Best of the Bunch

Best of the Bunch: February

Best of the Bunch is a monthly blog hop hosted by A Cocoon of Books

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Best of the Bunch is a monthly blog hop at the end of each month, where we can share which books we have read or reviewed in that month, decide on our personal favourite and give that book our Best of the Bunch award.

In the month of February, I read 8 books and I reviewed 6. The Best of the Bunch award goes to Ripping Solace by Gabriela Aguilar.

This was a review request submission by the lovely indie author Gabriela Aguilar. It was so worth the read. It kept me riveted and when I did have to put it down, all I wanted to do was to settle into my chair and keep reading it.
If you did miss my review on it, here is the link for it Review.

And just for a little teaser:
1412-9, a number and not a name.
“The first digit is your post. The higher it is, the higher you rank. One means you are a front liner. The number after the hyphen is how many years you have been in service.” – 14

Later this week, I will also post my Spotlight Interview that I did with Ms. Aguilar. Stay tuned for that!

Uncategorized

I was Nominated for the Liebster Award!

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Say what?! This is awesome! I was nominated by Leah’s Book Blog. Honestly, thank you so much. It’s stuff like this that makes me really glad that I switched to WordPress. Be sure to check out Leah’s blog!

Here are the rules:

  • Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the award.
  • Answer 11 question that the blog gives you.
  • Give 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5-11 blogs you think are deserving of the award that have less than 200 followers.
  • Let the blogs know you have nominated them.
  • Give them 11 questions to answer.

Leah’s Questions for me:

1. Who is your favourite author?
– If I have to choose just one author, I’d have to go for…Holly Black. But the runner ups would be Maggie Stiefvater, Juliet Marillier, Sherrilyn Kenyon and H.S. Stone.

2. What was the first book you remember reading? 
– Ooh boy, I’m like 31, yanno. That’s a long time ago, ahaha. Actually, my road to reading was a long one because in grade 4, my teacher noticed that I couldn’t read. Yeah I know, that’s incredibly shocking! I started with picture books but I wanted to be like all the rest in my class and reading R.L. Stine so I worked HARD to be able to read Monster Blood, Night of the Living Dummy and then the rest. I do think my first book was Monster Blood. I loved it. Wow, that was a long, wordy answer. Sorry!

3. What fantasy world would you like to live in? 
– Hmm. A mix of Hogwarts, Narnia and The Dark Crystal, minus the Skeksis creatures because they’re creepy. I like the Gelfling’s!

4. What is your favourite book series? 
– Oh! I have so many! The Caller series by Juliet Marillier; Harry Potter obviously, haha; The Iron Fey series are to just name a few.

5. Where and when do you get most of your reading done?
– I have a special chair that sits beside my gas fireplace. I have to wrestle the cat for it every so often. And when I say wrestle, if I’m too slow getting into it, he’ll actually dart and jump back into it. When? Usually the morning. I plop down in my chair with my cuppa java, and read. I also tend to do a bunch of reading at night as well. But that ends with me dropping my eReader if I’m not careful.

6. How many pages do you read in a day? 
– Hmm, well as I tend to do a significant amount of reading on my eReader, it’s not really “pages” persay. I can read a book in a day, if it is a good one. I also tend to read while playing video games (PC gamer), watching television, etc so I sneak in more pages. I’m going to guess at about 10 plus pages, if the book is good and reasonably paced.

7. What is a popular book that you didn’t love? 
– The Host by Stephenie Meyer. It was slow and ugh. It actually was one of those “the movie was better” for me. Sorry, not sorry! Haha!

8. How do you start your morning? 
– As of late, I’ve been struggling to get up in the morning. I suffer from depression so sleep is sweeter than being awake. But when my depression is low, I usually wake up and make a coffee and grab a yogurt. Then head to my chair and boot the cat out to his bed in front of the fire, settle in and do some reading. My boyfriend works nights two days a week so he’s sleeping by then and then he works two day shifts, and he’s at work by then so I can pass the time with some sweet, quiet (unless the cat starts singing the song of his people) reading.

