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Utopia: Book #1: Secrets of Aurora (Sci-Fi Review)

Utopia is an action-packed tale of secrets, and preservation of the
human population when life surrounding Earth enters a new age.

Utopia, a Young Adult Science Fiction novel, by L. J. Higgins follows sixteen-year-old Aurora as she and a team of rebel outcasts seek to expose the truth regarding Earth’s destruction, prior to the creation of four floating cities in which Utopia is included.

The idea of having four floating cities had me in awe. Not since Laputa, Castle in the Sky (an animated film produced by Studio Ghibli) have I experienced such a wondrous world-building phenomena such as this. I have always dreamt of flying and getting to live within such a city, however, Utopia would not be my ideal home.

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Why?

Three words- The Elite Guard.

Many secrets are kept from Aurora on her perilous journey to uncover the truth. The Elite Guard (essentially the military forces around the four cities) seek to stop her from revealing the truth at every turn, even resorting to murder to fulfil their goals.

With her best friend Fletcher at her side, Aurora is eventually able to learn the truth, not just about the condition of Earth and what befell it, but about why she was hunted by The Elite Guard to begin with.

Find Out More at Goodreads.com

Aurora’s courage, bravery and resilience had me egging on the rebels from the very start. She bonds quickly with the rebel group and soon becomes like a member of their joint family. With that being said, Aurora’s relationship with Fletcher is a sweet and caring one with plenty of banter thrown into the mix. Fletcher is always there to protect Aurora throughout the novel, even if protecting her means defying his own family and risking his life. I loved everything about their friendship and eagerly await the sequel.

 

My rating? 5 stars.

Recommended for lovers of fantasy and dystopian novels.

 

 

 

 

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Words We Never Speak (Metaphysical Romance Review)

 

Set in Windham Springs, Words We Never Speak , by Scarlet Darkwood is a mysterious tale that follows Kit, conservation manager of her local Historical Society. A somewhat tortured soul, Kit is forced to make a stand when the building she loves and works in is threatened to be torn down.

Every page of this book made me feel something. At times I found myself in awe of just how realistic and complex and main characters felt. At others, I could feel Kit’s terror as the mysteries of this novel deepened.

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I enjoyed the supernatural elements involved. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for anything related to supernatural phenomenon, although my moral compass didn’t know where to stand on the matter of Kit’s multiple love interests.

The fast pace of the book kept me intrigued, as did the clues that popped up gradually throughout. Each time something  new was found, terrifying Kit, the tension spiked, drawing me deeper into this fictional world.

Find It On Amazon, HERE:

The more intimate scenes were beautifully written and embraced the sensuality of mankind, rather than being overly graphic like most modern love scenes. Words We Never Speak is a thrilling tale of loss, love, and determination to save something dear to your heart, even in the face of near certain defeat.
Rated 5 stars.

Recommended for lovers of mystery, the
paranormal/supernatural, and metaphysical romance.

 

 

 

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An Unexpected Afterlife, by Dan Sofer:

Set in East Jerusalem, An Unexpected Afterlife follows the journey of Moshe Karlin, a forty year old husband and father, who awakens from the grave two years after unknowingly leaving the world of the living, to find that he has been replaced by supposed best friend, Avi.

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As we learn more about Moshe’s predicament, others in his situation begin to appear, none any the wiser to the cause of their resurrection. I found Moshe’s character to be kind and humble, a true gentleman seeking to do what is right by his fellow man.

Lots of differing viewpoints were shown in regards to the subject of resurrection: some individuals branded it as science fiction and shunned our main characters, while a few accepted their tales of woe and were willing to help them back onto their feet.

Loss, love, and betrayal are key themes that I was able to identify.

Find it on Goodreads, HERE:

The author’s style was poetic and gave the impression that every word was carefully chosen for maximum emotional impact. His words formed beautiful images within my mind, as well as some not so beautiful.

A tale of life, death, and true rebirth.

Rated 5 stars.
Recommended for lovers of the paranormal.

