Child of Destiny Blog Tour: Guest Post

On Sci-Fi: The Question of Religion

A guest post by Dr. George H. Elder

I know few Sci-Fi devotees who like the idea of shoving religious beliefs down the throats of readers, either covertly or overtly. Indeed, Sci-Fi is often used as an escape from such travails. Yet there are several examples of stories that have strong religious overtones, such as Dune and For I am a Joyous People. Even in Sci-Fi comedy cartoons we find the Robot Devil character in Futurama. The 50s are replete with numerous Sci-Fi morality tales with religious themes (e.g., The Nine Billion Names of God, The Last Question, The Reformers, Childhood’s End, Immortality, Inc., etc.). In contemporary times we have The Accidental Time Machine, Escape from Hell, Nothing Sacred, and many more. Religion and Sci-Fi are often conjoined for better or worse, and have been for many generations.

When writing Genesis, I thought religion a worthy area to explore—although not dwell on. For example, Kara is from a religious society with a strong idea of what God is and fairly advanced metaphysical concepts considering their stone-age technology. She is a Labateen, a tribe which views itself as God’s only chosen people. They are a rule-bound people who adhere to a religion that views physical and intellectual perfection as the ideal and the rule of the strong as only natural. Thus beating or killing someone who slights you is perfectly acceptable and being born with a birth defect warrants instant death. As for Kara, she firmly believes God has destined her to do great things, despite being an outcast.

Kara learns and experiences much during her adventures. Eventually she discovers her people are a manufactured species and her personal history is nothing more than a plaything of an advanced species. She is left adrift—without any guiding purpose or reason for being. She hates herself and the concept of God—whom she wishes to kill. It was a fascinating exercise to develop this descent into hopelessness, for being so reduced allowed a subsequent elevation that makes us care for Kara all the more.

As for the crew members who have taken Kara aboard their time/space craft, Anita has a strong belief in the “Great Maker,” but her guiding principles are a set of rigid moral values that go beyond religion. For example, she would rather die than harm another, and believes she has no right to live if her deeds or misdeeds cause the direct or indirect death of another. These beliefs are incompatible with Kara’s, and the two have a profound impact on each other’s views.

Ezra believes in his family above all else, and yearns to be back with his wife and children. They are his moral and ethical center, and function as a belief system in their own right. Ezra’s physical condition declines as the story progresses and his yearning to return to kith and kin increases. However, his inherent fear and reluctance to act wanes. He becomes a leader of sorts, and puts Anita, Ral, and Kara in their places when the need arises.

Ral is an artificial intelligence that finds religions interesting, but he does not subscribe to them. He finds the beliefs and views of most biological beings defective in one way or another, but in the end he falls in love. He even sacrifices himself to achieve an altruistic end, albeit an act that will come back to haunt the entire crew.

In a greater sense, the entire story revolves around the issue of being versus non-being, which allows us to examine the themes fundamental of all beliefs: is there life after death and what is the purpose of our existence? I will not claim to provide any definitive answers, but I believe the reader may come up with some ideas that go well beyond those stated in the texts. For example, it is implied throughout the text that adhering to strong beliefs and ideals in the face of circumstances that vitiate them is dubious. Conversely, beliefs form a large part of what we are, and when we lose them—we also lose part of ourselves.

Indeed, the title Genesis is what the story revolves around; although it certainly differs from the Biblical account in many respects. The accounts concerning God, destiny, free will, and many other issues stray from standard conceptualizations, and I hope they invite exploration on many levels.

SYNOPSIS

Child of Destiny (The Genesis Continuum trilogy #1) by Dr. George H. Elder

The universe is nearing its inevitable end, everything is being rapidly devoured. The last hope of a dying universe is to awaken the Seeker, a legendary metaphysical being known only through ancient tales. The Seeker has the capacity to link the entire universe; they alone may be able to spark the rebirth of the universe.

