New ways to follow!

Good morning everyone!

As you’ve probably heard by now, google is shutting down google reader on July 1st, so I would like to invite you to follow us in a new way.

There are many options out there, but BlogLovin’ and Feedly are the most popular and probably the easiest because once you subscribe, they have an option to import all your sign-ups from Google Connect. I suggest you do it before the July 1st as it’s the day google puts down the follow feature.

You can also susbribe via email (that option is on the right sidebar) or facebook/twitter.

I sincerely hope it wont be too much trouble for you, but unfortunately it’s out of our control.

Best,

Team Tynga’s Reviews

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Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

Throne of the Crescent Moon

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

Book Stats:

Reading level: Adult
Mass market paperback: 367 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Penguin
Release date: February 7, 2012

Series: The Crescent Moon Kingdoms #1

Reviewed by: Stéphanie

Source: Library

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

From Saladin Ahmed, finalist for the Nebula and Campbell Awards, comes one of the year’s most anticipated fantasy debuts, Throne of the Crescent Moon, a fantasy adventure with all the magic of The Arabian Nights.

The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, home to djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, are at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. But these killings are only the earliest signs of a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn the great city of Dhamsawwaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.

I was first attracted to THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON because of its rare Arabian Nights-like setting. Rarely do I read book with a setting like this one so I thought I would give it a chance. The book I reviewed last week made me visit the middle of the Amazon rainforest and today’s book made me discover the mysteries of a fictional middle east world. And like last week, I wasn’t disappointed with the setting of the book. The rich and detailed descriptions of the Crescent Moon Kingdoms made me admire the author’s imagination. Not only did he reinvent the middle east as we know it, but he also added fantasy elements to make it more mysterious and colorful.

At first, I had issues with the main character because Adoulla is a 60 year old ghul hunter past his prime that never stops complaining. In almost every chapter, we hear him complain about his age and his fat old body, and to tell you the truth, it was really hard to connect with him despite how hard I tried to see it from his point of view. And let’s be serious, a lamenting old man isn’t very attractive. So when I the story started to follow two other important characters, I was very relieved. Adoulla’s assistant, Raseed, is a monk-like warrior who is reserved and tries to follow the rules as much as possible (or as much as Adoulla will let him). During their first ghul hunt of the book, they meet Zamia, a young tribeswoman who is trying to avenge the murder of the members of her band. Her ability to transform into a lion and her direct link to some of the fallen makes her an unlikely ally, and so Adoulla feels the need to take her under his wing. Only then do I truly start to like Adoulla. The sweet  and unlikely relationship that builds between 17 year old Raseed and 15 year old Zamia was a nice surprise since I thought the book was going to follow and 60 year old fart (his word, not mine).

The plot is very slow. I would expect any fantasy book to be very descriptive and THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON doesn’t fail in that aspect. However, since it’s a rather short fantasy novel, I felt cheated because a lot of it was description, and we didn’t get much action in the middle of the story. I’m very glad that the story picked up, but I can see how some readers would simply give up completely because of the lull in the middle.

The book may be about fighting evil forces that have infiltrated the capital city called Dhamsawaat, but it’s also a book about human nature. The flawed protagonists all follow a Christian-like religion and their constant dedication to fighting this evil is admirable. They might all have different reasons for fighting, but in the end, it’s their synonymous goal that makes them band together. Their views of God and their interpretation of scripture are very different, probably because they come from very different backgrounds. That’s what makes these character so complex and enjoyable. Personally, I really like how the author incorporated magic and alkhemy within this Christian-like religion of his. The presence of damnable beings like ghuls and the mysterious shadow creature hunting in the city and its surroundings are the perfect personifications of evil, and the right antagonists for this novel. Other factors that makes us investigate the human nature include a vigilante called the Falcon Prince that reminds me a lot of Robin Hood and the corrupt monarchy that is on the brink of forcing a revolution.

I wouldn’t say that this book was an exciting read (especially because of its slow start) but I was surprisingly entertained. The well developed characters and the rich, detailed world building was a definite plus. A great beginning to a majestic trilogy, I think this might be the start of an epic adventure.

