Thursday, 27 December 2012

Guest Post - Laurel A. Rockefeller

Today I have Laurel A. Rockefeller on Lost to Books. She has written a guest post about her influences with some movie tie ins! 

So everyone please welcome Laurel!

From Middle Earth to Beinan: Building New Literary Worlds

Laurel A. RockefellerDecember 14th, 2012. Peter Jackson releases the long awaited “Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” nine years after Aragorn became King of Gondor in Jackson’s film adaptation of “Return of the King.” Hobbit mania is sweeping the world, along with a renewed interest in reading the novel.

Whatever you may think about Peter Jackson’s adaptations, the best way to appreciate the works of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien remains the books themselves, books that taught me a great deal about what I feel works in science fiction and fantasy literature.

As a philologist (a person who studies language in historical documents), Tolkien observed how little “English” mythology was truly native to England. Tolkien decided to amend that by creating his own mythology for England. The results are the cherished books so many of us love today.

Tolkien’s goals were noble. His books are some of the most influential in modern American and English literature. I too am strongly influenced as a writer by Tolkien. This increased with time as I received my bachelor of arts, then continued reading and studying on my own across my adult life.

Tolkien accomplished what so few writers have ever attempted: he created a COMPLETE WORLD. From Numenor to Middle Earth, Tolkien took the time to figure out not just his characters, but the entire history and cultures behind them. Tolkien knew before penning his Fellowship of the Ring chapter “At the inn of the Prancing Pony” EXACTLY who this “Strider/Aragorn” fellow was – then took the time to tell us in the appendices for the Lord of the Rings. Tolkien told us about Elrond’s daughter Arwen, about Aragorn’s time living in Rivendell, about his exact connection to Isildur. Tolkien could do this because he took the time to figure it all out.

What this taught me as a writer is the importance of working out a complete world rather than borrowing from others. Tolkien taught me to write a solid foundation built on research and study and to take the time to do my homework.

I know that the fruits of this may be a little jarring to a few people who are not used to an author going to that much trouble. It must be a little challenging for people who are not used to Tolkien’s style to enter a story and immediately be hit with words like “yen-ars” and “beinors,” but I think it makes the story more believable. After all, we live in a world of many languages just here on Earth…of course a society on another planet has a different word for day or year than we do, just like they have different religions, different styles of building, and a different way of looking at the world.

Don’t get me wrong, it is very hard to create an entire world of your own when you are writing. I spent an entire MONTH working out the math and science for my planet Beinan before I started writing even the first chapter. Without that work, I couldn’t know what color the sky was or why my characters thought and acted the way they do. I had to do my homework. 

But here’s the secret for all of you thinking about writing a book of your own someday: the work I spent in that first month saved me enormous effort later in the process. It allowed my characters to flow across the page. During much of book one, “The Great Succession Crisis” I felt like a court reporter, just writing down what people said and did. Taking the time to build my foundation made all the difference in the world.

Of course you are really the best judge of how well I did. Perhaps I did a terrible job in your eyes. I don’t know. But I do know that as someone who loves literature, loves science, loves history, and loves learning above all else that at the end of the day what is on the page is something I feel comfortable with sharing with all of you. With all my heart, I hope you will grace me by visiting my planet Beinan yourself. Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you today. I am deeply honored by your presence!

--Laurel A. Rockefeller
Author, “The Peers of Beinan” trilogy

Thanks Laurel and good luck with your writing endeavors!

You can check out her books on Amazon
'Ghosts of the Past' releasing 2013

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Scarlette - Davonna Juroe

Find the Beast ~ Find the Cure

Scarlette, an 18-year-old peasant, lives under a dark threat. A nightmarish creature lurks in the surrounding forest, killing the villagers one by one. When Scarlette's grandmother survives an attack, Scarlette learns that her grandmother hasn't suffered the bite of just any normal animal.

Now desperate, Scarlette searches throughout her province to find a cure. But there are those who want to keep their pasts hidden. As she begins to uncover the dark secrets of her village, Scarlette is befriended by a local nobleman and a woodcutter who share a gruesome history with the beast. To save her grandmother, Scarlette must unravel their mystery and solve an age-old crime. But as she pieces together the clues, Scarlette finds herself torn between the two men, both of whom want to be more than friends and hold the key to the cure.

What if Little Red Riding Hood was Real?

My Opinion
When I received a request to review this book I was interested by the dark, paranormal aspects. However I was slightly worried about the historical aspect of the book. I was unsure what to expect and was mostly concerned with how Juroe would use language, especially speech. All this was for nothing though and besides being based on old folklore and using a class system (peasants and nobels) I couldn't really say anything else was historical which was great.

I read this book in a few hours and although it took me a while to get into it, it did capture my interest and hold it all the way through the book. The plot was full of action, twists and turns that leave you guessing until the end and it was only a few chapters before the reveal when I figured out what was going on/who was behind what. I love a book that keeps you in suspense of who's good/bad, behind the events, or going to get together in a romance and this book definitely fulfilled that side of things. Juroe did a great job of revealing just the right amount of information to stop confusion but still create suspense. As well as this the romances (although not always pleasant) added extra interest and were intertwined in the story well so it flowed together without becoming disjointed.

There were a few things though that annoyed me slightly. The first was that although the book hooked you, for me it moved at a slow pace and some sections I found had a bit too much description which lead me to only skim read certain sections. For me there was quite a bit of unnecessary detail that did nothing to move the story along and left the me wondering why I needed to know it. As well as this I didn't really connect with the lead character Scarlette. I'm not sure why this is but I found her attitude at times irritating and she wasn't as strong as I would have liked. It got better towards the end but for me there was a connection missing. I'm also glad I didn't see the cover before I agreed to review this book as I didn't really like it and it would have probably put me off.

