BLACKPLUME

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Endure (Defy #3) by Sara B. Larson

Endure

“The night came every day, stealing the sun’s power and turning the world to black. But every morning, the sun rose again, bringing light once more, no matter how dark the night has seemed. “

At last, Alexa and King Damian are engaged to be married. But their lives are far from safe. The kingdom of Antion is under siege, and Rylan is a prisoner of the enemy. Even worse, Alexa remains at the mercy of the evil Dansiian Rafe, who controls her mind and can force Alexa to kill or harm Damian at any moment. Despite this, Alexa is determined to rescue Rylan, which soon leads her far from Damian and deep into enemy territory.

When she arrives, what awaits her is deadlier than anything she could have ever imagined: an army of black sorcerers and a horrifying plot to destroy the world as Alexa knows it. Will she be able to gather the strength to free herself, protect the love of her life, and save the land? Will there ever be true peace?

Acclaimed author Sara B. Larson has woven a stunning, romantic, and evocative finale to the Defy trilogy that is sure to leave readers breathless until the very last page.

Personal Thoughts:

Endure is the third and final installment to Defy series by Sara B. Larson. I won’t go explaining the plot anymore for this one. I’m pretty sure readers of this series already anticipated what is coming and for new comers, well you can always check my review for Defy and Ignite or better yet just pick up the first installment of this thrilling fantasy series. You won’t regret it, trust me.

The prologue is told from Damian’s perspective which I’m sure followers of this series will surely enjoy. I’ve been asking for his point of view since book one and finally we all have it. Though it is shorter than what I want, it’s still a huge treat for me. I keep on smiling while reading that part, even feeling giddy from excitement. It’s just like how I imagine Damian’s voice and thoughts will be. Thank you so much Sara for adding Damian’s perspective in this final installment.

As for Alexa, she is still the strong heroine just like the girl we met from Defy and Ignite. She continue to proved her strength not just in combat but also in terms of battling emotions, but not so much in decision making. Love by Damian and soon to be Queen, she become more confident. Her battle scars become her source of strength instead of insecurities.

But another love make her susceptible and vulnerable. Ever since Rylan was taken by sorcerers we all know that it will only take time before Alexa will go and try to save Rylan. But saving Rylan means leaving Damian, making Damian and the Kingdom of Antion unprotected and defenseless. I understand why it has be Alexa, why she needs to go and save Rylan even if it means losing her own life. I love Rylan, I really do, but between him and Damian I will always choose Damian and not because Damian is a King or what Damian can offer but because I know he is the right choice for Alexa and together they can do a lot better. Also, between the two gentlemen, there’s more at stake for Damian. What’s one life and possibly some regrets against one Kingdom? Sometimes people need to make sacrifices.

When Alexa reveal that she also love Rylan, I waited for her to clarify her love, to explain it better. Though I know that it is possible to be very much in love with someone and have feelings for someone else, I also know that those love cannot be on the same level. There’s always one person you love the most. There’s always one person you are the best version of yourself with. There are infinite kinds of love and I want Alexa to pointed that out because I’m afraid that some readers might not understand her.

It seems that I keep on asking for more of Damian in this series. I always believe that he is the most interesting character that Sara created so far, and if given the chance to reveal Damian’s thoughts, I’m sure he will put more thrill and emotions in the story. The prologue and epilogue are not enough, if only Sara added more of Damian’s perspective maybe I won’t mind too much that Alexa and Damian are separated again.

So yeah, Damian and Alexa is separated in the huge part of the story. Alexa is busy saving her best-friend Rylan while Damian is either preparing for a war or worrying about Alexa. If only we saw those parts, I can only imagine how stressed Damian is. Which will surely reveal more sides of him and will add more thrill and depth to the story.

Anyway, even with not so much Damian in the story, I still think that Endure is a triumph and satisfying conclusion to a great fantasy trilogy. With non-stop dangers and actions, determined characters, Sara B. Larson crafted a thrilling ending to this wonderful series. Will definitely check what’s next from Sara B. Larson.

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Destruction

poetry - destruction

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Inspiration

inspiration

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2016 Reading & Blogging Goals

I’m back and hopefully more appearance than the past few months! Sorry for being MIA, there are just so many things that happened before 2015 ends like the wedding of one of my best friend which makes me super busy being a Maid of Honor, then there’s also the holidays and other life’s obligations. But now that I’m back I’m very much excited to share to all of you my 2016 reading and blogging plans.

