Monthly Archives: December 2012

Summary of 2012

Happy New YEar

The year of 2012 has been a year full of ups and downs for me. Most importantly, it has brought this baby, commonly known as a blog or Nerdy Book Reviews. And I have met soooooo many wonderful people that are so delightful and kind that I couldn’t have asked for a better year.

Onto the book side of things.

Most hated book of the year goes to…

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

hourglasscastle-big

I read this at the start of the year and I know it’s technically a play, but still I loathed it with the greatest passion. Unfortunately I had to read this for school and then write an essay on it for coursework, luckily how much I loathed it wasn’t in detriment to my grade, but the characters, the plot I wanted to set this book on fire. Usually I’m pretty ambivalent when it comes to not liking a book, but the whiny characters that wouldn’t admit the truth and take responsibility, that wouldn’t save themselves and the context of the play just grated on my nerves. The radical puritans and the behaviour annoyed me and I adore history, but anything Salem related now has me fleeing because I abhorred this novel so much.

Fictional character I fell most deeply in love with goes to..

KANIN!

The Immortal Rules

I think this man might have spoilt me for most other fictional characters out there and I am eagerly awaiting the next instalment of the Blood of Eden series that Kagawa is bringing up and hopefully getting lots more Kanin. There was something so suave and aloof about him in The Immortal Rules and that edge of danger just had me bouncing in my seat and flicking through the pages to find out when he’d appear next. Unlucky for me that he’s not even in the majority of the novel. I WANT MORE PLEASE!

Book that most surprised me…

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

pushing the limits

I never truly expected to like this novel. I mean honestly, it’s contemporary and I thought it would be so cliché with the bad boy and trouble teen girl that I’d be fleeing in the opposite direction. I was most likely deluded my some rave rating I though when first picking up this novel, however I am so pleased to say this book is an honest gem! The development of the characters and their imperfections that don’t make them cliché or typical of so many young-adult novels. They have a genuine development and issues that they deal with makes it all the more entertaining and exciting to read. I feel in love with the romance and got immersed in every minute. If you haven’t picked this one up yet, please do!

Best trip back in time goes to…

Dragon’s Child by M.K. Hume

dragon's child

I adore history, and I can talk about it for hours, but oddly, I don’t read all that many historical novels. I like the tales about Arthur and the whole mythology element about whether he existed or not, but M.K. Hume really dragged me into an alternative world that could have been Arthur’s life and added lots of different elements about him as a serving boy and his trial to grow into a grown man. Compared to Bernard Cornwell’s series about Arthur, this one held an Arthur that I liked a lot more and whilst both felt realistic, the winning character of Arthur in Dragon’s Child makes me pick it as my favourite trip back in time. 

Most unusual book of the year goes to…

Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber and Short stories

the bloody chamber

Angela Carter takes a twist to fairy tales and brings a new, modern gothic and rather feminist slant to the stories. I was expecting this stories to be eye-opening and they did not disappoint in that department. If you’re faint-hearted, narrow-minded or just easily queasy, avoid this book like the plague. However if you fancy something that might twist your average red riding hood into a wolf or an alluring figure of sexuality, then open the door to the twisted world of Carter. Ultimately I really enjoyed reading Carter’s short stories because it was a very enlightening. However, be warned she does not shy away from the explicit nature of the world.

Best Indie Authors I’ve encountered this year goes to…

M. Latimer-Ridley

mlatimerridley

These two are just bundles of fun! They’re friendly, humorous and most of all talented. I don’t think my year would have been quite the same without stumbling across their blog and getting swept away in the reading experience. And, I can’t help but love the origin of their name Latimer and Ridley from two bishops back in Tudor England who got burnt at the stake by Mary Tudor for being heretics. They deserve all the support possible and I wish them best of luck for 2013!

Hottest paranormal-romance of the year goes to…

Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh

branded-by-fire1

The pair look like they’re on fire already! Need I say more? Literally, Singh blew me away with this one and she’s not quite managed to hit the nail on the head since with me because these two were so explosive. A cat and wolf. Surely they can’t mix? Well Singh takes on the challenge of integrating two entirely different shapeshifter species and sets the book on fire in the process. If this isn’t a reason to love Singh, then I don’t know what it.

