Saturday, 31 January 2015

There's a House in the Land (DNF)

Hi there!

Pssst! Enter my HUGE birthday bash giveaway!

Title: There’s a House in the Land
Author:  Shaun D. Mullen
Publisher:  Fishy Business Press
Published Date:  7th August 2014
Rating: DNF

*Thank you to the author for the review copy*

Synopsis: A character in the "Doonesbury" comic strip once called the 1970s "A kidney stone of a decade,' and compared to the 1960s and 1970s it was. It also was a time of bad hair and bad music, but none of this mattered to the mutant tribe who lived on a farm in Philadelphia's far western suburbs that at first glance would seem to have been one of the communes ubiquitous during that era but most definitely was not. "There's a House In The Land" is the story of that tribe, that farm and an extraordinarily magical time.

Review: I just couldn’t get into this book. All the time I wasn’t liking it, I still persisted because I had been sent a paperback copy for review and wanted to make the most of it. Then came the promise of Bob Marley, but once I knew he arrived on the farm a day when no one was there, that was it. I couldn’t read anymore. I DNFed at page 208 out of 284.

I will give you the main reasons I didn’t like this book in a list (because the book was also kind of listy.)

1.      The List. The book was like one huge list! It started off by listing the characters, then listing all the setting scenes, then all the dogs names, then all the things that happened in one day. It was like a huge list to me, and reading lists is boring.

2.      It was written in third person. We had a main character but the chapters were rarely about what he was doing and more so about the others. A first person voice could’ve helped that, but well, the main character wasn’t anyone special or unique. He was kinda… boring.

3.      There needed to be more emotion in this book. I wasn’t feeling anything for anyone.

Bottom line was that I was bored. There was even a promise of a band but I didn’t really get to see much of a band? That might come in the later pages though. I just feel like it should’ve been there earlier because that’s in the title as well.

Olivia’s Question: Do you like making lists?

Olivia-Savannah x

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Sisterhood Tag & My Birthday Bash Giveaway!

Hey guys! This is going to be a long post, so feel free to skip to the parts you want to!

Today is my sixteenth birthday and I am all ready to celebrate! My 15th year was a pretty amazing one for me. I was able to go to many amazing countries, like Cyprus, England, China and Portugal. I have made some great new blogger friends and Olivia's Catastrophe has grown so much! I'm loving basketball, won Nanowrimo 2014, managing at school and generally, I feel a lot happier than I did the year before. I hope this maintains through to my sixteenth year as well. To celebrate we have a giveaway! But first here comes a tag :D

The Tag:

  • Thank the blogger (s) who nominated you and link back to their site
  • Post the award's logo on your blog
  • Answer the 10 questions you've been asked
  • Nominate 10 bloggers
  • Ask them 10 new questions 
  •   This is the second time I am doing this tag, whereas my first is here. But I will be doing a two in one because I was tagged by both My Addiction: Books and also A French Girl on the Road. Check them both out because they have awesome blogs! I chose the best questions from each lot.

    What is your favourite genre and why?
    If I had to choose one, it would probably be YA or science fiction. I like fantasy a lot too. YA can encompass so much underneath it as well!

    Are you introvert or extrovert? Introvert! I even wrote a discussion about it here.

    What is the book at the top of your TBR list?
    Cinder by Melissa Meyer! It’s the oldest book on my TBR and everyone loves it, so I really want it! (And I have it now!)

    Do you own a pet or do you wish you owned one?
    I was scared of every single kind of animal (except humans, of course xD) up until a year or two ago? So now I really want a black Labrador dog, but my mum says no. Rightly so, because when she asked if I wanted one a while back I said no.

    What's your dream job?
    Ultimately I would love to be a full time author and blogger. It would be a running your own work kind of thing and I know I would love it. But it’s hard to sustain yourself that way sometimes, so my plan B is to be a magazine editor or anything social media related.

    In your opinion, which is the hottest male celebrity?
    Oh noooo don’t make me choose. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is my ultimate male celebrity. But you know, Henry Cavill is worth a mention, Tom Hardy as well xD

    Which movie are you looking forward to see?
    I know this one is already released but I have yet to see Mockingjay! It was a book I didn't like, but so far both movies have been amazing, and I want to try it!

