Oana @All Fantasy Worlds

Book Review: Likeable Social Media for Business by Greg Mason


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Promoting your business, products, or services on social media may seem easy, but it’s not necessarily so. This is something I’ve learned very recently, when I decided to make my own blog and started trying different methods of promoting it and driving interested readers to it. I couldn’t believe that was more difficult and tiring than actually writing the content of my blog. Being active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram can be very time-consuming, and if the time and effort you put in don’t offer the results you expect, then you might get disappointed with the whole thing really soon, and feel like you’re hitting a dead end. This is why I immediately wanted to read “Likeable Social Media for Business” when I came across it. I knew I had to learn at least some basic things if I wanted to make it right on social media.

What I liked most about this book was that Greg Mason dedicated a chapter to each social media platform instead of talking about them in general. Since I mostly use Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest, I went straight to those chapters in hopes I would figure out what I was doing wrong and how I could improve. The author explains everything in great detail, and he provides a step-by-step guide for each platform, teaching the readers how to create an account, then offering tips on how to find people to follow, how to learn about what they need and want,  and how to interact with them properly. Reading this book, I learned that the first mistake I had made was that I started by only promoting my blog. Especially on Facebook and Twitter, the secret is to build relationships, help people, and make them know you not only as an expert in your field, but also as a likeable person with whom they can exchange ideas and opinions.

And, since I’ve mentioned the part about building relationships, I must say that I absolutely loved the first two chapters of this book, which are dedicated to branding and creating a personality for your business. Potential customers like to interact with people, and they hate it when they feel someone is trying to sell them something. So, by simply promoting and selling your products or services, what you eventually manage to do is drive everyone away. I loved how the author said that if you want to be successful, you have to think as a leader, not as a salesperson.

People online can easily connect with a familiar person with a certain type of style and personality, and this is why your brand needs to fit your personality completely. I loved that Greg Mason stressed the fact that everything about your branding has to be based on being yourself, being optimistic, open-minded, and having the mindset of a winner. If you think of it, these rules are not hard to follow, since you end up doing exactly what you like and how you like it. I think one of the best pieces of advice I got from this book is that everything has to represent you, even the colors you use on logos and banners. Thus, potential customers will see that everything is natural and genuine, and they will want to interact with you, learn about your business, and even tell others about it.

“Likeable Social Media for Business” was a great read that I would recommend to anyone who wants to use social media for promotion and do it right the first time. The advice and tips the author gives are clear, concise, and very easy to follow. Moreover, at the end of the book you’ll find a bonus: over two hours’ worth of video and audio tutorials that will walk you through every step you need to take towards success.

Book Review: Serpents of Sky: Nine Stories of Dragons by Heidi C. Vlach


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I’ve always been fascinated by dragons and how they are portrayed in different myths and cultures, so I couldn’t pass the opportunity to read this collection of short stories that is entirely dedicated to them. I must say that each story was a pleasant surprise, especially because some of them depicted dragons as I’ve never found them before in other novels or stories.

My favorite was “Cardiology”, and the only thing that disappointed me a bit was that it was too short. Reading the last sentences, I had to admit that the author ended it exactly where it should have ended, but I still wanted more. I would have liked to see how Theodore survived in the post-apocalyptic world roamed by infected humans, but, more than anything, I wanted to make sure the little dragons didn’t get hurt during their adventure outside the laboratory. This story pulled me in from the first few paragraphs, and that was not only because it is so original and unexpected, but also because the author managed to build her character, Theodore, so well, and to make me fall in love with the dragons he created. That’s, actually, quite impressive if you think that not many writers can deliver so much in the limited number of pages a short story offers: a good premise, interesting characters, well-paced action, and emotional attachment.

Another personal favorite was “Clearsight”. I loved the idea of two dragons creating life on Earth and trying to find the perfect formula that would result in a creature that would be capable of thought and reason. It was also interesting how the author tied the extinction of dinosaurs to her story.

