Saturday, December 31, 2016

TALKTIME #20: Audiobooks are My New Jam

10:00:00 AM


      I've been wanting to write this post for quite some time, but I've been rather busy with school and honestly, I just haven't had the motivation to write any posts. But it is winter break, so my motivation is back for at least a few weeks, so I thought I would crank this out while I still felt like doing it. Without further ado, why I think audiobooks are the shit.

      Let me first set y'all up with a little bit of background info. I have been reluctant to read audiobooks for the longest time because it just didn't feel right to me. You aren't physically reading the words from a book and that felt like cheating to me. That being said, there is one book a few years ago that I listened to on audiobook that I really liked and would listen to over and over again, and that is "Avalon High" by Meg Cabot. I have no idea why I love this book as much as I do, but I do, and that's not the point. 

      Well, I started a new job this semester and it requires a lot of data entry and other boring, tedious stuff. For the most part I had just been listening to music, but I felt like I was wasting my time listening to music. I started listening to podcasts, but that's another post for another time. Eventually, I was like 'Sierra, you need to raise your Goodreads goal.... Sierra you should listen to audiobooks... Sierra listen to the damn audiobooks' So, I listened to that inner voice and started listening to audiobooks, and boy oh boy am I glad I did.

      I started devouring audiobooks, especially mysteries and memoirs. I listen to them at work, walking from place to place, on the train or bus, the grocery store, basically everywhere when I didn't have to talk or listen to people. I enjoyed the feeling of reading without actually having to read. I love being able to listen to a book while still being able to do other stuff like work or cook, something you can't do when you actually sit down and read. 

      Now don't get me wrong, I still love reading, but audiobooks are a nice supplement for all the times when I cannot read. If it weren't for audiobooks, I wouldn't have been able to power through as many books as I did this year, and honestly, my love for books would have diminished some.

      Basically what I am saying is that I think audiobooks is something almost everyone who is capable of hearing should do. It's a nice way to occupy your time while doing other tasks and it's almost like a movie in your head. And if you are looking for ways to keep up your Goodreads goal, this is definitely the thing for you. 

      Do you guys listen to audiobooks? If yes, what are some of your favorite audiobooks or genres of audiobooks? And if not, what's holding you back? Tell me all about it in the comments down below.

Thursday, December 29, 2016


10:00:00 AM


Book: Freeks

Author: Amanda Hocking

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Page Count: 400 (hardcover)

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

My Rating:  ★★★1/2

Synopsis: Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…

Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night.

When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.

But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodes are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.

Bestselling author Amanda Hocking draws readers inside the dark and mysterious world of Freeks. 

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of "Freeks" via NetGalley for review by the publisher. Thank you St. Martin's Griffin.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Brief mentions of rape and a suicide.


      Going into this book, I knew absolutely nothing about what it was going to be about. I only vaguely read the synopsis, and that was such a while ago, so I decided to just power through this blindly and see what it would bring me.

      In some aspects, I was pleasantly surprised. One thing I want to bring attention to is the amount of diversity in this book. There was racial, sexual orientation, language, nationality, and religious diversity all throughout this book, and while I had issues with other aspects of this book, I really do appreciate how much diversity there was, especially how much blending and intersectionality there was. I think representation like this is important in books because it clearly reflects what the real world actually looks like. So kudos to the author for using their novel as an opportunity to show the world its true reflection.

      As for the characters, besides being incredibly diverse, I like how they were all clearly unique and different. Some of them were paranormal while others were not, and that didn't matter, which I think is important because it played into the whole message of acceptance that was interwoven throughout the book. That being said, I had a lot of problems with the main character, Mara, and the main guy/love interest, Gabe. Their personalities just didn't seem believable to me, and holy shit was the instalove real. Like damn, this was the most intense instalove I have read in a while, and it had me rolling my eyes from here to hell.

      Plot-wise, it was a bit sloppy and hella slow. The plot really didn't solidify until about 66% into the book, and even then, it was hard to tell whether the main plot was about the supernatural ish going on or the whole instalove thing. When it was clear what the main plot was, I was dissapointed and how crunched it was and how short it lasted the book because it was actually hella interesting and I would have loved some more storybuilding and worldbuilding to go on around it.

      All in all, it was a nice paranormal book, which is exactly what I needed to read these last few days. If you enjoy reading about a diverse group of characters, like supernatural/paranormal stuff, and want a relatively quick read, this is the book for you.


