Great fiction parents

Parent quote 2

Since it’s that time of year again when we celebrate the amazing things our mothers and fathers do for us each day, I took a look at some of the books I’ve read recently in search of great Mom and Dad examples. Sadly, there are not many! In fact, most books, in the young adult genre in particular, are characterized by absent or troubled parental figures. Perhaps it is a sign of the times, or a tainted perception from the eyes of the troubled main characters? Thankfully, there were a few good examples though! Here are my top fiction moms and dads:

1. Claire and Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series:
They’re the kind of parents many of us dream of having. Protective and loving, but willing to let their offspring live and learn. A shining example of a healthy marriage. They give their children their own space and are there to help, but they’re not afraid to let them fight their own battles. Claire and Jamie have tempered their love with just the right amount of freedom to ensure that their children are prepared to travel through time to be with them.

2. Esme from Twilight
She may not be there biological mother, but Esme is “Mom” in every sense of the word to the Cullens. She loves fiercely and will protect to the point of death. She’s got enough heart to welcome even an outsider human into the family and her maternal love spans centuries. Any woman who can love as unconditionally as Esme can and take another’s offspring as her own is a heroine in my books.

3. The Lancasters from The fault in our stars
They’re faced with a parent’s worse nightmare. Nothing could be worse than knowing you will outlive your child. Yet they have accepted the reality of their daughter’s fate with both grace and bravery. There’s no time to treat Hazel as the teenager she is. The Lancasters have accepted that their beautiful girl is just more grown up than other girls her age, as a consequence of her shortened life expectancy. They treat Hazel with the respect, leniency and maturity of an adult, with just the right amount of concern and protectiveness. One of the things that sets this couple apart from the rest, is their ability to think beyond life with their daughter. Mom and Dad realize that they have their own lives too, and it’s important to live to the fullest, regardless of their tragic circumstances. This strength spills over into the life of their offspring.

These are some of my favorite fiction moms and dads. Can you think of yours? Better yet, can you think of your own parents and what makes them so special to you?

5 of 5 stars to ‘Alliances’ by S Usher Evans


Unlikely friendship

“Screw them,” she said to herself. “I’m going to make them respect me whether they like it or not.”

Razia is fighting her way up the ladder in the male dominated world of universal piracy. It’s a tough job and frustrating when nobody seems to take her seriously, despite the fact that she regularly outdoes the competition.
It’s tougher still when she has to juggle her second identity as Dr Lyssa Peate. Dr Peate may be more respectable than Razia in the eyes of the law, but she has more than her share of family issues.
When Lyssa gets winds of a secret pirate meeting, she’s not surprised. Her male counterparts are always trying to exclude her. But there’s more to the secret meeting than meets the eye. Razia teams up with sassy agent Lizbeth to uncover a massive plot that will have serious personal and career implications for both of her identities.

Oh, how I love Razia! She is feminist power personified and yet, in this installment of the Razia series, we get a deeper glimpse into the real Razia beneath the pirate facade. She’s vulnerable, a little tender-hearted and has a sense of humor to boot.
Usher has stepped it up in a big way in Alliances. This one has it all: the thrill of a dangerous investigation; the perfect amount of arrogance and sexual tension between Teon and Razia (when is she going to get it together?); a large amount of very realistic familial strife; the fantastical workings of a politically complete universe and; most notably, a fresh, funny and real friendship between Razia and Lizbeth.
The story is well paced and Lyssa’s character development is heartwarming as she finally comes to the realization that life it not all about her, and it’s okay to lean on someone every now and then.

This one is not to be missed!

5 of 5 stars to ‘Blue lily, lily blue’ by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue lily lily blue

Bewitching and thrilling

Blue and her boys are this close to unravelling the mystery of the sleeping Welsh King. But in a place as magical and unpredictable as Cabeswater, nothing is certain and nothing is safe. Can they unravel the clues in time? Can they save those lost along the way? Can they resist waking the third sleeper?

It’s official. Maggie Stiefvater is my all time favorite author, and this is the book that cinched the deal. Every word and phrase melts in your mouth. The prose is utterly beautiful, haunting and bewitching. The storyline is like no other. Each character is so rounded, you can’t help but fall in love with them – even the arrogant ones! Every thought, every deed is so uniquely human, and drives the story relentlessly forward. It is the mark of a master story-teller to write with such flair that the backstory of each character, right down to their individual speech accents, is evident in each scene, without the telling of it.