“The Korvi’s Limbs” is another short story that I thought was truly interesting and original. It reads like a mythic story of how a race was created, and I loved the message behind it. The Korvi received each new limb from their god only after they had earned it. It shows how evolution is all about wanting more than you have and actively doing something to get it. When the first Korvi got what he wanted, the next one came with an even higher goal, and this is how they evolved as a species.

I have only mentioned the short stories that I liked most, but “Serpents of Sky” deserves to be read for all of them. Heidi C. Vlach is a very creative and skilled writer, having the gift of making you care about the characters and what may happen to them from page one.

Book Review: John Smith - Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars by Roland Hughes

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Disclosure: My copy was offered by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Once you read the description of this novel it’s impossible not to pick it up immediately. The Mayans knew about the end of the world because they survived it before? And that puzzle made of pieces we can find in classic science-fiction writing and TV shows sounds way too intriguing. Oh, and the Microsoft Wars… let’s not forget about the Microsoft Wars. What can they possibly be? This being my initial reaction, you can imagine that when I started reading “John Smith – Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars” my expectations were pretty high. I finished the book half an hour ago, and I can say that, overall, my expectations were met.

At first, it might seem just another dystopian novel about a bunch of survivors who are trying to rebuild their society. In truth, it is much more than that. We meet Susan Krowley, a reporter for The Times, who was sent to interview John Smith, thought to be the last survivor of the Microsoft Wars. Smith lives in a house he built all by himself above the bunker where he and his grandfather took refuge right before the world as we know it ended on November 13, 2013. The action takes place 70 years after the tragic event, which didn’t only almost destroy the planet, but also destroyed its history. Being part of the newest generation, Susan has no idea what the Earth was like before the Microsoft Wars. This is why Smith takes it upon himself to provide her with a frame of reference before he tells her what she wants to know.

Roland Hughes managed to create an impressive history of the world by combining real, well-known facts with science-fiction details. Sometimes, you might find yourself so engrossed in the story, that you must stop and think which aspects are real and possible, and which are pure fiction. The fact that everything began with Atlantis was no surprise, but the way things evolved was really unexpected. The author developed an original theory about how the Atlanteans discovered a method of surviving thousands of years, thus getting to influence the new people that repopulated Earth after each end of a cycle. And this is just one of the many ideas that turn this book into such an exciting and thought-provoking read.

However, there were some things that made it impossible for me to read it faster. No matter how surprising everything John Smith described was, I couldn’t read more than a couple of pages at a time. From beginning to end, the novel is structured as an interview. Susan asks the questions, and Smith gives her an entire course in history, geography, technology, and so on, trying to make her understand how it all started and why it ended with the Microsoft Wars. At first, this interview-like structure was ok, but it soon got very tiring. I found it a bit limiting, especially because there’s no room for “show” when the structure itself requires “tell”. And reading pages after pages of “telling” can take away the joy and excitement. I understand that the main focus was to invite the readers to consider the ideas presented and the reasons why humans evolve only to destroy everything they have built, but a bit of action wouldn’t have hurt.

Aside from that, I truly enjoyed “John Smith – Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars”, and I can easily say it’s one of the most original novels I’ve read lately. I would recommend it to those who love science-fiction and speculative stories about Atlantis, the beginning of the world and, of course, the end of it.

Source: http://www.allfantasyworlds.com

Book Review: "The Returned" by Jason Mott

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Five minutes ago I finished “The Returned” by Jason Mott and, believe me, I had no intention of writing a review this fast. I rarely review a book right after I finish it, mostly because I like to take some time to allow the information, the emotions, and everything I experienced while reading it settle in. But, reading the author’s notes at the end of the book, so many thoughts came to my mind that I just had to put them down. I don’t know what I was expecting when I started on “The Returned”, but it really doesn’t matter now. Whatever I’d have expected from it, it would’ve been impossible to end up that way.

I’ve read some reviews of this book, and most of them were raving. But there were two or three where people complained about it being too slow, or about not offering answers to burning questions. The way I see it, the book is based on a very simple, unimpressive idea: what if the dead came back to life? Not as rotten corpses, not as weird, confused people who didn’t know they had been dead, not as anything… Just came back to life the way they were when they died, and started living again like nothing had ever happened.

