Book Sixty-Five of 2014: Curse Breaker: Guild Assassin by Berley Kerr

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Wendy Magdalena Braca lived in a Victorian mansion under three moons in Jupiter City. But her privileged upbringing falters when after the death of her father and the murder of her mother, she is shipped away to Greenleaf Asylum for Troubled Girls and lived there for years until she is “rescued” by a strange guild that shows Wendy their world; the world of Guild Assassins made up of the Cæcus (normal humans), the Validus (magic-users), and Half-Breeds (demi-gods). In this world, Wendy discovers she is the most special and powerful Validus known to exist, the Curse Breaker.

Yes, the cover makes you think Steampunk, but it actually isn’t a Steampunk book. Guild Assassin by Berley Kerr is a Scicence Fiction first and foremost and then has Steampunk elements.

The first chapter is strong and pulls you in right into the story, but then lacks until the last chapter. This is due to the “telling” like story form. I would have liked the story better and probably understood Wendy better if the rest of the book was written like those two chapters.

As such, I couldn’t relate to Wendy. She was bland and didn’t seem to have emotions when her life went to hell. Once again, I think this is due to the “telling” story form. I couldn’t understand why she was flippant about rape and nightmares. She mentions having nightmares due to rape, but as a reader, you don’t experience those moments with her. You’re only told that she had them. If there was more detail to her nightmares, I might have understood why she went the drinking route. I might have been able to relate to her.

The world is interesting. It is not our universe’s future, but the future of an alternate Steampunk world. Meaning, what would have happened in 2024 if we were a Steampunk world to begin with. I found that interesting, but very confusing as well. I couldn’t understand why the clothing hadn’t changed that much in the many years. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting our clothing today, but clothing changes with time. There didn’t seem to be that much change in what you see in other Steampunk worlds and this one. But, if that’s the only issue about the world, it’s not that bad.

Overall, the book had potential and I could see something happening. I just couldn’t relate to Wendy and that turned me off to most of the story. Also, there are quite a few grammatical errors (“souls of feet” instead of “soles of feet”, and the switching of words). They bothered me, but I was mostly able to ignore them. I wouldn’t mind trying the sequel (which is hinted in the end), but I hope that the storytelling is different. It’s a book that has potential and could be done better, in my opinion.

 

God’s Play Cover Reveal

Cover Artist: Alexandria Thompson http://gothicfate.com/

Cover Artist: Alexandria Thompson http://gothicfate.com/

 

Sixteen-year old Toby was trained by a family of hunters to kill shape-shifters — but he has a unique weapon in his arsenal. With a touch of his hand, Toby can lift the magical protection shape-shifters use to disguise themselves as human. It’s an unusual skill for a hunter, and he prefers to kill monsters the old-fashioned way: with a blade.

Because of his special skill, Toby suspects he may be a monster himself. His suspicions deepen when William, a jackal-headed shape-shifter, saves him from an ambush where Toby’s the only survivor. And Toby doubts William helped him for purely altruistic reasons. With his list of allies running thin, Toby must reconcile his hatred of shifters and the damning truth that one saved his life. It’ll take both of them to track down the monster who ordered the ambush.

And Toby needs his unlikely alley because he has a vicious enemy — the infamous Circe, who has a vendetta to settle against the hunters. Toby has to unravel the mystery of his dual nature. And he has to do it on the run — before Circe finds him and twists him to her own ends.

God’s Play is a young adult urban fantasy written by H.D. Lynn and published through Curiosity Quills Press. It will be released in September 18, 2014. Check out the Goodreads website at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22895484-god-s-play

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H.D. Lynn is like Harry Potter in one way: she’s currently renting an apartment with a bedroom under her building’s stairs. Other than this, she explores fantasy worlds through storytelling like anyone else. She loves books with a mix of humor, adventure, and horror, and especially enjoys the urban fantasygenre. GOD’S PLAY is her first published novel.

When not writing, she enjoys hiking, climbing, and running. She’s a voracious reader, and has found listening to audiobooks while backpacking to be a perfect mix of her two favorite things. She currently lives in Connecticut, but finds herself on the road often.

Her Social Media Links are:

@HeatherLynn117 (Twitter)

http://godsplaybook.tumblr.com/ (Tumblr)

http://throwthisbookatme.com/ (Personal Blog)

http://captainheatherlynn117.tumblr.com/ (Personal/Fan Blog)

Deceptive Cadence Cover Reveal

Cover Artist: Alexandria Thompson http://gothicfate.com/

Cover Artist: Alexandria Thompson http://gothicfate.com/

Cadence awakes in a hospital to find her husband and daughter dead, killed in an earthquake. So when her guardian angel appears and offers her a chance to go back in time with all the knowledge she has, she accepts, desperate to prevent their deaths.

