Jadeite’s Journey – Lucinda Stein

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Living in a perfect world isn’t as good as it sounds…

Firstly I must say that returning to blogging after such a long break has been worth it thanks to this book, however the break has been very good for me. I’ve been able to get myself settled into my new home, start my new job without distractions and get used to my new surroundings up North (UK). I never wanted to be away from blogging this long but knew that I couldn’t continue with all the drastic changes happening in my life. This break is now over and I’m delighted to return with such a wonderful book ‘Jadeite’s Journey’ – hopefully you’ll agree!

We start off with the illusion of a ‘perfect world’ where everyone is happy and content, thinking that their part of the world is free of disease/illness and where everyone is immortal. However it is a controlled society, there are tests that determine your career, technology for everything (cooking, hobby activities and of course the drone guards) and rules no one must break. Yet everything isn’t as perfect as they are deemed to believe. Jadeite finds out her brother is sick and needs medicine from ‘over the ridge’ where the primitive outcasts live. After taking on her fathers responsibilities of going over the ridge, she has to learn to adapt to two worlds and make sure she doesn’t get caught!

The characters themselves each have a story to tell and the more we learn about them the deeper connection I seemed to get, Jadeite herself proves to be the smart, loving daughter who will do anything for her family which really shows when she starts to try and save her brother’s life and takes her father’s duties of crossing the ridge to protect him. Electra is the quirky best friend who doesn’t quite fit into the way United Society want her to be, she is creative and erratic and a free spirit. She is the first person we see having to bend to the rules ‘or else’ and puts it into perspective how controlling the United Society government are. Mattie I honestly liked in the beginning, he was confident and the teenage romance that blossomed between him and Jadeite did make me smile, until he started to show his true colours and became controlling, manipulative and dangerous. Finally the key character that stood out was Orion (a boy from over the ridge) he showed bravery, loyalty and love which made me root for him and Jadeite even more as he showed her the ‘new world’ she wasn’t accustomed to and kept her safe.

The narrative itself was somewhat hard to follow sometimes, due to it flicking from one section to the other but the story-line had me turning each page with intrigue and kept me wanting to find out what happens next. I loved the contrast between United Society and over the Ridge, it really painted the picture of how corrupt United Society is and how with little technology the people over the Ridge had freedom which meant more to them than living a ‘convenient’ but controlled life. The way that the cracks in United Society slowly unfolded worked brilliantly, it had me questioning whether it was just coincidences or mistakes that Jadeite was uncovering but really built up to how wrong this place was. I did feel myself following Jadeite’s journey with held breath, especially her constant trips over the Ridge and hoping she doesn’t get caught but also her charade whilst in United Society and her fooling Mattie that she was still his and happy in that relationship.

Without giving away any spoilers there were two major twists that had me shocked, one being the Vilàne family and all their secrets. The mother in particular and the secret she kept from not only her own son Mattie but the entire United Society government, I had to re-read the whole section to make sure I wasn’t just imagining the deception. The second twist was with the Journeyman family, particularly Jadeite’s mother and the secret that had been kept from Jadeite and her brother. Two very different twists but both delightfully shocking.

The one downside to this book was the ending, I was happy with the way it seemed to be going and gave me hope that everything would be alright. However it did end rather suddenly without answering some of the questions I had about the Vilàne family, will Mattie ever know the truth about his father? How would Jadeite cope with life outside of United Society? What would her and Orion’s relationship be like? I do hope there will be another book that follows from this as I would be very keen to read it!

Until next time…

If you want to read ‘Jadeite’s Journey’ yourself you can purchase it on Amazon by following the link here.

Bio: Lucinda Stein
As a former school librarian, Lucinda Stein enjoyed sharing books with students. Jadeite’s Journey is her first YA novel. Her collection of short stories, Sanctuary: Family, Friends, and Strangers, was a 2015 Colorado Book Award finalist. Her story, “Sulfur Springs,” won the 2011 LAURA Short Fiction Award judged by Pam Houston. Lucinda loves reading, anything vintage, camping, and hiking with her shelter-rescue dog, Opie. She also enjoys creating bookstagrams. Follow her on Instagram at lucindastein.

