Wednesday, 30 March 2011

REVIEW: The Gods of Dreams, by Daniel Arenson

Title: The Gods of Dream
Author: Daniel Arenson
Format: Kindle/Hardback

This book was sent to me by Daniel to review and I really enjoyed it. It's a fantasy novel that will definitely warm your heart. It is centered around two young adults, Tasha and Cade. Cade has survived a terrible accident that scarred him and killed their parents. This has turned Tasha into an emotional wreck, trying to commit suicide multiple times. There is only one place they can be happy, and that is: Dream.

Dream is a beautiful place where our dreams are made. It has its own pantheon (group of Gods) and has a lot of different landscapes, some of which you are bound to have seen in one of your dreams as a reader. In my case that was The Crystal Caves. But there is a problem, called Phobetor, Lord of Nightmare. He has planned to take over Dream and turn it into a Nightmare. Everywhere he goes he is followed by monsters and horrors unimaginable. Cade is "recruited" by Windwhisper to challenge Phobetor and Tasha secretly joins him in the form of a mouse.

I really enjoyed reading this book because it reminded me of the fantasy books I used to read, like the Neverending Story. Throughout the book I kept on seeing hidden references to this book, especially when the Silkworms were introduced. Arenson has created a very rich world with a solid "religion". He has clearly put thought into how such a group of Gods should be structured, taking notes, I think, of the Greek Gods and how they are interlinked. I really liked the way he combined good and evil within these, making the "bad guys" spring from the good. The pegacats Starlight and Harmony were an adorable addition to the Gods. They really brought light to certain scenes.

What  Arenson did really well was describing his character Tasha. In the beginning she is depressed and can't deal with normal life. In the book she is a constant companion to Cade, who does the biggest part of the travelling because Tasha is now a mouse. As a reader you can feel her character grow and mature and in the end you really have a bond with her. Another character that goes through a strong character development is Moonlight, the Princess of the Begemmed City. In the beginning, although nice, she is a bit spoiled girl and easily scared. In the end, after having fought and almost died, she is strong and clearly a woman.

Overall, Arenson has a significant talent for story writing and knows how to guide a reader through a story and keep them interested. Maybe he had a little bit too many ideas for this book, making it seem rushed in some bits, yet all of this is only positive. It is better to have maybe too many good ideas instead of only two that are boring.  I give this book...

4 Universes!!!!

If you like fantasy books and don't mind being obsessed by this story until you finished it I definitely recommend it to you!! Arenson's writing is entertaining and definitely worth reading!

So, what do you think? Something you'd like to check out?

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Teaser Tuesday

This is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “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!

I'm a  bit late today, but I'm just happy I was able to write anything at all. I'm reading 'Until I find You' by John Irving. I really love this quote and it took me forever to find it in the book, only to then forget on what page it was! I haven't finished it yet, but I really like it.

Until I Find You
"Life forces enough final decisions on us. We should have the sense to avoid as many of the unnecessary ones as we can." 

 I think this quote is really amazing, because it's true. The book is filled with this sort of wisdom, but not in a patronizing way. I have read a number of reviews that say that this book is too long and that the story runs out of breath at the end, but I'm loving what I'm reading and I'm definitely in the last third of the book. It is huge though.

So, what about you? Leave a link to your TT and I'll hop by!!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop

BBH is hosted by Crazy-for-Books and FF is hosted by Parajunkee's View,

Book Blogger Hop

BBH Question is:
If you could physically put yourself into a book or series...which one would it be and why?

Obviously, as a Lord of the Rings fan I'd love, absolutely, love to be in there. I don't think I'd want to be one of the characters, although, if I had to choose, I'd want to be Eowyn. I'd love to just live in that world, at least for a while. I'd also really like to be in one of those Darth Bane-series I don't stop talking about! Then I'd like to be Zainnah, even though I just read the last book and I'm not quite sure how fortunate the ending is for her!

FF Question is:
Give us five BOOK RELATED silly facts about you

  • I read while I'm walking, which causes weird scenes with me falling down pavements and walking into people.
  • I got a Kindle because I wanted to save my bookshelves for old, antique books. It doesn't really work though, because if I happen to see a book I like I'll get it anyway.
  • When I read The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon I had the weirdest experience. I went to bed and I had read some of the scariest parts that day. I woke up, in  the middle of the night, convinced I was in some cave with the bad guy from the book right behind me. I didn't dare to turn around and when i stretched out my arms I only felt a wall. So for ten heart-wenching minutes I seriously thought  I was in a cave. Then it turned out I was lying the wrong way round in bed, it was the middle of the night and that was why it was dark.
  • My favourite book, maybe, is an old copy from about a 120 years ago. It's a long verse about Guinevere and it's really beautiful. Also it's rare apparently. 
  • I'm so happy I started blogging because this way I can "force" myself to read. And I get so many amazing books from authors to review! I LOVE THIS!
So, how about you? What are your answers? Don't hesitate to leave a comment with your link!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Series or Stand-alones?

