Creative Reading Challenge: Into the Fire Challenge by Kelly Hashway

Hi guys, I'm back! On the next post I'll tell you about my summer and plans for the autumn, but now I want to share this awesome reading challenge Kelly created. I love the idea. I'll enter, if my copy arrives on time!

Stay tuned and keep warm!



Check this out: Kiss of death by Kelly Hashway

Those who have read my reviews of Touch of death series know how much I love the series and the characters. Want to know, why?

Check out Kiss of death. It's a free Touch of death prequel novella written from Alex's pov. You can read it here:

Kiss of death by Kelly Hashway PDF

Read it, and be ready to fall in love!


The Monster Within Monster Giveaway

Squee! There's one month until the release of The Monster Within! That means it's time to celebrate! And what better way to celebrate than by having a giveaway? But before we get to the giveaway, check out the cover and blurb for The Monster Within.

The moment seventeen-year-old Samantha Thompson crawls out of her grave, her second chance at life begins. She died of cancer with her long-time boyfriend, Ethan, by her side—a completely unfair shot at life. But Ethan found a way to bring her back, like he promised he would. Only Sam came back wrong.

She's now a monster that drains others' lives to survive. And after she kills, she’s tortured by visions—glimpses into her victims would-have-been futures had she not killed them. Barely able to live with herself and trying to make things right, Sam ends up a pawn in a vicious game of payback within the local coven of witches.

But when the game reveals what Ethan had to do to save Sam, she must make a choice that will change all their lives forever.

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
ISBN:  978-1-937053-85-7
Release Date: 6/17/2014
Formats: Paper, e-book 

Add it on Goodreads.
Pre-order on B&N or Amazon. 

So, what can you win? 

  • 1 signed copy of The Monster Within
  • The Monster Within bookmarks
  • a mask (winner's choice of purple, green, or gold)
  • a mood ring (winner's choice of small, medium, or large)
  • a triquetra necklace (not shown in picture)
  • a paperback ARC of Cold Calls, a YA thriller by Charles Benoit
  • a hard cover copy of The Magnolia League, a witchy YA by Katie Crouch
  • a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner's choice; gift card not shown in picture)

Sound good? Enter by filling out the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Review: Face of death by Kelly Hashway

Face of death is the last book of the series so the review contains some spoilers.

* * *

If I should describe Face of death with one word, the word would be profound. It's deeply emotional, rich in themes and the events are touching and sometimes heart-breaking. Face of death made me speechless for a long time and is definitely one of the best YA novel's I've read.

The plot is great in every possible way. It's deep, interesting, surprising and keeps the reader in suspense from the first page to last. Jodi and her Ophi friends are in Tartarus, also in hell, where Hades tortures them hour after hour. The torture is both physical and psychological, which is one of the best and deepest part of the book. Kelly shows that there are many ways to torture and many ways to respond it. Hades makes the Ophi relive the worst moments of their lives and forces them to face their mistakes all over again. Jodi carries a huge guilt with her and there are plenty of terrible memories that haunt her, so she suffers a lot. The descriptions of the moments of torture are breath-taking and amazingly emotional. And still, all the pain inside her, Jodi keeps fighting for Alex and for her friends, her new family. I'm so proud of that girl, wow. She wants to find a way the get them all away from the underworld, but it's difficult. She decides to try to raise the human part of her soul she killed when she drank Medusa's blood. In the process she faces the choices she has made in her past, and has to make new even harder choices, too. She has to find out what she wants, who she's been and who she wants to become. It's amazing to read about how she grows as a person and is capable of showing love even when she is the one who suffers the most. And Alex, the loving, strong, understanding Alex who is always there for her. Alex, I'll love you forever. And then Lexi and her sarcasm. There's a character with a talent of words.

The descriptions of the underworld are... There are no words to tell you, you have to read the book and see how well the world is built and written. The language is so vivid it feels like you were there and saw and felt the same the Ophi do. The underworld is a terrifying, sad, desperate place. I loved how detailed the underworld was, even though it made me cry more than once. Kelly's imagination is something beyond awesome.

