Friday, July 29, 2011
Author: Lisa McMann
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children Publishing
Rating: 3 stars
A small and quiet town, Cryer's Cross, was shocked when a teenage girl went missing. The townfolks searched everywhere and couldn't find a clue, until they finally gave up and returned to their normal life. But Kendall, a teenage girl with OCD, couldn't ignore it and pretend it didn't affect it. Especially after her boyfriend, Nico, went missing as well. What happened in Cryer's Cross? Was the missing teens has anything to do with the newcomers? Or was it about old secret that was hidden for years?
I actually had high hopes on this book. I've read many reviews and it sounded very good. Perhaps that's the problem with too much exposure; you expect too much. It doesn't mean I think this book is bad; it was okay however I expect more from it. It suppose to scare me but I didn't feel that way at all.
One thing that keeps me reading is the main character, Kendall. It so fascinating for me to read the point of view of an OCD; it makes me knows more about OCD and how it affects people who have it. For those who like psychology element in a book, I think you might like this.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Once again thank you for everyone who participated in our Midnight Summer Festival Winners. Now it's time for me to announce the winners. Here are the winners!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Thank you to Jules Watson, Christopher and Heather Dunbar, Jenna Black, Leah Cypess and Brenna Yovanoff for sharing your awesome thoughts about Celtic Mythology. I hope everyone will fall in love with this mythology just like it happened to me years ago.
Thank you for my co-host Rie from Mission to Read and Carmel from Rabid Reads for helping me out. You guys are awesome!
Last but not least to all of the readers and followers of this blog, don't forget that the giveaways are still running until July 25 so you still have time! You can follow the links below that will direct you to the forms. Don't forget the extra entries to increase your chance to win! All International contests!
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Rating: 4 stars
In small town Gentry, Mackie Doyle is dying. he's allergic to iron, blood, and consecrated ground. He is a replacement that left in a crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Despite his origin, he would give anything to live among us, to play music and spend time with Tate, an intriguing girl. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing and a faerie baby left in her place is dead, willing or not Mackie is drawn into the Mayhem and finally accept his true nature.
I love this book. I seriously love this. The dark elements in it is just perfect in its portion. although at first I was annoyed by Mackie who seemed couldn't grow backbone, eventually he stepped out and be the person Tate knew he is. He didn't turn into some kind of superhero, but he is hero in a way. Other characters are great as well; I like Mackie's friends and family. Not only that by I also fell in love with Mayhem; okay it's creepy, seriously creepy but it also awesome in its creepiness. The characters in it are so scary, I probably fainted on the spot if I met them in dark alley. You have to read this!
I'm going to giveaway a copy of this book or Mistwood by Leah Cypess, depend on your choice. All you need to do is fill the form HERE. It opens internationally and ends at July 25. Good luck!
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I always tell people that when I first started working on The Replacement, I never meant to write a faerie story.
Which, when I step back and think about it, is totally ridiculous, since from the very beginning I knew I was writing a book about changelings. And most of the mythology surrounding changelings comes straight out of faerie lore.
But when I first started The Replacement, I was entirely focused on the idea of the changelings themselves, and not at all on where they came from. Because I wanted to tell a modern-day story about a creature that people had pretty much stopped believing in by the time Queen Victoria was in power, I was entirely focused on how that creature’s life would look in contemporary society, where so many things are made of iron or stainless steel, which is toxic to the fae.
It wasn’t until I’d gotten a few chapters in and started thinking about the larger implications of babies being switched in the middle of the night for other babies that I knew I’d need to talk about the faeries themselves.
I’ve always been fascinated by the strange and unsettling, and I knew the world I wanted to write about was one filled with people who were not only fantastical, but frightening in their own right.
The inhabitants of the House of Mayhem aren’t what one might immediately picture when thinking of faeries, but they take their roots in the same folklore. The dead girls who wander Mayhem are direct adaptations of the Sluagh—what Celtic mythology refers to as the spirits of the restless dead.
The Sluagh were a perfect jumping-off place for the town of Gentry and the kind of world I wanted to create.
Brenna Yovanoff's debut novel is The Replacement, a story about a boy who was placed when he was a baby to substitute a human baby. Visit her HERE and HERE!
