Wednesday, 2 December 2020

#bookreview: A Castle Awakened | Sharon Rose

A Castle Awakened (Castle in the Wilde #1)A Castle Awakened by Sharon Rose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A mysteriously abandoned castle claimed by an usurping foreigner. An injured lady who refuses to divulge her identity. Strange-looking monsters that threaten their safety. Lord Tristan Petram has finally found lands he can claim as his own--but it's hard to say if he can hold on to it. Beth has found temporary safety--but at what cost?

Filled with intrigue, A Castle Awakened offers an entrancing read for anyone looking for a medieval-style adventure. The first novel in the Castle in the Wilde trilogy, Rose offers a clean, slow-budding romance full of Honour and Virtue and Very Complicated Circumstances. There's an underlying current of mystery and political manoeuvring throughout the novel, all very subtly done.

Whilst the style of the prose is slightly archaic, inline with the eurocentric medieval setting, the narrative itself looks quite deeply into cultural clashes and misunderstandings. Both Tristan and Beth misread each others cues, judging the other's actions by their own standards, without realising that what one does and says means something totally different to the other. Rose delicately reveals this layer by layer, uncovering more mystery and surprising twists the more you get absorbed into their world.

The prequel, A Castle Sealed, was a great jump into the trilogy, and I'm looking forward for the next book, A Castle Contended, as well!

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


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Wednesday, 25 November 2020

#bookreview: When You Had Power | Susan Kaye Quinn

When You Had Power (Nothing is Promised 1)When You Had Power by Susan Kaye Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When You Had Power is a story of found family in a post-pandemic world.

Taking oft-repeated wedding vows, Quinn builds a near-future dystopia struggling through frequent pandemics, energy problems, and climate plagues, where families are formed around a legal vow of care: for better, for worse; in sickness and in health . And Lucia Ramirez desperately wants this--a family that she has chosen and has chosen her in return--in a place where she can use her power engineer training to make the world a better place. But one day into her new job and she's already embroiled in a mystery that threatens to rip the dream apart.

The start of new series, what Quinn labels as HopePunk, feels like a shift from her previous high-stakes, high-action series. Yes, there is danger, but it's more of a slowly looming shadow than a sharp, swift avalanche. And maybe it's more menacing for that. Because when you push missing turtles and threatening bosses aside, what Lucia wants is what so many of us are looking for: safety in a family that accepts us and cares for us as we are, troubles and all. Especially during troubles.

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from the author. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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When You Had Power is now available on Amazon

Monday, 9 November 2020

#musicmonday: The Day That I Found God | Switchfoot

v

The morning comes like an enemy soldier
I feel the weight across my shoulders
I feel the shadows getting colder
But that ain't you

This noose ain't getting any looser
I get so fearful about the future
I hear the shame of my accuser
But that ain't you

I found strength but it wasn't what I thought
I found peace in the places I forgot
I found riches ain't the things that I had bought
I found out
The day I lost myself was the day that I found God

I get caught chasing my own illusions
I get so lost in these confusions
I keep on looking for my own solutions
But that ain't you, that ain’t you no

My enemies weren't the ones I had fought
My liberties weren't the freedoms I had sought
What I learned weren't the lessons I'd been taught
I found out the day I lost myself was
The day that I found God

Where is God out in the darkness?
Cause the voices in my head ain't talking honest
They're saying maybe you made us then forgot us
But that ain't you, that ain’t you no

And all I know is that I still don't know a lot
I don't know how it ends I'm in the middle of this plot
Yeah and I found grace for the man that I am not
Yeah, I found out the day I lost myself
Yeah, I found out the day I lost myself
Yeah, I found out
The day I lost myself was the day that I found God

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

#bookreview: The Girl and the Ghost | Hanna Alkaf

The Girl and the GhostThe Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't quite know how to review this book.

On one hand, I enjoyed it--it is unabashedly Malaysian, it plays deeply on feelings of friendship and betrayal, loss and grief--yet, on the other hand, I put it down after the first half to go do something and I had no real desire to pick it up again to finish it off. And I really don't know why.

It's not the creepy/horror factor. However horrible or terrible the original creatures are (and are hinted to be), Pink doesn't stray too far from being just mischievous. Suraya's grandmother and the Pawang are people of power and who do nasty, evil things, but it's not described much in the book; it's MG, after all.

Maybe it's just because it's MG and I haven't read an MG book for a long time?

(It could just be my current reading mood; it probably IS just my current reading mood.)

Whatever it was, Suraya is the loner who finds a friend in the pelesit her grandmother bequeathed her. Then Jing comes into her life, and with this talkative new girl full of Star Wars references, a rift opens between Suraya and Pink. A story of friendship and bonds, light and dark, set against the backdrop of a Malaysian kampung and small-town life. Slight shades of Gaiman's The Graveyard Book towards the end, plus a super-touching ending.

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Monday, 2 November 2020

#musicmonday: The Spirit vs. The Kick Drum | Derek Webb

Cycling through the old CDs.

Yes, CDs.

--

I don't want the Father, you know I want a vending machine

I don't want the Son, you know I want a jury of peers

I don't want the Spirit, you know I want the kick drum