Now, this could have gone two different ways, and none of them would have been very inspired. If the author focused even a bit on giving some kind of explanation as to how or why people woke up from the dead, the book would have probably turned into a fantasy novel of some sort, and much of the message and the emotion would have been lost on the way, blurred by made-up theories. On the other hand, if the author completely avoided these questions, which all readers hoped would be answered in the end, the novel would have probably ended up being too metaphorical and experimental. But the balance Jason Mott managed is perfect.

By the end of the first half of the book I wasn’t expecting any logical conclusions anymore, although I was still paying attention to any possible clues that might have shed light on what was happening. “The Returned” doesn’t offer answers to any of those pressing questions – “Are the Returned people?”, “What makes them come back to life?”, “Is there a bigger plan behind all this?”, “Is it a disease? Is it science? Is it something supernatural? Is there someone who actually knows what to do with them?” –, but it does invite readers to find their own answers to so many other questions.

I haven’t gone through the pain caused by the death of someone close, but I will eventually. It’s inevitable as much as we’d like this to be false. I assume that when something like this happens, we’d give anything to have that person back. And if, by some miracle, our wish was granted, then why wouldn’t others experience the same miracle? Following this train of thought, “The Returned” offers the image of a world that is simply not big enough for that many people. Things are turned upside down (have you noticed the cover?). The Dead want to live the life they never had the chance to live, and the Living are willing to turn this into a cause and give their lives for it. There are some people who want the Returned dead as they should be, but those are only the ones who have been refused the miracle everyone else received. People like Fred Green, who only wanted his young wife back.

I don’t know what else to say… The book is brilliantly written. There’s suspense, mystery, even some action. Not much if you prefer fast-paced novels. It’s also original, confusing, and a bit dissatisfying. Yet, you get all the satisfaction you could ask for in terms of emotional charge, thought-provoking ideas, and unsolved matters that leave you staring into space. There were moments when I wanted things not to be so random, just like they usually are in real life. Maybe I wanted to see someone punished, but it wouldn’t have made any sense, because it was no one’s fault. Eventually, I wanted to find out that whoever killed Jim, Connie and their children (the first time) was someone from their own town, not a random stranger. But it was perfect the way it was.

As a last thought… you know that writing “rule” that says you have to do your best to come up with a surprising first sentence in order to get your readers’ attention and hook them the moment they open your book? Well, I found a great example of such a sentence way past the first half of “The Returned”:

"Here and there across the visiting area, the guards were separating the dead from the living. Visiting time was over."

I guess you don’t have to write them at the very beginning. Just where they fit better.

If I were to describe in a few words what this novel is about, then I’d say “The Returned” is about letting go.

Source: http://www.allfantasyworlds.com

Book Review: "Ecko Rising" by Danie Ware

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“Ecko Rising” is one difficult book to review. I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it was exactly what I expected it to be: a clever blend of high-tech sci-fi and epic fantasy. I loved the world-building, and I especially loved the main character – Ecko. On the other hand, though, I found the writing style a bit confusing and jumpy, and it gave me the impression that the writer was trying too hard. Just a tad too hard. But, overall, it was quite a unique experience.

Ecko is an assassin and a rebel in a society where people do only what they’re told and are kept under control through drugs and video games. He’s smart, downright badass, and his technologically improved body helps him sneak in anywhere without being seen or even sensed. And that’s why he’s the perfect guy to infiltrate the Pilgrim Pharmaceuticals Research Facility and gather information that would help bring down one of the key-people in the creation of this utopian world that has enslaved everyone. Except… he doesn’t follow the plan and he ends up hanging from a roof, ready to meet his end when he hits the ground. He does fall, but, to his surprise, he wakes up on a comfortable couch, surrounded by strangers who seem to genuinely care about his well-being. His first thought – it has to be some kind of simulated environment. It takes him some time to wrap his mind around the fact that he was thrust into a completely different dimension, in the fantasy world of the Varchinde, where werewolves, centaurs and magic are a common occurrence.

