Book Review: Reconstructing Jackson by Holly Bush

16067757Title: Reconstructing Jackson
Author: Holly Bush
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: BookBaby
Publication Date: September 25th 2012
Author Website | Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for honest review.

1867 . . . Southern lawyer and Civil War veteran, Reed Jackson, returns to his family’s plantation in a wheelchair. His father deems him unfit, and deeds the Jackson holdings, including his intended bride, to a younger brother. Angry and bitter, Reed moves west to Fenton, Missouri, home to a cousin with a successful business, intending to start over.
Belle Richards, a dirt poor farm girl aching to learn how to read, cleans, cooks and holds together her family’s meager property. A violent brother and a drunken father plot to marry her off, and gain a new horse in the bargain. But Belle’s got other plans, and risks her life to reach them.
Reed is captivated by Belle from their first meeting, but wheelchair bound, is unable to protect her from violence. Bleak times will challenge Reed and Belle’s courage and dreams as they forge a new beginning from the ashes of war and ignorance.

I didn’t get to read a lot of historical fiction novels this year, unfortunately. I’m a big fan of the genre, but it takes a certain mindset to be willing to travel back in time and experience life from several centuries ago, and not every book manages this time-transport equally well. Reconstructing Jackson does though. Even after a few pages, I felt like I was back in the 1860s, breathing the ancient air and wrapping myself in old, traditional customs. Reed Jackson is an intriguing, well-constructed, complex character I liked almost right away. He’s been dealt some bad cards in life, but nevertheless he tries to make something from it. He sees challenges and tries to conquer them, but even though so, being refined to a wheelchair and being kicked out of his family home may be two challenges he has trouble overcoming.

He intends to start over with a fresh slate. Unfortunately, demons of the past keep haunting him and his new life doesn’t go as well as he’d hoped. He meets a yougn damsel in distress by the name of Belle Richards. He falls head over heels from her, but then again can’t find true happiness because of his inability to protect the woman he loves. I liked Belle, even if I thought Reed wore intriguing than she was. She’s from humble descent, but has a courageous heart, and even if she grew up with a drunk father and violent, aggressive brother, she tries to make the best of it. What I admired most about her, was how she never gave up, and by doing that, she managed to give Reed confidence and courage as well.

There are no major battles being fought, no evil schemes that threaten entire countries, but what Reconstructing Jackson offers instead is a heart-warming, at times devastating, tale of a man and a woman who have to struggle in order to be together, and who faces challenges at every corner. It’s an inspiring story, and well told. The language is descriptive and fitting for the era, but never rattles off into too much detail. I very much enjoyed reading this novel, and will definitely read more books by author Holly Bush in the future.

Book Review: Rescued by Arlene Lam and Giveaway

15741281Title: Rescued
Author: Arlene Lam
Genre: Historical Romance, Interracial Romance
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: July 27th 2012
Goodreads | Author Website | Amazon | B&N
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for honest review.

Amelia has a problem: she is set to marry a man twice her age and though she does not love him, she aims to please her domineering aunt and do what is expected of her. This changes when she meets Jordan Bradford, her handsome white employer.
A man with everything—Jordan Bradford is interested in Amelia instantly and cannot for the life of him figure out why she lets those around her treat her as they do. He is determined to make her see her self worth but never dreamed that the pretty little maid could cause him such grief. Yet as time passes and they encounter each other more it is near impossible for him to keep his hands off the brown-skinned maid.

Rescued is a historical romance novel, and one of the first in the genre I’ve read in quite a while. It was actually a refreshing read, considering it’s one of the first interracial romance novels I’ve read as well. It’s not that I would shy away from the topic or something like that, it’s just that I never really get the chance to read or review books in this genre, so of course I jumped for the opportunity.

The story is about Amelia, a young woman who works as a maid in the household of Mr. Bradford, a bachelor whose recently returned from overseas. Amelia is convinced she’s not worth much, since her half-sister keeps on insisting she’s ugly and the only man ever interested in her is a sixty-something year old who’s been lusting after her since she was a child. Amelia has zero confidence, so naturally she can’t believe it when Jordan, Mr. Bradford, is interested in her. At first, Jordan tries to keep his distance, not because of Amelia’s skin color or that she’s his maid, but because he wants to protect her. He’s never been in love – except with his first wife, and that ended disasterously – and he doesn’t want something like this to happen to Amelia. She misunderstands everything he says, falsely believing he thinks she’s ugly as well. While Jordan grows more and more in love with Amelia, she tries to come to terms with her own feelings, which may result in her having to leave everything behind to be with this man.