Biggest disappointment of the year goes to…

One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost

one-grave-at-a-time

I adore Jeaniene Frost on all counts, and I was so excited for this book that I ordered this book online instead of waiting for my library to get the book in. Only with hindsight, I wished I hadn’t. This book wasn’t a bad book at all, it just disappointed me a lot because I was expecting such high things from Jeaniene Frost and she’d been so marvellous with all her previous books. However in this one, I felt like she was dragging out the series too much and that it was all a little far-fetched and I didn’t really like some of the characters, so it didn’t bode well for me reading this one. Really unfortunate for me to be honest because I was very excited about it.

Book that got the biggest blub of the year goes to…

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

code name verity

Get the tissues. Stock the tissues. Prepare for the most amazing, heart-breaking friendship of all times that changes all meaning of things and be prepared to cry. This novel is astounding.

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Stacking the Shelves (21)

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

For Review.

The Importance of Being WickedThe Sea of Tranquility

So I’ve heard all this raving about The Sea of Tranquility and I thought I’d finally give it a try and see what all this talking it about because it didn’t quite sound like my book, but all the attention caught hold of my curiosity and enticed me in. Then I do like my historical fiction so The Importance of Being Wicked sounded interesting. I’m actually trying to cut back on books I have because I have hundreds to read, but I seem incapable. *sigh*

Bought for Kindle.

Beautiful CreaturesGrave WitchLegend

I’ve had rather the shopping spree for my kindle this week and I’ve spent the most I probably ever have since buying it. It’s not been helped by the 12 days of Kindle and all the cheap books available to me. I saw the movie trailer for Beautiful Creatures on TV and it looked really good, so I bought the book. Hopefully I’ll like it. Grave Witch was one of the books that was on offer through the 12 days of Kindle and it sounds right up my street being urban fantasy and paranormal. Then I bought Legend too which is a book I have been wanting to buy for months now, so I’m excited for that one!

Angel FireUnravel Me

I really loved the first book, Angel and I read it over a year ago and I’ve been meaning to buy myself a copy of the second one, but when I saw it cheap for the kindle, I knew I’d best buy it because I wouldn’t get a deal that good for the actual book, so I’m very much looking forward to reading Angel Fire. I’ve already started reading Unravel Me which looks really interesting. It’s not brilliant so far, but it’s engaging and interesting so I’ll most likely finish it and enjoy it because I think it does hold promise!

Life of PiSerial HottieSoulless

Life of Pi is a book I’ve heard lots of things about, although it’s probably a book that I’ll hate and be a pain to finish, but I’m being dragged to the cinema tomorrow to see the film and it was only 20p, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Serial Hottie looks pretty interesting and I’m excited to start reading that one. Then I’ve heard lots about Gail Carriger and I’ve been looking at her books for a while, so I thought I’d give Soulless a shot!

What did you get this week?

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Legend Unleashed

Legend Unleashed

Legend Unleashed by M. Latimer-Ridley

Genre: Fantasy, Werewolves, Romance, Young-Adult

Published: Published October 26th 2012 by Cranmer Publishing

When an infamous criminal is unleashed from his prison, it has consequences for everyone in Carwick. Temperance Levinthal in particular…

Temperance is satisfied with her ordinary life.

Dealing with her eccentric, childlike parents is all the excitement she needs. That changes when Alastair Byron returns home.

After a failed matchmaking attempt by her father, sparks fly between her and Alastair-just not the good kind.

They are forced together though, when they are implicated in a grisly murder. Their search for the truth leads them to a secret world beneath Carwick, filled with werewolves, wizards and other magical faey.

However, uncovering the truth is far more dangerous than they’d ever imagined.
There are secrets within secrets.

Even Alastair may be more than he seems…

My Review:

I simply adored this book because from the very first moment I stumbled across Latimer and Ridley’s blog I was intrigued by the premise of this book and all the art work, youtube videos and little teasers of the book being formed excited me and when they asked me to review, I just knew I couldn’t say no. I’m so glad to say this book didn’t let me down, not one bit. I didn’t want it to end, I kept stopping just because I couldn’t bare to see the end of this book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect, but it’s quirky, original and everything that I adore so for me this is the werewolf book I’ve been looking for, this is exactly what I want a book to do. It drew me in, excited me and I engaged with the characters and it’s safe to say a book of 2012 I will not forget.

This book has a little bit of everything. Romance, fantasy and mystery in abundance. It’s clearly the driving force that makes the book so engaging and whilst I will admit there were points and still points that have left me a tad confused, this book was undeniably a guilty pleasure. Oh and this book was gory too and exciting. It was thrilling on all kinds of levels as well as having this low level romance that bubbled throughout, but didn’t take over the story.

