vrijdag 21 december 2012

Review "Latitudes - A Story of Coming Home"

Some information

Title: Latitudes - A Story of Coming Home
Author: Anthony Caplan
Pages: 222
Genre: Bildung
Published: June 2012
Publisher: Hope Mountain Press
My Source: Author (thank you!)
My Score on Goodreads: 3 stars

Covertext

A coming of age novel about a boy overcoming divorce and cultural dislocation. When Father and Mother, a highflying young American lawyer and his party-hard bride, fall prey to the self-destructive lure of alcohol and sexual liberation, Will and his sisters pay the price in divorce and kidnappings that take them back and forth between the rain forest hideaways of coastal Latin America and the placid suburbs of Long Island. Will identifies with the oppressed workers laboring in his father's fast food restaurant and longs for American freedom. Father remarries the daughter of a local aristocrat, and Will is sent off to the hothouse world of a New England boarding school. Swimming in a sea of Fair Isle sweaters and LL Bean boots, Will discovers a core of resilience in himself that allows him to survive, thrive, and ultimately embrace the flawed and varied worlds he inhabits. Will reconnects with Mother, sinking into a New York City world of Irish bars and one night stands he cannot save her from. With a little help from friends, and a high school Shakespeare class taught by the school's closeted gay athletic trainer, Will begins to see the possibility of finding his true path. Latitudes charts the birth pangs of a quest for self and soul - from a tropical childhood to a coming of age on the road.

Review

Wow... difficult book to review. I liked it, I really did, but I also found it somewhat strange. "Latitudes - A Story of Coming Home" tells us the story of Will Kogan and his road to adulthood. I think we can see this book as a kind of Bildungsroman because we see the long road Will travels from a child with little knowledge of the world to a teenager who wishes he never had to learn the world as good as he did. It's a difficult road with many obstacles and Will has to take them all. He can't ignore them and go around them... he can't and he doesn't want to. 

I liked the story because I could connect with Will. I understood him (not always, but most of the times I did) and had the same feelings as he did. I also appreciated the writing style of author Anthony Caplan. At the start I thought it was incoherent in a way but the more I read of the book, the more I understood this incoherent writing reflected the incoherent life Will knew when he was growing up. In the beginning of the book I didn't always understand the situations, but that's the idea (I believe) because Will also didn't understand most of the situations in his life. He didn't understand why his father hit his mother, why they divorced in an ugly way, why he and his sisters didn't get the love of a normal family,... In the beginning we only seem to get some tatters like they are the only thing Will remembers from being an innocent child.
Later on we get longer memories and more coherent ones... They reflect the growth of Will emotionally.

One thing I had difficulties with, is the fact the beginning of the book doesn't seem to have much connections with the rest of it. There are connections, but to me they didn't matter. Don't know what to think of it... The story also doesn't seem to lead somewhere. Ok, in the end we see a different Will (and that's the point of a Bildungsroman) but still... It's a totally uncompleted story and that's just not my thing ;)

All in all I can say: good book, but maybe not really my genre after all.



zondag 9 december 2012

Review "Our father who art out there... somewhere"

Some information

Title: Our father who art out there... somewhere
Author: AJ (Alison) Taft
Pages: 260 (paperback)
Genre: chick noir
Published: September 2011
Publisher: Caffeine Nights Publishing
My Source: author (thank you!)
My Score on Goodreads: 4 stars

Covertext

What would you do if your own father refused to meet you?Growing up in Accrington with only an agoraphobic mother and Bert next door for company, Lily Appleyard spent her childhood hoping that one day her absent father would show up and whisk her off to a better life. He never did. Now nineteen and at college in Leeds, she stills harbours a fantasy he'll show up one day. Maybe he's busy saving the whale in the Antarctic, or searching for a cure for cancer in the Brazilian Rainforest.Her best friend Jo has much lower expectations of men. That's because her father waited until she was fourteen before leaving with his teenage, pregnant girlfriend. When Lily's mother dies and Lily finds her father alive and well but with no intention of ever meeting her, she has a decision to make. Should she forget about him? Or does she have a right to know her own father? Doesn't he owe her at least one meeting? Jo's had enough of talking about a revolution. She thinks it's time for action. Fuelled by vodka and a burning need for revenge, Lily realises she's got nothing left to lose.

Review

For me this book proved you can't judge a book by its cover. When I received my copy of "Our father who art out there... somewhere" I didn't know what to think. The title wasn't too attractive for me (it made me think of something religious/philosophical... a "heavy" book...) and neither was the drawing on the cover. When I read the back of the book though, I thought this book could be a good one. And it was... I liked it a lot! 

Alison Taft tells us the story of Lily Appleyard, a nineteen year old girl studying politics. When Lily hears her mother died, she doesn't know what to feel (like I did when I received this book). On the one hand she feels like she's left alone in this world because her mother was the only person left of her family. On the other hand she also feels some kind of relief... Her mother surely wasn't an example of parenting. After her husband left her (19 years ago, before Lily was even born), she gave up on life and started eating all the junkfood she could find. She became a person Lily was ashamed of. A person Lily needed to worry about. A person Lily couldn't trust or rely on. The death of her mother makes Lily wonder again... Is there really no other person in her life she can call family? Why didn't her father try to contact her once? Why did his family act as if she didn't exist. 

When Lily decides to write a letter to the Salvation Army to get in touch with her father, her life changes and will never be like before again. The Salvation Army lets her know her father has NO wish to communicate. Lily's world tumbles... She hoped after the death of her mother, she would be able to find her father and catch up with him without disappointing her mother who hated him. But now it turns out he doesn't want to meet her. It's a slap in Lily's face and she wants to hurt him back. That's why she kidnappes his other daughter, Fiona... The beginning of a big adventure that never gets dull. 

