Master of Literature Thesis from NUI Galway to her memory.
  2. But you continued your creative writing.

    Off and on. I made my first serious attempt at writing a novel when I was in high school. If I recall correctly, it was about humanity’s first space flight to Alpha Centauri aboard the USS Langley. Many of my ideas for the story came from the Star Trek universe. It was very episodic, and I eventually put it aside. I had these multi-subject spiral notebooks that I used to print in long hand.

    After college, I tried fantasy novels based on the Dungeons & Dragons universes. Again they were very episodic. Then I became acquainted with and took part in group sessions with a literary agent who immediately pointed that out to me. I tried to revamp the story several times, but eventually abandoned it and started a novel called The Queen of Thieves. This was my first serious attempt at publishing a novel. I tried all the major science fiction and fantasy publishers without much success.

    I decided to try again in 2010, after I graduated with my Doctor of Philosophy from the State University of New York at Buffalo. The result was Price of Vengeance.
  3. What precisely do you mean by episodic?

    Episodic stories are made up of shorter events, almost a series of short stories. Their major feature is they take place over an extended period of time, several months or even years. Examples of some very well written episodic novels are the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Her stories took place over an entire school year.
  4. You indicated that your writing an episodic novel was a problem.

    Don’t get me wrong. Some of my favorite novels have been very episodic. The problem is that it is very difficult to do right. Many times you find that the story doesn’t hold together as well as it should. Publishers do publish them, but very often they can be a flash in the pan. Sometimes the author can’t repeat what he or she did to continue the series.>

    I try to write plotted stories with strong characters. As I noted in one of my blogs, I like to write plot driven stories with character driven plots. Plotted stories are tighter, especially since they take place over a limited period of time, usually days. Sometime a clever author can expand that time while making it seem only days and keeping the plot tight. It’s a formula that is easier to keep consistent.
  5. You have a background in anthropology and archaeology. Does either play a role in your story telling?

    While my focus was in archaeology, I actually found that my anthropology was more useful in world creation. There are many elements that go into creating a culture: politics, religion, art, kinship, etc. I used what I know to build the world of each group in the Dreamscape Warriors universe. I think in time I will start giving archaeology a greater role in the story telling. You are starting to see it in Promise of Mercy with the introduction of the Forerunners.
  6. Have other story telling universes played a role in the creation of the Dreamscape Warriors Novels?

    As I mentioned in some of my other posts, I am a huge fan of the late Andre Norton. While I don’t have “retro” spaceships that are pencil shaped and land “fins down,” her use of ESP powers was my inspiration for the Dreamscape, though I do things very differently from her. I believe she was also the first to use the term Forerunner to describe ancient spacefaring cultures that rose and fell before the advent of humanity.

    I am also a fan of the Halo universe put out by Bungee and 343 Industries. They also made use of Forerunners, though they consider them an actual race, where as Andre Norton used it as a blanket archaeological term for several different civilizations that rose and fell long before humanity came down from the trees.
  7. What else is in the works for the Dreamscape Warriors series?

    I am currently editing the first draft of book three. The title is still a bit up in the air. I am also writing a book that comes between Price of Vengeance and Promise of Mercy called Legacy of Valor. It takes place 14 years after Price of Vengeance and involves Liam’s first encounter with Kergan. I have started working on the first of a trilogy of prequels dealing with the origins of the Finnian. I also have a few other ideas kicking around.
  8. Do you have any plans to expand beyond the Dreamscape Warriors universe, perhaps write in a different genre?

    I have some ideas for some fantasy novels, maybe revamping The Queen of Thieves as well.
  9. If Price of Vengeance were ever made into a movie, have you considered who you’d want cast as the various characters?

    A little bit. I would likely leave casting to the producers, since they understand the ins and outs about it. That being said, I see Ian McKellan as a perfect Jarek. He seems to have experience playing a wise mentor. I’ve also thought about Azurius. There are two actors I think would be ideal for the role: Ian McDiarmid or Patrick Stewart. Any combination of the two or three would provide a wealth of acting experience, especially mentoring the younger actors like those who would be playing Liam, Randolf, and the others.

