Book Review: Barely Breathing

review-cover-barely breathingTitle: Barely Breathing [Shattered Souls Trilogy 1]

Author: Katerina Bray

Genre: Romance

Rating: 1 Star (DNF)

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Description/Synopsis:

Take a Deep Breath
You can and will get through this.

Rock Bottom.

Is where I find myself, yet again.

I remember all the times I’ve stood alone, begging for help, praying for an answer, no longer knowing who I’d become and barely being able to breathe.

I. Will. Not. Let. Those. Memories. Stop. Me.

Knock me down, break my soul, and cause me pain, but I have always found the strength to pick myself up and stand tall again.

People assume I’m too fragile and incapable of functioning.

But surviving is part of my daily routine.

I, Ruby Bennett will start over as many times as it takes.

My past will not overpower my present.

It’s said the third time’s a charm.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I sadly only made it 3% into this book. I just couldn’t push myself to read any further. The narrative felt contrived; it was trying too hard to be poetic and mysterious and didn’t come across as genuine. The opening sequence was slow with lots of explanation thrown in, and it felt like it took forever to get through. As a Texan, I was irritated by the stereotypical trope of the realtor with the thick Texan drawl (btw, most people in Texas don’t have that accent). For all the words used, nothing seemed to be happening of any importance to the story itself in the first chapter, and when I got to the second chapter with Maeson’s gratuitous swearing, I was just done.

Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t have the patience to sit through another chapter. I wasn’t drawn into the story. I wasn’t interested in where it was going or what was going to happen. I wasn’t sucked in by the characters. There may be someone out there that enjoys this book for more than I did, but it just wasn’t for me.

Book Review: Clockwork Princess [Infernal Devices 3]

 

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Title: Clockwork Princess [The Infernal Devices 3]

Author: Cassandra Clare

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal, Steampunk, Historical

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

London 1873 shape-shifter Tessa Gray 16 is engaged to Jem Carstairs 17, dying of addiction to demon drug, all bought up by evil Mortmain. The “clockwork prince” controls an army of automatons to abduct Tess, kill the Shadowhunters, and blackmail Charlotte Branwell, head of London Institute. Will and Tessa hide their love, for love of Jem.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Absolutely beautiful. The Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare is a masterfully written end to a trilogy that will remain on my keeper shelf for years to come. It seems that often these days authors are pushed to extend series well past their breaking point, adding book after book as long as there are readers to buy them. It’s a growing trend that often leads to a drawn-out meandering death for a series–and though I dearly love the characters in the Infernal Devices Trilogy, I think there could have been no better point at which to end it.

Just as with the first two books, the narrative was expertly written to be clear and fluid. I sunk into the world as if it were the only one that existed and didn’t come up for air until the last page was turned. I never felt rushed or prodded along. I never felt the need to roll my eyes, or frustrated, throw the book at a wall (as I often do with YA fiction). This series was truly beautifully written, and in my opinion, even better than Ms. Clare’s other series: The Mortal Instruments. I simply could not get enough of these books.

This addition to the series was both heartbreaking and endearing. I will admit that I nearly broke into tears near the end. It was tragic, and yet full of hope in the final pages of the book, and it felt like I were seeing old friends again as the story wound down and began to close the gaps in the both series with small tidbits and glimpses into what became of the characters. I refuse to give spoilers to this series because I want everyone to experience it as I did. I was pleasantly surprised by Tessa’s actions in the final battle with the Infernal Devices, and surprised again at how the story closed out, but endlessly grateful for the choices the author made in wrapping up the series.

I finally learned to love the secondary characters, even weak Henry and musical Bridget (I finally learned her name and remembered it!) who filled the pages with endless sonnets of tragedy and death. It’s going to be a long time before I find another series I love as much as I did this.

I would highly recommend this series to anyone who even remotely likes Cassandra Clare’s work. Even if you just vaguely enjoyed the Mortal Instruments, I think you’ll love this series. It is so much better, and so much less frustrating–and if you haven’t read her other work, pick it up anyways. It is F A N T A S T I C.

Sedona Trilogy Virtual Book Tour–August 1, 2013

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Hello bloglandia, and welcome to day 3 of the Sedona Trilogy Virtual Book Tour (July 30-August 13 2013) hosted here, at Author Unpublished. I was approached about a month ago to help host a portion of this book tour, and was lucky enough to get ahold of the first two books of the Sedona Trilogy, and let me tell you: I loved them!