 

 

 

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The Butterfly Child, by Deborah Ann Gordon (Fantasy Review)

The Butterfly Child, by Deborah Ann Gordon is the thrilling sequel to Dark Matter, a gripping medieval style Fantasy-Romance.

Young Belinda begins her harrowing journey into motherhood when she conceives the prophesized Butterfly Child, for which this tale is named. It is said that a child born of a mortal mother and immortal father will lead the immortal people to a prosperous new world.

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My greatest love regarding this series come from Belinda’s own sense of strength and determination. She does what she thinks is right in any given situation, regardless of the viewpoints of others- even those closest to her. Although this trait could be considered bad in some individuals, Belinda is certain in her knowledge of right and wrong, desiring to protect not just her unborn child, but all people who hold goodness in their hearts.

I also loved the way in which the author built up their fictional world. Their use of imagery had me picturing gorgeous scenery that I could lose myself in.

Find it on Goodreads, HERE:

On the flip side, the start of this book had a lot of backstory crammed in, which I found slightly off-putting, but not enough to deter me from continuing with my reading. The author’s action packed and at times poetic style sent thousands of beautiful images and emotions through my mind.

If you’d like to read a fantasy tale of love, loss, power, and metamorphosis, then I would definitely recommend The Butterfly Child.

Rated 4 stars.

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Living the Good Death, by Scott Baron:

Scott Baron is a master storyteller.

Never a dull moment. He has re-kindled my love of literature.

Living the Good Death, by Scott Baron is a fantasy novel unlike any other. Imagine being Death, but having been robbed of your supernatural abilities. The girl who thinks she is death (AKA Dorothy) finds herself stranded in the world of the living with no power, money, and no way to return to the realm of the dead. There’s only one thing for it- she must die!

I found myself drawn in from the start with the idea of this young, waif like girl being Death, reaper of souls. I didn’t know how to feel at first: part of me wanted to laugh at the irony and another part felt terrified for this poor, lost girl. Without a real name for a good half of the book, our heroine was lent an air of mystery tat I found most intriguing.

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At first, our protagonist appeared rather rude and hasty in her interactions with others, but this soon calmed as she spent more time in the company of others. After several failed suicide attempts, young Death / Dorothy, or however you would like to refer to her, begins to form some unique human attachments. We see her blossom into a determined and somewhat unlikely hero as she helps to shape the world into a better place.

What I loved most about the book is the relationship that formed between Dorothy, Randy (an art dealer), and Curtis (an eccentric mental patient.)

 

Find it on Goodreads, HERE:

All three interacted like old friends and formed a bond stronger than most I’ve seen in real life. Their witty banter and acceptance of each-other uplifted me, restoring some of my faith in humanity.

The only thing I found myself disliking came in the form of Doctor Vaughan, lead psychiatrist at Camview Mental Hospital, where Dorothy first meets Curtis. Vaughan’s sadistic methods of discipline and ridiculous obsession with magic make him an interesting, yet despicable villain.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Living the Good Death. It was well written, with an elegant style that held my attention. The author articulates his thoughts well and surprises us on multiple occasions with bursts of action and suspense.

Best book I’ve read this season!
Easily 5 stars.

Recommended for lovers of young adult and fantasy books.

 

 

 

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Mated to the Werewolf King (Fantasy Review)


Mated to the Werewolf King, by Alena Des:

Witches, Werewolves, and Demons Galore!

Seventeen year old Belle thought she was a member of the pack, but being hunted by The Demon King sets her on a journey she never imagined. In what appears to be a unique adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, we follow Belle, a young hybrid, and Keith, the fierce King of the Werewolves.

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Although their relationship starts as one of sheer dislike, we see Keith begin to grow on Belle, as she in turn grows on him. I must admit, although I initially hated Keith’s character with his frustrating level of arrogance and stand-offish nature, I began to warm with him as Belle did. It’s like I was experiencing her changing emotional state for myself, her feelings influencing my impression of him.

