Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Sarah's Review of Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs


Tempest Rising is a paranormal teen romance novel written by Tracy Deebs. It is about a young girl, sixteen, named Tempest Maguire. On land she loves living along the coastline of California and loves surfing even more. She takes care of her brothers and her dad, ever since her mom left. She also loves her long time boyfriend, Mark. Yet she holds a secret. One that has been pulling at her, pulling her under, towards the ocean. Among the water her secret hides. She is half mermaid, inherited from her mother who returned to the ocean years ago and left her to take care of her family. But now with her seventeenth birthday looming, Tempest is left with her own decisions to make. Decisions that are being made even more complicated due to a handsome newcomer named Kona, who's whole existence hints at something otherworldly. Tempest's heart is at stake, but danger also lurks threatening her life. The water's hold a world full of mystery and secrets, romance and adventure, but is it safe for Tempest?

This was the first paranormal romance book that I have read involving mermaids and I found it quite intriguing. I especially liked Tempest's character and how determined she was. Even though everything in her existence was pulling her towards the ocean's calling, she was determined to live a human life, unlike that of her mother, whom she felt abandoned them. Tempest felt a duty to her family and her friends. She had her brothers to take care of, and her father. And she was determined not to make the same mistakes her mother had. But we find Tempest's character growing even more during throughout the novel. She learns from what comes her way and takes it all in stride while trying to figure out the best possible life for her and for her family. She doesn't come across as a materialistic, egotistical, selfish person at all. You can tell from the writing that Tempest's character feels with her whole heart and wants to do the right thing, not only for herself but for everyone who is in her life. Tempest feels a whole range of emotions, including guilt, which plagues her throughout the story. The rest of the characters are just as strong even as secondary characters. It's easy to get wrapped up in all of the feelings they are experiencing through Deebs' phenomenal words.


The author, Tracy Deebs, does a fantastic job of pulling you into a world you could hardly imagine. Even before we enter the mysterious world of the ocean and the dangers and secrets that await there, her writing weaves a magical tale of romance and friendship that spans the times.


There are some realistic and thought provoking themes throughout Tempest Rising. Even though it is based in a paranormal world, we still see the struggles between right and wrong, good and evil. We see the struggle not only internally with Tempest as she struggles to understand her feelings and obligations, but also externally between Tempest and the danger lurking in the ocean. Another prevalent theme is of course love. It couldn't be a paranormal romance without it. We see Tempest struggle with the desires of her heart, but above all else, we see that love can conquer.


This book made you dive in and get lost in the pages. The characters are strong, well developed people whom one could easily relate to, aspire to be, or dream about. Tracy Deebs weaves a fantastical world of magic, romance, mystery and suspense. I am glad I picked up this book.


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Sarah's Review of The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins


The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins is a psychological thriller like no other. It is written using only certain times of the day, the morning and the evening, with recall like no other. We meet our main character, Rachel, right away. We see life through her eyes and every day is basically the same. She takes the same train commuting in the morning as in the evening. Each day she travels the same stretch of track, passing by the same homes, stopping at the same stops. At one of these stops she has been watching a couple going about their ways on their terrace. She sees them every day and feels like she knows them. She even refers to them as Jess and Jason and believes they have the perfect life. Just like the life she recently lost. But one day she sees something shocking at their place and in that instant, everything changes. She comes forward to the police with what she has seen, but they view her as unreliable. Is she really unreliable? Wanting to be taken seriously, she quickly finds herself entangled up in the investigation and the personal lives of all of those involved.

The novel begins slowly, introducing the main character as mundane and boring, but an alcoholic. It took a while to get into the book, but once things start happening I found it hard to put down.
Hawkins writes through varying viewpoints, but never strays from her morning and evening structure of the book. It's imperative to have these other viewpoints in order to gain valuable information into the case and the lives of those involved. Rachel is an alcoholic who has trouble remembering things due to her blacking out, which in turn sets her up for a lot of self doubt and mystery. It lets us into the life of an alcoholic and how she feels regarding her struggles with dependency and her life as a whole. I found that all of the women took on roles of the battered woman or of being weak. I didn't feel as though there was a strong role model or anything of the sort throughout the book. It was more a case of who had it worse.

As a psychological thriller, it is really disturbing to find out that every single character has something to hide and nobody can be trusted. As their lives unravel and truths become told, it is unsettling to say the least. It really makes you view other people a little bit differently after reading this. However, this is quite the work of fiction. The lies the characters in this book reveal are shocking and huge and everyone seems to be hiding something.

