Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Sarah’s Review of Awaken by L.J. Sealey


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Awaken is the debut novel by L.J. Sealey. It is the first in her Paranormal Romance series, Divine Hunter. In Awaken, we meet Michael Warden. Michael’s life was taken away from him and he now finds himself inhabiting a body that was not his, fighting demons that should not exist, while trying to figure out what happened to him and why. His quest for truth leads him to take a job as a university professor. He took the job to try to uncover the reason behind numerous suicides by the students. He doesn’t believe it to be because of natural reasons and thinks if he figures out why the students are killing themselves, then it could lead to answers as to what happened to him. He feels as though there is a supernatural element to it. In his search he encounters numerous demons from Hell, from which he has returned but is unsure why he was able to leave. As well, he makes a new friend in a demon hunter named Evo. While working as a professor, Michael meets and quickly develops a friendship with colleague Lacy Holloway.

Lacy has just begun to heal from things in her past when she meets Michael, and quickly becomes comfortable in his presence. All of a sudden things from her past start resurfacing and she feels as though Michael has some part of it. Even though there is something strange about Michael, she can’t help but fall for him, she finds him smart, attractive, and very easy to talk to. Lacy finds out quickly that Michael isn’t what he seems to be and Lacy finds herself fighting demons alongside Michael as they try to help one of her students who has tried to commit suicide but failed.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Right from the beginning you realize that Lacy and Michael have a unique bond and even though it seems dangerous, you are rooting for them. Her kind heart and personality are exactly what Michael needs amidst all of the torture he is going through, both physically and emotionally. The journey Michael takes throughout the book is captivating. I found myself wanting to keep reading to see what else he would discover about himself as he unravelled the questions and found some answers as to what he was and what had become of him.

Sealey filled the book with a lot of descriptive so that you are able to picture everything and have a real sense of what is going on with the characters in detail. The story flowed well from chapter to chapter and things unravelled in a uniformed way, not leaving you wondering what happened. Her characters are interesting people and are easy to understand. It made you feel as though you were a friend of theirs and had known them for years. Yet the mystery surrounding their past was very intriguing and I loved how she told bits and pieces of it throughout the book to keep you wanting to read. The story line is great and easy to follow.

I really liked the overall tone of good versus evil with the underlying romance. Even though Michael has returned from Hell, you are wondering throughout the whole book why, since he doesn’t seem to have the “demon” in him. Instead he is fighting on the good side. I found the further I read the more hooked I got and the ending was amazing!

If you enjoy paranormal romance then this is a series to check out. I just started reading the second book in the series, Dark Deliverance, and so far I am hooked.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Sarah’s Review of Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult


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Harvesting the Heart is one of Jodi Picoult’s earlier novels. It is about a woman named Paige. Paige grew up with only a few memories of her mother. When she was five years old, her mother abandoned Paige and her father. Paige decides after graduation that it is time for her to leave her father and the city she grew up in, Chicago, after dealing with a challenging decision. Paige leaves and dreams of attending art school. While gone she meets and marries Nicholas, an ambitious young doctor. Soon after Paige becomes a mother herself to a son. She quickly feels overwhelmed with the demands of having a family and she cannot get past the fact that her own mother left her and was absent most of her life. She also struggles with her own past and the reason behind why she left Chicago and her father in the first place. She is unsure of herself as a mother and as a wife and so in a moment of desperation leaves everything in search of answers.

This story was hard for me to get into. I usually love Picoult’s writing style, but in this particular story, I found she jumped around time frames too much, especially in the beginning of the book. I was constantly trying to figure out what was going on. Luckily after the first part it became a bit easier to follow and the flow was much better.

This story deals with such a fragile topic of ambivalent motherhood. I think all moms can relate to feeling overwhelmed in the beginning. It’s a completely new life and you need to adapt rather quickly. But I think that’s where most moms, at least in my case, stop relating. I could never in a million years ever consider leaving my children and it was hard for me to understand why Paige could do that to her own son. But Picoult does do a good job in putting you into Paige’s shoes and seeing it through her eyes. You really have to have empathy in order to understand the emotions that she is going through, especially, if like me, you find it unthinkable to just get up and leave.

Picoult does a good job of writing from the perspectives of both Paige, the mother, and Nicholas, her husband and the father of the child. You really get a sense of what both of them are feeling and the struggles they each have to deal with. But as I already said, I had a really hard time relating to the characters and what they were going through.

Overall I found this particular novel to be lacking what most of her other novels have. It took me a long time to really get into it and when I did, I couldn’t relate much to what I was reading. The story line was a bit predictable and there weren’t really any twists or surprises. It was an interesting read, but not one of my favourites.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

NEW RELEASE!!! DARK DELIVERANCE BLOG TOUR, INTERVIEW, AND GIVEAWAY!!!




Title: Dark Deliverance
Series: Divine Hunter #2
Author: L.J. Sealey
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release: September 30th 2014

SYNOPSIS:
Sometimes you just have to go to Hell and back. . .

Forced apart, Lacy and Michael are now living very different lives. Michael is in Kentucky fighting demons and searching for a way to save his friend but even with the help of new allies he is hitting nothing but dead ends. Faced with no other choice, Michael returns to Hell and is determined to save Evo and put an end to his enemy so he can be reunited with the woman who holds his heart.

Lacy is trying to piece her life back together in Oakland but is struggling to fill the void that is almost tearing her apart. Just as she’s about to hit rock bottom, a new friend could hold the key to reuniting her with Michael. But at what cost?

Both find themselves in less than perfect circumstances. The repercussions of which lead them to discover a new threat born of Varesh and his growing army of demons: a new weapon, and a new plan that will ultimately lead to the end of the world as they know it. Will Michael’s new power be enough to destroy Varesh and protect not only the people he cares about, but also the rest of humanity?


