Sunday, 13 October 2013

Review: Jaded Youth (Jaded #2) - AG Chambers

Jaded Youth (Jaded #2) - A G Chambers 

Series: Jaded #1
Pages: 226
Release Date: July 31st 2013
Publisher: Self-Published


DINM’s destruction made Jade’s team invincible in the eyes of every Doppelganger, giving Adrian and Joanna the chance to finally prove themselves and explore the tempestuous relationship brewing between them.

Both have memories that would be better off buried and people they wish they could forget. Joining together might just give them the redemption they both so badly crave. But there’s trouble boiling within the government as the treasury continues to be drained, disappearing without a trace. Adrian is enlisted to ghost the perpetrator with his Orb, and Joanna’s help.

Their progress is stunted before it can even begin, their contracts ripped away from them as the team realise that the aftermath of DINM reaps more problems than rewards. When the minister they’ve been shadowing inadvertently introduces them to a man both Adrian and Joanna recognise, their dark pasts become entangled in a twist of fate none of the team saw coming.


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Jaded Youth (Jaded #2) - A G Chambers 

Jaded Youth is the second in the Jaded series by A G Chambers. It is set in a futuristic world where people have these counterparts, called DP's and there are multiple of them and they can do lots of different things. Jaded Rein saw Jade and her team do away with DINM, a horrible organisation headed by Jade's father. Now they're back, and they're facing something they wouldn't even have dreamt could happen. 

In the first book, I really loved the whole DP idea. Powers to do with the mind really interest me, so the kind of magical aspect of this book was intriguing to me and I really enjoyed it. And it was fun here too. But I feel like we didn't actually learn anything new. There was no development on DP's, they were exactly as they were in the first book and I feel that was one thing that let the book down, no magical development.

After the first book, I really wanted to read more about Jade and Rein's new relationship. I did say in my review of the first book that I didn't really understand their romance, but I was still, for some reason, quite intrigued as to how they woud fit together and how their relationship dynamic would go. And I have to say this was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the book for me. I loved how they fit together, and I also loved how it wasn't all smooth sailing. I know, a weird thing to love, but I'm not sadistic, I promise. If you knew these two, you'd know that isn't something that would happen for them and I'm glad that that continuation of their characters was there.

Speaking of enjoyable aspects of the book, I loved the plot! The revelations, the betrayals, the mysteries were some of the most interesting things. It was linked to the first one and I was seriously shocked at times. The plotlines in this series are really attention grabbing and I do commend them.

The one thing I didn't like was how quickly Daria, Joanna and Adrian forgave West. You can't let go of years of resentment and anger in a couple of hours, even if the reasons were sound. It just doesn't seem plausible and that is one thing that definitely preyed on my mind for the entire read.

The ending was such a cliffhanger! Throughout the entire book I was rooting for Adrian and Joanna. They had had such sad childhoods, I was really hoping they got some happiness as adults. And that ending....woah, I seriously want to read the next one!

Jaded Youth was definitely a better read than the first one. I enjoyed the characters and the storylines much more, and it was way more complex, but I understood it, which is awesome.

I definitely recommend this series. It's such an interesting read, and it definitely gets better as it moves along, which has me really intrigued for the next book.

Split between UK and New Zealand, A G Chambers has always had a passion for reading & writing with her first short story at eight years old, 'Chocoblock' and poem 'Seasons'.

From there she was nominated in the top ten novelists at twelve years of age for her short story memoir, which featured a doughnut eating horse and has since gone on to publish her first novel, Jaded Rein, at eighteen.

Funnily enough, she almost failed her second year of English and spent a considerable amount of time debating whether or not she wanted to be a chemist before taking a publishing assistant job for The University of Law in London.

As well as her full time job and writing the Jaded Series, A G Chambers was a feature film writer for Lotus Magma 'Off the Cuff' magazine and has received two Editor's Choice Awards for her work as well as an Honours Diploma in Media Law & a Distinction Diploma in Sub-editing and Design from The London School of Journalism

She has recently released the sequel to Jaded Rein, Jaded Youth and is working on the third book in the Jaded series.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Interview: Chris Morphew

Interviewing Chris Morphew here, the awesome author of the Phoenix Files, which I absolutely love! If your kids are just getting into reading, then I definitely recommend these because they are really good to ease them into the reading world. And if you know anybody who enjoys mystery and good plot and characterization then I recommend these too.

