Yllektra V.

Biography

I'm just a girl from Greece who enjoys reading - sometimes too much for her own good (see exhaustion and lack of free time)- and likes to let herself be carried away by her imagination, writing Fanfiction and original fiction in both Greek and English.

Where to find Yllektra V. online


Books

This member has not published any books.

Yllektra V.'s favorite authors on Smashwords


Smashwords book reviews by Yllektra V.

  • Day of Sacrifice (Day of Sacrifice #1) on Jan. 16, 2011

    Review for both books: Day of Sacrifice and Rebellion/ crossposted from I Work For Books I found these books over at Smashwords, looking for something short and exciting to read and let me tell you, they didn't disappoint. These two short stories/novellas follow Flora Hamilton, the first-born of the Supernatural Hamilton family and for that, the one who has to be sacrificed on her 21st birthday to the gods, so that their grace continues to provide the family with fortune and luck and prosperity. Original? I thought so too. I hadn't read anything like that before. Flora's birthday is in three days and she is trying to live life as passionately as she can, indulging in alcohol consumption, going out and generally being a bit wild... It is after a party that she wakes up hangover and beat. So much that her "guardian angel" quits and it is at that point in time, where she stands so vulnerable that an assassin comes after her. Why? you could ask, she would be sacrificed in three days anyways... Well, supernatural families rely solely on these sacrifices for the continuation of the prosperity and the maintenance of their extraordinary powers. The sooner they make use of the good fortune, the sooner it exhausts and since a sacrifice is made every 21 years, there is a possibility that the grace of the gods will be exhausted sooner than that. This is what happened to the Fitzerald family, rival to the Hamiltons. They have no more grace left but Mr Fitzerald is hungry for power and as Mr Hamilton doesn't wish to do business with him anymore, he seeks revenge by killing his firstborn, hence taking away his grace as well. Lucky for Flora, even though she knew she was to be killed, she didn't just have mindless fun, but dedicated herself to practicing the fire magic she possessed, becoming quite the formidable witch. As soon as her sister, Fauna, warns her she barely escapes the assassins attempts to save her, while at the same time her best friend, Aiden, gets sacrificed because he just turned 21. His Guardian, Julian, watched both Aiden and Flora grow up so he hurries to rescue her when she is attacked again out in the street. Hoping for help, they go to Flora's father but he doesn't want to hear of anything else than preparations for her sacrifice. Consequently, Flora and Julian flee and it is there in his own safe house that they bond and Julian is compelled to reveal to her what is really going on... Something that leads to ... Rebellion... In the second story we follow Julian and Flora as they try to overturn the regime and make sure that supernatural families are no longer obliged to sacrifice their firstborn child. You'd think most if not all people would jumo at this opportunity and join the rebellion army to save their children right? Well think again...Some supernaturals really DO NOT want to lose their powers, the first being Fitzerald and Aiden's dad, Mr Grant. His wife and Aiden's mother, Cara Grant, being a powerful witch and a wicked spell/potion maker joins the rebellion and what happens is magical and tragic and dramatic and everything in between. Can you tell I loved these stories? I can't believe I have to wait till April for the next story! :( Even though the first story was 28 pages and the second 38, they felt almost complete. Of course, I' d love it if we could have them expanded and elaborated on, so that we could get an even better feel of Flora, Julian, Fauna, Clark, Abel, Cara, Alexander, Meagan... The language was nice and it flowed harmoniously, the dialogues and plot were believable and young adults acted the way we expect them to act. It was packed with action with a dash of romance (a generous dash) and adventure and drama, with a little sprinkling of humor. XD In just a few pages, the author helped us create our own image of the characters in our mind and really get inside their head, as it was described through different people. Not exactly POV, but the characters feelings and thoughts were described. All characters apart from Grant and Fitzerald were likable and I have indeed, difficulty in choosing my favorite character. Of course, Flora and Julian started everything, but Cara and Abel were adorable and I'd love to know more about Fauna and Clark who are clearly meant to be! Verdict: For short stories, Day of Sacrifice and Rebellion were a fascinating read that kept me at the edge of my seat never wanting to stop reading. It was a real bummer that we had a cliffhanger and we have to wait for April.. I want the new story now darnit! :P Rating: About 4 and 4 1/2 stars! Don't miss the chance to read them
  • Rebellion (Day of Sacrifice #2) on Jan. 16, 2011

    Review for both books: Day of Sacrifice and Rebellion/ crossposted from I Work For Books I found these books over at Smashwords, looking for something short and exciting to read and let me tell you, they didn't disappoint. These two short stories/novellas follow Flora Hamilton, the first-born of the Supernatural Hamilton family and for that, the one who has to be sacrificed on her 21st birthday to the gods, so that their grace continues to provide the family with fortune and luck and prosperity. Original? I thought so too. I hadn't read anything like that before. Flora's birthday is in three days and she is trying to live life as passionately as she can, indulging in alcohol consumption, going out and generally being a bit wild... It is after a party that she wakes up hangover and beat. So much that her "guardian angel" quits and it is at that point in time, where she stands so vulnerable that an assassin comes after her. Why? you could ask, she would be sacrificed in three days anyways... Well, supernatural families rely solely on these sacrifices for the continuation of the prosperity and the maintenance of their extraordinary powers. The sooner they make use of the good fortune, the sooner it exhausts and since a sacrifice is made every 21 years, there is a possibility that the grace of the gods will be exhausted sooner than that. This is what happened to the Fitzerald family, rival to the Hamiltons. They have no more grace left but Mr Fitzerald is hungry for power and as Mr Hamilton doesn't wish to do business with him anymore, he seeks revenge by killing his firstborn, hence taking away his grace as well. Lucky for Flora, even though she knew she was to be killed, she didn't just have mindless fun, but dedicated herself to practicing the fire magic she possessed, becoming quite the formidable witch. As soon as her sister, Fauna, warns her she barely escapes the assassins attempts to save her, while at the same time her best friend, Aiden, gets sacrificed because he just turned 21. His Guardian, Julian, watched both Aiden and Flora grow up so he hurries to rescue her when she is attacked again out in the street. Hoping for help, they go to Flora's father but he doesn't want to hear of anything else than preparations for her sacrifice. Consequently, Flora and Julian flee and it is there in his own safe house that they bond and Julian is compelled to reveal to her what is really going on... Something that leads to ... Rebellion... In the second story we follow Julian and Flora as they try to overturn the regime and make sure that supernatural families are no longer obliged to sacrifice their firstborn child. You'd think most if not all people would jumo at this opportunity and join the rebellion army to save their children right? Well think again...Some supernaturals really DO NOT want to lose their powers, the first being Fitzerald and Aiden's dad, Mr Grant. His wife and Aiden's mother, Cara Grant, being a powerful witch and a wicked spell/potion maker joins the rebellion and what happens is magical and tragic and dramatic and everything in between. Can you tell I loved these stories? I can't believe I have to wait till April for the next story! :( Even though the first story was 28 pages and the second 38, they felt almost complete. Of course, I' d love it if we could have them expanded and elaborated on, so that we could get an even better feel of Flora, Julian, Fauna, Clark, Abel, Cara, Alexander, Meagan... The language was nice and it flowed harmoniously, the dialogues and plot were believable and young adults acted the way we expect them to act. It was packed with action with a dash of romance (a generous dash) and adventure and drama, with a little sprinkling of humor. XD In just a few pages, the author helped us create our own image of the characters in our mind and really get inside their head, as it was described through different people. Not exactly POV, but the characters feelings and thoughts were described. All characters apart from Grant and Fitzerald were likable and I have indeed, difficulty in choosing my favorite character. Of course, Flora and Julian started everything, but Cara and Abel were adorable and I'd love to know more about Fauna and Clark who are clearly meant to be! Verdict: For short stories, Day of Sacrifice and Rebellion were a fascinating read that kept me at the edge of my seat never wanting to stop reading. It was a real bummer that we had a cliffhanger and we have to wait for April.. I want the new story now darnit! :P Rating: About 4 and 4 1/2 stars! Don't miss the chance to read the
  • Woof on May 17, 2011

    I thought it was a really enjoyable story. The description was good and it built up the suspense, which I love! :) I don't know how his family didn't wake up sooner, but overall it was a scary story anyone would enjoy.
  • Guardian Vampire on May 18, 2011

    The premise of this book is a good one. The plot is solid and there is a twist at the end that makes it interesting. The characters were likeable, the two protagonists at least (Kendall and Logan) and you really enjoyed reading about them. Overall, I would have to say that it was a fun read with lots of action and romance on the side. However, I have to admit that I was expecting a bit more in terms of description and execution in general. It is not that it was poorly written, because there were only a few grammatical or spelling mistakes, but the way the descriptions unfolded was a bit over-simplistic and well it lacked the depth that would make me connect to the characters feelings and pains throughout the story. Some things were just happening too fast and the characters were just brushing them off like it was nothing, while they were life-changing. For example, I would definitely be in shock if anything like what happened with Kendall and her father had happened to me, but Kendall just brushed it off the very next day. I get that it is a short story but if we had a little more elaborating on the situations and the thoughts/emotions, it would have made it all the more exciting and interesting for me. But that is just me and like I said, all in all it was a good story.
  • The Curse Girl on May 19, 2011