I must say I needed some time to get used to the writing of Alison Taft but this doesn't mean I didn't like it from the beginning on. It was "forward" but when I've got to know the characters better, I realised this "forward" way of writing was just what this story needed. It's a story about things nobody wants to happen in his/her life. A story about pain and about family. About finding and losing people you love... 
What I liked about this book was the fact it keeps on going and going without one boring moment. When I discoverd the kidnap happened rather quick in the book, I didn't think Alison Taft was going to be able to entertain me for much longer. I was wrong. The story goes on and there were lots of twists and turns in this book I didn't expect. This makes it a good and solid book. 

One thing I didn't quite understand, but maybe that's just me. In this book we get to know Stuart. He's Fiona's boyfriend and helps the girls when they try to hide for the father of Lily and Fiona. After a while Stuart admits he's in love with Lily. He tells this to Fiona and though she hates him for the fact he loves her sister, she finally gives the two of them the opportunity to be together. The chapter after that Fiona visits her mother togheter with Stuart. Why does he accompany her when they aren't a couple anymore? Does he try to love Fiona nevertheless?? Hmmm, I don't know :p But it doesn't matter.
What does matter is the fact I thought the story somewhat hasty at the end. Suddenly a lot of feelings change while they needed so much time to become what they were. It's like the book told us the story about the construction of a house and in the three last pages the whole house is suddenly torn down. This bothered me a little bit and that's why I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5.


zondag 2 december 2012

Interview with Savannah Grace - Sihpromatum

First of all I want to thank Savannah Grace for her wonderful book, her time to 
take this interview, the pictures and the great video! 
Enjoy!

Who is Savannah Grace?

Savannah Grace was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. By the age of 21, she'd already traveled to nearly 100 countries and completed her first book. Currently living with her Dutch partner in The Netherlands, Savannah is writing her memoir series titled, "Sihpromatum."

Visit the website too! 

Some things we wanted to know (curious as we are) ;) 


1. How did you get the idea to share this beautiful journey with others and to write a book about it?


Mauritania local host family

The idea of writing this book was put in the air early on in our adventure, as evidenced in journal entries I’d written in Mongolia.  Once our adventure started developing into something bigger than any of us had ever anticipated, we were constantly being told by fellow travellers that we needed to write a book. The giant task of picking up the pen and creating a masterpiece about our travels was almost immediately handed over to me. We felt that telling the story from my perspective as the youngest member of the group and the fact that I was forced to go was the most unique. Also, when comparing our journals I was quickly dubbed the writer in the family.


2. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned on this journey?  

I am an entirely different person as a result of this trip. I learned first hand about the world, people, cultures, history and most importantly myself and my family. I discovered my strengths, pushed myself to achieve goals I considered impossible and learned that dreams are worth following! This is a world full of possibilities. 
I learned to appreciate and be grateful for the things I have, which is something I try not to lose. I realized that I don’t NEED all those things I thought I needed when I was living with millionaires’ kids in Vancouver.
The biggest lesson would probably be realizing that people are nice everywhere in the world. We all have the same basic wants and needs. A world considered to be wrought with hunger, despair, corruption and danger turned out to be one full of love, family values and respect. Ironically, it seems that the less people have the more willing they are to share.  


3. Which country has inspired you the most?

After visiting so many countries, all beautiful and unique in their own ways, it’s so hard to pick out just one.  How can I choose amongst trekking the Himalayan mountain range in Nepal and seeing the sun rise over Mt. Everest, snorkeling with the colorful fish in the Maldives and sun tanning on the soft white sands, canoeing through the tangled jungles of Suriname with parrots flying overhead, riding atop camels through endless mountains of sugary sand dunes across the Sahara desert in Mauritania and experiencing the historical genius of Pyramids in Sudan or the beautiful architecture of any European village, town or city. 
Almost any form of scenery gives me inspiration in my writing. 

My top countries are: Nepal, for its gorgeous mountains trekking and people; Mongolia, especially its countryside with its horses and extremely friendly people; Surinam for its jungles and multicultural atmosphere; Switzerland and its villages and great skiing; Canada’s amazing nature with waterfalls, mountains and lakes; China’s beautiful authenticity and villages; Italy’s amazing history and artwork; Maldives priceless islands, blue waters and white beaches, plus many, many more! 


4. Which ones are still on your bucket list and why?

Japan is definitely high up on my bucket list. It was one of the only countries I actually had an interest in before the trip. I grew up with lots of Japanese ESL students living in our house so I would love to go visit them. They are such incredible people!! Though I have not yet been, I think I love everything about Japan and Japanese culture. Also, my dad lived there when he was younger and speaks the language. 
I have yet to discover South East Asia. I have heard amazing things from family members about the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, etc. with their amazing sights, people and beaches. 
I just love how Asia is so friendly, lively and beautiful. You can be comfortable and wear any kind of clothing, eat fresh, flavourful food, interact with the locals and have an adventure at the same time. 
Still need to go to Australia, New Zealand and a South America trip has been in the air for years now. 
Luckily, I have my whole life ahead of me to tick off the bucket list.


5. Are you writing a sequel and can you share with us what’s the next stage in the journey you’ll describe for your readers?