About The Author

A native of Southern California, Christine Pope has been writing stories ever since she commandeered her family’s Smith-Corona typewriter back in the sixth grade. Her short fiction has appeared in Astonishing Adventures, Luna Station Quarterly, and the journal of dark fiction, Dark Valentine. Two of her short stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Her first published novel was Fringe Benefits, a contemporary romance released by Pink Petal Books in April 2010. Next up was a paranormal novella, Playing With Fire, which was published in August 2010. In December 2010, Sympathy for the Devil, a paranormal romance novel, was released.

In 2011, Ms. Pope decided to strike out on her own as a self-published author, giving herself more freedom to explore a variety of genres. Her first self-published work, Breath of Life (June 2011), is a novella that takes the classic Beauty and the Beast story and sets it in a far-future Gaian (Earth) colony where the “beauty” is a colonist’s daughter and the “beast” her family’s alien neighbor. That book was quickly followed by Bad Vibrations (July 2011), a fast-paced but lighthearted paranormal romantic suspense novel with alien conspiracies, government cover-ups, and a hunky ufologist hero.

Releases for 2012 included No Return, a contemporary retelling of the Phantom of the Opera story; Heart of Gold, a steampunk adventure romance; Blood Will Tell, a space opera/science fiction romance set in the same universe as Breath of Life; All Fall Down, the first of the Tales of the Latter Kingdoms series; and Dragon Rose, the second book in the Latter Kingdom series. Her release schedule for 2013 is just as full, with a follow-up to Bad Vibrations in January and the final book of the trilogy in July, Binding Spell (Book 3 in the Latter Kingdoms series) in March, and then the third book in the Gaian Consortium series (The Gaia Gambit) and the fourth in the Latter Kingdoms series (Ashes of Roses) due out in the second half of the year.

Christine Pope writes as the mood takes her, and her work encompasses paranormal romance, fantasy, horror, science fiction, and historical romance. She blames this on being easily distracted by bright, shiny objects, which could also account for the size of her shoe collection. After spending many years in the magazine publishing industry, she now works as a freelance editor and graphic designer in addition to writing fiction. She fell in love with Sedona, Arizona, while researching the Sedona Trilogy and now makes her home there, surrounded by the red rocks. No alien sightings, though…not yet, anyway!

Synopsis for Bad Vibrations

cover-BadVibrationsWhen a troubled client visits psychic Persephone O’Brien, the last thing she thinks is that she’s about to be drawn into a far-reaching conspiracy that will change her life forever. Accompanied by a distractingly attractive ufologist—and with a little help from an unlikely group of UFO enthusiasts—she races to stop the alien plot before it’s too late.

Moving from the bright lights of Los Angeles to the red rocks of Sedona, Bad Vibrations takes the reader on a wild ride that never lets up until its unforgettable climax.

* This book is perma-free on Amazon, Kobo, and iTunes (go get it. NOW)

 

Review for Bad Vibrations (Book 1 of the Sedona Trilogy)

Oh man. I totally have to flail my arms and try not to spoil this amazing story for you. It’s hard. It’s really hard. I’ve always been… well… not a fan of aliens, but perhaps fascinated by them. I can’t say fan because there were some very traumatizing movies I watched as a child that had me freaking out about aliens many a night. They scare me. Truly. That aside though, I’ve always been really interested in aliens. It’s hard not to think about how vast our universe is the possibility, even probability, that there are other life forms out there—but let’s face it: there are a lot of weirdo’s out there, so when you pick up a book about aliens, there’s always a chance you’re about to jump into the deep end of crazy.

Bad Vibrations visited the deep end of crazy, but in a good way. The story is about Persephone O’Brien, a psychic who’s pulled into an alien conspiracy by a client she’s pretty sure is off his rocker. Pulled into an amazing adventure, she meets a handsome ufologist, and an array of entertaining characters that range from ex-military to UFO themed shop owners, who join her in the hunt to stop aliens from invading Earth. It is a wacky, hilarious ride with endearing love, full-blown mysteries, and dangerous action scenes. I loved every second of it. The characters are quirky and highly entertaining, and the alien plot is both sinister and believable. I won’t spoil the finer points, but I truly enjoyed Bad Vibrations. The author has a very contemporary, humorous style that made it a light-hearted romp, but didn’t detract from the heart-racing bits of the storyline. I definitely plan to read a lot more of her work!