    I love loved loved this book! I was really taken aback from how much I came to care about both Will and Bee. They really were a beautiful couple. When Bee agreed to sacrifice herself for the well-being of her family, due to her father's stupid mistake, all she could feel was terror. Everyone knew about the Cursed house and the beast that lived in it. Some said the Beast even ate children. Some said it was a real beast, a terrible, appalling creature of cruelty and hideousness. But what Bee saw in that place was a haughty, bad-tempered boy,Will, who had lived in the curse and misery too long to still have feelings or care about anything. She tried to warm up to everyone else in the house, his sister Rose, the Housekeeper, the Butler...but life inside the house seemed dull and well...lifeless. She needed to go out, get back to her boyfriend, Drew, and her friends, but Will wouldn't cooperate. Her only consolation was making origami (something her grandmother had taught her) and Liam, a man trapped from the curse of the house as well. Lonely and in pain. In so much pain that she had to hold his hand throughout the night, in the dark, not even knowing what he looked like. It takes days, months to finally warm up to Will and get his help to break the curse. Months that, to her horror, could translate into years to the outside world.... She gets to know the Land of the Fey, magic, spells, the trickery of elves and so much more. Plus the romance and its development was quite plausible and sweet. There were like 6-7 spelling/gramm. mistakes throughout but it didn't deprive from the story. Totally worth your time. I can't wait for her next book "A Sky Without Stars" to come out. It has a bit of a dystopia feel to it and I think I love it already! XD
  • The Mark on May 22, 2011

    It was quite fun! I think some of the parts that were a bit unrealistic would be a lot better, had this been longer!
  • I fell in love with my kidnapper on May 22, 2011
    (no rating)
    The basic idea of the plot was quite good and despite several grammar/spelling errors (that I found a bit awkward and distracting), it got the point across. I liked how the heroine turned from a weakling (if you take into account what happened with her dad) into someone strong and brave. Good job.
  • Illicit Magic (Book 1, Stella Mayweather Series) on May 22, 2011

    This was a great start to a new series. Stella Mayweather is a 24-year-old woman who has grown up in foster care and is searching for her place in the world. Life has been even more difficult for her, because accidents keep happening around her, to people that threaten her or make her afraid, which of course caused her to change several foster families. Not that she can really control it, but her reputation as a "witch" on account of that, is more literal than she would think. Stella is reluctant to believe that she is really a witch, a person that can make bookcases drop on you if you touch her (:P), but the mere thought of that has her retreat into herself, her world. She is a loner and no one pays her any attention. She moves from temp job to temp job, maintaining a less than mediocre apartment and her life is a bore. Everything changes, however, when one afternoon as she gets off work, she realizes that she is being chased by a group of men who have murder on their mind. Even more than that, Stella understands that the long string of murders all over England isn't a coincidence. There's a reason they are burning women alive. The Brotherhood - a group of people hating Witches and everything supernatural - is set on killing every last one of them all around the world and now they are after her. Seeking refuge in her apartment, after a shocking manifestation of her Shimmering power, Stella is whisked away to USA by Etoile, a fellow witch sent by the Witch Council to save her. Stella is brought in front of the Council,introduced to a society of witches, men and women with magic, acquired or inherited, she never knew existed. After an attack at their very shelter, she is once more taken away to a secluded house by the sea, which is used as a "School", where young witches are trained. It is there that she makes her first friends, among them- apart from Etoile- Mark, Meg, Kittie, Seren, Christy, Clara, Jared, David etc and most importantly Evan. But are they enough to guide and protect her when there's a killer after her who isn't afraid to use magic? Could it be the Brotherhood - though they loathe magic?- or is there something more sinister after her? I adored the story. It was both original, in its execution, and compelling. The pace of the story was good, although, I have to admit that it felt a little slow in the beginning. The situations were believable and you could really connect with Stella and the other characters. They all took a life of their own and as soon as I read on, I was hooked on finding out what was going to happen next. The story is written as a first person narrative, with Stella being our guide and after the first couple of chapters, it really grew on me. At first, I felt a little detached because Stella felt a little stiff to me even in her fear, but later on I got a feel of her character and I appreciated her need for both independence and belonging. The romance in the book was superb. Both Marc and Evan were yummie, although I have to admit that I liked Evan from the start. Marc seemed too aloof in a "running hot and cold" kind of way, that I didn't find appealing. His character was very nice though and he had a lot of drama in his life. The ending - though unfair (I know she needed to feel connecter but snif) - really made me wish I had the second book in my hands right NOW! :P In a nutshell: Read it now!!!
  • The Dream on May 23, 2011

    This was quite fun and chilling!! Loved the descriptions!
  • Cursed Love on May 23, 2011

    Cute and lovely and very nicely written!
  • The Legend of the Morning Star on May 24, 2011

    This was intense and adorable. Well worth a read!
  • Loose Lips Sink Ships on May 26, 2011
    (no rating)
    I just have to say that the title is just brilliant! I couldn't stop laughing!! This sounds amazing! XD
  • Not in Love with Kale Eddison on May 28, 2011

    This was an original and fun story. It had some really fun moments and some really cute ones as well. Both Kale and Izzie are nice characters, although, I have to admit that I tended to sympathize more with Kale, only because he was honest and at ease with himself. He wasn;t afraid to be himself,even if it was hard under these circumstances, with everyone having expectations of him and the paparazzi after him. I really liked him and his sense of humor as well as his feelings for Izzie and how he expressed them. He wasn't spoiled or rude or arrogant. He was a sweetheart. I really wanted to hug him! Izzie, was a good person, but for me she came across as stubborn and a bit of a hypocrite, because she had a negative attitude towards Kale from the beginning without even knowing him. She was so blinded by her need to feel different than the other girls that drooled after Kale just because he was handsome and famous, that it took her too long to acknowledge that she had genuine feelings for him, too. But loves conquers all in the end, and we did actually get a kind of a "real-life" ending, where our decisions sometimes are not entirely based on our feelings but we use our logic too. It does deserve 3 1/2 stars. Lovely book and I read it in one sitting.
  • To Be Frank on May 31, 2011
    (no rating)
    Found it a bit disturbing...But well-written.
  • Driftnet on May 31, 2011
    (no rating)
    I am a major fan of both Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell, let alone P.J. Tracy, Karin Slaughter and Tess Gerritsen and this book sounds right up my alley as they say! XD Can't wait to read it!
  • Burning Starrs (Eventually Fade) on May 31, 2011

    I thought it was a fantastic read. Azure is an orphan girl growing up with her grandmother, Bridgid, and her housekeeper, Ruth. Bridgid always told Azure she was an illegitimate child of her mother and never failed to make her feel unwanted, unloved and undeserving of everything. She is stern, strict and austere and doesn't allow Azure do anything other than study for school and be like a puppet or a zombie. She does manage to have two good friends, Brandy and Janessa, who trick her into getting the first part in their school play, showing her big talent, singing. When her teacher listens to her sing, he immediately calls his brother, Matthias to let him know that Azure could replace their soon-to-leave lead singer. Of course, both Matthias and Dante, the core of the band "Burning Starr", are blown away from her voice and ask her to join the band, but she is only 17 and she can't do anything without Bidgid's permission. This leads into a huge clash between them, eventually leading to Azure being thrown out with only the clothes she had on. No having anything holding her back, tying her to Colorado, she agrees to join the band and thus a new life, one she could never imagine begins. Her innocence and vulnerability, as well as her talent and beauty, doesn't leave the two brothers, Mat and Dante, untouched and gradually both brothers begin to fight for her affection. I don't want to give too much of the plot away and what happens next, because you have to read it. Not reading it would take its magic away from you, and believe me you don't want that to happen. Azure was a great lead character, believable and sympathetic and one of the few heroines that actually don;t make you want to roll your eyes at their stupidity or whatever. She is a real person, acting in a real way and the whole thing is completely plausible. Mat, is a really sweet person. Encouraging, accepting, polite. A really warm guy that you'd love to meet and hug. I loved how he appreciated and helped Azure right from the start and really tried to keep his sanity and his calm, through his growing feelings for her. Dante, on the other hand, was a rock too, supporting Azure even during her difficult times and even after she hurt him. His bad-boy looks weren't exactly misleading but he was a better guy than you'd expect. He was honest, giving and passionate and who doesn't want that? XD All the other characters, like Azure's friends, Chase, Ava, Ruth, even Bridgid, they all offered something to their story and weren't like a "filler" character. This is something I truly liked about the book. However, there were some formatting issues with the book, a few typos etc, but the most disturbing one was that the size of the letters changed like three times throughout the book which at points made it a bit difficult to read. If that were fixed, reading the book would be a true delight. Totally worth your time. Azure was a lovely heroine, shy and vulnerable, only because circumstances had driven her to, but she was strong and
  • Malakh on May 31, 2011