Links for AWAKEN: AmazonUS | AmazonUK | iBooksUS | iBooksUK | B&N | Kobo
My Interview with L.J. Sealey

When you began the Divine Hunter series, where did you find your inspiration? Even though it is a paranormal romance series, did you bring anything from your real life into the story?
I’ve always had this fascination with otherworldly creatures. Since being old enough to understand what they are, I’ve loved vampires in particular. My favourite programmes are always supernatural based. Starting with shows like Buffy, then Supernatural (who doesn’t love watching Same and Dean), and Vampire Diaries. I first had the idea for Michael Warden quite a few years ago when I was actually writing something else, but he was niggling away at me. So much so that I put my other story aside so that I could see what he wanted. I never went back to that other story, but I’m sure I will do eventually.
Paranormal Romance is my favourite genre to read, so mixing the demon/angel elements with romance was perfect for me.
For the readers who haven’t yet read Awaken, Book #1 in the Divine Hunter Series, do you recommend they read it first or could they dive right into Dark Deliverance Book #2?
I definitely recommend reading Awaken first. A lot of the storyline continues on from book one, so I really feel that you have to know what happened in Awaken to really be involved with what the characters go through in Dark Deliverance. Also, you really need to know what Michael and Lacy go through in terms of their relationship before understanding things fully in book two, particularly in the first half of the book.
Are there any sneak peeks you can give the readers about Dark Deliverance? In particular about Michael and Lacy’s relationship? I think we are all curious to know what happens with the two of them.
Without giving too much away, Michael and Lacy have to deal with a few issues in this instalment. Something big happened at the end of Awaken (I won’t say what just in case your readers haven’t read it yet), and even though Michael thinks that what he did was for the best, he begins to realise that he just might have made the wrong decision.
You will see other characters returning in Dark Deliverance – some welcome, some not so welcome – and you will also meet a few new ones.
If you could be any character in the Divine Hunter series, male or female, who would you choose to be and why?
That’s a hard one. But I think if I’m forced to choose it would have to be Alethia. She’s a powerful goddess who can easily protect herself. She’s pretty badass when she needs to be, but she’s also very caring.
How long is the Divine Hunter series going to be? Will we be seeing more of Michael and Lacy in the future?
We’ll definitely be seeing more of Michael and Lacy. Their journey isn’t over yet. I originally planned for the story to take place over four books and unless anything drastic happens that will still be the case. Michael and Lacy’s story arc will be wrapped up in book four. I’ve even written the final scene. The next book I’m currently working on will be a tie-in novel to the Divine Hunter series. It will take place in the Divine Hunter world but will stray from the main story arc. The book will be titled EV): A Divine Hunter World Novel. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to tell you who it will be about. From the feedback I’ve had, Evo has made an impression on the Divine Hunter series readers. He’s a cheeky, loveable rogue. I’m really excited to write his story.
The cover for Dark Deliverance is full is intrigue, romance and suspense. I personally love the cover. What did you think when you first saw it?
Well, I actually design my own covers so I have to say I LOVE them. The first design I did for the Dark Deliverance cover was very different, but something wasn’t sitting right with me. So I bravely scrapped the whole design and started again. I have to say I love the model on the cover of Awaken. It took me a long time to find him but the minute I saw him, I knew he had to be my cover model for Michael.
Which part of the book did you write last?
With Awaken, I didn’t write the last chapter last. By the time I was halfway through writing it I knew exactly how it was going to end, so I wrote it earlier on. With Dark Deliverance, I wrote the epilogue earlier on, and apart from what I already had in my notes, I wrote the final chapter last.
You are a fairly new published writer, with this being your second book. Is there any advice you can give to aspiring writers?
Just go for it. If you have a story that’s itching to leave your head, write it down. Get it out of there whether you believe you can do it or not. When I started writing I didn’t have a clue if I would ever release anything. I simply wrote my story because it was in my head all of the time. I thought to myself, if I manage to do it then maybe I’ll just let my family and friends read it. I wasn’t at all confident to start with. But I did it, and I still have to pinch myself because I never thought I’d ever put it out there for other people to read. It turned out to be the best decision of my life.
What is your process for writing a book? Do you always start at the beginning or do you jump around to different chapters then fill in the pieces?
I start by making notes and writing out the rough draft of the storyline. Then I dive right in, starting at page one. I mostly write from start to finish, but if I get an idea for something that might happen later on in the story, I work on that for a time, then go back.
Who are some of your favourite authors and why?
My two absolute favourite authors are Jeaniene Frost and J.R. Ward. I can’t really decide between the two because I like them equally, but I will lean slightly towards Frost because her Night Huntress series novels were what got me hooked on the paranormal romance genre.
I also love Elizabeth Hunter, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lara Adrian…I could be here all day!
 
And here is an excerpt from Dark Deliverance....

Michael leaned against the wall inside a disused building on West Clinton Street. It wasn’t long before he felt a shift in the air and a cold breeze blew across his neck, causing him to turn and face the gray mist that had begun to appear on the opposite side of the building.
“I know this isn’t a social visit. But it’s good to see you anyway.” He smiled at Alethia as she walked towards him. She was wearing a long, navy coat and tight jeans with her deep brown hair drawn back in a sleek ponytail which made it easy for Michael to notice the troubled expression on her face.
She walked to him with her hands in both pockets. “It’s good to see you too. Although, I know somebody else who would like to see you more.”
 His chest instantly tightened. He knew who she was referring to and for the first time in days Lacy’s face flashed into his mind. He took in a deep breath and let the air out slowly while trying desperately to quash the emotion that those simple words had instantly stirred up. “You know that can’t happen right now, Alethia. Not until I know she’ll be safe.”
 