Many of those that remain desperately want existence to continue. As the remaining races struggle to survive and fight over saving existence, lofty ideals give way to brutal pragmatism. Missions are sent out in search of the Seeker. One such mission encounters Kara an outcast noblewoman of the Labateen, a Stone-Age warrior culture. Kara is well versed in the Seeker’s litany, beyond what would be considered coincidence –to Kara the litany is simply the ways of God. Will Kara be able to help locate the Seeker?

Those who wish the universe to end in disorder, with no more than a whimper are not willing to sit by as others race to alter the end universe. As these opposing forces mount their defenses, racing to see their goals are achieved one question stands out…

Is Kara the key?

Goodreads | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. George H. Elder has a Ph.D. from Penn State in Speech Communication and a Masters Degree in nonfiction Writing from UNH. He also has a very eclectic work and personal history. He has been a college teacher, custodian, upper-level scholar, drug addict, weight lifting coach, bouncer, and much more. He has authored numerous articles in the popular press and even a scientific text book that examines the neuropsychological basis of human communication. He has also addressed subjects such as philosophy, free speech, weight training, drug use, nutrient effects, street life, and a wide range of other issues.

His varied life experiences and education give him a unique and interesting perspective, and he often weaves philosophical insights and pathos into his texts. His books are action-oriented, but they do not have simplistic plots wherein good vs. evil or some other hackneyed approach is used. Instead, Elder employs plot shifts that allow the characters and readers to question the relationships we often take for granted. For example, a hero may do great wrongs while a species once perceived as malicious can be revealed to be honorable and wise. This offers refreshing and exciting perspectives for readers as they delve into Elder’s texts, for one never knows what to expect.

George’s Website

Clock Rewinders #1

It’s time for a new Sunday “meme” on Once Upon A Time and what better way to end the week than to share it with blogging friends? This one will be a little more fun than In My Mailbox, though I won’t be doing away with sharing my weekly hoard completely.

The Past Week at Once Upon A Time
Random Thoughts
  • My readers are awesome. You guys managed to bring me up out of the biggest reading and blogging slump I have had so far with your comments and I love you all to bits. Thanks to you, there will be changes around here.
  • Myself and Naithin are still working on honing this blog into something new and this week we took a look at “de-girling” the place. By that we mean just making it a little more gender neutral and I think what we have now is getting close to being spot on.
  • I got my tax rebate!! Must.. resist.. Amazon..
Around The Blogosphere

Whilst I’m damn awful at keeping up on my reader, once in a while something grabs my eye, and this past week..

  • Technically not this past week, but Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist posted a ‘What to read next…‘ and I really liked it.
  • It has come out this week that somebody has been a little naughty. Here is the original post. This topic has been done to death and yes I’m more than a little tired of the drama but plagiarism is never cool. MY two cents: if you’re against plagiarism, leave her be. Being so blatantly oppositional is just showing how much you care, sending her more traffic and it’s really time to move on.
  • How to Request a Digital Review Copy on Edelweiss. Because I know a few of us were darn confused.
  • It is Amanda’s blogoversary and she’s having a party! Go check out the festivities.
Something Cute and Fluffy

Yeah, what of it? I like cute. You like cute. What’s not to like?

WTFery

Search Terms

I don’t usually check my search terms because more often than not it’s full of unfunny, regular terms but let’s see..

  • book about homeless guy and a catA Street Cat Named Bob!
  • bout of books – Yes, do sign up here!!
  • fucking diet – I know, right?
  • hannah the hippo pygmy – *scowls*
Incoming

I had a fantastic bookish week! So much variety, just wish I could do a vlog. I’m really hoping to get hold of a webcam sometime in the next couple of months.