Given that science fiction and high fantasy are two of my favorite genres, I enjoyed everything about the worlds Danie Ware created. It’s the first sci-fi/fantasy hybrid I’ve read, and now that I know how entertaining this blend is, it’s not going to be the last. It has fast-paced action, an interesting concept and plot, and the fantasy world is described in enough details to get a vivid image of it. But what I liked most was the main character itself – Ecko.

Complex characters and character development are two things that I always look for in a novel. I liked Ecko from the very first time he appeared. I liked how dark and mysterious he was, how he was always in control of the situation, and how he seemed almost invincible thanks to his enhancements. It was obvious that his temper would eventually get him in trouble. When he ends up at The Wanderer, he is in a situation that he cannot control, in a world he doesn’t understand, and with people who continuously surprise him. Eventually, this turns into a journey of self-discovery, and we see Ecko changing from the selfish, self-absorbed man who’d rather be on his own, into someone who starts to care about the people who took him in, and about their world.

The only thing I didn’t quite enjoy was some of the writing. I found it a bit jumpy and disjointed, and I lost count of how many “chrissakes” I found per page. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but, for chrissakes, how many “chrissakes” do Ecko and the narrator need to make a point? I have nothing against cuss words, really. But the repetitiveness was beyond annoying. Seriously, Ecko was 100% badass without saying “chrissakes” and “f**k” every 3 words. Not impressed.

Other than that, “Ecko Rising” was a good read.


Source: http://www.allfantasyworlds.com
Reblogged from Wrighty's Reads:
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Book Review: "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

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I finished “The Book Thief” a long time ago, but I kept postponing the review because, honestly, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to write. Has it ever happened to you to read a book and be so utterly stunned at the end that you first needed to stare into space for a couple of minutes to take it all in, and then found yourself incapable of explaining how, why… what had just happened? I can’t say many books did this to me. I’m sure I can count them on the fingers of one hand, but “The Book Thief” sure did it for all the books out there.

How do you even begin to review such a book? I can’t say I loved it; it would be far from enough to explain how I really felt about it. I can’t say I adored it, or that I’m going to recommend it to everyone I know (because I won’t), or that it was the best thing I have ever read (I’m not sure it was). I sound confused, right? Well, let’s see if I can explain.

I’ll never say that I loved or adored “The Book Thief” because the words that would help me define how this book made me feel have yet to be invented. When I started reading it I genuinely didn’t know what to expect. Well, yes, I might have had some expectations because I knew I was about to read a bestseller that would be soon turned into a film, but still, I was quite innocent about it. After the first couple of pages I understood two things:

1. It was not going to be a book that I’d recommend to many people.
2. I would probably read it for the writing style rather than for its story.

Why not recommend it? Because the style is highly metaphorical and experimental; it is an entanglement of figures of speech, abstract ideas, dry humor, and preciousness that would normally make me cringe in a book. But not in this book. No, in “The Book Thief” precious writing works just fine. So fine, that I often felt compelled to draw out a notebook and note down entire quotes, or even paragraphs. But they don’t make sense if you take them out of their context; they lose their magic. I guess they belong to the book thief alone.

In my experience as a reader who has studied Comparative Literature for five years, I know that not everyone will enjoy this kind of writing. The book starts off slow, the narrator takes her time (I’m going to say “her” because the narrator is Death and “this” Death seemed very feminine to me), she builds up the story so slowly and smoothly, as if she had all the time in the world to tell it to the reader. Of course she does, she’s Death. She talks about colors, about her job; when you finally think Liesel’s story has picked up a bit and is going somewhere, Death makes an invasive comment just to remind you that she’s there, in case you forgot. Reading some reviews of “The Book Thief” on Goodreads, I saw that many people found Death’s seemingly random interventions annoying, and some complained that the story is a bit jumpy. No way am I going to complain about these devices. Actually, I’m not going to complain about anything. I found the writing style perfect, and I practically savored each and every word. When my friend (who had lent me the book) asked me what I thought about it, the first thing I said was: “This is real writing. I haven’t read something like this in a long time and I’m just realizing how much I’ve missed it. Read it for the writing!”