One of the things I loved the most about the novel was the feeling of hope. Even though the characters are suffering, feeling guilt and terror, they have hope. And that's the unbreakable kind of hope that keeps you alive and helps you to find the solution. Face of death is a story about suffering but it's also a story about love, loyalty, forgiveness, faith and survival. It reminds us of one of the most important truths of life: we all make mistakes and sometimes find it hard to live with our past, but we can become better with the help of the ones we love and who love us back. We fall, but we rise, too, and we are able to change our future. And these are only few things the novel reminded me of.

This book has so much to give and it's a perfect ending to the series I love from the bottom of my heart. It's an emotional ride, but in the end of it you'll have a chance to see something has healed inside you. And I think that's feeling worth of few tears.

5/5 !! Love it, forever <3


Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information breaking into others' minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clearvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a seperate city - Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures value voyants highly - as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be charge of here care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives. 

* * *

I anticipated The Bone Season since the day I heard about it for the first time. I had just found Samantha's blog where she shared her experiences of writing and the publishing process of her debut novel. At the time she was twenty years old, now she's two years older. The whole world seemed to notice the book immediately: it was sold in over twenty countries before it came out, and after it was published in August 2013, thousands of readers became fans. I've seen the cover on at least every other English book blog I follow and read many absolutely positive reviews of the novel. The Bone Season has got a lot of attention, and it's not a wonder. I enjoyed it from the first page to the last and it's easy to say that it was the best book I read last year.

Paige is a very interesting and a likable main character.  She's strong, fair and ready to fight for the people she cares about. She has a  really strong voice and a strong will. Her thoughts and emotions are logical and easy to understand, and her powers are really vividly described with details and depth that really amazes me. Jaxon is her boss, a feared, respected and famous man. He is also very clever in a sarcastic, mean way. There's something cynical in him. And then, Warden. Warden is absolutely one of my favorite characters in the book. He is mysterious, serious and extremely powerful. What I love the most about him is that he isn't like the other Rephaim. I hope to get to know more about him in the sequel. Also the secondary characters are very vividly described. Some of them are cruel, some of them are lovely, but no one of them leaves you cold.

The world of The Bone Season is both complex and unique. There are many different kinds of voyants and other supernatural creatures. Scion is very cruel organization that wants to get rid of all clearvoyants and makes living in London dangerous. Oxford, the forbidden city and voyant prison is dark, evil and even more dangerous place. Paige's experiences are touching and heart-breaking and gets the reader think many, many times.

I also love the language. It's deep, detailed and emotional. I'm amazed by the author's writing. It's so talented and beautiful in a way that is difficult to describe. The secrets of the world are in every word, in every sentence. The whole novel is deep and rich in themes: it's a story about secrets, lies, danger, loss, friendships, loyalty, slavery and being a prisoner, and much more. The Bone Season stayed on my mind for a long time and I highly recommend it to everyone.



Experiences of coauthoring(1): Combining ideas

In the beginning of January Aleksi and I talked a lot about the powers of our main characters. The basic idea of the power system is that there are six different groups of supernatural skills. These skills (I won't give away more about them, yet) have a connection and take a long time to develop. Aleksi's first idea was that all the main characters will have the same skills. I wanted to give them different powers and specialize on only one group of skills. Aleksi's idea was based on similarity and I focused on individuality, so we had a problem. The big question in was how to find a combination that would both do justice to the story and respect Aleksi's original idea of the creatures I was creating with him.

I spent a few days thinking of this. Then, suddenly, I got it. I suggested that the characters would be best at the skills they'll develop first, also at the first group of skills they'll get connected with. After this they will develop their powers group by group until they have all the skills. This way they would be both similar and individual. Aleksi was happy with the idea, and so was I. I think the combination is better than our original ideas.

I think that finding a solution like this requires trust and a clear goal. Now when I'm plotting or planning a scene, I think of the story and ask myself if my idea is the best for the story. If it's not, I'll talk with Aleksi to make it to it's best. It's amazing to see what we are able to do together.


