Recenzie: Calea sângelui și-a inimii de Oliviu Crâznic

Fantezie. Supranatural. Romantism Negru.

 

Titlu: Calea sângelui și-a inimii

Subtitlu: Fantezie. Supranatural. Romantism Negru.

Autor; Oliviu Crâznic

Gen: Fantasy, Science-Fiction, Gothic, Horror

Anul apariției; 2013

Rating: 4/5 stele

Deși am citit și anul trecut mini-colecția Calea sângelui și-a inimii scrisă de Oliviu Crâznic, am simțit că nu am avut starea necesară pentru a mă bucura pe deplin de ea; așa că m-am gândit să-i mai dau o șansă anul acesta, pentru că, mai nou, am prins gustul prozei scurte, fapt care demonstrează că gusturile mele sunt într-o continuă schimbare. Dacă stau să mă gândesc, sunt mai multe motive pentru care voiam să recitesc și să recenzez această carte. Pe lângă interesul stârnit de recenzia Elenei, amândouă am avut oportunitatea de a-l întâlni pe scriitor la Cruxmas Fair and Party, în decembrie 2016, unde a prezentat Fantasticul de impact: De la Ghilgameș la „Urzeala Tronurilor” alături de dramaturgul și criticul literar Alexandra Medaru.

Calea sângelui și-a inimii este o scurtă antologie în care se găsesc trei povestiri (Trecătoarea, Însângerată, luna și  Mascarada învinșilor) și un fragment din romanul gothic Și la sfârșit a mai rămas coșmarul.  Fiecare povestire aparține unei anumite perioade istorice, de la Antichitate și Evul Mediu, la un viitor mai îndepărtat. Unul dintre elemente comune este drumul predestinat, care trebuie străbătut de personaje fără frică pentru a-și înfrunta destinul sau a afla adevărul. Este prezentă antiteza viață-moarte de care personajele nu se pot feri pentru a-și îndeplini menirea, dar și legătura strânsă dintre eros și thanatos, care duce rapid de la fascinație și seducție, la moarte.

Intrigile din Trecătoarea și Însângerată, luna au loc pe plaiuri mioritice și au ca teme comune războiul și moartea, suspansul fiind creat prin repetarea unor întâmplări sângeroase ori misterioase care stârnesc angoasa, dar și curiozitatea cititorului. În ambele povești, personajele sunt prinse în labrintul vieții și al morții, din care, de cele mai multe ori nu vor ieși tefere, ci răpuse de mâna destinului. Deși aceste două povestiri sunt foarte scurte, felul simplu în care sunt relatate te prinde și te ajută să intri în acea atmosferă apăsătoare și misterioasă din care simți că nici tu nu poți ieși. Interesant este faptul că personajele din Trecătoarea sunt conștiente că vor muri, însă nu au o altă variantă decât să-și riște propriile vieți pentru a-și face datoria. Ideea morții iminente și a pierderii treptate a terenului în fața inamicilor, mă duce cu gândul la Cântecul lui Roland, unde toată arier-garda francilor este nimicită de către mauri. Felul în care se repetă micro-scenele m-au făcut să mă întreb dacă nu cumva, la un moment dat, romanii au început să halucineze, deoarece dacii care îi atacau păreau să ia forma unor entități supranaturale, imune legilor pământene.

Mascarada învinșilor este o poveste plasată într-un viitor incert – prima povestire din Emergaarde Saga – într-un univers ficțional aflat în plin război. Povestea aparține fără doar și poate genului science-fiction datorită tehnologiei folosite de către personaje (comunicatorul funcționează prin intermediul energiei solare, soldații au plăci de autentificare), animalelor ficționale (khazug și canteri) și poate chiar a numelor ieșite din comun (Ermengaarde Eyes,  Lester Cath, Sober Nombrum). Prima dată când am citit povestea anul trecut, nu prea am înțeles-o, dar acum m-am mai familiarizat cu genul și am simțit că narațiunea a curs mai ușor. Îmi place că Emergaarde este neînfricată, și deși este singură în fort, știe cum să scoată informații de la cei doi soldați străini, folosindu-se de punctele lor  slabe.