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted over here. It's really fun, so just hop over there and join in.

This weeks question:
Do you prefer reading books in a series or when they are 

btt button

I do love series, especially because they allow the author more time to get into a character. Such series as  Harry Potter  are amazing, because the characters make a real journey and mature. Yet there is a big chance that the sequels aren't as good as the first one and that you end up reading the same in every book. You might expect me to talk about Lord of the Rings being the best series/trilogy ever. But it was meant to be one big book, actually, and it only became three because it was too expensive to print it as one big book.

Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7)I think stand-alones are a bit more special at times. An author has put so much time into it and it is a lot harder to write. On Chesil Beach for example is an amazing stand alone that really gets you into the characters mind. Although it's a relatively short book it's pure genius. Never have I read a stand alone book that was so good in analyzing it's characters, except perhaps Middlemarch .

So, what are your thoughts on this?

Friday, 18 March 2011

Interview + Giveaway with Suzanne Tyrpak!!

I'm delighted to share this interview and giveaway with you. Suzanne shares her source of inspiration with us, plans for a sequel and her favourite book. Hop over to the review if you want to take another look at it!!

Heey, why don’t you introduce yourself first?  

 Hi Juliane. Thanks for inviting me. I love to write, and someday soon I hope to write full-time. When I'm not writing, or hanging out at Kindleboards, I work for Frontier airlines and also do freelance marketing for a science museum. I'm originally from New York, but now I live in a beautiful mountain town in Colorado. I like to ski, ride my bike and hike.

Have you always had an interest in Roman culture or was it something completely new for you?
Ancient cultures have also fascinated me, Classical Greece in particular. (My next book, Agathon's Daughter, takes place in ancient Athens.) In college my major was ancient theatre and religion. I wanted to know about people's daily lives and the role of women in society. About ten years ago, I travelled to Rome with a group of writers, and I fell in love with Italy. I was drawn to the story of the Vestal Virgins—the most powerful women in Rome, sworn to chastity on penalty of death.

How much research did you do before starting the book?
 I travelled to Rome twice, read a lot of books, and spent at least two years doing research. I even hired a guide who specialized in the year I write about, A.D. 63, to show me around the Forum Romanun. I tend to do research as I write, and the research often informs the story.

Would you classify this book as being Christian Fiction?
Early Christianity is a theme in the novel. Paul of Tarsus was in Rome at the
time I write about. I'm fascinated by the contrast between new and old religions—Christianity versus the Roman Pantheon. Christians may find the history interesting, but I wouldn't classify this as a Christian book. 

 What plans do you have for writing a sequel on, for example, Flavia?
I'd like to follow up with a story with Flavia as the central character. She's skanky and reckless, and certain to create a wild story. The story will take place several years after Vestal Virgin and depict Nero's persecution of the Christians—including crazy parties where he crucified and burned people. and his ultimate disintegration.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get most of my inspiration, regarding story and setting, from reading and travel. My characters and their emotions are more personal—I'm always taking notes, at least mentally. And, I used to be an actor, so I tend to throw myself into the characters.

What was your favourite book growing up?
Let's see, there were many. I loved A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I love the mystery and the romance of the story, also the Eastern influence. I can't tell you how many times I've read the book.

And now on to the GIVEAWAY!!
We will give away copies of Vestal Virgin to the first 10 people who:
  •  email me at Suzanne dot Tyrpak at gmail dot com 
  •  follow my blog, “Who’s Imagining All This?
  • Next to that, we want you to promise to enjoy the book to the best of your capability
So, don't forget, this giveaway will last until 10 people have emailed. You probably know how fast these things can go, so hurry up!! In your email to Suzanne don't forget to mention the name with which you're following her blog!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Teaser Tuesday

This is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “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!

My (late) teaser from this week is from On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan.

She needed to feel close to him in order to hold down the demon of panic she knew was ready to overwhelm her. She had to know he was with her, on her side, and was not going to use her, that he was her friend and was kindly and gentle.
I forgot to note which page it was on, sorry. I almost finished this book and I'm really liking it. Ian McEwan's description of Florence is really amazing.