Books
For Review

I was actually a little surprised to receive The Immortal Rules after getting my author questions in late and the blog tour looming ever closer but it turned up.. right after I’d decided to give up on young adult fiction for the time being. Uh oh. I’m trying to like it, I swear. Though my initial response was, “Perfect for fans of The Hunger Games? It has VAMPIRES! It’s nothing LIKE The Hunger Games!! And it’s a fricking STICKER!! Arg!” Two things that drive me mad.. ha. And Dinner at Mine sounds hilarious, I can’t wait to get started on that one. It’s a kind of Come Dine With Me thing.. go have a look on Goodreads, I suck at explaining.
Gifted

The cat book! Yay! Dan snuck it in from Amazon and I loves it. *pets book* Want to read it nowww.
Charity Shop Finds

I needed a treasure hunt. Haven’t been on one in soo long and all of these were actually from the same charity shop. I felt pretty lucky!
Ebooks

I finally found Great Expectations free for the Kindle and Advent is from NetGalley.

Looking For An IMM Alternative?

Hey guys, just a quick one to let you know that the delectable Vicky is starting up her own alternative to In My Mailbox at her blog. So if you’d like to keep going with the meme but would rather an alternative, there it is. Click the button for more details. :)

I’m Guest Posting at On A Book Bender

Ooh, and I’m posting a few blogging tips today over at On A Book Bender for Amanda’s blogoversary. GO SEE!

Socialpunk Blog Tour: An Excerpt

Hey guys! Today I am posting my stop on the Socialpunk Blog Tour. Socialpunk (by Monica Leonelle) is a quick read at less than 300 pages and is a unique young adult dystopian cyberpunk which I am led to believe is well worth a read.

Blurb

Ima would give anything to escape The Dome and learn what’s beyond its barriers, but the Chicago government has kept all its citizens on lockdown ever since the Scorched Years left most of the world a desert wasteland. When a mysterious group of hooded figures enters the city unexpectedly, Ima uncovers a plot to destroy The Dome and is given the choice between escaping to a new, dangerous city or staying behind and fighting a battle she can never win.

Excerpt

Twelve cups of water sat on the table, four for each of them. Next to each cup sat a pill—yellow for fat, red for carbs, blue for protein, and green for vitamins.

Vaughn took the red pill, ripped it in half like a pack of sugar, and poured it into his cup. He set his cup into a contraption on the table and it whirled and hissed. When the machine finished, the cup had a pink, swirly liquid inside.

Nahum looked at the four cups in distaste.

“Not up to your standards?” Vaughn asked, shooting his drink. He swallowed the mixture in one large gulp. “I would get you something else, but we’re rebuilding our hash. We can’t afford real food, plus it’s bad for you anyway. Extremely difficult to maintain a balanced diet.”

“Synthetic food can’t cost that much,” Nahum countered. He grinned. “We had it in our little fake world, at least.”

Vaughn chuckled. “Synthetic food is even worse for you than real food. Shortens your life. We stopped eating that stuff at the turn of the century. It gave people long-term hyperactivity, which can kill you. LTH took out a lot of the population, kind of like cancer in your day, except a bigger deal because the population had dwindled so low already. Plus, people live indefinitely now.”

Nahum’s nose twitched as he laughed. “People don’t live indefinitely.”

But Vaughn looked genuinely surprised. “Of course we do. Have you seen anyone who looks over the age of twenty-five to you?”

“What does that mean, though?” Ima asked out of curiosity. “How could you live indefinitely? You may not look older, but you still age.”

Vaughn grinned. “Like I said before—there’s a lot you don’t understand about this world.”

The Author

Monica Leonelle is a well-known digital media strategist and the author of three novels. She blogs at Prose on Fire (http://proseonfire.com) and shares her writing and social media knowledge with other bloggers and authors through her Free Writer Toolkit (http://proseonfire.com/free-writer-toolkit).

The Contest


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fantastical Intentions: Quotes

Fantastical Intentions is a feature featuring Hannah and Naithin of Once Upon A Time and Jacob of the fabulous fantasy-sf blog, Drying Ink. We intermittently host between us every now and then with a new fantasy related topic. If you’d like to join in, feel free to write a post of your own and leave your links in the comments or just leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you!

Hannah

When ‘quotes’ was mentioned as being the topic of choice for this week, I immediately went to my Goodreads liked quotes to find something because I have the worst memory. I came across a quote I’d forgotten:

“The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake.

Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?

We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.

They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth.”
― George R.R. Martin

This one had me sitting here chanting “Yes! Yes! Yes!” And I really don’t think I need to say much else because this is a quote that really speaks for itself.

Naithin
“Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying ‘End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH’, the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry.”

I used to quite enthusiastically read Terry Pratchett back in the day, but there must be no less than a dozen books that I haven’t read yet by now. I really need to catch up, and it is exceptionally amusing quotes like this one which remind me of precisely why.

Picking one favourite quote amongst all the options however can’t be much less difficult than picking a favourite child. There were so many I wanted to go with, just from Terry Pratchett alone, let alone including all the other brilliant authors as well!

The reason I went with this one above all others is that not only is it rather quite amusing, but it is also managing to heap both praise and mockery upon human kind at the same time. Doing things, ‘just to see if they are possible’ has delivered us all sorts of advances over the years.

At the same time, I can very much imagine some fool doing something as silly as pressing the aforementioned button, ‘just to see’. People who do these sorts of things are probably the reason we have Darwin Awards. ;)

Jacob

“Lo!” cried the demon. “I am here! What dost thou seek of me? Why dost thou disturb my repose? Smite me no more with that dread rod!” He looked at Cabal. “Where’s your dread rod?”
“I left it at home,” replied Cabal. “Didn’t think I really needed it.”
“You can’t summon me without a dread rod!” said Lucifuge, appalled.
“You’re here, aren’t you?”
“Well, yes, but under false pretences. You haven’t got a goatskin or two vervain crowns or two candles of virgin wax made by a virgin girl and duly blessed. Have you got the stone called Ematille?”
“I don’t even know what Ematille is.”
Neither did the demon. He dropped the subject and moved on. “Four nails from the coffin of a dead child?”
“Don’t be fatuous.”
“Half a bottle of brandy?”
“I don’t drink brandy.”
“It’s not for you.”
“I have a hip flask,” said Cabal, and threw it to him. The demon caught it and took a dram.
“Cheers,” said Lucifuge, and threw it back. They regarded each other for a long moment. “This really is a shambles,” the demon added finally. “What did you summon me for, anyway?”

This quote may be more of a passage, but in itself it’s enjoyably unusual – and that, for me, sums up the novel it’s from perfectly. An excerpt from the first chapter of Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, it’s also hard to see how any novel which stars as its protagonist a pragmatic, cynical necromancer wouldn’t make at least ‘unusual’. And in the case of this series? Hilarious as well. This quote really sums up Cabal’s attitude – to him, magic is just another means to an end (and one he really wishes was more scientific). And when he confronts Hell, the Dreamlands, and even an eldritch abomination or two with that same attitude – and his typical cynicism – it’s very amusing. Especially with the zebras.

This beginning neatly sets up Johannes Cabal’s personality, and the attitude of the series as a whole – and really, it was what dragged me into reading a novel I only half-heartedly picked up. I’m glad I did finish it (in fact, the series has since become one I consistently recommend) – and that, for me, is why I picked this particular quote.

That, and the amusement value.

Mistborn Group Read, Part Three

Welcome to Part Three of the Mistborn: The Final Empire group read. This week’s questions have been provided by the lovely Grace of Book’s Without Any Pictures. The group read as you may already know as a whole, is hosted by Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings.

Mistborn Fanart: Sazed by Firnheledien

Mistborn Fanart: Sazed by Firnheledien

This was the week I finally caught up! Early, even. I’ve had to tuck it away on my Kindle with a bookmark to avoid reading any further. Yes, I know, it’s a re-read for me anyway, but that just makes it harder to stay on track for the actual section we’re supposed to be talking about! Actually having read it again would be a nightmare, I tell you!

I have decided that I quite enjoy what Amanda of ‘Ramblings‘ is doing, whereby at the end, after the questions have been answered, she includes an ‘invisible’ section (must highlight it to read) of thoughts as a second time reader. There have been a few things I’ve picked up this time through, either from knowledge of the rest of the series or indeed from knowledge of Sanderson’s Cosmere but I couldn’t really discuss them for fear of spoiling things for even the other group read folk who are experiencing the series for the first time!

