Young Adult

Book Blitz – Gears of Fate GIVEAWAY!

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Gears of Fate
Wilbert Stanton
(Forgotten Gods #1)
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: June 20th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Young Adult

Centuries have passed since the Fey conquered Earth, forcing mankind and gods alike to flee to the sky city Olympus. Forgotten gods walk amongst man, lost and powerless. Little do they suspect a second Fey war looms, and an unlikely duo will set in motion the gears of fate.

Zak Walker is a fringe rat living in the slums who would do anything to protect his sister, Alice. His neglectful father threatens to consign him to a life away from home on an airship, but he yearns for his life to mean something more than drudgery.

Princess Seneca Rose is the last surviving member of the Seelie royals. They tried to establish peace with mankind, but fell to the forces of Queen Mob and the Unseelie Court. Fleeing for her life, Seneca arrives on Olympus in hopes of uniting the forgotten gods against the oncoming Fey.

Zak couldn’t care less about the fate of Olympus, until faeries kidnap Alice. He doesn’t believe Seneca’s stories of faeries or gods, but soon has no choice but to accept their lives are intertwined. All his life, he’s dreamed of something more. If he cannot face the dangers that await down on Earth, the gods, mankind, and his sister Alice are all doomed.

Goodreads / Amazon

Is it just me or do you want to just get lost in that baby right now? I’ve read excerpts and they have drawn me in so tightly that this book just jumped high up in my TBR pile! Take a look.

She closed her eyes and began to play a ghostly verse, almost on the verge of silence. She swayed back and forth with each stroke of her bow letting the melody move her. Something about the whisper of sound made me want to stay and listen forever. She opened her eyes and caught my enchanted gaze. A smile filled her lips and she nodded.

Her wings fluttered to life; she jumped back several feet, landing nimbly far out of reach. I thought to follow, but before I could take a step toward her, she picked up the pace of her tune. The gears of her violin turned as she played with passion and speed. Power and longing gave birth to her music. Soon, the whole glade echoed. She swayed with each beat, bouncing around on lithe feet, never staying in one place for too long. Her body moved as one with the waves of the music itself.

Wilbert Stanton was born and raised in New York City. From an early age, Wilbert decided he would either write books or take over the world; everything else was just a precursor to his end game.

Along the way, he has studied Psychology, English, and Computer Science. He’s held jobs in a wide range of fields and met people from all walks of life. Wilbert is constantly learning and growing as a person, in order to solidify his dreams.

In the end, world domination was a bit tedious, so he decided to focus on writing books.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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Review – Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Book 1 – Delirium Trilogy)
HarperCollins
Paperback
Released 2011
ISBN 978-0-340-98093-4
Purchased – Amazon (Box Set – Click to buy)

“It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure.”

Synopsis

Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It’s hard to be patient. It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.