Fragmentul din Coșmarul este cartea despre Nunta marchizei de Lauras. Cavalerul Arthur de Seragens (naratorul nostru) este nevoit să participe la nunta marchizei Josphine de Lauras alături de prietenul său, vicontele Raoul de Vincennes, pentru a infirma anumite bârfe despre trecutul obscur al marchizei, care nu trebuie să ajungă la urechile logodnicului ei auster, contele Maximillien Schwartz. Deși marchiza a invitat nobili pestriți din provincie care nu prea se cunosc, încep treptat să se formeze grupuri și legături între ei, iar zvonurile despre viețile fiecăruia nu întârzie să apară. Mai mult, se spune că activități bizare și necurate au loc în Castelul Ultimelor Turnuri, iar poveștile relatate de unele personaje anticipează ceva terifiant. Deși snobismul, ipocrizia și minciunile sau trunchierea adevărului sunt fapte la ordinea zilei pentru oaspeții din castel, cititorul presimte că este ceva putred la mijloc și poate face supoziții referitoare la anumite personaje. Dacă presupunerile sunt corecte sau nu, rămâne de văzut.

Scriitura este foarte bine închegată, stilul este poetic și redă parfumul epocii respective, cu săli somptuoase și personaje elegante, dar simandicoase și prețioase, cărora le place să împrăștie zvonuri despre ceilalți oaspeți. Capitole sunt scurte și la obiect, descrierile sunt vizuale, iar intriga este construită treptat, piesă cu piesă. Deși încă nu mă pot pronunța cu privire la acest roman, mi s-a părut o lectură foarte interesantă și mi-a fost tare ciudă că fragmentul s-a terminat fix atunci când interesul meu pentru poveste era la cote maxime.

Dacă v-a plăcut postarea mea de astăzi, vă invit să aruncați o privire atât peste cartea prezentată mai sus, cât și peste recenzia Elenei la Coșmarul. Vă asigur că merită.

Poll: Which of these series do you recommend?

Not long ago, I’ve posted a poll in which I asked my Romanian readers to vote for the next book I should read in the near future and I’ve noticed that the poll reached and engaged more people than any of my other posts. This really made me think a bit, so today I’m posting another poll with a different topic.

Now, I’m not very interested in reading the majority of popular series out there because I have a ton of books I want to pick up in my lifetime. Also, if a stand-alone or series is loved by a lot of people, chances are I won’t like it or I might find it meh. It happened many times before with some of the Indies and classics, so it wouldn’t be a surprise at all to find myself in a small minority of disappointed readers. I think that in most of the cases the story or the characters don’t click with me or it’s maybe the fact that I usually have high expectations of a book that everyone praises Moreover, I have a complicated relationship with YA books because I’m at an age when some aspects of a teenager’s life don’t impress me anymore.

Anyway, let’s return to the poll. So, I’ve picked up four popular series I’m interested in checking out and two modern classic series because I think that Harry Potter is pretty much a classic by now –  everyone has read it in their childhood, except for me…

So, if you want to help me decide which of the following series are worth my time, please don’t hesitate to vote your favourite books below and leave a comment with your thoughts on any of these series. In the case of clashing opinions, please be kind and respectful towards other readers! This poll allows you to chose multiple answers and it doesn’t have an expiration date, so you can vote anytime.

Which of these series do you recommend?

Which of these series do you recommend?

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Review: Enchanted by K.K. Allen

Book 1 of The Summer Solstice

 

Title: Enchanted

Author: K.K. Allen

Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Young Adult

First Published in 2014

Self-Published

Series: The Summer Solstice

Rating: 5/5 stars

Note: I purchased this book as a freebie. However, this aspect didn’t influence the review I wrote or the rating I gave this book.  In this review, you will find only my honest thoughts and opinions about the book I’ve read!

I don’t know about you, but one of my favourite themes is family secrets and boy what a life-changing secret the protagonist is about to discover in the book I’m going to review today! Enchanted is the first instalment in K.K. Allen’s Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy trilogy entitled The Summer Solstice. In this novel, we follow Katrina Summer’s story, a teenage girl who is unaware of the special bloodline she comes from for almost sixteen years. After her mother’s unexpected death, Kat moves to Apollo Beach, Florida, to live with her estranged grandmother Rose, she has never met before, a respectable yet mysterious lady, who acts cold towards her at first, but things will change as they get accustomed to each other. As Kat’s sixteenth birthday approaches, she experiences strange visions and vivid nightmares whose hidden messages she’s unable to grasp.