1. premonitions

My feet rested against the dashboard of the Winnebago as we lumbered down the road, the second vehicle in a small caravan of beat-up trailers and motorhomes.
The sun hadn’t completely risen yet, but it was light enough that I could see outside. Not that there was much to see. The bridge stretched on for miles across Lake Tristeaux, and I could see nothing but the water around us, looking gray in the early morning light.
The AC had gone out sometime in Texas, and we wouldn’t have the money to fix it until after this stint in Caudry, if we were lucky. I’d cracked the window, and despite the chill, the air felt thick with humidity. That’s why I never liked traveling to the southeastern part of the country—too humid and too many bugs.
But we took the work that we got, and after a long dry spell waiting in Oklahoma for something to come up, I was grateful for this. We all were. If we hadn’t gotten the recommendation to Caudry, I’m not sure what we would’ve done, but we were spending our last dimes and nickels just to make it down here.
I stared ahead at Gideon’s motorhome in front of us. The whole thing had been painted black with brightly colored designs swirling around it, meant to invoke images of mystery and magic. The name “Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow” was painted across the back and both the sides. Once sparkles had outlined it, but they’d long since worn off.
My eyelids began to feel heavy, but I tried to ward off sleep. The radio in the car was playing old Pink Floyd songs that my mom hummed along to, and that wasn’t helping anything.
“You can go lay down in the back,” Mom suggested.
She did look awake, her dark gray eyes wide and a little frantic, and both her hands gripped the wheel. Rings made of painted gold and cheap stones adorned her fingers, glinting as the sun began to rise over the lake, and black vine tattoos wrapped around her hands and down her arms.
For a while, people had mistaken us for sisters since we looked so much alike. The rich caramel skin we both shared helped keep her looking young, but the strain of recent years had begun to wear on her, causing crow’s feet to sprout around her eyes and worried creases to deepen in her brow.
I’d been slouching low in the seat but I sat up straighter. “No, I’m okay.”
“We’re almost there. I’ll be fine,” she insisted.
“You say we’re almost there, but it feels like we’re driving across the Gulf of Mexico,” I said, and she laughed. “We’ve probably reached the Atlantic by now.”
She’d been driving the night shift, which was why I was hesitant to leave her. We normally would’ve switched spots about an hour or two ago, with me driving while she lay down. But since we were so close to our destination, she didn’t see the point in it.
On the worn padded bench beside the dining table, Blossom Mandelbaum snored loudly, as if to remind us we both should be sleeping. I glanced back at her. Her head lay at a weird angle, propped up on a cushion, and her brown curls fell around her face.
Ordinarily, Blossom would be in the Airstream she shared with Carrie Lu, but since Carrie and the Strongman had started dating (and he had begun staying over in their trailer), Blossom had taken to crashing in our trailer sometimes to give them privacy.
It wasn’t much of a bother when she slept here, and in fact, my mom kind of liked it. As one of the oldest members of the carnival—both in age and the length of time she’d been working here—my mom had become a surrogate mother to many of the runaways and lost souls that found us.
Blossom was two years younger than me, on the run from a group home that didn’t understand her or what she could do, and my mom had been more than happy to take her under her wing. The only downside was her snoring.
Well, that and the telekinesis.
“Mara,” Mom said, her eyes on the rearview mirror. “She’s doing it again.”
“What?” I asked, but I’d already turned around to look back over the seat.
At first, I didn’t know what had caught my mom’s eye, but then I saw it—the old toaster we’d left out on the counter was now floating in the air, hovering precariously above Blossom’s head.
The ability to move things with her mind served Blossom well when she worked as the Magician’s Assistant in Gideon’s act, but it could be real problematic sometimes. She had this awful habit of unintentionally pulling things toward her when she was dreaming. At least a dozen times, she’d woken up to books and tapes dropping on her. Once my mom’s favorite coffee mug had smacked her right in the head.
“Got it,” I told my mom, and I unbuckled my seat belt and went over to get it.
The toaster floated in front of me, as if suspended by a string, and when I grabbed it, Blossom made a snorting sound and shifted in her sleep. I turned around with the toaster under my arm, and I looked in front of us just in time to see Gideon’s trailer skid to the side of the road and nearly smash into the guardrail.
“Mom! Look out!” I shouted.
Mom slammed on the brakes, causing most of our possessions in the trailer to go hurtling toward the floor, and I slammed into the seat in front of me before falling to the ground. The toaster had slipped free from my grasp and clattered into the dashboard.
Fortunately, there was no oncoming traffic, but I could hear the sound of squealing tires and honking behind us as the rest of the caravan came to an abrupt stop.
“What happened?” Blossom asked, waking up in a daze from where she’d landed on the floor beneath the dining table.
“Mara!” Mom had already leapt from her seat and crouched in front of where I still lay on the worn carpet. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I assured her.
“What about you?” Mom reached out, brushing back Blossom’s frizzy curls from her face. “Are you all right?”
Blossom nodded. “I think so.”