My reviews:
Arrival (The Phoenix Files #1) - Chris Morphew  
Contact (The Phoenix Files #2) - Chris Morphew

Sadaf Habibi: 
If you were to do your career as an author again, what would you do differently, and why?

Chris Morphew:
My career as an author has been just the biggest gift, so there's really not a whole lot I would change. I mean, I'm sure if I went back and re-wrote The Phoenix Files again from scratch, there'd be some parts that would turn out better than they are now - just because I've had an extra five years of writing experience since I started on Arrival.

There are bits of that first book that I cringe at, but honestly, I think that's always going to be the way. I've never written a perfect book, nor will I ever, but hopefully each new book I do write will be an improvement on what's gone before, if only because I've had more time to practise.  

Sadaf Habibi:
Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

Chris Morphew:
I do sometimes read reviews of my books. Obviously, a huge part of the reason I write is so other people can read what I've written - so I'm very interested to see what people think of my books.

That said, I try not to let the reviews (either good or bad) influence my writing - at least on a story level. 

Sadaf Habibi:
Have you ever been surprised by a controversy among fans or reviewers - for example, you created a character without thinking too much about what people would think of him, and found some readers loved him and some hated him?

Chris Morphew:
I was pretty surprised (although in hindsight, I guess I shouldn't have been) at the reaction to what I did to Officer Reeve at the end of Contact. I had readers come up to me, furious, demanding to know how I could do such a thing! 

Sadaf Habibi:
Have you ever written anything that you thought would be controversial and found it wasn't?

Chris Morphew:
There are two scenes in Fallout which, all through the writing process, I referred to as "the ones I'm going to get letters about": the scene where Peter tries to force himself on Jordan, and the scene where Mike drives into the security centre.

I thought both of those scenes were pretty dark and confronting, but if they raised any eyebrows, I didn't hear about it.

Bizarrely, people seem more concerned about the "swearing" in the books than the violence. That's so odd to me.

Sadaf Habibi: 
Which question are you most sick of answering in interviews?

Chris Morphew:
"How do you come up with your ideas?" - not because it's a bad question, but because everybody asks it.

Also, five years ago when I wrote my little bio thing for the back of Arrival, I included some line about thinking there's no movie so great that it couldn't be improved with the addition of a spaceship. I just thought it was this dumb, semi-funny, throwaway line, but an incredible number of people have asked me about it like they thought I was serious.

Sadaf Habibi:
What was Chris Morphews favorite part of the Phoenix Files?

Chris Morphew:
The reveal about Crazy Bill's character at the end of Fallout was so rewarding to write. I'd been working up to that moment for so long and it was excellent to finally get there.

On a more minor level, the scenes with Georgia in them are always fun.

Sadaf Habibi: 
What was the hardest part to write in the Phoenix Files?

Chris Morphew:
Every new book presents its own challenges but I found Doomsday, the final Phoenix Files book, surprisingly hard to write. On paper, it was just this all-action sprint to the finish, but handling the multiple perspectives, pulling all the major threads of the series together and getting the timing of everything right was a pretty huge undertaking.

Sadaf Habibi:
What did Chris Morphew wish was different about the Phoenix Files?
Chris Morphew:
Like I said earlier, there are bits of the first book in particular that make me cringe when I look back on them now, but short of rewriting the whole thing, there's really not all that much I'd change.

Sadaf Habibi: 
What are Chris Morphew's favorite authors/books?

Chris Morphew:
Well, first up, the Bible, but that's in a category all of its own.

Other favourite non-fiction: Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, The Reason for God by Timothy Keller, and pretty much everything by C.S. Lewis.

Favourite fiction: The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, and pretty much everything by C.S. Lewis   

Sadaf Habibi: 
What was your life like before becoming an author?

Chris Morphew:
Pretty much the same as it is now, apart from the book-writing part!

I still teach primary school, still drive to work in my second-hand car, still hang out with the same group of friends... one of the awesome things about being an author is you can be pretty widely known for the stuff you create and still live an otherwise normal life.

Sadaf Habibi:
What sparked the idea for your novel?

Chris Morphew:
Hard to say without ruining the books for anyone who hasn't read them - but that scene with Crazy Bill I talked about before was I think the earliest idea I came up with - all the rest kind of expanded out from there.

