12 December 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: My Best Books of 2017 + A Poll



Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday, an original feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is ten best books we have read in 2017. 

But first, I have something to ask you. A few months ago, I started a new series, called Before They Were Blockbusters, where I review books that became the basis for popular movies. The first book in this series was The Prestige, by Christopher Priest. For my next episode, I've narrowed down the list to two books: 

Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell which was the basis for John Carpenter's The Thing, and
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick which was the basis for the movie Blade Runner. 

So, go to my Facebook page by clicking on this link and vote for the book you want me to review next. The poll will open for six more days. 

Now that we have that out of the way, here are the ten best books I have read in 2017 (with links to reviews).


1. Hyperion  by Dan Simmons

2. The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons

3. The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov

4. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

5. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

6. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

7. The Prestige by Christopher Priest

8. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

9. The X-Files: Cold Cases by Joe Harris

10. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams






6 December 2017

Silent Fear: A Holiday Giveaway



Back in October, I ran a Halloween giveaway of Silent Fear, the latest novel by authors Lance and James Morcan.

Now, I'm happy to announce that the father and son team behind this suspense novel is giving away one Kinlde Copy of Silent Fear for a very special holiday giveaway.

So, fill out this form for a chance to get a copy of Silent Fear as a Kindle Gift!



"When you can't hear... death comes suddenly."


So goes the tagline for the new suspense novel, Silent Fear by Lance Morcan and James Morcan - a father and son author team from New Zealand. Now all my awesome readers have a chance to get a free advanced readers copy of Silent Fear, and an opportunity to win a physical copy! 




Silent Fear is dedicated to the many millions of deaf people around the world. This novel was inspired by the murders of deaf students at Gallaudet University, one of the world’s most prestigious learning institutions for the deaf, between 1980 and the early 2000’s. The investigating authorities didn’t know if the killings were ‘inside jobs’ and for a time nearly everyone connected to Gallaudet was under suspicion. 


Synopsis


Scotland Yard detective Valerie Crowther is assigned to investigate the murder of a student at a university for the Deaf in London, England. The murder investigation coincides with a deadly flu virus outbreak, resulting in the university being quarantined from the outside world. 

When more Deaf students are murdered, it becomes clear there is a serial killer operating within the sealed-off university. A chilling cat-and-mouse game evolves as the unknown killer targets Valerie and the virus claims more lives. 

A stunning, claustrophobic, "whodunit" murder mystery with shades of horror, sci-fi and romance, Silent Fear (A novel inspired by true crimes) is the eighth novel by the father-and-son writing team Lance & James Morcan. Included is a commentary by Deaf filmmaker Brent Macpherson on the unique aspects of Deaf culture the story covers. Together, the Morcans and Macpherson are currently developing a feature film adaptation of Silent Fear



Detective Valerie Crowther - concept art

The unique premise, and the early reviews make me very excited to read this novel myself.  

Silent Fear will be available on October 31, but you can pre-order it right now on Amazon: 


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075HRYTVC/


Buzz about Silent Fear


In the meantime, you can read the early reviews of Silent Fear on Goodreads: 



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35626239-silent-fear

"What a great story! I didn't figure out who the killer was until the last chapter, and it still had a surprising twist! I had to read the book in one sitting!" - Beth. Goodreads reviewer 

"Very suspenseful from beginning to end. The characters are very well written. The story moves along very nicely. I've recommended this book to many of my friends already... it's a MUST-READ" 
-Troy, Goodreads reviewer  

You can also join the discussion group for Silent Fear on Goodreads: 

The best part is that you can sign up right now to get a FREE advanced readers copy of Silent Fear!  It's a gift to all of us book lovers from the authors of the novel. There's no catch. No string attached. Just submit your name and your e-mail address to receive your very own ARC of Silent Fear!  

NOTE that this book is COPYRIGHT protected, and cannot be shared. It's for private use only!