The biggest issue I had with this book was the originality. I have read a few books like this before and seen the dark retelling of Red Riding Hood (movie) and it seemed that there wasn't much variation. I know it was a retelling but for me there wasn't enough to differentiate it from others like it. But hey there are hundreds of vampire novels out there that all have the same theme so it shouldn't put you off if you like the genre.

Overall this book was and interesting read and had a few twists and turns that kept me hooked. It did however move at a slow pace with some scenes needing more development and editing for unnecessary details. I didn't connect with Scarlette but that maybe just me and even though the story isn't all that original it may be worth the read if you are interested in dark paranormal books or werewolves.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Brightside - Mark Tullius

Across the nation, telepaths are rounded up and sent to the beautiful mountain town of Brightside. They're told it's just like everywhere else, probably even nicer. As long as they follow the rules and don't ever think about leaving. Joe Nolan is one of the accused, a man who spent his life hearing things people left unsaid. And now he's paying for it on his hundredth day in Brightside, fighting to keep hold of his secret in a town where no thought is safe.

My Opinion
Brightside follows the story of humans who have the power of telepathy. Written from Joe's point of view it engages you in the action and Tullius does a good job of relaying the feelings and thoughts of the character. The first few chapters really grabbed my attention, throwing me into a new world while explaining certain aspects about life as a telepath clearly. It made me want to read on and the name "Thought Theives" Tullius uses to describe the gifted humans intrigued me. The plot line was original and different and did keep my interest however there were a few things that made it a struggle to read the book around about the halfway mark.

The first was that the book is written in terms of days. It jumps to random points in Joe's life while leading up to day 100. In the midst of this there are constant memories and flashbacks which although were easy to figure out and understand, for me it made the story too disjointed as it was frequently jumping from one place to another rather than following a constant flow. Some memories and thoughts also seemed to repeat themselves continually and by the halfway mark it was becoming slightly repetitive and I found it a struggle to stay focused.

The start of the book lead me into a false sense of security and turned into something I wasn't expecting. I was told it was dark fiction but I didn't realise how dark and twisted it would get. I normally like darker books but this book became too much towards the end. It slowly got darker and more graphic as it went on and I found myself skipping long sections of description as it made me cringe and feel slightly nauseated. When being asked to review this book it was the different theme and the prospect of romance that sold it to me most but the romances were not exactly romances, they were more based on a sexual side of things or Joe berating himself about previous events which became slightly annoying towards the end.

Overall this book was interesting and different but I would not recommend it to the squeamish/faint-hearted or a young audience because if the graphic content and language. Although it started well and did make me read on the graphic content did become too much towards the end and the disjointed nature of the flashbacks and days made it hard for me to focus at times.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Eliza's Shadow - Catherine Wittmack

Eliza's ShadowDescription
Eliza Gowan's past has come back to hunt her. Since her mother's mysterious disappearance, Eliza has enjoyed a quiet life under the care of her aunt in the sleepy town of Port Rune. But the moment magnetic Ren Alden appears in her high school classroom, Eliza is thrust into the exciting world of magic and the path of danger. Menaced by an otherworldly enemy, Eliza embarks on a quest to solve the mysteries of her past and end the hunt for good.

My Opinion
I'm am finding it very difficult to form an opinion on what I thought of this book. On one hand there were aspects I enjoyed but on the other hand there were things I didn't and for once I am confused as to what to think.

When reading the description I wasn't sure what to expect, it sounded like a book that would be full of twists, turns and action that involved some kind of paranormal things. In some cases this turned out to be true. The idea and plot that surrounded the story was intriguing and new to me so I enjoyed the story line. It was interesting and even though there weren't that many twists or surprises the book did keep me hooked and drew me into the world Wittmack created. I also really like the relationship between Jane and Eliza, it was believable and seemed natural. When Wittmack was describing scenes with just these two characters in the writing and speech seemed to flow effortlessly. 

However there are a few things I didn't enjoy which leads me to the confusion over what I think of this book. The first is the relationship between Ren and Eliza. I liked the idea of building a romance between the two and it will be interesting to see how Wittmack develops it if she carries on the series however in Eliza's shadow it left a lot to be desired for. For me it seemed like an after thought rather than a planned part of the story with Wittmack just adding a bit of romance here and there for variety. I would have loved the romance to be developed more and kept hoping it would be but sadly, it never happened and it lead me to question whether or not the book really needed it as at some points it didn't seem to fit or seemed underdeveloped.

The other problem I had was for me the story moved at quite a slow pace and although the plot kept me hooked I found myself wishing for more action and less description or wondering how much longer the chapter would be. The language Wittmack uses to describe things in the novel is great and very visual but in my opinion there is sometimes too much "flowery" language which makes the book slightly disjointed as it does not move the book on at a fast enough pace.

Overall I enjoyed reading this book because of the interesting story line. For me this book is hard to some up because of my mixed feelings. It has its good points such as a few of the relationships, originality and the intriguing plot however it also has it's bad points like the slow pace, too much unnecessary description and Ren and Eliza's relationship. For me I would have loved for their relationship to be developed more and play a major role in the book rather than just an added detail that uses an excuse of their jobs as the reason why they can't be together. If you like paranormal/witch/magic as genres then you may want to take a chance on this book as it was an interesting read.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Guest Post - Addison Westlake

Today Addison Westlake, author of Christmas in Wine County has written a guest post! Her book is on sale now with proceeds going to the charity helping the families of the school shooting victims.

So everyone please give a warm welcome to Addison!

Self-Publishing: The Wild West, this time with way more women

I self-published my romantic comedy “Christmas in Wine Country” just under a month ago. 20,250 people now have a copy. This weekend during a 2-day free promotion it reached #24 on the Top 100 Free Best Sellers on Amazon. And that’s after two weeks as a top 20 paid bestseller in chick lit and humorous fiction.

It’s been making me think a lot about democracy.

That’s a great way to dampen the excitement, isn’t it? I promise, I’m not about to start talking about candidates for office (aren’t you glad all the election ads are over?) What I mean is the lowercase “d” concept of democracy—a forum in which lots of little people without any special connections or status get to participate. 

That’s what Amazon’s e-publishing feels like right now. It’s so easy—20 minutes and your book is up in the marketplace. And anyone with a computer (free Kindle app) not to mention a Kindle or an iPad can read it.

With self-publishing, there’s no LA and NYC telling you that you’re not good enough. Last September a literary agent turned down my happy little book. I pictured her all in black rushing around Manhattan with a cocktail in one hand and a cigarette dripping from a long holder in the other. Maybe also wearing a silk kimono. “Dahhling,” she said, exhaling smoke in rings, “it’s a NO.”

The self-publishing revolution has all the energy and excitement of the dot-com boom, except you don’t have to know any wealthy Silicon Valley investors. (And hopefully without the subsequent bust.)

Maybe it’s better to say—it’s the wild west, except there’s way more women.

The popularity of “Christmas in Wine Country” has been a joyful and unexpected gift. The best thing to do with a gift, of course, is pass along. Over the weekend while I was watching the numbers of copies my book downloaded go up, I was also—as was the rest of the country—grappling with the horrific news of the school shooting in Connecticut. I lack the words to express how deeply reeling in grief I am over this

But I do have the proceeds from my book. Everything the book earns this year I’m going to donate to a charity helping the families of the school shooting victims. It’s not much; it’s just a self-published a 0.99 cent book. But this holiday season it will be how I express my gratitude and send love to all those dealing with such inconceivable loss.

Many thanks to Sienna Logan for hosting my guest blog post and for helping to get the word out. And to any writers considering self-publishing on Amazon, I say go for it. And please feel free to email me if you’d like more details on what I’ve done to market my book—I’m happy to share:

Buy the book here: Amazon

Thanks Addison and best of luck with all your writing endeavors!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

My Reviews - Clearing Things Up

Just a note to all authors and to clear some things up about my reviews as after having a few bad experiences and accusations I thought I would make this clear for future reference.
1. My reviews give my HONEST opinion. If I didn't like something I will say so but I will try and be as constructive as possible. I know the work that goes into writing a book and how attached you get to your product by the end so I try not to just slate a book but if I didn't like it I won't lie.
2. I will NEVER copy other people's review. If there are points (good or bad) that link between my review and another person's then it is because others have found they liked or disliked the same things in the book. It does not mean I have just picked certain things out of their review and used it in my own. I spend a lot time reading the books you send me and then even more time writing the review so it make no sense for me to copy someone else review as it would just be a waste of my time, as well as unfair to you.
3. If I do give a negative review and I haven't mentioned as many strengths other reviews have, that is probably because I disagreed with those strength or didn't find them when reading it. It does not mean I have just copied the negative points out of other reviews to spite the author (I am not in this to be mean or discourage, I just give my honest opinion).
4. If you don't get the review you hope for I'm sorry but I have just stated my own opinion and experiences of reading your work. Other's may or may not share that opinion but that does not mean my review is untrue for me, even if you disagree with the points I have made. Others may have rated your book 4/5stars but that does not guarantee I will feel the same way. In all honesty it doesn't bother me what other people have rated your work, I will make my own judgement and my review will be based on that and that alone.

5. I will never write a review when I am having a bad day (unless I really enjoyed the book as that probably makes my day better). If I didn't like your book I will at least leave it a night before I write a review for me to gather my thoughts so personal experiences do not influence it.
6. I will not argue with authors about a review and trying to do so will only get you added to my blocked contacts. I will gladly explain points I have made further via email etc if there was something you didn't understand or just want more detail on but I will not change my reviews because you are unhappy with what I have said. My reviews are my opinion and it will stand unless I have written something factually untrue.
7. Finally I don't give negative reviews just to be mean or look 'big' as I have given low ratings out, I would rather write a positive review of every book I read. However if for some reason I find myself writing a negative review about your book then that's because it was how it made me feel. I try to just pick out the main points I had most problems with in a negative review rather than rant. 

I hope that clears some things up and more information can be found on my review policy page.

Halo (Halo #1) - Alexandra Adornetto

Halo (Halo, #1)Description
An angel is sent to Earth on a mission.

But falling in love is not part of the plan.

Three angels – Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human – are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.

Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong.

The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?

My Opinion
Ok, so I'm going through a bit of a angel phase at the moment. I don't know why but it seems to be the paranormal genre I am enjoying most right now. 

When I saw this book the cover was what hooked me to begin with. I loved the colours and the fact that it was clearly about angels interested me. However I didn't instantly want to buy it. The description did only a little to intrigue me so instead of adding it to my basket on Amazon it stayed on my wish list for a while. I received this book for my birthday and when I unwrapped it I was a little disappointed as there were other books I wanted more, however I am now glad I got it and was able to read it as it exceeded my expectations.

