Me, Currently

by Chelsea Buyce
Reviewed by SA

I’m quite easy to please when it comes to poetry: it takes just one good poem, one that speaks to me and stops me in my tracks, to really win me over. And this book was full of them.

Summary34400512

“I am falling apart daily Somehow, I continue to be Held together only by dreams.” Everyone deals with the Heat of romance, the Pressure of life, and the Madness of mental health. Me, Currently provides an insight into some of those moments and feelings verbalized as the author has dealt with, witnessed or fantasized them. This collection of poetry is written by an unfinished woman who has felt like a bit of an outcast throughout her life. Her poems prove that we are all more alike than we know. For the author, these poems are an escape and more importantly, they are a release. For some readers, these poems can connect them to a world they may never have otherwise entered. For others, may these poems serve as a hatch from which they can unleash their love, hurt, and hopes.

Musings

I struggle to write reviews of poems: my experience with poetry tends to be in the I like it/I don’t realm, though years of english class with brilliant teachers means I can probably ramble on about a single poem for a while. So here I’m aiming for something in the middle: a comprehensive review of my thoughts on this collection.

The collection is split into three parts: Heat (love, romance, relationships), Pressure (life, stress), and Madness (mental health, anxiety, depression). The title, “Me, Currently,” is a direct reference to the poet’s current state in her life.

Heat was quite beautiful. The poems on the loss of love packed a punch, while the poems on love itself were a little cute. “Earned Grin” was short and sweet: Your Smile/Holds/A secret/ That the rest/ of the world/ aches to learn. I really connected with that one, and many others. Of the three parts, this one might have been the weakest, simply because I’m not sure about the flow of their collection here.

Pressure was insanely relatable. “Moments” was a fantastic poem, and “Motivation” is going on my wall. It’s always a little unsettling for me (in a good way) when a poet puts into words something that’s in my head, and there’s the realization that I’m not alone in thinking that way. A few of the poems seemed like they were meant for the first part of the book, but I trust the order the poet picked.

Madness was beautiful, relatable, and a bit scary. I think this was by far the poet’s strongest part. I want “She was Poetry” etched on my tombstone, please. “Big Plans” has me written all over it. This section slowly becomes darker and darker, until the very last poem, which I think can be read either way: the poet speaks of freedom, weightlessness, though the poem is entitled “Drained” and it ends with “feinting, feinting.” I don’t know if the author has found freedom through her work, or has fallen into deeper despair. It makes me want to check up on the poet, to see if she’s ok.

Overall, the poet has shown herself incredibly talented and insightful at capturing human nature. I do feel that some poems were a little forced, not in content, but in how they might have searched a little too hard for a rhyming scheme that maybe wasn’t necessary. The ones that stood out to me generally had a more free flowing form, which the poet excels at.

All in all, this is a beautiful and evocative collection. It puts into words the thoughts and feelings that need to be talked about.

 

Someday I’ll Be Redeemed

by Kelly Blanchard
Reviewed by Sarah A

Happy Self Published Saturday! I’m so excited to share this book with you, that I spent the past week speed reading it so I could talk about it STAT – it’s quite a long book, and so full of incredible… well, everything… that I didn’t want to wait until next week.

Someday I’ll Be Redeemed is the first in the Chronicles of Lorrek series, set in a high/epic fantasy universe and infused with science fiction and technology. It’s full of political intrigue, plots, and magic, along with characters so complex they’ll have your head spinning. By the end of it, you’ll be devastated – and yes, that’s a good thing.

Summary29508720

Everyone thinks him to be dead–or guilty. Without a word or sighting of Prince Lorrek of Cuskelom these last ten years, all believe the rumors of his crimes, which he is said to have committed, are true. However, when he finally returns to clear his name, Lorrek realizes the only way to find redemption is to become the very man they think him to be in this time when advanced technology challenges ancient magic to war.

Musings

Lorrek’s been dead for a decade – only he hasn’t. When he appears at the gates of a neighboring kingdom, begging for sanctuary, he begins a chain of events that put the realms on the brink of war… but what really happened, ten years ago, that shattered the kingdoms?

