Wednesday, 25 March 2015

#bookreview: The Wind Catcher - Jeff & Erynn Altabef

WC Release

This fantasy adventure series is steeped in American Indian culture and so much more.

Winner: Mom's Choice Award -- Silver Metal
Winner: Awesome Indies -- Seal of Approval
Recipient: Readers' Favorite -- 5 Star Review

Juliet Wildfire Stone hears voices and sees visions, but she can't make out what they mean. Her eccentric grandfather tells her stories about the Great Wind Spirit and Coyote, but he might as well be speaking another language. None of it makes any sense.
When she stumbles upon a series of murders, she can't help but worry her grandfather might be involved. To discover the truth, Juliet must choose between her new life at an elite private school and her Native American heritage. Once she uncovers an ancient secret society formed over two hundred years ago to keep her safe, she starts to wonder whether there's some truth to those old stories her grandfather has been telling her.
All she wants is to be an average sixteen-year-old girl, but she has never been average- could never be average.
Betrayed by those she loves, she must decide whether to run or risk everything by fulfilling her destiny as the Chosen.
"Wind Catcher is a suspenseful, wonderfully written story that will capture your attention and hold it prisoner. A book that you won't want to escape from. Brava!" - Stephen Fisher, Readers' Favorite Book Reviews
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Wind Catcher: A Chosen NovelWind Catcher: A Chosen Novel by Jeff Altabef
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wind Catcher is the story of Juliet Wildfire Stone and how she has to choose between ignoring her Native American heritage in order to live the new elite, rich life her mother has built for her and submitting to the strange, old-fashioned ways of Sicheii, her grandfather, and the voices and visions in her head. It's a classic coming-of-age story with a side dose of fantasy, dipping generously into Native American legends.

Overall, Wind Catcher is a fine novel told in the voice of a very uncertain sixteen-year-old Juliet, who wants nothing more than to go back to her old life before Bartens, and, when things get decidedly weird in a Native American way, to go back to Bartens and fit in with the rich, popular kids (or maybe just Katie) without worrying about strange symbols, secret societies and whether Sicheii is really a murderer.

Trust seems to be a major theme of the story, as it is in a teenager's life. Can Juliet trust Sicheii, who is acting extremely cagey? Can she trust her best friend Troy, who doesn't seem as supportive as he used to be? What about her mother who's often lost in her own world? When things turn strange, and long-held secrets are revealed, who can Juliet really trust or believe? The Altabefs do a fine job with this theme, allowing Juliet to stumble through misplaced trust and unwarranted fears.

The one thing that put me off about this debut novel by Jeff & Erynn Altabef (hence the lower rating) is the pacing. It felt like it took forever to get anywhere, with Juliet dithering about the same thing over and over again (realistic, I know, but trying in a novel), and when it felt sufficiently built up and raring to go, it was almost over.

Still, if you love coming-of-age stories told in first person, this would be the book for you.

I received a copy of this e-book in exchange for an honest review via Novel Publicity.

View all my reviews


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Monday, 23 March 2015

#atozchallenge: 2015 Theme Reveal #atozreveal

Because I'm obviously off my rocker, and because 83% of voters said I should join the A to Z challenge, and because I obviously thrive on stress and overdoing things, and because I suddenly thought of a theme on Saturday...


2015 edition: The A to Z of (mainly) Worship Songs

Why worship songs?
Because these are the songs that have been impacting my life. I'll be choosing songs that have stayed with me through the years, have impacted me in the past or are currently impacting me at the moment. (Also because I've been working through a lot of songs for Easter, so... I have songs running through my head)

Why mainly?
Because I've already got most of the list but there are a few alphabets that don't seem to have a song. So if I can't find a worship song in time, I might choose another song, or maybe write a random post. 

But why no fiction?
Because I've already signed up for Camp Nanowrimo and I've committed to 30 hours of editing over the month of April. So no. Really. No time to write. REALLY WAN.

Ok. Back to doing important things.

To visit the rest of the theme revealers, go here

Friday, 20 March 2015

#bookreview: Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern by @selahjtaysong

Having read this through a really busy period, I feel as if I won't be able to do it full justice in my review, but I'll try anyway.


Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern (Dreams of QaiMaj)Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern by Selah Tay-Song
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Icer Princess, Stasia of Iskalon is convinced that she is close to finding V'ltruhst, a vast cavern from ancient legend that she has been Dreaming of. However, Flame King Dynat of Chraun, compelled by the Fire Spirit, has launched a war against Iskalon, intent on destroying the Icers' city and capturing all the princesses. Thrust into leadership when her family is captured, Stasia has to find the right balance between saving her people and following her Dream.

Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern (DVBC for short!) draws you into a magical world, where two races who can draw the T'Jas from cold and heat, called Icers and Flames, are pitted against each other. Humans, those without the magic of T'Jas, are unfortunately caught in between as guildsmen and assistants amongst the Icers and as slaves amongst the Flames. It feels like she might be inserting some social commentary here, but it's probably only going to be evident in the second book.

