Thursday, July 27, 2017

5 stars! Static Mayhem by Edward Aubry #fantasy #magic

One of the most original story ideas I've ever read! Lots of fun, tension, and even a pixie. 5 star review - go get this book!

~ About the book ~
A year after the world was thrown into magical chaos, Harrison Cody takes part in an expedition to learn the cause.

What his team finds is an unfathomable enemy, who intends to finish what was started and wipe out every remaining survivor.

Harrison is the key to stopping it, but doing so will come with an unbelievable sacrifice, one he might not be willing to make.

~ My Review ~
I’ve read the original Mayhem book, as well as Prelude to Mayhem, which is book 1 in splitting the original into two parts. When I learned of this approach, I wasn’t sure it would make sense as I liked the original and change is hard for me! ;-) But I did enjoy seeing the characters and the new world more in-depth in Prelude.

Static Mayhem also did not disappoint. We learn just a bit more about the characters, their pasts, their personalities and the world is described in greater detail which is all great fun. This book is a bit darker, less of discovery, more a mission to possibly return the all the mayhem to boring normalcy (of course that would restore a lot of lives but sad to lose magic!)

The main character, Harrison, has some rough moments in this book. He transitions from an amusing, sometimes blundering, but very likeable guy to someone in a leadership role in a scary world with someone actively trying to wipe them out. Being thrust into this kind of difficulty is understandably hard, especially balanced with Harrison’s determination to save those he cares about, even if it means sacrificing himself.

As usual, Glimmer is my favorite character. I enjoyed learning more about her decidedly odd circumstance of being the only pixie left as well as just how powerful she might be. We don’t see as much of Dorothy and Mitchell in this book for logical reasons, but I thoroughly enjoyed the continuation of the story and can hardly wait for the next installment.

Static Mayhem is highly recommended, both for those who read the original and those who haven’t.

I received a copy of the ebook in exchange for my honest review.

~ Purchase links ~

~ Previous book in the series ~

~ About the author ~

Edward Aubry is a graduate of Wesleyan University, with a degree in music composition. Improbably, this preceded a career as a teacher of high school mathematics and creative writing.

Over the last few years, he has gradually transitioned from being a teacher who writes novels on the side to a novelist who teaches to support his family. He is also a poet, his sole published work in that form being the sixteen stanza “The History of Mathematics.”

He now lives in rural Pennsylvania with his wife and three spectacular daughters, where he fills his non-teaching hours spinning tales of time-travel, wise-cracking pixies, and an assortment of other impossible things.

Monday, April 24, 2017

5* review of Subversion by @MelindaFriesen @ChapterXChapter #ya #dystopian #giveaway

~About the book~
Subversion (One Bright Future #2) by Melinda Friesen
Publication Date: August 31, 2016
Publisher:  Rebelight Publishing
“I surrender my days, my efforts, myself to the OneEarth Bank . . .”

After fleeing slavery, Rielle James burns with the desire to topple OneEarth Bank and end its enslavement of young people as Contracts. When she learns that her friend Nathan has been sold to a logging company where Contracts die or vanish without a trace, she assumes a false identity and becomes a slave again to help him escape.

Her act of subversion uncovers the horrific truth behind the OneEarth Bank’s role in Contract disappearances and its link to a global pandemic.

Can Rielle and Nathan escape and expose the truth before it’s too late?

~My Review~
One word review: Wow!

The details:
I enjoyed Enslavement, the first book in Melinda Friesen’s One Bright Future series, so jumped at the chance to review Subversion, book 2 even though I have started a business and my writing/reading world has diminished over the past year. Even though I enjoyed book 1, I did comment in my review that I thought Rielle, the main character, allowed things to happen to her, she wasn’t really taking the reins in her own rescue.

That thought is completely and instantly gone from the first pages of Subversion. Rielle is determined to rescue Nathan, a fellow Contract at the Banker’s house. He was supposed to help her escape in Enslavement, but when things go wrong, she escapes without him and he’s captured and sold into a very dangerous position at a logging camp.

Even though Rielle is now with Justin, nephew to her previous owner and supporter of ending the slavery setup, she can’t leave Nathan to die, so she conspires to be sent to the camp to rescue him. And Rielle’s rebel aunt finds a way to communicate with her and asks her to up the risk by finding out what secret the camp is hiding and why so many people are disappearing there.

Of course Nathan would rather she be safe rather than risk her life saving him, so the rescue starts on rocky footing. There is daily tension between her kitchen co-workers, the often injured loggers, and the brutal supervisors. Rielle doesn’t back down even when she should. I won’t give away the rest of the story, but the action and tension are non-stop, Rielle is a true hero through gut-wrenching twists. The ending is painful, because of course it’s not the end and book 3 can’t come soon enough.

The writing is top-notch, grammar and punctuation in good shape, the story excellent. 5 stars. Don’t miss this one – go read Enslavement to get the maximum enjoyment from Subversion and then deal with waiting for book 3 like me!

Link to Goodreads:

Purchase Links:
Buy Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TBD | IndieBound

Link to Tour Schedule:

Giveaway Details:
  •         Two (2) winners will received a physical copy of Subversion by Melinda Friesen (US/Canada)
  • ·       Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Subversion by Melinda Friesen (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other books in the series:
"One world. One currency. One bright future."

That's the promise made by OneEarth Bank after a global economic collapse--but only for those who accept the insertion of a commerce chip.

When Rielle's parents refuse to comply, government officials tear her family apart. As punishment for her parent's crimes, Rielle is forced into a Community Service Contract--a legalized form of slavery--and sold to a wealthy, abusive banker.

