Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August Wrap-Up

This is coming a day early but thats alright.  In case you hadn't noticed, posting here has slowed down considerably.  I haven't even really been posting very often at all.  Both Rebecca and I have reached busy season.

So we will be letting you know that for a little while, we'll be posting once or twice a week at most.  Please bear with us while we slow things down a bit. We're definitely not leaving by any means, things will just be slower.  We're coming up with some awesome ideas to implement over the summer though which will be completely awesome.

Also, don't forget that our next huge giveaway will be when we reach 450 followers so if you could help us get there that would be totally wicked! 

Anyway, this is meant to be an August wrap-up post so I shall be wrapping things up for August.
Right, in August I read a total of two books: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini and The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon.  My reviews for both of those should be coming soonish.  Well, both are for joint reviews so one Rebecca has read Starcrossed that review will be up and The Carrier of the Mark review will be up closer to the release date.

As far as reading goes for Rebecca, she managed to read a total of 17 books. 16 of those being ebooks which was her goal for August so that was really good.

Our book of the month by one book was The Near Witch so I am reading that one right now and I expect Rebecca to do the same very soon so that we can do a joint review of that together. Then I will be reading who knows what. 

One final thing, our winner for the monthly contest is Danielle @ My Mercurial Musings so congratulations to you, and expect an email soon :D  Stay tuned for our monthly contest for September.

And that was our August, lets see what September brings.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Witchlanders by Lena Coakley

Title: Witchlanders

Author: Lena Coakley

Published: Atheneum; 30 August 2011

Pages: 411

First Line: "Ryder woke to the sound of clattering bones."

Summary: High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future.
It’s all a fake.
At least, that’s what Ryder thinks. He doubts the witches really deserve their tithes—one quarter of all the crops his village can produce. And even if they can predict the future, what danger is there to foretell, now that his people’s old enemy, the Baen, has been defeated?
But when a terrifying new magic threatens both his village and the coven, Ryder must confront the beautiful and silent witch who holds all the secrets. Everything he’s ever believed about witches, the Baen, magic and about himself will change, when he discovers that the prophecies he’s always scorned—
Are about him.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Being a huge fan of all things high fantasy I was really excited to read Witchlanders and needless to say I churned through the pages of Witchlanders in no time.  For a high fantasy novel it was quite easy to read through.  The language was simplistic but very effective in portraying the feelings and creating a suitable atmosphere for the story.

Witchlanders wasn't what I had expected.  I'm not entirely sure what exactly I had expected but it wasn't what I was given.  In saying that, I still enjoyed Witchlanders.

It's quite a unique storyline.  The magic is quite different to magic in most books I've read.  In Witchlanders the magic is either through bones or through singing depending on where you come from.  I thought that in itself was quite an interesting idea.

Both main characters were really interesting.  For starters, both are male protagonists which is a rare thing in YA these days.  I thought that both provided an interesting voice and perspective to the story and while I usually have a favourite, I like both Ryder and Falpian in this case.

There is no romance in Witchlanders, this doesn't bother me at all but for some people romance is a key thing in their decision making so if you don't want to read a book where there is no romance whatsoever, then Witchlanders would be one to avoid.

My one complaint about Witchlanders is that there seemed to be a lot of back and forth between different characters that seemed unnecessary, almost like it was there just to stretch out the story a little bit more.

Overall, I would say that Witchlanders was quite a pleasant read.  I had fun reading it and it provided a nice change of pace from other books I've been reading lately.  I believe there should be a sequel though I haven't found any information on it being a sequel but the way things ended there should be.  I know that if there is I'll definitely be picking it up because Witchlanders was quite enjoyable.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Egyptian by Layton Green

Title: The Egyptian

Author: Layton Green

Published: 27 August 2011

Pages: 327

Series: Book 2, Dominic Grey

First Line: "Siti hummed to himself as he picked his way through the crypts and mausoleums shrouded by eerie blue fog."

