Thursday, 30 April 2015

It's Not Me, It's You (Review & Giveaway!)

Hi there!

Title: It’s Not Me, It’s You
Author:  Mhairi McFarlane
Publisher:  Harper
Published Date: 9th April 2015 (in America it is May 19th)
Rating: 4 stars
 
*Thank you to the publisher for the review copy*

Synopsis: An achingly funny story about how to be your own hero when life pulls the rug out from under your feet. From the author of the bestselling YOU HAD ME AT HELLO
Delia Moss isn’t quite sure where she went wrong.
When she proposed and discovered her boyfriend was sleeping with someone else – she thought it was her fault.
When she realised life would never be the same again – she thought it was her fault.
And when he wanted her back like nothing had changed – Delia started to wonder if perhaps she was not to blame…
From Newcastle to London and back again, with dodgy jobs, eccentric bosses and annoyingly handsome journalists thrown in, Delia must find out where her old self went – and if she can ever get her back.

Review: As soon as I saw this book on Edelweiss I had to request it! I had read You Had Me At Hello a while ago and absolutely loved it. Ever since then I discovered that this book was to be published the next year (this year) and I was anticipating it for SO long. And then finally I had it! I was a bit surprised that this chick-lit book was about 600 pages. What could possibly go on in this novel that needed so much detail and pages?

This book follows Delia after she discovers that the man she has been dating for years has cheated on her. And she moves to London to start a new life for herself. I loved Delia’s character. She was creative, humorous and had her own independent way of thinking. She also draws a comic which helps her come to decisions on what she wants to do and guides her in her life problems. I got the impression that if I ever met her in real life I would like her a lot!

I found that this book had a very realistic way of dealing with the idea of an affair and a break up. I have never experienced anything like that being only sixteen, but I did get the impression that all the thoughts that ran through Delia’s head were ones people in this situation could be thinking, and that was she did was mostly justified as well.

When she is in London Delia meets Kurt who gives her a very dodgy job. There’s Emma, her best friend from university and Steph her workmate. And then there is also Adam, who manipulates her into becoming a double agent in her workplace. I kind of liked Adam from the beginning and his character kept growing on me because we would never be sure of the reasons for what he did. There is also an online friend who Delia makes and talks to throughout the novel.

Delia refers to herself as The Fox and I think it suits her perfectly.
There is a love triangle in this book BUT DON’T PANIC because it is one of the most justified love triangles you can ever read about. Of course you are going to get conflicted feelings when you have been with someone for ten years and then you are trying to move on and find someone else, but still have feelings for your old mate. So in that essence, there is a faint love triangle. But mostly I would call it twisted emotions.


There is a lot of referencing in this to other things, like movies and telly shows. There is a lot of British language and I can tell that this is a very British read (which doesn’t mean others won’t like it). But if you aren’t understanding the references and so on I would understand how other people could be confused. I did think some descriptions of setting were a bit overdone and could’ve been better written with much simpler language. But then again, I think that is all part of her writing style.

The only reason that I didn’t give the book the full five stars was that it became a bit long and dragged out in pages (back it being 600 pages long again!) I feel like it could’ve been cut down in some places. But at the same time, I couldn’t stop reading and thoroughly enjoyed it as well. So it was all good ^.^

Giveaway Time! Win a paperback of It's Not Me, It's You! Open internationally.


Olivia’s Question: Have you read a book that seems to be very immersed in your own culture/the language they use there?


Olivia-Savannah x

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Beckoning of Gyanganj (Review)

Hi there!

