Indiecember Update

This update is a bit delayed considering I’ve accomplished my initial Indiecember plan, and then some! Before I begin, these are my past Indiecember posts:

I’m happy to report that I have completed the middle row of Indiecember with Aletheia by Megan Tennant and Nocturnal by Wilder, thus accomplishing the traditional bingo style of playing. Upon completion, my board now looked like this:

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The O’s represent the boxes I am aiming for and must contain unique books. The X’s are the ones those five books also apply for. As you can see, there are only 7 squares left to fill the entire board to accomplish the flush style. So, why not?

In order to accomplish the 7 remaining squares I decided to come up with some kind of plan. The square are: [POC Author], [Novella], [10-20 Reviews], [Self-Help or Learning], [0-5 Reviews], [White on Cover], [40-60 Reviews].

My first action was to check my own library and see which indie books apply. Although I really wanted to read new books, I may not have enough time. I have already read The Elysian Prophecy by Vivien Reis but have not reviewed it yet, so I am including that one since it can cross out [White on Cover] and [40-60 Reviews].

The book I really wanted to read next was Firestone Key by Caroline Noe and I’ve actually started a bit on it, but wasn’t sure if it would cross out any of the remaining squares. I was happy to discover that it indeed crosses out [0-5 Reviews].

So right now, this is what my new Indiecember board looks like:

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Let me also list here the new reviews I have written, just to be consistent with my previous update:

Aletheia by Megan Tennant

IMG_6243The start of this book was quite slow for me. I was only half interested with what was going on and was easily distracted with other things. However, when I got into the meat of the story, I was completely swallowed whole. I really respect the guts of the author to give the main character a number – “736” – for a name. It actually contributed to my lack of interest in the beginning because I couldn’t remember it. Was it 736 or 763 or 793 or 765? And because it was written in first person perspective, the name is not stated as repeatedly as it would have been in third person. So, for someone like me, it’s a very forgettable name. But as it turns out, the character is not a forgettable character. She is only one of many compelling characters – some of which have numbers for names too – who have their own unique way of dealing with their circumstances. I would say that the best thing about this book are the character arcs and how they impacted 736’s psyche and mentality. Aside from the characters, I feel that the story and how it plays out is well-crafted, even though the writing may need some improvement in some areas. Don’t get me wrong, the writing is beautiful and has that poetic quality to it, but it can slow the pace down in certain scenes, such as in the beginning and in action scenes. But overall, the story took me on a ride where there are times I am overwhelmed with emotions, or just overwhelmed. The world-building plays a lot into this and I appreciate the way in which certain elements were not stated outright and are discovered by the reader as they become important, which is clever because it enhances the reading experience, sometimes with a punch. That, and of course, the elements of it that 736 discovers herself for the first time. The world-building itself feels much more realistic than other dystopian novels like Hunger Games (which I like despite the world-building) or Divergent (which I didn’t like because of the world-building) and it just seems like real effort is done to flesh out this book’s world-building and I really appreciate that. (Disclaimer: I haven’t really read a lot of dystopian books.) Overall, this is gritty and depressing in all the right ways, and because of that it has high entertainment value for me. This is definitely a book worth reading, and even worth rereading. It is by no means flawless, but for the quality of the story and my enjoyment in reading it, I feel it deserves 5 stars. I cannot wait for the next book!

Nocturnal by Wilder

IMG_6200This book is a wonderful creative package, full of beautiful, poignant, and inspiring poetry sprinkled with black and white pieces of art.

Note: For this book, I got both the physical book which is “the gift” and the ebook for my Kindle :) 

The Elysian Prophecy by Vivien Reis

IMG_6280I follow Vivien Reis’ YouTube channel and really like the way she presents her points, and I easily admired her. So when I found out she wrote a book, I immediately set out to buy it and read it. The cover was gorgeous too. Unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations, especially in the beginning where I didn’t feel any connection between the two main characters Abi and Ben, who are supposed to be siblings. I realized later that it might have been intentional, as hinted in Abi’s observations of her friend Cora’s much warmer relationship with her brother Jesse. Speaking of Jesse, the romance was a bit flat for me. But, this is not a romance novel, it’s a fantasy novel. And the more I got into the story, the more the fantasy elements intrigued me. By the time it ended I was already eager to read the next one. So overall, this may not be the best start for a series, but I’m still willing to discover what else it has to offer in the future.

