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[Book Review] THE EVAPORATION OF SOFI SNOW by Mary Weber

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Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi’s dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth’s corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth’s Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi’s the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she’s convinced he’s been taken to the ice-planet.

Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.

For Miguel, Earth’s charming young playboy, the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight’s bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he’s a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.


Camillea’s Thoughts

The reason why my review for this is late is because I’m struggling a bit to write down how exactly I feel about this book. While I love the cover for the book and the premise of the story line, I was expecting a read about a sibling relationship buuuut Sofi’s relationship with Miguel tended to overshadow that. Unfortunately. While Mary Weber continually reminds us Sofi’s true motivations, which is saving her brother, there is little we know and feel about the siblings. Although we do get a glimpse of Shilo’s predicament from time to time but it wasn’t enough for me to actually feel Sofi’s fear for her brother.

I enjoyed the FanFights described in the book; a virtual reality bloody competition of strength and wits. Something like the Hunger Games meets futuristic hackers, I would suppose. The book moved too fast for me to understand the need for these games or why these certain corporations were specifically chosen.

Although the idea of an ice planet brought in by The Delonese close to Earth is such a cool thought! Like,  instead  of invading Earth the aliens went through all the trouble of bringing their entire frickin’ planet. An ice planet, at that! Should I be offended by that?

So we’re talking about a future world, ruled by corporations which are in turn ruled by an alien race called The Delonese, and this ambitious world fell completely flat for me. There was nothing about the Delonese that impressed me or intrigued me. In my head, I envisioned them as unblinking supermodels.

I wanted to know more about their culture! I wanted to see how much of the Delonese culture had been impressed on Earth, besides the Fan Fights. I know that the Delonese are written to keep less contact with Earth but still, it would be more believable for me to see something of their culture to be watered down. Even if as an underground culture. There was a lack of description when it came to the Sofi’s world which really left a hollow in the novel.

Don’t even get me started on how frustrated I was about being kept in the dark about the pictures Miguel was being blackmailed with! Or the questions I had about their mother!

I do appreciate Mary Weber’s ambition for the model but for this to have worked I believe the story should have steered away from the protagonist’s messy past with each other and focused on the world invaded by the Delonese and also the gritty emotions of the Snow siblings.

The sequel for the book seems to be focused on Shilo Snow, so I’m really, really hoping that there will be improvements to the story!


Book Details

Format: Kindle Edition (352 pages)

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Publication Date: June 6, 2017

Links:  Book Depository Affiliate Link || Amazon || Goodreads

Author Info: Mary Weber is the multiple-award-winning author of the bestselling young adult Storm Siren Trilogy, and The Evaporation of Sofi Snow series (all by HarperCollins). An avid high school, middle school, and conference speaker, Mary’s passion is helping others find their voice amid a world that often feels too loud. When she’s not plotting adventures involving tough girls who frequently take over the world, Mary sings 80’s hairband songs to her three muggle children, and ogles her husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. They live in California which is perfect for stalking L.A. bands, Joss Whedon, and the ocean.

Mary’s debut, Storm Siren, was featured in the Scholastic School Book Fairs, and her novels have been endorsed by bestselling authors Marissa Meyer, Jay Asher, Wendy Higgins, CJ Redwine, and Jonathan Maberry.

Author Links:  Website || Goodreads || Facebook

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I’d like to thank Smith Publicity for providing me with an e-copy of the book.

All opinions about the book are of the blogger’s.

Have you read the book? Let me know what you think of it in the comments below! Also do suggest me some Sience Fiction books!

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[Book Excerpt + Giveaway] SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL by Amanda Gernentz Hanson

“When she hurts, I hurt. And it’s a lot easier to hurt together than it is to suffer alone.”

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Publication Date: June 27 2017

Published by Pen Name Publishing

Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Buy Links: Amazon || Barnes & Noble || Kobo

Cordelia and Declan have been best friends since they were three years old. By the time they hit middle school, Cordelia—Cord, to Declan—is already feeling the blackness in her life as depression takes hold. Their mutual attraction to each other leads to a serious high school relationship, one with their foundation of friendship at the forefront. Cordelia seems to have her mental health under control. All appears to be well.

However, when Declan starts to accept his own fluid sexuality, it sets something in motion in their lives that is both beautiful and tragic as they learn to love each other for who they are.

