Friday, July 31, 2015

August Challenge: 10 Books Under 350 pages

So I had an idea that would revolutionize the way I manage my insane TBR pile and this month I have decided to pull 10 books to read in August that are less then 350 pages long.

My logic for doing this is as follows:

  1. I have too many books I need to read
  2. I need to produce more content for the blog
  3. I battle to focus on longer books with current work and life stresses
  4. I can literally read an entire book in one day on the weekend if it's that short
  5. I will get my reading mojo back with shorter books
So I am really looking forward to seeing which titles apply and how I progress with this. I am going to put the pile together this evening and will try to have some variety in there too. I will put up a pic of the final pile later over the weekend. :)

Excited! Are you guys doing any challenges this month?

(PS: I know my banner is awesome. My talents at MS Paint amaze even myself.)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The 5 Most Offputting Male Tinder Stereotypes

So I have been flicking through profiles on Tinder in my attempts to get sleepy and noticed many guys cut from the same cloth. To the point where I think they follow some sort of guide to bagging chicks on Tinder. Here are the five most common (with memes!).

1. The Gym Boet 

Seen in a Monster cap and no shirt, the Gym Boet is super-proud of his unnaturally buff physique. If you are lucky, you will get pics of him in his natural environment posing with a water bottle or weight. There is usually a tribal tat to be found somewhere on an overly muscled upper arm.

2. The Faux Pilot

I guess being a pilot ensures luck on Tinder, because I am surprised how many of them are out there. Posing in aviators and large headphones, this guy can be found outside an aircraft, inside an aircraft... or is that a car? Or bus? Wanna catch them out? Ask them what type of aircraft they did their PPL in and the number of solo hours they have logged.

3. The Adrenaline Junkie

Good luck seeing what this type actually looks like, because his face is usually hidden by a combination of mud, Oakleys, bandanna and more mud. Look at him tackle the wall in a Warrior race! You have no idea what he is like as a person other than the fact that he is the best pick should a zombie apocalypse hit. He will carry you to safety and not even break a sweat!

4. The Dubiously Single

At least one of his pics is with a girl he is holding a little bit too intimately to be his sister. Or better yet, he has a girl on each arm! Because this is every girl's dream, to see their next potential partner with other women! No wonder my ovaries are bursting in delight.

5. The Animal Lover

Because nothing is more adorable than seeing a guy posing with a lion cub that is destined for a life of confinement! Thank you for supporting the breeding of cute animals for our tourism industry! There are also the shirtless pics of him sleeping adorably with a dog or cat. Smells a lot like trying too hard to me.

What ever happened with natural photos? Oh, right. They died with the invention of the selfie.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: Firebolt by Adrienne Woods

Title: Firebolt (Dragonian Series #1)
Author: Adrienne Woods
Publisher: Fire Quill Publishing (2013)

Dragons. Right. Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales, and sixteen-year old Elena Watkins was no different.
Until the night a fairy tale killed her father.
Now Elena’s in a new world, and a new school. The cutest guy around may be an evil dragon, a Prince wants Elena’s heart, and a long dead sorcerer may be waking up to kill her. Oh. And the only way Elena’s going to graduate is on the back of a dragon of her own.
Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales. Now it’s time for Elena to believe – in herself.
I honestly am not normally a fan of self-published books, but this one really caught my eye and attention as soon as I started reading it. In fact, as soon as I started it, I had to make sure I had the next two, Thunderlight and Frostbite, waiting in the wings.

I really enjoyed the fast pace of the story and how it honestly was not like a lot of other YA's a have read. Woods has created a unique universe with fan characters and great dialogue.

You get the feeling that she is setting the scene for something awesome to follow in the next few books and Elena is a likable character who really grows as she learns about her heritage and the history of the world she finds herself thrown into.

My only criticism is the few formatting errors and typos, but this does not detract from the great story. And this touches on something that a lot of other bloggers and critics miss. You can hide a bad story with flowery prose, but a good story will find its' audience in spite of cosmetic flaws.

Give this one a shot and support local authors!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Nandi Reviews - Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

(Nandi Baard-Ziller occasionally reviews books I simply cannot get around to. This time around, she gave Born Wicked a go!)

Title: Born Wicked
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Publisher: Penguin Books

Our mother was a witch too. But she hid it better.
I miss her.
To me, the magic feels like a curse. According to the Brothers, it’s devil-sent.
Woman who can do magic – they’re either mad or wicked. So I will do everything in my power to protect myself and my sisters.
Even if it means giving up my life – and my true love.

Set in the late 1890’s, in a society with strict moral codes where men are superior to women, and the Brotherhood rules society, Cate struggles to reconcile who she is and who society wants her to be.

The book is written from Cate’s perspective, and as the oldest of three sisters (all of them witches), she feels responsible for their well-being. 

The story follows their coming-of-age without a mother to guide them, the trials of being witches in a society where magic is evil, and a romance that needs to overcome many obstacles in order to survive. There are references in the book to major events in the history of witchcraft (particularly to the Salem Witch Trials), which adds great depth to the story and the experiences of the characters. 

It can be difficult to read a book set in a completely different time, but Spotswood does a fantastic job of setting the scene and making it relatable to the reader’s life.

This is a wonderful book with a fantastic mix of characters (some you will love, some you will hate, and others you will love and hate at the same time), and unexpected twists in the plot which will leave you wanting more. The only negative thing I can say about this book is that I was very upset when I got to the end, realized it was the first book in The Cahill Witch Chronicles, and was sad didn’t have the second one to start reading as soon as I put this one down.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Top 2015 Books I Cannot Wait to Read (Part One)

There are some awesome titles being published this year, you guys! I fear for my wallet and sanity. :)

I have not done a listed post in a while, so here are my Top 10 2015 books that I absolutely cannot wait to read! Bearing in mind this is a purely subjective list as it does not include those

1. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Laia is a slave.
Elias is a soldier.
Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
So I actually ordered this one from the States because I could not wait any longer for it to arrive in local stores. EVERYONE is talking about this book and I actually started it last night. So happy that my weekend is sorted!

2. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend. 
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all. 
This is a close second to Ember in the Ashes and I also received a copy in the same order. I am going to do a whole post of the gorgeousness of the US edition of the title. It is beautifully bound and i am sure the contents will match the cover!

3. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. 
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.
I am so, so excited for this one! I absolutely love Maas' writing and ability to write strong female lead characters. Plus, there is this wave of amazing YA / NA fantasy this year that just works for me.

4. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control. 
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?
MEEP! Another awesome-looking YA fantasy! And that cover is gorgeous!

5. The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities. 
She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne. 
She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone. 
She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.
Another gorgeous cover and also a much-talked about book in YA blogger circles. I am sure my next order will include this title.

6. The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known. 
Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act. 
Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it. 
But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.
I bought this one randomly and then read the back... wow this looks so unique! Plus local author Dave-Brendan de Burgh gave it a favorable review.

I am compiling the second half of this list, so keep an eye out for it and happy reading!