Friday, April 25, 2014

Legends of Dimmingwood Books 1-4 by C. Greenwood

I recently read this anthology of books, and I have to say that I am waiting anxiously for the next book in the series to come out.  There is a certain amount of violence in these books that lend to the reality of the lives of the characters.  And the writing style is a little different than what I normally see.  There is a lot of going back and forth between very long memories of the past.  But it is written so that you aren't confused by it.  Some may not necessarily like this style of writing.  I, however, think it's different and creative.  Not only is it creative, but there are no "bedroom scenes".  In fact, there is little to none in the way of a relationship of this type.  Once in a while it is nice to see a book or a series that is not based solely on a relationship between a guy and girl who have fallen in love.  This book is more about a young girl trying to find her place.  She is an imperfect heroine and that is easier for us to relate to.
    People like Ilan were systematically exterminated because they were naturals in the area of magic.  They were born with the ability.  The Praetor had many of them wiped out, including this girl's parents.  Ilan is named by a man in a band of thieves headed by Rideon the Red Hand.  Rideon is a rather cold and calculating version of Robin Hood that takes everything having to do with his band of thieves very seriously.  He doesn't take captives either.  But when Ilan comes upon his band she is a young child and one of the men, Brig, takes her in.  For many years she is protected from most of the violence that happens when the men go out to steal from the unlucky travelers that come their way.  She stays around camp to help with chores.  But when she does finally go with them, it is only to bring back an injured boy about her age.  Ilan nurses him back to health and this would-be priest is now stuck in Rideon's group whether he likes it or not.  They grow up for a few years together with him trying to be nice and docile while she is generally hostile, although she would do whatever she had to if he was in danger.  This was Ilan's family until her mid teens.  At that point some unfortunate events lead her into a suicide mission to go find Brig.  Terrac, the boy she saved, tags along with her.  This eventually leads to her and Terrac's separation and Ilan going into the city to find an acquaintance who might be able to help her.  This man was also born with magical abilities, but has hidden them from most people, just like Ilan.
    Her dealings with the Praetor, Rideon's band, and even more enemies in the books make for an interesting journey for Ilan.  She encounters the hurt and betrayal of those who were supposed to be her friends as well as death to those around her.  It seems that those close to her pay a heavy price to be her friend.  I read these books all together and I think that is probably the best way to understand what is going on.  Like how this particular brooch given to Ilan from her mother is an important clue to her past and partly who she is, but you don't find out until late in the journey about what it means.  It's a good series to read if you are looking for some good books!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Nova and Quinton: No Regrets by Jessica Sorensen

   In the latest installment of the series on Nova and Quinton, Quinton is just getting out of rehab and is about to face the world again.  At this point he isn't even sure if he is ready to or if he can even handle it .  So he's taking it one day at a time, one small step at a time.  Every day is hard.  Sometimes just the minutes ticking by are hard.  Everything seems to set him off and now that he is out of rehab, Quinton now has to deal with living in the same house as his father again.  The same dad that hardly had anything to do with him.  This alone is a huge challenge,  but then there is the new therapist he's seeing, who tends to seem pushy to him.  And right down the road happens to be a place or two where he knows he could score some drugs whenever he felt like it.
   Nova hasn't seen or spoken to Quinton since he left for rehab.  She can't help but think about him and wonder if he's ok.  Tristan is living with her and Lea.  Although Tristan has been clean for a little while now, he is getting increasingly familiar with Nova and it is making her uncomfortable.  She doesn't have feelings like that for him.  In fact, she knows she still has a lot of feelings for Quinton, but even after they start talking to each other again, she isn't sure how he feels about her.  He drops hints about being jealous Tristan is living with her, yet at the same time he says he isn't ready to go there with her yet.  As time drags on, she has to wonder if he will ever be ready.  Quinton wonders the same about himself.  Things get more complicated and painful when someone they  know comes up missing.
   Will Nova and Quinton ever be together?  Can Nova ever accept that she can't save everyone?  And will Quinton ever be able to let go of the past?

   Another intense installment about Nova and Quinton.  This is a different side of things though.  This book shows the after effects of getting clean and Quinton having to deal with the never-ending guilt that comes with having to face his past.  He makes a new friend that will help him in his journey to being able to handle life better, and Nova is always there for him.  There might come a time when he needs to be there for her just like she was for him.  Things are crumbling around her while they are progressing, however slowly, with Quinton.  But he has to decide just how much he cares for Nova and how far he is willing to go for her.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sleeping Roses by Rashelle Workman

