Book Review: The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

About the Book:

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as Le Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sèbastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of Le Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sèbastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.

My Thoughts:

The Beautiful has to be one of the most talked about books! I was quite intrigued by the book cover and premise that I had to pick it up! It is a dark and sultry romance with murder, mystery and thrills all thrown into the mix!

At first, it took some time to get into the book and understand the context and setting. We are introduced to Celine, our main protagonist, a very strong-willed woman who keeps her own council and is not afraid to speak up. At first we see her struggling to conform to the rules of the convent where she has been taken in in New Orleans, having fled from Paris. However, she catches the eye of first Odette and then Sèbastien Saint Germain, all part of a group simply known as Le Cour des Lions. Little does she know that she has stepped into a completely different world, shrouded in darkness and surrounded by the dead, quite literally!

A very well written tale, the setting of New Orleans is very well described, especially the streets and nightlife. The characters are intriguing and well developed. At times, I must admit to getting a little annoyed with Celine, but it was not enough to pull me away from the book. As we are introduced to the creatures of the underworld and Celine starts to discover the existence of the paranormal, a series of murders leads to questions of motive and who the real target is. Not to be left out, Celine tries to conduct her own investigation having the feeling that she is indeed a target.

The developing romance between Celine and Sèbastien is both natural and forbidden and is interesting to see develop. The courtship (a suitable word for the time in which the story is set) is not without it’s problems and when murder and mayhem are thrown into the mix, we have all the ingredients for an entertaining story! The story is a roller-coaster of a ride as we navigate the sub-plots and various supporting characters who add such flavor to the story!

Though there were some ups and downs with the story, it is definitely worth the read!

Book Review: The Truth About Gretchen by Alretha Thomas

About the Book:

Gretchen Holloway, in her final year of graduate school, is in the throes of auditioning actors for her thesis film, inspired by a murdered young football star who has haunted her dreams for two years. Gretchen believes making the movie will be cathartic. But instead of freeing her, embarking upon the film production unleashes a sequence of events that lead Gretchen to conclude that she’s the reincarnation of the young man.

Regina Wilson has always wanted to be an actress. When her agent gets her an audition for a role in Gretchen’s film, which eerily mirrors one of the worst events of her life—the unsolved murder of her older brother, Robert—she’s hard-pressed to go through with it. Upon fleeing, she leaves behind a keepsake that features Robert’s photo. Gretchen sees the picture and recognizes Robert from her dreams. She tracks down Regina, and after being rebuffed and called crazy, Gretchen’s unexplainable knowledge of events in Robert’s life eventually convinces Regina that Gretchen is Robert reincarnated.

The two decide to have his case reopened, but their significant others are dead set against it, and the police, who believe that Robert’s death was gang-related, are less than cooperative. However, Gretchen is desperate to get justice for her former self, and Regina wants justice for her brother. The women piece together the final week of Robert’s life. And the deeper they delve into his past; one shocking revelation follows another, leaving them wondering who they can trust and if they’ll live long enough to find Robert’s killer and bring him to justice.

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My Thoughts:

Note: I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

This book brings to the reader the concept of re-birth or re-incarnation. The plot is intriguing whereby the protagonist has dreams of someone who was murdered. Initially, she is not aware that it is about a real person and she embarks on a journey to turn these dreams into a film.

The story follows Gretchen as her path crosses with Regina, Robert’s sister. At first resistant to the whole concept, Regina starts to believe that Gretchen might be able to uncover and solve the mystery behind her brother’s death. The story is well thought out, but at times it seems a little stretched. At times it was even difficult to connect to the main protagonist, but it becomes easier as we progress through the book. Her strong sense of justice and the need to help prevail.

Overall this book is a decent read depending on the tastes of the reader!

Book Review: Ascendant (book 1) and Midheaven (book 2) by Rebecca Taylor

About the Books:

Ascendant (book 1):

Ascendant by Rebecca Taylor

When I was twelve, my mother disappeared. I was the first person to never find her. I’m sixteen now and she has never been found, alive or dead. I’m not the girl I should have been.

