Book Review: Nymph by Tonya Alexandra

Nymph (The Love Oracles #1)

Title: Nymph (The Love Oracles #1)
Author: Tonya Alexandra
Genre: Mythology, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Publication Date: 1st February 2014
Pages: 432
Rating: 3 stars

Please feel free to check out my interview with Tonya as a part of the Nymph blog tour hosted by Walker Books Australia!

Synopsis (from goodreads):
An idyllic Greek island. Obsessed demigods. A fallen nymph. A mortal boy. Merope, a beautiful but faded star nymph, is banished to Earth for displeasing the gods. She tries to fit in, go to school and live a normal “human” life. And then she meets Lukas … but relationships between men and goddesses are forbidden. Will their love grow? Or will Merope and Lukas feel the wrath of the gods?

My Review:

Merope has lived for thousands of years as a star nymph in the land of gods, Olympus. But life isn’t always easy for the faded star nymph. She’s been exiled to Earth and has had to leave her sisters behind. Living like a mortal is worlds apart from her other life but Merope is starting to see that there might be benefits to a human existence. One of which is the gorgeous and kind Lukas, a farm boy with exquisite imperfections. Romantic relation between a goddess and a mortal are forbidden but the way Merope feels is like nothing she’s felt before in all her immortal existence. Is a chance at forbidden romance worth the punishment the gods met out?

I’ve read quite a few modern takes on classic myths but never before have I read one about star nymphs. I was intrigued by the idea and the romance angle drew me in. Merope is ancient in comparison to mortals but rather naive about so many things. She’s lived in the shadow of her sisters her entire life and would prefer to hide in corners than take centre stage. But she has some spark to her. Rejecting a god who has been after her for centuries and then living with the consequences of her actions. For a nymph who has only ever called Olympus home, being exiled to modern-day Greece is such a shock but Merope does try to make the most of things. She enrols in a local school to learn as much as she can about humans. She makes some friends and she even goes as far as trying to embrace technology.

And then there’s Lukas. He’s hideous perfection in Merope’s eyes. The son of a local farmer with whom Merope falls for at first sight. I’m not usually one for instalove. But their initial chemistry works for me because if I can suspend belief and believe in mythological gods on Earth wearing Nike and driving sports cars, then I can believe in love at first sight within the world this book exists in. I would have liked to see rationale behind their fierce feelings been built on throughout the book (some kind of moments where despite already being in love, have causation behind falling deeper) but they do have some tender scenes and I can barrack for them as a couple.

Along for the ride on Earth – we get to see other Greek heroes experience life the mortal way. Merope’s Uncle Pro (Prometheus) is helping her adapt in the foreign place and I liked his presence in her life. Merope’s mother is an interesting character who I do hope we get to see more of in the series but the character I wanted to read about most was Hercules. Herc isn’t anything like the hero Disney made him out to be. He’s arrogant and conceited and has a proclivity for nymphs but he’s so entertaining. Gorgeous and vain, he is everything Lukas isn’t – and he knows it. A hero in the legends of old, his presence in the mortal world shakes things up a bit. I love reading his interactions with the modern world and how Merope reacts to him. He brings the a fierceness out in her and made her a little more real to read.

Nymph, the first book in the Love Oracles series, is an entertaining read. It’s surprisingly funny in parts and the romance is sweet and pure. There’s friendship and the pressures of family all coexisting in a lovely re-imagining of ancient Greek mythology. An easy read, this book is suited for younger teens and older readers who enjoy stories about true love and soul mates.

Thanks to Walker Books Australia for the review copy. 

Purchase the novel from:

Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

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Blog Tour: Q&A with Tonya Alexandra, Author of The Love Oracles: Nymph

Horizontal_Nymph_Banner

I am delighted to be sharing with you my post for part of The Love Oracles: Nymph blog tour. I was lucky enough to get to ask the author, Tonya Alexandra, some questions about her debut novel as well as about writing and life in general.

For those of you unfamiliar with this novel, Nymph tells the story of Merope. She’s a star nymph, beautiful beyond mortal comprehension, who finds herself cast out of Olympus and forced to live on Earth for a while. Merope tries to make the most of her situation by learning as much about the humans as she can but complications arise when she finds herself falling in love with Lukas. Relations between goddesses and mortals are forbidden but the way Merope feels towards Lukas is unlike anything she’s experienced in her thousands of years of being immortal.