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Chapter 1—Now

October 2014

“Fresh off of her book tour, I have here an advocate who is actively involved in fighting inequality in her daily life. I give you, Cordelia Quinn!” The rally organizer steps aside, and I can finally see the crowd. I wave, and the rally organizer gives me a dazzling smile before she continues. “Cordelia Quinn is the bestselling author of The Yellow Wood, a coming-of-age story about a boy and a girl who are best friends as children but choose different paths as adults and then come together later in life. She is also an award-winning screenwriter and one of the most outspoken LGBTQ allies in publishing. Please join me in welcoming her to the podium!” The crowd breaks into thunderous applause that echoes through the cold air, and a smile pulls at the corners of my mouth.

I can’t lie—I’m nervous. I’m not good at hiding my emotions, so I’m afraid that people might be able to tell. I hate crowds, and I hate public speaking. I’ve managed to avoid it ever since I spoke at high school graduation.

“Hello, Topeka,” I begin. My voice is shaking. God, I hope no one notices.

The crowd is rumbling below me, waiting for me to say something good. I’m not even sure I have anything good to say. I’m so bad at this. But I’ve learned that being honest is usually the best way to go, so I decide to veer away from my prepared speech and try for candor.

“I’m going to admit something to you,” I say, gripping the sides of the podium to keep my hands from trembling. I can’t be trusted to hold papers or they’ll be shaking so much that I can’t read them. “I’m not a fan of public speaking, and I don’t usually speak at rallies like this one. But this issue… it’s really important to me. Those of you who have read my book know that. So, when my publicist asked me to come here and talk to you, I couldn’t really turn her down.”

The crowd cheers, and I smile and take a deep breath. With each breath, I feel more at ease, more comfortable speaking up here in front of everyone. I close my eyes for a second, trying to center myself. I see my children’s faces, and my grin widens.

“Honestly, I don’t have a lot to say,” I continue, gaining confidence. “I believe in equality. I believe in love. And I believe that the government should not tell us who we are allowed to love and marry.” At this, all I can think about are the people I left at home—the people who I love, the person I married. I’m lucky. I’ve never had to fight for those rights. “The politicians who are fighting against marriage equality are all active in their conservative churches—well, ladies and gentlemen, I find two issues with that. First, this country was founded on the separation of church and state—it’s in the First Amendment of the Constitution. What ever happened to that?”

I’m on a roll now. My hands have stopped shaking and everything.

“And second, marriage isn’t just about love. Anyone who has made that kind of commitment to someone can tell you that. There are legal rights that come with marriage that should be available to everyone, no matter who they love!”

I can’t help it. I start looking for him. He’s here. I can feel it.

And then I see him, and my face breaks open into the giddy sort of smile I wish I could contain. I knew he’d come. We’ve been apart for weeks now while I’ve been on my book tour, and I’ve missed him so much. Almost as much as I’ve missed the kids. God, I wish they were here with me.

As I make eye contact with him, an idea strikes. I decide to roll with it. “I’m very pleased to tell you that the person who inspired my book is with us tonight. I’d like to call him up here, so that you can meet the first man I ever loved—Declan MacLeod. Come up here, Dec!”

People turn to look at him as he shakes his head and starts moving toward me. I can nearly feel my body vibrating. I can’t wait to be next to him again, to feel his warm hand in mine. My smile is so big it feels like it’s going to split my face in two.

“I’m going to kill you,” he whispers in my ear as he wraps his arms around me. I want him to hold me forever, to never let go of me, to keep me safe and warm wrapped in his strong arms. But we’re in front of all of these people. He has to let go.

“No, you’re not,” I murmur back. “You’re better at this stuff than I am. Tell them something. Anything.” He starts chewing on his bottom lip as he thinks, and I throw him a sharp look. I’ve been on him about that since high school, but he always slips back into the old habit when we’re apart.

He makes his way to the podium and clears his throat. “Hello,” he starts as he waves at the crowd. “I had no idea that I was going to be speaking here tonight, so I apologize if what I say doesn’t make any sense.” He takes a deep breath and glances back at me. “As Cordelia mentioned, I’m Declan MacLeod. I grew up across the street from her in Hamden, Connecticut. Now, I spend most of my time in New York, performing on Broadway.”

The crowd is hypnotized, and I don’t blame them. I’ve been told that, together, Dec and I are hypnotic. We have an energy. I’m not sure I agree—I think he’s the one who radiates energy and charisma, whose skin feels electrifying, no matter how many times I touch it.

As I watch him look out into the crowd, I know one thing—he’s everything. He’s my reason, my why. He’s it for me. I’d be nothing without him.

