Thursday, 31 October 2013

Clean out your eReader Challenge ~ Start up post!



I joined this challenge as I seriously need to kick up my reading a notch! I have a TBR list of 35 books or so.. plus minus more or less increasing every day!! 


The Rules 
For the Rules check out 

My Goals - To read all these books!

&


and if I am really good I can fit in these as well...

*All of these books are either review requests or from NetGalley, so they all fall in line with the rules *
To enter all the Mini-Challenges
November 10 – 16: Cerian @ Rookie Romance Book Spine Poetry Challenge
November 17 – 23: Laura @ Music Plus Books Acrostic Poem Challenge
November 24 – 30: Reanna @ Phantasmic Reads Cover Challenge
~~~
Well wish me luck!! You know me where there is a competition and a challenge I will probably enter!!

Love 
Chanzie



Author Interview ~ Tina Smith

Getting to know Tina Smith ~ Author of Wolf Sirens

Hello Everybody! 

I am so excited to be interviewing the lovely Tina Smith. If you haven't checked out my reviews here are the links:

Lets get this show on the road! Don't forget to enter the competition at the end to win some awesome swag...



Hello Tina!

Thank you so much for taking some time out to hang out with us on my blog! 
You are welcome! 

Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I am a thirty year old indie author from Adelaide S.A. I work as a Health and Wellness Consultant in a health store and have studied Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine for the last seven (yes, seven) years. I hope to finish in the not too distant future.

How does it feel to have your work published? Really great. I have tangible proof that I have been doing something for the past few years

Which writers inspire you? Maggie Stiefvater, Stephenie Meyer, Amanda Hocking, Virginia Andrews, Colleen Hover and Veronica Roth. I love movies like Minority report, oblivion and I Robot at the moment too. They are great inspiration.
Are you working on any new books & what are they about? I have just started floating some ideas about a vampire novel and I also have just started a sci-fi, dystopian piece. I was advised to write some short stories by a few people, including a psychic at a tarot card reading – so I thought it sounded like a good idea. The problem is I have to pick one thing and stick with it, hard when I have a world of inspiration around me.
What genre are your books & what draws you to this Genre? All my books are part of the Wolf Sirens series which fit the paranormal genre. At first I was just saying that they were fantasy to be broader in appeal, but I think most people get what PNR is. I just seem to fit PN, I love the realistic edge combined with this completely amazing creature or happening. I find it magnetising and harsh all in one. Something about it resonates with me, I find PNR relatable. I’m a Pieces sun sign so I am always full of conflicting ideas and I feel that is what appeals about the genre, it’s complete fantasy based in reality. I want to help take the genre to the masses.    
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book/series? Lila would be some sweet pouty, yet sturdy young newcomer actress. Kinda like Liana Liberato (Starred in the movie Trust). Cres would have to be some tall blonde almond eyed beauty. The boy in my Fever video is cute. Check it out.
How much research do you do? I do spurts of research, but I don’t go into it too heavily. I learnt to shoot a few types of guns at a range and I know a friend who was in the army many years who gives me advice on weapons and Army rank (important in book 5), the rest I Google. But I do believe in writing what you know if possible. Though I am not about to jump out of a plane if I have a parachute scene in one of my books. I’m more of a homebody.
When did you decide to become a writer and what inspired you? I think I was born with a temperament and personality that suited it. I blame the stars. I never really thought or even desired to be a writer. I always thought it seemed like a lot of hard work – I was right. It sounds corny but I believe that writing is my vocation in life, my creative outlet. For me that’s the only way to be, true to oneself. I come from a creative family and I have found writing is my release and I am finding my stride.
What is the hardest thing about writing? All of it and I think most writers would agree it’s all the editing. The time – it goes into a vortex when you write or edit or doing anything that requires all of you attention on the computer. I literally sat down to do some promotion yesterday and 4 hours went by in a flash - so much to do so little time. Cloning myself is something I think of often.
