All posts by touchedbythepage

Teaser Tuesday #3 – May 16th: The Silkworm

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Purple Booker. It’s as easy as eating brownies to join:

  1. Open the book you are reading on a random page.
  2. Choose two 'teaser' sentences from that page.
  3. Make sure you don't add spoilers in the teaser
  4. My own twist: I select sentences from the page I'm currently reading*

*because I’m human and imperfect, like Strike, so I have many flaws. And one of them is needing several weeks to finish one single book. I AM THE WORST. #dontkillmeokay #cormoranstrikewillfindyouifyoudo #justsoyouknow


Okay, I skipped last week’s TT but in all fairness, I had nothing worth mentioning (read: I wasn’t reading one single sentence from a book in my never ending TBR pile). It happens. The world didn’t stop spinning and we still have gravity to keep our feet on the ground. No deal. Moving on.

Today’s teaser has nothing to do with an angel dominated dystopian world written for young adults. Nope. You might want to put away those party hats though. The world might not be ending, but the book I’m reading is no happy sunset romance either.

Today, I’m teasing you with a mystery by our famous lady J.K. Rowling, written in her pseudonym. Not much to tease about yet so I figured I might as well give you a glimpse of the conversation between Strike and a woman he’s interviewing for the first time.

This teaser can be found at 3% of THIS edition. It’s the second book in the Cormoran Strike series.

What are you reading this week? Tease me back with two sentences!

Teaser Tuesday #2 – May 2nd: Angelfall

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Purple Booker. It’s as easy as eating brownies to join:

  1. Open the book you are reading on a random page.
  2. Choose two 'teaser' sentences from that page.
  3. Make sure you don't add spoilers in the teaser
  4. My own twist: I select sentences from the page I'm currently reading*

*because I’m human and imperfect, unlike Raffe who’s a walking Adonis on earth, so I have a pile of flaws. And one of them is needing several weeks to finish one single book. I AM THE WORST. #dontkillmeokay 


And onwards we go! I’m working on a title header for this meme but haven’t found the right vibe yet. Which, in all honesty, is one of the reasons why I’m still reading the same book as last week. I predicted this, didn’t I? Maybe I should consider a future into this? Hmm.

I’m almost at the end of this book and whoa, am I rooting for Raffe! I’ve always been a bit skeptical when it comes down to Angel related books (just like I am with faeries) but this one has a few different genres covered all in one book: dystopian, angels, action, political, demons…you name it and it’s probably in here!

To contribute to an action-filled chapter, you may find today’s teaser at 84% on page 273 of THIS edition.

What are you reading this week? You may tease me with two sentences! 😉

Teaser Tuesday #1 – April 25th: Angelfall

I have noticed some bloggers posting Teaser Tuesday’s posts here and there and I’ve decided I want to join in on the weekly meme that’s hosted by The Purple Booker.

It’s fairly easy to participate:

Open the book you are currently reading to a random page.
Choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from that page
Make sure you don’t add spoilers in the teasers

I’m going to change one little thing: I’ll be taking the teaser sentences from the page I’m currently on whilst reading because there might be two following weeks when I’ll be posting from the same book (not a fast reader compared to some of you!). We can’t be good in everything, right?

Today’s teaser is from Angelfall, the first book in Penryn & The End of Days series, written by Susan Ee. It’s a YA, fantasy set in a dystopian world with Angels. This teaser can be found at 1% as I’ve just begun re-reading this.

What are you reading today? Tease me with two sentences! 😉

Another Year of National Novel Writing Month!

nanowrimoMy heart thumps a bit harder, a bit faster. My stomach knots together, creating a tight little fist that would have had me doubled over with anxiety in any other situation. Now, a thousand little butterflies flutter at the edge of that fist, tickling. Waiting to explode. It’s almost that time of the year again. That time when writers from all over our globe connect, support and cheer each other on to write their 50K stories. Yes, it’s almost here. It’s still slightly out of reach but I can taste it already. My God, can I taste it already.

Oddly, it tastes bittersweet this year. For the first time in three years, I have not the tiniest bit of an idea what to write. It’s not that I don’t have any ideas. Oh boy. If that only were true. It’s more of the fact that I have too many ideas and I can’t wrap my mind around one in particular as they’re bouncing at the edge, all screaming to be heard.