The book is an absolute page-turner once you get past the beginning. But, you have to get past that part. I know a lot of people who put the book down part way in. I stuck it out and am glad I did. While it wasn't my favourite thriller, it was entertaining.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Sarah's Review of Unrivaled by Alyson Noel


Unrivaled is the first book in Alyson Noel's newest series, Beautiful Idols. It follows the lives of a few people, who are just trying to make it in Hollywood. Everyone wants to be known for something.
The book centers around the hottest new starlet, Madison Brooks. Who wouldn't think twice of doing anything to get to the top.
Layla Harrison wants to be become a top writer behind a desk in New York. Aster Amirpour is getting tired of being told by directors that she's not the right kind of ethnic for the role. Tommy Phillips is dying to get his hands on a twelve string guitar and rocket to stardom, all while making his way back into his absent father's life.
Layla, Aster and Tommy find themselves, along with a few others, invited VIP into the glamorous and not so glamorous nightlife where they are dragged into a high stakes competition to target the famous Madison Brooks. Just as the competition starts to look promising, Madison Brooks disappears. And the others find themselves at the heart of the investigation.

This young adult novel carries such a sense of drama, suspense and intrigue. It takes a closer look into the world of the young Hollywood and the not so nice aspects of a star-studded town.

I love the way this book is set up. It actually begins with the disappearance of Madison Brooks and then backtracks about a month to where we meet the main characters and they begin what will eventually lead to her disappearance. In the beginning it was a little hard to keep track of all of the characters, but I quickly caught on and I found the story to just flow perfectly from one chapter to the next, even with the changing of viewpoints.

All of Noel's characters are strongly written with very distinct personalities. Each story is captivating and you are left wondering where the lies and deceit are. I found myself looking back after I finished the book to see if I missed any clues only to find that they were hidden for a reason. Quite the mystery.

The way Alyson Noel describes the situations and settings leaves your mind open to picture things accurately and completely, leaving nothing to chance unless it is supposed to be withheld. A good mystery always leave open-ended questions and clues throughout the storyline, delivering information only as it is needed and Alyson Noel handles this perfectly. I think this will series will be on the #1 list for years to come. Personally I can't wait to sink into the second novel in Beautiful Idols.

If you are a fan of Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars then you will instantly love this new series!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Sarah's Review of EVO by L.J. Sealey

Wow! Just Wow! I absolutely loved this book!

Evo is Book #2.5 in the Divine Hunter Series by L.J. Sealey.

In this installment of the Divine Hunter Series, we really get a look at the main character, Evan O'Reilly, better known as Evo. He was a man who was used to fighting demons and considered himself a bounty hunter and was utterly ruthless, always efficient. But then he had to battle his own demon.
Evo's friend, Alethia, is the Goddess of wind and shadows, and was silently watching over Evo, completely undetected. But when he begins to warrant a wrong kind of attention, she has no choice but to step in.
We quickly learn that Evo is being hunted by people just like him and a demon who wants nothing but revenge. So Alethia and Evo begin to run together. While on the run we see a lot of passion and tension and find that they are fighting something far worse than Evo's soul. Alethia is left fighting for him and comes to the heartbreaking truth that in order to save him she may have to lose him forever.

I love both of these characters in the Divine Hunter Series and am so glad that we got to really get a look into their lives with this book. Evo and Alethia's characters are so vulnerable and real. The love they have for each other is so strong and overpowers all other themes in the book. Just how we have come to realize in our own lives that love can help us overcome all obstacles, the love they have for one another keeps them going and neither Alethia nor Evo will give up until the very last breath. It shows us that we don't really choose who we fall in love with, but that love can be unconditional and test all barriers. If we are so lucky to find someone like that, then we should hold onto them.

One of the other major themes is good verses evil. Right from the start we know there are demons fighting to keep Evo from living his life and fighting to keep him from the love of his life. I found myself rooting against all evil for Evo to overpower his own demon.

L.J. Sealey has such a knack for writing. She has delivered yet another page turner. Her writing captures just the right amount of suspense and intrigue and her descriptions leave you so sure of everything you can picture it perfectly in your mind. She really knows how to pull you right into the story from start to finish.  Her story flows with such ease and switches from Evo's point of view to Alethia's so effortlessly.

Evo is so far my favourite book in her Divine Hunter series and I can't wait to read more! Thank you L. J. Sealey for writing such captivating characters and creating such an amazing world for us to escape to.

This book contains mature content, so the readership is for 17+. It is a paranormal romance after all.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Sarah's Review of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


Wow! I don't know why I hadn't read this book before now, but I sure am glad I did! I was hooked right from the start! Gillian Flynn has just the right amount of suspense and intrigue to keep you turning page after page, wondering if your instincts are right.

