Monday, March 31, 2014

“Standing out in a sea of Dystopia” ~ Guest Post by Rebecca Finlayson

When I go into a bookshop or a library in the UK it’s always satisfying to see so many books on offer for the YA market. In our fast-paced world we can access everything we want, when we want, at the touch of a button – and even get frustrated when it doesn’t pop up instantly. (First world problems or what?) Anyway, to see so many YA books around and to know that teenagers are reading them and devoting hours to them, is great and exciting for any lover of books, particularly authors.

The challenge that I had with “X&Y” was making my book stand out. There are so many great YA Dystopian books out there, after all. It was a mountain to climb.

The first thing that encouraged me, though, was that I had a story to tell that – as far as I could tell – had not been told before. Genetic engineering had been touched on in various stories but it wasn’t the main story. I thought it would be fascinating to look at it through the eyes of a teenager.

The second thing was the position of my female lead. Olivia Adonane is from a very wealthy, very powerful family, and so to have a protagonist in a position where she literally has everything to risk made for very interesting writing from my perspective!

Another important thing was setting. Most of the YA Dystopian books I’ve read and enjoyed (The Hunger Games, Divergent, and the Gone series) take place in the USA. I thought it would be really interesting to have the focus on Britain, and how it would have adapted to the ‘System’ which is in place.

Apart from the authors of the above books, one particular author who has inspired me is Joanne Harris. She does plot so well, and the stories and twists of her novels like “Gentlemen and Players”, “Holy Fools” and “Five Quarters of the Orange” are just fantastic. I’ve learned a lot from her work about timing in particular – for example, what to reveal and when to reveal it.

I really enjoyed writing “X&Y”. The subject matter made for really fascinating exploration, and putting the characters in a quietly brutal setting was equally thrilling and difficult to work through. It’s been great having people read my work and give me feedback from it, not to mention seeing the number of downloads increase, particularly on my “free promotion” days!