    Malakh by Sharon Gerlach is a compelling read. Her portrayal of Angels reminded me a little of Nalini Singh - and God knows I love her Guild Hunter Series. There was so much to love about this book. Despite its shortness, you could actually get a feel of the characters and care for them. Suzanne was a great heroine. I totally sympathized with her overwhelming sorrow over the loss of her angelic lover, because like she says in the book, who could really set eyes on such a creature of immense beauty and fall in love? The pace was quite good and the adventure part was also satisfying. Although, I have to admit I realized who was the killer halfway through the story, it still made an awesome read.
  • Forgotten on June 01, 2011

    I picked this up from Smashwords, because I thought the summary sounded interesting. Also, I read "Not in love with Kale Eddison" a couple of days ago and I liked it, so I thought I should try another book by the author. Sam, is a twenty-year-old girl, living with her mom, Elaine, and her brother, Ollie, and working at a cafe shop with her friend, Rhian. During a break from work, which she spends at a library, she feels compelled to look at a young man, Casten, dressed in black. Not only is he handsome enough to look at, but also, Sam feels a strange connection to him, one that takes her breath away and causes her to lose rational thought. Their first encounter isn't ideal, but later on he comes to the coffee shop and he admits he feels the connection, too. What's more, he suffers from amnesia and is of no help as to what binds them together, hence starting their joined adventure and research into their past, present and maybe future too. (This will be a trilogy so it's safe to assume so XD) While I did think this was interesting, the beginning of the book, annoyed me a little. It's not that I didn't like the first-person narrative, indeed, it makes it feel more straightforward and intense, but some of the conversation initially, seemed awkward to me. Especially Sam's lines. The way she gave in to his requests and acted rush trying to find out what binds them together, seemed a little rush and not believable to me. I think Sam should have been a little more negative and not really so forward about admitting she feels a connection. Should that happen to me I'd freak and run away, but she indulges him and it all seems a little too easy. On the other hand, she does feel a strong connection that is overwhelming, so that could explain her eagerness. It was like a burning inside her, like a deep need, so as the story progresses, I did find myself engrossed. I liked how the story was pretty dynamic and not static, always something happened and you just had to keep reading. There was a bit of a shock towards the end and I think we are in for a lot in the next book, but the scar, the strength...I think it speaks volume of what Cass is and what she might be... XD I will just have to wait and see... Cannot wait for Forbidden, the second one in the trilogy!
  • Deadlands on June 02, 2011

    Wow, wow, wow!! There are no words to express how much I loved this!!! I totally adored the world the author created and the wonderful descriptions and the post-apocalyptic, dystopian world reminded me so much of Lilith Saintcrow's The Dante Valentine Series(which is one of my favorites)and her writing in general. I fell in love with Vanya and Alexander and all characters were very distinct and lovable in their imperfection. It was explained from the beginning that Vanya and Alexander needed each other. They complemented each other and they were a match for each other even in terms of power. I found the description of Vanya's feelings towards him and when they finally "touched" each other compelling. I was mesmerized by the whole story of the Gene Wars and how the world/society had descended into chaos and imbalance. It was really easy to understand what was going on, how the world was separated and what kind of creatures there were now and that was a major feat for the author to do so in such a short story. The plot was easy to follow, the feelings and motivations of the characters were clearly defined and the ending was very good...Although I'd love a sequel! XD In one word: Awesome if you love Necromancer stories. Like Vanya says in the book: "Every Breath brought me Alexander's scent; sharp, slightly dusty, like the inside of a temple. Oh, how I wanted to worship" I worship! XD
  • Haven: The Beginning on June 07, 2011
    (no rating)
    Fun read. Fast and exciting, although, I have to admit I would have liked it more if it were a bit longer at times, because it would feel more complete.
  • Little Gods on June 09, 2011

    This was such a fun read!! It really should have been longer or maybe we could have a sequel? Both Rhiannon and Luke are adorable and I just loved the universe/world she created with a quirky mix of fantasy and mythology. Wonderful story!!!
  • Needing Nita on June 11, 2011

    Truly awesome! :)
  • Underneath on June 18, 2011

    I really liked this story. The protagonist is fierce and brave and quite sarcastic and I love that in a heroine. Plus, the plot was really good and suspenseful till the very end.
  • Paradox - The Angels Are Here (Book 1) on June 24, 2011

    I just started this and I love it already!! I already know that I will want the next one presto! XD
  • Meet me at Midnight / Moon Light Walker on Sep. 18, 2011

    I started reading this because I thought it sounded interesting and it was. The story was quite sweet, not overly cliche and generally fun. Both Kloe and Carson are likable and Molly and Ambre are cute characters as well. It moved fast and kept you intrigued, but I have to admit that there were a few things that seemed a bit off - mind you they weren't too distracting. For example, Kloe is a couple weeks shy of 19, yet at some point she says that Molly - who was 17, was ok to hang out with because she was mature for her age... They were only a year and a half apart...that's hardly a reason for Kloe to feel so much more mature that Kloe. Then, Kloe and Carson immediately felt drawn to one another and in a couple of days realized they were meant for each other. This was a bit far-fetched, but I guess Carson had been through a lot with Carlee and we still don't know exactlywhat Kloe is and what her powers are - if any (although her witch powers have been bound), so maybe that could explain it in the next book. Then again, it is "young love" and we know how instantaneous it could be, so I guess it is not that unrealistic. XD Other than that and the fact that it could really be a lot longer for us to immerse ourselves in the story and really get invested in it, it still was an intriguing, fun story anyone would enjoy.
  • Transforming Oracle on Sep. 18, 2011

    Nice short story. I really liked how it explained why the Delphi oracle switched from Gaia to Apollo. I also liked the hint of romance and how it showed that greed was evident even in ancient times.
  • Dragon's Pupils - The Sword Guest (Dragon's Pupils Series Book 1) on Oct. 01, 2011

    I think this is between 3 and 3 1/ stars for me. The story takes place mostly in Australia - although we do get to see a bit of China as well and it involves primarily three fourteen-year-old kids, twins Liz and Henry and their friend Sue and of course their families. Out of the three, Liz seems to be the most driven, especially when it comes to the environment and protecting it and of course Tai Chi. Early on in the book, we find out that all three of them are "activists" despite their young age and take part in protests seeking to prevent a mining process to an Australian Landmark, Wave Rock. What they don't know though, is that Wave Rock is not just a landmark, it's what kept the "monsters away" and now there's a "hole" through which they can escape their prison. When her father gives Liz a special calligraphy pen for her birthday, she feels there's something special about it, what exactly she can't tell, but when strange things start happening around Perth and weird people with backpacks and torches appear with more than hostile intentions and even vampire characteristics, Liz realizes that it's her destiny set in motion. The three kids are attacked by those strangers and it's their Tai Chi instructor that rescues them, manifesting amazing skills in battle and magic. She is injured, however, but before she "ascends", she manages to magically give them fighting experience and knowledge they need for the upcoming war. She also gives Henry and Sue powerful magical weapons, a sword and magical rings. Through their lessons with Li Ping, their extraordinary female Tai Chi instructor, all three have already mastered not only fighting techniques but also breathing and meditation routines that significantly enhance their strength, agility and speed beyond their fourteen years or even their human nature. Gradually, they find out that the strange men are intruders from USB (Universe of Supreme Beings) with superior technology and powers and the only thing that can help them destroy them is Tai Chi and the Qi power within them, which they can only harness and utilize because they get help along the way. Sound complicated? It is, but in a good way. The novel is packed with action. It's page after page of movement and something new and interesting. The plot flows swiftly and the characters are well defined and believable. Liz's character and Henry's is consistent throughout,with Liz being impulsive, yet heroic and strong-willed and Henry being level-minded and strong. It is Sue's character that comes full circle by the end of the book though. She starts of how you'd imagine a 14-year-old girl, somewhat shallow (she wants to be a fashion model) and easily scared, but loyal to her friends and by the end of the books, she takes her friendships to the next level, by actually putting her life on the line to save her friends, even if it could cost her her life's dream too. The novel is filled with Chinese proverbs and stories and one is more interesting than the other - if somewhat cryptic and vague - it's gradually within the book that we understand what each one means and what its usefulness is in the battle against the monsters. The description of the battles and the fight sequences is detailed and very exciting and these alone really get you into the story. I really enjoyed the scenes with the Monster King and the challenges the kids had to complete in order to be released, got a bit of a "Doomsday" vibe out of it. What I enjoyed the most is that it seems that the book seems to target more of a younger reading group, but in it there are useful and meaningful life messages having to do with the importance of friendship, patience, family, love and many other things. On the other hand, I have to admit that sometimes the ending of the fight and the resolution of some scenes seemed a bit too easy (i.e. the monsters ending a fight) and Liz, Henry and Sue had a lot more freedom than most fourteen-year-olds usually have. They are out of the house a lot and I mean a lot and we don't have scenes of their parents looking for them or questioning them about it. Also, when Liz and Henry's father ends up in the hospital, they don't pay a lot of attention to him, they are away all the time and their mother is nowhere to be found (she isn't depicted to cook for them or ask where they are). Also, at some point Liz talks to Sue's mother on first-name basis which I thought was unusual for a 14-year-old towards an adult, but maybe it's something usual in Australia. (it's not very usual in Greece, though, so maybe that's why it seemed weird to me). Overall, though, it is a very entertaining book, one will truly enjoy and have fun with, not only because of the exciting battles and Tai Chi techniques, but also for the real-life lessons and the wonderful insight into the Chinese culture. * Offered by the author for an honest review.
  • Paradox - The Angels Are Here (Book 1) on Oct. 09, 2011