The deity nodded her understanding and laid her hand on his shoulder. “I know. It’s just hard to hear what she’s thinking and not be able to tell her you’re safe, that’s all.”
 
He knew Lacy would be suffering, but he had no choice right now. It was much safer for her to believe he’d been taken than to know he was safe.
 
“Is she the reason you’re here?”
 
“No.”
 
He watched Alethia lower her gaze and she removed her hand from him. She looked troubled. This couldn’t be good.
 
She huffed. “My father won’t listen to me, my mother refuses to speak to him about helping me find where Evo is, and I can’t reach out to anyone else, so. . . ”—she held her hand out to him—“I need you to give me the ring back.”
 
“What? Alethia! You can’t be serious. You know I—”
 
“Just listen to me for a second. You have to hand me the ring, Michael. It’s the only way you’re going to find Evo.”
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
L.J. Sealey was born and raised in a little Welsh town by the sea. It rains a lot, so she often has a great excuse to sit at her writing desk and while away the hours at her laptop.
She still lives in N.Wales and when she’s not travelling around the country working with her husband – who is a professional singer – or singing backup vocals herself, she likes to read and watch her favourite TV shows which normally includes plenty of CSI, The Vampire Diaries and endless amounts of sitcoms. Being addicted to reading about vampires, demons, shifters and angels, she has always had a thing for all things paranormal and is a big sucker for impossible love stories. So it was inevitable that when she started writing herself she would mix the two together.


 
Stalker Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | G+

 BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAY

1 x SIGNED PAPERBACK COPY OF DARK DELIVERANCE & SWAG PACK
3 x eBOOK SETS OF DIVINE HUNTER BOOKS 1&2, AWAKEN & DARK DELIVERANCE
(Open Internationally)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Sarah’s Review of Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay


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Sarah’s Key is a novel that spans two different times and two different realities. One view is that of Sarah. She is a ten year old girl living in Paris. Her story begins in July of the year 1942 when she and her parents are taken from their homes by the French police who were going to every door and arresting families who were Jewish during the night. When the police came knocking on Sarah’s door, she only wanted to protect her younger brother so she locked him in a cupboard hidden in their bedroom promising to come back for him. It was their secret hiding place.

The other view of the story takes place sixty years later when an American journalist, living in Paris, begins to investigate the Vel D’Hiv roundup. Julia Jarmond unearths secrets that bring her to Sarah past and her own future. The novel goes back and forth between the two stories, linking them through time.

Sarah’s Key is written with such intensity and suspense. There are rich descriptives on every page, making you feel as though you were living there. The rich history is intriguing and sorrowful. It’s heartbreaking to know that people suffered these horrors and the few survivors had to live with their loss. That is something one could never forget and it would change a person forever.

Tatiana de Rosnay’s writing style is impeccable. She has filled each page with so much detail and history. Even after putting the book down, the story stays with you. The characters were so real that I felt I knew them personally and their stories made my heart ache. The author did a good job of explaining the conditions and the treatment of the Jewish community during the Holocaust and the role the French played in July 1942. She helps explain from the characters points of view why so many people living in France have forgotten what happened or did not even know about it. Before reading this book, I had no idea that so much had happened in France during the Holocaust. I learned about the roundup as I read.

This story is rich in history and so engaging that you almost forget it is a work of fiction. I would highly recommend picking up this book and learning a bit more while reading for pleasure. This story highlights why it is so important to remember our past and to never forget.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Sarah’s Review of Long Drive Home


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Long Drive Home, written by Will Allison, is a captivating story looking into real life consequences of our actions, and how our morality plays into it.

In Will Allison’s novel, we meet Glen Bauer, a married man with a young daughter. Glen makes one quick decision that changes the course of his life and everything he knew. He made one quick mistake, jerking his steering wheel to try and scare a reckless driver, that turned deadly. He quickly realized that there were no witnesses to the accident, other than his daughter in the back seat, so he makes up a lie to the police, his wife, and Sara, his daughter who is only six years old. Glen’s wife becomes panicked and decides that they need to do something quick in order to keep their family and Sara safe. While his wife is spiraling, Glen begins to wonder if the accident was really his fault or if someone else is to blame.

We see Glen struggling with what is right and wrong. His conscious plays a huge part in trying to decide what is the moral thing to do. You are left wondering what you would do if you found yourself in a similar situation. Would you lie to save your wife and kids and try to keep your family together, or would you tell the truth, even if you weren’t entirely sure you were the real cause of the accident? Were there other factors involved?

I love Allison’s writing style. He goes between writing from the viewpoint of Glen, to the letter he writes a few years later to his daughter Sara, explaining everything. It’s also an interesting viewpoint to write from. If we were reading this same story from the view of Sara or her mom, we may look at Glen differently. But seeing it through the eyes of him, and seeing the way he is feeling and thinking leaves a different tone.

Definitely a good read.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Sarah's Review of Vampireville, Vampire Kisses 3

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Vampireville is the third novel in Ellen Schreiber’s series, Vampire Kisses. Raven has finally gotten her vampire boyfriend, Alexander, back in her life and her town and she loves it, but their relationship poses some problems. For one, they can only see each other after dark at night. But now that they have time to enjoy their relationship, they are finding themselves extra cautious because Alexander’s rival, Jagger, is lurking around town. They soon learn that Jagger’s twin sister, Luna, is also in town with her sights set on Trevor, a high school student whom has caused trouble for Raven from kindergarten. They want to drive them out of town and therefore are sent on a search to try and find their hideout; where they keep their coffins and sleep. Their hope is that if they can get rid of their coffins then they can drive them out of town before Dullsville becomes Vampireville. And even though Raven dislikes Trevor and everything he does, she has to try and stop him from getting too close to Luna before it’s too late.