Monday, July 18, 2011
Author: Leah Cypess
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins)
Rating: 4 stars
Isabel is a shapeshifter, she lived in Mistwood until Prince Rokan caught her. The Prince bound her and asked her to serve and protect her, just like she did to all kings in the past. The problem is, Isabel had lost her memories; she didn't remember what happened in the past and why she's in Mistwood instead of guarding the king's family. Not only that, she also couldn't shapeshift inside the castle. What had happened in the past? Why people seemed relieved that she couldn't remember anything? And what should she do when someone showed up and claimed to be the real prince?
I really like this book. I'm always fascinated with Celtic Mythology and shapeshifter is part of it. For me it seems so romantic yet terrifying that one is able to shift into any creature one wants. Shapeshifter aside, I like this book because of the strong main character; I had enough with damsel in distress and Isabel is definitely not. I liked her initial cold and intimidating attitude but I also enjoyed her development, especially after she realized her true nature. Other characters are also interesting; especially Clarisse. Even though Isabel can't stand her, the truth is they are quite similar. Rokan is very human; I like the way Leah Cypess didn't make him overly handsome or overly powerful. He surprisingly very human with all the doubts and flaws.
If you like shapeshifter like me and had a thing for a strong kickass main character who don't need men to rescue her every five seconds, you'll love this book.
I will giveaway a copy of this book, the details will follow later!
Sunday, July 17, 2011
On my website, I've collected a list of books about shapeshifters - http://www.leahcypess.com/shapeshifter/. But the book that probably most influenced Mistwood is not on that list, because it's not technically a shapeshifter book. It's The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, about a unicorn who sets out on a quest to find out what happened to the rest of her kind. I'm not going to say more, because explaining how this book influenced Mistwood would be a bit of a spoiler for The Last Unicorn, and I think everyone should read it - it's a thoroughly original story that reads like the best type of fairy-tale. (Full disclosure: I was introduced to this book through the movie version, which is also awesome.)
My second book, Nightspell, is about ghosts -- this time, a trope I find more frightening than fascinating. Back when I read the classic ghost book Wait Till Helen Comes, I couldn't even fall asleep until I had gotten the book physically out of my bedroom. But I'm also a fan of mysteries, and the idea of ghosts trying to solve their own murders - not a new idea, certainly! - has an intrinsic appeal to me. My attempt to write in that genre turned into a high fantasy about a
kingdom where ghosts coexist uneasily with the living, but it has its roots in a combination of all the murder mysteries and ghost stories I read when I was younger.
What's next? Well, my secret goal is to play with every fantasy trope in existence, so hopefully there are a lot more mythological creatures in my writing future!
Leah Cypess is the author of Mistwood and the upcoming novel, Nightspell. Visit her HERE!
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Several scholars consider the origin of faeries is actually Gods/Goddesses in Celtic Mythology, but when Christian entered land of Britain, one of the way to reduce human's believe toward these creatures' power was by changing them into faeries; Lugh became the cute green-hatted leprechaun, for example.
In Faeriewalker series by Jenna Black, Faeries live side by side with human in a city called Avalon. This city is the only city in the world where Faerie and human can live together. But the balance within this city is disrupted when powerful faeries are fighting among each others for power.
Glimmerglass (Faeriewalker #1)
Author: Jenna Black
Publisher: St. Martin Griffin
Rating: 3 and a half stars
Tired of dealing with her constant drunken mother, Dana Hathaway decided living in Avalon with his Fae father might be a good idea. The moment she set on her foot in Avalon, she discovered that it was actually a bad idea. Chased by Fae and humans, trapped in the middle of Fae politics and had to deal with handsome Fae teen, she found out that she actually a Faeriwalkers, a person who can walk in both human and Fae's world. In order to survive, Dana had to know where she could place her trust and decided which side she choose.
In my opinion Glimmerglass is very interesting. I'm not a huge fan of Fae, honestly, there's something about the too-handsome and too-powerful creature that irks me. But Glimmerglass is surprisingly acceptable for me. Even though there were some damsel-in-distress moments, I still can stand it. I enjoyed Ms. Black's writing style; it flows naturally. The characters are interesting; some of them seemed to follow stereotype but after awhile, I found out that they were more than meet the eyes.
Overall Glimmerglass is very interesting, although I'm not fascinated by the characters , I enjoy reading it and surely I will read the second book in near time and hope Dana has grown some backbones!
This month is the release month for the third book in Faeriwalker series; Sirensong. Mr. Black had kindly agreed to giveaway a copy of Sirensong to one lucky winner. This is an international giveaway and all you need to do is fill the form HERE!