Gone Girl is a page turning masterpiece! It takes place in a small town in Missouri, North Carthage. We first meet Nick on the morning of his and his wife's five year wedding anniversary. Nick and Amy Dunne are preparing for their celebrations when Nick finds out that Amy has suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. From Nick's inner ramblings and daydreams we learn he isn't always the picture perfect husband. And then we are shown Amy's own musing from her diary where we learn how she is a perfectionistic alpha-girl. Nick quickly finds himself under intense pressure from the townspeople, Amy's parents, and the police, and with suspicion mounting against him, he finds himself drawn into his own set of lies and deceit. We find Nick behaving rather inappropriately for a husband who's wife is currently missing, which leads to him being the prime suspect. But even though he is acting weird and is definitely bitter at his wife, Amy, we are left wondering if he really could be a killer.

Flynn takes us on a ride through varying viewpoints, looking through the eyes of Amy's diary, and then back and forth through the eyes of Nick. I love having varying viewpoints on one story. And as you go on through the book you also find it broken into three parts. All with a drastic twist to the story. Gone Girl really makes you look at the minute details in our everyday lives and behaviours. It makes us question our own basic instincts and what drives different people to behave in such drastic ways.

There isn't a whole lot I can say about the book without giving away some of the major twists and turns it takes, but it definitely captures the intrigue and suspense. Gillian Flynn has so many layers twisted throughout her very believable characters. Things are written in such a precise way that it all unravels dramatically. There are so many clues that I'm left wondering, after reading it, what I could pick up on if I were to read it again.

I have never read a book like this before. Flynn has such an original and suspense thrilled storyline that is utterly flawless. Flynn explores such dark depths found in psychology and explores the inner makings of a sociopath. It makes you wonder if you can ever truly know somebody, inside and out.

If you haven't yet read this book or seen the movie, I'd suggest giving it a read first. I always find books more interesting than the movie and prefer to read before watching. As for me, now that I have read Gone Girl, I look forward to the movie and hope it lives up to the book.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Sarah's Review of The Crown by Kiera Cass

I just finished The Crown by Kiera Cass and once again I love it! The Crown is book #5 in The Selection Series and the writing was so exceptional. Not a single book let me down. Cass has such an exquisite way with words that simply draws you in and keeps you turning page after page.
In this last book, The Crown, we find Princess Eadlyn nearing the end of her very own Selection while also taking on so much more responsibility with being crowned Queen. Princess Eadlyn is realizing that even though initially she hated the idea of having a Selection and being forced to choose a partner, that maybe it won't be so bad after all. She is finding great friendships among the remaining boys and is realizing how wonderful having someone by her side could truly be. Having her whole life in the spotlight could be a little less invasive if she were not doing it alone. Even though Princess Eadlyn is still weary that she will find a true love like her parents, she is still hopeful. And as the Selection nears the end she finds herself falling more in love than she ever could have imagined but with these new feelings she must face one of her biggest and most challenging decisions she will ever have to make.

I am very happy with how Eadlyn has evolved and grown up over the short span of these novels. She is finally looking out of her people and the lives of those around her, instead of her own happiness. Her maturity at the end of the book is truly admirable considering where she was when she started the Selection. Sometimes being forced into something you are not quite sure you want can have very noteworthy opportunities and life changing experiences one could never have dreamed. Eadlyn's character development did happen quickly, but being in her situation sometimes you have to grow quickly in order to keep up and achieve what you are destined to do. The petty, egotistical, selfish Princess we met in The Heir has suddenly transformed to a selfless, caring, moral young woman who shows empathy, love, ambition and intelligence in her decision making. She is putting the lives of those around her first and is ruling the country, or trying to, like a real queen.

Another thing I thoroughly enjoyed were the blossoming friendships not only amongst the Princess and the boys, but amongst the boys themselves. I was glad to see Eadlyn finally opening up and allowing people to penetrate the walls she had built around herself. We also see how being open and honest is really the only way to be. I admire all of the qualities that the boys possess and how unique each of their relationships are with the Princess. The love that wins out in the end is somewhat predictable part way through but it did feel a little bit rushed. I wished we could have seen their interaction and relationship blossom a little bit slower and get more of a look into it before becoming an all encompassing love for each other. I am thrilled, however, that Princess Eadlyn truly got to follow her heart in the end even though it may have been an unconventional choice. I also admired the Princess's friendships with Neena. One can only hope and dream of having such a great friendship in our own lives. The utmost heartfelt respect and genuine affection they have for one another is inspiring.