“A bloodcurdling howl echoed throughout the cavern. Claws dug into his back, slicing through the muscles. A piercing scream ripped from his throat. Fangs nicked at his neck; the warm rush of blood blurred his vision and his head was yanked back.”

On top of all the gore, mystery and adventure that happens in abundance there is the romance. Now don’t be put off by this book because first appearances are very much deceiving. When you begin to read it appears to become a point where we meet a love triangle, but what makes the book so entirely loveable is how it completely eliminates this direction and surprises you in doing so. Meanwhile, enjoy the bubbling tensions and antagonisms between the characters because it is so deeply entertaining!

“Halvard stalked over to her, invading her personal space. She gasped and bumped back up against the wall away from him. His handsome face drew level with hers. He was growling.

He brushed a fingertip over her cheek, drawing back a strand of her hair. His striking amber eyes bored into hers.

“I’m not an adolescent pup. I don’t show just any female affection. All you need to do is tell me to stop…”

Temperence isn’t the highly intelligent super-freak that seem to have become normal or entirely stupid, she’s a nice balance somewhere in-between and there was only a rare moment where I wanted to bash her head against a wall because she was so oblivious. However, I think this only makes her character more realistic and how much there was for her to unravel about the time was exciting because little pieces of information were slowly released to you to fit together a puzzle as Temperence was too. There was lots of surprising elements about Temperence that really made her a victim, but she was a strong character even though she was put into this position and I appreciated this about her. She was a very likeable character.

The plot for this story is eccentric and weird, but this makes is so engaging and creative. It drew me away from the real world and really immersed me in every element of Temperance’s story and all the little associations and mysteries of Carwick that surprise you at every turn. One of my favourite little quotes to share.

“Little Alice here is taking a trip down the rabbit-hole with you then,” Winthrop mused.”

Overall, I would recommend this book without a doubt and suggest that everybody get themselves a copy of Legend Unleashed because M. Latimer-Ridley have some real talent and I cannot wait for more from them!

5 books

Nerd Fact

There is an actual mental illness called lycanthropy or clinical lycanthropy where the patient believes they have actually transformed into or can transform into a animal such as a wolf.

 

Extra Nerdy

 

This video has to be one of the quirkiest things I’ve seen. I’m not usually a fan of book videos, but this one works really well with the shadows and giving you a brief, but intriguing overview of the novel. And it’s only 54 seconds long so it doesn’t take much time at all.

Fulfil the inner nerd and find out even more here!

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Filed under 2012 Publication, 5 Books, Cranmer Publishing, E-book, Fantasy, M. Latimer-Ridley, Romance, Wereshifters, Young Adult

Blogging Interview

Hey guys,

Just a quick note to tell you all I’m on Tune into This Blog Tuesday over at Verdict Books Reviews today and you can check out a little interview I did about blogging HERE.

Happy Tuesday!

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Stacking the Shelves (20)

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

For Review

GRave IntentionsSister Assassin

Grave Intentions looks pretty interesting and I like the cover. Paranormal-Romance which is basically the genre I like to drool over, like some people binge on Contemporary, this is my binge. So hopefully it should be good, I’ve yet to read a reaper story. Thanks to Kensington Books. Then I have Sister Assassin, which I know is also called Mind Games for the rest of the world, but the UK like to be different. I’ve heard some good things, so I can’t wait to get onto this, thanks to HarperCollins UK.

Bought for Kindle:

Crime and PunishmentTaking ChancesOnce Burnedf

Crime and Punishment was 49p and somebody recommended it to me with high praise, and I feel like I need to broaden my reading to something more “intellectual” so I thought why not prepare myself for this hell. Taking Chances is a book I’ve heard very mixed thoughts on, but I thought why not, again it was 49p on kindle. Once Burned. I picked this up to read the other week and totally forgot and I still haven’t read it. I literally adore Jeaniene Frost, but I have had NO motivation to read or time and so I haven’t managed to read this real steal novel at £1.99 for my kindle.

Wild EncounterYou Had Me At Hello

After reading Rachel’s review of Wild Encounter over at The Reader’s Den, I knew I had to get myself a copy of Wild Encounter. And I’ve been in a little bit of a reading funk as of late and I’ve had little time to read, but I managed to squeeze this in and trust me, it does not disappoint, so look out for my review later in the week!