What is the easiest thing about writing? Being creative, it makes me feel alive - living in a world of infinite possibilities and ideas. Finding words to match them. I hate all the spelling and punctuation and typing. My strong point is the characters and the plot. I am a story teller and an emotional creature. I love the human aspect.
Did you ever get writer’s Block? No, not really. I could write forever and a day. My hands get sore. When I am writing an action scene I do stop to consider the ramifications of my decisions for the characters and the story line, I get an adrenaline rush when deciding which route to take. It’s like playing chess where every move/sentence counts. I ultimately know what I want to happen in the end and I have to find the best way to get there while telling a dramatic story.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block? Power through. Walk, talk to friends, go for a drive, watch a movie, go to the pool. Take a shower. Read a book. Power nap. Roll around on the floor. Hang upside down. I can’t shut my brain up at times, inspiration likes to strike at the most unlikely times, usually when you are away from the computer or drifting off to sleep. If you are stuck think about something else. I can always threaten myself with doing things I don’t like – if you don’t want to write then you can do the dishes…Its amazing how much more writing I can get done in order to avoid cleaning. Also stream of conscious writing is good and so is trying to write as much as you can in a day, don’t worry about mistakes or editing, just run with it.  I am impatient so I love to steam roll ahead. I hate to procrastinate. But I also dread editing. It’s a rock and a hard place thing.
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors? I haven’t read nearly enough. My fave authors are above.
What book/s are you reading at present? I enjoyed Veronica Roth’s series Divergent. I read Into Darkness and I am slowly making my way through Anna Karenina and City of Bones. I know if I like a book that I don’t have to try to get through it, when I can’t put it down whether I think its bad or good, I know it was a ripper read.
Tell us about the cover and how it/they came about? I created them. I had no cash and a lot of time. Dreamstime images and Getty images are good. I use photo Gimp to alter the pictures. I had a friend put the first cover together to my specifications after I spent way to long sourcing the images. Your cover is important. Now I do my own covers. I am proud of book #3 Night Fall’s cover. It worked well.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? I hate getting a bad review. It really does hurt, only because the book is your heart and soul on a page and hours of time and energy. I fought to get it out and I wasted months of my life getting it out and setting it up online and someone can just say it was awful. So I have to ignore them. Though I can’t help myself but read them at times to try and take away some sort of constructive criticism to better myself. At least people are reading my book, but I always love to see more good than bad reviews. They drag down the average rating too, which is a shame.
Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?
Yes, it took me two entire days of work (20 hours) or more to learn to use the software and upload it, select music and find images. So I have done only 3. It’s just too much time and energy – when I could be writing. I think the first two are pretty good. My mother is better at using the program than me, but I did my best. I hope you like them. They are only interesting if you have read the books.
What is your favourite motivational phrase? I love a good phrase but I don’t have just one, here’s a good one - Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do for today.
Where can you see yourself in 5 years time? A successful writer, with 10 books and a publisher - I write full time and my books are being optioned as movies. I want to write a Black swan. I will try hard to get a lot of work out in the next few years, though when I work time has a way of flying by, so who knows. I may have 2 more books out or may have ten. At some point I need to make this viable or I will have to go get a job.
What advice would you give to your younger self? I have heaps of advice, but what can you do, the young are young. I would say to my younger self what I knew anyway and that is that “this too shall pass”. You are strong and things will get better. I was an unhappy teenager. I fell in love with the wrong boys and I had a tough time of it. But that’s what makes me a good artist. Pain is art. I would have said go to writing school, you are a writer. It would have saved a lot of time. But on retrospect maybe I needed the time to live and be miserable