At first, Katrina is an insecure teenager and she feels a little awkward in the wealthy neighbourhood she moves in because she used to live a modest life in a bubble her overprotective mother built for her in order to hide the truth from her. Kat was also in foster care for a while and she went to public school, but she was laughed at and considered a weirdo. As time goes by in Apollo Beach, Kat befriends Alec Stone, the cute boy next door who helps her adapt to her new life, but she can’t tell him anything about her visions or her secret powers because it would reveal the true identity of the inhabitants of the community. Encouraged by Rose and her friend Charlotte, Kat learns about the family history of The Summers and she’s trained to control her powers. Of course, like any teenager, Kat makes some mistakes that almost cost her life and her visions and nightmares gradually come to fruition like horrible prophecies or trials she must go through in order to show her ability to right the wrong and to become a better person. Kat will also meet a lot of outlandish people through her wealthy grandmother, who is an important figure in the community and most people admire her for her involvement in keeping the town healthy and safe. Kat basically enters into a period of transition from the quiet and uneventful life she has lived with her mother, to the one that leads to her life-purpose: “there is a circle of life before you and it all begins on the day of your sixteenth birthday.” (Loc. 999)

I know that this review is a bit vague, but you need to discover the book at your own pace and I assure you that you won’t regret a single second that you have read it. However, all I can say is that reading about the stories and legends Grandma Rose told Katrina gave me chills down my spine. To a certain point, I felt confused and my head was full of information which is actually a good thing because I felt that the author did her research well. Though Kat considers her grandmother to be a bit insane when the woman talks about the special powers her granddaughter has inherited from her ancestors, in the end, all makes sense and the only thing Kat has to do is learn to master elemental magic and accept her new identity.

The writing is beautiful, visual and full of colour while the story is suspenseful and a real page-turner that doesn’t let you put the book or your reading device down. The characters are well fleshed out, the situations are realistic with the exception of the visions and nightmares that torment Kat, which make your heart skip a beat; Kat and Alec’s relationship is sweet (not excessive like in other books) and you root for them and, you cannot help yourself but love Grandma Rose even when she is stern with Kat. Charlotte is also a lovable character, even more than Rose, because of her kind and affectionate nature that makes me think she is a mother figure to Kat.

In short, the experience I had with his book was amazing and besides a few editing slips, I don’t have anything bad to say about it. The parts about magic and the stories about The Summers’ family history and Kat’s ancestors are truly fascinating and I had to pause for a minute or two to take it all in. The descriptions of Apollo Beach and Tampa Bay were so vivid that I was transported there through K.K. Allen’s writing. I highly recommend this young adult contemporary fantasy novel to anyone who loves elemental magic, myths and family secrets. There are still some unanswered questions and some fresh ones at the end of this first instalment, but there are two more books to satisfy one’s curiosity. I would really like to pick them up somewhere in the near future.

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

I actually had a book review planned for this Friday, but I changed my mind because June and July are two crazy months for me, so I opted again for a book tag which suits this time of the year. Plus, I’m always happy to talk about the current state of my TBR pile.

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag was created by two booktubers (Chami and Ety) and it comprises of fourteen questions, mostly regarding the books you read in the first half of the year. I read twenty-six books until now including the dnf-ed ones, so I think that I have enough material to answer properly to each and every question.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017.

This year I wanted to read all the first instalments in the series I own because I plan to continue only the series or trilogies I’ve found unique and enjoyable to explore further on. For the best book I’ve read until now I choose The Essential Book Blog by Ken J. Howe, Saul Tanpepper, Michael Guerini and Cheryl L. Seaton, which is an easy yet informative guide for each new book blogger or newbie author and it teaches you anything from how to build your own blog, what your review should include, how to get traffic on your blog, how to get books and even how to earn money through your blog. Personally, I can’t wait to review this blogging guide and reread some of the sections in order to apply them to my blog.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017.

 

At the beginning of this year, I promised myself that I will not be as generous as I used to be with the 5-star ratings and by far, there are just three books that had the wow factor I was looking for. The first 5-star sequel I rated in 2017 is Escape from Sudan, the 9th book in Mike WellsLust, Money & Murder series because I was on pins and needles while reading this book. It really was a roller-coaster of emotions for me and Elaine’s (almost impossible) mission through such a war-torn and dangerous country made my adrenaline levels increase.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

I’m not very interested in new releases for now because I have a lot of unread books sitting and collecting dust on my shelves and many eBooks on my Kindle too; so I prefer to stick to those.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

I read Mike Wells’ blurb for Panacea, the 11th book in the Lust, Money & Murder series, which is set in Ukraine and the book, is going to be released in September. This is the only sequel I’m excited to devour.

5.  Biggest disappointment.

 

Well, I have a few disappointments and dislikes reflected on my ratings and on my dnf-ed shelf, but the biggest one came from an author I haven’t read before. I’m sorry for the repetition, but I was extremely disappointed by Isabel Allende’s Zorro. How can a book about California’s famous bandit be so boring with so many info-dumps, lifeless characters and no hook? I loved the fact that Diego is mixed-race, but besides that, his friendship with Bernardo and how his father met his mother, I didn’t find anything of interest in the chapters I read.