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The Solitary Path Of Courage – M. B. Tosi

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You can be taught how to be ladylike, but courage is always within…

This book is actually the fifth in ‘The Indian Path Series’ so I was a little apprehensive that I wouldn’t know what is going on straight away, however from doing some research each book has its own standalone story that you can enjoy without having read the whole series beforehand. This genre of book is not usually one that I would choose but I’m glad it was brought to my attention as it involves bravery, adventure, hope and discovery. All of these come together to create an in-depth story that give us an insight into how the Old West 1800’s would have been like, hard at the best of times but even harder for a young orphaned woman.

The female protagonist is not the stereotypical ‘tough’ heroine, Sam O’Brien is a strong willed and courageous young lady that has been leading a double life. Being raised by only her father for most of her life she learnt that ‘hiding’ as a male made it safer, especially if she wished to stay close to her father on the railroads construction sites. Not learning how to be ladylike she adapted to the male environment (perhaps not necessarily for the best) which allowed her to have a straightforward talking personality and hard skinned attitude. Once her father passed away she soon learned that in her new family this kind of attitude would not be accepted.

As for the story itself, it really keeps you entertained and educated as we follow Sam on her journey (from orphan to outcast then professional) as we already know Sam is able to disguise herself as a male, after she leaves for Lewiston she becomes a newspaper reporter (being a talented writer already this suits her perfectly). Able to write about the current issues with the Indian’s she makes a name for herself. This story really flows beautifully allowing the reader to become fully engaged with Sam’s journey but also with the characters she meets along the way. It is a fast paced book that is full of adventure that will keep you turning the pages with excitement and intrigue.

As for the educational side of this book, don’t think I mean you will be reading a textbook on Indian history, this is much more exciting than that! It really gives you an insight into how life would have been in that era, especially for young women like Sam but also the Indian tribes. How things such as the gold-rush can cause issues (always the case when money is involved) and how we need to think about other people rather than just ourselves. There will always be conflict in this world but if we choose to be courageous, kind and fair then hopefully we can live in peace with one another.

This story really comes to life, making you feel what Sam is feeling. The grief for her father, the anger for her stepbrother, the fear of the unknown and the happiness of discovery. It really is a whirlwind of emotions that you feel when you read this book, painting the story in your mind (from imagining hiding from the Indians in the haystack, to working as a man on the railway site to journey’s into the unknown towns). A good book gives you all of these things, this one most definitely allows your imagination to run wild!

I must say that I will be reading the rest of the series (even if I’ve done it a bit backwards) as I really think that the writing style and story line that M. B. Tosi has created really speaks out to me and I wish to see what else she has in store.

Until next time…

Bio: M. B. Tosi
M.B. TOSI is a bestselling author of The Indian Path Series, which includes five books, The Sacred Path of Tears, The Secret Path of Destiny, The Crimson Path of Honor, The Thundering Path of Spirit, and The Solitary Path of Courage. She also has been an editor of non-fiction books and a weekly newspaper. She teaches piano and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in education. Born in Pierre, South Dakota, she has lived in Alexandria, Virginia; Bucks County, Pennsylvania; and Toledo, Ohio. She has three children, five grandchildren, and a spunky Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Ava.

Hell Will Rise – Skyla Murphy

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Always be one step ahead when dealing with the Mafia…

This is the first book I’ve read that had a Mafia theme and quite honestly I was intrigued to see how much my innocence to this theme would filter down into the book and impact my reading experience. It is safe to say I was pleasantly surprised with the story that unravelled, giving me a bit of everything (romance, violence and revenge) to keep me on my toes and turning each page with held breath!

Before you even begin the book you are told by the main protagonist ‘Hunter Garciez’ that you are reading his story, his tale of misery and warning you that Hell Will Rise! If that doesn’t give you enough persuasion to keep reading then I don’t know what will… This book splits the story between two perspectives, one of the male protagonist (Hunter) and one of the female protagonist (Shayla), this gives you a way into how each see the same situation but dealing with them in complete opposite ways, but also insight into their separate lives.

One of the plot twists unfolds early in the story (no spoilers here!) and allows the reader to almost anticipate what each character will do with that information, slowly having the characters realise the connection between them makes you really question the actions that may follow. The suspense built with this book really kept me going, always wanting to know what will happen next whilst really connecting with the characters and their own struggles and actions that lead them to be where they are now.