Below is the opening chapter of “X&Y”. You can head over to Amazon Kindle for a free seven-chapter sample:
Thunder rumbles in the early hours of this morning and when I wake I think of Lily and what we’re going to do today. We’re meeting before school so we can post off our university applications together. To anyone who does not know who we are it seems such a little thing, but in this day and age it is not. My Ambition means I’m guaranteed a place at a prestigious institution, but Lily’s venture is a little more uncertain. Her portfolio, given to her parents when she was still in her mother’s womb, states that her Ambition is to be a waitress, which I’ve always thought was some kind of mix-up, as I’ve never thought she was right for the Service Industry. Very clumsy, and perpetually distracted by “higher things”, as she calls them, her different Preparation Experiences in cafes and restaurants have always ended spectacularly badly, though I will give her current boss come credit; she is unremittingly patient with her.
Lily is also extraordinarily clever, which is why I persuaded her to fill in a university application in the first place. Strange, I think, considering her family’s Ambitions, that her Tag gave her the chance to advance as much as she has. I know that Lily thinks this is too risky, bordering on dangerous – especially when the admissions boards find out about her humble family background. What harm is there in trying, though? Despite her reluctance, I know when she gets offered an opportunity to study Philosophy and Poetry she’ll be ecstatic and all the fear will have been worth it.
My own Ambition is very different. I will be following my father down the Designer route. First, six years of medical school followed by three more years of theoretical and practical study at the School of Human Design. I will learn how to create Tags with which to start unborn babies off on their uniquely selected paths, learn to further the research that reduces – and, hopefully, eventually eradicates – glitches in the System, and such like. My father is the most renowned Designer in the country, the head of the Triad – the Triad comprises of the country’s top three Designers – and one day I will take his place. It is a huge responsibility, but it is one for which I have specifically been Designed. I have no need to doubt myself.
“Good morning, father,” I chime, kissing him on the cheek as I bounce down to the dining room for breakfast, schoolbag and big brown envelope at the ready. I fling them down untidily on a chair and fix myself some cereal. “Where’s mother?”
“Still in bed; she’s a little under the weather this morning. Not to worry though, she’ll be up and about in no time,” he says while sipping his coffee and reading the newspaper.
“What is the news like this morning?”
“Calm, as usual,” he smiles, and my curious doubts are quieted. Why do I harbour them? Our Society is near perfect. While other nations are constantly embroiled in bitter civil struggles, slowly destroying themselves from within, our country enjoys peace and prosperity. The “Utopia”, that the old writers dreamt of, is being achieved at last. I just wonder what the other countries are doing so wrong. Father soon breaks me out of my reverie.
“Is that what I think it is?” he asks, indicating the brown envelope.
“Yes,” I say proudly. “I wonder which school will want me.”
“All of them, I expect. Look how strong your application is, after all.”
“It doesn’t hurt that I have your name on it, though,” I say slyly.
“True,” he says, winking at me. “But if your Ambition was not to follow in my footsteps, they would turn you down as any other school would turn down an applicant whose Ambition did not meet with their requirements.”
“There’s something I wanted to ask you related to that,” I say. “You know Lily, my best friend?”
“Yes?” His tone is careful. He has never met Lily and there’s something about his wariness whenever I mention her that makes me uneasy, like he doesn’t think we should be friends.
“Do you know if her Tag and her Ambition portfolio got mixed up somehow before she was born?” I ask.
“I don’t know; I wasn’t assigned to her case. You would have to find that out from her hospital. Why?”
“Well, her Ambition is for her to be a waitress, but she’s not suited to that at all.”
“Waitressing is a perfectly good and sturdy profession,” my father says, his tone reprimanding.
“I know; I’m not being high and mighty. It’s just that, Lily doesn’t seem to enjoy it at all. She seems much more interested in pursuing Academia after Mandatory Education is over. I just wondered whether her original Portfolio was along the lines of some kind of Higher Educator, and the folder got mixed up in the hospital.”
“That’s impossible,” he says, though his dark eyebrows narrow a little over his thick-rimmed black glasses. “Are you sure this isn’t just some Secondary Interest that she is feeling quite strongly about at the moment?”
“I don’t think so,” I say, although my instincts tell me to shut up. “Even in between her work breaks she’s always reading a book of some poet or another. She excels at school – really, she would do much better at my school – and it crushes me to think she can’t do what she really wants.”
“She wants to be a waitress,” my father says quietly. “If her portfolio says so, then that is what her Tag has prepared her for, and that is what she will do. I think you might be seeing more in this situation than there is.”
“But-” I start to argue, about to reveal that I’ve helped her fill in university application, but something in his voice tells me that would be dangerous. His mobile phone rings and he frowns when he sees who is calling him.
“What is it?” he snaps into the phone. His eyes widen as the speaker on the other end rapidly relays information, though I can’t hear what he is saying. “I’ll come immediately.” He clicks off, his expression a mixture of annoyance and something else. Dismay?
“We’ll talk about this later,” he says quickly as he dons his suit jacket and picks up his briefcase and I assume he means our earlier conversation. “I have to go. I’ll see you for dinner. We’re going out to The Glade tonight.” He kisses my head and leaves. Soon I hear the car rev up and speed away, gravel flying everywhere.
“Sure,” I murmur, wondering what on earth that was about.

About the Author: Rebecca Finlayson was born in the north of England - specifically Blackburn, Lancashire – but actually spent most of her childhood in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire (fans of Harry Potter will recognise that name!). Inspired by reading a children’s version of “The Odyssey” 20+ times while growing up, she decided to study Classical Civilisation at Warwick University and took a job as a Teaching Assistant upon graduating. After two years she decided to take a year out in order to do some charity work but, more significantly, pursue some writing projects that had been nagging at her for some time. The first of these projects to be completed, a Young Adult Dystopian novel entitled “X&Y” is now on sale on Amazon Kindle. The second – a fantasy novel entitled “The Secrets of Nethiaria: The Magician’s Book” will be out in Spring 2014.