The story is told through the eyes of three separate characters: Belle, Keith, and Tannon, a one-thousand year old warlock. We are shown the remarkable depth of each character’s thoughts, with each bringing a unique perspective to the story’s events. Belle and Keith proved to be the most stubborn characters I’ve ever met, but in an almost endearing way.

See my Review for Book #2, HERE:

Find it on Amazon, HERE:

The action hooked me from the start, with a plot that continued to draw me in. This was in addition to the many surprise twists I noticed dotted throughout as I followed Belle on a journey of self-discovery and love.

I love Alena Des’ style of writing and would recommend the sequel, The Warlock’s Nemesis.

Rated 5 stars.
Recommended for lovers of Fantasy.

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Esper Files 3: The Chimera Formula (Steampunk Fantasy Review)

Esper Files 3: The Chimera Formula, by Eagan Brass:

Eagan Brass has done it again.

 

From an author I have quickly come to adore, Eagan Brass presents his third book in the Esper Files series, The Chimera Formula. Set within the Victorian Age, this Steampunk Fantasy novel proved just as thrilling as the first two instalments. The author knows exactly how to deliver action in a way that had me glued to my seat.

When grotesque creatures begin to plague Victorian London, the general public are quick to blame the Esper community. It is up to Nathan and his fellow Espers to save the day and prove their innocence.

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As usual, you can expect an articulate, well thought out story that is jam-packed with action from start to finish. Eagan’s style is instantly distinguishable from that of other authors: it’s as if it possesses a type of logical reasoning that you can feel deep in your bones.

I found this particular instalment to be refreshingly modern with the inclusion of a lesbian relationship that develops between the plucky Freya and newcomer Reyna. Eagan shows a non-judgemental viewpoint on the matter of sexuality, pointing out that love comes in many forms.

Find it on Goodreads, HERE:
Get it on Amazon, HERE:

Another bond that I have always related strongly to is the one that has continued to strengthen between Nathan and young Freya. As orphans, both Espers prove to be extremely resilient to change and pain, in addition to being courageous and daring beyond measure. I love the witty banter that the pair share, a trademark personality trade of Nathan’s. Reading through such delightfully comic moments lights me up from within and never fails to put a smile on my face.

With themes of destruction, camaraderie, revenge, and love, I see The Chimera Formula as the best book in the series so far.

Easily rated 5 stars.

Recommended to lovers of Fantasy, Sci-fi, and Steampunk novels.

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Love and Bullets: A Sam Smith Mystery (Review)

Love and Bullets: A Sam Smith Mystery, by Hannah Howe:

From talented mystery author Hannah Howe comes Book Two of The Sam Smith Investigative Mysteries, Love and Bullets. Set in Cardiff, we follow Sam through the aftermath of having shot dead a notorious criminal.

26598325Sam is a complex and at times volatile individual that is more vulnerable than she first appears. She was easy for me to relate to, with a down to earth personality and a scarred past.

I found this to be a good length read with a steady pace and intriguing plot. Ruth, the wife of a wealthy professor whom Sam is hired to protect, was beyond infuriating. Her character represented all that I hate in a person, from bigotry to racism and worse besides. It was easy to wish the worst on her without feeling a shred of remorse for the character.

With deranged psychiatry patients, plenty of gunfights, action and humour, this made for a truly amazing sequel. Sam is an enigma- the real mystery of this gripping series. I intend to follow her journey to the end and hope that her character is able to find solace in a brighter tomorrow.

Find Love and Bullets HERE

I would rate this book as 5 stars.
Recommended for lovers of mystery and crime novels.

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Deamhan , by Isaiyan Morrison (Review)

Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
First Published: August 12th 2013

In the wake of nightmarish creatures and a secret order named The Brotherhood, comes Deamhan, a tale of one young woman’s journey to uncover the truth behind her mother’s disappearance.

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With key themes of loss, as well as good vs evil, I found Deamhan to be intriguing, with a unique style of writing that fed my imagination. I found it easy to empathize with Veronica and could understand the pain she suffered from her father’s cruel and detached disposition.

This is one of those stories where you’ll find yourself wondering who the real heroes are. Will they be the obvious choice or will the supposed do-gooders be the real force of evil instead?

I found the idea of the four Deamhan clans to be interesting, each with their own powers when it came to attracting their prey and initiating a feed. The author’s world held a great amount of depth and made for an entertaining read.

I would rate this book 5 stars.

Recommended for lovers of Fantasy and Paranormal adventures.

 

 

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Top 9 Book Hooks

What Hooks Me When I Read A Book?

I suppose all writers must have asked themselves this same question at some point in their literary careers. What truly hooks me when I decide to read a book?

 There are countless areas I could discuss with you.
 For now, I’ll leave you with what I believe

are the Top Nine Book Hooks:

1) Unusual characters:

Have you ever been reading a book and instantly connected with one of the characters? I have. Unusual and yet relatable characters are the driving force of most books. If you can relate to the main character, then you will no doubt find yourself instantly hooked. I personally love to discover new characters, with their own unique personality traits, strengths, as well as flaws. For me, the more abnormal the character and the role they play in society, the more intrigued I become.

2) The unexpected:

I really enjoy plots that involve a lot of surprising twists. The more intricate and well-crafted plots grab me from the very start. I love to feel like I’m in on some elaborate plan that one character has cooked up, unknown to the other. The idea of being on the edge of my seat with worry for a character and their ever-changing plight has my spine tingling.

3) Drama (e.g. Death:)

Death. Lots of it. With Death, we see an ultimate change in a main character, whether it is in their personality, appearance, or their outlook on life. If we grow fond of the main character, then we experience that sense of loss alongside them and feel as though their character transformation is also part of our very own. It is also important to note that a ‘death’ doesn’t always have to be physical. It could also refer to the death of an era, or of an
inter-personal relationship between two or more characters.

  • 4) Intelligence:

    Inside jokes and well-used wit or dark humor surprise me a lot when I’m reading a thriller or fantasy novel. I love writers that can make jokes or references that people seem to understand on a universal level. Characters that are also created using the same style of high intellect and humor always have me smiling and laughing with them. I would much prefer to read about a well-educated, brooding psychopath, than any other type of person, any day.

    Characters like the infamous Hannibal Lecter is a good example of these types of characters.

    5) Magic & the Supernatural:

    I find myself enchanted by how many versions of magical worlds we can create ourselves, let alone the ones I read by other authors such as Garth Nix, Terry Goodkind and J.K. Rowling. There’s something about magic that truly resonates with me. Perhaps it’s a secret longing that one day we will all be able to experience magic in some form.


    I find myself inextricably drawn to the supernatural. The idea that all around us are beings or creatures we can’t even comprehend is slightly scary, yet also extremely exciting. Reading supernatural works of fiction tends to open the mind to countless possibilities, as well as giving us different perspectives to use when we look out upon the world.

    6) Anything ‘Outside of the box’:

    Anything different or unusual really grabs me by the horns. The more bizarre, the better in my opinion.

    7) Good vs Evil (theme):

    There is truly nothing more exciting than a thrilling tale of good vs evil. When you can no longer distinguish the hero from the villain, I find that there’s a certain rush. You don’t quite know how to expect it to end. The mystery is all part of the thrill.

    8) Culture/Heritage:

    What could be more interesting than the background of a fantasy land full of interesting people. Every tribe/civilization has its own unique ways of honoring tradition and deities, of gathering food, trading, enjoying themselves, etc. There is never a limit that can be set for such details and it is these details alone that make certain fantasy worlds unforgettable.


    9) Tension:

    The ‘T’ in Thriller is most definitely for Tension. Without it, each book I pick up would be a total drag. Tension keeps you on your toes with delicious events that fill your mind with all important questions, be they about a killer’s motives, or where a character lost a prized family heirloom. The better the writer at building suspense, the more likely I am to be drawn into their work.

    ‘The Shining’ by Stephen King is truly phenomenal when it comes to the gradual building of suspense. Reading it, I found myself at the edge of my sanity along with the characters, struggling through their own crises, right from the comfort of my own home.

Why not take the time to comment below, on what draws you into a book.