Part Three of the group read discusses the Chapters Sixteen through Twenty-five. Spoilers ahoy. After the group read has concluded, I’ll do a spoiler-free review for anyone not participating and who has not yet read the book.

1. During the past week there’s been a lot of speculation as to the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. Now that we finally know the answer, does it change anyone’s opinions of the Lord Ruler?

I remember the first time I had this confirmed for me that it was most certainly eye opening. The blurb lead me to believe that 1,000 years ago some other group of heroes had embarked on the mission that Kelsier and his crew were now attempting and that the Lord Ruler had been the ‘big bad’ way back then as well.

This seemed to suggest that in actual fact, the Deepness was the thing to be feared and that he whom is now the Lord Ruler was once a prophesised hero, uncertain of his own place in the world but determined to do what he could to save not only his people, but the entire world.

You can see as the chapter quotes continue the corruption of Hero into Lord Ruler and that he is painfully aware of it, yet still trying to deny it is so.

In the end, I must trust in myself. I have seen men who have beaten from themselves the ability to recognise truth and goodness, and I do not think I am one of them. I can still see the tears in a young child’s eyes and feel pain at his suffering.
  If I ever lose this, then I will know that I’ve passed beyond hope of redemption.

This sheds us of our view of the Lord Ruler being nothing but pure evil and instead paints a picture of the tragic fallen hero. These quotes give us a humanising aspect to the one our heroes are supposed to despise and overthrow, even as their point of view and what we witness — through their perspectives, I would note — show a completely different story.

2. What did you think of Elend’s group of subversive nobles? Do you think that Kelsier is right to dismiss people who could be potential allies, or is this another case of his anti-nobility biases showing?

I think that the fact Kelsier went to listen — not just once but three seperate times — shows that despite what he said he may have been willing to contemplate their inclusion. … Although I also suppose it is entirely possible he listened to discover if they would be a threat or interference with his own plans and thus end them if he determined it necessary.

So perhaps ‘both’ is my answer to this question, if we assume the latter explanation is more likely for Kelsier’s visit.

Both because I don’t think it would have been a wise move to include them. From the conversation we overheard via Vin’s eavesdropping, while Elend may have been willing to take more dramatic action, it was fairly clear not all the others shared his view to that extent.

3. What’s your favorite part of the book so far?

I’m liking the building conflict we’re seeing between Kelsier’s (and Dockson’s!) views of the nobility as being entirely, 100%, to the core, rotten and the ‘reality’ we’re seeing of Vin’s actual interactions with them, and Elend in particular.

To fight a battle like Kelsier and Dockson were, it was probably more effective — and better for the psyche — to assume that all of their enemies were evil.

This comment actually challenged my views quite a bit. It makes sense. It might not be that Kelsier is willfully stripping the nobility of their humanity, but rather as what could reasonably be considered a soldier in a war, there is just no room for considering whether the men you just killed had wives or children who loved them.

I’m not sure I completely buy into this view, it could be Vin’s rationalisation for their views so that she can remain part of their world, a world she is coming to love as shown by a wonderfully poignant moment when the crew is together and she views a wisp of her prior self standing in the doorway.

4. Now that Kelsier’s plan has hit some major stumbling blocks, what do you think will happen next? Do you think he can still succeed in defeating the Lord Ruler?

This is dangerous ground for me to answer too much on, so I may include a little more in the ‘invisible’ section below.

However I will just say that during the battle (well, slaughter really) scene or shortly after, I saw some very subtle foreshadowing to Kelsier’s own plan.

If I do my best to ignore that hint — I don’t think it is very likely for anyone on a first read to pick up on it — I would say that it was most certainly a set back, one that may cost them time or force them to come up with another plan for that army to take account for the new, much diminished count.