What I thought was interesting about this book is the historical setting. It’s actually pretty vague when exactly the book is set – slavery is abolished, but still black and white people aren’t treated equally, and it would be frowned upon, even dangerous, if they had a relationship. The small share of interracial romance novels I’ve read were mostly in the period when slavery was still accepted by society, so it was great to see another perspective, an evolving one, on a more evolved society.

I liked Jordan. He was a nice, male read. Very alpha, and at times contradictory, but in a way that seemed to suit him. He was literally hot and cold, pullling Amelia close one minute and pushing her away the next. I liked his little mind games at the start, but by the end of the book (roughly at around page 200) I wish he’d grow up and start to value Amelia more. A little later, he did, and not a moment to see, or he may have lost her forever. I liked this character’s growth, his change in personality, from being a man who feared love and kept everyone at arm’s length to becoming someone who was not afraid to let others in.

Amelia was a different story though. I didn’t like her that much. Everyone kept saying about how nice she was, and it was, but I was a bit wary why even Margaret, Jordan’s cousin, would consider her a friend, since there would be a class difference the size of Mount Everest betwen them – Maragret being a proper lady, and Amelia a maid. Also, Amelia’s half-sister was really annoying, always trying to make Amelia do what she wanted to, and not once did Amelia stand up to her. There’s a difference between being nice and being a push over. In this case, the line was blurry. I also didn’t see Amelia evolve, instead it just happened. From one page to the other, not gradually at all. I liked the evolution in her personality though, she became wittier, more confident, and that was a good thing.

I did like the relationship between Jordan and Amelia. I had my doubts about them halfway through though, when Jordan showed a nasty streak to his personality, and wondered how I couldn’t have seen that one coming.

The story itself may not be the most original one (maid falls for handsome, charming lord of the house, and he, even though he used to date around and didn’t like commitment, falls for her because she’s special) I liked the execution of the story here. I liked the historical setting, which was sometimes described in so much detail I could imagine myself walking through the mansion.

If you’re in need of some historical romance for those cold winter nights, give Rescued a try.


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Book Review: Celtic Magic by Amber LaShell

13032273Title: Celtic Magic
Author: Amber LaShell
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: October 29th 2011
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for honest review.

Abby Kane is a seemingly normal girl until she starts to fall in love, and as she does she finds out that her mother, who she thought was dead, is actually a Celtic Goddess who lives in a magical world where an evil faerie queen will stop at nothing to kill Abby and take over.

Celtic Magic seems very rushed. It actually reads a bit like a first draft, which is a shame, because the story could’ve been so much more. Abby Kane, the main character, is a regular girl until she starts to fall in love with Tom. Her mother, presumed dead, turn up again, and turns out she’s a Celtic Goddess, and a magical fairy queen is after Abby, because if she kills her, she becomes the next queen of all of the faerie land.

So far, so good. The premise was intriguing enough, and author Amber LaShell paints the fantastical world Abby and the other characters live in, very well. The plot itself was fine, but then the trouble starts. The characters weren’t fleshed out, in particular the main character. Abby could jump from one range of thoughts and emotions to another, jumping from happy to sad in a matter of seconds, or the other way around. She lacked consistency, and after a while, I didn’t quite care for her anymore. I thought she’d grow as a character, but by the end she was still the same inconclusive girl she was at the beginning. Her relationship with Tom borders on childish, and I actuallly thought it was a bit ridiculous. I wasn’t a big fan of Tom either – again, he felt like the idea of a character, but not an actual character. He lacked emotions, drives, conflict.

Then there’s the issue of dear Abby being a bit of a Mary Sue. Magic comes easy to her – too easy to be convincing. I rolled my eyes several times throughout the book when Abby does things nobody should be able to do after just beginning to learn magic. It was unbelievable, and made me feel very frustrated. On top of that, the entire story felt rushed from start to end. “They did this”, “they did that”, it’s more like a rundown of random events than an actual story, which takes out almost all of the suspense.