Friday, July 15, 2011
One of the reasons I particularly love writing stories with mythological underpinnings is that mythology is so changeable. Reading summaries of some of the most prominent mythological tales can be like reading a choose-your-own-adventure book—first either A, B, or C happened, then our hero did either D, E, or F, and then G, H, or I happened, all depending on whose version you choose. (Look up Tam Lin on Wikipedia to get a hint of what I mean.) Because there are so many different versions of the stories, it’s easy to pick and choose the aspects that you like best, and it also feels very natural to tinker with it so that it fits the story you want to tell.
At the heart of every mythological story—no matter how many variations of it exist—is a kernel of certainty, a constant on which all the variations are built. The story of Tam Lin, for example, is always the story of a man who is rescued from the Queen of Faerie by a mortal woman who loves him. Any story based on Tam Lin is bound to have that basic story as its core, even if the details are wildly different. (If you look at the Wikipedia entry again, you’ll see that even Tam Lin’s name and the name of the woman who rescued him are not constant.)
That is the way I like to use mythology in my books: to take the core of the story/legend, and then build the details I need for my own story. I have used many elements of Celtic mythology in my Faeriewalker series—the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, and the Wild Hunt, for example—but I have mixed and matched and made up the elements in ways you won’t find in any of the original ballads or stories. If there is any source material in which the Erlking is associated with the Wild Hunt, I’m not aware of it. (The Erlking isn’t even associated with Celtic mythology; his origins are Scandinavian. But when I needed someone to lead my Wild Hunt, the legend of the Erlking popped into my mind and I thought his story blended well with that of the Wild Hunt.)
I think my love of using mythology in this fashion, of not sticking strictly to the original stories, stems from the same drive that inspired me to become a writer in the first place. I think it’s a rare writer who didn’t in her childhood find herself reading a book (or even watching a movie), without thinking something to the effect of, “The story would be much better if X happened instead of Y. If I were the author, I’d make X happen instead.” That’s pretty much what I like to do with the mythology in my books. I don’t actually think I’m making the mythology “better,” of course; I merely think I’m making it better for my book. I’m sure there are mythology aficionados out there who cringe at seeing the original tales manhandled by modern-day authors like me. But while my books are based on old stories and legends, they aren’t a retelling of those stories, and for me, playing fast and loose with the mythology is part of the fun of writing them.
Visit Jenna Black HERE.
Morrigan's Brood (Morrigan's Brood #1)
Author: Christopher Dunbar & Heather Poinsett Dunbar
Publisher: Triscelle Publishing
Teaser: The sound of howling wolves echoed through the hall. The walls almost began to shake, and the end of the grand joke came to a sudden end before completion.
A stratling bang from upstairs echoed through the lower basement as a door slammed open and closed. Shrill screams moved through the halls and into the lower chamber. Sound of growls, thuds, and cries of pain continued. All conversation stopped.
I've received the ebook copy of this series few days ago and haven't got the chance to finish it. But based on what I've read so far, it's great; I believe Chris and Heather Dunbar did an extensive research on this one. I'll review it as soon as I'm finish.
The couple had agreed to giveaway a copy of Morrigan's Brood and Morrigan's Brood: Crone of War
for one lucky winner. All you have to do is fill the form HERE.
This giveaway opens to everyone around the wold and ends on July 25th.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Heather: I find all mythology to be fascinating. However, Celtic mythology is my favorite. I grew up reading a lot of classical mythology stories, and it kind of got a little boring after awhile. My interest in anything Celtic intensified in the mid-nineties, when I spent a wonderful summer in Europe as an intern. I worked in Epping Forest around London and then backpacked through Western Europe. The history and mythology of the ancient peoples in Europe just inspired me unlike anything else. I wanted to learn more. I still love learning about it. It’s so multifaceted, and one could become lost in examining all the stories.
The Celts seemed to love tales involving characters who could be both villainous and heroic. Today, many authors strive for the same thing in our books. I feel proud to have a Celtic heritage (my family is primarily Germanic and Irish). After my travels, I went back home to Texas and began to study everything I could about the Celtic tribes of Europe. A lot of them suffered during the Roman era due to constant invasions, and their culture faded and merged with the Romans, except in Scotland and Ireland. Today, more people are discovering the wonderful tales within Celtic mythology and realizing that the stories still resonate with us.
