Sunday, October 28, 2012

Borrow One of My Books!

A few days ago I was cleaning up my Kindle archive and realized that the following list of titles are 'loan enabled'. 
  • "Perpetual Light" by Jordan K. Rose
  • "Seed" by Ania Ahlborn
  • "The Hangman's Daughter" by Oliver Pötzsch
  • "Madly" (Novella - Madly Series #1) by M. Leighton
  • "Callum & Harper"(Sleepless Series #1) by Fisher Amelie
  • "Blood of Anteros" (Vampire Agápe Series #1)" by Georgia Cates
  • "Sacrifice" (The Chosen #3) by Denise Grove Swank 
  • "The Hunger Games"(The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins
  • "Catching Fire" (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins
  • "Mockingjay" (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins 
  • "Mercury Falls" by Robert Kroese
  • "Mercury Rises" by Robert Kroese
  • "Mercury Swings" by Robert Kroese
  • "The Black Blade" (A Gull Village Story) by Sean Huxter 
 And so, with all these titles to loan and no one to loan them to I had a stroke of brilliance (if I do say so myself): Loan them to readers here at To The Point - and that, in a word, is You.
Source: Hummingbird Bridal and Event Company
So how to get your hands on a title? Well, I'd open it up as a free for all but Amazon, in combination with all those pesky publishers, have mandated from powers on high that I can only loan it out once and for only 14 days at that.  So in order to keep it fair-as-fair-can-be we'll be playing by the following couple of rules:
Rule #1: Before requesting a title you've got to be a subscriber of To The Point. If you aren't already, go ahead and use one of the methods to the right.
Rule #2: Leave a comment or drop me a line letting me know what title you're interested in borrowing.
Now here's the tricky part: With only 14 titles to loan, I can only guarantee the first 14 people a title, but the more popular titles might have more than request, that and there's always the chance that more people request than I've got books for so here's what I'm willing to give you even if it isn't one of the title above.

If the title you pick is already spoken for (first come/first serve, scouts honor) then your subscription gets you double entry in my next free book giveaway planned for next month and extra consideration when I loan my next title. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Reading Through the Eyes of a Writer - Guest Post written by Ria Majumdar

When Ria Majumdar suggested she write a piece about how writers read as a guest post I jumped at the chance. While T.T.P. doesn't typically wander into this territory, she's done a great job at capturing why I found myself keeping this blog in the first place. But that's enough from me. Frankly speaking, Ria does a better job explaining it then I ever could.   

We all love reading books. If that had not been the case then you wouldn’t be hanging around on a blog that deals with book reviews, unless of course, you are stalking me…

But have you ever read a book that was so good, I mean, so insanely out-of-this-world that it left an imprint on your brain? In fact was the book so exhilarating that it sparked the urge to write something similarly extraordinary in you? An urge that didn’t let you rest since that day so badly that you have been churning out one crap story after another in pursuit of that golden story that would land you in the ranks of that one book that changed your life?

Well, if you have experienced this (like me with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) then congratulations, you are a writer.

Writers have always been voracious readers. We read, cry over the fact that we aren’t good enough, and read more. Well, the cycle can be crueler with you tearing up your manuscript after finishing a particularly awesome book because you realized that your writing sucks big time.

Anyway, this is how a writer reads:-
  1. Goes to a book shop and browses through the volumes until their flying fingers land upon a book that “calls to them” (read: has an amazing cover and that’s why drew attention). Yup, they say don’t judge a book by its cover but don’t we all do just that?
  2. Turns the book over and reads the blurb. If it sounds intriguing then turns to the first page and reads a few paragraphs.
  3. Stops reading because they are getting hooked and realize that their own manuscript at home is a crappy excuse for a novel.
  4. Reads the quotes of authors and magazine editors who read the book and found it hot and happening and imagines their own book described in such mushy terms, then frowns as the suspicion that maybe these people were paid to write such good stuff clouds their mind.
  5. Hushes the sarcastic insights and buys the book.
  6. Reads it in one sitting if it’s good and cries over how crappy their manuscript is.


