Monday, 24 February 2014

Review: Gamers' Quest by George Ivanoff

The Story:

Tark and Zyra are teenaged thieves on a quest. In a world of magic and science, where dragons and mages exist alongside drones and lasers, they endeavor to reach the haven of Designers' Paradise. But their world is not what it appears to be and their haven is about to come under threat of destruction. Can Tark and Zyra save Designers' Paradise ... and their own world?

My Thoughts:

I read Gamers' Quest a while back during a period when I was putting down almost every book that I started. One of the things that struck me most was that even though the book is targeted at an MG audience and is decidedly science fiction which isn't  usually my genre, I enjoyed reading Gamers' Quest nonetheless.

Gamers' quest follows the adventures of Tark and Zyra, two opportunistic thieves hell bent on saving or stealing enough money to buy their way into Designers' Paradise. These two characters are the epitome of the word underdog and you can't help but root for them despite their unconventional methods of acquiring wealth. All is not what it seems though and before you know it, Tark and Zyra are thrust into an adventure that they didn't necessarily sign up for but one which changes their lives irrevocably.

Gamers' Quest is non stop action and twists from the very first page. There aren't any huge chunks of exposition to slow the pace down and just when you think our heroes are going to catch a break the rug is pulled from underneath them. This is one of those tales where the bad guy just won't die. Tark and Zyra are surprisingly fleshed out characters despite the relatively short length of the book and I loved their thoroughly rebellious appearance because it's so different from anything else out there.

There was one thing about Gamers' Quest though that spoiled my complete enjoyment of the story and that was the dialogue style. One of my pet hates is dialogue that's written in distinct dialects and accents. It's a personal preference and I know it's tiny in the scope of things but it drives me nuts. It was especially pronounced in this instance because it was used as a tool to highlight Tark and Zyra's lowly status but it really pulled me out of the story.

Overall, despite the dialogue distraction, I enjoyed Gamers' Quest and would recommend it to those who want to dip their toes into the sci/fi genre without too much of the heavy tech descriptions to slow down the pacing.

The Rating:

3.5/5

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Review: If Only We by Jessica Sankiewicz



The Story:

They say all it takes is one wrong move and you lose the game. One false step and you’re trapped. One slip-up in your choice of words and you ruin a friendship forever. That is what they say. They say I lost.

I do not believe them.


At the end of the summer after graduation, Adrienne wonders what happened to cause her life to be in ruins. She isn’t getting along with her mom, her stepsister isn’t talking to her, and, to top it off, the boy she’s been in love with doesn’t want anything to do with her. She believes the turning point was a choice she made at graduation. When she wakes up the next day, she has been transported back three months to that moment, the one where everything started to fall apart.

Adrienne realizes she has been given a second chance—and this time she doesn’t want to mess anything up. Reliving the entire summer, though, turns out to be a lot harder than she thought. As the same days and weeks go by, she starts to see how simple decisions can make a huge impact on the world around her. Despite knowing some of what lies ahead, there are some things she didn’t anticipate. She thought she knew what mistake led her to where she ended up the first time. She was wrong.

And by the time summer is over, she discovers what was really at stake.

My Thoughts:

I don't often venture into the realm of contemporary novels but when I do the experience usually makes me wonder why I don't read them more often. If Only We was no exception to this. It is a story about second chances, taking  risks and at the same time staying true to yourself. 
     Adrienne was a likeable narrator whose reactions were never over the top or too dramatic as seems to be the norm in NA novels. Also missing is the trauma and angst that this new genre has been built on and I for one am glad as I find all the drama difficult to relate to. I love the Adrienne is a normal girl with normal problems. She doesn't see eye to eye with her mother, she's finding it difficult to connect with her younger step-sister and she's declared her love to her best friend Chevy only to have him reject her. These are all things most readers can identify with.
       Unlike us though, Adrienne gets a second chance to do the summer over via the help of a little time travel. This time around Adrienne is determined to set things right, though she soon discovers that there are reasons why everyone acts the way they do and most of the time its got nothing to do with her. Instead of running away from her problems this time Adrienne makes herself face them no matter how painful or awkward. She also makes mistakes despite trying hard to be better and I thought this added a sense of realism to the plot. 
       I really liked that Adrienne was proactive in getting her life together and although there was romance it wasn't the center of the story. Adrienne learns that she has to be happy with herself before she can make someone else happy and that's a point so many other books miss.  Towards the end Adrienne grows as a person and is able to take drawbacks in her stride instead of feeling sorry for herself and just giving up like she would have previously. 
        There were a few things that I felt could have been done better, like an explanation for the time travel and a bit more tension in the romantic relationship. I thought Chevy was sweet but not super swoon worthy though to be fair I prefer boys of the supernatural variety! Overall I really enjoyed If Only We and look forward to future works by the author.  

The Rating

4/5

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Fortune Favors the Bold


Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          As I get further into the edits of my MS I'm beginning to see my book's publication date on the horizon. Along with anticipation and excitement I'm also beginning to feel a good dose of dread. What if everyone hates it and I get all 1 star reviews? Or worse, what if my book doesn't sell at all? What if I publish and then it drops into that black void that is self-published eBooks and is never heard from again? Sometimes the self doubt is so deafening that I consider giving it all up. It's during times like these that I make myself remember one thing:

Fortune Favors the Bold

If I don't publish at all I'll never know if my book could have been successful and I think that will haunt me more than flat out failure (I think! Ask me again once I'm published!). The worst chance my book can have is no chance at all. If every author gave in to their fears and self-doubt no books would be published. I've worked long and hard on my story and it deserves at least a shot at publication. So I keep reminding myself over and over again to be bold. To have the courage to do something I'm passionate about and with a lot of luck it might all be worth it!

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