Monthly Archives: January 2013

A Perfect Proposal by Katie Fforde

perfect

Sweet but poor girl falls in love with dashing wealthy guy. A pretty common theme in literature and one that is hard to bring any freshness to. A Perfect Proposal is charming and sweet but doesn’t really bring anything new to the genre. And that is ok. Sometimes it is nice to know where the story is going. It makes for a nice light read.

Sophie is sweet and nice and you want good things to happen for her. Luke is everything you could want in a modern take on a Prince Charming. The real book stealer though is Matilda. A vivacious grandmother who makes you wish you could sit down to tea with her. A weaker point is Sophie’s family. From the way they are written it is impossible to understand how Sophie turned out so sweet and why she continues to bother with them. There is no warmth there at all. There is no dimension to them either. This is the case with most of the characters, but as this is light romantic fiction it didn’t bother me as much as it normally would have.

While the story is sweet and slightly quirky it suffers from awkward dialogue on occasion and some naively simplistic writing at times. This is odd because some sections seem delightfully worded and playful. I couldn’t quite figure out why there was this dichotomy in the book.

Katie Fforde has written a sweet book that I would recommend for summer beach reading.

I do have to say that it is not a book I would purchase personally, but I didn’t mind reading it as a free book.

 

I was provided a copy of this book for review

Broken by Susan Jane Bigelow

broken

There is a lot going on in this book. I mean a lot. Two different alien races, a bunch of super humans and a messed up future. And it is never actually explained how we ended up where we find ourselves in this book. We get bits and pieces of the story but are mainly left in the dark.

The title of the book is an apt description of the storytelling method used. And this is unfortunate because there is a good story underneath it all. Boy and unlikely hero fight to save the universe.

Broken is also the name our anti-heroine goes by. She can fly, or at least she used to be able to fly. She is one of the humans with super powers in this tale. But in a slightly predictable and clichéd fashion the reason for her loss of flight is internal rather than external and rather anticlimactic when you get to it. Broken herself is interesting but fights to break out of the box as a character.

Michael is much more interesting. A young boy who is a reluctant hero, but is not heroic about it. The moodiness and angst we expect from a young teen comes across which makes him feel like the most real character in the book.

Many of the characters never breakout of the stereotype to become unique intriguing individuals. Instead we are left with facades that offer no surprises as to action or motivation. This in turn leads to predictability where it shouldn’t be.

The lack of aliens in a book that mentions them several times in the teaser is disappointing as well.

I really wanted more from this book.

 

I was provided a copy of this book for review.

Heaven’s Night by Harry Aderton

heaven night

I was more than a little skeptical about a book based completely on the fall of Lucifer. Could anything new be added to this? There have been several attempts at weaving the fall of the angels into science fantasy lore – but usually as background for a story. Would it be possible to create an original and compelling narrative without being bogged down by the inherent religious dogma?

Surprisingly the answer is yes.

Harry Aderton has created an intricate and compelling angelic world. He combines familiar aspects of the biblical story with aspects of other world religions and with modern scientific theory.  For the most part this works.

 The story focuses on Sariel, one of the Archangels, and tells the story of the fall from his perspective. Sariel is a warm and relatable character which was pleasantly surprising. To take a figure as naturally imposing as one of the Archangels, chosen hand and voice of God, and humanize him without weakening him – well that is impressive.

Lucifer is almost sympathetic. Almost. And at first you find yourself feeling creeped out by that. Who wants to feel sympathetic towards the architect of the fall of man? But then you realize that it is necessary. Lucifer has to be more than just a stereotype for the meaning of the story to really hit home.

It is a little confusing at times though. Aderton has brought a wealth of biblical and canonical knowledge to this story paired with a fairly robust amount of information from other world religions. And it is a lot for the reader to take in. At times I felt like I needed a flow chart. I enjoy detail and backstory and intricacy… but occasionally I wish the knowledge had been imparted in a clearer fashion.

More importantly this is a well-crafted tale that does not preach or seek to shove a religious view down anyone’s throat. That is not to say there is not a discussion of faith and belief and relationship with God. There is. But it is an exploration of the broader ideas and concepts related to that- on a very personal level.

