Thursday, July 30, 2015

Currently Reading

Matt Grayson, Hollywood’s latest leading hunk and Lynn McCaine, Houston’s most determined investigative reporter, find themselves side by side on an ill fated flight from Los Angeles to Houston. When their plane crashes in the pine woods of East Texas, they survive, but only with the help of a farmer and his wife.  Matt notices that many in the hospital also have some type of extra appendage or tags on their hands, necks or heads. Matt, exhausted and worn from the ordeal, passes out only to wake up later in Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center in Houston. He is told he was the lone survivor from a plane crash and that his injuries, though severe, will heal given time.


Once free of the hospital, Matt's obsession takes him on a journey for answers. He finds a woman he is certain is Lynn, only she insists that she is Linda McGowan and that she has never been to Houston; that she has lived in LA her entire life. Matt tries to convince her that she is really Lynn McCaine and that she is from Houston, and that they were the lone survivors of a plane crash in Texas.  As they chat over coffee, two FBI agents push their way into their booth and question Linda about her recent hospital stay. They learn that “facts” surrounding Linda’s “accident” don’t add up.  The road to answers takes them on an adventure that opens a Pandora’s box of secrecy surrounding medical research and human testing that is conducted without any oversight. The driving force behind it all is profit and all costs.










Captain Maiel is a duta warrior of Zion, a race of giant, winged guardians and chroniclers of the lesser souls. Maiel's assurances are shaken when she nearly loses a young human girl to the dark forces of Jahannam, the prison realm where the lowest beings reside. To avoid answering to the leaders of her world, Maiel seeks refuge on Earth, but she is pursued by a baron of Jahannam intent on destroying her. Can she be saved before time runs out? Or will she be sacrificed to secure the borders of Zion and to hide the lie her journey uncovers?   (synopsis from Amazon)










Have I mentioned that Ted Dekker is one of my favorite authors?

Janeal has felt trapped by her father's gypsy lifestyle.  When a myseterious man offers her a chance to leave that lifestyle behind Janeal jumps at the chance even if it means recover a large sum of money tied to her father.  When the plan doesn't go accordingly Salazar's men attack the village and burn it to the ground.

Now Janeal is face with a dire choice.  A choice that will result in either a new life or death.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Thr3e


Title: Thr3e by Ted Dekker
Media Source: Paperback
Rating 5 out of 5 stars
"And does man simply choose evil, or does he create it?"

Thr3e is a chilling tale about Kevin Parson who is plague by a mysterious person threatening his life.  This whirlwind tale takes you to places you wouldn't expect with twists and turns along the way.  It definitely earns the title: thriller.

Kevin Parson is in his car alone, when he receives a phone call from an unknown person.  This person tells him to confess his sin to the world in 3 minutes or his car will explode.  Kevin struggles to determine what sin is the person talking about.  He rushes into a parking lot and runs from the car, seconds before it explodes.  Thus marking the beginning of a thrilling game of cat and mouse.  He comes across a childhood friend who helps him try to figure things out.  But the longer they take to figure out what sin the caller wants, the more dangerous he gets.

Wow...just wow.  Ted Dekker has always been one of my favorite authors and will continue to be one.  His stories are so captivating I stay up all night just to finish it.  I couldn't pry myself away from the story.  Right off the bat he hits the wow factor with the car explosion and keeps his readers hooked throughout the story.  There are so many twists and turns that you cannot even attempt to predict what will happen next or who is the mysterious caller.  His characters develop exceptionally well throughout the novel, readers witness the shift in Kevin's behavior almost immediately.  We see him turn from a put together seminary student to someone completely paranoid and on the verge of breaking.  He does with his use of language in descriptions and dialogue.  Nothing is done generically, Dekker truly has his own style.

There is suspense around every corner.  While the novel is considered Christian thriller, the Christian elements are not shoved in the reader's face.  They are paramount to the story, but the story doesn't revolve around them.  That is one thing that makes Dekker an excellent author, while he adds various elements into his writing nothing is over the top.  He does a great job at pulling his audience in and creates an atmosphere that is both chilling and fascinating.  There were so many times I let out an audible gasp as I was reading through this novel.  You just never know what to expect.  Dekker touches his readers on a psychological level, not only in Thr3e, but in his other novels.