This book could’ve done with a good editor, a few critique partners, and a beta reader or two. If this was a first draft, it would be great, but it lacks the polishing, both structural and grammatical, that a published books needs to go through before it’s ready to be published.

Celtic Magic definitely has potential, but it fell short. It feels unfinished. I’m confident of the author’s writing skills however, and she has great imagination as well to come up with the world featured in this book. However, this book could’ve done with more polishing and editing.

Book Review: Forever Woman by January Bain and Giveaway

16001838Title: Forever Woman
Author: January Bain
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Champagne Books
Publication Date: October 1st, 2012
Author Website | Goodreads | Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions.

What if you had an incurable disease? Maybe you too would think
that becoming a vampire was your only choice. What wannabe vampire Winter Kennedy didn’t count on was falling in love with a
human after making contact with an ancient vampire of the Pharaoh Clan.The vampire, Christopher St. John, won’t accept that
she has changed her mind and whisks her away to his Alaskan mountain top home. Will her true love, Aiden Hightower, be able
to rescue her from her final fate?

Winter Kennedy is looking for a cure to an incurable disease. After her Mom died from ALS and she’s diagnosed with the same illness, she does extensive research that brings her to Nome, Alaska. She wants to find eternal life, and a way to escape death, and hopes to accomplish this through a mythical disc she uses to contact a vampire. The vampires gives her three weeks to decide her fate – become a vampire and live forever, free of illness, or live another year and die a human. While Winter’s choice was clear initially, while spending time in the small town she falls in love with Aiden, a gorgeous-looking man who has enough qualities to be her soulmate. While Winter and Aiden plan their wedding, she gets another visit from the vampire who she contacted initially. When she says she no longer wants his help, he laughs at her – like she ever had a choice to begin with. He plans on making her his newest bride, no matter what it takes.

I wasn’t very fond of Winter. If I’m being perfectly honest, I thought she had little redeeming qualities. I understood her fear for dying like her Mom did, but that was about it. Her choices were often emotional, and she hardly ever thought things through. At times, her emotions seemed all over the place. And of course, I’d be a bit off as well if I was recenlty turned into a vampire without my consent, but I prefer heroines who take matters in their own hands, as opposed to letting others decide their fate. Winter just let everything happen to her. If there was ever a struggle, I didn’t see a lot of it. At first, she wanted to push Aiden away because of what she was planning, but she succumbed to his love in two or three dates. When Christopher St. John wanted to turn her into a vampire, she didn’t try to escape, she didn’t even fight back. Instead, she was too busy chatting with the other vampires. I didn’t like how everything seemed so easy for her. Oh, I’m a vampire, and I’ll never see my beloved again. Give me a week to adjust to my new life – I will hardly think about my beloved, because I now have a research lab.

I did like the other characters. Aiden’s love for Winter sounded very genuine, right from the start. He seemed like a nice, friendly bloke. I didn’t understand his attraction to Winter apart from her physical beauty, but hey, something for everyone. I also really, really liked Christopher St. John, the vampire who wants to turn Winter into a vampire as well. The epitome of a mysterious bad boy character, he surely got the mystery thing going. He seemed very alpha male, something I liked as well. You can’t live four thousand years without developing a bit of those qualities. What I missed however, was more of a bond between him and Winter. They had a few scenes, but there could’ve been more. All right, I’m a bit of a fangirl, I suppose.

The story itself was great. From Winter running away from her past, to the unique Vampire Lore used in this book, it simply rocked. I enjoyed it from start to finish, and read it in a few hours. I wish the main character had been stronger, more developed, but you can’t have it all. Story wise, Forever Woman is definitely worth reading. It has some outstanding original concepts, some intriguing characters (Arc and Dragon, for instance, and Christopher and Anastasia), and the writing was fluent and didn’t go overly into detail.

A nice paranormal romance read for those rainy October days. Recommended to paranormal romance fans.


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Book Review: The Saint’s Devilish Deal by Kristina Knight and Giveaway

17178166Title: The Saint’s Devilish Deal
Author: Kristina Knight
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Publication Date: October 1st, 2012
Goodreads | Author Website | Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions.