There will be a few more books in the series to come. It would be impossible for me to wrap up the entire 4 years and 80 countries in one book. The next installment covers our overland journey through Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Western China, Tibet, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka and India. The characters will continue to grow and develop, with the group dynamic ever evolving and fluctuating. New characters and their reactions are introduced when our friends from home flew out to join us for a few weeks, each at different times. You will experience parts of the Silk Road, Tibetan monasteries, the strength of Nepali sherpas in the incredible Himalayas, the colors and chaos of India and then contrast this with the relaxing beauty of the Maldives. And of course it’ll all be tied in with the same kind of adventure, humour and excitement that was found in my first book, “Sihpromatum – I Grew My Boobs in China”. 


6. How do you feel about Europe?

I really like Europe. It’s modern but all the old architecture and history gives it a real special atmosphere. From my experience in Holland, it’s a nice place to live. It’s an ideal, central base for travelling and you can experience loads of different cultures, languages, and landscapes within a short distance. I sometimes find the people can be a bit busy and not as excited or happy but that comes from the superficial pressures of a materialistic lifestyle. 


7. What’s your favorite place to write a book?

My favorite place to write is driving in the car next to my boyfriend.  I love this because, first of all I love my boyfriend, but second the passion and inspiration lacks a bit in the stale air of an isolated room staring blankly behind your computer screen. I love being on the road in a car. I love the feeling that I’m going somewhere, that I’m on the move, even if it’s somewhat a fake sensation. Watching the beautiful Dutch scenery go by was where and how I got most of my writing done for the first book. I have a brand new computer and beautiful desk now where I can     write the second but I think a lot of it will still be done on the road. :)

8. Do you need special items around you while you’re writing?

Would coffee be considered special? Nah, I’m kidding, there were times where I’d have some small stones.. I forget the specific names for them, but I had a black one which I wore on a bracelet and another clear one which I’d wear around my neck. My boyfriend always makes fun and thinks I’m ridiculous, but whether or not the stones actually work is not important. What’s important is provoking your belief in something because we have the power to do so much. If you fully trigger that little “faith button” in your brain, unimaginable things become possible. It’s so important to believe, even if you have to put the responsibility on a lucky item. 


9. What’s your writing day like?

Oh goodness, it varies so much. Though I do have a sense of self-discipline, I cannot say I do it one way or the other. It’s all just a matter of feel for me. Sometimes I feel inspired, sometimes I don’t. At times my brain will go wild while I lay in bed at night, words and sentences forming like magic and I am forced to get out to write them down. Nights like those can easily turn into a 4am bedtime. Other times I have to sit at the desk and force myself to write. Luckily I have amazing support and with the first book my Mom was always taking care of me, bringing warm food and refilling my coffee. This time she is not with me, so I’ll be a lot more lonely and it will make things harder. I’m all over the place really, which is why I’m so impressed that I actually completed and published a book. 


10. What would you like to have achieved in ten years?

Ten years, wow! By age 32 I hope to be married and have started a family of my own.…. If everything could go exactly how I plan in the meantime I want to have completed my Sihpromatum series, become a bestselling author and make a living from my writing. This way I will be able to have the freedom to travel and live wherever I want. I’d love to learn a couple of languages (Japanese, Spanish), though that might be adding a bit too much on my plate. A 6 month-1 year South America road trip from Alaska – Antarctica is in the works.
Later on I’d like to buy a big fancy camper van and see the USA and Canada when I’m old and lazy with back problems. Though I think the trans Canada will likely come before then.
There are so many things and yet I don’t dare predict the future, because my life has been so full of twists and turns like a roller-coaster ride I never signed up for. 


I want to thank Savannah again for her GREAT answers on these questions!
Yet again she proves to be a special person with a warm look on the world 
and the people in that world!
I hope she'll become a bestselling author and I'll definitely help by reading her books and promoting them! 

My favorite quote from this article: The biggest lesson would probably be realizing that people are nice everywhere in the world. We all have the same basic wants and needs.




Castle on hill - Slovenia

We also need to thank Savannah's boyfriend for making this really cool video about the book. Enjoy this trailer and don't forget to buy 






zaterdag 24 november 2012

Review "Sihpromatum - I grew my boobs in China"

Some information

Title: Sihpromatum - I grew my boobs in China
Author: Savannah Grace
Pages: 519 (in e-pub version)
Genre: true story - travel
Published: August 2012
Publisher: Sihpromatum Publishing House
My Source: author (thank you!)
My score on Goodreads: 5 stars (and I would give more if possible)

Covertext


SIHPROMATUM (Sip-row-may-tum) is a memoir series of one family’s four-year backpacking adventure around the world. The first installment, I Grew my Boobs in China, is the beginning of an intensely fascinating, sobering, and emotional memoir of Savannah’s introspective and innovative family adventure.

In 2005, 14-year-old Savannah Grace’s world is shattered when her mother unexpectedly announces that she and her family (mother, 45; brother, 25; sister, 17) would soon embark on an incredible, open-ended journey. When everything from her pets to the house she lived in is either sold, given away or put in storage, this naïve teenage girl runs headlong into the reality and hardships of a life on the road.
Built around a startling backdrop of over eighty countries (I Grew my Boobs in China relates the family’s adventures in China and Mongolia), this is a tale of feminine maturation – of Savannah’s metamorphosis from ingénue to woman-of-the-world. Nibbling roasted duck tongues in China and being stranded in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert are just two experiences that contribute to Savannah’s exploration of new cultures and to the process of adapting to the world around her.