Chris: Until I met Heather, my only understanding of mythology had come from classical Greek and Roman mythology, and to a much lesser extent, Viking mythology. Celtic, Asian, African, Polynesian, and many other mythologies were not covered in school.
Our favorite Gods/Goddesses/Myth creatures
Heather: Hmmmm… there are so many to chose from. Yet, I will have to admit that my favorite is The Morrigan. I do love to read about other deities and heroes, such as Lugh, Brigid, Cernunnos, and Cu Chulainn, but The Morrigan just really spoke to me when I learned about Her.
Chris: I would have to say The Morrigan, though since the question below asks about Her, I will say that, given that they are the chief beings in our series, I would say vampires… though not the Hollywood vampires with which most people are familiar. I like the old-world vampires, before even the name “vampire” was known. These beings, who consumed the life essences of mortals, had many names, respective of their cultures of origin. Deargh Du, Algul, Ekimmu Cruitne, Ekimmu, and Lamia are just a few names attributed to these blood-drinkers.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The Raven Queen
Author: Jules Watson
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Teaser: Breathing hard, she pulled her sword free and knelt before him. "I triumphed against those who opposed me, and won the loyalty of lords and warriors. The long dark was mild, and leaf-bud early. The crops are abundant, the flocks and herds swelling. All is fertile and unfurls with life." p218
I haven't finish read this book due to work and my country's crappy post service but I've got to tell you so far I'm enjoying it. It got the action, the romance, and all that jazz. I'm going to post my review as soon as I finish reading it.
One lucky winner will be able to obtain a signed copy of The Raven Queen by Jules Watson. All you have to do is fill this FORM et voila, you're done!
Monday, July 11, 2011
During the writing of my five Celtic novels, I received emails from places as scattered as Panama, India, Malaysia, Germany, Spain and Romania. These readers say they always had a "thing" about Celtic legends. So I began calling us all "The Lost Tribe". Since the Celts believed in rebirth, I say maybe we lived in Celtic lands once, and now are dispersed across the globe! True or not, Celtic myths are popular worldwide. But why?
Well, perhaps it is because they celebrate nature, with divine “spirit” held in every animal, tree, and stream. They include a mysterious Otherworld that lies just beyond our fingertips. In this fast-paced, technological world, we yearn to connect to nature, to know there might be “more” out there…realms where magic exists.
Celtic legends are peopled by noble heroes and fiery maidens, and in their stories, the Celts risk everything for honor, courage, and passion. We also long to be swept away by love, to see ourselves as honorable and brave, to “live free or die”. Unlike the intellectual Romans, the Celts were all about emotion. It may have doomed them, but we react to the glory and tragedy in their stories. It’s a more stirring world than the one we often find ourselves in.
My favorite Celtic myth is about the Irish hero Cuchulainn. He is the poster boy for Celtic honor and nobility – pure of heart, despite being deadly with a sword. Although not the central character, I tell his story in my most recent novels, The Swan Maiden and The Raven Queen. As often happens in Celtic myths, Cuchulainn’s fate is sealed by the greed and selfishness of others. He ends up having to fight his best friend and soulmate, Ferdia, to the death. It is Celtic tragedy of epic proportions. I loved writing it!
My books The Swan Maiden and The Raven Queen are based on Irish myths. The Swan Maiden is about the tragic heroine Deirdre, imprisoned by the ageing King Conor. She runs away with the warrior Naisi, and is chased by Conor’s knights, including Cuchulainn. Cuchulainn loves the fugitives, and his efforts to keep them safe while not betraying his honor, and Naisi’s efforts to stay free without betraying his honor, are very moving.
For The Raven Queen, I tackled the legendary warrior-queen Maeve, who was the force behind the great Irish heroic epic, the Cattle Raid of Cooley. Described in early stories as promiscuous and a brutal war-mongerer, she was too fascinating for an author to ignore!
Both these books involve the sidhe, the magical beings of the Celtic Otherworld. The sidhe appear in most Celtic myths as semi-divine warriors and maidens, kings and queens, and mischief-makers. I made them more elemental beings of spirit.
Birds and other animals are important in Irish myth. Maeve is associated with ravens. Ravens invoke prophecy and the Otherworld, a perfect totem for a warrior-queen who must call on the spirit world to defeat her enemies.