Title: The Beckoning of Gyanganj
Author:  Chandan K. Pathak
Publisher:  Frog Books
Published Date: 28th November 2014
Rating: 2 stars
 
*Thank you to the author for the review copy*


Synopsis:  Gyanganj is a mystical abode of immortal beings located in the remote Himalayas. It influences series of events from two eras and results in The Beckoning of Gyanganj, a cocktail of Himalayan adventures, spiritualism, love and romance, hatred and politics, sufferings and revolt. The challenging high altitude treks undertaken in remote Himalayas by Ravi and his fellow trekkers where lurked unknown dangers and challenges in every step and turn, the mysteries related to Gyanganj, the divine and immortal saints living there; the spiritual pursuit and associated challenges of Swami Raghunath; all seem to have some strange connection. The seed of love that germinated in Princess Lata s heart for Swami Raghunath and the curse of Queen Damini would have their karmic impact on several lives from the two eras. The sufferings of poor peasants at the hands of demonic Akash in the kingdom of Mayurpura, the failed and annihilated protests of the youth, and their merciless killings by king’s army make one lose hope of possible redemption. Strange turn of events, mysterious acts of destiny make Ravi, Lata, Swami Raghunath and Risha wonder what lies ahead!

Review: I was surprised by this book. It wasn’t focused on what I thought it would be focused on, which was a little bit saddening. That’s what I get for not reading the synopsis properly, as always >.>

I was hoping this book would be a romance as the cover leads me to believe, but it was more focused on the Indian mythology aspect of it. Yes, I did know the book included mythology which I wanted to read (because India is the top country on my to visit list) and it sounded interesting. So while it wasn’t the focus I expected it was still an interesting enough idea to have me reading.

I felt like the writing style was a bit awkward. It wasn’t aided by the fact that there were a few grammar mistakes in the book where the English wasn’t the best it could’ve been and that bugged me to no end. But because of the writing style I wasn’t able to connect with the characters much at all – and seeing as I am a character driven reader that is not a good thing.

Found on Devianart, credits to Araniel
The tales of Indian mythology were interesting, but they didn’t capture me very much. I started to read more so for the sake of simply reading with a mild attention to the book. Which meant the plot wasn’t enough to get me to delve into this story either. I wanted more adventure and exciting things to happen.

That aside, it is fair to mention that this book is split into three parts, each taking place in a different time although they are all connected. Which means we get new characters and a new storyline which might be the reason I felt like we didn’t get to delve in past the usual layer of mild interest here – we were wrenched into another part of the story.

The part I liked the most was about revolution. I know revolutions are done  a lot in books but it was good to see the futile first attempts and how in the end one person pushed the group to believe and strike back at those who were suppressing them. I liked that part.

Overall, this wasn’t the best read, and I ended up skimming some parts. It was okay but there needed to be more from the characters.

New Video! The Reader Problems tag!


Olivia’s Question: Have you ever been to India before? Or tried Indian food?


Olivia-Savannah x

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Olivia's Catastrophe ~ Breaking Into the Industry (Part II)

Hey there!

After part one of this discussion post last week Saturday here, I am back again and this time interviewing Jeff Altabef, author of Wind Catcher and Shatter Point about being traditionally published. This is the method I personally would prefer to use, so I was curious to hear his answers!
 
Do you have any role in the advertising of your book?

Absolutely. Whether a book is self-published or published through a traditional publisher, the author has to be the team leader for his or her projects and that includes marketing. I'll take it a step further. Advertising for authors is as much about the author's brand as it is about a particular book and no one can tell that story better than the author. Besides, marketing can be fun. It's really storytelling in a different form. This time about yourself as an author and your book. 

Only the top selling authors these days can get away with exclusively letting the publisher advertise their books. Even then I bet most of those authors stay involved. James Patterson doesn't strike me as the type of guy who sits back quietly while the publisher makes all the decisions!

What do you think the future holds for you, writing-wise?

Sometimes I wish I had one of those Magic Eight Balls to answer this question for me. I like to write thrillers and young adult books. My first two books were thrillers. Now I'm in the middle of a young adult trilogy with my teenage daughter as my co-author. The first of which is called Wind Catcher and will be released on March 23rd (shameless plug but I have to advertise-see question 1). I love both genres and plan on writing both, but my focus will have to be on young adult for the next year or so.  Still, I have this great idea for a new thriller that I'd love to....

How do the reviews and feedback you have affect your writing?