    3 1/2 Stars I started reading this some while ago but somehow I got interrupted a few times due to some real life issues and got back to it after a long time indeed. I have to say that it was a very well-written book in the sense that it did not contain any very distracting typos or anything like that and Ms Roberts certainly has a way with words. Her world building felt very exciting and "complete", exactly because she was able to paint quite a detailed picture with her intricate and elaborate descriptions, of not only buildings or scenery, but of emotions as well. And it was this exact description of emotions that had me tear up on some occasions. There's two main plotlines in the book. One following Grace, a twelve-year-old girl, who - after abruptly losing her father to an accident- lives with her mother. A lot of families are made up of only one parent, of course, but what makes this one special, is that Grace's mother comes across as quite weak as a person, as she completely falls apart after her husband's death leaving Grace to practically fend for herself at such a tender age. Prior to that, Grace does have one imaginary friend, Hope, who seems to be looking over her and guarding her in a way. No one else but Grace can see her and it seems that her job is to guard over people, especially over the dying like and Angel of death comforting them. After Hope leaving, though, Grace seeks consolation in officer Wade who was the one to inform them of her father's accident and Angela, a girl who moved next door and is a little on the weird side. The pages of Grace's torment regarding the loss of her father and indirectly of her mother too - for a while when she was depressed and mostly stayed in her room- were my favorites because they were elegant and poetic even as they described the anguish and the pain. I liked Angela and her awkwardness and ignorance of how to act as a human. I think some of her reactions and thoughts were simply priceless and hilarious. As for Wade... I started off really liking him, but I felt like his character "seemed" a little shady towards the end. This could be my opinion, but even though there is no clear indication that he is "bad" or malignant", I think there's more to him than he is letting on. Kate, Grace's mother, really redeemed herself later in the story, although you can tell she is a person that has difficulty dealing with the hardships of life (which are plenty for everyone, imo)and turning into herself when her daughter needed her, is something I have difficulty letting go off. It is one thing grieving and needing time to do that and totally different thing when you need to grieve, but there are also people depending on you for their mere existence and sustenance. Her absence in some parts of Grace's life for so long, really made me admire Grace even more as a character for her strength and courage. She does a lot of things on her own and she is barely twelve throughout the story. The second plotline starts way earlier and it involves a millennia-old feud/war between two Houses of Angels, the fallen House of the Grigorians and the House of the Bulguardians, in the ancient city of Altair, in Aquila Constellation. We learn of Abbadon, Siena, Theria and Pandora. They are all complex characters with their own agenda, mostly regarding gaining more power and influence and I was surprised to see how petty and hormone-driven they could be. We know the most common motives are always Money/power, love/lust and envy and we get plenty of that. Even Theria, who at first seems quite innocent, turns out to be quite perverted. It was also impressive to see through Grace's visions how certain tragedies having to do with physical phenomena like Tsunamies, earthquakes etc or even famines, affected the lives of people (The little girl who thought about eating a rat and savoring the moment in her mind as she was starving springs to mind) in such a devastating way and left Grace and me as a reader quite appalled and emotional. It was an original way to see that in relation to Angels and the games they might play in order to gain, encourage or corrupt souls and lives. Generally, the book was well-written and quite fun to read,but I thought it felt a bit confusing at times, as it did go back and forth a bit and we had Grace have a vision out of nowhere and it didn't seem to tie in with the particular moment the story was at the time. It left a lot of questions unanswered as to what Grace's part is in all of this and what the angels want with her and I believe that the second book will definitely answer a lot of that. I also think that me having to interrupt my reading of the book a few times may have contributed in the feeling of confusion I had, so I need to clarify this. Perhaps, after I read it for a second time, uninterrupted I will see that it is a lot more enlightening and there are connections I didn't notice the first time. All in all, I think the book was well worth my time and its immensely intense and powerful emotional descriptions, which greatly affected me, more than make up for any other aspect the book may have lacked in. Read it and you won't regret it.
  • The Temple on Oct. 19, 2011

    I can really say that Heather Marie Adkins doesn't disappoint. After reading "Underneath" - and loving it - I was more than eager to read this new novel and I have to say that I loved it and it's a shame I didn't read it sooner. The story revolves around Vale , a 24-year-old girl from US, who -when the book starts - has agreed to move overseas to England and take on a job that is both weird and potentially dangerous. Not exactly normal herself, Vale fits right in. Member of a very loving family, of hippy, college professor parents (Dane and Theresa)and a younger sister, Macy, Vale - even though adopted- has had a very happy childhood. She was found in the woods near her parents' house and they took her in without question giving her love and affection. From the beginning it is evident that Vale is unlike other girls, as she possesses super-strength, super-speed, telekinesis, a form of talking to spirits (only when they appear) and an orgasm-inducing touch when she chooses. Dane and Theresa know that right from the start, but like practicing wiccans they have faith and open-mindedness and have instilled that into her. It is obvious that more or less, Vale, isn't unhappy about her abilities - on the contrary - and does not suffer from any complexes due to them. Her powers are exactly the reason she accepts the "security" job in England, since her father knew the man in charge and her abilities make her uniquely qualified for it. All the guardians have abilities. Her task seems menial enough, as she is presented a tower/castle in the middle of a forest and she is asked to keep the doors locked and -since it is actually a temple for three goddesses, Bast, Cerridwen and Freya- to keep the incense burning. It seems easy enough, simple, quiet and dull...up till she gets one last advice. Whatever you do, ten to midnight lock the doors carefully, pull a switch and no matter what you hear DON'T OPEN THE DOOR, DON'T GO OUTSIDE TILL IT'S 3A.M. Jordan, the guard doing the shift before her is not helpful enough to explain anything and earns him a place in Vale's black book with good reason as we find out later. It seems the switch she is meant to pull, adds additional doors and reinforcements to the locks and everything protecting the Temple and it is with effort that Vale makes out the terrible noises, groans and howling at first. She soon finds out that it is all because of "The Wild Hunt". A group of damned souls led by a lesser deity or a demon, wreaking havoc and condemning everyone that sets eyes on them to be part of their parade. She thinks it's just a myth, an urban legend to keep the teens in check, but as does some research at the local library she realizes that not only is it real, but it has also taken the lives and souls of many innocent people , men and women, adults and children alike, in the past forty years. In her search for the truth she is aided by a fellow guard, Melissa, who is just as intent on finding the truth. As she investigates Jordan, the mean-tempered guard, who is awfully suspicious and as his wife divulges, very violent and blood-thirsty, she finds out that he had been arrested for murder, fact which causes Vale to think that he may be the one behind the disappearances of female guards over the years without a trace. While working there, Vale meets, Brett, the guard who often takes the shift right after hers, Bella, a call-girl living next door with a psychic ability which may very well save her life, and Anya, the ghost of a previous guard who went missing but gives only cryptic answers over what is going on. I have to say that the story started relatively slow, but exactly because of that it gave us the chance to get to know the main character really well and love it. Vale is strong, brave, altruistic, loving and caring but in a laid-back way, that makes sense. She is only 24 years old, she is not normal and even though she has been loved, she strives for independence and wants to have and do something of her own. The author often gives us insight into what she is thinking and not only because it is written in the first person, but also because we can actually see and feel, how Vale second-guesses herself at times, chastises herself over her decisions and generally her thought-process is thoroughly explained and justified. The other characters are very well fleshed-out as well, starting with her sweet, wiccan, peaceful mother with a strong dislike towards anything chemical from conservatives to medicines and her father who is just as wiccan, but more level-headed and balances his wife out. Her teenage sister, comes across as an intelligent young woman who makes her own way and even has the courage to come out to her parents for being a lesbian - not that they mind. Jordan is despised all around, whereas Melissa and Bella really step up to the challenge of being Vale's friend in their own ways and abilities. Finally, Brett, the main love interest is charming and mysterious enough to make him drool-worthy and dark enough to raise suspicions. Should Vale trust him or not? Is he honest with her? Is he faithful to her? I loved how the author didn't make Vale trip over herself to justify him. Yes, she feels the attraction and raw magnetism and sexuality that he emits, but she is not frivolous about giving her heart away and being hurt. I thought the story was original and well thought out. It flowed very smoothly. Not that it didn't have a climax towards the end, but it felt like a natural thing... It's hard to explain but it felt like completion. At first I thought it would end with whatever happened at the temple and was ecstatic for book 2, but the end felt like a closure of shorts... It would really be a delight to have a sequel though. If I had to name something that didn't set well with me regarding the book, it would be towards the end, where Vale is in a hard situation and somehow using her telekinesis occurs to her at the last minute. For someone who grew up feeling comfortable with her powers it struck me as awkward and it would make more sense to have her kick butt that way and not the one that was chosen... After all, she could move things with the power of her mind and she didn't have to wave her hands or anything. If you haven't read this yet, you should. Totally worth your time as the writer is really talented and the descriptions are wicked. I for one will definitely be reading more by this author!
  • Reverse Metamorphosis Book One of the Irrevocable Change Trilogy on Nov. 01, 2011