    Reads the book halfway and laughs at the contents if it’s bad. Then feels overjoyed that they are really, really, really good at writing until their family turns up to beat out the enthusiasm. (We are woefully misunderstood folk.)

  7. Repeats process… on an e-reader now because we are all modern, aren’t we? 
So that’s how we writers read, petting the green cat of jealousy as we enjoy the magic woven in words.

How do you read? Ever felt the spark I was talking about earlier? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Author:-
Ria Majumdar is a writer, reader, blogger and undergraduate dentist. She loves her library, which is currently overflowing with books and thinks it’s too weird to write about her own self in third person. So hi, if you want to read more of what I write, feel free to jump over to my blog The Spyglassviewer ( and enjoy some of my dry humor!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

'Red Rain' by R.L. Stine

Back in the days of my elementary school's mobile book fair, R.L. Stine was starting to make waves with his, at the time brand new, series Goosebumps. It was enjoyable to a point. It always embodied a fun, campy spookiness, and each installment was always liberally littered with entirely unbelievable premises. Yet, even though I enjoyed them I never considered myself a great fan. I would argue that it was because by that age I'd already read half of Stephen King's offerings, and those - especially his earlier works - are truly the stuff of nightmares, so I'd already been desensitized to the spook in Stine's work.

Fast forward a few decades and I found myself intrigued by Stine's latest effort, 'Red Rain' in, dare I say it, the adult horror genre. To tell the truth I can't say I walked into it with particularly high expectations... in fact, I'd remembered so little of his writing style from before that I approached this much like I would a newly minted author.

But then I remember something: The only reason I ever went out of my way to get my hands on anything from Goosebumps was because my mom would always give me ten bucks to spend at the book fair. I'm not sure if you remember your grade school book fairs but the ones I attended were explosions of Lissa Frank (not interested), some series about twins named Jessica and Samantha (Sweet Valley High I think?) and other assorted garbage like locker mirrors, calendars, posters of Saved by The Bell actors and - oh yeah, a handful of semi-interesting books.

Why am I telling you this?*

Well, it turns out that I didn't really like R.L. Stine much growing up either - but when I saw this new title come up a yearning of nostalgia came with it. Unfortunately, for this title, it fell flatter then his kids books ever did.

Was the logo the scariest part of that series?
The premise of adorable twins being swiftly adopted by travel writer Lea and transplanted from their island home to suburban family life is so mundane it hurts. The writing is blocky, pedantic, technical and entirely devoid of a sense of humor. The characters are flat and predictable. What's worse than any of that is that it failed to scare me even once. No sharp intake of breathe, no struggle with myself on whether it would be best to keep reading and find out what happens or put it down and get a glass of water. None of that.

Overall, this one was dead, dry and boring. A book that I would imagine being a tough sell to even the most die-hard now adult Goosebumps fan. My final advise? Steer clear.

*I can almost hear you screaming at me to get to the point already! But you need to allow me a little time - I mean, we are deconstructing part of my childhood here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

'Daughter of Smoke and Bone' by Laini Taylor

'Daughter of Smoke and Bone' by Laini Taylor has to be the best book in the YA, Fantasy genre I've read all year. In fact, it was so good that within minutes of finishing up the last page I swung into the Kindle Storefront and preordered the 'Days of Blood and Starlight' - book two due out on November 6th.

Main character Karou with her natural blue hair, hand drawn chimaera comics and secret double life is hard to resist. Likeable and dubbed with a name that literally translates into the very thing she comes to embody its easy to become submerged in her story and get swept away as the story unfolds.

Even the supporting characters like Brimstone, Akiva, Zuzana and Issa are vital to the story and have a tendency of being much different and more complicated than how they're originally presented. With the entire cast of characters serving their own desires and purposes genuinely, this book quickly comes to life as a story filled with everyone fighting their own internal battles while struggling to shape a better world - all with Karou somehow caught unaware and in the middle. 