Esmerelda Quinn has been looking for a place to belong since her parents were killed in a car crash when she was young. The closest thing to home has always been Aunt Constance’s villa in Puerto Vallarta, so after a string of hotellier jobs, she’s coming home to run the villa.
Santiago Cruz has called the villa home for as long as he can remember. In between surfing events, Constance has always had a room for him. Color him surprised when Constance leaves him with a joint interest in the villa – along with her niece Esmerelda.
Esme isn’t thrilled to share ownership of the villa with the the youngest Cruz brother – especially as the Cruz family has been after the villa for years. But Santiago has grown up while she’s been away and soon she finds herself falling for the rich boy down the hall – all over again.

The Saint’s Devilish Deal is a decent contemporary romance novella that tells the story of Esme and Santiago, or Saint, as she loves to call him. Esme and Saint spend their childhood together as best friends, and when they spend some time in Napa, that childhood friendship turned into something more. But then Saint just up and left, shattering Esme’s heart. She spend the next four years going to university, and now she’s back home, she dreads to see him. But unfortunately, her aunt Constance is now suffering from illness, and can no longer run the hotel Esme grew up in. Aunt Constance drew up a contract in which Santiago and Esme have to run the hotel for six months – three months for each of them. But as soon as Esme lays eyes on Saint, all those old feelings come back to the surface…Will she be able to resist his charms?

This book is wickedly delicious. The characters are so vivid they practically jump off the pages. At first, Esme tries to deny her own feelings for Saint, and when he comes on to her, she brushes him off. But the longer they spend together, the more the sparks fly off the pages. Their interactions range from downright hilarious to sexy and steamy.

But this story isn’t just about romance, and that’s what made it interesting for me. It’s about love, family dramas, how to live with the sins of our parents or just their actions in general, what happens when you have to fight to keep your family home up and running, or when you’re abandoned by the only family you’ve ever known. Don’t get me wrong though – this isn’t a “heavy” book. It’s a light, enjoyable read, but it offers more issues than one, and isn’t “just” about the romance, which is always a bonus in my book.

The characters were delightful as well. Santiago is the usual, full-of-himself, confident, sexy alpha male, but still he’s a lot softer and more kind-hearted when it comes to Esme. Esme on the other hand, appears as harsh and distant at first, when she tries to push him away, but soon realizes her efforts are fruitless.

An enjoyable, quick read. If you like romance, you’ll love this.


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Starter Day Party The Saint’s Devilish Deal


Today we’re celebrating the starter day party for The Saint’s Devilish, contemporary romance novel by author Kristina Knight.

October 8th: Starter Day Party
@ I Heart Reading

October 9th: Book Excerpt
@ Sik Book Reviews

October 10th: Author Interview
@ Majanka’s Blog

October 11th: Guest Blog Post
@ Brenda McCreight’s Blog

October 12th: Book Review
@ I Heart Reading

October 13th: Book Review
@ Books, books and more books

October 15th: Book Excerpt
@ Bookaholic Ramblings

About The Saint’s Devilish Deal

17178166Title: The Saint’s Devilish Deal
Author: Kristina Knight
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Esmerelda Quinn has been looking for a place to belong since her parents were killed in a car crash when she was young. The closest thing to home has always been Aunt Constance’s villa in Puerto Vallarta, so after a string of dead-end hotellier jobs, she’s coming home to run the villa.

Santiago Cruz has called the villa home for as long as he can remember. In between surfing events, Constance has always had a room for him. Color him surprised when Constance decides to retire – and leaves a joint interest in the villa to both Santiago and Esme.

Esme isn’t thrilled to share ownership of the villa with the the youngest Cruz brother – especially when she learns Santiago’s brother has been after the villa for years. But Santiago has grown up while she’s been away at school and soon she finds herself falling for the rich boy down the hall.

Author Bio

Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police – no, she wasn’t a trouble-maker she was a journalist. When the opportunity to write what she wanted – business and family/parenting articles – and to focus more energy on the stories in her head, she jumped at it.

And she’s never looked back. Now she writes articles for magazines and such by day and writes romance novels with spice by night. And any toddler-free, five minute break she has. She lives on Lake Erie with her husband and 4 year old daughter. Happily ever after.

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Starter Day Party Forever Woman Tour


Today is the starter day party for Forever Woman, a paranormal romance novel by author January Bain. The tour runs from October 1st to October 30th. I’m going to participate with a review and giveaway and can’t wait to start reading this one!

