“Extinguish” – J.M Darhower

ExtinguishI was filled with excitement when I heard that JM Darhower was releasing another book. ‘Sempre’ was one of my all-time favourite stories and who doesn’t love it when an author you love and respect, releases something new to sink your teeth into?

However, when I found out that this new release was a paranormal romance, an angelic one at that, I became a little nervous. I am not a big fan of Angel books. I often feel that books about angels tend to be incredibly cheesy and overly dramatic and one of my absolute favourite things about ‘Sempre’ was how real it all was. Naturally, my trepidation was a little high when I first opened my copy of ‘Extinguish’.

After the first few pages my trepidation increased and I felt a little disappointed as the story plunges into a world that seems to be exactly what I was afraid of… dripping with cheese – Michael and Serah prancing around in a field of wild flowers. It was too angelic, too strange, too difficult to find a connection in Serah (our angelic main character).

After that first chapter however, everything changed. The entire stereotype I had begun to imagine for the rest of the book blew up the minute Luce stepped into the picture and from what I now know, having read the entire book in record time, it was all very necessary for me to feel that way. In fact, it somehow added to the entire experience because I was more a part of Serah’s journey than I could have been had it started out any other way.

‘Extinguish’ is filled with all the right things that build up a story and fill it with life. Nothing is predictable. Nothing is a stereotype. The story is beautiful and JM Darhower has officially created the ultimate fantasy ‘bad-boy-who-is-not-really-bad-but-actually-is’. Confusing? You’ll only understand what I am on about when you read the book… and you should most definitely read it if you enjoy fantasy novels or paranormal love stories.

And a big plus?

This one is definitely for the adults!

“Piet Byleveld: Dossier of a Serial Sleuth” by Hanlie Retief

Piet Byleveld BookI don’t really know how to begin with this review as it is not my usual reading material (seems I am growing up!).

This book is a biography of sorts but I don’t want to label it as such because that somehow makes it sound too clinical. I don’t often read biographies and will, more often than not, choose fiction over the facts. This began to change after reading Lawrence Anthony’s  ‘The Elephant Whisperer’ and since then I thoroughly enjoy stories based on real life events. But they are still always stories, which is exactly what “Piet Byleveld: Dossier of a Serial Sleuth” is filled with.  Lots of stories that make your skin crawl and at the same time make you want to join the police force (this is definitely saying something with the state ours is in)!

I would recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a good crime story (think CSI/The Mentalist/Sherlock Holmes) and especially to the people living in South Africa (particularly Gauteng) as it is always great when you can picture the places they talk about perfectly because you have actually been there. This isn’t something we don’t get to experience often.

The book takes you through Piet’s life in Brixton’s Murder and Robbery unit, his move when the SAP became the SAPS, and focuses on his years specialising in serial killings. You will read the details of cases such as the Leigh Matthews case or about Cedric Maake, one of SA’s biggest serial killers.

Each case is told as a story, with little anecdotes about Piet and his life along the way.

This is definitely one of the best books I have read!

Rating: 10/10

Unearthly Trilogy by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly Hallowed Boundless

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am always a bit skeptical with Angel books and tend to find that so many of them are wildly ‘out of this world’ and completely impossible, but Cynthia Hand has created a world which makes it all fully believable; If Angels exist, this genuinely seems the most likely world they’d live in.

Besides having such a well structured environment, Cynthia has also created a cast of brilliantly developed characters. It’s enough to make you want to read each of their stories to get the full picture. That is probably the only negative of being in Clara’s head as the story unfolds – you want to know what everyone is thinking and feeling. Clara is a wonderful character and going through the story with her is just the only way I could imagine it. Her emotions are perfectly captured throughout the journey as she tries to navigate the new destiny she has been given.

The story begins with ‘Unearthly’ where you meet Clara and the hand full of characters that you will follow through the series. The initial story is action-packed and will make you swoon as her tangled version of a ‘love triangle’ unfolds. Don’t be fooled though, this isn’t the usual kind of triangle – it’s a lot more complicated. There’s no bad boy vs. sweet friend, it’s much more real and much more heart breaking. (Once you meet Tucker and Christian you will understand!)

Through each book you follow her as she tries to uncover the meaning of her destiny while stumbling toward it guided by dreams and flashes. Each book is neatly wrapped up, though the main story follow through each, ending in an action packed climax. It is always difficult to say goodbye to characters, especially when you have been on a long journey with them, as you do in a series, but it is worth it.

I would definitely recommend this one to everyone who loves a good ‘young adult’ novel!

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Warm BodiesWarm Bodies is something so different and completely unexpected and I am so glad I read the book before watching the movie!

The story is filled with crazy amounts of touching, sad and hilarious moments. You wouldn’t think a zombie story could be all that funny but right from the first page I found myself laughing out loud at the visuals Isaac Marion’s words were evoking! R is a fantastic character to share a mind with. I absolutely loved everything about his thoughts, feelings, developments and especially his sense of humour and blatant honesty!

