THE CAUSE by Roderick Vincent – Book Review

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Title: THE CAUSE
Author: Roderick Vincent
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Release Date: November 28, 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

* I received a free electronic copy of THE CAUSE from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.*

SYNOPSIS:

Set in the not too distant future, the year 2026, THE CAUSE takes it’s name from a group of freedom fighters formed in the 1700s.

“The year is 2022. America is on the verge of economic and social collapse. The government has made liberty its enemy. African American hacker Isse Corvus enters a black-ops training camp. He discovers the leaders are revolutionaries seeking to return the U.S. back to its Constitutional roots. He learns that if he doesn’t join The Cause and help them hack the NSA’s servers, it could mean his life.”

“A novel of juxtaposition, The Cause also tells the tale of NSA Director General Titus Montgomery. The President has told him that rule of law must be maintained at all costs. But something is wrong with the heartbeat of America. What will he do when Martial law meets revolution?”

REVIEW:

“When men take up arms to set other men free, there is something sacred and holy in the warfare.” —Woodrow Wilson

This book may be fiction, but large parts of it are based on fact.

In THE CAUSE the author states: “For some years they have had the ability to turn on your phone’s GPS, video and audio devices, tap in to your Google glasses, and use CCTV cams within the vicinity. Now, they can wire into everyone else’s devices too within your vicinity. They don’t even need feet on the ground anymore. They are following you with micro-UAVs. They are as small as a blue jay, and to the unsuspecting eye, can look like them too.” The scary thing is that this technology already exists and the United States government is already using it.

When the planes flew into the World Trade Center the government quickly instituted new privacy laws, or should I say ‘lack -of-privacy’ laws. They have the power to listen in on your phone calls, read your text messages, check your email and monitor your bank accounts. While some of the information these tactics have garnered has undoubtedly been used to identify and nullify suspected terrorists, it is what they are doing with the rest of the information they gather that should worry the American public.

It is that fear of ‘Big Brother’ that resounds throughout THE CAUSE. this book is more than just an interesting story. It is a warning. It can also be viewed as a wake-up call to the general public. The thing that I found so striking about this book is that is horrifyingly realistic and terrifyingly relevant to today’s society. There are real groups operating in the US today that are startlingly similar to the Minutemen in THE CAUSE. At present these groups are seen as fringe groups and are sometimes even labelled as domestic terrorists.  This begs the question; are these people really terrorists or are they actually patriots? The government uses the public’s fear of terrorism to keep the public from complaining about the money spent to combat it. “Terrorism was the boogeyman, a propaganda tool to fund the programs.”

It is because of the issues I have listed and because of the questions this book poses that THE CAUSE is such a compelling read.

“The Cause” would make an excellent book club read. This book contains many discussion topics and offers readers the chance to open their eyes to what just might be happening in the world around them. It would also be interesting to discover which technologies being used in the Cause are fact and which are fiction. There are ready made Book Club discussion questions available on the author’s website.

Now, even though I say that many of the things in this book are happening already, readers must not forget that this book is FICTION.

Roderick Vincent’s writing is exquisite, with wording such as “The virtual world is a blaze that’s difficult to backburn, even if you wish you could.” The author has a gift for description and is able to paint pictures with words.

The author is able to evoke emotion in the reader. For example, when he writes “…my father’s whisper settled in my head, a voice rattling from years ago—Do right by your country and right by your family and life should be okay…” you can’t help but agree with the wisdom of the statement. And you can’t help but feel the love of the father for his son. You can almost picture the scene where he imparts this wisdom to his son, hoping that his child will grow into a good man.

THE CAUSE is the first book in a new series and I cannot wait to see how the story of Corvus and The Minutemen plays out. One thing I am sure of and that is that it will definitely be an interesting and thought-provoking read.

RATING

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars. The only reason that I did not give it 5 stars was that I felt some of the scenes of the training at The Abbatoir could have been shortened. Also, there is an excessive amount of anti-government propaganda. At times it is just too much. It is like being hit over the head repeatedly with a club. The reader understands what the government is doing and that it is corrupt. This message comes through clearly without being repeated over and over again. However, even with the repetition this is still a great book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Photo and Author Information obtained from http://www.roderickvincent.com

Roderick Vincent is the author of the Minutemen series about a dystopian America. The first novel, titled The Cause, was published by Roundfire books on November, 28th 2014.

A good part of his childhood and young-adult years were spent living on the island of Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands.

In 1988, he participated in a classical guitar masterclass with Christopher Parkening while majoring in music at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

His short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in Writer’s Digest, Ploughshares Blog, The Nervous Breakdown, Straylight, and Offshoots.

Beyond his fiction writing, he blogs about the future, and the changing times of the world we live in.

To learn more about this author visit him online at http://www.Roderick Vincent.com

DANGEROUS REFLECTIONS by Karla Tipton – Book Review + Release Day is TODAY

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Title: DANGEROUS REFLECTIONS
Author: Karla Tipton
Length: 319 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: January 27,2015
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

* I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of ‘Dangerous Reflections’ in electronic form free from the author in exchange for an honest review.* I had the privilege of reading and reviewing her previous book ‘Rings of Passage’ previously. I am happy to report that I rated that book as 4 out of 5 stars, so when I was offered the chance to read her newest novel I jumped at the chance.

Link to buy this book: 

SYNOPSIS:

Martie loves her grandmother and her father so, when she finds that the two of them have both fallen into comas at the same time with no explanation she is desperate to try to help them. When a lawyer shows up and hands her an envelope from her grandmother Martie isn’t sure what to make of it. Inside the envelope she finds a witch’s wand, a necklace and a cryptic note from her grandmother. The note tells her that she must save Doctor Uncle.

The only person she can think of that might be able to help is her Professor. They have a history and she is reluctant to approach him for assistance. However, she sees no other option. He tells her that she is a wizard by birth and that he will only help her if she does something for him. She reluctantly agrees and he tells her that using her wand she is able to time travel through mirrors.

Not sure that she believes any of what she has been told, she decides to try. And, to her surprise it works. Martie ends up in 1910 England.

She needs to find the Philosophers Stone for the professor and she needs to save Doctor Uncle. But, first she has to figure out who he is and then determine how to save him and from what.

She is a woman on a mission. She knows she will face dangers and many other obstacles during her quest. What she does not expect is that she will fall in love.

REVIEW:

DANGEROUS REFLECTIONS is a substantial book. At 319 pages readers will receive terrific value for their money. Too many books are being released that are 200 pages or less and I often feel that the cost of those books is too high for what I get back in quantity. But, I do not just want quantity, I want quality and this book offers both. The one drawback of lengthy books is that there are often entire sections that seem to drag. This DOES NOT happen in DANGEROUS REFLECTIONS.