Review

Wauw! This is the first book in a long while that thaught me a lot while it also offered me a great and entertaining read. Normally I find books with true stories rather boring. This time it was different. Though Savannah Grace tells us a story about the big journey she and her family made, this wasn't a dull diary or something like that. It was a funny, well writen, interesting book that invites you into a new world and encourages you to read further and further and to travel further and further with the lovely family of Savannah Grace.

At the age of 14, Savannah is a very normal girl with a normal life. She does normal things, goes to a normal school,... All of that changes suddenly when Savannah's mother is sick and tired of all this normality in their lifes. After her husband left her she feels like doing something for her own. Instead of buying some expensive things or redecorate their house, she wants to go on a journey. A big one... A journey through several countries. A journey that will take a year to complete. 
While Ammon and Bree, her siblings, are excited and curious about the biggest step they'll probably take in their lifes, Savannah hates every little thing about it. She doesn't want to discover the world. She wants to discover the "normal" world around her, boys, new friends,... Selling their house, leaving everything behind, quiting school for a year,... Did her mother become crazy? Savannah believes she does, but eventually she does everything asked of her and she joins her family on the biggest field trip ever. 

The countries chosen by their mother and brother Ammon aren't the easiest ones to start with. Faced with poverty and other cultures this American family learns to appreciate life in a totally different way. They learn what's important in life and how people with nothing can give you the most. They learn how every stranger is a friend you still have to meet. They learn the taste of wool in cookies. Lessons they couldn't learn at school.

What I liked the most about this book is how recognisable Savannah writes about her feelings through this journey. I think I would react the same way as she did... not so happy to leave everything I know behind, give my dog away to people I don't know, live from a backpack, sell my house, leave school and know I'm gonna get behind,... But eventually I would appreciate this opportunity too. It's lovely to read how Savannah experiences several opposite emotions throughout this journey. Some days she's excited and happy with everything she gets to see. Other days she's scared, feels lonely and just wants to eat something normal. This book is a great mix of all sorts of things and that makes it an interesting and fun read!

I recommand this book to everyone and when you read it, you should check the blog of the family too. It provides some cool pictures you can link to the story while reading. 
Blog: http://www.sihpromatum.com/


zaterdag 3 november 2012

Review "Tangled Up In You"

Some information

Title: Tangled Up In You
Author: Rachel Gibson
Pages: 260 (Dutch version)
Genre: Chick Lit
Published: july 2007
Publisher: Avon
My source: ECI
My score on Goodreads: 3 stars (because of the predictability)

Covertext

Maddie Dupree isn't in Truly, Idaho, looking for a husband, a boyfriend, or anything in between.

Maddie is determined to uncover the untold story about the town's sordid past--her past. As a child, Maddie lost everything, and now she's back at the scene of the scandal--a local establishment that's always belonged to the Hennessys--determined to uncover the truth, and nothing is going to stand in her way. Especially not a black-haired, blue-eyed Hennessy.

Everyone in Truly knows that the Hennessy men are irresistible, and the current owner, Mick, is no exception. His late father was a skirt-chasing heartbreaker who ended up causing disaster for two families. So far, Mick's managed to keep the ladies in line, but when he claps eyes on Maddie, with her luscious curves and tempting lips, he can't resist getting tangled up with her.

But Maddie is keeping secrets, not the least of which is her true reason for being in town. And when Mick discovers what`s really going on, there is going to be a whole lot of trouble in Truly.

Review

Some people give me a strange look when I say I like chick lit... Is that because I'm a teacher who teaches quite serious courses? I don't know... and I don't know why I'm not "allowed" to like chick lit! :p Maybe I need some predictable romantic stories from time to time...
I can't go without saying all of Rachel Gibsons books follow the same plot. I've only read the three first books of the writer series, but they all tell us the same story with different characters. Because I needed a light harted book, I just didn't care about that and enjoyed the book despite it.

Have to say I liked "Tangled Up In You" by Rachel Gibson. I'm starting to become a fan of her books. The story is somewhat predictable, but Rachel writes it in such a way you keep on reading and you start loving the lovely characters. It's a good read to clear your head in times of work and stress!
"Tangled Up In You" tells us the story about Maddie (Madeline) Dupree/Jones. She's one of the four writer friends Rachel wrote about in four books. Maddie's the one who writes about serial killers and the people behind big crimes. This time everything is different. Maddies next book doesn't tell her readers the story about a big crime or people she doesn't know. This time she wants to write a book about the day her mother was murdered by the wife of her big love. It's hard for Maddie to be back in the town and bar where her mother lived her last days, where she herself started her life as a lonely kid without a real family. It's even harder for her to meet the children of the woman who killed her own husband, Maddies mother and commited suiced after that. These children, Meg and Mick, are nice people and Maddie likes them (especially Mick) even though she didn't believe that was going to be possible.

Although Maddie really wants to write her book and meet some people who knew her mother, it's not so easy as thought. Mick isn't just a useful source for her book...he's the man she didn't expect him to be: the one she loves! That's the reason why Maddie doesn't want to tell him who she is. He knows she writes a book about his family and the tragidy that ruined his life, but he doesn't know she's the daughter of the girl his father loved instead of his own wife. The daughter of the reason why his mother took a gun and destroyed three lives...

To everybody who loves predictable and romantic chick lit: read this book (and the other ones in the writer series by Rachel Gibson). To all the others: .... ;)


zaterdag 27 oktober 2012

Review "What more could you wish for"

Some information

Title: What more could you wish for
Author: Samantha Hoffman
Pages: 243 (paperback)
Genre: chick lit
Published: august 2012
Publisher: St.Martin's Griffin - New York
My Source: I won this book on Chick Lit Central
My score on Goodreads: 4 stars

Covertext


Libby Carson has a great life - a thriving business, a family she adores, and a steady guy who's sweet and reliable. Life is good - nice and tidy. Until, that is, her fiftieth birthday, when her boyfriend does the unthinkable: he proposes. Libby's been down the marriage road before and it just didn't work. 