6. Biggest surprise.

 

The biggest surprise was The Rocker Who Holds Me by Terri Anne Browning, a book which didn’t deal only with the dissolute lives of rock stars, but also with abuse, heartache and lack of communication. I really love it and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys rock star romances.

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)

My new favourite author is K K Allen who wrote Enchanted, the first instalment in The Summer Solstice. Besides her beautiful and visual writing, I enjoyed spending my time with her well-built characters, the plot was extremely interesting and the elemental magic blew my mind along with its complexity. The ancient wisdom passed on to Katrina is a combination of Greek myths and Wiccan beliefs. For those of you who are wondering, the review is coming soon.

8. Newest fictional crush.

Nik from The Rocker Who Holds Me might be a potential fictional crush because he is talented, caring and a very hot guy, but he makes Emmie suffer a lot. On the other hand, she is afraid to talk about her feelings for him.

9. Newest favourite character.

I’m currently reading The Lady of the Pier trilogy written by Effrosyni Moschoudi and though I root for both protagonists of the two alternating stories, Sofia Aspioti is very dear to my heart, not just because she is Greek, but she is also a book nerd, a hardworking student, an animal lover and she also writes poetry. She is shy and very cautious because she is aware that everything she does might reach her strict father’s ears, an overprotective parent who forbids her to stay out late or to do anything silly. Despite the restrictions that suffocate her life, Sofia longs for freedom and adventure especially after meeting Danny, an outgoing and non-conformist British tourist whose laid back attitude makes Sofia fall for him.

10. Book that made you cry.

Though I’ve shed a tear occasionally when I read about Sofia’s kind and loving grandparents from Corfu who reminded me of my own, none of the books I’ve picked up in the first half of the year made me cry hysterically for a certain character or situation.

11. Book that made you happy.

 

It’s hard to say that one of my recent reads made me feel happy, but You & Me Forever is a collection of romantic YA and NA stories written by eight authors including Megan Linski and Pamita Rao, a book that made me feel good most of the time because the short stories range from sweet to dark and they are easy to read especially while you are travelling. I highly recommend it for the summer.

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

I adore the new covers for The Lady of the Pier trilogy; they are so gorgeous and suit the novels perfectly with that beautiful and mysterious woman standing on the pier.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Besides the books mentioned above, I want to continue reading the two remaining novels from the Try a Chapter Book Tag and afterwards to flip through or even reread some classics I’ve read a few years ago, but I haven’t reviewed yet.

 14. Favourite Book Community Member

For now, I’ll give a shoutout to my best friend and awesome reviewer, Elena from eLitere.ro who has great tastes in books and movies. Check out her website and show her some love!

If you enjoyed this book tag, give it a try and leave your answers below in a comment or through a link to your blog or YouTube channel. Have an awesome weekend! See you next time!

Try a Chapter Book Tag

April has been an amazing reading month for me because I read ten (short) books, but they were mixed reads from the okay-ish to the most amazing ones. On the other hand, the beginning of May wasn’t that great because I enjoyed a single book and dnf-ed or even deleted two of them. Therefore, after two failed attempts to read two confusing cosy mysteries, I found myself wondering what book I should read next. Finally, I figured out that the best way to find out what book I’m in the mood for is by trying a chapter from a few books I’m interested in. I found the Try a Chapter Book Tag on Booktube, where you pick up five or more books you are excited about, read the first chapter of each book (including the prologue), you give your opinion about what you have just read and decide what book you want to continue reading. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? If you find yourself being in a reading slump or you just don’t know what to pick up next, feel free to give it a try. It’s actually useful, even when you want to get rid of unread books.

I cheated a bit because five books are too many for me, so I’ve picked up only four and those are:

  • You & Me Forever: A Sweet Romance Collection by Megan Linski, Pamita Rao and other six authors, which is a young adult romance anthology comprising eight short stories and a novella. I wanted to read something light and summery, so I thought that this book would do the trick.
  • The Lady of the Pier – The Ebb is the first instalment in Ms Effrosyni Moschoudi’s historical paranormal romance From this author I also read The Necklace of Goddess Athena, which is one of my favourite books set in Greece. I’m looking forward to reading this novel because I have a soft spot for Greece in general.
  • Song at Dawn: 1150 in Provence is the first instalment in a historical romantic thriller series entitled The Troubadours Quartet and it is written by Welsh author Jean Gill. This book has troubadours, romance, political intrigue and it is set in Medieval France, after the Second Crusade. Therefore, it should be something up my alley.
  • The Treasure of Gwenlais is the first instalment in M. T. Magee’s young adult epic fantasy series entitled The Rienfield Chronicles, a story inspired by Celtic folklore.