Do I rewrite the story I began last year? Am I going to explore the three new worlds that’s been nagging me, revealed to me by my subconsciousness during my dreams and jumping on me while I attempt a nice, relaxing shower? Or maybe I should rekindle that fire of my two year old science fiction? 

There are so many options and yet, I feel I can only choose one. But why? Why should I abide to the boundary of only submitting and/or committing myself to the one story? This year, this one option feels suffocating, somehow. It’s confusing me. I am aware that putting my complete attention to the one story, is the best way to write a 50K story but where I am now today, with my thoughts tumbling and jumping from one story to another, I don’t think I can focus enough.

Which made me think. A lot. It included a lot of wall staring if I’m being totally honest with you. And tears. What’s NaNoWriMo really about? Is it about writing THE one novel? Or is it about writing? The “enter your novel” option certainly makes it feel as if it’s about “Writing the ONE and only novel” but is it truly? Isn’t it more about a bunch of people gathering together, inspiring each other to write, write, write (towards that novel) but who said it can’t be two novels? Or one novel and a rewrite?

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You see, the thing is, I’m an emotional writer. I write dark scenes when I’m in a dark place. I write happy scenes when I’m in a good place. So if I’m being at my dark place and writing the happy, fluffy romance…I’m bound to kill someone at some point who isn’t supposed to be dead. Or when I’m in my happy place writing my mystery, the evil guy will most likely end up being married with my mc living happily ever after. Which, would be Crazy with a capital C.

So why force myself to writing the one story when I’m not in the mood and then, possibly, face a writer’s block? That would defeat the whole purpose of “writing 50K words in one month” challenge, wouldn’t it? I refuse to let myself get cornered by the one-way option on NaNoWriMo.

I don’t know what to write about. So? Who cares? As long as I’m writing. That’s what counts! And with this spirit, I’m starting this year’s NaNoWriMo with a complete blank page – I’m going to write whatever I feel whenever I feel it. Let the words flow and fall upon my paper as they come. Will this be a series of word vomits? Probably. But I will be writing and at least, that’s one thing I’m doing more than what I did in the previous months. And who knows, maybe, as the days continue I will find my focus again. Maybe I’ll even come up with new story ideas!

To the Unknown, here I come!

Yikes, I’ve never felt this nervous before.


Are you participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo? Tell me about your choice of novel. Are you doing a rewrite? Or are you just like me, deciding you’ll figure it out while you’re writing whatever comes to mind? Let me know in the comment section! 


August Wrap Up / The one when I’m binge-watching too many series

How can summer be over already? Yesterday it was July and today we’re September. WHAT?!

I swear it felt only a few hours ago when it was August but I suppose going back to work makes time fly. It also meant that my reading dropped. Drastically. I kind of hoped that #ReadThemAllThon would have tackled the issue but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. It was fun though whilst it lasted.

I also rediscovered Netflix and its many, many, many series. The fact that all seasons of the Gilmore Girls went worldwide, didn’t help either. That network is poisonous. Poisonous, I tell you! Honestly. In an addictive kind of way.

However, behold the mountain of books I read last month!

 

1. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Marie Laure and Werner live on opposite sides of the war. As they are both pushed into directions they couldn’t have foreseen, something that’s bigger than themselves, connects them together.

Can I simply say how much I loved reading Marie Laure’s side of the story? Her blindness made this so much more interesting to read as it added a diversity to the story that I haven’t come across with in the books I’ve read so far. Let me stress out, this is NOT a love story but simply a story told from (generally speaking) two point of views: Marie Laure from Paris and Werner from Germany while they both live through the horrors of war on opposite sides.

Rating: 4/5

2. Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Mac doesn’t have a care in the world when she’s being notified of her sister’s murder in Ireland. After hearing the alarming but confusing message from Alina, hours before she got killed, Mac is convinced that the local authorities aren’t doing everything they can and decides to travel to Dublin to help with the investigation. During her stay, Mac stumbles into the world of fae she didn’t believe existed.

I came across this on Goodreads while searching new books and one person told this series was kind of epic in reply to another person on a different series. Anyhow, I’m not much of a fan when it comes down to fairy tales, that’s for sure but heck this one got me HOOKED! Despite the mc’s naivety (and being completely, annoyingly stereotypical) I must say I enjoyed it a lot and will pick up the second book in the series.

It’s got mystery, murder, one very hot male and one even hotter (according to the law of this world but I disagree) faery. The writing is addictive, the world is a lot darker than I’m used to. The characters however, still need to…develop.