I write because I want others to read and enjoy my books. That sounds obvious, but it's not true for all authors. Some write to unburden themselves or for some esoteric reasons involving craft or to prove how incredibly brilliant they are. Since I primarily want readers to enjoy my books, reviews are extremely important to me and I take every one seriously. Before finishing a manuscript, I always hand it to my beta readers. I'll change aspects of the story depending upon their feedback. Once a book is published I look mostly for patterns among the reviews, whether good or bad and will adjust in my next project. For example, my first thriller, Fourteenth Colony, uses humorous footnotes as funny asides about characters and the setting. Half of my audience loved these footnotes but the other half found them hard to deal with mainly because Kindle placed them as endnotes. So I adjusted in Shatter Point, doing away with footnotes and adding the humor directly into the story. The results have been great.

How does having a contract to abide to affect your freedom in writing?

When working with a publisher, there's always going to be some give and take. They also have a stake in the book's success. Luckily, Evolved Publishing is an author first type of place, so I can't think of any negative issues we've had. 

I have to admit that I was a little nervous when we (my daughter and I) signed the contract to write the Chosen Trilogy for them. We had to produce outlines (that I normally don't do) for books two and three and have submission deadlines to get them done. So far, the deadlines have proven to be a benefit  because they keep us focused. Now those outlines are another story. When starting a project, I usually have a beginning, a mid-point, and an end in mind. Other than that, I let the characters take the story where they want it to go. It keeps the story fresh and surprising. Honestly, I haven't looked at those outlines since I submitted them. I hope the publisher lost them! 

Why did you choose to publish through a publishing house?

I enjoy writing, editing and even marketing. I don't have any interest in logistics or finding the right editor or cover artists. I admire those that can pull the entire package together, but that's not ideal for me. Besides, Evolved Publishing is really a great fit for me. First, they are highly selective and have a tremendous catalog. Every author should check out the other books that a publisher releases to get a feel for the quality of their work. If those other books don't look good, search elsewhere. Second, Evolved spends an incredible amount of time on editing, which shows in the end products. They have made me a better writer and that's pretty darn good!
 

Olivia’s Question: Would you want to publish a novel in the future?
 
Olivia-Savannah x

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Loving Helen (Review & Giveaway!)

Hi there!

Title: Loving Helen (Heathfire Romance #2)
Author:  Michele Paige Holmes
Publisher:  Mirror Press
Published Date:  14th February 2015
Rating: 4 Stars

*Thank you to EbooksFor Review for the review copy*

Check out my review for book one here.

Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Helen Thatcher grew up under the protection of her older siblings, Grace and Christopher. Living in their shadows and keeping to herself suited Helen just fine—until she met widower Samuel Preston. Watching Mr. Preston care for his young daughter and seeing his concern extend to her own family, Helen felt her reserve slipping away, as she learned first to trust him and then realized she had fallen in love with him. But instead of returning—or even noticing her affection—Mr. Preston developed his own tender, and unrequited feelings, for Grace.

In the midst of each silently nursing their broken hearts, Helen and Samuel are faced with a daunting task—reuniting Grace with her fiancé, Nicholas Sutherland. Now it is Helen who must look out for her sister and sacrifice her own fragile heart, as she and Samuel pretend to be engaged. Helen finds the role surprisingly easy to play, allowing herself to imagine that Samuel’s loving remarks are sincere. As the time for their charade to end draws near Helen must summon her courage and tell Samuel the truth of her feelings, or risk losing him forever.

Review: Another great historical fiction romance from Michele Holmes. Can she ever go wrong?

This one was a bit of a contrast to book one, but can still be read as a standalone if you want to do so. In the previous book we got to see Helen as a shy girl who can’t stand up for herself as Grace’s sister. I couldn’t imagine the girls to be more different. But now that the story is focused on her, I was surprised by how much we didn’t know about her. She is a lot more confident than you could imagine her to be, and if she is nervous or frightened she has a very good reason to be which I can’t reveal in fear of spoiling the novel. But I liked how this book showed so much character development.