I have to admit, at first, I was struggling to get into this book: the political back and forth is not usually my cup of tea, and took a little while for me to follow. The effort in world building here is outstanding, but the author has a lot to tell in so short of time that I felt overwhelmed by the information. But as soon as the ball is rolling, the story gets faster and more exciting, to the point where you cannot put it down.

This is especially true in the second half of the book, which takes place back before the events that sent Lorrek into Oblivion. Here, we have medieval fantasy characters coming to a realm of technological innovation in search of a cure for Lorrek’s cousin (and subsequent lookalike) whose magic has been infecting him. But no-one’s motives are as they seem, and there’s a lot more going on than anyone can realize… this for me was an outstanding portion of the book, and it had me completely engrossed.

And the ending? I have no words. Ok, maybe one – WOW.

Which is not to say I wasn’t impressed with the rest of the novel – the first half lays the groundwork, filling you with so many questions, while the second answers them, in such a way that you can’t help but notice just how intricate the plot really is. Everything is connected. And the way the characters grow and change in those ten years? Incredible writing.

Speaking of the characters, I just love them. Vix is by far my favorite: a brilliant assassin, who can be hard and cold but also adorable and romantic. There’s a depth to her you hardly ever see in fantasy women. Even the villains aren’t 100% evil – we see their motivations, we even root for them at moments.

Stylistically, the author could have done with a little less repetition: sometimes a sentence would pull me out of the story, which got a little annoying. But no matter. The story is what counts, and Blanchard has crafted a complex narrative with brilliant world building and relatable characters. I just can’t wait for the sequel!

You can purchase Someday I’ll Be Redeemed here on amazon, in ebook and paperback. Don’t forget to check out the sequel, I Still Have A Soul!

Untamed – Relaunched!

A few months ago, I came here talking to you about a fantastic YA novel that was really out of this world. Amazing world building, coupled with fantastic characters and a fast paced plot, Untamed by Madeline Dyer is destined to become a hit.

Today, I’m excited to announce that this brilliant book has been RELAUNCHED with an amazing new cover. Not only that, but the sequel will be relaunched as well, just two weeks from now.

And, bookworms, I have to say, I’m personally really excited about this book. Now that the author is going self published, I will be speaking a lot about her in my Self Published Saturday posts, and keep you updated on this fantastic series. I adored the first novel and I can’t wait for the sequel, and now I love them even more because of the kick-ass cover.

As this is a relaunch, I’m going to repost my original review of this book –  Spoiler free, of course! But just LOOK at that beautiful new cover!


Sometimes a book comes along that catches you off guard. You finish reading it and just think: wow, wow… That was fun, exciting, everything I wanted in a book. Can I get another? Well, Untamed was that book for me. It’s the perfect book to pull you out of a reading slump and remind you that a good plot can take you anywhere. And did I mention it’s exciting, and impossible to put down?

Summaryuntamed-cover

As one of the last Untamed humans left in the world, Seven’s life has always been controlled by tight rules. Stay away from the Enhanced. Don’t question your leader. And, most importantly, never switch sides–because once you’re Enhanced there’s no going back. Even if you have become the perfect human being.

But after a disastrous raid on an Enhanced city, Seven soon finds herself in her enemy’s power. Realizing it’s only a matter of time before she too develops a taste for the chemical augmenters responsible for the erosion of humanity, Seven knows she must act quickly if she’s to escape and save her family from the same fate.

Yet, as one of the most powerful Seers that the Untamed and Enhanced have ever known, Seven quickly discovers that she alone holds the key to the survival of only one race. But things aren’t clear-cut anymore, and with Seven now questioning the very beliefs she was raised on, she knows she has an important choice to make. One that has two very different outcomes.

Seven must choose wisely whose side she joins, for the War of Humanity is underway, and Death never takes kindly to traitors.

The novel throws you right into the action, even from the first line. We follow Seven, a young woman who lives in this dark future where most of the population is addicted to mood enhancing drugs. The drugs, or Augmenters, can also make you more beautiful, stronger, faster, smarter… at the cost of your humanity. You feel no negative emotions, and your eyes glaze over with a mirror-like sheen. Those who are augmenter free live in constant fear of being converted – they are called Untamed, and Seven is one of them.