Then I have You Had Me At Hello. This was an entire accident and it’s contemporary chick-lit, the genre I probably hate with a passion after some very bad books. I clicked buy by accident and so now I’m stuck with the thing for my kindle. It was only 99p so I’m not too put out, but I’ll probably give it a try because it doesn’t sound too bad actually which is always a positive.

Free Kindle Books

BeowulfBleak HouseComplete Sherlock Holmes

Beowulf. What am I doing with my life? Poetry. Well again this is something I feel obligated to read to help my history studies. Then I have Bleak House, I’m adding to my collection of Classics to read one day. Then The Complete Sherlock Holmes collection got released for free on the kindle and I’ve always wanted to read it so I snapped it up.

The Earl's Inconvenient WifeDavid Copperfield

Then there is The Earl’s Inconvenient Wife and David Copperfield, both look appealing in some weird way I’m sure. Sometimes I think I only click them because they’re free and I may at some point in the future run out of books enough to read them.

Weekly Roundup:

What did you get this week?

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Author Interview: Jonathan L. Howard

Katya's WorldHi Jonathan, thanks for dropping by to answer my questions on your new novel, Katya’s World and some other little bits about science-fiction and the young-adult genre. It’s been such a delight to get the opportunity to pick your brains and delve a little deeper into Katya’s World, your very first young-adult novel!

1. Russalka is such an intriguing concept, not only are they Russian descendants removed from Earth to another world, but they are a society on the sea. How did you manage to come up with such an idea?

On it, but mostly under it. As to where the idea came from, it’s… complicated. The core of it was for a vague idea I had many years ago for a Doctor Who story, well before its return in 2005. I think I had an intention of trying to write it up for publication with a range of books the BBC were publishing over ten years ago. Some of the elements are there, notably the Leviathan, but the focus of the story was narrower, and you saw little of the world. It never entirely gelled to my satisfaction, however, so I put it to one side.

Not long afterwards I was wandering around the children’s and YA section of a bookshop, and it struck me that there was very little SF of the type I grew up on in the ‘seventies. I used to read Robert Heinlein’s juveniles, which is the splendidly patronising name YA had back in the ‘fifties, such as Have Spacesuit, Will Travel and Tunnel in the Sky, John Christopher’s The Tripod Trilogy, and Hugh Walters’ U.N.E.X.A. novels about an ongoing space programme. Heinlein and Walters in particular had a lot of real science in their work, which fascinated me. Now, standing in that bookshop, I was hard pushed to find anything that wasn’t fantasy or science fantasy. I have nothing at all against them, I write them as well, but there was nothing I could see that was gritty in its details.

So, I started thinking about that story with the oceanic world and the strange thing lying at the bottom of the sea again. The lines of the narrative became redrawn in my head and, quite suddenly, I saw what had been wrong with my original take on it, and why it had fizzled out. The character of Katya Kuriakova started to solidify in my imagination. In terms of her advantages, she is a gifted mathematician although no more than talented, and she doesn’t freeze under stress. Her other great advantage is also frequently a disadvantage; her inexperience. While it can make her look stupid now and then when she doesn’t “get” something, she also has the gift of Candide, that she sees situations with fresh eyes russiawhere more seasoned people might jump to the wrong conclusions based on previous experience.
To return to your original question, it was an ocean world because I like submarines, as simple as that. They’ve fascinated me my whole life. And as to why the people of Russalka are descended from Russians, originally it was because realistically it was hard to think of a space programme that wasn’t American, Chinese, or Russian. I didn’t want it to be American, simply because that was too obvious. It’s always the Americans. This left me with the Chinese and the Russians. I thought I would have trouble getting the tone of Chinese characters right, which left the Russians. That makes it seem purely a process of deduction, but in reality it was the other way around. I identified the three likely countries and immediately wanted to use the Russians, because I found them most interesting. Ironically, during the writing the rationale that had led to those three nationalities became redundant, and I realised that they could have come from anywhere. Still, they had Russian ancestry by then, and I was more than happy to stick with that.

I definitely liked that they had an origin from Earth because it gave us something to associate with, and I have to agree with you Jonathan, it is always the Americans!