While she's trying to persuade her guy to keep things status quo she happens to reconnect with her high school boyfriend online, and what begins as fun soon turns to flirtation. Libby is startled to feel some stirrings of the passion she felt at seventeen. How is that possible? She thought she had things all figured out.
Now she must take stock of her life and everyone in it to answer the question everyone's asking: What more could you wish for?

Review

What more could I wish for? Maybe some more time to read more books like this one...
A few weeks ago I won this great book on the Chick Lit Central Blog and enjoyed it from the first page to the last one. Have to say I don't find this a "normal" chick lit book. I don't know what I mean by "normal", but it's just different from other books I've read in that genre. This doesn't mean I didn't love it. On the contrary, I really liked this book because it was something different. Instead of telling us the story of a young woman in search for a career, a good husband and a stable life, we get a totally different character in this book.
We meet Libby. A 50 yo woman with a flourishing career, a fiancé and a rather stable life. The problem is that Libby WAS is search for all those things when she was 20 or something. Now she's different and she wished she could be as unstable as she was as a 16 year old. She wished she could be back together again with her high-school boyfriend, Patrick... the guy her parents didn't like, but the one she loved with whole her heart.

How does a 50 turning woman get the idea of contacting a long lost love? Well, let's blame it on the Internet. When Libby finds a site to find old classmates, she doesn't hesitate long to sign up. It also doesn't take her long to find Patrick and to decide to contact him. A correspondance between the two of them starts and Libby starts to doubt her life more and more. Does she really want to marry the new men in her life? Does she really want to do everything in life like other people expect her to do? Maybe not... Maybe she liked the unstability of her past more because she could be more of herself back then.

When Libby suddenly loses her father, who really liked the idea of her getting married, she starts to doubt again. Maybe her father was right and she finally needed a man by her side who would support her and be there for here no matter what. Maybe the last thing she needed was a bad boyfriend and the feeling she was 16 again. Maybe...

I really liked this book by Samantha Hoffman and understood Libby very well. Samantha described this character in a way I could really connect with her and I thought it difficult too to choose between the long lost boyfriend and the new man. I'm still far away from my 50th birthday, but nevertheless I felt like Libby. It must be hard to think you can't take chances anymore because you're getting a little older and I'm glad Libby stopped thinking that...


maandag 22 oktober 2012

Book Trailer "The Scent of a Soul"

One of the books on my list is "The Scent of a Soul" by Jennifer Thompson. I'm looking forward to read this book and am happy to share with you the beautiful trailer for the book. The music is lovely and I hope it tells us something more about the style and the atmosphere of the book. 

If you want to win this wonderful book, please visit author Jennifer Thompsons' blog and enter the contest. http://jenniferthompsonbooks.blogspot.be/

ENJOY!



zondag 7 oktober 2012

Review "Automaton"

Some information

Title: Automaton
Author: Cheryl L. Davies
Pages: 187 (paperback)
Genre: Fiction/YA
Published: november 2011
Publisher: MP Publishing
My Source: Author C.L. Davies (thanks a lot!)
My score on Goodreads: 5 stars

Covertext

In the not too distant future, after the huge successes of role playing games and virtual worlds such as The Sims, Second Life, and reality shows such as Big Brother, it was only a matter of time before somebody took the next step. A remote island. An android population existing only to entertain. Their lives broadcast around the clock and around the globe. Their actions dictated by their owners. It’s the world’s biggest game played by thousands. Welcome to Gameworld. Dean 3012 is a good guy living on the Island. He loves his girlfriend, Lily, and with their first baby on the way, life is perfect. But when things take a sinister turn, the couple is plunged into a world of darkness and despair. Dean must take control and fight for all their lives.

Review

Computer games, we've all played them at some point in our lives... (at least: I did)! I could spend hours playing "The Sims", happy to give them the life I wanted for them. They didn't have a chance to choose what they'd eat that day, what time they'd get up, what job they'd want to do... I was the "god" in their universe and I enjoyed my power.

What if those little creatures in the game were "real"? That's what's going on in "Gameworld", a game created by businessman James Madison. A game played by lots and lots of people in the future, especially the wealthy ones. All they have to do is buy a character in the game and program its life. They can choose everything and they can watch their android "friends" on Wallvision. It's like a reality show and they can choose what happens. 
The thing most people don't know is that these creatures are human beings from time to time. In  Gameworld we find a "healthy" mixture of robotparts and humans. All of them have to wear sleepmasks at night so they can be programmed and controled. Don't worry, all of them have a great life without bad things. They live in the best of worlds until the human part of some creatures starts to be stronger. They start to ask questions and the safe bubble around Gameworld is starting to splash open. 
Although Madison first thought he did a great thing by buying the unwanted human children from their parents and by putting them on this distant island where they would be property of somebody and controled BUT happy, he now starts to doubt it all. Is he ruining those children's life? Is Gameworld becoming a real dangerous place?

If you want to learn something more about the story and about our lovely main characters Dean and Lily, I'd suggest you just read the book. It's a must read and I truly recommand it to everybody. Young adults and adults can equally like and even love this book. It doesn't matter if you don't normally like this genre, you'll love the book no matter what! 
The writing of Cheryl Davies is refreshing, straightforward, beautiful, captivating and not predictable at all. I loved it that she told an intriguing and complete story without waisting space on redundant descriptions.  Also there were lots of new characters introduced throughout the book, but she introduced them all in a way I could really connect with them. Even though they were bad sometimes, I understood their feelings and motives and that's what I find truly important in a book! 