When Charlotte Stevens, bright but failing, is sent to stay at her mother’s childhood home in Somerset England her life is changed forever. While exploring the lavish family manor, Gaersum Aern, Charlotte discovers a stone puzzle box that contains a pentagram necklace and a note from her mother-clues to her family’s strange past and her mother’s disappearance.

Charlotte must try to solve the puzzle box, decipher her mother’s old journals, and figure out who is working to derail her efforts-and why. The family manor contains many secrets and hidden histories, keys to the elegant mystery Charlotte called mom and hopefully, a trail to finding her.

Midheaven (book 2):

Midheaven (Ascendant Trilogy, #2)

As Above, So Below

As the direct descendant of Francis Bacon (aka Shakespeare) Charlotte is the next Ascendant. She is destined to teach mankind the secret mysteries of alchemy.

If only she knew what those were.

With her father’s stone box, and her mother’s first key, Charlotte will quest around the world to solve the puzzle and reveal its secret.

Unless Emerick gets her first.

My Thoughts:

Since I read these books continuously, one after the other, I decided to post a combined review. In general, I enjoyed the premise of the story and the events that occurred to take it forward. The story is written decently and will ensure the reader continues on until the end. The author manages to build up some amount of mystery and intrigue.

However, the protagonist is decent at best, but she gets rather whiny and annoying. Her attentions are directed towards the two guys showering her with attention and she is torn between them in the usual cliched style. At times she comes across as shallow, and at others, someone with a strong mind. She sets out to find the meaning to the clues left behind by her parents. As the story unfolds, the reader is drawn into a world of drama, secrets, betrayal.

The story lacked in precise character development and a deeper premise than was there. It was easy to figure out what might happen next and the books did not make me want to keep turning the pages. Having said this, there are parts that are interesting and had potential. A stronger focus on the characters, creating complex personalities and a more interesting twist to the plot would have made it gripping. Though there was some adventure and mystery thrown in, it just made the story more confusing. It was just another book in the usual style of having a clue and trying to decipher it while also trying to keep it away from the bad guys.

Bottom-line: Read the book. You may or may not like it, but you can form an opinion by yourself.

Release Blitz: Curiosity and The Sentient’s Oblation by Zachary Paul Chopchinski

2016-742 eBook Zash Chopchinski, Gabrielle B03


Curiosity and The Sentient’s Oblation by Zachary Paul Chopchinski

Series: Gabrielle Book #3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: February 27, 2017

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The widowed wife of a North Carolina plantation owner, Gabrielle awakens in this life with a broken heart and a sharpened spirit. Living in one of the darkest times in American history, she finds herself running a safe house for the underground railroad during the American Civil War. In order to save a life, Gabrielle must make a sacrifice that could damn her host for eternity.
Everything’s different this time. The rules have changed, Morrigan has changed, and Arawn is more dangerous than ever. He has sent a hunter after Gabrielle and she has to use every ounce of her new powers if she is going to survive.

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Book Blitz: Court of Vampires by Megan Linski

Court of Vampires
Megan Linski
(The Shifter Prophecy #1)
Publication date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Mythology, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

Vampires and werewolves shouldn’t fall in love.

Lysandra was born for one reason; to kill shifters. Princess of vampires, the heir to Vlad Dracula’s throne and the last descendant of Princess Anastasia, Lysandra lives in a castle of witches and human slaves,engaged to a dark vampire prince and prophesied as the one who will end the war between vampires and werewolves forever.

Everything changes when Lysandra finds a dying werewolf. She takes him into her care and quickly falls in love, unable to explain the magical connection between them. If she’s discovered, she will be put to death. But how can she stop the war when her worst enemy is her true love?

A heart-stopping love story filled with shocking twists, Court of Vampires is a thrilling young adult fantasy that readers will devour over and over again. The legend of what really happened to the Romanov family is retold in Megan Linski’s newest haunting paranormal romance.