At this point, I would believe that it would likely still happen, the Lord Ruler would still go down, but perhaps not in this volume.

Bonus: For anyone who has read “The Way of Kings,” were you surprised at all to see Hoid pop up? What do you think of his role here?

Since I already knew about Sanderson’s Cosmere, no, I wasn’t surprised. Hoid’s role is certainly an interesting one. Was he merely there to collect information on the current state of the Lord Ruler and the goings on in this world? Or by passing on the ‘knowledge’ that Kelsier dropped in that conversation, was he knowingly trying to help Kelsier and his crew out?

Any of that and more besides is possible where Hoid is concerned.

Bonus the Second: My Thoughts as a Second-time Reader.

Contains full book and even series spoilers. Select/Highlight the text to read it if you’ve read before, or don’t mind the spoilers.

It is interesting to see just how many times Vin touches her earring while thinking about or hearing the voice in her head of ‘Reen’. You may remember the significance of this earring and the fact it is metal that pierces her body once Ruin comes into play in a stronger way later on in the series.

Then there is the very nature of the magic itself, it would seem to me that Allomancy — burning the metals away — would be of Ruin, and Feruchemy — which stores energy or knowledge and the like without destruction — would come from the power of Preservation.

This next one is big, even if you don’t typically mind spoilers, I suggest not highlighting this part unless you’ve read the first book to completion.

I was silly and didn’t mark the quote in my Kindle from during the battle/slaughter scenes that suggested to me that Kelsier had intended to be a sacrifice all along. That he had been building up the mysticism around him and this 11th metal for the express purpose of giving the skaa something to believe in.

I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been on him, to have even his friends doubt and question him, to possibly believe his ego was going too far astray, when he knew all along he would give the ultimate sacrifice of his life so that they would have a much better chance without him to see days where they lived free.

Do I agree his plan was a good one? No, I don’t. But I admire it nonetheless.

End Spoilers.

 

 

Other Parts
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Part Four
Part Five

[Review] The Pack by Jason Starr

Author: Jason Starr
Series:
 The Pack #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Berkley UK
Pages: 341
Published: UK: 26th April 2012
Source: Review copy from publisher
Goodreads | Amazon (UK/US) | Book Depository

First Sentence
Simon Burns woke up feeling something nibbling on the back of his neck.
Blurb

When Simon Burns is fired from his job without warning, he takes on the role of stay-at-home dad for his three-year-old son. But his reluctance pushes his already strained marriage to the limit. In the nestled playgrounds of the Upper West Side, Simon harbors a simmering rage at his boss’s betrayal.

Things take a turn when he meets a tight-knit trio of dads at the playground. They are different from other men Simon has met, stronger and more confident, more at ease with the darker side of life-and soon Simon is lured into their mix. But after a guys’ night out gets frighteningly out of hand, Simon feels himself sliding into a new nightmarish reality.

As he experiences disturbing changes in his body and his perceptions, he starts to suspect that when the guys welcomed him to their “pack,” they were talking about much more than male bonding. And as he falls prey to his basest instincts, Simon must accept that werewolves exist if he is to turn the tides of his fortune…

Thoughts

To my knowledge, Jason Starr is primarily a crime-thriller author, so the initial press release for The Pack deeply intrigued me. An urban fantasy thriller without all of the will-they-won’t-they romance of many, many other urban fantasies out there? And it’s about werewolves? Sinister ones? Yes please! Thankfully I was not disappointed, despite not really knowing what to expect but I enjoyed reading it and I must agree with Lee Child: ‘Jason Starr is hypnotically good’. There were many times when I found myself unable to put this book down because I had to know what was going to happen to these characters that felt so real.

Simon is our main protagonist but there are other character perspectives throughout including Simon’s wife Alison and a woman called Olivia, all of these seem to focus somehow on Michael and his effect on their lives. However, none of them suspect the terrifying way it’s going to turn out.