The Crown is a perfect ending to a typical YA novel full of teen drama and romance. A very light read that will keep you engaged and it may even sweep you off your feet if you give it a chance.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Sarah's Review of The Heir by Kiera Cass


I love it when I pick up a book and can get lost in their world, and that is exactly what happens with these books. Kiera Cass does an excellent job of allowing you to escape into the world she has created. I originally had read the first three books in the Selection series one after another and I wasn't sure if I would pick up the other two, but I am so glad that I did. I loved reading about America Singer and Prince Maxon, so it only made sense to continue on with their story of their daughter, Princess Eadlyn, entering into her own Selection. I love how we now get to see the process from the perspective of the royal family, instead of from the outside.

The Heir is book four in The Selection Series and it is where we first meet Eadlyn Schreave, the first born child of Prince Maxon and America Singer, now King and Queen of Illea. Eadlyn is actually a twin, but since she was the first of the two she is next in line for the throne.
Princess Eadlyn always loved the story of how her parents met, fell in love and then lived happily ever after, but she didn't think she would want anything like that. She was content being by herself and felt she was more powerful that way. Unfortunately, as she sees it, she has to enter into her own Selection because some things you just can't escape. Eadlyn is very skeptical about love in general and even more so about the prospect of finding love in such a random way, but things begin to happen to change her opinion. Her Selection begins with thirty-five eligible bachelors and after meeting a few of them and getting to know them better she starts to wonder if her own happily ever after could be possible.

Cass does another magnificent job of describing just the right amount of detail to place you right into the palace walls. You can easily picture where they live and walk the halls along with Princess Eadlyn throughout the whole book. Her characters come alive from the pages, all of them revealing just enough as you go through the Selection with the Princess. In the beginning I found Eadlyn's characteristics to be rather predictable and stereotypical, but then she digs deeper and we get to know the real Princess. She has so many levels and is easily relatable to no matter where you come from. Eadlyn's emotional side begins to break through and we see behind the mask that she wears so well. We see beneath all of the walls she has placed around her, right into the heart of her soul and we realize that she too is vulnerable. 

I love how her friendships with the boys develop and how necessary they all are. Eadlyn had grown up believing she was so powerful and was hesitant to let anyone in. But upon opening up and getting to know a select few, she is realizing just how important friendships and relationships are to her existence. We all need a few close people in our lives to lean on and having a best friend is so important. Just one special person with whom we can open up and be ourselves with makes a world of difference and Eadlyn is quickly discovering that.

I just love these books and I can't wait to see how Eadlyn's Selection ends! What a fun, quick read.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Sarah's Review of Forest of the Fae: Devlin's Door by K. Kibbee


Forest of the Fae: Devlin's Door is about a young girl who is forced to spend the summer with relatives whom she does not enjoy being around. Upon Anne's arrival, her cousin Lexie makes her life there unpleasant. Anne is sure that nothing exciting will happen, until Lexie lures her to Devlin, a ghost town that has long been abandoned, and holds some kind of enchantment. Anne finds a diary written by a young girl named Grace, and as she begins reading, magic starts to happen and mysteries emerge. The town wasn't abandoned, but has been trapped, and the townspeople were trapped in a place hidden from humans.

It's a very unique storyline and the first half of the book I absolutely loved! Kibbee's characters are well developed and likeable, even the not so nice ones. And the world she creates is so unlike any other that I've encountered. It's fast paced and a quick read.

I did enjoy this book, although I'm not sure what to say about it. When I first received it from Free Book Friday, I was very excited! The whole fantasy world sounded amazing and I couldn't wait to dive in. Once I started reading, I immediately fell in love with her characters and the abandoned town known as Devlin. But halfway through the book we are thrown into a whole other world inhabited by faeries. I found certain parts hard to follow due to an overabundance of descriptions. Normally, using a lot of descriptives is great, but at some points I felt there was too much, especially when it was during a fast paced scene. I found myself re-reading certain paragraphs and pages. I was also hoping to understand the world of the faeries a bit more, but other than certain brief encounters, I'm still unsure of exactly what they are.

I definitely enjoyed the first half of the novel a lot more than the second. I connected a lot more with it and loved how the town was starting to come to life. But once Anne and Grace entered the Forests of the Fae, I found my excitement weaned and there was so much to follow even with only a few characters, that the flow was a bit off for me. I wish the author would have stayed with the story in the abandoned town, although I understand the storyline and appreciate the web it entails.

That being said, I did enjoy the majority of the book and I am glad I read it. If I really didn't like it then I wouldn't have finished it, but I did. And now the author has left us with a cliffhanger for another book, so I'm sure I will search it out once it is published.

Monday, 2 May 2016

New Release! City of Slaves by Stephen R. Burns

Title: City of Slaves
Series: The Desolate Kingdom Series
Author: Stephen R. Burns
City of Slaves is Book #2 in The Desolate Kingdom Series
It had been a hundred years since the angels brought the Storms that nearly wiped out humanity. Only one great city on theWest Coast remained. As the decades passed, the people thought they were safe.
They were wrong. 
The angels returned, slaughtering a third of the city and enslaving the rest. Cale "Sendz" Edsen was one of the few soldiers who survived, but he could not escape the horror of what he had seen. Of what he had failed to do.  