After Seven is captured, and then saved from the Enhanced, her life is constantly torn between the two camps. She’s addicted, to put it mildly. This makes her a fascinating character, as she tries to make the right decisions for her camp, while at the same time craving something she knows she mustn’t have. it’s a mental tug of war, a fight against addiction that many, unfortunately, know too well.

The world that Dyer has created is just so dang fascinating. It’s a world in which not only we have these two opposing forces, but spirits are loose as well. Spirits that can influence Seven’s visions, or physically hinder the gang as they try to escape the clutches of the Enhanced. It’s pretty brilliant the way the author intertwines reality with these spirits, making you wonder just how they came into being and why they hold so much importance. It feels like a combination of the far future and the past.

But I have to say what sol me on this novel was really the author’s effortless style. It’s perfect, making it easy to get sucked into the story and yet impossible to put down. I found myself eagerly turning the pages until I was outraged that there were none left to turn. The plot could easily have come off as being something seen before, but instead I felt like I was reading something entirely new, which plot twists I definitely did not see coming.

If you need a kick-butt story with amazing characters and outstanding world building, pick up a copy of Untamed. You deserve it.

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My thoughts about this book have not changed in those months, except maybe to get stronger. I remember just how blown away I was by the author’s ability to conjure up images of Seven’s world so vividly in my mind.

it’s a beautiful book, both inside and out. And I know you want to read it! For the next two weeks, this new edition of Untamed will be $1.99/£1.99 (or less, depending on the retailer) on all platforms. Join with me in spreading the word!

Author’s website! And you can purchase the book on AmazoniBooks, and Kobo.

 

Space Team

by Barry J. Hutchison
Reviewed by Sarah

First book of the new year! I’ve had this book on my TBR pile for ages, saving it for a bad day so it could cheer me up. And it did more than that – this book is a pure delight. It combines everything I love about space travel, crazy adventures, and hilarious comedy, along with a cast of characters you fall in love with from page one. Hold on to your seats – this book is Fonking hilarious.

Summary32058824

Cal Carver is having a bad day. Imprisoned and forced to share a cell with a cannibalistic serial killer, Cal thinks things can’t possibly get any worse.

He is wrong.

It’s not until two-thirds of the human race is wiped out and Cal is abducted by aliens that his day really starts to go downhill.

Whisked across the galaxy, Cal is thrown into a team of some of the sector’s most notorious villains and scumbags. Their mission should be simple enough, but as one screw-up leads to another, they find themselves in a frantic battle to save an entire alien civilization – and its god – from total annihilation.

Musings

So. You’ve got an identity thief forced to work alongside villains and soldiers on what’s supposed to be an easy assignment, just doing a drop on behalf of a prominent interstellar corporation. It’s definitely a recipe for disaster. Cal will do anything to survive, including pretending to be a cannibal, resisting the advances of a wolf, or befriending a lump of sentient green shapeshifting goop. And that’s just the start of his problems.

This was the first book I’ve read in a long time that was laugh-out-loud hilarious. And I’ve missed that so much – I really wish more books were like Space Team. Whether it’s the witty comments, the snark from Cal or any of his compatriots, or the ridiculous situations they get themselves into on the worst assignment ever, it just makes me insanely happy to read it. It reminds me of Guardians of the Galaxy (for the rag tag team of villains aspect), definitely giving off a Terry Pratchett vibe for the humor (on par with Douglas Adams, though less introspective if you hate that) and – oddly – the characters remind of of Brooklyn 99, if it was set in space and everyone hated each other just a tad.

The characters’ complexity also got me. No one is what they seem on the surface. You have the wolf girl who’s oddly attracted to Cal (which at first bugged me, until it became clear why), who seems to have an interesting family dynamic. You have the top-of-her-class soldier, desperate to look good to her commanding officers but doomed to fail from the stars, you have the Mech who can either be the bulk or the brains, but never both at once, and you have a lump of sentient green shapeshifting goop, who by the end of the book is your best friend. I feel like we’ve only just scratched the surface of these characters lives, and I’m dying to know more.

