Book Review: A Home on the Range by Coty Justus

Just found my latest paranormal romance series to binge out on….

ahomeontherange

The author originally asked me to review one of the books of her series.  I saw that there were a few books in the series, and knowing what I know about these types of books, I asked if I could read the others.  The author graciously complied and that is how I spent a good portion of last week engrossed in the world of The Ten and the Stanton family.  Here is the synopsis:

Book 1: Odessa and Jason 

After her mother’s death at the hands of a cult leader, Odessa escapes the cult, relying upon determination, instinct and a mysterious voice to keep her one step ahead of her pursuers. The blood-stained contents of the heavy leather tote she bears have already cost lives, and she is prepared to kill to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. 

Jason waits. He does not know what he waits for, only that it rapidly approaches from the east. Restless, he struggles to comprehend his inner turmoil, delving into his family’s past for answers, answers that may cost him his life.

There are five books in this series.  I highly recommend reading all of them.  Each can function as stand alone novels, there aren’t any cliff hangers, but characters overlap from one book to another, and the story continues until the final book.

I love so many things about this series, the first being that it is extremely female driven.  In the heritage that Jason and Odessa both belong to, without knowing it, it is female-centric.  The women are the ones in charge.  The women are the ones in power and it is the job of the men to protect.

Odessa’s strength and drive is overwhelming.  It sets the stage for later books and you understand why she is who she is in the greater scheme of things.

I loved reading about Wyoming.  I now want to go there.  The author does a wonderful job setting the scene, putting you right there with Odessa on her journey.

The love story is fantastic.  I love these stories where people meet and they just KNOW.  That they are meant to be together because they are greater together than apart.  I should note that this is a love story, but there aren’t any sex scenes.  They really aren’t necessary and this series is pretty safe for teenagers of all ages.

The rest of the series is as follows:

Book 2: The Stronghold (Jocasta and Alan)

Book 3: The Roundup (Penny and Matthew)

Book 4: The Maverick (Acrasia and Michael)

Book 5: Range Wars (The Final Battle)

Excellent start to an excellent series.  I will be reviewing each of the books for the rest of the month.

 

Book Review: Weeks in Naviras by Chris Wimpress

naviras

 

Ohhh…one of my favorite kinds of books.  I would call it a mashup.  A little bit of romance, a little bit of sci-fi, throw in some politics and political commentary, add elements of a thriller.  Excellent.  Here is the synopsis:

It’s late afternoon in the tiny Portuguese fishing village of Naviras, where Eleanor Weeks is sipping wine and watching the ocean. Even though she’s been there dozens of times, how she arrived that particular afternoon is a mystery to her. Until she remembers she’s the wife of the British prime minister, and that she’s just been killed in a terrorist attack.

As Ellie explores her afterlife she finds other people she knew, all of whom died before she did. She recalls her troubled marriage during her husband’s rise to the very top of British politics. She remembers the tragedy and secrets which dominated the last ten years of her life, before recounting her role in a conspiracy which threatens to destabilise not just Britain but the wider world. 

Both a political thriller and love story, Weeks in Naviras delves into the heart of a woman who sees first-hand the rise and fall of governments troubled by turmoil and crisis.

Beautifully written.  I really want to go to Naviras.  Like right now.  The way it is written, you can see the little village.  You can feel Ellie’s attachment to it.  You understand why it is where she would go.

The “flashbacks” aren’t puzzling at all.  When not written effectively, it can detract from the overall reading experience.  Not so with this book.  It only makes you want to keep reading on to find out what happens.  The author only feeds you enough information to spur you on.  It is maddening but at the same time satisfying when you finally DO get the answers.

Ellie is an intriguing character.  The ten year span that you get to know her is appropriate.  You get to see her grow as a mother, as a person.  The amount of courage it takes to do what she does on the last few pages is phenomenal.  She grows from someone afraid to confront her husband and his power to one who essentially takes on some unknown quantity to save the world.

