October 21, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten New Series I Want To Start

Awesome topic! I have so many series I want to start that I haven't yet. I heard so much about these books that I hope to get to them as soon as I can. Some seem pretty old but I am very much behind, so... Here are the covers for every first book in the series:

With a few others I haven't mentioned: Brandon Sanderson, Robin Hobb, Terry Brooks, more Rick Riordan... I have a loooooong list.

This weekly meme is from The Broke and the Bookish.

October 19, 2014

Ominous October Game: Guess the Covers + GIVEAWAY!

The first game of Ominous October is here! I hope you are having fun this month and reading some good books as well as taking breaks with spooky movies! I am a bit behind but will catch up soon!

Here are some posts we've had so far in the Ominous October event, in case you missed them:
Lauren Oliver answered some questions on her writing and newest novel Rooms, J F Jenkins talked about nightmares and writing inspirations, and Tash McAdam answered questions on her latest novella SLAM and research (that includes burning shoes!). You can also win a copy of SLAM, so check that out!

Okay, now let's play a game! I prepared eight book covers for you to guess. The winner of the game will get one of these books in paperback as a reward! I hope you are ready!

Here are some tips:
- All books are tagged 'Horror' on Goodreads
- All books are yet to come out (this year or start of 2015)
- They are both YA and Adult fiction (here I don't mean sexy, just books that are aimed at older audiences, non-teens, you sly dog!) so beware of that and don't limit yourself

New tips:
- Only 2 books are adult
- 6 of them feature humans
- 6 of them have female writers

1 2 3 4

5 6 7 8

- You have to correctly guess all eight to be eligible for the prize.
- You MUST NOT post answers in the comments - we have Rafflecopter for that! Do not comment on what book you'd pick as that is also a clue for other players!
- You MUST provide book TITLE and book AUTHOR both so your entires count!
- There will be 1 (ONE) winner, and they will pick 1 (ONE) book of their choice FROM THE LIST of books IN THIS GAME.
- Winner has 48 hours to respond to my email or I pick another winner.
- I am not responsible for lost items in the post as the prize will be sent to you directly from The Book Depository.
- Open INTERNATIONALLY as long as TBD ships to you (CHECK THAT!).
- I reserve the right to disqualify anyone breaking any of these rules!

Good luck!

October 18, 2014

Book review: The Clearing

Thank you Angry Robot for the copy!

Goodreads synopsis
“This childhood nightmare never went away…”

In 1971, four boys walked into a jungle. Only three came back alive. They blamed what happened on a mythical monster, but no-one believed them. Forty years later, the truth is finally coming out…

Journalist, Nate Mason, is one of the survivors. Haunted by memories he doesn’t fully understand, he returns to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia to unravel the tragic events of his childhood. Back then, as the son of a diplomat, Nate was part of an elite social circle. This included the island’s “royal family”, the De Villiers, who owned a decaying mansion deep in the jungle, staffed by the descendants of slaves.

It was here, during a weekend of whispered childhood secrets and dares, that Nate’s innocence was torn apart. But Nate’s not the only one obsessed with the demons in his past. Within hours of arriving back on the island, he becomes convinced he’s being followed. But even though he soon realizes he’s risking his sanity as well as his life, he can’t stop himself from searching for the answers he came here to find. Can childhood nightmares haunt you for the rest of your life?

How much do you need to believe in a monster for it to become real?

