April 17, 2018

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Do You Prefer Series or Standalone?

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post on Rainy Day Ramblings, where the blog's owner Heidi discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog.
Here is what is on deck this week:

DO YOU PREFER SERIES OR STANDALONE?

The short answer is, I honestly don't have a preference. As long as the story needs a certain space to unfold, I'm on board with either of them. Of course, there are authors (sometimes at their publisher's gunpoint, so to speak) who capitalise on writing a number of books where the story could probably have been cut shorter. Then again, I sometimes read reviews for standalone books where the reader complains about them being 100 pages too long or something, so I suppose it can go either way 😉.

Whichever gif I'm looking for, I always seem to end up with a Who one. BUT no Tennant this time! Such restraint on my part 😅.

April 12, 2018

Joshua Winning: "Vicious Rumer" (ARC Review - Blog Tour Review)

Blog tour calendar - follow the Twitter handles!
(BTW, I love how vibrant the cover is, even if it clashes with my equally vibrant blog colours 😅).

Title: Vicious Rumer [on Amazon: coming soon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Joshua Winning [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Thriller
Year: 2018
Age: 15+, or at least mature 14+ (this is NA - the protagonist is 19)
Stars: 3/5
Pros: Never a dull moment. A damaged lead you can root for.
Cons: The short-sentence style probably fits the book, but may not work for everyone. The main villain is a bit over-the-top.
WARNING! Violence and gore.
Will appeal to: Readers who like action and unhinged but resourceful heroines.

Blurb: Scraping by working for a dingy London detective agency, Rumer lives in the shadow of her mother, a violent criminal dubbed the ‘Witch Assassin’. Raised by foster families who never understood her and terrified she could one day turn into her mother, Rumer has become detached and self-reliant. But when she’s targeted by a vicious mobster who believes she’s hiding an occult relic, she’s drawn into the very world she’s been fighting to avoid. Hunted by assassins and haunted by her mother’s dark legacy, Rumer must also confront a terrible truth: that she’s cursed, because no matter what she does, everybody she’s ever grown close to has died screaming. (Goodreads excerpt)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I was offered a review copy by the author. This didn't influence my review.

ON THE EDGE

I don't read a lot of modern thrillers - old-time mysteries are more my thing (think Agatha Christie and her tribe). But this story appealed to me because 1) it promised a damaged but kickass heroine, and 2) there might, or might there? be a supernatural angle to it. Now, I believe that my rating reflects more my personal genre tastes than the actual quality of this work, plus some things went definitely in a different direction than I expected (I can't be more specific here because SPOILERS). Then again, I don't regret reading this one, and to be honest, I found myself on the edge of my seat a few times following Rumer's (mis)adventures, though of course she had to make it somehow - at least till the end of the book 😉. But then again, at what cost? The story doesn't spare her danger and pain, and we get to see how resourceful she is in spite of that, but we have no idea how much more damaged, or alone, she may become in the end... [...]

April 06, 2018

Erin Callahan: "The Art of Escaping" (ARC Review)

Title: The Art of Escaping [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Erin Callahan [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Contemporary
Year: 2018
Age: 14+
Stars: 4.5/5
Pros: Packed with secrets, danger, fun, friendship, unusual sidekicks and witty remarks. A heart-warming journey toward a place where one belongs.
Cons: Will's stream of consciousness sounds a bit too sophisticated/deliberate for his age.
WARNING! There's talk of sex (a first time), but nothing graphic. High-stakes danger. Mild swearing.
Will appeal to: Everyone who loves a deep, funny, clever contemporary about friendship and finding one's calling.

Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Mattie is hiding her obsession with Harry Houdini and Dorothy Dietrich from everyone, including her best friend Stella. When Stella takes off to boarding school for the summer, all of Mattie’s anxieties bubble to the surface, leaving her feeling adrift. To distract herself, she seeks out Miyu, the reclusive daughter of a world-renowned escape artist whose life and career were snuffed out by a tragic plane crash. With Miyu’s help, Mattie secretly transforms herself into a burgeoning escapologist and performance artist. When Will, a popular varsity athlete from her high school, discovers her act at an underground venue, she fears that her double life is about to be exposed. But instead of outing her, Will tells Mattie something he’s never told anyone before and the two of them find out that not all secrets can remain secret forever. (Goodreads excerpt)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I have known Erin Callahan for 4 years now, and as guarded as I am about striking friendships with authors, our relationship has deepened through all this time and via a series of online contacts/collaborations (if I dare call them so) that I detailed in this post. The very book I'm about to review, I got from the hands of Erin herself (the story is recounted here). And yes, that's me in the acknowledgment section 😉. I swear, though, that I'm going to be as honest about this book as I usual strive to be in my reviews. I wouldn't be of any service neither to the author nor to you would-be readers (?) if I didn't. Here goes...

TAKING CHANCES

You know that feeling when you love something so much, it might end up forcing your hand at becoming visible even if you're scared to death by it? And you have to choose between following your passion - no matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel, or how risky it is - and never coming out of your cave? Well, that's Mattie. And at some point of our life, probably all of us. And that other feeling when you don't fit the mold and you don't want to pretend [anymore] that you do, and you need to live your life in the open, but again, you're scared to death by it? And you have to choose between coming clean - no matter how hard it is - and never being true to yourself? Well, that's Will. And again, at some point of our life, probably all of us. There are two main stories and a unifying theme in TAOE - the need to get up and claim a place for yourself, and the recognition of how terrifying (but exhilarating) it is. This isn't true for the main characters only, but also for the ones who rotate around them, though to different degrees. And appropriately, it's not like everything gets wrapped up in a neat little bow in the end. Change doesn't happen overnight. Victories are not forever. As Will says, "If I come out in high school, I still have to come out in college, and then at work. It’s like I’m facing an endless line of people assuming I’m something I’m not." [...]