Thursday, July 26, 2012

(Crossroads Saga, book 3)
by Mary Ting
(Release date: September 12, 2012)

Torn between the past she can't remember and a future she isn’t ready for, Claudia feels at a loss. With unanswered questions, she is certain there is more to her past than just being a venator. Finding the missing pieces in her life won’t be easy because duty calls. When mysterious dark shadows get released, an apocalypse sets in motion. The venators and the alkins must work together once again. Knowing Claudia would be the key to destroying the demons that were released, a familiar stranger appears to protect her. Drawn to the beautiful angel, Claudia finds she must unravel the mysteries of her past in order to help save the world. Who is the angel assisting her and why does she feel a strong connection to him? Time is running out. Will she discover all the secrets before it’s too late?


Shaking her head, she looked at Davin. Her heart was hammering out of control. Even with angelic powers, she was deathly scared of heights. Building up her courage and the willingness to face the consequences of what she was about to do would be worth it all if she could find the answers. Without any further thought, she lit up a sly smile. “See you when I see you.” She took a perfect dive, right into the alley, landing on her two feet as her hand touched the ground to steady her. Wow! That was awesome.
Claudia looked up and saw Austin and Davin looking down on her.
“Stay right there, we’re coming down,” Austin demanded as his body was half way out the window.
Claudia stood up in a hurry. “No! Forgive me, Austin and Davin, but I need to do something for myself. Don’t worry about me and don’t follow me.” Claudia darted out of there at lightning bolt speed. There was no way they would know which way to go or how to find her. Claudia ran so fast she felt like she was going through a wind tunnel. Her hair flowed behind her while the air brushed against her skin made her feel free and alive. She sped her way to the highway, occasionally stopping to figure out which way to proceed. The only place she truly felt a sense of belongingness was at Gamma’s house, where she left her purse and that is where she would go.


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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Every Breath You Take by Debby Conrad

Every Breath You Take By Debby Conrad
Publication Date:October 11, 2011
Hollin Pierce’s past comes back to haunt her when she returns to Whisper Lake, Pennsylvania. Trying to help her mother hang on to the home, which has been in their family for generations, is an uphill battle, and Hollin has no choice but to sell some of the surrounding land. But the only man interested in buying is Griffin Wells, the man who was convicted of raping Hollin thirteen years ago.

Griffin still maintains his innocence to this day, claiming he was framed. And as Hollin gets to know him again, the attraction and feelings she once had for him return as she slowly realizes she made a grave mistake. She sent the wrong man to prison.

She also realizes that if Griffin wasn’t the one who raped her when she was a teenager, then someone else did, and that someone is running around free. Now she can’t decide who to trust, and when her sister ends up murdered, Hollin knows it’s only a matter of time before someone comes after her.

My review
This book was recommended to me by a friend, with a friendly warning, attached, it has a rape scene and some explicit sexual scenes in it.  But the story, she said is great.
So let me start with the rape scene, it is explicit.
The sex scenes are also explicit.
Why start with that, because as a norm I steer away from erotic reading material, even romance is not my cup of tea.  This book however has a strong enough plot to carry the sexual scenes.  The book is not about sex, but how it is used to manipulate, dehumanize and how a perfectly natural act can be distorted. The psychological plot is not obscured by the sexual scenes it is rather if anything, (and I can't believe I am writing this), enhanced by it. 
This is a story I could not put down.  The character development of all the characters was superb and although the culprit was pretty obvious from the start even I was surprised when the exact nature of his all his deeds became apparent.  Hollin is the only character that at a stage early in the book surprised me and which I felt that a normal person will not react like that in that specific circumstance.  This said, it was one instance and her reaction did not influence me enough to put the book down or to distract from the story line as a whole.  Rachel, her sister's downward spiral was expertly described and I really think the author should be commended on the subtlety with which she handled Rachel's role in the book.
The plot, fantastic.  The flow, easy and gripping.  The characters loveable if they should be and despicable if they should be so as far as character development is concerned, wonderful.  The sexual scenes, is never hinted at or sugarcoated, it is straight forward and still manages not to come across as crude or vulgar.  I am astounded that I liked a book of this nature this much.  And have to give the author a very well deserved 7 smog filled my glasses * review.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Soldier Hill by Phil Rossi

Soldier Hill by Phil Rossi
I received this book from the author for a fair and honest review.
In all honesty, I had a very hard time reading this book.  The vernacular was foreign to me, whether it is American speech and not written word, 80's street lingo, or simply a more closely knit dialect I can't say.
But the vernacular used, being foreign to me made me struggle with the book and had me a bit frustrated.  The boy in the story, Eddie or Higgs as he is known is a character most of us can and will relate to.  He has no idea what his future will bring but he knows he wants a car and not only a car, THE car.  But Eddie has no plans for his future, he would rather cut class than study, he is not a bully but has to tread carefully.  Eddie is the boy next door. 
Then one day Eddie notice a small struggling tree at his school.  The tree is dedicated to Billy, a Vietnam War veteran who sacrificed his life for his country.  A war veteran with no surname, nothing to identify him and who died a boy, although a hero, still a boy.
So begins Higg's story.  One in which he tries to find out who Billy is, how come nobody really talks about the war. And so begins the struggle to save the tree, the one thing still standing as a testimony towards the brave act of a boy dying for the liberty of his country.
The more I read of the book, the more I became accustomed to the colloquial speech, writing style.  With ease of reading returning I got invested in the book.  By the end of the story, after struggle, camaraderie and small acts of kindness Higg's does one thing possibly more important than ever obtaining a white collar job.  He makes an unintended difference.  This is my first ever 10 * review.  I am almost certain that if you start the book on my recommendation you will remember this 10 * and wonder what I was thinking.  But it is ok.  I am not losing my marbles.  By the last five pages in this book I experienced that very odd and uncomfortable feeling.  You know the one; it starts from your stomach and moves up until your eyes over flows by itself.  It is not in actual fact crying, it is past that, it is the feeling of being moved and knowing you will never forget the story that moved you such.  Ironically not being a US citizen I finished this book on the 4Th of July.  And I need to say, happy Independence day, it was bought for in blood.  Make it count.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Conduit by Stacey Rourke

 All 18-year-old Celeste Garrett wants is to head off to college and make those fun, yet ill-advised, choices college kids are known for. And maybe to spend some time with the hot cameraman she just met. Instead, because of a pact her ancestors made in the 17th century with a mythical creature, she has to save the world.