Liked what you read? Add it to your Goodreads list!

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unnamed (1)Amanda Gernentz Hanson has been writing stories since the third grade, when she entered a five-page story about talking dogs into a local youth arts contest. She is an instructional designer by day and an everything else by night. Amanda is a proud Latina who earned her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Hope College and her Master’s degree in Technical Communication from Minnesota State University. You can find her on the internet at browneyedtwentysomething.com, diverseladybookproject.tumblr.com, and on Twitter and Instagram @amandamariegh. If you see her in the wild, she probably has a book in her purse.

Website || Facebook || Goodreads || Twitter

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Sometimes you come across booksyou know is worth every penny in your pocket, and every emotion in your barely beating heart. Something Beautiful is that sort of book for me. The book has two important themes, which are also my advocacy, mental health issues and sexual identity. As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, and who has struggled with my sexual identity, I couldn’t help wanting to know more about Cordelia and Declan. As ideal as it is, I wanted to see a part of myself in them.
This will be the first book I will read by Amanda Gernentz Hanson, and not to put any pressure on the author, but I have high expectations for this novel.
I finally look at him, and I see he has tears in his eyes. I nod, clenching my teeth because I always cry when Declan cries. It’s been that way since we were three years old. I cry when he gets hurt, and he cries when I get hurt. It’s like we share a heart, like pain travels from one of us to the other by an invisible tether.

And now for the giveaway!

 The giveaway is international, so don’t hesitate to join! Three winners will receive a paperback copy of Amanda Gernentz Hanson’s Something Beautiful plus some pretty cool swag! Click here for more details.
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Giveaway ends June 29th
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[Book Review Guest Post] GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

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On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?


Maea’s Thoughts

Sure, you’ve probably seen the movie. Gone Girl, the tale of a marriage turned sour, of a love that was not meant to last… aaaaaaaand yes, (spoiler alert) of a psychopathic woman who abuses herself all for the sake of framing her cheating husband. Sounds like a good thriller movie, doesn’t it? But I for one, truly regret watching the movie before reading the book.

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The movie itself was great and you’ve probably heard this a million times but I cannot emphasize enough how the book was so much more better than the movie. This is not a mere subjective opinion because I love reading books, it’s just that the movie was not enough to capture the true essence of the characters in the book.

Written by Gillian Flynn and published in 2012, Gone Girl was a novel that easily received positive reviews. Aside from its gripping story-telling, heart-pounding thrills and gasp-worthy twists, it was the kind of novel that bitch-slapped me across the cheek, leaving me with the stinging harsh realities to ponder even when I was long done with the book.

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The narration interchanges between Amy and Nick Dunne, you guessed it, the couple whose marriage bliss was taking a downhill ride towards misery. On the fifth morning of their anniversary, Nick Dunne comes home to find his wife ‘missing’. Before mysteriously disappearing, she leaves behind clues for their annual treasure hunt, as is the tradition in their marriage. But the beautiful, brilliant Amy Elliot Dunne, leaves more than just that. She leaves traces of her perfectly manipulative schemed plan in such a way that all the arrows would point to Nick, who immediately becomes the victim of false accusations and cyber bullying. Long story short, after a series of events that included Nick’s learning of his wife’s past, TV interviews that alternately loved/hated him, and oh, a murder, Amy Elliot Dunne finally decides that her husband has learned his lesson and so, makes a dramatic comeback.

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The movie was slightly disturbing but the book was beyond that. Not due to the physical abuse and hideous murder committed, but because of the personal insight of how sinister human emotions can get, of how revenge can truly bring out the monster in you and how a person can be cunning, manipulative all for the sake of destroying one’s life. The novel truly dealt with the ugliest of emotions that humans can experience.

Moreover, there were some other issues in the novel that really got me thinking. One, it made me realize the impact a prejudiced legal system could have on a case due to the media. In the novel, hate stirred in the hearts of the citizens towards Nick all because of a highly-viewed TV program that aimed to protect and serve justice to women abused by their husbands, even if said husband has not yet been proven guilty. It made me realize again how some TV shows can easily manipulate the minds of viewers into their prejudiced path of thinking.

And two, the way love was portrayed in the novel. Let’s be realistic, love is never about the butterflies and rainbows and whatnot. Some may even say its about sticking with each other even after seeing your soul mate’s flaws, but with this book, that was definitely not the case. Sometimes, couples do fall out of love. It could be due to listlessness, loss of interest or maybe, they’re not just as happy as they used to be. That is why you can never be certain with ‘love’. And yes, love can get ugly, it can manipulate and connive and even kill.