For nine months he had lived out of a bottle,drifting into the alleys of the Empty Gate, the roughest and most vile part ofthe city, the only section yet to be swallowed by the angels.
He thought his life was over. Until he killed one of them with his bare hands. Hands that were stronger than they should have been. Hands that mirrored the creature he'd just killed.
But the angels know who he is. What he is. And they're coming for him.
Add to Goodreads
About the Author

Stephen R. Burns is the author of THE LAST ANGEL. He penned his first story when he was ten and has been writing ever since.
Despite his excitement over the release of CITY OF SLAVES, the second book in his Desolate Kingdom series, the most important event in his life happened in 2008 when he met his wife, Bethany, who for reasons beyond his understanding, fell in love with him. They have a couple of spoiled cats and between the two of them, live in a household overflowing with books.

Links for City of Slaves: Amazon.com ; Amazon.ca

Links for The Last Angel (Book #1): Amazon.ca ; Amazon.com
Check out what Stephen is up to on his webpage: www.stephenburns.ca
or connect with him on social media:


Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Sarah's Review of Shopaholic To The Rescue by Sophie Kinsella


Becky Bloomwood is at it again! This time she is bringing along her family, friends, and one, shall we say, enemy, on a trip to Las Vegas. This book picks up right where the last one, Shopaholic To The Stars, ends. In the newest installment, Shopaholic to the Rescue, Becky and her group rent an RV and head off on a search for Becky's father, Graham, and Tarquin, her best friend Suze's husband. Graham and Tarkie abruptly left Los Angeles to take care of "something". With no one knowing what the two are up to, Suze and Becky's mom are worried and are convinced they have to find them. So Luke becomes the driver and they set off from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in search of the two men, all while encountering many interesting events along the way. Becky feels as though it could be her fault as she ignored her father while he was in LA and is harbouring a lot of guilt. Also, her best friend Suze has suddenly taken up with Becky's enemy, Alicia, and Becky feels threatened.

Once again, Sophie Kinsella takes us on a wild ride with Becky and her family and friends. There is never a dull moment. And while I love Becky's normal wild demeanour, for the majority of the novel you realize that something is very much off. She is not her normal self and her quirkiness has gone astray. Between feeling guilty with her father and wondering if her friendship with Suze is over, Becky falls into a bit of a slump. But through it all we see her husband, Luke, standing by her and holding her up. But with the lack of Becky's wild ramblings and crazy schemes, I found that I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much as the others. That being said, I did enjoy it and it was a nice easy read and the themes I found running through the book are great.

The main themes I found important in this book were those of friendship, love, and right and wrong. We see the struggle between Becky and Suze with their friendship. They have been through everything together, but something is going on with Suze, and Becky isn't sure their friendship is strong enough. But Luke pushes her to see her true self and to overcome any obstacles. With this push Becky is able to confront her fears and realize that not everything is at is seems to be. True friendship can withstand any tests thrown at them. We need to consider ourselves lucky if we have even one friend in our life with whom we can confide anything in. And I can't help but feel grateful to have a true friendship that can stand the test of time and distance.

It's endearing to see the theme of love in this book. We see how true love can help you through some tough times and true love is forever. It's honest, forgiving, and strong. We see this theme between Becky and Luke, Suze and Tarquin, and also Becky's parents. They each have their own challenges to overcome, but the love they have for each other helps them through it.

The last theme I wanted to touch upon was the contrast between what's right and wrong. Of course there are quite a few instances in the book where the characters are faced with what to do, but ultimately the good always outweighs the bad and the truth always comes to surface.

I do love the way Kinsella weaves the tales of her characters throughout the story and how she hooks you and pushes you to read 'just one more page'. While this wasn't my favourite Shopaholic book, I did thoroughly enjoy it and really took the message to heart. We need to remember what's truly important in our lives and be grateful for what we have. We need to do what is right in our hearts and pursue what we consider to be righteous.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Kindred Salvation Cover Reveal!

Title: Kindred Salvation

Series: Divine Hunter #3

Author: L.J. Sealey

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Release: TBC




Hell wants an angel. . .


Against her better judgement, Lacy Holloway is getting used to her life with Michael, but falling deeper in love with him is only bringing more uncertainty about their future together. And then there's the other little problem: God only knows why her dead sister is still hanging around, but she is secretly glad. Living with the man she loves, and having Beth back in her life, Lacy is hiding her concerns behind the normal life she so desperately craves.

