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Smashwords book reviews by Condous

  • Caged in Darkness on Aug. 21, 2012

    Caged in Darkness is the first book in the Caged series by J.D Stroube. For 9 years Savannah Cross was held captive in a cage witnessing terrible horrors and being treated cruelly all at the hands of her inordinately powerful parents. When a rare occasion arose for her to escape, she took the chance and headed to Meadow Falls witch Coven which she had previously heard of and was warmly accepted by Maye and Ash who quickly became her surrogate family. Savannah descends from one of the most powerful lineages of witches and her parent’s became obsessed with dark magic and through human sacrifices managed to summon a demon, which they then locked in a bloodstone box. After their deaths, Savannah was tasked with retrieving items of importance and unknowingly tripped on the box and unleashed the demon. This is where all the action begins and Savannah along with her friends have to find a way to banish the demon before he wreaks havoc on the life Savannah has built for herself. Savannah is due to come into her powers on her 16th birthday, it is then she will also choose her coven – Meadow Falls coven which she has always known as well as one which are trying to initiate her into their own, the Sacred Moon coven. Trying to ‘seduce’ her into the coven is Liam, the son of a high priestess and forced into the task of swaying her decision. I wasn’t a fan of Liam initially but he gradually grew on me. Also vying for Savannah’s attention was Ash, who I adored! He has always cared for and protected Savannah since her arrival in Meadow Falls and taught her to trust – I thought he was a wonderful love interest for her, I was just shocked by his friendship with Isis and Griffin; the way they treated Savannah seemed to go against everything he believed in. Savannah as a main heroine frustrated me on numerous occasions, she was emotionally unavailable which could be understood because of what she had been through but there were times when her actions went against everything I would have expected from her. She was indecisive about her love life and who she actually wanted to be with – it was all a bit back and forth for my liking. I did like the times she did show her strength and determination to try and sort out the demon problems – her take charge attitude in these circumstances was the heroine I enjoyed reading about. Caged in Darkness was told from Savannah, Liam and Ash’s POV’s which I always enjoy, it gives us a greater glimpse into each of their inner thoughts and reasoning behind their actions. I loved Savannah’s best friends Willow and Izzy & was saddened by what happened to Izzy; each of the secondary characters were fleshed out well. Maye and Ash were truly wonderful and treated Savannah with love and respect and never an outcast. I was torn in my feelings of Caged in Darkness, I found it quite enjoyable but unfortunately there was something missing and I didn’t love it. The pacing at times was slow for me, but I did enjoy J.D Stroube’s writing and the plot certainly held my interest. There were a number of editing problems which were easily overlooked and I was quite shocked by the twist at the end; I am keen to read the sequel Caged by Damnation to see how it all pans out.
  • Inherit on Aug. 21, 2012

    4 1/2 out of 5 stars Inherit was kindly provided to me by the wonderful Liz Reinhardt in exchange for my honest opinion. I absolutely adore Liz and her Brenna Blixen series so I was quite excited by the release of Inherit, the cover and synopsis instantly captured my attention, the concept is unlike any I have read previously and I found it utterly enthralling, I couldn’t put this book down. When Wren Kochi receives a mysterious package containing a live fox from relatives she has never met in Japan, she is instantly wary especially when things she has yearned for miraculously begin to appear. Jonas Balto is Wren’s long-time crush but after a misunderstanding they have barely acknowledged one another but he appears to know a lot more about her than what she could have imagined and has an understanding about what she is going through. Wren was practically raised by her now ailing grandmother, I adored her affections and love for Bestemore even though at times she was a tad too overprotective – she also had average teen problems; friendship, money, boy and family dramas which have made her life somewhat of a struggle but things are changing and she is starting to understand the secrets of her ancestors, the powers she was born to command and also the link she shares with Jonas and his family. Wren soon discovers her mother was descended from the Valkyrie/Shieldmaidens and her father from an ancient coven of witches. I found Liz’s explanation of both to be quite detailed yet it was nothing too confusing. The romance was done really well, no insta-love thank goodness! I initially thought Jonas was too understanding and taking everything that was happening too easily in his stride and without question but I soon understood why and how they were connected. Following their journey is going to be exciting, the only thing which bugged me was the constant back and forth and indecision between them. Liz did a great job on developing the secondary characters, I loved the relationship Wren had with her best friend Neveah, her opinion about Vee’s boyfriend was realistically portrayed, cousin Sakura was vindictive, jealous and just plain horrible but my most favorite was grandma Bestemore. Ms. Reinhardt has certainly written something completely unique to me, I was fascinated by the concept of her fox Loki being her telepathic fox familiar; she was clueless about her ancestors and I enjoyed learning about it all as she was. You cannot fault Liz’s amazing writing abilities, the dialogue between her characters is fun and witty and the plot utterly engrossing. I loved this book and I’m really excited to read the next installment.