Category Archives: In Review

The Ugly Princess by Henderson Smith

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review
3.5/5 stars
I love The Ugly Princess for its message and for having a truly ugly heroine. It’s message, that beauty is only skin deep, came through strong, right from the first page. I especially loved how happy the heroine, Olive, was to be ugly in exchange for her other gifts and how she rejoiced in every new boil and wart.

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Short & sharp: Ceylon & Rose Petals

My first Monstrositea Tea Subscription came this week, including a sample of ceylon pekoe and one of rose petals. I immediately tired one of their suggested recipes (1/2 tsp of ceylon pekoe and 1/2 tsp of rose petals). Brewed for 5 minutes, served black.

Verdict: Not the best cup of tea I’ve ever had. I’m definitely a black tea kind of girl, and this needs more of it.

Altaica by Tracy M Joyce

I’d been hanging out to read Altaica ever since I saw the cover art (yes, I know, I’m shallow) and once I had my hands on it, I devoured it (in the literary sense). The storyline was engaging, the plot kept rolling along and there was never a moment when I was bored or tempted to put the book down.

At the start, I did have a little trouble with the frequent changes in point of view – which sometimes happened three or four times within the same scene – but I quickly became used to the head jumping.

My only quibble was, because there were so many characters to keep up with, I didn’t have the chance to connect with any of them. There were a few scenes (the one with the horses and the river springs to mind – you’ll know it when you read it) that weren’t as heart-stopping as they could have been because I hadn’t REALLY connected to the characters and didn’t care enough about their plight. Maybe if one or two of the minor characters hadn’t had their own point of view, I’d have had more time to get to know the others and those moments would have been as gut wrenching as I know they could have been.

Will I buy the sequel? YES! Despite my quibble, I enjoyed Altaica and I’m looking forward to what Ms Joyce springs on us next.

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My Bookshelf on WWW Wednesday

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz Alliance by Mark Frost Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula by Elise Stokes Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach

I’m currently reading Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz and Alliance by Mark Frost.

I started watching the television spin-off of Witches of East End. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible either, so I thought I’d give the book a go. So far, I’m 8% of the way into the ebook and, like the television show, it’s entertaining, if not brilliantly executed.

As for Alliance, the previous book in the series, The Paladin Prophecy, sucked me in right away, but this one is taking longer. Plus, I’m going to be really, really surprised if the hero still has a girlfriend by the end of the story, because, three chapters in, he’s just done something really stupid.

I recently finished reading Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula by Elise Stokes. There were a few awkward passages, notably the prologue (thankfully, it was short), but other than that, it was an enjoyable read. Aimed at the young teen crowd and (woohoo!) light on the romance, it’s a superhero novel with a detective feel.

Next, I think I’ll read Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach. I recently read The Spirit Thief, by the same author, and it was pretty funny. Think Ocean’s Eleven with wizards, talking rocks and a really big dog.

WWW Wednesdays, hosted by ShouldBeReading.wordpress.com.

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly event for readers, hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.

Want to join in?

It’s easy, just answer these three questions, post your answers on a Wednesday and join in the fun by leaving a link on Should Be Reading!

The questions. What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What are you reading next?

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Teaser Tuesday: The Towers of the Sunset

Can you see how the pieces fit together? Not just the visible ones, like the towers of the sunset, but those unseen, like the heart of a man or the soul of a wizard.

The cover of The Towers of the Sunset by L.E. Modesitt Jnr.

A good book, although the lack of a blurb is confusing.

What’s awesome about it

  • The langauge is beautiful (as you can see above)
  • The worldbuilding and the use of the word ‘masculine’.

What’s not-so-awesome

  • There’s no blurb! At least on my copy. This makes it very hard to place the book in context to the first, The Magic of Recluce
  • The last half of the book is kinda boring
  • Magera is a twit.

Would I buy the sequel? I already did, in fact, not only did get the sequel, The Magic Engineer, I splurged on its sequels as well, The Order War and The Death of Chaos. I just haven’t read them yet.  Continue reading »

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Blake Synder’s Beat Sheet, with template

Cover of Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

If you want to understand how the beat sheet works, check out this book.