The plot (although not entirely original) was interesting and engaging. I did skip a few pages here and there as it was a bit slow in places but even when doing that the story line was clear, simple and easy to follow. I loved the romance. Yes it was a stereotypical/ kind of cheesy romance but it is sort of a guilty pleasure. This book is a feel good book and it livened up a bad day.

The parts of the book I liked most was the concept of telling the book from the point of view of angels that are still attached to heaven. I have read many books that use the concept of fallen angels or just demons but never angels sent on a mission to help fight the dark forces around Venus Cove. It separated the book from other angel novels (such as hush hush) and helped make it different so I could enjoy it without a comparison.

In all honesty, I didn't expect to enjoy this book but I was glad I was proved wrong. The story line keeps you hooked and turning pages. I tried to finish it in a day but because I started it too late I had to stop around 4am. I'm also glad I got the second book "Hades" for my birthday so I can continue the series straight away! 

The third book is definitely going on my Christmas list too.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Guest Post by Author - Scott Bartlett

Today on Lost to Books, Scott Bartlett has kindly written a guest post about his experiences in self-publishing! His book Royal Flush is out now on Amazon and details about it can be found in the post. 

So everyone please give a warm welcome to Scott
 and then go check out his book!

Hello, Lost to Books readers! I’m Scott Bartlett, an indie author from Newfoundland, Canada.

In this post I’ll discuss my experiences writing and self-publishing my humour novel, Royal Flush. Hopefully this information will be valuable to anyone considering indie authordom. 

I wrote the first draft in the 18 days leading up to a competition deadline. It didn’t win— probably because it was a first draft. But I rewrote and revised several times, eventually submitting it to the Atlantic Writing Competition. It received the H. R. (Bill) Percy Prize, which is something I make sure to mention now in promotional material, as well as on the back of the book.

I submitted it to several publishers, and got a couple nibbles (read: full manuscript requests), but no bites. My decision to self-publish meant I was responsible for virtually everything except the actual printing—including writing, editing, cover art, formatting the book, turning it into a PDF, and promoting it.

To be taken seriously, it’s crucial that a self-published book be professionally produced. And that means thorough editing. I was lucky enough that many people took an interest in reading Royal Flush before it was published—I would estimate that over 100 people read it during its various stages of pre-publication. This includes friends, family, coworkers, and users of, all who provided valuable feedback. You might say I crowdsourced a significant amount of the editing.

I also went through 10 drafts myself. I didn’t catch all the mistakes—I know of at least one that irks me to no end. But I am proud that distracting grammatical and spelling mistakes have been kept to a minimum.

I approached a local artist I went to high school with, Susan Jarvis, with a concept for the book cover, and she made me something very close to what you see today. I was immediately very happy with the cover, and I requested only minor changes. 

Formatting the book was a trial. I spent hours researching how to do it. Hyphenation was especially troublesome. I’m glad I invested the time, though, because I think the finished print book looks very professional. (Formatting for eReaders, of course, wasn’t as big a deal, since it looks different on every device anyway.)

To promote the novel, I’ve turned to Twitter, Facebook, my blog, and local venues such as bookstores, science fiction conventions, festivals, my local farmers’ market. I’ve been interviewed in local newspapers and on the radio. I conducted a blog tour, too, in August. I also I plan to record the first part of my book as an audiobook, and give that away for free, to try and pique interest in the rest of it.

I have an 8-page marketing plan, which never seems to shrink no matter how many to-do items I delete from it. This is because I’m constantly adding new things—both new ideas and things I’ve realized I need to do. If you’re like me, you’ll underestimate just how much work self-publishing is before you go into it. A lot of it is unglamorous logistics. But based on my personal experience, I consider it well worth it.

One advantage associated with being self-published (and with being published electronically) is that your book is always ‘in print’. There doesn’t necessarily have to be a huge push immediately after the book is released, and then little to no activity afterward. Since my book is available for as long as Lightning Source, the ebook sellers, and I are all solvent, I can promote at my leisure. 

Mind you, I don’t feel very leisurely. I am having lots of fun, though, and I consider that extremely important!

About the Author an Book
Scott Bartlett has been writing fiction since he was fifteen. Since then, he's written three novels and several short stories. His second novel, Royal Flush, won the H. R (Bill) Percy Prize, and his third novel, Taking Stock, received the Lawrence Jackson Writers' Award and the Percy Janes First Novel Award.

Royal Flush is a novel that asks the question: can a man who throws his dates in a dungeon succeed romantically? The main character is known only as the King, and as his Kingdom careens toward catastrophe, he cruises seedy taverns looking for likely maidens. 

His incompetence and his weakness for beautiful women drag him deeper and deeper into trouble. He is portrayed as a cross dresser by the Kingdom Crier (the Kingdom’s most popular tabloid). Shortly after, he must defend his castle against a siege with only his royal fiddler–while attempting to steal his royal fiddler’s girlfriend. 

Click here to purchase the ebook ($2.99) or to order the print book ($12.99).

Thanks Scott and Goodluck with your book!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Judgment (Deck of Lies #4) - Jade Varden

Judgment (Deck of Lies #4)Description
Cashing Out

Do I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

How can I, when the truth will destroy us all? Now that I’ve started telling lies, I can’t stop. Not until all this is over, and I’m free of the family that never felt like mine. Maybe it’s wrong. Maybe I’m a bad person.

