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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Evanescent by Kristen Portillo

Blurb: Brinn Kiernan is an immortal living in a human body. The problem? She doesn't know it. She must find a cure to the symptoms that plague her before they end her life. Meanwhile she must also dodge attacks on her life by her estranged and immortal, identical twin sister. Will her human body give out on her before she finds the cure or will her sister get to her first? 

Review by Dale:

I seem to be on a roll of recent, fossicking out new and exciting nuggets in the indie world. But this time I've managed to smash all previous conceptions as to just how good indie writers are. 

Kristen Porttillo is a serious threat to the dominance in popularity of the mainstream supernatural romance writers. If I was Stephanie Meyer I'd be afraid, very afraid.

This story is epic, at eight hundred and ten pages on my iPad it is not a quick read. Thats because Portillo has taken her time to create a rich and lucid stage for her characters to play their parts. Each character, unique and careful scripted into the story. There is no wasted dialogue, no random prose or imagery. Every noun, every verb every tantalizing adjective is leading the reader to a fantastic climax. And not just the love, but the adventure thats in store for Brinn as well.

This is a story about love yes, but also about supernatural creatures, Vampires, Miphares, Werewolves and other mysterious and imaginative folk Portillo has created. But above all else it's the writing itself that is so fantastic. The symphony of colorful and thoughtful imagery, the infinite attention to the smallest details. Portillo writes you into Brinn's world. You are an active bystander, experiencing the smells, the cacophonous beating of enamored hearts and heaving of unrequited love right along side her.

A classic triangle of love. Jack the dashing and insanely handsome classmate who pursues Brinn inspite of her disdain for him. Intoxicated by his good looks but uncertain of his intentions Brinn finds herself falling for Jack. But the more time she spends in his company the more she realizes it's a means to seeing more of Seth.

Brinn is affected by the audacious good looks of Seth but his aloofness and apparent dislike for her causes her great angst.  This love triangle twists and turns for most of the first part of the book. Then the heart pounding chapter thirteen marks a turning point in the story and heralds the point that makes it impossible to put this book down.

So who does Brinn finally end up with? The rascallious and cheeky Jack, whose sweet kisses cause hot flushes to rise from Brinn's core? Or Seth, from whom a mere glance is enough to send Brinn into a lustful stupor? Well you will just have to read it to find out.

This book is so exceptionally entertaining, so well written, I have to give it 6 stars! 

So to all you Supernatural lovers, you Twilight junkies, you Vampire Academy attendees, go buy a big bag of candles, some coconut oil and cinnamon (trust me) Download this book and experience it for yourself.

Format: eBook
Available from Smashwords
Link to DownloadHere
Price: $0.99c (at time of review by voucher 
 JB88X code)
Wordcount: 175,000 (appx)
Author:Kristen Portillo

Author's BlogHere

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Adventures In Funeral Crashing by Milda Harris

Blurb: Sixteen year old Kait Lenox has a reputation as the weird girl in her high school and maybe it has a little to do with the fact that Kait has a hobby crashing funerals. At one of these, Kait is outted by the most popular guy in school, Ethan Ripley. Yet, instead of humiliating her, Ethan asks for her help, and Kait finds herself in full on crush, as well as entangled in a murder mystery. 

Reviewed by Dale

I seem to be on a run of chic lit at present. This little gem I picked up yesterday. Its one of those frustrating books that you should never take to bed with you. For two good reasons. One being that Harris has a habit of leaving chapters as cliff hangers, forcing you to stay up till way past the candles best hours. And two, even though you begrudgingly put the ebook reader down and turn out the light your brain still can't resist thinking about 'who dunnit'.

I had my suspicions early on and I was kind of right, but none the less the plot does a great job of rolling you around from suspect to suspect. I think this is a difficult genre to write in and its very evident that Harris has planned this story out well. It has a crisp, fresh momentum that reads well and entertains easily. 

One of my favorite parts of well written stories are what I call the eddies. If a story is a large river, with the main plot the major flow, then its the tiny eddies and back flows that fascinate and add so much depth to a great story. The drama between Kait and Ariel, not overly relevant to the main plot but such a treat to read. I found myself greatly enjoying the asides as the flowed through the book. Kyle and Suzie another great little sub story that has me thinking about my own school days. Sigh.

The characters were full bodied, aged well and believable. There were even a few 'ah ha' moments for me that might have made my school dating shambles a bit more tenable had i only known. (Or read this!)  

It is funny that the last two books I've read have both had men that go beyond perfect as the leading men in the stories. This one has silky hair, the last story had chocolate hair. I guess I'll never be a chic lit writer, I never think of hair. 