If you're looking for the next, great fantasy with a romantic flair, you can't let this title pass you by... but you might want to wait until early November when you can pick up both titles and save yourself the wait!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

'The Hangman's Daughter' by Oliver Pötzsch

'The Hangman's Daughter' by Oliver Pötzsch takes the prize for the best book I've read in a long, long time, and to be honest that surprised me. Not only was this an historical fiction, a genre that I'm not terribly invested (or interested) in, but it was originally written in German and brought over for my reading pleasure in a rather excellently executed English translation.

In what I understand is the first of many in this series*, we find Kuisl, a hangman born from a line of hangmen, his beautiful, brilliant, but cursed, daughter Magdalena, and Simon, a fancy-pants city type whose trained at the university (but never graduated) to be a doctor (like his father) but instead of making a proper name for himself has the misfortune of respecting the Hangman, and loving his daughter. Watching the interplay of these three main characters against the hugely gratifying story that includes but is not limited to a murder, a witch hunt, a political scandal and the impeding doom of the local rulers visit is nothing short of fabulous. 

If you like a good mystery, a good love story or just a good all-star novel, this one is for you. If you need vampires or some young-adult fancy to your fiction... well... I know a good vampire series that's worth your time.

*I can honestly say this is probably the first series I've gotten truly excited about in a long time - and probably the first time I've gotten excited about one that didn't really leave my head spinning over some crazy cliff-hanger. I actually want to read it because I've seriously enjoyed the Hardy-boy-esk nature of the books. This one is good folks - read it.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

'The Fever Series', 5 Books by Karen Marie Moning

Before starting this review I feel like I need to make an admission: I needed to force myself to write it. 

When I started writing these reviews a few months ago I promised myself (and the lovely ladies of B4R who will take away my book privileges if I don’t post a review for the monthly reads *gasp!*) that I’d review every title, in any genre, no matter what my opinion of the read. But after nearly a month of typing something out, deleting everything, starting over (with a disappointed little huff), and letting this review discourage me from getting on with my reading, my reviewing and my life, I realized that sometimes you just gotta plow ahead. Write what comes to mind and readers be damned (not you of course – just saying).

Not that I haven’t had trouble getting my opinion coherently expressed in a post before, but for whatever reason ‘The Fever Series’ by KarenMarie Moning was both tough to read through and equally as difficult to write about, but here’s the true conundrum folks: these books weren’t poorly written. They weren’t filled with plot holes. The characters were colorful and even the unlikeable ones were well developed. The idea unique and the world was new. 

So what was the problem? Well – it’s the little things that nag at me. Take the protagonist for instance. MacKayla Lane is cut from the same cloth, heck, she’s cut from the same exact fabric pattern, as Sookie Stackhouse. Now I know what you’re thinking. “But you love the Southern Vampire Novels!”

Yes. Yes I do. 

But Mac just feels wrong. I don’t know how else to put it. She takes all the snotty, stuck-up, self-centered and truly unremarkable pieces of Sookie and leaves most of the character growth and warmth behind. However, having an unlikeable pink princess for a lead isn’t the only piece of ‘Fever’ that left me scratching my head.

Ireland felt wrong too. It truly felt like the only places in the whole of Dublin were Temple Bar and not Temple Bar. None of the characters really spoke like the Irish – that is to say the author didn’t use any real modern Irish lingo to color their heritage appropriately. Instead, the dialogue would reflect a strange twang that seemed more uneducated than accent. 

Lastly, there’s the character of Barrons. Oh Barrons – a beast of a man that MacKayla can’t get her barring on. I could probably dissect the relationship here in detail but I’ll save you the long form and just say this: On some level Barrons reminded me of Christian Grey. Not because he had some kinky, distorted, bondage fascination, but because he possessed that same odd need to control everything about Mac.

And that’s it everyone. Overall, the five books in that make up the ‘Fever’ series are good enough to recommend to people who enjoy the fantasy, young adult genre. My personal feelings of the two main characters aside, it was well done and the ending was a clever surprise, but I won’t be rereading them anytime soon.