Things have been quiet in Oakland, but calm wasn't usually on Michael's radar, and for good reason. Now the dead are stirring and when Michael and Jaret discover a mass grave in Cincinnati they suspect Varesh has returned.

Their suspicions are heightened the moment Michael comes face to face with a past he knows very little about, and that past comes with some shocking news. Overwhelmed by what he's learned, and desperate to stop his evil enemy, Michael finds himself on the hunt for a woman who is closer to him than he could have ever imagined. But if Hell finds her first, the repercussions will be devastating, not just for Michael, but for the whole of mankind

Who will get to her first? Angel or demon?

Other books by L.J. Sealey:
• AWAKEN (Divine Hunter #1) is currently *FREE* on eBook.
• DARK DELIVERANCE (Divine Hunter #2) 
• EVO - A Divine Hunter World Novel (Divine Hunter #2.5) *Can also be read as a standalone*

 All books are available in eBook and Paperback
About The Author
 L.J. Sealey was born and raised in a little Welsh town by the sea. It rains a lot, so she often has a great excuse to sit at her writing desk and while away the hours at her laptop.
She still lives in N.Wales and when she’s not travelling around the country working with her husband – who is a professional singer – or singing backup vocals herself, she likes to read and watch her favourite TV shows which normally includes plenty of CSI, The Vampire Diaries and endless amounts of sitcoms. Being addicted to reading about vampires, demons, shifters and angels, she has always had a thing for all things paranormal and is a big sucker for impossible love stories. So it was inevitable that when she started writing herself she would mix the two together.
Stalker Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads | Google+


Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Sarah's Review of The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass


The One is Kiera Cass' third novel in The Selection Series and in my opinion it was the best one. In the final installment of determining Prince Maxon's future wife, America is surprised that she has made it this far. When she first entered the Selection she would have never thought she would still be here, so close to Prince Maxon's heart and the crown. The competition gets heated inside the palace walls as the threats from outside those walls are also increasing. It is starting to become very clear to America what she needs to do and how much she could lose if she doesn't fight for the future that she wants.

Cass does an amazing job with her writing. Her words are very illuminating and she easily paints a picture in your mind. By the end of this novel you have no doubt just who America is, as well as the other main characters. They have all evolved so much throughout the three books and each one has grown from the experience. Cass makes it so easy to follow, it is very well laid out. I felt you could really connect and identify with her characters.

Cass is an inspirational writer. Her storylines are so well planned and the ease at which they unfold is mesmerizing. Her words pull you in and make it such an easy, hard to put down read. I found that when I wasn't reading, I was thinking about it, just waiting to get back into her world.

There are a few overpowering themes throughout the series and this book. The main one being love. But one that I found very intriguing was the theme of good and evil. We see this portrayed within the caste system as well as the fight with the rebels against the palace. We even see America struggling internally with what is right and wrong in her heart. What I love about Cass's writing is that her characters are raw. We see right into the heart of America, even if she is confused and struggling. I'm sure we have all had at least one experience in our lives in which we can relate. America is a substantial heroine and doesn't waver from what she believes in right. She has solid morals, is very strong willed and doesn't falter even under the King's steely gaze.

After I finished reading this book, I started thinking about all of the underlying stories going on and I find it very interesting how she mirrors the tension between the girls and finding love inside of the palace with the tension building outside of the palace walls with the Northern and Southern rebels. As Maxon gets closer to choosing "The One" the rebels also get more and more threatening. And with that, Cass ties everything up perfectly, delivered in such a beautiful package. She brings back small hints at things from previous chapters and books to perfectly align them together, all the of pieces falling into place. Nothing is left undone.

This book is easily a new favourite. So if you are looking for a light, easy read, with a good plot and strong characters, I'd highly recommend The One.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Sarah's Review of The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass


The Elite is the second book in The Selection series by Kiera Cass and in this book we find that the selection has been narrowed down from 35 to just six. With such a small number of girls left the competition has become more intense as the girls try and win Prince Maxon's heart and crown. Most of the girls know what they want, but America is still trying to figure out what her heart desires. Is she falling in love with the Prince or does her heart still belong with her first love, Aspen? America needs to decide quickly what it is she wants. Before it's too late.

As we move further into the Selection, we learn more about the Prince and his parents. We also learn more about the remaining girls and their personalities begin to shine. This second book is full of drama and intrigue. We see America struggling with her heart's desires. One minute she thinks she loves Aspen and the next minute she seems to be falling for Prince Maxon. It did get frustrating with her constant back and forth. It seemed that every time she was with one of them then she was swept away into their world and she could only imagine her life with him. But the minute they left she was confused again. This is a typical love triangle in which she can see herself with both men and loves them both, but is struggling as to which one she loves more and is meant to be with. But while she is struggling with her emotions, the other girls know what they want and are fighting for it.

