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THE BLURB

Travel to Exeter, Massachusetts, where old grudges, buried secrets and lifetime regrets haunt the residents of this small town – and sometimes trip up unwary newcomers.

In Bones of the Past, Ellie learns some old secrets lurking underneath the small town peace.

Step back 10 years in Thrown Out as Chris must decide if he’ll let old scars come between him and what he’s building with Dan.

F.X. O’Leary can see something is very wrong with his grandchildren, but he must enlist Riordan’s help for an End Run when his son Joe won’t let him help.

Finally, in the 40 years they’ve known each other, Becca and Riordan have perfected this Intricate Dance between them.

 

WHAT I THOUGHT

Jennie Coughlin has created a town which seems real enough to perhaps be the one next to your own.  This small book spans a few decades with its four short stories.  It’s about everyday life for the people of Exeter, complete with problems, trivial and large.  I felt like I was looking at the town through a window, getting a little glimpse at the goings on and getting to know the characters.  It was like being given a sneak peak at what was to come – which is good because I have heard there are more stories about Exeter in the works.

Can I pick a favourite?  Nope, I can’t.  Even though they are four short stories it still seemed like more of a whole to me than four parts, they interwove and it was great.  It gave me the feeling that I had known the town for more than just the ‘time at the moment’. 

An easy to read pocketsize book with engaging characters and good storylines.

 

I must say thank you to Jennie for providing me with a copy of her book – thanks, Jennie!

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THE BLURB

Kit’s only goal is to stay alive. Right now, that means dodging brutal gangs while peddling fake I.D.s on the back streets of Winnipeg. But things get complicated when Kit sells a license to a girl named Aura—a girl who could almost be her twin. Caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, Kit is plunged into an underground society with heart-stopping surprises at every turn. To protect herself, she’s forced to assume Aura’s identity. But storm clouds are gathering on the horizon, and when Kit learns the truth about Aura, she knows she has to get out before the storm breaks. There’s only one problem: escape isn’t an option.

Suddenly, staying alive just got a lot harder.

WHAT I THOUGHT

Katie Robison’s Downburst was just what I needed.  I was in a bit of a reading slump, reading a few books at the same time but nothing really grabbing my attention.  I wanted to read a book which whispered to me, ‘Go on, read some more, you know you want to, don’t put me to bed yet.’  So the search was on, which book should I pick up next?  I actually thought my odds of choosing the ‘right’ book quite slim so I didn’t have high expectations.  I read a few reviews for a few books waiting on my shelves and after reading some good reviews for Downburst I decided to give it a try.  Boy did I pick the right book!!

Downburst is Katie Robison’s debut YA novel and it is set to be a great series – The Windstorm Series.  I completely agree with many others who have said this series will rival The Hunger Games.  Now, I need to be careful not to give too much away here.  I can say that although the blurb sounds quite exciting enough in itself it most certainly does not even come close to illustrating just what this book is about……..oh, the last line is pretty good!  You will be surprised, just know that.

Katie Robison has obviously given thought to how she was going to present the world in Downburst as the details are such that it makes this make-believe fiction setting seem real.  I certainly could picture in my mind the environment/setting for the story, the descriptions were more than sufficient to open up that creative part of my brain and conjure up a picture that fit.  The characters were an interesting bunch but I know we’ve just scratched the surface with some of them; hopefully there will be more to come in the following books.   I did like seeing snapshots from Kit’s past and of course can’t wait to see an even bigger picture for the future!

The storyline was great, started off with a bang and ended with a………well let’s just say it ended leaving a definite want for more!  Right from the start I didn’t want to put this book down and that continued all the way through and when I did happen upon that last page I still didn’t want to put it down!  Unfortunately, try as I might, I couldn’t conjure up even just another 100 pages, let alone the 300 I really wanted.  I just love when a book leaves you feeling like that!  Well done, Katie Robison!

