Update!!!

Hello!!

Today I finally got back into my account!!!

I was locked out for awhile.  I forgot my password and was run around in circles until I finally emailed WordPress and got back in.  Today.  Just now.

I have also put reading on the back burner.  I have read a few good books so far this summer, namely The Resurrection Trilogy by Elizabeth Davies and the Ansible stories by Stant Litore, but I started back to work full time and that has seriously cut into my reading time.

I am also having difficulty with starting books and not being able to finish them.  This is for various reasons.  Either the content is something that I just can’t deal with on a personal level, i.e. child abuse or sexual abuse I didn’t expect, it doesn’t hold my interest, it is too confusing or jumbled or it is too poorly written.  I will get back to those writers individually.  But I don’t think it is fair to me to post a review for a book I haven’t fully read.  And I truly despise posting negative reviews.

I know fledgling writers send me books in hopes that I’ll read and review.  But I started this as a hobby.  And it is still a hobby and something that I do in my free time.  When my free time is seriously compromised, the reading is the first thing to be put on the back burner.

I also have another resource for you hopeful indie writers.  I started this blog after writing reviews for bookbloggers.org.  This was a site started by Rob Kroese, one of my favorite writers of such hits like the Mercury series, Schrodingers Gat and more recently, Starship Grifters.  I was also introduced to the absolutely amazing works of Stant Litore through this site.  Indie writers can post and connect with reviewers through this site.  So give it a try.  It was how I started in the review game.

So if you have sent a request in the last two months, I will be filtering through my email in the next two weeks.  If I have told you I will review your book, I will.  If I started your book and I can’t read it for above mentioned reasons, I will email you directly with a reason why.  Again, thank you for your patience.

Book Review: War of Wizards (Secrets of Shadow Hill) by S. P. Cervantes

I’m going to make a confession.  I have never read the Harry Potter series.  Yes, yes, I know.  I’m deprived.  But it is on my list.  As I continue in this genre of paranormal romance, it is clearer to me that I need to read some of the big books in the genre.  I broke down and read the “Twilight” series for example.  And now I can see all the references my vampire books make to it.  So now I have to read Harry Potter.

warwizardsEbook

I read the first two books in this series and loved them.  My review for “Always and Forever” is here and my review for “The Prophecy” is here.  It is strictly YA, no graphic sex, but in this one, Ava and Dalton are finally married and finally consummate their relationship.  The descriptions aren’t detailed and it is very tender and sweet.  Definitely YA appropriate.

Here is the synopsis for this final book:

Ava and Dalton want nothing more than to forget about the danger their love puts them in, and live peaceful lives in Shadow Hill; but that is not their destiny. Evil continues to haunt them, threatening to destroy everything. Volikai’s determination to summon the dark powers that the Originals have kept hidden for centuries before the Prophecy can be fulfilled.

When Patrick finds a new love, and learns of the reason for his powerful connection with Ava, he will stop at nothing to protect those he loves and destroy the evil that has plagued the world since the beginning of time.

Together, they will be faced with unimaginable choices to save the one’s they love as the final secrets of Shadow Hill are revealed.

As with the other books, this one is written from varying points of view.  I usually don’t have a problem with that, it is really creative and different.  But in this book it was a bit confusing when chapters went from Patrick to Dalton because it wasn’t exactly clear who the speaker was at times.

I do like the maturity shown throughout all of the books.  Especially with Dalton and Patrick.  It is a number of years after they first met, and with all they have been through with Ava, they now have a mature, adult, working relationship.  They both want to keep everyone safe, especially Ava.  They aren’t at odds anymore.  I truly liked seeing that particular relationship evolve.

Ava and Hannah have evolved as well.  They take their situation very seriously.  They go from knowing nothing about magic and wizards to leading their coven in the space of a few years.  Their strength is remarkable.

I hate to say this, and many YA fans will vehemently disagree, but it was kind of refreshing that some characters didn’t make it.  I’m not going to do a spoiler alert and name names.  But in most of these types of books, everyone lives happily ever after.  In this one, its a different kind of happily ever after.  And I really liked it.  It is more realistic, as much as realism can be found in a book about wizards.