Tour Schedule

October 1st: Starter Day Party
@ I Heart Reading

October 3rd: Book Excerpt
@ Bookaholic Ramblings

October 5th: Guest Post
@ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

October 7th: Review and Giveaway
@ Snifferwalk

October 8th: Guest Post
@ The Single Librarian

October 10th: Book Excerpt
@ Nightowl Reads

October 12th: Promo Stop
@ Blooding Reviews

October 14th: Book Review and Giveaway
@ I Heart Reading

October 16th: Book Excerpt and Giveaway
@ Sik Book Reviews

October 18th: Book Review
@ Bookaholic Ramblings

October 20th: Guest Post
@ I’m an Eclectic Reader

October 22nd: Interview
@ Blooding Reviews

October 23rd: Interview
@ Snifferwalk

October 24th: Book Excerpt
@ The Book Daily

October 26th: Book Review
@ Bookaholic29

October 28th: Book Excerpt and Giveaway
@ Nazish Reads

October 30th: Guest Post
@ Forever Book Lover

About Forever Woman

16001838Title: Forever Woman
Author: January Bain
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Champagne Books
Publication Date: October 1st 2012

What if you had an incurable disease? Maybe you too would think that becoming a vampire was your only choice. What wannabe vampire Winter Kennedy didn’t count on was falling in love with a human after making contact with an ancient vampire of the Pharaoh Clan.The vampire, Christopher St. John, won’t accept that she has changed her mind and whisks her away to his Alaskan mountain top home. Will her true love, Aiden Hightower, be able to rescue her from her final fate?

Author Bio

January Bain, Storyteller, hails from Ashern, Manitoba, Canada. Married to the love of her life, her husband Don, she has combined her love of romance with her interest in vampires to create the FOREVER SERIES of books. She teaches high school Computer and Business courses during the day and writes in every spare moment she possibly can.

If she could be a super character, she has said it would be “super-teach” endowed with the gift of healing like the heroine in her first novel, Forever Man, to help heal broken spirits. She hopes her characters will touch your heart. She loves to be approached about the journey of writing and can be reached at her website.

Book Review: Seven Point Eight (The First Chronicle #1) by Marie Harbon

12143316Title: Seven Point Eight (The First Chronicle #1)
Author: Marie Harbon
Genre: Science-Fiction, Thriller, Fantasy
Publisher: Createspace
Publication Date: April 6th 2012
Author Website | Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for honest review.

Seven Point Eight: The most powerful number in the universe. The number that connects everything.A long time ago, our ancestors lived in a very different world from the one we inhabit today. We understood the language of the Earth, the stars, the sky people and we knew of the Number. This was a moment known as The First Time.But over time, we forgot all of this and the wisdom of the Number was lost too. We walked through life asleep, ignorant of the truth.Yet we retain a deep and hidden memory of everything that we ever were. There lies within us the hope that one day, we can re-connect with the language of the Earth, the stars, the sky people and the wisdom of the Number. The moment has arrived for The Second Time.It is time to wake up.
A physicist begins a quest to measure the soul but soon finds himself drawn into the world of the enigmatic Max Richardson, where research is sold to the military at the highest bid. However, he soon discovers another purpose when an extremely talented young psychic enters his life. He devises a project
and builds a team to stretch the frontiers of exploration, only to make a reality-shattering discovery…
The First Chronicle is the beginning of a 5 part epic which
follows the spiritual and emotional journey of five people; their quest to understand the universe and our place within it. Along the way, they address the fundamental questions we all seek answers to:
Why are we here?
What is the purpose of the universe?
Is there a God?
Quantum physics meets spirituality in a tale which begins in the 1940s, unfolds during the 1960s; an era of social and spiritual transformation and reaches its conclusion in the modern age.
It interweaves the human dramas of love, betrayal, bitterness and above all, courage in a world where everyone must face their own dark shadow.
Written in the style of a TV series, this is for those of you who love clever and intriguing story lines ‘Lost’ and ‘Fringe’ style.
This is a great read for fans of the paranormal, big
sweeping epics, metaphysics, science fiction, contemporary fantasy, alternate realities and new age/spirituality.
The 2nd edition is scheduled for release in February 2012, which will also make a great YA read for those who like some science with their paranormal. It’s available through all common outlets as an ebook and paperback.

