Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Currently Reading

Current reads, there is something about them that sends chills down my spine, in a bittersweet way. I love to read, if I didn't I certainly wouldn't be writing a blog about books and reading experiences, but sometimes I find myself juggling between various books at the same time.
Like many literature lovers I know, besides my leisure reading, I also have to have time to read my university assigned reads. Sometimes the mandatory reads are something that I would already read on a leisure setting but still, the kind of reading and analysis the courses require can sometimes make the act of reading a daunting task.
I come here today to share with you a list of the books that I am currently reading! I hope you find some that you like and you can count on some of them being reviewed here on the blog.


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Seventeen-year-old Maggie Ellmes is dogged by a case of chronic bad luck. She figures that’s just her lot in life—that is, until the psychic at Blackheath’s annual carnival reveals that Maggie’s problems are caused by more than just ordinary misfortune; she’s actually been cursed. 
Desperate to shake the hex, Maggie has no choice but to seek out the help of Joel Tomlins, a rebellious classmate who’s descended from Blackheath’s most powerful line of witches. After breaking all of his coven’s conventions to help her, Joel discovers that the curse isn’t as bad as Maggie fears. In fact, it’s much, much worse.




A Midsummer Night's Dream: The Oxford Shakespeare
Shakespeare's intertwined love polygons begin to get complicated from the start--Demetrius and Lysander both want Hermia but she only has eyes for Lysander. Bad news is, Hermia's father wants Demetrius for a son-in-law. On the outside is Helena, whose unreturned love burns hot for Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander plan to flee from the city under cover of darkness but are pursued by an enraged Demetrius (who is himself pursued by an enraptured Helena). In the forest, unbeknownst to the mortals, Oberon and Titania (King and Queen of the faeries) are having a spat over a servant boy. The plot twists up when Oberon's head mischief-maker, Puck, runs loose with a flower which causes people to fall in love with the first thing they see upon waking. Throw in a group of labourers preparing a play for the Duke's wedding (one of whom is given a donkey's head and Titania for a lover by Puck) and the complications become fantastically funny.



Literature's grandest evocation of life's journey, at once an ageless human story and an individual test of moral endurance, Homer's ancient Greek epic The Odyssey is translated by Robert Fagles with an introduction and notes by Bernard Knox in Penguin Classics.When Robert Fagles' translation of The Iliad was published in 1990, critics and scholars alike hailed it as a masterpiece. Here, one of the great modern translators presents us with The Odyssey, Homer's best-loved poem, recounting Odysseus' wanderings after the Trojan War. With wit and wile, the 'man of twists and turns' meets the challenges of the sea-god Poseidon, and monsters ranging from the many-headed Scylla to the cannibalistic Cyclops Polyphemus - only to return after twenty years to a home besieged by his wife Penelope's suitors. In the myths and legends retold in this immortal poem, Fagles has captured the energy of Homer's original in a bold, contemporary idiom.Seven greek cities claim the honour of being the birthplace of Homer (c. 8th-7th century BC), the poet to whom the composition of the Iliad and Odyssey are attributed. The Iliad is the oldest surviving work of Western literature, but the identity - or even the existence - of Homer himself is a complete mystery, with no reliable biographical information having survived.



Have you ever wished you could receive a little guidance from your favorite book boyfriend? Ever dreamed of being the Chosen One in a YA novel? Want to know all the secrets of surviving the dreaded plot twist?
Or maybe you're just really confused about what "opal-tinted, luminous cerulean orbs" actually are?
Well, popular Twitter personality @broodingYAhero is here to help as he tackles the final frontier in his media dominance: writing a book. Join Broody McHottiepants as he attempts to pen Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me, a "self-help" guide (with activities--you always need activities) that lovingly pokes fun at the YA tropes that we roll our eyes at, but secretly love.
As his nefarious ex, Blondie DeMeani, attempts to thwart him at every turn, Broody overcomes to detail, among other topics, how to choose your genre, how to keep your love interest engaged (while maintaining lead character status), his secret formula for guaranteed love triangle success, and how to make sure you secure that sequel, all while keeping his hair perfectly coiffed and never breaking a sweat.


WELCOME BACK TO HOLLOW HILLS
The spellbinding continuation of the best-selling YA fantasy series, The Marked. Discover why readers are calling this series completely engrossing and downright addicting!
The steep descent into Hell is always paved with good intentions.
My name is Jemma Blackburn, and I'm a Slayer. Finding out I wasn't human was only the beginning of my problems. My best-friend, Taylor, is still missing, and so is the Immortal Amulet, and it's my job alone to get them both back. I don't know who I can trust, and I'm still not sure I'm cut out for any of this, but I'm determined to figure it all out, or die trying.
As if that wasn't bad enough, there's a new enemy in town and they've come bearing gifts—an ancient prophesy that is going to blur the very lines between good and evil. And, apparently, my blood is tied to the center of it. I don't have all the answers yet, but I’m getting closer and closer to discovering the truth. The truth about my bloodlines, and about who I really am.
And, believe me when I say, it's going to change everything.