At first I was a little bit confused with trying to place this novel. It doesn’t quite start where the previous book ended. In fact, it’s showing the other half of the story. And seeing as Helen isn’t near Grace at all for the first book it isn’t simply a retelling of the story from another point of view. It’s a unique story which is closely connected to the previous one. And you start to see that many things happened in the previous novel for reasons you wouldn’t have been able to imagine.

Another character that we didn’t get to see much of in the previous novel is Christopher – who will be the lead for the next story. I liked his character fairly enough although he did seem to be overly manipulative sometimes and that bothered me. I wonder if that take on him will bother me in the next book or not…

As for the historical element to this romance it isn’t too strong, but it is evidently there in the balls they go to, the clothing they wear and the way they treat each other. But it isn’t like the romance relies on events that happen in the time period, so I wouldn’t say it is a large factor to the story.

The themes running through this one were pretty important to. Samuel had previously been married but she had died, and left him with a daughter. I have to admire him for trying to grow up his daughter in the right way but struggling as he is still grieving himself for the loss of a wife and love. And the element of family is strong in this one too. I loved it.

Can’t wait for the sequel to come out. We already have a cover as well, which makes me happy! Eagerly awaiting it.

Giveaway Time! Enter to win either a paperback of Saving Grace or an ebook copy of Loving Helen! Open internationally.


Olivia’s Question: Are you shy or more outgoing?

Olivia-Savannah x

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Life Update - Switzerland, Concerts, Authors and Easter!

Morning everyone!

Today I wanted to break away from the usual kind of post to update you with everything that went on personally for me for March. Basically, when I was trudging through school in February I simply was looking ahead to all the good things that would be happening later on in the month. And boy was it worth it! I managed to do a lot of fun things, and some important ones too which I want to share with you.

Switzerland: I went to Switzerland for the first time for three days! I was there with the basketball team. We didn't get to do much sight seeing, but it was a lot of fun playing basketball, as it always is. And so good to connect with the girls on the team! We managed to wind up being third place in the tournament, and I even won a trophy for being selected for the dream team - one of the top five players of the tournament! I was super surprised and happy :) Oh, and as well as that I have a friend who moved to Switzerland a few years ago and I was glad to meet up with her again. We also went to Fiba, the House of Basketball. I was impressed with everything they had in there. It was even the place where all the Olympic torches, from the oldest to the latest are stored! It was so cool to see them all together.

 
 
Nicki Minaj Concert: The day after I got back from Switzerland, I was given my final birthday present from my friends. And that was a ticket to a Nicki Minaj concert! I was dead tired, and after missing two days of school for basketball, being bruised, sore and ready to snooze for the rest of my life, I spent hours screaming and rapping along with my all time favourite rapper. The concert was AHMAZING. Needless to say I didn't snap too many pictures because I was far too busy having the time of my life with my best friend. Treyz Songs was the opening act as well, which made it a whole lot better.
 
Sadly while we were there some people decided to pick on me because I was apparently taking up too much "space". Which was funny because since we were at the front of the stage (so close!) no one had enough space. In the end a security guard came and stood kind of near us the whole time because they were being very mean. >.> But I didn't let them put a downer on the night!


 
Easter Sunday! This Easter Sunday was a bit different for me than the usual kind! That was because this Easter I decided to be baptized. It was so good to share my testimony with others, and I felt like this really was the right time to do it, which made me very happy. I was able to rest and relax the week approaching it because we had a week worth of Easter holiday (needed it after barely surviving a week on no sleep and a lot of homework). I had some friends witness my baptism (one was shocked by it being a full submersion) and we had a nice gathering at my house afterwards.
 
 
Joe Craig! Now this is the one that I don't have any photo evidence of. But I was able to meet Joe Craig, the author of the Jimmy Coates books. He came to my school to speak and a few of us were selected to have dinner with him afterwards. I was one of those people! I was very shy and didn't talk too much, but I was happy to be there and I do think I learned a bit about writing, publishing and anything and everything there. He was really nice!
 
I'd met him four years ago when he also came to my school and I even have a signed copy of his book. But it was nice to see him again and have a chance to eat with him!
 
