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Monday, 1 September 2014

Review: Fire by Kristin Cashore

Author: Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Dial Books
Page Count:  461 pages, Paperback
Date Published: October 5th 2009
Find it on Goodreads: Fire
Source: Purchased

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.
This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.
Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there's more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.
If only she weren't afraid of becoming the monster her father was.

I absolutely love the way Cashore writes. Her incredibly strong yet complex female characters are one of my favourite things about these books... Cashore is not one to conform to the stereotypical fantasy worlds where men are everything and women are nothing. First of all, there's the fact that she does not avoid mentions of sex and menstrual cycles and hormones, because even if it's a fantasy series, these are still women. Cashore's books contain incredible dynamic characters and I'm blown away at her story-telling skills. Fire was different from Graceling in that the title character was not the physical warrior that Katsa was, but a bewitching yet vulnerable creature who was haunted by her father and by the fact that her world saw her as just that: a creature. I loved Fire's story and her relationship with Brigan, as well as all the other characters. There's many friendships involved which is always nice to see, as well as a bit of heartbreak and sadness. Whether you're a longtime fan of fantasy or just in want of a book with female characters who have depth, I'd strongly recommend this series.

Happy reading!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Interview with Becky Finlayson

Hey guys! So today I'm here with a very belated interview with the lovely Becky Finlayson, author of X&Y! Here's a bit about the book:

Olivia Adonane has it all; remarkable intelligence, stunning beauty, and – as the daughter of the head of the Triad, Society’s top three Human Designers – immeasurable wealth. Yet, all is not as it seems. Olivia discovers a dark secret about her homeland, formerly known as Great Britain, where humans are designed in the womb, and she watches her best friend, Lily, die in a secret chamber below the Triad Building in London. From here on, she has a choice. Will she continue on her pre-designed path, following in her father’s footsteps to become the country’s most powerful Human Designer? Or will she seek to rebel against the government, attempting to expose and overthrow the seemingly-invincible regime so that her fellow citizens can be truly free?

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

 I've always loved stories but the idea that I could write never hit me until my final year of university. I was getting frustrated with my thesis and decided to start writing a novel - as you do - to get out of my thesis slump. A couple of years later I decided to take a year out from paid work -I was lucky enough to have my husband support me in that - and completed two books, of which X&Y is one. The other is called "The Secrets of Nethiaria - The Magician's Book" which will be released in May.

Where is your favourite place to read/write?

My favourite place to write is at home there are fewer distractions there and usually my husband is around to spitball ideas with. Reading is something I can do anywhere, as long as here is tea and a comfy seat, I'm happy!

Do you share any traits with your main character?

I would say that Olivia and I share a similar character arc- in high school I was unsure of myself and didn't really know how amazing friendship could be until my final years of school/start of university. University is where I really began to discover myself, like Olivia. We also share dislike of being in the limelight and passion for justice.

What do you think is the hardest thing about writing?

For me the hardest thing about writing is knowing what I can put in and how much I can leave out, a bit like being in the cutting room. There are some really fun scenes in the book between Olivia and Violet that I wondered whether to keep in or not. In the end I decided 'yes' - even though they were not much to do with the major plot points it was important to see the evolution of their friendship.

Describe your book in three words?

 Questioning, tense, ruthless

Favourite colour?


Favourite childhood book?

The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

Favourite food?

Phish Food Ben and Jerrys

Favourite drink from a coffee shop?

Hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows

Favourite season?

Summer!! Pretty dresses, ice cream, sunbathing, what could be better? See Olaf (Frozen) for more details :P

See more from Becky on her blog: http://rebeccafinlaysonbooks.blogspot.co.uk/

Happy reading!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want to Read But Don't Own

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is: Top Ten Books I Want to Read But Don't Own.


There's just ten of the countless books that I want to read but don't own yet! Leave me a link to your TTT and I'll check it out!

Happy reading!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Excerpt/Spotlight: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

Hey guys! So back in April, I went to FanExpo Vancouver which was AMAZING and while I was there I met an author by the name of Iain Reading, who wrote adventure novels about a girl detective! I was intrigued and grabbed his card and then being me, lost his card. But then a couple of months later I was contacted, asking if I'd like to do a feature of his book! So of course I said yes, as I love supporting Canadian books and authors! So read on if you want to find out more about this awesome sounding adventure series!

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new young adult series of adventure mystery stories by Iain Reading. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations.

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales, Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty's adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada. As the plot continues to unfold, this spirited story will have readers anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada's Yukon.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves. 