Firestone Key by Caroline Noe

IMG_6349What an exhilarating adventure through time travel! Action, tragedy, and love surrounding complex and charming characters make for an enjoyable read. This is such an inventive tale, expertly crafted with a bit of science and a lot of magic. It takes a while to get through to the language structure, but it eventually elevates the material by taking the reader to a different time and place. For quite a dark story, it has a cozy feel to it, full of characters you can’t help but love. I finished the story completely amazed and would really encourage everyone to pick it up and read it. ❤️

As of this writing, I have just finished Sorted: Freedom Through Structure by Gillian Perkins. However I have yet to review it (or post on Instagram). I usually include a nice photo with my Amazon reviews and I want to do the same with this. I will have to do that after my social obligation later today. That will cross out my [Self-Help or Learning] square.

For Novella, I managed to read The Architect of Elysia by Vivien Reis while waiting for a flight the other day. However, this novella does not have an Amazon page. I do plan to also read So To Honor Him by Laura VanArendonk Baugh because Little Drummer Boy is my favorite Christmas Song. I’m an atheist now, but I still appreciate Christmas or be it fact or fiction. Anyway, this book will cross out both [Novella] and [10-20 Reviews] boxes.

Lastly, I found a book which is set in the Philippines – which is where I am now – and written by a Filipino author – and I am also Filipino. So, why not? It’s a romance novel called Boracay Vows by Maida Malby which will cross out the [POC Author] square.

I think this plan is completely achievable to me as the remaining books are not that long anyway and I have the time to read them before December 2018 is over.

Wish me luck!

My 5 Thoughts on Aletheia

51ow2rBQekLAletheia by Megan Tennant is an excellent dystopian fiction that is gritty and depressing in all the right ways. Here are 5 things I want to talk about without giving away too much:

1 | 736

First of all, I respect the guts of the author for giving the main character a number for a name. It seems to me quite risky. I, myself, immediately forgot her name except that it started with a 7. Was it 736 or 763 or 793 or 765…? And because it was written in first person perspective, the name is not stated as repeatedly as it would have been in third person. It’s very easy to forget. And I didn’t know how to pronounce it either – is it seven three six, or seven thirty-six, or seven hundred and thirty-six, or…? This character is giving me problems just with her name and it definitely contributed to my lack of interest in the beginning of this book.

As it turned out, my overthinking of this character’s name is actually a good representation of her complexity. Her complexity starts from her appearance and continues on to her psychology. She goes through so much, physically and emotionally, and we get a showcase of her toughness and vulnerabilities.

2 | Story

Aside from the characters, I feel that the story and how it plays out is well-crafted, even though the writing may need some improvement in some areas. Don’t get me wrong, the writing is beautiful and has that poetic quality to it, but it can slow the pace down in certain scenes, such as in the beginning and in action scenes. But overall, the story took me on a ride where there are times I am overwhelmed with emotions, or just overwhelmed.

3 | World Building

The world-building itself feels much more realistic than other dystopian novels like Hunger Games (which I like despite the world-building) or Divergent (which I didn’t like because of the world-building) and it just seems like real effort is done to flesh out this book’s world-building and I really appreciate that. (Disclaimer: I haven’t really read a lot of dystopian books.)

4 | Characters

I’d rather not delve too much into this topic because it could involve spoilers. But I would say that the character arcs that are offered here, and how they impacted 736’s psyche and mentality, are the best thing about this book. 736 is just one of many compelling characters who have their own unique quirks and personalities and their own unique way of dealing with their circumstances. If I were to pick the top 5 characters that intrigued me the most, in no particular order, I would say they are Arson, Rose, Seth, 1633, and 736 herself (OK, it’s kind of like in alphabetical order). These are also the characters that made the most impact to me. Jason is also a decent character, but because he’s very much like the tortured artist type that I’ve seen many times before, I don’t find him as compelling as the others.

5 | Romance

Although Jason was not one of my favourite characters, I find the romance between them sweet. And for everything 736 is going through, she deserves a little sweetness in her life. So I’m definitely rooting for them.

OVERALL | 5 / 5 Stars

Disclaimer: This rating is based on my overall enjoyment of the material, whether it was time well-spent, whether it was worth the money, whether I would be likely to repeat it. It is not a measurement based on structure, technique, flaws and perfections. FYI.

Side Note: When I first picked up this book (digitally) it reminded me of two things. The title reminded me of my sister whose second name is “Althea” – very close to Aletheia. She was named after my aunt whose second name is also Althea. The second thing is pertaining to the iris flower, which is on the cover of the book. There is a quote that I love from the anime Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuioku Hen. It goes: “The scent of an iris is strongest during the rain, even if it is a rain of blood.”