Now, the characters are just something else! I was a bit sceptical of Shayla as I’m not usually the kind of person who likes the whole ‘damsel in distress’ story line, but she is most definitely not that kind of girl! Shayla proves to be a headstrong, sassy and durable character, who has been dealt a rough hand yet keeps on fighting! Hunter being in the mafia is shown to have a sensitive side even after the years of gore, violence and malicious behaviour he’s endured and dealt out. Protecting his little sister after his parents died, his love for her shows no boundaries even after he is tested again and again!

This actually is the first book of ‘The Bloodthirst Mafia Series’ and from what Skyla Murphy has provided in ‘Hell Will Rise’ I most definitely cannot wait to read the rest of this series! Considering this is Skyla Murphy’s first book I must admit I’m impressed with the level of detail to the storyline, character creation and development and overall keeping me hooked onto every word she provided.

Until next time…

If you want to read ‘Hell Will Rise’ yourself you can purchase it on Amazon by following the link here.

Bio: Skyla Murphy
Skyla Murphy is a highland junkie from the West Coast of Canada. When she’s not searching the Rocky Mountains for Sasquatch, she can be found researching every other conspiracy theory known to mankind. Her Yorkshire Terrier is usually clung to her side, but he doesn’t buy into her philosophies much. Therefore, she writes about them instead.

The Calling – Louise White

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Portal travel can lead you down a dangerous road…

I always love finding a good fantasy book that is different and really stands out, it is quite hard as there are so many books out there that follow similar story lines which can get quite repetitive and predicable. The Calling is not one of those books, it’s such a refreshing narrative and story that really draws you in and gives you hours of escaping your own reality and following the life of Carolyn our strong willed female protagonist. I had no issues getting into this book and got taken on a journey that crosses realms, encounters demons and involves a romantic twist, a little bit of everything you’d need to enjoy a fantasy novel!

The story follows our female heroine Carolyn, who has lost her mother and brother to another realm and spends years in the unknown about her new found ‘magical’ powers. Being drawn to the gateways to complete tasks of killing demons she becomes ‘The Destroyer’ without having much insight into why she does this ‘job’. The book itself is quite confusing to begin with, especially as it flicks between the present/past and Carolyn’s internal thoughts but once you’ve sussed out what section your reading it does flow quite nicely. The story is full of amazing detail that really brings the story to life and creates the perfect balance of realism and fantasy!

The characters are something that really stood out for me, we see a lot of Carolyn and her strong feminine attitude which gets broken down somewhat by the demon Note who unexpectedly takes our protagonists heart (romantically of course) but the character development is brilliant! You really feel connected to each character you meet and understand their purpose in this book to the full, blending the bonds of friendship and love with some key characters along the way (Ethan) you really get a wide variety of people and each one stood out on their own, connecting with you on a personal level.

Mystery and confusion are two things that spring to mind when I thought about describing this book, the mystery side of it is due to never truly knowing what will happen next (always on your toes) but also being slightly sceptical of some characters and their motives, wondering if a character is actually right for our main lead and judging people before we truly understand them. All of these aspects make you so hooked to this book it’s unreal, I never wanted to put it down as I was always hoping to get more information on the next page! Confusion is another description due to this being the first novel in the series I’m hoping some of my questions will be answered, especially how the book ended I am desperate to find out more!

Overall I would say if you are a fan of fantasy I would highly recommend this book as Louise G. White has created a world (or two) that you can get lost in! This book has a bit of everything for everyone and is so well written I cannot wait to read the next novel in the Gateway series! The story line is flawless and really grabs your attention straight away, you won’t be putting this book down at any point until you’ve finished it!

Until next time…

If you want to read ‘The Calling’ yourself you can purchase it on Amazon by following the link here.

Bio: Louise G. White
The scenic west coast of Scotland is where she lives with her family. She didn’t set out to write Fantasy, but when she sat with her laptop to begin The Calling, It became apparent that she still believed in Bogey Men, the Monster in the cupboard and of course, the Faeries at the bottom of our garden. Suddenly she found that she was writing a story of heroes who could be found both on our doorsteps and in the realms that lie beyond.

