Living Dead Girl by Chris Keaton

Sumamry:

Amanda Bock can see ghosts. She can communicate with the dead and has grown used to helping them move on. Amanda’s finally ready to take a shot at having a normal life like a regular sixteen-year-old. But when a mysterious stranger rips his way into her life and threatens Amanda’s loved ones, she’s propelled on a journey to discover the true strength of her own will and the power she has inherited.

Characters

Amanda is what I’d consider an average high school girl (angst and all) with extraordinary abilities. Her mother and aunt don’t seem like much of parents to her, but there are reasons for that (albeit shaky ones). Where the aunt and mother didn’t grow on me, or Adam (the shaky love interest), Amanda did. She grew a bit, but she was still true to her character – foolish and impulsive.

The villain by contrast was the shakiness character. Although vicious and going after revenge (that I get) his bigger game plan was completely lost on me. We do get to go into his head and see what he is doing, so getting some insight would have strengthened the character and their motives. The loose “world domination” is thrown around but undermined the characters villainy rather than building it up.

Plot

This is a Young Adult without question. It starts off painfully familiar without anything interesting: Girl with ability to see the dead is an outcast at school and at home. It isn’t until Amanda has a life and death situation that the book really started to shine. After that I was gripped, the author brought new aspects and revealed some clever twists that they had lulled you into with a familiar start to a paranormal novel. This was the turning point.

Overall

The writing was easy to follow and enjoyable. It was brief and to the point without any embellishments, which meant a fast tempo. It is a shorter story (novella) so you could theoretically read it in one sitting. For sure a young adult, so beware of teenage angst and impulsive decisions. I’d hope to see Amanda grow, but that’s for future novellas. In the end it was the subtle strings of unsolved pieces that really got its hooks in me. Like what’s up with Cass? If you pay attention you’ll know right away. There are more but I don’t want to give them away!

Rating

3.5 Stars (one up and one down)

‘I liked it’ accurately reflects how I feel about this book. Get past the all to familiar start, ignore the weak characterization of the villain, and this novella really rocks! If you like Young Adult Paranormal books, this novella is a good one!

I received this book for a free and voluntarily review.

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Genesis: The Battle Within (Pillars of Creation #1) by David J. Tucker

**Cannot be read as a standalone**

Summary

“I am all that is left of the man Genesis. I exist in the dark so Earth’s last candle may burn …

“They rebuilt me, tortured and forged me, to be a harbinger of hope. But still they want more … they always want more. My sect – Earth’s one true religion – trains us to be elite assassins, yet they celebrate us as their beacons of hope and peace … what a farce we have become.”

For Genesis, survival has become an art he has honed well. As a Roach from the slums of Earth he learned to thrive amongst repression and pain, well enough to escape and be adopted into an ancient, powerful sect, which acts as the spearhead for all humanity. But to belong, he must adopt the ways of a heretical master, navigating the deadly apprenticeship and world of the Immortals, and somehow still hide the darkness that beckons him.

Characters

I’m going to start this off by saying I really liked Genesis. He was such a rewarding character to follow. There is this constant battle within him that really highlights the surviving core values of the man that was before the other two ‘aspects’ got involved. The longer the book went the more I liked him and just wanted to know his story. I also liked his AI, Me’lina, especially as the book went on. That being said I struggled with some of the other characters. Rotas was awesome but her story just seems to drop off about mid book. Osiris just monologues for what feels like half of the book which is something I just couldn’t get past to actually connect or even form an opinion of the character. There are a few other characters but these are the primarily.

Plot

You could tell from the way the book was going that it was just building to a bigger story. There were times it felt like it was a way to introduce the world and characters. From the information on the back of the book I felt I was a little mislead on what the book was about. Furthermore I felt there were scenes and sections purely created to give the author a platform to give the information to the reader, not necessarily relevant to the plot. It was amazing the amount of detail the author had in the world and the depths it went to, but it was too much and not all of it relevant. This could have been amazing if it had only dispersed the information more and weaved it in better and made it relevant. For example, I thought Osiris’s had way too much page time.

In the end I think this book was about Genesis and his inner struggle. It was about him changing via an encounter with a particularly nasty alien. It was an origin story done in flashbacks and inner musings.

Overall

This book is massively creative and the world that was built was expansive and imaginative. That being said the world building was sometimes done in info dumps which were a struggle to get through. I didn’t think I’d see the day that a character outdid the monologue done by Ian Malcolm in The Lost World; but this book does and not for the better. It created a lecture format of reading about the book, more of a text book about the world then a fictional novel where you could get immersed in the story.