9. On average, how long are your blog posts? 
– I would say, give or take, about a page. Depends on how much I reveal in my reviews or which of the week day posts I pop up. My interviews can be lengthy.

10. What is your biggest fear? 
– I’m the Queen of Fears. I struggle with agoraphobia, which is the fear of fear, basically. I fear being outside of my comfort zone. I’m almost to the point of being housebound since moving in with my boyfriend. I do go out and get groceries. Or walk to the mail box. My mom also comes and picks me up for week long visits where I get puppy therapy. I also fear never having children; centipedes send me running for the nearest chair; the fear of never being enough. Yeah.

11. Do you have a set number of posts you write per week? 
– I actually just worked that all out. I do a “Quote of the Day” post each day and try to squeak in at least two reviews. But I went to Google and sought out bookish posts to do each day. I tweaked a couple and made up a couple of my own. So those can be looked forward to.

11 Random Facts About Me:
1. 
I love sloths. Like, ridiculously love sloths. I would cry if someone let me near a sloth; like inconsolable crying!

2. I can and do read multiple books at a time. I often start them, and then forget that I have. I think there are at least 5 started books on my bookshelf right now.

3. I refused to own an eReader for the longest time. Then my dad surprised me with an eReader a few years ago and I had to finally bite the bullet. Now? I wouldn’t be without!

4. I can read upside down. That drove many teachers nuts if they happened to lay down the answer sheet 😀

5. I was born on August 14. This meant I mostly spent my birthdays in sweltering heat or it pissed rain and all my friends were on last minute camping trips. Thank goodness for the beach!

6. I often will order “scratch and dented” books because I don’t care. It’s a book. If it isn’t missing pages, I will read it.

7. I can quote the movie Labyrinth (yep with David Bowie) word for word. “Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle! Beyond the Goblin City, to take back the child that you have stolen!” Ah. My favourite movie!

8. I wanted to be a housewife growing up but I really suck at cleaning. 😀

9. My name, Leticia, I bet you’re all saying it wrong. Except like 1 or 2 people. It’s said Le-Tish-Ah. Tish is my short-form. I answer to that as well. But I was named for a great, great aunt on the insistence of my great grandmother. We never knew why until my dad’s adopted family tree came into play and my dad’s adopted great grandmother was sister’s to my great, great grandmother. The great, great aunt was given up as a child. So the name was insisted upon to my great grandmother who insisted it upon my mom. Yup.

10. I have never, ever, been to a concert. BUT! I was born and raised by musicians, so instead of mind boggling, crushing crowds, I was treated to live music my whole life.

11. I have been finishing my high school education online for the last couple of years (one course a year is enough!).

My Questions for my Nominee’s
1. Which do you prefer: eReader or Paper book?
2. Do you have a favourite movie?
3. What do you do besides write blog posts?
4. What is your biggest goal in life?
5. What is one of your favourite book/author quotes?
6. Are you a gamer? If so, what’s your pick: console/pc?
7. What is your top 5 favourite movies?
8. What is your top 5 favourite television series?
9. What is one thing you wish that you could give the world?
10. What is your least liked thing about blogging?
11. How do you normally prepare to write a book review?

I Nominate:
Lunireads
The Most Sublime Things
A Full Time Reader
K.L. Holloway
Chloe’s Book Blog
The Page Turner Blog
Of Reading and Random Things

50 Books in a Year · Book Reviews · Sunday Short and Sweet Review

Emerge by Heather Sunseri- Sunday Short and Sweet Review

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Sun Publishing
Date of Release: March 3, 2015
Pages and Format: 282 pages; eBook.
My Rating: 
3 Stars

Six years ago, a highly contagious virus wiped out more than ninety-nine percent of the country’s population. The only person to contract the virus and survive, Cricket fled her identity and the safety of New Caelum, an airtight city. Now eighteen, she watches the city where the wealthy cocooned from the devastating outbreak. When the city’s rumbling incinerator wakes her one night while she and her friends are camping just beyond the city walls, she alone knows what the fiery machine means: the lethal virus is back.

Only eighteen, Westlin Layne is already being groomed to succeed his mother as New Caelum’s next president. Suddenly West’s sister develops symptoms of the deadly virus thought to be eradicated years ago. Placed under quarantine, the president confesses to West a long-held secret: Christina Black, West’s childhood friend and first love, survived the virus, and her body alone holds the precious antibodies to save his sister.

Now West must leave the city to find Christina. But Cricket has no intention of being found.”

Despite finding the book to be a little slow at the start, I found as time went on that Emerge began to get better. Especially the mad rush to heal West’s sister Willow.

You really feel for Cricket; finding out that she is a survivor of the Samael Strain. Her parents may or may not be alive, no one knows. Her best friend is locked up in a hospital like bubble and doesn’t know she is alive. And her immunity to the Samael Strain is failing. What a roller coaster ride she has been on.

There seemed to be a little lack of world building. Even if it’s on our planet Earth, a dystopian truly needs to express the loss of what we consider normal today. I just felt that there were questions I had like “how did the people outside of New Caelum survive?” I hope that in the next book that the world building is a bit more.

Where to Buy: 
Kobo
Amazon CAN
Amazon US
Indie Bound
Barnes and Noble
Book Depository

Spotlight Interview

Shh, I am Reading’s Author Spotlight: J.O. Quantaman

Hi Readers!

I am happy to bring to you my first Author Spotlight!

JOQ

Recently, I had interviewed author J.O. Quantaman about himself and a bit about his science fiction novel Loose Threads: Cool Assassin’s 1.

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I would like to think J.O. for allowing me the chance to interview him.

Synopsis:
Nyssa has spent years in virtual bondage to a Japanese pimp before she landed at Dog Breakfast, a co-op dedicated to urban security and espionage. She is welcomed despite her woeful past. She begins training as an operative and soon finds the physical hurdles almost beyond reach. But she can’t turn back because the co-op has become “home” and if she fails she’d mess up her chances with Cook. Kazuo has lost touch with the stone fox he met at the ski resort. He will meet her again, but in a way he doesn’t expect.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
University trained, I’ve worked as photographer, fishing guide, cab driver, author and software developer. At present I’m semiretired. I meet with a writers’ critique group as I work on the sequel.

What inspired you to write “Loose Threads: Cool Assassins 1”?
I’ve always been a voracious reader. I admire authors who dramatize unusual societies and “what if” thought experiments. Some ideas always get ignored because they’re too controversial. I got tired waiting for an established author to tackle such off-the-wall themes, so I tried it myself. Little did I realize how much work was involved…

What is the genre?
Very tough question. I write historical fiction that happens to occur around the 2070s. What does that make me? A sci-fi author? I have no interest in predictions. If anything, my characters dramatize how our current society might evolve if humans take a certain crooked road.

What draws you to this genre?
I love reading good history books. Some of the best, in my opinion, are fictional histories because readers can see and hear and smell through the fictional characters. Fictional history brings strange or alien customs to life.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?
I let my characters determine how the plot will evolve. If my characters get lost in action, I need a friendly editor or outside observer to put me and my characters back on track.

What inspired your protagonist?
I’ve had the good fortune to meet with several very strong women. My protagonist for “Loose Threads” is a composite of these.

How did you get in touch with your inner villain?
Crimes only happen because there is opportunity for profit. Serial killers wouldn’t get very far if they got caught attacking their 1st-victims. I want to live in a society where most crimes simply aren’t profitable, so citizens have better things to do. An honest person exerts 70% less energy to achieve the same goal as a dishonest person. So let’s make sure the dishonest person gets 70% less reward for his efforts.

What was the hardest part to write in “Loose Threads”?
Editing. Correcting. Rewriting and then more editing.