Rating: 4/5

3. Eragon by Christopher Paolini

When Eragon stumbles upon a blue stone, all he thinks about is how lucky he is, hoping that this stone will make enough money to support his poor family. Never did he think it would carry a legacy as old as Alagaësia and that he would play a huge part in it.

Okay, I’m late when it comes to the Eragon-wagon but in all fairness Harry Potter was way more interesting at the time. Sorry. However, it’s basically a Game of Thrones/Lord of the Rings kind of book, adventure wise, with epic worlds, but for a younger audience (read: I’m almost 26 so I don’t like putting books into an age category as I read LOTR at age 14. My reading journey is so messed up). It’s compelling, it has myths, dark creatures, fair creatures, wizards, dragons and a very confusing language that I’ll never be able to memorize. Except for Brisingr which is kind of epic. The book is a beast in size, as I happily referred to it on social media while reading this.

Rating: 4/5

4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Sargent feels normal amongst her family as her only ability is to enhance their psychic abilities. Until she sees Gansey’s soul, a premonition of his upcoming death. Gansey is an Aglionby boy, looking for the mysterious leylines of our planet. They have nothing in common until their paths cross and together they discover a whole new dimension of our world.

I expected a lot of this book because of the hype. I’m not saying this book wasn’t okay, it was, it simply took me a very long time to get into. The world building felt vague to me at the beginning. I didn’t understand what Gansey was looking for and how something I’ve never heard of suddenly seemed so important as everyone was searching for it, without any real explanation. It did get better after the first 90 pages. It even contained a shocking revelation!

Rating: 4/5


When I look at all the books I’ve read in August, I seemed like a happy reader, rating them all 4/5 stars. But if I’d give you my top four, I’d put Darkfever on number one and All The Light We Cannot See on number four. Darkfever surprised me when a lot of faery themed books lacked to entice me to their world. They were all good in their own way but they had a lot of flaws too. ATLWVCS, for example, took me forever to finish as it stimulated my short attention span.

Which books did you read during August?

 

Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Genre: YA – Science Fiction – Dystopia
Series: Across the Universe #1
Publisher: Penguin Books
DOP: 2011
Pages: 398
Rating: 2/5

“If my life on Earth must end, let it end with a promise. Let it end with hope.”

Despite the mixed reviews, I succumbed to buying Across the Universe by Beth Revis due to the spectacular looking book cover and captivating summary. Although all the elements of a promising novel were present – a dystopian mystery set on board a spaceship during the longest space voyage to have ever existed, with a love story added in for good measure – the story never developed into the greatness I expected it to be. I wanted to love this but the repetitiveness of the story in combination with weak characters, ruined it for me.

That will teach me for not listening to my fellow book bloggers.

Synopsis

Following in the footsteps of her parents, Amy leaves behind the life she loves on Earth to be taken to a planet 300 years distance away. Cryogenically frozen in her body, she balances between being conscious and asleep until someone unfreezes her fifty years before she is supposed to be. Amy’s survival of her body’s thawing appears to be a fluke, and as she tries to cope with a society she doesn’t recognize or understand more people are being improperly unfrozen and murdered. There’s a killer on the ship and hiding is impossible. Who can Amy trust amidst the strangers and why did they wake her up?

Review

Across the Universe was one of those stories that put me on a rollercoaster of emotions but not necessarily all in a good way. There were a few things that intrigued me, and then there were parts that caused me to cringe at the amount of daftness our main characters seemed to display. The most surprising element of the story was the description of the technological parts of the cryogenic process and the ship that immediately contributed to the science fiction feeling.

The whole ordeal of becoming frozen was detailed to the point that I experienced a tightness in my chest that can be best described as a sense of panic gripping me. It pressed the right kind of buttons for me to become captivated. The structure of the spaceship was well thought out too. I especially liked how the passengers were able to transport from one level to another. It wasn’t a new idea but I thought it was cool nevertheless.

If the story was solemnly about technology, then yes, the elements were there and detailed and I would be done with my review. Unfortunately it wasn’t.

What was up with the characters?

There weren’t very many of them, and those we did have never burst from the page to become lively, unique characters I would have cared for. So much was left unfinished considering the extreme situation. The antagonist was exposed too quickly, too easily, giving the story the feeling of a failed attempt at a “whodunit”.