I love the synopsis for this book. It's spooky, sinister, and happening in the Caribbean! I don't think I read a book set there at all before and I was most excited for that. It just sounds so different and so appealing at the same time.
The writing was very well done. It was easy to read, but it was also fluid and so vivid, I could imagine the island and the people very easily. There was a mix of present and past and it was all well connected, spaced apart but it all made sense. I really enjoyed the book because no matter the period the book was describing, it was always interesting and there was always this build-up to something that slowly approached the peak as you near the end of the story. Sometimes it was just a bit too descriptive and made me think that I do in fact know how pulling pants up works so no need for two paragraphs of that, but other than that it was an easy engaging read.
The book absolutely surpassed my expectations even though I didn't have a bad thought before starting this novel. I loved the descriptions, the anticipation, the new-to-me world and legends, that was probably the best part. And it seemed so real and pristine, probable because the author himself lived part of his life in the Caribbean! It's a wonderfully mysterious story that feels alive!
The characters were quite diverse which I loved. The setting provided for an equally present black and white characters, it was a nice tie and it was really good reading such a diverse book without flouncing it around that it was diverse. I was a bit bothered by the actions of those boys between 11 and 13 because they acted too mature, and I felt that they weren't channeled as boys the right way, but other than that, the characters were good.
The only other thing that bothered me was the lack of scary factor. I thought it'll be far more spooky to read this book, especially with the dark magic jumbo that seemed to be happening on the island. It was constantly peaking and approaching this hight point, and then nothing big happened. The ending was well done though, because it was the 'was this really how it happened?' sort of ending that gets you thinking, and I really wanted the magic or whatever part to be true! But I still found the story a bit flat in horror department. I also expected most of the things that happened so it made it a bit less exciting. It did nicely show that in the end, the one true evil that humans face are other humans which I liked a lot. 
All in all, it's an engaging read, but a bit too mellow. If you are just starting the spooky books business because you are too scared to read them otherwise, this would be a great start!

A good read!

Now head over to Twitter for a giveaway of a paperback copy of The Clearing! INT!

October 16, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week

This is a meme hosted by Leah at Uncorked Thoughts. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related!

Where would you live as a witch/wizard?

I think I'd prefer either all-magical village or something where Muggles live harmoniously along with wizards. So either Godric's Hollow, that would be totally cool, or Ottery St. Catchpole, like Weasleys and sort of Lovegoods as well. As much as it'd be nice and convenient to live someplace near needed amenities, we would be wizards and would therefore be able to apparate or floo around. 
I think as a wizard, living more on the countryside and with vast amounts of space around is preferred as we'd love to play Quidditch around the house and such. City living could be magically approved (like Grimmauld place) but I've always been a country lass anyway so...

Magical Countryside
(aka The Burrow, under some bed - not too fussy as long as it's not Percy's)

Wizard villages are places in which wizards and witches live in secret. They may or may not be inside a Muggle village, but most likely are. Or, as Hermione Granger once said, "communities within a community". After the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy was enacted in 1689, wizards and witches had to find places to live without muggles bothering them, so they made villages where they could live together in peace. The only all-wizard village in Britain is Hogsmeade, which is located near Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Sources: gif - text

Found: The Aroma of Books

October 15, 2014

Ominous October Interview: Tash McAdam + GIVEAWAY!

Today, I am hosting Tash McAdam, a debut author with her first short story SLAM out now, a prelude to her Psionics series out in 2015. She's here to talk about her love for spooky books, movies, and about her writing.

Q & A with Tash McAdam

1. Where do you get inspiration for your novels?
I tend to start with one image or situation, and my brain races away before I can stop it! I start dozens of stories a day, but only keep working on the ones that really grab me. I do most of my plot working at night, when I am going to sleep. A bit like telling myself a bedtime story full of monsters and demons and other lovely things. I can't wait until I have my own kids to terrify!

2. How easy or hard do you find the writing itself? Do you have a clear image of where your story will go or do you just write and see what might happen?
Oooh, it totally depends on the day! Sometimes I sit down and write thousands of words without stopping (my current record is over 7000, only stopping when nature demanded it). On other occasions, it's torture to even get my daily aim of 2000 done. So far, I've always had a clear first act and finale, with a vague understanding of the path that will get the characters to their destination. But I surprise myself a lot. That's my favourite—when something just falls out of my brain and onto the page, but fits perfectly and makes so much sense that it's like I always planned it. That makes me feel pretty clever.

3. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?
My favourite part has to be that moment when a brilliant idea strikes, the image that spawns the story. I love that moment—it's all success and no struggle, just a steam train of 'what if what if what if.' My least favourite part is waiting! I am very impatient by nature, but a lot of writing is waiting. Waiting for research to come through, waiting for feedback, waiting for edits. I chafe! OH! I hate it even more when I want to be writing but can't, for some silly reason like ... work.