“Good.” That was all the reassurance my mom needed, and then she was on her feet and jumping out of the Winnebago. “Gideon!”
“What happened?” Blossom asked again, blinking the sleep out of her dark brown eyes.
“I don’t know. Gideon slammed on his brakes for some reason.” I stood up, moving much slower than my mother.
We had very narrowly avoided crashing into Gideon. He’d overcorrected and jerked to the other side of the road, so his motorhome was parked at an angle across both lanes of the highway.
“Is everyone okay?” Blossom had sat up, rubbing her head, and a dark splotch of a bruise was already forming on her forehead. That explained why she seemed even foggier than normal—she’d hit her head pretty good.
“I hope so. I’ll go check it out,” I said. “Stay here.”
By the time I’d gotten out, Seth Holden had already gotten out of the motorhome behind us. Since he was the Strongman, he was usually the first to rush into an accident. He wanted to help if he could, and he usually could.
“Lyanka, I’m fine,” Gideon was saying to my mother, his British accent sounding firm and annoyed.
“You are not fine, albi,” Mom said, using a term of affection despite the irritation in her voice.
I rounded the back of his motorhome to find Gideon leaning against it with my mom hovering at his side. Seth reached them first, his t-shirt pulled taut against his muscular torso.
“What’s going on? What happened?” Seth asked.
“Nothing. I just dozed off for a second.” Gideon waved it off. “Go tell everyone I’m fine. I just need a second, and we’ll be on our way again.”
“Do you want me to drive for you?” Seth asked. “Carrie can handle the Airstream.”
Gideon shook his head and stood up straighter. “I’ve got it. We’re almost there.”
“All right.” Seth looked uncertainly at my mom, and she nodded at him. “I’ll leave you in Lyanka’s care and get everyone settled down.”
As soon as Seth disappeared back around the motorhome, loudly announcing that everything was fine to everyone else, Gideon slumped against the trailer. His black hair had fallen over his forehead. The sleeves of his shirt were rolled up, revealing the thick black tattoos that covered both his arms.
“Gideon, what’s really going on?” Mom demanded with a worried tremor.
He swallowed and rubbed his forehead. “I don’t know.”
Even though the sun was up now, the air seemed to have gotten chillier. I pulled my sweater tighter around me and walked closer to them. Gideon leaned forward, his head bowed down, and Mom rubbed his back.
“You didn’t fall asleep, did you?” I asked.
Gideon lifted his eyes, looking as though he didn’t know I was there. And guessing by how pained he was allowing himself to look, he probably hadn’t. Gideon was only in his early thirties, but right now, he appeared much older than that.
That wasn’t what scared me, though. It was how dark his blue eyes were. Normally, they were light, almost like the sky. But whenever he’d had a vision or some kind of premonition, his eyes turned so dark they were nearly black.
“It was a headache,” Gideon said finally.
“There’s something off here,” Mom said. “I felt it as soon as we got on the bridge. I knew we should turn back, but I hoped that maybe I was imagining things. Now that I look at you, I know.”
That explained that frantic look in her eyes I’d seen earlier in the Winnebago, and how alert she’d been even though she’d been awake and driving for nearly twenty hours straight. Mom didn’t see things in the way Gideon did, but she had her own senses.
“It’s fine, Lyanka,” Gideon insisted. He straightened up again, and his eyes had begun to lighten. “It was only a migraine, but it passed. I am capable of having pain without supernatural reasons, too.”
Mom crossed her arms over her chest, and her lips were pressed into a thin line. “We should go back.”
“We’re almost there.” Gideon gestured to the end of the road, and I looked ahead for the first time and realized that we could see land. The town was nestled right up to the lake, and we couldn’t be more than ten minutes outside the city limits.
“We could still turn around,” Mom suggested.
“We can’t.” He put his hands on her arms to ease her worries. “We don’t have any money, love. The only way we can go is forward.”
“Gideon.” She sighed and stared up at the sky, the violet fabric of her dress billowing out around her as the wind blew over us, then she looked back at him. “Are you sure you’re okay to drive?”
“Yes, I’m sure. Whatever pain I had, it’s passed.” He smiled to reassure her. “We should go before the others get restless.”
She lowered her eyes, but when he leaned in to kiss her, she let him. She turned to go back to our motorhome, and as she walked past me, she muttered, “I knew we should never travel on Friday the thirteenth. No good ever comes of it.”
I’d waited until she’d gone around the corner to turn back to Gideon, who attempted to give me the same reassuring smile he’d given my mom.
“We could go back,” I said. “There’s always a way. We’ve made it on less before.”
“Not this time, darling.” He shook his head. “And there’s no reason to. Leonid assured me there’d be a big payday here, and I’ve got no reason to doubt him. We can make a go of it here.”
“As long as you’re sure we’ll be okay.”
“I haven’t steered you all wrong yet.” Gideon winked at me then, but he was telling the truth. In the ten years that my mom and I had been following him around the country, he’d always done the best he could by us.
I went back and got into the Winnebago with my mom and Blossom. Within a couple minutes, Gideon had straightened his motorhome out, and the caravan was heading back down the road. At the end of the bridge was a large sign that read WELCOME TO CAUDRY, POPULATION 13,665.
As soon as we crossed the line into town, the air seemed even colder than before. That’s when I realized the chill wasn’t coming from outside—it was coming from within me.