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Dream, write and listen to advice but know your own mind. Work hard and sometimes things don’t work - but don’t let that get you down, change it, start again – people who succeed have failed first, often far more than people who give up.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? No - that was thorough, good job.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Books on Smashwords: ForbiddenFeverNight Fall
Thanks & Kind Regards,
Tina Smith, Author of the Wolf Sirens Series

Isn't Tina Awesome?? It has been such an awesome experience chatting to Tina. She is down to earth and approachable. I randomly commented on a blog post on Goodreads and Tina was just so friendly and easy to chat to! 

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know the wonderful person behind the books. 
Keep an eye out for my next review int he series: Nightfall - Coming soon!

Love 
Chanzie 






Book Review & Character Interview: Fever: Many are Born, few are Reborn (Wolf Sirens #2) by Tina Smith

Series: Wolf Sirens #2
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Publication Date: 02 November 2012
Genre: Paranormal, fantasy
Source: NetGalley

A little bit about Author
Is a Herbalist and and a dog lover
Is studying Neuropathy
Lives in Australia

Previous Review:
Forbidden: Discover the Legend

Goodreads Synopsis:
Temperatures rise as the flames of longing still burn in the thrilling sequel to Wolf Sirens Forbidden. The legend continues. Apollo, god of deadly plague, conspires to undo his sister’s legacy. The wolves exist between two worlds, one in the town another in the forest.

Prophecy says hunters and wolves are cursed to a mutual attraction. Increasingly, each successive slayer becomes more alluring to the wolf. The predestined enemies struggle, to both resist and contain their fierce rivalry in a conflict powerful enough to tear two worlds apart.
A shadow has fallen over the heartlands of myth and reality. The chosen is reborn broken-hearted, in the scorching embers of grief. Devastated, Lila trains tirelessly as the assassin. She must submit to deliver justice and protect the innocent of Shade.

But is it love or revenge which motivates her?

Will the huntress or her heart prevail? Breaking away from the call of destiny and fearing betrayal, Lila makes a desperate escape in search of her lost beloved. The intensity between two ancient enemies ignites. The history of the wolf pack is revealed as devotion and desire in the underworld reaches fever pitch.

If The Bite Doesn't Get You, Then the Fever Will

Fever, the sequel to Forbidden further unfolds the tale of the heroine femme fatale, on her journey in the underworld between the lands of myth and reality


My Review:
Fever picks up straight where Forbidden ended. I really enjoyed Fever as there were characters chapters and you really got to know their stories. 

Characters: 4/5
Lila- Lila's listless heartbreak seemed a bit over dramatic in the beginning but did not drag out over the whole story. I enjoyed her determination and scheming escape plans. As a character she grew, and I enjoyed her stepping into the hunter role. 

Cresida - Cresida was still my favourite character. Sometimes her evasive and secretiveness annoyed me, but it was all part of the story. I was so happy when I got to know her and her journey in one of the chapters. I really connected with her when I realised what a tough deal she was handed - trying to protect everyone especially her little brother. 

Reid - I thought Reid was such a nice guy in the last book. Then, in Fever, I thought he was just an insensitive jerk until I got to his character chapter, and then I really felt so sorry for him. I am not sure on which side of the war he will end up on, but I really hope it will be with Lila and Cresida. 

Sam & Lily - Wow, I did not expect the twist and intensity of the story in Sam's chapter. It was combined with Lily's story, and I was glad to understand Lily a bit better, even if she is no longer a part of Wolf Sirens. 

Sky - is he really dead or does he play a bigger role? Sky played a background role and was the driving force of Lila's actions. I have so much doubt at the moment - is he a good or a bad wolf? It certainly adds intensity to the story.  

Tisane - Tisane had a very interesting story and role. I loved that she returned to her home in nature in the forest. At first I wasn't sure whether she was part of the present or past storyline. Tisane is lovable and a guiding light for Lila. 

Lila & Cresida - Half the time this friendship was very complicated. Only near the end do we really get some clarity about their roles and the turns their friendship takes. 

Lila & Tisane -I really enjoyed this friendship in the beginning, although I wasn't so happy when Lila was 'kidnapping' Tisane. I have high hopes for this friendship in Nightfall. 