    What book are you most excited for to release?
    It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane. Releasing April 29th 2015 I cannot wait! I loved her book You Had Me At Hello and it was surprisingly not what I expected. I have a review copy and cannot wait to get started. I am trying to restrain myself so the review doesn’t pop up far too many months early.

    Who is your favorite main character and why?
    This is a mean question. How about book boyfriend instead? Because then that is easily Edilio from Gone. No one compares!


    What author would you most like to meet?
    Michael Grant! I love all his books and I want to meet him and then I would fangirl and maybe cry and yes please I would love to meet him.
    And Malorie Blackman! I think it would be awesome to discuss her books with her.
    If you could only keep one of your books, what would you pick?
    Meaaaan question. I refuse to have favouritism amongst my books, I love them all so much.

    Favorite movie/TV show based on a book?
    I really liked Catching Fire, even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the series. So yes, this one definitely trumps over all others. And 12 Years a Slave was done wonderfully. It was worth every award it received.

    Favorite book cover (even if you didn't like the book itself)?
    A book cover I love would be A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray.
    My Questions: 1) What is one of your favourite authors?
    2) Ebooks, Paperback or Hardcover?
    3) What is your favourite genre and why?
    4) Why/when did you start your blog?
    5) Why/when did you start to love reading?
    6) If you could enter a fictional world for a day, which would it be?
    7) Who would be your fictional boyfriend?
    8) What is your opinion about love triangles?
    9) If you could only read series or standalone books for the rest of your life, which would it be?
    10) What is your favourite book blog to follow (Not your own, guys xD) and why?
    I tag:
    Andreea @ Catsfika
    Giveaway Time!
    So, I would like to say a HUGE thank you to all the authors and publishers that came together to make this possible. It was a lot of work underway, and it is really appreciated. You readers may be able to win one of 16 prizes because I am turning 16! Open internationally so everyone can enter. It will be open until the 26th of February. Click the word 'giveaway' below to enter.


    Check out the authors books here below!

    Shut Up by Anne Tibbets: Mary’s older sister, Gwen, has screwed up everything. Not only is Gwen pregnant at seventeen, but she’s also decided to marry the Creep who knocked her up. Now Mary is powerless to stop her family from imploding. Her parents are freaking out, and to top it off, the Creep has a gross fascination with Mary while Gwen enjoys teasing her to tears for sport. Despite her brother’s advice to shut up, Mary can’t keep her trap closed and manages to piss off Mom so much that it comes to blows. Mary doesn’t know what to do, and all her attempts to get help are rejected. When she finally plans her escape, she fails to consider how it could destroy them all.

    Family Secrets by Kat Nichols: An orphan by the age of sixteen, Sophia Morganthal now lives with her best friend and struggles in a world with no relatives. Midway through her Senior year, Sophia finds herself flying across the country to live with a family she never knew existed. She ends up with more questions than answers when she discovers that not only does she come from a long line of witches but that she must be initiated within the year to prevent a battle for coven leadership. 

    Feeling more alone than ever, Sophia finds her solace in books. The journals of past initiates provide her with more than she ever wanted to know and make her question the path she’s on. Amidst all of the upheaval in her life, Sophia also finds one source of happiness – Connor. The last thing she needs is more complications, but Connor is the only person who makes her feel wanted for herself and not for what she stands for. 

    As Sophia learns more about herself, and what being initiated into Blackthorne coven really means, she must answer the ultimate question – would she give up everything for her family?

    An Uncommon Blue by R. C. Hancock: In a society where the color of a person's palm determines their social class, Bruno goes from favored to fugitive when he kills a Royal Guard to save a boy's life. If he wants to survive, Bruno has to learn to accept the lower colors. A thrilling blend of fantasy and adventure perfect for readers everywhere.

    Irony of Time by M. L. Crum: When irony falls upon Miriam… she slams head on into the face of destiny. 

    Miriam Duvall is followed by a shadow cast over her by irony itself. Feeling reborn and falling in love—all within blissful amnesia—this feisty woman accidentally transcends the rules of time, regaining her memory right at the precipice of the most tragic event in her past. Seizing this opportunity, she looks destiny square in the eye and declares this time around, she’s the one in charge. She proceeds to manipulate the events leading to that fatal accident before it deteriorates the family she dearly loves and hurls her down a guilt-ridden path of self-destruction again. 

    Her opportunity for redemption knocks in the form of a handsome but mysterious physicist named Dr. Ian Stone. Shrouded in secrets, this man’s whole existence revolves around preventing the moment evil claimed his soul, robbing him of a life worth living. He has spent centuries calculating how to harness an exorbitant amount of energy, wherein making time travel a reality. However, one variable was never factored into his equations: falling in love. His obsession fuels a deep denial, deflecting his true feelings until his heart wins out at the exact moment he loses Miriam back in time. 

    Their contrasting worlds cohesively collide and repel during a series of climatic events spiraling around a man harboring a dark secret as he travels back in time to fight for a second chance at love, ironically placing this exceptional woman in a position where she must choose between a past life she desperately wants or a future with the man she undeniably loves. 

    Her slap-the-face-of-destiny decisions could deliver her into 
    heartbreaking sadness or possibly set her on a journey of forgiveness that will reset her soul.

    Rise by Davina Okonkwo: A TRUTH THAT CONQUERS ALL LIES? 

    The extraordinary story of how a facially scarred and reclusive sculptress breaks free upon discovering the true source of self-esteem. 

    Riana “Ria” Ofor is a gifted sculptress whose beautiful creations could draw crowds. But due to the childhood accident that left her facially scarred, she avoids selling her work publicly, instead scraping a living through online sales. However, when a home repossession notice arrives, both her love of sculpting, as well as her home, suddenly come under threat. Now she is forced to step out of her comfort zone and enter the very public world of gallery showings. When she does land a gallery contract, she then finds herself the target of a rival artist after the very same contract. Using malicious lies about Ria, he intends to make her regret taking what should have been his. Now, Ria must look to find a truth that conquers all lies. 

    Broken Dreams by Nancy Pennick: Two friends... 
    Blood sisters till the end... 
    Until they’re not. 
    One cold night in a boarding school dorm, two fourteen-year-old girls make a blood sister pact. Friends forever. As young schoolgirls, they’re determined to find true love, learning the hits and misses along the way. As graduation nears, the girls have different outlooks for the future. Lucinda longs for adventure. Anna chooses city life and marriage. Finding their way back together, the girls head west for an experience of a lifetime until a handsome cowboy bursts into their lives, changing the course of their friendship forever. 

    Florence by Ciye Cho: Seventeen-year-old Florence Waverley is out of her depth. Literally.
    Kidnapped and taken below the waves to the mer world of Niemela, she is the ultimate gift for merman Prince Kiren: a human familiar tied to his side. But nothing is what it seems amid the beauty and danger of a dark ocean. 

    Every Niemelan has a role to play, from the mermaids who weave towers out of kelp to the warriors who fight sea monsters. But in trying to survive, Florence will end up in the middle of a war between the mer and the Darkness. A conflict that will push her between two brothers: Kiren, the charmer inexplicably drawn to both her and the monsters; and Rolan, the loner who has been pushing her away since the day they met. But in order to take a stand--and find out where she belongs--Florence will have to risk it all: her life, her heart... and her very soul.

    Fair Game by R.C. Matthews: Leah Anderson has one dating rule…absolutely no men in the medical field! She learned a long time ago from her biological father that men in the medical field care about one thing–themselves. Leah reluctantly agrees to spend one evening dirty dancing with her best friend’s brother, Jared, despite the fact that he is a medical student and real jerk to boot. Anything to help out her best friend! 

    Jared Billette has secretly crushed on Leah for years and acts like a real jerk to her to keep his attraction in check. Some things in life are simply taboo, and dating your sibling’s best friend is one of them. That is until his sister Jordan breaks all the rules by dating Jared’s best friend JT. Now pursuing Leah is suddenly fair game. If only he can help Leah see that her own stupid rules are meant to be broken. 

    Sedich by R. Ann Humphries (Check out my review for it!): Rilan Crendu is a slave. Laboring alongside the rest of his conquered race, he lives his life at the whims of his Regiment overlords. But when a secret society captures him and leads him to touch the Sedich – a centuries-old stone imbued with the power of the Creator – Rilan becomes not only a rebel, but the rebel leader.