Besides the characters, the story and the writing, I also liked the concept so much! When I played the Sims in the past I already thought about the fact that maybe we ourselves are creatures like that in somebody's big game. Maybe we don't choose things but we ar programmed to choose them. I don't believe that anymore, but you know... what if... In Gameworld "Big Brother" is not only watching you, he's also directing you. 

At the end I can only say I loved this book and praise writer Cheryl L. Davies for this debut! Great start of a big writing career I'd say. And if you still doubt whether buying the book or not, let me just add this... Cheryl is a very nice person (wink)! I already hoped I would like the book after her kind emails, so I'm glad I did :)



zaterdag 6 oktober 2012

Winners Giveaway Dangerous Waters

Hi everybody,

because I don't have time tomorrow and there's nobody entering the giveaway anymore, I decided to close it some hours before the deadline :D 
First of all I want to say THANK YOU to Anne Allen for this giveaway and to all of you who've read the interview or/and entered the "competition".

Now... the winners... Random Line Picker picked the following two ladies as winners, so they'll receive an e-copy of "Dangerous Waters". Congratulations!!! (and enjoy :D It's a great read!)

To all others: thanks for entering and hopefully you'll win a book next time :D

Have a great evening/day/night and much love to all of you!

Sincerely,
Eline

woensdag 3 oktober 2012

Looking forward to "The Miniature Polar Bear"

I always had a thing for children's books and that's why I'm glad to offer author Sarah Scott some promotion for her upcoming book "The Miniature Polar Bear". I have to be carefull with my words. It's not "just" a book, it's more! It's an interactive book app for children of all ages. Great idea in these times where everything is about computers, Ipods, Ipads,... and real books are becoming old-fashioned (I hate that trend and don't follow it, but it's part of our world I believe). 

The concept is really good in my opinion because the readers of this book will not only get a compelling story about a little boy with a big imagination who finds a miniature polar bear under his bed. They'll also get beautiful animations, music and hear voiceovers. Their imagination will be stimulated in more than one way. It will be a sort of book that's more attractive for the children of this age. Don't get me wrong, I still believe children should read actual books instead of playing on all these devices BUT this IS an actual book. The great thing is that it's ON one of these devices and uses the advantages of it!

What about the story? Well, I believe it's gonna be a good one (although I haven't read it myself so far). Sarah tells us something about Jimmy, a little boy with a wonderful imagination. When he joins his family for a trip to the zoo, he gets intrigued by the polar bear and wants one for himself. And believe it or not... Jimmy finds a miniature version of this bear underneath his own bed! This is the start for some great adventures for Jimmy and his new little friend. Along with the adventures come some trouble for the boy, but he does everything in his power to protect his fluffy companion.

When this book comes out, it'll be understood by lots of children around the world because Sarah makes sure to add as much translations to the app as possible. I for sure would give her some help with the Dutch translation since I really believe in this project!


Want a sneak peek of some images? 



If you'd like to have some more information about the book or offer Sarah some help with finishing her project, please visit this site:


dinsdag 2 oktober 2012

Review "The Eternal Well"

Some information

Title: The Eternal Well 
Author: K.D. Lathar 
Pages: 288 (kindle edition)
Genre: hmmm, YA (although I think it's too difficult)/Fantasy
Published: July 2012
Publisher: Tarragon Publishing
My source: Author (thank you!)
My score on Goodreads: 1 star (do not despair, I finished the            book, so that's a good thing!)

Covertext

‘What do you mean a single soul can destroy the universe?’ The Clan leader was serious.
Thirteen-year old Peter Badger and Michelle Hawk cling to the hope that their other Changeling friend, Paul Otter, is still alive and has found one of their missing parents. They re-enter the world in which the Rumanni are struggling with the Clan for dominance; the Rumanni might against the Clan's enlightened spiritualism.
The Rumanni King however hates the Changelings and is hunting them down. He wants their power, for he believes that somewhere in it lies the solution to his longing for eternal life. To make matters worse, the land becomes a perilous place when the sun goes down as the night creatures and the Rakshas, the demons, come out to feed.
The Changelings’ attempted rescue of their captive parent is a disaster. It acts as a catalyst which transforms the Changeling parent's soul into a nemesis that could destroy the whole of existence. Unwilling to accept their failure, headstrong Michelle goes in search of the Gate to the very Realm of the Dead, to save the soul of the missing parent. Peter and Paul follow, knowing that all three must stay together to have a chance of succeeding.
In this Realm, terrible in its simple imperative, the ruler of the Dead is their absolute enemy. Surely the Changelings' task to find one soul amongst the untold trillions is impossible?

Review

Is it because this book wasn't really my genre? Is it because the author gave me the second book in a saga and I wasn't able to understand a lot of things from the beginning on? Is it because I had too great expectations of this book? I don't know... I don't think it's because of  these reasons I didn't love the book.
First of all I've already read other books than those I normally pick and liked them! Second I believe that it shouldn't matter if you haven't read the first book in a series. The author should make it possible to follow and understand the story! And third, yeah... maybe I did have too great expectations... 