Copyright © 2016 by Amanda Hocking and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin.


I have been honored with being able to host a giveaway for this book. The winner will receive a hardcover copy of "Freeks". Unfortunately, the giveaway is for US only (publisher's rule, not mine, sorry you guys). To enter, just fill out the rafflecopter below. Good luck!

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Amanda Hocking

Amanda Hocking is a lifelong Minnesotan obsessed with Batman and Jim Henson. In between watching cooking shows, taking care of her menagerie of pets, and drinking too much Red Bull Zero, she writes young adult urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Several of her books have made the New York Times Bestsellers list, including the Trylle trilogy and Kanin Chronicles.  Her zombie series, The Hollows, has been adapted into a graphic novel by Dynamite. She has published over fifteen novels, including the Watersong quartet and My Blood Approves series. Frostfire, Ice Kissed, and Crystal Kingdom  - all three books in her latest trilogy, The Kanin Chronicles - are out now.

Her next book will be Swear, the final book in the My Blood Approves series, and it will be out November 9, 2016. After that, her next book is Freeks - a standalone YA paranormal romance novel set in the 1980s that follows a travelling sideshow. It will be out sometime in early 2017, with the St. Martin’s Griffin.

For more info about her and her books, here are some other places to check out and ways to contact her:

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


11:00:00 AM


      So I'm gonna be honest, I don't remember most of the books I read this year. This year went by hella fast, thankfully, and a lot of the books I read weren't exactly mindblowing. However, there are some that were, and without further ado, here they are.

10. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas


I read this book on the very first day of 2016, that I honestly don't even remember reading it this year. I buddy read this with Temecka from "Library of Tomes". I know I liked it, but after this book I know I didn't like the rest of the series and stopped reading it so... 

9. Defending Jacob by William Landay


I listened to this on audiobook and I just loved it. The entire time I was captivated by what was going on and it did not end how I thought it was going to. This book got me back into reading mystery novels again and gave me a newfound love for audiobooks.

8. Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling


I listened to this on audiobook and all I can say is that Mindy Kaling is my idol.

7. Just Juliet by Charlotte Reagan


This book was a total surprise for me. I had no idea I would like it as much as I did. The characters and romance behind this book were just awe inspiring and I just really enjoyed this YA contemporary, which hasn't happened in a while. I loved the diversity and the bisexuality representation. Check out my review here

6. Saga Series by Brian K. Vaughan


I was reluctant to read this graphic novel series because of the hype, but I did and I am glad that I did. This series is unlike anything I have ever read before and opened the doors to me reading more graphic novels.