The Banker's secrets hold the key to Rielle's freedom, but will she risk prison or even death to escape and search for her family?

~About the author~
Melinda Friesen was born in Portland, Oregon. She attended school in Texas and met a vastly interesting Canadian man, who she allowed to drag her to his home in the wilds of Manitoba, Canada. Living in an igloo wasn't easy. Wait. She didn't actually live in an igloo, but that would make this story much more interesting.

Among her accomplishments are surviving -40 degree weather, gestating four human beings inside her body, and staying happily married to that Canadian man for over 20 years despite the weather conditions he's exposed her to. And she writes too!

Melinda Friesen writes short stories and novels for teens. Enslavement, a YA sci-fi/dystopian read, is her first published novel and the first book in the One Bright Future series. Her work has appeared in Freefall Magazine, the Metro News and the upcoming Forging Freedom II anthology. She was shortlisted in the Writers' Village International novel contest, spring 2014. Her short stories have placed in several contests including earning grand prize in the 2013 Central Canada Lit Fest short story contest.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest

Friday, January 27, 2017

Review of The Amaranthine Chronicles by Tiffany Shand #fantasy

~ About the book ~
Title: The Amaranthine Chronicles Box Set (3 Novellas)
Author Name: Tiffany Shand
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: January 25, 2017
Page Count: 203



Follow the Tour to Read Reviews of The Amaranthine Chronicles:

~ The Novellas in the Box Set ~
Betrayed by Blood:
In a city of lies and deception, only one thing stands between chaos and justice. For centuries, a band of outlaws called the Amaranthine has kept the peace in Ormere and hidden in plain sight whilst the Order of Sorcerers spreads their deadly magic among the city’s inhabitants.

After losing her fiancĂ© in [a] bust gone wrong, Amaranthine Agent Kaylan Avilion returns home to discover that Elijah didn’t die but instead was changed by the twisted guards of the Order, who seek to find a dangerous artifact tied to Kaylan’s past and the murder of her family. When her sister goes missing and a foe from their past remerges, Kaylan knows she must save Freya before she’s poisoned by the very people who took Elijah away from her. But how will Kaylan react when she learns Elijah’s secret and can they come together to stop the Order’s plan in time?

Dark Revenge:
Darkness is sweeping through the city of Ormere as unnatural creatures stalk through the streets. People are dying and time is running out as a new evil threatens to take control of everything. The Amaranthine Order has been decimated leaving only a few of its people left to fight the coming terror.

Stunned by her sister Freya’s betrayal and plot to take over the city, Kaylan must do everything she can to find out what Freya plans to do when she finds an infamous book linked to the murder of their family. A book considered so dangerous that the last High Lord erased its location from history, the Amaranthine Chronicles are said to contain the darkest of all magics.

Kaylan is happy to finally have her ex-fiancĂ©, Elijah, back in her life but he’s not the man she once knew and loved. After being turned into a shapeshifter, Elijah struggles to control his inner beast and his lingering feelings for Kaylan.

Can Elijah and Kaylan come together to stop Freya and uncover the secrets of the book before it’s too late?

The Final Battle:
Darkness has claimed the city of Ormere and death has become a certainty for anyone stalking its empty streets. The government is in ruins and lawlessness ensues.

After their last encounter, Kaylan and Elijah barely managed to thwart her sister, Freya’s, latest attempts to find and use the elusive Amaranthine Chronicles. But in her desperation to receive ultimate power, Freya will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Even if it means destroying the last of her family.

Kaylan and Elijah must work on their fragile relationship and put their personal feelings aside to find the book and stop Freya before it’s too late. But with their allies growing thin, and a gang of ruthless shapeshifters close on their trail, will they finally find the book and stop Freya before time runs out? And will Kaylan have to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her city and the man she loves?

~ My Review ~
The Amaranthine Chronicles is set in an imaginative world of magic, mental powers, shapeshifters, and of course, the typical good guys and bad guys and really bad guys. The characters are well developed and it's clear what each are striving for. 

The main character, Kaylan, can fly, even carrying her wolf-form boyfriend, communicate with him and others mentally. Some of the other Amaranthine agents carry crystals and charms for instant transportation, creation of light, and other miscellaneous abilities that pop up when needed. 

Good thing for the flying ability or Kaylan and Elijah wouldn't be able to break into a mansion repeatedly by going through upper floor windows. While Kaylan tries to find her sister, the city is overrun with creatures that have been turned into shifters of some kind and are uncontrollable since they're recently turned. Virtually every Amarantine agent is killed except Kaylan and her group. Through the novellas, it's revealed to Kaylan that her memories have been altered and much of what she knows about her deceased father and sister is untrue. She and Elijah end up in several tense situations, barely escaping death.

I give the story concept and setting 3 stars and many people will enjoy it. However, for writers or people who like to pick books apart or have even a tinge of grammar Nazi in them, overall the book falls short with typos, missing words, half-edited sentences, punctuation issues, and many confusing pronouns. I give it 2 stars for writing as that's a hot button for me and will round the overall rating to 3 stars just in case I received an unedited copy. If you know the type of reader you are, you will either enjoy the series or experience some frustrations.

~ About the author ~
Tiffany Shand started writing short stories when she was a child. After doing a creative writing course in her teens, she discovered her love of nonfiction writing and is now a freelance writer and professional editor.

She writes both non-fiction for writers and fiction, and is the author of the urban fantasy Excalibar Investigations Series. When she’s not writing, you’ll usually find her reading.

Tiffany lives in Essex, UK with her family, two very spoiled cats and a hamster.