Harry Potter è un predestinato: ha una cicatrice a forma di saetta sulla fronte e provoca strani fenomeni, come quello di farsi ricrescere in una notte i capelli inesorabilemte tagliati dai perfidi zii. Ma solo in occasione del suo undicesimo compleanno gli si rivelano la sua natura e il suo destino, e il mondo misterioso cui di diritto appartiene. Un mondo dove regna la magia; un universo popolato da gufi portalettere, scope volanti, caramelle al gusto di cavolini di Bruxelles e ritratti che scappano...







25558608A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.
Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.
But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.
Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.


The OresteiaThe Oresteia (Ορέστεια #1-3) by Aeschylus

In the Oresteia—the only trilogy in Greek drama which survives from antiquity—Aeschylus took as his subject the bloody chain of murder and revenge within the royal family of Argos.
Moving from darkness to light, from rage to self-governance, from primitive ritual to civilized institution, their spirit of struggle and regeneration becomes an everlasting song of celebration.






The AeneidThe Aeneid by Virgil
Robert Fagles's award-winning translations of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey have sold more than a million copies and become classics in their own right. With this modern verse translation of Virgil's Aeneid, Fagles completes the classic triptych at the heart of Western civilization. Retaining all of the gravitas and humanity of the original, yet vibrant and contemporary, this seminal literary achievement of the ancient world is an unsparing portrait of a man caught between love, duty, and fate.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Book Highlight: Rise of Jotunheim (Odinsmal) by Sammy Zakaria


 

Rise of Jotunheim (Odinsmal) by Sammy Zakaria

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Genre: Fantasy
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Forced to flee from his home on the island of Algir Oya, young Odin finds that the evil he'd barely escaped is already causing death and destruction on mainland Midgard. In a bid for survival, the humans of Midgard have united and taken up arms in a battle which Odin unwillingly must join against the forces of Jotunheim whose ruthless ruler, Loki, is enslaving humans to mine for the precious metal, Blóstein.
Befallen by a lack of strength and resources necessary to stand against Loki's army of savage footmen and bloodthirsty wolflike berserkers, Odin must venture with his friends Thedrick, Vili, and Ve beyond the boundaries of Midgard in search of an ally to stand with them against the Jotun invasion.
Follow young Odin's adventure across the realms of the fascinating ancient Norse world where his search for an ally leads him to frightening discoveries about the truth of a forgotten past.
About The Author
Sammy grew up in Denmark, but today resides in the land of meatballs and IKEA, Sweden. By day he works as an IT professional; by night a progressively balding couch potato. Aside from channel browsing and being fascinated with Norse mythology, he enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with his family.
"I like studying languages. It gives me an insight into different cultures. Por isso também falo português e espanhol. "

"I've spent 15 years writing this book. It has been a long uphill climb. Now, it's out and I want people to know about it, and hopefully enjoy the story that I put so much of myself into to create" 

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Book Blitz | Giveaway: Vices and Virtues: An anthology of the Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Dark Virtues



Vices and Virtues: An anthology of the Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Dark Virtues
Publication date: November 14th 2017
Genres: Adult, Horror, Supernatural, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Suspense/Thriller
Sins will weave you into their webs. They become the Vice you’re unable to shake. There are the values, taught from birth, which ride a razor’s edge. They turn into Dark Virtues, a twisted mockery of their true meaning.
Pride, envy, lust, gluttony, anger, greed and sloth all have their place in the tapestry of life. They are the Vices who lost sight of the Virtues: charity, temperance, forgiveness, humility, kindness, chastity and diligence.
Enter the worlds where the tales of the most sinful of Vices and the darkest of Virtues will entice and intrigue you…
…for even among the most devout there is a dark side.
On sale for $0.99 for a limited time only!
SNEAK PEEKS:
SINS OF THE FLESH (Gluttony)
BY STACEY BROADBENT