 She shoots back eleven years to her fourteen-year-old self, and faces high school all over again. She is determined to do everything better, including preventing the loss of her best friend and not dating any of her original, drama-inducing boyfriends. Her main focus is on her future husband, who she won’t meet for several years.

 But James Gordon crosses her path. While she wishes to remain single, the bad boy pursues her. He threatens to disrupt everything that is to come as she begins to develop unwanted feelings for him, and distract her from her original goal: to save her future family.

Deceptive Cadence is a new adult romance with paranormal elements written by Katie Hamstead and published through Curiosity Quills Press. The release date is to be announced. You can also check out the book in its Goodreads site: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20875301-deceptive-cadence?from_search=true

Katie-Teller-Author-Photo-2

Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her writing.

After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter, and their dog.

She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. She is currently at school studying English and Creative Writing.

Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.

Book Sixty-Four of 2014: Only For You by E.L. Todd

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When Scarlet realized Penelope was dumping Sean, her best friend, she was devastated. Penelope was the love of his life, the woman of his dreams. Scarlet knew how far her best friend was going to fall and she had to catch him. Scarlet became Sean’s rock and helped him through a very painful breakup, but her own hidden desires bubbled to the surface in the process. When they finally gave in and slept together, she thought it was the start of their new relationship. Unfortunately, Sean didn’t feel the same.
Humiliated and heartbroken, Scarlet moved across the country and found what she least expected. She rekindled her damaged relationship with her brother, who she hadn’t spoken to in a year, and her brother’s best friend was attractive and interesting. Their relationship was natural and unforced, and she was immediately drawn to him. Would she be able to get over Sean, forget about him, by sleeping with Cortland, or would that just be another repeated mistake?

Only For You is a contemporary new adult romance by E.L. Todd. It is the first in a long series. Watch out, there are 19 books currently and I’m sure the number will climb fast. E.L. Todd is rather prolific and churns out her stories quickly. I can never keep up.

The Forever and Always series, the series that Only For You begins, is a rather popular series among her fans. They are emotionally invested in these characters and keep asking more. And, to be honest, I can see why. In all of the books I’ve read by E.L. Todd, this one was my favorite.

I liked the first person narative and that you get the point of views from both heroine and hero. Neither character seem to be at their strongest in this book and there were times that I wanted to smack Scarlet upside the head. The issue with her boss is one instance that I wanted to smack her. That said, it is unfortunate that there is a percentage of women who would deal with that certain situation the same way she does. It isn’t because the women aren’t strong, it’s because there are moments in society that make women (really, anyone) feel the way Scarlet does. I had to remind myself that when I was reading.

That said, even Sean had moments of serious smackdown. I’d tell you why, but it is integral to the plot. He did show a more emotional side to himself though and it is that aspect of this book that I like. Most male characters are seen as the big brooding hero, but E. L. Todd writes Sean and the other male characters in this book as regular people.

I would call this series a guilty pleasure series where when I need a fix of contemporary and drama I would go to. Am I going to continue this series? Yeah, I think I will.

Book Sixty-Three of 2014: The Barter by Siobhan Adcock

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A heart-stopping tale as provocative as is suspenseful, about two conflicted women, separated by one hundred years, and bound by an unthinkable sacrifice.
The Barter is a ghost story and a love story, a riveting emotional tale that also explores motherhood and work and feminism. Set in Texas, in present day, and at the turn of the twentieth century, the novel follows two young mothers at the turning point of their lives.
Bridget has given up her career as an attorney to raise her daughter, joining a cadre of stay-at-home mothers seeking fulfillment in a quiet suburb. But for Bridget, some crucial part of the exchange is absent: Something she loves and needs. And now a terrifying presence has entered her home; only nobody but Bridget can feel it.
On a farm in 1902, a young city bride takes a farmer husband. The marriage bed will become both crucible and anvil as Rebecca first allows, then negates, the powerful erotic connection between them. She turns her back on John to give all her love to their child. Much will occur in this cold house, none of it good.
As Siobhan Adcock crosscuts these stories with mounting tension, each woman arrives at a terrible ordeal of her own making, tinged with love and fear and dread. What will they sacrifice to save their families—and themselves? Readers will slow down to enjoy the gorgeous language, then speed up to see what happens next in a plot that thrums with the weight of decision—and its explosive consequences.

I won The Barter by Siobhan Adcock from a Goodreads giveaway. I love ghost stories and a ghost story that delves into two different time periods intrigued me. That said, I didn’t care for it.