But it’s definitely the only way I’m ever going to escape them. I have to take the opportunity, no matter how terrible it is...don’t I?

My Opinion
I couldn't wait for judgment to be released and I'm pleased to say it was worth it! After reading book 1,2&3 in quick succession I was left on a terrible cliffhanger that meant I was wanting more but not able to read it, so when I saw Judgment was released I had to buy it and start reading straight away.

The book picks up pretty much where it left off, with Rain in prison and Asher working hard on her case. I was unsure how Jade Varden would keep the momentum through the book and where she would lead us with the story but learning from previous experiences with her work I didn't eve try to guess, knowing it would be unpredictable.

Judgement moved at a fast pace which pleasantly surprised me as most of it is set in the court room. I loved the way Varden made the trial interesting and engaging to read with elements of cleverly placed humor. I thought it might be a little like To Kill a Mockingbird (which bored me to death when I studied it) but Judgment, although similar was far more interesting. Constant battles between the lawyers, witnesses and judge kept things moving at a rapid and engaging pace, keeping me hooked to find out what the next testimony would be.

Like always with Varden's work, the writing flows effortlessly to create an interesting, intriguing and well developed plot that is easy for the audience to understand. She also kept the terminology pretty basic which I was thankful for as it meant I could enjoy the story without worrying about complex lawyer terms. She struck the balance perfectly with the detail she went into and the terms she used. The plot was easy to follow and even though it summed up what we already knew, Varden wrote it in a way that made it seem like a separate and different narrative which was great as it didn't feel repetitive in anyway.

Throughout the book Varden leaves subtle/not so subtle hints about some big turn of events and a plan Rain is devising which kept me turning pages until about 2am, as I had to finish the book the same day. I must admit that I could not predict what happened in the ending though. I had an idea of what might occur in general but what I read was even better and worth the wait. It rounded off the series nicely and made sure there was a big enough resolve to keep the reader satisfied and without questions. 

While reading there were a few minor typos "Ran" instead of "Rain" or "dd" instead of "did" but the quality of all the books in general have been to a high standard that even if there are a few mistakes they don't detract in any way from the writing. Believe me you will be too engrossed to notice and I only spotted them as I was in editor mode when I started reading.

Over all I would not only high recommend this book but the whole series as a must read! This book rounds everything off nicely and gives enough detail about characters to leave you satisfied with the feeling of finality  I'm so glad the author contacted me about Justice(#1) so I could buy the others and experience this great series. All the books have unpredictable twists that will keep you wanting more, fast paced action, romance and so much more. You would be silly to miss out on reading this book!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Order of the Dimensions - Irene Helenowski

Order of the DimensionsDescription
When Jane Kremowski first began her graduate studies in physics at Madison State University in Wisconsin, little did she know where her work would take her. Now, she is embroiled in a multitude of dimensions all leading to different outcomes. She and her colleagues therefore must act wisely in order to take and keep away the Order of Dimension from falling into the wrong hands for the sake of her loved ones.

My Opinion
The idea of travelling around dimensions caught my attention with this book and I thought it could be a really interesting concept that could explore many possibilities and events. The idea that people live different lives in alternative dimensions with varying degrees of happiness and problems is not a new concept to me, however I have never read a book that involved this so I was keen to see how Helenowski developed the story.

However I must admit that this book was pretty disappointing and nothing like I imagined it to be. For me I had no connection with the characters as the book lacked in detail in many ways. We find out that Jane's parents die in a car crash which leaves Tina traumatized in one dimension but that's about as much detail we gain into a character's life. In the first few pages I was introduced to atleast 10 characters and none had a background which increasingly confused me as they were introduced. 

The book also lacked detail in the description with Helenowski choosing to 'tell' the audience what was happening rather than 'showing' them. When reading a book I love to be able to create the world in my mind and sadly I was not able to do this with Order of the Dimensions. I couldn't picture the surroundings, e.g we were told Jane had weird feelings, was at a market, or it was a historic building but that was it, nothing was said about what kind of feelings Jane was having, where it was or how it felt. Because of this the book did not sustain my interest very well and I found myself easily distracted as I couldn't get immersed in a new world.

The plot line was pretty simple didn't have much depth, with the same event happening over and over again and even though it made things easy to understand it was  little repetitive. Every time some action started Jane would end up travelling into another dimension where everything would repeat itself. Besides this there were frequent grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes which made the writing a struggle to read and it seems the book needs to go through another round of editing.

Overall this book has the potential to be an interesting concept with new and original ideas, however at the moment, for me it is underdeveloped and lacking in detail. I would have liked to read more description, back story, romance and information about the places they visited as I'm not sure where some bits took part. I'm sad to say I didn't really enjoy this book as I don't think it met its full potential.


Tormented (Immortal Saga) - J. Ann

Tormented (Immortals Saga)Description
It's been over 200 years since Humans drove the affected into hiding. Now out of nowhere, people are dying on both sides. When one of the few female specially trained fighters; also known as an Ultorum, is added to the body count, Angelina is forced to make a decision. Now she must betray everything she knows, including her best friend Michael, and follow the one creature she doesn't trust.

Ethan watches this young Ultorum with leery eyes. He is deeply impressed with her abilities, and even more so with her determination. It's just to bad she smells so good.

Together they set out to find the one responsible for all the killings, but what they find, they are not going to like.