Fantastic start to the series!  Loved the ending of the first book!  Can’t wait to see what will happen next!

Word of advice – get your hands on this one if you haven’t already 🙂

Many thanks to Katie Robison for providing me with a copy of Downburst – thank you, Katie!

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THE BLURB

Being hardheaded is a common character flaw, but most teenagers can’t crack a concrete curb with their skull. And while a skilled skateboarder appears to defy gravity, he can’t keep water from pouring out of an upturned cup. Unintentionally tapping into latent powers has brought Jayke Wolff to the attention of the Aduro, an ancient society plotting an apocalyptic new world order. He’s now their number one draft pick, and they’ve dispatched their most seductive member to close the deal. It shouldn’t take much convincing a hormonal teenage boy to turn his back on a cryptic covenant for a future of self-indulgence and unchecked power. But if Jayke can’t be tempted by pleasures of the flesh, the flesh can be influenced in less pleasant ways as well. Armageddon can’t wait forever. Killing Jayke will also work.

Not remembering your past and not believing in your future can make it hard to choose who you’re going to be. Jayke has to decide how much of his teenage life he’s willing to sacrifice for a greater good. After all, you’re only young once.

WHAT I THOUGHT

You would think only being able to remember the last 7 years of your life would be enough to try and deal with.  Well, Jayke Wolff has plenty more on his plate.  This is not the typical teenager coming of age story, there is so much more contained in The Buried Covenant and this aspect is what appealed to me.  Keenan managed to give Jayke’s story a feeling of realness, even if super powers are a thing of fiction. 

Jayke is a foster child ready to go out into the real world and go to school after previously being home-schooled and so this story begins.  All of a sudden he’s defying gravity and suffering no cuts when others would.  Jayke is left wondering what is going on?!  He gains some friends at school and feels the little butterflies in his tummy which may be attributed to female infatuation.  It almost seems as if he is learning to live a new way of life, not to mention that being a teenager is hard enough at the best of times.

I really liked the cast of characters who travelled along with Jayke through this story, they seemed very apt and just what the book needed to keep it real.  Having said that the Aduro, a group who want Jayke for his powers, are I guess portraying the unreality of the power side of things but at the same time bringing to the story further struggles teenagers may face in a group situation like this – peer pressure, bullying, violence, et cetera.  It’s not all doom and gloom though, there’s Ben and Tina, some of the best friends a guy could have and even Amber, fellow foster child, has her positive traits, just not when she’s using her recruitment skills.  There are quite a few other characters in the book, some of them fairly integral, but I shall comment no further as to do so may give something away.

The Buried Covenant is a book which includes many topics/issues relevant for teenagers including the usual trials and tribulations you go through, making and breaking friendships, infatuation for others, looking for answers, trying to find yourself, dating, power struggles, family life, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  It really is a quite all-encompassing YA novel.

I enjoyed the writing style and felt the humour was well-placed throughout.  It’s definitely set up well for a sequel  and by checking out Shawn’s website I see it could well be a sequel is penned at some stage in the future and I just know there will be a lot of happy teens out there who will look forward to that book hitting the shelves 🙂

I must say thank you to Shawn P Keenan for providing me with a copy of his book – thanks, Shawn!!

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THE BLURB

Local rock band Ragman is finally taking off. Stephanie Case’s flamboyant performances and scorching guitar work have started attracting crowds, and singer John Tsiboukas–aka Johnny Tango–is delivering the best performances of his life. After months of playing to dead rooms, it looks like success is at hand. The thing is, there’s something wrong with Johnny’s voice. Until just a few weeks ago, he couldn’t hit the right pitch if you painted a target on it and let him stand real close. Now he sounds amazing. . . and strange things happen every time he sings. Lights burn out. Whole rooms become cold and hushed. People get violent. For Johnny and Case, Ragman is a ticket out of a life of meaningless, dead-end jobs and one lousy gig after another, but as the weirdness surrounding Johnny begins to turn into outright nightmare, they find that the price of stardom might be higher than either of them could ever have imagined.