About the authors


Lance

New Zealand novelist, screenwriter and film producer Lance Morcan is a prolific writer with various published books and released movies to his credit. His novels include the international thriller series THE ORPHAN TRILOGY (The Ninth Orphan / The Orphan Factory / The Orphan Uprising) and the historical adventure series THE WORLD DUOLOGY (World Odyssey / Fiji: A Novel). All five novels were co-written with his son James Morcan and published by Sterling Gate Books. The Morcans' first non-fiction title, THE ORPHAN CONSPIRACIES, was published recently. Their production company, Morcan Motion Pictures, is developing The Ninth Orphan and Fiji into feature films. 


A former journalist and newspaper editor, Lance divides his time these days between novel writing, film producing and screenwriting. Numerous screenplays he has written are in active development as movies and as a producer his feature films have screened at cinemas in Australia, Italy and Cannes.

Lance is currently perfecting his solo-written 'New Zealand' - an epic adventure novel covering 500 years of South Pacific and Polynesian history. Including research, writing (and life's distractions!), this novel has been over a decade in the making.


James


New Zealand-born actor/writer/producer James Morcan resides in Sydney, Australia. His books include
the international thriller series THE ORPHAN TRILOGY (The Ninth Orphan / The Orphan Factory / The Orphan Uprising) and the historical adventure series THE WORLD DUOLOGY (World Odyssey / Fiji: A Novel) and the controversial non-fiction UNDERGROUND KNOWLEDGE SERIES (Genius Intelligence / Antigravity Propulsion etc). These books were all co-written with his father Lance Morcan and published by Sterling Gate Books. Their production company, Morcan Motion Pictures, is developing The Ninth Orphan and Fiji into feature films.

James' most recent acting performance was a leading role in the post-Apocalyptic feature film 'After Armageddon' which he also wrote. The dystopian adventure film was shot in rural Australia in early 2015 and Morcan co-starred with Berynn Schwerdt ('Wyrmwood').


Other recent leading roles include the OZ-Bollywood productions 'My Cornerstone' and 'Love You Krishna'. Morcan also wrote the screenplays for both features which were filmed in Sydney and Mumbai and incorporated English and Hindi languages.


Additional productions he has performed in include a BBC TV series, several indie features and a live stadium production of Ben Hur headlined by Academy Award winner Russell Crowe. To date, his feature films have screened at cinemas in New Zealand, India, Australia, Italy and Cannes.




28 November 2017

Top Ten Books on My Winter TBR


Welcome back to another round of Top Ten Tuesday! 

I have been taking a little break from blogging, so here's a quick update on what I've been up to these past weeks. Two weeks ago, I went to Stockholm for the national odontological convention. This was my second time visiting the capitol city, and this time I got to see more of the city. I also brought a bunch of goodie bags with various dental hygiene products and other trinkets. You can check out my Instagram for all the pictures from that visit.  

Nanowrimo is in its final week now, and I have been trying to reach that goal of fifty thousand words. I'm up to twenty-one thousand now, so we'll see if I can catch up in just under three days.

And in the middle of all the travelling, writing, and studying, I also have been recovering from a flu that completely pulled the rug from under my feet. 

Now, I'm back and it's time to look ahead. So, without further ado, here are top ten books on my winter TBR


1. Silent Fear by James and Lance Morcan

2. Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

3. Deny All Knowledge: Reading the X-Files by David Lavery

4. Endymion by Dan Simmons

5. Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons

6. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

7. Artemis by Andy Weir (audiobook)

8. Leviathan Wakes by James A. Corey

9. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

10. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel


5 November 2017

Taking a little break...

Hello, my bookish friends!

Reading My Way Through Life will be going offline for a few weeks. I've had a bad case of flu this past week, and I need some time to recover. I also have tons of school work to catch up on, and in-between getting better, and studying I'm hoping to slay Nanowrimo this year. We'll see how that goes... 

You can still follow me on Instagram (@dinaratengri), and on Twitter.