Here’s what I have to say about each chapter I’ve read:

Check Mate by T. Ariyanna is the first short story in the You & Me Forever anthology. In the first chapter, Liz and her best friend Daisy chat on the phone about a foster child who has run off from the correction facility he stayed in. Liz is the daughter of the chief of police and she is frequently asked by her classmates about certain cases, but little does she know what fate has in store for her. After the assailant sneaks into Liz’s room and tries to hold her hostage, Liz shows her self-defence skills and frees herself. I liked the way she stood her ground and didn’t feel intimidated by the strange boy who seemed to be her age. The story is suspenseful and I’m really curious to read more.

In the prologue to The Lady of the Pier – The Ebb by Effrosyni Moschoudi, Sofia recalls a strange dream she had a night before. She was standing on the pier where she worked, but the pier changed its size and it seemed like everything around her changed, a terrifying storm broke and in Sofia’s place stood a woman dressed in black who looked pretty much like her. What does this dream mean, who is that woman and why she was in pain? Meanwhile, in the first chapter, we move from 1987’s Greece to 1937’s England, where Laura Mayfield’s story takes place. Laura moves to Brighton with her ill mother, Ruth, who needed a milder climate for her weak lungs. I think this story will be a slow read, but the writing is beautiful and I enjoy reading about alternating timelines.

In Song at Dawn: 1150 in Provence by Jean Jill, sixteen-year-old Estela de Matin runs away from an abusive household, wants to start afresh and leave her old identity behind. On the road, she encounters Alénor of Aquitaine, the Queen of France, and her loyal guards, who were travelling from Carcassonne to Narbonne. They eye Estela suspiciously because she might be plotting a robbery with other bandits in hiding or she might be a thief because she carries a mandora, a musical instrument like a lute. After the queen orders the girl to play and sing a song, Alénor of Aquitaine invites Estela to come with them to the court. At first, this book was a little hard to get into because I don’t know that historical period too well, especially the politics, but the idea of a girl troubadour is something I’ve never heard of and I’m curious to read how Estela will get along with Dragonetz, the queen’s commander and her troubadour.

The Treasure of Gwenlais by M. T. Magee contains a prologue in which we are told who the most important characters are, which kingdom they protect or belong to, who are the enemies and which are the stakes of this first book. In short, Princess Laurel of Gwenlais is rescued from the claws of a monster by Caleb, Prince of Heathwin, “the Chief and Commander of the Sentinels who protected the two Kingdoms of Gwenlais and his own realm of Heathwin”. (Loc. 149) Meanwhile, the Sentinels lead by Prince Aiden gallop towards the village to kill the monsters (Rabkins) and to count the casualties. The first chapter is very long, so I paused when I came to a page break, but the novel is worth reading because it’s a high fantasy and it seems to have a complex world.

And here is what I’ve decided:

After reading the chapters and prologues, I decided to read Check Mate by T. Ariyanna because I like the suspense and the story is pretty short. Then, I think that I will choose Ms Jean Gill’s novel because I want to know what happens to Estela at the French royal court and how the past will influence her future.

Review: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

Book 2 of The Chronicles of Narnia 

Title: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Author: C. S. Lewis

Illustrator: Pauline Baynes

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Children’s Books

First Published in 1950

Year of Publication of this Edition: 2009

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Series: The Chronicles of Narnia

Rating: 5/5 stars

I’m almost sure that many of you love C. S. Lewis’ fantasy book series The Chronicles of Narnia, so I wanted to surprise you with my review for the second book: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I haven’t read the rest of the books, but you can write in the comment section why you love this series or which book is your favourite.

As you already know, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a fantasy novel which revolves around the lives of four siblings (Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie) who are sent to the countryside to escape the Blitz. While they explore the old house of Professor Digory Kirke, the children find an empty room where the only item of furniture is a wardrobe, which is actually a secret passage to the enchanted land named Narnia. It’s always winter there, but Christmas never comes. Gradually, each of the four siblings enters into this fairy-like world, where they encounter Tumnus the faun, Jadis the White Witch or the self-proclaimed Queen of Narnia, Mr and Mrs Beaver, Aslan the Lion or the true King of Narnia, and other magical and mythical creatures.

The kids initially go on a mission to save Tumnus from the witch’s castle, but when some old prophecies need to be fulfilled and spells to be broken, the siblings undergo adventures they have never dreamt of. I also want to add that there are very obvious religious symbols in this fantasy novel, but I won’t get into that. If you are interested in this topic, please check out Raluca’s article posted in two parts about J. R. R. Tolkien’s literary masterpiece The Lord of the Rings.