Throwing caution to the wind, I slipped my feet into a pair of runners and walked down the road, telling myself it was to clear my mind. But really, I was on the prowl for fresh meat. Someone vulnerable—easy prey. I had to be smart about it; it was broad daylight after all.
Every person who walked past became a possible target. In my mind’s eye, I pictured a computer log for each one, listing their attributes. Having limited knowledge on the ins and outs of cannibalism, I had no idea what the perfect body type was for consumption. Would it matter if they were male or female? Was it better if they were lean and muscular, or was a layer of padding more flavourful? How was I to choose?
Turns out, I didn’t need to think about it at all. On my walk back home, I was knocked off my feet by a man out for a jog. He’d been too busy flicking through the playlist on his phone to see me, and by the time we’d both looked up, it was too late. We collided, my forehead into his chin and mouth. My hands automatically went up, pressing against his chest and sending us both bouncing off each other, landing on our behinds. Apologising profusely, he offered me his hand and pulled me to my feet. The impact had left a red egg on my head and skinned my palms raw. He, however, came across a little worse for wear, sporting a newly chipped tooth, and fat, bleeding lip. As soon as I got a whiff of the blood on his breath, I knew, he was the one.
I pointed to my house across the street, inviting him in to clean up while he called the emergency dentist. It was the least I could do.

Ushering him into the bathroom, I had him perch on the edge of the bath while I rummaged through the cabinet for the first aid kit. I needed to knock him out somehow. There was no way I could do this without it… unless…

A MILLION CLAY WOLVES (Greed)
BY AMBER K. BRYANT

Do you remember Jamey? Has a tattoo of a whale on his right arm, wears a red and white striped tank top—Sound familiar?”
Mora nodded. “He juggled knives and guns.”
“That’s right. Jamey is my boyfriend and we’re very happy, only… He has this crazy idea that he should give up the troop, join the army instead. He thinks it would provide a better life for us, but he’s wrong. This is the only life I want and I don’t want it to change. I need you to change his mind.”
“What?” She took a step away from Dare. “I… I can’t do that!”
“You don’t realize it, but you can. I saw it in you. The ability to endow magic. You just needed a jumpstart, and yesterday…” she pointed to the feather, “I gave it to you.”
Mora stared at the feather, still crumpled in her hand.
“Tell the feather that Jamey’s place is with me. In the troop. Tell the feather it needs to change Jamey’s mind. Go on.”
Mora lifted the feather halfway to her face, then paused. This would never work. Clearly circus life had taken its toll on Dare’s mental health. Or perhaps unstable people were attracted to the quirky life the troop seemed to lead. It was silly to give in to Dare’s demands. Then again, if she didn’t do it, perhaps Dare would become so angry, she’d bust out of her purple corset and become a rage-fueled She-Hulk. Perhaps the simplest way out of this situation was to tell the feather to become a mind-changer and then get the hell out of there.
“Fine, whatever.” She brought the feather to her lips and blew words into it. “Change Jamey’s mind. Make him stay. Oh!” She jumped as a tingling sensation moved through her body, from the soles of her feet up her legs and spine, then out to the tips of her fingers and into the feather. “What… what just happened.”
Dare’s face went back to its friendly older sister mode. “Exactly what I thought would. Thank you, Mora.” She took the feather back from Mora and pinned it into her dark, shimmering hair. “Wiser people than me would tell you to be careful with this gift of yours. Magic can be used for good or for evil. It doesn’t care which, most of the time.”
Confused, Mora toyed with a stray thread from the hem of her t-shirt. “But you’re… not telling me to be careful?”
Dare grasped Mora’s chin and tilted it so their eyes met. “We don’t find out what we’re capable of through advice.” She gave Mora’s face a tiny squeeze and then let her go. “Trial and error, darlin’.