Elder’s arrogance and belief that he has a right to know everything immediately, aggravated me. He was disrespectful towards authority and dismissed all the rules. He was portrayed as a spoiled teenager who felt entitled to throw tantrums the minute he didn’t get what he wanted. His rebellion felt more like a teenager defying the rules set by his parents than the responsible character questioning the regime, thinking about the situation and the consequences of his actions that he was supposed to be.

His act of rebellion taught me a different lesson than what the author must have had in mind. The way it was dealt with, taught me it was okay to dismiss all kind of authority when you don’t agree; it taught me it was alright to ignore all the responsibilities and not think of the consequences as long as you get what you want. I understand that Revis tried to show us the problematic society and that the authority was corrupt, her message being to not blindly accept everything you’re being told by your superiors. However, the way Elder was portrayed, his youth and inexperience and the spoiled brat’s attitude, rubbed me in the wrong way. Needless to say he was my least favourite character.

Harley, on the other hand, was much more interesting than the protagonists and it saddened me he wasn’t more present. He seemed like a character with layers and I wanted to get to know him better. He questioned everything society threw at him, acting when he was confident it was the right thing to do. He was a strong character with real emotions, dealing with conflict in a thoughtful manner that it usually rendered me speechless each time his character reappeared. His story was tragic but beautiful all at once.

I’m also very confused about where the ROMANCE came from. Although Revis tried her best to make it reciprocal, it was obvious that she enforced a romance between her protagonists without listening to her characters as she wrote them.

I’m not sure how it started and how it developed but it was suddenly there without any building towards it. On some level, it portrayed the teenagers realistically, running after their hormones without any emotional connection and if that’s how Revis wanted them to come over to her readers, I wouldn’t have minded the “romance” as much. However, it bothered me that she wrote them in a way I had to believe they were “meant to be together”. It didn’t work for me, especially as it was one-sided and was more awkward than cute. If Revis had taken a different approach it could have worked but it felt unnatural in the end.

I haven’t started on how absurd it was they needed an entire book to discover the villain yet!

The way I saw it, there were three to five possibilities and three of them were villains in their own wicked way! The fact the plot took repetitive twists and voiced the same questions over and over again, was tiresome. The story didn’t seem to develop in any way.

I wasn’t much fan of the society either. In a strict sense, it was a proper dystopian novel with an organisation treating the people as a flock. If you disobeyed or showed signs of having a different opinion, you were quietly locked away on the mental ward of the hospital.

What bothered me was the level of “equality” that they strived for to the point it became racist. The people on board of the space ship all had the same physical characterisations: same skin, eye and hair colour: one big, happy family. The ideology: when everyone looks the same, there can’t be any argument so society wouldn’t get disturbed and all is well. Apparently, if we would look all the same, we wouldn’t have to deal with “bad” people such as thieves, murderers, kidnappers, rapists and so on. As if this type of “equality” would make a human’s nature “good”. It expressed a narrow-minded ideology from centuries ago that shows exactly why there are still problems in the world today.

When you take away the differences in a society, I can imagine that there would be less conflict as a result but that doesn’t automatically mean that everyone within said society thinks the same or shares the same opinions. In that way, Across the Universe’s society is a bit naïve as well.

Final Thoughts

Across the Universe ticks off all the boxes when it deals with fancy technological stuff that we expect from a science fiction novel. The mystery of a murderer running loose on a space ship would have been great if the characters had been given more depth and were worked out properly. The plot could have been less see-through and repetitive. All in all, there was a lot of potential with this book but it didn’t fully flourish and that’s a shame.

Did you enjoy Across the Universe? What did you think of the romance in this novel? Did you think the choice of character names was unique?

More books by Beth Revis:

Across the Universe series:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standalone:

#ReadThemAllThon Sign Up + TBR

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Guess what! Ooh, please guess! PLEASE? Well, fine. If you can’t be bothered to guess, I’ll tell you anyway in case the title isn’t clear. I’m going to read a bunch of books this month again! That is, if I don’t succumb with pressure, something that isn’t entirely unlikely…

As most of you must have caught on, Pokémon Go became a thing (one would even dare to say a hype) early July. It became such a big thing that there are so many challenges/book tags popping up on the great interwebz that you seriously can’t miss it. Seriously. I mean, even I noticed it from underneath my trustworthy rock.

So when I saw Aentee’s, from Readatmidnight, read-a-thon including Pokémon, I thought, hey, why not? I don’t have anything else to do in August (besides work). Et voilà, here I am!