Even though the girls are fighting for the same thing and only one of them can have it, we start to see some friendships develop. Being in similar circumstances seems to create sympathy among the girls and since they are in it together they begin to grow closer to one another, just like Queen Amberly made lifetime friendships with the girls she was in the Selection with. I like how we learn more about Queen Amberly and with the girls we realize how true her words are. The differences between the King and Queen are quite evident and help to make the story an interesting one. They help to balance out the good and the bad and we learn why Prince Maxon is the way he is and how he has so much compassion in his heart.

Amongst all of the love triangles and some backstabbing drama, there is a whole other story developing with the rebels. We are learning more about the two groups and how differently they operate and why. Cass is good at relaying just the right amount of information when it's deemed necessary in order to create chaos and drama in the castle and in the castes.

Even though some parts I found to be predictable, there were many times where I was shocked and blown away at the turn of events. This book is a quick and easy read with good description and storytelling. You really get a sense of the setting as the girls are thrown into circumstances taking them all over the castle.

Amongst the love story there is such a strong tone with good versus bad. Not only with the King and Queen, but with the rebels. We learn sometimes you don't know everything and what might look terrible and incriminating from the outside really isn't so. You need to be fully informed of everything before you make a decision that could affect a lot of other people.

I think the thing I loved the most about this book is that, even though America struggles with who she loves, the girl she is never waivers. If anything, her integrity, morals and values are made stronger and she sticks to what she believes is right, even if it could cost her everything. She isn't broken by a man or bending her beliefs in order to please somebody else. She does what she believes is right because she is the one that has to live with the decisions she makes and the consequences.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Sarah's Review of The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass


I recently picked up the trilogy for The Selection by Kiera Cass and I am so glad that I did. The first thing that caught my eye were the beautiful covers for the books and when I read the backs of them I thought I'd give it a shot. When I first began reading The Selection I thought it was going to be like a cross between The Bachelor and The Hunger Games, just without all of the backstabbing, fighting and bloody battles.

The Selection starts off with a letter. Thirty-five girls from across the country of Illea are chosen for a once in a lifetime chance to become the next princess to the handsome Prince Maxon. It is their only chance to escape their caste system and leave the life they were born into. By being one of the thirty-five and a part of the Selection they are taken up by fancy dresses and sparkling jewels all while fighting for the heart of Prince Maxon. While almost every girl dreams of being given this opportunity, one girl, America Singer, dreads being chosen. If she is chosen she would be forced to have to leave Aspen and their secret love. It is a secret because he lives a caste below her and that type of relationship is normally forbidden because women are not to marry below them. But being one of the chosen she is forced to leave her family and her love, Aspen. She finds herself in a competition for a crown that she just does not want while living in a huge palace that finds itself under attacks from violent rebels. But then America meets Prince Maxon and everything she thought she had wanted and had dreamed about may not be as good as what her future could be.

I have to say that I did love this book! It spoke to me as a teenage girl and I fell in love with the characters right from the start. It's an interesting world Cass has created and while some people may find it unbelievable, it does make for great storytelling and sets up their world for many possibilities. America Singer isn't like most teenage girls, but there are certain characteristics that she possesses that make it so easy for, I believe, any teenage girl (or woman) to relate to. She is a strong heroine who speaks her mind, even if it means she could get herself into trouble. She is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. Even though she is thrown into this world of royalty which is so far from the caste that she has grown up in, she somehow remains true to herself and retains her core morals and values. She did not want to do the Selection, but she did it to help out her family and because her secret love, Aspen, asked her to. And she couldn't deny him that if that was what he truly wanted. Aspen comes from a caste below America and couldn't imagine taking away the opportunity for her to have everything she needed, when he could hardly afford to support her. When we finally meet Prince Maxon and learn more about him, it's grounding to see that he isn't the stereotypical Prince. He is kind and heartwarming, and incredibly swoon-worthy. While America is mainly there for her family and to get away from Aspen, she decides she may as well become friends with this Prince. But I don't think she realized what that friendship could lead to.

I found all of her characters well rounded and solid. Every personality is unveiled at the right moment and we learn what we need to when we need to. From the heroine, to the Prince, to the forbidden love, to the maids and then to the other girls, each character is essential to the fabrication of the story.

Cass is an exceptional writer. She takes her words and weaves such magic that you are pulled right into this world. She doesn't overload you with mundane details, but gives just the right amount of description so you can picture it in your mind.

America has to try and figure out what it is she truly wants. And we find her going back and forth a few times as to what she thinks she could live with. I think we can all relate to the indecisiveness you can feel as a teenager and at any age. Whether it be love, work, home or anything else, we all face times when we have to make a big decision and I like how America does not rush her feelings but takes things one day at a time.