Recommendation:  I would recommend Thr3e to everyoneIt has a little something for everyone: suspense, action, mystery, even a little romance  If you get the chance after reading the novel, check out the movie.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Shadow's Edge

Title: Shadow's Edge by Brent Weeks
Media source: Paperback
Rating: 3 out 5 stars

Recommendation: I would recommend this novel to any fantasy lover, or someone who enjoys assassins, politics, war-like novels, and magic.

Shadow's Edge is the second novel in the Night Angel trilogy, the first being The Way of Shadows.  It picks up the story of Kylar Stern, a young assassin who just survived an uprising that killed not only his mentor, but also his best friend.  Now he is trying to live a life outside of that of a killer.  Can he do it?  Or will the calling of a wet boy forever call out to him?

Kylar is trying to leave the assassin's life behind him.  He has lost his mentor Durzo, as well as his best friend Logan.  He leaves the city with Elene, the woman he loves, and Uly a young child they have taken in.  In the new city he tries a new profession, one where he is helping people heal rather than killing them.  When his childhood best friend comes to his new phone proclaiming his best friend Logan is still alive, Kylar has a decision to make.  Does he accept the contract Jarl presents to him, or turn his back on his friends?

I had a little bit of a hard time with this book.  It jumped around more than The Way of Shadows did.  So many different storylines to follow until they become one.  They are all interesting stories and are needed to make the plot move along, but keeping track got a little difficult.  The story with Kylar in a different city was one of my favorite storylines, with his frustrations at being an apothecary and struggling against the desire to be a wetboy still calling out to him.  Throughout the story we see him struggling to change who he is.  He develops greatly from the last time we seen him. 

The ideas of the Talent and Ka'kari are interesting and I kind of wanted more explanation and usage of the ka'kari.  One of my favorite parts was when he used it to disguise himself and save the girl from hoodlums.  There is non-stop action throughout the novel, no matter which storyline you were reading, there was something happening.  Each descriptions was in depth and excessively descriptive.  It is so well done, you are able to picture every last detail.  His dialogue is well written, when each character speaks you can almost hear their own voices and nuances.  There were plenty of times when I was reading that I let out an audible gasp. 

The rating I gave the book of 3 stars is because it was full of political talk and strategy which I admit is a little harder for me to understand.  The first book was more of Kylar becoming the assassin he is and the trials along the way.  I devoured The Way of Shadows, I think I expected Shadow's Edge to something along the same lines.  I will continue with the series with Beyond the Shadows because I am interested in this amazing tale. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Happy Birthday Hemingway

Hemingway has always been one of my favorite authors from the first time I picked up one of his books, For Whom The Bell Tolls.  His writing is beyond unique there are no words to describe it.  In my opinion he is one of the best authors of all times.  He had the ability to bring his characters alive through his words.  He didn't spend extensive amount of time with descriptions unless necessary.  He focused mainly on the story and elements that would drive the story along.  After finishing one book, I wanted more.  I couldn't get enough of his writing until I finished all of them.  I find myself returning to his novels time and time again.

So here's to you Mr.Hemingway, I'll have a shot for you.

Willows of Fate

Title: Willows of Fate by Suzanna Linton
Media Source: Kindle
Rating 5 out of 5

Recommendation:  Willows of Fate is one of the novels you cannot put down.  You feel the need to keep reading until you come to the conclusion.  If you enjoy a good novel with action, twists/turns, a little romance, then this is the novel for you!

Willows of Fate is a fantasy novel about a woman who has seen beings and creatures from another plane all her life.  She always brushed them off as her imagination running wild, but one day she finds out they are all too real. 