A great follow-up to the first two books.  A great ending to the trilogy.  I truly love this series for its romance, its relationships between characters, its drama and aspect of a thriller.  And the magic is cool.  Definitely a must read for fans of paranormal YA.

**UPDATE**

The “Amanda” part of The Eclectic Bookworm is up to her eyeballs with personal issues right now.  She just moved into a new house, she’s working (a lot) and its about to be summer.  And her laptop crashed.  And she doesn’t want to investigate writing posts on her smartphone.  So here is a list of books currently in queue, and hopefully by the end of May, the reviews will be up.

In no particular order:

Honor and Innocence — Against the Tides of War by Glen Thomas Hierlmeier

Guildhall Guardian — Thamesian #1 by Aidan Ladsow

Kingdoms of the Dead Book One — Chemical Rot by Ian Woodhead

Follow the Joy: A memoir by Jason Scott Kurtz

The Experiment by Cristian Alejandro Solari

Backspin:  One Player’s Journey from the U.S. to Europe and Back Again by Pete Strobl

The Perfect Game by Stephen Paul

The Tip Jar by Carol Lynn George

State of Grace by Elizabeth Davies

The London Project by Mark J. Maxwell

The Holy Mark by Gregory Alexander

The Buck Pass by T.R. Whittier

The God Particle by Daniel Danser

Sating the Preta: A Memoir about Emotional Abuse and Recovery from Complex PTSD by Lily Scot

Afflicted Dawn by Gregory Napier

A Soul’s Kiss by Debra Chapoton

If I forgot you, please send me an email and remind me.  And I just sent out a ton of emails accepting books for review this morning.

Also, I read books by mood, meaning, once I’m done with a book, I’ll glance through the ones I have accepted and if something fits my mood, I start it.  I don’t go in order of books received because then it is more like a job to me than a hobby.  I really appreciate you sharing your work with me.

Hope you are enjoying the blog, thank you for being patient.

— Amanda

Book Review: Revelations (Thera’s Eyes Series) by Leia Kiuski

Yes, I am on a paranormal romance, YA kick.  Again.  But I am so glad to be getting such different takes on the genre.  This one is no exception:

revelations

 

Here is the synopsis:

Elizabeth Monterey is a 17-year-old girl, who always had everything: lots of money, friends, the perfect boyfriend, and a promising future in the archery world. But an inexplicable accident changed her life forever, and now she needs to face the harsh reality of the death of her parents, a brother in a coma and the loss of her fortune. 

As if she hadn’t problems enough, demonic-looking creatures want the freedom to come and go to the human world as they please, and Elizabeth is the one chosen to prevent that from happening. But, she can’t do it alone. It will be necessary to find out who her allies are… and her enemies. 

So, the hunt begins. 

‘Revelations’, the first book in the ‘Thera’s Eyes series’, is an incredible adventure story, filled with magic and romance. A novel that follows the current trends and still manages to be different from anything you have ever read.

This is really different than the typical YA fare with wizards, zombies and vampires.  I truly admire authors that can create these worlds seemingly out of thin air.  I love learning about their creation, the laws of their world, the lore and history.  This story was no different.

I love that the main character, Beth, is flawed.  She’s shaken.  Her life has taken a turn for the worst and she is still standing.  But she is strong.  She overcomes her situations and makes the best of it, becoming a leader in a new world that she had no clue even existed.

I also like that despite the fact that she is now a warrior, she still has the same issues that most teenage girls do.  Especially with boys.  And one particular boy, Leon.  Some miscues and an overheard conversation leads her to think that he isn’t interested despite her overwhelming feeling for him.  This is pretty descriptive of her imagined situation:

If she could not have his love, at least she would have his friendship and she could still be a part of his life, even after he left, and it sure was better than having nothing at all.

I truly appreciate this aspect of the story.  It lends some realism…even though they are fighting “demons” she still is struggling with her feelings for a member of the opposite sex.

I absolutely love the friendship between the warriors.  Their loyalty to each other.  Their willingness to do what is needed to “save the world”.  Definitely a bonus in this story.

And it is very well written. The characters are well developed, the plot is well thought out, the writing is fantastic.

Overall a great read, very different than others of this genre, highly recommended for those who love YA paranormal romance.

