When I had read the first few chapters of this book, I did not realize that I had begun one of the most interesting and surprising stories I would read this year!
The pacing was fine, it just appeared to be far more nominal than it really was. Then I became completely confused. It was disorienting in the way that I thought a major editing issue had occurred. I am glad that I surpressed my urge to demand answers from the author. It seems that I was meant to feel as confused as the protaganist. However, if one does as I had not, and read the blurb, they may not have been as lost as I. I would recommend not, if you are a patient reader. It is for this reason that I have not included the blurb in the beginning of the review.
Chopchinski did a wonderful job! The Curious Tale of Gabrielle is rich in humanity. It entirely sucked me in on an emotional level. The reading was almost as good as having a special braclet. The raw and realistic nature is set within vibrant and detailed sceneries. Each of which are carefully structured and balanced so that their presentations do not detract from the narrative.
I do plan to continue this series, as I desire to follow Gabrielle in her adventures. Another reason is to see the development of it’s prominent theme of upheaval and the occasional need to uproot authority.
I would highly recommend this first in series to any reader that enjoys adventures and mysteries.
About the Author (from Author's Web Page)
Zachary is a bow tie wearing, formal vest rocking, pocket watch using, sarcastic monster of a writer. Currently residing in Orlando, Florida, he spends his days working, writing and procrastinating.
Zach has multiple college degrees, in the fields of criminal justice and criminology…because he wanted to catch ALL the bad guys. Now, coupled with being an author of young adult fiction he spends his days yelling at people for breaking regulatory laws.
Zach is the author of the Gabrielle series, a young adult fantasy with a paranormal-historical-time traveling twist (try saying that five times fast).
Greetings, fellow adventurers! Happy New Year to you all. I realize this kind of a post is a bit late, but I think it can still pass as acceptable. Right? I, like many others, am catching up from the holidays. Thank you for your patience.
I extend my greatest appreciation to everyone who has supported and followed this blog. Since its inception, six months ago, LeafitTOME has gained a surprising number of followers. This would not have been possible without the generosity, experience, and encouraging kindness of others in the literary community. Among these I would like to mention my greatest community supporters: Tara Benham, David Berger, R.L. Blalock, Matthew Cox, Caroline Gill, Ethan Gregory, Carlyle Labuschagne, Courtney Ruggles, Chelsea Starling, and Ednah Walters. Thank you, and the many others, for your various contributions to my efforts.
With the coming of a new year is often found new developments. What would you like to see LeafitTOME do this year? Please enter suggestions in the comments below.
Also, as a big "THANK YOU!" to my readers, I am doing an easy giveaway (Open only to residents of the continuous United States). On January 18th I will be randomly drawing from my subscriber list to award a signed paperback of Skye by Kimberly Loth.
Q’s escape from the Vrai Domicile was supposed to be the final spark to ignite the people. But that spark was doused by a sacrifice that threatens to destroy her.
Now Q must forge a new path. Led deep into the woods to find the elusive Transients, she must not only protect those who escaped the Sixth Domicile with her, but also align with Transients who have their own plans of warfare. And their war calls for more death and destruction than Q ever thought possible.
As Q unites both Transient and Domicilian, she quickly realizes that even in the wilderness, no one is free. They must take the fight back to the Domicile. But this war brings with it more secrets, heartbreaking betrayals, and even worse sacrifices, as Q fights to protect her people from Elders who always seem to be one step ahead.
The face of the Revolution has changed. Q has entered the sauvage – a place she isn’t sure she can survive.
Book 3 in the Readers' Favorite Domicile Series by Courtney Ruggles
I would like to thank Courtney Ruggles and Elephantine Publishing for providing this book for review considerations. This in no way created an obligation to provide a review or the nature of any review given.
Well now. Where to start? I have been following this series since before The Sixth Domicile was even released to the public. While it had done reasonably well, it was far from perfect. I gave it much deserved criticism, and did not imagine myself becoming enthralled by the series as a whole. It has been a wonderful experience to watch the development of this story and its author. I can hardly wait for the next installment, even though I am usually patient if not passive about most series releases.
I was absolutely gripped by this book. And I loved every moment of it! The pacing since the first has improved since the first, and feels right. It is driven by not only the internal conflict of the protagonist, but the events of the story. In the times that Q was finding herself blindsided I was able to completely relate, because I was just as shocked. Be ready for dark revelations, endless momentum, and uncertain conjectures.
The Sauvage Domicile carries variations on the same themes as presented the first two installments, The Sixth Domicile and The Vrai Domicile. Click the links to see more details.
About the Author: (From author's website) Courtney's love for writing dates back to short stories on a word processor (What?? Word processor with floppy disks?). Oh yes, she literally had a card filing case full of floppy disks. Now she continues her writing (she upgraded to a laptop) while living in Southern Ohio with her husband and son.
Although Courtney has always lived in Ohio, sometimes closer to the Ohio River and sometimes further away, she dreams of the mountain ranges out west and the sandy Florida beaches. She married the man of her dreams and had a beautiful blond haired blue eyed boy. Before she sought publication for her first book The Sixth Domicile: Book One of the Domicile Series, Courtney worked as a social worker in a mental health agency where she counseled and provided therapy. After she left full time work, she taught social sciences at a local univeristy and began a photography business. The "extra" time gave her the ability to focus on writing again.
Courtney's background in social work fuels the grit in her stories. When Courtney isn't writing her next book, you can find her doing homework (drag) and sipping flavored coffee, reading young adult and new audlt books (because social work text books are only so interesting), or daydreaming about all the future beach houses she intends to buy.
"THE GIRL IN THE RED HOOD has been looking for her mother for six months, searching from the depths of New York's subways to the heights of its skyscrapers . . .
"THE PRINCE looks like he's from another time entirely, or maybe he's just too good at his job at Ye Old Renaissance Faire . . .
"THE ACTRESS is lighting up Hollywood Boulevard with her spellbinding and strikingly convincing portrayal of a famous fairy. Her name may be big, but her secrets barely fit in one world . . .
"Fifteen-year-old Crescenzo never would have believed his father's carvings were anything more than "stupid toys." All he knows is a boring life in an ordinary Virginia suburb, from which his mother and his best friend have been missing for years. When his father disappears next, all Crescenzo has left is his goofy neighbor, Pietro, who believes he's really Peter Pan and that Crescenzo is the son of Pinocchio. What's more: Pietro insists that they can find their loved ones by looking to the strange collection of wooden figurines Crescenzo's father left behind." (From provided synopsis)
I would like to thank Blaze Publishing for providing this book for review considerations. This in no way created an obligation to provide a review or the nature of any review given.
With Pietro's help, Crescenzo sets off on an adventure to unite the real life counterparts to his figurines. It's enough of a shock that they're actually real, but the night he meets the Girl in the Red Hood, dark truths burst from the past. Suddenly, Crescenzo is tangled in a nightmare where magic mirrors and evil queens rule, and where everyone he loves is running out of time.
This was a fun read and an interesting derivation of classical fairy tales. I was surprised when I read the synopsis, because the title The Carver gave me the impression that it would be a horror novel. It is certainly not. If you have already read this far into the review, you probably already knew this.
The adventure and the environments were, respectively, engaging and rich. The settings range across realms and change which characters are being followed. The transitions are fairly smooth.
Much credit has to be given to thorough editing. Only a couple typos were noticed. This is always welcome as such errors can become a distraction.
While many of the characters had secrets, which unfold throughout the story, they often seemed to lack a depth that they could have otherwise easily possessed. They certainly were fun, but they story seems to have the plot bear the burden of driving the interest. Without a solid development, I found myself viewing the tragedies and betrayals from the same objective distance as reading a stranger's obituary. To be fair, lively character dynamics can also be seen as drama. Also, the characters are not without appeal. It just took a while to become sufficiently interested in their adventure.
This review has been particularly difficult to write because I genuinely like it, but there are aspects that leave it wanting. Defining exactly what that is challenging. I can only think of the following analogy: It was like a baby bird taking its first plunge from the nest. It beats its wings furiously, but lacked coordination. Half way through the fall it gained a sense of rhythm and began to fly. I breathed a sigh of relief as it narrowly escaped the approaching ground. I believe in this bird! Its first flight may have been rocky, but I anticipate its future success. This is why I am looking forward to the release of the sequel The Ivory Queen on January 10, 2017.
I would recommend this fantasy for younger readers.
About the author (from author's page)
When Jacob Devlin was four years old, he would lounge around in Batman pajamas and make semi-autobiographical picture books about an adventurous python named Jake the Snake.
Now he writes not-so-autobiographical novels about everything from small-town acoustic guitar heroes to the son of Pinocchio and his journey through a big world. He is the author of The Carver, a YA fantasy novel published by Blaze Publishing, LLC.
Be sure to browse the site for information about his books and extra goodies related to the worlds he’s created! His characters are known to pop in and play on his blog quite frequently, and his muse sometimes hangs out here and likes to give away presents. Happy reading!
From book 1: “A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond...
“The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.
“Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all--the Crown Prince Aldrik--she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she's known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she's always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla's indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.”
What a ride! I have to say that I am entirely grateful that this series was complete before I began reading it. My consumption of the story had bordered on compulsive, but it was a good thing. I can easily understand how this series has captivated the love of many.
It was easy to become attached to the protagonist, Vhalla. It seemed like she, and her group, could never catch a break. So much hope and heartbreak was spun into the series as Vhalla found herself carried by the whims of the wind. That is until she learns the be the force which guides the fates of men.
While the background is predominately supported by internal dialog, it is not used to the point of excess. That is, the character’s thoughts are subtle in that they do not overtly explain to the reader. The physical scenes were adequately developed but I would have preferred a little more imagery. These things aside, I was carried through the pages as I followed the characters.
Overall, a great series for readers that enjoy heartfelt tales in speculative fiction and heroic adventures.
About the Author
Elise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she is not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She is the author of the Air Awakens Series as well as the upcoming Loom Saga (Keymaster, 2017).
This was an entertaining story, but also carried some interesting lines of inspection on social mechanics. In Autonomy, Jude Houghton explores the consequences of when global policy is dictated entirely by economics. Those who live in squalor and decay should be grateful that they can contribute enough to productivity to earn their minimum subsistence. Those who live a rich life in a city of high rise buildings feel no shame as they provide a means to exist. After all, those wretched souls don't have to accept the work. Other concepts that are explored, is the use of media to foster complacency, and a digital interactive religion to provide hope.
Narration and Structure
Autonomy uses a third person narrative that cycles through a short list of characters. While this can be difficult to manage, Houghton did a fine job. The use of immediate context to indicate a change in perspective, and smooth transitions that enable anticipation of such change made for a comfortable experience. The typographical errors were few, and seemed to mostly occur in the middle segment of the book. They were, overall, not terribly distracting or egregious.
Plot and Characters
This story was heavily layered. Some subtle references, which without context mean nothing, turn out to be quite significant. I enjoy this kind of depth. Even supporting characters have their secrets and motivations hiding beneath their shallow veneers. If one enjoys cerebral engagement than this is possibly the book for you, as is does not employ frequent use of action or interpersonal intrigue to drive the story.
Want to see what others have been saying about this book? Follow the link to see the full tour schedule.
In a world divided between the Hunters and the Warriors, the prisoners who have fallen prey to King Cyrus's decrees are forced into the arena to fight until death. The winner is granted mercy and the privilege to see another sunrise–for the loser, it’s death unto the weak.
Seventeen year-old Princess Echo races towards freedom to find out who she really is, and to put a world that has been swallowed by lies back together again.
And then there’s Ayden. His very existence as a Hunter is forbidden, and with his otherworldly, violet eyes Echo is finding it hard to stay away from him. When death threatens their forbidden love Echo and Ayden are forced to do the unthinkable–how far will they go to be together?
Many thanks to Nadège Richards and Permuted Press for providing a review copy of this book.
In the reading of Burning Bridges I found myself pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I say this because I had already formed a preconceived notion of it. Richards had told me that Burning Bridges was her early work, and disclosed the fact that she felt that it was naïve and not her best. Regardless of this, I moved forward with reading it. While I recognize much of what she meant, I still find the story to be compelling. It captured my attention for reasons I can't seem to appropriately articulate. I intend to read the rest of the series. I am excited to both: see how the journey continues, and witness Richards' metamorphosis as a writer and young woman.
One may wonder how I could expect to see an author's personal growth through their writings. In this book, the author's voice is present in an almost resonant way. The narrative offers subtle reflections on personal issues such as transitions into adulthood, and universal concepts like autonomy versus governance. I anticipate this voice to become clearer and more sophisticated as the series progresses. And I couldn't be more excited.
The characters do not merely serve as a platform for the author's voice, however. Each behaves in a manner that is appropriate to their age and circumstance. Even characters which at first sight appear to be depth-less, turn out to have deeper modes and motivations. The dynamic between the characters is used well to emulate, in the reader, the range of emotions the principal characters experience. A favorite example of this is the confusion about the Queen's mercurial behavior toward her daughter.