    It deserves 3 1/2 to 4 stars. When I started reading the book, I was unsure what to expect. I hadn't read anything having to do with mob or assassins in the contemporary sense (only in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian urban fantasy environment). So I started the book with an open mind and let myself get immersed in Clayton Albrecht's life during the late sixties and seventies. Right from the start we understand that Clay is not like other people. Yes he looks like an ordinary young man, yes he is a construction worker and lives with his parents, Margaret and Walter and his sister,Lizzie, but there is a certain sense of detachment coming from him, even when he is dealing with them. Maybe he would continue to be an ordinary man, if he is best friend wasn't Jimmy, the son of local gangster/mobster Tony Giliano and if he hadn't accidentally killed a man who attacked him late one night when he was drinking at a bar. The killing wasn't intentional of course, and Clay did feel panic and sadness at first, but after getting over the initial shock he was able to make a decision that shaped his future. He could contact the police and report the incident. Maybe it would be deemed an accident, but maybe he would be charged with manslaughter and that was something Clay couldn't live with. Thus, he decided to leave the body hidden and go on his way. Like he himself said, he had a conscience just like everyone else, but unlike most others he found that he could just ignore and bury that voice inside his head at will. There was nothing to link him to the murder so he went on with his life. But once Jimmy, his best friend supposedly died in an accident, which he later uncovered to be an act of violence, he took the law into his hands and exerted his own kind of justice without telling anyone anything. Just like that, the barely-out-of-adolescence man, devised and executed a perfect plan meant to kill the man who pushed Jimmy to his death. Of course, an execution like that, would attract the attention of Jimmy's father, Tony and when Clay revealed to him that he was the one who did it, he was impressed. It was, indeed, evident that Clay was a natural-born killer. :P And a man like that could come in handy to a family like the Gilianis. What excited me the most about this book, was the fact that it flowed quite easily and swiftly and it didn't feel stiff at all. Usually books that cover a lot of time (i.e. a whole decade) can get static at times, as the story evolves. This is not the case with this book. We have clear characters, who are exactly what they appear to be, with no hidden motives or moments when their actions seem uncharacteristic. On the contrary, we get to see the way people of this lifestyle lead their lives and how their life might revolve around criminal activities, but they can also maintain deep and meaningful relationships. We don't see a lot of Jimmy, but his father Tony seems to be a strong, decisive man, who retains a sense of dignity and integrity throughout the book. Yes, he is a criminal, but he is not portrayed to use violence any more than necessary - where necessary is usually when a former employee or someone involved is on the verge of talking to the police or get too greedy. Is it easy for him to take the decision to kill someone? Yes, it is, but unlike in other situations, he isn't shown to kill someone's family to set an example or for revenge. It's only the person that crossed him. Anna, his wife, seems quite intelligent and composed and it is quite clear that she is the force behind him. She is there to offer support and insight, which are both priceless. Later in the book we also find out that apart from the heart, she is also the brains of the whole family. I quite enjoyed every scene she was in, as she came across as classy and unassumingly efficient. Their other children, apart from Adriana whom I grew to respect for her decisiveness and her truthfulness, seemed arrogant and hypocritical. If you are against the "family business" and you want to judge and declare your opposition and superiority, you can't accept the money coming from said business for your studies or lifestyle. That's just insulting. Lizzie, was also a likable character that wasn't in the book that much, but towards the end she proved to be more than the frivolous, unreliable daughter. On the contrary, she supported her mother a lot when she needed it and was there for Clay, too. As for Clay, he was by far the most impressive character of the book - even if hardly the most likable. How can a man go from ordinary and dull, to a full-time assassin, would be beyond me, had I not read this book. Slowly but gradually, we follow Clay as he takes the grief (and sometimes the need for revenge)we would all feel over the murder or injury of a loved one, to an excuse to kill. I guess most of us have felt the urge to slap someone who hurt someone we love, but hardly do we contemplate hurting him/her and actually plan it and go through with it. Clay, however, seems to have a knack for keeping a clear head during a time like that. He simply knows what to do in order to determine what is the best way to kill someone undetected. The pages describing the way he watched and stalked his victims, extrapolating their most vulnerable moments from their habits are fascinating. He can literally spend days thinking of nothing else. The amount of dedication and meticulousness is unsettling and awe-worthy. At first, he is driven from the need to avenge people he cares about, which to some extent is comprehensible, but later on he becomes and assassin and can still keep his mind on the job, regardless of the fact that the person he is asked to kill hasn't done anything to him, might have a family etc. You follow him throughout the whole planning, so everything makes sense (everything is plausible and there are no moments at which you want to roll your eyes) and works out in way that makes your head spin at how easy it could be for someone intent on killing! And just when you think that Clay can be softie or "not all bad" he goes and does things that leave you with your mouth open. He kills the man staying at his former bootcamp instructor because he poses a threat (so it's something he has to do out of self-preservation in a way), but just before lighting the whole area on fire, he has time to grab food and beer from his fridge and even later he casually steals from his victims! He is ruthless and headstrong and knows what to do to get what he wants...We have proof of that even in the last pages when he pushes "Adriana" into a decision. The way he isn't shown to rationalize his actions, yet feel little to no remorse - in other words not lose any sleep over it - is chilling. And it's not even the way he is written that is chilling. It's the way he goes on with his life as if nothing has happened that stays with you the most. One of his most impressive "feats" is killing a "potential" witness against three "families", while he is in protective custody (witness protection) at a random hotel, where he had no information whatsoever as to which room or which floor the man was in. The attention to detail, his perceptiveness and obviously his intelligence is quite astonishing. All in all, Clay is a solid character who impresses you, but also scares you with the skill set he has and how he puts it to use. He is not immoral, he is not exactly amoral, but he isn't exactly moral either. The way he thinks about things is practical and straightforward. He has no second thoughts, he takes a decision and lives with its consequences and whatever he does, he convinces himself that it is the action he should take in order to progress in the way he wants. He is good at killing people, so why not make money out of it? He is smart with his investments, but he is not greedy or money-hungry. He likes the stability and security it offers. But he is also smart enough to realize that he needs something solid in his life, hence he starts his own business... On the other hand, there are a few things that felt a bit awkward to me, while reading the book. We do get a feel of the character, mostly when it comes to killing and "maneuvering" his life around that, but although there is no mention of him appreciating furniture etc, suddenly he decides to open and Antiques shop because he has always kind of liked it. It is of course quite convenient to pursue a profession like this since he can't get out of state without raising suspicions, but prior to that he wasn't shown to appreciate things like that. Then, when he has to murder someone in an skiing area in Canada, he has a little knowledge over that, because he used to go fishing with his step-dad. But even though he visits his parents, he is mostly there for dinner and I'm not sure a mention of fishing trips was there before. (Although he did go on fishing trips with Tony after he got his boat.) Another instance is when his sister, Lizzie, is roofied and gang-raped and he finds out about it. Yes, his sister might be a little fickle and have relationships with a lot of men, but that doesn't mean that she deserves something like this, especially since it wasn't her choice. Yet, Clay feels that it could be a "lesson" to her, at first!!! Seriously? His sister is gang-raped and it's a lesson? It was his sister and he only decided to take action and kill the man responsible, when he blackmailed Lizzie to do it again, so that he wouldn't show pictures of the incident. So it's the blackmail that went to far? The rape was "meh..."? For someone who took the law into his own hands because his best friend was killed ad forms a deep bond with the head of a gang family, it's weird not to "avenge" his own sister, because clearly he is capable of emotions and love and devotion. Besides, let's not forget it is the seventies, so there was this whole thing of "sexual freedom and revolution" , so his sister was hardly "that" fickle. It was a trend. He did redeem himself later on, though when his sister revealed to him that she was a lesbian and he stood beside her. Overall, this was an exciting first book in a series, that promises to impress you as well as scare you, because the main character, Clay is an ordinary man turned into a ruthless assassin not exactly out of necessity but out of skill! People who enjoy a good crime read that doesn't have any plot holes and shows a deeply satisfying and meticulous attention to details, should not miss this one!
  • Assumptions on Nov. 02, 2011