Read an excerpt

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Daring You To Read… Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

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This week, I’m daring you to read a pretty special book. You might have read Jenn rave about STORMDANCER in her review or she might have caught your attention with her post titled Why Whedonites Will Love Stormdancer (P.s. I totally agree with everything she says in this post). However, while Jenn’s words made me anticipate reading the book more and more, it’s not what first caught my attention. I fell in love with the book when I first saw the cover. And then, when I read the synopsis, I knew I was hooked.

By combining steampunk with fantasy, and mixing in Japanese culture, Jay Kristoff is without a doubt a genius. It might sound like an odd mix but it definitively works. The story is awesome, the characters are authentic but above all, the imagery transports you into an original world that will amaze you and surprise you.

I have to commend Kristoff’s beautiful writing because he makes it seem effortless. As a reader, I’m hooked and will buy anything he writes, and if I were an aspiring writer, I would definitively envy his talent. But what’s more, even if a book was well written and had the most original story possible, I think anything with these awesome action scenes would make the story worth reading.

With Jenn’s posts, clearly I’m not the only one here that thinks STORMDANCER is a worthy Daring You To Read choice. I leave you with one final word that has probably been used to describe this book (too) many times: EPIC!

The scoop on STORMDANCER:

Jay Kristoff Stormdancer

The first in an epic new fantasy series, introducing an unforgettable new heroine and a stunningly original dystopian steampunk world with a flavor of feudal Japan.

A DYING LAND 
The Shima Imperium  verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.

AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST 
The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

A HIDDEN GIFT 
Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

Jenn’s thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Daring You To Read is a weekly feature here on Tynga’s Reviews where we dare you to read some of our favorite older releases (at least 6 months old). All the books/series we choose to feature are titles we adored and think you should give them a shot! We think it’s a super awesome way to discover that special book who might have slipped off your radar!

You’ve already read the book? Let’s us know what you thought!
You are accepting the dare? We’d love to know!
Have a dare of your own? Leave a comment ^^

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Announcement + Recruiting

This announcement is a bitter sweet one. Lili will be starting an awesome scholarly journey in August and I’ll let her tell you all about it when she’s ready, which is amazing for her, but it also means she won’t be able to commit to Team Tynga’s Reviews anymore *insert sad panda face here*. Lili has been an amazing contribution to the blog, and will still post regularly in the coming weeks, and I’m hoping she’ll stop by for a visit every now and then afterward 🙂

She will be dearly missed and it’s with a broken heart that I am opening recruitment once again, to try and find a replacement.

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If you choose to review for Team Tynga’s Reviews, I won’t be sending you any books (shipping from Canada is ridiculously expensive but if you live in the Montreal area, you could borrow from my shelves), you’ll have to review your own books but, I have a lot of review request I am turning down right now, so if any of those books interest you, I could have them sent directly to you, and you can obviously keep those books. You could also request books from NetGalley/Edelweiss and ARCs from publishing houses will be a viable option in the future (we’ll have to discuss that).

I want it to be clear though, that reviewing for Team Tynga’s Reviews does not guaranty you a plethora of free books, it shouldn’t be your prime motivation.

The new reviewer must commit to:

  • Post an original review every Wednesday (may vary for tours etc..)
  • Post a Daring You to Read post once every 4 weeks
  • Be involved in the blog’s general functioning and reply to comments
  • Reply to ours email in a timely manner

My criteria:

  • Books reviewed must be of the Paranormal Genre (some dystopian and steampunk accepted). I’d like someone who reads YA since Steph & Jenn mostly reads adult, but it’s not mandatory.

  • You must be 18 + (or have parental permission)

  • You don’t already have a blog of your own (negotiable)

  • You must write fairly articulate reviews, and I’d like to see some you’ve previously written (amazon, goodreads and the likes)

  • If you have a goodreads account, I’d like to see it to make sure we have similar taste.

  • I’m not against negative reviews but I’m against bashing and disrespect. I reserve a veto vote on anything we publish.

  • No plagiary tolerated.

  • Must be able to use Windows Live Writer or know enough HTML to publish their posts according to the actual template.