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Monday, 13 November 2017

The Reader Diaries #17: On Fearing the Classics and Learning to Love Them


This year in my university course I decided to enrol in a class that is called "Cultura Clássica", which roughly translates to "Classical Culture". In this class, we learn about the classical world (Minoans, Mycenaeans, Greeks, and others) and our main support for that study is the literature of that time. This means that for the first time in my life I had to start reading Homer, Aeschylus, Virgil and many other authours. I knew from the start that this was going to be a though journey what I did not expect was that my fear of the classical texts would become love. 
The first book I picked up was The Iliad by Homer. I am not going to lie, this book contains a lot of violence and blood and things that might shock you but it was a great read. I took my time with it and actually needed a month to finish it but that made it so much more enjoyable. Better than the Iliad is The Odyssey, also by Homer,  it has so many more fantastical elements and is so much less bloody. Both these reads will certainly draw you in.
This story is only the starting point of what I have to tell you, it is how I learned to love these specific books but there are so many more classics that people are afraid to read. Take Jane Austen as an example. My favourite book of hers is Northanger Abbey, it is a story that has been able to draw me in from a very young age and I really enjoy rereading it. When I tell people that I enjoy reading Jane Austen's books I get a lot of side glances and weird comments. That does not mean that I am not in the right to love them all the same. The same happens when I talk about enjoying The City and the Mountains by Eça de Queiroz, a Portuguese writer.
What I do when first picking up classics has a certain method to it. That method allows me to only pick the best reads, which means, the ones I might actually enjoy. I start by perusing my book recommendations, whether they come from a friend, a book or a professor, I keep a list and, when I want something new to read I sometimes go back to it. I choose the book that seems the most interesting, if it is a mandatory read I have no choice but to read what I have to read. After that, I start looking for the best edition possible. That are many factors included in this step: the publishing house, the editor, the type of edition... If the book you are picking up is a translation, whether it is from Latin, Greek or a more modern language, you have to be very picky about the translator you choose. You should search for reviews and such in order to better make an informed decision. The final step is to choose a buying platform (every store counts).
After you have the book in your hands I have three words for you: write on it. When you start reading it keep a pad of paper, a pen, a highlighter and a pencil by your side and annotate! You can highlight different things in different colours and write the meaning of things you did not know.  Annotating will not ruin your book, it will make it more yours. Of course, I understand that you will not annotate your fancy hardback edition of any book, I also would not, so we are in the same boat.
Every time you pick up that classic you are trying to read make sure you are in a quiet environment, with snacks and beverages on hand, so you can completely immerse yourself in reading. Believe me, if you do are not in a quiet environment you will end up not understanding what you are reading and being confused, what will only discourage you.
Here is a picture of me chilling and reading the Iliad (I had cold tea right next to me)
Do not be scared by the size or the fame of a book, just pick it up and slowly read it. In the start it may seem hard and scary but, with a little effort, you might even enjoy it! Also, remember that if you are reading a book about a time or a culture that you do not know well there may be mentions of things you do not know. If this happens to you, you should not be afraid to ask someone or search the internet, remember: context is important!
I hope this post motivated you a little to try to read more challenging books and that the classics aren't big scary masses of pages. They are simple, delicate beauties that need your love as much as any other book.
Love, Ana

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Inkitt launches a free program to help you turn your idea into a novel within 30 days

Have you ever thought about writing a novel? There are millions of people in the world who have ideas floating around in their heads that they want to write down but never find the time.
  • Free, 30 min private sessions with professional writing coaches (including the editor of The Martian)
Inkitt, the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, will be launching their first ‘Writers Write Program’  on November 1st to help you turn your idea into an original novel. The 30-day program is completely free and filled with special benefits such as:
  • Free, 30 min private sessions with professional writing coaches (including the editor of The Martian)
  • Events and tips with bestselling authors like Andy Weir, Lauren Kate, and Gayle Forman
  • A variety of community features such as the choice to get a writing buddy who you can exchange manuscript feedback with
“Our intention is to enlarge the writing community by encouraging more people to become writers,” said CEO of Inkitt, Ali Albazaz. “The program is completely free so for us this isn’t about making money; it’s about encouraging talented and committed writers to keep going and finish what they started.
If you are serious about taking on the challenge or want to finish (or start!) a manuscript then make sure to get your spot in the program now. There is less than a week left before it starts.


Thursday, 2 November 2017

Review: The Book of Whispers by Kimberley Starr

27804013Author: Kimberley Starr
Publisher: Text Publishing
Publication Date: October 3rd 2016
Source: ebook (given by Netgalley)
Rate:



Summary:

Tuscany, 1096 AD. Luca, young heir to the title of Conte de Falconi, sees demons. Since no one else can see them, Luca must keep quiet about what he sees.
Luca also has dreams—dreams that sometimes predict the future. Luca sees his father murdered in one such dream and vows to stop it coming true. Even if he has to go against his father’s wishes and follow him on the great pilgrimage to capture the Holy Lands.
When Luca is given an ancient book that holds some inscrutable power, he knows he’s been thrown into an adventure that will lead to places beyond his understanding. But with the help of Suzan, the beautiful girl he rescues from the desert, he will realise his true quest: to defeat the forces of man and demon that wish to destroy the world


