Saturday 26 November 2016

#bookreview: Jakkatu Vector | P.K. Tyler


Welcome to another Novel Publicity tour! We're so excited for the release of The Jakkattu Vector by P.K. Tyler that we wanted to celebrate with a great giveaway featuring a Kindle Fire, one of a kind Jakkattu Vector bookmark and a special book bundle from the author herself!

My Review 

The Jakkattu Vector (Jakkattu #1)The Jakkattu Vector by P.K. Tyler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sabaal is a captive Jakkattu imprisoned on Earth by the Mezna priests who experiment on her. Javan 6ix is a tek - half Miscegenate, half machine - beginning to question his life in the city. Norwood Thorne is too smart for a human, too inquisitive for a man, leading his sister Julip down the path of questioning the Temple, the Mezna and all the history they've learnt on the Rez.

Sabaal's escape is the part of the catalyst that throws them all together, leading them to question whether everything the Mezna has been telling them is true. Because beyond their fences, the Feral - the Undone as they name themselves - have information that will turn their understanding of the world upside down.

The Jakkattu Vector is action-packed, with Tyler propelling you from one scene to another, giving you glimpses of the truth, glimmers of the lies these human-Mezna hybrids have grown up with, expecting you to piece them all together before the horrifying reveal. In between, she engages your emotions with the innocence of the young Thornes as they grow up, navigating the thin line between independence and insolence in their quest for truth. And then she feeds you heartbreak on a platter.

The Jakkattu Vector is gritty and grim yet inexplicably hopeful as each of strand of humanity - human, Miscegenate, Undone - come to terms with who they are and what the Mezna has done to them.

Note: I received an ARC from Novel Publicity in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour.

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About the Book

tjv-ebook-coverThey came as saviors to a deteriorating Earth

Julip Thorne questions whether there is more to life beyond the barren dirt, acidic seas, and toxstorms her people work and die in. Living in poverty on the withering Greenland Human Reservation, she wonders if the alien Mezna goddesses are truly as holy as the temple preaches. Julip begins to dig deeper into the history of the planet and her leaders’ rise to power. But nothing can prepare her for the atrocities she uncovers.

Meanwhile, Jakkattu prisoner Sabaal suffers constant torture and heinous medical experiments as her Mezna-priest captors seek to unlock the key to her genetic makeup. Escaping from captivity, she finds herself suddenly alone on the hostile alien planet of Earth. To survive, she’s forced to work with the same Mezna-human hybrids she’s loathed her entire life, but the more they work together, the more they realize that their enemy is the same.

When humans and Mezna collide, will Sabaal turn out to be the genetic vector the Mezna have been searching for all along, or will she spark the flame that sets a revolution ablaze?

About the Author

pavartiktylerP.K. Tyler is the author of Speculative Fiction and other Genre Bending novels. She’s also published works as Pavarti K. Tyler and had projects appear on the USA TODAY Bestseller’s List.

“Tyler is essentially the indie scene’s Margaret Atwood; she incorporates sci-fi elements into her novels, which deal with topics such as spirituality, gender, sexuality and power dynamics.” – IndieReader

Pav attended Smith College and graduated with a degree in Theatre. She lived in New York, where she worked as a Dramaturge, Assistant Director and Production Manager on productions both on and off-Broadway. Later, Pavarti went to work in the finance industry for several international law firms. Now located in Baltimore Maryland, she lives with her husband, two daughters and two terrible dogs. When not penning science fiction books and other speculative fiction novels, she twists her mind by writing horror and erotica.

You can follow PK Tyler on Facebook, Twitter, and sign up for her newsletter, or visit her website here.

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Wednesday 23 November 2016

#bookreview: A Thousand Perfect Things | Kay Kenyon

A Thousand Perfect ThingsA Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From this holy place he decided that should a thousand perfect things ever be found, the world would end. Therefore to preserve the world, Rama declared that every manifested though should have a flaw.

Astoria Harding has a tragic flaw. Her club foot has prevented her from participating in the many feminine pursuits of the day - dancing, socialising, finding a husband - so her grandfather, the renowned botanist Sir Charles Littlewood, has trained her in scientific methods and inquiry, nurturing in her an unnatural desire to follow in his footsteps. Tori's passions have been inflamed by the Nelumbo aureus, the holy thousand-petaled golden lotus from Bharata, seeing its discovery and documentation as her way into the men-only Royal Society. Her father's posting to Bharata and her chance to visit the famed Gangadhar Mahal seems fortuitous but soon proves to be a nest of intrigue and manipulation by the Anglics and the Bharatis, both alive... and dead.