Though I loved the movie and watched it a few times before actually reading the novel, I also enjoyed most of the book for the depiction of Narnia, its characters, but also for the beautiful writing and plotline. Until next time!

De Vorbă cu Adela de la Vanilla Moon Books

Cu puțin timp în urmă am descoperit canalul de Youtube al Adelei de la Vanilla Moon Books prin intermediul scriitorului Oliviu Crâznic, a cărui carte, Ceasul Fantasmelor, era amintită într-unul din filmulețele ei. Am urmărit cu interes mini-recenziile din vlog și am fost impresionată de stilul dezinvolt al Adelei de a vorbi în fața camerei și de vocea ei dulce și copilăroasă. Apoi i-am vizitat blogul (Vanila Moon Books), care, atât prin designul  său magic, cât și prin conținut, te va purta într-o lume fantastică.

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Cum s-a născut pasiunea ta pentru lectură?

Adela: Nu ştiu dacă se mai practică acum, dar pe vremea când m-am născut, unii părinţi le puneau în faţă bebeluşilor mai multe obiecte. Se spunea că obiectele alese de copil vor arăta ce va aprecia mai târziu, în viaţă. Eu am întins mâna spre un creion şi o carte. Toate astea mi le-a povestit mama când deja eram cititoare convinsă şi făceam încercări de poezii sau romane. Dar ca să îţi răspund concret la întrebare, am început să citesc de la 6 ani şi jumătate, după ce am învăţat singură să citesc. Toţi membrii familiei citesc şi mi se părea un mod firesc de a petrece timpul liber.

Cum ai descoperit comunitatea BookTube?

Adela: Acum vreo patru ani, cred, a distribuit cineva pe Facebook un clip amuzant al lui CassJayTuck, o parodie despre poziţiile de citit. Am dat „Subscribe” ca să fiu la curent cu ce videoclipuri mai face şi am început să o urmăresc constant, recenzia ei video m-a făcut să citesc The Fault in Our Stars când la noi nu se făcea încă vâlvă în jurul ei. Apoi, am descoperit treptat şi alţii care făceau clipuri despre cărţi şi am început să îmi doresc tot mai mult să vreau şi eu să fac asta.

Îmi place foarte mult sistemul tău de rating pentru cărțile citite – de la o floare de vanilie la cinci. A existat vreo carte care nu a meritat nici măcar o floare?

Adela: Da, din păcate se publică multe cărţi proaste şi inevitabil, am dat şi peste aşa ceva. E nevoie şi de ele câteodată, măcar să îţi aminteşti cum să le apreciezi pe cele excepţionale. Am un raft pe Goodreads cu cărţi pe care le-am considerat o pierdere de vreme, dacă sunteţi curioşi.

Între o carte clasică și una dintr-un gen cu mai multă priză la public (fantasy, aventură, mister, Young Adult) ce ai alege să recenzezi?

Adela: De regulă, nu scriu recenzii la clasici. Despre ei s-a vorbit atât de mult, încât e cam greu să spui ceva cu adevărat nou. Mă rezum doar să îmi expun părerea în câteva vorbe in clipurile în care vorbesc despre lecturile lunare. Cărţile cu priză la public le recenzez dacă am multe de spus despre ele sau dacă le-am primit de la autori/edituri/librării/companii de promovare. Dacă nu, ajung şi ele tot în clipurile lunare. Citesc cel puţin 5 cărţi pe lună şi nu îmi ajunge timpul să filmez câte un clip pentru fiecare.

Care este autorul tău preferat?

Adela: Agatha Christie. O iubesc atât de mult pe scriitoarea asta, încât am ales-o ca subiect pentru atestatul la limba engleză. A avut o viaţă extraordinară şi mă fascinează tare mult. Am în plan un clip în care vorbesc despre ea.

Am înțeles din Q&A-urile de pe canalul tău  că ești studentă la Farmacie. Cum reușești să împaci facultatea cu pasiunea ta pentru lectură? 

Adela: Nu e nevoie să le împac, din fericire nu se ceartă una cu alta. Îmi iubesc facultatea, iubesc lectura şi faptul că iau o pauză din învăţat ca să citesc îmi dă apoi spor să învăţ. M-am obişnuit să îmi inchei ziua măcar cu câteva pagini dintr-o carte, oricât de ocupată aş fi.

Ai vreun motto după care te ghidezi în viață?