Deirdre, alone in Scotland, begins sensing the sidhe and also learns to “see” through water and fire – becoming almost a nature spirit herself. So I made her totem the swan, because in Celtic legends swans were also messengers of the Otherworld. Deirdre transforms into a spirit swan many times during her life.
My earlier historical fiction series, The Dalriada trilogy, is set in Scotland. The Romans are trying to conquer Britain, with my plucky band of Scottish Celts trying to stop them. Like in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon, I made my heroine a Celtic priestess. Although the books are adventure romances, this meant that I could weave in hints of real Celtic legends - an Otherworld of unseen powers who transform from animal to spirit; the rebirth of souls; our sixth sense; and the ability to foresee the future.
Though this trilogy is based on history, I found I could not resist the song of the Celtic Otherworld, either!
Ms. Watson had agreed to giveaway a copy of The Raven Queen to one of the lucky reader. The detail will be given tomorrow along with my preview of The Raven Queen! Visit her HERE!
Series: Divergent #1
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: Paperback 487 pages
Rating: 4 - Excellent!
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Chicago is divided into Five groups. The Candor (the Honest), The Amity (the Peaceful), The Dauntless (The Brave), The Abnegation (The selfless) and last but not least The Erudite (The Intelligence). Our heroine belong in The Abnegation. But not until she turned sixteen that she was able to attend the choosing day. And that means she can be part of one of the group and leave her current in where she grow up and was born to. But she found out something. Something different. Something that (can) changed her life.
Divergent is like another THG in some aspects. The story is divided into action, mystery and romance. Which I really found interesting especially how Ms. Veronica blend it. I really felt the emotions that was running through our heroines mind and so does the action. Just awhile ago I was nervous and wanted to skip that heart pounding situation and later I am happy and giddy.
As for the Characters. They were great. They put up to their role perfectly. The supporting characters was lovable. The villains are good and glad to say I hate them so much. As for heroine Tris is great. I love her guts and will. I was a bit worried about how will she be able to face the trials that will thrown at her. At first I really thought that she is weak and just like some characters in some books. A miracles will appear and someone out of no where will show up to help her. But it sure proved me wrong. Despite knowing that the trials was out of her hand to control and her opponents are way too stronger than her. She tried and tried to catch up with them if not by strength then by speed and brain. And her pride, guts and will didn't fail her. It did not only shocked everyone. But her opponents and comrades thought that she's a threat to their success.
People compares Divergent to THG and so does their characters. All I can is. Yes. THG is good, it’s remarkable. But Divergent’s characters are…real. you can see them struggle to survive their mission. The characters starts from zero as in they don't know what to do in any kind of situation they were thrown in to. They brought me to the last book because I felt them there, their situations, emotions and so does their actions. But that being said. It didn't give me contentment. I crave for more action and romance. I want to feel them more. It's like yes, I feel them. But it's still lacking.
The plot is thrilling. You can't help but guess and predict things or people and feel disappointed if your predictions was wrong. I was a bit carried by how the characters cares and acts esp. through how they stick to each other when the plot gets more entertaining or serious. There are some surprising and expected twist at the end of the story. And some shocking scenes that left me devastated. I hate and love this story.
Well as I have said above. The first book didn't give me satisfaction. So that also means that I will surely read the next book. Insurgent ?. There are a lot of things that needs improvement. Over all. It still entertain me til the end. Looking forward for the sequel.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Compare to Greek, Roman, or Egypt Mythologies, Celtic Mythology could be consider as low profile due to lack of written record related to this mythology. However Celtic Mythology actually had given influences to other mythologies. It was widely believed that Roman 'stole' Lugh, the strongest God in Celt Mythology and transferred it into Jupiter. Either it's true or not, it's still debatable.
Many of us didn't aware that shapeshifter, fairy, changeling, trolls, and Tree of Life were actually part of Celtic Mythology. My interest in Celtic Mythology came from not-so-awesome background. One of my favorite RPG game in the past is Neverwinter Nights and I always use Druid as my character. I like Druid the most because not only they could fight, but they also have the power of healing and able to shapeshift.
I'm the type of person who when I'm taken interest on something, I will find information about it. So I dig info about Druid and it led me to Celtic Mythology and it fascinated me! The Ogham language, the Tree of Life, Shapeshiting ability, leprechaun, Morrigan, Danu, and of course, Druids.
So for the next 10 days let's celebrate Celtic Mythology with me! There will be authors talking about their favorite mythology and for every book I review during this event, there will be giveaways!