Sadaf Habibi:
How personal is your writing?

Chris Morphew:
One of the brilliant things about writing is the opportunity to talk about big ideas in an engaging, non-preachy way. The underlying themes of The Phoenix Files - the nature of good and evil, the search for meaning in the midst of horrible circumstances, the idea that who you follow matters, the notion of a greater purpose or plan at work in the seemingly insignificant details of life - are all really interesting and important questions to me, so on that level my writing is quite personal.

Also, the characters of Luke, Peter and Jordan all contain facets of my own personality, so I guess my writing is personal on that level too.

Sadaf Habibi: 
Do you outline?

Chris Morphew:
Definitely! I outlined very, very extensively for The Phoenix Files - and hopefully that's paid off in the way the series has unfolded. There were plot twists and revelations that I just couldn't have pulled off if I was making it all up as I went along.

Sadaf Habibi:
What is your writing routine?

Chris Morphew:
I teach three days a week, which leaves my Tuesday mornings, Wednesday mornings and Fridays free for writing. I try to get as much done during those times as I can, and then squeeze the rest in wherever there's space. There is also a lot of coffee involved.

Sadaf Habibi:
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?

Chris Morphew:
For me, the two kind of grow up side by side. Usually, the very first ideas are plot ideas, but plots quickly require characters to act them out, and from there they both feed into each other.
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About the author
Hey Internet!
I’m Chris Morphew. Sometime I write books.
As a kid, I was obsessed with dinosaurs and spaceships, so most of my stories featured either one or both of these things. More recently, I’ve written twelve books for the best-selling Zac Power series and my own six-book YA series, The Phoenix Files.
I live in Sydney, where I split my time between writing, teaching, and involvement with my local church. I also enjoy coffee, Mario Kart, young adult fiction, and heavily-serialised TV shows about mysterious islands.
I have a sporadically-updated YouTube channel and some less-sporadically-updated Facebook and Twitter accounts, because apparently author websites are old news and social media is the way of the future.
Anyway, welcome to my website! Please enjoy this thank you gift.
Grace and peace,
Chris

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Review: Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1) - Anna Banks

Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1) - Anna Banks

Series: Of Poseidon #1
Pages: 324 
Release Date: May 22nd 2012
Published by: Feiwel & Friends

Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen — literally, ouch! — both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma's gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom . . .

Told from both Emma and Galen's points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.


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Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1) - Anna Banks

This book was an absolute masterpiece. From the characters to the plot to just everything.

Before I start raving about how awesome this book is, I would like to say, so that people don't go into this book thinking one thing, and getting another. There isn't a lot of action. There is not a constant moving forward of the plot. Not every chapter has some important plot device in it. So if it bothers you when that sort of thing is not present, then you might not like this book.

But those things I described above are precisely the reason I enjoyed this book. I loved slowly learning about the Syrena and their world and I loved being able to actually see and digest the way the relationships in this book were built.

For example, Galen and Emma's relationship was one of the best book romances I have ever read. After reading the blurb and how she runs into him like that, I was fully expecting it to be the usual, she'll look up and suddenly all brain functions will be imapired because of his 'blinding hotness' and everytime he looks at her, she won't be able to breathe and this somehow translates into love...you did too, don't lie ;P

But it wasn't!!! It wasn't....:DD I've literally been saying that for days and my sister is just like 'Stop shouting, I don't care.' Lol.

Obviously, she noticed that he was hot. But it wasn't an immediate love feeling. That's right people. You heard me right! No insta-love!!

Instead, the relationship between Galen and Emma built so sweetly. They spent time together and learnt about eachother. In the end, when they realized they were in love with eachother, I was rooting for them instead of going 'Go die. Who do you think you guys are? Stupid.' I literally think that, lol. I get very passionate about this topic, haha.

I loved learning about the Syrena. Their world, their physiology, what they could do in the water, how, etc. The whole Syrena species was just laid out their on the pages for us to see and weaved so wonderfully within the rest of the story.

The plot was an interesting one. I like how Poseidon and Triton were incorporated into the Syrena and our misconceptions about them. I definitely enjoy Greek mythology and seeing this other side to had me extremley intrigued.

That last great twist I could have predicted for the last couple of chapters, especially after the talk about 'coincidences'. But it was completely unesxpected. I mean, that just came out of nowhere. I love it! It was definitely a woah moment and I cannot wait for the next book. :)

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About the author
New York Times Bestselling author of The Syrena Legacy series.

