Saturday, 31 May 2014

Insomnia - Sale Alert

To celebrate the upcoming release of Paranoia, the second book in the Night Walkers series, the e-book version of Insomnia is now on sale for just $1.99!

Insomnia (The Night Walkers #1)
by J.R. Johansson

Her eyes saved his life.
Her dreams released his darkness.

After four years of sleeplessness, high school junior Parker Chipp can't take much more. Every night, instead of sleeping, he enters the dreams of the last person he's made eye contact with. If he doesn't sleep soon, Parker will die.

Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that is utterly addictive. But what starts out as a chance meeting turns into an obsession; Parker's furious desire for what he needs pushes him to extremes he never thought he'd go. And when someone begins to terrorizing Mia with twisted death threats, Parker's memory blackouts leave him doubting his own innocence.


Get your copy today, because this sale will only last until June 5th.

Find buy links here

Friday, 30 May 2014

Armchair BEA - Young Adult

And it's time for the last Armchair BEA post.

I had lots of fun and will probably participate again next year (unless by some miracle I will be visiting the real BEA ;-)

Today's topic is Young Adult. I will confess I wasn't feeling creative when I tried to come up with a post, so here are 4 YA books that will release later this year, and that I'm really looking forward to reading.

Rain (Paper Gods #2)by Amanda Sun

American Katie Green has decided to stay in Japan. She's started to build a life in the city of Shizuoka, and she can't imagine leaving behind her friends, her aunt and especially Tomohiro, the guy she's fallen in love with. But her return is not as simple as she thought. She's flunking out of Japanese school and committing cultural faux pas wherever she goes. Tomohiro is also struggling—as a Kami, his connection to the ancient gods of Japan and his power to bring drawings to life have begun to spiral out of control.

When Tomo decides to stop drawing, the ink finds other ways to seep into his life—blackouts, threatening messages and the appearance of unexplained sketches. Unsure how to help Tomo, Katie turns to an unexpected source for help—Jun, her former friend and a Kami with an agenda of his own. But is Jun really the ally he claims to be? In order to save themselves, Katie and Tomohiro must unravel the truth about Tomo's dark ancestry, as well as Katie's, and confront one of the darkest gods in Japanese legend.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy #3) by Sarah Rees Brennan

Who will be the sacrifice?

Kami has lost the boy she loves, is tied to a boy she does not, and faces an enemy more powerful than ever before. With Jared missing for months and presumed dead, Kami must rely on her new magical link with Ash for the strength to face the evil spreading through her town.

Rob Lynburn is now the master of Sorry-in-the-Vale, and he demands a death. Kami will use every tool at her disposal to stop him. Together with Rusty, Angela, and Holly, she uncovers a secret that might be the key to saving the town. But with knowledge comes responsibility—and a painful choice. A choice that will risk not only Kami’s life, but also the lives of those she loves most.

This final book in the Lynburn Legacy is a wild, entertaining ride from beginning to shocking end.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Mortal Danger (Immortal Game #1) by Ann Aguirre

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn't imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She's not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he's impossible to forget.

In one short summer, her entire life changes, and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly... bad things are happening. It's a heady rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil's bargains, she isn't sure who—or what--she can trust. Not even her own mind...

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson

A year ago Hurricane Josephine swept through Savannah, Georgia, leaving behind nothing but death and destruction — and taking the life of Dovey's best friend, Carly. Since that night, Dovey has been in a medicated haze, numb to everything around her.

But recently she's started to believe she's seeing things that can't be real ... including Carly at their favorite cafe. Determined to learn the truth, Dovey stops taking her pills. And the world that opens up to her is unlike anything she could have imagined.

As Dovey slips deeper into the shadowy corners of Savannah — where the dark and horrifying secrets lurk — she learns that the storm that destroyed her city and stole her friend was much more than a force of nature. And now the sinister beings truly responsible are out to finish what they started.

Dovey's running out of time and torn between two paths. Will she trust her childhood friend Baker, who can't see the threatening darkness but promises to never give up on Dovey and Carly? Or will she plot with the sexy stranger, Isaac, who offers all the answers — for a price? Soon Dovey realizes that the danger closing in has little to do with Carly ... and everything to do with Dovey herself.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Poison - Book Review

by Bridget Zinn

What is it about:
Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

What did I think of it:
See that pink critter on the cover?
That's a pig!
So three guesses why I picked this book up ;-)

Luckily the pig isn't the only good thing about this book: it turned out to be a very entertaining read.