Adela: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ― Oscar Wilde

Și ultima întrebare. De ce ar trebui să te urmărească iubitorii de lectură pe Youtube sau să îți citească recenziile de pe blog?

Adela: Sunt întotdeauna sinceră în părerile pe care le exprim, atât pe YouTube, cât şi pe vlog şi mă bucur că am reuşit să stabilesc o legătură destul de strânsă cu oamenii care mă urmăresc şi au încredere în recomandările mele. Pe lângă cărţile în jurul cărora se face vâlvă, citesc şi cărţi mai puţin cunoscute şi care de foarte multe ori sunt mai bine scrise sau cu subiecte mai neobişnuite. Pentru că abordez aproape toate genurile de literatură (mai puţin non-ficţiune), este câte ceva pe placul fiecăruia.

 Sursă imagini: Adela, Vanilla Moon Books

Review: Gates of Heaven by Pamita Rao

A Fantasy Action Adventure Series

Book 1 of Balthasar Family Saga

 

Title: Gates of Heaven

Subtitle: A Fantasy Action Adventure Series

Author: Pamita Rao

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

Year of Publication: 2015

Published by P.S.R. Publishing Limited

Series: Balthasar Family Saga

Rating: 3/5 stars

I received a free copy of this book after I signed up for the author’s no-spam newsletter.

Warning: This book contains mature content not suitable for children!

“It was a myth well known to anyone in Tireol that the enchanted forests hid the gates of heaven created by gods. The gods used the gates to travel between various realms to observe and guide the life force that they helped create.” (Loc. 165-166)

Gates of Heaven is the first instalment in the fantasy adventure series Balthasar Family Saga written by Pamita Rao.  On Planet Myrth, King Creed reigns over the entire land, but his thirst for power didn’t quench with the vast territory he already owns; he also wants to conquer other realms beyond Myrth. To make his greedy wish come true, he needs to pass through the gates of heaven, which are located somewhere in the enchanted forests, but they reveal themselves only to enlightened people.

Though Creed learned to use dark magic from the sages while he was exiled by his father, King Balthasar, he has never found the magic gates like the former king did many years ago. When Queen Elora gives birth to a son, Creed’s trusted sage’s prediction comes true. Neelahaim will possess more powers than his father and he will be able to pass through the gates to unknown lands. What would a twisted totalitarian ruler like Creed do to make sure that he will not let the opportunity to go through the gates of heaven slip through his fingers? To plot the killing of his newborn son, of course, by performing a dangerous ritual through which his son’s powers would be transferred to him!

However, the queen senses what Creed is up to, so she has a plan of her own, meant to keep him safe with the help of her estranged family. Here’s where Alaira and Horace (Elora’s sister and brother) step into the picture; they are as skilful and intelligent as the queen herself, but they are more like tricksters. There are also Freddic and Klink who help their friends not only to get into the castle but also to return safely to Nimah.

Creed, the King of Tireol, is the main villain of this story even if most of the time he seems evil without reason. An explanation would be his belief that King Balthasar loved his subjects more than him. I said before that Creed is a tyrant, a greedy person who uses his power and dark magic to get what he wants without caring if he causes suffering or destruction around him, and for some strange reason I compared him with Emperor Nero because they are both cruel and selfish.

In contrast, Queen Elora is a skilled warrior and an intelligent woman, but she accepts to marry Creed in order to keep her family safe. Even if she doesn’t love the King, she has strong motherly feelings towards her son, for whom she risks and sacrifices everything including her freedom. Though Elora wasn’t able to see her family again after marrying Creed, she can’t ask anyone but her dear sister to protect and take care of her child.

As for Alaira, I don’t have a lot to say, though she’s the protagonist of the story. She is brave like her elder sister, skilled in the arts of swordsmanship and archery, a true trickster, but a girl with strong family bonds and a soft heart for her father (Reddan), siblings and her nephew. She promises to protect the child even if it means risking her life to let him live.

The plot follows different characters, that’s why we have multiple points of view: Freddic (Alaira’s friend and love interest), Creed (King of Tireol), Queen Elora, Alaira, Horace etc. The pacing is fast, the story is very visual, but there were some weird word choices especially in the first half of the book, which made it difficult for me to focus on the story. Here are a few examples just to give you an idea: “she sensed darkness in him” (Loc. 372), “You do not deserve to rule this throne” (Loc. 553), “she turned her to him” (Loc. 564), “to sneak the prince from under the king’s nose” (Loc. 652). The main themes of the story are: good vs. evil, love for one’s family, courage, devotion, and the sense of belonging to a community.