Grew up in a town called Niceville. No, seriously. I graduated from Niceville High School. So did J Lo's second husband. And the guy that plays Aqua Man on Smallville dated my best friend.

Now I indulge my tendency to lie by writing the lies down and selling them to publishers. Well actually my agent sells it, so she's an accomplice to lies. One of my lies is called OF POSEIDON. The sequel is called OF TRITON. I'm still making up the third lie, OF NEPTUNE.

And um. I also write adult fiction under pen name Anna Scarlett. One of the adult lies is DEGREES OF WRONG.

That is all. 

Review: Tempest (Tempest #1) - Julie Cross

Tempest (Tempest #1) - Julie Cross

Series: Tempest #1
Pages: 352 
Release Date: January 17th 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.


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Tempest (Tempest #1) - Julie Cross

Cover: Beautiful, it really is.

Title: I heard it comes from a Latin word, 'tempus' I'm not sure what it means, but it's pretty cool ;)

Tempest is about a guy who can travel back in time. One day, some people burst into his girlfriends room and shoot her. He soon finds outs it was because of his time travel ability. And this sets off the main story of the book.

The romance in this book....didn't need to be there. It seemed to be something just thrown in there because most YA books these days have it. The romance wasn't even a big part of the book really, despite what the blurb may imply.

Without Holly, the book wouldn't really be any different. There would just have to be another catalyst to send him back into time fully, and I can think of a few of the top of my head. However, don't mistake what I say. Holly is a really nice girl and some of the moments between them are actually really sweet. I just done think romance should have been forced where it didn't actually need to be.

The writing style was really cool to read, it just flowed and that was wonderful. And this is probably stupid to mention, but I also really liked the font of the actual writing. It's just seemed nice :P And it went with what was happening, which really helped me get into it.

The plot was also refreshing, and I've heard some people complain about the constant time jumps and the disjointed nature of some of the scenes, but I actually liked that, it bodes well for the next book, means more twists and things to be revealed. I especially liked the little girl at the end. Ohmygod, she was amazing, I just wanted to know everything about her and protect her.

I think the time travel was explained really well. I especially think that because, well, I was very sleep deprived while reading this book, and nothing makes sense to me when I have sleep deprivation. So, I try not to read anything that might have science-fictiony type material in it, because its not gonna make sense, and so what's the point? The thing I'm trying to tell you here is that even with sleep deprivation, I understand that side of it really well. And that's really saying something!

The characters...definitely could have used some work. They didn't seem real, as such, just...it's like everyone had some sort of set role, and they didn't deviate from that at all. It was only at the end where I saw something like a real person and we didn't see him for long so, basically, no real people. I know it's harsh, but...I didn't feel any connection to them. They weren't real.

But I really enjoyed reading this and story and I think it definitely was a good book to publish. I really look forward to reading the next book. 
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About the author
I live in central Illinois with my wonderful husband and three kids currently between the ages of 7 and 12 (the kids not the husband). My writing journey began in May, 2009 with a short story in a notebook.

Within a year, I had written seven (some good some God-awful) young adult novels. Not being a college graduate and having spent the previous fifteen years teaching gymnastics and working as a YMCA Program Director for Recreational Gymnastics, professional writing wasn't in my plans. Not even close. But ever since the day I started that short story, I haven't been able to stop. It was love at first sight.

After about a year of writing, I had a three book deal with St. Martin's Press, and a film option with Summit Entertainment. Crazy, right? I know. It wasn't until August of 2011 that I quit working full time in order to be at home with my kids more and of course, write more. My young adult time travel debut novel, Tempest, released on January 17, 2012. The rest of my personal story remains unwritten. 

Review: Branded (A Sinners Series #1) - Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki

Branded (A Sinners Series #1) - Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki

Series: A Sinners Series #1
Pages: 252 
Release Date: June 28th 2013
Publisher: Self-Published

Twenty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best. 

Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home. 

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain. 

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.
The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me. 
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. 
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

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Book Trailer
video
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Note: My 'n' key is broken so there might be some mistakes here or there. I've checked it over but things do get by me occasionally.
Also, I accidently deleted all of the quotes I had collected from this novel, so this review is subject to change, as when I find them, I will add them into the review. Thanks. 