Desdemona gets a surprising phone call one day that her mom is dying of cancer, after spending a few days in the hospital, her mom passes away.  After the funeral, things begin to get weird.  After an argument with her brother he goes missing, the neighbor lady reveals that Desdemona has an aunt she knew nothing about, she is seeing the beings/creatures more, weird sounds and lights are appearing throughout the house, someone breaks in, and so much more.  What is Desdemona to think?  Could everything be connected?  When a man tells her she has the key to the world beyond the Willows, and only she can help restore their world, she steps beyond the willows to find answers she desperately needs.

I loved this book, there is not one thing I would change.  Right from the beginning readers feel attached to Des with the lose of both her mother and brother, then discovering she has a aunt only to lose her as well.  In a matter of days she loses everyone mysteriously, so it is natural that when Martin offers the chance to find answers she jumps at the chance.  The characters Suzanna creates are fantastic.  Each had their own unique personality, and none of them felt like a cookie cutter fantasy character.  The centaur type of character is in my opinion, an underused persona, but Suzanna utilizes it and creates a character you want more from.  I couldn't help want anticipate seeing Thane (sp) pop back up in the story. Throughout the story readers watch as each character transforms, not just Desdemona.

Some things are predictable, while others blow you away.  There is a perfect balance of the two, sometimes the reader needs to be able to predict something happening, but how it happens could be completely different from how the reader imagines it.  That happens quite a bit throughout the novel.  There were moments I thought one thing was going to happen a certain way and Suzanna takes it a different direction.  To me this is the mark of a phenomenal author. There were only a few slight errors in novel.  The way Suzanna Linton describes things simply creates a world of her own.  "Cedar and lavender waft up, old and faded like memories," this description is when Desdemona opens a truck, as you read it, you can almost smell the cedar and lavender.  It is a beautiful way to describe opening a truck rather than saying it smelled of mold or mildew.  Suzanna appeals to all senses throughout the novel when she describes things in this manner.

Now I want, no I need to read more.  What happens next for the Land of Sun?  Does she return?  Some loose ends tied up nicely in the end and the epilogue, but it also cause the reader to want more from these characters.  I honestly cannot wait to read more.

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**I was provided a copy of this book for an honest review**

Monday, July 20, 2015

 
Literary cat: Orion disapproves of interruptions in his reading...

Friday, July 17, 2015

Everflame

 
Title: Everflame by Dylan Lees Peters
Media: E-book: Kindle
Rating 4 out of 5 stars

Recommendation: I would highly recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys a great fantasy novel.  It is a great story of finding oneself and their abilities.

Everflame is an epic fantasy about a world that lost sight of where they came.  Four beings known as the ancients created humans to be the defender of the world and the creatures which inhabit it.  When the ancients are chased away by a being known as the Great Tyrant, the humans lose sight of their creatures and accept lies from the Tyrant as truth.

While hunting in the woods two bears came across a small human child who had been abandoned by his people.  The bears decide to go against regulations of the kingdom and raise the boy, naming him Evercloud.  Rumors regarding the return of the ancients reach the bear kingdom, and they decide to send Whiteclw, Evercloud, and Eveneye to discover if these rumors are indeed true.  This could mean saving the world has grown to love as well as the world he knows nothing about.  While the group looks for evidence of the Ancients, another sets out to spread the lies of the Great Tyrant.  Evercloud must discover the courage within himself to protect his home, but there is a chance he could succumb to the darkness that looms across the land.

I devoured this book like it was chocolate cake.   I wasn't sure what to expect from the novel. I was weary of the idea about a boy being raised by bears, but Peters does an excellent job with the story.  Evercloud has some bear-like qualities reflected in his actions which would come from being raised by them, but he is also wholly human which is reflected in his emotions and thoughts.  We see Evercloud evolving throughout the story as he begins to discover who he truly is and where is his place in this world.

The story moved along at a easy pace, not too fast, not too slow.  With the right amount of action, even the most hard core of action lovers would enjoy the battle scenes within this novel.  Some of the battles aren't physical, but also internal emotional battles.  There was a fantastic balance between the two.  Peters takes a tale from his dreams, puts it down to words and creates a story readers are captivated by.  His details are done well; he doesn't drone on about the minor things nor does he forget the bigger scale of things.  Everything in the story is perfectly balanced.