It doesn’t happen often that one comes across a book as detailed and well-researched as Seven Point Eight. This book left me stunned. Dazed. The amount of new information I’d just absorbed kept throbbing in my head like a dull headache. This book offers a myriad of information, without getting too informational. It’s a brilliant mix of science-fiction, mystery, suspense, romance and fantasy. Fantasy and science collide, and it makes an intriguing mix. I can’t wait to read more from this author, and from this series.

What I thought was the best part about this book for me, was the use of science to explain fantasy. Take a step back in time, to the sixteenth century. If you told a sixteenth century villager that in a couple of hundred years, people would be flying through the skies, they’d probably cry out ‘witchcraft’ and condem you to the stakes. Now we have airplanes crossing vast distances. We have Curiosity going to Mars. What Marie Harbon describes in Seven Point Eight is still fiction, but that doesn’t mean that parts of it may not turn out to be true decades from now. It’s definitely a fascinating concept to think about. A professional scientist, Dr. Paul Eldridge, is hired by a rich entrepreneur named Max, who is using psychics from all over the world to help the English government in uncovering secrets from various other countries. Max’ influence changes Paul in a way that isn’t entirely good. He soon leaves behind his ultimate goal of finding the unknown, and turns to money, women and drugs. When he’s finally starting to find himself again, we get to meet another protagonist, Tahra, a young and gifted psychic who Max brought to their falicity to help them with their research.

I’m not sure which main character I liked the most. They’re all unique and different in their own way, and each one plays an important part in the story. What I didn’t like that much is that large chunks of the story are told from secondary character’s POVs. I would’ve probably liked it better had the story stuck to its original protagonists – I’d have a better way to look into their heads then. Of all protagonists, I had most trouble with Tahra. It’s not that I didn’t like her, I just couldn’t connect with her. I found her intriguing, with her mixed heritage, her studious background and her quick wit, but I didn’t like her.

The general consensus for this book is that it’s very intellectual. I love that, but some people might not. The story unfolds over several years, and most chapters mention at least one or two historical events that took place that year. That was probably my favorite part of the entire book, besides how much I learned from it. I got to watch history unfold on those very pages, and it was a great experience. There is no real action in this book though. There’s action here and there, but most battles are fought intellectually. Like I said, it may not be for everyone, but I definitely enjoyed it.

If you want something different that deals with the clash of science-fiction and fantasy, look no further. If you want something intellectual, with vibrant, new ideas and rich, compelling protagonists, look no more. Seven Point Eight is an excellent choice. Give it a try. You may end up being as blown away as I am!

Book Review: Savage (Daughters of the Jaguar #1)

13648992Title: Savage (Daughters of the Jaguar #1)
Author: Willow Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 14th 2012
Author Website | Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

The year is 1983. Christian is 22 years old when he leaves his home in Denmark to spend a year in Florida with a very wealthy family and go to med-school. A joyful night out with friends is shattered by an encounter with a savage predator that changes his life forever. Soon he faces challenges he had never expected. A supernatural gift he has no idea how to embrace. A haunting family in the house next door. A spirit-filled girl who seems to carry all the answers. An ancient secret hidden in the swamps of Florida. One life never the same. One love that becomes an obsession. Two destinies that will be forever entangled.
Savage is a paranormal romance with some language, violence, and sexual situations recommended for ages sixteen and up.

After reading Savage, I needed to take some time to set my thoughts straight. This isn’t an easy book. It shows the reader a rich, compelling world with intriguing, relatable characters. It shows heartbreak and courage, pain and despair, and it takes the readers on a rollercoaster of a ride from start to finish. But it’s not something you can let go of easily – I certainly couldn’t. It took me a while to make up my mind about this book, and to decide on whether I should give it a four or five star rating.

Christian, the protagonist of the story, seemingly has it all. Blessed with photographic memory, he has little or no trouble studying. He picks up one girl after the other, but can’t form any emotional connection to them. This is due to him losing his mother, and he’s scared of losing the people he loves. Christian is an intriguing character because he doesn’t always do what the reader expects him to do. What I did find a bit offsetting, was that the story was told to us from the point of view of an older Christian. This immediately takes some of the tension away – well, he’s still alive, so nothing that bad will happen to him throughout the story. After going through a near-death experience, Christian has trouble dealing with what happened. He’s never been one to believe in the supernatural, but when confronted with something science has trouble grasping, he has no choice but to hit the books and figure out what happened to him.