Frost on my Pillow – Leah Hamrick

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A book that you wouldn’t give the ‘cold shoulder’…

Whenever I go away on holiday I always bring a book with me (or two!) to escape reality even when I’m on the other side of the world. This was exactly what I did with ‘Frost on my Pillow’ by Leah Hamrick! I got lost in this book so much that I couldn’t put it down, the genre is one I truly enjoy and the story itself was breathtaking! I am glad this was the book I had taken with me on my holiday and now two weeks later I can write my review…

Firstly the genre of the book is one that is in my top favourites (paranormal, romance and NA) so I had no issue getting stuck in! The book really shows these elements in a clear and creative way, whether that be the love triangle Lyla has that is full of passion and lust or the magic within the characters (even those that don’t know it!) – Firebringer, Icebringer and Demons are some of the paranormals you can find within this book. Safe to say the story has something for everyone, I couldn’t wait to turn the next page and continue the journey Leah Hamrick had given me.

The characters themselves were a treat to discover, from the protagonist Lyla who isn’t just an ordinary girl, she is a Firebringer (can control fire!) – she shows herself as a strong minded girl that goes for what she wants, but everyone has their weaknesses. The character development is very well done and you can relate to each of them in your own way, or better yet aspire to be like them (personally I would love to control fire). Rylan is also a great example of an epic character, everyone loves a bad boy! Swaying Lyla away from a monogamous relationship with Ethan showing the reality of teenage lust and hormones!

This book has been written in such a way that you can honestly imagine some of the scenes playing out in your head, it is a story that takes twists and turns keeping you on your toes. The creativity of this story makes you feel as if you are going along Lyla’s journey with her, feeling the way she does and creating a bond with the characters. The way this is written really highlights the teenage qualities without losing an adult audience. Another plus is that the chapters move smoothly with this page turner of a book and quite frankly I didn’t want it to end, it does leave you wanting to know more (hopefully the next book will answer my questions!).

For my first blog post back after my holiday I am glad that it was ‘Frost on my Pillow’ – It is always easy to write a review about a good book and my words probably can’t do it justice but it had me captivated from the beginning! I can’t wait to see what Leah Hamrick has in store next as her writing style is something special!

Until next time…

If you want to read ‘Frost on my Pillow’ yourself you can purchase it on Amazon by following the link here.

Bio: Leah Hamrick
Leah Hamrick lives in Michigan with her partner in crime husband Jon, young daughter Khloey, and plethora of reptiles, fish, and a tree frog named Sticky. She can always be found with her nose in a YA book, daydreaming and thinking up new ideas for a story, and trying to figure out how to make a character’s chemistry clash with one another’s. She is a fan of romance, and anything paranormal. She gets the inspiration for her stories from things that have happened in her real life—except the paranormal/fantasy aspect… She wishes she were that awesome! She enjoys listening to heavy metal music, traveling, watching bad reality TV, and everything pink. She hopes that one day she can be become a well known author, and to keep writing stories for everyone to enjoy for years to come.

The White Raven – Carrie D. Miller

Do you believe in magic?

Before I even begin with my review of The White Raven I must admit to being very excited to read it (little kid at Christmas kind of excited) as this book follows a similar genre to one of my all-time favourite books! As soon as I started to read The White Raven, I couldn’t put it down. It captivated me right from the beginning (as if by magic) and all the way through I couldn’t stop smiling as I went on this amazing journey Carrie D. Miller provided!

Now, on with the review…

Firstly, we follow the life of Aven Dovenelle (a real witch) who is cursed to live life after life with all her memories of her previous lives (including her horrific deaths). Straight away Aven’s character is so intriguing, wanting to know more about her curse and her new life in Salem I didn’t have a problem in following her story word for word. In her thirteenth life she seems to have found some peace with her endless curse, having her own shop to sell magical items and true friends by her side, I loved reading about Aven’s journey and truly felt as if I knew her, understood her pain, her frustration, her love and friendships.