Kyra is a cool heroine and the set-up is very intriguing. Then Kyra gets a pig, meets Fred, and things got even better. I loved the interaction between Kyra and Fred. They make a fun couple.

I will confess I have one small point of critique. Important information that is known to Kyra, is held back from the reader for shock effect later on in the story. I do not like it when that happens.

Other than that this is a fun adventure, with lots of action, a dash of romance, and a pig of course! This is Young Adult Fantasy read that doesn't take itself too seriously, but still delivers a suspenseful and enjoyable story.

I will most certainly put this book on my keeper shelves and reread it when i'm in the mood for something fun.

Why should you read it:
it's a very enjoyable Young Adult Fantasy read.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Armchair BEA - Zombies

Today I could pick my own topic, so of course I picked zombies!
The below post was (mostly) posted before in 2011 at Ex-Libris as a guest post.

I’m a big fan of zombies. Zombie book, movies, games: I can’t get enough of them.

I will confess I bought some books purely because there was a mention of zombies on the back.

But it has to be a specific kind of zombie for me. A real zombie to me is an undead, rotting monster with a craving for brains or flesh. A real zombie is the enemy, the evil that has to be fought. No people falling in love with zombies and vice versa for me (apart from the rare exception).

So why zombies?

Zombies are almost always equal to a great, exciting story. I mean: “Plague/virus/whatever kills off a lot of humans, but they rise again as undead monsters hungry for the flesh of those who survived the plague” is a plot that is difficult to turn into something boring (although it can be done sadly enough) and lends itself as a perfect backdrop for any kind of story.

Let me give you a few examples.

100 Days in Deadland by Rachel Aukes
This is a totally awesome Post Apocalyptic read that I can advice to anyone who loves a good zombie story. It has so much emotion and a gritty, action-packed story. That it's a remake of Dante's Inferno is a bonus, but believe me: you don't need to have read it to enjoy and love this book.

Soulless by Christopher Golden
Sure there are zombies and they’re doing their best to eat their way through humanity in a gruesome way, but above all this Young Adult book is about human nature and how people act in a crisis, about what makes one person a hero and another a coward.

Once Bitten, Twice Dead by Bianca D’Arc
The action storyline of this Paranormal Romance is all about fighting zombies hungry for human flesh, but in between the fighting and surviving there’s some hot romance, maybe even more intense because of the danger the lead characters face.

Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter by A.E. Moorat
In between the werewolves, demons and bloody zombie mayhem there are some very interesting historical facts to discover.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Zombies are just the thing that can convince your zombie loving friends to finally read this all time classic. There's also a graphic novel made out of this book, for those who love to have some visuals to go with the story.

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
This post-apocalyptic Young Adult story is filled with zombies, but apart from that it’s a beautiful story about family and how a 15 year old boy finds his place in life.


So there you go: Everything is better with zombies!

Seriously: If you like lots of action and excitement, if you aren’t afraid to be a little disturbed by what you read, if you want a story that holds you on the edge of your seat: you really should consider picking up a zombie book.

And you?
Is there a creature or trope you can't get enough of?

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Armchair BEA - Beyond the Borders

Today’s topic is about diversity.

As I mentioned in my post about graphic novels earlier this week: one of my first heroines was Yoko Tsuno, a young Japanese electro mechanic, who has exciting adventures both in space and on earth. I still reread the Yoko Tsuno series by Roger Leloup regularly.

What I’m trying to say is that from a very young age I was encouraged to read anything that I might find interesting. I grew up reading about different cultures, people leading different lives, and far away places.

So for me it’s hard to tell you what book, or character that was very different from me opened my eyes to diversity. In my mind it has always been a part of my reading life.

I do confess that I notice diversity is not common. I have grumbled about YA heroines always being either a feisty redhead or a perfect blonde. I have questioned why there are so few different heroines.