Plans for April

Here's what's up in April:

1. An essay about Touch of Death trilogy. I'm writing an essay about the first book, Touch of death, as a course work. Because I love the series, I decided to write an essay about it in English to let Kelly know all the thoughts I couldn't put on my reviews. It's been a long time since I've written an essay in English, so it's also a good practice. 

2. Reviews of The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon and Face of Death by Kelly Hashway. I adored these books! Epic love <3

3. Itäkynä. I'll write a review of the Touch of death trilogy for the next issue so those who read the article about her will get to know more about her books. 

4. Reading club. Our student organization started a reading club. The first meeting is only two weeks away and I'm so excited about it! I'll write a post about the meeting afterwards.

5. Adventures in a fantasy world. I've started a post series about how it feels to write fantasy and how the writing is going.

6. Experiences of co-authoring. Another post series. This one is for posts about challenges and other experiences of co-authoring. 

7. 12 essays to write before my summer holiday begins. So I'll be writing. A lot.

Yeah, I will be very busy. Do you have plans for this month?


Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Sargent is surrounded by everything mysterious. Her mother is a psychic so talking to the dead, prophecies and spirits are a normal part of her life. She stays away form boys because of a prophecy that says her kiss will kill her true love. She likes being alone so this doesn't bother her - until her life begins to change.

Blue isn't a psychic, so she doesn't usually see the spirits her relatives talk to. Then she meets a spirit of a young boy, Gansay, who is a student of Anglionby, a famous privet school for boys. There are two possible reasons why this happens: either Blue is Gansey's true love or Blue kills him within a year. Blue doesn't want to believe it because she thinks the Anglionby boys are arrogant and annoying. But when she finds out that Gansey is trying to find an ancient king that may be buried on a magical lay line in their home town Henrietta, she wants the help him and his three best friends. She also wants to find out if she can save Gansay from death. When they try to solve the mystery of the king they face a completely different, supernatural side of Henrietta.

I liked Blue but I connected more with Gansey and his friends. Gansay loves history and the task to find the king and bring him back to life is his greatest passion. Almost everyone think he is just one of the rich boys who care only about money and parties. Deep inside he is sensitive, thoughtful and feels that he doesn't quite fit in his family.

His friends suffer, too, but in different ways. Adam is poor and lives in a horrible, old house with his parents who don't have anything else to do than fight, drink and cry their misery. Ronan is hunted by a tragedy from the past. He has problems with school and he can be very aggressive and scary. Noah is the quiet, shy boy no one notices or understands. There's something mysterious in him.

The whole novel is sad. Sad and beautiful. And somehow full of hope. It describes the hardest problems a young person can have with family, school and friends. It shows that always it's not so easy to be young. The writing is unique, sweet and beautiful. There's a feeling of a secret and a miracle in every word, every event. I also loved the fantasy elements: psychics, spirits, rituals and the lay line. The story is more focused on the searching the king and supernatural than romance, which is only a good thing. I've never read anything like The Raven boys before. It's an interesting, mysterious, exciting YA novel. It gives me a warm feeling every time I think of it, and it's definitely worth reading. I'm happy I have the sequel on my shelf.



Many sides of Medusa Blog Hop

Thank you for stopping by the Many Sides of Medusa Blog Hop hosted by Heather Lyons and Kelly Hashway! 

Door Prize: Your door prize for joining us is the short story prequel to the Touch of Death series titled Curse of Death. It's the myth about Medusa and how she was cursed by the goddess Athena. Claim your free gift by clicking here.

Heather and Kelly are teaming up to show you a very different side of Medusa. Forget the monster you might think she was, and check out these excerpts from The Deep End of the Sea and Touch of Death. You just might change your mind about Medusa.

The Deep End of the Sea excerpt:
The Deep End of the SeaBut there’s no way around it. I am, in fact, a monster. A hideous one, to be precise, but as I don’t have any mirrors on Gorgóna, I can’t verify that one for certain. I rely on the fact that every single person I’ve frozen over the ages boasts abject fear on their face, which makes me believe they find me pretty horrifying. And it sucks. It genuinely, truly, absolutely, unequivocally sucks. I hate stealing lives.

