DelSheree Gladden lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities. When she is not writing, DelSheree is usually teaching yoga, coaching gymnastics, reading, painting, sewing, or studying about teeth as a Dental Hygiene student. Currently, all three books of the Twin Souls Saga are available for purchase, as well as Escaping Fate. DelSheree’s novel, Inquest, set to be released by Briona Glen in 2012, is the first book in The Destroyer Trilogy. Inquest follows sixteen-year-old Libby Sparks as she tries to escape her destiny to destroy the world. But Libby soon realizes dodging fate might not be worth the price.
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Arrabella thought she was done with dreams, done with curses and the threat of death.
After surviving the ancient Aztec curse that had plagued her family for centuries, Arra was more than ready for her new life in the boring little town of Grainer, Maine. Boring and small sounded perfect...but she should have known better than to think it would last.
Mason is not imaginary.
He's not a ghost, either.
And he's most definitely not a hallucination.
Mason is an Aerling, and the Sentinels' number one target.
Olivia’s best friend is not imaginary. He’s not a ghost, either. And she’s pretty sure he’s not a hallucination. He’s just Mason.
He is, however, invisible.
Being invisible won't keep him safe for long.
Libby Sparks has the power to destroy the world. She has prophecy and destiny backing her bid to take down the Guardians. She even has an army. What she doesn’t have is a plan.
Secret of Betrayal
When faced with the choice between saving Milo’s life and embracing her destiny, Libby Sparks knew there was only one answer.
Become the Destroyer.
Libby is about to learn that accepting her fate is only the first step in figuring out what being the Destroyer truly means.
(4.75 from 4 reviews)
Sixteen year old Libby has a secret destiny that is about to be revealed.
When Libby is proclaimed "The Destroyer" the world turns against her. The ruling Guardians want her dead, but Libby is determined to prove she has no intention of destroying anything. That seems easy enough until her one remaining friend, Milo, is attacked and Libby must chose between her own life and Milo's.
Uriah and Claire know their fight to be with each other is far from over, but the final battle they must face is one they never expected.
Both have given up so much already, and they have claimed they will give anything for each other. When the price of saving themselves and all Twin Souls is final revealed, the cost may finally be too high. If it is, their deaths will only be the beginning.
Uriah thought his battle would be over once he saved Claire's life, but his search to save their love and uncover the truth of his destiny is nowhere near finished.
The pair will be separated again. Uriah will be forced to confront the truth behind his strange abilities, something he has purposely avoided all his life, while Claire struggles to survive the Twin Soul bond.
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
Uriah and Claire have grown up hearing the stories of their tribe. Neither one believed in them, but when Claire is poisoned and those same myths and legends spring to life. Along with reality, Uriah's commitment to Claire is tested when the tribal shaman tells him the only way to save Claire's life involves giving her up to another man, a man chosen to be her eternal Twin Soul before birth.
Turning sixteen should mean driving and dating, not certain death. Strange dreams of a young girl being led to her death haunt Arrabella's dreams every night. Arrabella begs help from her grandfather, the only person who knows the truth behind the dreams. He warns her that if she takes the first step toward unraveling the mystery she can't go back. Arrabella won't stop until she knows the truth.
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- Faerie Wishes
on May 04, 2012
Immortal, beautiful, peaceful, Talia lives a perfect life. But is perfect enough? Watching humans is fascinating to the faerie. They intrigue her to the point that she considers giving up immortality to join them. The heaviness of the choice holds her back until she happens upon one human male that brings new meaning to her life, and strengthens her desire to step away from peace and beauty. The other side of a wish is rarely ever as glorious as one expects, however…something Talia soon finds out.
Faerie Wishes is a young adult romance novel, centered on the dual existence of humans and fae. I would pin it down as more of a mystical, rather than paranormal romance. Faeries like Talia just don’t seem to fit into the same category as demons and vampires. Quite the opposite. Mixing the real world with myth and legend is obviously a hugely popular right now, but unlike many other urban fantasy or paranormal romances out there, the focus is more on the experience of the characters than the mystical, often dangerous aspects of whatever fantastic element is employed.