And did I mention there are some pretty awesome angelical battles? Because there are. The descriptions of the heavenly host battling the fallen created cinematic images in my head. Extremely well done.

I am no longer skeptical. I am a fan.

 

I was provided a gratis copy of this book for review.

Review: Intaglio: The Snake and the Coins

Intaglio: The Snake and the Coins
Intaglio: The Snake and the Coins by Danika Stone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Intaglio: The Snake and the Coins was a really enjoyable book. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the material as well as the sensuality of it! When I received my e-copy of the book, I did not look at the cover to get a sense of what was to come… but it was hot, my dear readers. Children, middle grades, and young adults really need not apply.

Ava and Cole are students at the same art college. They share a class together whose teacher is one of those teachers with whom you never quite connect. For this novel, however, this might be the catalyst that drives the connection between these two lovely people.

Whirlwinds, high high emotions, and a lot of sexy moments complete this book. Just enough intrigue and undercurrent of a story so much deeper and more intangible than we will ever fully comprehend. Hints at a past together that started long, long before their current lifetime reach them only through visions, dreams, and moments that escape as quickly as they arrive. The author does a really good job at peppering these “memories” throughout the story in bite-sized pieces such that the reader doesn’t feel overwhelmed by a side story that requires a completely separate focus of attention.

I had the tiniest problem while reading the book, and I am absolutely certain it is 100% something that exists within me, the reader. I felt the erupting emotions of Ava overwhelmed from time to time. I am absolutely positive that is the intention of the author, but her emotions would explode violently only to settle back to normal in very short span of time. The author did an excellent job holding my hand through the explosion back down to “settled” but I still can’t imagine existing within a relationship where emotions are so highly volatile. Maybe this is the norm for a lot of the readers of this novel, and it will resonate believably as such … but for me, for my personality, it’s the kind of thing that’s a dealbreaker within a relationship. It will NOT be a dealbreaker for me for the rest of the series, however!

This book is wonderful, sensual, gripping, powerful, and highly enjoyable. Thank you for the opportunity to read it!

Disclaimer: I was provided this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Review & a Chance To Win: The Night the Moon Ate My Room! by Jesse Wilson

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The Night the Moon Ate My Room by Jesse Wilson

The Night the Moon Ate My Room!
by Jesse Wilson
Released September 4, 2012 / Tate Publishing

ISBN: 1620241749 / ISBN13: 9781620241745

The moon was bright and full that night, bigger than I could ever even remember it.

Maybe because it was moving towards me…

After giving the worst violin recital of his life, and being laughed at by the entire school, the boy vows to never play music again. Later that night, when the moon swallows up his bedroom, it shares the secrets of being a true artist, helping the boy re-claim his self-confidence, overcome the pitfalls of perfectionism, and believe in his own dream.

Each of the five stories in The Night the Moon Ate My Room! is designed for young readers to experience the joy of self-discovery, valuable life lessons, and the adventure of turning their greatest dreams into reality.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Book Depository

“In lyrical prose Jesse Wilson explores fundamental childhood issues: overcoming adversity, discovering your courage, and the power of dreams.” – Laurel Schmidt, author of Seven Times Smarter: 50 Activities, Games, and Projects to Develop the Seven Intelligences of Your Child

Jesse Wilson

Jesse Wilson

 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

About the Jesse Wilson:

Jesse Wilson is an author, motivational performer, illustrator, and teacher.A life-long involvement with theatre and film as both performer and writer began early, growing up in Hollywood, CA, where he performed in plays, TV shows and commercials. A graduate of the LA High School for the Performing Arts, Jesse traveled east to attain a BFA for theatre in the prestigious Juilliard School. Remaining in New York, and later Philadelphia, he developed material for his one-man shows, performed throughout the region. His most recent production, “Face the City,” written for high school and college audiences, combines visual and animation projections in a multimedia presentation of the artist’s journey to find themselves in the “real world.” “The Night the Moon Ate My Room!” written and performed with music for young audiences to experience self-discovery, is created with the support of The Kennedy Center’s Imagination Celebration and Pikes Peak Library District.