Thus, not only am I a monster, I’m a really lousy one. A lonely, classic Five Stages of Grief following, insecure, shut-in of a pathetic beast who talks to the snakes on her head and the statues on her island.

Find Heather online: 

Purchase The Deep End of the Sea on Amazon or B&N.

Touch of Death excerpt:
My hair blew up, flying wildly all around me. My blood bubbled in my veins like boiling water, but it didn't hurt. It was the feeling of power. Too much power. My body felt like it was going to burst. Still I held on. My eyes closed, and I threw my head back. An imaged filled my mind. Medusa. Her snakes wriggled their bodies at me, flicking their tongues. Chills ran down the backs of my legs, but I forced my eyes away from the snakes. Lower. To Medusa's face. She smiled at me. Her face and eyes filled with warmth. She looked like…Mom.

"Do not fear me, Jodi. My blood lies in your veins and in your heart. you are one of mine. My children."

Find Kelly online:

Purchase the Touch of Death series on Amazon or B&N.

If you want more Medusa, be sure to check out The Deep End of the Sea and the Touch of Death series. And…Heather and Kelly have a giveaway for you. Enter on the rafflecopter form for your chance to win a $20 gift card to either Amazon or B&N, Medusa Makeup lipgloss, signed bookmarks from both authors, buttons for each book, and Touch of Death stickers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Adventures in a fantasy world(1): About the new series and drafting the prologue

Yesterday I started drafting the prologue for our fantasy novel. I should have worked on an essay, but the prologue insisted to be written, so I started. In the prologue 'galaxor' (our goal was to make up a word that would combine 'galaxy' and 'emperor' and this is our best shot this far), the ruler of the galaxy the story is set in, finds out things he hoped he never had to face. An enemy race that almost took the whole galaxy down has come back in secret and started something that even the most powerful magic can't control. The galaxy is in danger again, after ten peaceful years. Galaxor's only chance is to find Rex, a young, famous and feared assassin who might have the power to save the planets and the life on them: to find a group of paranormal powers that used to belong to an unknown society. Poor man. I wouldn't like to be in his situation.

After typing the first words I realized how much I have missed writing and how much I love the story. This is new to me in so many levels. I've never written fantasy before. I've never co-authored before. And I've never created completely new words before. Aleksi loved what I wrote, and that makes me very happy. This was his world in the beginning, so I'm lucky to have the chance to be a part of this.

In the future I'll share more of my experiences. I learn something new every week, so I decided to start two post series: one for posts about co-authoring and another for posts about the series we're creating: about the characters, their powers, our new ideas, world building and so on. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them.

On the next post I'll talk more about the powers and the main characters. Stay tuned!


Kelly's Coven and more awesome things

My life has been full of events lately.

1. Review, Kelly's Coven, an article and Face of death

In January I reviewed Stalked by death by Kelly Hashway. She loved the review, which made me really happy. In February I joined her street team, Kelly's Coven. The name is cool, isn't it? As a member of the street team I'll spread the word of Kelly's books on my blog, facebook an other ways that come to my mind. This week I'm writing an article about her for Itäkynä (comes from words 'itä' that means 'east' and 'kynä' that means 'pen'), the paper of our student organization, Täky. 

Today I came to Joensuu after a short winter holiday. Five books were waiting for me, and one of them was Face of death, the third book of Kelly's Touch of death trilogy. When I read the acknowledgements I saw my name in the text! Kelly thanked me and the other book bloggers who have supported her from the very start of her books series. Wow. You know how much I love her and her books, so you won't be surprised to hear I was moved and very happy.

2. A week in Tenerife

In February I spent a week in Tenerife with my mom. Pure awesomeness. I got some great ideas for both the fantasy novel and Young Fighters. I'm going to write a post about them soon.

3. Daughtry's show in Helsinki

Yes, I saw Daughtry few days ago!! It was the first time ever. I loved every minute. I'll post something about the show in a few weeks.