 

Book Review: West by Caroline Starr

Book Cover - West V1

 

I reviewed the first book in this trilogy, Campbell, here.  Again, this story is amazing.  Not as intriguing as the first one, more than likely because the concept isn’t as new, but still great work.

After her world was turned upside down by the death of her twin and a new alliance forged through an unexpected friendship, Lucy Campbell left West determined to return to her old life. 

It took four years and a natural disaster for her to admit that was impossible.

Hatched from a lie devised to keep them both safe, the conflict with East has affected Lucy and Tal Bauman in different ways. It’s left Lucy engulfed in a bitter power struggle with her war-hungry brother. It’s forced Tal to align himself with Campbell, despite questioning their motivations in continuing to attack East, when peace seems attainable. He’s also left to sort out the mess left behind by his predecessor and best friend, Connor Wilde. 

When they are reunited by a tragedy, Lucy and Tal are forced to question how far their duties stretch, where their loyalties lie, and how far they would go for one another. 

They’re also left reevaluating their morals, values, and the futures of those around them. 

West is the second book in the Campbell trilogy. 

If you haven’t read Campbell, and you definitely have to before you read this book, the premise is that something wiped out all the adults and teenagers in the early 2000s.  The kids, aged 12 and under, had to fend for themselves and remake their world.  It is a completely fascinating concept.

What I like about the premise is that Ms. Starr uses it as a springboard to highlight coming of age issues.  How do you grow up when all of your parents, teachers, adults aren’t there to guide you?  So this series just captivates me.

This second installment was a little bit darker, but with more romance.  So I’ll take it.  The “kids” are now into their mid to late 20s and despite the fact of their upbringing, or lack thereof, they still struggle with the same issues “kids” in contemporary society struggle with.  Relationships, friends, “family”.  But there is so much more responsibility with Lucy and Tal.

They both are heads of state for large parts of the North American continent.  They not only have to deal with their own personal issues, but they have to deal with trade, war, diplomacy and economics.  Tal even had to deal with a murder trial for the first president of West and his best friend.

I loved that this book included more of a romance aspect.  It’s a different type of romance, and I do need to point out that this book isn’t YA, there is sex and violence.  It isn’t erotica, but it happens.

The type of romance that Ms. Starr features isn’t typical.  It’s refreshing.  It’s real:

She knew she loved him; the kind of love that was earned, cultivated over time, born of selflessness and respect.  It would never be throw-down, crazy passion because she didn’t operate that way.  What they had was better.

Ms. Starr also illustrates that basic human cruelty can survive in their post-apocalypse.  Even though they were kids when the world ended, they still retain the ability to torture each other, to go to war, to kill each other in cold blood.  That apparently will never be erased.

Overall a great read, excellent follow up to Campbell, and I can’t wait to read the third book.

Book Review: Starship Grifters by Rob Kroese

sg

 

Oh do I love me some Rob Kroese.  Whether he’s writing about renegade angels, physics or space, I absolutely adore his work.

If you have followed this blog, you have definitely seen his work mentioned on here.

His latest is a space adventure and it is just as fabulous as I anticipated.  Here is the synopsis:

A space-faring ne’er-do-well with more bravado than brains, Rex Nihilo plies the known universe in a tireless quest for his own personal gain. But when he fleeces a wealthy weapons dealer in a high-stakes poker game, he ends up winning a worthless planet…and owing an outstanding debt more vast than space itself!

The only way for Rex to escape a lifetime of torture on the prison world Gulagatraz is to score a big payday by pulling off his biggest scam. But getting mixed up in the struggle between the tyrannical Malarchian Empire and the plucky rebels of the Revolting Front—and trying to double-cross them both—may be his biggest mistake. Luckily for Rex, his frustrated but faithful robot sidekick has the cyber-smarts to deal with buxom bounty hunters, pudgy princesses, overbearing overlords, and interstellar evangelists…while still keeping Rex’s martini glass filled.

I love Rex.  I kind of wanted to hate him, but he’s just so…interesting.  Here is an apt description from his side-kick Sasha:

It’s more likely that he’s somehow developed a delicately counterbalanced syndrome of mental illnesses that have somehow conspired to keep him alive up until now.  