I appreciate the honest depiction of depression.  The noonday demon.  The malaise.  And the portrayal of it in someone in Ellie’s position is appreciated as well.

I also liked the political commentary as well.  I can very well see the author’s political stance on recent events, but it isn’t overwhelming.  It isn’t a political book, it is more futuristic (I think?).  Not enough is specified to pinpoint exact events or political figures.  But the criticism rings loud and clear.

I also love the creativity employed with the mode of  terror device used.  I don’t want to give anything away, but put it this way, it will knock your socks off.  The twists are so unexpected, so genius.

Excellent, excellent book.  Highly recommended.  Definitely different, definitely eclectic.

Book Review: Djinn by Laura Catherine

djinn

 

Ohhhh….I really liked this book.  Really, really, liked it.  Read in one day, liked it.  Here is the synopsis:

Kyra’s life is far from normal.

She’s been on the run for as long as she can remember and her father is the only stable thing in her life, but everything changes when the people pursuing them finally catch up.

Kyra is abducted by the handsome and mysterious, Will. He takes her to a secret compound where she is told the truth: She’s a Djinn, a genie-like creature with super powers and a love of dogs.

Kyra has to adjust to the Djinn and their rules, but her new life is far from perfect. Everyone is hiding something and the one person Kyra cares about most is forbidden to her.

There are secrets around every corner and more dangers than Kyra could ever imagine as she struggles to find herself and be with the one she loves.

Very different from the normal “vampire and werewolves” fare.  That is why I was drawn to this book.  I recently read the Forbidden Trilogy by Karpov Kinrade(I may do a post on it soon), and this kind of reminds me of that series mixed in with one I love, but have yet to finish, called The Significance Series by Shelly Crane.

Kyra is a very strong character.  Very strong-willed, smart, resourceful.  She analyzes her situation and tries not to get too emotional.

I don’t want to give any of the twists and turns away at all, but this is probably one of the least predictable YA novels I have ever read.  You think you know where it’s going and WHAM! a new twist.  That is probably why I was up until 3 a.m. last night finishing this book.  Characters aren’t stereotypical, events aren’t what they seem.  Very refreshing in this genre.

I found myself wishing this book was longer.  I wanted to know more about the Blooders, the history of the djinn and their wars.  I guess if this is going to be a trilogy, there is more to come.

I also like the social commentary.  Most of the time I try to ignore that, but the commentary in this book was written in such a way that it wasn’t preachy, it wasn’t political.  It was just part of the story and events weren’t contrived to get the point across.  It was woven more naturally into the story.

This is strictly YA fare as well, I would be comfortable recommending it to a younger teen.  I wish books like these were written when I was younger!!!

Looking forward to the next few books…

Book Review: The Scourge by Roberto Calas

scourge

 

Back to the zombies.  I figure Easter is coming…

This time it is zombies in medieval England:

God has forsaken this land.

A mysterious plague descends upon 14th century England, ravaging the country and trapping the souls of the afflicted in eternal madness. The feudal hierarchy–and even the church itself– slowly crumbles as the dead rise to feed and the living seek whatever shelter they can. The bishops of England call for calm and obedience, but one man isn’t listening.

Sir Edward of Bodiam has been separated from the woman he loves and nothing on heaven or earth can stop him from seeking her out. 

Edward and two of his knights travel through the swiftly changing landscape of England, a countryside now overrun by the minions of hell. The knights encounter madness, violence, and sorrow, but Edward fights his way ever deeper into the thickening darkness of unholy terror. 

Roberto Calas brings you along on a dark, historical tale full of love, death, and black humor. Follow Edward as he journeys to save his wife, his kingdom, and his very soul.

Very similar to The Zombie Bible series by Stant Litore.  But where Mr. Litore is poetic and philsophical, Mr. Calas is humorous.  Think Monty Python with zombies.  But not so campy.