This book tells us the story of Peter, Paul and Michelle. Three "Changelings". This means they can change to an animal form. Our three young heroes live in two worlds. The real world and a parallell world where the battle between good and bad is really on. 
The story begins when Peter and Michelle are going to this frightening world full of demons, strange spirits and pain to find their friend Paul, Michelle's mother and some other missing persons. It's not a pleasure trip as Peter and Michelle (and some others) have to fight for their lives, find their way in a horrible forest and watch out for the Eternal Well and all the bad things hidden in it...

I don't think a really bad review would help this kind author, so I'm going to try to make it a constructive review where I highlight the things I did not appreciate and why I didn't. 
The main thing I didn't like was the fact I didn't understand the story from the beginning on. I hoped it would get better, but instead the author kept on piling more mysteries without solving them actually. Mystery is good, but not when it keeps your readers from understanding the plot of your book. I can understand you need to read the first book to fully understand the second one, but all those people, mysteries and terms I didn't get... I felt so stupid! 
There's already a second thing annoyed me... All those characters I couldn't connect with! The main characters become more tangible throughout the book, but there were many side characters only introduced by name. I didn't know them, didn't understand them, couldn't imagine them and this kept me from empathizing. Every character needs a proper introduction, especially when they shape the plot.

Because of all those things (and some more annoying facts I'm not going to mention here) I wasn't sucked into the book. The only thing I felt was an urge to read quick. The sentences are built in a way they rush you. Yeah, you could say that's exciting and this genre needs some excitement, but with all those mysteries, characters,... I couldn't bear this feeling! I was constantly looking at the pagenumber and hoped I would soon reach a point where everything became clear. I waited in vain... Even at the end the fog didn't leave. 

What I did like were the little philosophical items woven throughout the book. I noticed some things about reincarnation and liked them. Also the image of changing footsteps on top of every new chapter was well found. You can see Peter, the main character, changing more and more from a human being to a badger. It captures the main idea of the "Changelings". 

Sorry I don't spread more love for this book, but I promised to be honest and so I am :( The plot was too hazy for me to tell you something more about it. Maybe it's a challenge to read the book yourself and figure the plot out. Maybe you'll think I'm really stupid ;)
Have to say thank you again to author K.D. Lathar for giving me this e-book and I wish him best of luck with the sequel next year!


donderdag 27 september 2012

Interview with Anne Allen and GIVEAWAY

First of all I want to thank Anne Allen for taking some time to do this interview and for giving us the opportunity to give two e-book versions of "Dangerous Waters" away. Enjoy!


Who is Anne Allen?


Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. She was born in Rugby, to an English mother and Welsh father. As a result she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learnt to love the sea. Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.

By profession Anne is a psychotherapist but has long had creative ‘itches’, learning to mosaic, paint furniture, interior design and sculpt. At the back of her mind the itch to write was always present but seemed too time-consuming for a single mum with a need to earn a living. Now the nest is empty there’s more time to write and a second novel is gestating, but novels take a lot longer than children to be born!


Some things we'd liked to know...  


What's so special about Guernsey that you wrote an entire book about it?

It’s a beautiful island only a few miles from the French coast though it’s actually British. I think all islands have a certain mystique and a feeling of separateness and Guernsey is a great example of this, with a fascinating history going back to Neolithic times. There’s a strong French influence, reflected in the personal and place names and there’s a local Guernsey-French dialect. I lived there for many happy years after arriving for a holiday and falling in love with both the island and its people. Guernsey has beautiful sandy beaches, cliff walks, windy lanes and a pretty ‘capital’ in St Peter Port. The Channel Islands were occupied by the Germans in WWII, creating an impact to the present day. There’s definitely scope for stories to be based on Guernsey!

What places on the island do we need to visit when we go there and why?

Well, St Peter Port is a must – it has something for everyone. There are narrow cobbled streets full of great shops, cafes and restaurants and gorgeous views over the harbour and neighbouring islands. I’m sure you’ve all heard of Les Miserables and Victor Hugo finished writing the book while living in St Peter Port and his house is still exactly as it was back in the nineteenth century. The beaches are all worth visiting but I particularly like L’Ancresse and Lady’s Bay in the north of the island. And don’t miss Herm! It’s an even smaller island 15 mins away by boat which has an atmosphere all of its own. There are no cars or bikes so everyone walks around at their own pace. A place to really unwind and which always seems to enjoy even better weather than Guernsey. 

What got you into writing and when did you start it?

About 6 years ago I entered a writing competition after being pushed by my mother. Bless her! She thought it would be a useful experience as I’d always talked about writing one day. It wasn’t fiction, though, instead the national magazine wanted a true-life story in 500 words based on a significant life event. I still entered (my life had been anything but boring) and won. It was quite a boost and spurred me on to write Dangerous Waters shortly after.

Will there be other books written by you? Are you currently working on a project? 

Yes, I’m writing my second book, Finding Mother, now. It’s the story of a young woman’s search for her natural mother after her marriage crumbles. The setting is predominantly Guernsey but there are excursions to England, Jersey and Spain.

Which writers have influenced you the most?

It’s hard to be specific as I’ve read voraciously since a child. The romance writers whose books I’ve most enjoyed have been Maeve Binchy, Erica James and Katie Fforde. Mystery and suspense writers include Mary Higgins Clark and Robert Goddard.

What's your favourite place to write a book?

In my own space – either at my desk or a table , or, weather permitting, in the garden. I wouldn’t be able to concentrate if I was out and about in a café, for example.

Do you have certain habits when it comes to writing? Some things you need around you during the process?

I like to know I’ll be uninterrupted! If the muse arrives, you have to keep her close. So it’s better to have all other ‘jobs’ out of the way before sitting down to write. I start by writing in longhand so need paper and pen and space to spread out. Plenty of water and hot drinks are also needed to keep me going.