This book has it all. There is intrigue, there is magic, there is a battle between good and evil, there is romance, there is adventure and there is drama. What more could a reader ask for?

The writing is vivid and readers will be entranced with this story. The amount of detail that the author included makes the setting seem to come alive. For instance, I had no idea that the word ‘Okay’ was not yet part of a person’s everyday vocabulary in 1910. The author has also included details regarding the clothing of the time and the modes of transportation, as well as the differences in how people shopped for clothing during that era and how vastly different it is from the way we shop in modern society. These details and descriptions all lend this book an aura of authenticity.

if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading a book by Karla Tipton, you are in for a treat. This book is a gem and should be added to everyone’s MUST READ list.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Karla Tipton cut her literary teeth on gothic romances, Edgar Allan Poe and the vampire soap “Dark Shadows.” Long before there were sparkly vampires roaming through the cultural consciousness, she wrote about ordinary women time traveling through history and falling in love with powerful men of myth and magic. “Genrebending” came naturally. Despite publishing industry advice to find a genre and stick with it, Karla shamelessly mixed it up, blending history, paranormal, time travel, fantasy and mystery into her novels. Karla’s first novel, “Rings of Passage: A Time Travel Novel with Richard III,” is a historical fantasy set in medieval England, starring one of the most notorious villains in history as the romantic hero. “Dangerous Reflections: A Historical Fantasy Through Time” is her second novel. Karla is a member of Romance Writers of America, and her writing has earned top honors in several RWA chapter competitions. When not at her government job or writing novels, Karla plays guitar in a classic rock band.

To learn more about Karla Tipton visit her online at http://www.karlatipton.com

DISTRACTIONS by Bianca Dean – RELEASE DAY BLOG TOUR

Distractions Blitz BannerDistractions Cover

Distractions
by Bianca Dean
Distractions #1
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Purchase from Amazon

Synopsis:

Red has been trying to move on with her life. She really has. Her first real relationship ended in disaster and she can’t muster the energy to leave the house. Her brother Brenden and their best friend, Gavin, are sick of it. Guilting her into a night out, Red reluctantly agrees only to see her ex having the time of his life with another girl. Small town living would have it no other way. On the verge of a full blown panic attack, Gavin steps in to provide Red the distraction she needs to forget all about her ex. But as things quickly spiral out of control, will Red be able to keep her feelings for her best friend a secret in order to save their friendship?

*This book contains sexual situations and explicit language. This is Book 1 of the Distractions Series.

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About the Author

Bianca Dean

Bianca Dean, author of Quarterback Sneak and Wanna Play? is a native of New Jersey now living in NYC. Working on her PhD, Bianca loves good food, great movies and stimulating conversation. She’s a huge sports fan, and can be found, during the appropriate season, screaming at the television, beer in hand, trying to make people that can’t hear her run faster. In the off-season she can be spotted walking her dog or grabbing dinner with friends.

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BLOOD MONARCH by DRAKO – BLOG TOUR

About the Book:

A king’s duty never ends, even when his kingdom changes. Vladimir Dracula is one of the most famous and misunderstood figures in all of history. One thing is true, he is a king, and he is a vampire. He is the true king and enforcer of the vampire race. Feared by all of his own kind, he is perhaps the most lethal of the Black Dragon God’s mortal born servants. At the same time, he personifies sex. None can resist his charms, save one.

Vax King is the Chosen of Hecate, the Heir of Mjolnir, and has no plans on a mate. When he’s called on to enter Fae lands, he’s surprised to find the legendary vampire there. Looking to aid the beautiful Fae, Anaya, and her soul mate, Galen, Vax must enter a world of sex of violence with only Vlad to accompany him. Here, there can be no denial, no hesitation. Only truth….and dominance.

A war is brewing in the Fae lands, as the fallen angels rise to lay claim to the power of their goddess, Verlaine and topple their higher brethren. Older than most, Vlad must accustom himself to having a soul mate, and use all his legendary power to stop the forces of darkness long believed to be controlled by him. A new kingdom is the prize, and none knows better than the famed Dracula that the secret to power lies in the blood.

Book Links:

Goodreads I Amazon

Meet the Characters:



Vladimir Dracula



AKA: Vlad, Vlad the Impaler, Dracula

Height: 6’10”

Weight: 315 pounds

Hair: shoulder length, brown

Origin: A human follower of Jarel, the Black Dragon god. He was caught in the crossfire of Jarel’s disagreement with a demon god and the result changed him into one of the first vampires. 

More info: Contrary to popular belief, he has never sired another vampire. The entire race descends from the married couple, Vacker and Deidre. He has functioned as the final enforcer of the race since its creation. He is lethal in battle, being one of those fortunate enough to have had Jarel’s favor in mortal life first. He is also extremely sexual, with an appeal that draws others to him. He should not be confused with the prince who became known as Vlad the Impaler. He’s far older and earned the name in a far different manner. 



Vax



Height: 6’4”

Weight: 220 pounds

Hair: long, red

Origin: A mortal born witch, servant to Hecate, the patron goddess of witches. He was chosen by the goddess himself to wield the legendary hammer Mjolnir to expel Lucifer from the mortal world.

More info: Vax originally had a bit of a self-confidence issue. Because he’s mortal born, he is not used to the strength and power gifted to him by the goddess. He’s a quick learner, and in fact, had a bit of conflict with Vlad in his first story. He’s the first person to resist Vlad’s charm when the vampire is really pouring it on. 



Anaya



Height: 5’3”

Hair: long, red

Origin: An orphaned Fae, she comes into contact with Brandon during his mortal life and the two have a son, Theo, who eventually becomes one of the Three Fates. She is actually the daughter of the Fae queen and the very first angel, Apollyon.

More info: Anaya was captured due to her softer and trusting nature in the second book, and the reasons are complicated. Her ties to the father of her child as well as her soul mate, in addition to her parentage, made her a target. But she’s certainly come into her own and is no damsel in distress



Galen



Height: 6’6”

Weight: 258 pounds

Eyes: blue

Hair: long, black

Origin: A warrior angel created by an ancient goddess, he has only known war and duty and has not adjusted to the idea of having a soul mate.

More info: Galen has loyalty that cannot be questioned, even falling from grace to aid in the fall of Lucifer. He’s powerful and ruthless in battle, but unfamiliar with the concept of love. It’s taken him a long time to accept Anaya.

