Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sacred Promises by Jennifer Hines and Mindy Bigham, A Book Review

A story combining fantasy, love and mystery with a wand of magic.  It really is magic that weaves the characters together into a nice storyline.  You want to see what happens, and actually aren't sure at times which character to root for.

Ah, the love of youth.  Who said that?  I don't think the delight, the depth, or the need of love change at any age.  It stays just as exuberant, and enveloping whether you're 16 or 86, and the emotions these characters make you feel, explodes that theory.

Some and maybe many of the thoughts and statements made by Abbey, the lead character, will remind you of yourself at some point in your life.  Her raw honesty and vulnerability, yet solid determination and integrity make you really feel and know her as a real person you would have had as your best friend.  You just like her.  She doesn't do the stupid, 'I saw that coming' things that many authors create.  What she does do, and surmising you think 'oh here it is', doesn't turn out to be what you expected, at least not for me.  As I said, I thought the character was solid.  She made me really like her.

The supporting characters each had their defined personalities and made it easy for you to cling, support, or dislike them.  Although even the ones you didn't like too well, were integrated and developed so you still liked and maybe even admired some part of them.  The two guys (men) or whatever, kept you thinking and wondering, and were amazingly well done.  Their emotions brought you straight to their core wanting to not only know more, but meet someone just like them in the real world.  Their reveal was slow and steady until it built to the point of where you had to know what was happening next.  You wanted to know them, you wanted to protect them, fight with them, and make them happy.  It was exacerbating and exhilarating at the same time.

I really wasn't expecting a love story to this degree, but the authors really did a great job of reeling you in and keeping you there.  The fantasy makes the storyline so much fun and unexpected at times but the love interests are what kept me attached page after page.  I had to know how it turned out.
Saying I enjoyed the book would be true, but in reality I totally loved the whole story, how it was written, the characters, the creativity, and I'm exited their story will continue.  It's just one of those books that have to have a sequel, and I can't wait for it.  If you like love stories, and/or fantasies, then you will really enjoy this book.  Buy it, you will be glad you did, and waiting for the sequel like me.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Four's A Crowd by Maria Bradley, A Book Review

Very creative intrigue, twists you don't see coming, characters that become your friends, and a story that's written to keep you turning the pages.
I can't imagine anyone not liking this story and looking for more from Maria Bradley.  It's written with details that give you access to a movie screen.  You can see their faces, places, and even the character's souls.  I was surprised and actually excited for this story.  It's one I can give as gifts and be excited and proud to watch them open it.
The title was curious to me though.  I wondered how Maria came about that phrase, and didn't see how it related after reading the books blurb.  Surprise was on me when I saw the connection.  Then my thought was, clever!

The story seems simple enough, three characters, murder, mystery, you know the usual plot.  Surprise again.  Nothing I imagined it was about, met the author.  She was in a whole other realm of thought and thankfully so.

The storyline keeps moving with new information and twists you hadn't even thought of.  It compels you to turn every page and figure it all out before the author spells it out for you.  After all, this is a young adult book right?  It should be easy.  Luckily it is anything but easy, and that is the best part.

So the plot in theory may be simple, but the execution is artfully creative with cohesive characters and events.  Then Maria takes the simple and sprinkles it with surprise and a few 'oh my' twists which actually obliterates the simple.  Get the picture?  It's a moving story unlike anything you had been expecting.

Another thing is the main character.  I actually had trouble defining one.  All three take center stage, don't override the others, and make you adore them.  You root for them all, you want to keep reading about them all, and in fact when one was missing you had to keep reading to "help" the others find him.  I know crazy right, and sometimes they didn't seem as focused on the issue or doing the things as I would have, but they're kids.  That's just what they do.  It is insane and yet wonderful.  They become your new friends that you love to follow around.  Even their names are interesting to say the least, and quite rightly match their persons which you soon find out.

I could tell you more, but I really want you to read the book and find out for yourselves.  Telling more just ruins the surprises, twists, turns and enjoyment of discovery.  There is certainly going to be a sequel to this book, which was set up nicely.  I am curious about the name though since this one was so clever.
Thanks for the great read Maria, I can't imagine what will be in the sequel and can't wait to read it.  Five stars well deserved for a story well served.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Behind The Closed Door, by Charles Prandy -A Book Review

This book is a detective series with a lead character that gets ingrained into your psyche and keeps you wanting more.  The author knows how to create and develop great characters but also a story that you don't see coming, and can't get enough of.  I loved the book.  He's done it again.  Big intrigue, surprising story, great read.

You know when you open a sequel or even second book of an author, you are expecting as good a read as the first time, and intensely hope for just that scenario.  Let me assure you, Charles Prandy delivers, precisely and convincingly from the beginning to the very end.  He has a different style of writing which I chalk up the portrayal of the lead character.  I may be wrong, but it doesn't matter, it is a great story and one I know others will enjoy.

This book was just as intriguing, moving, thought provoking and surprising as the first book.  The pace was fast, keeping you on the move and not wanting to stop at any chapter until you reached the end.

Charles's main character Jacob Hayden still talked like he did in the first book, but due to what happened in the first book, he seemed just a little more reserved, not quite as brazen which fit perfectly.  You wouldn't expect any less considering his situation, and that made him real like your next door neighbor.  It kept him in your 'character to root for' column, and tied your heart up with emotional strings.

Stories that move at a quick pace need to pack pictures and emotions in your mind to help you move, understand and fully see what is happening.  If it doesn't, you find yourself having to go back and figure something out or you lose interest.  Don't worry you won't wonder about anything except what is going to happen next, as you try and piece together the clues to what is happening, what the connections are and what it all means.  Just what a good story always does.  Oh, and the surprises are a sweet treat for your mind.

Without a doubt I have to say so many stories are pretty easily figured out.  That's one of the reasons I really like Charles's books.  There was only one time during the entire story that I actually was right on my assumptions.  One time out of the many situations in the story, and I have read a whole lot of books so I am usually figuring the storyline out pretty well, is an amazing feat.  That admirable distinction made me really enjoy the whole book and will make me fondly remember it too.

In the last review I did for Charles I had asked him to let me read the sequel when it was done.  He graciously did just that.  Thank goodness he didn't put any less brilliance into this novel than the last.  I would have hated to say less than great things about his sequel.  And as the book before, he set it up for another sequel which I am officially requesting again.  By the way, you will be just as surprised, just as intrigued and just as impatient about waiting for him to finish the next one as you were at the end of the first one.

Great and amazing work again Charles Prandy.  Thanks for letting me read it.  Buy the book.