Back Where The Entire Adventure Began
As soon as the engine began to sputter, I knew that I was in real trouble. Up until then, I had somehow managed to convince myself that there was just something wrong with the fuel gauges. After all, how could I possibly have burnt through my remaining fuel as quickly as the gauges seemed to indicate? It simply wasn't possible. But with the engine choking and gasping, clinging to life on the last fumes of aviation fuel, it was clear that when the fuel gauges read, "Empty," they weren't kidding around.
The lightning strike that took out my radio and direction-finding gear hadn't worried me all that much. (Okay, I admit it worried me a little bit.) It wasn't the first time that this had happened to me, and besides, I still had my compasses to direct me to where I was going. But I did get a little bit concerned when I found nothing but open ocean as far my eyes could see at precisely the location where I fully expected to find tiny Howland Island—and its supply of fuel for the next leg of my journey—waiting for me. The rapidly descending needles on my fuel gauges made me even more nervous as I continued to scout for the island, but only when the engine began to die did I realize that I really had a serious problem on my hands.
The mystery of the disappearing fuel.
The enigma of the missing island.
The conundrum of what do I do now?
"Exactly," the little voice inside my head said to me in one of those annoying 'I-told-you-so' kind of voices. "What do you do now?"
"First, I am going to stay calm," I replied. "And think this through."
"You'd better think fast," the little voice said, and I could almost hear it tapping on the face of a tiny wristwatch somewhere up there in my psyche. "If you want to make it to your twentieth birthday, that is.  Don't forget that you're almost out of fuel."
"Thanks a lot," I replied. "You're a big help."
Easing forward with the control wheel I pushed my trusty De Havilland Beaver into a nosedive. Residual fuel from the custom-made fuel tanks at the back of the passenger cabin dutifully followed the laws of gravity and spilled forward, accumulating at the front and allowing the fuel pumps to transfer the last remaining drops of fuel into the main forward belly tank. This maneuver breathed life back into the engine and bought me a few more precious minutes to ponder my situation.
"Mayday, mayday, mayday," I said, keying my radio transmitter as I leveled my flight path out again. "This is aircraft Charlie Foxtrot Kilo Tango Yankee, calling any ground station or vessel hearing this message, over."
I keyed the mic off and listened intently for a reply. Any reply. Please? But there was nothing. There was barely even static. My radio was definitely fried.
It was hard to believe that it would all come down to this. After the months of preparation and training. After all the adventures that I'd had, the friends I'd made, the beauty I'd experienced, the differences and similarities I'd discovered from one culture to the next and from one human being to the next. All of this in the course of my epic flight around the entire world.
Or I should say, "my epic flight almost around the entire world," in light of my current situation.
And the irony of it was absolutely incredible. Three-quarters of a century earlier the most famous female pilot of them all had disappeared over this exact same endless patch of Pacific Ocean on her own quest to circle the globe. And she had disappeared while searching for precisely the same island that was also eluding me as I scanned the horizon with increasing desperation.
"Okay," I thought to myself. "Just be cool and take this one step at a time to think the situation through." I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing, slowing it down and reining in the impulse to panic. Inside my head, I quickly and methodically replayed every flight that I'd ever flown. Every emergency I'd ever faced. Every grain of experience that I had accumulated along the long road that had led me to this very moment. Somewhere in there was a detail that was the solution to my current predicament. I was sure of it. And all I had to do was find it.
Maybe the answer to my current situation lay somewhere among the ancient temples of Angkor in Cambodia? Or in the steamy jungles of east Africa? Or inside the towering pyramids of Giza? Or among the soaring minarets of Sarajevo? Or on the emerald rolling hills and cliffs of western Ireland? Or on the harsh and rocky lava fields of Iceland?
Wherever the answer was, it was going to have to materialize quickly, or another female pilot (me) would run the risk of being as well-known throughout the world as Amelia Earhart. And for exactly the same reason.
"It's been a good run at least," the little voice inside my head observed, turning oddly philosophical as the fuel supplies ran critically low. "You've had more experiences on this journey around the world than some people do in their entire lifetime."
"That's it!" I thought.
Maybe the answer to all this lies even further back in time? All the way back to the summer that had inspired me to undertake this epic journey in the first place. All the way back to where North America meets the Pacific Ocean—the islands and glaciers and whales of Alaska.
All the way back to where this entire adventure began.

Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations. He has published 4 books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series. For more information, go to http://www.kittyhawkworld.com/

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books People Tell Me I NEED to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is: Top Ten Books People Tell Me I Need to Read.

1. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen – My friend Michelle and a few of her bookish friends who work with her cannot stop talking about this book! And at one point when I met up with them, they were all telling me I needed to read it, so I'm quite curious about that!

2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer – I know this is a huge favourite for a lot of people, but I'm so hesitant to read it... I've been on page 40 something for ages now.

3. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken – there's a girl who works at my favourite bookstore who constantly tells me I need to read this!

4. The Archived by Victoria Schwab – I know this is one that everyone seemed to love last year.

5. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare – Don't even get me started.

6. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare – See above. 

7. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa – I own this but haven't gotten around to it, even though everyone always says it's amazing!

8. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – *cringes* I know, I know. 

9. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – wowowow do I ever hear "you need to read this!!!"

10.   The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey – Well isn't this book just crazy hyped. I get it, I need to read this. 

Anywho, those are some books I hear a lot of "you HAVE to read this" about! Leave me a link to your TTT and I'll check it out :)

Happy reading!
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