I know next to nothing about this time period in history.  My husband is a huge fan of medieval history, weapons, warfare, etc.  When he starts going on about the battle of Agincourt my eyes start to glaze over.  It’s not that it isn’t interesting, it just doesn’t interest me.  But Mr. Calas made it interesting.

Many people say that chivalry is a dying notion.  That honor is dead.  This may be true.  but no knight I have ever known can resist a maiden in distress.

Intermixed with all of the knightly adventures and the quest for Sir Edward to return to his wife, Elizabeth, are zombies.  My husband seems to think that zombies would be easily dispatched in medieval times, but he didn’t count on the power of the Catholic church.  It is thought that the zombies just have the plague:

The noises that come from the plaguer are those of an animal.  Growls and shrieks.  There is no reason.  There is no humanity.  I can feel his teeth scraping at the bevor upon my neck.  His hands shove at my helmet.  I see three red circles above his thumb.  I shove at him, but he has latched on to me, with one arm under my head.  He pulls me toward his mouth like a hungry lover and I scream.  Not in fear but in anger.

I’m always intrigued by the little differences that the authors of zombie books weave into their stories.  Be it the way the zombies began (plague, gas, aliens, or no reason at all) or how they move and act, this always fascinates me.  These zombies feel pain.  Which must make it difficult to kill them.

On his quest, Sir Edward has Sir Tristan and Sir Morgan with him.  Sir Morgan is devoutly religious.  He is always quoting scripture.  Sir Edward and Sir Tristan kind of give him hell for it.  But their discourse highlights the way Catholicism permeated everyday life during this time period.  Sir Morgan actually believes that holy relics can cure the plague.  And by the end of the book, Sir Edward starts to believe him as well.  The religious conversations were hilarious, however:

“Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.”

“This is the same Lord who says we shouldn’t kill?” Tristan asks.

“No, it’s the Old Testament God,” I say.  “The grumpy one.”

“You have two Gods?” Zhuri asks.

“Just one,” Tristan says.  “But he had a troubled childhood.”

I was struck at the similarities between this work and the other zombie books I’ve read.  Particularly the ones set in modern times in the US.  Apparently when the dead start walking, the world goes to shit.  There is a fundamental breakdown in society, even in the “dark ages”, and the desire to rule one’s own little kingdom is powerful.  Even at the price of precious human life.  If you are a Walking Dead fan, think “The Governor”.  These knights find this all over England.

There is a situation the knights in this story find themselves in that is quite absurd.  Think zombie bears.  Edward remarks to himself after they have barely gotten out alive (again):

I wonder how many mad tyrants rule in England now.  How many lunatic kings sit in dung-pits and throw men to their deaths.

Overall, a great read.  Full of adventure, strong characters, humor and strong relationships.  Very different from typical zombie stories in that you actually LEARN SOMETHING about history while reading them. Much like Stant Litore’s work.  I look forward to the next installments.

Oh, and a quick note, this book was originally written as a serial for Amazon in 2012.  Each episode seems to end in a cliffhanger because a new episode would be released each week.  It doesn’t detract from the work at all, but I didn’t realize that at first when I was reading, and it made sense in the author’s notes in the end of the book.

Book Review: Inner Course by Rebecca Joy

innercourse

 

I was a bit hesitant on this book because of the nature of the stated cult that the author grew up in, but I went on another one of my tangents in my reading, this one being a “spiritual/meditation” type one, so I jumped right into this book.

There are no graphic descriptions of sexual abuse, and it really didn’t trigger me.

That being said, I did have to look up “The Family” after the first chapter they were mentioned just because I couldn’t believe that something this vile was still allowed to exist.  I’m all for religious freedom, but “religions” like these really give atheists ammunition for the banning of all religions.  As much curiosity as I had about their way of life, I am truly grateful that Ms. Joy didn’t focus her memoir on her life in the cult.  I feel serious rage on her behalf.