Now, maybe I should say that at some point I continued to read “The Book Thief” for the characters and the story, but the truth is that I have read this story one too many times in other novels dealing with World War II. I did read it for the characters because the author managed to make them so painfully real that there were times when I wished I had my own Max in the basement so I could properly take care of him, feed him and set him free because, God, did that poor boy suffer in the book. Why can’t we just take characters out of their paper cages and give them the life they deserve?

But, most of all, I continued to read “The Book Thief” for how much the second half of the book made me cry. Seriously, I was a complete mess. There were at least two scenes during which I cried so hard that I couldn’t follow the lines anymore, and it got annoying because I just had to continue reading. But no, I had to take a break to rub my eyes and blow my nose. Pathetic… It’s unbelievable what some books can do to us, mortals. And it’s not like I didn’t know what would happen, because if there’s something that Death is not good at, that’s building up suspense. No, she tells you what’s going to happen pages ahead. Still, when I got to that point in the novel, I was still shocked and needed time to process the information. And now I get to another device that not many authors can pull off: ditching the mystery in favor of simply telling you how it’s all going to end, and still being able to keep you hooked until the last word. About that last word… I was staring at it as if that could make more words appear on the page.

Anyway, thank God I live alone, because if I still lived with my parents and any of them had walked into the room and saw the state I was in and asked me “What happened?”… I would’ve probably answered “What do you mean what happened? ‘The Book Thief’ happened. This guy… this Zusak guy just made me cry so hard… I wanna marry him.”

Bottom line: I’m going to re-read “The Book Thief” until I learn entire chunks of it by heart.

Source: http://www.allfantasyworlds.com

I can't wait for this one to come out. Hopefully, they didn't make many changes and stayed true to the book.

International Giveaway - Win Bookmarks and Quotemarks


Have you heard about The Book Depository's quotemarks? If you haven't, then read about them HERE.


I'm organizing a giveaway on my blog - All Fantasy Worlds - to celebrate my new blogging partner, Mădălina, who is going to help me with the book reviews. There will be 5 winners who will receive 1 quotemark from The Book Depository and 2 Alice in Wonderland bookmarks offered by me. So, if you love bookmarks (I have a huge collection, btw), be sure to enter the giveaway HERE.

Source: http://www.allfantasyworlds.com

I can totally relate to this song!


"George R. R. Martin, please write, and write faster
You’re not going to get any younger, you know
Winter is coming, I’m growing impatient
And you’ve still got two more damn books left to go
So write, George, write like the wind!

I curse the day that my friend ever loaned me
An old dog-eared paperback called Game of Thrones
How could I know that this seed would grow into
An addiction that held me, right down to my bones

Now, five books later, I lurk with the masses
Indignant, entitled, and waiting for word
That the great Bearded Glacier has finally published
Nine hundred more pages of crack for the nerds

Why does every new verse of your song
Keep taking you so goddamn long?

George R. R. Martin, please write, and write faster
please give us boiled leather, and sigils and steel
We need our allotment of incest and intrigue
And six page descriptions of every last meal
So write, George, write like the wind!

Lewis took five years to chronicle Narnia
Tolkien had twelve years, and Rowling took ten
Lucas spent nearly three decades on Star Wars
And we all know how that one turned out in the end

You’re not our bitch, and you’re not a machine
And we don’t mean to dictate how you spend your days
But please, bear in mind, in the time that you’ve had,
William Shakespeare churned out thirty-five friggin’ plays

And if you keep writing so slow
You’ll hold up the HBO show

George R. R. Martin, please write, and write faster
‘cause we won’t stop whining until we’re appeased
Crap out the chapters–and George, while you’re at it
Stop killing our favorite characters, please
And write, George, write…like the wind!