    The book follows Will Emerson Jr and Jordyn Quig, as they look for an ancient artifact, the Book of Raziel, that is a book believed to be written by the Archangel Raziel containing all the knowledge in the world and for that priceless. It holds the power to do both good and evil and should it fall into the wrong hands it would mean...well the Apocalypse. Will's parents are archaeologists, always traveling around the world, mostly Jerusalem where Will spend his summers and met several archaeology-related vips like professors etc. His mother disappeared when he was little leaving him alone with his father, who was hardly in the book...being incessantly busy. Jordyn on the other side, grew up with her father, a rich and famous video-game developer, since her mother abandoned her when she was very little. Throughout the book she seems fed up with the attention her father's name attracts to her and finds the people who approach her for this, shallow and distasteful. When she signs up to Will's school, she is immediately approached by the popular clique, a company of teens who are cocky, rude and ridicule people who are there on a scholarship criticizing their lack of money and their need to wear second-hand clothes. Both Will and Jordyn rise to the occasion, Jordyn by defending and befriending such a girl, Deirdre and Will by not succumbing to Logan's insults. I found Will's faith and courageous bravery quite refreshing and the scene in which he has just gotten beaten up and recites the part of the bible where it says to turn the other cheek, quite striking. The plot flows easily and even though in the beginning it is a bit vague and you are not sure what is going to happen, a few chapters in you understand that it is all about the Book of Raziel and how people, both good and evil look for it all for their own selfish reasons. The writing style was very good, as it was descriptive enough to pull you in and make you "picture" things, and loose enough not to burden you with unnecessary details that would clutter your mind. I have to admit though that the ending was a surprise to me. I could really see how it could end like that for Will, since he was a deeply religious person who had suffered a loss and carried feelings of loss and longing to find his mother again, but for Jordyn I'm not so sure. The scene between her and Oisin was a bit far-stretched for me. I mean the whole "Love forever" thing felt a bit arbitrary to me and I didn't feel it. They had only interacted like thrice? I could see the whole thing about the grace of God and all, but it just didn't do it for me in her case. That being said, I have to admit that I was a sucker for the relationship between Jordyn and Will and I loved the platonic/friendship aspect of it. It is one of the rare cases where I am completely fine with the two protagonists not being a couple too. All their scenes were satisfying and engrossing and you could really enjoy the warmth and intimacy of their relationship too, which speaks volumes for the author's skills. Give this book a try you wont regret it! XD
  • Hunting The Five on Nov. 03, 2011

    I loved loved loved this book. It had a certain Lilith Saintcrow meets Dakota Banks kind of feel to it!
  • Finding Fiona on Nov. 07, 2011

    The book revolves around a young girl, Fiona, who suffers from amnesia. After a tragic accident that cost her her memory and - as we later find out her parents- Fiona is picked up and cared for by Hannah and her boyfriend, Troy. She has been living with Hannah for the past four months, during which she keeps having fragmented memories of a fire, a fire which she nearly escaped mostly because she struggled and she was helped by a brown-haired girl. No matter how hard she tries, full memories don't come to her and it is during a visit at the local library that she sees an article on a couple of scientists working on human replication. Recognizing their faces, she is convinced they are her parents and she discovers her real name, at last. She is Elizabeth Normans. But if so, who is the girl with her own DNA and the same dental records that was identified as her during the fire? As she struggles to find out more, she is aided by James, a young man she recognizes as her boyfriend before the fire and in an attempt to help her remember, he gives her her journal. Written in her own handwriting, Fiona knows it's hers but it sheds little light. Digging deeper, she finds out that two scientists, the Alarian brothers also wanted to participate in her parents' study but were rejected and they were the ones to burn down the lab. As an article on her case is published on a Boston newspaper, Fiona knows that the Alarians know she is alive now and will come after her for her knowledge of her parents' study, a study that is worth a packload of money. Now Fiona must run for her life, but it's not just her anymore. Now she has to protect, Hannah, Troy, James, Keith and any innocent person she has come into contact with. At 126 pages, this was a very short read and quite a fun one. The plot was interesting and Fiona was a likable character, but I have to admit that something about the novel didn't let me be really engrossed in it. It started quite quickly, with Fiona interacting with Hannah and Troy at a trip to NY and having faint memories, but the way it was described, didn't let me sympathize very much with her. I think, had it started more slowly and with a little more detailed and emotional description, it would have made me feel more for the protagonist, but as things were, I felt a bit detached. It read almost like a fanfiction, which was not a bad thing at all, but I think had it been a little longer and had it invested a bit more on character development and a little insight into the character's personalities and emotions, it would be a lot more exciting - at least for me. Sometimes the dialogue fell a little flat to me, because it seemed a little stiff and the chemistry between the two (past) lovers, Fiona and James didn't really convince me. Had there been a little emotional background during their scenes, I think it would make me enjoy the novel more, because let's face it, who doesn't like a little romance? As it was, I didn't feel the love as they say. :P It seemed like the plot moved a little too fast, before we had the chance to honestly connect with the characters and their torment and that is why I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I really liked the ending and how it was wrapped up, but I kept hoping that in some way, Troy- Walter would have a different ending, or somehow have a nice emotional scene with Fiona. He deserved it, but although she teared up on occasion, she was a bit too tough for my liking. Then again, it was her toughness and determination that kept her alive, so I shouldn't complain. lol Quite a nice read, anyone who likes light, sci-fi stories with a dash of mystery and romance would enjoy. I will definitely read more by the author! :)
  • Forbidden on Nov. 21, 2011

    Roseline Enescue is just a 17-year-olg girl in Romania in 1689, when her father orders her to marry the wealthy Vladimir Enescue, brother to the equally wealthy and equally sadistic Lucien Enescue. Lured in by their wealth her father can't deny giving Roseline's hand, but he comes to regret it as he, along with all guests at the wedding are killed by the two monsters of brothers. Not even her little sister, Adela, isn't spared by their homicidal rampage and Roseline, having seen everyone she loves murdered in front of her eyes, has no choice but to comply to Vladimir's wishes, but not before she is killed and turned into a vampire like them. This actually is the opening scene of the book and it is fast and exciting, really urging you to bond with the heroine in her struggle to save her loved ones and herself, alas you already know, just like she does, that there's no chance of that. Then over 300 years later, Roseline, sees a way out, a chance to escape and she seizes it, knowing that if she fails to get away, she will suffer Vladimir's wrath once again, because she has tried this before, but it has never worked. Still, she gives it her whole and eventually she finds herself in the United States, posing as a 17-year-old girl (because that's the age she looks), going to a somewhat exclusive school, trying to go undetected, never attracting attention to herself. During her time there, though, she is befriended by the eccentric Sadie and her brother William, knowing very well that with her being Immortal, her looks are by default mesmerizing to humans causing them to be attracted to her. Consequently, she doesn't go as undetected as she would like to, but she tries. She is buried in some kind of comforting routine till Gabriel, the school's star student and athlete and most sought-out boyfriend is smitten by her, and an exchange student from Romania, Nicolae, comes to stay with Sadie and William. Nicolae keeps staring at her and it's not long before he reveals to Rose that he knows who she is and what she is, and that he is there to check up on her. Rose doesn't know in what capacity, but she is afraid that Vladimir knows where she is and Gabriel chasing after her all the time doesn't help one bit. Now, it sounds a little cliche or rather like something that's been described before, but the story finds ways to be original and refreshing. I really liked that the book started the way it did, because it was fast and it immediately drew you in and made your heart beat a little faster. It was told in a smart way in the sense that in the first chapter, you already know why Roseline was running, who and what she was and why it was instrumental that she get away, making you feel like you already knew her and really ready to become invested in the actual story to start in the following chapter. Actually, the majority of the book's most important characters was really introduced in the first chapter, although Sadie, William, Gabriel and Nicolae were introduced later on. The characters were quite diverse without coming off as caricatures, which was really good. Even Sadie, with her continuously changing wardrobe and make-up going through punk, goth, bad girl and Christian phases didn't come across as fake, while all characters were not good or bad, black or white. There were shades of gray which is the way it seems to me in real life. It is important that the characters seem real and plausible without being too saccharine or "perfect". Rose isn't perfect either. She has been through a lot, but she is not a little lamb, nor is she a hyena (as a vampire). She is a person with her faults and shortcomings, never, however giving up the attempt to become a better person. Gabriel isn't a jock or a perfect guy either. The characters get mad, yell, lose their patience, laugh, fall in love and act crazy just like they would in real life and that's the best aspect of the book. The writing is not exactly factual, nor overly decorative. I think it's a nice balance between the two and it makes reading the book quite entertaining. I also liked the fact that even though there is an aspect of insta-love between Rose and Gabriel, it is not pursued in a rushed way and Roseline doesn't trip all over herself in order to avoid or chase the charming human boy. Throughout the chapters it feels like Rose really lives her life in a normal way not changing dramatically just because of Gabriel (although why she run away towards the end I'll never understand). Gabriel is more smitten than she appears to be and faster than her, but he is a teenage boy so hormones and their "bond" can quite explain that. I have to admit that I didn't see a few twists around the end coming and it was a welcome surprise as for the most part of the book we didn't see or hear from Lucien and Vladimir again, letting us enjoy Rose's new life but also making us wonder what was going to happen. On the other hand, there were some aspects of book that left me wanting a little. For the most part we did get to see what Immortals were. They were more than humans. Stronger, faster, prettier and intellectually superior in certain ways as they lived history and did not just read about it. I quite enjoyed the twist in the lore, where what we consider Vampires are just Immortals that have been addicted to the taste of blood. They don't need the blood to survive, they can live off human food, but they need blood to heal, as blood is a life giver, and if they consume it too much, it becomes like a drug clouding their judgment and affecting them physically and psychologically, turning them blood-thirsty and eventually sadistic monsters (like it happened with Lucien and Vladimir). Blood is like cocaine for vamps, then, but they do have a choice which is a nice difference from the usual lore that Vampires always feel the thirst. However, I feel like it could have been explained a little more and in greater detail so the whole thing could have been made distinct and invested upon so that in the future books we could see how the whole addiction process happens and how easy it is for a vamp to go to "rehab". XD I'd love to have seen that in relation to Rose, as I'm sure that Vladimir must have tried to get her addicted. Another thing is that I felt that Nicolae's presence could have been explored more. In the beginning he comes across as a geeky, nerdy kid who had no sense of how life and people in America were and he recognized Roseline from Romania fearing her, but later on he is a hunter incognito and some of his actions don't sit right. At first it feels like he is afraid of Rose and he is determined not to bother her or come into contact with her, but a chapter later he stares at her intently even menacingly and warns her that he will be there if she decides to hurt anyone. So if he wanted to stay under the radar why come out to Roseline and if he was going to do that anyways, why act scared in the beginning? Maybe he wanted to draw his own conclusions about Rose and if she was evil, but it just felt awkward to me. I liked Nicolae's reactions to Sadie, though, and I think I will enjoy them if they are a couple in the next book. ;) Then the last one is a stupid thing to notice really, but I couldn't help wondering. Roseline as an Immortal (Vampire) feels happier when it is cold, because her body temperature is higher than that of a human, yet when she touches Gabriel she feels his great body warmth and heat, which doesn't make sense if he is human or even if he is half-vampire. (Unless it was psychological, though it was mentioned a couple times) Then again there is some prophecy and some things left for the next book so I might have to wait for this to make sense!!! And, god, do I want to read the next! :) To sum up, I think "Forbidden" was an entertaining read filled with excitement, mystery, (why yes) passion and enjoyable characters you felt for, causing it to be one of the books I'd read again, but it would rate even higher if some of the story's (evidently) distinct vampiric lore was explored and introduced more properly and extensively. Its lovable characters and plot make up for some inconsistencies and questions. Anyone who enjoys books with vampires and romance will definitely enjoy this one. P.S.: Thanks to the writer for letting me review the book.
  • The Raie'Chaelia on Nov. 27, 2011