Here is the synopsis:

Rebecca Joy, a sensitive, emotional female was raised from birth in the sex cult called, “The Family” (aka The Children of God), leaving after 25 years. Now, hopeless and longing for love she searches for acceptance in this scary, new world––but to her “love stinks.” She never understood love, as in the cult her flesh was the only thing to offer in life, as she was a sex object to men. In her search for love outside the cult she experiences intense pain. She realizes she can no longer live life this way. The decision was made to either swallow a daily pill to subdue her roller coaster emotional ride, or open to the unknown to find who she really was and why she suffered. With desperation and a curious mind, she delves into the world of hypnosis, finding clues from hidden, ancient mysteries on how to heal her heart and mind. Her story is one of inspiration to all people who have experienced hopelessness, rejection, and failure in life only to rise again.

This book has the distinction of being the MOST HIGHLIGHTED by me, ever.  No fewer than 23 passages were highlighted.  And I’m usually not one that marks up a book, even if it is electronically.

The focus of this memoir is Ms. Joy’s all encompassing appears to be a quest for love.  Her struggles with relationships after she leaves “The Family” at age 25.  Like other survivors of sex abuse, regardless of their origin, she has difficulty with self-worth, boundaries, and expectations.  Time and time again in this work she captures these issues with a few phrases:

If I had boundaries, they were blurry.  A man that I did not know wanted to stay at my house.  One one hand, I was thrilled with the idea of love, romance, and excitement, but on the other palm, I felt uncomfortable with a stranger in my nest.

I am afraid to offend the offender.  What if he leaves me because I don’t give him what he wants?

My self-esteem was non-existent, deeply believing:  I am nothing, I am worthless, no one could truly love me, my body is all I am good for.  My needs were intense; my heart crushed.  I was vulnerable and heavily guarded.

The parts regarding the cult absolutely ripped my heart out.  With regards to religion, I have no allegiance.  I’m more “spiritual”.  I guess I’m starting on my journey much like Ms. Joy in this book.  But I never really grew up in a church.  I went to Catholic school, but my parents weren’t particularly strict about it.  I have always been free to make my own determination.  So these passages that feature her young teenage years in “The Family” hit me really hard.  I have no frame for it, and it was very emotional for me:

“I wonder what live would be if I were not born in The Family”, I questioned–but now ashamed of questioning my question. “I know–I know, I shouldn’t think this way!  The Lord is going to be angry with me.  I’m supposed to be a missionary and tell the world about Jesus”, as I try to change my thoughts, “But how much I wish I could have a like like other girls in the US, away from all this boring life–work, witness, make money, childcare, housekeeping and whatever the adults tell us to do and how to be.”

I remember the many years in The Family, men would approach me for sex.  David Berg taught his followers that women’s job were to please men.  Women were to take care of men’s needs.  It was well ingrained into the doctrine.  I followed as I was instructed, believing that if I were to do what we were told, that we would be happy, loved and fulfilled, but it didn’t work out that way.  I became confused and hurt.  I would cry when a man would use me and leave me, wishing that maybe one day I would be loved.  I longed for closeness and depth.  They would prey on my weakness.

As much as the passages of the doctrine of the cult haunted me, and Googling the actual cult itself, Ms. Joy’s personal growth and steps to finding her inner peace soothed me.  I have always had an interest in  hypnosis, and I infrequently meditate myself, but have never formally looked into it.  That may change.

The ending is perfect.  I think I would have felt cheated if it ended any other way.

Again, with most memoirs I read, and one of my favorite memoir writers can attest to this, I wanted to know more.  Mainly about her son and if she was able to keep him out of The Family, as I am assuming that he father was a member.  More of a mother type curiosity than anything else.