Best for those outling a new work.

What’s awesome about it

  • The word count for each beat

What’s not-so-awesome

  • It’s daunting, especially when your manuscript is half-written
  • No capacity to outline subplots

The awesome

When I first came across Blake Synder’s Beat Sheet (BS2), I was half-way through the manuscript for Hero and the word count for each beat made me to blanch. The idea of trying to shoehorn my (at that point in time) pantsed story into all of those little boxes (opening image, catalyst, black moment) with their prescribed word counts, was more than my brain could take, but when I went back to the BS2, a new story in mind, they appeared as godsends.  Continue reading »

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First Draft in 30 Days – The Wiesner method

The cover of First Draft in 30 Days by Karen Wiesner

That’s one seductive title.

When a book has a title like First Draft in 30 Days, it can be hard to pass up. If it’s sitting on the shelf at your local library, passing it up is practically impossible, which is why I picked Karen Wiesner’s attractively title book.

The idea that I could write a first draft, or in Wiesner’s case, an incredibly detailed outline (which she equates to a first draft), is seductive. So far, it hasn’t happened yet (mostly, because I’m currently writing the second draft of another work) but the dream remains. Continue reading »

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Review: Goldrush by Steven Lochran

Goldrush by Steven Lochran

I love superheroes, and those sunnies are cool too.

I just had to read this book; when I saw it on Kobo.com the want drove me crazy. It drove me so crazy that when I discovered my local library didn’t have a copy but one of its sister libraries did, I drove half an hour to pick it up. Like I said, crazy.

What, you may ask, drove me so crazy? Well, I would answer, I have this thing for superheroes… Plus it had a really cool cover (so I’m shallow; sue me). You can see the original art (which is even cooler) here.

Some sort of cross between The Incredibles and X-men, Goldrush is a classic superhero story where a reluctant hero (Sam) must embrace his special powers in order to save the world. I liked Sam’s reasons for not wanting to use his powers/be a superhero, although, until they were explained in full, those reasons were a little wishy washy. I particularly liked how Lochran made these reasons feel real (when he did explain them fully) by putting names and faces to the people who were injured when Sam first used his power.

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Pledged by Gwynneth White

The cover of 'Pledged' by Gwynneth White

I love this cover, it’s simple yet eye-catching.

Pledged, a paranormal-romance for young adults, makes a good first impression. The cover is well designed, the book trailer impressive and the blurb intriguing, however the story, while good, wasn’t great.

Immediately engaging, with excellent descriptions of place, I felt that the story moved too quickly and that too much happened. Seth and Erin, the protagonists, seemed to spend all of their time jumping from one event to another with little or no time for the reader to take a breath and really get to know them. Perhaps, if the plot hadn’t had so many twists and turns, and so many characters, White could have spent more time involving us in Erin and Seth’s plight. As it is, White has us following three romances (one of which is love/lust triangle, making it doubly complicated) and two father–son relationships, which is too much for a single book.
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Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce

The cover of Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce

People with way too much time on their hands may wonder why Beka’s boots feature a zip and three-inch block heels.

Bloodhound is the second book in the Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce. The story follows Beka, now a first-year Dog (aka police officer), as she and her partner Goodwin track down a group of colemongers (aka counterfeiters). Along the way she picks up a scent hound named Achoo, falls in love and saves the day.

What I liked and didn’t like

Bloodhound is written in a journal style. I haven’t read many books in this style but I find it very difficult to believe that someone could recount their day with as much detail as Beka does. Perhaps Pierce should have ditched the journal idea and just made it first person?

Beka is the many times great grandmother of George Cooper, a prominent character from The Song of the Lioness series. Generally these types of books, in which characters from previous novels make cameo appearances, drive me batty, but given that there’s a few hundred years between this book and the Alanna series, there wasn’t much chance of that happening. Continue reading »

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