Review:
*The publisher provided this book in exchange for an honest review through NetGalley.*
We are in the middle of the Crusades. In Tuscany, Luca, heir to the Conte de Falconi, can see demons, they are attached to things and some of them are really really scary but he must not say anything or else people will think he is crazy.
Besides seeing demons, Luca also has dreams: he dreams of things that are going to happen in the future. When Luca witnesses his father's murder in his dreams he decides to go against his wishes and follow him to the great pilgrimage whose objective is to reconquest the Holy Lands.
After being given an ancient, maybe magic, book Luca discover that there may be some truth to what he sees and maybe he's not the only one. With the help of Suzan, a beautiful girl he has met during the journey, he must unveil and complete his quest: to defeat the forces of demons and the man that wants to help them destroy the world.
I have to admit that, opening up this book, I was not expecting what I actually got: an amazing adventure during the crusades that crosses the fates of two very peculiar people. Yes, I am talking about Luca and Suzan. Even though I have never studied the crusades I feel like the author was able to characterize and set the environment in a way that allows even the most unsuspecting of readers to get immersed in the story. One of the things the author did not forget was the bloody and dark side of the quest: the deaths, the sieges, the poverty, the unsuspecting people under the hands of ambitious rulers, etc.
One of my favourite parts of the plot was Suzan's backstory and the overall mystery that she brings to the narrative. In a world infested by demons, she is able to bring a little bit of light and magic (good magic) as well as make you wonder about who she really is. Luca is the typical noble son that actually has good intentions but that has an overly unrealistic view of the world: he has never seen the horrors of war, he is somewhat blind to the world's ugliness. Besides all this, he knows he can only trust himself, or people will think he is crazy. All of this makes it more wonderful to watch the journey of two souls that are used to not trust anyone and start to learn to trust each other and work as a team, even in the darkest of times.
I think this is a wonderful read for everyone, everyone can take some lessons from this wonderfully crafted story. One thought remains with me after reading this book: even in the darkest and ugliest of places/times it is possible to catch a glimpse of light, you just have to believe it exists and work to find it.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Review: Trapped In Silver (Eldryn Chronicles #1) by Emily Sowden

30294279Author: Emily Sowden
Publisher: Oftomes Publishing
Publication Date: February 7th 2017
Source: ebook (given by the publisher)
Rate:



Summary:

Courage comes from a shadowed place in our hearts; a blurred line that straddles love and sheer stupidity.
To seventeen-year-old Ava, wild woodcats, hungry stragglers, and simple-minded townsfolk are the evils she’s grown accustomed to. But when Ethan, an unusual man with eyes of smoke and fire opal, enters her world she quickly understands that there are worse things out there than drunken men and carnivorous forest creatures. She’s a specialised liar and a hell of a fighter, but against a group of animalistic men called Berserkers she struggles to survive the encounter as the desperate swing of a dagger is all it takes to change her life for good.
Half-dead and hunted by the Berserker’s leader when he forms a monstrous obsession with her, Ava escapes his pursuit in an unfamiliar land full of impossible creatures, unlikely allies, and the man she doesn’t know whether to kiss or kill.
But after dreadful news of her missing brother surfaces, Ava becomes more involved in the centuries-long war and begins to unravel the reasons behind her relentless nightmares, discovering truths long-buried in a violent history of love, loss and betrayal.

Review:
*The publisher provided this book in exchange for an honest review*
Seventeen-year-old Ava is used to the grim reality of life in her family's fields: wild woodcats, simpleminded and opinionated townsfolk and the hardship of a farmer's life. Her life has been hard but it still has its joys and she can count on its routine and the love of those she loves.
When Ethan, a stranger, a handsome boy, enters her life, she starts seeing things she never saw before, maybe she's crazy because the shadows are talking. She starts glimpsing behind the barriers of the world she knows.
One night she is attacked and almost killed by a group of manlike creatures, they call themselves the Berserkers. She passes out because of her wounds and is taken by Ethan to a hiding place. When she wakes up, everything is different, the world and the reality she knew are gone.
Even with her newfound protection, the half-dead leader of the Berserkers will do anything to catch her, not that Ava understands why. Everything is different as she discovers the truths that have been hidden from her for so long.
I have to admit that this is a story that needs a great amount of context in order to make some kind of sense. Due to this, there is the need of starting at a very slow pace, telling the reader the background of the characters and giving some clues on how the world we are works. This makes the first few pages a little hard to read but they do still pick your brain and give you the will of keep going and try to discover what is this story after all.
The characters are detailed and very diverse, they feel real and palpable, you can imagine all of their hardships and adventures through the years as their backgrounds are unveiled. I really like the way Ava is portrayed by the author - I do not want to get into details about the other characters in order to avoid spoilers - she is fierce and strong but, at the same time, she is severely damaged by all the things that happen to her. She has to learn to overcome her fears and grow into a more complete and level-headed human being.
This is a story of love, friendship, betrayal and disaster. It is filled with wondrous details and places and things you could never have imagined. I advise it to anyone who is adventurous enough to risk having his heart meddled with and turned from the inside out.