WHAT I THOUGHT

Oh boy, don’t read this one when you’re home alone at night. Joseph Garraty has created a world of horror populated by a string of characters who have their own demons to deal with – they don’t need their lead singer to turn into the devil to complicate their lives further but that is exactly what they get.

Say hello to Ragman – John/Johnny, his brother Danny, Stephanie Case/Case and Quentin. The band has dreams of making it big; little did they know they would have to go through hell to get there. John is the lead singer of Ragman, only problem is he doesn’t have a particularly good voice – okay, he has a pretty awful voice. Johnny, however, has a voice with the ability to put crowds into a trance, it is that good! Let me clear this up a little bit. John effectively does a deal with the devil, pardon the cliché, and Johnny Tango is born. Johnny has an awesome voice and he is THE MAN. Now that their lead singer is such a hit success is Ragman’s for the taking but there is a stronger presence at play here who will take more than success – lives are what this evil presence wants.

Garraty has set the music scene perfectly, it is completely believable. The descriptions of playing in not so hot locations, playing at bigger locations, the interactions between members of the band, the lows and highs of a band trying to make it – all these descriptions add to the realness of the book and invite you into the world of Ragman, both collectively as a whole and individually as band members. Frequently the voice in my head was asking how far will they go and what will the cost be? How much will they sacrifice, who will they hurt and will it bring success or failure? More often than not it was asking do I really want to know the answers to these questions? Yes, I most definitely did! I might have to read with one eye closed, sneaking a look at the page but scared of what I might find and okay, I might have to read with the lights on but I knew I wouldn’t be able to turn away and I had to know the answers, no matter what those answers might be. I could not stop reading this book, even when things got gory and spooky and strange I could not put it down. It was like I was now a member of Ragman, I was in for the journey whether I liked it or not.

This was without a doubt a page-turner for me. Before I dove in and started reading I wasn’t sure what to expect, or whether I would even enjoy it, but once I started that was it, I was hooked and I read it with a real hunger. I went through many emotions whilst turning those pages; I felt high, full of adrenalin and then I felt low, in a trancelike state, depressed, and angry. I loved it all, the characters, the actual story, the shocking and the gruesome parts – I loved the rollercoaster ride of it. This book has it all and I have to say Garraty has done a fantastic job fitting it all in without feeling rushed.

If you haven’t read this book yet I would suggest you seek it out and do so as soon as you can. It is well worth the read. Even if you aren’t sure if you will like it just give it a go and you might be pleasantly surprised, as I was, and then you will say a thank you to the writing gods for sending us Joseph Garraty and this horror story called Voice.

Thank you to Joseph Garraty for providing me with a copy of Voice, I very much enjoyed the ride – thanks, Joseph!

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THE BLURB

Born a genius; education, wealth, and prestige came easy to Logan Richards. Actually, there wasn’t much that Logan couldn’t learn or acquire. However, he knew there was more to life than money and power. Logan was determined to find the woman who he’d dreamed of his entire life and know what it was like to love her before he died.

Amber Lewis, a waitress for a five-star restaurant in, Dana Point, California, was overworked, stressed, and wary of life since her sister, Heather, had passed away. Then, one evening while working she fell hopelessly in love with Logan Richards, a chivalrous man who felt deeply familiar.

For Amber, it was the beginning of a voyage of self-discovery and renewal. For Logan, it was the completion of life. For each of them it was the deepest sort of love.

WHAT I THOUGHT

I would like to see this as a movie is what I thought.

It’s what you dream about, isn’t it, love that is so strong it lasts for eternity. In this case love lasted and travelled across time. Logan had waited a very long time for his love to be realised and oh what a love that was. Logan was completely and utterly in love with Amber and after finding her it didn’t take long for his love to be reciprocated, romance to blossom and deepen and become one of those everlasting loves which makes the heart feel full and like it’s cloaked in soft red velvet.

