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Windy City writer Elizabeth Marx brings cosmopolitan flair to her fiction, which is a blend of romance and fast-paced Chicago living with a sprinkle of magical realism. In her past incarnation she was an interior designer--not a decorator--which basically means she has a piece of paper to prove that she knows how to match and measure things and can miraculously make mundane pieces of furniture appear to be masterpieces. Elizabeth says being an interior designer is one part shrink, one part marriage counselor and one part artist, skills eerily similar to those employed in writing.
Elizabeth grew up in Illinois and has also lived in Texas and Florida. If she’s not pounding her head against the wall trying to get the words just right, you can find her at a softball field out in the boonies or sitting in the bleachers by a basketball court. Elizabeth resides with her husband, girls, and two cats who’ve spelled everyone into believing they’re really dogs.
Elizabeth has traveled extensively, but still says there’s no town like Chi-Town.
You can contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website www.elizabethmarxbooks.com
on May 21, 2012 :
This book is a slow burner, meaning it took a few chapters to get into the story. It didn't help that there were quite a lot of typos, but once the pace and storyline picked up, I didn't seem to notice or mind too much. Aimed at the teenage/YA audience it was a fun read. Packed with historical facts about witchcraft which were weaved into the story appropriately. I'm still not completely sure of The Seer's intentions but it was pretty obvious that Ciara was going to be quite nasty, even if her talents did not initially seem to be very good! Locke came across as a pretty level-headed young man suffering from his trauma, coping with a new member to his household who becomes a compassionate and likeable character. I did find Keleigh rather irritating but she was portrayed as a typical teenager coping with growing up, a rather unusual life and conflicting feelings for Locke and Lynx. She came through in the end.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on March 19, 2012 :
All’s Fair in Vanity’s War was a novel that was unique from the start. In fact, I found the opening sentence of the novel so entertaining that I knew the entire novel would be comedic and supernatural at the same time. Besides the description of the novel (which totally drew me in), the main thing that caught my eye was the cover. I mean, come on, who doesn’t notice what a beautiful cover that is? And for those of you who are wondering, the person on the cover, glimpsing at the vanity is not the Seer. It’s *cough cough* Kaleigh *cough cough*.
Covers put aside, I found the novel so unique! I’m pretty sure I’ve said that twice now but it is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Not only does it start off where our narrator suffers in a car crash and dies, then watches her (ex?) boyfriend throw a fireball. Pretty exciting? I think so. As the novel progressed, I did find the way that author Elizabeth Marx chose to write the story very interesting. While it was told from the point of view of the Seer who is examining the entire story as its taking place, I began to forget that I was watching the story through the Seer’s eyes and began to just think of it as written in the third person. Though I will admit that at certain points of time, it would begin to get confusing.
My personal favorite character was Kaleigh. I found her fun and quirky, not to mention that she had a fiery spirit to match her fiery red hair (hardy-har-har). The most memorable scene that I will never forget with Kaleigh is when she shares a kiss with a certain someone and says that she’s disappointed and was saving her first kiss. I found it adorable and funny at the same time. The rest of the characters weren't as favorable; I honestly disliked her best friend because her dialogue just seemed very childish and unrealistic.
The “supernatural” portion of the novel was very delightful. I found the novel just packed with different creatures from Banshees to leprechauns to Druids. The whole ExtraOrdinary and OtherWorldly portion of the novel was different and again unique. Especially when Kaleigh would contact her mother through the mirror. I have no clue why, but the “mirror, mirror on the whole” type scenes would always have me smiling and eager to read on. However, with the big mix of supernatural creatures, I would sometimes get confused (again).
I would recommend this novel to somebody who wants a romance story taking place from the dead ex-girlfriend’s POV (*la smiley face*) or just wants to read a very unique supernatural story. Unique. I feel like I’ve used that word a lot this review.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on March 05, 2012 :
Kindle Edition via Smashwords (free from author in a giveaway)
What to say about this book…I can’t say as I hated it, but I can’t say as I loved it either. I found it a bit hard to follow at times. I understood the baseline of what was going on, but I found myself lost in the details. The prologue was supposed to get me to how the Seer became the Seer, and it did. Then it jumps into the main story. The concept of the book was very good. It had action, adventure, paranormal/mythology, and a bit of romance. The book kept right on going, there was none of those weird lulls some books have, which was great. I can’t say, though, that I left the book feeling at all like I understood what just happened. Meaning, it left me with way more questions than conclusions. Now I realize this is a book one in a series, but I like a bit more of a closure, even if there are going to be other books.