What’s in it for you?

  • A platform to express your thoughts on books

  • Being part of a fairly successful blog (this includes your own About Me section, custom sig, wishlist etc…)

  • Interaction with your favourite authors when planning events

  • Possibility to sign up for tours

  • A couple of free books along the line

I might have forgotten something, so feel free to contact me with any questions you might have =)

TyngaUF(a)gmail.com

Also, feel free to contact Jenn or Stephanie if you have any questions for them =)

jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com / StephLrxOD (at) gmail (dot) com

If you are interested, please FILL THE FORM

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Beast Behaving Badly by Shelly Laurenston

laurenston - beast behaving badly

Beast Behaving Badly by Shelly Laurenston

Book Stats:

Reading level: Adult
Mass market paperback: 420 pages
Genre: Paranormal romance
Publisher: Kensington
Release date: May 25, 2010

Series: Pride #5

Reviewed by: Stéphanie

Source: Copy from publisher

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Ten years after Blayne Thorpe first encountered Bo Novikov, she still can’t get the smooth-talking shifter out of her head. Now he’s shadowing her in New York-all seven-plus feet of him-determined to protect her from stalkers who want to use her in shifter dogfights. Even if he has to drag her off to an isolated Maine town where the only neighbors are other bears almost as crazy as he is…

Let sleeping dogs lie. Bo knows it’s good advice, but he can’t leave Blayne be. Blame it on her sweet sexiness—or his hunch that there’s more to this little wolfdog than meets the eye. Blayne has depths he hasn’t yet begun to fathom—much as he’d like to. She may insist Bo’s nothing but a pain in her delectable behind, but polar bears have patience in spades. Soon she’ll realize how good they can be together. And when she does, animal instinct tells him it’ll be worth the wait…

This is the type of book that gets me out of reading slumps. And I’ve been in a reading slump for a while now so I’m really glad I picked it up. BEAST BEHAVING BADLY is hilariously entertaining and I think a great addition to the series, of which I’ve only read two books. Now I’ll definitively have to read the rest of them, even if I did screw up majorly on the proper order. Even if it’s sold a a paranormal romance, it’s pretty heavy on the romance, although the main characters are shapeshifters and there is a background story about the shapeshifting world that hold the story in place. Acutally, I’m really glad the author concentrated on the romantic story because that’s why this was such a fun book and it’s also where the main characters, Blayne and Bo, were at their best.

I can see how Blayne could get on people’s nerves, but I think it’s her spazzy and crazy personality that makes her so loveable. Her obsession with great hair product, shinny things, red hockey skates, and getting a great deal, are things that I completely understand, even if I’m not remotely as crazy as Blayne. Her dedication to the ones she loves and to strange hybrid shapeshifters makes her a very humane and real character. As an unwanted hybrid wolf-dog, I think she identifies with whomever has been shunned by society, and tries to do everything she can to help those in need.

The other main character, Bo Novikov (a bear-lion) is Blayne’s complete opposite. Where she’s sloppy and random, he’s as neat as can be and OCD about every little detail surrounding his life. In my opinion, he’s a little too obsessed with time, but again, even if I’m can’t identify as a whole with Bo, I completely understand his need to have a schedule and to always be on time. As a hockey fan, I love seeing sports take major roles in novels, and the fact that Bo Novikov is a professional all-star hockey player makes this a match in heaven for me. I don’t know if it’s because I have an obsession with hockey players or simply because Bo is a tall, hot and muscled shapeshifter, but Bo made me drool through out the novel. What I admired the most about this alpha and ruthless male  is his protectiveness of Blayne, as she’s being hunted by humans that want to force her to fight in dog fights. And that alone makes him a worthy male in my book.

What makes this story so entertaining is undoubtedly the original characters. The book can certainly be read a stand alone because I personally didn’t mind it, but other characters from previous books definitively had some presence in the book. While heavy on the romance, the book did have a great story and the characters had to surpass quite a few ordeals to get to where they are. BEAST BEHAVING BADLY is a steamy, hilarious and wild read and should only be read if you want to laugh ridiculously and indulge in a hot romance.