Monday, March 24, 2014

TV Show/Drama Review~Queen In Hyun's Man

Title: Queen In Hyun's Man
Writer: Song Jae Jung
Director: Kim Byung Soo
Main Cast: Ji Hyun Woo as Kim Boong Do, Yoo In Na as Choi Hee Jin
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Comedy, Historical
Original Run: 18 April 2012 – 7 June 2012
Running Time: 45 mins
Original Channel: tvN
No. of Episodes: 16
Language: Korean
Links: MDL ~ Wikipedia ~ Amazon ~ Viki ~ Drama Site

Synopsis: Kim Boong Do is a scholar who had supported the reinstatement of Queen In Hyun when Jang heebin's schemes resulted in her being deposed and replaced as King Sukjong's queen consort. He travels 300 years into the future of modern Seoul and meets Choi Hee Jin, a no-name actress who is expecting a career renaissance through her role as Queen In Hyun in a TV drama.

My Rating: 10/10

My Thoughts: I didn't really want to write a review for this drama because I loved it so so sooo much that I wouldn't be able to write an unbiased review. I overlooked all the flaws (if there were any) and to me this drama was PERFECT!

Then why am I still writing this, you ask? Because I think this drama is underrated and people need to know about it. And so, as any good fan would do, I'm here to spread word about this drama so all of you who haven't already watched it, would watch it, and fall in love with Queen In Hyun's Man! (And Queen In Hyun herself too, of course ;) )

The story was perfect! It had suspense, action, romance, cuteness, sexiness, seriousness, drama, humour... and gosh, it was just perfect! I'll be honest, I don't like historical dramas much. Neither do I like action. So I went into this drama with very little hopes of liking it. To my surprise, I loved the historical aspects of it! I even enjoyed the action scenes! (Ji Hyun Woo <3) The whole time-travelling thing was dealt with very wisely and wasn't confusing or absurd. There is enough suspense to keep you interested. Enough romance to make you go 'Awww!' This drama had everything I look for in a drama!

The acting was amazing! I loved seeing Yoo In Na in a lead role! I've seen her playing supporting roles in a couple of dramas (Secret Garden, You Who Came From The Stars) and I liked her but I didn't know she was this good! She was cute and sassy and I loved her from the very first scene! I also saw that she was very much like me...

I've never seen Ji Hyun Woo before. In fact, I didn't even know about him. Either way, he was brilliant in his role as Kim Boong Doo! And gosh his smile! And the way he looks at Yoo In Na, oh I mean Choi Hee Jin ;) And his double-eyed wink <3

One thing I really really liked was that the drama centered more on Kim Boong Doo. That he was the main protagonist. Usually the drama revolves around the girl, but this drama was about the guy. Which was very refreshing to see.

I loved the music in this drama! From the instrumentals to the songs, I loved each and every track on the OST! I especially love how each song holds special meaning. The music is beautiful!

The romance is no less than epic! Everything about this couple is epic! The best part is that they turned into a real-life couple after the drama! My new favourite OTP! <3

All the other characters were great too! Not much attention was given to the side characters and they were only used to build the story. Some people might not like this but I'm glad they did this because our main characters had much going on in their lives, the last thing the viewers would need is another side story to catch up on.

As I said before, this drama was perfect. And you NEED  to watch it! NOW! Here are some pictures to persuade you further:

My favourite scene <3
Wink <3
The way he looks at her! <3

So cute!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Book Review~A Soul's Kiss by Debra Chapoton

Title: A Soul's Kiss
Author: Debra Chapoton
Publisher: Creative Prose Publishing
Pub Date: March 15th 2014
Format: ebook
Pages: 242
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, YA

Synopsis: When a tragic accident leaves Jessica comatose, her spirit escapes her body. Navigating a supernatural realm is tough, but being half dead has its advantages.

Like getting into people’s thoughts.

Like taking over someone’s body.

Like experiencing romance on a whole new plane - literally.

Jessica learns an amazing truth as she struggles to return to her body before the doctors pull the plug, only she can’t do it alone. Now the only two people willing to help Jessica’s splintered soul are the two she’s hurt the most. They must find a way to guide her soul back to her body ... before it’s too late.