Besides for a great main character, every other character you come across throughout the book are perfectly rounded and interesting, whether you love them or hate them.
To top it all off, not only did the story provide me with hours of great imaginative entertainment but it was also really thought provoking by touching on some real issues regarding the human condition.

As crazy as a zombie story might be, it felt incredibly real and possible.  I was left feeling sad it was over but satisfied with the entire story!

What an awesome read!

‘Anna Dressed in Blood’ and ‘Girl of Nightmares’ by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood Girl of Nightmares

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I absolutely loved this story! It was something completely unexpected and it took me a while to start it just because ‘things that go bump in the night’ scare the living daylights out of me!

Thank goodness books are different to movies and I could dial down the scary to suit my easily frightened mind.

A few years ago I never would have touched this book, but since a friend once convinced me to read a vampire love story, I haven’t quite been the same and I am so glad for that! The criteria for picking which new book to start, is now based on reviews rather than silly stereotypes.

Anna Dressed in Blood and its sequel ‘Girl of Nightmares’ are must reads. In the ‘young adult’ genre there are only a few books that completely suck me in and take me into their world. You know those books that you end up taking everywhere with you – the ones that you’ll read on bathroom breaks or during lunch at work? This is one of those. You can’t help it. The characters are just so fascinating and the desire to delve deeper into the story and find out what is really going on is just too intense not to give in.

In Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake takes the idea of a haunted house and turns into a brilliant story about how love can completely catch you unaware. The main character, Cas Lowood, is great to share a mind with. He’s funny, intelligent and even though he can sometimes be rash, it is what makes him so believable.

I cannot rave enough about this series, and have shared it with enough friends to know I am not being to biased – don’t let any stereotypes stop you from reading this story! ‘Anna Dressed in Blood’ will knock your socks off.

‘Sempre’ by J.M. Darhower

W.O.W.  

It was even more amazing the second time around.

I always hoped that this (once a fanfic) book would be published as I loved it so much I wanted to have it on my bookshelf and easily accesible to read over and over again.

 J.M Darhower (or Kharizzmatik as we all know her…) is an amazing author with an astounding ability to build up a scene and make you feel as though you are living it, using only her words.

The story is an intense one, and is not for the faint hearted. It will make you cry, it will make you laugh, and it will make you so angry sometimes that you will want to scream. But every single bit is worth it!

And what’s even more amazing… is that this book is raising awareness of a worldwide problem that seems to be hardly ever spoken about – Human Trafficking. Proceeds from the books are going to Love146, which works toward the abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation through Prevention and Aftercare solutions while contributing to a growing abolition movement.

If you never had the chance to read the fanfic ’Emancipation Proclamation’ (or even if you did!) then please, get a copy of this story. It is action-packed love story so powerful that it will rock your world!

 All I can say is, when is the next one coming? :-)

Visit her site for more info of how to get a copy and what you can do to help the cause!

 

Post Numero Uno

This past year has been the start of a lot of steps forward for me… steps toward things that have always been goals of mine but, as procrastinators tend to do, have been put off, or delayed.

One of these things was (and still is) getting healthy - making better food choices, getting fit, stopping smoking and losing weight. ’Finding the right balance’, as such.

I can see now why people say that good can stem from tragic circumstances because I don’t think I would be where I am now if it weren’t for the reality check the deaths of my Grandfather, ‘Step-father’ and ‘Step-uncle’ gave me in December 2010. The thought of how different things would have been had they been healthy, had they made the right choices for their bodies, pushed me into thinking about where I was and what I wanted from my life. It forced me to make the right choices and take a big step forward.

I have now been gyming daily for what will be a year in March. I get up at 4.30am, get to gym at 5 and get to work by 7.30am. It seems hectic (and trust me, one a half years ago, I would have agreed) but it’s amazing how quickly you can get into a routine when something feels good and gives you the kind of results you are looking for.

I took it slowly at first, one choice at a time. I started with gym. Once I got comfortable with that, I quit smoking (beginning of May) and once not smoking felt pretty normal I decided to give the ‘making the right food choices’ a go. I start ‘dieting’ October this year and I am now a comfy 10kgs down. I still have another 10 to 15 to go and have a goal of April 2012.

I am not starving myself and this is not a ‘diet’ in the sense that by April I will just go back to eating like a pig. No. It’s a lifestyle change.  You’ve probably heard that a hundred times before… and yes I still agree, it sounds ridiculous… but the fact is that it’s true.

I haven’t suddenly stopped loving chocolate (especially those yummy double milk Lindt slabs), or pizza (Cornuti anyone?), and I definitely haven’t stopped thinking that pies, chips and red bull are suddenly disgusting – because if I said that, I would be lying.

What I can say though, is that feeling good and looking good… is better than any of those things taste. Although there are still days where I disagree with myself and raid the pastry section of the nearest shop.