So, what;s your teaser???

REVIEW: Vestal Virgin by Suzanne Tyrpak + GIVEAWAY

Quick Note: The Giveaway won't be starting until Friday so keep your eyes open for that!!!

This book was sent to me by Suzanne and I immediately wanted to read it because I have studied Latin and the Roman Culture for a couple of years. I was always fascinated by the Vestal Virgins and their extraordinary position in society. The story centers around Elissa, who was taken from her family at a young age to become a Vestal Virgin. She lives during the reign of Nero and I think everyone who knows something about the Roman Empire also knows this Emperor was known to be a bit eccentric.

I figured that before I start my review I'll have to explain some things about the Roman Empire etc. because otherwise my review wouldn't make any sense. Vestal Virgins were very different from other women in Ancient Rome. They took a vow of chastity and were allowed to posses land and money, which was unussual on those times. This vow lasted for 30 years, after this you were free to marry. Yet nobody would marry a women around her 40's in that time so they usually stayed. They were in charge of the Fire of Vesta and looked after the wills of the emperors. They were very close to the Emperor in his religious function as the Pontifex Maximus. In Elissa's case, unfortunatly for her, this was Nero. Nero is known for his wild feasts and his terrible singing and acting performances that his nobles had to visit to stay in his good graces. In his reign the big fire (AD 64) consuming large parts of Rome happened which was blamed on the Christians, followed by the first big persecution of Christians, although many suspected Nero lit the fire to gain inspiration for a new song.
Now you know this I can start with the review. All the different themes mentioned above (Nero's craziness, the Vestal's holiness, the Great Fire and Christianity) are all in the novel. Tyrpak has been able to mix all of them up into an upbeat story that gives you a  good basic view of how Roman society was.

Elissa Rubria Honoria is a Vestal Virgin–priestess of the sacred flame, a visionary, and one of the most powerful women in the Roman Empire. But when the emperor, Nero,  brutally executes her brother, Elissa’s world begins to crumble. Vestals are sacrosanct, sworn to chastity on penalty of death, but Nero holds himself above the laws of men and calls himself a god. He pursues Elissa, engaging her in a deadly game of wits and sexuality. Or is Elissa really the pursuer? Determined to seek to revenge, she stumbles on dark secrets and affiliates herself with a strange religious sect call Christians, jeopardizing her life and the future of the Roman Empire.
I really liked this book. Without sounding like I love myself, I do know quite a lot about Roman society and the author obviously spent time studying as well. Not only has she looked into the social structure of Rome but she has also looked at the influence of Christianity, which was a young religion at that time. I loved the part Suzanne has given to Paul. He is very calm and filled wisdom. The way he influenced the other characters by simply being there is quite significant. Also because I think that is exactly why Christianity was so successful, compared to the quite brutal Roman Pantheon. There are some sexual scenes in this book, yet they fit in their context and do not seem out of place. Also, they aren't overly sexual.

The only criticism I have for this book is that the story of Flavia, Elissa's sister, seems unfinished in the end. Her story is quite exiting, as she is trying to seduce Nero to protect her family. Yet as Elissa's story seem complete in the end you still want to know whether Flavia will be fine. It might be a deliberate choice to keep the reader in the dark, yet a page would have been enough to inform us of her state. EDIT: I learned that there will be a sequel about Flavia. It was deliberate and Suzanne has been so kind as to let me read it as soon as it's out! So keep your eyes open. I also liked the character of Nero, even though I think Suzanne has slightly exaggerated his behavior. He is this perfect tyrant that is completely enveloped in his own greatness.

The end is slightly abrupt for my taste, yet all story lines, expect Flavia's, come together.
I give this book...

3 Universes!!!

I really liked this book and I recommend it to everyone who enjoys historical novels. The characters are lively and the setting is very well explained and researched.

What do you think? Do you like historical novels? 

Monday, 7 March 2011

Review: I Am Tama, Lucky Cat: A Japanese Legend

I got this little book through NetGalley and I was a bit skeptical before beginning to read it. I picked it because the cover is adorable and I generally really like children's books. In a sense, I think, children's books are very honest, partially because they have to be, but also because children are a lot less complicated than adults. 

The story is actually very sweet. It's about this cat, Tama, who is taken in by a monk. This monk has had bad luck but he is very kind and always helps those in need of more. After years something happens, about which I'm  not going to tell you, that changes everything, involving this cat. 