My Thoughts

The Delirium Trilogy has been on my reading list for years. I loved the concept immediately but didn’t pick up the books until now.
Lena lives in a world where love has been classified as a disease and where people are cured of the ability to love as soon as they turn eighteen. Being a huge dystopian fan I loved this idea straight away. What would a society be like without love? Not just romantic love, but love for anybody and anything? Lena’s society lives that. They are stripped to indifference by a brain operation. They don’t love, they don’t hate, they don’t feel. 
The world building is great! We get to feel as though we are in Portland with Lena through Oliver’s amazing writing. I wish that we had seen a little more of some places than we did, but I am reserving judgement until I have read all three books. 
What we did see from Lauren Oliver was beautifully descriptive prose and a world that felt real. 
The added quotes at the beginning of each chapter add depth. They are all taken from fictional books and other sources from within the story and gave me a sense of how long society had been this way and how strictly controlled people are. There are even children’s playground rhymes!
My favourite character, surprisingly to me, was Lena. 
I do not usually gravitate towards the protagonist in a story. I have a tendency to fall in love with the side-kicks or even the villains before the main character. But Lena is special. She is realistic in a way that I don’t see often enough in YA fiction.
  • She has authority figures in her life and she respects them. She has to sneak around like a normal seventeen year old girl would because the adults are watching her.
  • She doesn’t blindly accept anything and questions everything. 
  • When her mind changes about things, no matter how big or small, there is always an inciting incident. 
  • She has loyalties and responsibilities and doesn’t dump them easily for anything. 
Alex was possibly my least favourite character. Not because he is a bad character at all, but I felt that he was slightly underdeveloped. I can’t put my finger on a reason why, but he simply felt a little flat.
The story felt like it was plodding along at times, but in an organic way. It felt natural, as though we were truly living this time with Lena. The big twists weren’t all massively shocking because we suspected them in the same way that Lena did, or at least we hoped for them as she did. As a reader I felt completely involved in Lena’s emotions and choices. I felt connected to her in that rare way a reader does when a character is really special.
My only real bug-bear was Lena’s “tidal wave” dialogues. She appeared shy and quiet, but when she did open up and let her stories and feelings out, she REALLY let them out. For pages at a time. 
This was annoying but it was understandable. She couldn’t tell these things to anybody but Alex. It is only natural that they would flood out the moment that he pulled the plug. 
Unfortunately it also led to the same things being repeated, once to the reader and again to Alex. I feel that this could have been cut down to make room for more action, or more world building. 
As I write this, book two is already on the table beside me. I cannot wait to dip back into the world and that makes me kinda glad that I waited until I could get the box set. I would completely recommend this book to dystopian YA book people everywhere. Go and read!

Top 5 Tuesday #2 – Pet Peeves in YA books (Spoilers)

I am a pretty picky reader. I don’t like having to suspend reality to get through a book and I fall head first into plot holes if they are too big. I’m a reading clutz and I’m way too young to die.

This week’s top 5 Tuesday is about the top five things that annoy me, and will likely make me wave the book around with an annoyed look on my face whilst my partner stares at me and laughs. 
These are in no particular order. They all annoy me about equally. Writers… just don’t. Please. 
1. 2D and filler characters.
They’re pointless. They don’t do anything but take up precious page space where actual action can take place. For example, Madge Undersee in the Hunger Games. Who? She’s the mayor’s daughter and Katniss Everdeen’s girl BFF. Well, if friend means gives her a pin and forever means for about thirty seconds. 
The only reason that I can think of for Madge being in the book at all is to show the massive difference in how the richer people live in the districts compared to the little people. We see that enough in the Capitol. She’s pointless and one of the very few characters I was glad to see missed out of the movie adaptation.
Another character, who was more two-dimensional than actually useless was Midnight in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. She came across as a cliché goth wannabe with nothing but air between her ears. She felt like background noise right up until the moment that she bit Tana, and the dust. She had no substance, no personality, and no place in the story. Any vampire could have been the one to bite. I didn’t care enough that it was her. 
I want to care… let me. 
2. Lip biting, whiny monologue and general emo-ness.
I know some teenagers are like that but not every single one. There seems to be a trend forming over the past few years where even the most kick-ass protagonist will have a multiple page whiny, brooding monologue. Please, drop them and put in something else. 
3. Lack of adult figures. 
Where are all the parents? Where are the teachers? Failing that where is social services? 
4. Overly mature 17 year olds. 
Where I come from (the UK) a seventeen year old is still legally and emotionally a child. They are not, for the most part, capable of half of the stuff a seventeen year old in a book is apparently able to do. As an adult (I’m 30 years old) and a mother I would not, for one, allow my child to travel across the country or even further without adult supervision. I would not just stand in the background chopping carrots whilst my seventeen year old daughter went off with some other teen who I had never seen before and I would probably notice the mud or blood on my child’s clothing when I laundered it. 
Teens in books seem to not only be able to have epic romances, huge adventures and pretty much free-run of the world. But they get back to do their laundry too? I don’t think so. These are children, they should have limitations. 
5. Love triangles. 
They were fun once, now they are trope material. Please just stop. 
Do you share any of these with me? What are your pet peeves?