Coming soon this year, building upon the success of “The Night the Moon Ate My Room!” a series of empowering books for children, written and illustrated by Jesse Wilson, will be published under the title “Brilliant Mistakes!”

My Review

The Night The Moon Ate My Room! is an engaging, lively story that really taps into the concerns and fears of our younger generation (and even the younger version of me!). The author does a really excellent job of drawing a line from the stories to real experiences and explaining to them how to find success even within the darkest points inside of us. Written in a voice accessible to children and adults alike, anyone reading this book will take away that we are all very capable of anything we put our minds to … regardless of the steps and stumbles along the way. There’s a lot of fun humor, wonderful illustrations, and the right amount of silly to keep kids interested in this fun story.

Giveaways

In addition to the Rafflecopter giveaway posted below, TwistedSense is giving away a free copy of the ebook of The Night The Moon Ate My Room! to a lucky reader chosen from those who leave comments below! Make sure you leave a blog comment here, and look for other chances to win at the other blogs along the tour!

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Matchbox Girls by Chrysoula Tsavelas

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Marley grew on me – as did the rest of the book. But I spent the first chapter or two wavering between really liking it and being put-off by the unusual style. The longer I read the more the style grew on me.

I still think I would have liked the story even better if the writing had been slightly less esoteric – but even that couldn’t take away from the draw of the story.

Chrysoula Tsavelas has created a vivid reality in “Matchbox Girls” that feels well thought out. The angels/demons/humans idea has gotten a lot of play in the book world lately, but Tsavelas takes the familiar theme and creates new depths and twists. Mixing the Fae in as well was an inspired choice.

Marley is an interesting lead character. We are thrown into the middle of her world without a lot of explanation. This makes for a disjointed and somewhat confusing start. On one level this completely works. I was figuring things out as she was. Where it occasionally came up short is that the reader doesn’t have the knowledge of Marley’s history that Marley obviously has. A few times it almost felt like as a reader I was supposed to already know something that I had no way of knowing. This was a tiny bit frustrating.

There are freaky Angels, mellow demons and two adorable little girls (with intense powers) thrown in the mix as well. My favorite character by far though is “the Whispering Dark” – I mean how cool a name is that. And what a character. A part of me is sincerely hoping that behind that kaiju façade is some incredibly sexy dark demi-god that Marley can totally fall in love with. The chemistry between them was astronomically more intense than between her and either of the other 2 possible hook-ups.

Then there is the odd bit of steampunk  thrown in with the heavenly machinery. Jury is still out on that one, but secretly hoping to be convinced.

I really am looking forward to the next installment. I am hoping that the writing itself will be less disjointed. On the one hand it did help to get into the mind of Marley – who is on medicine to control what she believes is an anxiety disorder – and see the world perhaps as she sees it. On the other hand it seems a bit much at times. Maybe now that she is no longer repressing an integral part of who she is the writing will reflect that by becoming more concise as well. As long as it doesn’t lose the edge it has.

That’s not asking too much… right?

Oh – and more sexy kaiju. Can’t have enough of that particular sexy kaiju.

Review: Vow – A Memoir of Marriage (and Other Affairs) by Wendy Plump

Wendy Plump threw open the doors of her deeply personal past and invited me in. She didn’t have to, and frankly I’d have been ridiculously embarrassed to be caught even taking a peek in, but she invited me, and wow… what a find.

Nearly immediately after getting married, Wendy and her husband delved into the world of betrayal and infidelity. Wendy jumped first, drunk on the high of attraction and the chemical cocktail that new love brings. An inescapable desire to be honest about her transgressions, she tells her husband of her relationship, and the tight-knit ball of a close marriage quickly unravels.

Wendy’s book Vow – A Memoir of Marriage (and Other Affairs) is gutting and unimaginable. Maybe I’m too soon into my marriage, but the experience Wendy relays to me via these pages is thrilling yet harrowing. Almost all of us are familiar with the rush of new love, but with marriage comes fidelity… or at least the vow to practice it. But Wendy and her husband go far and beyond mere “cheating” and cross the line into multiple relationships, true loves, and children with both your spouse and your second-life love.

I highly recommend reading this book. I was slightly uncomfortable all the while gripped with intrigue. This was one of those books I found I kept yearning to return to when free time found its way to me.