Thank you all for being so great. I love you, and I will see you soon :)





31 October 2017

Odd Reality: Malmö's Supernatural Underbelly (Book Review)



First, an announcement. Our special Silent Fear Halloween giveaway is now over, and we have picked our winners. Well, Rafflecopter's picked our winners. Your names will remain anonymous, of course, but we will be contacting you very soon (like, right after I finish writing this post). 


It's Halloween, and instead of trying on my new costume for the upcoming Halloween party, I'm drinking cough medicine, and chewing on breath mints like they were... well, breath mints. 

Being sick sucks, especially when you had your whole week planned out down to the littlest detail. 
But since there is nothing I can do about my physical state right now, I might as well make the best of my predicament and finish the second half of the latest book review double feature.

Last week, I reviewed Udda Verklighet, literary debut of author Nene Ormes. It's an urban dark fantasy with elements of horror and romance. Since the book is written  isSwedish, I decided to write two reviews - one in Swedish, and one in English. 

 You can read the Swedish review right here.  

So here we go. 


Title: Udda Verklighet (De Sära, #1)
Author: Nene Ormes
Date of publishing: May 27th, 2010.
Published by: Styxx

Our heroince is Udda (a cute play on words, since "udda" is also Swedish for "odd", or "different"). Udda is a mousy, angsty young womam, who lives in Malmö (a.k.a the third largest city in Sweden, which also happens to be my hometown). 

Udda has been plagued by nightmares for as long as she can remember. Daniel is the boy-next-door/best friend/potential love interest in whom Udda confines her problems. 

One night, Udda has the most vivid dream about a woman in peril, and after some investigating she and Daniel realise that the woman in her dream was real, which means that Udda's dreams are someone else's reality. When Daniel tries to look for the mysterious woman, and inevitably gets himself in trouble, Udda will risk her own safety to try and rescue him.  

In her desperate search, Udda discovers a whole new world - a rich and dangerous reality that exists right in the heart of Malmö. This supernatural underbelly of Malmö is inhabited by people with magical powers, who call themselves "de sära" ("the others", "the special ones", or whichever you prefer). They live by their own code and for the most part they manage to go undetected by the common folk.

Udda also meets a smoking hot shapeshifter who calls himself Hemming. And although he has reluctantly agreed to help her, Hemming has his own agenda, and we're not entirely sure if Udda should be trusting him. But, there's plenty of sexual tension to go around, and I'm expecting a love triangle later in the series. 

This is quite a fantasy world that the author has created, and I like to play with the idea that there may be shapeshifters, and vampires walking around in my hometown (kind of like a Swedish Hellmouth). That being said, this world does feel a little "half-baked", and underdeveloped. They're plenty of storybuilding clichés, and tropes that tend to haunt the urban fantasy genré, that I think the story would have been better off without. Still, this world does have potential, and I hope that his potential will be realised in the second book in this series. 

What I do miss the most in this book is Malmö. Malmö is big and diverse city. It's interesting and complex, both when it comes to its demographic, and location, and I wanted to see more of Malmö in this story. I wanted this city to be a character in its own right, or at least a fun and dangerous playground for our characters. Unfortunately, the full potential of my fair city is not realised in this book. This story isn't unique to Malmö, and could have taken place anywhere else in the country. Anywhere else in Europe, really. 

The story itself feels kind of rushed, and unfocused, and I think that some of it has to do with Udda being the "audience character", so we spend a lot of time having Hemming explain stuff to her. 

Which brings me to our heroine. Udda is our typical "wish out of water" character. She gets tossed into this dangerous and mysterious world, helpless, and clueless. What she lacks in physical strength and knowledge she makes up for in sheer determination and fearlessness. She's the type of heroine that doesn't know her own strength until it has been put to test. It's fun watching Udda go from the angsty girl who's scared of her own shadow to a woman who isn't afraid to challenge ancient oracles, and other supernatural folk in order to save her friend. 

All in all, Udda Verklighet is a pretty solid debut. It's fun, and exciting, and this series has a lot of potential. Udda is by far the best part of this world.  