I still can’t believe that these types of cults are allowed to operate, but my husband pointed out, its “religious freedom”.  Which brings me to my final quote from this amazing book:

A religion is an organization in which the individual goes outside of oneself to find meaning.  Spirituality and/or mysticism encourage individuals to go within themselves to find meaning.  Religion requires structured, organized beliefs for people to follow along.  Spirituality and/or mysticism can break that belief system in order to find a greater freedom.

I love books that make me think.  This book did more than that.

Very well written, even with the back and forth between her journey into spirituality and her time in the cult.  Very deep and emotional.  Overall and excellent read.  Highly recommended.

Book Review: Chasing Xaris by Samantha Bennett

xaris

Again into the YA realm.  Here is the synopsis:

Chandler Bloom starts her day like every other—on her surfboard and away from her smothering grandparents. It’s the only way she’s been able to cope since the hit-and-run that killed her parents two years ago. But when a shark nearly turns Chandler into breakfast, a loner surfer named Ari saves her life. Which is great, except that he also triggers new questions about her parents’ deaths. Before Chandler can ask him more, Ari disappears. 

Desperate for answers, Chandler decides to track down Ari with the help of her best friend Jordan, a surfer guy who’s totally in love with her. The search leads to Ari’s home—a hidden island that can only be found with a form of light called xaris. But Chandler isn’t the only one searching for the island or the unearthly elements found there. Her parents died protecting it, and if Chandler doesn’t come to grips with what she’s really chasing, she could be next. (YA inspirational urban fantasy)

I really liked this book.  It was well written with many different themes woven throughout.  The inspirational part of it wasn’t forced, it was sort of in the background and really only made an appearance later in the book.

The author captured the reader early on with the shark attack and literally doesn’t let go (sorry for the pun!!)  The author also is very authentic with the voice of Chandler, the surfer talk, the tone and cadence, the vocabulary.

The story is a thriller as well.  I really didn’t see a bunch of the twists and turns, and I’m pretty good at seeing that those coming.

I also loved the story of the lost civilization.  That really added a different element to this story that made it more mature.  I would have loved to have learned more about the island and their history.

The themes with Chandler and her grief were extremely well written and thought out.  I understand the need for the surfing.  It is her escape.  It is helping her to keep on surviving.  I have never been surfing, but through the vivid descriptions in this book, I can imagine it in great detail.

I would have liked more info at the end on how Chandler gets to the point she is at four months later.  It is like she is a different person.  And as I understand that her experiences have changed her, I would have liked more of an explanation or more of a build up to the conclusions at the end of the book.

Overall, a great YA story with some elements of sci-fi.

A Shade of Vampire Series

shadeofvampire

Good Lord, I am addicted to another one of these “vampire romance” series.  I stumbled on this series as part of my Kindle Lending Library benefits, and probably as intended, I was sucked in and bought the rest of the series.  And I am now eagerly awaiting the sixth book.

Here is the synopsis for the first book:

On the evening of Sofia Claremont’s 17th birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake. 
A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood. 

She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine. 
An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains. 

Sofia’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince. 

Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.

Will she succeed? …or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

What I like about this series is that is is more….realistic? than the other vampire series.  The other “we are vegetarian vampire” series.  Vampires are historically monsters.  They feed off of humans.  And this series is no different.  Derek Novak fully intends to murder Sofia at first sight.  But there is something special about her, something different.  And that is why this series, and those like it, appeal to teenage girls.  They want to feel special.

This series is darker.  It is more violent.  I would put it at 17+.  And there is also sex.  The heroine does not remain a virgin until her wedding night.  But it is not particularly graphic.  It is not Fifty Shades of Vampire.  Although an adult version wouldn’t be a bad idea.

I do like the magic interspersed throughout the story.  The magic of the island, the travel.  The prophecy.  The intriguing love triangle.  I love how the island has been cut off from the rest of the world for centuries.  That creates a completely unique element.

As the stories progress, I love the twists and turns it takes involving vampire hunters, Sofia’s family ties, Derek’s past.  I am looking forward to see how it ends.