While normal kids are slamming energy drinks and cramming for exams, Celeste will get her adrenaline rush fighting a fire breathing dragon. She wants to meet friends in the quad to exchange lecture notes, but first she must exchange blows with a shapeshifting demon on the rooftop. Life isn’t always fair for a superhero, but at least she doesn’t have to do it alone. With her brother and sister as sidekicks, they alternate between saving lives and getting on each others’ nerves. Together the trio encounters unspeakable odds, mystical forces and comes face-to-face with an image that will haunt them forever—their grandmother in a leopard print bikini.

Okay, little side note here. If a psychopathic killer asks if you want to see a trick, say no. That’s the smart thing to do. I, on the other hand, responded, “Bring it.”
-excerpt from THE CONDUIT

My review
I loved The Conduit, it is a fast, fun read.  If I spend twee hours on this book from start to finish I might be exaggerating.  But I loved the dynamic between the siblings, no malfunctioning familial bonds.  This family is fairly normal, well apart from the pact and saving the world and fighting demons etc.
The one liners and some situations has me in stitches, the dialogue is real and witty and I really liked Celeste and her oh so normal insecurities especially in the beginning of the book.
I give this book a sailing 8 entertainment * review.  It rocks.  It really does.  The best thing about it is the fact that I am already 3 % into the second book in the series.  Who might not like the book? I seriously don’t know. I loved it.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Solstice: a novel of the Zombie Apocalypse By Donna Burgess

Solstice: a novel of the Zombie Apocalypse By Donna Burgess
Book Description
Publication Date: May 15, 2012
On the eve of winter Solstice, a massive flash envelopes the Earth and then there is nothing. The sun no longer shines and civilization is plunged into unending darkness. Those exposed to the mysterious flash have changed—they have become bloodthirsty, cunning, and determined to devour anyone who is not infected. They are Ragers. In Sweden, a group of uneasy travelers hears a broken broadcast. There is hope. Something called Sanctuary waits, but it is thousands of miles away, somewhere on the shores of the British Isles. Meanwhile, in a London supermarket, a high school English teacher from the States finds himself stranded along with a handful of students on a senior trip. Outside, hoards of hungry Ragers await, ready to tear them limb from limb. Their only hope is to find Sanctuary. Solstice is a tale of hope, terror, survival, and finding love at the end of the World.

Where to star, where to start?  What can I say that would convince you that you seriously need to read this book?  I don’t know the answer, so I am imploring you, trust me, you want to read this book.  This was my first ever Zombie book.  Post apocalyptic Europe had me enthralled.  The characters, again very human and very flawed had me rooting for some and wishing others would dissolve like an aspiring in water.  The author managed to use the dystopian backdrop as a character all in and of itself.  I loved it.  The reaction of the characters, at time heroic, at times normal had me saying out loud, NO, NO, NO, don’t go into that shop.  No, don’t let her in.  NOOOOOOOO.  It is not often that I get this involved in a story line.  It is not many an author that manages to grip a reader and pull them this forcefully into the story. 
I wondered about the start rating I would a lot to this book.  I ended up with a 9 * thrill rating.  The only reason why it is not a ten, is because I still need to read the other books the author has published, I doubt if they are even better, but in case they are, I will reserve the perfect 10 for them.
Celtic Storms, Book 1 in the Celtic Steel series written by Delaney Rhodes
Celtic Storms
Celtic Steel Series, Book 1

Darina O'Malley watched the sun set in the bay from the great tower in O'Malley castle. She said a silent prayer for her cousin, Kyra, hoping the message that was delivered to the MacCahan's did not spell sudden doom for her and her people. If what her Uncle Ruarc had told her was true, she was to be married to a stranger in nearly a fort night, and her world would turn upside down.

The realization that her clan held secrets which could destroy them forever - chilled her blood. Who was this son of a Laird that she was betrothed to and how would he react when he learned the truth

My review.
Now for those who may not know, I am not a fan of romance, at all.  I try to avoid it if I can.  But this book, with the basic premise romance got my attention.  Not the romance, the human frailty of the main male character, the strong personality of the main female character, the rich and fragrant backdrop against which the story plays off had me turn page after page.  Fragrant? Yes, fragrant, one can almost smell the rivers, the sea, the horses, the dampness of the castle etc.  All served to add substance to a story which already had me enthralled. 
The characters are richly portrayed, the story is told with enough sub plots to keep me entertained and wondering what will happen next, the basic love story soon becomes the sub plot.  So who would love this book, romance lovers and abhorrers of romance will all enjoy this book.  I loved the fact that the mail was not a perfect specimen in every way, for that matter, the main female is not perfect in every way either.  I loved the fact that their humanity adds so much to their characters that you mentally go and name and associate them with people you know or knew.
Considering that it is a love story that had me so enthralled, I cannot help but give it an 8 * pant review rating.