The story is simple but it had a genuine warmth to it that I really liked. It is fun to read this story from the point of the cat and the illustrations are great. I think this book is definitely something for you if you look for a nice story to read to your children. And it's also a great way of maybe introducing them to stories from different continents in a friendly way.

I give this book...

3 Universes!!!

The reason I'm "only" giving it three universes is because it's a small book and, as it is a children's book, it isn't on the ""literary level" of other books I have reviewed. It is a really nice story though and definitely worth your time. So, what do you think??

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading?
This is a meme hosted by Book Journey.

See, the thing is I'll be going on a fieldtrip from Wednesday to Friday and I don't know which book/s to take. I'll be busy all day and in the evening I'll probably be doing other stuff, yet I'm not the kind of person who wants to go somewhere without at least one book. So what I thought is I'd take my Kindle, yet what if I loose it? IMAGINE!!!

On Chesil Beach: A Novel -- First 1st U.S. Edition w/ Dust JacketSo I'm being forced to think about it and I think I know what to do.

Anyway, here's what I'm reading right now:

On Chesil Beach

I heard that Carey Mulligan would be in the film so I that was my main drive to start  reading the book. I loved Atonement and I'm really liking this one. McEwan is amazing in creating atmosphere. He can write pages on how people feel, which just fills me with awe! Anyway, I'm really loving it and I'll definitly write about it as soon as I finished it!

I finished reading:

I Am Tama, Lucky Cat: A Japanese LegendI Am Tama, Lucky Cat: A Japanese Legend
It's a childrens book with lots of pictures but Is aw it on NetGalley and it looked so sweet I  just had to read it. It's a really nice story about a cat that brings luck to the poor monk who takes him in. I don't yet know whether I'll post a review on it because it isn't really like the other things I review but then again, it is a book and I liked it, so why not right?

So how about you? Read anything that you absolutely loved? Feel free to leave a link in the comments!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop

BBH is hosted by Crazy-for-Books and FF is hosted by Parajunkee's View,

Book Blogger Hop

Villains in movies are easier!! I love Saruman in the Lord of the Rings and he is a villain, even if he's also a victim! His voice is amaaaazing!! And he is just genuinely a good actor! I love him! In a purely platonic way. I'd actually love to have lunch with him and talk about LOTR. He said he reads the book at least once a year! That is really good for someone his agem although I don't knew whether he still does it!
BBH Question is:
Who's your all-time favorite book villain?

On another blog I saw Bellatrix LeStrange from Harry Potter and she is B-A-D!  But I don't know whether she's my altijme favourite book villain! Let me think ... would you consider Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights a villain? Because he was pretty bad, but so was Cathy. Is there anyone else?

Thinking about it I love Morgoth in the Silmarillion!! He's simply a great character.
So, how about you?? Who's your favourite person to hate (or love really, because bad guys are great!)?

The FF Question:
What embarrassing thing have you done on cold medicine?
When I was little, about 4 I think, we were at a party and I "fell" down a rock. It was more like I jumped and landed wrong, on my ear. (I don't know how I did it!) So we went to the hospital because I had to get stitches and then they gave me something against the pain and to get me to sleep before they started and I started singing songs. But those medicines don't really make you more articulate. So instead of the songs I sang some weird variations that made everyone laugh.

That was my most embarrassing memory!! How about you??

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Covers and pictures!

I saw this cover today of a book that was published last year and it looked amazing! This was a cover that made me want to read the book. Then I read the summary and now I REALLY want to read it.
The Dream Of Perpetual Motion, A novel - Dexter PalmerPalmer's dazzling debut explodes with energy and invention on almost every page. In a steampunky alternate reality, genius inventor Prospero Taligent promises the 100 kids he's invited to his daughter Miranda's birthday party that they will have their "heart's desires fulfilled." When young Harold Winslow says he wants to be a storyteller, he sets in motion an astonishing plot that will eventually find him imprisoned aboard a giant zeppelin, the Chrysalis, powered by Taligent's greatest invention, a (probably faulty) perpetual motion machine. As Harold tells his story from his airborne prison, a fantastic and fantastical account unfolds: cities full of Taligent's mechanical men, a virtual island where Harold and Miranda play as children, the Kafkaesque goings-on in the boiler rooms and galleries of Taligent's tower. Harold's narration is interspersed with dreams, diary entries, memos and monologues from the colorful supporting cast, and the dialogue, both overly formal and B-movie goofy ("I'm afraid the death rays are just a bunch of science fiction folderol"), offers comic counterpoint. This book will immediately connect with fans of Neal Stephenson and Alfred Bester, and will surely win over readers who'd ordinarily pass on anything remotely sci-fi. 