The story kept me interested all the way to the end which leaves off with a cliff-hanger.  This was a slight disappointment as there was no resolution to the story Peters began.  I understand there is a second book in the series, and I am very interested in reading it.  But the story could have come to a close with a resolution and still set the stage for further novels.  This is the reason for the rating of 4 rather than 5 stars.

**** Special addition:  read an interview with Dylan Peters here.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Planet Urth

Title: Planet Urth by Jennifer and Christopher Martucci
Media Source: e-book: Nook
Rating 3 out of 5 stars

Recommendation:  I would recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys a post apocalyptic stories and stories of survival.

Planet Urth is a novel written by Jennifer and Christopher Martucci.  It is a post apocalyptic novel that takes place on Earth after a biological war.  The plants, animals, and humans have mutated into something hideous.  Avery and her younger sister June have survived for 6 years on their own.  When a herd of Urthmen and Lurkers threaten their safety, the girls need to decide the next steps they must take in order to survive.

Avery watched as the Urthmen killed her mother.  Avery, her sister June and their father managed to escape the mutated humans only to spend the next several years surviving in the woods. Their father passed away leaving Avery to care for her sister and ensure no harm comes to them.  One day while out hunting for food, Avery comes across another family of humans.  Her hopes rise, but as she heads back to her cave, she was attacked by a couple of Urthmen, gets tangled in a mysterious creature's web, and chased by the Lurkers (creatures that hunt at night, making sundown a dangerous time of day).  The Lurkers have discovered the girls' hiding spot and mark it in order to return.  As Avery returns to warn the family of humans they are attacked by the Urthmen.  No where in the woods is safe anymore and the group now must find another place to hide, hopefully a place with more humans.

The premise for the book is a great idea, but the execution of it is lacking.  The idea of a teenage girl trying to survive in a world unfamiliar to them.  Avery is a strong character with natural flaws that come with being a teenage girl.  There isn't much development with Avery, and very little with June other than her trying to hunt big enough game to feed both her and Avery.  This book has a lot of backstory and emotions throughout it.    The climax of the story happens to close to the end for there to be any satisfaction for the readers.  It sets the stage for the novels that come next in the series, and I do hope they get better in the progression of the story.   It is very slow moving and focuses a great deal on descriptions, and minute details.  In a story where the only humans are Avery and her sister, it seems there won't be much to the story, and as the story progresses the reader continues to feel that way.  That is until Avery stumbles across the other humans, the Urthman and the Lurkers.  Personally, there should have been more suspense earlier in the novel such as something happening with the Lurkers or something.  There needed to be more meat to the story.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Little Sparrow: Kiowa in Love

Title: Little Sparrow: Kiowa in Love by R.A Winter
Media: e:book: Nook
Rating 4 out of 5
Recommendation: I recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys a good romance that focuses on the relationship rather than "physical intimacy".

Karen is the epitome of a workaholic; she spends all her time at the office with little time for anything else.  When her mother finds out she has 3 weeks worth of vacation, she either uses or loses she demands that Karen spend the vacation time at home during Thanksgiving.  On her way home, Karen continues to run into Richard who is also on his way to spend time with a relative.  Throughout the course of their time together the discover feelings and spend an amazing couple of days together until a snow storms breaks.  Quickly they find out there are complications that bar them from being together.  In the following weeks, Karen is forced to face issues she struggles to forget and learns who she truly is.  Will Karen come back to her roots? Or will she keep running away?

This was a fantastic book to read.  It was refreshing to read a novel that actually focused on the building of a relationship rather than jumping into bed together all the time.  I really enjoyed that Richard took the time to get to know and understand Karen's family and culture.  That is something that is lacking in other romantic novels.  Others focus too much on the sexual aspect whereas Little Sparrow focuses on the time spent getting to one another, the thrill of a first (or second) kiss, the way your heart races just being close to that person.  Those elements are what make for a good romance novel and RA hits the nail on the head with her novel.