5. History is All You Left by Adam Silvera


So this book hasn't technically come out yet and doesn't until 2017, but I'm putting it on my list anyway because I read it this year. What I really love about this book is how it has LGBTQIA+ characters, but that is not the driving force behind the plot, and I think that's something that is important because sexuality is more than just a plot tool. You can read all about my thoughts here.

4. Giant Days Series by John Allison


I honestly don't know what it is about this graphic novel series that gets to me, but I just love it. Maybe it's because I am in the exact same timeline as these univesity students and I get what they are coming from and their struggles. IDK, but I just really have a special place in my heart for this series.

3. November 9 by Colleen Hoover


If you want to read my thoughts on this book, you can here. All I can say is that Colleen Hoover is a queen.

2. Illuminae by  Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


I read this book during my final exams during my freshman year of college which seems like a lifetime ago. This book was an absolute rollercoaster and gave me so many feels. In fact, it gave me so many feels that I never got around to writing my review for it... whoops.

1. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas


All of y'all should have seen this one coming. If you have read my review, which if you haven't you can read it here, know that this book hit me with the feels and I was feeling some type of when once I was finished reading it. It's weird how I love this series but absolutely hate the "Throne of Glass" series with the exception of the first book. IDK. All I know is that this book is a gift from the literary gods and I loved it with all of my heart. 

      Well, that was my list folks. Have you guys read any of the books on here? If so, let's talk about them in the comments, even if they weren't your favs, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, December 26, 2016

"History is All You Left Me" Review

10:00:00 AM


Book: History is All You Left Me

Author: Adam Silvera

Release Date: January 17, 2016

Publisher: Soho Teen

My Rating: ★★★★ (more like 4.25)

Synopsis: OCD-afflicted Griffin has just lost his first love, Theo, in a drowning accident. In an attempt to hold onto every piece of the past, he forges a friendship with Theo's last boyfriend, Jackson. When Jackson begins to exhibit signs of guilt, Griffin suspects he's hiding something, and will stop at nothing to get to the truth about Theo's death. But as the grieving pair grows closer, readers will question Griffin's own version of the truth both in terms of what he's willing to hide and what true love means.

      First of all, I would like to thank Soho Teen for granting my request for an ARC. It meant the world to me to have this request approved and I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this book. Also, Adam Silvera tweeted me, so I was pretty head over heels for that.
     Gosh, what to say without spoiling this book... It was PRETTY DAMN GOOD. It left me feeling a range of emotions that young adult contemporaries have been lacking for a long time for me. Most young adult contemporaries annoy the hell out of me and just seem unrealistic and well just make me want to roll my eyes. "History is All You Left Me" did not do that to me, and for that, Adam Silvera deserves a large clap.

      One thing that I really want to talk about is how despite the fact that the main character was gay, that wasn't the focus of the book, and I think that is important. In a lot of LGBTQIA+ literature, the sexual orientation is a key driving force of the plot, and that was not the case with this. This scenario could happen to anyone regardless of their sexual orientation, and I think that's kind of the point. LGBTQIA+ people are just like everyone else. We live the same lives, we are a part of the same world, and thus have the same troubles. Yes our orientation adds a bunch of hurdles and shit we would love to live without, but we are normal people too.

     Our main character Griffin... Boy I could write an essay on him. I liked him, but I could also punch him in the face. In the beginning, I really liked him, but the more I read, the more I realize that he is low-key a terrible person, but that's okay because it shows that he is human. He is not a perfect young adult main character and he doesn't have those flaws that young adult books seem to think are okay. He has some serious issues and is definitely selfish asshole, but he realizes that, which is great because most assholes think they are perfect. (Seriously though, he started doing some shady fucked up shit, and I'm so glad he's got a therapist, cause he needs some help.)

      Besides being gay, our main character also suffered from a mental issue, OCD. I'm still not exactly sure how I feel about how the OCD was portrayed. There were times where I really liked how it was portrayed and I felt like it was doing the illness justice. But then there were other times, more towards the end of the book, where I felt like the compulsions were not being taken seriously. Griffin is able to start getting over his compulsions relatively quickly, and honestly that just didn't sit well with me. Like it's great that he is on a path to get rid of some of them, but there are just some things that I don't think he could start getting over so easily.