    The Raie'Chaelia is a really fun fantasy book that keeps you interested till the end. It follows the adventure of 17-on-the-verge-of-18 Chalice who has grown up with her grandparents in the city of Cantor. She doesn't know a lot about her parents and her grandparents have always avoided the subject. This has caused Chalice to think that she might have been abandoned, but despite that she has led a fruitful and satisfying life. Her grandfather has insisted that she learns to fight and defend herself and she is also educated, but most importantly she has friends she cares about and care about her too, namely Kirna and Tycho. Despite the life she has going, respecting her grandfather's wishes she embarks on a journey to Branbury. She is a trained warrior and quite the survivor though, so she isn't afraid, but when she reaches Branbury she finds a ghost city. It seems that all people have disappeared mysteriously and she doesn't know what to do, ending up at the house of some family friends. It's there that Jeremiah finds her, coming home after being absent for the day. Since they used to spend time together as children, the cooperate nicely and decide that something must have happened. It's not long till they understand that the villagers have been taken by the men of the Evil King, {the false king as he is the one who robbed Duquaine (the former king)of his throne}, in the hopes of finding the child of the prophecy that said that one child with a specific birthmark was to reinstate the true king to his rightful throne. When the king's men return, Jeremiah and Chalice flee through a secret pathway created by Jeremiah's father and together they try to come up with the plan to save their friends and family. I don't want to spoil the story, but I have to say that it involves several subplots and it's quite complex. The characters from Chalice, who was a really reliable and brave heroine, to the noble and charming Jeremiah, to the cute and resourceful Chinuk, to the graceful and efficient Ben are all strong and memorable. No character is like the other and the uniqueness of them is a nice change. I loved how their personalities were very distinct and the author made sure that we grew to know them and care about them through their words, actions and mannerisms... I liked how brave Chalice was and how polite and gentle Jeremiah was, but even the chinuk was quirky and stubborn and Tycho provided the much needed comic relief at some points, whereas Kirna was the confidante and the good friend. Throughout the book ,though since there were a lot of subplots we were introduced to other characters as well like the Farahs (which were all amazing - loved their heritage, the way they though, their traditions and how helpful and loyal they were)or even the Quaie'Miren the race living almost exclusively aboard their ships and had created their own personal tradition and ideology. For me the QuaieMiren were among the most imaginative in the book. I fell in love with their life aboard the Morning Dawn, their notion of sea partners, Ardenne and her family... I think what contributed to that was the colorful and elaborate descriptions of the ship, their way of life of trading and generally, I have to admit that the descriptions not only of this but also of the landscapes through which Chalice and her company traveled, the cities and everything were a very powerful aspect of the book. For the most part I think they were just spot on and exactly the amount of "elaborate" you'd need to imagine what was written and paint your own picture vividly and vibrantly. The plot was very good and I loved how much thought the author seemed to have put into this, more so since this will be a three-book series and already there were so many (plausible) subplots that initially make your head spin, but gradually really click and make sense in the story. I like how gradually and mostly through Chalice's contact with the people she met and aided her on her journey she kept discovering more and more truth regarding her past, her heritage and the world she's found in. I liked the notion of Ice Age and how its repercussions has divided humanity into races that followed a different path of evolution thus selecting different traditions, different weapons and skills and ideologies. The whole race segregation was quite original and how it was taboo to mix... It made sense quite later in the book when we understood most of what happened. I can't say that there was anything about the book that I really absolutely didn't like, but there were some things that felt awkward a bit. Yes, the book was a bit slow to start and some of the descriptions were somewhat unnecessarily lengthy - like descriptions of everyday activities - but for the most part they were believable and were handled well because most of that "dragging" had to do with injuries which had to be healed before continuing on the journey. Some of the dialogues however, felt a bit stiff and with too formal phrasing when there didn't seem a reason to be like that. It didn't detract from the enjoyment of the book, though, it was just a bit awkward to follow.I also felt that it was directed mostly towards younger readers, which is not meant as a bad thing, it was lovely, I just wanted to put it out there. Also, even though the pace of the relationship between Chalice and Jeremiah was quite nice and gradual, I felt like after their first kiss, they both ignored it in a way in the sense that they kept on like nothing had happened and only towards the very end, did Chalice acknowledge that something more than friendship was between them, even though Jeremiah (even more than Chalice) seemed preoccupied with their future together and blushing a lot. I know the emphasis was on the adventure, of course, but other than that they mostly acted like brother and sister, no touching of hands, no overt tenderness... It would seem to me that through this ordeal which they both knew could cost them their lives, they would really need to seek comfort and support in each other and strive to be close to each other on a regular basis and not just when they were sick. (Of course they tried to save each other's lives so that's the most important stuff, so maybe I'm overly cheesy and romantic today :P) So, all in all it was a pretty original and exciting read, with a masterfully crafted world which I found greatly intriguing and fascinating and of course, I'm looking forward to the next book! XD ** I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! :)
  • Moa on Nov. 28, 2011

    I'd give this book 3 1/2 stars. :) Hillary is an 18-year-old-girl on her way to Hawaii to visit her recently widowed sister, Molly and her daughter, Heidi. Life has been nothing but easy for her, since she has been picked on and bullied at school, mostly by an obnoxious trio of girls, whose leader was initially her friend. Misunderstood and set aside due to the rumor that she is a witch and puts a hex on whoever she wants, Hillary has mostly kept to her self and resents the unwanted animosity from her peers. All she wanted to use wicca incantations for were protection, but through a mistake (not her own) she is somehow thought to actively seek revenge or harm others. Not even her parents fully believe her. When she arrives at Hawaii and meets her sister, it is only family that greets her but she is unknowingly followed by Moa, a 7-year-old native who has accepted her role as an Ancient Gatekeeper aiding the souls of the deceased to the Light. It seems that the troubled spirit of George Paulet a former aspiring usurper of the throne in Hawaii, who was prevented from achieving his goal, still thinks he can make it even from beyond the grade, somehow blocking the passage of souls to the Light, thus upsetting the balance that could result in earthquakes etc, even world destruction and Hillary is the only one who can help. Despite the danger of world destruction that permeates this book, I have to say that it is one of the most light-hearted and feel-good books I have read lately. Not only is it written in a simple, readily-absorbed way, but it also is fun and filled with wiccan spell instructions in every chapter relevant to the issue at hand. I thought it was a nice change and very interesting to read that in relation to the story. As I have no idea regarding Wicca, witchcraft or anything like that, it made for a very engrossing read and at times I felt like it was easy. like I could see myself doing that and really feeling in balance with the universe, at peace, optimistic and unburdened. If only it were that easy! lol But it did make for a relaxing and lovely read. Hillary was a very likable heroine, especially having been through all that she has been through and never giving up or loosing her courage. It felt like life gave her lemons and she made lemonade. She made the best of whatever she had and it defined her in a positive light. She was strong, loyal, protective of her family and quite noble and moral. Molly was a typical older sister, but more importantly she was a mother and I liked how the author paid attention to detail and she had very mother-like reactions towards her daughter and her safety. Heidi was adorable and very funny as a little girl. She wasa cutie, whereas Moa came across as focused, noble, brave and very affectionate. I loved the parts that were written through her eyes and the little bits and pieces of how life was in her time. Generally, I found the description clear and imaginative and it really gave me a feel of life in Hawaai or rather the scenery there and maybe a little of the way of life (that and Hawaii 5-0 lol j/k) I liked the revelations towards the end, I didn't see the twist with Steve's heritage, or Paulet but it was refreshing and clever. I also thought the bits about the healing power of positive thought and how we can heal emotionally and psychologically by revisiting traumatic experiences in another light were quite ingenious and profound. If I had to say something negative for the book, I would have to say that it was mostly minor editing issues (which may have already been addressed in a more recent version), i.e. the use of present tense instead of past tense like :"The group walked home in silence until they reach the coolness of the front foyer". This happens for a few times throughout the book, but I didn't find it distracting. Another thing is that in the beginning Moa kept saying (2-3 times) that Hillary was in for the adventure of her lifetime and that she alone could save Hawaii and probably the world, but nothing of that happened for several chapters and it was a bit awkward...Then again Moa is supposed to be a 7-year-old child, but she has lived for hundreds of years..so maybe that was it. And finally, on only one occasion (which I wouldn't normally notice, but it was a short book so I remembered :P)after Heidi is taken to "another dimension", somehow Hillary isn't asleep, but Molly sleeps? After her child is taken? I mean even if Hillary told her she was going to be ok, it didn't feel like something she would do... I mean come on, her child had been taken. :P But after that she is again heart-breakingly motherly so she redeems herself. :) Overall, this was a very entertaining and feel-good novel with likable heroines and a good, solid plot, mixed with a lot of the things you'd want to know about wicca, our balance with the universe and how we can better our lives and ourselves. Don't miss it if you want something cute to read. * Given by the author in exchange for my honest opinion. Thank you :)
  • The Pack on Dec. 08, 2011