I recently counted how many books I’ve read this year that featured a PoC lead character (PoC = Person of Color). Out of 63 books, 4 had a PoC lead character. I will confess I didn’t dare count how many of those books had a redheaded or blonde lead character, because I’m afraid of the answer ;-)

So yes:
Diversity is something that deserves attention.
Here are some suggested reads:

Dark Oracle and Rogue Oracle by Alayna Williams
The hero is Asian.

The Last Herald Mage trilogy by Mercedes Lackey
The lead character is gay.
This trilogy deals a lot with how the lead character tries to come to terms with being gay, but other books by Lackey have gay characters that are secure in their sexuality.

Ride the Wind by Lucia St. Clair Robson
A romanticized, but powerful and interesting story about the Comanche.

The Mercy Thompson series, or the Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs
Both series have lead characters that are part Native American

The Blood of Eden trilogy by Julie Kagawa
The lead character is Asian


Got any suggestions for me?
What books should I add to my wishlist?

On McPig's Wishlist - The Fearless

This sounds so cool, and I just love the cover!

The Fearless
by Emma Pass

The Fearless. An army, powered by an incredible new serum that makes each soldier stronger, sharper, faster than their enemies. Intended as a force for good, the serum has a terrible side-effect - anyone who takes it is stripped of all humanity, empathy, love. And as the Fearless sweep through the country, forcing the serum on anyone in their path, society becomes a living nightmare.

Cass remembers the night they passed through her village. Her father was Altered. Her mother died soon after. All Cass has left is her little brother - and when Jori is snatched by the Fearless and taken to their hellish lair, Cass must risk everything to get him back.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Armchair BEA - Giveaway

You can't have a big book event without a chance to get a free book.

Make sure to visit the Armchair BEA site for lots of cool giveaways!

When I was scheduling my giveaway for Armchair BEA, I pondered what book I'd pick for my giveaway. Jessica from Notes of a Book Lover suggested City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare.

As I'm currently reading the Mortal Instrument series (I'm on book 2) that seemed like a good idea, but still I wanted to also promote books that I have read and really love.

So here's the deal:

You can chose from the following books:

City of Heavenly Fire By Cassandra Clare
One of the other Mortal Instrument books
The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle
The Outside by Laura Bickle
The Mark of the Tala by Jeffe Kennedy

I will be honest and confess I think you should pick a book by Laura Bickle or Jeffe Kennedy, but it's up to you. Make sure to click the links to go to my reviews if you want to know more before making your decision.

The rules:

One person will win one of the above mentioned books (winner's choice)

- Fill in the form here to enter the giveaway.
- Leave a comment on this post telling me which book you want to win, or which book you think I should read, or something like that, to earn 1 extra entry in the giveaway
- Do so before June 9th 2014 (I will pick a winner soon after that date)
- Open to anyone who's legally allowed to enter this giveaway and lives somewhere the bookdepository ships to.

Winner will be contacted by email and posted in this blog post.

The winner is Debby! An email has been sent to notify her.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Armchair BEA - Short Stories

I’m a big fan of anthologies, especially themed ones that contain short stories by lots of different authors.

It’s the perfect way to read short stories with a theme that speaks to me, and to discover new-to-me authors. I have found several authors this way, and still have some on my list that I should investigate further.

I will list three anthologies that I really enjoyed:

Imaginary Friends - edited by John Marco and Martin H. Greenberg

I love this anthology. Most of the stories in it are enjoyable if not beautiful. This anthology introduced my to Anne Bishop. Her short story Stands a God Within the Shadows is still the most beautiful and captivating story I’ve read from her to this day. I reread it a lot.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Halloween: Magic, Mystery, and the Macabre
edited by Paula Guran

This Halloween themed anthology contains so many gems. Out of the 18 stories in this book I loved 14 of them, so it is well worth the read. My two favorite stories are From Dust by Laura Bickle and The Halloween Men by Maria V. Snyder.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Shards and Ashes - Anthology
by Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, Veronica Roth, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Rachel Caine, Nancy Holder, Beth Revis and Carrie Ryan

An anthology with Dystopian stories!
There should be more anthologies with this theme in my opinion.
I did add Beth Revis and Kami Garcia on my radar after reading this book.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Do you know any themed anthologies you think I should give a try?