My rating

Plot: 3 stars 
Story: 3 stars
Characters: 4 stars
Language: 3 stars     

Average: 3 stars 



29 October 2017

Udda Verklighet: Malmös Övernaturliga Skuggsida


Welcome to another round of 2017 Halloween Special! Udda Verklighet is the literary debut of the Swedish author Nene Ormés. Published in 2010, this dark fantasy novel is the first in the De Sära series. What made this book so interesting to me was that it's about Malmö, my hometown.

"Udda verklighet" is Swedish for "odd reality", but it's really a play on words, because Udda is also the name of the heroine. "De sära" is Swedish for "the special ones". And that concludes our crash course in Swedish, because I will be writing two reviews - one in Swedish, and one in English.

Happy Halloween!

Titel: Udda Verklighet (De Sära, #1)
Författare: Nene Ormes
Utgivningsdatum: 10.05.27.
Förlag: Styxx

I en dröm ser Udda en kvinna som flyr för sitt liv i spårområdet vid Malmö Central. I jakten efter sanningen bakom drömmen försvinner Uddas vän Daniel spårlöst och när Udda tvingar sig ner i gångarna under spårområdet för att leta efter honom hittar hon en annan verklighet, långt ifrån det vardagliga livet i Malmö. Här finns de Sära - hamnskiftare, gudinnor, orakel och annat - rivaliserande grupper som är mycket, mycket angelägna om att vinna över henne till sin sida. Uddas gåva att sanndrömma att hon är andra människor och veta vad de tänker är ett hot men lika mycket en möjlighet att kunna påverka framtiden.

I en dröm ser hon Daniel i händerna på en sadistisk varelse som förtär människors minnen som livselixir. Med hjälp av sin nye vän Hemming färdas hon genom rum och tidsepoker hon inte anade fanns för att hitta ett sätt att rädda Daniel medan han fortfarande är i livet.

Udda verklighet är något så ovanligt som en svensk urban fantasy. Här lever Sära, mitt ibland de Ordinära, med sitt eget rättsystem, interna stridigheter och med det ständiga hotet att bli upptäckt.
Nene Ormes debuterar med en roman som utspelas i, över och under Malmö, där hon också bor.



I sin debutroman Udda Verklighet, har Ormes skapat en helt ny värld, ett annat Malmö som existerar parallellt med vårt Malmö. Denna värld är bebodd av människor med övernaturliga krafter, så kallade sära. De sära lever enligt sitt eget regelverk, och lyckas - för det mesta - förbli oupptäckta av de vanliga dödliga. 

De säras stabila om inte helt fridfulla värld skakas om när de blir upptäckta av en ung kvinna som drömmer sanndrömmar om dem. Udda, som vår hjältinna heter, har plågats av mardrömmar i hela sitt liv, men nu har hon upptäckt att hennes drömmar är någon annans verklighet. 

I den senaste drömmen ser Udda en ung kvinna som jagas av en flock vildhundar. Med hjälp av sin granne/bäste vän/potentiella love interest Daniel upptäcker hon att den här kvinnan har jagats och kanske till och med dödats. Som en riktigt förnuftig tjej med en välfungerande självbevarelsedrift vill Udda inte leka detektiv och leta reda på den mystiska kvinnan. Tyvärr är Daniel lite för nyfiken för sitt eget bästa, och när han försöker undersöka saken själv försvinner han spårlöst. Nu är det upp till Udda att leta reda på sin vän. 

Uddas desperata letande för henne ihop med Hemming - en mystisk och sexig hamnskiftare. Hennes nya kamrat/potentiella love interest (jag känner en framtida kärlekstriangel på mig) går motvilligt med på att hjälpa Udda. Det Udda inte vet är att både hon och Daniel har blivit en del i ett komplicerat politiskt spel mellan makthavarna i Malmös övernaturliga skuggvärld. Kan hon verkligen lita på Hemming? 