The story is well written and does pull the reader in instantly, but when the “horror” of the ghost appears, it’s not that horrific. It seems more like the delusions of a woman going through post partum blues and just isn’t the type of woman who should be a stay at home mom.

Let me clarify that before people start getting upset with me. I’m a stay at home mom. I love it, but I wouldn’t shove that ideal in someone’s throat. I have friends who have careers (I don’t want a career beyond my writing and since writing is more productive at home, a stay at home mom makes sense) and being a stay at home mom would drive them crazy. They thrive in the workplace. Some thrive at the home. I don’t really know where I stand, but I’m definitely not the stereotypical mom at home.

In The Barter, Bridget is a career woman. She thrives in that enviornment. She loves her daughter and wanted more time with her, hence her choice with being stay at home. However, the stay at home moms that thrive as stay at home moms in the book seem to be two dimensional. I didn’t care that those moms didn’t seem to have any real personality and instead were separated cookie cutter parts to the stereotype of stay at home moms. It is this clash of feminine/feminist ideals (which I think is a bogus clash) that seems to be what feeds the “ghost”.

I personally saw the ghost as a metaphor of sacrifice and decisions women make to be who they want to be. In the case of this book, it seems the author is championing the working mom versus the stay at home mom. I make that comment because the woman who is the ghost is the woman from 100 years in the past and was, because of societal views, figuratively “forced” (she made the choice) into a loveless marriage and to live in a lifestyle she was unaccostomed to.

The ghost is nothing more than a symbolic way to describe a woman’s lack of fullfillment. In that respect it could be psychological. However, it was lacking in the real suspense and instead of looking over my shoulder or contemplating my own life, I’m left at being annoyed at the clear separation of the motherhood choices and the poor choices made by the mothers in the book.

Book Sixty-Two of 2014: Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

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A rare meeting of literary genius: P. D. James, long among the most admired mystery writers of our time, draws the characters of Jane Austen’s beloved novel Pride and Prejudice into a tale of murder and emotional mayhem.
 It is 1803, six years since Elizabeth and Darcy embarked on their life together at Pemberley, Darcy’s magnificent estate. Their peaceful, orderly world seems almost unassailable. Elizabeth has found her footing as the chatelaine of the great house. They have two fine sons, Fitzwilliam and Charles. Elizabeth’s sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; her father visits often; there is optimistic talk about the prospects of marriage for Darcy’s sister Georgiana. And preparations are under way for their much-anticipated annual autumn ball.
 Then, on the eve of the ball, the patrician idyll is shattered. A coach careens up the drive carrying Lydia, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister, who with her husband, the very dubious Wickham, has been banned from Pemberley. She stumbles out of the carriage, hysterical, shrieking that Wickham has been murdered. With shocking suddenness, Pemberley is plunged into a frightening mystery.
 Inspired by a lifelong passion for Austen, P. D. James masterfully re-creates the world of Pride and Prejudice, electrifying it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly crafted crime story, as only she can write it.

 I was hesitant to read this book at first. I’ve attempted at some Pride and Prejudice “sequels” and couldn’t get into them very well. Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James is the only “sequel” to one of my favorite books that I was able to start and finish.

The first thing that should be said is that no, the characters are not completely the same as they were in Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth is a bit more controlled and doesn’t seem to have the wit she had in the classic. Darcy is also changed in that he is a bit more out of his shyness. Instead of getting upset though, I took this to be a likely change for a couple who has been together for six years and have children. I am sure Elizabeth Darcy is still witty, but reserves that for intimate times with her husband. Likewise, I can see Darcy attempting to overcome his shyness through his relationship with Elizabeth. Good relationships do that. They help people grow, but doesn’t necessarily changes them completely.

And now for the central part of the story: the mystery. The beginning was very strong and hinted at the old style of whodunnits I love so much. You meet the characters and see the fishy actions of some of those characters. I had myself thinking the killer was someone else entirely. I liked the beginning because I was able to wonder who the killer is and what the motive was (I did get the motive for the most part). I liked the mystery of that and the intrigue.

However, I disliked how the mystery was concluded. The ending seemed too simple and quick. It was what I would call a Deus Ex Machina. I was hoping, as I’m sure others were, that the mystery would have been solved through the investigative skills of the Darcy couple. However, we are only given Darcy’s feelings and attendance at a trial. There is no mention of Elizabeth until the end once everything was solved. I understand that in the time the story takes place, a woman doing anything like that wouldn’t make sense. I also understand that the evidence wouldn’t have held if Darcy took a more pivotal role in solving the crime. However, it felt like the characters we love in Jane Austen’s book were left as spectators and not actual actors to their own mystery.