Monday, 17 November 2014

Book Review -- Heart of a Rocky by Kelsey Jordan

I was provided with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This novel took me by surprise - with two tales wonderfully told in one breath. The stories look entirely different and unrelated to begin with and they've been presented beautifully. The characters are weaved in and out remarkably well and the overall reading experience is smooth and delightful. Kudos to the author for choosing this style, and handling it well! In the first story, "The Takeover", we come across Omar James, who is the King of the North African pride, drowned in his love for Anise, whom he thinks of as his soul's mate. Anise is wary of Omar's advances, as her experience with Derrick, who is the Tor of the United States, whose child she is carrying, has left her bitter and mistrusting of men. In the second story, "The Defender", the tale revolves around Tyson who is unfortunate to witness his own soul's mate perish in battle, and Harmony, a former captive now on the run. Destiny brings these two together and now need each other's help to overcome their own obstacles.

While the first story talks about how one's soul's mate is brought to one's life, and narrates the challenges in winning over the heart of one's soul mate at the cost of many things of the heart and mind, the second talks about how not all is lost even after one has to see one's own soul's mate brutally die, making us see how life always has a surprise just around the corner. Steeped in paranormal occurences and beliefs, the novel also blends in the romance and adventure elements very well. The different characters, right from the adamant and stubborn Anise, the turmoiled Omar, the mourning Tyson to the alluring Harmony, are each remarkable. I really enjoyed this read, and I would recommend it to lovers of paranormal and adventurous romances.

My rating for this book: 4 stars

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Book Review -- Marie's Second Chance

A digital copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

This is another lovely historical romance from Killarney Sheffield. This one takes us through the times of the 1792 revolution and the after-math of it. Marie Antoinette, the unfortunate Queen of France at that time, is forced to escape the palace through a secret passageway, during a threat of sabotage from the local rebels during the revolutionary political upheaval. Pregnant with the loathsome's King's child, she flees with her maid, only to be caught and imprisoned. To make matters worse, she finds herself being called loony, whenever she tries explaining she is indeed Marie Antoinette. Reagan Reever, nicknamed The Stone, is a ruthless convict in the same prison camp who takes her into his care to win a wager with his friends. A highly unlikely friendship forms between the two as they realise they need each other's help and support. The rest of the book answers these questions and more: Does Marie succeed in convinving Reagan that she used to be the cursed Queen? Will she get ever get back the treasures she tried to hide and send away, when she fled? Does Reagan manage to keep his heart in check and not fall for a decidedly insane woman?

I couldn't help but smile at Marie's indignant attempts to convince people she was the Queen. Her annoyance at being mocked for stating the truth is painfully amusing. She wins the reader's heart over, with her elegant and royal upbringing clashing with the brutalities she is made to endure. Reagan's character is remarkable - tough at the exterior, but not as venemous inside, as makes himself appear to be. Sheffield does a great job laying these two characters out, that one can't help but wish there was more to read to understand the depth behing Reagan's characters - What was his mindset when he underwent unmentionable torture at the hands of his stepfather? Why did he choose to wear the tough armour, instead of becoming a scared rabbit himself? Why did he stuff Marie's clothes as well into his bag when he attempts to escape, but deny having had any intentions of taking her along? Although all of these instances prove he is softer inside than he would want others to believe, it would have been delightful to read more about his mind through Sheffield's writing. The faithful Adele is adorable and the vile brother is loathsome, just the way they should - which goes on to show how convincing Sheffield's charcterisation is. I would definitely recommend this to lovers of historical romance books.

My rating for this book: 5 stars

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Book Review -- What Casts the Shadow

A digital copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

Brandon Chase, with a demonised past and a mind in turmoil, is close to being in shambles. Constantly having had his self-worth questioned by his abusive father, he coats himself with an armour of savage violence, which he uses as his reaction to all the pricks that life gives him. Although a musician by will and by heart, the story shows the different facets of his, helping us get to know him as a person and not just as a musician. He gets into trouble with the police after one of his violent outbursts, putting him in front of Saul Mason, a therapist who transforms his beliefs, thoughts and thus, his life.