    "The Pack" was a fun and scary little book that you just had to keep reading. Beth is a journalist in Sydney lusting after a NY position. Having fled the city of Brereton twelve years ago at a young age and after a marriage proposal by Gabe, she is reluctant to return when her boss, Mr Brown asks her to cover a story there regarding canine attacks on humans and cattle alike. Fueled by her ambition and possibly her subconscious need to see the people she cares for again, she drives to Brereton with her young daughter. It is all rumors and speculation when she gets there and everyone is happy to share an opinion bordering on urban legend with dog interbreeding in order to make the perfect killer dog for dog fighting, but Beth finds out it's all true the hard way. Barely surviving a dog attack herself, thanks to Gabe, now a National Parks and Wildlife officer, Beth knows there's a story right there. What she doesn't know, though, is that as she delves even deeper into this mystery she is undeniable danger, herself and everyone she cares about. I really liked how packed with action the book was. It really didn't stall or drag at all. From the very first moment you became acquainted with Beth and her life and then into the little community of Brereton. Although the story telling was more "tell" than "show" and I'm usually not sold on this, it worked really well for this book since it mostly focused on the action. Through people's reactions and words, you had no trouble understanding them and what drove them, what made them act that way. The motives ranged from love and loyalty, to anger, revenge, even stubbornness. Though, one usually aches for more characterization and depth, this book was all about non-stop action and people being in danger that you couldn't help sympathizing and feeling for them. I also really like how the author had passages about most of the victims and how they met their end and reading about someone and his story, starting to feel for him and then BAM! having him taken away was quite a shock and really kept your blood pumping. It kind of reminded me of Karin Slaughter and her books in which she makes you care about the victims too and then takes them away from you, which I'm particularly excited about. Even the dash of romance was believable and even though the story wasn't heavily based on that, it still managed to put a smile on your face and make you hope for a reunion. I think generally, the book read like a movie which was really fascinating. I don't think there were any blatant plot holes I can think of regarding the book, although I did find myself screaming when Jackson, Beth and Gabe went into the dog's lair as it was a sane thing to do. I mean come on, they had rifles, not machine guns...what could they do if the whole pack attacked them at once? And Jackson not getting inside his shed when his dog started barking made me cringe. Then again, I guess people there are more take-charge and confident hardened as they are by their way of life and their familiarity with guns and they might not have watched as many horror flicks as I have! :P *g* All in all, an interesting and exciting action-packed little story that made your heart beat that little faster. * Given by the author for an honest review
  • Raingun (Book #1, The Talan Revolt) on Aug. 08, 2012

    The book follows the life and adventures of Rick aka Tyverix, who grows up and lives in a heavily corrupt world, swarmed with magic, deadly creatures and injustice. But even in this world it is up to each individual to choose a path of decency and honor. And for the most part that is what Rick does and it was great to read it. The world the author created was very interesting and original. The notion of everyone born with five lives and resurrecting at a sacred temple after each of the 4 deaths was something I had not read about before. The religion with Gods and Goddesses of Light and Darkness at war with each other and each having his/her own followers that could lead to fanaticism and discord really stayed with me and though not original as an idea, the distinctions and everything were described nicely. I really found myself wondering which deity I would myself follow, especially since observation of a specific religion gave different advantages and drawbacks in terms of abilities and spells. There was a multitude of spells the people who could use magic, could do and at first it was weird because they were not very elaborate - not in terms of incantations anyways, since they said i.e. "By Tala, I heal your wounds" or "By Bellinger, I burn you with fire". But I think in the end it made sense if you take into account that it was the Gods themselves that supposedly gave the power for spells and one could recharge in temples. I really liked the idea of "Rainguns" as a whole. The idea of light cavalry, riding magic horses and able to fight with magic was exciting and a bit "romantic" in its notion. The idea of magic and what it entailed and how it complicated one's stamina and life in general, was well thought-out and I loved the limitations (there's a nice list of all that at the end of the book, which was thought was really helpful for any clarifications) Rick was generally a likable character. He had a hard life, growing up with only his mother, knowing his father had died, (had been hanged actually) and carrying this with him his whole life. His mother worshipped the god of joy, which in essence meant she was always going for the nice and easy things in life and making easy decisions which were not necessarily right or "decent". According to her religion, she could drink and party all the time and consort with whoever man she liked, which she did, filling Rick with disgust. He had so much distaste for his mother's lifestyle that when they were both "kidnapped" and abused by the believers of another religion, he blamed her and her conspicuous behavior and even though his mother tried to save him, he idealized and idolized Terez, the fighter-woman who actually managed to save him, transferring all the love meant for his mother unto her. I think he had a point in the sense that his mother appeared frivolous, but she had a hard life, she had lost the love of her life and she was weak, but almost nothing she did showed she had no love for him, she was just weak imo. I think he was a bit harsh towards her, not giving her a chance and/or considering "giving her a chance" only when he asked her to do whatever he wanted her to do at the time. Towards the end, we discover that his mother was actually quite compassionate an fair, trying to gather money so that she could help the poor. Yes most of us would first help save the poor we cared about (i.e. Shoshanna and her mother), but his mother was trying to be fair and she didn't have enough money to begin with. On the other hand, Rick was honorable and just especially in his dealings with his friends, fellow "officers", even the enemies during battle (i.e. when he agrees to do a little ceasefire if the enemy mage healed both his friend and the enemy that wounded him). He didn't maltreat women or slaves and I particularly enjoyed the scene where he tried to help the Elf Slave girl who healed him in gratitude. (lovely scene btw- I was hoping we would see more of her provided she didn't commit suicide or something as it was implied) There was a lot of "flashbacks", going back and forth in time, but most of the times it was clearly marked by date in the beginning, so I didn't find it hard to follow. I thought it helped keep the plot going and help get an insight in Rick's mind as he was influenced by his past experiences to act as he did. The only time I found it a little confusing was after the wounding/death of Major Belard, when abruptly Rick found himself in a tribunal where he was accused of killing him and stealing his gun to sell it. And well, the very first one where Rick is 4 years old and it seemed to me that he seemed too grown-up for his age...too eloquent and able for that age anyways. The plot was pretty exciting and as it is typical of a fantasy novel of this sort, the battle scenes were particularly detailed and satisfying, especially towards the end, where they were longed and more detailed and it showed Rick's bond with his friends, especially Kristoph. One of the tings that surprised me to see, was Rick in love with Shoshanna. I mean we did get a letter in the beginning, but most of the book we saw him first infatuated with a Lisa and the others followed and by the end of the book I had almost completely forgotten about Shoshanna, till she was there in a flashback and then back for good. Don't get me wrong, I like stuff like that - the silly romantic that I am- and it felt realistic and real even, since Shoshanna was far from a damsel in distress that fell in his lap just because he was nice to her (although Rick himself, was a little naive when it came to her which was endearing). Generally, I liked the heroines in this book, they were distinct, strong-willed, fixed in their beliefs and didn't deviate. They were consistent, which is hard to find in novels. All in all, it was an impressive fantasy novel with original imagery and world-building, interesting supernatural elements, exciting battle scenes, good characterization (since you felt strongly about the heroes), steady flowing plot and it stayed with you.