That's what has been happening in my life lately. I will continue doing Life Updates like these if anything of significance happens in the future :)
 
A New Video! I also have another review for you. Make sure to check it out ;)
 
 
Olivia's Question: What's the latest thing that has been happening in your life?
 
Olivia-Savannah x

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Olivia's Catastrophe ~ Breaking into the Industry

Hey there everyone!

So today I was listening to my Dreamgirls CD, as I do, because I love it. And as I was listening I thought of the movie and how much it was a journey to break into an industry. It made me think how hard it can be to break into any kind of industry – not just the music one. Especially the writing and book publishing industry because there are so many other authors out there! I wanted to discuss this with you.
 
 

In reference to the Dream Girls movie, they start out as background singers – not even in the limelight themselves. Once they go their own way everything is going fine, until one of theirs songs is stolen. It turns out that the “good” people in the industry only get cheated and tricked, so they end up having to go to the dark side and doing everything themselves. In the end their producer even steals a song to make them more successful. It made me wonder, do we only get to the top if we are competitive and use all the tricks and tips to get there? Or is it possible to get out there the good and clean way? Do we have to be patient as it so demands?

As well as that, when it comes to writing there are two lines of things: the self-published and publishing house published way. They are both pretty full of competition. For a self-published author it is all about publicizing yourself, advertising your own work and hoping you can keep up your head above all the other authors out there clambering to do the same. I asked self-published author Kory M Shrum of Dying For A Living, and Kelly Oram of Cinder and Ella to answer some questions!

How do you advertise your book as a self-published author?

Kory: Diligently! There are many resources that are available to help authors (not just self-published ones) to sell their work. For example, book bloggers can help you organize book tours and host interviews and features of your work online. You can also do paid lists like The Fussy Librarian, Book Gorilla or Bookbub. There is a good book on advertising strategies called “Let’s Get Visible” by David Gaughan, but it all boils down to “leave no stone unturned!"
 
Kelly: Personally, I don't pay for much advertisement. I don't know a lot about the advertising world and wouldn't know where to begin navigating it. I try maximize all the little or no cost options I have in gaining exposure as an author. I thrive off of reviews and word of mouth for the majority of my advertising. Reviews left on Amazon do wonders for the sales of every book. I also spend a lot of time reaching out to bloggers. I offer review copies of my books in exchange for reviews from them, or I write guest posts and interviews to gain exposure to my readers. I'll hold the occasional sale of my book and advertise it through various kindle deal sites, and I'll participate in author events, and host giveaways. 

What do you think the future holds for you, writing-wise?

Kory: More writing. I intend for this to be my career, so I do not see an end to it any time soon. I love science fiction, fantasy, and horror best, so I imagine that I’ll stay in those genres mostly.

Kelly: I'm in a really good place right now, writing-wise. I put out a couple books a year, and participate in at least one author-promo event a year. I am thrilled with the success I've had so far, and don't really have a need to reach beyond what I'm already doing. I don't foresee much changing for me in the future. I have no desire to jump to traditional publishing. I'll just continue to tell my stories and be grateful when people buy them. 

How do the reviews and feedback you have affect your writing?

Kory: I’ve been lucky in that the majority of my readers so far have been unabashedly positive about my work. That has certainly encouraged me to keep going! That being said, I think it is important that you try to just focus on the work and don’t let outside forces sway you.

Kelly: I live for feedback. I have a small group of beta readers and proofreaders, and I cherish their feedback. Constructive criticism is invaluable to me and it always makes my work stronger. Reviews are different. I try very hard not to read reviews at all unless the bloggers posting them send them personally to my email. It's not that I'm not grateful to my reviewers, but reading reviews really does effect my work. Everyone reads and interprets a book slightly differently, and even with a positive review, they may see something different than I intended, or they didn't love every aspect of it. I'm never offended by negative reviews but it's impossible to please everyone all the time. But when I read a lot of reviews I find myself trying to do exactly that. I actually stunt my own writing process because I start writing more for the readers than for myself. I've learned to stick with my feedback and simply say thank you for my reviews without reading them.

Is it good to have the control over your book without a contract from a publishing house?