The relationship between Talia and Cayden is the main focus of the book. Within their romance, the central problem is whether or not Talia is going to give up her immortality and join Cayden in the human world. I enjoyed the simplicity of the romance, but at times I did wish there had been a little more than just the two of them. Later in the book (probably not until the last third) you find out that in the past Talia harbored very deep feelings for another fae. This was an interesting addition to the story, and added good conflict, but when Deaghan was introduced I immediately wondered why he hadn't been mentioned earlier.
So much focus was put on Talia and Cayden with no external conflict through most of the book. Even though their relationship was very sweet, I did feel like it lacked some intensity because I had no reference point to compare their feelings for each other. Had I known from the beginning that in the past that Talia loved Deaghan, but had been spurned, her finding comfort in Cayden’s arms would have taken on new meaning for me.
Another issue I had with their relationship was that the progression was very quick in the beginning, and then slowed down quite a bit. Talia sees Cayden the first time, and is intrigued, and then a few chapters later they are very much in love with each other. I’m not against love at first sight, but this felt very abrupt because there was very little lead-in to the sudden change. Then, for a large section of the book the relationship stayed fairly stationary, focusing mainly on Talia’s choice. I felt like the progression could have been a little more fluid. The climax was done well, but it could have been even more impactful if there had been additional back story and a consistent building up to that point.
This next comment may not be an issue for every reader, but for some it may be. I found the level of editing to be a distraction throughout the book. I know how hard it is to edit when you self-publish. My books have some typos in them that need fixing once I’m done with final exams as well. Even the last Robert Jordan book I read had a couple of missing words and misspellings. But when it is consistent and interrupts the flow of the book, it can affect readability. I don’t think the editing issues were so major that it made the book unreadable, but more thorough editing would improve the flow and keep the reader from getting distracted.
Having brought up these points, I did enjoy the book. It was a charming love story with interesting characters, and a good moral. I thought it was a good casual read, especially for the upcoming summer months. It isn’t the kind of love story that will have you zipping through the pages, but I think it will appeal to upper middle grade, younger teen, and reluctant readers. There is no sex and almost no language, so it’s great for younger ages. Reluctant readers will probably also enjoy the streamlined plot and smaller cast of characters. And let’s face it, most kids could use a reminder that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
- Lie to Me (A Touched Trilogy, #1)
on Feb. 01, 2013
Phoebe Matlin has accepted that her promised gift to be a Truthteller is never going to materialized. Deep down, that realization has left her a little jealous at times, but she figures she's probably better off. She realizes how true that may be when everything changes. Suddenly, her gift starts working, telling her that her best friend is lying about something important. Figuring out what to with her gift, and her best friend, proves both difficult and dangerous.
The overall idea for this series holds appeal for a wide variety of readers. The gifts each girl possesses will draw in paranormal and urban fantasy readers, while the dramatic elements will entice readers who might not normally stray from strictly "real" fiction. There is just enough of a fantasy element to make these young ladies special without delving too deeply into the paranormal. Even with the gifts and the problems they cause, this is a story about a young woman who is struggling to figure out what she wants and who she wants to become.
The Matlin sisters are fabulous characters. Each one is quite unique and adds a new layer to the story. InLie to Me, readers get to know Phoebe as the main character, but both of her sisters play an important role in her story. They both offer advice and support, but her relationships with them have helped form who Phoebe is. The interactions of the sisters in this book will leave readers eager to continue the series in order to get to know more about Phoebe's sisters and the personal battles they are facing.
The rich characters in this book don't stop at the Matlin sisters. Every characters has a well developed background and true emotional depth. Phoebe's best friend Tonya makes choices the reader may not like or understand, but if she behaved any different she wouldn't have seemed as real. Nathan is a young man who thinks he knows what he wants, but doesn't necessarily know how to get it or what to do when his expectations are realized in the way he hoped. Even the more secondary characters have a memorable effect on the story. Fristoe did a wonderful job creating a strong, well rounded, and entertaining cast of characters.