Branded (A Sinners Series #1) - Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki

I love dystopians. And I've read a lot of them. The fact that someone (or 2 someone's in this case) are able to weave such an intricate world, where the rules are so different from today, has me fully in awe. Lately, however, I haven't read many original ones. All of it has been, so how would that happen? But this one was so creative, and so innovative! (I had to go on Dictionary.com to get that word ;)) I mean, just look at that blurb. 

I feel so completely privileged to have read this. 

The majority of this book is set in 'The Hole'. A place where no rules exist and you have to fend for yourself. People die, and you can't trust anyone, because everyone is out to gain for themselves. I think Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki have created an accurate portrayal of what happens when you're accused of something, branded, and thrown into a prison like you're trash. It changes people. I'm sure not all of them were like that, originally. On the outside. 

However, of course, there are some characters to love. Lexi's brother. Cole. Dr Sutton. Zeus. Bruno. Their scenes were extremely fun to read, and I especially love Zeus. He's just epic. These characters were so interesting to read because we met all of them inside The Hole, and so I was constantly questioning motives and I was just thinking 'Are they really as nice as they seem?' 

This made it a much more intense. I was really reading into it and everything took on a second meaning, it made the read just that much more enjoyable. Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki really have written an interesting world here. 

In regards to the romance, I was promised a good, believable romance, which is built up and has a foundation. I definitely got that! I mean, wow. This romance was hot. It was electrifying. It was one that made you catch your breath.

Lexi is someone so strong. I compared her to Tris from Divergent and Cia from The Testing (Review). Lexi was someone who was human, who we could relate to, she had flaws. And yet there was also this side of her that was so amazingly strong. She was able to deal so well with what was happening to her and around her. I don't know if I would be able to do that. 

I love how this is so serious and yet there are many scenes where humour is incorporated. And it's not out of place, it works.
"Trying to pass it off, I move forward, but nosedive to his floor. Did I seriously just trip over the dog? Wow. I roll onto my back. He offers his hand and pulls me upright with a smug look. I groan as embarrassment crawls up my face in the form of a deep, crimson flush."
That little piece, just something I laughed at, I do have a wierd sense of humour. But this just slotted in so smoothly. And as soon as I find some more quotes, I will show you. I accidently deleted all of the quotes I collected

Anywho...good humour in books like these are invaluable and Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki do it very well. 

The plot of this book is very engaging. I was always wondering what was going to happen, and I admire the way the blurb was done. So often I see reviews which say 'The blurb was so misleading, I thought it would be about this, and it wasn't, I am so disappointed, etc' That would never happen with this book and I think that's a good thing, because it also has the anticipation rising within you about what is going to happen.

Now back to the plot....I'm not gonna give anything away, but it was addictive! I had to turn the page, had to know what was going to happen next. There was constantly something happening, constant action. Which is definitely a good indicator.

The writing was really good. It was better than some traditionally published books, which I am led to believe go through extensive editing before being published. There was one or two instances of grammar mistakes, but I am horrible at grammar myself, so I forgive that.

That ending was heart-pounding. I did not even guess that that would be the outcome. How could that even happen....I do not know. But I am so intrigued to read what will happen next. Those last couple of scenes, where things came to an ultimate end sped up my breath and I couldn't stop my brain from whirring and trying to figure out what might happen. It was an amazing story.  

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About the author(s)
Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.

A4editcolor

Abigail Ketner
Is a registered nurse with a passion for novels, the beaches of St. John, and her Philadelphia Phillies. A talented singer, Abi loves to go running and spend lots of time with her family. She currently resides in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her husband, triplet daughters and two very spoiled dogs.


Missy Kalicicki
Melissa Kalicicki
Received her bachelor’s degree from Millersville University in 2003. She married, had two boys and currently lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Aside from reading and writing, her interests include running and mixed martial arts. She also remains an avid Cleveland sports fan.

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Review: The Rockin' Chair - Steven H. Manchester

The Rockin' Chair - Steven H. Manchester

Series: N/A
Pages: 272
Release Date: June 25th 2013  
Publisher: The Story Plant

Memories are the ultimate contradiction. They can warm us on our coldest days or they can freeze a loved one out of our lives forever. The McCarthy family has a trove of warm memories. Of innocent first kisses. Of sumptuous family meals. Of wondrous lessons learned at the foot of a rocking chair. But they also have had their share of icy ones. Of words that can never be unsaid. Of choices that can never be unmade. Of actions that can never be undone.

Following the death of his beloved wife, John McCarthy Grandpa John calls his family back home. It is time for them to face the memories they have made, both warm and cold. Only then can they move beyond them and into the future.

A rich portrait of a family at a crossroad, THE ROCKIN' CHAIR is Steven Manchester’s most heartfelt and emotionally engaging novel to date. If family matters to you, it is a story you must read.


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I honestly feel priviliged to have read this book. It was such a beautiful story, and it made me cry on occasion. Steven Manchester's writing is just amazing, it's almost lyrical. And his poem writing skills are just beyond words.
"Everything.//Into the night, I cast a wish/that my life I might share./And when I least expected love,/you answered every prayer.//I found my heart inside your eyes;/my future, in your smile./And from the day I took your hand,/I've cherished every mile.//This path shall lead us to the end/through sun and freezing rain./Without conditions, I am here/in joy and every pain.//Our love is proof that dreams come true,/I vow in life and death,/That all I am I give to you/with each and every breath.//From the darkness came a light/that only God could bring./For you are not just whom I love,/to me, you're everything."
Alice McCarthy has Alzheimer's, a disease which slowly worsens and eventually leads to death. Such is the case for Alice. So John McCarthy decides to call his family home, his grandchildren and son, as a way to deal with his grief and finally sort out the problems of the past, as he is realising your time on Earth is not limitless. And you won't always have the chance to make up for past mistakes.

This story is so much deeper than I thought it would be. I assumed it would be a simple story about dealing with your grief and sorting through your problems. It wasn't. Not simple at all. This was the most poignant story I have ever read. Even now, ages after I've read it, I'm thinking of it. And not just because I'm writing a review for it.

Evan McCarthy has just gone through his heart breaking. And then his Grandmother dies. Now he has to go back home, to a place he's been trying to escape forever and face the father he has never really been close with. I have read so many books with the same plot as Evan's story, it's ridiculous. I've become kind of immune to the feelings it's supposed to pull from you. But here, in this book, I remembered why I used to like those stories so much. The Rockin' Chair explains these issues in a way which pull you in, no matter any prior feelings you may have.
"After suffering through Carley's betrayal, Evan had somehow thought he might be immune to heartache. But unless you weren't willing to truly live again and take a shot at love or joy, the risk was always there.He could feel that risk every time his eyes met Maryann's."
One thing you get with this book is the fact that, once you deal with one problem, another one surfaces. It will never end, and that's just life. The Rockin' Chair makes you contemplate this, and if you will be able to handle it or not, personally. 

George McCarthy has had his faith broken. It's been pulled away from him in the cruelest manner, and he's broken on the inside. What George's story teaches you is that some problems just refuse to be solved. No matter how hard you try, those feelings may never be expelled. But you can get your faith back. 

Tara McCarthy has gone to the Big Apple to live her dream - and ended up a single mother living on the streets. We learn from Tara that you can never escape your past - it will shape you, for the rest of your life, whatever you may do.

The Rockin' Chair is basically life lessons. These people are dealing with a lot issues that require them to look into themselves, and consider the people that they are. And Steven Manchester does this in such an amazing way, it really pulls you in and forves you to consider what you would do if you were in those situations as well. 

This book just makes you think. It makes you look inside yourself. It forces you to consider human nature and, if some of these things have happened to you, then it's a learning experience.