    Able to control fire with his hands, Rilan attracts the attention of the Sovereign - the bloodthirsty leader of the Regiment - whose sole focus is bringing Rilan down. Joined by soldiers, civilians, and slaves from across Lusiartha, Rilan must learn how to command and lead those he once had to obey, and he must do so quickly. For if the Sovereign succeeds and Rilan falls, Lusiartha’s last chance for freedom falls with him.

    The Doorman by Zack Love: Alex seems to have it all: a great penthouse apartment, a lovely girlfriend, and a prestigious Wall Street job. But below the surface he is sure of nothing but his angst-ridden doubts. And when he realizes that his doorman may be God, or sent by God, he will question things like never before. 

    This novelette is a story of New York doormen, tormented love, empty office life, and the theological questions that arise in response to the horrors of evil.

    Missing Nora by Pam B: When Sara’s best friend moves away, she is lonely and sad. She goes with her mom to a pet-sitting job and finds a surprisingly wise helper. Who says dogs can’t understand and help? And who says they can’t talk? This story, the first in a series, is about friends and feelings. Sometimes children's best friends are animals and sometimes they will share with an animal what is difficult to share with a person. Sara finds that to be true when she spends time with a dog named Angel.

    Olivia’s Question: When is your birthday?

    Olivia-Savannah x

    Tuesday, 27 January 2015

    Plotting Your Story (Guest Post)

    Hi there!

    Today is the last day of the series of guest posts about writing on the blog. I hope that they have helped you when it comes to certain aspects of writing your own novel. But as for right now, we have one more post! Pamela Crane, author of The Admirer's Secret has some wisdom for you about your plot.

    Synopsis: It started with a glance. And ended with a nightmare.

    Small-town girl Haley Montgomery meets two men who will change her life forever—the handsome Marc Vincetti, whom she falls head over heels for, and big-time Hollywood producer Allen Michaels, who has the power to turn her screenplay into a movie and hand her a ticket to a better future.

    It seems as though life couldn't get any better—until things take a decidedly dark turn when Haley spots Marc with his former high school sweetheart and Allen develops a consuming obsession with her… a fixation fueled by his disturbing past.

    As Haley faces a choice between love and fame, Marc becomes the target of a homicidal stalker and Haley's life is thrown into a tailspin. Suddenly everything she thought she knew about Marc and Allen is completely wrong—and Haley's life will never be the same again…

    Guest Post: “Plot” isn’t a dirty word. Many writers think so because they’re afraid of their book having not enough plot, too much plot, or too complex of a plot. Where to begin? Where to end? A book revolves around pacing, so it can be hard to figure out the secret to crafting a solid plot. But I’ve always thought of a plot like this: Life is a complex plot. Let me explain where I’m going with this.

    Think back to the ups and downs you’ve experienced—the drama, the relationships, the passion, the heartbreak… Each event leads to something life-changing to you personally. They may be small events or big ones, but they all leave a footprint on your life. Somehow, all of those details influence who you are today.
    Plotting out your book is a lot like life. Each moment builds into another, forming a larger, more complex picture. But plot isn’t all about action, action, action. The key to a satisfying plot that many writers forget is that it should change the characters in some way.
    So, plot and characterization go hand in hand. It’s what books thrive on. Human nature is full of unpredictability, which is what makes a story entertaining and emotional. We all have secrets and dark sides. Don’t believe me? My own life is a perfect example of this—such as when I was attacked by a relative stranger who professed his love for me. Only after a grueling, life-threatening ordeal did I discover he was mentally ill, and that’s where the premise (and my writing therapy) for my thriller The Admirer’s Secret came from. As they say, truth is stranger than fiction, and it all boiled down to one man’s poor choices.
    How do you create a character-changing plot? First, a plot needs to contain a few key ingredients: an opening crisis, a rising conflict that tests the protagonist, and a major event or choice that the protagonist must overcome at the end. The third part is where the evidence of the character’s evolution at last reveals itself to the reader. This general structure applies to most genres, whether suspense, romance, or sci-fi. It’s the journey that will differ based on what kind of tale you’re telling.