While this is an urban fantasy, the fantasy parts unfold very slowly and those expecting a fast paced thriller style novel are in for a bit of a slow start. In fact, to me it felt a little like chick lit for men with all of the focus on relationships and home life in the beginning of the novel. It is the gradual unravelling of deeply embedded mysteries and how the characters are effected and react to these that make the novel. It is how Jason Starr doesn’t feel the need to be overly descriptive in his writing style yet the novel doesn’t feel at all lacking for it. It is the ‘what ifs?’ that drive The Pack and keep us reading.

Obviously, though it isn’t rubbed in your face, The Pack is a werewolf urban fantasy. The clue is in the name after all and these are not the kind of werewolves many of us have grown used to in recent years but the ones that featured in horror previous to the paranormal craze. They’re uncontrollable, unstable and terrifying. They have no remorse and are quite literally animals.

The latter part of The Pack was a fair bit more fast paced, but the ending itself felt too much as though it was missing something. It just felt like it ended and I wanted to see a little more after the resolution. It was quite unsettling. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I can recommend The Pack to folk who like their urban fantasy without all of the romance and just a little more horror and thriller.

Regarding Yesterday’s Ramble

Hey guys! I never realised yesterday when I started typing out my rambling stream of thoughts that you would help me sort out my head so much but you did and I think for that you deserve a cute image as a thank you.

And really, everything you guys said makes sense. In fact, the main piece of advice I took away from your comments was, “Don’t read what you feel you have to, you’re supposed to be having fun, read what you want to. We’ll still be here!” Looking back, this is really quite stupidly obvious and I should have known, but somehow I got myself all wrapped up in feelings of obligation to the publishers and authors who had sent me all of these wonderful books that I forgot where I’d begun and had forgotten how fun reading could be. And I know that those of you who matter don’t really give a flying shit what I’m reading and I shouldn’t lose sight of that.

With those things in mind: thank you. Thank you for reminding me how book blogging works, even though I already knew and just yesterday wrote a post with advice just like this, and how awesome you guys are. I will now be reading what I want. I will not be requesting books unless I really want to read them. And once I’m caught up with all of my silly anxieties, I do have a few ideas for the blog that I am really excited for. And you’re going to love them! *mystery wiggly fingers*

I’ll be reading primarily adult fiction again, but I will not be specifying exactly what. I am an eclectic reader and always have been. I love urban fantasy, epic fantasy, cyberpunk, steampunk, dystopia, magical realism, retellings, humorous chick lit, historical fiction, the odd contemporary, classic.. anything quirky and/or olderworldly, and most of all well-written, in some way and I hope you enjoy what I have to put out there! Naithin will be around in all of his SFF glory and hopefully soon we shall have a third reviewer along for the ride as well. Sure, I will still read young adult fiction but I am not getting caught in that trap any more. I have never been a romance reader (chick lit excepted) and I need to drastically reduce the amount of romance with fantasy/paranormal side stories I devour!

Thankfully, I do not need to take a break. :) On the contrary, I adore blogging it was the reading I was struggling with, trying to keep on top of my review copies and drastically failing. All of the guest posts I’ve taken on are not a problem at all, I love guest posts and promoting all sorts of fiction, I just need to make more use of calendars and diaries and that is what I’m doing now.

Yes, Once Upon A Time will be changing a little bit but hopefully you agree that it’s for the better.

A Bloggish Ramble

Oyoyoy. I felt the need for a little blog ramble as I have a few things swirling around my head.

The first thing being my sudden disregard for young adult fiction and anything paranormal romance. As you might be able to understand from various In My Mailbox posts and my review shelf, this is quite a problem in the review book department!! I know if I read them and can’t get on with them I would not only be wasting my time but wouldn’t do the books justice but I also don’t feel right simply not reading so many books sent over for the purpose of reviewing them. This is also a problem because I know a lot of you guys are first and foremost young adult readers. Whilst I doubt (hope) I wouldn’t offend anybody by sticking to adult fiction once again as I did when I started out, before becoming swamped in young adult fiction, I also figure a lot of you would have little to no interest in my blog if there was barely any young adult fiction featured here. We’ll see.