Tay-Song's writing is a pleasure to read - detailed enough to bring you into the scene at will, and yet broad enough for you to fill in the gaps with your imagination. The only thing that broke it for me in several parts were the interludes where Maia's story, set in Khell, brings in an ancient tribal-like feel that's far removed from the rest of the story. It's only towards the end when the two storylines merge does it begin to fit together. I suppose this is something like what Brandon Sanderson has been doing in the Stormlight Archives. I would have liked the interlude to have been maybe a little more connected though.


* I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

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DVBC is available here!

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Check out Selah’s latest book, Dream of a City of Ruin, available today! The tale of QaiMaj continues in this gripping sequel to Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern:

War simmering for three thousand years is poised to explode on the surface of QaiMaj. The outcome might free the scattered survivors of an ancient disaster from tyranny, or destroy them forever.

Torn from familiar caverns in the midst of her own war, stranded in the icy lands of Khell, Queen Stasia of Iskalon knows nothing of the conflicts shaping QaiMaj. Her only guides are legends told by a Khell Healer and her own prophetic Dreams of her people suffering in a dark, ruined city. Unwillingly allied with the man who destroyed everything she holds dear, struggling to define her identity in the face of so much loss, stalked and assailed by death-hungry Dhuciri, Stasia sets out across the vast wastelands of QaiMaj to reach the city of her Dreams.

But Svardark, the ruling dynasty on QaiMaj, already knows she has surfaced, and they will stop at nothing to find her in...

Dream of a City of Ruin 
Dreams of QaiMaj Book II

A random day in my life

  • K:‎ lol God gave u 10 fingers. got so many piesmeh
  • Me:‎ potato got no fingers wan
  • Me:‎ so obviously got too many pies d
  • Me:‎ potato going to become a pie
  • K:‎ backside


And that was.... a day in the life of Anna Tan.

This happens tomorrow, and apparently I have the second slot:


On a side note, what would you look for in attending a Literary Festival?


P/s - two reviews coming up, long overdue for launches yesterday and today! 
While you wait, check them out on Amazon:

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

#guestpost: Why I Read (and Write) Fantasy by @selahjtaysong

{Where we take a mini selah from book reviews for a guest post from the lovely Selah!}

The deeper I get into writing my epic fantasy series Dreams of QaiMaj, the more I’ve started to think about why I’m still driven to read and write fantasy. Last fall I had a kind of slump after I drafted book three in my series. For some reason, I didn’t want to read fantasy anymore.

I’m better now—I just finished reading Tad Williams’ Dragonbone Chair and am starting Kushiel’s Dart by Jaqueline Carey, but the episode got me thinking. Why do I read fantasy?

My first thought was that I read fantasy now because I have always read it. When I was a child, I was socially awkward and isolated (no big surprise that I became a writer!) Fantasy was my escape from isolation. Lucy, Dorothy, and Alice were my best friends as a child.

But it wasn’t for the cast of characters alone that I read fantasy. After all, I spent considerable time with Laura Ingalls and Anne of Green Gables, too. But fantasy had another layer, the ability to transport me to whole other worlds. Narnia, Faerie, Wonderland, Oz, these were my playgrounds as a child. The books I read took me out of the boring real world and sent me on magical journeys through these illustrious landscapes.

As an adult, I read fantasy for largely the same reasons. I’m lucky today to not be as lonely as I was as a child, so I don’t need fantasy friends anymore, but I do still enjoy spending time with them. In epic fantasy, I find a cast of characters that represent different facets of my personality, which guide me through emotional experiences simultaneously unique and universal.

In epic fantasy, I am still transported to awe-inspiring places. I have traveled as an adult and experienced some of the amazing sights of the real world, but I am still spellbound by the magic of Lothlorien, the darkly beautiful Shadowlands imagined by Tad Williams, the searing and ancient Rain Wilds of Robin Hobb’s Farseer series.

When I write fantasy, I seek to create these same experiences for the readers. I write for adults rather than children, simply because I am inspired to write adult themes, but I do seek to elicit a sense of child-like wonder even in the adult reader. When I build characters, or as I think of it, get to know them, I try to bring to the page the same qualities that I enjoyed in the characters I knew as a child. Kindness, curiosity, boldness; these are traits that endear us as readers and encourage us to be better people, at any age.

When I write fantasy, I aim to craft a variety of settings that are awe-inspiring in their beauty or danger or scale, unique (not something a reader can experience by traveling in the real world), and full of magic. As the first reader of everything I write, I always look for my writing to transport me to amazing places in which to have a thrilling adventure.

Tell me, why do you read fantasy? If you write, what are you trying to do when you write fantasy? Leave a note in the comments!

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 Selah J Tay-Song is living proof that if you persevere, you’ll catch your dreams. She decided to be an author at the age of six. It took her 25 years to learn how to write a book. Today she is the author of the award-winning Dreams of QaiMaj series, described as magical, poetic and engrossing. When she’s not writing epic fantasy, Selah blogs about everything she wished she knew before she wrote her first book. When she’s not writing, Selah is stalking the urban river otters that live near her home in the Pacific Northwest.