    There are many methods for drafting your plot. I prefer to write a chapter outline so that I can control the pacing. I write out what each chapter entails and what big event will unfold. This keeps things organized. As a mother of three young kids, my sanity depends on organization. My outline is also fluid so that I can keep adding and changing it as I go along. My opening crisis may take place in the first chapter, but every chapter can’t be a high. So, my next chapter may involve how the protagonist will respond to the opening crisis. With fluctuating highs and lows in each chapter, my goal is to craft a story around big and small events, and how my character reacts, fails, struggles, and eventually grows. Of course, a character should never respond perfectly the first time around, since you want the protagonist to evolve throughout the tale.
    If you’re an author looking for ways to develop a memorable (in a good way) plot, just keep these questions in mind as you write: How will each event impact my protagonist by the end of the book? How will my protagonist struggle throughout? And how will he or she overcome his or her primary weakness by the end?
    By continuously joining together your plot and characterization, you’ll weave a story that will hook your readers and connect with them emotionally. Just remember—stories are life. They aren’t just events that happen, but they shape the players. So, players, keep playin’!  

    Author Bio: Pamela Crane is a North Carolinian writer of the best-selling psychological thriller The Admirer’s Secret, A Fatal Affair, and her upcoming novel, A Secondhand Life. Along with being a wife and mom of three rug rats, she is a wannabe psychologist, though most people just think she needs to see one. She’s a member of the ITW, ACFW, and EFA, and has been involved in the ECPA, Christy Awards, and Romance Writers of America. Along with delving into people’s minds—or being the subject of their research—she enjoys being a literary reviewer and riding her proud Arabian horse, when he lets her. She has a passion for adventure, and her hopes are to keep earning enough from her writing to travel the world in search of more good story material. Visit her at or follow her on Facebook at . You can pick up a copy of her books on, or most online retailers.
    Olivia's Question: Which book has the best plot twist you've ever read?
    Olivia-Savannah x

    Saturday, 24 January 2015

    Planning Your Story (Guest Post)

    Good morning everyone!

    Today we have another guest post by Summer Lane, author of the lovely apocalyptic novella Day Zero. She's here to talk to you about planning your story!

    Synopsis: Elle is a survivor.
    Since the collapse of modern society, she's been living in the remains of downtown Hollywood, California, foraging for food and fighting for her life.
    And then everything changes.
    After she is forced out of her home, she heads north. What she finds is a group of bunker survivors, unlikely comrades, and the hope of a safe haven. Together, they journey toward the dregs of civilization, facing starvation, imprisonment and death.
    They are alone, but they are ready.
    Day Zero begins today.

    Guest Post: I wrote my first novel when I was thirteen, and at the time, I was the kind of writer who made everything up as I went along. That was all fine and dandy, until I realized that certain plot elements such as foreshadowing were seriously lacking. Many years – and many novels – later I realized that my favorite way to write a story was to do a little pre-planning. It was fun, simple and extremely beneficial to the plot-building process.

    I am currently busy writing two series, with a third in the background. All of my series interconnect, so planning and foreshadowing and plotting my novels in advance is perhaps the most important part of the storytelling process for me. I am releasing the fifth installment in The Collapse Series, State of Alliance, on January 30th, 2015. The motivations and moves of the main characters, Cassidy Hart and Chris Young, have been planned and charted and carefully discussed. The Zero Trilogy (the second installment, Day One, releases in March 2015) ties into The Collapse Series, weaving two separate and distinct tales together, which requires a lot of planning in advance.

    My planning process has become a carefully structured thing, where I sit down at the beginning of each new book and chart out the general plot points of the book that I am about to write. I do this with a team of people who work closely on the series with me, and we take those plot points, grow them, and interconnect them in different ways. I make sure that I know – at the very beginning of the book – where my characters are going in their growth process.

    I firmly believe that planning and plotting in advance is integral to writing and maintaining a good series. Because a series takes readers through such a long period of time and the characters show a lot of change, it’s of the utmost importance that you make the world in which your story is set believable and detailed. It should be as real as the world that you and I live in – maybe even more so.

    Author Bio:
    Summer Lane is the author of the international bestselling YA/NA Romantic Adventure novels of The Collapse Series and The Zero Trilogy. She is an experienced publicist, creative writing teacher and lover of all things feline. 