4. Plotting our fantasy novel with Aleksi

On Sunday I met Aleksi to make plans for our novel. We made huge progress and had so much fun! Now we're at the point where we can start to write. More info coming on Friday. 

5. Studies, studies, studies

I feel like I was drowning in essays and classics and lectures and exams. No more words needed.

I hope I'm not this busy in March. At least I have a lot of topics to write about. How are you guys?


Review: Come what may by Faith Sullivan

When I finished Heartbeat, the first book of the Heartbeat trilogy, I knew I had found an unique author. The second book, Come what may, proved me right. It's a book you won't forget easily.

Adam is a mess after what happened with Katie. He has problems with school and alcohol, terrible nightmares make him fear falling asleep and he has sex with girls he really doesn't care about. The nice, protective and loving Adam is lost and now there's just a ghost of him with a broken heart. The way Faith describes his situation makes you really feel his pain. The language is vivid and the events that show how lost Adam is feel like they were from real life.

When he meets Jada he starts to see the light in life. They work together as an ambulance partners, which makes Adam think Jada is forbidden. Jada fights against depression and tries to live with a tragedy from the past. She's drawn to Adam but doesn't know if he's worth the trust. She's smart and strong and her confusion is described really well. I understood her completely and hoped she would see past the worst part of Adam.

I enjoyed the journey Jada and Adam took together. It's rocky and complicated. Sometimes it's so hard it could make me cry. But love is never easy in real life, and Faith isn't afraid of showing it in her books. Jada and Adam face things that could destroy everything they have, but they keep fighting and growing. That's the reason I love Faith's writing so much. Come what may is much more than romance, more than just a story about a woman and a man finding each other. It's an emotional book with strong, unique voice, vivid story and a very surprising ending. Absolutely worth reading.

My rating: 4.5 stars


Posts in January

January was a good writing month. I had many great conversations with Aleksi. We've made a huge progress in a few weeks. I'm very happy right now. Co-authoring has been an amazing journey so far.

I also wrote more blog posts I have in last few months. One of the best day in January was the day I posted a review of Stalked by death. The review made Kelly so happy she cried. I'm so glad I could give her something special, because I love Touch of death series and the way she contacts with her readers.

Here are the posts:

That's it for me. How was your January?

Coming in February

February is going to be full of reading and writing. For my studies I'll read classics, plays and a dissertation. I'd love to read some fantasy books but I don't know if I'll have the time. On February 11 I'm off to Tenerife, again. This time I'm traveling with my mom. It's been almost ten years since the last time we were abroad together so I'm really excited about this. On our holiday I'll read The Passage by Justin Cronin. One of my friends recommended it and said he thinks that Cronin is the most talented writer he knows. It's not a wonder I'd like to start to read it NOW.

Then the writing. I have to write a summary and an essay, and make plans for another one. This weekend I'll start drafting the first chapter of the new story. I also have few ideas to tell Aleksi. And of course many, many blog posts to write. 

Here's a summary of my goals for February:

1. Read two classics
2. Read The Passage
3. Start to read Face of death
4. Read two or three plays
5. Write two reviews
6. Blog more about the new manuscript I'm working on with Aleksi
7. Blog about one of my favorite authors

February, here I come!


Review: Stalked by death by Kelly Hashway

Jodi knows that any slip-ups made by the Ophi - a special group of necromancers born under the 13th sign of the zodiac - will fall on her shoulders... and that Hades is just waiting for them to screw up so he can wipe out the Ophi line.

Unfortunately Jodi has only convinced one Ophi to join her school: A hot guy named Chase, who jeopardizes her relationship with Alex. Jodi loves Alex, but Chase enhance her powers with just a touch - making her stronger than any Ophi has ever been. 

Her mixed emotions send her powers surging out of control, and the dead start rising without her conscious summoning - exactly what Hades doesn't want! If she chooses Alex over Chase, she may lose the battle to Hades, leading the Ophi race to extinction. If she chooses Chase, she might be able to stop Hades for good... but lose everything else.

Jodi needs to figure things out fast - because death is stalking her at every turn.