Follow Selah on the interwebs:
Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads


Check out Selah’s latest book, Dream of a City of Ruin, available March 20th, 2015! The tale of QaiMaj continues in this gripping sequel to Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern:

War simmering for three thousand years is poised to explode on the surface of QaiMaj. The outcome might free the scattered survivors of an ancient disaster from tyranny, or destroy them forever.

Torn from familiar caverns in the midst of her own war, stranded in the icy lands of Khell, Queen Stasia of Iskalon knows nothing of the conflicts shaping QaiMaj. Her only guides are legends told by a Khell Healer and her own prophetic Dreams of her people suffering in a dark, ruined city. Unwillingly allied with the man who destroyed everything she holds dear, struggling to define her identity in the face of so much loss, stalked and assailed by death-hungry Dhuciri, Stasia sets out across the vast wastelands of QaiMaj to reach the city of her Dreams.

But Svardark, the ruling dynasty on QaiMaj, already knows she has surfaced, and they will stop at nothing to find her in...

Dream of a City of Ruin 
Dreams of QaiMaj Book II

To pre-order the paperback with free shipping ($19.99 total), click here!
To pre-order the ebook for $4.99, click here!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Young Adult Science Fiction Multi-Author Event

Science Fiction is the hottest genre right now. Add in some best selling authors and Young Adult books and you have an event not to be missed. So come celebrate these awesome YA Science Fiction Authors with us! Giveaways, book exclusives, games and more!

Young Adult Science Fiction Multi-Author Event March 19th from 5:30-9PM.

You can enter the big $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway at the bottom of this post! Don't miss it! YA Banner FB Header

Join the event!

The authors are excited to see you on the 19th but in the meantime, check out these amazing titles!
Meritropolis
ManyLivesOfRubyIyer_cover The Legacy Human (Singularity #1) FINAL anyone
Perception-LeeStrauss-cover_600x927 2mos Kay-BrokenSkies-17612-CVR-FT-v1 (2)

Schedule of events!

5:30-6:00 – Angela Scott
6:00-6:30 – Laxmi Hariharan
6:30-7:00 – Theresa Kay
7:00-7:30 – Lee Strauss
7:30-8:00 – Pavarti K Tyler
8:00-8:30 – Susan Kaye Quinn
8:30-9:00 – Joel Ohman
9:00 – Pavarti (Announce Rafflecopter winners - Enter at the bottom of this post!)

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 15 March 2015

In the fullness of time

There's this thing about the word "fullness". It sounds pregnant. It feels as if you're waiting. You're waiting for the stars to align; for a culmination of something - not just anything, but something significant. Something definitive.

And sometimes you think that it is time. You're ready. And yet, the time is not yet full; not yet ripe. You are ready, but you are not yet pregnant enough with the weight of expectancy, the thickness of glory or the heaviness of His heart that it can be birthed.

And if you do not wait until the fullness of time, your dream bears the risk of being stillborn. 

Is that why broken dreams abound in the church? Because we have tired of waiting on the Lord until it is His time, until it is the right time, but we hurry into things before we are ready and watch our efforts go to waste.

Sometimes we might be ready, but the people may not be. The conditions may not be. And there is wisdom in waiting.

Fullness.

The earth groans and waits for the coming of the Lord.
But He cannot come because we are not ready.
Our hearts must grow heavy with His burdens, our mouths must be filled with His cry.
For justice. For mercy. For love.
For goodness, kindness and peace.

And your heart must break, must yearn, for the coming of the King; for the righting of wrongs, for the lifting of heads.

And He fills your heart with His burden and His fullness.
Until the fullness of time and you are ready.
Then you are birthed [alive, victorious, redeemed, renewed!] in His glory.

Galatians 4:4-7 (ESV)
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.



Semua harta di dalam dunia | All the treasures in the world
Semua tahta yang dapat tergapai | All the thrones that can be grasped
Takkan bisa menggantikan kasih Bapa | Cannot replace the Father's love

Semua karya yang t'lah terlukiskan | All the [artistic] works that have been drawn
Semua nada yang telah terdengar | All the melodies that have been heard
Takkan bisa menyaingi cintaMu | Cannot rival Your love

Sampai habis bumi berlalu | Until the world has passed away
Sampai siang malam menyatu | Until day and night become one
Kan kupuja dan kusembah Engkau Ya Bapaku | I will adore and worship You, my Father
Sampai namaMu ditinggikan | Until Your name is exalted
Di setiap hati dan bangsa | In every heart and nation
Kasih sayangMu dan setiaMu kan menyertaiku | Your love and faithfulness will [continue to] be with me

You are holy, holy
Holy is the Lord.

* I apologise for my crappy translating skills. 

Friday, 13 March 2015

Goodbye, Terry.

Today, I is the sad.

I loved the Discworld books, especially the Tiffany Aching & Witches series and the later Vimes novels. It's sad that there will be no more.

Here's a list of posts I've labelled "Terry Pratchett". There are probably more which I forgot to label, especially in the early days before I started tagging stuff.

News article here.