Basically, I will read what I am in the mood to read, but I don’t want to turn my back on my readers completely by doing so. I was actually quite hoping for an associate reviewer situated in the UK with an interest in young adult fiction who I could maybe send the odd review copy along to but hey. I reckon I’ll give some of these books I have waiting for me a go.

I’ve also completely lost track of time. I keep forgetting to send out guest posts, forgetting about ebooks I need to read, forgetting when upcoming blog tours need to be featured and generally not getting around to things because I’m too tired to remember anything. This is a problem. This is also why I am not actually accepting review requests (unless from a publisher I know of already) for the forseeable future. I just hope this passes soon and I start making better use of my diary.

I have a few goals. They’re pretty much not going to happen for a while, but I’d really, really like to get back into epic fantasy in a big way and having time to read my own books and whatever I’m in the mood for at the time. And when I do request something, I’d rather it be something I definitely want to read asap. We book bloggers sometimes get caught in the “ooh that sounds interesting” trap and I know I’m not alone on that one, but I promise I’ve realised what was happening now and I’m barely accepting anything at the moment. I’d also like to get my hands on Scrivener, finally, and start writing properly. My only real goal in life is to be a published author and I want to do it properly. I have ideas and I have to get these ideas written down, edited, proof-read.. everything. I’m serious about this and I’ve just been slacking off with this for way too many years. If it wasn’t for NaNoWriMo I still wouldn’t have started writing, I bet.

TLDR; Slight reading slump. Young adult/paranormal romance “blahs”. Scared of offending publishers and boring blog readers. Not even to do lists can help me now. Really want to get back to epic fantasy and reading as the mood takes me. And it’s about damn time I started taking creative writing seriously.

Edit: I also wanted to apologise for any downtime over the weekend.. My blog was hacked. A huge, huge, huge thanks to my wonderful host and friend who is wonderfully efficient and to whom I owe many, many cookies. If you notice anything suspicious at any point, do let me know, though it should be okay now.

In My Mailbox #60

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

Books

Received for Review

Thank you to Bloomsbury for this one. I love retellings and a book focused on Robin Hood sounds wonderful.

Won

  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver | Goodreads
  • The Truth About Celia Frost by Paula Rawsthorne | Goodreads
  • Rise of the Wolf by Curtis Jobling | Goodreads
  • The Story of Cirrus Flux by Matthew Skelton | Goodreads
  • Wreckers by Julie Hearn | Goodreads
  • The Haunting of Tabitha Grey by Vanessa Curtis | Goodreads
  • To Be A Cat by Matt Haig | Goodreads

These were my winnings from Midnight Reads 1 year blogoversary giveaway! I was allowed to choose 7 from a pile and these appealed to me most. I had to choose Delirium despite already owning a copy because I absolutely despise the cover I already have on my shelf and this one is quite lovely! Thank you Midnight Reads ladies. :)

Ebooks

Received for Review

  • Socialpunk by Monica Leonelle | Goodreads (from author)
  • Up Jumps The Devil by Michael Poore | Goodreads (Edelweiss)
  • Child of Destiny by George H. Elder | Goodreads (Novel Publicity)
  • Kingdom by Anderson O’Donnell | Goodreads (from author)

Expect to see blog tour posts soon for Socialpunk and Child of Destiny. Up Jumps The Devil was a result of me testing Edelweiss (very similar to NetGalley if you haven’t heard about it yet) and I’d actually really like to read this one soon, it sounds awesome. Kingdom I will be arranging a blog tour for very soon, so if you’re interested in the idea of a biopunk sci-fi (adult) then please get in touch! We have some big plans for this tour.

Freebies

The first two I found were free on my Kindle wishlist in the past week so I had to snap those up and Sela was free for a couple of days courtesy of Seventh Star Press.

I’d also like to mention the new cover for Twin Souls by K.A. Poe which I received the other week. This new one is a vast improvement and very pretty.

What did you get this week? Have you read any of these?