Kory: Absolutely. For the same reasons as the last question--you don’t have to please anyone but yourself and your loyalty lies with your vision of the work.


Kelly: I think it depends on the personality of the author. Some writers aren't good at making everything happen themselves. They simply want to write their stories and hand the project over to someone else to get it published. For those people I think traditional publishing is a better way to go. For me, the control freak who doesn't do well having a boss or deadlines, and a million people asking me to do a million different things, self publishing has been a dream. It is a LOT of work, and it's been a HUGE learning process. But for me, it was the best option and I'm completely happy with it. I doubt I'll ever cross over to traditional publishing.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

Kory: I’m terribly impatient! I had an agent for 4 years before I decided that I could do this on my own. Writing cannot be done in a vacuum. Every writer needs their audience and what better way to get their work into the hands of readers than to deliver it personally?! J

Kelly: For me, it was an easy choice. I never intended to be a published author. I never went to college for it. I never even took a creative writing class in high school. I never wanted to be a "writer." Writing stories was just something I did as a hobby. It was my deep dark secret for years. When I was in high school I got into writing fan fiction and posting it online. After years of that I decided to try creating my own characters. Eventually I had a book I thought was "publishable" but I still didn't like the idea of trying to pursue a career in writing. I didn't even really have the desire. My husband suggested we self publish it just for fun and see what happens. I cannot believe how far that one decision has taken me. I'm overwhelmed by the response I've had to my work, and have somehow become a career writer despite all my intentions of never being one. I can't complain though. I get to do what I love and share my stories with the world. Being a writer is the best ever.

Join me in the future as we get to find out about the traditional publishing side of things!

Olivia's Question: Would you be interested in self-publishing?

Olivia-Savannah x

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Variables of Love (Review & Giveaway!)

Hi there!


Title: Variables of Love
Author:  M.K. Schiller
Publisher:  Omnific Publishing
Published Date: 16th September 2014
Rating: 4 stars
 
*Thank you to Goddess Fish Promotions for the review copy*

Synopsis: Meena Kapoor knows what life has in store for her. She's in her senior year at Stanford where she'll graduate summa cum laude, and then she'll begin her interviews...her marriage interviews. Meena is Indian, and she's never questioned that she'll have an arranged marriage like all the generations before her. Not until she meets gorgeous math major Ethan Callahan. Ethan's sense of humor and free spirit stir feelings in Meena she didn't know were possible outside of Bollywood movies. It doesn't hurt that he's charming and has the uncanny ability to make math sound like poetry, but Meena knows their equation makes no sense in the real world.

Ethan finds himself intrigued by the mysterious, beautiful girl, whose big, brown eyes reflect great pain. His goals are small at first - to make her smile and then to laugh. But he soon wants more, and though Meena is adamant they have no future, he convinces her to share the present. Ethan believes every problem has a solution, but with cultural expectations and family duty among the variables, they will struggle to solve the ultimate equation to find happiness.

Review: What I didn’t know when I started this book was that it was from the New Adult genre. For some reason I had it in my head that it was a YA. Either way, this one surprised me with how much I liked it.

At first I found it to be a bit cliché. Meena and Ethan meet by bumping into each other. Very cliché. But then this book developed into something a lot deeper than the typical romance and a lot about certain things I love. And that has to be culture!

The main problem here is that Meena is Indian, and in her future is going to have an arranged marriage. However, Ethan is American, and therefore wouldn’t be accepted by her parents. That is the main problem they share, and why Meena is all too eager to push him away. Meena is a great character – the typical good girl who has her own secrets and her own reasons for keeping them. They are steadily unraveled to the reader and each one made me feel for her. Ethan himself has some things about him he would rather keep to himself, and it was good to get to know him too. Personally, I loved the slow and steady way he cared for Meena. It was such a cute romance ^.^

The secondary characters were also well done and had their own problems too which was always good to see. There was Rachael who is the daughter of a priest, but in truth is herself the girl that sleeps around the most and gets into all sorts of trouble. She ends up falling for the wrong guy herself religion-wise and then can’t lose her bad girl attitude. And then there is Raj, who is gay and also Indian. That isn’t accepted in his culture so he is having troubles dealing with that as well. Personally, I loved the secondary characters, and the friendship between them all was wonderful.