     Personally, I suffer a compulsion for multiples of three. I blame my father. He showed me "School House of Rock" when I was young and drilled the idea that "Three is a Magic Number". Well because of that, multiples of three kinda control my life. Thankfully, my compulsions don't control me as much as Griffin's, but just the way he is able to shake them towards the end after clearly suffering a lot just felt kind of off to me. I've been trying to get "three is the magic number" out of my head for years, and I know it's going to literally take years for me to get that idea out of me head and for that compulsion to go away.

      That note aside, the plot.... I liked it a lot in the beginning, but it reached like the last third of the book and it started digressing. The last third of the book was a little disconnected from the rest of the book and headed in a direction I wasn't expecting, though I suppose the latter is probably a good thing. There were aspects of the plot that really just got to me and others that I felt were unnecessary or had me cringing a lot. Actually, I'm pretty sure I was cringing the last third of the book.

     Nevertheless, I really did like the story. I'd never read anything like it before, and I don't think you guys realize how much I really appreciate that. I enjoyed the writing style and it's almost lyric like nature. I enjoyed it so much, that I thought I would share some quotes with you (keep in mind these quotes might have changed between this ARC and the actual publication)
"It's been one month since you died. It's been one month since you lived."
"Puzzles are sort of like life because you can mess up and rebuild later, and you're likely smarter the next time around." 
      Those are the only quotes from my favorites I can share without spoiling you. Now for the last little bit of my review... the relationships. Herm de herm. I liked them yet disliked them at the same time. Is that weird? I felt like literally all of the relationships were extremely unhealthy, but I guess because they are dumbass teenage boys, that's to be expected. There were some cute moments, but there were some other moments that were extremely fucked up beyond belief .

     Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It had me feeling some type of way and I love that. I just hope that you guys will catch the feels too when you read this.

Friday, December 23, 2016


11:23:00 AM

Hello you guys!!! It has been a hot second, and by a hot second I mean a few months. Life has been busy, I have been busy, so I had to put the blog on hold. I know most of you guys understand, so I'm not going to explain myself too much. Just know that I have been incredibly busy with working, going to classes, doing homework, studying, extracurricular activities, and my research position. I'm on winter break, so I'm gonna take some time to reevaluate myself, my priorities, and try to do a better job of scheduling myself out next year so that I give this blog the attention it deserves.

So, what's to come? Well, I've read and listen to quite a number of books that I have not talked about on here, so the current game plan is do do a shit ton of mini-reviews or collective reviews as well as like a fall wrap up of sorts. Of course, I'm also going to do the obligatory "Top 10 Books of 2016" post, which is gonna be a little hard cause I'm pretty sure most of the favorites of the year I read towards the beginning of the year or in the summer when I had time to read more. 

I'm not going to go into much detail in this post, but changes are gonna be coming to this blog, My interests have changed so much this year reading-wise and so has the stuff I want to blog. But like I said, that is for another post.

Uhm... how have y'all been? All is well I hope. For those of you in school, I hope your semester went infinitely smoother than mine did and you had a better time. Tell me all about it in the comments.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Rob Sinclair's Favorite Christmas Stories: 12 Days of Cink Street Christmas

10:00:00 AM
Displaying 12 Days Social Banner .png

Rob Sinclair's Favorite Christmas Stories

With Christmas around the corner I wanted to write a blog about my favourite Christmas stories, and whether and how they had influenced my own writing. The trouble was, as soon as I started pondering the question, I realised quite quickly that the stories dominating my mind weren’t books but TV and film. Even though I’m a writer, and even though this is a book blog, I have to stick to my guns though, so here they are:

1. The Snowman

Ok, so actually this one was a book originally, and it was one of my favourite as a kid, and I’m really pleased to say my own boys have not just this book (nearly 40 years after its release) but also a couple of more recent spin offs too. Yet it’s not the book that really captures my mind and sparks so many memories of Christmas as a child, but the infamous song from the TV adaption. I’m sure nearly every single child of my generation has magical festive memories associated with that song and the flying Snowman scene from the story, and now, as a parent myself and once again feeling the magic of Christmas through my children, I can only hope that they get to feel the same. Christmas is, after all, all about kids as far as I’m concerned, and that gleeful and entirely innocent feeling of absolute joy that comes with the festive period.