Author Bio

Kurt D. Springs is presently an adjunct professor of anthropology and archaeology in New Hampshire. He holds a PhD. in anthropology from the State University of New York at Buffalo, as well as a Master of Literature in archaeology from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and a Master of Liberal Arts in anthropology and archaeology from the Harvard University Extension School. His main area of interest is megalithic landscapes in prehistoric Ireland. He also reviews science fiction and fantasy on his blog, Kurt's Frontier.

Author Links:
Website | Twitter | Facebook


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Guest Review - Light Spark: Love's Divide by Gabriel Requadt

Happy Tuesday! Kahlan Jade blogs over at Beautiful Darkness of the Light, a blog where she showcases her poems and the occasional randomness. She's stopping by today with a review for Light Spark: Love's Divide by Gabriel Requadt, a series that blends eastern and western fantasy. Let's just say Kahlan left the blog safely intact. ;)

Title: Love's Divide (Light Spark #1)
Author: Gabriel Requadt
Publication Date: April 23, 2015
Publisher: Page Publishing

The legend of the long awaited Light Spark. The warrior who’s arrival is anticipated by the universe. When the darkness tries to prevail over the light once again; it is he who must arise. Wielding the sword with the soul of the elements, where can one find this mythical hero in such a time of need? Look no farther than the young sassy prince of Arcudia, Larz. When his planet is invaded by the dastardly cruel master of darkness, Exxion, for Larz it is merely a time to be ruler and protect his land. The reality of the situation becomes apparent when his wife, Elluna, is kidnapped in the process of the attack. Once he finds out he is the legendary Light Spark, his journey becomes much more than a quest to save his soul mate, Elluna.

To start off I must say this book has much more to it than just what the synopsis says. As my fellow friend and book blogger *ahem* Sophia says and I quote, “Meh, the synopsis could have been written better, but I love the illustrations” which I then proceed to scream, “THERES MORE TO A BOOK THAN THE PRETTY PICTURES.”

As you read the book, you will begin to see the series plot set up nicely. But once you dive in deeper, you will notice the book is primarily made up of 75% backstory/flashback. Now there is totally nothing wrong with that, but the bad side is that at times I began to forget the whole point of the story which I then proceed to look at the back cover for the summary. ~OOOOHHHHH Once the flash back is over-by then we are half way done with the book- it’s like: “wait so where did we leave Larz off last?” In a sense I do agree with the summary that the whole series will be about this one plot line but the content of the book as a whole doesn’t really match up with the intent of the summary.
Let’s get into some more nitty gritty!

With Mortal Kombat X having recently came out, I imagined the battles in the book being played out as a Mortal Kombat. Haha. With cheesy lines of the “Bring it on” sort, I can’t help but imagine the Mortal Kombat fighting style. FIGHT! I liked the idea of a type of futuristic world but Light Spark also throws in a feel of old times, too! Futuristic guns versus a sword, woah now! Ships, palaces, and rocketing through space! Speaking of the battles, when Larz has the sword most times he shouts out the attack- even the bad guys do this too- it very much reminded me of Pok√©mon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and a hint of Harry Potter. Really, shouting attack? It, to me, seemed very unnecessary- and quite annoying.



On a good note, I did appreciate the fact that this plot was a fresh idea. Many popular books these days focus on stuff like dystopia, post-apocalyptic times, or vampires. I don’t read a ton of books, but to me, that’s what seems to be getting all the attention. Light Spark reminds me of a type of plot shown in comic books, video games, or even shounen manga; which in my mind would lead to a wider audience. This ain't no Fifty Shades! Throughout the book, you tend to build these relationships with the characters, always in hope for the best outcome. Yet as we read Light Spark, it is full of surprises at every corner. Watch out!
SPEAKING OF THE ENDING!!! I was completely blown away. Expecting a wonderful ending with a slight cliff hanger due to the fact that literally half the book was character building and back story, that was all downhill once you read the ending. But there is a reason for everything which would lead me to anticipate the unpredictable events of the next book. *crossing fingers for events in my favor* I haven’t been this upset over character twists since View Spoiler » *GGGRRRR*

Initial Reaction:3/5
Fight Scenes:5/5

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Sunday, July 12, 2015

, , , , , ,

Blog Tour: Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams - ARC Review + Giveaway

Tour Schedule
Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams

Carolyn Lee Adams
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooksKobo
Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Reviewer: Sophia

A spine-tingling debut about the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse in reverse as a teen struggles to retain hope—and her sanity—while on the run from a cunning and determined killer.

Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless.

When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup trick, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose.

At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before.

The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decides just how far she’ll go in order to survive.

Back home, they called her Ruthless. They had no idea just how right they were.
Advanced copy provided by Simon Pulse via Edelweiss for the blog tour – thanks!

I don't think I've read a good thriller book since Gary Paulson's Hatchet – but that one was more of a wilderness survival story. Completely different story than Ruthless, a thriller about a girl getting chased by a killer who is determined to "purify" girls like Ruth.

Ruthless seems to be written in a "get to know you" format, alternating between the present (Ruth) and the past (no particular pattern – it's either Mr. Killer or Little Ruth), for the most part of the book. I won't complain about Adams letting us readers know the characters among the whole "Ahh! Serial killer on my tail!" spiel. (I may have been a bit dramatic on that phrasing.)

While Ruth is getting her bearings in the first couple of chapters, we find out Ruth had no clue what's going on at that moment and from an early age, Ruth has had a competitive nature. We also find out a little about Mr. Killer and how he actually got started in this whole "purification" ritual known as serial killing.

The book is also quite heavy on stereotypes and prejudices and popularity contests.

As before mentioned, Ruth is obviously extremely competitive and just has to win the top prize at any horse shows she goes to. Gods forbid someone else wins, but Ruth is determined from early on, and I can't really help but say that her determination and competitive nature is what gets her out of the whole mess of being the next villain of dear killer. Simply put, the whole competitive nature? It works here quite nicely. I don't think I have the guts that Ruth does, even if I have a brain cell or two operating if I were in her shoes. (Then again, brain cells might not be operating at that time. I'll stick with looking like a kid. It screams "jail bait" well enough.)
I will not be a victim. I will not think like a victim. I am going to avenge all those little girls. I am going to win.
Ruth also seems to have this "holier than thou" attitude: she has a quick and snappy temper, she's mean to other girls on the family farm, she believes that her family is the best and nothing less will be accepted. It doesn't matter if you're a compassionate person with great values or extremely intelligent – to be a "Carver" you must talk a certain way, act a certain way, and it can't be anything different or you might as well be a peanut. (Read: nutty. The historian in Sophia would like to point about Hitler's whole Third Reich business and it's ultimate doom, but that would be an absolute exaggeration.)
Why does he have to talk like a redneck? He's smarter than that, should be better than that. It just shows why Caleb could never be a part of the Carver clan. The Carvers are about being the best.
The killer seems to have a strong belief that men are better than women – men should be in charge, women must be controlled, the like. As the daughter of a mom who pretty much handled everything while supposedly-in-charge papa sits on a couch twiddling his thumbs and watching television nonstop, you can probably see why I'm probably scoffing and going:
(Papa bear didn't exactly twiddle his thumbs but he totally had some addictions that I prefer to stuff in the very back of the closet, cross my fingers, and hope those didn't get inherited by yours truly.)

Point made aside. Ruthless might be a book of prejudices and popularity contests and everything that isn't this particular reader's cup of tea, but take out the nitty gritty parts and it's really just a coming of age story where the main character pretty much realizes that she was a really crappy person. After the whole ordeal and traumatic events, Ruth might as well be the next Regan Flay.

4 Owls

Author Bio

Carolyn Lee Adams is originally from the Seattle area, breeding ground of serial killers and those who write about them. She attended USC Film School and graduated with a BFA in screenwriting. RUTHLESS (Simon Pulse, Summer 2015) is her first novel. When she isn't exploring the dark side of human nature in her writing, you'll find her on stage as a stand-up comedian. Because those things go together.

Author Links:
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Thursday, July 9, 2015

, , ,

Blog Tour: Wolfskin - Guest Post + Giveaway

Tour Schedule
Title: Wolfskin
Author: W.R. Gingell
Link: Goodreads | Amazon
Publication Date: May 1, 2015

‘If you want adventure, you have to march right up to it and kick it in the shins . . .’