The prospect of this book turning into a romance genre wasn’t entirely a bad thing (who doesn’t love a good romance) but as it already has fantasy, magic, friendship and tragedy muddled within, it gave this book a perfect mixture to satisfy all readers. The relationships that Aven encounters (Calvin being one) really proves that love can be hard to come by when you are different, but Aven inspired me by proving everyone wrong that a strong independent woman (witch) can have happiness and I was swept up with the romance that blossomed between her and Cal (even if there were a few rocky patches!).

One part I thoroughly enjoyed throughout (it is very hard to pick just one!) was the chapters where the White Raven (Ren) had an inner monologue, it was a very unique writing style and quite frankly a brilliant way to tie up the relationship between Aven and the White Raven, showing a softer side to her as well as giving us some insight into how she felt about Aven and the struggle they both must go through! How there relationship whilst somewhat a mystery proved to be something much more powerful and inspiring. It broke up the usual narrative perfectly and really gave me a different side to the story that I was very grateful for!

Learning about the curse was a huge shock! Although a few twists were put in place which completely threw me. I honestly didn’t see it coming and I couldn’t imagine it being announced any better, no spoilers will be mentioned but I was completely in awe of how the whole book finished…

I think that the book was written beautifully and honestly I don’t think my words can do it justice, I do feel as if The White Raven is a perfect read if you wish to escape reality and enter a world of magic, curses and friendships. My only downside would be that it wasn’t longer (but fingers are crossed for a sequel). I will most definitely be looking out for any other books Carrie D. Miller brings out because her writing is truly wonderful!

Until next time…

If you wish to read The White Raven by Carrie D. Miller yourself you can pre-order it on Amazon here. The official release date is April 1st.

Bio: Carrie D. Miller
Carrie D. Miller was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, on October 31, 1970. She credits her vivid imagination, as well as her sugar addiction, to being a Halloween baby. In a former life, she was an executive in the software industry for many years. Her career in the technology world included software product management, website design, training, and technical writing just to name a few. Although Carrie’s written a great deal over the decades which has been read by thousands of people, software documentation allows for about as much creativity as pouring cement. At the age of 45, she decided to chuck it all to become an author which had been a life-long dream.

There Is Always More To Say – Lynda Spiro

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Love and friendship never really end…

For a lazy Sunday afternoon I couldn’t have asked for a better book to get lost in! This book really does make you think and even got me to reminisce on my own past friendships. Before reading this book I had done some research into it and discovered that it wouldn’t be written in a way that I have come across before, however this just made me even more intrigued to see a different style of writing and what it could have in store for me.

Firstly I must point out the use of inspirational quotes that are used at the beginning and end of each ‘chapter’ – they really enhance the reading experience but also compliment that which has been discussed in the chapter. After reading this book you really do feel a sense of enlightenment and the quotes just make it that little bit extra to stand out from the crowd of ‘normal’ book writing styles. Safe to say I may have to use some of them in any future writing I do!

The literary style almost feels as if it is a memoir of the narrator (or even a diary) as the book follows a stream of thoughts, feelings and past experiences that seem deeply personal to the narrator. However this is done in such a way that you feel you’ve gone on this journey with them and laughed, loved and cried through every step. This book could be challenged as a typical love story but digging deeper it is so much more, you really feel connected to the characters and can relate to experiences they’ve had regarding ‘first love’ and ‘true friendships’.

As for the characters there is an air of mystery as you never get to know their names, always keeping you guessing and allowing your own imagination to take off, which personally is a very clever writing strategy. I kept wanting to know more, as my questions never got fully answered, but throughout this journey of a book it really brought a smile to my face as it was just on a level that everyone could enjoy.

Being quite a short story you would have no problem curling up for an afternoon and really getting lost in it (I most certainly couldn’t put it down!). I can’t wait to see what Lynda Spiro does next as her writing style has most definitely captivated me!

Until next time…

If you want to read ‘There Is Always More To Say’ yourself you can purchase it on Amazon by following the link here.

Bio: Lynda Spiro
Lynda Young Spiro is a mixed media artist whose love of textiles, found objects and recyclable materials are incorporated into her colourful work. Lynda was born in 1959 in Hampstead, London, where she now lives with her husband and two sons. Lynda’s previous book Latch-Hooking Rugs is published by A & C Black. There is Always More to Say is her award-wining first novel, which has since been recognised by Chill With A Book, Shelf Unbound, and Hollywood Book Festival.