Synopsis for Desert Hearts

Desert_Hearts_amazonFalling for one man when you’re in love with someone else must be the quickest way to complicate your life…
 
A stranger staggers out of the desert and collapses in Kara Swenson’s Sedona home. He pleads for help, and despite her better judgment, Kara takes him in, gives him shelter and a place to stay. She doesn’t anticipate the dangerous attraction she begins to feel for him — after all, she’s been secretly in love with Lance Rinehart for more years than she cares to admit. Kara, who owns a UFO-themed shop and gives UFO tours in the desert outside town, thinks she’s seen it all. But when the shocking truth of the stranger’s identity is revealed, she finds herself having to make a terrible choice.

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/HqU6Hn5H4uE 

Review for Desert Hearts

After running through the first book of the Sedona Trilogy in just two days, I immediately attempted to secure a copy of book 2 (Thank you Sage!). It didn’t disappoint! Desert Hearts returns to Sedona and the world established in Bad Vibrations, but this time focuses on Kara Swenson (the UFO themed shop owner from the first book!). One night, out of the blue, she returns home to find her house unlocked, and inside, a completely nude male. She quickly falls in love with the stranger, but soon discovers that he isn’t what he appears. Torn between this stranger, and an old crush, she too is pulled into the alien conspiracy surrounding Sedona as the aliens once again try to come back—this time, without the help of the US government. Like the first book, Desert Hearts was a humorous, light-hearted adventure as the motley crew of UFO-enthusiasts from Sedona band together to once again, defeat the alien invasion. There’s romance, mystery, and plenty of heart-stopping action. I have to admit, I didn’t like it as much as the first book, but only for one reason : The love triangle didn’t go the way I wanted it to. *pouts*, really, it was every bit as good as the first book. I’m just a sore loser.

Synopsis for Angel Fire

Angel_Fire_amazonAs winter closes in on Kirsten Swenson’s hometown of Sedona, Arizona, and the world moves toward the solstice, strange forces begin to converge on the quiet desert city, seeking to bring about the destruction of everything she knows and loves.

Desperate to save her friends and family, Kirsten accepts the assistance of Martin Jones, a mysterious Man in Black who turns out to be far more than he seems. He helps to awaken the powers that have lain dormant within her…and also compels her to expose the shocking secrets buried in her past. But Kirsten soon learns that giving her heart might not be enough, and that the confrontation with the alien forces may demand her to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Angel Fire was released July 30, 2013, so go pick up your copy now!

Social Media Links
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChristinePopeAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/christinejpope
Website: http://www.christinepope.com/

Giveaway!

And for those of you who might be interested in a giveaway, I’ve got some awesome prizes for you!

Grand Prize (1): Signed print copies of all three books + $25 Amazon Gift Card!

First Prize (1): E-Book copies of all three books + $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Second Prize (2): E-Book copies of all three books + $10 Amazon Gift Card!

Third Prize (3):  E-Book copies of all three books!

Interested? Check out the Rafflecopter below!

–>>>The Rafflecopter giveaway<<<–

Upcoming…

 

cover-BadVibrations Hey guys! I just wanted to give you a bit of a heads up. Right now on Amazon you can get Bad Vibrations [Sedona Trilogy 1] by Christine Pope FREE on Amazon / Kobo / iTunes. If you like alien conspiracy theories, paranormal suspense, and romance… you are going to want to check this book out. I just got a hold of a copy this past week and I can tell you, it was FANTASTIC. I literally devoured it in a handful of hours.  Go! Go now! You can read the description/synopsis below:

When a troubled client visits psychic Persephone O’Brien, the last thing she thinks is that she’s about to be drawn into a far-reaching conspiracy that will change her life forever. Accompanied by a distractingly attractive ufologist—and with a little help from an unlikely group of UFO enthusiasts—she races to stop the alien plot before it’s too late. 

 Moving from the bright lights of Los Angeles to the red rocks of Sedona, Bad Vibrations takes the reader on a wild ride that never lets up until its unforgettable climax.

Also, coming up August 1st, the Sedona Trilogy Blog Tour will be heading this way and right through my little corner of blogland. (as I host a blog tour for the first time EVER!) There will be more news about this exciting trilogy (and the soon to be released 3rd book), an author bio, a giveaway with a chance to win some signed copies, e-books, Amazon giftcards, and reviews! So be sure to check back here August 1st and follow the rest of the blog tour (that runs July 31st-August 13th).

I’d highly recommend anyone go check out the first book in the series and give it a read before the tour starts. I’m already salivating for the rest of the series. Don’t let the cover fool you, the book is amazing!

Book Review: Secrets [Guardian Trilogy 1]

ImageTitle: Secrets [Guardian Trilogy 1]

Author: Liz Schulte

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis: While Olivia Martin observed life through her camera, the Abyss gazed back at her. Mysterious men follow her around, people close to her are dying, and her dreams are no longer her own as she falls head over heels for a perfect stranger. A chance encounter leads to an obsession that could destroy everything she has ever known or loved.

WARNING – SPOILERS WILL ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

This is one of those books where I really wish I hadn’t read any reviews before I read the book. I -rarely- listen to other reviews, but when I do I have this tendency to focus on the negative ones. Why? Because usually I find they’re the most honest (though not always). In this case, I couldn’t disagree more with the negative reviews, but I realize that not everyone will share my opinion.

I think in a lot of ways Secrets is a really good paranormal romance. It manages to do something that not a lot of books in it’s genre do: it keeps the paranormal part of the book secret until really far into the story. I really appreciated the fact that as I was reading, I knew there was something paranormal going on, but it wasn’t until more than 2/3 in that I realized what kind of paranormal it was. Was the book epic and mind-blowing? No. Not really, and there were a few editing mistakes that should have been cleaned up in the first draft… but it was a very good book, and it managed to do a couple of things that I almost always base my good ratings on.

First, the characters were full of depth. Yes, I wish I had gotten to learn more about the histories of the characters, especially Holden, but despite the lack of explanation of his background, I found all of the characters had very unique personalities, and they portrayed a lot of emotions without being horribly angsty. I can appreciate that. On the flip side however, I do think the author had a bit of trouble differentiating the gender of the different voices in this novel. Maybe it’s because the story was written in first person, and maybe it’s just because the author isn’t great at creating unique voices, but I’ll admit that sometimes Holden narrated like a girl. I can’t really explain the difference between how a male and a female character sound different when narrating, but you can almost always tell the difference when you read them. In this case, it was hard to figure out who was speaking until you ran across a name or the actions betrayed who they were.

Second, I think the author did a spectacular job of portraying the romance and attraction between Holden and Olivia. It was clear they loved each other, and it was clear that there were a lot of obstacles in their way. The two characters fought with themselves as well with each other, but their attraction always won out in the end, and thank goodness, they were both willing to sacrifice for the sake of each other. I have to tell you, I was really surprised by the ending. I didn’t think Holden had it in him to shoot Olivia – and was quite startled when he did even though clearly it had been an option for a long time. On the one hand, I was really upset with him for shooting her, but on the other hand, I think it was a perfect tragic end. He needed to shoot her in order to show just how much he really did love her; it really locked in their relationship for me.

I also really liked the twist of the mythos in this book. There are a lot of demon and angel stories, but rarely are they pulled off in such a unique way, and so convincingly. It didn’t feel like this was another angsty-demon superior-goody-two-shoes-angel story. Whatever their labels, it was very clear that they were solid people to me. Whether they were good or evil was a side note, and very much a grey area between them. That balance in character where an evil character can do good things and a good character can do bad things is something a lot of authors skim over, and I thought the author did a wonderful job of balancing their personalities and actions.

I do have to say that one thing I didn’t absolutely love was the way the chapters were set up. There’d be one chapter from Olivia, and then the same chapter from Holden’s point of view. While it was interesting to see how the scenes played out from both character’s side of the story, in Holden’s case, because his chapter always followed Olivia, a lot of the time we were re-hashing the same scene and skimming over the same conversations got rather repetitive. Did that stop me from reading the book? No, but it did bother me at times.

Overall, I have to say that I really enjoyed the book. There were some things that maybe weren’t handled the best way, but in the grand scheme of things, that didn’t keep me from enjoying the book. I was engaged, and I read through it without feeling the need to put the book down and do something else. If an author keeps my interest, then they’ve won me over. Despite the fact I gave this book 4 stars, I have already added the second and third book to my wishlist, and fully intend to read them both. I’m hooked.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes paranormal romance or fantasy with a little bit of mystery thrown in. Right now it’s FREE on Amazon, so grab it while you can. You have nothing to lose.