The first thought in my head after reading Stalked by death was 'Kelly, I love you!'. This book took my breath away and it was really hard to put it down. I enjoyed every part of it from the plot to the character development. It's an exciting and moving read that will make your heart beat faster and faster. 

As the leader of the Ophi school Jodi is responsible of keeping them all safe and alive. She tries her best, but when Chase arrives everything goes badly wrong. Chase has an effect on her that she can't control. Her powers work on their own and her emotions run wild. The way Kelly describes Jodi's feelings and the scary physical consequences of using her powers is amazing. The language is vivid and Jodi's voice is even stronger in this novel than in the first book. And I can't repeat too many times how great imagination Kelly has. It was very interesting to get more information about how Jodi's powers work. 

Stalked by death is full of action and surprising, even shocking events but there's also space for character development. Especially Alex grows in this book. It's heart breaking to see how he comes in the wrong place in wrong time and suffers because of the control Chase has over Jodi. There were many times I could've cried. And Chase... mysterious, annoying and scary Chase. There's no words to tell you how I felt about him. Read the book and you'll understand.

And the ending. THE ENDING!! I loved it. I had to take few long, deep breaths after reading the last pages Stalked by death is a great YA novel that won't leave you cold. I'm happy that Face of death, the last book of the series, comes out soon  (Amazon ships it today) so I can find out what happens next and if Jodi will survive or not. If you haven't started this series, start it now. You don't want to miss it.

My rating: 5/5


One day in Kaisaniemi

I was spending time with two of my friends, Aleksi and Maria, in the center of Helsinki in May 2012. We were talking about our favorite topics: books, reading, movies and writing. When we came to Kaisaniemi, Aleksi told us about a fantasy novel he had been plotting many years ago. The complexity of the world amazed me.

But that wasn't all. After his story Aleksi looked at me and said:

"It would be great to see what kind of book this story could become. But I think I don't have the patience to write it. So, if you want, you can write it with me."

For a moment I couldn't say a word. I had heard of a story that was full of potential and had came out of my friend's mind. I could imagine myself reading it all night long, but I never would've guessed I would get a chance to write it. I said something like this: "Are you sure? Me? Of course I want to do it, this book must be written!"

This is how I became a co-writer of the novel I told you about before. I'm really excited about this. I believe we'll learn a lot during this new adventure and become better both as writers and humans. This opportunity is a privilege and I appreciate it very much. Aleksi has shared something unique with me. Books are written in the soul, somewhere deep down in there, and I know how much the author can love them. That's why I'll do my best with this story and give it all the attention it deserves. I hope we'll write a book we both can be proud of.

P.S. My favorite band, Daughtry, is coming to Finland in March! I couldn't be more excited!


New year, new projects

I'm starting a new writing project and I need your help. To find inspiration I'm searching good fantasy, paranormal, dystopian and science fiction books. As you can guess, the new manuscript has something to do with those genres. Leave a comment and give me your list of your favorite books and authors!

I've also decided to set up a travelling blog. Travelling has always been a part of me and my writing so I think it's worth of discussion. I'll let you know when it's done and give you the link.

Next week I'm going to post a review of Stalked by death by Kelly Hashway and give more information about the new book.

Stay tuned!


Hard decision

I was thinking of the year 2013 and realized that my writing hasn't gone well. Honestly, it hasn't been easy at all. Most of the year I was struggling and feeling like nothing happened. I couldn't concentrate or find the words to say what I wanted to say. Few months ago the process stopped completely.
To get my creativity back I've decided to put Young Fighters aside for now. I won't even look at the manuscript until I think I can really finish it. I will do something else: maybe only research for another book or start writing something, I don't know yet. But I'll tell you when I've figured it out.

This was a hard decision to make, because I love the series and the characters. I'm feeling a little bit empty right now, but I think this is the only way to get my writing on track again. I don't want to force myself to write - Young Fighters deserves better. Some day I'll finish the book, but it's not today.

I will continue blogging anyway. I only changed the title. Time will show what kind of posts I will write in the future. I guess I'll focus on book reviews for a while.

See you soon! I wish I have a new idea to share with you next time.