Rating: 8/10
Source: Given by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Debra! :)

My Thoughts: I really liked this book. It was an interesting, easy read.

Story: The story was very fascinating. The spirit-out-of-body plot was dealt with very well so it was not that complicated and I really enjoyed reading it! The suspense was well-written and there were times when I was reading fast, eager to know what would happen next.

Characters: I liked how different chapters were told from different character's point of views. Michael was a scary character! But he was also very fascinating! Surprisingly, I really enjoyed Hannah's chapters. I felt sorry for her and I liked reading about her. Rashanda was probably my least favorite character. It's not that I didn't like her, I just liked her the least out of all the characters. I liked Jessica. She was nice and optimistic. But most of all, she was very real and relatable. Tyler was adorable! He was a sweetheart. I also really liked Keith, though he was only a minor character. He was cool!

Overall: A Soul's Kiss was a really good book! It was a nice, quick and easy read and I really enjoyed reading it. If you like supernatural romances then you should definitely read this book!

About The Author:

Debra's latest YA novel, A SOUL'S KISS (March, 2014)is for fans of supernatural romance. Her earlier novels, EDGE OF ESCAPE, SHELTERED, and THE GUARDIAN'S DIARY range from psychological thriller to paranormal to coming of age. 
Find out more at
Her children's series consists of 3 adventure books, THE SECRET IN THE HIDDEN CAVE, MYSTERY'S GRAVE, and BULLIES AND BEARS, one fantasy novel, A TICK IN TIME, and a two scary stories in one book, BIGFOOT DAY, NINJA NIGHT. All are appropriate for boys and girls ages 8 - 12.
Find out more at

Saturday, March 1, 2014

TV Show/Drama Review~My Love From Another Star

Title: My Love From Another Star/You Who Came From The Stars/My Love From The Star/Man From The Stars or whatever weird name you want to give to the drama

Writer: Park Ji Eun
Director: Jang Tae Yoo
Producer: Choi Moon Suk, HB Entertainment

Main Cast: Jun Ji Hyun as Cheon Song Yi, Kim Soo Hyun as Do Min Joon, Park Hae Jin as Lee Hwi Kyung, Yoo In Na as Yoo Se Mi, Shin Sung Rok as Lee Jae Kyung

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Melodrama, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Supernatural
Original Run: 18 December 2013 – 27 February 2014
Running Time: 70 minutes
Original Channel: SBS
No. of Episodes: 21
Language: Korean

Synopsis: Do Min Joon is an alien who landed on Earth 400 years ago during the Joseon Dynasty period. Do Min Joon possesses a near perfect appearance and enhanced physical abilities involving his vision, hearing and speed. Later, he discovers that he has three months left on Earth. And that is when he meets Cheon Song Yi, the biggest Hallyu star in Korea.


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My Rating: 8/10

My Thoughts: This drama had two stories; the Cheong Song Yi~Do Min Joon love story and the Lee Jae Kyung  crime story. One of them I liked, the other not so much.

The story I liked:

You would expect me to like the love story, right? But that's not the one I liked. The only reason why I saw this drama to the end was because of Jae Kyung's story. His character fascinated me from the beginning. And parts relating to his story were the only ones that didn't bore me.

Jae Kyung was so creepy and Shin Sung Rok played him so well! I loved the detective (Se Mi's brother)! The actor played him very well and this whole story was just so interesting to watch! 

*Minor spoilers ahead*
I'm so glad that the writer used the "Monsters are born" theme rather than the "Monsters are created" one. I really wanted Jae Kyung to be evil. 'No guilt for my actions' kind of evil. He was already scary and all through the drama I kept wishing that they wouldn't justify his actions by saying that some tragic accident made him like this. So I was glad that this went the way I wanted to.
*End of spoiler*

I only wish this story would have been dealt with more. That there would have been more of this story in the drama. But that wasn't possible because the main story was the love story...