Set in an alternate 19th century filled with magic, the social mores of the time seems evident throughout the book: white Anglica is the scientific, progressive continent; brown Bharata is the uncivilised, barbaric spiritual continent, ripe for Anglic exploitation and pity. It's also a time of uprising and rebellion, with the Bharatis fighting for their independence and the Anglics (some of them at least) coming to realise that Bharata is not theirs to conquer and keep. It seems that opinions and attitudes are changing for the better. I would like to think it was a well-written, nuanced view of colonialism and the interplay between England and India (with magic added in), but in some ways, there is still a tinge of White Saviourism to it: the Rana is weak, tempted by Anglic science whilst the Ranee lives in an opium dream; Sahaj is petulant; Jai needs Tori to lead him; the only person who knows the way to the Golden Lotus (a symbol for hope? liberation? holiness?), albeit guided by a Bharati spirit, is Tori. Tori herself becomes a legend - for what else is there for a white woman in a brown land?
The only Bharati with independent agency seems to be Mahindra, the sadhu.

Yet despite all this, which you don't actually think about until you start to analyse the book, A Thousand Perfect Things was a very satisfying read. Like the Golden Lotus, it blooms in hidden places, catching you unawares with its beauty. It's a journey through hidden walkways and dark caves to promises of light and liberation.

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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Friday 18 November 2016

#fridayflash: a #nanowrimo excerpt

“I don’t believe I have ever been to this part of the Fairy Kingdom before,” Mary Hays said, looking around at the strange trees. It felt hot and muggy, unlike the cool breeze they’d been having earlier.
Ataneq also peered around. “It feels different.” He started to run further down the path.
“Slow down, Neq, I’m not as young as I used to be!” Truth was, Mary was feeling every bit of her 70 years as the heat folded around her. She took off her shawl and used it to wipe her sweat. “Oh my! Why is it so hot here?”
Ataneq stopped and waited. “I do believe that we’ve been joined by a new fairy kingdom,” he said as he waited for her to catch up. “Isn’t that exciting?”
“It is. But how does it happen?” Mary had been in and out of the Old Fairy Kingdom ever since she was 8 years old when that old meddling crone, Baba Yaga, had lured her sister in. Her grandmother, the Fairy Queen, had been dead against their presence in the Kingdom, harbouring her anger and hatred against her supposedly human father, only to find that Darrick Hays was half elf and half human. They’d been given grudging permission since then to enter the Kingdom. Whilst their friends had been allowed in as children due to the Dragon’s decree, only Jane and Mary had been allowed the privilege of continued access until now because of their blood ties.
“I don’t know. I’m not entirely sure how I stumbled into this one either.”

They walked down the overgrown path, Ataneq slowing his pace to match Mary’s. He looked at her with worry sometimes. She’d been a bright, young girl when he’d first met her, and now she was old and grey while he hadn’t changed a bit. The ravages of time. He hated it. He was glad now that he hadn’t made an effort to find his way back home when Baba Yaga had offered to turn him back to a human. Too many years had passed - his wife and sons would have died by then so there was nothing for him to return home to. This was now his home, for better or worse.
“Does it look to you like there’s some sort of plague here?” Mary asked, dislodging him from his melancholic thoughts.
“Is there?” He peered closely at the tree he was standing next too. “Well, it looks like a tree. It’s a little… pale? But maybe that’s just what trees in this place look like. You know, maybe they’re a light-bark type of tree.”
“But I don’t think they’re supposed to be slightly transparent, do you? Do you think we should as Euthalia for her opinion?”
“I don’t see why not.” On second thoughts, Mary was right. The tree didn’t just look pale. It looked a little translucent. Another thought struck him. “I suppose these trees can talk to the dryads?”
“How would I know? Can’t all trees talk to dryads?”
“Well, how were you planning on calling Euthalia then?”
“Oh. I hadn’t thought that far. I just assumed that we could call her and she’d appear as she always did.”
“We can try.”
Mary and Ataneq took turns calling for the dryad by name. When she didn’t appear after a few minutes, Ataneq shrugged and said, “I suppose that answers it. These trees probably don’t talk to the dryads. Or, not yet anyway, if they really are from a new realm.”
Mary looked around. “So, should we go on or do we go back?”
“Oh, onwards, of course!” Ataneq grinned. “It has been a long time since we had a new adventure!”
“Everyday is an adventure with you, adlet,” she teased in reply. “I never know when you’ll turn round and try to eat me!”
Ataneq laughed. “You know I’ll never eat you. I don’t like the taste of stringy old women!”


Here's a little excerpt of what I've been working on for NaNoWriMo!
I'm awfully far behind, so any form of moral support is welcome. :D

Here is my extremely pathetic wordcount graph

Wednesday 16 November 2016

#bookreview: The Shepherd's Crown | Terry Pratchett

The Shepherd's CrownThe Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been waiting for this book ever since it was announced... but it took forever for me to get it, partially because I've sort of banned myself from going to book stores for a while now. :D

To be perfectly honest, in terms of emotional content and my personal relation to this book (The witches/Tiffany Aching archs have always been a personal favourite, even more than the later Vimes books), this is definitely a 5-star book. I don't want to give spoilers, but CHAPTER TWO DID ME IN. And Chapter Three... and I don't think I really climbed out of my funk until somewhere around Chapter 6 or 7 (maybe?) when I took a break from reading to do real life stuff, like wash the dishes.
(Note to self: starting a new book over dinner always sounds like a good idea, BUT IT NEVER IS)

Why only four stars then?
It's... really not as polished, or Pratchett-esque, as I wanted it to be. I mean, yes, I understand he died in the middle of writing it (*sniff*) but maybe I was hoping that someone could have made it shine as much as he did. It feels as if there are parts that are sort-of there, but it just doesn't sparkle yet. Like a slightly un-formed thought. I think Geoffrey could have been so much more - more right, more... funny, maybe -

- that said, I also acknowledge that the Aching series, being YA, isn't usually as snarky as some of the others. Still.