Summary: At a mausoleum in Cairo’s most notorious cemetery, a mercenary receives a package containing a silver test tube suspended in hydraulic stasis. 

An investigative reporter tracking rogue biomedical companies is terrified by the appearance of a mummified man outside her Manhattan apartment. 

A Bulgarian scientist who dabbles in the occult makes a startling discovery in his underground laboratory. 

These seemingly separate events collide when Dominic Grey and Viktor Radek, private investigators of cults, are hired by the CEO of an Egyptian biomedical firm to locate stolen research integral to the company’s new life extension product. However, after witnessing the slaughter of a team of scientists by the remnants of a dangerous cult thought long abandoned, Grey and Viktor turn from pursuers to pursued. 

From the gleaming corridors of visionary laboratories to the cobblestone alleys of Eastern Europe to a lost oasis in the Sahara, Grey and Viktor must sift through science and myth to uncover the truth behind the Egyptian and his sinister biotech – before that truth kills them.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  After having read The Summoner, I was really excited to see what The Egyptian would be like.  I am absolutely astounded at just how much more amazing The Egyptian is.  Don't get me wrong, I really liked The Summoner but  I really really enjoyed The Egyptian, there was just so many layers to it and it was so well written that I couldn't help but fall in love with The Egyptian.

Layton Green is an absolutely brilliant writer.  The descriptions are fantastic, the dialogue is extremely clear; the information is clear, concise and doesn't get boring.  The Egyptian is one book which has been thought out and it is an incredibly well-written piece of literature.

The plot of the story was incredibly engaging.  You wouldn't think that there would be a connection between all the things outlined in the summary but there is, and it all works.  I got to about halfway through the book and wondered how on earth it could keep going but it did and it took an interesting turn that kept me engaged and guessing right until the end.

The cast of characters were all very memorable and unique.  I adore Grey, he's one mean dude.  I like Viktor, I want to know more about him.  Veronica, Stefan and Jax were all absolutely fascinating and I loved how each character was incredibly deep and complex with multiple layers to them.

I feel like I could go on forever about how much I absolutely loved The Egyptian.  It was a very well written and well thought out story and I for one am definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the Dominic Grey series!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ashes Ashes by Jo Treggiari

Title: Ashes, Ashes

Author: Jo Treggiari

Published: Scholastic, June 2011

Pages: 344

Summary: Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.   (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I’m really picky about what I like when it comes to dystopian novels.  I’ve read some really good ones that had a lot of the things I like.  Unfortunately, I just didn’t enjoy Ashes, Ashes all that much.

The premise was definitely something that drew me to the book.  It sounded really interesting and quite unique.  There were some parts that were quite well explained but then the rest of it felt like they were missing some details.  I felt that there was a lot going on but not a lot of explanation as to why or how things came about.

I just feel that there was something missing in Ashes, Ashes.  I thought a lot of it was kind of boring and I didn’t really buy into the relationship between Aidan and Lucy.  Then there was the whole Del thing; that was kind of confusing too.  None of the interactions between characters was all that great or even believable.  I did find one character to be really interesting however, and that was Sammy.  He seemed the most interesting and the most normal.  Yep, I definitely liked Sammy.

When thinking about what to say about Ashes, Ashes I just keep coming back to the idea that everything was so vague.  I like there to be enough information that I feel satisfied with the world and everything that’s going on in it but I just felt that I didn’t get it from this book.

Overall, I thought that Ashes, Ashes was quite an average read.  It just didn’t totally capture my attention and I just can’t help but feel there was something missing.  If you’re a fan of dystopian novels then this might appeal to you.  It just wasn’t the book for me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Dust Finders by Jared Gullage

Title: The Dust Finders

Author: Jared Gullage

Published: 23 April 2011

First Line: "A few small children aren't stopped in time, and so they grow in the tribe with only one hand."