The story that was meh:

I should have liked the love story... The acting was amazing and I really liked the characters as well. I felt really guilty for yawning through Song Yi-Min Joon romantic scenes. But they bored me. I think maybe that was more my fault than their's... There were some scenes that I liked though. The beginning scenes were funny and cute. You know, before they swore their undying love for each other. The kiss scenes were pretty good too. But I got really bored with them in the second half of the drama.

I wish they would've showed how Do Min Joon's planet was. At least given a little more detail...

Other things I liked:

I loved Song Yi's brother! I want a whole drama with him as the main character! At first he was mysterious, then he became cute and I really loved him! What I can't believe is that he, who was I think about 18 years old, was played by a 26 year-old guy! And it didn't even show (unlike Lee Min Ho in Heirs)!

I loved Do Min Joon and Lawyer Jang's relationship! It was adorable! Lawyer Jang was adorable!

I really didn't like Hwi Kyung at the beginning. But when he started investigating his brother and showed how smart he was, I fell in love with him! I honestly thought he would say 'My brother can't be like that.' and turn a blind eye to everything. But he proved how smart and strong he was! I'm proud of you Hwi Kyung!

Final Verdict: This was a good drama. The acting was outstanding! And the story was pretty interesting as well. I would highly recommend this drama! For me, it was worth the watch. If not the love story, it made  for a good crime story!

TV Show/Drama Review~Master's Sun

Title: Master's Sun
Writer: Hong Sisters
Director: Jin Hyuk
Producer: Kim Jin-geun, Lee Young-joon, Son Jung-hyun

Main Cast: Gong Hyo Jin as Tae Gong Shil, So Ji Sub as Joo Joong Won, Seo In Guk as Kang Woo, Kim Yoo Ri as Tae Yi Ryung

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Horror, Fantasy
Original Run: 7 August 2013 – 3 October 2013
Running Time: 60 minutes
Original Channel: SBS
No. of Episodes: 17
Language: Korean

Synopsis: Joo Joong Won is the stingy and greedy CEO of Kingdom, a conglomerate that includes a major department store and hotel. He meets the gloomy Tae Gong Shil, who started seeing ghosts after an accident. Their lives take a new turn as they work together to deal with the terror and sadness brought about by the spirits, while delving into a kidnapping incident in Joong Won's past.


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My Rating: 9/10

My Thoughts: I really liked this drama. But after all the hype, I expected something better. This wasn't that original either. It was like 50 % Secret Garden, 30 % Ghost Whisperer and 20 % Master's Sun. Even then, I really liked it and enjoyed watching it a lot!

Story: This drama wasn't scary at all. Maybe there were some scenes that could be considered scary, but they didn't scare me much. The story was very much like Secret Garden, especially the last part. And the ending was very rushed. But the mystery of Joong Won and his dead girlfriend was very interesting. And they executed that pretty well.

Romance: I liked the love triangle. It wasn't much of a triangle though because it was obvious that Gong Shil didn't like Kang Woo that much. The chemistry between Joong Won and Gong Shil was pretty good. All the touching made for some pretty funny scenes and I really liked the romance.

Characters: I really liked all the characters. But the only person for whom I watched this drama was little Man Se (Lee Do Hyun as Lee Seung Mo)! I loved him in PM&I and I wanted to see him again so I watched Master's Sun. He was adorable in this drama too!

I loved Joong Won! I think this has more to do with So Ji Sub being so good looking! But the character wasn't that bad either. I didn't like Gong Shil at first but I loved her transformation and was so glad that she changed. I loved Kang Woo! Again, that had more to do with him being played by Seo In Guk. But I really liked his scenes with Yi Ryung. It was weird seeing Eun Sang's mother from Heirs in this drama playing such a different role. Her husband was pretty funny. All in all, I really liked all the characters.

Final Verdict: Overall, this was a really good drama! It was funny and cute and mysterious and I really enjoyed watching it! Highly recommended! 