2. This is your first Young-Adult book, what prompted you to break into the genre?

johannes cabalI actually wrote it for my daughter more than anything else. I certainly didn’t think one morning, “Oh, I shall be a YA writer.” The first draft was written comfortably before I even had a contract for the Johannes Cabal books, so at the time I had no real expectation of it being published. Even after the Cabal books were in print, my agent told me the publishers’ market for a story like Katya’s World was non-existent. The publishers were all falling over one another to find books redolent of boy wizards and sparkling vampires. Hardish SF? Not a hope. Then along came the Strange Chemistry imprint. In their original call for submissions, they said they would be interested in looking at anything interesting, even poor old unloved space opera. Well, mine was sea opera, but the principle was the same. They liked it, signed it, and here we are.

I’m so happy to hear that Strange Chemistry came along because this story is far too brilliant not to be shared and sparkly vampires are very much overrated in my opinion.

3. There are lots of details about submarines and their controls in the novel. Did it take a lot of research for you or it some of it your imagination?

As I mentioned earlier, I love submarines. The thing about Russalka is that its industrial base was damaged in the war, and so it has little startlingly advanced technology. There’s an old rule of thumb that SF writers used to bandy about, that you can have three remarkable piecessubmarine of technology, but anymore than that and you’re writing science fantasy. My three are faster than light (FTL) travel, gravitics, and biologically analogous computer architectures that allow AI. I can handwave at the first two and talk vaguely about Grand Unified Theory, and the third sounds like a reasonable half-baked idea that might one day turn out to be bakeable.
As for the submarines themselves and their operation, though, that’s all for real. I came up with a form of thermocline specific to Russalka, but otherwise any submariner would recognise the rest of the submarine chat as realistic.

I’m no submariner so it was a little different for me, but I definitely could appreciate the technicalities. I like the rule of thumb, 3 remarkable pieces of technology sounds very good and definitely a tip for budding science-fiction authors!

4. One thing that stood out to me in Katya’s World was the fact that there was no romance and it’s become a big part of the Young-Adult genre. I found it highly refreshing to be drawn into a purely plot novel. Do you think you’ll broach a romance for the series in future or is it not something you see yourself writing?

Well, I don’t want to give too much away, but there may well be the tiniest of romantic interludes further down the line. I can see how it could develop organically from the characters and how the plot throws them together, but if it feels fake in the writing, I’ll cut it.

The real meat of the relationships in the Russalka Chronicles, however, are all about trust. If Katya trusts someone, she will move mountains for them even if it puts her in dreadful danger. It takes a lot to regain her trust if she’s betrayed, though.

I definitely think this is what makes the Russalka Chronicles so unique and the friendships Katya makes when she trusts because it is pivotal to these friendships. I won’t hold out for the romance, but it’s nice to know you haven’t thrown it out entirely!

5. So Katya’s World is most definitely Science-fiction, which is exciting because I think the Young-Adult lacks really good Science-fiction. What’s your experience with the genre been?

I adored science fiction when I was growing up. Fantasy and science fantasy too, of course, but I was a sucker for anything with rockets, robots, and how all these shiny things might science-fiction_mining_picchange us. With hindsight, I can see that SF tends to fall down on that third point in favour of how will the technology reflect the current world. In the ‘fifties, SF was full of people with very ‘fifties outlooks – the technology was a tool, and if it failed then it failed in an interesting way that generated a plot. In the ‘sixties and ‘seventies, there was far less trust that things would inevitably get better or that technology was our shiny-faced pal. In the ‘eighties, we got cyberpunk, which was largely about how we and the technology might start to merge, and the collapse of societal and governmental forms under the pressure of unbridled capitalism. And now? I’m not sure, really. It gets a lot easier to see shape of SF when you’re a bit further down the road and can look back at it.

I mainly write fantasy, but I do write SF now and again, and of course I want to write the sort of adventures that I once and still love. I can’t pretend it’s anything very radical, but it’s sincere. I love writing the Russalka stories.

Doing something you love is definitely something all of us can be envious of at times, especially when you do it so well.

6. It surprised me when I realised how young Katya was. She seems so mature and headstrong for her age. Will she be returning in the future series or is that too much to say? I feel like she has a long way to go and that we have so much to learn about her.