4. How long does it usually take you to get from the idea to the book?
Exactly the amount of time it takes to reach a computer... To start with, anyway. My first finished novel took me three months to write, and still has to be edited. I'm working on a short story that I wrote in a day and edited in two. I think I average about 1000 words a day, when you take the amazing days and the rubbish days together. Which in theory means it takes me about 100 days to write a book of the length I'm currently working on.

5. How do ideas usually come to you?
My first novel inspiration came when I was showering in one of those small box showers, and I thought 'what would happen if it stopped draining and the whole shower filled up.' For my second novel, I was in an elevator that stopped moving and I thought 'I bet aliens have come down and replaced everyone I know and I won't even notice for days.'
I have an active imagination, where I like to think about horrible things happening and figure out what the response and results would be.

6. Do you have to do any research for your novels?
Yes, emphatically so. I think everyone does to some extent, but I maybe take it too far sometimes. I'll spend a day researching something for a throwaway line. I think it's partly because of how much I hate it when I recognize a mistake in a novel. One of the things that bothers me most in books is badly handled injuries. I don't care if your character is a Navy Seal, you don't get up from a major concussion and fire the perfect shot on purpose at the last minute, while you're on fire. Instead of that, you are busy throwing up. As an accident-prone martial artist, I’ve had a decent amount of life experience to draw on, and when it comes to injuries I haven't suffered, I ask my sister! It's handy having a doctor in the family. I also subscribe to lots of scientific magazines, so I get to know about cool discoveries, which I like to slot into my novels where possible.

7. Do you include any real-life (personal) experiences in your fantasy world?
That's the nature of the beast. It's easy to draw on real experiences, especially indirectly. I think every writer does. People who know me well will recognize some of the scrapes I've gotten myself into over the years. I don't want to say which ones in case my mum reads this!

October 14, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit

1. Hogwarts
If there is a fantasy place that I ever wanted to be a part of, it's Hogwarts. I wanted to be part of that literary world since I found out about it at age 11 and it hasn't stopped since. I'd actually try hard if I was part of that school. 
Under the same category are magical villages and magical London. Just anything magical really. Can you spell obsessed? I sure can.

2. Narnia
As much as these books did not make sense sometimes, especially the last one, I'd love to visit Narnia, see it, experience it. I'd also like to visit the White Witch world, even though I'd probably be really scary!

3. Bartimaeus' London
I love Bartimaeus series by Jonathan Stroud so much! And as much as the wizards in his series were an oppresive race, it was still an amazing world to be part of! I would love to see this old-new London with modern tech and old magic.

4. Vampires of VA
I love love love Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series, and so I'd love to be part of that world! I know it's dangerous but as a dhampir I'd kick so much ass! I think even being a human, knowing about it, being in the 'in' would be great!

5. Greek Gods
I love Greek mythology and Greek gods, and so I adore any book with that thematic. So being in Percy Jackson world would be totally the best! If I were half a god and part of a kickass summer camp, it'd be even more amazing!

6. Westeros
Yes it's mostly crap, and people die more often than they are born, but I'd LOVE to visit, see the sights... you know, the heads on stakes and so on. But really, visiting Westeros would be absolutely thrilling - the power struggles, the magic and beasts, the old lore mixing with the new world...

7. Alagaesia
Eragon lives in a magical world of dragons and elves in magical surroundings. I'd absolutely love it if I could live in that magical elven forest, preferably with a pet dragon.

Not exactly the oppression ruled Adarlan, but Throne of Glass world in general. I think it's really interesting with different species and magical powers, and not to mention wyverns! I'd love to visit, be part of it and wield some amazing powers!

9. Famous Five England
As a kid, I absolutely adored Famous Five books. I'd be totally over the moon if I could be a part of the gang that had all those amazing adventures! It's really nothing special, mostly just England in the fifties (or was it sixties?) but I always wanted to be with the kids on their trips. 

10. Parallel worlds
Parallel worlds of His Dark Materials series drew me in immediately - firstly Lyra with her daemon (I want one!), then the whole Dust thing, the traveling between worlds, everything was absolutely stunning and magical and I want it!

+ Middle-Earth
I still have to finish LotR series, but what little I learned about the world from The Hobbit, it sounds great and somewhere I'd want to visit, no doubt about it.

This weekly meme is from The Broke and the Bookish.

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