2. Home Alone

So here’s where we divert from books completely, but again, it’s a Christmas story from my childhood and one that has stayed with me over the years. As a young boy I thought Macaulay Caulkin was a legend, and this movie is a must see at Christmas time. I love the snowy Christmas scenes, the elaborate decorations in the houses and on the streets like you see in so many US-based Christmas movies. But the fact this isn’t a soppy story but one about a young boy wreaking havoc against two would-be thieves, in hilarious and often downright violent ways, is just brilliant. I’m not sure I could possibly say that Home Alone has in any way inspired my own writing, but I guess the fact that even as a ten year old I preferred violent slapstick where bad guys get their comeuppance, to say a wondrous movie like Miracle on 34th Street, says it all about my tastes and influences and how I ended up writing crime thrillers for a living!

3. Die Hard

Surely the greatest Christmas movie of all time?! Ok, so there’s no snow and there isn’t really a huge amount of festive cheer about the story, but it is set at Christmas time, with tough New York cop John McLane visiting his estranged family in LA, only to become embroiled in fighting a group of highly organised terrorists who have taken control of large office block.

McClane is a classic action hero to me, and I’m positive that the character has in part inspired many fiction heroes over the years. And, many people may not know this, but Die Hard was actually a film adaption of a 1970s novel; Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp. I’ve never read the novel, and although there are some big differences (John McClane is Joe Leland for example), apparently the basic story set-up is very similar, and I’m led to believe some of the most famous action sequences of the movie (including McClane leaping from the exploding rooftop of a skyscraper with a fire hose tied around his waist) were in the original book version.

The movie also features one of the best screen baddies ever seen in Hans Gruber, portrayed by the late Alan Rickman, and his manner and his cold hearted-ness has absolutely served as inspiration for some of the bad guys in my writing.

As for my own books, none of them have been set at Christmas time, though books two and three in the Enemy series (Rise of the Enemy and Hunt for the Enemy) are both set during winter, and, being based in Siberia and the steppes of Kazakhstan, amongst other places, have plenty of snow and ice and otherwise chilling locations to make them perfect winter reads during those long cold nights snuggled near a log fire. And although I can’t promise Santa Claus or any flying snowmen, just like Home Alone and Die Hard there’s certainly plenty of bad guys getting their comeuppance, and really, what more can you ask for in a story than that?

About Rob Sinclair

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Rob's first novel, Dance with the Enemy, was published in June 2014 and is the first in the bestselling Enemy Series following embattled intelligence agent Carl Logan. Rise of the Enemy, the second book in the series, was released in April 2015, with the third book, Hunt for the Enemy, being released in February 2016.

The Enemy series has received widespread critical acclaim with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob's work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn.

Rob’s latest thriller, the pulsating Dark Fragments, was released by Bloodhound Books on 8th November 2016.

Rob worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. He now writes full time.

Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.

Rob's website is

He can be followed on social media at:

Dance With The Enemy – The Enemy Series Book 1

Dance with the Enemy is the explosive first chapter in the highly-acclaimed Enemy series of espionage thrillers featuring Carl Logan.

Rise of the Enemy – The Enemy Series Book 2

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Redbrick "Carl Logan may be a battled hardened agent, but Rob Sinclair has managed to find his soul" -

Everyone has a breaking point. Carl Logan might just have found his. The Joint Intelligence Agency sends agent Carl Logan on a routine mission to Russia. It should have been simple. But when Logan's cover is blown, he's transported into a world of hell he thought he would never see again. Something is different this time, though, and before long doubts begin to surface in Logan's mind as to why the assignment went so wrong. Logan has never been short of enemies. And sometimes the enemy is closer to home than you think. Could his own people really have set him up?

Hunt For the Enemy – The Enemy Series Book 3

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They've erased his past. Wiped out his very existence. But Carl Logan isn't finished yet. On the run in a harsh Russian winter, Logan - once an invaluable asset but now branded a traitor - has been framed for murder. His own firm, the secretive Joint Intelligence Agency, have labeled him a rogue operative after two decades of loyal service. The agency is hunting him down... and they're not the only ones. But there's much more at stake than just Logan's life. One by one, agents and informants from all sides, all allegiances, are dying. And Carl Logan is the only man who can put a stop to it, once and for all.

My Rating System

★★★★★ This book is a gift from the literary gods
★★★★ This book was pretty damn good
★★★ This book had potential but missed the bar
★★ I probably didn't finish this book or it was god awful
★ Why does this book exist?



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