The Russalka Chronicles is a trilogy, and each title has Katya in the title, so rest assured she’s our heroine for the full trip. The second book will be entitled Katya’s War. Yes, she is very self-assured for her age, but Russalka’s demographics were badly skewed in the war; letting children have childhoods simple isn’t an option for them. As soon as you hit eleven, you’re in training for a particular role. Russalka is a tough and dangerous environment; a moment’s inattention could kill you and dozens of others. As a result, a sense of responsibility is drilled into everyone from a very early age. You can bet a ten year old Russalkin can recite a list of emergency protocols as easily as a child on Earth might know nursery rhymes or songs. As for being headstrong, yes. That’s not so extraordinary in fifteen year old girls, though.

I’m very happy to hear that because I shall be looking forward to the return of Katya in the next two novels!

7. Honestly, Katya’s World had me surprised at every new turn. It was so new and inventive and I think that was partly down to Kane. He was such a rugged, unconventional hero. Did you mould his character on anybody?

Doctor-Who-logo-black-background11Not on any single person, no. When I started writing the story, there was still a faint miasma of the original Doctor Who story I was playing around with, and Kane as often as not in my mind’s eye looked rather like the Doctor I’d intended the story for, the eighth, as played by Paul McGann. It’s difficult to talk much about him without throwing spoilers around, but suffice to say that he’s a very conflicted individual.

I agree with you about Kane and finding it difficult to talk about the mystery man, which is definitely why you should all pick up the book and find out about him!

8. How did you come about drawing all the elements of Katya’s World together? Did you just start typing or did it require lots of planning?

I had the opening of the story in mind, and I know where I wanted it to go. It wasn’t exhaustively planned though, no, and some very large story elements started out quite minor. The Yagizban, for example, were originally little more than a footnote, but as I went on, they grew in importance. So, it was about half and half in terms of planning. Some elements were very worked out, but the rest grew organically in the telling. I like writing like that, to be honest. It’s nice when the needs of the story take you in directions you weren’t expecting. When I was writing the second book, a couple of characters so minor I wasn’t even going to give them names became steadily more significant.

They definitely take up an important role, so I can definitely see there has been some shaping after reading.

9. I have heard this book will be a series, so have you lots of plans in store for us? I feel like you’ve really kicked off with a lot of promise.

It’s that time honoured form, a trilogy. As I said, the first draft of the second book is already with Strange Chemistry, so that should be out in about November, 2013. Early in the year, I’ll be writing the fourth Johannes Cabal novel, and when that’s done I shall be going straight onto the third and final part of Katya’s saga. I was just going to write the three novels and be done with Russalka, but just today I started idly thinking about a story set during the Terran invasion, so that might happen. Looking at Russalka’s history, they’ve managed to cram in quite a lot in just over a century since the original colonisation, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some other ideas come to mind.

Sigh. That’s such a long time to wait, but I’ll have something to eagerly look forward to at least. There is definitely so much that you have to cover. Good luck Jonathan and thanks for stopping by!

About the Author

jonathan howard

Jonathan L Howard is a game designer, scriptwriter, and a veteran of the computer games industry since the early 1990s, with titles such as the ‘Broken Sword’ series to his credit.

After publishing two short stories featuring Johannes Cabal (Johannes Cabal and the Blustery Day and Exeunt Demon King) in H. P. Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror, Johannes Cabal the Necromancer was published in 2009 as his first novel.

He lives with his wife and daughter near Bristol.

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Katya’s World

Katya's World

Katya’s World by Jonathan L. Howard

Genre: Science-fiction, Young-Adult

Series: Russalka Chronicles #1

Published: November 6th 2012 by Strange Chemistry

The distant and unloved colony world of Russalka has no land, only the raging sea. No clear skies, only the endless storm clouds. Beneath the waves, the people live in pressurised environments and take what they need from the boundless ocean. It is a hard life, but it is theirs and they fought a war against Earth to protect it. But wars leave wounds that never quite heal, and secrets that never quite lie silent.

Katya Kuriakova doesn’t care much about ancient history like that, though. She is making her first submarine voyage as crew; the first nice, simple journey of what she expects to be a nice, simple career.

There is nothing nice and simple about the deep black waters of Russalka, however; soon she will encounter pirates and war criminals, see death and tragedy at first hand, and realise that her world’s future lies on the narrowest of knife edges. For in the crushing depths lies a sleeping monster, an abomination of unknown origin, and when it wakes, it will seek out and kill every single person on the planet.

My Review:

Katya’s World is a novel unlike most I’ve read recently. I’ve been agonising over this review for a while in how to phrase the experience of reading. This novel isn’t perfect, but I don’t think anything truly can be; it’s an ideal that doesn’t exist, but it’s a brilliant concept! It blends the young-adult genre and the technicality of science-fiction into something that’s enjoyable, understanding and engaging.