In this book, the relationship between Raven and Alexander becomes more pronounced, and you see the love that they have for each other. Raven is frustrated that the only time they can spend together is during the night, and that she has to attend high school during the day. And she feels as though life is unfair because the time they do get to spend together at night, they are busy searching for Jagger and Luna, instead of just spending time together with Alexander. The dynamic between Alexander and Raven is great. He is trying to be the protective boyfriend, but Raven thinks for herself and puts herself into dangerous situations too because she feels she can handle them. And as she delves deeper into Alexander’s world, she starts to think twice about her romanticized version of becoming one of the undead. She is realizing it isn’t everything she fantasized it being. I would like to see more chemistry between Raven and Alexander.

These books are a quick easy read for teens that are short enough that you can get through them quickly. Yet there is enough going on that it keeps you reading.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Sarah’s Review of Kissing Coffins by Ellen Schreiber


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Kissing Coffins is book #2 is Ellen Schreiber’s series, Vampire Kisses. In this book, Raven has finally met the handsome, Alexander Sterling, and has found out a secret of his. One she is willing to keep because she has finally found love. Raven is finally happy, and her behaviour is so upbeat and positive there’s no doubt she is in love. She is quick to learn that even true love can have complications. The secret Alexander has to keep guarded is huge, but Raven understands. Just when Raven was truly happy and had found love, Alexander disappears without any warning. This leads Raven to leave her town, Dullsville, and go in search of him. She travels to what she calls Hipsterville and stays with her aunt in hopes of finding him. She immediately falls in love with the town; it even has gothic stores where she can buy all of her clothes, not like in Dullsville where she has to order things. The search to find Alexander turns dangerous when another young vampire shows up in her life. Raven must act quickly in order to stay safe and to keep Alexander safe, even though she has no idea where he is.

I liked this book about as much as I liked the first, but it had a little bit more action which was entertaining. It is a very light read, very quick to get through. I like that Schreiber doesn’t fill our heads with unnecessary characters or situations. Everything she writes has a purpose and has to do with the main story. We learn more about Alexander’s past, and why he behaves the way he does, and who he truly is. Spoiler alert…..Alexander is a vampire, which we found out at the end of the first book, but not in the conventional way most vampires behave. But with dating a vampire, Raven learns of the dangers that she can be exposed to. The love story takes on more depth as we have more of a look into how Raven feels about Alexander and what she truly wants with life.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Sarah's Review of Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber


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I am currently reading Vampire Kisses, The Beginning by Ellen Schreiber, which consists of the first three stories in her series. The first story is simply called Vampire Kisses and that is the story I am blogging about today.

In this story, we meet Raven. In the beginning of the book it places you in her childhood, and then progressively moves on to her teen years. The story takes place when she is sixteen years old. She is not like most sixteen year olds. She wears only black clothes, including black lipstick and black nail polish, and she hopes to one day meet and fall in love with a vampire. She has an obsession with all things dark. In her town there is an abandoned old mansion that everyone finds creepy, yet she is intrigued by it and loves it. One day she finds out that it has become inhabited and is eager to meet the young teenage boy, Alexander, who lives there. She hopes that he is the real deal, a real vampire, who can make all of her dreams come true.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the way the book began. But it does give you a lot of insight into who she is as well as a relationship she has with another boy at her school, Trevor. Once it reached the present day, I began enjoying the book more. This book is definitely geared towards tweens. It is an easy read, and even though I am no longer a tween, or teen, I still found myself enjoying it.

Raven is a typical outcast in the story. Just because she looks different, everyone in her school treats her like a freak, especially a boy named Trevor. She is used to it, but it’s not easy to deal with. I like how she has a strong character, and even though people may tease her or think she’s different, she doesn’t change who she is or what she believes in. She is true to herself. She has one best friend, Becky, who has stuck by her side through everything.

The story of love in interesting, it deals with love at first sight. And even though that doesn’t happen very often, sometimes we find ourselves falling in love quickly. It does do a good job of describing the aches and pains of a first love and how we feel about love when we are in our teen years.

Throughout the whole story we are trying to figure out, along with Raven, whether or not Alexander is a vampire, or just a regular boy. It isn’t until the very end that you find out the truth, which leaves you wanting to grab the second book right away. Lucky for me it was just a turn of the page.

Schreiber does a good job of describing the scenes, making it easy to picture what is going on. I didn’t find I had to think very much or re-read anything with this book. It was very easy to follow. Schreiber’s writing flows nicely and it keeps you wanting to read.

If you are a tween or teen, you are going to love this! If you enjoy vampire books, you will probably enjoy this book. But if you are looking for something with a deeper meaning or something that makes you think hard about situations, then I’d look elsewhere. This is an easy read and great for light entertainment.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Sarah’s Review of Allegiant by Veronica Roth


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What if everything you believed in and the world you lived in turned out to be nothing like what you had expected? What if your whole basis of existing in that world was turned upside down and you found out you had no privacy and were being manipulated your whole life? What would you do? Well, I finally finished the Divergent trilogy. In the third book, Allegiant, Tris Prior has realized that her world that she has lived in her entire life is becoming destroyed by violence, betrayal, people struggling to surpass others for power, and she has lost a lot of those that she cares about and what she held as truth. So she and Tobias decide to leave Chicago and go past the limits of the city to see what awaits them outside. Tris is hoping that beyond the fence she will find a simpler way of life. She is tired of all of the lies and grief she is feeling. Unfortunately she is quick to find out that this new world is no better than the last, if anything it is even worse. The truth they thought they had uncovered while still in Chicago becomes lies. Some of the new things that they learn change those around her and Tris must figure out who she is now more than ever. She needs to figure out her allegiance, which she should be with. She also learns how courageous she is, and how strong the power of love is.

