Book Review: Dark Eden (Did Not Finish)

Author: Chris Beckett
Pages: 441
Published: April 1, 2014
Genre: Sci/Fi, Fantasy, Aliens
Rating: 3/5 (Did Not Finish this novel, but 3/5 for the strong story telling)

While I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about Dark Eden by Chris Beckett, I just could not get into this story. I read half of the book and continually lost interest. Maybe in the future I will pick it up again, but the sexual content is honestly what kept me from enjoying this novel.

Dark Eden is book one in a Sci/Fi series by Chris Beckett which takes place on the planet Eden. The main character, John Redlantern, is a part of one of eight groups of people that currently inhabit the planet. Eden is described as an alien planet discovered by a group of four scientists hundreds of years ago. After essentially stealing a rocket, the four scientists (and one woman who I can’t remember if she was a scientist or not) decided to land on the planet. Two of them, one man and the woman, decided to stay on the planet while the other three attempted to return to Earth. After a while the two that stayed began to reproduce and are responsible for the over 500 individuals that currently inhabit Eden.
Everyone on Eden is aware of Earth and the story of the founders of their planet and they are taught the stories of the founders by the Oldest in their group.

The premise of this story was very interesting and sounded originally like something I would have really enjoyed, but I had so many issues with some of the side plots that I could not stay focused.

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Book Review: The Clutches of Circumstance

Author: Talmadge Walker
Pages: 292
Published: July 28, 2014  (?? Unsure)
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Thriller
Rating: 4.5/5

I received this book from the author through Goodreads. 

A very enthralling espionage type story, The Clutches of Circumstance tells the story of an assassin on the run, the FBI agent tailing her, and those left in her wake. 

Livia has been on the run for ten years in the United States. Originally from Italy, Livia has strong connections with the Italian mob and has been working as an assassin. After a hired man is killed while trying to murder the President, Livia must step in and finish the job which lands her on the FBI’s radar.

Agent McLauren is tasked with tracking Livia and bringing down her employer, but she continually slips through his grasp leaving a trail of dead bodies in her midst.  

I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this novel and was pleasantly surprised the entire time I was reading it. Talmadge Walker did an excellent job of transporting the reader back to the early 1900s  when Capone was recently incarcerated and there were rising leaders in Europe beginning to change the course of history. It’s hard to describe the majority of this story without giving too much away so I definitely recommend that whoever picks up this story, do so without much background information. 

The Clutches of Circumstance was a very quick and enjoyable read and I feel confident giving it a 4.5/5.

Serial Review: Mr .44 Magnum (DeadEarth Episode 1)

Author: Michael Athony
Pages: 44
Published: August 31, 2014
Genre: Short Stories, Post Apocalyptic
Rating: 4.5/5

DeadEarth: Episode 1 was a fantastic start to an eerily written dystopian serial. I was approached by the author for an honest review and could not be more thrilled about what I just read.

Rikka, Shade, and Lou are three sisters attempting to survive in a world that is literally dying around them. After their mother left them and their father went missing, the three girls were left to fend for themselves. One night Rikka and Shade heard someone moving around outside. Rikka instructed Shade to run and hide in the bunker below their stairs while she went to grab their youngest sister Lou. After living in the bunker for a while, Shade became stir crazy and decided to see if it was safe to come out.

Finding the house inhabited by strangers, Rikka and Shade attempted to take control of the situation and kill off anyone they could find only to be confronted with a man with a .44 now living in their home.

I blew through Episode 1 in a half hour because I could not stop reading it. The writing was strong without trying too hard and the author was able to adequately convey the three main characters personalities while setting the stage for a very creepy serial in less than 50 pages. I look forward to reading more!

Book Review: The House of the Four Winds (One Dozen Daughters #1)

Author: Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory
Pages: 304
Published: August 5, 2014
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Pirates
Rating: 4.5/5

Loved this book so much!!

The House of the Four Winds told the story of Princess Clarice Swann as she begins her travels to the New World. She disguised herself as Clarence Swann in order to board the ship and befriends the ships navigator, Dominick. Throughout the story Clarice fights with her feelings for Dominick and has to decide if and when she will tell him the truth about herself.

Clarice knew she would be in for some adventures while aboard the ship, but she never expected to become a pirate! Follow Clarice as she learns the ways of pirate life and battles the sorceress Shamal for control of Dominick and the crew.

4.5/5

Book Review: The Fall

Author: Bethany Griffin
Pages: 400
Published: Expected October 7, 2014
Genre: YA, Horror, Retelling
Rating: 5/5

Beautifully written. It is no exaggeration that this may very well be my favorite book of 2014.

A YA retelling of the Fall of the House of Usher, Bethany Griffin did an excellent job of causing the reader to get goose bumps multiple times throughout the story.

The Fall tells the story of Madeline Usher as she navigates living in the notoriously haunted Usher household. The story begins with Madeline being buried alive by her twin brother and from there provides a back story of Madeline and her brother and how they arrived at this point.