After the Fear by Rosanne Rivers

rivers - after the fear

After the Fear by Rosanne Rivers

Book Stats:

Reading level: Young Adult
eBook: 315 pages
Genre: Dystopian / Futuristic
Publisher: Immortal Ink Publishing
Release date: January 18, 2013

Series: n/a

Reviewed by: Stéphanie

Source: From the publisher for review

Purchase: Amazon

You have not attended a Demonstration this month.

In Sola’s city, everyone obeys the rules. Stay away from the trigger cameras and regularly update your Debtbook, and you just might survive. But having to watch the way criminals are dealt with—murdered by Demonstrators in the Stadium—is a law Sola tries to avoid. When a charming Demonstrator kisses her at a party, however, she’s thrust into the Stadium and forced into the very role she despises.

Armed with only natural resourcefulness and a caring nature, Sola narrowly survives her first bout. Her small success means she’s whisked off to a training camp, where she discovers a world beyond the trigger cameras and monitoring—a world where falling in love with a killer doesn’t seem so terrible.

Yet life as a Demonstrator has no peace. Sola must train her way through twenty-five more Demonstrations before she can return home to her father. At the end of each battle, only one survivor remains.

Sola could face anyone in the Stadium . . . even a loved one.

I don’t like starting a review by saying this, but it’s true. Those who love The Hunger Games, are bound to enjoy this book. Actually, it would make my top ten list of what to read after The Hunger Games. However, while the themes are very comparable, the stories are very different from one another. AFTER THE FEAR tells the story of Sola, a teenage girl who has been chosen to fight for her life in the ultimate battle to pay off her debt, and to ultimately win back her freedom. After her team wins her tryouts by killing the opposing team, she is given the chance to become one of the Demonstrators, an elite group of killer “gladiators”. She needs to win 25 fights to the death in order to gain back her freedom, but as her training goes on, she starts to doubt whether she can actually keep killing people for her own salvation.

The realistic emotions the author has given Sola is only one of the many things that I love about this book. The inner turmoil that brews deep inside Sola makes her such a tangible protagonist, despite the unrealistic dystopian world. I was constantly encouraging her to succeed and survive, but I knew deep down that her survival meant killing more people. I think what toned down the harshness of the battles and the killing is the love story that is definitely present throughout the book. Sola has been infatuated with Dylan from the moment they met, but this infatuation could also lead to her downfall. Scenes with Sola and Dylan were my favorite and because of those scenes, we could almost mistake this book for a romance novel.

Sola provided a unique and refreshing view of a world that is plagued by unrelenting debts, and of a country that has been reformed by an extremist group of people called the Sheppards. These leaders have come up with a drastic way to pay off their debts to other countries with Demonstrations. Created to entertain, these Demonstrations also force people to pay money to see a show that they must attend once in a while, in order to avoid a tryout in the deadly game. A show that always ends with death. The authorities have also installed trigger cameras in public places and in everyone’s home in order to keep tabs on anything abnormal or that would cause a threat to the new government. The whole concept is very Big Brother and on top of the cameras, there’s also Debtbook, something very similar to Facebook, but a little more scarier. In the book, everyone has an account and it provides the authorities a way to keep tabs on every citizens. With the chip implated in each citizen’s hands, every time they arrive at a new location, this chip uploads the information to their Debtbook profile. Kind of freaky if you ask me. I’ve never been a huge fan of Facebook, and I would hate it even more if it became anything remotely similar to this. I think it’s already an invasion of privacy, and to think everything you post isn’t your property anymore just floors me.

From the moment I began reading this book, I was instantly hooked by the story, the character and the not so futuristic world. Not only did the book entertain me, but it also made me think about the current state of the world’s economy and the reality that is Facebook. I had a hard time putting this book down and I’m sure you will too. In my opinion, AFTER THE FEAR is a very good and entertaining debut. I can’t wait to see what Rosanne Rivers will come up with next!

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Book Blogger Twitter Con 2013

advertisementParajunkee and Ashley are hosting an online book convention the first week of April and I thought you would be interested!