The first book was by far the best one written, but I didn’t mind the other two. The third book, Allegiant, started off a lot slower than the other two, but it was a nice change of pace. Part way through it began to get a bit confusing trying to keep track of all of the new characters and what it was they were trying to accomplish. I had to re-read a few things to get back on track. But the turn the series takes is quite an unusual one. The truth about their lives and how they were living was shocking.

You didn’t know who to trust or who was telling the truth. There were lies being told all around and Tris and Tobias had to begin to trust their own instincts to figure out who they could help and believe, unfortunately they didn’t always agree on whom to trust, which made their love for each other challenged.

There are so many themes again in this book. Once again it deals with right and wrong and the struggles internally as to what to do. Tris searches in herself to figure out what’s right, not only for her, but for those she loves. What is the right thing to do in a world that is filled with lies? I love how we see all sides of Tris in this book. We see her not only as the dauntless initiate, but also as an emotional teenager trying to figure out how to deal with her grief and her love. She is still dealing with her grief and all that she has lost and I love that we see that even though she is a heroine and is strong, she also has a soft side which we can all relate to. We can’t all be strong all of the time and this book is an excellent example of that.  

The theme of love is strong in this book. We see Tris and Tobias get closer than we ever have, but we also see them struggle as they try to figure out their own allegiances and who they can trust. We even see a bit of jealousy unfold.

I really like the way Roth ended the series. I won’t say much, as I don’t want to give anything away, but I’ll just say that the way things come together, we almost see things come full circle, yet in a much better world. Everything they went through and everything they lost was not for nothing. Change can happen if you are diligent about it and passionate about it. Change does take time, but every little step in the right direction helps to bring it on. And sometimes change is good.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Sarah’s Review of Insurgent by Veronica Roth

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I was lucky enough to be able to pick up this book, Insurgent, immediately after reading Divergent, the first in the trilogy. I’m glad I didn’t have to wait too long to continue with the saga. This novel picks up right where Divergent left off, and while Roth does do a lot of explaining and refreshing of events for us, I’m glad the other book was still fresh in my mind so I understood what was going on right from the beginning, as this book is action packed right from the start.

In this book, Tris (Beatrice Prior), is faced with the task of continuing to save everyone she cares about, while dealing with being haunted from her previous choices, grief over those she lost, all while trying to figure out who she really is. After her initiation day into the Dauntless faction chaos erupted and the threat of war is in the air. Now more than ever people need to decide which side they want to be on as the factions slowly fall apart. It is very important now for Tris to embrace her identity as a Divergent as secrets come forward and decisions must be made that can change everything, including losing some of those she loves.

Tris is such a strong female character and I love how Roth makes her out to be not only heroic, but also realistic. I think we can all relate at least a little bit to Tris. Even though she is risking her life and fighting with everything she has, it’s also very clear that she has her own internal struggles, with love and grief, and this book shows us that even the strongest people can’t be strong all of the time. With her divergence, she is able to see things from differing perspectives, unlike some of the other characters that are strictly stuck in one faction and they can’t see past their own beliefs to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.

Roth has a way of writing that makes you wonder if what is happening at that moment is the truth, or if there is something hidden. Some of her characters bring forth surprising secrets of their own and we are left wondering who we can trust. Loyalties are challenged. Even the love relationship with Tris and Tobias is challenged and we are unsure if we can trust that it is strong enough to last or if they can trust each other enough in the end.

The overall theme throughout I’d say has to do with figuring out what is right or wrong, but it is not as clear cut as that. Something might seem wrong, yet thinking logically, you would believe it to be right. We are shown to trust our instincts and go with our gut feeling, even if that means going against what we initially believe to be right. We also see a lot of conspiracies within the novel. There are so many people working against others that sometimes it’s hard to keep them straight.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It has a lot of action, almost too many different things going on, and different places in which they find themselves in, that it was sometimes hard to remember it all. But it flowed well and it all comes together wonderfully. The ending was well done and sets up the next book perfectly. Although in the back of my mind I was always thinking that it might go that way, you’re never sure until it happens. There are so many possibilities that you are kept on the edge of your seat.

If you have read the first book I’d recommend continuing with the trilogy. If you have not read the first book, Divergent, then you need to get your hands on it and dive in!
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4039811.Veronica_Roth

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

COVER REVEAL - Dark Deliverance (Divine Hunter book 2) by L.J. Sealey

 

I am beyond thrilled to be able to share author L.J. Sealey's cover for her newest novel. Dark Deliverance is the second novel in her Divine Hunter Series.

About DARK DELIVERANCE

Sometimes you just have to go to Hell and back. . .
 
Forced apart, Lacy and Michael are now living very different lives. Michael is in Kentucky fighting demons and searching for a way to save his friend but even with the help of new allies he is hitting nothing but dead ends. Faced with no other choice, Michael returns to Hell and is determined to save Evo and put an end to his enemy so he can be reunited with the woman who holds his heart.
Lacy is trying to piece her life back together in Oakland but is struggling to fill the void that is almost tearing her apart. Just as she’s about to hit rock bottom, a new friend could hold the key to reuniting her with Michael. But at what cost?
Both find themselves in less than perfect circumstances. The repercussions of which lead them to discover a new threat born of Varesh and his growing army of demons: a new weapon, and a new plan that will ultimately lead to the end of the world as they know it. Will Michael’s new power be enough to destroy Varesh and protect not only the people he cares about, but also the rest of humanity?
 