And it’s just so gosh darn clever. So much of this book was hilarious just by how on point it was. The running gags the likes of Arrested Development. The Sci fi references left and right. Cal’s obsession with putting the word space in front of everything, for example. Or his fixation on Toby Maguire. Or the awful swearing. It’s just non stop, pages turning themselves, impossible to put down except when you’re laughing so hard and there are tears in your eyes and you need to stop because you can’t see anything anymore.

Now I’m going to run and grab book 2. You can grab Space Team right here, right now.

Angel Tormented

by C.L. Coffey

Book three! Finally! After Angel in Trainer and Angel Eclipsed, I had great expectations for the Lousiangel series. And book three does not disappoint: quite the opposite, it shatters all expectations and delivers a powerful third installment, possibly the best in the series yet.

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With people are camping outside the churches in the city, waiting for their own miracles, trying to keep a low profile has been an easy task. Michael has had her under house arrest and with the cherubim gone and the remaining angels too busy (or lazy) to help, Angel has been too distracted to worry about the fact there are two Princes’ of Darkness in New Orleans. Until Ty – the Nephilim she doesn’t know if she should trust – comes to her with information that could lead to the end of Asmodeus.

When tragedy strikes, Angel has her hands full trying not to let the convent descend into chaos. The list of things Angel must accomplish keeps getting longer, and as each item grows more important, so too does the urgency at which it must be completed. With her list of allies constantly changing, can Angel remove the evil from New Orleans and keep Joshua safe?

For those of you just joining us, the Louisiangel series tells the story of Angel, a young woman who’s recruited into the heavenly ranks to try and fight an oncoming evil. Set in the city of New Orleans, she must protect her charge, the detective Joshua, from danger while trying to solve the mystery of what the Princes of Darkness are planning for the world. My reviews of Book 1 and Book 2 are here. If you haven’t read either two, you might get spoiled as we go on!

Book three takes off in the aftermath of Ty’s leak to the press. People are clamoring for miracles, and Angel is lying low, trying to work out what is happening with Beelzebub and Asmodeus while staying out of sight. But with the cherubs gone, it’s almost impossible to get anything done. Especially since the angles can’t seem to do anything for themselves.

But the novel picks up speed incredibly fast. First of all, a main character we know and love is brutally murdered, and now, the stakes have never been higher. The book is much faster paced than the first two, and you really feel the importance of what’s going down. There’s more than one murder to solve, and ranks to pull together: it’s getting serious, and it’s going down. The Princes of Darkness have got a plan, and Lucifer’s at the heart of it: but what on earth are they intending?

I love how you can really see Angel’s character growth in this book. She’s fed up with waiting for orders. She’s tougher than ever, and she’s out with a vengeance. Her relationship with Joshua is also moving forward, and I’m so glad to see how strong they are together. It’s cute and romantic while also being badass, all without being the center of the plot.

This book is much darker than the ones before. The stakes are higher than ever, and Angel is not going to take it for much longer. So many twists, with a powerful ending to boot, and now I’m dying to know what happens next.

If you’re a fan of Supernatural, you need to read this series. It’s fantastic.

 

Dangerous Ways

by R.R. Virdi

Those of you you have been reading this blog regularly probably are aware of my obsession with this amazing self published author, R.R. Virdi. He’s the author of the Grave Report series, nominated for a dragon award, overall amazing person, and about to launch a new series, “The Books of Winter,” an Urban Fantasy world that’s set to become a classic. I’ve had the privilege of reading Dangerous ways – the first book – and I have a lot to tell you!

Summarydangerous-ways

Jonathan Hawthorne has lived over a century beholden to one rule: do not meddle in mortal affairs. He’s broken it twice. So when he crosses paths with Cassidy Winters, he’s forced to interfere again.
Strike three. And the third time’s not the charm.
Hawthorne is swept along as Cassidy slips through the cracks in reality. And being hunted by bands of monsters doesn’t help.
To find the answers they need, they’ll have to play in a dangerous world. One where the odds and rules are stacked against them. They will have to navigate magical courts, queens and lords all while trying to keep Cassidy out of their scheming hands.
If they fail, she will end up a pawn in a plot that will consume them all.
Hawthorne will have to face the consequences of his past, and risk his future to ensure Cassidy can have one of her own.
For a man with all the time in the world–it seems to be running out–fast!

