4 of 5 stars to ‘Cursed’ by SJ West

Cursed

Quirky characters

Lilly Rayne Nightingale believes that she is cursed. Ever since the night her best friend Will rescued her from drowning, strange things have been happening to her. Will, the boy who has held her heart from childhood, has withdrawn since that fateful night, but he always seems to be there to rescue Lilly from her latest calamity.
Then Lilly starts college and meets Brand. Things quickly progress and suddenly, Will is on the scene again. Lilly must choose between the boy she has longed for since she was a girl, and the sexy, incredible man she has just met. But both boys are harboring secrets that could change everything.

A gripping, sexy tale full of romance, action, adventure and hotness. I loved Brand and Lilly’s characters, as well as the delightfully spicy Tara. Perhaps it was because I listened to the audible version, but I loved picturing the sassy southern characters. Some of the scenes I felt were cliched, especially the declarations of love, and this made it hard to believe in parts of the story. Yet the tale was entertaining and held my attention all the way through, ending on a nice high note. I would love to find out what’s next in store for the characters!

5 of 5 stars to ‘Legacy of Kings’ by Eleanor Herman

Legacy of Kings

Great start to an epic series

Sixteen year old Alexander may be the heir to the throne, but he knows all too well where the true power lies. In this world of Aesarian Lords, dark magic and betrayal, he has a lot to prove. Then he meets Kat, from Erissa. The two share a deep, inexplicable connection that supersedes romance. But Kat has her own secrets and her own mission to accomplish.

There are a few truly unique aspects to this book that make it stand out. The first, is the history. Clearly, great effort has gone into researching and writing scenes that are historically accurate, right down to the textures and smells. This was perhaps also the one downfall for me. At times, I felt that there was just a little too much detail in some of the scenes, and this affected the pacing. There were also times, in the beginning of the story, when I wondered what the end game or goal of some of the characters were (most noticeably Alexander) and this left me feeling somewhat lost.

The second ‘stand-out’ feature, was the POV and tense. I think this is the first book I’ve read that is written in a third person, present tense. At first, I found it a tad disconcerting, but really, it works for this story. The tense drives the action forward and the POV allows the author to delve into the motives and emotions of the pivotal characters. The alternating POVs also works well in this story as there is clearly more than one person’s story to tell here, and the various POV’s helped me to connect to the characters.

Thirdly, the writing style of the author is poetic and beautiful, with a decidedly dark edge to it. I love reading every sentence and relished each description. Herman has managed to create a world of darkness, magic and death, injected with fierce pride and intrigue. This is a fantastic start to what promises to be an epic series.

5 of 5 stars to ‘Twilight Guardians’ by Maggie Shayne

Twilight guardians

Riveting

Charlie O’Malley has a rare blood type. She’s required to be registered with the government and severely at risk for premature death and…vampire attack. So when Charlie’s grandmother shows up on her doorstep and whisks her away, telling her that everything the government has told them about vampires is false, she’s understandably confused. Then she meets Killian, a vampire she feel inexplicably and powerfully drawn to. But who can she really trust in this twisted conspiracy?

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The premise is fresh, the fantasy world full and convincing, and the characters passionate. Charlie’s character undergoes a clear transformation and her relationship with Killian is intense and riveting. The involvement of the government makes the story that much bigger, involving more than just the usual two characters and upping the stakes. The vampire characters of Rhiannon and Roland are equally dark and powerful, hinting at a rich back-story. Roxy is sassy and fun, bringing a lighter edge to the story. There wasn’t a moment when I felt the plot was dragging, it’s non-stop action all the way. The ‘heart’ issues with the BD recruits, I must say, did seem a little over the top and could have been made much simpler and more believable, but overall, it was a great and well-told paranormal romance.

Indie vs Traditionally published books?

Support Indie

Is one better than the other?

eBooks have exploded the world of publishing. With the push of a button, nearly anyone can publish their own book. Not surprisingly, this has led to a multitude of fears surrounding the quality of Indie published works.

Prior to 2014, most of my bookshelves contained only traditionally published novels. Looking back, I put the reason for the lack of Indie books down to simple awareness. Back then, I bought what the marketers were selling. Back then, I had no idea there was a goldmine hiding just out of sight in the Amazon bookstore.

The publishing of my novel, ‘Five’, plunged me into the world of Indie. I found myself interacting with ‘Indie writers’ on forums such as The Book review Depot and Goodreads, and my bookshelves slowly began to even out. What I found, was surprisingly contrary to what many articles have claimed:

I had expected to find a lower quality of writing. What I found was a community of people who are passionate about what they do and have mastered story-telling skills I found sorely lacking in some of the bestselling novels I’ve read. These people are constantly striving to improve their skills and their work was often in my mind, superior to those on the bestseller lists.

I had expected to find novels riddled with grammatical errors. What I found was a thriving industry of editors that exist because Indie authors believe in giving their best to the paying public. These pedantic authors have written, rewritten, edited and re-edited their works to ensure that the reader gets the best possible bang for their buck.

I had expected to find every Indie author clawing and stepping over one another in the process of trying to get their books into the hands of readers. What I found was a tight-knit, incredibly supportive group of authors, bloggers and readers, who are willing to go out of their way to help one another. They offer honest, positive feedback, suggestions and advice in numerous online forums.

I had expected to find stingy authors, trying to make whatever money they could off their work. What I found was a group of writers who work by day, create masterpieces at night, and then still give away the fruits of their hard labors. Simply put, they write for love, not money.

So for 2015, I’ve made a pact with myself. I’m going to read much more Indie books, and I’ll share my reviews with all of you. I promise to keep them fairly brief and always honest. Because I want to entice you to dip into this mine of gold, diamonds, emeralds and rubies hiding just beneath the Amazon bestseller list.