What’s #ReadThemAllThon?

Basically, #ReadThemAllThon is a read-a-thon hosted by Aentee with challenges based on the gym badges from Pokémon. All you really have to know, is summed up in a few points:

Starts: August 14
Duration: 3 weeks
Ends: September 4
Sign-ups: until it’s over
Gym badges to win: 8

For more information, you can check out Aentee’s info post. I also want to stress out that the header and the images with badges/challenges used in this post, are all created by Aentee herself.

Earning CP

Of course, this wouldn’t be a Pokémon based read-a-thon, if you couldn’t choose a Pokémon to combat with. Each Pokémon starts with 10CP. When you reach 15OCP, your Pokémon will evolve. If you have a three stage Pokémon, it can evolve again at 400CP.

Here’s a list on how to earn CP:

Finish a book: +20CP
Write a review: +20CP
Every 10 pages you read: +1CP
Photo of book + Pokémon Go Pokémon: +5CP
Tweet under #ReadThemAllThon: +2CP/tweet
Evolving: +50CP

Fennekin, I choose you!

I had to think long and hard for my Pokémon. I immediately knew I wanted a Fire type one though. I’ve always considered that my element (never have to fear of being cold!). For a long time I considered Eevee but…I wanted something different. And tadaa, enter Fennekin! It also helps (s)he is a fox and I happen to like foxes! Besides, doesn’t (s)he look adorable?!

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Name: Fennekin

Type: Fire

Species: Fox Pokémon

Stages: 3

Next evolution: Braixen

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I’ve chosen Starters by Lissa Price. This book was sent to me by Yureka Books and it looked so good that I kind of needed an excuse to read this asap!

Genre: Dystopian, YA
Pages: 336

 

readthemallthon-badge02-cascaderOne of my best friends was reading this book, telling me how it destroyed one of her friends and when asked if it would make me cry, the answer was, yes, it might. Oh goodie! Or saddie. Hmm.

Genre: Historical, Mythology
Pages: 352

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Each time I come across a new bookblogger or booktuber, Maggie Stiefvater’s been mentioned. I’ve always been curious but felt reluctant to begin, afraid that the hype would ruin it. Despite of being scared of the cover (birds, brr – raven, even worse!) I thought, why not?

Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 408

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From the entire bunch, I’m looking most forward to reading this one. My copy feels so good in my hands and I love how the summary intrigued me. I have to admit I couldn’t restrain myself from reading the first page earlier this week and why does it feel like this person is ME?! Not sure if that’s a good thing, considering the first few sentences! Ah well, we’re all a bit nuts in the head, aren’t we? Otherwise life would be so dull!

Genre: Contemporary, YA
Pages: 444

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I admire Carrie Hope Fletcher. She’s young, energetic and goes after her dreams. So when the challenge said to read a book with an epic romance, and the cover saying how it’s “a love story like no other…” I figured this might as well be the excuse to indulge myself into her first fiction!

Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 340

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For this one, I decided on reading a book I have had on a loan for quite a while now. *coughs* two yearsdid you say something? No. Good. Anyway, I’d like to see what the hype is all about and it’s supposed to be good, having dragons and everything.

Genre: Fantasy, YA
Pages: 441

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This was so hard! Apparently, I don’t have a lot of books with yellow on the cover (booktube-a-thon thingy) nor with red! The one book I had with a red cover was Me Before You, which, if you’ve read my previous post, is something I already read in July. AH. So I had to buy a new book. And since Yureka Books helped me to go wild with The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski, I thought it wouldn’t harm to buy the second book in the series. And she’s wearing a red dress on the cover. It’s a win-win, really. Something tells me the purpose of read-a-thons is to kill that TBR pile. Not to supply yourself with more books. Shut up.

Genre: Fantasy, YA
Pages: 400

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Oh my. I thought I had NOTHING to add to the “post-apocalyptic settings” challenge of this read-a-thon but thankfully, I have yet another book on loan – and yes before you say anything on how long I’ve got it, it’s just as long as Eragon – and I vaguely remember how the world had been taken over by Rabids-slash-zombies in the first book of the series and it contained vampires and the mc had to break into abandoned houses and find food in tins. If these zombies aren’t  post-apocalyptic, then nothing is. Just saying.

Genre: Paranormal, Vampires
Pages: 434

What are you reading in August? Have you joined any challenges?