My Opinion
As you can probably tell from the books I read, I am a paranormal and romance lover and when I got asked if I would read this book I was instantly intrigued by the description, even if I wasn't keen on the cover. I know the vampire/werewolf genre is getting slightly over used now and maybe becoming a little predictable so I was slightly worried about whether J.Ann could bring anything different to the genre. I must say this book was a pleasant surprise though and it hooked me more than I thought it would.

Even though vampires and werewolves are included in the novel, the story focuses more on the Ultorums (stronger humans) and I loved that fact. It meant that the book strayed from the stereotypical vampire novel and separated it slightly in the overwhelmed genre. It mostly follows the life of Angelina -but did switch between different people's lives at certain points - and how her life changes when a near death causes her to meet the Vampire Ethan. I loved Angelina, she was strong, determined and knew how to fight so in a way it made the book remind me of Rachel Vincent's Blood Bound, which is one of my all time favourites. 

The story line was intriguing and gripping. The action moved at a faced pace and I had trouble putting it down, I probably would have been up all night finishing it if I hadn't had college the next day. I loved the romance triangle that started to develop and J.Ann did a brilliant job of making the reader connect with her characters. At first, before the (predictable) love triangle emerged I thought that I would stay on Micheal's side as he was strong, kind, supportive etc and when Ethan appeared I thought I would grow to hate him. However by the end of it I was torn as to which guy I preferred and would want Angelina to be with and if you think everything will be resolved you are wrong, Tormented leaves you on a terrible cliffhanger and will leave you wanting more.

There were a few downsides to this book though. At times, when the book switched perspective I found myself a little confused at first at what I was reading but this was sorted out as I began to learn the characters more. It also jumped a lot with J.Ann using "***" to move the story along. I'm not against this but maybe it needed to be less frequent so as not to disrupt the flow too much. There were also a few minor grammar and spelling issues that caused me to re-read  a few sentences (breaking up the story) to make sure it wasn't me just reading something wrong and figure out what was meant to be there instead. These were however minor and infrequent so didn't detract too much.

Over all this book was a nice surprise. It brought a slightly different twist to the vampire genre and was easy to understand. This book is a quick read (maybe too short if you enjoy it as much as I did) but packed with action, romance and suspense. It was well written and the characters were developed brilliantly. I can't wait for the next installment to find out what happens and would highly recommend this book to paranormal/romance lovers! 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012


I am now accepting reviews again!
If you would like me to consider your book send me a request but please read my review policy first as I require certain information.

I am also still running guest posts, giveaways etc like normal.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

The Journey (Sarafin Perigord #3) - A.J Scott-Ryder

The Journey (Sarafin Perigord, #3)Description
Anne-Sophie's life is full of frustrations. These include working alongside overly protective Frenchmen in the Sarafin as well as being in love with Jean-Marc, who hardly seems to notice that she exists...

When a perilous assignment crops up requiring one of the Sarafin to travel to Elizabethan England in a parallel dimension she insists on being chosen for the job as her right. She realises that she has bitten off more than she can chew, however, when she is transported into the role of a powerless woman of that era and has to find some way to get from a dangerous Scotland to the even more dangerous court of Elizabeth I.

Anne-Sophie finds herself marrying against her wishes and sharing a bed with a man she met only days before and in the process finds out more about herself than she was ready to know.

A sweeping tale of love, loss and friendship, The Journey will make you laugh and cry.

The Journey is the third story in the Sarafin Perigord series. The books can be enjoyed in any order as each is a stand-alone novel in its own right.

My Opinion
I am so glad I got a chance to read this series as I have really enjoyed every book in it. It has taken me a while to complete this book though, due to other commitments distracting me but last night I forced myself to sit still and finish the last 80%. The narrative kept me hooked and it immersed me in the story so completely that it managed to keep me occupied until around 4am without my mind wandering to other things I should be doing. 

Once again A.J. Scott-Ryder has created interesting characters and a captivating romance that keeps you on an emotional roller coaster. I loved how the relationship between Anne-Sophie and Gascon was kept interesting with the twists and turns/ups and downs. The reader is always questioning whether they will get a happily ever after. As well as this with the conflicted emotions felt by Anne- Sophie about Armand and Jean-Marc it added a sense of reality and more depth to the background story as it felt like there was always an obstacle to overcome. It also helped engaged the reader more (emotionally) as there was always a sense of loss and gain throughout the book.

Scott-Ryder didn't reveal everything straight away in this book and it started in the middle of the events, which may sound confusing but I enjoyed it. I'm not a fan of books that give a long back story before getting to the action and with this book the questions I had enticed me to read on as I wanted to find out who the mysterious man described was. I would suggest you read at least The Secret before starting this book though as it will clear up a lot of language and paranormal aspects even though there is a glossary at the back. 

I love the romance in these books and the language used to describe everything fits perfectly with the time periods. It also creates vivid images in your mind that immerse you fully in the book, as if you are really there. Scott-Ryder's writing flows naturally and you can't help but fall in love with her characters too. The idea of 'The Game' was original and refreshing too. It was an easy concept to figure out and for me it added a slightly darker dimension to the book as I imagined the chess board to be more of a dark, gothic thing rather than anything else.

Although I love this series and thoroughly enjoyed reading The Journey, it is probably my least favourite of the series and I did have a few problems with it. Besides there being a few more typos and mistakes than the other books the ending also confused me slightly. Unlike with the other books I found myself with some unanswered questions that broke up the continuity and left me wanting more of the novel to gain a better resolve e.g I don't remember Gascon informing Anne-Sophie of what he really was, except he wasn't a dark elf. 