About the Author:

Drako resides in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, which you may notice is part of the setting of this series. When he isn’t writing, he’s busy editing for other authors, reviewing books, working, going to college, and spending time with his friends and two nieces. He blogs often and is very active on Facebook while trying to readjust to activity on twitter. His subject matter varies as he likes to talk about more than just his writing. You can check out his posts at his website, drakosden.weebly.com

Author Links:

Facebook I Twitter

BENTON (Book 2) by Jolie Du Pre – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

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Title: BENTON: A Zombie Novel – Volume 2

Author: Jolie Du Pre

Genre: Zombie Fiction, Horror, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

Release Date: 2014

Type of Book: Audiobook

Narrator: Angie Hickman

Length: 1 hour, 49 minutes

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis:

Jennifer Benton is only a teenager and she lost her family to zombies. After leaving her home she met up with a group of survivors and they banded together to try to find a safe haven.

This is the second volume in the Benton series. The first novel ended with Jennifer battered and bruised from an attack by another survivor, but justice prevailed and she escaped his clutches and he ended up being bitten by a zombie. It was Jennifer herself who put him out of his misery.

During all this she falls in love with a fellow survivor named Mark and Mark feels the same way about her.

The plan is to head to Texas where Mark’s family has a ranch and Book 2 opens with them on their way.

However, things change during the zombie apocalypse and the group ends up saving another girl from zombies who then joins their group.

Unfortunately the new girl is gorgeous and seems to have her sights set on Mark. Jennifer (like any other teenage girl who sees someone showing interest in her man) is jealous. She knows that she has nothing to worry about, but she can’t help how she feels.

The group meets more people in this book and the group dynamics shift and evolve.

Review:

This book is well written and character driven. In this second installment we learn more about Jennifer and Mark and their relationship.

Even though it is the Zombie Apocalypse, men and women still have relationships and as usual, there are problems that arise.

The difference is that during the Zombie Apocalypse there are added pressures on couples and since every day could be their last, emotions tend to run high. As a result of this, sometimes decisions are made where the consequences are not taken as seriously as they should be.

BENTON ends with a cliffhanger that left me wishing that the third audiobook was already available.

I am a fan of both the author, Jolie Du Pre and the narrator, Angie Hickman.

For more information on Jolie Du Pre visit her website at http://www.joliedupre.com

For more information about Voice Actor Angie Hickman, visit http://angiehickmanvoiceactor.blogspot.com

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars only because I wish it was longer. If the book had been longer, it would have received 5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase the audiobook online at http://www.audible.com/pd/Teens/Benton-Audiobook/B00RZZ14IU/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1422207036&sr=1-1

BEDTIME by Anthony Avina

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*I was given a free electronic copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.*

The problem I encounter when reviewing books is that I promise that I will be truthful when reviewing anyone’s work. The question sometimes arises (in my mind): how honest is too honest? I highly respect anyone who has put forth the immense effort it takes to write a book. Any book (good or bad) takes work, and often beginning authors are sensitive about their creations. Understandably so. However, I believe that to give a book a higher rating just to spare an author’s feelings is not only dishonest, but also does a disservice to that author.

‘Bedtime’ by Anthony Avila has the potential to be a terrific novella, however in it’s current incarnation it is a bit of a disaster. What ‘Bedtime’ really needs is an attentive proofreader and a diligent editor. The plot is interesting and the characters aren’t bad, but this novella is so full of grammatical and editorial errors that it is difficult to read. For example: ” and never shied away from eating whatever her hearts content.” The author probably meant to say, “… and never shied away from eating whatever she desired.” Or even ‘… she always ate to her heart’s content.” Of the two options I would have chosen to use: “… and never shied away from eating whatever she desired.” There are so many of these types of errors that I could list over fifty examples. A good editor and/or proof-reader would help the author catch these errors before the novella was released. In fact, thanks to the wonders of electronic books, it is not too late to make the changes necessary and to re-release this book.

On the first few pages the author mentions California four times. This is unnecessary, and I have never heard of “California sun drenched skin.” Is this different from sun drenched skin in Oregon? Or New York? Sun drenched skin is descriptive enough without adding the word ‘California’ in front if it.  Other examples of poor proof reading occur when incorrect words are used, such as “detour her” instead of “deter her” and “infuriation” (which I do not think is an actual word) instead of “frustration.” This happens again when Timothy “balls” his eyes out. It should be ‘bawl’ not ‘ball’.

Timothy and Nancy are a young, married couple with a four year old daughter named Felicity. They live in California and both have successful careers. When their previously calm four year old daughter starts waking up screaming in the middle of the night they are unsure what is happening. When Felicity tells her parents that there is a monster in her closet it causes different reactions for each parent. Timothy is inclined to disbelieve her claims while Nancy gives her the benefit of the doubt. Is there really something lurking in the little girl’s closet? Or are her nightmares just a figment of her imagination? You will need to read ‘Bedtime’ to find out.

The storyline sounds promising and the plot isn’t bad. It’s just too bad that I was unable to really enjoy it due to poor editing. This could have been a 3.5 or even 4 star story, but with all the errors I cannot rate it higher than 2 out of 5 stars.

FLORENCE AND ME by Elaine Bertolotti

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* I received a free electronic copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

This book is a relatively short travel memoir. I am an avid traveller myself and always keep a journal during my trips so I am always interested in reading memoirs of other people’s adventures. I suppose it is a way to learn about new places in a personal way. Travel websites are too dry to hold any appeal for me and it is through memoirs that I have added many places that I would like to visit onto my bucket list.

A good travel memoir is about experiences rather than places. “Florence and Me” is such a memoir. The author’s love of, and passion for Florence comes across on every page.

The cover of this book states “How the city of Florence befriended an American girl from Brooklyn.” The book delivers exactly that story in an interesting and very readable manner. The events in this book took place in the 1970’s and even though this was many years ago, the story still feels fresh.

I enjoyed the conversational style the author uses in this book. I actually laughed out loud when I read the following line: ” If I didn’t know a word, it didn’t daunt me, I invented. Pushare was my version of to push. I generally bought a frama for a painting, a spoona for my coffee, and put lots of cheesa on my spaghetti.”

The only complaint I have about this book is that there are a few minor proof-reading errors. An example of this is: ” Upstairs, lived a young Greek couple who was studying Architecture at the University.” Instead of “was” it should say “were”.

I rate this travel memoir as 4.5 out of 5 stars. If you enjoy reading about the adventures of others, you will enjoy “Florence and Me” by Elaine Bertolotti.