At fourteen, barefoot and running wild, Rose is delighted to be apprenticed to Akiva, the witch of the forest. She thinks it will be all enchantment and excitement, and not so much fuss about baths. The reality is much more sober and practical- that is, until she meets a mysterious wolf in the forest and is tricked into stepping off the path . . .

In young, naive Rose, Bastian sees a way of escape. Cursed to remain in the shape of a wolf after running afoul of a powerful enchantress, he has lived many decades under a spell, and now he is both desperate and ruthless. But by breaking part of Bastian’s curse, Rose has caught the attention of Cassandra, the enchantress who cursed him: and Cassandra is by no means ready to forgive and forget.

Meanwhile, wardens have been disappearing from the forest, one by one. Rose is certain that Cassandra is behind the disappearances, but can she and Bastian get to the bottom of the matter before Akiva disappears as well? And are Bastian’s motives entirely to be trusted?

Sometimes the little girl in the red hood doesn’t get eaten, and sometimes the wolf isn’t the most frightening thing in the forest.

Villains W.R. Gingell Would Like To Know More About

Funnily enough, the villains I would like to know more about are all from books I first read at the age of about nine or ten. I didn’t read an awful lot before that (though I did write at least two stories) and when I did begin to read, I absolutely gobbled up works like Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Ivanhoe, Much Ado About Nothing, and Twelfth Night. Along with pretty much anything Walter Scott, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien, of course.

So, without further ado, here are three villains I would like very much to know more about.

Long John Silver (Treasure Island)
An anti-hero long before anti-heroes were a thing (does that make him a hipster? I think Silver would be appalled) Long John Silver is one of the most terrifyingly ruthless, oddly fair, and clever villains I’ve yet come across. His occasionally soft heart somehow makes him all the more terrifying, and re-reading Treasure Island now, the story for me is all about Silver. Even though the story is told through the eyes of Jim Hawkins, the focus is somehow always on Silver. I would like to have known more of him before Jim Hawkins came along to be mentored, manipulated, and shoved recklessly into the school of hard knocks.

His schemes within schemes; his crutch; the horrible, cold ease with which he kills: all of this adds up to make Long John Silver a villain I want to know more about. I was delighted to see him get away with his money at the end of Treasure Island, and I would like to know what came after that for him. I can’t see him settling down quietly.

Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
You may be sensing a recurring theme here. This is because I wanted to be a pirate when I was a kid. After that, I wanted to be a detective– and after that, a spy. But during the pirate phase I read Treasure Island, Coral Island, Kidnapped, and Peter Pan. Peter was one of my favourite characters straight away; his selfishness, forgetfulness, and capricious little boyishness immediately appealing to my ten-year-old self. It wasn’t until several years later than I began to think about Captain Hook; he of the hook hand and famous crocodile phobia. What there is of Captain Hook in Peter Pan is beautifully drawn: we easily get the idea of a handsome, debonair and ridiculously well-spoken pirate, wrapped in the veneer of caricature. For example, when Peter kicks him overboard into the waiting jaws of the crocodile, Hook complains that it is ‘bad form’! I find that delightful. I want to know more.

That want to know more, along with my love of Peter Pan, have left a story seed growing in my head. Maybe one day soon you’ll be able to read that, too!

Von Stalhein (Recurring villain in the Biggles books)
Smooth, sleek, and charming, Von Stalhein was my favourite villain when I was twelve. He was one of my first crushes, and my love for him has fed into the creation of some of my own characters. Biggles, Ginger, Algy, and (above all) Bertie, were favourite and well-loved characters, but when Von Stalhein was on the scene, I was always cheering for him.

I would have loved the chance to know more about Von Stalhein: what he was like as a young man before becoming the recurring villain in Biggles’ storylines and what sort of things he got up to when he wasn’t making trouble for Biggles. I could never get enough of him, and I still remember him fondly.

Author Bio

W.R Gingell is a Tasmanian author who enjoys reading, bacon, and slouching in front of the fire to write.

Author Links:


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More