What's your writing day like?

It varies. If my time is unlimited I’ll just sit down to write until either I’m hungry or I hit a ‘block’. I can write for hours at a time on a good day, otherwise it tends to be a bit patchy.


Did you base your main character Jeanne on someone you know? She looks so real (and she writes ;) )...

Well, in some ways she does remind me of my younger self! Although we naturally don’t share the same history, I can relate to some of her experiences. But I didn’t consciously base her on anyone I’ve known.

What would you like to have achieved in 10 years?

To have written a few more books and be a ‘successful’ author.



Thank you Anne Allen for this great interview and I don't think it'll be a problem to be a 'successful' author in 10 years. We'll help you by reading your books and loving them!

How to win "Dangerous Waters" by Anne Allen?

The only thing you have to do to win an e-book (we'll pick 2 random winners - worldwide) is leave a comment on this post with your e-mail address in it. The giveaway ends sunday 07/10 at 11 a.m. (Belgian time).

Bonus entries
If you'd like to have more chances to win this book, you can add these things in your comment (all entries can be in one post):

1. What's the place you'd like to live most of all? Why?
2. Follow this blog and say you're a follower.
3. Follow Anne Allen on Twitter https://twitter.com/AnneAllen21 and say you're a follower.
4. Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/ElineTack and say you're a follower.
5. Share this giveaway on your Blog or Twitter and give us a link.

 Like to learn something more about Anne Allen and her book? Please visit these sites:





woensdag 26 september 2012

We heart MUSIC! Phantogram - Eyelid Movies

Ok, maybe you've all known this band for ages, but I didn't. I just discovered them while watching random video's on Youtube (yeah, sometimes I just don't have a life). I must say "I LOVE THEM!". Their music is a mix of different genres that I love, so the discovery made my day!

Phantogram was formed in 2007 according to last.fm. Why aren't they more known in Belgium? It's not like New York is very far away. Hmmm, I'll take that back. New York is "far" away, but what's distance for music? 
Because of this disappointment I decided to take the not so hard task upon me to promote Phantogram and their music. Hereby, a start:



Listen and cry a little bit (but in a good way).

http://www.last.fm/music/Phantogram

This post is part of the "and more" section on my Blog. When I say it's about "Books and More" I have to share the "more" in my life, being music and film!

maandag 24 september 2012

Review "Dangerous Waters"

Some information

Title: Dangerous Waters
Author: Anne Allen
Pages: 302
Genre: chicklit, romance, mystery
Published: April 2012
Publisher: Matador
My source: author (thank you!)
My score on Goodreads: 4 stars


Covertext

'Oh my God, what's happening to me? After all this time, please, not again ' Jeanne Le Page, gripped by fear and panic, struggles to breathe as the ferry arrives in Guernsey, the island she had fled 15 years before, traumatised by a family tragedy. Now she has to return after her grandmother's death. Jeanne has inherited her cottage and she plans to sell it before returning to the UK. Deeply unhappy after the recent end of a long-term relationship, she has no desire to pick up her old life on the island. Suffering traumatic amnesia after being involved in the accident that killed her family, Jeanne has experienced nightmares for years. The return to Guernsey triggers frightening flashbacks and Jeanne undergoes hypnosis to recover her memory, reliving the tragedy as the ghosts continue to haunt her. But someone on the island does not want her to remember, and she faces danger from an unexpected source... A contemporary story of love and loss that will capture the reader's imagination, Dangerous Waters will appeal to fans of female fiction. Anne is inspired by a number of authors, including Robert Goddard, Katie Fforde and Mary Higgins Clark. A comparison can be drawn to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

Review

Although I needed some time to get "into the book", I must say "Dangerous Waters" by Anne Allen is a must read for chicklit lovers as well as for mystery lovers (and others of course). Even if you don't think it's your taste, you have to continue and give it more than a chance! The writing of Anne Allen gets better and better throughout the book. I thought the book went from "Hmm I like it" to "Oeeeeh I really like it" to "I just loved the story".

The reason I "only" gave 4 stars is that I found some unnecessary pieces in the book (that's just my opinion). Some parts slowed the reading down because they didn't have an additional value to the story. That's just a minor thing I didn't like, so in fact you could say I gave the book 4.5 stars! Good job, Anne! What I appreciated is the way Anne misled her readers sometimes. It's good to give your reader the feeling you're writing a predictive book, but just don't at the same time!

The story Anne tells us is about Jeanne Le Page, a former resident of Guernsey (man, I want to visit this island after reading the book). Jeanne left the island after her parents (and she herself almost) died in a boating accident. The question is: was it really an accident? Jeanne suffered amnesia as the only survivor of the accident and didn't want to recover her memory because it just was too painful. Also the loss of her beloved grandmother, her own unborn child and her lover Andy,... hurried Jeanne to forget her past.
Now Jeanne's gone back after she inherited the cottage of her grandmother. Because of the loss of her child and man, there's nothing that keeps her in London (except for her aunt Kate). With the cottage she inherits lots of old stories and memories. Times become even more difficult for Jeanne, but she's strong and finds lots of old and new friends on the island that are most willing to help her. The sad thing is some of them aren't as friendly as the seem to be...

I recommand the book because it's a love story with some mystery added to it. Those two elements are a great combination I think. Anne did a beatiful job in describing the characters and the island. She makes me eager to visit the island one day. This proves she really made the story vivid and gave me the feeling I knew Jeanne for real. It makes the story alive and smooth reading!

Thanks Anne for sending me this great book :)