To find out more about this author, visit her online at http://www.amazon.com/Elaine-Bertolotti/e/B00K8U75WI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

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To read more of my reviews, visit my blog at http://amiesbookreviews.WordPress.com

FANTASY OF FROST : The Tainted Accords Book One by Kelly St Clare

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FANTASY OF FROST
Book One of the Tainted Accords
By: Kelly St. Clare

* I received a free eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

This is a captivating novel by a brilliant new writer. It both compelling and riveting and is destined for the bestseller list.

The characters are so detailed and so well developed that you can’t help but view them as real.

‘Fantasy of Frost’ is a pulse-pounding, heart-wrenching and emotionally fueled fantasy adventure that will keep you reading long into the night.

Olina is seventeen and is the Tatuma of the world of Osolis. She has worn a veil throughout her entire life and no-one has ever seen her face; and that includes her. There are no mirrors in the palace where she lives and her mother, the Tatum or ruler of Osolis has even gone aso far as to drain the only body of water near their home to prevent Olina from viewing her image. Olina has been threatened with imprisonment if she allows anyone to look at her without her veil.

Even though she is the heir to the throne, and will one day assume the role of Tatum, she has been abused mentally and physically at the orders of her own mother since she was a child.

Despite the beatings and the constant mental abuse, Olina is strong of mind and spirit. She has been secretly training and honing her fighting skills for years. She is planning for the future. “Mother will not destroy me, or her insane brother. I will survive this and when I rule, it will all be worth it.”

When a group of delegates arrive from Glacium, Olina is unaware that their visit will change her life forever.

The Glacium delegates are led by Prince Kedrick, the brother of Glacium’s current King.

Kedrick and Olina are as different as night and day in most ways, however, something draws them together.

Despite having never seen her face and despite their very different cultures, Kedrick and Olina fall in love, but their relationship must be kept a closely guarded secret. If anyone found out it could mean all-out war between the two worlds.

Olina finally agrees to reveal her face to Kedrick on the night that he is to return to Glacium. What happens that night will change not only the fates of Olina and Kedrick but also the fates of their two opposing worlds.

This is a tale filled with secrets, betrayal, lies and even more secrets. It is also a tale of love and compassion and the desire to make life better for the citizens of both Osolis and Glacium.

Revenge, assassination attempts, brutal murders, intrigues and deceptions abound in this compelling and heart-pounding tale.

The setting is unique and the details of the two worlds being them to life with a detail that is unlikely to be rivaled by any but the very best authors. The juxtaposition of the two world being almost exact opposites while being codependent on each other is an intriguing twist. There are just enough details to make these worlds come to life without being so detailed that the writing becomes mired down in descriptions.

Olina is a strong female lead and she shows a maturity beyond her years, while at the same time still occasionally displaying the immaturity expected of a sheltered eighteen year old. The author has done a magnificent job of maintaining that delicate balance.

There are a couple twists in the novel which surprised me. The reason behind Olina wearing the veil was not what I expected. I thought her eyes were going to yellow or some other shocking color and that there had been a prophecy written about someone being born with that specific eye color changing the world (for better or worse, I wasn’t sure). I was definitely wrong. The reason for the veil was very different from my guess.

I loved the ending to the book. It left me wishing that the second book was already available because I did not want to stop reading. It will be interesting to see what happens next in Olina’s life and we are left tantalized about exactly what negotiations are going on between King Jovan and the Tatum of Osolis.

‘The Tainted Accords’ series promises to be a new favorite. It is hard to believe that this is a debut novel. It is written with confidence and maturity. I am a fan of Kelly St. Clare and I am counting down the days until I can get my hands on FANTASY OF FLIGHT – the second book in The Tainted Accords series.

Favorite Quotes From This Book:

“When I finally fall into an exhausted sleep, I have wonderful dreams of a life without my mother.”

I heartily give this book 5 out of 5 stars! Lovers of many different genres will enjoy this book. It fits into the following categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, Drama, Adventure, Romance, New Adult and even a few more.

About The Author:

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Kelly is originally from New Zealand and now lives in Australia with her soon-to-be husband.
Kelly’s goal is to write books that she would want to read.
To learn more about her, visit her website at http://www.kellystclare.com

WINTERSWIM by Ryan W. Bradley

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Winterswim by Ryan W. Bradley

*I received a free electronic copy of WINTERSWIM from the author in exchange for an honest review. I also agreed to take part in a group discussion about this book on Goodreads.*

Pastor Sheldon Long knows better than anyone that there is evil in the world. He is the sole Pastor for his church which is located in the small town of Wasilla, Alaska. Pastor Long is looked up to by the members of the community, who are especially grateful for his dedication to helping troubled teenagers to choose a better path in life. He is so committed to helping these troubled teens that he even conducts one-on-one counselling sessions with a select few.

Pastor Long was raised in seclusion by an abusive religious fanatic father and a quiet Tlingit Indian mother who spent years being beaten by her husband. His father’s obsession with religion shaped the young Sheldon’s view of the world, and not in a good way.

The Pastor is now a widower with a teenage son, to whom he pays very little attention.

As the son of a Pastor, Steven was expected to act a certain way. He had never been the kind of child who got into trouble. At seventeen he still harbored a secret crush on a local girl named Kate who was a few years older and had once been his babysitter. Kate left Wasilla and became an actress, but Steven still thought about her.

When the bodies of two local girls are found in nearby lakes, no one seems to think anything of it. Of course, the town’s residents mourn their passing and appeal to others to be careful around the water. But, Steven seems to think something else is going on.

By the time a third body is discovered, Steven has decided to take it upon himself to discover exactly what is happening in Wasilla. At the same time Kate returns for a visit to her hometown between movie shoots. When she runs into Steven he decides to let her in on his theory.

After that secrets are revealed, dark and horrific truths come to light and Steven is the middle of everything.

Just what is happening in Wasilla? Is there a serial killer on the loose? And if so, who is it? And can the killer be stopped before the death toll rises even higher?

WARNING – This book contains graphic sexual scenes, scenes with violence and instances of drug use. This book is recommended for mature readers only!

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars. It is a horror/noir/psychological thriller that will give you nightmares.

POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT – Stop reading this review now if you do not want to read any spoilers about WINTERSWIM.

I found that this book was well written with short, concise sentences and in a no-nonsense style. The rape scenes definitely made me cringe, but I think if a reader dies not cringe while reading a rape scene then there is something wrong.