What was your favorite part of your book to write?
eBooks are never finished. They can be updated a-thousand times if necessary. I’d like to reach the point where I put the final period on “Loose Threads.”

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?
I’m a full time writer though I procrastinate enough to be a part time writer. When I’m not writing, I’m reading, surfing online, walking, cooking or stubbing my toes.

What are you currently reading?
This month I’ve read or am reading: “Rise of the Robots” by Martin Ford; “Empire of Cotton” by Sven Beckert; “Black Hills” by Dan Simmons; “Lili” by Schlomo Kalo; “Esquelle and the Tesla Protocol” by Joe Dacy II; “The Blacker Death” by Larry Enright; “Diablo Nights” by Carmen Amato; “Run Girl” by Eva Hudson.

Who would you say are your favorite authors?
Colleen McCullough, Greg Bear, Connie Willis, Cixin Liu and dozens of others.

How about your favorite books? What would be your top 5?
“Darwin’s Radio” by Greg Bear;
“To Say Nothing of the Dog” by Connie Willis;
“The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” by Steg Larsson;
“Song of Troy” by Colleen McCullough;
“Caesar’s Women” by Colleen McCullough.

What are your future projects, if any?
I am writing the sequel “Hot Wheels” and researching backdrops and plot ideas for subsequent sequels.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
My Website has forms for comments or questions on every page.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
There are hundreds of thousands of new books published each year, so don’t expect to become a bestselling author overnight. It may take years or decades to establish a reputation. Meanwhile focus on making your book as error-free and enjoyable as possible.

If you check him out on his website, you can access the prologue and the first three chapters of Loose Threads: Cool Assassin’s 1. As well as a “behind the scenes” of his novel.

Thank you again to J.O. Quantaman.

Where to Buy:
Amazon CAN
Amazon US

 

 

50 Books in a Year · Book Reviews

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman


Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Berkley Books
Date of Release: August 1, 2003
Pages and Format: 304 pages; eBook.
My Rating:
2 Stars

I wish, really wish, that I could say that I enjoyed this book. But this is one of those rare times where the movie was actually better than the book.

“For more than two hundred years, the Owens women had been blamed for everything that went wrong in their Massachusetts town. And Gillian and Sally endured that fate as well; as children, the sisters were outsiders. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, but all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One would do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they shared brought them back-almost as if by magic…”

From the synopsis, it almost seems like it is going to promise this rich, fulfilling book that reaches amazing heights. However, it didn’t really do that.
While Alice Hoffman is great at creating an atmosphere with great descriptions that are almost poetic, her characters were hugely lacking. In fact, it doesn’t begin to pick up until near the end. All of the characters seem to kind of reveal themselves at the last point like “surprise, we have personalities!”

The movie, however, is all encompassingly beautiful. The scenery in where it takes place, the actors who were chosen to portray their respective characters. Sandra Bullock gives life to Sally and Nicole Kidman makes Gillian look like fun. The Aunts, played by Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest; there is no missing how spirited and spunky these two sisters are. Plus, Goran Visnjic as Jimmy Angelov; who is creepy yet hot at the same time!
large Ahhh! Yes!

It’s just too bad that this fell so flat for me. However, it won’t deter me from reading more from Alice Hoffman. Who knows, maybe it is because Practical Magic is one of my favourite movies but there is more out there to be read!

*This was one of my own “to be read” books.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm

Instructions if you’d like to play along!
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

“I reached for the flashlight, and was about to turn it off when I noticed the scarring that extended down her neck, disappearing beneath her top, then reappearing on her arm. Pulling my glove off, I reached my fingers out and traced the markings on her cheek.”
Page 131 of Emerge by Heather Sunseri

There is my teaser for Tuesday. I hope to keep up with this theme on Tuesdays and give you a peek into what I’m currently reading.

Let’s see your Teaser Tuesday! Maybe I can extend my constantly growing TBR list, haha!

Stay tuned this week for Practical Magic and Emerge review!