Unlike last year where my reading and blogging plans was more “go with the flow” this year I’m actually lay-outing a more detailed plans with the push of my closest reading buddy Precious of Fragments of Life. Together we are organizing a blog event called “Celebrating Debutantes 2016”, wherein we are featuring debut authors of 2016 and their works. Since I love meeting new authors and discovering great talents I am actually excited to host this event with Precious.

Precious and I also targeting literary titles as part of our monthly reads this 2016. With a goal to try different genre than our usual YA fantasy or contemporary read we are trying a more mature/serious tone of reads. We already picked our target tiles for each month so watch out for our reviews.

As for my goodreads reading challenge this year, I’m back to 100 books to read. Last year I tried to cut it down to 50 books expecting for a more lay low reading in 2015, then eventually changed it to 100 since I am reading more than I targeted. I’m happy to report that I did finished the 100 books goals for 2015. Let’s see how I will perform for this year.

That’s all for now, will have to layout other plans too beside reading and blogging for 2016.

I hope everyone’s 2016 is getting off to a great start! Happy New Year to all!!!

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Happy Holidays!

merry christmas

photo credit to loganbooktable

Wishing all of you the merriest Christmas!!! I hope everyone is having a great time with their family, friends, and loved ones. Thanks so much for sticking around in here despite of my MIA status this fast few weeks. Will try my best to be back really soon.

Warmest wishes to you all! Cheers!!!

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HOW TO BE BRAVE Blog Tour: Author Interview with E. Katherine Kottaras + Giveaway

So excited to have wonderful E. Katherine Kottaras today on the blog for a quick interview provided by the publisher. Check below as Katherine talks about her newly released novel, How To Be Brave and few advises for aspiring authors as well as her TBR pile and must haves.

Also, be sure to check the bottom of this post for the giveaway. Trust me you don’t want to miss the chance of owning a copy of How To Be Brave.

Interview with E. Katherine Kottaras

Q1. Your protagonist, Georgia, lost her mother and is honoring her by completing her bucket list. How much of this premise was taken from your own experiences?

HOW TO BE BRAVE specifically started as a thought experiment to see what my relationship with my dad would have been like had my mom died first. As I started writing, Georgia became her own character with her own struggles. 

Q2. You are also a yoga instructor and practitioner. How has this influenced your writing?
I am in my head, a lot. My yoga practice grounds me like nothing else. One definition of yoga is the linking of body and breath to focus the mind. I find that when I’m not doing my practice, I can’t focus and I become easily overwhelmed by my fears and my anxiety – and as a result, I can’t write. When I am doing my practice, I’m able to deal with those fears and those anxieties in a way that is healthy.

Q3. What advice can you provide aspiring authors?
READ. A lot. Both in the genre/style you want to publish in and ABOUT writing – all aspects – the writing process, the publishing process, etc. There are hundreds of blog posts about the writing life, etc. and I read them obsessively to understand what I had to do to get published.

Also, WRITE a lot, of course. Just keep writing, no matter what, even if it’s a journal for yourself where you write a little bit everyday. And keep submitting – the rejections are difficult at first, but it gets easier.

Writing is hard and fun and frustrating and exhilirating. I can’t imagine not writing. And if you write, you understand this strange demand – it’s not a desire; it’s a necessity. Follow that call, whatever it is inside you that asks you to write – and keep writing, no matter what.

Q4. HOW TO BE BRAVE addresses issues of positive body image. Was this something you set out to address or did it spring up organically? Is body image something you struggled with?
When I was growing up in the 1980s, I didn’t have access to the amazing body of work known as “YA literature” as it exists today. I was fairly obsessed with Sweet Valley High, but Elizabeth and Jessica were suburban twins (I’m an only child) with “perfect size-six figures,” and that was totally outside the realm of my experience.

Thankfully, I did have Judy Blume, who was bravely offering characters that worried and obsessed about their growing bodies. Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? and Blubber spoke to me about my awkward body and bullying and the need for kindness.

But for the most part, I didn’t belong in the books I read. I was the only child of a Greek father and Russian-Jewish mother who were both of peasant stock (farmers on both sides) and who owned a restaurant in downtown Chicago. I didn’t know anything about suburban high schools, about size six.

This last one was especially hard for me. When I was twelve, my pediatrician told me that I needed to lose twenty to thirty pounds, thus starting a lifelong battle with my weight. My ballet teacher told my mother I was too big too dance and she was wasting her money. I was constantly picked last in gym, alongside my BFF, who also struggled with her body. When I asked her recently what she remembered of our time as kids, she said:

“I remember our PE teachers who didn’t help or guide but rather assisted with shaming by making the whole class wait for ‘free day’ until a pull-up was done (as though the situation was rooted in straight up defiance rather than inability) leading to a life-long dislike of physical activity.” 