I think the author did a terrific job of illustrating how living through abuse as a child (both mental and physical) can twist and warp an individual’s Psyche. I think he also did a great job including the use of meth and the affects that drug can have on a person’s behavior. Of course, not all abused children become multiple-murderers and not everyone who uses meth will go out and rape and kill women, but using meth will damage your brain and can cause all kinds of behaviors that could be seen as “crazy.”

Until reading this book I had never heard of the Tlingit Indians and I was fascinated by the myth that was used in this book. I would be interested in learning more about this tribe in the future and possibly even reading a book that includes more aspects of their culture, their beliefs and their mythology.

By choosing a Pastor as the killer, I am sure the author will anger some readers. However, my preemptive response to negative comments on that topic is that obviously Pastor Sheldon Long is not real. Even if we are to take his character at face value, he never did have a true calling to religion. He used religion as a way to feed his own dark desires. In fact, even Pastor Long does not really see himself as a true man of God.’ He states “Say anything with enough confidence and people will fall for it hook, line, and sermon.” That shows that he was using the Church as a means to an end. His position as Pastor gave him unprecedented access to vulnerable young women. Unfortunately this tactic has been used by predators for many years. Predators seek out positions that give them authority over their potential victims in real life just like Sheldon Long does in this book. The one part of this plot line that I disliked was how quickly he was able to coerce the girls into having sex and smoking meth with him. Generally predators groom their victims over a long period of time. I had a hard time believing that all these teenage girls were so quick to jump into bed with him. This might have been believable if it was a single girl, but multiple young teenage girls, all living in the same small town, all willing to get high and have sex with an ‘old’ man, it defies belief (and probability). However, I do see that it was a necessary plot point.

I did love the descriptions of Wasilla and the surrounding area. The author’s descriptions of small-town Wasilla, Alaska comes across as so real because the author actually grew up in the town that this book is based on. I loved that Kate was always seen as a ‘city girl’ despite being raised in Wasilla due to the fact that she did not like ATVing, fishing, skiing or hunting. This is typical of attitudes in remote locales. Locals cannot fathom why anyone wouldn’t love doing all those types of activities. This detail adds one more note of authenticity to the story.

In conclusion, this book is worth reading as long as you are not easily offended or easily shocked.

Favorite Quote From The Book: “He wondered if there was an ‘Autopsies For Dummies book.”

In conclusion, this book is worth reading.

To order, or for more information, visit http://winterswim-rwb.com/

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Author: Ryan W. Bradley

To learn more about this author visit http://ryanwbradley.com

THE CANYON by Simone Pond

Canyon by Simone Pond

THE CANYON (Voices From The Apocalypse Series) by Simone Pond

* This short story was provided to me free by the author in exchange for an honest review.*

‘The Canyon’ is a short story and is the first release in the Voices of the Apocalypse Series.

These stories tie in with Simone Pond’s “The New Agenda” dystopian fiction series. I have read all three books in this series and rated each of them as 5 out of 5 stars.

In ‘The Canyon’ Los Angeles is collapsing, the Repatterning has begun. Lilian is 15 years old and has lost her father, her brother and her sister. Her family now consists solely of her mother and herself.

Lillian’s mother is determined to keep her last remaining child alive. She will do anything to ensure Lillian’s survival and that includes eking out a living in the wilderness.

I an not usually a fan of short stories. I find that most authors are not able to engage the reader in such a short amount of time. But, Simone Pond has proven me wrong.

‘The Canyon’ is so well written that the reader is instantly sucked into that world.

Readers of ‘The New Agenda’ series will appreciate this back-story of Lilian’s early life. It explains how she came to keep the journals that are central to the main plot.

I rate THE CANYON as 5 out of 5 stars.

To learn more about the author and to view her other titles, visit www.simonepond.com

 

DREAMWALKERS -Wolf Point #2 by Kate Spofford

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DREAMWALKERS – Wolf Point – Book Two
By: Kate Spofford

* I received a free eBook of ‘Dreamwalkers’ from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

This is the second book in the Wolf Point series. The first book focuses on Daniel. Daniel turns sixteen and is taken out into the woods with his father and uncles. They do not tell Daniel why he is there or what to expect. Daniel awakens the next day covered in blood and surrounded by the mutilated bodies of his family. He panics and runs away. He has no memory of killing the men, but he knows that he must have been the murderer. He lives like a vagrant and is constantly on the move. He often awakens to find that he has killed again and he believes he is going insane.

Kayla sets out from her home in Wolf Point to find Daniel. She explains to him that he is not a merciless, soulless killer; he is a werewolf. She tells Daniel that he needs to return home to lead his ‘pack’. But, Daniel does not follow the plan. He sneaks away from her one night and disappears.

Kayla gives up on Daniel and returns home. Her pack consists only of herself, her mother and her Aunt (Daniel’s mother).

The beginning of this book actually runs parallel to the story in HITCHHIKERS but in DREAMWALKERS the story is told from Kayla’s perspective rather than Daniel’s.

Kayla does not want to admit to the women that she found Daniel and that she failed to convince him to return home, so instead she lies. She informs the women that she was unable to find Daniel and that he is likely dead.

A rival pack of werewolves, led by the evil Geo, is determined to assimilate the women of the Wolf Point pack into his own.

While Kayla was searching for Daniel, the women have added a long lost cousin to their pack, by the name of Remy Loupe. He sounds like a “hunk”, but the fact remains that he is related to the women by blood.

Kayla wants to lead her pack. She doesn’t believe that only men can be “Alphas.” What she doesn’t know is just how large Geo’s pack has become or exactly how they are going to fight them.

Remy has knowledge that Kayla needs. She has developed a skill called Dreamwalking through which she is able to enter into the dreams of other people and other werewolves. Kayla needs Remy to help her refine her skills.

She also learns that although her family are born werewolves, that is not the only way werewolves are made. Geo has been adding to his pack by biting people. These people then turn into werewolves as well.

Kayla knows that they will have to fight. But, will her small pack have any chance against Geo? And, where is Daniel? Will he ever return?

The one part of the plot that I found disturbing is the incestuous nature of the Wolf Point pack. I suppose that it makes sense, and historically this type of thing happened all the time, with many Kings and Queens marrying family members in order to keep their bloodlines “pure.” However, in modern day society this is taboo and for good reason. I found it distasteful and disturbing that Kayla’s mother is so willing for her sixteen year old daughter to marry her twenty-something cousin. It actually grossed me out. Fortunately Kayla is strong willed and resists her mother’s plan. If this actually happened in the real world, her mother would be arrested for endangering a child.

This book moves along the story of the Wolf Point pack and is an interesting read. I am looking forward to reading more in the third book.