    Summer owns WB Publishing, a digital publishing company devoted to releasing exciting survival and adventure stories. Summer is also the creator of the online magazine/blog, Writing Belle. She works as a journalist for Traffic Magazine, as well.

    Summer lives in the Central Valley of California, where she spends her time writing, teaching, and writing some more. When she is not writing, she enjoys leisurely visits with friends at coffee shops, watching movies, reading, and visiting the beach or the mountains.  

    Contact Email:

    Olivia's Question: Are you someone who plans what they do before they do it?

    Olivia-Savannah x

    Thursday, 22 January 2015

    Editing Your Story (Guest Post)

    Hey guys!

    Today we have David Burton, author of the lovely novel Seven Sneezes here to talk about editing when it comes to writing!

    Synopsis: Lizzy Anderson is given a cold for her first birthday, and discovers she always sneezes in sevens.

    Her mum worries about her, her dad loses interest, and Lizzy learns to entertain and look after herself.

    Over the years (one chapter for each), we trace Lizzy's childhood, teenage years and then adulthood, first as a single woman, then a wife, a mother and beyond.

    As the years pass we enjoy all her heart-warming highs and suffer all her heart-breaking lows as she navigates through what becomes one woman's life, sparked by one key moment.

    Guest Post: You’ve finished your first draft, so all the hard work is done, right? Well, not quite. Okay, not even close. But enjoy that quality moment and revel in your accomplishment. You should be happy and proud.

    Now… step away from the manuscript. 
    That’s right, the best thing you can do is walk away… 
    Of course, you will return, but give your manuscript time to breathe, and your mind a chance to gain perspective. Weeks would be good; months better.
    And remember: however good a writer you are, a first draft is still only ever that. Most need to be lavished with more hard work before they are ready to be shared with the real world. That first draft can feel like a minor miracle, but if you take time to reflect, re-draft, re-edit, and then compare that first draft with your final, you may well be amazed.
    Here are a few ideas you might want to keep in mind during that editing process:
    Read it aloud, and note anything that distracts or pulls you out of the story.
    Does the story flow? And does each scene move the story forward?
    Did you begin somewhere exciting? In the middle of a key moment?
    Do your characters have problems that require active solutions?
    Is there believable tension and conflict? Is it ultimately resolved?
    Do your characters grow, learn, develop and/or mature?
    Have you used an active voice, i.e., “he walked” not “he was walking”. 
    Check your spelling, and be consistent, be it English or American English.
    Check your homophones, i.e., to/too, their/they’re, hear/here etc.
    Check your tense is consistent, i.e., don’t use “he says” and then “he said”.
    Remove “started to” moments, i.e., “he started to kiss her” to “he kissed her”.
    Break up longer or confusing sentences into shorter, punchier ones.
    Delete adverbs/”LY” words, i.e., “moved quickly” could become “sprinted”.
    Delete and/or replace VERY, i.e., “very sad” could become “depressed”.
    Delete REALLY wherever possible.
    Use realistic contractions, but try to avoid if there could be options.
    Show don’t tell – not the “law” it used to be, but still a story strengthener.
    Does your fiction engage and entertain the reader?
    Have a friend or two read your manuscript, for “basic” ideas/feelings.
    Have 3-5 (preferably honest/helpful) “beta readers” offer more complex notes.
    And there you have it, your re-mastered second, third or… final draft. Take a moment to compare it with your “miracle” first draft, marvel at the improvements, and now truly sit back and smile, because the hard work IS now all done. 
    Well, until you move toward the publication process… :)

    Olivia's Question: Do you like the editing part of the writing process?

    Olivia-Savannah x

    Tuesday, 20 January 2015

    Gift Guide Tag!

    Hi there! Today I've filled out the gift guide tag where you say what gift you would give to a particular kind of reader.
    I was tagged by the lovely Jennie @ A Bookworm Called Jennie! Thank you!

    This tag was created by Crazy For YA so here are a few tips on how to make your version of the tag easier:

    1)Pick at least one book/series for each category

    2) Tag at least 3 bloggers

    3) Add your link to the original post

    So, with that out the way, let's get on with the tag!