   Sophie's life was tinged with grief and heartache.  She had started out well enough until the death of her parents.  After that she had went on, trying to live her life.  She went to college like they had wanted her to and during her college years she met Rina, her best friend, and David, whom she married.  She had been an amazing artist.  So much so that when she and David were married she had her own studio in their home.  But all wasn't well within their home.  She was unhappy, scared.  David had a temper and said he would kill her if she ever tried to leave him.  He would suffer no such embarrassment.  One day she finds him in bed with another woman and decides it is time to leave him.  It is a huge and scary step for Sophie, but she does it.  Rina is there helping her and being supportive as much as she can.  There is a job opening for an art teacher at the school Rina is Vice Principal at and Sophie gets the position.  David never let her work and demanded to know where she was at all times during the day.  There were dire consequences if he checked up on her and she wasn't where she said she would be.  Now she has some new found freedom, but she is still afraid.  Sophie knows that David is serious about killing her.  While she is trying to settle into her new life, she constantly has to deal with David lurking around and threatening her.  And there is a new guy in her life, Philip.  He works at the school too and is a nice guy.  But after suffering through her life with David, Sophie has a very hard time trusting men, including Philip.  Philip has a past too though.  One rather similar to hers.  Sophie has a secret though.  One that might cause a rift in their budding relationship.  Sophie's biggest problem at the moment is David.  When will the confrontation happen?  She knows it's coming and dread clouds any kind of happiness she has.

   This book completely threw me for a loop.  I had no idea that the ending would be like it was.  In fact, for a little while, you have a hard time distinguishing what is actually reality for Sophie.  I don't want to give away the ending so I can't even remotely get near it.  But I can say that it is shocking, and very fascinating.  It might bring a few tears to your eyes.  I think it will shock most people!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Quest of Heroes (The Sorcerer's Ring Book 1) by Morgan Rice

   Thorgrin of the Western Kingdom is just a 14-year-old boy, the youngest of four boys to be exact.  He is a good three years younger than the youngest of his brothers.  They are tall and muscled and well favored by his father.  Thor, on the other hand, is not treated as well by his brothers or father.  He tends the sheep while his brothers train and get the best clothes and swords.  They are going to try to get picked to be a squires to the Knights of the Silver.  It is the only way to one day become one of them.  It is all Thor has ever wanted, to become one of those knights.  But he is constantly underestimated and must resort to drastic measures to get the attention of the knights.  Once he does though, he is taken under the wing of  Erec and Kendrick.  Erec is the most famous knight around and Kendrick is the king's eldest son.  Thor also becomes friends with Reece, another of the king's sons.  For the first time, Thor feels like he actually belongs somewhere.  He feels like he has a family.  But he has also made many enemies, although he doesn't know why.  It is well known throughout the kingdom now that this young boy has some sort of power.  Thor has no idea how to summon this power or control it and he gets few answers and more riddles from Argon, the king's druid.  Respect is not easily earned from the knights and even his fellow squires.  And it usually requires doing something that endangers himself.  Life at court seems nice, but there are hidden dangers and spies everywhere.  Everyone has their informants.  And Thor is in a dangerous game of cat and mouse.  His powers also put him in danger in a way you will never see coming!  What's even worse?  After aspiring to a life of being a knight saving people, fighting for the kingdom and having honor, Thor never thought it would start out as shoveling manure and digging ditches.

   I really liked how this book felt so much like the middle ages; a time of knights, castles, and honor among men.  It is like a twist of King Arthur and The Sword in the Stone!  Thor is desperately trying to learn how to be a man of honor and this is just the beginning of his journey.  He is not what he thinks he is, and you don't find out exactly what he is in this book either.  Through Thor's new journey as a squire to a famous knight, he encounters some firsts such as drinking and being made fun of a little because he has not been with a woman before either.  His narrow escapes with his life also cause him to realize just how dangerous being a knight will truly be, should he become one.  But you also see the resilient spirit within him and can't help but admire it.  He is willing to go through great lengths to achieve his dreams.  And he always wants to keep his honor.  This is a great read!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Virulent Books 2 & 3 by Shelbi Wescott

   After reading the first one in the Virulent series, I had to read the other two to find out what happens to Lucy, Grant, and the others.  So I am taking the time to give you a little idea of what books 2 and 3 are like. Part of what I love about the series is how the background information about some of the key players is slowly told.  No one's story is just immediately out there for everyone to see and just understand.  It requires careful attention and it requires you reading all three to really understand the reasons behind some of the things happening in the series.  Motive is a big deal in a book.  Without it, the book can turn out boring.  But this series has some powerful motives behind it.