I was reading the book at a fast pace until around chapter 22/23. At that point I had to slow and really focus on the book as there was a time period shift, but it came on so quickly and without any explanation that I found myself reading back to check I hadn't missed something. By the end of it I think I understood what have happened but maybe it would have been easier to grasp if the events had been written or a subheading on the chapter stating the date would have made it clearer that Anne-Sophie had either gone back/forward in time (I won't giveaway what happens as it's the ending). 

However even though I did have problems with this book I still really enjoyed reading it! The characters are brilliant, the story line was interesting, engaging and original and Scott-Ryder's language immerses you in the past and present worlds with paranormal differences. I would highly recommend the whole series to any romance lovers as a must read. 

Rating: Somewhere between 3.5- 4 due to the issues I had but I'd put it nearer to 4.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Missing Me (Girl Missing #3) - Sophie McKenzie

Missing Me (Girl, Missing, #3)Description
Six years have passed since the end of Sister, Missing and Madison is now a teenager. During a visit to her older sister Lauren, Madison learns that their biological father was an anonymous sperm donor and sets out to track him down. Her search bears fruit sooner than she expects, but is the father she discovers all he seems? As Madison gets drawn into a mysterious investigation involving missing girls and secret hideaways, she finds herself in more and more danger.

My Opinion
I was excited when I heard Sophie McKenzie was releasing another book in this series as I really enjoyed the Girl Missing and Sister Missing. However when I heard that it was written from Maddison's POV I had slight doubts about the narrative and where she would take the charcters.

I finished this book within a few hours and I really read it just because of my feelings towards the first 2 books. This book sadly disappointed me though and in my opinion failed to meet the standard of book 1 and 2. The book seemed to follow a similar story line and structure (Kidnapping, death, doubt about people and resolve). It felt like there was a lack of ideas and the series should have come to an end after Sister Missing. This was also evident from the POV. To me it seemed like there was no more stories left to tell from Lauren's POV so to bring out a new book McKenzie had to change to Maddison. I didn't feel this worked as we had already established a connection with Lauren and even though she is in this I didn't like how she was portrayed.

The book was basically about Maddison finding herslef and becoming more confident but it didn't have much of a connection with the other books in the series as it had moved on like 6yrs. I found myself skipping pages and missing out chunks as I felt distant.

The book did have some positives though. It was full of action and was faced paced. It did keep you hooked but that was more because I was hoping it would get better and live up to the other books rather than the narrative.

Overall this book was a big disappointment for me. It felt like it was more of a money idea than actually needing to carry the series on. Even though it is well written and faced past it does not live up to Girl Missing and Sister Missing and the change in POV annoyed me. I love Sophie McKenzie's work but for me this book didn't do anything other than bring my opinions of the series down. I doubt I will re-read this book again and read another in this series (if there is one I know the description says it's the last) as it is becoming predictable.

Rating: 2.5-3

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Finale (Hush Hush #4) - Becca Fitzpatrick

Will love conquer all?

Nora and Patch thought their troubles were behind them. Hank is gone and they should be able to put his ugly vendetta to rest. But in Hank's absence, Nora has become the unwitting head of the Nephilim and must finish what Hank began. Which ultimately means destroying the fallen angels - destroying Patch.

Nora will never let that happen, so she and Patch make a plan: lead everyone to believe they have broken up, and work the system from the inside. Nora will convince the Nephilim that they are making a mistake in fighting the fallen angels, and Patch will find out everything he can from the opposing side. They will end this war before it can even begin.

But the best-laid plans often go awry. Nora is put through the paces in her new role and finds herself drawn to an addictive power she never anticipated.

As the battle lines are drawn, Nora and Patch must confront the differences that have always been between them and either choose to ignore them or let them destroy the love they have always fought for.

My Opinion
OK so I know I am a bit late in getting to this book and believe me, I wanted to buy it earlier but there were 2 reasons I put it off.
1) I didn't want this amazing series to end 
2) It was my birthday a few days ago so I decided to wait until then (free books :))

I first found out about this series by receiving a free sample in a magazine. I took a chance at reading it, which is unusual for me, but I am so glad I did. I had to buy Hush Hush before I had even finished the sample and the series has kept me hooked ever since. I couldn't wait for Finale to be released. 

However I was nervous about starting this book due to the fact that it was the last in the series. In the past few years I have read quite a few final books and not been satisfied with how they ended, (The Hunger Games and Rapture 'Fallen series' to name a few). These books didn't have any finality to about them and lacked a solid resolve. For me they seemed rushed so it worried me as to how Becca Fitzpatrick would end her brilliant series and do the books justice in the final pages. It is needless to say, I shouldn't have worried. Finale resolved everything (if in a sad way at times) and left nothing to be questioned. Fitzpatrick's writing keeps you entertained and hooked from page one and within minutes I was lost in the world she has created. 

The story picks up straight from  where Silence left off and even though it has been a while since I have read that book, I found it was easy to remember and understand what was going on. The book is packed full of action right up until the end and even though parts of it are predictable there were other twists I wouldn't have seen coming a mile off. 

Besides the action the part I loved most about this book was the speech. Fitzpatrick uses loads of conversations (mentally and physically) to move the story on quickly and fluidly. For me the main thing I read in a book is the speech, and if it isn't right I will struggle but Fitzpatrick didn't disappoint. The writing flowed easily and the conversations were written in a believable and natural way. As well as this the description added along side it immersed me in the world and enthralled you into reading on.