I remember those many days, feeling embarrassed and shamed by my teachers, which led to feeling more uncomfortable and awkward (as though my own self-shame wasn’t enough). By the time I was in high school, I absolutely hated my body.

I spent my twenties battling my weight. I yo-yo’d between diets and hunger and new workout trends and gyms. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried, I never was able to become a perfect size six – nothing even close to that – and my body retained its fullness, its roundness, its hardy, muscular, stocky, peasant stock shape. My short arms weren’t going to suddenly become lean and long. My thick thighs always remain thick. My belly likes being round, what can I say?

I fought it for so very long. And then, after giving birth to my daughter, I stopped fighting. I had to. I learned to love my body in a new way. It was life-giving. It was strong. It was mine.

So when I sat down to write my own book, I knew the character had to be several things: she had to be Greek, she had to live in Chicago, and she had to have immigrant parents who didn’t always understand her. I also knew that she would struggle with her body. BUT. I didn’t want losing weight to be central to her experience. I knew I didn’t want it to be a goal. For the longest time, it was for me. I didn’t want to do that to her.

HOW TO BE BRAVE is about a girl who has lived her life in fear and who sets out to try new things, despite her insecurities. Before her death, her mom commanded Georgia to live differently—to try everything at least once and to never be ruled by fear.

When Georgia is first creating her list, she asks her best friend, Liss:
“What about losing weight?”

And Liss responds: “You don’t need to be brave to do that.”

Georgia agrees, but of course, her insecurities don’t just disappear. They are always there. However, at the end Georgia finally realizes, “I’m not going to kill myself trying to achieve microscopic proportions. I’m still curvy me, and I always will be.”

Of course, there are many similarities between Georgia and me. Georgia also feels uncomfortable in her body that’s deemed “overweight” by society’s standards, and part of her storyline is that she finds confidence in her body, as it is – that losing weight does not equal being brave. This has been part of my storyline has well. 

What’s currently in your TBR pile?
My L.A. buddies:
For the Record, Charlotte Huang and The First Time She Drowned, Kerry Kletter

The Lies About the Truth, Courtney Stevens (my publication date buddy)

Hoodoo, Ronald L. Smith (we were classmates!)

Are there any “must-haves” at your work station? (M&Ms, coffee, etc.)

Dark chocolate at the ready. Another chair so I can put my feet up. Two Ugly dolls as elbow support. My cat, purring underneath my chin and blocking my view of the screen. She’s doing it right now. (Purr, purr, purr.)

Thank you so much Katherine for stopping by today and for answering all the questions above. I’m looking forward reading another book from you so I hope you’ll write more for us and maybe drop by here again.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

E. Katherine Kottaras

E. Katherine Kottaras is originally from Chicago, but now she writes and teaches in the Los Angeles area. She holds an M.A. in English from the University of California, Irvine and teaches writing and literature at Pasadena City College. She is at her happiest when she is either 1) at the playground with her husband and daughter and their wonderful community of friends, 2) breathing deeply in a full handstand, or 3) writing. She now lives in Los Angeles where she’s hard at work on her next book.

Find Katherine

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Goodreads

ABOUT THE BOOK

How To Be Brave
Book Details:
How To Be Brave: A Novel
By: E. Katherine Kottaras
St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: November 3, 2015
Hardcover: 9781250072801 / $18.99 USD
eBook: 9781466884670 / $9.99 USD

An emotional contemporary YA novel about love, loss, and having the courage to chase the life you truly want.

Reeling from her mother’s death, Georgia has a choice: become lost in her own pain, or enjoy life right now, while she still can. She decides to start really living for the first time and makes a list of fifteen ways to be brave – all the things she’s wanted to do but never had the courage to try. As she begins doing the things she’s always been afraid to do – including pursuing her secret crush, she discovers that life doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes friendships fall apart and love breaks your heart. But once in a while, the right person shows up just when you need them most – and you learn that you’re stronger and braver than you ever imagined.

Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo | Indigo

Check also the book trailer here

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grabs?

  • A Copy of How To Be Brave

The Rules:

  • Open to US and Canada residents only.
  • There will be one (1) winner only
  • Winner will be chosen by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be announced here on the post & contacted thru email
  • Winner should response with their details within 48 hours
  • Ends Saturday, November 21, 2015
  • Prize will be sent by the publisher

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

 

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