TV Show/Drama Review~My Name Is Kim Sam Soon

Title: My Name is Kim Sam Soon/My Lovely Sam Soon
Writer: Kim Do Woo
Director: Kim Yoon Chul
Producer: Kim Sa Hyun

Main Cast: Kim Sun Ah as Kim Sam Soon, Hyun Bin as Hyun Jin Hun, Jung Ryeo Won as Yoo Hee Jin, Daniel Henney as Dr. Henry Kim

Genre: Romance, Comedy
Original Run: June 1, 2005 – July 21, 2005
Running Time: 60 minutes
Original Channel: MBC
No. of Episodes: 16
Language: Korean

Synopsis: Kim Sam Soon is a baker who has a talent in making pastries and cakes. On Christmas Eve, she caught her boyfriend, Min Hyun Woo, cheating on her and breaks up. On that same night, she accidentally went into the men's restroom and met Hyun Jin Hun. By sheer coincidence, Jin Hun needs a baker for his restaurant Bon Appetit and Sam Soon is unemployed. Sam Soon is hired as the restaurant's chief baker and the two fights like cat and dog.


My Rating: 6.5/10

My Thoughts: I have very mixed feelings about this drama... I liked it enough that is didn't bore me, but I was very frustrated with the characters.

This was a noona romance but it didn't feel like it and I'm glad it didn't! Because I'm not much of a fan of noona romances. It was a typical chaebol romance story. It reminded me a lot of Bridget Jones... But this drama was very... real. Like, the story and the characters were very life-like. And while I do like real, relatable characters, these characters seemed too real. Too flawed. I see enough of that in real life, I don't want my drama characters to be selfish and so complicated as well.

I honestly don't know how to review this drama... I'll just list down the things I liked and the things I didn't like.

Things I liked:

  • The story was, in a way, interesting. I didn't like the plot repetition and some things were pretty unbelievable. But the story was still interesting enough to keep me watching.
  • Henry. He was honestly my favorite character. He was funny and so adorable and I was rooting for him from the beginning!
  • The restaurant staff. The were funny and I really liked them.
  • Sam Soon's sister. I really liked her! She genuinely cared about her sister. Plus her relationship with that Bon Apetit chef was funny.
  • The kisses! This drama had, if not the best, then some pretty good kiss scenes. And the chemistry between the lead couple wasn't bad either. Though, Jin Hun and Hee Jin looked better together.
Things I didn't like:
  • Jin Hun. I love Hyun Bin! And I really tried to like his character. But I couldn't. He was selfish and I couldn't accept his actions, whatever the reason.
  • Sam Soon. People say she stood up for herself and was a strong character. Yeah, she did have a backbone sometimes. For like, 0.1 seconds. I really liked her when she did stand up for herself and was cheering for her. But then she would throw away her self respect and do something that made me so mad at her!
  • Hee Jin. The main reason why I didn't like her is because she couldn't see how amazing Henry was. I also didn't like her because everyone said she was strong but to me she seemed weak. 
  • The violence. Honestly, I've never seen so much violence in any Korean drama! Everyone loved to beat each other up and that annoyed me a lot! I know it was supposed to be funny but they used it one too many times. The amount of times poor Hyun Bin was beaten up, I lost count. I think he got beaten up twice or thrice in the first episode alone. And an episode wasn't complete unless someone got beaten up. The only person who wasn't violent was Henry. He fought only once and it was because Jin Hun punched him.
  • Scene repetition. The match-making date scene happened, I think, 5 times. The "Don't look at anybody else!" scene happened, I think, twice or thrice. And I bet there were many other scenes that were repeated. It was at those moments I wanted to stop watching the drama.
Final Verdict: Even though there are more things I disliked about this drama than liked, it was entertaining and I would recommend it if you can look past the flaws. 

Cover Reveal~Summoned by Rainy Kaye


Twenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally. Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker.

Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well. When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can't tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn't the type to tolerate secrets.

Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl's ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him.

Summoned is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

Cover Design: Kris Wagner
Photographer:  Marcin Rychły

Author Bio:

Rainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at and writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona. When not plotting world domination, she enjoys getting lost around the globe, studying music so she can sing along with symphonic metal bands, and becoming distracted by Twitter (@rainyofthedark). She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.



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