Across Eternity is a beautiful love story. I admit to being lost in the romance of it all. It just had this whimsical, romantic, good vibe about it. Right from the beginning I thought this was a fantastic idea for a novel and I loved the storyline. As mentioned above, I think it would be great for a movie and I already have in mind who will play the lead characters (which I’ll keep in my mind so as not to put pictures in your head if you are going to read this one).

Speaking of characters, I found them completely likeable and equally so. There was a realness about them and speaking of that, I read this like it could happen – didn’t find anything strange about the storyline at all. I mean, who knows, perhaps these kinds of things do happen in a roundabout kind of way and if they don’t then I still don’t think it is that far-fetched. For a love story of this kind there didn’t seem to be anything too fantastical about it – it was just meant to be.

And now I feel I must also mention the following:

The editing was not up to scratch and it altered my reading experience. It seemed to get worse the longer I kept reading and unfortunately it did take away my good vibe feeling and I believe it took away from the story. It has been a while since I read Across Eternity and so I cannot be more specific other than to say the editing was poor and it left a lasting impression.

However, I contacted Aris to give the heads up about my editing comment and was advised that I was provided with an uncorrected proof. Aris very kindly provided me with a corrected proof. Unfortunately I have not had time to re-read the updated version which Aris sent me so I cannot compare.

I mention this because I must give a true account of the copy I did read but please remember it was not the finished product.

And lastly I would like to say Aris has been very patient. I have very limited time to read from my computer and it was roughly 6 months before I read Across Eternity and following that it has been a further few months before I have posted this review (I was thinking I could read the updated version but decided I just don’t have the time).

My thanks to Aris Whittier for providing me with a copy of Across Eternity and for being so patient – thanks, Aris!

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THE BLURB

Avin del Bors has a problem. His brother Drew has run off to fight in a war against the wolves, even though the wolves weren’t responsible for the vicious attack against the humans on the Free Plains. Avin’s companions—the warrior Ax, one-armed sorcerer Jocen, plucky owl Ulkia, drug-addled cheetah Summon the Wind and raccoon stand-up comic Onesso—all have their own reasons for accompanying him through the animal territories across the Bladebone Mountains. Their travels will take them from the highly regimented wolf cities, to the richesse and luxury of the Equine Commonwealth, all the way to the vertiginous tunnels of the serpents’ underground Net and across the waters of the Autonomous Dolphin Collective—to whatever unknown awaits them.

What neither Avin nor his companions yet understand is that the real force behind the Free Plains attack is neither canine nor feline, nor yet crocodile, insect, raptor, bear or shark. Far to the east, in the scorched wasteland known as The Barrens, lives the ragged clan that calls itself The Godless. There, Avin will confront his brother, his companions and himself, and discover two truths: one that changes everything he understands about himself, and another that threatens the balance of the entire world.

WHAT I THOUGHT

Impressive is what I thought.

Picture this – human beings have destroyed the earth, they stuffed up and put a huge dent in creation.  The gods (yes, plural, I will get to that in a minute) have decided all creatures should live separately and not seek dominance over one another, all are equal.  Separate territories are created for each set of animals and each territory comes with its own language, or way of speaking, and its own way of living.  Each territory also has its own god: there is a god of humans, a god of woodland animals, a god of swift-running predators, a god of hoofed animals, et cetera, et cetera, you get the point.  As well-intentioned as the gods are you just know this set-up sounds too good to be true, too good to last.  It seems early on that the humans are in a war against the wolves.  It seems that the plan is not going the way the gods thought it would.  It seems we have an adventure on our hands!

The beginning had me, I was in and I wanted more.  This idea of separate territories, different gods and a supposed order of the world was definitely intriguing. 