So conclusions, this is an easy one. Its good, in fact its very good. Its easy to read, hard to put down and has very likable characters. The story is compelling and although nothing new, it has so much happening around it you certainly won't get bored!. 5 stars, click on the link below and go get it!

Format: eBook
Available from Smashwords
Link to DownloadHere
Price: $0.99c (at time of review)
Wordcount: 67,000 (appx)
Author:Milda Harris

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Atlantis by Lisa Graves

Blurb: Elliott is a mystery. For Lilly, he is an obsession. Lilly's life starts to change dramatically when Elliott moves in next door. Weird things start to happen, and Lilly finds herself questioning her reality. But things aren't what they seem. Packed with hidden codes, Atlantis is a paranormal romance worth getting lost in. Do you believe in Atlantis?  

Review by Dale:

It was a well written post on Facebook that got me interested in reading this one. I think its a bit challenging for me to properly review chic lit. Since its not a genre I spend a lot of time reading. But this story has merits that stretch across several themes. Early on in the piece when Lilly sees a face in the mirror of her bathroom the little hairs on the back of my neck stood up. There are definitely elements of suspense and certainly a compelling mystery that drives this romantic drama along.  Early on in the piece I was likening this book to Audrey Niffenegger's 'The Time Travelers Wife', the multiple scenes that the story kept crossing reminded me of Henry's troubled life.

I have read a Mills and Boone and must confess I spent the entire 200 odd pages waiting for something to happen. Of course it never did. Thats why stores like this are so much better than those dreary tomes my mother collects. This is a story with substance. Characters are far from wooden. They pout and fret, they coddle and betray. In fact by the end of this story I had actually come to dislike Lilly. I felt the way she manipulated young Nicholas's feelings to get what she wanted was cold.

It isn't often a book can carry you along for some 200 hundred pages and yet still give you no idea how the story will end. Some of the darkness that seemed to creep through the imagery that Graves was using had me convinced it would not be a happy ending. At times I was expecting a romantic tragedy, especially with the pervading water themes used throughout the story.

The writing is good, the juicy sizzle-bits will satisfy the romantically minded. Graves shows great skill in writing romance that makes you wish you were a teenager again. Sigh. 

I'm sure young girls who enjoy ready romance that offers more depth than the formulaic Harlequin or M&B will enjoy this. It's currently only 99 cents which is good value for a book this long and this well written.

Format: eBook
Available from Smashwords
Link to DownloadHere
Price: $0.99c (at time of review)
Wordcount: 67,000 (appx)
Author:Lisa Graves

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Guardians of Ga'Hoole by Kathryn Lasky

Blurb: After Soren, a young owlet, is pushed from his family's nest by his older brother, he's plucked from the forest floor by agents from a mysterious school, the St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls. When Soren arrives at St. Aggie's, he suspects there is more to the school than meets the eye. He and his new friend, the clever and scrappy Gylfie, find out that St. Aggie's is actually a training camp where the school's leader can groom young owls to help achieve her goal--to rule the entire owl kingdom.

Review by Dale

Wow! I original discovered this book as a preview for the film on a DVD I was about to watch. I was amazed by the stunning looking cgi effects and a few months later when I saw it for sale in my suns scholastic catalogue I bought it. I was of course curious to see how other authors handle storyies where the main characters are animals. A sly bit of research you might say.

So how can a book about elusive and almost creepy looking Owls be exciting? The truth is you soon get lost in the magic of the story and kind of forget that Soren and Gylfie, the two main characters,  aren't just two rascalous children. Kind of the same way Disney makes you feel about Simba in the lion king.

This story has its dark elements. There is death and lots of sadness. I had the same feelings when I read George Orwell's Animal Farm many years ago. A sort of sinister under story, that permeates through and makes you worry for the characters. I liken it to the spy who goes back under cover for 'one last mission'.

But they do manage to escape their captives of course or there wouldn't be fourteen more books in the series.  Although a few Owls don't make it, and its very sad when the good guys die. But there are so many secrets still to discover. A hallmark of great serialists like Lasky and Rawlings is the long slow boiling story that creeps through a series and only comes together in the final chapters. Thats what keeps me reading these books.   

As an aside note you also learn quite a bit about Owls reading this book. How their wings work and what they eat. Quite fascinating if you are interested in nature. I can see that Lasky has a very good knowledge of these birds, no doubt from years spent watching them.

So the verdict? I am already thinking about book two. Especially after the way this ends. Check it out, or watch the movie?

Format: Paperback Book
Available from Amazon
Guardians of Ga'hoole Boxed Set, Books 1-4Children's Bird Books)
Price: $16.00c (at time of review) 4 Book Box set
Wordcount: 220 pages
Kathryn Lasky