That can probably describe most of my family.  Anyway, Rex is a walking disaster.  And he gets himself into tangle after tangle.  The way that his mind works, always trying to see the next con, always trying to save himself, he is such a well-developed character.

I also appreciate how Mr. Kroese made a robot come alive.  Despite some of her programmed issues, like being unable to think independently, she is extremely well-developed and real.  She follows Rex throughout the galaxy, through hair-brained scheme after scheme and is most often his savior.  The plot twist at the end of the book cements this notion.

Ahh…the plot twist.  Very clever.  I didn’t see that one coming, and I read CONSTANTLY.  It was truly refreshing.  It wasn’t something that I ever expected and it was glorious.

In most of these types of books, I love reading about the things that the writers come up with.  It’s sci-fi, so it can be anything.  But with Mr. Kroese, he makes it laughable, hilarious even, as Rex explains:

DNA scrambling is the worst.  Last time I had an ear growing between my shoulder blades.  People acted like they didn’t notice it, but I could hear them talking behind my back.

And I have to mention the obvious references to the epic space tale for the ages.  That shall not be named for fear of litigation.  I have read Mr. Kroese’s “memoir” of sorts, The Force is Middling in this One, and it is pretty obvious that he has an obsession with a galaxy far, far away.  And of course it bleeds into this work:

“We’re just checking out a disturbance!” yelled Fingers.  “A disturbance?”  the voice called back.  “What kind of disturbance?” “With the floors!” hollered Fingers.  “Did you say there’s been some kind of disturbance in the floors?”

Sometimes the references made me roll my eyes, but they were hilarious.  And I’m sure that there are several references I missed.

Overall, a great read, very funny, very witty, I loved it.  Highly recommended as with all of Mr. Kroese’s work.

Book Review: Range Wars by Coty Justus

Range_Wars

 

Ohhhh…the final battle.  So much is going on.  Here is the synopsis:

In the final book of the Birthrights series, evil seeks to manufacture an eruption of the supervolcano lying beneath Yellowstone National Park. Forcing earthquake after earthquake, with each progressively stronger than the one before, the plates sealing the magma within the chamber steadily weaken. Only The Ten can stop it. Two will be lost. Two will be found. 

Range Wars is set against a high plains backdrop, where a battle a quarter-millennium in the making begins at America’s first national monument, Devil’s Tower, and ends at America’s first national park, Yellowstone. Chosens fight alongside priestesses as The Ten marshal their forces for a Western-style Armageddon.

So many things to love about this book.

The first is that you get a glimpse into the lives of all the characters you have met in previous books.  They are all living at the stronghold, they all have kids and the kids are absolutely adorable.

Odessa, as high priestess, is told what needs to be done.  She is given a time line and specific instructions.  The family pulls together to make it a reality.  Well, most of them.

I love how the women are supported by their chosens.  Usually.  Again, Ms. Justus does a great service by illustrating that even when love is fated, it is not always perfect.  And every marriage, paranormal or not, has issues.

The plan is so audacious, but I love how each of “The Ten” use their powers and work together, even the little ones, to make it happen.

This one is a little dark as well.  The story goes back to the beginning and focuses on Odessa and Jason again and their family.  Odessa’s strength and faith shines through.

I don’t want to give anything away, but this is a very satisfying ending to an amazing series.  No loose ends, no what ifs, truly satisfying.

Overall, this is a fantastic series.  Very well written, very well thought out.  Ms. Justus sucks you into Wyoming, the religion of “The Ten”, the belief that some things aren’t always what they seem.  I love the strength, the resilience of the women and their chosens.  Their devotion to family.  A truly unique series, outside the usual realm of “paranormal romance” and very reality based.

What I mean by that statement is that time and time again, Ms. Justus presents issues that would come up in a real marriage if one partner in the marriage were to have paranormal powers.  I find this really refreshing, a completely different take on the idyllic paranormal life you see in other series.  These ladies have children who also inherit powers.  That speaks to me as a mother.  So in that way, the author made something from the fantasy realm very real and tangible to me.  Excellent work.

I recommend this to all women in general.  Awesome series in female bonding, strength, love and faith.  All of the women of “The Ten” overcome extraordinary circumstances, some literally come back from the “dark side” to create the life that they want.  Fantastic series and I was actually sad when it ended.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: