Mar 17, 2015 - Giveaways, Uncategorized    No Comments

thereareinkspotsonmypage:

I am very excited to be hosting a giveaway for Wendy’s book, Serpent on a Cross! From goodreads:

Dennah Dubrovnika is a formidable hunter and talented healer. However, she cannot control her own powers, which have suddenly reawakened in the aftermath of her mother’s violent capture by a powerful warlord who destroyed their village in his wake. As she races to free her mother, Dennah is accompanied by Jeth, the man she loves. But she’s increasingly, inexorably drawn to the mysterious Skallon, who is allied with her greatest enemy.

One lucky winner will be receiving an ebook copy of Serpent on a Cross, and the giveaway will be running throughout March. 

Rules:

  1. While you don’t have to be following me, it will give you more opportunities to win.
  2. You must be over 13 to enter, a) for privacy reasons and b)…
  3. You must be prepared to give me your address. 
  4. No giveaway blogs, please.
  5. Only entries via rafflecopter will be accepted. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mar 12, 2015 - Uncategorized    No Comments

90% of the post I receive involves a book (or 12) so mail time is a bit like Blue’s Clues, especially when there are beautiful books like this involved!

Mar 12, 2015 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: THE FIFTH GOSPEL by Ian Caldwell

In 2004, as Pope John Paul’s reign enters its twilight, a mysterious exhibit is under construction at the Vatican Museums. A week before it is scheduled to open, its curator is murdered at a clandestine meeting on the outskirts of Rome. The same night, a violent break-in rocks the home of the curator’s research partner, Father Alex Andreou, a married Greek Catholic priest who lives inside the Vatican with his five-year-old son.

I’m a sucker for anything that smacks of “history” and “crime”, and this one has plenty of both.

When the Vatican police are unable to find the person who broke into Father Alex’s house, or who murdered his friend, he decides to do a little investigating of his own, and falls headlong into a centuries old mystery relating to the fifth gospel, known as the Diatessaron.

I enjoyed this book a lot more once the initial set up was over with. Once it got into the meat of the story – following the history of the Diatessaron and the Shroud of Turin, it became much more interesting. My knowledge of church history is shaky at best, so I really couldn’t say how much is rooted in history and how much was created by the story, but I don’t think it really matters. Enough history is included for the story to make sense, making it accessible for everyone regardless of their background.

Despite all the different plots in the story – the murder and break in, the Diatessaron, marriage break down, brotherly love – there’s nothing overwhelming or difficult to follow. It’s simply a well paced, well written, churchy mystery. For those that want to compare it to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code: go wash your mouth out! Brown doesn’t come close to Ian Caldwell in any way, shape or form.

Purchase: Booktopia | Book Depository | Amazon

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Mar 12, 2015 - Uncategorized    No Comments

treesofreverie:

Trees of Reverie Read-A-Thon | April 2015 | Sign Up

How to take part in this Read-A-Thon event:

  • Register as an Official Participant. Please Sign Up by entering your details into the Google Drive Spreadsheet. Sign Up will close on Sunday, March 29 at 11:59PM (UTC/GMT+10 – Brisbane, Australia). 
  • If you have previously been listed on an Official Participants list and your links don’t require updating, please cite your blog name and which list you are featured on instead of filling out your full details on the spreadsheet. All previous Official Participants lists can be found here.
  • Reblog and share this post.
  • Tell your friends about the event. This is a fun, casual reading event open to all ages and reading levels. You don’t need to be a book blogger or even an avid reader to participate in this event.
  • Check out the Read-A-Thon page to catch up on the latest updates. All updates and posts for the April 2015 Read-A-Thon can be found HERE.
  • Sign up to host some Reading Sprints! These are being organised by Becki at beckisbookshelf​ so please contact Becki directly for more information if you are interested in hosting some reading sprints.
  • There is no set reading list so you may choose to read anything you like. There is no minimum or limit on how much you read and participate in the extra activities throughout the event. 
  • There will be a variety of extra activities and challenges held throughout the event such as Reading Sprints, Daily Bookish Challenges, Reading Challenges and Book Giveaways. Participation in any of these activities is optional.
  • UTC/GMT+10 – Brisbane, Australia is the official time zone for the Read-A-Thon. All dates and times are stated in this time zone. It is recommended (but not compulsory) that you read along with the official time zone. (Following the official time zone makes it much easier to follow the current reading events, challenges and book giveaways.)
  • More information on the April 2015 Read-A-Thon will be posted over the next few days, including an updated FAQ.
Mar 10, 2015 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: THE FIRE SERMON by Francesca Haig

When Zach and I were born our parents must have counted and recounted: limbs, fingers, toes. We were perfect. They would have been disbelieving: nobody dodged the split between Alpha and Omega.
Nobody.
Cass and Zach are both perfect on the outside: no missing limbs, no visible Omega mutation. But Cass has a secret: one that Zach will stop at nothing to expose.
The potential to change the world lies in both their hands. One will have to defeat the other to see their vision of the future come to pass, but if they’re not careful both will die in the struggle for power.

What a story. I loved every second of this book.

I don’t want to give too much away, but the disparity between how the Alpha and Omegas live is fascinating – the delicate balance between keeping each pair separate (but not too separate) is essentially what this series hinges on. At a basic level, there’s nothing new here – Oppressed People rebel against Privileged Overlords, but as always, the devil is in the details. The world building is fantastic, and the society is like nothing I’ve seen before.

The characters were great, I was particularly taken by Kip and his outlook on everything. I did find the romance aspects of the story a little lacking – while I like Cass, I didn’t warm up to her enough to give much credit to the effect she apparently has over the two men she encounters. That said, there isn’t much reference to the romance, and when it does happen, it’s easily shrugged off.