 RELEASE DATE : JUNE/JULY 2014
 
AND HERE IS THE COVER!!!
 


AUTHOR BIO:

L.J. Sealey was born and raised in a little Welsh town by the sea. It rains a lot, so she often has a great excuse to sit at her writing desk and while away the hours at her laptop.
She still lives in N.Wales and when she’s not travelling around the country working with her husband – who is a professional singer – or singing backup vocals herself, she likes to read and watch her favourite TV shows which normally includes plenty of CSI, The Vampire Diaries and endless amounts of sitcoms. Being addicted to reading about vampires, demons, shifters and angels, she has always had a thing for all things paranormal and is a big sucker for impossible love stories. So it was inevitable that when she started writing herself she would mix the two together.
 

 
You can find out more about L.J. Sealey at the following and see what she's up to :
 
Website: http://www.ljsealey.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorljsealey
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lj_sealey
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/ljsealey
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+LJSealeyAuthor

AWAKEN, Book 1 in the Divine Hunter series, is currently on offer on Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.

 
 

Links for Awaken:
Amazon Global: http://goo.gl/I7K8ix 
iBooks US: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/awaken-divine-hunter-1/id739564485?mt=11
iBooks: UK: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/awaken-divine-hunter-1/id739564485?mt=11
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/awaken-divine-hunter-1/4nkUB8a-_0O7jtMyAPNXCw
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/awaken-lj-sealey/1117352014?ean=2940045373623




  
 Here's your chance to win your own eBook copy!
 
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 4 April 2014

Sarah’s Review of Divergent by Veronica Roth


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I finally got my hands on the Divergent Series by Veronica Roth and to start all I can say is WOW!!! This first novel blew me away! It was amazing! In this book, you meet the main character, Beatrice Prior, who lives in a dystopian Chicago that is separated in factions, five factions to be exact. These factions are Candor, where the people value and live by the virtue of honesty; Abnegation, where the selfless live; Dauntless, which houses the brave; Amity, which are the peacemakers; and Erudite, who value intelligence above all else. Every year, all of the sixteen year olds have to make a selection and decide which faction they wish to live in and therefore dedicate their whole lives to. If you choose the faction you have grown up in then you can continue to live with your family, but if you choose otherwise, then you must give up your family for what you believe. Beatrice needs to decide if she should stay with her family or give into who she really is. On the appointed day her choice surprises not only her family, but also herself.

The book then takes you into the world of initiation into the faction of her choosing. Since this is the beginning of her life now, she decides that she needs a new name, Tris. She finds a new group of people she wants to call her friends, but is struggling with whether they really like her or if they are just using her. She also finds herself attracted to an older boy, whom she’s not sure if he shares her desires; which can be fascinating yet frustrating all at the same time. Tris also is keeping a secret about herself hidden from everyone, even those closest to her, because the truth could be tragic for her. During initiation into her chosen faction she also learns a secret that could jeopardize everyone she has ever loved, and has to decide whether she should conform or follow her true self to help those she loves, no matter the cost.

Veronica Roth is an amazing writer. The plot is fast-paced and unpredictable. I never knew what I was going to find on the next page, and therefore just had to keep reading to find out. It is definitely a page turner. Even within the exciting world of Tris, Roth manages to throw in some good life lessons. Overall this story starts out as a coming of age book, where Beatrice (Tris) has to make a big decision at the young age of sixteen that will affect the rest of her life. She needs to know enough about herself and look deep within to find out what virtues she possesses and whether that is worth leaving her family and all she has ever known. Tris deals with internal struggles throughout the book, even after she chooses her faction, as she tries to figure out who she really is, her true self-identity. Tris comes to realize what her strengths and weaknesses are, and are surprised to find certain strengths she never thought she had. I also love the romance story that Roth has weaved into the book. The whole time you are wondering what is going to happen and what the subtle, or not so subtle, tips are that the boy is giving her. Is he trying to tell her something more? Help her? Warn her?

I can’t wait to dive into the second book, Insurgent. If you are a fan of the Hunger Games, then I suggest you pick up this series and dive into Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Sarah’s Review of Whisper by Alyson Noel


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Whisper is the final book of four in the Riley Bloom Book Series by Alyson Noel and it is by far my favourite one! In this book, Riley has been given the biggest, most challenging soul catch she has ever faced and finds herself a little bit worried, although she’d never let Bodhi, her guide, know that. She has been assigned a Roman gladiator named Theocoles, nicknamed The Pillar of Doom. She has no idea how a little twelve year old girl such as herself will be able to convince a real gladiator that it is time to move on. When she arrives, she quickly finds herself taking on the challenge completely on her own, she will have no help this time from Bodhi, or even from buttercup, her dog. Quickly into her wanderings she meets a beautiful girl named Messalina. Messalina quickly captivates Riley and convinces her that in order for her to be successful then she must become a part of Messalina’s world. Messalina transforms Riley into a beautiful young woman, allowing her to mature and look the part of a beautiful teenager, which she has been wishing to be for so long. With this transformation, Riley may be able to not only experience her first boyfriend, but also her first kiss. Although she quickly realizes Messalina is trying to entrap her in her world, Riley is reluctant to believe it, and to try to stop it. With everything she has ever wanted within her reach, Riley may just stay there, unless she can break free from Messalina’s spell and save herself too.

In this book Riley faces some big concepts, such as learning what it takes to grow up and to find love. Noel is a genius in delivering these big life lessons without being in your face with it. Riley learns what being mature and growing up really means and how you can achieve that even in the afterlife. She learns that she needs to listen to her own mind and her own heart, instead of others, and to see the truth that lies within.