The dialogue had to be my favourite thing about this book. When Meena and Ethan talk about things they do it in such creative ways, and it doesn’t even seem unrealistic. It seems to match their personality and seems so natural, it’s hard to believe these aren’t real people having this conversation right now. I loved it. Wonderfully done.

As well as that there was the theme of death in here, and getting over the loss of a loved one. I hated the way Meena’s family was so fractured by a single death, even though it was a significant one. It was interesting to compare how her family dealt with the death and the way that Ethan’s did.

Heed this warning: this is not a clean romance (and I had naively believed it to be). But it isn’t as bad as some new adult romances.
 
 

There were some comical parts to this book. The author leaves you wondering until the very last moment whether Meena and Ethan’s relationship will survive everything. I was always kept guessing. There was never a boring moment in the book, and setting aside the meet up at the beginning, there wasn’t a single cliché moment as well. I was pleasantly surprised after reading this one!
 
Interview:
Where did you get the inspiration for this novel?
Variables of Love was a very personal story for me. I was thinking about how culture influences our choices. The heroine, Meena, is a plotter by nature and she is on a set course, which includes an arranged marriage. Then along comes Ethan Callahan, who shines like the most beautiful distraction. Suddenly, her course is not so clear.
What's your favourite thing about the cover?
 
I like that it feels youthful. It’s also ties into Ethan’s need to doodle things in margins.
Who is your favourite character and why?
Of all time, it would be Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. I love a strong woman. In this novel, it’s Ethan Callahan because he is witty and wise…and also a wiseass.
What is one thing you learned about your writing as you wrote this?
That I interpreted irony incorrectly. My editor had to point that out. Thank goodness, because being wrong about irony….is well, ironic (at least I think it is).
Do you have anything you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for your support. If you purchased this book, extra thank you’s. I hope you enjoyed it, and I’d love to hear from you.

Giveaway Time! Enter to win either a $10 amazon giftcard, of a $15 amazon giftcard! An ecopy of the book is also going! Open internationally :)

 
 
Olivia’s Question: What genre did you doubt you would like at first, but then happened to like in the end?

Olivia-Savannah x

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Hollow Blood (Review)

Hi there!
Title: Hollow Blood (Sleepy Hollow Horrors #1)
Author:  Austin Dragon
Publisher:  Well-Tailored Books
Published Date:  14th March 2015
Rating: 3 Stars

*Thank you to the author for the review copy*

Synopsis: Ichabod Crane is dead! Everyone knows it. The Horseman took him—like so many others—one dark night in 1790. All that remained of the town's amiable schoolmaster was his hat on the side of the road, with a shattered pumpkin beside it. But soon the fearful townspeople of Sleepy Hollow realized that the terrifying Horseman, that haunted their region for ages, had also disappeared, inexplicably, after that night. They were free!

That was 10 years ago. And a lone stranger has come to their quiet town.

He is friendly enough, well-mannered, educated, but there is a secret about this man—he is not what he seems. Suspicions grow. The whispers of gossip begin. All of Sleepy Hollow is soon turned upside-down when they learn the truth.

It is only the beginning, as they find themselves in the path of his black vengeance, his hunt for the foul murderer of Ichabod Crane. This stranger threatens not only their lives by his presence, but their very souls by bringing about the return of the hellish Headless Horseman!

For Sleepy Hollow, will death be upon them all?

Review: This was a very decent read. I hoped it would be more horror related, but it wasn’t. It still made for an interesting story.

Although presented as a horror, I truly didn’t feel like it was creepy enough or delved deep enough into the subject to give me the shivers at all. But we did have the rumors of the Headless Horseman, who would murder people and had his ways of doing so. That was the most I got out of the horror. It was also poised as a bit of a mystery. Julian Crane doesn’t believe Ichabod was taken by this horror creature because it doesn’t exist, and insist on a man having killed him. The only question he has to answer is who has done it?