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#INDIECEMBER

This book is part of my participation to the Indiecember Reading Challenge, where I wrote a blog about here.

This book crosses out the following squares (circle = bingo style, cross = flush style):

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I’ve actually already completed the middle row (yay!) so now, I’m aiming to cross the whole board! (I’ll post an indiecember update soon!)

Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this review.

Indiecember Reading Challenge

IMG_5920After completing NaNoWriMo in November, I am now looking for a December challenge! So I’ve come across the Indiecember Reading Challenge by Megan Tennant and I’ve decided to participate! This will be my first time doing reviews in Amazon as well.

I really want to start reading a lot of books from now on as my book reading kind of dwindled in the past several years due to work and other things. So I think this is a great idea to get the ball rolling, and to support indie authors as well.

Before I begin, here is the Indiecember Reading Challenge:

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For more info: https://www.megantennant.com/indiecember

I really want to try flush style and discover all sorts of books, but I feel that may be unrealistic for me so I’ve come up with a much more doable list (links are Kindle versions) :

The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci

51lsmxtzmelTobias Kaya doesn’t care about The Savior. He doesn’t care that She’s the Ruler of the realm or that She purified the land, and he certainly doesn’t care that She’s of age to be married. But when competing for Her hand proves to be his last chance to save his family, he’s forced to make The Savior his priority.

Now Tobias is thrown into the Sovereign’s Tournament with nineteen other men, and each of them is fighting—and killing—for the chance to rule at The Savior’s side. Instantly his world is plagued with violence, treachery, and manipulation, revealing the hidden ugliness of his proud realm. And when his circumstances seem especially dire, he stumbles into an unexpected romance, one that opens him up to unimaginable dangers and darkness.

Trigger warning: this novel contains graphic violence, adult language, and sexual situations.

UnEnchanted by Chanda Hahn

41829mlrymlMina Grime is unlucky, unpopular and uncoordinated; until she saves her crush’s life on a field trip, changing her High School status from loser to hero overnight. But with her new found fame brings misfortune in the form of an old family curse come to light. For Mina is descended from the Brothers Grimm and has inherited all of their unfinished fairy tale business. Which includes trying to outwit a powerful Story from making her it’s next fairytale victim.

To break the fairy tale curse on her family and make these deadly occurrences stop, Mina must finish the tales until the very Grimm end.

She’s Not Here by Mandi Lynn

41nndg4adtlWillow watched her father diminish in front of her as Alzheimer’s pulled him further away each day. When a fire creates the perfect disaster, Willow’s desperation to find a cure to the disease causes her to change Samantha Ellison’s life forever.

Treated as an experiment, Willow injects Samantha with a serum that mimics Alzheimer’s and deteriorates her brain. With Sam’s mental capacity declining at an alarming rate, it won’t be long until people start looking for answers. With Willow’s husband as the doctor, it’s only a matter of time before he uncovers the truth. The only question is whether he discovers Willow’s secrets in time to save the innocent life at stake.

Aletheia by Megan Tennant

51ow2rbqeklNearly two decades after the fall, the transcendent city of Iris is the only place rumored to have a cure to the disease that decimated the world. Beyond Iris, are the remnants of the old world, crawling with the Depraved. Infected with Lethe, they no longer remember the people or dreams they were once willing to fight for, and are left instead with familiar voices that whisper dark and unfamiliar words within their minds. Instinct is all that keeps the diseased struggling to exist another day.

Deep underground, below Iris, exists a compound, prison to the Nameless who traded their freedom for the cure to Lethe. It is here that 736 fights to protect those she loves. Not against the Depraved that she’s taught to fear, but against the society that saved her from that fate. She was willing to trade away her rights to regain the ability to form memories, but she won’t let the cult that cured her treat the lives of the Nameless like a resource to be used and discarded. At least, not without a fight.

How much is 736 willing to sacrifice for revenge against her captors? For those she cares about? For freedom? Everything has a cost, what would you be willing to pay?

With these, plus gifting an indie book – I haven’t decided which one yet – I can cross the board this way:

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And if I can still do the flush, I’d have these spaces already filled with the above books, if I’m not wrong:

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I will be be blogging my thoughts on these books as well. First one up will be The Savior’s Champion because I’ve already read it right before NaNoWriMo. I’m not sure when I will post it, but it will definitely be in December. (I enjoyed the book, by the way.)

Anyone else participating in Indiecember? What indie books will you be reading?

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