There were some amazing action scenes though they do run a little long they were well done. It was very much a science fiction with aliens, space battles, and nano technology.  It reminded me of the video game Destiny in parts and more than once I thought “This would make an awesome video game.”

Rating

3.5 Stars (rounded down)

“It was okay” aptly describes what I think of this book. Despite its shortcomings it was impressively thought up story and world. Although it is amazing concept for a video game it fell a little short in the book arena.

I received this book for a free and voluntarily review. More reviews at creatingworldswithwords.wordpress.com.

Gamma (League of Worlds Book 1) by M Wiggins

Summary

Often broody, suspicious of those he doesn’t know well, islander, Alec Ellison, has spent his whole life hiding what makes him different. Then uninvited newcomers arrive to bring him to his rightful home, a world where he is so much more than DNA. Oppressive or not, though, life on Gamma is all he’s ever known and leaving doesn’t come easy for him. When he learns that the island and its inhabitants will likely be destroyed if he leaves, he struggles to decide if free will is worth the senseless loss of life.

There are only three ways onto Gamma, an island where liberty is an abstract facade: you’re born here, arrive by invitation, or you sneak in. Invited newcomers are rare and serve only two purposes: to keep the existing population from growing bored, or to increase the population with their approved genetic blue-print. Either way, once an islander, always an islander, and leaving the petri dish is not an option.

The Stone Davis Corporation owns all, controls all, and makes all your decisions. You accept what they give, and what they take away, but understand that management takes way more than they give. Everything you know is a lie. To escape is to resist and no battle worth fighting has ever come cheap.

Wherever law ends, tyranny begins. A war is coming, and GAMMA is the cradle of its genesis.

Characters

There are almost too many main characters in this book to talk about them all but I’ll try to touch on the main ones. Meg changes a lot through the book and I was most conflicted about her character. Although I liked her sometimes I didn’t like some of her choices and I felt like she was a slave to the plot rather than a driver behind it. Alec is probably my least favorite character, he continually disappointed me throughout the book. I was unsure of Tavis at the beginning (am I the only one who had a hard time not reading Travis? I thought she was a he at first). However, by the end of the book she had grown on me. Jack…I’m still now sure about Jack. I liked him sort of in the start, but something about him always…just didn’t sit right. Favorite character by far was Sebastian. I loved the relationship between him and Tavis. I can’t talk about any other characters without giving stuff away, but be aware there are lots of them.

Even though the characters became unique and interesting, it was difficult to read at times be of the constant POV shifts. Trying to keep up with who’s point of view was very confusing. It would sometimes change multiple times in a chapter. I’d be in Tavis’s head then Sebastian’s and then Jack’s without any warning or transition.

Plot

I’m not sure this book knows what its plot was. It was a dystopian sci-fi, with a focus on meta humans, but it wasn’t that simple. There was romance (more so in the beginning) then later. It was more of a family saga with a sci-fi twist. The biggest issue was all the minuta. I felt like I was drowning in useless scenes and day to day activities more than once that I couldn’t always figure out how that had anything to do with where the book was going. However, there were more than a few scenes and plot points that caught my attention and really shined. This plot was more about the characters then the story, which was evident by the progression of the plot. The characters were all distinct but the plot had a few logical fallacies.

The author held a lot back and introduced new ‘secrets’ that were revelations on the characters and help drive the plot. I wasn’t sure all of the were necessary and some of them felt convenient. Again I think that is because this book was more character driven then plot driven.

Overall

I’d like to start off by saying I don’t like really long books and this book was over 600 pages and took me 10 HOURS TO READ! If you love long intense sagas, this is for sure something you’d love. I struggled through it on more than one occasion. What was worse, after the big conflict there is a character who proceeds to monologue for pages on end as part of the resolution’s. It was all very predictable in more than one way but also complicated. I wasn’t necessarily surprised by some of the developments – they’d been hinted at – but it was subtle and could be easily overlooked.  If all of the chapters could have been more like the epilogue I would have enjoyed it more.

That being said I was impressed by the sheer dedication to detail. It didn’t leave anything to the imagination (for good or bad). With the exception of the setting. The world building was very vague. The complexly woven story and the many twists and turns created a interesting structure. Overall it felt like a very long origin story, which I expect is the first in an equally lengthy series.

Rating

3 Stars

It was okay. This was a speculative fiction that delves deep into the characters lives and felt like a historical saga of their progression. If you like the deep dive into characters lives and thoroughly detailed scenes, then this book is for you.

I received this book for a free and voluntarily review. More reviews at creatingworldswithwords.wordpress.com.