Some other quotes:
"Quietly bubbling and gurling, the morning steam tose like a mysterious but calming fog. Birds sqwuaked and sang, boldly calling out to each other. Groves of pine, peppered with birch, decorated the river's wide corridor. Blue sky, streaked white, mixed with the warming glow of the rising sun. Insects buzzed, seducing spawning trout. The water - one massive sheet of glass - was clear to the pebbled floor. But from time to time, it would ripple in the massaging breeze. The dried banks - high and lonely - waited to be quenched as the uneven horizon filled with ribbons of fringed earth stretched out to infinity. All at once, the sun's powerful rays bounced off the shimmering waves, sparkling like a million rhinestones."
"On a bed of pine boughs, as if seen through the eyes of an infant, the night came alive. In a moonless sky, more stars than his entire life had beheld glimmered brightly. The earth's ceiling - seemingly close enough to touch - checked it's brilliant reflection in the twinkling river below. In an awesome display of raw beauty, it both hypnotized and brought hope to a fool's cross-fingered wish."  
The two quotes above make me envious that the author may have seen something like this to write about it. It sounds so beautiful and I wish I was there, so I could experience it too. Beautiful things are so rare in this world. All throughout the novel, the writing is like this. It is deep, and just awesome. If you don't enjoy writing like this, than you probably won't like this book. But if you don't mind it, or like it, than pick this book up because you will absolutely love it, I gurantee it!
After returning home from a difficult tour of duty in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, I stepped back behind the walls of a Massachusetts penitentiary where I battled each day as a prison investigator. Needless to say, there was great negativity in my life at that time, and very little opportunity to heal from my wartime demons (or pursue my dreams of being published). I finally decided to return to college to finish my degree in Criminal Justice. During one of the classes, my professor, Barry McKee, detailed police work, but barely touched on other topics. I finally raised his hand and asked, “As the criminal justice system is so vast, what about the courts, probation, parole – corrections?” Barry smiled and told me to see him after class. I thought I’d done it! In his office, Barry explained, “Except from the slanted perspectives of inmates, there’s no real written material out there on corrections, or prisons.” Barry smiled again and then dropped the bomb that would change my life forever. “If you’re so smart,” he said, “why don’t you write it?” It was the last push I needed to get writing. Nine months later, I placed the first draft of 6-5; A Different Shade of Blue (under the pen name, Steven Herberts) on Barry’s desk. From then on, I was hooked. I was a writer.

Under the pen name, Steven Herberts, I wrote in newspapers, magazines, and even penned two collections of poetry. Once I’d found my true voice, I began, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy; an emotional account of the Gulf War that would heal my soul, and the souls of other suffering veterans.

Today, 20 years later, I have been blessed with a beautiful family; my wife, Paula, and our four children–Evan, Jacob, Bella and Carissa. From a professional perspective, I’ve written 16 books (with 12 in publication), and have contributed to more than three dozen international anthologies. My work has been showcased in such national literary journals as Taproot Literary Review, American Poetry Review and Fresh! Literary Magazine, as well as various magazines to include Angels on Earth, Obadiah, Titan, G.F.O. (U.K.), Skyline Literary, Alive Now, Dark Animus (Australia) and Spinnings Short Stories. Hundreds of my essays, poetry and short fiction have been contributed to Internet publications such as Zine5, New Mystery Reader, Wilmington Blues, Heartwarmers, The Murder Hole, Father’s World, and dozens of others.

My work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning, BET’s Nightly News, Good Day Atlanta; in the New York Daily News, Newark Star Ledger, Boston Globe, Detroit Free Press, Providence Journal, Dallas Morning News, Orlando Sentinel, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, The Daily Oklahoman; and on 50+ nationally-syndicated radio shows from coast-to-coast.

As a public speaker, I’ve presented before thousands. From Congressmen to schoolchildren, my lectures cover the realities of the Gulf War, adult incarceration, and the motivation needed to write and become published. I currently teach the workshops, Publish: See Your Work In Print, and Writing Fiction That Sells.

When not spending time with my kids and wife, I’m either writing, teaching, or promoting my published books/films.

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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Review: Chaos (Kardia Chronicles #1) - Christine O'Neil

Chaos (Kardia Chronicles #1) - Christine O'Neil

Series: Kardia Chronicles #1
Release Date: August 19th 2013
Publisher: Entangled Teen Ember
Pages: 286

My name is Maggie Raynard. After sixteen years being just plain me, suddenly, when I lose my temper, my fingers become weapons of mass destruction. Turns out I'm a semi-god, descended from Aphrodite. Sounds cool in theory, but when I accidentally put my ex-boyfriend in a coma, things go downhill pretty fast.

Now some new guy named Mac Finnegan has made it his mission in life to continually piss me off. I'm stuck learning how to use my new powers while also dealing with regular high school problems, and with this annoying—and super-hot—guy all up in my business, I'm about to flip out.

But it gets worse. I just learned there's this watchdog council of semis who keeps an eye out for any bad apples. They think I'm the baddest of the bunch and want to take me out before I do any more damage. My nemesis Mac might turn out to be my salvation, only he's got secrets of his own...and they may just kill us both.