Frost - Book Review

Frost (The Frost Chronicles #1)
by Kate Avery Ellison

What is it about:
In the icy, monster-plagued world of the Frost, compassion might get a person killed, and Lia Weaver knows this better than anyone. After the monsters kill her parents, she must keep the family farm running or risk losing her siblings to reassignment by the village Elders. With dangers on all sides, she can't afford to let her emotions lead her astray.

But when her sister finds a fugitive bleeding to death in the forest, a young man from beyond the Frost named Gabe, Lia does the unthinkable. She saves his life.

Giving shelter to the fugitive could get her in trouble. The Elders have always described the advanced society of people beyond the Frost, the "Farthers," as ruthless and cruel. Lia is startled to find that Gabe is empathetic and intelligent-and handsome. And she might even be falling for him.

But time is running out. The monsters in the forest are growing bold and restless. The village leader is starting to ask questions. Farther soldiers are searching for Gabe. Is compassion-and love-worth the risk? Finally, when a startling discovery challenges everything she thought was true about her life, Lia realizes exactly what she must do.

What did I think of it:
This is a nice read.

I will confess it wasn't as suspenseful, or as emotional as I had hoped. Another problem I had with this story is that Lia never really grew on me. I couldn't get a sense of her. There could have been more glimpses into her thoughts and emotions in my opinion.

The setting was intriguing, but could have been expanded on as well. Some things didn't make sense to me.

Still this is an enjoyable, although unsurprising read. There are some things that happened (and some characters) that make me curious where Ellison will take this series next. I'm not sure if I'm curious enough to give the second book a try though.

Why should you read it:
It's an enjoyable YA Fantasy read

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Armchair BEA - Expanding Blogging Horizons

Today's topic is about how I've expanded on my blogging by redesigning my blog, or vlogging, or working on a story to get publshed, etc...

Well, I’m keeping this one short.

I myself stick to my usual blogging, but I’m a muse to my owner’s writing and I help Voodoo Bride with her writing as well. Mostly I tell both of them to add more zombies, which they mostly ignore.

But if you are interested in seeing what Voodoo Bride does, you can check out Voodoo Bride Writes

There’s a Fantasy Romance written by Voodoo Bride posted in chapters there.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Armchair BEA - More Than Just Words

Today we’re talking about other ways to tell a story than just with words.

For me it was easy to decide what talk about for this topic:
Graphic novels.

I grew up with graphic novels and comics around me. My first heroes were Yoko Tsuno from Roger Leloup’s Yoko Tsuno series, and Philip Mortimer for Edgar P. Jacobs’ Blake and Mortimer series. I always kept on the look out for more graphic novels to fall in love with, and this is how I discovered Neil Gaiman: a friend let me borrow Sandman. I fell in love with it. The Sandman series is wonderful. There are so many cool characters, and the stories are magical and haunting at times.

But why are graphic novels so great?

I ‘read’ the first Yoko Tsuno book before I could read the text. But even without text I was engrossed in the pictures, telling me an exciting story about a young Japanese woman who has adventures in space. To this day when I read De 3 Zonnen van Vinea (The 3 Suns of Vinea) the story that I made up myself those first few times I ‘read’ the book, lingers somewhere in the background.

What I’m trying to get to, is how pictures can tell so much, even without text. Sometimes a picture can tell more than text ever could. Just look at the below pictures for example. On the left is Olrik, the villain from the Blake and Mortimer series by Edgar P. Jacobs. On the right: Edgar P. Jacobs. I think it’s pretty clear who Jacobs used as inspiration for his villain. If he had used words instead of pictures, I’m not sure anyone would be able to pick up on who the villain is based on. And yes: it’s an interesting look inside Jacobs' mind, that he based the looks of Olrik on himself, instead of painting himself as one of the heroes.

All in all I love reading graphic novels, and I’m always on the look out for new ones that are both beautifully drawn and have a great story to tell.

The Mark of The Tala - Release Day Alert

Today is the release day of The Mark of the Tala, a wonderful Fantasy Romance by Jeffe Kennedy. Go get a copy as soon as possible!

The Mark of the Tala
by Jeffe Kennedy

The tales tell of three sisters, daughters of the high king. The eldest, a valiant warrior-woman, heir to the kingdom. The youngest, the sweet beauty with her Prince Charming. No one says much about the middle princess, Andromeda. Andi, the other one.