Summary: We carry many things into the desert. We carry our entire lives on the back of our k'toogs. We are the people who wander the wasteland, to rally the ek'luka behind our caravans, so we might harvest and slaughter them to eat them and make of their bodies needful things. 

The ek'luka are ugly and treacherous. We give them the remnants of our tribe, the garbage left in our wake, so they will follow us. They will eat anything they can. They are scavengers. 

One has eaten my son's hand. Its unforgiving beak crippled him forever in one bite. I was not fast enough to stop it. I do not know how I will ask him to forgive me for it when he is older. 

We carry many things into the desert. We carry tents and tent poles. We carry food and water. We carry weapons and tools. I carry my guilt with me. I cannot toss this away and forget it like the garbage of our tribe. I will carry it with me forever.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: The Dust Finders is quite a unique story in both its story line and the writing style.  It’s written with a mysterious element that I really enjoyed as I wasn’t quite sure what was going on for a while in the book and that’s what kept me reading.

The Dust Finders is set in quite a different world and it was really interesting.  What I really loved was that there was a glossary of terms in the back for some of the terms about the world.  I thought that some of the explanations could have been incorporated into the story itself, but at the end of the day I thought it was just as good having them at the back.

The writing was quite vague when it came to details and so it confused me a little bit but without giving spoilers away, it’s actually meant to be like that.  There is a reason for it, and so getting to the end of the story I could look back and see that it actually worked really well.  I quite enjoyed the mysterious element to the writing.

Overall, I would definitely say that The Dust Finders isn’t going to be for everyone.  However, it is really unique and definitely interesting.  If you’re looking for something different then I think you’ll enjoy The Dust Finders.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi, The Story Siren.  It is a weekly feature where book enthusiasts showcase the books they got in the mail, from bookstores, from the library or anywhere else for the week.

This weeks IMM is actually the last two weeks worth of books.  So these are the books I have received in the last two weeks:

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. 
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. 
And there are no strangers in the town of Near.
These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Body of Evidence by Patricia Cornwell

A reclusive writer is dead. And her final manuscript has disappeared ...Someone is stalking Beryl Madison. Someone who spies on her and makes threatening, obscene phone-calls. Terrified, Beryl flees to Key West - but eventually she must return to her Richmond home. The very night she arrives, Beryl inexplicably invites her killer in ...Thus begins for Dr Kay Scarpetta the investigation of a crime that is as convoluted as it is bizarre. Why would Beryl open the door to someone who brutally slashed and then nearly decapitated her? Did she know her killer? Adding to the intrigue is Beryl's enigmatic relationship with a prize-winning author and the disappearance of her own manuscript. As Scarpetta retraces Beryl's footsteps, an investigation that begins in the laboratory with microscopes and lasers leads her deep into a nightmare that soon becomes her own.  (Taken from Goodreads)

The Eden Prescription by Ethan Evers

What if the ultimate treatment for cancer was closer than most of us realize? A silent revolution has been unfolding recently in the science of natural medicine, bringing us so close to the answer-far too close, for some. Chromogen employee Annika Guthrie understands this more than most. She's watched her terminally ill father add years to his life with natural supplements, and makes it her mission to turn this alternative medicine into what the medical community calls "real" science. It's why she joins forces with the maverick but genius cancer researcher Dr. Elliott Lindell, even though he works with Mitogenica-Chromogen's fiercest competitor. Together, they formulate a cocktail of natural supplements which Annika secretly gives to patients in Chromogen's latest drug trial. The cocktail works so well, it threatens to undermine Chromogen's next billion dollar chemo drug, and Annika's world quickly falls apart. Her wards start curiously dying from everything but their cancer, and Dr. Lindell disappears on the eve of his most critical experiment. Annika soon finds she is the only one left who can recover what remains of Dr. Lindell's work-and that she is racing against someone far larger and more deadly than her worst fears.  (Taken from Goodreads)