My only complaints?  The books are too short, probably as intended, and Sofia is way too good.  Too perfect.

Here is the list of the books in the series.  I seriously devoured them in a few days:

  1. Book 1: A Shade of Vampire
  2. Book 2: A Shade Of Blood
  3. Book 3: A Shade Of Vampire 3: A Castle Of Sand
  4. Book 4: A Shadow of Light
  5. Book 5: A Blaze of Sun

I also read Bella Forrest’s Beautiful Monster.  That two book series was absolutely phenomenal.  Her writing is excellent, her ability to change the rules of her universes are extremely unique.  I also recommend those books as well.

If you are looking for an escape into an interesting teenage vampire world that is a bit different, give this a try.  But make sure you have some time because you WILL get sucked in and you won’t be able to put them down.

The Divergent Series

divergent

Yes, I had to hop on this bandwagon too.

I love dystopian YA literature.  And I love books that turn into movies.  So its no wonder that I found this one.  And I did try to avoid it.  But one of my friends recommended it, and I was sucked in.  So here goes:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

I do not like the ending.  Period.  That is all I will say.

I do like the first book, and even the second, and most of the third.

The first fascinated me with the explanation of the factions, Choosing Day, the entire concept that you have to pick the entire rest of your life on one day.  I was fascinated with the idea that these people had no clue of their past, no clue of where they came from.  That question was answered later, but the logical, adult part of me was analyzing every aspect of it.  I had the same problem with The Hunger Games.  I guess if enough time goes by, and kids are indoctrinated into a certain way of thinking in schools, certain knowledge just goes away.  It makes me shudder to think that my child is educated in Texas public schools.

Outside of the dystopian aspect, it really is a true coming of age story.  Tris is figuring out who she is.  What she likes about herself, what she doesn’t like about herself.  What she chooses to accept from her upbringing, what she chooses to reject.  She is constantly challenging herself to do things she never thought possible.  And at such a young age!  At 16 I don’t think I could make the choices she continually makes.  I’m not sure if I know who I am at (nearly) age 32.

I love the aspect of the Dauntless, of facing your fears.  Of courage.  Not sure I could do it at any age.

The love story isn’t as developed as the one in the Hunger Games.  It seems that Four and Tris don’t actually get enough time to know each other before the shit starts hitting the fan.

It is a thriller, a page turner.  Something that I would have been totally immersed in about 15 years ago.  I may be able to cajole my husband into seeing it when it hits theaters in March.  Just because I love seeing what I’ve imagined in my head come to life.  And I’m a huge fan of Kate Winslet.  That’s the teenager in me (can you say “Titanic”?)

So if you are interested in this stuff, go ahead and read it.  I do think that The Hunger Games is better, but it does seem that the author of this series set out to NOT be the Hunger Games with the ending.  I hope I didn’t spoil it.

Book Review: Dream by Kyra Selby

Portrait of a water nymph with wet hair

Apparently I am on a paranormal romance kick.  Again.  But this one is a bit different.  Here is the synopsis:

He dreamt of her for years… 
She heard his voice in her most desperate of times… 

The last thing seventeen-year-old Ava Evans needed was boy trouble. Moving from the bustling New York City to a small town in Oklahoma, all Ava wanted was some peace. Not the glare of certain dark eyes. But this wasn’t just any typical teenage boy trouble. This was downright bizarre and though she would never admit it aloud, intriguing. 

And charming and popular and not too bad on the eyes. Yes, eighteen year-old Miles Greyson seemed to be your typical All-American boy, beloved by his many friends and the residents of the small town he lived in. And he got along with just about anyone and everyone. 

…Except Ava. Their first disastrous meeting ending in a bloody nose and a trip to the hospital leaves Ava thoroughly confused. Because Miles seemed to hate her even before all that. Upon first glance to be exact. 