Now let’s talk about world-building. On Planet Myrth, which initially made me think of a science-fiction setting, we have Tireol, Taelk, Griesmal and Nimah. People work in small but loving communities; they trade goods with the aristocrats for protection (as Freddic’s family did). In this world there are also slaves and servants, who are beaten by the guards and noblemen, there are sages like Drahim, and magical creatures like trolls and Ghimish. There are myths, pretty vague beliefs in gods, history of Tireol (the story about Balthasar) and some politics, an essential part of every fantasy novel. Even though the book can be read like a fairytale, it has mature content such as macabre or death scenes which are not suitable for younger readers.

To wrap it up, I hope that my review stirred your interest in reading Gates of Heaven. It was a pretty interesting book for me, though there were some things I didn’t understand or resonate with, but if you’re a fan of high fantasy or adventure, give it a chance.

Review: The Necklace of Goddess Athena by Effrosyni Moschoudi

A New Adult Supernatural Mystery

 

Title: The Necklace of Goddess Athena

Subtitle: A New Adult Supernatural Mystery

Author: Effrosyni Moschoudi

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal, Time Travel

Year of Publication: 2013

Year of Publication of this Edition: 2014

Self-Published

Rating 5/5 stars

Time ….” Poseidon shook his head. “You mortals! You’re bound to it and keep forgetting it is only an illusion.” (Page 305)

“Man was made of flesh and bone on purpose! Time is his prison but also his best friend. He cannot make sense of his feelings, his accomplishments or his losses without it.” (Page 327)

If you’re in the mood for adventure, fantasy, mystery and Greek myths, I recommend author Effrosyni Moschoudi’s novel The Necklace of Goddess Athena: A New Adult Supernatural Mystery, which has elements of all these genres blended in. The result is a page-turning book with characters and situations which can stir the interest and imagination of readers of all ages who love Greek myth retellings or placed at the threshold of two very different worlds.

Time travelling siblings Phevos and Daphne are sent by their father, Efimios on a mysterious journey which takes them from ancient times to modern-day Athens and the only rule they have to obey is to follow the signs Athena will send them. After they land in an orchard, Phevos and Daphne meet its owners, other two siblings, Ksenia and Manos, who will befriend them, due to the coincidental loss of their parents in the same period as Efimios’ wife. Do Phevos, Daphne, Ksenia and Manos have to unknowingly go on the same path to seek the truth about their parents? What secrets will surface from the past and how will they affect the children’s lives?  Only by reading the book you will find out.

This is a coming of age story especially for Phevos, who has to learn to understand and to interpret the signs the two gods send him through dreams, riddles or other kinds of signs which we would consider being pure coincidences, but Phevos was taught not to believe in coincidences. The gods always know when it’s the perfect time to show the way, in order to make the divine plans come true. Until all the signs are revealed one at a time, Phevos and Daphne have to adapt to modern life in Athens, to find a job, and they will even fall in love with other characters from this peculiar world. However, sooner or later, the two worlds will meet and memories from the past will help both characters and readers understand how they shaped the present and how they will influence the future.

The main themes of this novel are faith (if Phevos didn’t have faith that the gods will guide him through, he would have definitely missed the signs), love in many of its forms (motherly love, brotherly love, platonic love, etc.), loss and longing (which are the main reason some of the characters suffer, whether it’s about missing their parents, their spouse or a child) However, the book has also many moments of humour. I love the way Phevos is struggling at first to speak and understand Modern Greek, not to mention the fact that he doesn’t understand the meaning of words like tourist, shower or hotel. And there are also gorgeous gems of philosophy sprinkled here and there, which work perfectly as inspirational quotes for the reader.

I know that some people are not fond of poetic writing, but I enjoyed it very much because it felt like a melody to my ears. Besides the interweaving of magical elements in the story, I also adored the depiction of Athens with its people and their everyday life, the vegetation and the cityscape, which seemed so accurate that it brought me back to places I visited in Greece two years ago. Though most of the characters don’t have many flaws, I grew fond of them, their good nature and their ability to adapt to harsh situations life threw their way. I know it sounds very odd, but I would have liked to meet some of them in person and to befriend them because I had a wonderful time learning about their lives and observing how they reacted in different situations.

The Necklace of Goddess Athena is an easy read for readers of all ages who still believe in fairy-tales, myths and the power of love that helps you find the truth about one’s disappearance and the way to bring them back in your life if that’s possible. Reality and fiction meet in fairy-tales and myths, and Mrs Moshoudi’s novel is no exception. Hop on this wondrous journey from Antiquity to present-day Athens, befriend most of the characters and be prepared to see Athena and Poseidon appear in front of your eyes and hear them speak in prophetic tones.