The System: Book 2

   Grant and Lucy left in a hot air balloon to find the rest of the King family.  Lucy has no idea what she expects to find when she reaches the coordinates that her dad left as a clue.  Meanwhile, they are traveling the best that they can.  They find cars with gas still in them and drive as much as possible, but otherwise they are on foot.  The sight they see outside of their own town makes them realize just how bad things are.  This is basically the apocalypse, and possibly the end of most of humanity.  Grant and Lucy wonder if there are any others out there that survived since Grant did.  Grant was never immunized against the virus that swept through the entire world.  But he survived while everyone else died.
   Scott King's directions lead Lucy (his daughter) and Grant to Brixton, Nebraska.  Literally a town with only a handful of people.  But what they find is not what they expected.  They start finding bodies that were dead way before the virus, all of them executed.  A whole town was wiped out.  When they find the secret underground lair of Huck Truman (the man in charge of the virus and everything underground now), things get even more dangerous, especially for Grant who is an anomaly.  He is proof that others could have survived, and that goes against Huck's plan.  What's worse is that when Lucy is reunited with her family, they seem different.  They seem to be trying to settle into this new life under Huck's rule while Lucy hates it down underground.  And it puts her at odds with Huck and his family as well as her own family.
   Meanwhile, Ethan is still back at home waiting to see if Lucy and Grant will bring back people to rescue them from their situation.  Ethan's crushed legs have gotten worse and he is fighting for his life.  The doctor there is doing what she can, but she can only do so much when they have limited resources.

The Variables: Book 3

   Lucy and Grant are finally together after having a hard time freeing Grant from her own father's experiments.  Huck wanted to know as much as possible about why Grant was immune so that another virus could be created to kill those immune to the old one.  Although Scott King seems cold and distant, he is trying his best to keep his family protected.  Being protected means going along with whatever Huck wants or else.  Lucy is still at odds with her parents over how they are acting about their new home and is constantly fighting with them about it.  To make matters worse, Huck has started his reign of terror in Book 3.  He wants absolute power and for no one to question him so he starts making examples of people with the new virus Scott made.  Ethan is back with his family as well as the boy Teddy.  While Teddy is living with the Kings, his future is uncertain as well.  There is another within the system wanting to raise the boy and they may very well get their wish.  In fact, in this book the fate of the whole King family is in a precarious position.  Circumstances have put them in all in danger.  Everyone in the family is also unhappy with the happenings around them, causing even more tension.
   While the Kings are underground, Darla (Teddy's mom) and Dean (Grant's dad) are making their way to Brixton to find their children.  When help came for Ethan, everyone else in their little group was killed besides them, Ethan, Teddy, and Ainsley.  Ethan is Ainsley's only friend.  Her mom was the doctor tending to Ethan.  She was killed during the "rescue".  The three of them are going to face harsh circumstances themselves.  They can only hope to get to Brixton in time to save everyone before the underground group is relocated to their permanent residences.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Virulent: The Release by Shelbi Wescott

   Lucy King has just been thrust into a world where everyone around her is dying.  Someone has let loose a deadly virus on the entire world that started off by killing the dogs.  One day she got up and all of the dogs were just gone.  At that point some of the elderly and very young children were getting sick with flu-like symptoms,  but death came quickly.  Then everyone else started dying.  People were just dropping left and right.  The bad thing is that all of the chaos starts on the day that Lucy and her family are supposed to be going on a vacation given to her dad, who is a scientist.  He had been working on some major project for a long time and his job was now giving them a vacation.  They had their vaccinations and their bags were ready to go out somewhere close to Madagascar.  But that day Lucy had forgotten her homework at the high school in her locker and Ethan, her big brother, had to drive her back real quick.  When she gets there though the school is on lock down.  Once she is in, she can't get back out to her brother.  What she sees inside will forever change her.  There are bodies in the hallway and classrooms of fallen classmates and teachers, and everyone is in the auditorium awaiting instructions from their dictator principal.  Even though death comes quickly to those falling ill,  it is gruesome with vomiting and bleeding from their eyes, nose, and mouth.  Many families outside of the school have been wiped out at this point.  And now Lucy is stuck here.  What she doesn't know? It is safer inside the locked down school than outside where looting and illegal activities have started.  The only thing she must deal with inside is the crazy principal that is now showing his true colors.  Lucy is determined to get out and to her family.  But she will need the help and support of her friends, Salem and Grant.  That is, if they live long enough to get out.

"Have you thought that maybe we're just taking die."

   If someone actually let loose such a virus on the Earth, I would imagine things would go something like this should it be at a time when school was in session.  It is a rather graphic book in some ways, but it shows a side to humanity that is rarely seen, especially where I live in the United States.  War, chaos, and death is not familiar to many areas around the globe.   A virus that wipes out humanity this fast would create a panic unlike any we had ever seen.  Lucy King has to live through some absolutely horrifying circumstances during this book.  The reality of nothing being safe to eat or drink anymore if it isn't packaged, is a harsh reality indeed.  They cannot even use the toilets because they are overflowing with contaminated water.  Everything is poisoned with the virus: the crops, the water, the people.  Even when they do get out of the school, almost everyone is dead.  The few that are alive do what they must to survive, and they are dangerous.  The real surprise comes when Lucy learns more about the time frame of the virus and how her family is more connected to it than she knows.  This nightmare could be even worse than what is going on outside.

Make sure you check out book 2!!  You want answers?  You will definitely get some!

*images via Shelbi Wescott
*quote via Shelbi Wescott

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