My takeaway from this book is this – All of the feelings Wendy Plump shared with us are feelings nearly everybody has had or will have. We’ve all been attracted to others outside of our commitments. We’ve all thought about what it would be like to have an alternate relationship. There are those of us who will keep those thoughts in the fantasy realm, and there are others who will bring them to fruition. But the essence or the origin of these feelings and actions are understood by every one of us, regardless of outward protest and it’s commendable that Wendy Plump is willing to share these raw thoughts and self-assessments with us.

Disclaimer: This book was provided free of charge by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Peregrine Harker & The Black Death

I couldn’t finish this book.

 

After realizing that the first bit was thankfully a fantasy (still a ridiculously trite and insidiously sickly sweet fantasy) dreamed up by our would-be hero I was hoping my first impression was incorrect.

It wasn’t.

The plot idea is sound enough. The writing was dismal. It seemed at the same time both insultingly simple and overly flowery.

Over the course of a day I could force myself no further than page 23 (the beginning of chapter 5).

Perhaps there is a gem waiting to be discovered later in the book – but I couldn’t make myself trudge through anymore in that vain hope.

 

I was provided a copy of this book for review.

Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines

heroes

 

I shall start by stating that I am not a zombie fan. I don’t watch The Walking Dead and I generally turn the channel when any movie with “zombie” or “living dead” in the title is on.

Ex-Heroes is about zombies – and I liked… nay… loved it.

First I want to give Peter Clines full credit for coming up with an origin for a zombie virus that I can buy. I wasn’t entirely sure it was possible but he did it. Then in a stroke of pure genius he threw in some real life super heroes. And gave a theory for their origin that was slightly less plausible, but I could still buy it. And to make that mix even better set it in Hollywood and have a points system for celebrities you’ve taken out after they became zombies.

The book is written in an unusual format. It jumps between the past and present at different points. While this seemed a bit disconcerting on the surface it actually worked well for the overall plot development and more importantly the character development in this book.

It is hard to pin down a single main character or even two or three. This is a very well written ensemble book. That happens to be chalk full of pop culture references that seem natural.

The only weak aspect of this book was some of the seemingly forced sexual dialogue. I’m not sure if it was because Clines was actively trying to make the book not YA or what, but the only weak scenes involved awkward discussions of sex or descriptions of sex. Without these the book wouldn’t lose any of its edge or bite. They really serve no functional purpose and they aren’t well done enough to add to the ambience or depth.

But back to the seriously awesome stuff. The super heroes have pretty cool powers but are also very real. They are regular people just like us, who happen to have some amazing abilities. They have flaws as well and wicked senses of humor to boot.

I can’t believe I am about to say this… I am looking forward to a zombie book. As long as it is the next in this series.

Lichgates by S.M. Boyce

I love finding completely new fantasy worlds. Especially when they are well thought out and vivid.

That is what I found in “Lichgates” by S.M. Boyce.

Kara Magari gets to do something so many of us science fantasy junkies would love to do. Enter a fantasy realm and become a figure of legend. Three chapters in and I was already so jealous of this chick.

Not that it is all rainbows and lollipops for her. Boyce has a created a history for Kara that makes it easily believable that she would choose to devote herself to this new realm and put our world in her past. While that may seem like a small thing it is often one of the few loose ends in otherwise well-crafted books. A big pat on the back to Boyce for doing this well.

Ourea is a beautiful world. It has been well planned and shows sparks of creativity is the peoples that populate it. There are hints of some of our favorite races from other fantasy realms – but no blatant rip-offs. It is more of a nod to those races. The ruling hierarchy and how it works is truly fascinating. I am excited to see how that plays out.

The concept of personal freedom takes on a very literal meaning in this book. The debates we normally see around this issue take on a more real as opposed to philosophical tone because of this.

There was a little awkwardness in the dialogue at the beginning but after the first few chapters this disappeared. Perhaps the beginning chapters could use a slight tweaking to fix this.

Braeden is a fantastic character. Multifaceted and intriguing. Talk about taking battling an inner demon to a new level, Boyce has done it in this complex character.

I am excited to see what this series brings.

 

I was provided a copy of this book for review.

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