It's tough to classify this book as a fictional memoir, or a drama. The highly philosophical abstraction in this book makes for a thought-provoking read, and there's a bit of many genres in this book - a bit of drama, a bit of bitterness from the voice of the protagonist, a lot of reminiscences and a lot of dreams set aflame. That said, it's hard to classify who the real protagonist of this story is. Although Brandon is projected as the protagonist by definition, it's Saul who steals the show in my opinion. Effervescent and calm at the same time, radiating positivity and at the same time having the open-mindedness to knock down and overlook unreasonable conventionalities, Saul makes one wish that they too, like Brandon, had him for a personal healer as well. Brandon's character is well-etched. The conflicting mind-frames, which make him pursue his music dreams on one side, and at the same time, make him see himself as a doomed failure, put him into a vicious circle, and the author brings out the character's complexities well. And at the same time, instead of painting a bleak picture that merely portrays creative people as those struggling inside, the author, through the voice of Saul, opens up one's eyes to how life isn't as unfair as one makes it out to be. There're things to hang on to, and people that care, if only one can have a clear sight to look around. I loved this book, and I would definitely recommend it.

My rating for this book: 5 stars

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Tainted Energy by Lynn Vroman

Tainted Energy
Release Date: 2014

Summary from Goodreads:
For seventeen-year-old Lena, living in the trailer park with the rest of town’s throwaways isn’t exactly paradise. Dealing with a drunken father who can't keep his fists to himself doesn’t help matters either. The only good thing in her life, other than track, is the mysterious man who visits her dreams, promising to find her.

When a chair burns her arms, Lena chalks it up to stress-induced crazy. Yet as bizarre incidents escalate, even being crazy can’t explain it all away… until one day dream guy does find her.
Tarek lost Lena seventeen years ago after she was accused of treason and marked Tainted. He finally discovers her reborn on Earth into a life of suffering as punishment for her crime.

However, someone else has already found her… and wants her dead. Willing to sacrifice everything, he fights to keep her safe so she can live the only life she’s ever known—even if that life doesn’t include him.

Book Excerpt

Nothing annoyed me more than crappy best friends. The type who did stupid stuff, like grab my shoulder and scream right in my ear, "Help me, Barbara!"

I jumped and a cloud of popcorn exploded above us. The kernels remaining in the tub I threw in Zander's face.

We sat in the back row, Night of the Living Dead on the screen. No emergency exit signs interrupted the darkness, adding a little more to the scare department. But Zander killed the mood as soon as the graveyard scene popped up.

"You promised to watch, now watch." I chucked the popcorn tub at him when he wouldn't stop laughing.

"Fine, but my hands are stayin' in my pockets this time." He rubbed the tiny crescent-shaped marks on his left hand. "I have no idea why you watch these things. You can't sit through one without a week of nightmares."

"Not true. The Ring was just extra freaky."

"Ah, and so were The Shining and Paranormal Activity..." His southern accent rolled off his tongue like sap from a maple tree. "I think you like bein' afraid all the time."

I hated it when he was right. "Shut up."

Fear triggered the fight-or-flight mechanism in our brains. The signal that proved we still wanted to live. That was my theory, anyway.Maybe I was a masochist, but I did like experiencing the fear. It ensured the numbness hadn't completely taken over. Numb could be good. A takeover, though…not so good.

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About the Author
Born in Pennsylvania, Lynn spent most of her childhood, especially during math class, daydreaming. Today, she spends an obscene amount of time in her head, only now she writes down all the cool stuff.

With a degree in English Literature, Lynn used college as an excuse to read for four years straight. She lives in the Pocono Mountains with her husband, raising the four most incredible human beings on the planet. She writes young adult novels, both fantasy and contemporary.

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