Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Sarah's Review of Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs


Tempest Rising is a paranormal teen romance novel written by Tracy Deebs. It is about a young girl, sixteen, named Tempest Maguire. On land she loves living along the coastline of California and loves surfing even more. She takes care of her brothers and her dad, ever since her mom left. She also loves her long time boyfriend, Mark. Yet she holds a secret. One that has been pulling at her, pulling her under, towards the ocean. Among the water her secret hides. She is half mermaid, inherited from her mother who returned to the ocean years ago and left her to take care of her family. But now with her seventeenth birthday looming, Tempest is left with her own decisions to make. Decisions that are being made even more complicated due to a handsome newcomer named Kona, who's whole existence hints at something otherworldly. Tempest's heart is at stake, but danger also lurks threatening her life. The water's hold a world full of mystery and secrets, romance and adventure, but is it safe for Tempest?

This was the first paranormal romance book that I have read involving mermaids and I found it quite intriguing. I especially liked Tempest's character and how determined she was. Even though everything in her existence was pulling her towards the ocean's calling, she was determined to live a human life, unlike that of her mother, whom she felt abandoned them. Tempest felt a duty to her family and her friends. She had her brothers to take care of, and her father. And she was determined not to make the same mistakes her mother had. But we find Tempest's character growing even more during throughout the novel. She learns from what comes her way and takes it all in stride while trying to figure out the best possible life for her and for her family. She doesn't come across as a materialistic, egotistical, selfish person at all. You can tell from the writing that Tempest's character feels with her whole heart and wants to do the right thing, not only for herself but for everyone who is in her life. Tempest feels a whole range of emotions, including guilt, which plagues her throughout the story. The rest of the characters are just as strong even as secondary characters. It's easy to get wrapped up in all of the feelings they are experiencing through Deebs' phenomenal words.


The author, Tracy Deebs, does a fantastic job of pulling you into a world you could hardly imagine. Even before we enter the mysterious world of the ocean and the dangers and secrets that await there, her writing weaves a magical tale of romance and friendship that spans the times.


There are some realistic and thought provoking themes throughout Tempest Rising. Even though it is based in a paranormal world, we still see the struggles between right and wrong, good and evil. We see the struggle not only internally with Tempest as she struggles to understand her feelings and obligations, but also externally between Tempest and the danger lurking in the ocean. Another prevalent theme is of course love. It couldn't be a paranormal romance without it. We see Tempest struggle with the desires of her heart, but above all else, we see that love can conquer.


This book made you dive in and get lost in the pages. The characters are strong, well developed people whom one could easily relate to, aspire to be, or dream about. Tracy Deebs weaves a fantastical world of magic, romance, mystery and suspense. I am glad I picked up this book.


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Sarah's Review of The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins


The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins is a psychological thriller like no other. It is written using only certain times of the day, the morning and the evening, with recall like no other. We meet our main character, Rachel, right away. We see life through her eyes and every day is basically the same. She takes the same train commuting in the morning as in the evening. Each day she travels the same stretch of track, passing by the same homes, stopping at the same stops. At one of these stops she has been watching a couple going about their ways on their terrace. She sees them every day and feels like she knows them. She even refers to them as Jess and Jason and believes they have the perfect life. Just like the life she recently lost. But one day she sees something shocking at their place and in that instant, everything changes. She comes forward to the police with what she has seen, but they view her as unreliable. Is she really unreliable? Wanting to be taken seriously, she quickly finds herself entangled up in the investigation and the personal lives of all of those involved.

The novel begins slowly, introducing the main character as mundane and boring, but an alcoholic. It took a while to get into the book, but once things start happening I found it hard to put down.
Hawkins writes through varying viewpoints, but never strays from her morning and evening structure of the book. It's imperative to have these other viewpoints in order to gain valuable information into the case and the lives of those involved. Rachel is an alcoholic who has trouble remembering things due to her blacking out, which in turn sets her up for a lot of self doubt and mystery. It lets us into the life of an alcoholic and how she feels regarding her struggles with dependency and her life as a whole. I found that all of the women took on roles of the battered woman or of being weak. I didn't feel as though there was a strong role model or anything of the sort throughout the book. It was more a case of who had it worse.

As a psychological thriller, it is really disturbing to find out that every single character has something to hide and nobody can be trusted. As their lives unravel and truths become told, it is unsettling to say the least. It really makes you view other people a little bit differently after reading this. However, this is quite the work of fiction. The lies the characters in this book reveal are shocking and huge and everyone seems to be hiding something.

The book is an absolute page-turner once you get past the beginning. But, you have to get past that part. I know a lot of people who put the book down part way in. I stuck it out and am glad I did. While it wasn't my favourite thriller, it was entertaining.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Sarah's Review of Unrivaled by Alyson Noel


Unrivaled is the first book in Alyson Noel's newest series, Beautiful Idols. It follows the lives of a few people, who are just trying to make it in Hollywood. Everyone wants to be known for something.
The book centers around the hottest new starlet, Madison Brooks. Who wouldn't think twice of doing anything to get to the top.
Layla Harrison wants to be become a top writer behind a desk in New York. Aster Amirpour is getting tired of being told by directors that she's not the right kind of ethnic for the role. Tommy Phillips is dying to get his hands on a twelve string guitar and rocket to stardom, all while making his way back into his absent father's life.
Layla, Aster and Tommy find themselves, along with a few others, invited VIP into the glamorous and not so glamorous nightlife where they are dragged into a high stakes competition to target the famous Madison Brooks. Just as the competition starts to look promising, Madison Brooks disappears. And the others find themselves at the heart of the investigation.