There’s a great cast of characters with immortals mixing with modern-day Grecians and a beautiful romance between star-crossed lovers, Merope and Lukas.

Q&A with Tonya Alexandra

  • Have you always been interested in Greek Mythology?

It seeped into my subconscious through my grandparents. When I was small they told me Greek myths while pointing out the stars. I completely forgot about this until I read Jeanette Winterson’s book Weight, which is about the titan Atlas. It was like something awoke in me and I felt compelled to research Atlas, which is where I encountered the Pleiades and Merope.

  • Nymph is about Merope, faded Star Nymph who has been banished to Earth. There are not a lot of novels about Nymphs. I loved getting to read about something a little bit different. What made you decide to write about nymphs – Merope in particular?

The myth about Merope is that her star is the faded one in the Pleiades constellation because she is ashamed of marrying a mortal. When I read this it just seemed obvious that it was her tale I needed to tell. Nobody should be ashamed of who they fall in love with – even if it does enrage the gods (or your mum!)

  • Are there any similarities between you and Merope?

Merope is the youngest sister as am I. It is a strange position, you idolise and adore your elder siblings and yet you get pushed around by them. It’s a rocky combination.

I am also a bit shy and unsure of myself. And I went to high school in the country so I’ve had some major crushes on farm boys!

  • One of my favourite things about your novel was getting to see ancient beings experiencing Modern Day Grecian technology and vernacular. Was it hard getting into your characters heads and imagining how they would cope in the mortal world today?

Not at all because I am a bit of a Luddite myself. I am a pen and paper lass. I’ve had friends pushing me to use facebook and twitter – and I admit, I’m coming around. Especially this new Instagram account I’ve started from Merope’s POV. I’m taking images of any mortal madness I come across – which is everywhere! I’d love for readers to join in and post things they think are mad. Instagram/MeropeOnEarth or #nymph #loveoracles

  • Many authors are categorized as being either plotters (having plotted their novels out in advance) or pantsers (writing by the seat of their pants). Would you consider yourself to be a plotter, a pantser or a little of both?

I have a general idea of what should happen in a chapter, then I just let the characters talk it out. For example, I had the idea that Herc and Con should go shopping, but that was it. I put them on the pier and they wandered off and into town and things just happened; the credit card incident, the coming across the Nike shoes, it just wrote itself.

(The scene Tonya is talking about is one of my favourite in the book! Herc is a brilliant character and I couldn’t believe half the stuff he came out with!)

  •  You have been a writer for a while however Nymph is your first novel. Did you always want to write fiction?

Yes, because I love imagination – the world would not progress without it. The thing that amazes me about fiction is that anything is possible. Anything. Reality doesn’t do much for me – but just the thought ‘imagine if …’ gives me chills.

  • What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to sit with my three boys and draw. We can do it for hours, it’s very special. I also love taking my puppy Lola to the beach and watching her joyous face as she rushes about in the waves.

  • What are you currently reading?

I’ve just finished Patrick Ness, More Than This. Which had me going ‘where the hell is he!?’ on every page. Next up, Ambelin Kwaymullina’s, Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, which I am very excited to start.

  • The second book in the Love Oracles series, Heavenly Longing, is coming soon. In a few words, would you be able to tell us a little of what to expect?

Loads more love – but the book is set on Mount Olympus so I got to imagine what Olympian society was like. (Expect more misbehaving gods.) Merope is causing trouble, questioning her role as a docile nymph. Lukas becomes a hero in his own right as he attempts to rescue her.  

  •  Do you have anything specific you would like to say to your readers?

I just want them to enjoy the read. It would be great if they got inspired to learn more about Greek Mythology, but it really doesn’t matter. Reading is fun, it doesn’t need to be more than that. And I would love to hear from them! www.facebook.com/loveoracles twitter.com/Tonya_Alexandra

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I loved reading Nymph and can’t wait to see what’s next for Merope and Lukas!

Thanks Kate. I enjoyed answering your questions. 

 

Doesn’t Tonya sound lovely? I appreciate her taking time out from her busy life to answer my questions. And The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is a fantastic book. We’re pretty lucky to have so many great Aussie authors writing fascinating and unique stories.

If you’re interested in Nymph, be sure to check out some of the others stops on the tour.

Monday 17th March
Jeann @ Happy Indulgence Books

Tuesday 18th March
Brittany @ Nice Girls Read Books

Wednesday 19th March
Alishia @ Treasured Tales for Young Adults

Thursday 20th March
Joy @ Thoughts by J

Friday 21st March
Kate @ whYAnot Reviews (That’s me!)

Saturday 22nd March
Rochelle @ rlsharpe

Sunday 23rd March
Kelly @ Diva Book Nerd

Monday 24th March
Mandy @ The Bookish Manicurist

Title: Nymph (The Love Oracles #1) Link to GoodreadsNymph (The Love Oracles #1)
Author: Tonya Alexandra
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Mythology, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 432

Be sure to come back tomorrow to read my review for Nymph 🙂

 

 

5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Chance on The Mortal Instruments

Lately I’ve been on a bit of a The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare kick.

It’s never too late to start a new series and with the last book, City of Heavenly Fire, being released in May – there is still plenty of time to get up to date with this fantastic series before it ends.

I thought I’d share five reasons with you why I recommend this series.

 

The Creatures

Werewolves may be your thing. Or perhaps you like to read about vampires. It could be book with Fae in them are what you crave. With the Mortal Instruments series – you don’t have to choose. Vampires, Were and Fae all manage to co-exist in this world although not entire peacefully. And you also get an incredible type of mystical being called the Shadowhunters. They’re descendants of angels and they are essentially demon hunters. They have a magic of their own and are so very kick-arse.

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

City of Bones – the first book in the Mortal Instruments series

 

The Characters

It’s hard for me to pick a favourite because there are so many incredible characters in this series. The main character, Clary Fray, is learning about the Shadowhunters and all that goes bump in the night and as a reader we get to learn along with her. Her best friend Simon, a mundane, is by her side as they both discover that things were a lot simpler before they knew the stuff of horror films exists. All of the shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves, fae, mages (and even the mundanes) are great characters. I think every single person who appears in these books has their flaws. They are not perfect people. They are selfish and make mistakes but they adds to their realism and appeal.

Simon, Isabelle, Alec, Jace and Clary – the main characters of the series

The Plot

There’s a lot that goes on in these books. So much action and drama, romance and tragedy. But it is a series that feels planned. The surprises are shocking to me as a reader but I can tell that the authors knows exactly what she is doing. I’m eager to read on and see what is next for Clary and co. despite the pain and anguish Ms. Clare puts them through. I know that there is a lot more excitement ahead.

Valentine

He’s diabolical. He thinks his way is the right way and will stop at nothing till he gets what he wants. And somehow – despite how much I despise what he’s doing to my favourite characters he’s admirable with his abysmal and atrocious actions.

The Spinoffs

While the Mortal Instruments series might be coming to a close, it’s not the end if you want more Shadowhunters. There is a prequel series, The Infernal Devices, which already has three novels out and another spinoff called The Last Hours which is set in  Edwardian London and fin de siècle Paris and is set to publish in 2017.

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)

Clockwork Angel – the first book in the Infernal Devices series

There you have it. My five reasons why I love this series. I’d love to hear your reasons for enjoying Cassandra Clare’s writing or why you aren’t as much of a fan as I am.

Blog Tour (Q&A and Review): The Disappearance of Ember Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Firstwood

Today I’m delighted to be a part of the blog tour for Ambelin Kaymullina’s novel, The Disappearance of Ember Crow. I am loving the Tribe series so far and was very excited to be given the opportunity to ask Ambelin a few questions.

Q&A with Ambelin Kwaymullina

  •  What inspired you to write The Tribe series?

Ashala Wolf herself, and the rest of The Tribe. I can her voice so clearly, and see around me the towering trees of the Firstwood.

It was autumn the last time I was there. I stood just outside the wolf den, my feet sinking into the sodden earth, and inhaled the sharp tang of eucalyptus from the leaves of the tuarts. And I thought, I have missed you.

If I didn’t write, when would I go home?

  •  Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you have other dream careers in mind?

I always knew. Although I’m not sure ‘career’ is the right description – obsession, maybe. Necessity of life, like air or water or food. The thing that I do not give up, that I hold onto tightly even when all else is taken. Writing is the love of my life.

  • What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Work at my day job. Read. Watch sci fi dvds. Hang out with my dogs. Although the truth is that there is always a part of my mind that is lost in a story. Sometimes it is a large part – leaving me susceptible to walking in front of traffic, into light poles and three blocks further than I wanted to go.

  • What books do you think have influenced your life and your writing the most?

Not books but a story. An ancient tale, of blue sky and purple hills and the travels of generations of feet across red earth. The story of my people, the Palyku, my Ancestors, and my Country.

  • What are you currently reading?

Nothing right now – because I’m writing and I don’t read when I write, I simply don’t have the time.

  • Are you working on anything now?

The next book in the Tribe series, The Foretelling of Georgie Spider.

  • Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

You matter. You matter to me – you have taken the time to read my story, and that is a gift. You matter to Ashala and the Tribe – you have walked in their world, following Ash through the hallways of the detention centre and along the trails of the Firstwood. And you matter to this world too. Never believe that your thoughts or feelings lack meaning or significance. There are mistakes enough to be made, in this existence; don’t make the one of assuming that you cannot change your own or someone else’s reality for the better.

Thank you so much Ambelin for taking the time to answer my questions.

My Review

Title: The Disappearance of Ember Crow (The Tribe #2)The Disappearance of Ember Crow (The Tribe #2)
Author: Ambelin Kwaymillina
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult,
Publisher: Walker Books
Date Published: November 2013
Pages: 443
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
“However this ends, you’re probably going to find out some things about me, and they’re not nice things. But, Ash, even after you know, do you think you could remember the good? And whatever you end up discovering – try to think of me kindly. If you can.”

Ember Crow is missing. To find her friend, Ashala Wolf must control her increasingly erratic and dangerous Sleepwalking ability and leave the Firstwood. But Ashala doesn’t realise that Ember is harbouring terrible secrets and is trying to shield the Tribe and all Illegals from a devastating new threat – her own past

My Review:

All is not well with the Tribe. They may have had a triumph at Detention Centre 3 but life is far from peaceful for the residents in the Firstwood. Ashala Wolf has gone and embraced her wolf and is running with the pack. Ember Crow went to Gull City months ago and never returned – leaving Ashala only a dog and a memory to reassure her that Ember is okay. Not one to stand back when her tribe family are in danger, Ashala starts digging into Ember’s disappearance to try and find her best friend. Things come out that make Ember’s cryptic leaving and parting message seem even more complicated and dangerous than Ashala ever considered.

Starting a few months after the end of The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, this second book of the Tribe series has Ashala still feeling the effects from her actions at the end of the first book. She can’t trust her dreams, her ability or her feelings for her loved ones. Feeling it’s safer to run with the Pack Master, Ashala abandons her human self and becomes the wolf to protect the Tribe – from herself. Her relationship with Connor is on edge after Ashala doesn’t believe that she is good for him.

Ashala’s grandfather, the Serpent, who lives beneath the lake, is full of obscure and confusing advice wanting Ashala to “beware the angels“.Nothing is making sense and Ashala’s need to keep her tribe safe may be conflicting with what’s best for them.

I enjoy Ambelin’s writing. She’s brutal on her characters – we get to see the best and worst from them and I like them more for it. Ashala is flawed and doesn’t always know what’s best for everyone but she’s a good leader because she accepts her faults and learns from her mistakes. She loves fiercely with her whole being and is unapologetic about always thinking the best of her tribe and family. Ember is someone I was fascinated by after the first book and it was great to see more about her and her ability through this book. There are some incredible new characters introduced in this novel (like Jules!) and many familiar faces popping up again.

Whereas the first book took place over a few days – not including memories – The Disappearance of Ember Crow is setting the series up for the long game. Months pass and we get to see a lot of character development. People are growing and changing as the world takes its toll and as relationships mature. The Firstwood is a character in itself with the beauty and majesty of the forest evident throughout the novel.

This series is quickly becoming a favourite of mine and both The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf and The Disappearance of Ember Crow have been some of my favourite reads this year. The writing is vivid and beautiful, the story is creative and brilliantly executed. I love that the romance is there but not distracting from the plot nor is it too intense. I will definitely be continuing this series when the third book, The Foretelling of Georgia Spider, is released in the future.

Purchase the novel from:

Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Author Bio

Ambelin Kwaymullina

Ambelin Kwaymullina loves reading sci-fi/fantasy books, and has wanted to write a novel since she was six years old. She comes from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. When not writing or reading she works in cultural heritage, illustrates picture books, and hangs out with her dogs. She has written a number of children’s books, both alone and with other members of her family. The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is her first novel.
Thanks for visiting my stop on the Disappearance of Ember Crow blog tour. Feel free to stop by Aussie Reviews for the next stop on the tour!