Andi doesn't mind being invisible. She enjoys the company of her horse more than court, and she has a way of blending into the shadows. Until the day she meets a strange man riding, who keeps company with wolves and ravens, who rules a land of shapeshifters and demons. A country she'd thought was no more than legend--until he claims her as its queen.

In a moment everything changes: Her father, the wise king, becomes a warlord, suspicious and strategic. Whispers call her dead mother a traitor and a witch. Andi doesn't know if her own instincts can be trusted, as visions appear to her and her body begins to rebel.

For Andi, the time to learn her true nature has come. . .

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Armchair BEA - Author Interaction

I’ve been very lucky in author interactions. Often you hear about all kinds of drama going on and authors behaving badly, but I’ve had so many wonderful interactions.

My first author interaction was with a Dutch author. Midas Dekkers was visiting our local bookstore and I went there to get a book signed by him. He was kind enough to pose with me for a picture and we even made the local news together!

Most interactions with authors I have online. I’m the kind of pig who can’t stay quiet when loving a book, so I often either send an email, or find the author in question on twitter to tell how much I loved their book. This way I came into contact with great authors like Gini Koch, Carolyn Crane and Jess Haines.

Laura Bickle I came into contact with because I couldn’t get one of her books in our local bookstore. She kindly sent a signed copy to me when I asked her how I could get hold of her book. Following Laura Bickle around online I ended up on the blog Word-Whores where I met Jeffe Kennedy, Marcella Burnard, Kerry Schafer and other cool authors.

So not only is interacting with authors online fun, you can also run into other authors when doing so, and discover beautiful books you wouldn’t have otherwise.

I can confess I see some of the authors I met online as friends. They’ve helped me out, sent me wonderful presents and are the most awesome people you can imagine. I hope to one day meet them in real life, but living in the Netherlands that’s not easily arranged.

As for meeting authors in real life:

Last November I went to World Fantasy Con in Brighton and there I met some really cool authors. Suzanne McLeod was even kind enough to let me tag along on the first day of the con, when I was pretty much overwhelmed by being at my first con.

I also met Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan and Amanda Sun at WFC. I met Joanne Harris who told me about Zombies, Run, a great running app that my owner now uses to learn to run away from zombies.

And, and…

I met Neil Gaiman!

I acted like a total fan piggy, and he probably thought I was a loon, but it was awesome!

You can bet I will be visiting another con sometime in the future!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Armchair BEA - Literature

Armchair BEA - Literature

I was taught that something is only literature (literatuur in dutch) if it follows three rules:

1 Art for the sake of art
Meaning that it shouldn’t contain a lesson, or meaning.

2 - Individualism
It should be about the most secret inner emotions of the author.

3 - Naturalism
The author should look at his/her characters as a biologist looks at an anthill and should not shy away from the banal things.

So, yeah…
Not only do these three things contradict each other a bit in my opinion, it also makes for books with either really heavy subjects, or with more sexy times than an erotic romance (and those sexy time aren’t really sexy most of the time.)

I can tell you I didn’t really enjoy my required reading at school. A lot of Dutch Literature isn’t my cup of tea.

My preferred kind of books are what in Dutch is called ‘lektuur’. I’m not sure if there’s an English word for it. The closest the internet searches for a translation gave me is ‘reading matter’.

Lektuur is far removed from literatuur according to the rules I was taught. Literatuur isn’t written with the reader in mind, lektuur is. And according to some lektuur is worth far less than literatuur because of that.


I do not care!

Give me lektuur if that means it’s about zombies, werewolves, or any other cool Urban Fantasy or SciFi creature. If it tells a cool story that grabs me and takes me away to far off places, or places close by that suddenly are infused with magic and wonder.

Most probably there are books out there that are literatuur and that are beautiful and individualistic and naturalistic. And I’m happy they are out there, that there are authors who write them, and that there are people who love to read those books. And if such a book crosses my path I won’t avoid reading it.

But for most part I’ll stick to my beloved Urban Fantasy, Dystopia and SciFi. I’ll plunge into the worlds that the authors of my favorite genres write to entertain both themselves and their readers.

I think both literatuur and lektuur are important and even though I enjoy lektuur more than literatuur I won’t say one of them is better than the other. Both have value and have their own part to play.

How about you?