Goodreads / Amazon

 

Author Bio:

Megan Linski is the owner of Gryfyn Publishing and has had a passion for writing ever since she was a little girl. Her specializations are romance, fantasy, and contemporary fiction for teens and adults. When not writing, she enjoys ice skating, horse riding, and being outdoors. She is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and is an active fighter against common variable immune deficiency disorder.

In December 2016, Megan signed a deal with Amazon’s Kindle Press for her Kindle Scout Winner, Court of Vampires, due to be published 2017. You can find Megan at http://www.meganlinski.com, and receive a FREE book, The Witch’s Curse, by signing up for her VIP List there.

Megan Linski also writes under the pen name of Natalie Erin for the Creatures of the Lands Series, co-authored with Krisen Lison.

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Review: All the Breaking Waves by Kerry Lonsdale

I was provided with a free copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

All the Breaking Waves

From the bestselling author of Everything We Keep comes a gripping tale of long-buried secrets, the strength of forgiveness, and the healing power of returning home for good.

After a harrowing accident tore her family apart, Molly Brennan fled from the man she loved and the tragic mistake she made.

Twelve years later, Molly has created a new life for herself and her eight-year-old daughter, Cassie. The art history professor crafts jewelry as unique and weathered as the surf-tumbled sea glass she collects, while raising her daughter in a safe and loving environment—something Molly never had. But when Cassie is plagued by horrific visions and debilitating nightmares, Molly is forced to return to the one place she swore she’d never move back to—home to Pacific Grove.

A riveting exploration of love, secrets, and motherhood, All the Breaking Waves is the poignant story of a woman who discovers she must confront her past, let go of her guilt, and summon everything in her power to save her daughter.

My Thoughts:

A heartfelt novel, All the Breaking Waves brings together a mixture of psychic abilities and family drama. The main focus is on the bonds of family and the importance to forgive and move on. The protagonist, Molly, has hidden within her a secret for twelve years. This has caused her to run away from her home and from her grandmother. When her daughter turns out to have terrible visions and nightmares, she is forced to return to the very house she had run from to seek her grandmother’s help. Forced to face the demons of her past, she doesn’t expect to come face to face with the man she had loved so many years ago and still did. She also had to deal with some revelations about her grandmother and eventually her past.

The author has written the story really well, beautifully blending these various aspects of the plot. She gives her characters a rather magical look and adds the same touch to her style of writing. The concept of sea glass and jewellery making with it is intriguing. Also, the author alternates between the present time and narration of events in the past and this flow happens flawlessly, making it easier for the reader to understand the events that have crafted our characters and made them who they were. Our protagonist is also forced to deal with her abilities, apart from those of her daughter’s and to accept that she can do more good than harm if she just tried.

A wonderful story, this teaches us the importance of family and the necessity to stick together and talk things out always. Throw in some romance a charming little girl and we have a great mix! A good read, strongly recommended for those who enjoy a good romance with a character who has an interesting psychic ability.

Book Review of Primogénito: The Fuentes Legacy by Greta Cribbs

Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

Primogénito: The Fuentes Legacy

“I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and see him standing at the foot of the bed, staring at me. Some nights I don’t think he sleeps at all.”

Ashley Preston has a problem. Her husband Nick has fallen victim to a mysterious illness, alternating between bizarre physical symptoms for which doctors cannot determine a cause and alarming personality changes which have Ashley fearing not just for Nick’s health but for her own safety as well. Desperate to save her husband, she turns to the only person she believes can help her: Damian Fuentes.

Ashley knows Damian’s family has dabbled in some kind of dark magic over the years. She also knows that when Nick was ten years old, Damian’s grandfather performed a strange ritual on him. Convinced that this ritual is at the root of her husband’s problem, Ashley begs Damian to delve into the Fuentes family’s darkest secrets in search of a cure. But Damian has spent the past five years trying to distance himself from his family and his traumatic past. Helping Ashley will mean resurrecting the long-dead ghosts of his most disturbing memories. If he saves Nick he may very well lose himself.

My Thoughts:

The story starts off rather weirdly, and it gave me an impression that I was supposed to know some of the background already. It took me a while to actually figure out what was going on. Slightly eerie, some parts of the story may give you the creeps. The author takes time to properly introduce the characters’ backgrounds, plunging us into the story directly and then developing from there.