(George R.R. Martin, please write, and write faster
Before you are dead, George, please write like the wind)"

Book Review: "Dragonwitch" by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

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“Dragonwitch” is one of those epic fantasy novels which have enough characters, races, parallel worlds and back-stories that the reader must pay attention to all the details in order to keep track of everything and really enjoy how it all wraps up in the end. I must admit that at first I thought it would be a predictable story of a hero who would eventually prove himself worthy despite his obvious physical weaknesses, and slay the villain. I’m glad to say I was wrong. “Dragonwitch” is much more than that, and the hero’s journey is complex and far from what I expected.

The first thing that drew my attention and kept me reading was the way the characters were built. For instance, take Alistair and Leta. Even though they come from noble families, they do not impress through neither physical beauty, nor wisdom or courage. Then, the Chronicler, who proves to be the real heir of Earl Ferox, is the exact opposite of what you’d expect a hero to be like. I liked him the moment he appeared and I learnt about his physical deformity. It’s true that this might be because one of my all time favorite characters is Tyrion Lannister, and I’m aware that any reader would love this type of character that is rejected by everyone, smarter than most, and so full of self-doubt. This makes for a good plot device, and it’s simply impossible not to love the Chronicler. Then, it’s the way these characters grow during their journey, how they change and become what they have never thought they could be.

Even though I believe the character development is the strongest point of “Dragonwitch”, I have to say that I was also fascinated by the legend of the two brothers, Etanun and Akilun, and the whole story of how Lumil Eliasul gave them the lantern Asha and the sword Halisa and sent them to free the mortals from the darkness of Death-in-Life. And I really liked the story of the Dragonwitch, Hri Sora, and how she became the dreadful creature that had to be killed three times to rid the world of her.

In conclusion, everything about the characters, the plot, and the mythology of the Near World and the Far World was compelling and very well-thought. Oh, and let’s not forget how adorable Eanrin, the Knight of the Farthest Shore, is. Here’s how he is introduced: “a Faerie who wore the form of a cat and who didn’t give a whisker’s twitch whether anyone believed in his existence or not.” You just know you’re going to love him and wish he were real and Faeries like him really existed.

Source: http://www.allfantasyworlds.com

Book Review: "Creatures of Appetite" by Todd Travis

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Since “Creatures of Appetite” was a fast read, I think I’m going to give it a fast review. It’s going to be a 5-compasses review nonetheless, because I must admit that it surprised me more than I thought it would. I picked it up after reading some reviews on Amazon and seeing that many people recommended it for the unexpected twist at the end. I could never resist a book (especially a crime novel) that promised to deliver a completely unpredictable conclusion. So there I was, one afternoon, downloading “Creatures of Appetite” on my Kindle and starting to read it not even thinking that I wouldn’t put it down until I finished it.

The plot and characters are just as you’d expect them to be in a thriller novel. You’ve got fast-paced action, a good detective (Emma Kane), a difficult and sometimes downright annoying profiler (Jacob Throne), and a series of gruesome murders. I guess the first twist is when Thorne says there are actually two murderers. But if the first one, who is a copycat, is pretty easy to catch, the real one is more calculated and makes Emma’s and Jacob’s lives difficult.

No, as a reader you won’t guess who the murderer is before Jacob Thorne puts two and two together, but that’s not what makes “Creatures of Appetite” stand out in its genre. What makes it really worth reading is on the very last pages. I was so caught up in the action, and maybe a bit disappointed that I had already reached the last two pages of the final chapter and no incredible twist seemed to had happened, that I almost missed it. In only four or five paragraphs the author managed to turn everything upside down and make me reconsider most of what I had read.

“Creatures of Appetite” is centered on the Heartland Child Murders and the Iceman, as the murderer was nicknamed. But there’s another unsolved case looming in the background – the Mercy Killings and the infamous Kevorkian who is yet to be caught. The only reason for which Jacob Throne accepted to work alongside Emma Kane to catch the Iceman was because he was promised he’d be allowed to work on the Mercy Killings again. I must admit I didn’t pay much attention to the mentions of the Kevorkian while reading the novel, but after what happened in the last few paragraphs of the last chapter, I can only hope that Todd Travis will publish his next novel soon enough, and that it will be centered on the Kevorkian.