Seasons of Love and War by Brenda Ashworth Barry

Summary

SEASONS OF LOVE AND WAR is a historical family saga and epic love story. Childhood sweethearts Beth Ann Rose and Kaylob Shawn O’Brien just want to get married and pursue their dream careers, but the Vietnam War changes everything when Kaylob is drafted into the Army and declared dead. Beth Ann has a complete emotional melt down and starts to have visions of him in the jungles of Vietnam. Is he alive or has she completely lost her mind?

Characters

Kaylob, Beth Ann, and Blake are the three main characters. Although I liked both Kaylob and Blake to certain extents, I couldn’t bring myself to like Beth Ann. She reminded me as a lead in a trashy soap opera. By the end of the book I absolutely loathed her – to the point that I didn’t think she deserved anyone and I wished very much that things end poorly for her. She was not what I would define as a strong woman. Her reaction when Kaylob first goes missing was absolutely over the top. Most of her actions, in one way or another, were understandable  in some regard, but it was the way she handled them that was STUPID. She was a spineless selfish little creature that I hope ends up dying in a horrible way to match her horrible little personality – very similar to my emotions toward Catherine of Wuthering Heights. The supporting characters were fine, I actually liked Jake and Carol. I won’t even mention her long term friend because I’ll just start another rant on how much I disliked Beth Ann. Plus I don’t want to ruin any of the story.

Plot

Very interesting plot. The historical aspects of this book seemed to spot on. Anything I wasn’t 100 sure of, I actually googled really quickly and was impressed that the author did their homework. A hurrah because this was presented as a more historical novel. Wanting to find out what happened to Kaylob was hands down the number one reason I went through the book. I didn’t realize when I picked this book that it couldn’t stand alone. That was very disappointing because more than once I thought “was that really necessary?” Though that may have been due more to my dislike of the main character.

The war zone pieces were great…but they were entirely centered on Kaylob’s love for Beth Ann. I get that it was their connection – but for a historical novel I thought we’d see a little more of what was happening to him and his fellow soldiers. What we did see were some of the best parts of the novel and I absolutely love Kaylob for them. Where the author failed with Beth Ann in my eyes, Kaylob was wonderful. Not perfect, but wonderful. Plus I’m not 100% sure where the author was going with the more supernatural part of the book with Beth Ann’s visions. You’ll see what I mean.

Overall

The writing was well done and easy to follow. The plot wasn’t perfect but did keep me engaged. I would point out that a few parts felt a little convenient – like when John Patterson calls Beth Ann. I also felt there were a few logical fallacies that were overlooked, but most of them were minor and had to do with Beth Ann’s decision making in general. The historical references were spot on as far as I could tell – which was a huge win in my mind. I truly thought that my general dislike of Beth Ann would fade as the author built the character up and made her stronger. Instead she kept her a pouting selfish brat, who I could never sympathize with because she always seemed to be using those who were good-natured.

Rating

2.5 stars (rounded up to 3)

If you like Wuthering Heights or soap operas you will love this book – it just wasn’t my favorite. As a historical novel this was a win, but as a romance for me it was an epic fail.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. More reviews at creatingworldswithwords.wordpress.com.

#giveaway for The Sixth Gate

I’m giving away a signed copy and sewn bookmark for The Sixth Gate!

book1_the_sixth_gate_frontl.jpg

You could win these!

In July, The Sixth Gate released and I’d like to send a copy to someone who loved the prequel!

All you have to do is these three things:

  • Acquire a copy of The Gate Guardian’s Daughter (you get a free copy when you sign up for my MAILING LIST);
  • Read The Gate Guardian’s Daughter; and
  • Leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads (both to double your chances)!3

I’m only giving the opportunity to those who are on my mailing list – so make sure you sign up! You could win a copy of the book and the hand stitched bookmark.**

You have until September 30, 2017 to submit in a review. I’ll select (using a random selection program) and notify the winner the following weekend.

**If you live outside the United States (US) you can only win an unsigned copy of the book (not the bookmark).

 

Burner (Affinity Series, #1) by J.S. Lenore

Summary:

Homicide detective Kim Phillips isn’t like the other officers of the Chicago Police Department. She’s quiet, isolated, and she can speak with the dead. Born with the ability to see into and interact with the afterlife, she is a Burner: a person tasked with hunting down dangerous spirits and sending them to the other side.

When Kim exorcises the ghost of a young girl, she’s dragged into a new and unsettling case, one where people like Kim are being killed. The only problem? There’s no connection between the victims, and no proof that they were murdered in the first place. Kim has to catch the killer before he finds his last victim and unleashes an unknown evil on the world.

Burner, the first book in the Affinity Series, is a dark exploration of how life and death are only separated by a single breath and how even those with power can be powerless.