The pacing is good, and the narrative hooks are well formed and placed. I found myself easily driven toward the end. The transitions are only awkward in a couple places. This is mostly an editing issue as it is due to incorrect announcement of which first person voice is being used.
For being traditionally published, I was surprised at the number and types of editing issues I found. In addition to the one type already mentioned, there are also quotation marks on non-dialog segments and simple typos. In an overall balance against the positive aspects, it is still a good story. It is strong enough to carry a reader beyond the distractions.
About the author (from author's page)
Nadège Richards is the author of the Bleeding Heart Trilogy and
currently attends college for her BA in journalism. Her name is of French
origin, though she's never been to France. She wrote her first novel about
aliens and goats in the 8th grade and has had a passion for story-telling ever since.
Her friends and family are her biggest inspiration, and the occasional cup of tea.
When not reading and writing obsessively, she's usually found studying, social networking, or at home with her family in sunny Pennsylvania.
“The world had turned to waste; immortality was never meant for man and it drove humanity to the edge of destruction.”
I have heard it said, that sometimes the ideas which sound the most wonderful can turn out to be the worst. Jacinta Maree explores this very concept as it concerns a form of immortality. In Soulless, a person's body is not invulnerable to entropy as is common to most ideas of eternal existence. Instead, when one dies they are reincarnated with the memories and personalities of their previous lives. This poses serious issues for mental health. While a drug has been developed to suppress the voices of the past, it is in short supply. I found this idea to be enjoyable as it is a novel approach to immortality, and a fresh scenario for dystopian fiction.
The two main characters were great. The show of such inescapable dysfunction was exciting and nerve racking. The remaining characters didn't seem to display much depth. Sure, there were surprises from others, but none seemed to be terribly complex. I would have wanted to see more overall personal interaction, and this might have fixed the aforementioned gripe. This is not meant to convey a serious detraction from the book. It's for knowing to expect a sense of personal detachment, and that the story uses accessory characters to support the plot.
The world was as graphic as the book cover which grabbed my attention in the first place (much congratulations to Thander Lin). Appropriate amounts of detail made for a rich experience, but not a burdensome read. I am glad that the world was not a static backdrop of urban decay. There were environments which are typical of dystopian genre, and there were others which seemed almost normal. This is an idea which is often overlooked. When the world falls apart, not everything will be consumed and the lifestyles of some will continue unaffected.
The beginning was fast and I was brimming with speculation. A great launch! I was gripped by Nadia's experiences. But somewhere in the middle the narrative lost it's momentum. I am not sure what happened to the pacing, but my first guess is story elements that do not move the action. I am glad for it hooking me again towards the last quarter. I don't enjoy monitoring my progression, feeling tired at the end, or writing a dismal review. There were also editing issues, which seemed to exacerbate the sluggish middle. When I would just barely become submerged in the story, a typo, missing word, or noun/verb plural disagreement would jar me back to reality. I had not expected to find an editor, let alone two, credited in the front. Not necessarily an indication of poor editing skills, but possibly they had been on the project too long or other ruinous circumstances.
As I intend to request a review copy for the second instalment, readers can be confident in my recommendation of this book, regardless of the detractions. It's premise and conclusion are both great, and can hopefully be considered a rocky start for a potentially awesome series.
About the Author (from authors page)
Born in Melbourne Australia, Jacinta Maree considers herself a chocoholic with an obsession with dragons and Japan. Published in 2012 to USA publisher Staccato Publishing, Jacinta writes a variety of genres from YA paranormal, steampunk, horror and fantasy. Winner of 2014 Horror of the year and best selling author, Jacinta writes to answer all of her absurd questions and to explore themes and characters not often seen in main media.
Welcome readers! Today we have an interview with Erica Stevens, author of the Captive series. As Unbound (the seventh release) has just recently gone live, I bring you this little insight into the series thus far, and maybe some hints at what's next. Erica, you are very kind to take the time with us to answer these questions. Thank you.
Q: What inspired you to write the captive series?
A: Before I started publishing, when I would get stuck on one story, I would jump to another. I was working on Ravenous at the time the idea for Captured hit me.
When I got stuck on Ravenous, I jumped over to start Captured. I wrote the first two books in each series while working back and forth between them.