Det är ingen dålig värld som Ormes har skapat. Den är lika stor som den är komplicerad, och det är lite kul att få leka med tanken att det kan finnas hamnskiftare och vampyrer mitt i Malmö. Samtidigt känns den här världen lite "halvbakad", och underutvecklad. Och det finns en hel del riktigt stela och överanvända formler och begrepp, som plågar fantasygenren. Men det övernaturliga Malmö har ändå stor potential, och jag ser fram emot att få upptäcka mer av denna värld i Särskild, som är den andra boken i serien. 

Det jag saknar mest i den här boken är just Malmö. Av någon anledning hoppades jag på att själva staden skulle spela en större roll i detta storslagna och komplicerade spel. Jag ville att Malmö skulle få vara en karaktär i sig. Det känns som att Ormes kunde ha tagit nytta av Malmö som en spelarena, men just den här historien kunde ha utspelat sig varsomhelst i Sverige. Ja, i världen.     

Själva handlingen känns också lite påskyndad. Den saknar fokus. För det mesta vandrar Udda och Hemming runtom i det hemliga Malmö, medan har manklarar för henne hur hans värld fungerar. När handlingen sedan sätter igång på allvar, är det inte mycket som händer. 

Udda är vår typiska "fish out of water" karaktär. Hon slängs in i den här farliga och invecklade världen, hjälplös och desperat att hitta sin vän. Det hon saknar i fysisk styrka och kunskap tar hon igen i ren välvilja och beslutsamhet. Hon är den typen av hjältinnan som inte vet hur stark hon är tills hennes styrka har satts på prov. Det är kul att få se Udda utvecklas från en ångestfylld och rätt så mesig tjej till en kvinna som vågar utmana vampyrer, orakel och annat mystiskt folk.

Udda Verklighet är en solid debutroman. Den är fantasifylld och spännande, stundom romantisk, stundom läskig och rentav obehaglig. En lovande början på en ny serie. 

Mitt betyg

Handlingen: 3 stjärnor 
Storyn: 3 stjärnor
Karaktärerna: 4 stjärnor
Språket: 3 stjärnor     


Medel: 3 stjärnor 

25 October 2017

Silent Fear: A Special Halloween GIVEAWAY

                                             



SILENT FEAR: Coming to you this Halloween!

October 31st is Halloween. It's also the release date for the Kindle edition of Silent Fear, the new thriller by Lance Morcan and James Morcan. 


The authors and I want to celebrate this spooky coincidence with a very special Halloween giveaway competition. We're giving away three Kindle e-books of Silent Fear. All you have to do answer this question:

What is the scariest book you've ever read? 


You can submit your answer either by leaving a comment on this blog, or by tweeting the answer.

Note that we're only giving away one copy per person.  The winners will be chosen by Rafflecopter. 

The competition starts tomorrow, October 26th at Midnight, and lasts until October 30th (also Midnight). So think back on all the books you've read, and give us the one that scared you the most.

Happy Halloween!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


"When you can't hear... death comes suddenly."


So goes the tagline for the new suspense novel, Silent Fear by Lance Morcan and James Morcan - a father and son author team from New Zealand. Now all my awesome readers have a chance to get a free advanced readers copy of Silent Fear, and an opportunity to win a physical copy! 




Silent Fear is dedicated to the many millions of deaf people around the world. This novel was inspired by the murders of deaf students at Gallaudet University, one of the world’s most prestigious learning institutions for the deaf, between 1980 and the early 2000’s. The investigating authorities didn’t know if the killings were ‘inside jobs’ and for a time nearly everyone connected to Gallaudet was under suspicion. 


Synopsis


Scotland Yard detective Valerie Crowther is assigned to investigate the murder of a student at a university for the Deaf in London, England. The murder investigation coincides with a deadly flu virus outbreak, resulting in the university being quarantined from the outside world. 

When more Deaf students are murdered, it becomes clear there is a serial killer operating within the sealed-off university. A chilling cat-and-mouse game evolves as the unknown killer targets Valerie and the virus claims more lives. 