Review #5 – The Leveller by Julia Durango

Publisher: HarperTeen

Published: June 23rd 2015
Preorder Now (Amazon)
Ebook – 256 Pages
Acquired: eArc via Edelweiss

“TYPICAL COOP, I THINK, CLOSING MY EYES AND SINKING INTO THE MEEP.”

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?


I never thought that I would be the type to request an ARC.

But this book… this one was the exception. I took the chance and I wasn’t disappointed.

The Leveller is one of those stories that you literally cannot put down. It flows perfectly, with just the right number of twists and turns to keep you guessing. The pages turn because you have to know what happens next, even at 4am.

Julia Durango has managed to create not one, but two amazing worlds within one story. She is able to describe both the real world and the MEEP so perfectly that you can almost smell the salty air and feel the heat on your skin. You are not simply reading about it, you are right there with the characters. You fight their battles with them. You have fun with them and you feel scared or surprised, right there alongside them.

I found myself falling in love with the characters too. Julia has a knack for writing them with so much dimension that they are believable and real. She writes Nixy with power, wit and emotion (and a good pinch of sarcasm) and Wyn as her perfect sidekick.

The story itself is unique and interesting. Considering the current trend for user customisable gaming, and for bigger and better gaming technology, the device that sends players into the MEEP is not unrealistic. This book deals with that possibility and with the very real issues that could happen if it does. Julia still manages to keep the story entertaining and well-paced without it becoming preachy or a warning.

The reason that I dropped a star is because I felt that the final twist was a little obvious. I had a couple of possibilities in my head and wasn’t hugely surprised by the outcome. I wouldn’t say that this ruined the story but I would have liked a surprise.

On a positive note I believe that The Leveller is the first in a series (per Goodreads information) and it has certainly been left open enough to move forward to another book. The immediate issues are all taken care of but there are enough open threads, unanswered questions and possibilities to continue this. I will definitely be looking out for sequels in the future.

I received The Leveller as an eArc from the publisher via Edelweiss. The book itself is to be published on June 23rd 2015 and I thoroughly recommend it to all Sci-fi and fantasy fans as a pre-order.

Review #4 – Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: 2014
Hardback – 278 Pages
Acquired: Purchased

First Line: “Dear Mama, I am most certainly not dead.”

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.


I bought this book after getting many recommendations. None of which gave me any clue other than that I would enjoy it. So I threw my money at Amazon and waited eagerly for the postman-less holiday season to be over so that it would arrive.

When it finally did arrive it took me a moment to remember where I had heard the author’s name. I have only ever read one Kiersten White book in the past and that was Paranormalcy and I never got around to buying or reading the rest of the series. An oversight on my part because I do remember enjoying it.

I found Illusions of Fate quite slow at the beginning. The story seemed to be dragging through the first few chapters until it had introduced the main characters. I found this difficult to keep reading until the first bits of real action began and from then on I was hooked.

The world is amazing but I really do wish that Kiersten had done a little more with the characters and the story itself. That isn’t to say that I didn’t fall in love with the characters (Lord Downpike being my favourite) but I did feel that some, such as Eleanor and Ernest, could have done with some more depth. I wanted them to be more likeable but I really struggled at times. I also felt that Kellen needed more story time. He wasn’t around enough for me to feel as though he was anything more than a forced part of a love triangle for most of the chapters.

I loved the suggested time period and that Jessamin was an outsider. Her dark skin and island upbringing made her the underdog from the very start. Yet she outright refused to let anything, including her father, define who she was. She came across as strong, stubborn and years ahead of her time. She didn’t allow herself to simply slip into the role that was given to her, no matter how far the odds were against her at times.

My biggest criticism was that the story seemed to steadily move forward without building any pace at all. Each burst of excitement was followed by a slump back to the same slowness. This would have been fine if it was part of a series, but for a rather short standalone it felt a little too slow. This led to the finale feeling a little rushed.

I wouldn’t say that I didn’t enjoy this book. I did, very much so. It was quite a light, easy read. But I think I expected a little more from it. I would like to have seen more action, a stronger finale (the twist was one that I seriously did not see coming though!) and I would like to have gotten to know the characters a little better.
Maybe this could have been achieved better if it was a series? I, for one, would love to read more.