If it were not for the incest part of this story (which I do understand is necessary for the plot) I would have rated this book as 5 out of 5 stars. As it is I give it a rating of 4 stars.

There are some terrific action scenes and the flashbacks that Kayla experiences help to flesh out the story. The Dreamwalking angle is an interesting twist. Overall I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to SCAVENGERS which is the third book in the series.

THE AUTHOR:

KATE SPOFFORD

KATE SPOFFORD

To learn more about this author, visit her online at https://katespofford.wordpress.com

Wasteland by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan

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WASTELAND
By Susan Kim & Laurence Klavan

This is a young-adult, post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel. It is the first book in a trilogy.

Although the catastrophe that befell the earth is never fully explained, we know that earthquakes decimated the landscape and that all rain that falls is poisonous and carries a plague-like sickness. The sun is dangerous and people cover every inch of exposed skin. Life is harsh and everyone is just trying to survive as best they can.

I have noticed that other reviewers have railed against this author for her lack of world-building. I do agree to some extent, but I have faith that since this book is the beginning of a trilogy that there will be more world-building in the next books.

There are two main groups of survivors in this book.

The “regular” survivors live in a town called Prin. at the age of fifteen, the town residents are expected to be partnered or married. At the age of seventeen they are expected to have children of their own. By the age of nineteen people succumb to a plague-like sickness, and as soon as symptoms appear they are banished to the wasteland to avoid infecting more people.

The town relies on supplies doled out from “The Source.” This is a warehouse-like structure that is strictly controlled by a teenager named Levi. I would have liked a bit more information as to exactly what ‘The Source’ was before the apocalypse. This part of the storyline did feel unrefined to me.

Levi doles out food and bottled water to the town’s residents based on jobs he has them perform. There are three main jobs available; Harvesting, Excavation and Gleaning. The townspeople are not told why these jobs are important, nor do they seem curious about Levi’s motives. The workers are so focused on where their next meal will come from that they do not question him. This is believable to an extent. People who are starving rarely have anything on their minds other than food, so I can accept that hole in the plot.

What I did not like about ‘The Source’ plot-line was that even though Levi had guards, the author implies that no one had ever tried to break in to steal food. I find this very hard to believe. Starving people are desperate people and it would have been more believable if Levi had somehow caught and punished at least a few would-be thieves and that fear of his retribution kept others from attempting the same thing.

The second group of survivors call themselves “Variants,” but the townspeople call them “mutants.” The variants are “…hermaphroditic, hairless and disfigured.” “The variants had always lived far from town, shunning the ways of Prin and it’s people. They dressed oddly, not bothering to shield themselves from the dangerous rays of the sun. Rather than work, they eked out a meager living from hunting with feral dogs… Their life expectancy was even shorter than that of the people in town.”

The residents of Prin see the Variants as enemies and tensions are rising between the two groups. The people of Prin believe the variants are not really human, most see them as animals.

Esther is fourteen and she doesn’t fit in with the rest of the town’s residents. Her best friend is a Variant named Skar. Esther believes the variants are human and thinks the prejudice against them is unwarranted. Esther wants more from life than what she sees in Prin, but she has no idea of how to achieve her goal. She hates the tensions between the townspeople and the variants, especially because of her friendship with Skar.

Things seem to be coming to a head. The townspeople are growing increasingly worried and desperate as the attacks by the variants increase in both frequency and intensity. Fear has the townspeople on edge and it seems that violence is likely to erupt.

When a stranger named Caleb arrives in Prin, and sees a boy being attacked by a group of five variants he attacks the attackers. He single-handedly runs the five variants out of town.

It seems that Caleb might provide the townspeople with hope. Will he be able to stop the violence? Or will he add to it? And, exactly who is Caleb?

As the book progresses, we learn more about Levi, Caleb, Esther and the rest of the townspeople and the variants. Motivations more sinister than just the need to survive are exposed and both the best and worst of human nature is revealed.

A romance blossoms quickly (a bit too quickly to be believable) between Caleb and Esther. This romance is definitely the worst part of the plot. I assume the writers did not want to spend too much time on this part of the plot because they wanted to focus on the main story. In my opinion, this was an error in judgement. The fact that they fall in love and are partnered after only a few casual meetings can possibly be explained by the fact that their life expectancy is so limited, but it would have been better if their romance was more believable.

Rating:

I rate this book as 3.5 out of 5 stars.

What I Liked About ‘Wasteland’

I love the details the author has come up with to describe the variant’s appearance. When Skar is introduced in the first chapter of the book, the description is so vivid that it easy to picture exactly what she must look like.

“The creature was small, with dark, hairless arms and legs, and a bald skull. It appeared to be neither male nor female and wore a brief tunic that was little more than a sack, with a cloth pouch slung across. Its face and body were covered with a dense network of intricate designs, swirling patterns, dots and slashes, strange curls that snaked like vines across the skin in various shades of black, brown and pink. On close examination, you could see the designs were not painted on but were a complex network of crude tattoos and hundreds, maybe thousands, of scars. Some of the marks were so tiny, they seemed like mere threads against the skin; others were vivid, pink gouges of raised flesh. It had bulging lavender eyes and a flattened nose, which crinkled as it’s mouth, with its tiny, sharp teeth, twisted upward.”

This description not only gives the reader a detailed description of what the variants look like, but it also hints at the fact that their culture might be more sophisticated than it appears. The tattoos and scars must be significant. It instills a curiosity in the reader to want to learn more about these intriguing people.

The author also uses this book to examine many social issues. This includes the issue of prejudice and discrimination. When Esther learns the truth behind the variant’s origins she is shocked, but her discovery proves that the townspeople have more in common with the variants than she has been taught to believe. This information can be applied to today’s society just as easily as it does to the society in ‘Wasteland.’

People tend to fear what they do not understand. The townspeople fear the variants because they are different. But, does different always equate to evil?

There are life lessons in this book if anyone cares to see them.

Esther befriends Skar despite what the other residents of Prin think. This takes courage. She risks being shunned by all her peers, but she has the inner strength to do what she thinks is right. In this book (as in real life)it is always easier to follow the crowd then it is to follow your own path. Esther follows her own path by befriending Skar and she is rewarded by obtaining a devoted friend and also by learning all the stealth skills that the variants have that the townspeople do not.

This book also highlights a fact of life. Human beings are complicated creatures and each person can harbor both good and bad qualities. It is very rare that a person is either purely good or purely evil. The majority of people are made up of some good and some bad qualities. It is the choices we make that determine whether we will choose to let our dark side or our light side dominate.