    Falling Fast and Burning Bright – Sophie McKenzie



    Seraphina – Rachel Hartmann

    You Had Me At Hello – Mhairi McFarlane and The Admirer’s Secret – Pamela Crane



    Only the Good Die Young – Douglas Trueman


    Enders Game – Orson Scott Card 


    Shatter Point – Jeff Altabef

    Carrier and Walled – Anne Tibbets 


    The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini and Dying for A Living – Kory M. Shrum

    I tag: Jennifer @ Bad Bird Reads
    Manisha @ Escaping Through Ink
    Kristin @ Book Sniffers Anonymous
    Brittney @ Brittney's Book Nook
    Noelia @ A Day in Bookland

    Olivia’s Question: What’s one book you recommend I should read?

    Olivia-Savannah x

    Saturday, 17 January 2015

    The Syrian Virgin (Review)

    Hi there!

    Title: The Syrian Virgin
    Author:  Zack Love
    Publisher:  Self-published

    Published Date:  6th November 2014
    Rating: 3 Stars

    *Thank you to the author for the review copy*
    This book is on a 99 cent sale right now! Here is the authors message: “The Syrian Virgin" has nearly 100 outstanding reviews and, in just a few weeks, will be available at retail sites beyond Amazon. As a thank you, author Zack Love is offering part 1 of this gripping saga for just $0.99 (until January 20). Enjoy this intense story of a love triangle and a forbidden student-teacher relationship set against a tapestry of events ripped straight from the headlines. “The Syrian Virgin” will take you on an emotional journey like no other. Download your copy using these links:
    Amazon (UK):

    Synopsis:  Anissa is traumatized by the most brutal conflict of the 21st Century: the Syrian Civil War. In 2012, Islamists in Homs terrorize a Syrian-Christian community and destroy everything that a young woman holds dear. Narrowly escaping death, Anissa restarts her devastated life as a college student in NY. She is bewildered and lost -- a virgin in every sense.

    But despite her inexperience with men and life in the United States, Anissa is quickly drawn to two powerful individuals: Michael Kassab, the Syrian-American leader working to found the first Mideast Christian state, and Julien Morales, her Columbia University professor who runs a $20 billion hedge fund.

    Complicating matters, Michael is still attached to his ex-girlfriend and Julien is the most sought after bachelor in Manhattan (and has hidden demons even his therapist can't extract). Anissa's heart and her communal ties pull her in different directions, as she seeks hope and renewal in a dark world.

    WARNING: This book is about a young woman's difficult journey: her escape from Syria's Civil War, her transition to a new a country, and the relationships that she forms along the way, including her romantic interests in two very different men. The story is set against the backdrop of the Syrian Civil War and makes reference to violent acts, sometimes in detail. There is some occasional profanity and a few scenes that depict sexual intimacy. Accordingly, the recommended minimum age for readers is 16. The novel might be compared to books like "The Diary of Anne Frank" or "The Kite Runner."

    Review: I actually read this book on the suggestion of one of my blog followers, Letty, who wanted to know what this book was like. Thank you for the suggestion! As soon as I looked into it I wanted to try it. I wanted to know more about the situation in Syria because personally, I didn’t feel like I knew enough.

    This book was pretty good. It was written in diary format with two alternating points of view, but mainly Anissa’s. I really liked the main character, Anissa. She was a brave girl, someone who was hard working and determined to not let the society she ended up in sway her judgment and her own morals. She wasn’t someone who conformed to other people, and you know how much I respect that! So, awesome main character here,

    Nonetheless, this book kind of bordered on having a love triangle? It never veered that way completely, but it dabbled in the idea of having one. In the second book (there will be one!) I think the love triangle will be clearer and more important. For now, if you are a love triangle hater than you needn’t worry ;)

    Sometimes when I read this I felt like it was a bit of an important dump. Like we were being shot a lot of information all at once just so we could learn more about Syria, and like there wasn’t enough fiction thrown in to disguise it. There was a lot of emotion in this novel too, especially because it is a situation that causes me to empathise. I felt like the author could’ve added even more in there in places.

    Michael was a character I didn’t like too much. Mainly because of some opinions he holds to later on, and I didn’t like his reasoning for breaking up with his original girlfriend. At first I liked him and then that gradually chipped away the more we learned. I feel like this was exactly how Anissa felt in some places as well though, which is why this might just be some effective writing.