Q: Are any of you characters based on people you know?
A: Not so much in The Captive Series but in some other series there are a few characters who are very loosely based on people I know.
Q: When writing Broken, did you ever wish you could change the ending for Atticus and Genny?
A: Every single day. I still wish it.
Q: Which of your vampire series do you like best, and why?
A: If this is just for my Erica penname I'd have to go with The Captive Series because the world is so different and I love dystopian/apocalyptic stories.
Plus I love Aria and Braith's love story and Broken was the hardest book I've written so far. It was good to do something so different and out of my comfort zone.
Q: Why did you have to kill Aria's dad?
A: Their world isn't a happy world. It's not one where everything works out perfectly, and though I cried throughout that whole scene, I'd always known his end.
Q: Do you intend to write an elaborated back story of Melinda and Ashby?
A: Ashby and Melinda get more time in Unbound, but that will be the extent of their story.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: What spare time? :) I like to read when I can, go to the gym and on walks. Hang out with friends and family. I love to get away with my husband, he can always make me laugh even on the worst of days.
We're in the process of having a barn built and I'll be getting a horse again soon. I'm hoping to be able to ride and just be around horses again.
Q: What are some of your favorite books to read from other authors?
A: I'm a BIG horror fan and Dean Koontz is my favorite.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice for aspiring authors, what would it be?
A: Don't give up and hang on!
Q: What is the purpose of having two pen names?
A: I wanted to keep my adult books separated from my YA books. There are times I regret doing it and other times when it is really helpful.
Q: There is a theory that the “Queen” must be the progeny of Genny and Atticus. Hypothetically, if this were true, then how would that be possible?
A: That's one I haven't heard before! I guess maybe if there were witches somehow brought into the book and some magic. Now I'm giving myself ideas! ;)
“We're going to get out of this and make them pay!”
After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.
Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.
Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.
It would be easy to say that it is great, for a premier novel. But I won't give it that allowance because, frankly, it doesn't need it. The Surrendered is a great book whether it's Case Maynard's first or fiftieth. I am likely one among many who anticipate her future works with great anticipation. Especially for what has been presented in her first foray into authorship.
I was refreshed with the how the world presents. While futuristic high-tech societies and post-apocalyptic wastelands make for acceptably entertaining environments for a dystopia, they can become a bit worn through. I didn't realize I had become bored with it until I read this book. Maynard sets a completely different stage. The story begins several decades after a complete economic collapse of the United States. The economy is mostly agrarian, with only some post-industrial technology available to the highest priorities. While the country is now well organized and somewhat stable, it is not thriving. This scenario strikes a balance between two predominate themes in dystopian novels, and I appreciate it.
The storyline is executed well. It does not feel formulaic or contrived. The story flows well between chapters and holds the kind of surprises that most readers can appreciate. There sensory details, dialog, action, and internal narrative are well balanced and timed. The only criticism I can offer for the entire book, is that Maynard should have resisted the urge to draw so much attention to Jane's strange behavior. It is fun be uncertain of whether a character's strange behavior is just an aberration, or something to be watching out for. To the author's credit, the reason behind Jane's stony responses was still surprising, but I would rather have not been certain that a surprise was coming. Otherwise, Maynard maintained a reasonable trust in the reader's ability to glean the implications of character's actions.
The characters! I was angry for them. I was angry at them. I fought, laughed, and cried with them. Some are inescapably hatable, while others you hope can be redeemed. There is an element of romance, but it is not the basis or drive to the story. It feels natural in its interaction with the plot. That is to say: the plot is not drawn to accommodate the romance. Instead the romance reacts to the plot. For many this may feel like an insufficient explanation of the characterization. But I do not know how to talk about them without giving far too much away. Just read it, and you'll see what I mean. I know that I have become attached to the characters, and sincerely wish for this to become the first of an amazing series.
about the author:
With over 20 years’ experience in the legal and medical fields, Case Maynard decided to trade in her briefs and reports to write the stories that have been floating around in her head since childhood. She lives with her two teenagers and husband in South Georgia, while maintaining a long-distance liaison with her oldest daughter and partner in crime in Alaska. When not writing, she enjoys reading as often as possible, binge watching anything good on Netflix, and all things NCAA football (Go Noles!). You can learn more about Case and her stories on her website.
I love books! For most of my life I have been reading them, and giving my insights to friends and family. This blog is for sharing that passion with the many others that love books too.