Another strong element of this book is the emotional depth. The characters don't simple move through the scenes. They feel every moment. Phoebe is a young woman facing some serious conflicts that in many ways she has no idea how to deal with. There were times when she reacted in ways I didn't want her to, when I wished I could shake her until she found some common sense, but if she handled every situation like a pro ... well, where's the fun in that? And where's the reality? People makes mistakes and overreact every day. Fristoe's characters are no different, and her ability to truly bring them alive will have readers glued to the page.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. Fristoe will capture readers once again with this compelling story of one sister's struggle to figure out who she is and use her talent to save her best friend.
Who would I recommend this book to? This definitely qualifies as a crossover novel. Teens and adults alike will enjoy this. Those readers looking for a good drama or romance will be glad they picked this up. Also, this book will appeal to paranormal/fantasy readers and those who've never given the genre a try.
- A Simple Matter of Justice
on Feb. 06, 2013
Samantha considered asking a security guard to walk her to her car, but she thought she would be safe enough. It's a decision she will regret for the rest of her life. Dragged into the forest, raped and murdered, Samantha's fears that she will not be the only victim. So when she if offered a change to take back her life in order to bring her killer to justice, she puts aside her fear of facing again in order to protect others.
A Simple Matter of Justice is Annamaria Bazzi's first published short story. The spiritual and paranormal elements create an interesting mixture of real world crime and supernatural revenge. Samantha experiences both, and at first struggles to understand both aspects. Her rape and murder provide an emotional surge that she continues to battle with throughout the story. Her experience was a bit graphic, which makes it inappropriate for younger readers.
Tempering her fear and anger is the support of the spirit animals that offer her a second chance. One of those, Steven, is sent to help her on this journey. Steven provides the companionship Samantha needs, even though he also inspires a certain amount of fear in Samantha as she tries to cope with the violence she just experienced. Their relationship is a buffer against the more harsh elements of Samantha's experience. While their is little romantic element to their relationship, their is friendship. Anything more would not have set well for me.
My only complaint is that certain aspects of this story were underdeveloped. Some areas were rushed through to keep the length in check. Emotional responses occasionally lacked the depth they could have reached because of the fast pace. Overall, this was a good introduction to Bazzi's work. I am interested to read more of her work and see how she handles a full length novel.
- The Woodlands
on Feb. 16, 2014
Life inside the rings has never been pleasant for Rosa. The rigid rules don't sit well with her adventurous and strong-willed spirit, and she often finds herself in trouble because of this. Lately, however, getting into trouble is her only defense against her hateful stepfather. She half expects her attitude will be what costs her everything in the end, but that would have been more bearable than the truth.
Set in post-apocalyptic Russia, The Woodlands society is harsh and rigid. The focus on "All Kind" over individuality is a common theme in dystopian style novels, but there is an element of uniqueness to this world that draws readers in immediately. The Superiors rule the Woodlands by keeping the different groups of survivors isolated from each other to the point of absolute dependency. Even Rosa's strong personality has trouble seeing past the inevitability of falling in line with the Superiors. Even so, Taylor still manages to keep an underlying sense of hope throughout the terrible trials Rosa faces to keep the readers from despairing too much.
Something I always look for in a novel is a strong cast of characters. Rosa is a character most readers will easily relate to right off the bat, but it is the varied supporting cast that truly gives this novel the sense of reality it needs to capture readers' attention. I very much enjoyed the complexity of each supporting character and the depth of not only their emotions, but their motivation and perspectives on their lives. Joseph is a beautifully deep character who's initial cheerful personality might make readers not take him seriously, but his depth of conviction and troubled soul will make him unforgettable.
It isn't just the supporting characters that readers will have a hard time pulling away from. While this isn't Rosa's story alone, she is definitely the main focus. Rosa isn't immediately the most "likable" character in the sense of her being the kind of girl who easily wins people over. At times I would find myself wishing she could be just a little different, a little less antagonistic or more able to open up to those who love her, but if she were any different she wouldn't be nearly as captivating. It is Rosa's imperfections that make her so real, so unique. It will pull at readers' heartstrings as they suffer along with her through incredible trials.
Rosa's story is not always a happy one, yet her strength and fierce love for her friends never lets the reader lose hope in her. This is the first book in The Woodlands Series, and I can promise that readers will be eager for book two as soon as they finish this one.