    Julian was also very open with his therapist. You should always be because they need to know everything possible about you. But there is a line there and I am not sure people would’ve shared that in real life.

    This was also a very philosophic read which made me think in places, making it more memorable. I wondered, how far should we be prepared to go for a good cause? This is something that is debated in the novel and it made me think about how far I would go. It’s one of the things I loved about it. This was based off of real happenings in a way that made me think about the book and remember it after I had closed the book itself.
    There were some sexual mentions in the story, and some randomly explicit moments, but not too many. I think this book was mostly focused on Anissa trying to find out her purpose, and who/what would get her there. It doesn't focus too much on the religion.

    The ending was abrupt as if it was simply cut off. I know there will be a sequel, but it would’ve been nice for it to have been tied up a bit nicer. Overall, a good, informative and thoughtful reader. I wonder what part two has in store.
    Author Links:
    Find Zack on Facebook and Twitter!

    Olivia’s Question: Do you like books that leave you thinking afterward?

    Olivia-Savannah x

    Thursday, 15 January 2015

    The Body Electric (Blog Tour & Giveaway!)

    Hi there!

    Title: The Body Electric
    Author:  Beth Revis
    Publisher:  Scipturient Books
    Published Date:  1st October 2014
    Rating: 4 Stars

    *Thank you to the Xpresso Book Tours for the review copy*

    Synopsis: The future world is at peace. Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift--the ability to enter people's dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother--to help others relive their happy memories. But not all is at it seems. Ella starts seeing impossible things--images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience--and influence--the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love--even though Ella's never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing... Someone's altered her memory. Ella's gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn't even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella's head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings. So who can she trust?

    Review: I am being very kind with giving this book four stars. At the beginning of it I was sure it was going to be four, possibly five. But at the middle it was losing ground… and then when I got to the end I was starting to doubt myself. A three or four stars? Well, the concept ruled out and it ended up with four. This was the first book I read by this author as well, and I wanted to try it because Beth Revis is such a famous author. I leaped at the chance!

    The concept of this story is so original. It’s a sci-fi with cyborgs and androids living with humans under their command. But there are nanobots too, and the world has become surrounded with technology for everything and everywhere. Ella is someone who gets the ability to go into other people’s memories and minds, and the way she does so is pretty amazing. It was a unique idea and uniquely written. I love it when a story is oozing originality, don’t you?

    But then at the same time there were parts of this where I couldn’t help thinking this book kind of followed the standard guidelines for being a dystopian as well. Typical things like the romance and the government being bad… the people being blinded to the poverty that lives so close to them and some other little things. They didn’t ruin the story or anything, but they were noticeable.

    I really have to admire the way Beth managed to explain everything, including the science aspects. I expected to be overwhelmed and lost, but I never felt like that! I also think someone needs to make it a movie because it would be popular amongst fans of The Maze Runner and Divergent. As well as that, the scenes in the memories and when she is searching through Representative Belles desk? It would look so good in a movie, I can just imagine it :D

    At the beginning of the story I was addicted to reading and kept coming back to the book when I should be doing other things. And at about halfway there is a big plot twist that had me reading through the book at record pace. But then at 60% it started to slow down a lot. I noticed we still had more questions than answers, and that bugged me. The slow pace kind of continued and although I felt a bit bored in some places I was still intrigued.

    The ending was amazing, with another great plot twist that I didn’t see coming! I can’t tell you too much about it without spoilers… but I wasn’t going to put down that book until I was finished! It did go a bit too fast for my liking and it was a bit abrupt, but it was awesome, so ^^
    Giveaway! Open only to USA/Canada this time. Win an Across the Universe signed water bottle, the complete signed Across the Universe trilogy, or a signed copy of The Body Electric.
    Click here for the GIVEAWAY!
    Buy it now from Amazon or B&N!

    Author Bio: Beth Revis is the NY Times bestselling author of the Across the Universe series. The complete trilogy is now available in more than 20 languages. A native of North Carolina, Beth’s most recent book is The Body Electric, which tells the story of what was happening on Earth while the characters of Across the Universe were in space.
    Author links: Visit her website, find her on Goodreads, Facebook or Twitter!

    Olivia’s Question: Would you like to be able to see into someone else’s memories?

    Olivia-Savannah x