Russalka. A world inhabited by descendants from Earth who are Russian. Sounds simple enough, until you add into the fact they are no outer space, long estranged from Earth and their original culture and all they hold is the name. Howard creates an entirely new race of people, with a different system and a very different form of survival. Submarines are not our common commute method, but Russalka is basically water with different communities built on these platforms. The world building is pretty fabulous and all this background built around it really impressed me. Howard really makes his writing an craft rather than an art.

“The first act of the thousands selected was to name their new home. They looked to folklore and chose the name Russalka, after a race of mermaids, beautiful and mysterious. If they had looked deeper into the myth, they might have changed their minds – a Russalka was a predator that would use her charms to draw men to the water, where they would be drowned and fed upon.”

Our main character is Katya Kuriakova who certainly has her share of turmoil. Katya to us seems rather young and this makes her all the more astounding as a main character. She’s forced to grow up quickly and she shows all the intelligence and maturity she shows reflects the harsh, gritty reality of Russalka. If you’re looking for a tale of flowers and happiness, don’t expect to find it here because whilst Katya’s World isn’t without hope, it’s not one for the fainthearted. I liked Katya as a character and I thought she was intuitive and caring, however my one criticism of the novel would be that we didn’t get to know her. The novel is seen through her eyes in first person, and I think Howard kind of forgot to tell us about her. What she looks like and her personality. It unveils rather slowly and not entirely by the end, so I’d just like to know a little more about her as a person that seeing the world through her eyes because when she talked about herself I really visualised her in my head.

“Her damned nose. She  was just going to end up looking sweet and, in all likelihood,  adorable. It always happened. She could drown a hospital and they’d still let her off for being in possession of a button-nose.”

Then there is Kane. I’ll not tell you a lot about this guy because there is so much to learn about him and be unveiled as you go along and he’s pretty mysterious. I wouldn’t want to ruin that for you, but he’s a very rugged, surprising character that has a lot of depth and a lot of skeletons in cupboards. He really didn’t turn out to be who I thought he’d be and I really appreciated that fact that he was different. I’ve been tired of the mundane male characters that have to sweep the heroine of their feet. He wasn’t dashing or noble and don’t expect to be finding romance in Katya’s World because this does not focus in the novel. It’s a tale about friendship bonds, mysteries, betrayals and loyalty that allow it to bumble along and blossom.

“Kane raised his hands. “Sorry. She’s armed and a bit nervous. I should shut up.”

Ultimately, something that sold Katya’s World to me from the beginning was the fact that it was so unique and engaging. I didn’t expect what happened in Katya’s World at all. It was entirely unpredictable and all the more fabulous because of it. I felt that at every turn a new twist was being thrown in and we were exploding both literally and figuratively in a whole new direction. It was most impressive.

Then we add in the plethora of secondary characters from Uncle Lukyan, The Chertovka and all the Feds, martials, pirates really round the novel off. This is where Howard flourished with his characterisation, and I felt if this depth had been added to Katya this novel might have just gone above and beyond.

Katya’s World might lack romance, but that should never go against the novel because at the moment it really isn’t needed. At all. The novel has so much to offer on a plot basis that doesn’t need a romance to fill its pages and detract from the story which makes it truly refreshing and engaging. I urge each and everyone of you to go out and get yourself a copy of this novel because hoping on the Russalka Chronicles train that is set to be a trilogy I’m sure is not going to disappoint you.

Look out for my interview with the author Jonathan L. Howard where I tackle romance, science-fiction and the YA genre and the all important what does he have in store for us next?

5 books

Thank you to NetGalley and Angry Robot for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for my honest review.

* Quotes are taken from and uncorrected proof copy and may change in the final draft.

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Filed under 2012 Publication, Jonathan L. Howard, Science-Fiction, Strange Chemistry, Young Adult

Waiting on Wednesday (19)

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This meme highlights some of the books whose releases bloggers are most anticipating this year.

What Am I Waiting On?

the program

The Program by Suzanne Young (GR)

Expected Publication: April 30th 2013 by Simon Pulse

In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

Why Am I Waiting?

It sounds really cool, more dystopia which I’ve only begun to broach into and the cover looks cool. Yeah, I got attracted by the pretty yellow colour on the cover. Shhhhh.