What they say about it:

    • – Seven days of Great Book Topics
    • -Awesome Twitter Discussions
      -A Book Blogger Awards Program
      -Daily Giveaways

And they need your help! They are currently recruiting panellist, moderators & sponsors. If you are interested, sign up here.

awardsLOGO BBTC Award Categories

They are also nominations going on for a whole bunch of awards!

You can nominate your favourite bloggers and authors in the following categories:

Bloggers:

  1. Best Overall Blog Award 2013
    • Who has the best blog out there? Nominate them for the Overall Best Blog Award. The Best Overall Blog must be outstanding in their craft. Excellent writing, good presentation and organization.
  2. Well-Written
    • Who turns the best phrase? Who spins the best tale? Basically whose blog has, with their words, the ability to make you so jealous of their skills, that you want to cry. (unlike how I phrased that sentence)
  3. Best Group Blog
    • The Best blog with multiple authors
  4. Best Giveaways
    • Who hosts the best giveaways or giveaway hops? Nominate them for this award.
  5. Best Meme
    • What are some of your favorite memes. Nominate them!
  6. Noob
    • The Noob award! For the start-up blog of awesome.
  7. Best Feature
    • Which features do you love? Do you visit these features on a regular basis? Nominate them!
  8. Most Creative
    • Which blogger is just bursting with good ideas? Nominate them!
  9. Overachiever
    • There are just some bloggers that reach for the stars and don’t stop. They have a blog, they write, they are a mom to ten kids and have a full time job. What…? Nominate away.

NOMINATE NOW!

Authors:

  1. Best Cover Award (Published 2012)
  2. Best Book (Published 2012) Adult
  3. Best Book (Published 2012) YA
  4. Best Indie (Published 2012)

NOMINATE NOW!

     

    It’s the occasion to show your favourite bloggers how much you love them 🙂

    My votes are in, what are you waiting for?

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    Tynga’s Designs

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    Welcome to Tynga’s Designs!

    I used to design blogger blogs but due to time constraint I had to let go of this little side project. But I LOVE playing with Photoshop so I decided to make a come back. On a smaller scale! I will now design different elements for your blog, but getting it together is on you!

    Here’s my price list:

    Item

    Price

    Example

    Favicon

    7$

    favicon

    Social Media Icons

    2$ each

    Twitter

    Custom post signature

    10$

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    Rating system

    15-20$

      image– 15$
      image-20$

    **Custom Banner/button
    (such as meme or event)

    20$

     Paranormal April Fools
    (click here for more samples)

    Custom Blog Header

    25$

    Tynga's Reviews

    Prices listed does not include stock image you wish to purchase

    ** This option includes a big and small version of the same design AND free advertising of your event (if it’s an event) for a week on Tynga’s Reviews.

    For more information, or put in an order,
    please email me at TyngaUF(a)gmailDOTcom

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    To Switch or Not To Switch to WordPress.org?

    While I’m really proud of the work I did for the blog design, it’s not exactly the way I want it, and I’m seriously thinking of switching to wordpress though I’m not quite sure the benefices are worth the trouble.

    • Have you made the switch?
    • Did you have any issues?
    • Did you need professional help?
    • How much did it cost?
    • Was it hard to transfer your domain name?
    • Which host did you choose?
    • Was it all worth it?
    • What was your overall experience?

    I really am on the fence and I would really appreciate you sharing your experience! It’ll help me reach a decision!

    Thank you 🙂

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    Tynga’s Reviews has a New Look!

    Hello guys!

    If you were here yesterday you might have noticed the new changes as I was updating the template. Well I am happy to announce that it is now complete!

    I really hope you like it. I worked really hard on it and worked with html coding much more complicated then I’m used to and I have to admit I’m extremely proud of the result 🙂 If you notice any issues, please let me know so I can fix them asap.

    I’ve been wanting to include my amazing co-bloggers Jennifer, Lili & Stéphanie in the design on the blog for quite a while now and didn’t quite know how, without completely changing the blog’s name. Hopefully the new tweeked name does the job hehe

    I’d like to know how you feel about the new look, so please leave a comment, or simply vote below!

    Here’s a reminder of the ‘before’ look:
    before

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