A stunning, claustrophobic, "whodunit" murder mystery with shades of horror, sci-fi and romance, Silent Fear (A novel inspired by true crimes) is the eighth novel by the father-and-son writing team Lance & James Morcan. Included is a commentary by Deaf filmmaker Brent Macpherson on the unique aspects of Deaf culture the story covers. Together, the Morcans and Macpherson are currently developing a feature film adaptation of Silent Fear



Detective Valerie Crowther - concept art

The unique premise, and the early reviews make me very excited to read this novel myself.  

Silent Fear will be available on October 31, but you can pre-order it right now on Amazon: 


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075HRYTVC/


Buzz about Silent Fear


In the meantime, you can read the early reviews of Silent Fear on Goodreads: 



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35626239-silent-fear

"What a great story! I didn't figure out who the killer was until the last chapter, and it still had a surprising twist! I had to read the book in one sitting!" - Beth. Goodreads reviewer 

"Very suspenseful from beginning to end. The characters are very well written. The story moves along very nicely. I've recommended this book to many of my friends already... it's a MUST-READ" 
-Troy, Goodreads reviewer  

You can also join the discussion group for Silent Fear on Goodreads: 

The best part is that you can sign up right now to get a FREE advanced readers copy of Silent Fear!  It's a gift to all of us book lovers from the authors of the novel. There's no catch. No string attached. Just submit your name and your e-mail address to receive your very own ARC of Silent Fear!  

NOTE that this book is COPYRIGHT protected, and cannot be shared. It's for private use only!

About the authors


Lance

New Zealand novelist, screenwriter and film producer Lance Morcan is a prolific writer with various published books and released movies to his credit. His novels include the international thriller series THE ORPHAN TRILOGY (The Ninth Orphan / The Orphan Factory / The Orphan Uprising) and the historical adventure series THE WORLD DUOLOGY (World Odyssey / Fiji: A Novel). All five novels were co-written with his son James Morcan and published by Sterling Gate Books. The Morcans' first non-fiction title, THE ORPHAN CONSPIRACIES, was published recently. Their production company, Morcan Motion Pictures, is developing The Ninth Orphan and Fiji into feature films. 


A former journalist and newspaper editor, Lance divides his time these days between novel writing, film producing and screenwriting. Numerous screenplays he has written are in active development as movies and as a producer his feature films have screened at cinemas in Australia, Italy and Cannes.

Lance is currently perfecting his solo-written 'New Zealand' - an epic adventure novel covering 500 years of South Pacific and Polynesian history. Including research, writing (and life's distractions!), this novel has been over a decade in the making.


James


New Zealand-born actor/writer/producer James Morcan resides in Sydney, Australia. His books include
the international thriller series THE ORPHAN TRILOGY (The Ninth Orphan / The Orphan Factory / The Orphan Uprising) and the historical adventure series THE WORLD DUOLOGY (World Odyssey / Fiji: A Novel) and the controversial non-fiction UNDERGROUND KNOWLEDGE SERIES (Genius Intelligence / Antigravity Propulsion etc). These books were all co-written with his father Lance Morcan and published by Sterling Gate Books. Their production company, Morcan Motion Pictures, is developing The Ninth Orphan and Fiji into feature films.

James' most recent acting performance was a leading role in the post-Apocalyptic feature film 'After Armageddon' which he also wrote. The dystopian adventure film was shot in rural Australia in early 2015 and Morcan co-starred with Berynn Schwerdt ('Wyrmwood').


Other recent leading roles include the OZ-Bollywood productions 'My Cornerstone' and 'Love You Krishna'. Morcan also wrote the screenplays for both features which were filmed in Sydney and Mumbai and incorporated English and Hindi languages.


Additional productions he has performed in include a BBC TV series, several indie features and a live stadium production of Ben Hur headlined by Academy Award winner Russell Crowe. To date, his feature films have screened at cinemas in New Zealand, India, Australia, Italy and Cannes.