Writing style & Plot: 4/5
Once again the story had great pace. I can definitely see Tina has grown as a writer, and enjoyed her writing style, which is easy to follow.

There was a bit of a hiccup in the story where we went from current story, to the background story of all the characters, and then back to current story. Although I loved these chapters and it really helped me understand and fall in love with each character even more, it felt like a small dent in the flow. Fever was not predictable and I really enjoyed the twists that you uncover as the story unfolds.

We are still left with some unanswered questions but it is a great prelude to the next book.

Cover: 5/5
One thing I loved about the cover was the font. I liked the white background theme. 

My Rating:
When contemplating the rating I was between 3.5 and 4 stars. I went with 4 as there was so much growth and development in this book, and I really cannot wait to read Night Fall. I am really glad I decided to continue with this series. 





Books in the series:











Favourite Quotes
The things we find out can be harder than not knowing.
~ 
Revenge is a dish best served cold. Cresida was resistant to her charm: strong willed, a trait of hunters. 
~
Though if Sam knew better she would have been slower to instigate revenge because werewolves are patient compared to humans, except when they are angry. 
~
A tear rolled down her usually dry cheek  He would of kissed it, if she hadn't despised the affection. 
~
She was a more tactical and more manipulative wolf than others of her kind. 'Act, don't react,' was Narine's mantra. 
~

And a Extra Special Feature Character Interview: 
Wolf Sirens Cresida Interview

Thank you Tina for this special feature, it is a closer look at my favourite character in the series ~ Cresida!


Hi Cresida  – Hi

Thanks for talking to me today  – (Nods).

 When were you bitten?  A couple of years ago now, it seems like yesterday...

 Is there a mark? No, barely.

 Do you hate Sam for infecting you ?  My aunt would say hate is a strong word but I might be tempted to use it. I was in a state of shock and denial for a while and then I had to grieve my old life in a big way – I’d had two massive hits, my olds and then the venom...

 Any regrets?  I had no control over my destiny

 Do you feel like you belong with either hunters or wolves?   Neither...I am a hybrid. I am not supposed to continue – we always believed the next huntress would kill me.

 You sound pensive?  It still might happen. I accept that.

 Do you agree with what you did in making a deal with the wolves?  The deal for Lila’s safety? -No.

 What would you have done differently?   The only reason I persevered with that was, really, for my brother. Not Lila or myself, not the gods...

 How’s your Aunt?  I don’t know, she’s probably dead, now.

 Was she your favourite person?   Obviously not.

 It was good that she didn’t ever report you about what she saw?  Yeah, she had the fear of god in her.

 I like how you kept the gun behind her portrait of Jesus?  Mmm, it seemed appropriate.

What books do you read?  Lots of genre’s, I read Agatha Christie and classics like To Kill a Mocking Bird and Huck Fin to gothic stuff lately like Dracula and Virginia Andrews. I also love magazines.

 When do you find the time?  Gibbous moon. Us were- hybrid werewolves- don’t sleep much.

 Lila says you are a nail chewer, why do you think that is? I like to get them right down, boredom and I think a bit of repressed aggression.

 Do your nails hurt?  Not for long. They grow fast.

 How do you manage your powers?  I am precognitive, if that’s what you mean. I think my gift would be better, stronger if I was just a hunter. It just comes, the less I concentrate on it the better.

 And what about wolf powers?  The more I try to control those the better.  Shifting is something I would avoid if I could.

 The tattoo on your arm, what’s that about?  I decided you only live once, it’s symbolic of freedom...that I make my own path. If I was a hunter I would have worn their mark.

 But things turned out differently?  Yes.

 What would you have been if you weren’t a wolf/hunter hybrid?  I like doing things with my hands, a chef maybe? Or something to do with writing and reading.

 Here’s a few quick questions:

Favourite colour? Blue.

Favourite animal? Bears and I like birds, hence the wing on my wrist.

Favourite movie? I don’t know, my tastes have changed...I don’t watch movies. I used to like Easy A.

Favourite food? Choc chunk Brownies/Beef jerky and milk shakes – bread and cheese and pancakes and anything with chicken.

 Thanks for the chat Cres  - Thanks.

 

This Interview was specially written by the lovely Tina Smith, Author of the Wolf Sirens Series