Christian is intrigued up to the point of obsession with the family next door. Although they’re more than a little eccentric, he quickly grows close to one of them, Aiyana. She is mysterious and open at the same time. The book is entirely told from Christian’s POV, but at times I wished we saw more of Aiyana’s POV as well. I wanted to get to know her better, but had a feeling the author kept much about her in the dark on purpose. Maybe for a later book? I wouldn’t know, but I do know that she’s an interesting person, and not at all like other heroines in paranormal romance books. I had the feeling she was a multi-dimensional character with her own goals and motivations, although I couldn’t always understand them.

The story itself is unlike anything I expected as well. At times, I had the feeling the story was too ecclectic, running from one genre to the author. When I picked up the book, knowing it was paranormal romance, I didn’t expect to read about a guy with incredible academic achievements struggling with life in a foreign country. I thought I’d stumbled into a contemporary book instead, but nothing was less true. It’s hard to match this book into one genre. At its core, it’s paranormal romance, but the book touches upon so many subjects that it’s actually a whole lot more. The lore behind what was happening to Christian was original, well-researched and well-explained. The relationship between him and Aiyana was heartbreaking and fascinating.

You will not find the typical paranormal romance plot and/or prototypes in Savage. No damsel in distress, no charming bad boy with supernatural powers. Instead, you will find an intriguing world filled with interesting characters and a story that is both moving and fast, from start to end. As a sidenote though, this is not YA. The book isn’t suitable for anyone below sixteen years of age, mainly because of some adult relationships mentioned in the book. Older teens can read it just fine though. Recommend to everyone who’s old enough, and who enjoys paranormal romance and wants to see something different.

Book Review: The Rebel Princess by Anne M. Strick

9418699Title: The Rebel Princess
Author: Anne M. Strick
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Adult
Publisher: Createspace
Publication Date: September 14th 2010
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Review copy provided for review by Enchanted Book Promotions.

An insider’s first-ever behind-the-scenes scoop on how movies are REALLY made: gritty, grinding, tunnel-vision labor, back-stage intrigue, explosive dramas, parties, and relationships that last a night or a lifetime.
Larger-than-life characters who live life with fervor, while contending with their own inner demons and one another, all in the pressure cooker of a location shoot in the exotic world of Mexico. This romp of a story follows the making of a movie from pre-production through wrap. A hotly passionate love story and a murder elevate the stakes.

The Rebel Princess is truly unlike any book I’ve ever read. It’s hard for me to classify it in one category, or to express why it’s so different. For starters, it’s written by an author who has real knowledge of the inside and outside of the movie industry, and it shows. The book starts with a bang, and from the very beginning it pulled me in. I had no idea the movie business actually was set up like this. Needless to say, I was more than a little surprised by the discoveries I made throughout this novel, but all in a good way. The book isn’t too technical, although it conveys the entire process of movie making from the beginning to the end. As a reader, I absorbed all this information without even realizing it. There’s no trace of ‘info-dumping’ anywhere in this book. As the story unfolded, I learned more about the movie business, while still staying right in the middle of the action.

Don’t think there’s no story in the book because it focuses largerly on the life and chaos on set. There is a story, and an intriguing one at that. The main character is one of the most intriguing characters I’ve ever come across in a novel. She has a myriad of contradicting emotions, an ambitious goal fitting for Hollywood and an attitude to match it. The side characters are each unique individuals as well, and they’re well-developed and three-dimensional. Cardboard characters? This author has obviously never heard of that before, thank goodness!

Not only was it a huge relief to be greeted by an, in my opinion, original, well-researched storyline, to add refreshing characters to do was a great asset as well. I also loved how author Anne M. Strick never once failed to keep the tension running high – from page one until the end I was biting my nails waiting to see what was going to happen next.

The Rebel Princess is a must-read. If you’ve ever been interested in Hollywood, you need to get this book. If you’re not that interested in life on set, but you feel like reading a contemporary romance with enough suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat from start to end, then you need to read this book as well. It’s original, it’s intriguing, it’s sexy, it’s daring. I’m truly amazed by this author’s talent and her ability to write about believable characters in believable situations. Also, did I mention that his happens on location? Add an exotic location in the mix and you know you’re in for one hell of a ride.