This book was not a bad book, this is not my views here. I enjoyed the plot, the characters, the paranormal/mythology, and the concept of it. I can’t imagine being a Seer that has to watch over and protect a girl that is “taking your place” with your boyfriend you had when you were alive. What a dilemma! I don’t know that I would be able to do it that’s for sure. Keleigh, is the girl that is being watched over by the Seer. Keleigh knows magic exists and knows that her Mother had abilities in magic. What Keleigh also knows is that her Mother told her to never use magic and never taught her how to control her own abilities she developed as a child. When her parents are killed and Keleigh goes to live with Locke (the Seer’s boyfriend when she was alive) she is made to see what she is and what she is capable of with her magic. Locke and his family are also ExtraOrdinary (magic folk). When bad things start to happen Keleigh is forced to look more closely at what she really is and that she needs to learn more about her abilities and magic. She struggles with this due to her Mother always telling her not to. There is a bottle that is very important to the ExtraOrdinary people that is in peril. Keleigh and Locke are the ones that are to protect the bottle, only problem is that they have no idea where it is. Together they learn about the powers of Keleigh, what the bottle hold, why the bottle is so important, who is after the bottle, and how to go from hating each other to maybe even loving each other. Will they find the bottle though before someone else does and it’s power is in the wrong hands?
Would I recommend this book to others? I would, just because I didn’t like it, doesn’t me you won’t. It was a good story, just not for me.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Feb. 24, 2012 :
Although Keleigh is aware magic exists, she'd promised her mother that she wouldn't use magic nor would she remove a necklace that cloaks the real her from Ordinary people. But after receiving a message from her mother, whom she thought dead, from the OtherWorld, she is charged with locating and protecting a relic that neither her nor Locke know how to find. And they only have a limited time in which to locate it.
With the help of the Wyrd Sisters (the maiden, the mother and the crone) she is taught as much as possible about who she is and how to harness her magic. And between her, Locke, Madi (her best friend) and Wiz (Locke's best friend) they search for information that will help them in their quest.
I really enjoyed the magic and the mythology in this book. It's choke full of adventure, mystery, suspense, and a bit of romance. And plenty of magic!
The characters are great! There are so many characters in which to love and some you just can't help but hate. I love the interaction between Locke and Keleigh. Despite her best attempts at keeping Locke at a distance, Keleigh can't help but be drawn to him. And I love how cocky Locke is at times but yet, he's very sweet as well. Madi, Keleigh's best friend, is a fun character. She tells it like it is no matter who she's talking to. Plus, she can see and communicate with the Seer where Keleigh and Locke can not. There are just so many interesting characters in the book ... druids, vates, bards, cluricaunes, fairies, boggarts and other OtherWorldly beings. If you like paranormal and/or fantasy stories, I definitely recommend this!
Being that I never used to enjoy reading until a couple years ago, I really like reading a book that I feel I've learned something from it. With All's Fair in Vanities War I learned a lot! And not just about Celtic mythology either. I hate to admit it but there were quite a few words that I had to look up the definition of. LOL I don't know whether that would turn some people off or not but I certainly did not find the writing boring.
Now, I did actually find quite a few mistakes in the book. Maybe had there not been so many I may have actually given the book a higher rating. But I do feel that the story was interesting and exciting enough to make up for the mistakes. There were times, however, when I was a little confused because the story is told from the Seer's point of view and she's never named, other than being known as the Seer. So sometimes I would forget who's telling the story for a moment. But it was really just a matter of me remembering so that's my fault. :)
I'm definitely looking forward to reading the next book when it is released.
NOTE: I received a copy of All's Fair in Vanities War from the author in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Feb. 07, 2012 :
All's Fair in Vanities War was a very interesting read. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into when I agreed to read this book, but overall, I was happy with the experience.
This book is truly a paranormal read. I love anything and everything supernatural, so parts of this novel made me very happy… other parts, not so much.
The paranormal element was very strong, and at times, I felt it overbearing and unnecessary—almost as if the author overloaded us with too much information that was no more important to the reader than it was to any of the characters.
While the story was engaging, the lack of character development really threw me off from the story line, and that sadden me. I just felt that personalities fell flat with the characters.
There were talks of many people who you never really meet or learn about, and by the end of the chapter, you're left feeling lost. This book also moved very slowly to me. There were some parts that made me want to skip over the whole paragraph, and at times, I am sad to say that I did. I do not do that very often. It could just be me, but I found most of this book very confusing and hard to keep up with all of the who-was-who and what each person really was. I've seen a reviewer who has said, "I found the world-building portion quite difficult to understand as much of it was simply stated and not explained." and I completely agree. I like to be shown; not told.
I just wish we could have gotten to know these characters a lot more than the author let us: What did Keleigh like to do in her free time? How did Locke feel about losing his girlfriend? I never really learned these things, and if they were mentioned, it was much too late in the book for me to care about.