This also had a historical fiction feel to it, seeing as it was set in 1800. The descriptions in the book were lovely, and I loved being set in this time period. I am someone who always loves historical fiction, and even though it wasn’t the focus the author did use it to make a great setting. It had a good impact on the storyline as well. You do have to be a bit give and take though. I had a hard time believing that a single rumor could ruin someone’s reputation when there is no evidence to back the words yet, but in that time period it is understandable.

The Headless Horseman
The main character, Julian Crane, was too confident and hot headed for my liking. I felt like he went about some things the wrong way, and I couldn’t really connect to him much. However, I really liked Hans Van Ripper who was quiet and kept to his own business (I could imagine myself being like him most) and Katarina who is a rich woman. She makes her husband the man he is in the book, and is kind and graceful. She really does bring out the best in him, and I can certainly admire a woman like that!

The middle of the book seemed to deviate from the main plot a bit and I didn’t feel like a lot of the story was necessary. We could have easily cut a lot of the scenes in the middle and still had a book that made sense. It was a bit slow when we got off topic, but as soon as we were back on the right track I was happy enough.

The ending of the book is okay. It was a good set up for book two, but it didn’t necessarily blow me away or creep me out, which I think was the intent.

In conclusion this was a pretty mixed review. There were some things I did like, some things I didn’t. Buy overall it was a good enough read.

New Video! If you have time make sure you check out my discussion video about procrastination!

 

Olivia’s Question: Do you believe in ghost stories?

Olivia-Savannah x

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Book Haul #4 - Mama's books & Reckless Requesting

Hello readers!

As usual at this time of the month it is time for the book haul! This time round I was a bit reckless when it came to review requests because there are simply so many books I wanted to read. I best get to reviewing some of them soon :c Also, my mother was clearing out her bookshelf (which was one of the few places I didn't expect to get some new books from!) Some are old and have already been read, but surprisingly she had some books in there that she had never touched either! Thanks Mum!

I have also started to limit the amount of freebies I get as ebooks because it takes me forever to get to them and they really are on the backburner. So hopefully I can include less of those in the future hauls as I get less of them. But the tempting things is that they are free.
Ebook Freebies:

 
 
 
 
| Chasing the Star Garden by Melanie Karsak | Lady Susan by Jane Austen | Trial by Fire by Margarita Gakis | Crave the Rose by Karen Kincy | Rebecca Newton and the Sacred Flame by Mario Routi | Murder on the Hill by Kennedy Chase |

Giveaway Wins:

 

 | The Temple of Indra's Jewel b Rachael Stapleton | Incite by Erica Crouch | Deceived and Destroyed by L.A. Starkey @ Pretty Little Pages | Keep Your Enemies Close by H. S. Stone @ Blue Eye Books |

Review Copies: (So many I am excited to read! Eep!)





 
 
| Liam's Promise, Nester's Mistake and Amaranth's Return by Karyn Folan | Double Vision by Colby Marshall | Liars Inc. by Paula Stokes | Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby | We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach | Absolutely True Lies by Rachel Stuhler | Salt and Stone by Victoria Scott | Sea of Stars by Amy A. Bartol | Mission Titanic by Jude Watson | Lock and Mori by Heather W. Petty | Catalyst by Lydia Kang | Loving Helen by Michele Paige Holmes | Devon's Choice by Catherine Bennett |
 
Print Books:
 
 

 
 
| Wild Swans by Jung Chang | Betrayal by Danielle Steele | Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison | Rise by Davina Okonkwo (for review) | Alabama Stories by John Jones (for review) | The Sky and the Sea by Kevin Johnson (for review) | Trailblazers by Dave and Neta Jackson | The Davinci Code and Angels and Demons by Dan Brown | They Also Serve by Hilary Green | The Runaway Woman by Jospehine Cox | His Bright Light by Danielle Steele | H.R.H. by Danielle Steele |
 
Olivia's Question: What new books have you received lately?
 
Olivia-Savannah x