~~~

Author Interview and Giveaway to follow!


Well I hope you enjoyed this review and special feature as much as I did! 

Love 
Chanzie  




Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Underculture Contemporary Fine Art Gallery Opening Evening ~ For Play


Where: 98A Park Drive, Central, Port Elizabeth
Date: 23 October 2013



The evening finally arrived of this much anticipated event for a dear friend Cedric Vanderlinden. I met Cedric a few months ago through a very good friend of mine, Gayner. When I first received the email regarding  the opening of a new gallery in Port Elizabeth, I was a bit at loss for words. I knew nothing about art or what this was all about. As I got to know Cedric and learnt more about this fascinating new world, my interest had soared. Art is a whole different world filled with vision, creativity and passion. What an artist creates and what a viewer sees can be very different. 

Arriving at the venue just after 6:30, the parking lot was jam packed, (there is off-street parking around the back of the gallery). My husband and 2 friends accompanied me, we were lucky enough to find parking close to the gallery as I saw people parking all the way down the street to attend the opening event. 

The gallery was overflowing with enthusiasts, friends and family. We were greeted with a glass of sparkling wine or juice. Cedric spotted us and welcomed us with a big happy smile. 

Moving in to see what all this contemporary art was all about, I was blown away by the variety of art and exhibits on display. There were pieces ranging from conservative to downright creative. Cedric first described art to me as finding your perfect match. I didn't understand what this meant until I saw some of the amazing pieces in his gallery. Each display was numbered and there was an informative booklet available giving the artist and piece information. This was a great idea as it helped understand the relevant piece more completely. 

Shortly after arriving and making our way through the gallery, Cedric called for the audiences' attention and gave a heartfelt and emotional speech filled with love, passion and humor. Underculture not only has national support but international support as well. Cedric's encouraging words to the young artists were, 'It's a bumpy ride but we going to get there.'

This gallery is not a business or a job for Cedric is it his dream and his passion. They say if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. Cedric thanked the artists, his close friends and family and all the valuable people that make up his dream team who helped Underculture come alive. I found it quite amusing as he labelled his supporters the 'Undercultists'. 

Cedric's speech went on to compare love and art, and how they have an overlapping relationship. Art is for everyone, regardless of background, race or religion. To quote all the beautiful things he said, would take an entire post on it's own. 

'Love like art cannot exist without the full participation of the mind.' ~ Cedric Vanderlinden

For your sake, fall in love. 

Love 
Chanzie 

Underculture contact Details:
Website l Email l Facebook



Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Book Review: The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz

Publisher: Amber-Allen Publishing
Publication Date: 14 September 2001
Genre: Spirituality, Psychology
Source: Purchased

Goodreads Synopsis:
In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, the Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love. The Four Agreements are: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don't Take Anything Personally, Don't Make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best.




My Topic of Light Discussions:
September 2013:
The Four Agreements ~ Part 1: The Smokey Mirror
The Four Agreements ~ Part 2: The Dream of the Planet
The Four Agreements ~ Part 3: The First Agreement ~ Be impeccable with your word
The Four Agreements ~ Part 4: The Second Agreement ~ Don't take anything Personally
October 2013:
The Four Agreements ~ Part 5: The Third Agreement ~ Don't make assumptions
The Four Agreements ~ Part 6: The Fourth Agreement ~ Always do your best
The Four Agreements ~ Part 7: The Toltec Path to Freedom ~ Breaking Old Agreements
The Four Agreements ~ Part 8: Heaven on Earth & Wrapping up this topic


My Review:
I loved this book the first time I read it and I loved and appreciated this book this time again. 
I chose this book to use for my Topic of Light discussions. Don explains easily and effectively. I liked that this wasn't thick heavy book filled with complicated lessons. Don uses great examples to explain the agreements and the way he explains them is simple and motivating. 