Overall, the author is a wonderful storyteller and is great at writing exciting details—at times I felt like I was in the story along side these characters and I love when that happens. Maybe I'm just not a fan of so strong a paranormal story, but this book is by no means bad—I would definitely give it a read if you want a paranormal packed punch to get you in the mood while we wait the long wait for October.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Feb. 03, 2012 :
New. Favorite. Series. I need the next book, now!
All's Fair in Vanities War is a magical story about all things ExtraOrdinary. It's a story about love and hate, and being what others need you to be even when it's hard. I felt a strong theme is the book is expectations, living up to them and tearing them down. Accompanied with great pacing, a writer who is well versed on the genre and characters who are incredibly real this book is destined for greatness. And I haven't even mentioned the magnificent cover!
All's Fair has a unique plot and some amazing characters. The Seer is our guide and narrator, and her story is one of heartbreak. It's a story that requires your full attention. The reader sees everything unfold through the Seers eyes and sometimes that can be confusing, but if you follow closely it's really well written and thought out. It's not the kind of book you can read quickly or skip around in, it requires thought and has many small details that are easily missed.
Locke is a disgruntled beast, he's scarred and feels undeserving of the role he should be playing in the story, but he still manages to be cocky and arrogant. Totally hot, right? I mean who doesn't love The Beast from Beauty and the Beast?
To complete our cast we have Keleigh she is our light in this journey and her story is one of hope, call her Belle if you need. A lot of the future is depending on her acceptance of this crazy OtherWorldly craft, which she has had no part of before coming into Locke's life. But, he's handsome when you put aside his attitude and the mystery surrounding him draws her near.
Along with the wonderful prose and an onslaught of mystical and witty characters there is an ever revolving plot that is intriguing and captivating. Battle scenes, witchcraft, healing, a murder mystery, secrets and lies, and so so so much more that I won't mention in fear of ruining something.
I loved this world that Miss Elizabeth Marx has created and managed to get myself completely lost in the power that emanates from her words. It's an amazing journey, nothing like I expected and completely full of surprises. Like I said, New Favorite Series, check it out!
(reviewed long after purchase)
Janus Vielle Aragones
on Jan. 10, 2012 :
All’s Fair in Vanities War is beautifully created mystical world were magic is a common thing and almost everyone has special powers, except for humans that is. So if you turn someone’s skin green and give them horns, they won’t scream and go hysterical asking what’s happening to them. And they won’t sue you as long as you put them back to normal.
I’m not really a big mystery fan so I admit that I was a little impatient with the occurring events. It has also proven to be a challenge for me because I was completely unfamiliar with the culture this book has presented. The lore as well was another thing I wasn’t aware of so there were a lot of things I didn’t understand, thank goodness for the Internet! And thankfully Marx’s characters gave a brief history or a clue here and there about what they were talking about.
Speaking of characters, I’d have to say Keleigh didn’t strike as an outstanding protagonist at first. I guess I get the idea because she’s still on the verge of discovering herself and her past seem to haunt her at times. Poor kid. Also she tends to try to blend in and in spite of the she-stands-out-no-matter-what sort she kind of lacked showing personality. Well at least until she begins to find out what she’s capable of.
Locke on the other hand, was presented in a mix of personalities. At first he was all loyal and loving, then bitter and begrudging and then another whole lot of personality when he comes back home from college. I was really confused about who he really is and I totally get why Keleigh was reluctant about her feelings for him.
I absolutely love Madi and the Seer, Wiz as well. They make really striking supporting characters and I think they played their parts really well. Go Madi!
Moving on, I think the plot of this story is commendable. Despite it being completely foreign to me, it is also what I think made me hold on and keep reading. I really wanted to see how it would turn out. All the mystery and waiting was worth it when I got to the climax. Talk about an adventure! It was like watching National Treasure sort of movie with magical creatures. So awesome!
The ending still left me with a lot of questions but I am coaxing myself to wait until the next book comes out. *Be patient, Janus. Be patient.*
I’d like to thank Elizabeth Marx for the copy of All’s Fair in Vanities War and letting me have the honor to read and review her book.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Dec. 31, 2011 :
There is something sinister brewing in Salem!
The action scene at the end left me breathless and exhausted as I felt like I was there. I couldn’t read fast enough to find out what happens. If the Basilisk’s don’t freak you out then the Barguests will! Locke, Keleigh, Wiz, Madi, and their dog Boudicca are quite a team taking on the Shining Ones, a crazed Vate, and OtherWordly beasts!
Once you get into ‘OtherWordly’ scene and frame of mind, it is a fast paced read that you will not want to put down. The author is quite knowledgeable and her combination of Celtic mythology with a fantasy world is very well done and creates a world that is fun to escape to!
I am an adult reader and I loved this book!
(reviewed the day of purchase)