The Economics of Ego Surplus by Paul McDonnold

Part action novel, part literary novel, part guidebook to economics, The Economics of Ego Surplus is the story of college instructor Kyle Linwood. Anticipating a relaxing summer with his girlfriend and his PhD dissertation, he gets recruited by the FBI to help with an obscure case of terrorist internet “chatter,” which explodes into a shocking, mysterious assault on U.S. financial markets. As the economy melts down and a nation panics, Kyle follows a trail of clues from Dallas to New York City to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In his quest to discover the truth, he will be forced to confront the assumptions underlying his education as well as his life. But will it be enough to save America from the most brilliant terrorist plot ever conceived?  (Taken from Goodreads)

And those are my books.  Can't wait to see what everyone else got.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Blog Tour: The Raie'Chaelia by Melissa Douthit

Title: The Raie'Chaelia

Author: Melissa Douthit

Published: Lucky Bat Books, May 2011

Pages: 318

Series: Book 1, The Raie'Chaelia

First Line: "Waves pounded the shoreline, spraying mist into the wind that stirred white sands glittering in the moonlight."

Summary: When Chalice sets off for Branbury in the middle of the night with her grandfather's instructions, she has no idea of the dangers that await her. The King's men have destroyed her home village of Canton and she is suddenly thrown into a Terravailian world that she does not know. Lost and alone, she is hard pressed to evade the iron grasp of the madman who rules the land. With the help of a friendly Chinuk, an old man, and a book that she discovers along the way, not only does she find true friends and true love, but she also finds her true self and what it means to be the Raie'Chaelia.  (Taken from Smashwords)

Thoughts: I really enjoyed The Raie'Chaelia.  If I had to classify it into a genre, it would be a difficult thing to do but I think it would be fantasy with elements of science fiction.  It has a fantasy setting but then there are things in the world that relate back to science.  In other words there were some technologies in the book that had scientific explanations to why they worked the way they did.  I thought that was a really neat aspect to the story.

I liked both Chalice and Jeremiah.  Especially Jeremiah.  I'm not really sure why I think so highly of Jeremiah other than he is just a really great guy and an incredibly likable character.  Chalice is quite likable too although she did do a couple of things that I thought were a little silly at times.  The supporting cast were all very cool too.

A lot of people had been saying that there was a lot of information dumping in The Raie'Chaelia; while there is a lot of information, I didn't mind it.  I actually quite like books that provide a good amount of information in relation to building a backstory.  I didn't feel that anything was there that shouldn't be and I felt everything was mentioned in good timing.

The Raie'Chaelia is definitely a really intriguing story and I had a lot of fun reading through it.  The one thing that bothered me about it was trying to remember all the terminology in the book but it's featured enough that by the end of the book I had managed to get the hang of it.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed reading The Raie'Chaelia and I had a little sneak peak at the next book in the series in the back of The Raie'Chaelia and it definitely looks interesting.  I really enjoyed The Raie'Chaelia and I think that any fans of fantasy would definitely enjoy it.

Source: Premier Virtual Author Tours

Contests: Think this book sounds good?
You can enter to win an ebook copy with the format of your choice simply comment below with your email address.  As this is an ebook giveaway it is open internationally.  Entries close August 31st Midnight GMT +12.

Additionally Melissa herself is offering up a really awesome contest at her website:

Free e-reader or $100 gift certificate 
Enter a drawing and win a free e-reader of your choice or a $100 gift certificate to your favorite store by answering the following question: 
What is the main reason Melissa chose to go indie? To find the answer, click on
 Guest Post with Melissa Douthit, author of The Raie' Chaelia.
To answer the question go to this link and fill in the information (place answer in Message field): 

Contest ends September 10, 2011. Winner will be announced September 12th on 
Melissa Douthit's Blog. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Vanishing by Melissa Douthit

Title: The Vanishing

Author: Melissa Douthit

Published: Lucky Bat Books, July 2011

Pages: 118

Series: Prequel to The Raie'Chaelia

First Line: "Jeremiah Maehbeck stroked the greywing fletching on his arrow studying the shape carefully."