Trying to navigate the nefarious world of high school with mean girls, new friends, and awkward unrequited crushes, Ava begins to slowly unravel the mystery that is Miles Greyson while doing her best not to get distracted by Miles himself. 

All the while Miles is unraveling her, leading them both to a startling revelation that changes everything. Impossible dreams, enchanting feelings, and the whisper of a magical wish… 

Young Adult and Older Recommended

I would say 17+ recommended.  I’m not completely stupid, I was once a teenager, I know kids do stupid shit.  In a way, it is refreshing that this author chooses to be completely honest with what teenagers do with their spare time, but as a mom and a nurse, I really can’t condone drinking and driving.  It is vaguely mentioned, but it is there.  That is my only issue with the behavior portrayed in this book.

It is a very sweet book.  I am a very big believer in dreams, regardless of their meaning.  And as a hospice nurse, I know the difficulty experienced in losing a loved one.  The author accurately conveys the emotion connected with such a loss.

She author brings back the sharp emotions connected to high school life.  The good and the bad.  The friendship between Pixie and Ava, the unstated romance between Pixie and Jesse, the growing relationship between Miles and Ava, it is all there.  That is why I read these teenager books.  Because it reminds me of my high school years.

Some things weren’t clear for me, however.  For instance, if Ava’s mother passed away when she was 12, and she moved to Oklahoma years after, who was her guardian until that time?  It just didn’t make sense.  Also the mechanism behind the dreams wasn’t fully explained.  These are the things that just came up in my brain while reading.

I truly enjoyed the love story, I enjoyed the relationships between all the characters.  I just feel that more could be explained in terms of the paranormal aspects of the story.

Book Review: Blood and Fire (The Talbot Trilogy) by Tori L. Ridgewood

BloodandFireCover

I reviewed the first of this trilogy, Wind and Shadow, earlier this year and was delighted to be able to review the second book.

Here is the syopsis:

What chance does one witch have against five vampires? Alone, not much. But Rayvin’s allies are gathering… 

The battle between good and evil supernatural forces heats up in the long, cold November nights of the former mining town. But how will Rayvin’s motley crew of spellcasters and shapeshifters cope when they discover the threat they face is even greater than they imagined? 

In between reading the first and second books, I finally read The Twilight Saga.  Mainly because I kind of knew that all of these vampire books I was reading were making references to it, and I wanted in on the secrets.

 So now I’m going to allude to this series as a more realistic Twilight in which vampires actually do kill people and consenting adults do actually have sex.

So there you have it.  As an adult female with a healthy libido, it makes this series much more enjoyable.

I absolutely love Rayvin.  She has her flaws, but she is a very strong character.  She is fiery, she is alive, and that is probably why de Sade is so taken with her.  I have to admire the strength of anyone who does what she does to get out of his grips.

I’m not entirely sure about Charlotte yet.  I don’t know enough about her.

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the characters of Marcy and Siobhan.  I have read many, many, many paranormal romance books, most I don’t blog about because its my guilty pleasure, but I can’t remember a duo quite like them.  They are worthy of their own series.

Ms. Ridgewood evokes my rage as a rape survivor.  She accurately captures the smug arrogance that many rapists Tori Headshot 3possess.  In the character of Jason Lucas and to an extent Malcom de Sade, she embodies these despicable qualities and makes me want to scream at my poor, innocent Kindle screen.

Yes, this series is dark.  It is not for teenagers.  Definitely not YA.  It is for adults who like the paranormal romance genre and like an added adult aspect to it. As I said in my review of the first book, even without all the magic, vampires, etc, it would be a wonderful story just because of the relationship issues that are explored.  The entire “going back to your roots” the “dealing with your past”.

But that is what makes it more realistic for me.  Vampires of classic literature don’t sparkle.  They are cursed.  They aren’t beautiful, they are parasites.  I love how Ms. Ridgewood brings this element of vampirism back to these types of novels.

Overall, I loved this book, can’t wait for the next one.

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