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Chaos (Kardia Chronicles #1) - Christine O'Neil

Maggie's life has crumbled ever since she woke to find herself levitating above her bed one night. Now her ex is in a coma, her relationship with her mother is falling apart, as her grandmother gets sicker everyday. And then, to make matters worse, a boy called Mac appears and begins torturing her at school.  

One thing I definitely enjoyed was Maggie's relationship with her mother. Their relationship is broken. For sixteen years, her mother has been hiding a huge secret from, something that directly affects her, and while Maggie has forgiven her, there's a trust missing between them that is usually present between a mother and daughter. As you grow older, you become less dependant on your parents, and you start to see that they can be wrong. Maggie is seventeen and there is also a loss of respect there, for the decisions she believes her mother has wrongly made. Reading about the delicate strands of their relationship was just lovely, not in that way, but they way it was described.
"She was a great mother most of the time. -- But there was this part of her. That part that buried her head in the sand when things got too tough."
During this book, we saw Maggie with many different people, her friends and her enemies and her family. All these relationships are explored in ways which show case the unique-ness of it and that emphasise differing aspects of her life. Bink, who is the one part of her life untouched by all the drama. Libby, who is there for her through everything. I liked this, as we saw her being a typical teenager as well as her dealing with the non-typical stuff.

Christine O'Neil's writing was one of the reasons I decided to agree to read this book. I enjoyed it from one of her books as Christine Bell (Down For The Count) and so I knew that wouldn't be an issue. But even I was surprised by how well she was able to get into a teenagers voice! 
"Even worse, he'd chosen to taunt me with it. Bitter emo chick who's probably never had a boyfriend, indeed. I had a boyfriend once, and it hadn't ended well for either of us. I was in no rush to repeat the experience. Besides, what did this Irish asshat care?"
"Anger tightened my chest, and my vision went hazy. I could feel the power rising in me, clawing to get out, roaring to be heard. The hair on my arms stood on end as I tried to breathe through it, to let the fury dissipate and flow out of my pores in harmless pings of energy, but it was no use." 
"I seriously didn't know wether he was going to kiss me or tear open my jugular, and the ncertainty sent me struggling for real now. Fury raced through me, but hot on its heels was something else. Something a little yummy and a lot terrifying, and I twisted hard to get free. He wouldn't have it. He pinned my arms begind my back and held me tighter, closer to his big, hard body, his fingers digging into my hips."
Speaking of Mac, he was just so fun to read about! I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I love accents. And Irish is one of my favourites. So that's a point for him. He's also the asshole at the beginning type, but then he becomes better as they fall in...like. Do you know, the word 'love' isn't even mentioned. It made me so happy when I finished reading. It was one of the things I was most worried about, what would happen within the romance, and I'm so glad my fears were averted.

Another thing I don't know if you know about me is that I love love love! mythology. And greek mythology has a special place in my heart because I know the most about it, so when I read things I already know, it makes me feel special, haha. Despite this book having some strong world building, I do wish we would have been given more information. Especially since this book was basically her learning about her powers and this new world she is a part of.

Which leads me onto me next point. This book doesn't have a strong plot. It's there, I know it is, I've read it, but eh. It was slightly predictable. You knew what was going to happen. But I didn't really mind that, I was happy getting to know the characters and seeing relationships play out and all that. The plot wasn't an issue for me.

However, you will notice that despite all my praising above, I have given this book 4 stars, rather than 5. That's because I feel that this book didn't have that spark. You know, the kind that makes you go 

I am still waiting with bated breath to find out what happens next. There were so many threads left unfinished and my mind is just whirling trying to figure out what these threads could be leading to. A very strong read, with an intense voice and some very amazing characters.
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About the author
Christine O'Neil was born and raised in Connecticut, where she spent most of her childhood outdoors catching salamanders, frogs and colds. When she wasn't terrorizing Mother Nature, she was curled up under the covers with her nose in a book. As an adult, she's stopped stalking amphibians, but still loves books. When she isn't reading, she likes to spend her time people-watching. In fact, she's probably watching you RIGHT NOW O_O She's also pretty obsessed with writing YA books, but if she had to pick another profession she would be a ninja...or a Professor of the Dark Arts. Christine also writes adult romance under the pen name Christine Bell.
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