As the story progresses, the reader will enter the realm of the supernatural like never before. It goes further than what the author portrayed in Amelia’s Children. Encouraged by that book, I plowed on through this one and am glad that I did. There is more to this story than meets the eye. The characters are dark, there is a lot of bad things happening and the author does not hold back with the death and gore. She lets loose completely and with a highly built up climax, she gives us a shattering end that I assume many will not expect.

The author does not hesitate to experiment with her characters and doesn’t go for the cliched alls well that ends well kind of plot. The author draws heavily on the emotions of the readers through her characters, bringing out their inner desires and feelings. We hurt and heal with them and also embark on a journey of shared experiences. With hidden truths and half truths coming to light, all bonds of friendship, trust and love are tested.

Overall this is a decent read, with a mixture of twists, thrills and some minor cliches thrown in. I must warn you however, that kind of story is not for the faintest of hearts!

Book Review: Amelia’s Children by Greta Cribbs

About the Book:

Amelia's Children

In 1985 Amelia Davis is brutally murdered in the woods outside of Laurel Hill. Her killer is never caught. Thirty years later, David Jenson comes to town on what he calls “personal business”, though he won’t tell anyone what that business is. Could he have some connection to the town’s most infamous cold case?

Sarah Hathaway has just returned to her hometown in the wake of a failed acting career. When she meets David she is immediately drawn to him, but it is the mystery of what exactly brought him to Laurel Hill that keeps her up at night. Determined to find the answer, she embarks on a journey into the unknown that will change her life forever. Along the way she discovers truths about Amelia’s death that prove more sinister than anyone ever could have imagined.

Find the book on

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26872424-amelia-s-children

Amazon.in: http://amzn.to/2e37WM7

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Amelias-Children-Greta-Cribbs-ebook/dp/B01663954Q/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1477887054&sr=8-1

My Thoughts:

I am rather hesitant when it comes to reading books in the genre of paranormal fiction. I have read only a few books in this genre since the plots are sometimes rather hard to digest. However, when Greta contacted me regarding reading and reviewing her newly released Primogénito: The Fuentes Legacy I went on Goodreads to check out her page. It was through this that I came to know of her first book. The synopsis of the plot had me hooked.

The story is actually well written and though it  is in the paranormal fiction category, the concept was believable and well laid out. The plot follows David Jenson, who comes to Laurel Hill on “personal business”. He starts asking random questions and meets some people from the town. When he meets Sarah, she is drawn to him and her intrigue causes her to put some of the pieces of the mystery together. Her line of questioning makes David consider his connection to Amelia Davis, a lady who was brutally murdered thirty years ago, and who case was never solved. Throw in some strange occurrences and we have our paranormal part of the plot kick in along with the beginning of what might turn out to be a great romance.

The story is fast-paced, and the plot is rather clear. The author sticks to the same with no unnecessary deviation. There may be a few places where the plot feels slightly cliché, but it is easy to overlook this. However, a small point that stuck with me is that there is some amount of repetition of certain points in different places. It feels as though the author is trying to ensure that the reader has understood quite clearly and sometimes it becomes a little annoying. This doesn’t take away the focus on the story and the reader should just persist on and enjoy the journey. Overall, this is a rather enjoyable read and would be loved by everyone who enjoys this genre.

Book Review: A Book About a Film by C. W. Schultz

I was provided with an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review. Initially, I was not at all certain as to what to expect. The blurb got me searching the internet for as much information as I could about the premise of the story. When I realized that there was not much to go on and almost every search that turned up somehow pointed back to the upcoming book: A Book About a Film, I started reading it with much more interest.

About the Book:

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Author C. W. Schultz’s fourth release A BOOK ABOUT A FILM is a matchless thriller focusing on a low-budget movie called THE CORNFIELD PEOPLE, which follows journalist Joe Fischer as he investigates the titular group. The Cornfield People are a secret society who know the meaning of life and what comes after death. It is essential to the Cornfield People that their knowledge remain hidden from outsiders, and they will stop at nothing to protect their secret. Schultz surveys censorship through the means of violence in this chilling and unforgettable book. This satire on film-criticism takes on a double-narrative, with one acting as a novelization of the movie, while the other examines the film’s hidden messages, motifs and haunting obscurity.