3dimage3Having such a success in finding a great book by looking for pretty covers I thought, what else shows a pretty picture that is meant to say something, except paintings of course. So I came up with posters. Everybody knows the saying 'A picture says more than a thousand words'. And a poster actually is a picture, sometimes with words but usually not. Posters have been used to get people to buy, go to war or watch a movie.

 Doesn't this poster/picture look amazing? I know it's actually one big word but I have been researching Wittgenstein's philosophy and what he says is that meaning is given to words by society. And doesn't this picture just show the meaning of the word tree perfectly?

Anyway, I know this was a bit useless but Is there a cover or a poster you particularly liked?

World Book Day 2011

It's typical of me to forget something as important and trivial at the same time as the World Book Day. Especially since my blog is called Universe in Words which would suggest I keep an eye on international books it was pretty awful of me to forget!

This day even has its own website:

So a late CONGRATULATIONS to everyone!!!

Booking Through Thursday

I saw this meme today and I never tried so I though, why not give it a go! It is similar to FF and the BBH where you're asked a question related to books! This weeks question is:

Do you cheat and peek at the ends of books? (Come on, be honest.)

I actually never cheat, at least not in the last six years or so. I know this sounds like a lie but I did it a couple of times when I was younger and it's always such a disappointment. Because the last page usually doesn't give you a clue at what happened and it does truly ruin a book sometimes if you know the end.

I remember when the last Harry Potter book came out and I started reading. My Mum expected me to cheat so she "locked" the last three chapters + epilogue with tape. I wasn't even planning on cheating, but it does look great in my book to have these little bits of tape in your book!!

So, how about you? Did you ever cheat and with what book?

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Book Tour: Sheila Hendrix - 'The Betrayal'

I'm very happy to introduce you to Sheila Hendrix, the author of the new paranormal novel 'The Betrayal'.

I'm hosting today through Nurture Virtual Book Tourz! Scroll down to read the interview with Sheila on her new book, where she gets her inspiration from and what her favourite book was growing up! And don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Heey. Why don’t you introduce yourself first?
Well I’m 46 years old. I’m married and have been with the same man for 16 years so I guess I’ll keep him. LOL! I’m a nurse who works for a psychiatric hospital. I love to read, write, camp, hike, travel. I always have to have a book with me. I go into withdrawals if I don’t.

Everyone describes a book differently, but how would YOU, as the author, describe ‘The Betrayal’?
The Betrayal is the story of love, honor and sacrifice. It’s how I wish people would act toward each other today. Zack is Matt’s big brother and protector. He would do anything for Matt, even die, as the story will show. The bond between the two in unbreakable and when asked how far Zack would go to save Matt, Zack replies, “As far as I have to.” That’s love.

How did you feel when you finished ‘The Betrayal’?
I feel like I accomplished my dream. All my life I’ve wanted to write but wasn’t sure if I could. When I actually started I was excited but near as excited as I was when the book was finished.
What inspires you to start writing and does a change of inspiration change a storyline?
One of the things that inspired me was the storyline. I like to read stories where people actually care for each other. If each of us would worry more about our fellow man than we do ourselves, the world would be a much better place to live. As far as The Betrayal, I actually had a dream that scared me senseless. Not many things do but that did. When I actually calmed down enough I realized the dream would make a great story. So I wrote it. And yes I do believe that a change inspiration changes a storyline. Before I finished writing The Betrayal, I changed it about a dozen times.
The brother bond between the two main characters is very strong. How did you accomplish this?
I just thought about how it would feel to have someone care about someone else so much, that person is willing to die for the other one. Brothers who have had to take care of themselves is the perfect example. It’s a lot like a mother has for her child. She’d do anything for that child and Zack would do anything for Matt.
Are you working on other books and/or do you plan on continuing with writing?
The Betrayal is actually only the first book in a series I’m writing called, The Dark Circle. I’ve began writing the second in the series. It’s called Head Games and is a prequel to The Betrayal.

Finally, what was your favorite book growing up?
I think my favorite book growing up was Charlott’s Web.

And now on to the giveaway!!
You can win an E-Book version of the book 'The Betrayal'!
The giveaway will be open for a couple of days so enter before anyone else does! :P
  • It would be lovely if you could step by Sheila's Blog and become a follower!
  • In your comment promise on your life, swear if you want to, that you will enjoy reading this book
SO, what do you think? Don't forget to enter!!