I love the fact that while being an entertaining read and an interesting story, this book will also make you think.

Overall I think this may be the beginning of an interesting trilogy. I hope the authors will include more back-story in the next book.

More Info:

To read more about this author or about the other books in this series, visit http://www.epicreads.com

QUEEN OF THE TEARLING

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THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING by Erika Johansen

This book caught my eye while browsing in Chapters bookstore and I was intrigued by the description.

It the first book in a new series.

Wow! What a tale. And that is exactly what this book is, it is a tale, just as THE LORD OF THE RINGS is a tale. This series has that sort of potential. This book reminds me of the GAME OF THRONES series. Not the storyline itself, but the epic proportions of the plot.

I read the entire 434 pages in a single day. I had plans for the day, but little did I know when I started, that I would be unable to put this book down. Literally!

I was immediately drawn into this make-believe world. This novel is both fantasy novel and dystopian fiction.

Kelsea Raleigh was whisked away as a baby and raised in seclusion. She is the heir to The Tearling, a post-apocalyptic state that is more like a medieval
kingdom than what we think of as a typical post-apocalyptic world. This could be due to the fact that several generations have passed since “The Tear.”
Kelsea is destined to become Queen of The Tearling on her nineteenth birthday. But her only living relative, an Uncle who has been acting as the kingdom’s regent for many years, has other ideas. Kelsea knows that he would have already had her assassinated if he had known the location of hidden sanctuary.

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, is a plain looking and serious girl who loves books and learning. In fact, given a choice, she would have been content to stay in the hidden cottage for the rest of her life.

While growing up Kelsea had been told very little about her deceased mother, Queen Elyssa. Her guardians wanted Kelsea to become her own woman without trying to emulate her mother.

When the Queen’s Guards arrive at her hidden cottage to escort her back to the capitol city, Kelsea quickly realizes that she has a lot to learn.

From Goodreads:

“But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.”

“Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.”

The Queen of the Tearling introduces readers to a world that is complex, vivid and terrifying.

Readers will find themselves enjoying an immensely satisfying wild ride as they join the new Queen on her journey. She reaches inside herself for the strength to make changes for the good of her people and like every good heroine, she battles through her own doubt and insecurity to find that her inner core is made of the strongest iron.

I love the scope of this story. It is not limited to a single kingdom and each kingdom has it’s own distinct beliefs, rulers, political structures and even religions.

The characters in this story are well developed and no matter how minor the character’s role, they still come across fully and with surprising depth. I also love the fact that both leading characters are female. They are both strong women, and yet they are distinctly unique.

My rating for this book is an enthusiastic 5 out of 5 stars. I just hope the wait for Book Two isn’t too long.

Add this book to your MUST READ list. You will not be disappointed.

To read more of my reviews, visit my blog at https://amiesbookreviews.wordpress.com

DEAD OF WINTER – Book Three of The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole

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DEAD OF WINTER – Book Three of The Arcana Chronicles
By: Kresley Cole

The second book in this series ended on a cliff-hanger. Evie has started to develop feelings for Death (Aric), but she also still has feelings for Jackson. At the end of ENDLESS KNIGHT Evie learns that Jack has been taken prisoner by a sadistic pair of Arcana known as “The Lovers’. This title is an oxymoron, these two are not lovers, they are actually twin siblings who share a perverse love of torture and degradation. Evie is desperate to save Jack from their evil hands. She is so desperate that she asks Death to help her rescue Jack. However, Death refuses. He hates Jack for no other reason but for the fact that he is jealous of him. Aric cannot stand the thought of losing Evie to Jackson. He is so consumed by thoughts of losing her that he attempts to imprison her so that she cannot get to Jack.

Evie feels that she has no choice but to escape from Death’s mansion and she sets off to rescue Jack.

When she meets back up with her former alliance members it quickly becomes evident that things have changed. Evie has spent the past few months living in relative luxury (even though most of that time she was being held against her will.) The rest of her alliance had not been living in comfort and some of them are wounded.

While she was away from them, her alliance members sustained several injuries and have also started using humans to create their own army; an army that follows Jack as their leader.

Desperate to reestablish trust and destroy The Lovers, “Evie doesn’t know what will prove more impossible; surviving slavers, plague, Bagmen, and other Arcana – or convincing Jack and Death to work together.”

“There’s a thin line between love and hate, and Evie just doesn’t know where she stands with either Jack or Death. Will this unlikely trio be able to defeat the Lovers without killing one another first….?”

Evie must also decide whether her destiny and her heart belong to Jack or to Death. She is torn in two directions and she feels deeply for both men. Is one truly the love of her life? How can she be sure which one to choose? And what happens if she chooses incorrectly? The results could be devastating, not only to herself, but also to the future of humanity.

Although this series is considered ‘Young Adult Fiction’ there are some situations and scenarios in this book that I would not deem appropriate for anyone under 16 years of age. Some sexual scenarios are a bit more detailed than you usually see in young adult stories.

The plot is intricate and vast in scope, but the author superbly navigates through it and readers will be enthralled. This book is hard to put down.

The crazy, post-apocalyptic world Kresley Cole has created is so detailed that readers can easily envision what it looks like. This takes serious talent and skill to achieve. There are a LOT of post-apocalyptic or dystopian future type novels on bookshelves currently, but this series rises above the rest.

The characters are achingly real and they are not portrayed as being solely ‘black or white’. Each character is made up of varying shades of gray. This makes them all the more believable. People tend to become a product of their nature mixed with influences of their environment. Imagine adding past lives, wondrous powers, hopes, dreams and the raging, often barely contained emotions (and hormones) of teenagers and you can see how the Arcana members have come to be as they are in this series. Their internal as well as their external conflicts are expertly portrayed. Author Kresley Cole has created a stunningly compelling read; one you will not want to put down.

This book neatly wraps up one of the mysteries of this series, but also expands and deepens other mysteries. Once again the reader is left with a nail-biting, exciting cliff-hanger that will have you wishing for book four’s immediate release.

To find out more about this author, visit her website at http://www.kresleycole.com

To find out more about this series, visit http://www.TheArcanaChronicles.com

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars and have added Kresley Cole to my list of favorite authors. I can’t wait to get my hands on the fourth book of The Arcana Chronicles.

ENDLESS KNIGHT – Book Two of The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole

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ENDLESS KNIGHT – Book Two of the Arcana Chronicles
By: Kresley Cole

Since I read quite a few books for authors who exchange a free copy of their book for an honest review, I do not buy a lot of books anymore. However, when one catches my interest I can’t stop myself from buying it. I purchased POISON PRINCESS for only $4.99 which was the special cover price. How could I possibly resist an interesting book at such a great price? Anyway, as it turns out, that was a terrific marketing strategy by the publisher since I have now purchased books two and three in the series.