Noel also throws in the concept of beauty as being only skin deep. In order to really grow and be beautiful, you need to be honest with yourself and accept who you are before you can grow. Noel has Riley face her issues, especially body image issues, which many young girls struggle with and can relate to. Noel very subtly, yet effectively, helps the reader understand that there is more than what meets the eye. You need to accept yourself as who you are and that in itself will help you lead a more happier life, while propelling you to where you truly want to be.

This was a wonderful final novel in the series and I highly recommend reading it, especially to the tweens. Even if you don’t read the first three, I believe you will enjoy this last book. Happy reading!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Sarah’s review of Dreamland by Alyson Noel

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In the third book of the Riley Bloom Book series, Dreamland keeps us located in the Here and Now. Riley and her guide Bodhi are given a break from soul-catching after sending numerous souls across the bridge in the last book. But Riley is finding out that other than soul-catching, she’s not quite sure where she stands in the Here and Now. She does not want to interfere with her parents and grandparents lives because they all seem to be having such a great time with their special projects. She finds herself longing for friends, and to find the truth in how to achieve her biggest dream ever. All she has ever wanted to do is to turn thirteen, but having died at the age of twelve she felt as though that would never happen. Yet a brief conversation with Bodhi has left her hopeful that there is a way to achieve her goal after all. Her next step in her quest is to try to talk to her sister, Ever, through a dream. But she needs to find Dreamland in order to do it, and hope that it’s not banned as Bodhi suggested. Upon finding Dreamland, she meets Balthazar, the director of Dreamland who fills her in on the two ways to send dreams. You can either be a dream jumper, where you just jump into the person’s dream and participate, or you can be a dreamweaver, where you can create the entire dream in a studio and send it to the dreamer. Riley learns that the latter, years ago, had been outlawed, and no one practises it anymore. But Riley being the stubborn girl that she is, goes off in search for this studio only to come across another ghost boy who has continued dreamweaving by sending nightmares to people. Riley finds herself trapped in her own nightmares and must find a way to break free in order to save herself and attempt to save the ghost boy.

Once again, Riley is in over her head, and her stubborn attitude leads her to seek out what she wants, no matter what the consequences. She finds herself thrown into a dangerous situation in which she may not make it out of. But while dealing with her own nightmares she begins to grow as a person. In the end Riley learns a very important lesson, not only about herself, but about life in general.

Alyson Noel has such a way with words that keeps you hanging on. Even though these books I feel are geared towards young teens, I find myself continually turning pages to see what Riley is going to do next, or what is going to happen to her now that she has found herself in another unpredictable situation. Noel’s descriptions allow you to put yourself right in Riley’s shoes and see the world, or the Here and Now, just as she sees it and to feel and experience what she is going through. Thanks for writing books that keep us so entertained!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Sarah’s Review of Shimmer by Alyson Noel


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This is the second book in the Riley Bloom Series by Alyson Noel. The first one was okay, but I have to say the second one is much better. In this book, Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi find themselves enjoying a much deserved vacation after dealing with the Radiant Boy. While vacationing, they find a very mean black dog. Even though Bodhi warns her against it, Riley decides that it’s her responsibility to cross him over. This leads Riley to Rebecca, a young ghost who is very angry about her murder on her father’s plantation in the 1700’s. We come to learn that she was murdered after the slaves her father employed revolted against them. Because she is so angry, Rebecca has kept everyone else who died held against their will with her, and has made it so that they relive their worst days over and over again in their minds. She has enclosed them in a huge bubble, one that seems impossible to escape from once you have entered.

Riley Bloom, goes through a great deal of personal growth throughout this book. She finds herself within Rebecca’s bubble and has to work very hard to overcome her own worst memories in order to save herself and the others who are also trapped. Riley needs to convince Rebecca to forgive those she has trapped. She is faced with a huge task and finds herself learning more than she ever thought she would about herself. As she continues with her soul catching she learns to overcome a lot of her fears. She realizes that most of them are just figments in her mind, and if she believes strongly enough then she can overcome them and the obstacles she faces. She just needs to stay strong.

Even though this story is fiction, some of the instances that involved the slaves come from actual experiences. We learn about struggles, overcoming obstacles and ultimately forgiveness.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Sarah’s Review of Radiance by Alyson Noel


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I am a huge fan of Alyson Noel’s other series, first loving the Immortals series, then most recently the soul seekers series. This book, Radiance, is the first in her series of a Riley Bloom Book. We first met Riley in the Immortals series as the younger sister to Ever, who has recently died and has been able to visit her sister, Ever, as a ghost. Ever finally comes to terms with the death of her family and convinces Riley to cross over the bridge, and this is where this series begins.

Riley has finally crossed over a bridge to a place called Here. Riley, along with Buttercup, her dog, have now been reunited with her parents. Just after getting settled into her new life, or death, she begins school. On her first day there the Council summons her. The Council explains that the afterlife isn’t all about relaxation and fun, you also have to work, and Riley has the new job as a Soul Catcher. Her teacher, Bodhi, is a very unique boy whom she is trying to understand. Riley isn’t overly thrilled with having to have a job in the afterlife, especially since she feels like she was already robbed of her life on the Earth plane. All she wants to do is go back.

Riley, Bodhi, and Buttercup travel back to the Earth plane in order to complete Riley’s first assignment, which turns out to be helping a boy, known as the Radiant Boy, to cross the bridge. The Radiant Boy has been haunting for many centuries in a castle in England. Can Riley be the first one to get him to cross when all others before her have failed?