Characters

Kim is a bit of a mess, but in a charming way. Her stubborn, almost self destructive drive to make things right and do them her way, is perfectly balanced by Priya. Priya is a bonded ghost (like a supernatural partner) and a sweetie! Cross is a very distinct character and I loved him almost more than Kim. The author created wonderfully diverse characters that, despite their flaws, were easy to love and even relate to.

Plot

The author built a complex world with lots of mediums and types of mediums that is pretty easy to follow. It is confusing a few times in the first few chapters but I got into the grove. Found out there is a glossary in the back that confirmed everything I had figured out, I’d recommend taking a peak there first.

There is a complex detective story that was decent. I figured it out pretty quickly but mostly enjoyed the journey and the action. Boy was there a ton of great action! I also liked the building romance between her and her new human partner…you’ll see how cute they are and I hope to see more of them!

Overall

Wonderfully written. I loved the way the author started the book – right into the action. Besides some repeated paragraphs in the earlier chapters, it was nearly flawless. I wasn’t sure what the point of the random pictures were throughout the book and actually though they could all go because they were distracting.

Relate-able characters, great plot, easy to follow world in an urban setting, and a great balance of romance and action. The ghost scenes were awesome! I wasn’t bored and every word was written with economy. I was very impressed all the way around. I kept wanting to read what was happening next!

Rating

5 stars

I loved this book. I was initially drawn to it because it said it was like the Dresden Series – and it was in many ways – but there were a lot of unique factors that just had that edge. For sure will be looking for more from this author in the future! If you love ghost/supernatural detective stories this is a must read!

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Loved by a Killer by C.F. Rabbiosi

Summary

Raina loved performing upon the London stage, but one night she found herself dancing for only HIM. She froze, and looked to the balcony where the gaslights flickered dimly over his shadowy form. If only she had known that this beautiful monster would soon rip her away from everything in the world SHE EVER LOVED, perhaps she wouldn’t have lingered so long.

Lord Marcus Loxley loved being a blood thirsty predator, but one night his gallivanting brought him to his knees in front of HER. If only he had known what would happen when she danced, that she would remind him of someone who was everything in the world HE EVER LOVED, perhaps he would have turned away.

As he drags her deeper and deeper into his depraved world of torture and violence, she begins fighting her own darkness that threatens to consume her everyday. And oh, how it begs to be released. And though she knows it’s wrong, she desires her captor anyway.

Until she begins falling for someone else…

Meanwhile, prostitutes are being butchered in the streets and she begins to fear: Is her dark lover, the one she is bound to, The Ripper?

With an accurate account of the creepy, gaslit times of London and real Jack the Ripper crime scenes, LOVED BY A KILLER is an exciting read from start to finish. Warning: Hot sexual content and graphic gore. Language.

Characters

There are really two main characters: Raina and Marcus. Marcus is exactly what he is, without remorse, though he does try to change. He is a very depraved individual but that is somewhat to be expected from a very old vampire. I appreciated the complexity of the characters. Raina at times felt like a leaf on the wind. Being pulled this way and that until closer to the end where she takes a stab at making her own happiness.

There were lots of other POVs throughout the book, which was very confusing sometimes because they just changed suddenly. It was very confusing at times because I’d think I was following one character but then suddenly it is another character’s POV. The worse was between Marcus and Raina.

Plot

This book is filled with fascinating plot lines. The big problem was there were too many of them – which I normally like but not all of them felt necessary in this instance. They might be necessary later in the series but some of them wrapped up and kind of felt like they didn’t fit the rest of the story. That being said there were some awesomely described macabre scenes that were super epic. There is the main plot of Marcus wanting to possess Raina, Jack the Ripper, and all of his past coming back to haunt him.

Furthermore there were historical inaccuracies and verbiage that took me out of the era of the book. A ripe example is near the end she takes off her dress by using a zipper. Problem is the zipper wasn’t used widely in clothes until after the 1900s, but Jack the Ripper terrorized London in 1888.

Overall

I wasn’t sure if I liked this book. I really liked Raina and I was sucked in at the beginning but my interest quickly waned. This was partially because I found myself disliking both Marcus and Raina (although I warmed up to her closer to the end but never fully liked her again). I also felt some of the gore and scenes were unnecessary – like repeatedly making a point that was well done the first time. In the end the middle part of the book felt long. However, the sudden and unexpected change at the end was very rewarding.

Rating

3 Stars

Loved the beginning and loved the ending, but struggled through the middle. This book has a lot to offer, but needs some work and is not for the faint of heart. This is dark, but entertaining.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.