But aside from all that negativity, Gillian Flynn is truly a master of her trade. Gone Girl was a novel whose plot was intricately and intelligently planned. Just like the way Amy exploited the entire country with her lies, Gone Girl manipulated me, toying with my gullibility leaving me mind blown with the way the events turned out. The characters were raw and real, which made relating (If not relating, then maybe understand) to them much easier. And though the theme was dark, it was written with a style that made me laugh, if not cry, at unexpected moments. It was truly a brilliant and satisfactory read. For those who love surprises (unpleasant ones), this novel is for you.


Book Details

Format: Paperback (463 pages)

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Publication Date: May 24, 2012

Links: Book Depository Affiliate Link || Amazon || Goodreads

Author Info: Gillian Flynn is an American author and television critic for Entertainment Weekly. She has so far written three novels, Sharp Objects, for which she won the 2007 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller; Dark Places; and her best-selling third novel Gone Girl.

Her book has received wide praise, including from authors such as Stephen King. The dark plot revolves around a serial killer in a Missouri town, and the reporter who has returned from Chicago to cover the event. Themes include dysfunctional families,violence and self-harm.

In 2007 the novel was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar for Best First Novel by an American Writer, Crime Writers’ Association Duncan Lawrie, CWA New Blood and Ian Fleming Steel Daggers, winning in the last two categories.

Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master’s degree from Northwestern University.

Author Links: Website || Goodreads || Facebook

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I’d like to thank the lovely Maea for contributing to this week’s book review! I haven’t read Gone Girl yet but her review makes me want to steal the book right out of her hands.

Maea is a university student, who tries her best to squeeze in time to read from her massive TBR pile. She believes that her death will be from a major bookish heartbreak. A well known fact is that Maea is the younger sister of Camillea, and a little know fact is that she loves Camillea immensely. Some say her love for books and punk rock is due to her elder sister. Besides books, Maea also loves Adventure Time and Gravity Falls. 

Be sure to look out for more posts from this cute blogger!

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All opinions about the book are of the blogger’s opinion.

Have you read the book? Let me know what you think of it in the comments below!

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[Belle’s Bookish Tales] The Miracle of Books

Almost every bookworm shares the same story.

Started out as an innocent babe in diapers until the day we were introduced to books. Suddenly, our minds went from candy and playing tumbang presso to dragons, ogres, royalty, and spells. We acted out our favorite characters, sometimes reveling over the bruises we received for a daring feat that would have scared the Mirror off the wall. So we traded the nursery rhymes for paperback books, treasures came in the form of pages heavily ladened with imagination, and slumber parties involved characters from different timelines and worlds.

Admit it, you probably had more books that clothes at one point.

Then again, are we really satisfied with a hundred books on our shelves?

But besides the satisfaction of great story telling, there is so much more we gain from books and these are just a few from my experience!

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Books taught me the virtue of patience

Some places are blessed with secondhand bookstores that have spacious aisles, books separated by genres. Secondhand bookstores were our real life treasure islands.

A little tip though: always bring a taller person when you go scavenging for books, because trust me, those high up bookshelves will be hiding some precious gems.

I don’t know what tests my patience: the constant scavenging or having to wait for the sequels!

If it weren’t for fandom art and merchandise, and fanfiction – we’d all be running off into some abandoned field to create book inspired communities. Forget money, we’d be all about religion!

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Not that that would be a bad idea. Just saying.

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We turn into perpetual risk takers

I’ve come to believe in love #atfirstsight. Every bookworm, even the most pragmatic of us, has fallen in love by the mere sight of a pretty cover. Deckled pages, and breathtaking calligraphy. And then those books which have illustrations inside #soulmate

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Who needs home decor when you have books?????????

But, be warned, falling for the wrong book can be worse than a heartbreak.

If there’s anything that can make a book even more perfect would be a handwritten letter from our favorite character!

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 You learn to create a self care package

Just last week, I lost a (fictional) grandfather, and today my (fictional) brother got taken by perfectly sculpted aliens. Considering I’m gonna have to wait until 2018 to get back my brother, it’s necessary I put together my little package.

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So here’s what’s gonna go into your package:

  • Chocolate! Of course, the great healer of all woes.
  • Coloring book.
  • A feel good movie
  • Bath bombs or face masks or whatever beauty product you enjoy
  • A mixtape – and no, these things are never out of date. Fine. You can listen to a playlist.
  • Your list of literary characters who are safe and happy
  • Good scents whether candles, incense, or room freshener

but if pulling together self care packages isn’t your thing, you can always pretend to be a fire breathing mermaid who stole a demon’s eye just last week.

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Your creative neurons get a happy little boost

Whether you’re an artist, a writer, or someone who enjoys cosplay – books are bottomless pits of inspiration. I mean, if you want to pull off the perfect murder, take a trip down the mystery aisle. Although I really wouldn’t suggest you do this, authors don’t appreciate such acts.

 

Also, the fact that they don’t need to fit in your bag to go everywhere with you, makes books the perfect accessories. And reading is something you can do anywhere! On the train, in the toilet, in the waiting room, in the bath, in classroom (while hiding from the teacher which I have done several times shhhh).

Just make sure to carry tissues if you intend on carrying an emotionally heavy book around.

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Books give us the choice of our world. Whether you want to travel into a world where magic is going extinct or talk to lions. With books, anything is possible.

However, books is also a way to get out issues that many prefer not to talk about. Take for example books like The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas or If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. Through #ownvoices books we come to understand the struggles and life of minority (oppressed) groups. But reading is only the first part, because through these books we begin the discussions, we reach out, learn to listen, and learn to act.

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Most books are written from experiences. So, every time something embarrassing happens to you just remember a character aka the author (probably) has gone through it. Don’t believe me? Shoot them an email!

All bad jokes aside, books has helped people navigate their emotions whether it’s loss or a heartbreak or humiliation, there is something to learn from the characters. It can be surprising that at times we can even relate to the antagonist! This just comes to show how real fictional characters can be. It’s alright to find friends in the pages of a book, because your love for characters will bring you close to another bookworm of the same fandom.

That is the one of the kindest act a book and its author can do for us.

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What did you learn as a bookworm? What did your favorite book teach you?

 Please let me know if you’d like to see more posts like this!

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[Book Review] THE DANDELION YEARS by ERICA JAMES

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Be brave and do the thing you fear the most. Take as many risks as you can, let yourself be happy – and believe in the impossible.

Ashcombe was the most beautiful house Saskia had ever seen as a little girl. A rambling pink cottage on the edge of the Suffolk village of Melbury Green, its enchanting garden provided a fairy-tale playground of seclusion, a perfect sanctuary to hide from the tragedy which shattered her childhood.

Now an adult, Saskia is still living at Ashcombe and as a book restorer devotes her days tending to the broken, battered books that find their way to her, daydreaming about the people who had once turned their pages. When she discovers a notebook carefully concealed in an old Bible – and realising someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to hide a story of their own – Saskia finds herself drawn into a heart-rending tale of wartime love.


Camillea’s Thoughts

The Dandelion Years. Let me begin by saying that the title was enough for me to take a peek at the book. Swept away by the blurb, I immediately bought the book! I mean, just look at that cover, I’m a sucker for pretty things, okay!

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Besides, the book had all the elements for a wonderful story – a secret notebook narrating the story of wartime love (sigh), the rustic house of Ashcombe, and the domestic life of Ralph, Harvey, and Oliver who were each in their own such adorable characters. Even the plot line – how each character was “stuck” at Ashcombe after their earlier unselfish decision to help each other wade through grief.

Erica James really struck me with that plot. This was where the emotional core of the novel lay for me. I, for one, didn’t have as close as a relationship as Saskia did with her grandfathers, so to read about hers was heart warming – from Grandpa O’s stubbornness and Harvey’s culinary hobby. The description of their daily meanderings were the scenes I enjoyed the most.

Jacob’s journal aka The Dandelion Years which takes places in 1943/44 is a narration of Jacob Belinsky’s first (and greatest) love, Kitty. Even knowing from the beginning that Jacob was a bachelor when he passed away I couldn’t help holding on to a little bit of hope, that maybe, just maybe, even after his death the couple might stand a chance. That Matthew would find Kitty and tell her about Jacob. But like every great love story, the authors always find a cruel pleasure in ripping our hearts out (I have a theory about that). I mean, the blurb literally specified “wartime love”, so why did I keep hoping?

Because we always expect love to defy the odds. 

Unfortunately, as Erica James breathtakingly pointed out, it doesn’t.

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Like one tragedy wasn’t enough, the author proceeds to slice up the broken pieces. 

Maybe that’s why I preferred Jacob and Kitty’s romance over Saskia’s and Matthew’s. I felt their relationship was too forced. They were too similar for my taste and I think the story would have been better off if their relationship had remained platonic. Although I like Saskia, I didn’t quite find her as appealing even though we did have some scenes on Matthew’s thoughts about her. But then again, all the guy did was ask too many questions which had begun to annoy me.

If there’s anything I that drew me to Saskia, it was her occupation as a book restorer. Gave me an idea for future career plans.

But that isn’t to say The Dandelion Years is a bad book. A slow yet gorgeous read, I’d recommend this books for those who are looking to have their heart broken. I’m serious. All in all, this was a deeply emotional book of family ties, and grief.  A poignant tale which leaves you feeling both loss and optimism. By the end of the book, you might consider asking yourself, where is the line between duty to my family and my happiness drawn? As I understood from the novel, sometimes, for some of us, it’s best to keep that line drawn.


Book Details

Format: Paperback (496 pages)

Publisher: Orion Books

Publication Date: June 18 201

Buy Links:  Consider buying The Dandelion Years on Book Depository through my affiliate link || Amazon || Goodreads

Author Info: With an insatiable appetite for other people’s business, Erica James will readily strike up conversation with strangers in the hope of unearthing a useful gem for her writing. She finds it the best way to write authentic characters for her novels, although her two grown-up sons claim they will never recover from a childhood spent in a perpetual state of embarrassment at their mother’s compulsion.

The author of nineteen bestselling novels, and the winner of the 2006 Romantic Novel of the Year Award, Erica divides her time between Suffolk and Lake Como in Italy.

Author Links:  Twitter || Goodreads || Website

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All opinions for this book are my own.

Have you read the book? Let me know what you think of it in the comments below!

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[Cover Reveal + Excerpt] GATE OF AIR by Resa Nelson

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From the author of the fantasy series DRAGONFLY, and DRAGONSLAYER

the cover for Resa Nelson’s first novel of the DRAGON GODS series is finally here!

Publication Date: July 2017

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Frayka must find and convince the dragon gods of the Far East to appease the gods of her Northland heritage. If she fails, her own Northlander gods will destroy all the mortals who once promised to worship them.

The Far East is a mysterious place of legend to Northlanders like Frayka. Only an old map can show her how to get there. Once she arrives, all of Frayka’s sensibilities put her in danger. And every dangerous turn delays her from finding the dragon gods whose help she so desperately needs.

Although Frayka looks like a Far Easterner, she is a powerful Northlander warrior who is quick to voice her thoughts. She is trained to fight and won’t hesitate to do so.

But everything about Frayka puts her in deadly peril in the Far East, where the laws are strict and the punishment cruel.

Especially when the one being punished is a woman.

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Chapter One Excerpt

Although Frayka’s skin looked similar to everyone else’s during the winter months, too much exposure to the sun simply turned Frayka’s skin a golden brown while the skin of all other Northlanders burned bright red. And her long black hair, straight as rain, made her stand out, as well as her dark brown eyes.
Njall joined her side and draped an arm across her shoulders. “Home at last.”
Exhausted from the journey and lost in worry about the days ahead, Frayka didn’t respond.
Njall squeezed her shoulder. “Why so glum?”
“No one told me I’d be meeting a Northlander god,” Frayka said. “I’m still reeling from what the All-Father told me.”
Weeks ago, a shaman led Frayka to the ethereal world of the gods. The god of all Northlander gods—the All-Father—singled out Frayka because she dared to live as a Northlander despite her Far Eastern looks.
To appease the anger of all Northlander gods, the All-Father tasked Frayka with the duty of finding the dragon gods of the Far East. The All-Father told Frayka she then must figure out how to make peace between those dragon gods and the Northlander gods. If Frayka failed, the Northlander gods would kill her.
Why did all gods have to act so foolish and petty?
Why should it be her problem that Northlanders had once worshipped the dragon gods instead of their own gods?
Why should the Northlander gods involve her just because they felt angry and rejected by the mortals who adopted the dragon gods in their absence?
Frayka knew the dragon gods destroyed the Northlands and surrounding countries, even though she’d been an infant at the time. The full blame for that destruction fell on the true Northlander gods, who were enraged first for being ignored and then for being faulted for something they didn’t do.
Why should I care that mortals blame the Northlander gods for the sins of the dragon gods?
The task given to Frayka by the Northlander gods overwhelmed her. Frayka wished she could crawl below deck, curl up in a corner, and sleep until her life felt normal again.
But Northlanders never talked of such feelings. If Frayka admitted to any of them, she would appear weak in Njall’s eyes. He loved her because of her strength and courage. And right now, only Njall knew about the task she’d been given. If no one else believed her, she’d still have Njall by her side.
I can’t afford to lose him, too.
Njall laughed. “You’re spoiled by your own portents. Welcome to the ordinary world that the rest of us live in.”
Frayka knew Njall was right. Since birth, her portents gave her regular glimpses into the future, something no other Northlander could do. She’d known for years that Njall would someday marry her, and her faith never waived. Years ago, he teased Frayka about her portents. Thinking about those days, she said, “Remember when you used to call me Frayka the Freak?”
“Be fair,” Njall said, failing to hide his shame. “I don’t call you that anymore.” He ran his rough hand against her silky black hair. “Not since I saw you become a brave warrior. Not since you saved my life. Once I tell everyone what you’ve done, everyone will love you as much as I do.” Njall hesitated. “Wait. That’s a terrible idea. Someone might try to marry you before I can.”
“If anyone tries to get between you and me, I’ll kick him in the shins.” Frayka laughed briefly before worry overtook her again. “But it’s not my portents I’m worried about. It’s what the gods want me to do. What I have to do.”
“This isn’t like you. You never worry.”
Frayka cleared her throat, knowing the time to keep secrets had to end. “I had a portent last night after you fell asleep. A portent about the gods.”
His arm tensed. “What kind of portent?”
Frayka looked at the sea. “I saw what will happen if I fail. If I don’t do what the gods ask.” When Njall stayed silent, she continued. “They will kill every Northlander who still survives. They will kill you and me and our families and everyone in the Land of Ice.”
“But your portents,” Njall said. “Sometimes they give you an idea of the future. They’re not always exact.”
“This one was,” Frayka said. “Very exact and very clear. I have to find the dragon gods and figure out how to make peace between them and the Northlander gods. Otherwise, we all die.”
Njall shifted his weight when the ship tilted. “Then let’s fight the Northlander gods. Let’s kill them before they can kill us.”
Frayka shook her head. “You don’t understand. All the stories we heard about gods are lies. Northlanders thought the dragon gods were their gods, but it’s not true. Mortals thought the Northlander gods forced the dragon gods to destroy our homeland, but that’s not true either.” She frowned. “Not entirely. Even if we could find the Northlander gods—which is impossible—it wouldn’t solve anything. The All-Father told me what I have to do, and nothing else will satisfy him.”

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Resa Resa Nelson is the author of the 4-book Dragonslayer series: The Dragonslayer’s Sword (nominated for the Nebula Award, finalist for the EPPIE Award), The Iron Maiden , The Stone of Darkness , and The Dragon’s Egg . Her 4-book Dragonfly series takes place after the Dragonslayer series.

Her standalone novels include the mystery/thrillers All Of Us Were Sophie and Our Lady of the Absolute .

Resa has been selling short stories professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), and she is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop. Resa was the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years as well as a regular contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Website || Goodreads || Twitter

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The book won’t be released until July 2017 but I’m already excited to have a read of this book! Just from the cover, we can see the inspiration of Asian culture and strong women will have on this novel. Add to that the fact that this book has both dragons and gods! Two of my favorite mythological beings in a series! Here’s a link to see all four of the covers!

If you’re interested in reading a bit of Resa Nelson’s writing, I’d suggest heading over to her website where you can get yourself a free ebook of Astrid, The Dragonslayer’s Blacksmith

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What’s your favorite mythological creature? And what’s your favorite book based on these creatures?he comments are open to you!

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[Belle’s Bookish Tales] Dating Fiction

As bookworms we’ve all been subjected to intense crushes on our literary faves. I bet you already thought of one before this post even started. Perhaps that’s the reason you’re even reading this, to see if your ‘destined’ literary woman has made my list.

Forgive me if I end up offending you but at least you have one less person trying to steal your dream woman.

Just so you know, I’m listening to Harry Styles’ Kiwi while writing this. Clearly the mood had been set. So, without any further ramblings and in no particular order, here’s my list of fictional women I’d like to date.