My Thoughts:

 This is a narrative about the plot of the above said film which is said to be lost while some think of it as an urban legend.  The plot of the film is explained in a manner that prompts the reader to visualize each scene. The author not only describes the setting, but also talks about the camera angle and each character’s current position in the scene. Added to this are annotations where the author has interspersed his research along with the thoughts and quotes from several well-known film-makers, writers, producers and others in the field of film-making.

The story is intriguing, dealing with a group of people who claim to know the truth about life and what comes after death. We do however, meet some characters who are portrayed as cold and calculating. The bottom-line of the plot comes down to protecting a secret for the greater good, to protect mankind and the extent to which people can go to accomplish this. There are many references to breaking the fourth wall and how the characters are seemingly aware of their audience. This has been described in detail and analyzed in several instances. The author has made sure to bring out these points quite clearly.

The principal character, a journalist by profession is shown as intelligent with a slight sense of humor reflected when he encounters different situations while he has been tasked with investigating the Cornfield People.  There are instances when we see the analysis provided while trying to narrow down a time frame or period for when this film may have been taken. With little to no information, these first hand and second hand reports add some mystery to the book. The story does fall a little flat at times where a sense of mystery is created but the author doesn’t go deeper with the explanation. However, this does not take away from the beauty of the overall idea.

The reader, through this narrative is in for an interesting read whereby the author ensures that he/she will go away with enough knowledge about this film that they will start their own research into it. Judging by the story, this would indeed be a classic film to watch. A rather well-written book, this story about a film will spark the interest of the reader and create awareness about the film.

Book Review: Rise of the Phoenix by M.R. Ferguson

About the Book:

RiseofthePhoenix_ebook_Final_new-188x300

The US government has initiated nuclear war against its own people. In the chaotic aftermath, survivors were told it was to eradicate the weak and the evil—to strengthen society. Phoenix never believed the excuses.

Painfully mutated after the fallout and having an insatiable thirst for human blood, she puts herself into exile. When a handsome stranger enters her life, his true identity and knowledge of classified secrets will open her eyes to what really happened. She must fight to save the human survivor’s, unite the mutated, and save the President’s life or (WHAT HAPPENS IF SHE FAILS?)

My Thoughts:

 This is a vampire story like no other. Set in a time when the government is trying to make the world perfect with no crime and no rebellion, the after effects of this are disastrous to say the least. The people who survive have turned into vampires, craving blood and with increased strength but not the other abilities we have imagined. those who don’t turn, die due to poisoning.

This story tells us what it’s like to deal with the loss of family, of the ones we loved and of how life as a monster is. I wouldn’t exactly use the word monster, but as usual some vampires are good and some are bad. I guess at the end of the day it is just not possible to get rid of the bad or else the balance is lost.

The story revolves around Phoenix who survives the nuclear explosions and becomes a vampire. She is skilled at stealing things without getting caught and prefers to stay on her own. She ends up meeting Adam who seeks her out for help. His father was the president at the time of the nuclear explosions and before them. He was the public face of the entire thing even though behind the scenes he was against it. Adam runs away from home at a young age and later becomes famous as part of a rock band.

Phoenix and Adam together devise a plan to save his father and what ensues are interesting events. They make some acquaintances with humans who survived after convincing them that they are not going to hurt them. However Phoenix and Adam get captured by the government and thus the story unfolds.

The characters in this story are well thought out and have strong personalities. Each one has a part to play in this first part of the series even if it very small. The story is fast paced and gripping until the end which will leave the reader with a craving for more. The ending of the story is so well written that I am excitedly waiting for the next book in the series.

There is a splash of romance and some strong bonds of friendship that will make us stop and think. I strongly recommend this book for fans of urban fantasy and vampires and any kind of paranormal fiction.