I personally loved this book and if you are looking for a light and easy read while being entertained and swept up into another world give this series a shot. I am glad that I picked up these books as the trilogy so I don't have to wait to dive into the second one, The Elite.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Sarah's Review of The Last Angel by Stephen R. Burns

The Last Angel is the first novel in "A Desolate Kingdom Novel" series by new author Stephen R. Burns.

The story begins one hundred years after the world faced what is known as the Storms. The world is no longer as we remember, instead it has become a desolate wasteland, much of which is uninhabitable. With the Storms came what the people called angels, but these angels aren't what you would expect. They have fangs and are ugly creatures whose only purpose it seems it to terrorize the humans that remain. Most people could not fight and kill them, they just didn't have the guts. But then you meet Tommy. Tommy isn't like most people. When his family and friends were threatened and killed by these creatures everything in him changed. He could kill them. And the townspeople made him Sheriff of New Angels. Tommy didn't think anything could be worse than what had already gone down, until he kills the giant angel and is forced to make a decision with the child. What is to come has you on the edge of your seat.

Burns does an amazing job with his unique characters and storyline. Each character is so strong, well-developed and believable that I found myself drawn to them right from the beginning. I particularly enjoyed how both of his lead characters were equally valid and strong even though one was male and one was female. They both exhibited strength and stamina. It really shows equality through the ages. He uses rich descriptions and strong narrative to keep things fast paced. I found myself turning page after page waiting to see what was coming. His storyline was very unique and unpredictable. If you think you have it figured out, just wait, there are so many twists and turns and unexpected circumstances things just keep flowing. There is so much creativity in the world he has created and even though it is nothing like the way our world is today, it is easy to picture it through his words.

What I really loved about his book is not only that it was very entertaining, but it also looked at bigger issues, such as gender equality, religion, and slavery, all while being a paranormal fantasy book. It's funny how just because you are used to doing something a certain way you think that it's the correct way. Sometimes our eyes need to be opened up beyond our world, and see things from others perspectives. His book also shows us that two wrongs don't make a right. Burns also takes a look into how important friendships are and what true friendship means. How far would you go to save your friend?

I would highly recommend this new series to my friends. I think this novel is the first in what is to be a great series! Can't wait to read the next one, City of Slaves.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

New Release!!! New Author!!!

Title : The Last Angel
Series : The Desolate Kingdom Novels
Author : Stephen R. Burns
The Last Angel is Book #1 in Stephen R. Burns new series, The Desolate Kingdom Novels
She was the biggest angel Tommy had ever seen. Seven feet tall with wide shoulders and massive wings. It wasn’t until he killed her that he realized she was different. She didn’t have claws. Or fangs. And she was beautiful, the kind of beauty that made you want to grab your rosary and a drink and thank God you were still alive.

It had been a hundred years since the Storms had nearly wiped out humanity and turned the world into a desolate wasteland. Worse, the angels had come with them. Fanged creatures that terrorized what was left of the human race. If you had the guts, if you could stop your hands from shaking, they could be killed. Most people didn’t have the guts. Most people let the ugly get to them.

        Tommy wasn’t most people.

He’d come back from the city to raise his daughter, but when the creature had swooped down out of the red sun and slaughtered eleven people, including his little girl, everything changed. They’d made him Sheriff because they were scared. Because they knew he could kill them.

But now, he wasn’t sure. The giant angel was dead, courtesy of his sawed off shotgun, the same gun he now pointed at the child standing beside the body. No claws. No fangs. Just like her mother. Just like his daughter.

Tommy paused, then raised his gun.  
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A little bit about the Author... 
I grew up in a small town in Southern Ontario and penned my first story when I was ten. Like most writers, I've worked a variety of jobs, but most of my career has centered around students with special needs. This has informed my work greatly.
As a rule, my stories tend to feature complex societies with strong female characters and a lot of action. They are also highly accessible. I've been very pleased so far by the amount of people who don't read fantasy who have enjoyed my books. 
It's been a long journey, fraught with failure and difficult times, but I wouldn't trade any of it. Writing is about learning and growing and the ability to look in the mirror. Why? Because that's what the best stories do. (While providing great entertainment.)

For as much as I love to write, however, the most important event in my life happened in 2008 when I met my wife, Bethany, who for reasons beyond my understanding, fell in love with me. We have a couple of spoiled cats and between the two of us, live in a household overflowing with books.

Links for The Last Angel : Amazon.ca ; Amazon.com
Check out what he's working on, including Book #2, City of Slaves (release date April 6, 2016) at his webpage www.stephenburns.ca
or connect with him on social media

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