Over all this is one of the best books I have read this year. The writing is fast paced, full of action/romance and will keep you turning pages until the early hours of the morning. As the final book in the series it sums up everything well, leaving the reader content and satisfied with how the events turn out. Although it is sad such an amazing and brilliant series has come to an end the way it is written makes it feel right.

I would highly recommend the whole series to any romance/paranormal lover. Every book in this series is a must read and if you don't you will be missing out on something great! I look forward to reading more work in the future from Becca Fitzpatrick.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Guest Post by Author Ross M Kitson

Today I have another guest post from author Ross M Kitson. He has written a post called The Literary X-Factor which is an interesting read! Ross has recently released a new book called The Infinity Bridge and I will be reviewing this at a later stage so keep an eye out for that in the future.

So everyone give a warm welcome to Ross!

The Literary X-Factor

It’s a testament to the mind-numbing appeal of TV’s The X-factor that once more I have succumbed to its sinister charm. It begins subtly—the auditions are on in the background whilst my wife watches it and I tap away on the lap-top, or read my kindle. Then I start glancing at it—either for a terrible mockery of an audition, or a stunning surprise of a debut. Then it worms through my brain, week by week, until
I’m swearing at the TV like a mad cat-lady when my fave gets booted out.

It did occur to me, as I sat watching at the weekend, what it would be like to have a literary x-factor. To start with a collection of all the varied quality of books on, say, Amazon, and weedle them down. Perhaps a collection of middle-aged pop-stars, music gurus and down-with-the-kids urban divas could judge it, complete with ‘woot’-ing from the auditorium. And who would be in our finals for the live
shows? What is an x-factor for books?

It’s not as daft a question as it seems. There’s thousands of well constructed, enjoyable to read books out there, but there are very few that are true page turners. And that to me is the real x-factor in books—a novel which draws you in and won’t let go. You itch to get back to it, think about it when you’re away from it.

And it can be a communal thing, or it can be an individual thing. For me there have been several x-factor books in the last few years that I’ve read. I’m certain few will be on your own list—but its fun to compare and contrast. So here are my top four of recent years:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. The bitter sweet story of autistic Christopher and his investigation of finding a dead neighbours dog was one of the best books I’ve ever read. The alternation of insights into Christopher’s obsessive and skewed world, with the ongoing tragedy that unfolds, had me addicted to this book over the week it took me to read it. Even now it’s the one I recommend to people wanting a read that challenges them without being unreadable.

Northern Lights (Golden Compass in the US) by Philip Pullman. My brother had read this years before me and kept recommending it. When I buckled and started the trilogy I was drawn immediately into Pullman’s re-telling of Paradise Lost. Great imagination and fantastic characters in the first book, and I read it compulsively over a short period. The second and third books were good, but never really recreated the
sparkle of book one for me.

Game of Thrones by George RR Martin. After a hiatus from fantasy of almost a decade I decided to get back into the genre. A poke around t’internet brought up Martin, Hobb, Scott Lynch and Erikson as great places to start again. Each had there own strengths and merits, but it was Game of Thrones as a book that caught my attention. The series has lost some of its momentum now, but the first (and possibly second) book remain one of the classics of modern fantasy. The darkness and gritty realism never wear thin in this first book, and I’d quite honestly not read anything in fantasy quite like it. I found myself pondering the plot, the sub-plots and the shades of grey characters whilst I was at work and then rushing the kids to bed to get going on it again. And the unexpected head lopping of a main character—left me stunned when I
first read it.

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. OK, so this is a cheat as I first read it when I was sixteen in the late Eighties (no rude comments, please). I must have re- read this more than any work... ever. What can I say? It changed everything in the comic field and, along with Maus and other seminal comics, set the bar for others to match. A beautifully intricate plot, with great sub-plots, that uses the medium so expertly it demands to be read again and again. The ideas of comics within comics, of alternate history, of adult superheroes, it’s all in there. Should be on everyone’s list of things to read before I pop my clogs!

I wish I could be cool and claim that my choices aren’t best sellers and loved by millions, and I could add another ten or so to this list, but it’ll be far more fun if you imagine yourself on the x-factor stage doing a reading from your own favourites and seeing if you can convince the cynical judges what it is about your books that makes them winners.

And for those of us that are writers we’ll keep on searching for that elusive spark that elevates something from really good, to a total page turner! 

Thank you Ross! Good luck with all your writing endeavors and I look forward to reading your novel.

The Infinity BridgeAuthor Bio from Goodreads:
I think that all authors are readers first and foremost. I've read since I can remember and since I can remember I have loved the escapism of fantasy and science fiction. This tendency was naturally propagated by the boom in sci-fi of the late Seventies and I became an unashamed fan-boy for Star Wars, Dr Who, Star Trek and BSG.

I read the Hobbit at age 10 and at the time got heavily into RPG and through this found a creative focus. I relished the design of worlds, of scenarios, of adventures, of stories. Yet it wasn't until my late Thirties, when I began reading for fun again, rather than study, that I decided to write.

The fruit of my labour is a two-thirds complete epic fantasy trilogy and a MG/YA sci-fi/Steampunk novel. The former is now on Amazon kindle and will be out soon in print. The latter is sat gathering dust on a publisher's desk in Cambridge...

When I wrote my novel I wanted to re-create some of the heroic fantasy that I loved as an adolescent. I wanted to create something that felt contemporary, exciting, adventurous, with quirky memorable characters and punchy dialogue. I think I've managed that and I also think I've created a detailed and interesting fantasy world to go with it.


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