As a whole, The Shepherd's Crown felt a little like an extended goodbye. There were so many little goodbyes in each chapter - intentional or unintentional, I doubt we'll ever know. At some point, it felt a little like The Last Battle (emotionally, as least); it's as if the author himself is saying goodbye to his characters, bringing in older ones you didn't expect to appear in the book to let them have a last say, a last look.

But well, as the afterword says,
The Shepherd's Crown has a beginning, a middle and an end, and all the bits in between. Terry wrote all of those. But even so, it was, still, not quite as finished as he would have liked when he died. If Terry had lived longer, he would almost certainly have written more of this book. There are things we all wish we knew more about. But what we have is a remarkable book, Terry's final book, and anything you wish to know more about in here, you are welcome to imagine yourself.

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Wednesday 9 November 2016

#bookreview: Immortal writers | Jill Bowers

Immortal WritersImmortal Writers by Jill Bowers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At almost 18, Elizabeth McKinnen is a highly successful Young Adult Fantasy author. She’s managed to escape from a hellish family life and a past that has nearly killed her and is now dating a rich young man, Derek Harbor. And then the unthinkable happens. Her own characters kidnap her and take her into a strange world of immortality where she meets the Immortal Writers, headed by the one and only William Shakespeare. It’s a dream come true - and also a nightmare - because the main reason she is there is to defeat the evil villain in her books, the Dragon Lord Kenric, who is trying to take over the world.

Immortal Writers starts off exciting and promising. I’m curious to know how things play out - after all, it’s any writer’s dream to be with all the great writers throughout the ages. However, the promise of the premise was more tantalising than the actual execution of it. We see much more of Liz struggling through her battles alone - or with her characters - with all the immortal authors being side bit actors, without much of a role. Except for Shakespeare. Well, Tolkien and McCaffrey did their bit, but I guess I’d hoped to see a little more of them. (Though then again, there’d be the whole thing of what I think the authors would be like, versus what Bowers thinks of them.)

Overall, Immortal Writers was a pretty good read. There were bits in the middle that were slightly more draggy than I’d liked (read: I put it down quite a lot instead of guzzling it up). Maybe about at 3.5?

Note: I received this ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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When you're done reading, head over to Jill Bowers' website to take her reading challenge! :D

Monday 7 November 2016

#musicmonday: Your glory | All Sons & Daughters

'Cause Your glory is so beautiful
I fall onto my knees in awe
And the heartbeat of my life
Is to worship in Your light
'Cause Your glory is so beautiful
'Cause Your glory is so beautiful

Wednesday 2 November 2016

#bookreview: The Bad Habits of Jesus | Leonard Sweet

The Bad Habits of Jesus: Showing Us the Way to Live Right in a World Gone WrongThe Bad Habits of Jesus: Showing Us the Way to Live Right in a World Gone Wrong by Leonard Sweet
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I think I was expecting a lot more of this book than what was delivered. I mean, it's a cool title. It felt like it was going to be one of those cool, cutting-edge books that blows your mind and opens your eyes. You know, something like Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality.

Instead, The Bad Habits of Jesus reads like rushed blog posts, like short soundbites cobbled together screaming for attention in an oversaturated world. It doesn't read like a book - which was what I was expecting it to be. Maybe I have over-defined criteria to segregate the media I consume.

At the same time, it felt like Sweet was overextending himself and his definitions in a bit to fit his title. An easy example would be Chapter 2: Jesus procrastinated -
Jesus delayed doing what he wanted to do or needed to do because the timing wasn't right, because he was telling time by his Father's clock and making the most of the time his Father had given him. Jesus stalled because "There is a proper time and procedure for every matter"(Ecc 8:6). High procrastination for Jesus was less to put off doing things than to wait for the right moment to do things, which often conflicted with the timetables and schedules of everyone else.

Look, I get what Sweet is trying to say, but it basically turns out to: you may think Jesus procrastinates! But he doesn't! He's doing things at the Right Time!

So yeah, you may find some good stuff in here, but it's written in a way that I'm disinclined to take seriously. I may be showing signs of age here.
If you're looking for something on bad-ass Jesus and how to live radically, I'd say maybe you should pick up Subversive Jesus: An Adventure in Justice, Mercy, and Faithfulness in a Broken World instead.

Note: I received an e-ARC of this book via Edelweiss for review purposes.

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