What Are You Waiting On?

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Top Ten Tuesday (11)

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an weekly meme created and hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week it’s the Top Ten Favourite New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2012.

New

2012 has been a big year for me, I took to Goodreads and I started up my blog, Both very daunting things which have lead me to meet lots of wonderful people and I’ve been enlightened to lots of wonderful new authors!

Andrez Bergencassandra rose clarkeElizabeth-Weinjulie-kagawa

mlatimerirdley

katie-mcgarryMaria-S_melissa marrsuzanna collins

So this year I’ve been introduced to new debut authors and older authors that I’ve only just discovered and I’m so excited for some of the titles that I have to read.

Julie Kagawa – this women is all kinds of awesome. I fell in love with The Immortal Rules and I have the Iron Fey series to read, so I’m looking forward to that.

Melissa Marr – I’ve seen this woman around, I mean she’s pretty famous, but it’s only by chance that I won a copy of Carnival of Souls which introduced me to her.

Suzanne Collins – Yeah, I got myself into the whole Hunger Games hype after my friends pestered me to read the books (yes, pestered me, the book collector/geek/nerd/bookaholic was pestered to read a book!!) Admittedly I’m glad I did because I really enjoyed the books and I liked reading books before I watch a film.

Maria V. Snyder – I spelt the woman’s name right… I think. I continually mix the ‘n’ and the ‘y’ up and wonder why I never find her on the internet. Still, Poison Study. Yes, I love you Yelena and Valek. He just shouldn’t be sexy, but he is.

M. Latimer-Ridley – Well, these two ladies I stumbled across on WordPress and I have fallen in love with their book. I’m really excited to see more of their work and their blog is just fabulous, so I’m so glad I found these guys. One of my favourite gems of the year.

Andrez Bergen – I remember he sent me a request asking me to review his book and I was new to blogging and I thought “what the heck” let’s give this thing a try. And surprisingly I really enjoyed the novel and he’s a great guy which makes the reading experience all the better.

Katie McGarry – I loved Pushing the Limits and it was a brilliant debut. I’m looking forward to more and she certainly sold me a contemporary novel, which certainly aren’t my thing.

Elizabeth Wein – This women weaves absolute magic with her words. The emotion she pours in is just so beautiful. Words cannot express. Just go. FIND HER.

Cassandra Rose Clarke – Another awesome debut author with ‘The Assassin’s Curse’ she was starting off a series that looks like it’s going to be really great. I can’t wait for more from her.

Daphne du Maurier – Rebecca is a book I’m currently reading and although it’s taking a while, I really love her writing style and think this is a ‘classic’ that I can genuinely fall in love with. I will definitely be wanting to try more of her books!

What is your TTT?

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Leeds Christmas Market

Leeds Christmas market

This weekend I took a trip to the Leeds German Christmas Market and I’ve been a little Bah Humbug until now, but it certainly got me more into the Christmas spirit of things. And they’re was so much gorgeous looking and tasty food and things on offer, along with lots of pretty decorations and trinkets.

They had some really cute nutcrackers that reminded me of when I was a little girl and I used to watch the Barbie movie and lots of baubles and other Christmas decorations that made it so pretty!

dougnutsSee, lots of tasty looking food. I had an after-eight doughnut that had this bright green icing on and all this melted chocolate inside. It was divine.

I also had a strawberry one with custard inside. Don’t worry, I didn’t eat it on the same day!!

These are just some of the many treats they had on offer, they also had strawberries and marshmallows coated in chocolate at another store and then there were sweet stalls where I bought a huge liquorice wild cherry wand, that I have to say was very tasty.

stall

They also have these huge decorated ginger biscuits in all different shapes that they’re pretty famous for.

And they had all these nuts with different toppings, such as Nutella and alcoholic ones with baileys and Ameretto. I had some Ameretto topped ones and I’m not usually a nut fan, but they were addictive.

Then obviously they had the traditional Frankfurt sausages, but I didn’t eat any of those, not really my thing. And they had different burgers and these crispy potatoes that looked really nice and pancakes. They was literally tonnes of food on offer for you to try and they were all in these little wooden stalls with all the Christmas decorations up.

It was such a festive event. This is my first year of visiting the market, but I know I’ll be going back next year since it’s a yearly event. 

So in light of my trip to the Christmas market, I’ll say Happy Christmas to you all!

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Filed under Rambles