Madeline and her brother are orphans and were taught from a young age that the Usher house had an uncontrollable hold on the Usher family. Their mother tried desperately to save her brother by sending him away to school, but the grasp of the Usher home proved too strong to break.

Absolutely fantastic. I cannot wait to get a physical copy of this book and will definitely be following Bethany Griffin’s work from here on out.

 

Book Review: The Walls Around Us

Author: Nova Ren Suma
Pages: 319
Published: Expected March 24, 2015
Genre: YA, Horror, Paranormal
Rating: 4/5

A new YA ghost story about two best friends, Ori and Violet. They met while at ballet practice and had been inseparable from ages 7 to 15 when they were forced to be apart as a result of Ori going to juvie. Violet has been continually harassed by fellow ballerina’s during practice and one day the girls harassing her show up dead behind the ballet studio. Both Violet and Ori are found covered in the girls’ blood, but Ori is the one holding the box cutter and is sent to the Aurora Juvenile Detention Facility.

Amber is Ori’s future roommate at Aurora and has been wrongfully charged with killing her abusive step-father. At least, that’s what the rest of the girls on the unit believe. After losing her roommate during a mass break-out when each cell was somehow unlocked and all the girls set free, Amber is informed that a girl she has been hearing about in visions will soon become her roommate. 

Beautifully written and definitely eerie, The Walls Around Us did an excellent job of telling a true ghost story from the perspective of three different girls with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing the entire time. A solid new addition to the horror genre and a great new novel from this author.

 

Book Review: The Queen of the Tearling

Author: Erika Johansen
Pages: 448
Published: July 8, 2014
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: 5/5

The Queen of the Tearling was an absolutely brilliant fantasty novel by this author. This tells the story of 19 year old Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn as she begins her journey as the Queen of the Tearling. Once she turned 19 she was told it was her turn to take the throne, but with it came a few problems. The main one being that her uncle had been trying to have her killed her entire life and the second was that her mother made a deal with the Red Queen to provide them with a supply of Tearling citizens each year in order to use as soldiers. 

The story follows Kelsea throughout her travels to the Tearling and really embraces what it means to be a 19 year old girl in this particular setting. Johansen did a great job of storytelling and world building in a way that kept you begging for more throughout the entire story. Beautifully written and a great start to the Queen of the Tearling series. Can’t wait for the next one to come out! Definitely deserves a 5/5.

Book Review: Under the Shadow of Darkness (Apprentice Series #1)

Author: James Cardona & Issa Cardona
Pages: 155
Published: February 24, 2014
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: 4/5

Under the Shadow of Darkness is book one in the Apprentice Series. Bel has recently graduated from a specialized school as a magician’s apprentice. As an apprentice to the great Nes’egrinon, Bel has been given the opportunity of a lifetime, if he can survive long enough to finish his training that is. The only two apprentices that Nes’egrinon has had in the past have both died and as Bel continues to interact with Nes’egrinon, the mystery surrounding him grows. 

After a terrifying interaction with the ghoul-kind while tending to horses, Bel begins an epic journey along with his master, a fellow apprentice that has always tormented him, Kerlith, and Kerlith’s master Muolithnon in order to uncover the origins of the appearance of the ghoul-kind and save life as they know it. 

I was given this book in e-book format from the author for review and am very happy that I had the chance to read it. This was a brilliant start to what will hopefully continue to be a fun and adventure filled series. Definitely unlike any other YA fantasy that I have read recently, Under the Shadow of Darkness had one of the best plot lines that I’ve encountered so far this year. 

My only issue with the story was the dialogue. While appropriately corny at times, I felt that the dialogue of one character in particular (Nes’egrinon) went a little overboard when trying to make him appear quirky. As a well known and powerful archmage, I was hoping that Nes’egrinon’s dialogue would have been more intimidating. While some of what he had to say definitely took me out of the moment when reading this story, it was not enough to detract from the plot altogether. I feel comfortable giving this book a solid 4/5 and am very excited to see what will come next from these two great authors. 

Book Review: The Swallow: A Ghost Story

Author: Charis Cotter
Pages: 320
Published: Expected September 9, 2014
Genre: Middle Grade, Horror
Rating: 4.5/5

Polly has a crazy family. She has twin brothers that she calls the Horrors, an older sister named Lucy that is too focused on herself and a baby sister named Suzie that isn’t too bad, yet. She also has had a bunch of foster siblings throughout the years. Her entire family acts as if she doesn’t exist except for the Horrors who never leave her alone. All Polly wants is to see a ghost. 

Rose is an only child. Her parents are never home and her grandmother recently passed away so she is stuck at home with the housekeeper. She is also constantly surrounded by ghosts. All Rose wants is to be a normal kid. 

Polly and Rose develop an unusual friendship. Each having the one thing that the other desperately longs for. The Swallow was a beautifully written ghost story about two young girls trying to understand the world they live in. 

A must-read for all ages.