This young adult novel carries such a sense of drama, suspense and intrigue. It takes a closer look into the world of the young Hollywood and the not so nice aspects of a star-studded town.

I love the way this book is set up. It actually begins with the disappearance of Madison Brooks and then backtracks about a month to where we meet the main characters and they begin what will eventually lead to her disappearance. In the beginning it was a little hard to keep track of all of the characters, but I quickly caught on and I found the story to just flow perfectly from one chapter to the next, even with the changing of viewpoints.

All of Noel's characters are strongly written with very distinct personalities. Each story is captivating and you are left wondering where the lies and deceit are. I found myself looking back after I finished the book to see if I missed any clues only to find that they were hidden for a reason. Quite the mystery.

The way Alyson Noel describes the situations and settings leaves your mind open to picture things accurately and completely, leaving nothing to chance unless it is supposed to be withheld. A good mystery always leave open-ended questions and clues throughout the storyline, delivering information only as it is needed and Alyson Noel handles this perfectly. I think this will series will be on the #1 list for years to come. Personally I can't wait to sink into the second novel in Beautiful Idols.

If you are a fan of Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars then you will instantly love this new series!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Sarah's Review of EVO by L.J. Sealey

Wow! Just Wow! I absolutely loved this book!

Evo is Book #2.5 in the Divine Hunter Series by L.J. Sealey.

In this installment of the Divine Hunter Series, we really get a look at the main character, Evan O'Reilly, better known as Evo. He was a man who was used to fighting demons and considered himself a bounty hunter and was utterly ruthless, always efficient. But then he had to battle his own demon.
Evo's friend, Alethia, is the Goddess of wind and shadows, and was silently watching over Evo, completely undetected. But when he begins to warrant a wrong kind of attention, she has no choice but to step in.
We quickly learn that Evo is being hunted by people just like him and a demon who wants nothing but revenge. So Alethia and Evo begin to run together. While on the run we see a lot of passion and tension and find that they are fighting something far worse than Evo's soul. Alethia is left fighting for him and comes to the heartbreaking truth that in order to save him she may have to lose him forever.

I love both of these characters in the Divine Hunter Series and am so glad that we got to really get a look into their lives with this book. Evo and Alethia's characters are so vulnerable and real. The love they have for each other is so strong and overpowers all other themes in the book. Just how we have come to realize in our own lives that love can help us overcome all obstacles, the love they have for one another keeps them going and neither Alethia nor Evo will give up until the very last breath. It shows us that we don't really choose who we fall in love with, but that love can be unconditional and test all barriers. If we are so lucky to find someone like that, then we should hold onto them.

One of the other major themes is good verses evil. Right from the start we know there are demons fighting to keep Evo from living his life and fighting to keep him from the love of his life. I found myself rooting against all evil for Evo to overpower his own demon.

L.J. Sealey has such a knack for writing. She has delivered yet another page turner. Her writing captures just the right amount of suspense and intrigue and her descriptions leave you so sure of everything you can picture it perfectly in your mind. She really knows how to pull you right into the story from start to finish.  Her story flows with such ease and switches from Evo's point of view to Alethia's so effortlessly.

Evo is so far my favourite book in her Divine Hunter series and I can't wait to read more! Thank you L. J. Sealey for writing such captivating characters and creating such an amazing world for us to escape to.

This book contains mature content, so the readership is for 17+. It is a paranormal romance after all.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Sarah's Review of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


Wow! I don't know why I hadn't read this book before now, but I sure am glad I did! I was hooked right from the start! Gillian Flynn has just the right amount of suspense and intrigue to keep you turning page after page, wondering if your instincts are right.

Gone Girl is a page turning masterpiece! It takes place in a small town in Missouri, North Carthage. We first meet Nick on the morning of his and his wife's five year wedding anniversary. Nick and Amy Dunne are preparing for their celebrations when Nick finds out that Amy has suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. From Nick's inner ramblings and daydreams we learn he isn't always the picture perfect husband. And then we are shown Amy's own musing from her diary where we learn how she is a perfectionistic alpha-girl. Nick quickly finds himself under intense pressure from the townspeople, Amy's parents, and the police, and with suspicion mounting against him, he finds himself drawn into his own set of lies and deceit. We find Nick behaving rather inappropriately for a husband who's wife is currently missing, which leads to him being the prime suspect. But even though he is acting weird and is definitely bitter at his wife, Amy, we are left wondering if he really could be a killer.

Flynn takes us on a ride through varying viewpoints, looking through the eyes of Amy's diary, and then back and forth through the eyes of Nick. I love having varying viewpoints on one story. And as you go on through the book you also find it broken into three parts. All with a drastic twist to the story. Gone Girl really makes you look at the minute details in our everyday lives and behaviours. It makes us question our own basic instincts and what drives different people to behave in such drastic ways.

There isn't a whole lot I can say about the book without giving away some of the major twists and turns it takes, but it definitely captures the intrigue and suspense. Gillian Flynn has so many layers twisted throughout her very believable characters. Things are written in such a precise way that it all unravels dramatically. There are so many clues that I'm left wondering, after reading it, what I could pick up on if I were to read it again.

I have never read a book like this before. Flynn has such an original and suspense thrilled storyline that is utterly flawless. Flynn explores such dark depths found in psychology and explores the inner makings of a sociopath. It makes you wonder if you can ever truly know somebody, inside and out.

If you haven't yet read this book or seen the movie, I'd suggest giving it a read first. I always find books more interesting than the movie and prefer to read before watching. As for me, now that I have read Gone Girl, I look forward to the movie and hope it lives up to the book.