While this first book wasn’t as captivating as the Immortals series, it was entertaining. It was easy to read and followed one simple plot line. I feel as though this series is geared towards a younger audience, and, of course, fans of the Immortals series. While I found the plot to be not overly exciting, she does draw upon people’s fears and Riley has to overcome her own fears in order to do her job. While I didn’t love this book as much as I loved the Immortals series, I did like it, and will continue to read the rest of the series. I am curious to see what other challenges Riley will face, and I want to experience more of her life in the Here and Now. I do wish there was more explanation into that world in this book.
Her character development and rich descriptions bring you right into the book, Noel never fails to deliver in making you feel like you are right there, experiencing it all with them.


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Sarah’s Review of The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult


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I’m not sure where to start with my review of this book. It was one of the most powerful stories I have ever read. Powerful where as it invoked so many emotional feelings and had the ability to place you right in the moment. First off I should begin by giving a brief introduction as to what this story is about.

You first meet the main character, Sage Singer, who is a magnificent baker. She has inherited this talent and works all night in order to make sure all of the bakeries items are ready for the morning rush. She hides herself in the kitchen and only works at night so she can try to escape how lonely she is after her mother’s death and the horrible memories associated with the accident. Sage has been attending a grief support group since the death of her mother and it is there that she meets Josef Weber, an elderly gentleman who has recently lost his wife. Josef is a retired teacher and a beloved man in their community. They quickly form a friendship.

This friendship becomes tested when Josef reveals a horrifying truth about his past and asks Sage for a huge favour that she is unsure if she can go through with, he wants her to help him die. The next little bit that I write may contain a few spoilers about the secret, but will not give away anything from the magnitude of the story. First off, you need to understand that Sage comes from a Jewish family, yet she has decided not to practice her faith like the rest of her family. Her grandmother is a survivor of the Holocaust, in particular, Auschwitz. The secret that Josef has unloaded on Sage is that he was a soldier, an SS guard during World War II, a Nazi. He no longer wants to live with the horrors that he has done in his past and just wants to leave the world, with the help of a Jewish friend whom may grant him his forgiveness. Sage needs to decide if she can forgive someone for a crime that wasn’t committed against her, but against thousands of other people who share the same religious background. She also needs to face her moral conscious and decide if she will grant Josef his one last wish. Upon hearing both Josef’s story about his time as a SS soldier, and reading Sage’s grandmother’s recount of her life during that time, you find that their paths have crossed before.

I cannot begin to describe the feelings and emotions that awaken within you while reading this book, especially the second part (the novel is broken into three parts), which is Sage’s grandmother, Minka’s, first-hand account of her life during World War II. It’s heartbreaking to know that so many people suffered the same fate, and yet many more lost their lives, just because. This book was difficult to read due to the content, but I am glad I did. Sometimes I found that I had to put the book down just because the content was so overwhelming, but I am so thankful that I have that option. It makes you wonder just what your life would have been like, and what you would have done, had you lived through that.

Throughout the book, Picoult adds in another story, which seems to be mimicking the life of Minka. Both stories being interwoven make for an interesting read. One story leads you to think about the other.

Picoult really did her research and brought to life a horrific past that needs to be remembered. I cannot recommend this book enough. You will not only enjoy the rich narrative, but you will also be enlightened and educated. Even though the story she wrote is fiction, it is based on facts and real life events. If you can, please get yourself a copy and read. By far one of the best books I have read.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

I am still making my way through Jodi Picoult's novel, The Storyteller, but I just wanted to say, WOW! Never has a book made me feel so much before. The novel is broken into three parts, and I just finished the second one. The rich descriptives and narrative made me feel like I was right there, and the story is so heartwrenching. I'm not sure what I will write in my blog about it....It's a book that you don't want to put down, but sometimes you have to because the story is just so strong that you need to give yourself a break. I can't wait to finish the final part and write my thoughts on the story as a whole. For those of you who have read it, you know what I am talking about, for those that haven't, well I won't say anything until my actual blog, but seriously, everyone should read this book.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Sarah's Review of Horizon by Alyson Noel

Horizon (The Soul Seekers, #4)
 

I couldn’t wait to read the final book in Alyson Noel’s ‘the soul seekers’ series, Horizon. I read the first three all in a row and had to patiently wait for the fourth one to come out. I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for the main characters, Daire and Dace, along with their group of friends.
I can honestly say this final book did not disappoint. It was full of secrets, suspense, mystery and magic. The first three books, Fated, Echo, and Mystic, set you up for what will happen in the Horizon, the final chapter of either Daire Santos life or the life of all of the Richters. Daire Santos is a seeker, and the last one left, which means she is meant to save everyone she cares for from destruction from the doings of the Richter family, who are evil. In the third novel, we found out that Daire lost her grandmother, Paloma, who has taught her all she knows about being a seeker, so now it is entirely up to her to do what she was destined to do and fight against the Richters. She must try to put aside her grieving for her abuela in order to save her friends and everyone in Enchantment. Dace, the love of Daire’s life, has found a dark piece within his soul that is trying to consume him. Dace is worried it will destroy both himself and Daire, but Daire is not willing to give up on their love. While they are torn apart for the time being, you are left to wonder if their love can survive all of the odds that are stacked against them. This book is a wonderful story of good versus evil. How you need to learn to follow your instincts and look deep within yourself in order to find the truth.
The ending was wonderful, but then you read the epilogue and find a huge twist that nobody could see coming, which leaves me wondering if there will be a spin-off from this series one day in the future.
I recommend this entire series to anyone who loves a good mystery filled with magic, good and evil, light and dark, even demons. I loved each book in the series. I don't want to write anything more in case of spoiling the books. Read them and enjoy!

NEW RELEASE!!! CONDEMNED by HAYLEY OAKS

❥☆(¸.•´ ❥ HAYLEY OAKES RELEASE DAY! ❥☆(¸.•´ ❥ Condemned is out now!  Check out this beautifully written second chance romance which will ...