Summary: In The Vanishing, a prequel to The Raie’Chaelia (rye-kale-ya), reveals Jeremiah’s story – the handsome, young champion archer and hunter, who catches every girl’s eye and is the object of his doting mother’s affection.

Cradled in the beautiful Auramont Vale, Branbury is a farming village, lush with crop fields and evergreens that cover the land. It’s country life is slow, calm, and hard-working. The enormous Mount Vaassa lies to the west looming over the village like a tower and its resources provide an extra source of livelihood and recreation for the townfolk. Jeremiah Maehbeck is one of those who enjoy the wild beauty of the mountain and the quiet escape that it provides from a life that he does not want. Pressured by his father to marry and settle down, Jeremiah makes other plans but something happens and he experiences a hard knock that he is not expecting. What is it and what does it mean for him? What are his plans and why isn’t he happy?
 (Taken from Smashwords)

Thoughts: After reading The Journey Begins, I was really looking forward to reading this second prequel to the Raie’Chaelia.  This one features the male protagonist of the series and I absolutely loved it.

I liked Jeremiah, he seemed like a pretty cool guy.  I’m always interested in characters that are good at archery.  That made Jeremiah especially awesome in my mind.  Jeremiah was a really sweet guy and I look forward to reading more about him.

There were some very interesting supporting characters too.  Especially, Aemis, he was just really funny and it reminded me of something I can’t quite recall. 

What made me really love The Vanishing was the mixture of fantasy and science.  There were a couple of times where science was weaved into the story and I really loved those parts.  I’m really hoping for more of that kind of thing in The Raie’Chaelia.

I really enjoyed The Vanishing and the ended made me definitely want more.  I think that both The Vanishing and The Journey Begins are really great set-ups for The Raie’Chaelia.  They definitely have me intrigued.  I am so curious now as to just what is going on.

Source: Smashwords

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Journey Begins by Melissa Douthit

Title: The Journey Begins

Author: Melissa Douthit

Published: Lucky Bat Books, July 2011

Pages: 56

Series: Prequel to The Raie'Chaelia

First Line:"Corin pulled the dropper out of the bung and filled the small glass in his hand."

Summary: The Journey Begins, a prequel to The Raie’Chaelia, reveals the story of Chalice – the story of a girl from a quiet village, a girl a little different, a girl whose life is about to change … forever.

Canton is a beautiful, quaint village situated in the heart of Naeo’Gaea next to the aquamarine waters of the Creonar river. It’s citizens enjoy a quiet, peaceful life due to the prosperity of trade and commerce, and joyful celebrations abound all year long. For Chalice Pandretti, granddaughter to Sebastian and Naelli who own the Pandretti Inn and Winery, it is the perfect place to live and grow up. So why does she leave? What is the secret that drives her out? Who can she trust? Who are her loyal friends and who are not? In the story you learn what happens in the heroine’s life before her journey to the east and how she deals with the secrecy, the heartache, and the fear.
 (Taken from Smashwords)

Thoughts: The Journey Begins is a novella that introduces us to Chalice, the main character in The Raie’Chaelia.  The Journey Begins basically sets up the story before The Raie’Chaelia and gives a little insight into Melissa’s writing and the world of The Raie’Chaelia.

I really enjoyed reading The Journey Begins, it was really interesting as it opened up some questions into Chalice’s life, her village and all the goings on in her world.

I liked Chalice and I felt that The Journey Begins showed us a little of what she was like and it has definitely made me really curious as to who Chalice really is.

At this point I have no idea what The Raie’Chaelia is but I know that I can’t wait to find out.

I liked The Journey Begins, it was really interesting and offered up a great introduction to The Raie’Chaelia.  The ending left it open and I know that I’ll definitely be reading The Raie’Chaelia as soon as I can.

Source: Smashwords