I guess what I’ll say, is that I make the right choices the majority of the time… I mean, it’s all about balance, right?

So for 2012 I have decided to focus even more on the ‘getting fit part’… note “Mission‘Extreme Fitness’. I have decided on two things: 1) I will be doing the 94.7 Cycle Challenge this year and, 2) I will be participating in a Triathlon (I’m thinking

the Energade one), in other words, by November I want to be at tip-top fitness level… I’m thinking like 18% body fat here!

Anyhoo… I decided to blog about it… and in this way I can kill two birds with one stone, well kind of , my next 2012 goal is ‘Write more’… so it works!

 

Book Review: “Moon Called” by Patricia Briggs

Mercedes Thompson, or “Mercy” as I know her, is not a vampire or a werewolf, she doesn’t belong to the fae nor is she human. But, she is something. Something extraordinary ― she is a Walker.

“Moon Called” is another story that reminds me just why I love Young Adult (YA) Fantasy books so much. You’d think that after so many, I would be tired of the genre but that is not the case. I have read a few ‘doozies’ but this, ladies (and gentlemen?), is not one of them. Somehow Patricia Briggs gives a new spin to a world similar to the likes of our wonderful Miss Sookie Stackhouse’s. A world in which every myth and legend is beginning to become truth in the eyes of the human race.

The biggest difference with this series though, is our Heroin. Mercy is a character that is not only believable but easy to be around (which is kind of essential when you will be in her head for a while). She is strong, kind, caring and a little strange. But it’s her weaknesses and insecurities that make her so believable, and relatable.

I am one of the people that love a happy ending and a bit of romance, but what I do find is that often stories (especially in the YA genre) lose their ‘real life’ edge. The love stories tend to be all Romeo and Juliet styled, except they have the happy ending that Romeo and Juliet never did.

That was what I loved about the Sookie Stackhouse series. No matter how crazy the world gets, the relationships, the reactions, they remain almost…‘real’.

The Mercedes Thompson series of books seems to be very similar in that respect. The story line and characters are, of course, entirely different but the feel of the book (without the drugs and sex… so far at least) is very similar and I think that is one of the main reasons I love it so much.

I can’t wait to get started on “Blood Bound”, book 2 of the series, as it promises to be just as brilliant as the first!

 

Book Review: “Inheritance” by Christopher Paolini

Inheritance is the long awaited final book in the Inheritance Cycle written by Christopher Paolini.If you are unfamiliar with the books I am pretty sure you will at least have heard of the movie – “Eragon” – which was the first book in the series.

Since its release, Inheritance has received a broad range of reviews – I’ve read reviews where people have out right said that they hated it… and then I have read reviews where people have written about how much they enjoyed it.

My rating? I would give Inheritance 4 stars. And I’m always very lenient with the stars. I don’t think I’ve ever given below a three star rating. (This is a weakness I need to work on!).

The conclusion did feel a little drawn out in times, and I found myself day dreaming a little more than I would usually (although this could also be attributed to the fact that it has been so long since Brisingr). But other than the few bits where I felt like they were giving too much detail (this is why I couldn’t finish Lord of the Rings!) I thought the book was brilliantly thought out.

Yes, there are some unanswered questions, but only the minor things which keeps Paolini’s options open for when he wants to return to the series (as he mentions in his Acknowledgements.)

The book started right where Brisngr left off and the battle to remove King Galbatorix from his throne in Uru’bean is at it’s final stages as the Varden move closer and closer to the city, claiming other territories, strategically, as they go. There are a lot of twists and turns and different adventures going on all at the same time and with you will get to follow Roran, Nasuada and Eragon in different parts of the final part of the epic tale.

I thought that the book rounded off nicely and gave us an ending that was true to the characters, regardless of whether it was theending that everyone wanted.

I do hope that there is some kind of spin-off series or any kind of return in the near future as I would love to know more about some of the mysterious characters (Angela? Solembum?) but until then, I am content with how this part of Eragon and Saphira’s journey concluded.

 

 

I’m back :-)

Wow… it has been ages since my last post. I think I have become almost a ghost online these days.

My excuse? I suppose I don’t really have a good one other than bad time management and prioritisation… is that good enough?

I don’t know.

But what I do know is that I want to change that.

New Years resolution numero uno: Blog more.

I see a list coming on.

2) Eat less.

3) Read more (Much easier now that I have a Kindle… birthdays are the best!).

4) Smoke even less (I’m at the social smoking level now).

5) Laugh more.

6) Frown less.

I could keep going I suppose but I think I’ll just stop and rather post a cool funny picture and move onto the next post which will be a book review. I have four to come.

“Inheritance” by Christopher Poalini

“Crossed” by Ally Condie

“Divergent” by Veronica Roth

“Moon Called” by Patricia Briggs (which I am almost finished!)

Ok, now for the funny, as promised….

 

 

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