After the introduction it was time to meet the characters.  I loved how Maine did this, slowly but surely.  Rather than introduce all of the main characters in one chapter they were spread over several chapters.  I loved learning about each character’s society.  It really is like another world and Dave Maine has created this amazing world by providing the reader with all of the important details in such a way it seemed to me that every sentence was especially crafted.  In my opinion it definitely feels as though a lot of work has gone into this epic fantasy known as The Gamble of the Godless and although Maine is not usually known for fantasy work such as this, it certainly seems as though he is no stranger to the genre.  He knows what he’s doing!

The characters maketh the story!  I’m sure everyone who reads this book will have a favourite by the end of it.  I loved them all, even if they were ‘baddies’, and I loved the way they lived and how they talked, how law and order was practiced and how they viewed the world.  Whether your favourite be a human, a sorcerer, an owl, a cheetah, a raccoon, a horse, a snake or one of the other countless animals in this story there is no doubt your favourite is so because of the way Maine has managed to give him/her/it a ‘realness’ and has been able to   describe the character without the feeling of one dimensionality.  Don’t call me crazy – perhaps I shouldn’t say it, but I will – they felt like real people/animals, like they could seriously be living in the hills near my house.  Just goes to show what a way with words Mr Maine has.  Oh, and by the way, I will disclose that Ulkia the owl was my favourite – I’d love for her to land on my fence one day!

So many characters are joined together, so many happenings take place, so many reasons to keep this series going and so many reasons to read the next book!  If you haven’t read this one already you should.  Explore this fantasy world, let Maine’s writing explain to you the details and let it excite you!  Explore, explain, excite!

Many thanks to Dave Maine for providing me with a copy of The Gamble of the Godless – thanks, Dave!

Check out Dave’s author profile by clicking here

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THE BLURB

Hidden (Marchwood Vampire Series) is a paranormal romance that spans the centuries from modern England to 19th century Paris and ancient Cappadocia. The novel begins in gritty urban reality, but soon descends into horror, romance and historical adventure.

Sixteen-year-old Madison Greene is in foster care until one day she inherits a fortune and a house with a cellar full of danger. Eighteen-year-old Alexandre Chevalier lives in 19th century Paris. On an archaeological expedition, he discovers a lost underground city where his life changes forever.

Their lives entwine, but someone is watching and waiting. The story ramps up to an explosive ending.

 

WHAT I THOUGHT

Phew, I’m glad I didn’t miss out on this one is what I thought.

I have not read many vampire books and admit they don’t hold a lot of appeal for me.  However, I am so happy I accepted to review Shalini Boland’s excellent book Hidden and am grateful for this reading experience I may not have otherwise had. 

What can I say?  It wasn’t what I expected.  I loved it.  I was completely sucked in and didn’t want to put it down.  One might say I was captivated. 

Now, I have to be careful here not to give anything away – I won’t be getting too specific.

Shalini’s writing is such that I truly felt like I knew the characters.  Wonderful writing filled the pages and really made an unreal story seem real, like it could be happening right next door and it wouldn’t surprise me at all.  It was like Madison and Alexandre were my friends and they were brought to life by the descriptions given to them and how they spoke, the language they used, which was appropriate for their lives/time.

There was a sense of adventure about this book.  I love the two different timelines and how they complement each other.  Each chapter is a switch between Madison and Alexandre and present time and past time.  At the end of each chapter something is left hanging and it made me feel quite torn.  While reading a chapter I would be thinking about the other character’s story and how I couldn’t wait to get back to it but then I was still immensely enjoying the current story as well.  Ah, what a dilemma!!  Well no, not really a dilemma because the answer is easy – keep reading as much as you can and as fast as you can so you can finish the book and find out how it all ends.

This is the first in the Marchwood series and I will definitely be keeping my eyes out for upcoming books. 

All in all, not much more to say apart from I loved it!!

Many thanks to Shalini for providing me with a copy of Hidden – thanks, Shalini!

 Check out Shalini’s author profile by clicking here

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