This is definitely a great start to the series, and I very much look forward to seeing how the next instalment plays out, especially after the twists at the end.

Purchase: Booktopia | Book Depository | Amazon

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Mar 8, 2015 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: TOURNAMENT OF HEARTS by Dustin Bilyk

Hamelin, a town separated from the rest of the world, has a deadly problem. Fierce, flying beasts ravage the countryside and cull the sparse human population, forcing the majority of Hamelin’s citizens to live within the safety of her boundaries for fear of being snatched away and torn into pieces. With no help in sight, the Town Council look to their gods for salvation and unearth a chilling answer to their problems.

This was a really interesting story, with its two main arcs woven together well.

First up, we have the tournament itself: an annual event that pits 4 “gladiators” against each other, very much in a “winner takes all format”, as the loser has their entire bloodline wiped out.

And then we have Hamelin’s past catching up with it. Many, many years ago, an unnamed event caused Hamelin’s founders to remove themselves from their world and set up in the valley they now call home. But they can’t remain apart forever, and the outside world is beginning to creep in.

Firmly in the middle of these is Neven, who not only has to contend with fighting in the Tournament, but also content with the flying beasts that seem to have targetted him.

I did enjoy the story and the characters for the most part. The purpose of the tournament is definitely unique, and I’m very curious to learn more about Hamelin’s past, especially as despite the profound impact it has had on how the town runs, and despite histories being kept as far back as the town has existed, no one seems to have a clue that there is a world outside the valley – almost everyone is bizarrely content to continue just as they always have.

I did find it a bit of a struggle to connect with any of the characters though, and some areas were a bit too bogged down in details. There’s so much going on in the book! A run through by an editor will easily fix those issues though, and they don’t detract from the overall story too much.

When it’s all said and done though, this is definitely worth a read for anyone who enjoys their fantasy with an action-packed, dystopian edge.

Purchase: Amazon

Mar 7, 2015 - Weekend Wrap Up    No Comments

Weekend Wrap Up

Currently Reading:

Completed:

New Books:

New ARC:

Guest Post – Wendy Garfinkle

Today we’re joined by Wendy, who has recently re-released Serpent on a Cross. Not only is she a poet, an editor, and a crime analyst (!!), but she’s an avid reader, and she’s going to share how her love of reading led her to becoming an author. 

Hi
Belle! Thank you for having me on your blog today. And hello to all of Belle’s
followers! *waves*

I don’t remember specifically which book(s)
got me hooked on reading. To hear my mother tell it, as soon as I learned to
read – so sometime in Kindergarten at about age 6 – I devoured every book I
could get my hands on. So Dr. Seuss probably paid a big role in my addiction to
reading. Otherwise, I DO remember going to our local library on a weekly or
every-other-weekly basis to check out yet ANOTHER stack of books to enjoy. I
would read to my long-suffering parents (who were of course quite capable of
reading on their own), and my little brother, who wasn’t yet himself an
independent reader. My favorite stories were fairy tales and myths – and not
the watered-down stuff either; I wanted to dark, tragic details along with the
happily ever after.

Likewise, I don’t remember specifically which
book(s) made me want to write. It was probably more a few people who inspired
my writing chops: my first college English professor, and my father. When I
first started writing essays and the like for school papers, my father was my
editor. He’d had the opportunity to pursue a degree in English, but decided
against it for reasons I still don’t quite understand. But he’s an awesome
writer and reader. If the desire to read and write as a profession can be
passed through the bloodline, then mine would come from my father. He was my
harshest critic, and his praise, though never effusive, always made me feel
like my accomplishments meant something.

My first college English professor was
likewise tough, but I learned so much about writing and interpreting writing –
both my own and others’ – from her.

What has resonated with me through the years
is a desire to write the books I never could find to read. Like my own series
for instance: how many historically-based fantasies with female Jewish
protagonists have you read? I’ve done extensive research on this, and other
than Lisa Goldstein’s middle-grade novel, THE RED MAGICIAN, I don’t know of any.
I don’t really lean toward middle-grade or young adult, though. I think the
emotions and visual images I paint in my stories are a bit too far on the dark
side for that.

Life is complex; good things happen to bad
people, and bad things happen to good people. Even fairy tales and mythology
teach us this. Finding that spark of goodness that triumphs over evil and the
sun rays that burn away the tumultuous storm is what makes the messy emotions
and tragedies of a good story worth it in the end. This is the type of story I
want to tell.


To find out more about Wendy, and Serpent on a Cross, you can visit her at the following places:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads 

Mar 1, 2015 - Giveaways    No Comments

I am very excited to be hosting a giveaway for Wendy’s book, Serpent on a Cross! From goodreads:

Dennah Dubrovnika is a formidable hunter and talented healer. However, she cannot control her own powers, which have suddenly reawakened in the aftermath of her mother’s violent capture by a powerful warlord who destroyed their village in his wake. As she races to free her mother, Dennah is accompanied by Jeth, the man she loves. But she’s increasingly, inexorably drawn to the mysterious Skallon, who is allied with her greatest enemy.

One lucky winner will be receiving an ebook copy of Serpent on a Cross, and the giveaway will be running throughout March. 

Rules:

  1. While you don’t have to be following me, it will give you more opportunities to win.
  2. You must be over 13 to enter, a) for privacy reasons and b)…
  3. You must be prepared to give me your address. 
  4. No giveaway blogs, please.
  5. Only entries via rafflecopter will be accepted. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Feb 28, 2015 - Weekend Wrap Up    No Comments

Weekend Wrap Up

Currently reading:

Completed:

New books:

New ARC:

Reviews:

Weekend Wrap Up was originally published on There’s An Inkspot On My Page!