This installment is particularly rich in suspense. It is a paranormal thriller, so well written, you will be perched on the very edge of your seat from beginning to end. When I think of this novel, and ‘The Raven King’ to come, my heart beats a little faster. This is writing at it’s very best!

Blue Sargent Kiss without a kiss

Year of dreams


Hello 2015, Year of dreams!

2014 will forever be ensconced in my mind at the year of dreams. It was the year I stopped talking about being a writer and finally became one, with the publishing of ‘Five’ in May. I would like to thank the many wonderful new and old friends and fans I’ve met along the way for their incredible support. It is so heart-warming to read your reviews, comments and tweets! It makes me want to write more!

On the other side of the penny, 2014 was also a great year for good reading, so here are my top ten series / books read in 2014 in no particular order:
Divergent series by Veronica Roth
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Delirium series by Lauren Oliver
Throne of glass series by Sarah J Maas
Up from the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Immortal instruments series by Cassandra Clare
The Raven Boys series by Maggie Stiefvater
Copperheart by Gemma Farrow
The fault in our stars by John Green
Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout

So what’s in store for 2015? Plenty more good books it seems. I’ve joined the Goodreads challenge and pledged to reading at least 24 books this year. And plenty of writing too! This year will see the release of ‘Three’, the anticipated second book in the Maor series.

If you haven’t taken that step toward your dream yet, I urge you to let 2015 be your ‘year of dreams’. And if you’re brave enough, head on over to Goodreads and top my reading challenge!

5 of 5 stars to ‘Pandemonium’ by Lauren Oliver


Poetic prose and concurrent time frames

The old Lena is dead. Buried beneath a tree in the wilds. The new Lena has been born into the resistance. She knows what it is to be hungry, to be afraid and sick and also to be free.

Under the guidance of Raven, Lena has learned to bury her past and the boy she once loved. Raven has taught her to be strong and to survive. Raven has become her sister, her mother, her friend.

Then Lena is kidnapped by a violent and radical resistance and held prisoner with the boy who is the face of the DFA youth. Can she save them both or is she destined to have her heart broken yet again?

Pandemonium picks up right after Delirium and details Lena’s flight to freedom in the wilds after the devastating ending of the first novel. Ms Oliver has used a very difficult technique in this novel by running two concurrent time frames throughout. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel that mastered this as successfully as she has managed to do here. Each scene from ‘then’ is expertly matched and timed with the ‘now’, delivering insight and understanding as and when the story unfolds.

The suspense is superb. Like a roller coaster, Ms Oliver has written in the ebbs and flows, hi’s and lows to perch you on the edge of your seat. The character development takes the series to another level entirely. Lena’s sorrow can be felt bone-deep and her healing is something the reader is forced to journey through with every experience.

The introduction of Julian’s character was a wonderful twist in the series. To me, he is so much more three dimensional than Alex ever was. The whole theme of second chances is healing and endearing too.

But I think the thing that strikes me most about Pandemonium and will have me raving about it to all my friends, is Lauren Oliver’s writing. Her writing – oh wow! Such emotive, lyrical, descriptive, poetic prose. She is the kind of author you preorder books for, no matter the topic because you just know that she’ll transport you completely into another world with her words.

If you liked the Hunger games or any of Maggie Stiefvater’s books, you will simply love this series!

5 of 5 stars to ‘Origin’ by Jennifer Armentrout


“I’ll burn the world down to save her.”

Katy is in the hands of Daedalus and Daemon will do anything to get her back, including putting himself at the complete mercy of her captors. But neither Katy nor Daemon could ever have guessed what was really going on in the fortified Daedalus compound, nor could they ever have imagined the things they would be forced to do. Will they survive? Will they escape? How far will Daedalus go to keep the existence of the Luxen secret from the world?

Jennifer has created a believable, extensive world and filled it with characters that are larger than life. From book one, I’ve been a steadfast Katy and Daemon fan and this installment is no exception. Daemon’s arrogance and passion keeps bringing me back for more and I particularly enjoyed his POV. The introduction of some other great characters and the stepping up of the stakes make for a successful sequel. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!