Musings

Fans of the Grave Report series will be pleased to know that the author has kept the same wit and charm that draws you into his works. We’re exploring much much more of the world that Vincent comes from, from a completely different angle. The worldbuilding that has gone into this series is outstanding: from the Trolls to the Magic itself, the creative twists to the lore will have you spellbound.

We’re introduced to a new character, Johnathan Hawthorne, an immortal who cares too much about helping us mere mortals – though admittedly, it’s not like he plans to get swept up into other people’s messes . When Cassidy Winters – Cassie – falls into his life, he has no choice but to help her. He’s a girl who can create rips in the universe… and every faction wants a piece of her.

It’s a race against the clock, a fight against his own institution, a desperate quest to help this girl and stop the people who want her dead. This of course means dragging some unwilling allies along into this, or traveling to places where they’re not exactly welcome. No one said it was going to be easy.

There’s just so much to love about this book. The effortless style that sweeps you into the narrative and sucks you into the plot – it seems as though the author had as much fun writing it as we have reading it. And truth is, this thing is a monster of a book: it’s about the size of  A Game of Thrones, though I admit I read Dangerous Ways in half the time because it was just so impossible to put down.

If you need a book to gift your friends this holiday season, might I suggest this one. It’s fun, exciting, and absolutely huge to boot! You’re going to need a copy yourself – but you only have to wait until December 14th.

Angel Eclipsed

by C.L Coffey

Sorry folks that I haven’t been reviewing as frequently as I’d like to! Midterms have been popping up left and right and it’s all I can do to keep up. Luckily, the amazing C.L. Coffey sent me the sequels to Angel in Training (which I reviewed not too long ago, here) and they offered a well needed break from my insanity here. Angel Eclipsed is a fantastic sequel to a fantastic book, and I can’t wait to tell you about it!

26088931Summary

Six weeks ago, Angel earned her wings. Six weeks ago, Angel killed an innocent person. Six weeks ago, Angel set Lucifer free.

Michael doesn’t accept that Lucifer is alive, let alone free, and he should know – he was the one to kill him. Thankfully, Veronica and the cherubim are on her side, only they seem more interested in proving Michael wrong than helping put Lucifer back in hell.

Then there’s Joshua. Angel is convinced that the best way for her charge to stay alive is for her to stay away. The problem is that Michael is adamant she remain his guardian angel.

Can Angel keep her charge and New Orleans safe from the evil that is lurking, or will her own demons be their downfall?

Musings

It’s been six weeks since the events of book 1, and Angel is spiraling out of control. Depressed and mentally stuck in the moment she killed Lilah, she hasn’t eaten or slept, or even left her room for that matter. But when Joshua radio flares up, she forces herself up out of the house and back to save her charge. Step one was getting out of her room: step two is coming to terms with what she did.

The author didn’t skimp on the pain that accompanies guilt. Angel is truly suffering, with PTSD on top of her angelic guilt. So it’s not that easy, with all that on your shoulders, to try and convince the people around you that Lucifer has risen. Michael refuses to believe her, which just makes everything worse. Angel might have earned her wings, but she has yet to earn his trust – and him, hers.

Angel is now leading her own investigation into the unsettling club, “Bee’s,” that had taken up so much of her focus in the first book. But she’s not entirely alone: Veronica the cherub might be the only one who believes her about Lucifer rising, and she’s determined to prove it. With Joshua by her side, and a few new allies, the stakeout begins.

The novel focuses more on Angel’s growing relationship with her charge, Joshua. They both have definite feelings for each other, but everything is banned by Michael. A bit of “will they, won’t they” spices up the novel, as Angel tries to balance her work life and potential love life.

The only fault I could give this novel was that the pacing was off. The novel was pretty slow for the most part, without anything really happening until the last fifty or so pages: but dang, what an ending! I was so excited as the pieces fell into place, and I can’t wait for more. THAT ENDING! Luckily I have the third book to look forward to!

Also – I love the little jokes about Supernatural! fun little easter eggs for the reader. If you like the show, then you’d definitely love the Lousiangel series.