The various Native American elements added a special quality to the novel.  It helped give a perspective into a different culture.  I thoroughly enjoyed the Native American side of the First Thanksgiving story as well as all the cultural elements.  I thought it was funny that Karen's family were testing Richard the whole time!  Oh what would I do if my mother was asking a gentleman caller all kinds of sexual questions!  I am blushing just thinking about!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Darkest Craving

Title: Darkest Craving by Gena Showalter  (book 10 in the Lord of the Underworld Series)
Media Source: Paperback
Rating 3.5 out of 5

Darkest Craving the 10th book in the Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter.  It is a paranormal romance novel that follows the story of Kane: Keeper of disaster.  Wherever he goes disaster strikes, either to himself or those around him.

Kane is the keeper of Disaster, and he wants nothing more than to rid of the demon.  He longs for love, but anytime he gets close to a woman his demon acts up.  Whenever Disaster is "hungry" or upset he causes disaster to happen all around Kane.  Josephina is a member of the royal Fae family, well partly a member.  She desperately wants to be rid of her family and the life she lives in the Fae Kingdom.  She rescues Kane from the depths of Hell in hopes of convincing him to kill her.  Little did she expect to fall for the handsome Lord.  Kane struggles to avoid the Fate's prediction that he would cause the apocalypse, as well as marrying the keeper of Irresponsibility as he wants Josephina (aka Tinker Bell).  A whirlwind tale of romance and adventure erupts from the very beginning and continues until the end.

Gena Showalter is a compelling storyteller, but this novel does not display her talent as well as the others.  She takes the mythology of Pandora's box and weaves it into her own tales with the Lords of the Underworld.  She continues that with Kane's story.  We had glimpses of Kane throughout the previous novels, glimpses that made readers want his story and to see how his demon effects him as we've seen the other demons reacting in other books.  I was surprised Disaster reacted significantly different than some of the other demons in the previous books.  In the past the demons in the books acted out towards the Keeper, such as Reyes needed to harm himself rather than the people around him harming others, but with Disaster (and also Disease: Torin) the demon not only acts out towards him but others around him.  Which makes sense that he could possibly be the bringer of the apocalypse.

In this book we are introduced to some more mythical creatures such as the phoenix as well as Fae.  As with the legend of Pandora's Box, Gena Showalter makes the creatures her own.  I especially enjoyed the idea of each Fae having a different power rather than everyone having the same one.  In Jospehina's case she had two, one she could project herself to a different place while remaining in another, two with a touch she could take on the powers of the person she touches.  My inner geek immediately thought of Rogue from X-Men, so that is the image I now have of Josephina.  I thought this power would have been used in a different way throughout the story, but what Showalter does with it and how it is used was unexpected. 

Throughout the book, the story diverges to discuss some of the other Lords, briefly introducing us to their stories such as Torin and Cameo.  It is almost like a little teaser, giving readers a taste of what's to come in their books.  Smart movie Showalter!  We also get a small glimpse of another Sent One towards the end. A Sent One is kind of like an angel, but not entirely.  Something else Showalter makes her own.  After seeing a Sent One or two in previous, I want more from them.  I want to read their stories; could that possibly be her plans for the future?  One can only hope. These side characters are what helped bring the rating up slightly.  The character development of Kane and Josephina were highly lacking, if anything they backtracked.  The Fae started out a this kick ass woman who stole the powers of a phoenix, but then regressed into the victim mentality unwilling to fight for herself because she was afraid of the consequences.  Didn't seem like the Tinker Bell we met in the beginning.  And Kane, he seems to be the weakest of the Lords.  While the others find ways to control their demons, Kane allows his demon to control him even to the point of changing his eyes as the demon comes to the surface.  Is there a reason for this?

While there were points during the novel where the story seemed to slow down in pace and just drag on, or moments which seemed a little too cliché, this was a phenomenal book.  I enjoy everything I have read from this author and Darkest Craving was no different.  While I look forward to her next book I am a little weary about how well written it would be.  Hopefully I won't be too disappointed.

Recommendation: Darkest Craving is a paranormal romance novel.  It satisfies the craving for more from the Lords, as well as slight romance and adventure.