Source: http://www.allfantasyworlds.com

Can't wait to see this one. Looks good!

Book Review: "Lost in the Seven Worlds" by Petronela Ungureanu

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Why do people who actually have good, original ideas don’t take their time to write them properly? I felt like reading something short, so I picked up “Lost in the Seven Worlds” for two reasons: it has good reviews, and it’s written by a Romanian author. I was very curious to see how Petronela Ungureanu imagined her seven worlds and the creatures that inhabit them, because, yes, I was expecting to read about seven parallel worlds and different races for each of them. Well… I got the races, that’s for sure.

The main character is a 19 year old girl who finds herself in a strange world, a prisoner of the beautiful Daevas, a race that resembles Tolkien’s elves. She doesn’t know why she is here, she doesn’t know if she is of any importance to them, and she misses her home dearly. When she meets Lord Idris, a fallen Daeva, she finally hopes for love and happiness, but things don’t go as planned. The story is very short, and the revelation at the end is quite rushed and it doesn’t give any explanations. I don’t know if the author intends to write another piece to continue this story, or if she might turn it into a series. What I do know is that it has a lot of potential. Like, A LOT.

We have a very interesting race – the Daevas – and some good world-building. While the world ruled by the Daevas has two red suns, it seems that the other ones are covered in darkness. I would have loved for all these seven worlds to be described in more detail. The writing style is smooth and descriptive, and it was easy for me to imagine everything the author described.

Unfortunately, this short story feels more like a sketch for a longer, more complex piece. Maybe it could have been turned into a novel, because there are lots of elements that are worth developing. I like the author’s writing style (you really can’t tell that she’s not a native English speaker), so I’m going to read her other short story – “I Met a Demon”. It seems that it is based on actual events, so it sounds more than promising.


Source: http://www.allfantasyworlds.com

Book Review: "Shudder" ("Stitch Trilogy" #2) by Samantha Durante

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“Shudder” is one of the new releases that I was really looking forward to. After reading “Stitch”, the first book in the trilogy, I couldn’t wait to learn more about the dystopian world Samantha Durante created, about Paragon, and the virus. “Shudder” did not disappoint in this respect, because it answered many questions regarding the war, how the deadly virus broke out, and how Paragon turned from a quarantine zone that was supposed to keep people safe, into a prison that kept people away from reality and tried to give birth to a new society.

Unfortunately, though, I found it quite slow compared to “Stitch”, which kept me on the edge of my seat and was full of twists and turns. And Alessa, a character that I really liked in the first book, had this annoying tendency of complaining all the time and asking herself over and over why all these things happened to her. Now, I can understand that she was under pressure because the fate of all the rebels in Paragon depended on her and Isaac, but at some point she just kept repeating the same things, and all she could think of was her doubts. She also made Isaac feel very insecure and powerless, which seemed kind of selfish of her. In this book I think I liked Isaac better than Alessa.

I also loved the chapters where we get to know Nikhil better. In “Stitch” he was a minor character who only appeared towards the end, but in “Shudder” he has a more important role. I liked that I got to see the prison through his eyes, and learn more about the dramas, and how he had been “stitched” many times for different shows.

The part with Alessa being an empath was also very interesting, as well as the bloodthirsty creatures that followed and attacked Isaac and Alessa when they were outside of Paragon. Even though the book did not have the twists and turns that made “Stitch” such an exciting read, it was still very enjoyable. The plot was creative and well-thought, and the structure of the entire story was flawless. The best thing was that it gave me the chance to learn about Paragon from different points of view. The chapters centered on Alessa and Isaac revealed more about the world outside Paragon and the resistance, the ones centered on Nikhil offered a glimpse of what happened in Paragon’s prison, and the ones centered on Phoenix gave me the chance to see how the ones who created and ran Paragon saw everything. So, I can say that “Shudder” has a pretty complex plot and world-building.

Now all I have to do is sit tight and hope that the last book in the “Stitch” trilogy will be released soon enough. I’m really curious to see how everything wraps up, because “Shudder” ended in a serious cliffhanger.

Source: http://www.allfantasyworlds.com