ENDLESS KNIGHT begins at the exact moment that the first book ended. Evie has just killed a budding serial killer who also happened to be one of the Arcana. He was “The Hermit.”

Jackson arrived on the scene just in time to witness the full majesty and horror of her powers. Jack, being raised Catholic, crosses himself and Evie is horrified to realize that he sees her as evil. Her fear that she is a monster seems to have been confirmed by Jackson’s reaction.

Evie, Matthew, Selena and Finn are all Arcana. They had been keeping their powers secret from Jackson throughout their travels. Now, however, their secrets have been revealed. Since he had witnessed Evie’s powers, they decide to disclose everything to him. Evie believes that he will now abandon her and that it would be safer for him if they parted ways forever.

Evie had left the others after she saw Jackson kissing Selena and Finn admits that it had been him kissing Selena and that he had used illusion to make himself look like Jack.

The group agrees to a truce and reunite. However, Death is stalking them and he is determined that Evie will be his.

Magic, romance, supernatural powers, telepathy, love, hate, lust, friendship and betrayal all take place in this novel. There is never a lack of action in ENDLESS KNIGHT.

The question is: Can good triumph over evil? And, who is good? Who is evil? Sometimes it is not easy to tell the difference.

Most often the first book in a series is the best book and the sequels pale in comparison. This is NOT the case with ‘Endless Knight’. This book is actually better than ‘Poison Princess’.

The author does a terrific job of delving into Death’s psyche. He may not say much about his past or ever talk about his feelings, but Evie is able to discern quite a bit of information from his body language and from the way he lives as well as by the objects he chooses to surround himself with.

The author also does a truly admirable job of proving that just because someone acts and speaks a certain way, it does not mean that he/she is necessarily irredeemable. Who would have thought that the reader would come to empathize with Death? Well done Kresley Cole.

I do not want to give away too much of the story with my review, but I will say that this is one action packed and surprising novel.

It is full of everything bad that could come about in a post-apocalyptic world. There are zombie-like creatures called Bagmen who crave any form of moisture, including blood. There are cults, cannibals, evil militias with hidden agendas and the fate of this messed-up world rests on the shoulders of 22 teenagers who each represent a card in the Tarot Arcana.

Each teen has powers and flaws associated with the tarot card they represent. The major players are Evie (The Empress), Aric (Death), Matthew (The Fool who is anything but), Selena (The Moon) and Finn (The Magician).

The game is being played whether the teenagers want to be part of it or not. Only one can win and be the victor who claims the prize of immortality. The only way to win is to be the last Arcana left alive and everyone wants to survive. Alliances are formed, but how can they trust each other when they know that only one can be the ultimate Arcana?

Tense, exciting and wickedly pulse-pounding, ENDLESS KNIGHT is an excellent read with a nail-biting cliff-hanger ending that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Happily, the third book in this series has just been released. I am excited to start reading DEAD OF WINTER.

I give this book a rating of 5 out of 5 stars.

To find out more about this author, visit her website at http://www.kresleycole.com

To find out more about this series, visit http://www.TheArcanaChronicles.com

POISON PRINCESS – Book One of The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole

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Poison Princess – Book One of The Arcana Chronicles
By: Kresley Cole

Description From Goodreads:

“She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen-year-old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side.”

My Review:

Evie vacillates between being a simpering idiot and a girl who just might be strong enough to save the world.

At the beginning of the book Evie has just returned home after spending the summer in a mental health/cult deprogramming facility. While there, she was drugged into a stupor while “experts” convinced her that her visions were actually hallucinations.

At the end of the summer, her mother and her doctors all believe that Evie is recovering nicely, but the truth is that she has just learned how to hide her differences better.

At school she cares WAY too much about what her classmates think of her. She even hides her “hallucinations” from her best friend. It is at this point that some readers may decide to tune-out or to stop reading. My advice is to keep reading.

The book takes a turn for the better when a solar flare decimates Earth and a high percentage of the population is wiped out instantly.

What follows after the catastrophe is quite interesting. Evie starts hearing voices again and discovers that she isn’t crazy – and that she has some amazing powers.

There are post-apocalyptic militias, zombie-like creatures called “Bagmen” and slavers who will stop at nothing to capture a girl or woman alone.

There is also the requisite love-story and all that entails. And, all this is happening peripheral to the main plot.

Evie needs to find her grandmother to help her make sense of her visions. This inter-state journey would be perilous enough on it’s own, but it is made even more so by the fact that Death is literally stalking Evie.

This book ends at the perfect moment. It offers up a satisfying ending while simultaneously leaving the reader wanting to continue the story.

Fortunately the second and third books in the series are both now available and I am intrigued enough to keep reading.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars.

To learn more about this author, visit her at http://www.kresleycole.com or visit http://www.TheArcanaChronicles.com

SPOILER ALERT – Do NOT read any further if you do not want a spoiler to be revealed!!!

*** NOTES *** (Potential Spoiler)

I have read some reviews of this book in which the reviewers have discussed and scoffed at the stereotype of Jackson as a “Bad Boy”. But, I have to say that stereotypes exist for a reason and whether people like it or not, good girls are often drawn to bad boys. If this were not the case, the stereotype would disappear. It is my belief that the author using these facts is not detrimental to the story. However, as always, this is just my personal opinion.

The other part of the story that seems to draw criticism is the fact that throughout most of the story Evie needs a strong male figure to protect her. Some readers seem to think that because Evie needs this protection, she is less of a heroine. I do not believe this to be the case.

Historically, weaker humans have gravitated towards those who could offer them protection.
Millions of years of ingrained behavior cannot be eliminated just because we wish it. There seems to be something at the genetic level that attracts people to potential mates that exhibit strong, protective behaviors. This is often at the subconscious level and could have something to do with being attracted to the person who will make the best potential mate to generate strong offspring. Evie’s attraction to Jackson could be the result of this.

Yes, it can be annoying to think that Jack is just a thug, but Evie obviously sees something more in him. I also really liked the fact that Evie is a virgin and is not willing to “play her V card” for just anyone.

All things (and plot points) considered, the stereotypes that some reviewers scoff at are actually necessary to move the story along and to gradually build up the trust (and yes, the lust too) of the relationship between Evie and Jack.

I am already reading ENDLESS KNIGHT which is the second book in this series.