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Josephine “Jo” March from Little Women 

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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott was the first “classic” book my little mind was introduced to. I had an immediate attraction to Josephine March, who wouldn’t? We were both reckless young girls, who would have rather been boys than wear lipstick. Of course, I wear lipstick now but that’s beside the point. I loved her because Jo March made me feel less awkward about myself. As she grew to accept herself, so did I. It was from her I learned that I didn’t have to give up my wild ways to be a woman. That I could slay a mascara and still raise my voice. The closest I would have come to meeting her was probably if I was born in the 1800s and was Alcott’s neighbor.

“Late at night my mind would come alive with voices and stories and friends as dear to me as any in the real world. I gave myself up to it, longing for transformation.”

Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre

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How could I not mention Jane Eyre? Her wits, her quiet strength, and her fierce self respect! Her character was not outwardly reckless or loud but even in her quietness she was just as much a rebel. I loved how she patient she was with people  yet how easily she could silence them with her sharp tongue. She also seems like the kind of person who wouldn’t mind a quiet night in simply reading or painting, in her case. I know I’d be able to count on Jane to help calm my worries and even without a solution, she would find a way.  Brontë had written her to have an iron will when it came to facing the world, and that is a woman I’d love to have by my side.

“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”
Luna Lovegood from The Harry Potter series

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We’d probably be the kind of couple to go on a grand adventures looking for mystical creatures, scouring old bookstores to find long forgotten spellbooks, and can you imagine how quirky our house would look like? It would be like living in a Studio Ghibli animation! We’d also be the most fashionable couple you’d lay your eyes on. Probably write a million children’s fantasy books as well.

“I suspect Nargles are behind it.”

Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire

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A woman who isn’t afraid to be her worst whiiiiile carrying all that sass.

We all know how much that girl has been put through and how hard she worked through it. We watch struggling with who she is as a Stark and a woman (in comparison to Sansa) to having to abandon her identity. But as Arya she is resourceful, quick witted, cunning, and unconventional. Having faced so much at a young age (what an understatement!), many would have given up. Instead, she breaks tradition and adapts – the girl knows how to survive. What I admire about her is how willing she is to learn any scale no matter how scary it may be. The kind of girl who’d do anything for her family, even to the point of sacrificing herself. She is a different kind of amazing.

“Ah, Arya. You have a wildness in you, child. The ‘wolf blood,’ my father used to call it.”
Nynaeve al’Meara from The Wheel of Time series

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At first read, I’m pretty sure a lot of readers might be put off by her short temper and arrogance. Which she is.

So why do I love her?

Because the woman knows how to stand up for herself. She is the total opposite of small town “humble” girls we often see in books.

Perhaps I wouldn’t date the Nynaeve from the first books of the series, but watching her grow comfortable into her vulnerability is made me realize that Nynaeve is so much more than her aggression. This is not to explain away her flaws though. She isn’t the kind of person to be emotionally forward, in my opinion, but eventually she steps out of her comfort zone.

“Might deny she’s in danger. Stubborn, as if I didn’t know already.”

Daenerys Targaryen from  A Song of Ice and Fire

When-She-Refuses-Let-Up-Even-Little-Bit Besides having our own nest of dragons, I love Dany for her merciless moral code. In my opinion, she isn’t a very good administrator but she is one of those people who are both confidently ruthless and still soft hearted. In her own words, Dany started under the control of her brother to becoming a feared conqueror. Just like Arya, she isn’t the type to lie down and wait. She adapts, survives, and fights. There’s so much I could learn from her, besides how to care for dragons and speak Dothraki.

“When my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me and destroy those who wronged me! We will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground!”

Belle from Beauty and the Beast

Emma-as-Belle-emma-watson-40145119-500-200 And of course, Belle. Everyone bookworm is a little bit in love with Belle. She has a strong sense of self, unwilling to give into traditional peer pressure. I know she isn’t considered a “strong female” role model but think about it, she allows herself to be taken captive by a Beast to save her father. Looking at her life, we see her fight away Gaston’s advances, care for her aging father, talk back to the Beast, and finally softening his heart. Just because she is portrayed as kind and gentle doesn’t make her any less of an independent woman. Despite what anyone tells me of Belle, I believe her to be a capable and mature spirit.

“You don’t have time to be timid. You must be bold and daring.”

Thus we come to an end of the list. I know, I know, the list is incomplete. There are so many more books I am yet to read and some characters I didn’t include them just because. I missed the most obvious ones on purpose. If you do want them mentioned, go ahead and leave a comment & we can discuss what the perfect date with them would be like!

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Who’s the number one fictional woman you’d love to go on a date with, and what kind of date would it be? The comments are open to you!

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