The agreements are easy to remember and make sense. I covered most my thoughts in the topics. I would recommend this book to any one needing a great short motivational read. 


My Rating:


Author Bio:
The tools shared by don Miguel are based on common sense and shared with such simplicity, that the universal message underlying his teaching is recognized by many. don Miguel's message is simple, practical and when implemented, even incrementally, changes lives. 

In the tradition of the Toltec, a Nagual guides an individual to personal freedom. Combining new insights with old wisdom, don Miguel has dedicated his life to sharing the ancient Toltec wisdom by translating it into practical concepts that promote transformation through truth and common sense.

Don Miguel Ruiz was born into a family of healers, and raised in rural Mexico by a curandera (healer) mother and a nagual (shaman) grandfather. The family anticipated that Miguel would embrace their centuries-old legacy of healing and teaching, and carry forward the esoteric Toltec knowledge. Instead, distracted by modern life, Miguel chose to attend medical school and become a surgeon. A near-death experience changed his life. Stunned by this experience, he began an intensive practice of self-inquiry. He devoted himself to the mastery of the ancient ancestral wisdom, studying earnestly with his mother, and completing an apprenticeship with a powerful shaman in the Mexican desert. In the tradition of the Toltecs, a nagual guides an individual to personal freedom. Don Miguel is a nagual from the Eagle Knight lineage, and is dedicated to sharing his knowledge of the teachings of the ancient Toltecs. He is the author of The Four Agreements, The Mastery of Love, and The Four Agreements Companion Book.




Teaser Tuesday #8 ~ The Echo Prophecy by Lindsey Fairliegh




Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

 Grab your current read • Open to a random page  • Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


Here is my teaser for today:

The Echo Prophecy (The Echo Phophecy #1)
by Lindsey Fairleigh
Page 70

In my heart, I knew Grandma Suse was right - my dad really was my dad. He'd always been there to pick me up when I fell, and he'd fostered my love of both history and reading. He'd helped shaped me into the person i'd become. In every way that mattered, he was my dad, but I didn't feel the same assuredness in my own identity.


Books Description
The first book in a new paranormal romance/historical mystery trilogy.

"...we only see what we want to see...what we expect to see..."

Discover what's hidden--a powerful, mythic race, an ancient Egyptian prophecy, and a love strong enough to shatter the boundaries of time.

Alexandra Larson isn't human...but she doesn't know that. As far as Lex is concerned, she's simply an ambitious and independent archaeology grad student with a knack for deciphering ancient languages, especially the various forms of Egyptian. When she's recruited to work on her dream excavation, her translating skills uncover the secret entrance to an underground Egyptian temple concealed within Djeser-Djeseru--the famous mortuary temple of Queen Hatchepsut. Lex is beyond thrilled by her discovery...as is the enigmatic and alluring excavation director, Marcus Bahur.

As the relationship between Lex and Marcus heats up, a series of shocking revelations leave the young archaeologist reeling. Once Lex discovers the truth of her ancient Egyptian roots--the truth of her more-than-human nature--the people she trusts most make one final, terrifying revelation: Lex is the central figure of a four-thousand-year-old prophecy. She is the only thing standing between the power to alter the very fabric of time and an evil megalomaniac...who also happens to be her father. As events set in motion over four millennia ago lead Lex and Marcus from Seattle to the heart of Egypt, the fate of mankind depends on one thing: the strength of Lex's love. 


Hope you enjoyed this sneak peek! This snippet really hit home for me. 

What are you currently reading? Leave a teaser or a link in the comments!

Love 
Chanzie