Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Finds: Sweet Indie Deals - Halloween Edition!

Friday Finds is a way to share super sweet deals for indie paranormal ebooks.  All Friday finds are priced  Free ~ $3.00 and represent an awesome deal for the word count.

Books listed in Friday Finds have not been reviewed unless noted below with a link to the review.  It's up to the reader to determine if the book is a good fit for their reading tastes.  Follow the links for a description of the book and to download a free sample to see if you might like it. It's a great way to "test drive" a book.

In honor of Halloween this weekend, all of today's Friday Finds will be Halloween related or other spooky, scary, or even funny short stories.  All  shorts and collections below are FREE! (except for one) so as the saying goes...get 'em while the gettin' is good!   Happy Halloween!


 


  




 


  




Freebie Expires 10/31/2010

  



 Enjoy the Stories!
 HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review: Dividing Dark by Melissa Swaim

Title: Dividing Dark
Author:  Melissa Swaim

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Format: ebook & paperback
Publication Date: August 7, 2010
Publisher: Eternal Press
Word Count: approx. 48,546 (Short Novel)
Ebook Length (ePub): 121 pgs
Print Length: 160 pgs
Source: ebook provided by publisher


 
DESCRIPTION from Goodreads: 
How is a 16-year-old girl with an eating disorder to reconcile the ancient wounds between the Annunaki, the Reptilian Watchers, and the human race? After Flannery "Fee" Birch loses her father in Afghanistan, she ends up in the alien land of Alabama, where she learns the art of spelunking (caving) in order to make friends. To make matters worse, Fee is afraid of caves, heights, and just about everything else...until she meets Faron Rothschild, an outcast from either world, though an emissary for both. Faron's mixed blood kind took up the role of protecting humans, whom the Anunnaki abandoned and later warred with, while also keeping the Anunnaki secret from the world who forgot them. Not an easy task for a shape shifter who can switch between both sets of his DNA, human and Reptilian. This is a secret that must be maintained at all cost, and Fee, who once tried to disappear from life, pound by pound, must not only rectify her own life, but demand truce between light and darkness.

*****

MY REVIEW: 
I was intrigued by the idea of a reptilian shifter for a YA Paranormal Romance.  I mean, reptiles are not exactly the most romantic choice for a shifter, but it actually worked well and I quite liked Faron’s character.  In fact, I liked him better than Fee who could be a little whiny at times and who seemed to keep making bad choices. Though Fee could be a little annoying, I did see some growth by the end of the book. 

The dialogue felt a little choppy and disconnected and I think any romantic connection between Faron and Fee was due more to Faron’s character.  At times the romantic connection between them felt strong and at other times it felt neutral. 

The caving/spelunking aspect and Fee’s eating disorder were different and not something you come across often in paranormal romance, so this added a unique element to the story. 

Dividing Dark was a decent read with a sweet YA romance.  Smoother and more natural dialogue would have increased my enjoyment, but overall it was a good read. 

Rating:  3 – I Liked It

Typos found: 3

*****

This book is available in both paperback and ebook versions.  You can find Melissa Swaim on the web at:

Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/melissaaswaim 
Blog: http://dividingdark.blogspot.com/

Get the book!  Kindle, Amazon Paperback, Eternal Press



Saturday, October 23, 2010

Review (Short Story): Day of Sacrifice : The Prophecy by Stacey Wallace Benefiel

 Title:  Day of Sacrifice: The Prophecy
Author: Stacey Wallace Benefiel
Formats: ebook
Publication Date: October 7, 2010
Word Count: approx. 15,000 (Short Story/Novella)
Page count on Sony Reader: 35 (epub)
Source:  Ebook version provided by author

Day of Sacrifice, Novella 1



DESCRIPTION from Goodreads:
With only three days left until her twenty-first birthday, her Day of Sacrifice, Flora Hamilton should be living it up. But when another Supernatural family puts a hit on her she’s forced to go into hiding with Julian, her gorgeous new Guardian Angel. Sometimes running for your life isn’t so bad.


MY REVIEW:
At 15,000 words this book is either a long short story or a short novella, depending on your perspective.  Stacey's new series shows her versatility while retaining that wonderful writing style that I enjoyed so much in Glimpse, her YA series.  This series is definitely for an older audience but every much as enjoyable.

The opening scene grabbed me right away and that is just the way I like it!  Flora has a lot of spunk and a smart mouth, again...just the way I like it.  The romance between Flora and Julian moved fast, maybe a little too fast, but hey, Flora only had three days to live, ya know...in theory.  Their relationship and the secrets that are revealed set into motion actions that will upset the Gods' apple cart, and the Gods are not going to be happy campers about it!

The ending was action packed, but beware if you don't like cliffhangers!  I guessed the "big picture" of what would happen but when it got down to the details I was surprised.  I'm eager to see where this story will go in the next installment as there were some questions about the ending that I'm hoping will be answered in the next book, Rebellion: The Outer Territory, due to be released January 2011.

Rating: 5 - I Love It!

Typos found: 1

This book is currently available as an ebook.  You can find Stacey Wallace Benefiel on the web at:

Website: http://staceywb.webs.com/
Blog: http://staceywallacebenefiel.wordpress.com/
Goodreads: Stacey's Author Page

Get the book!  Kindle, Smashwords

Other books by Stacey:

Zellie Wells Series (YA)
Glimpse (Book 1)  **IPBR Reviewed!**
Glimmer (Book 2) 
Glow (Book 3)  To be released







Guest Author: Sidney Fox - Haunted Lily, Halloween Decorating, and Q&A

Please welcome Sidney Fox, author of the book Haunted Lily: The Nightmare Ball.  Sidney has kindly agreed to stop by IPBR today to tell us about her Halloween decorating adventures.

To Scare or not to Scare!

The sun had just set and the beautiful supernatural melodies of Midnight Syndicate streamed loudly from speakers hidden in the bushes, setting the mood for a perfect haunt. My husband and I had spent the afternoon setting up our prized assortment of ghosts, gravestones, and a very Tim Buton-esque coffin. Dozens of carved pumpkins were aglow, peering out from the eerie haze generated by three fog machines. Large red spotlights lit up the giant oak in the front yard spying out skeletons playing on the branches and looking down mischievously upon the graveyard set up in our yard.


It was our first Halloween living in Florida and we soon noticed that only one other family in the neighborhood, our neighbors directly across the street, had put out one pumpkin…one pumpkin. There were no children dressed in ghoulish guises running rampant through the streets with their parents in tow. It was a literal ghost town.

Back in the San Fernando Valley, a suburb of Los Angeles where we had lived previously, Halloween was a very celebrated occasion. Everyone decorated to the hilt, doing everything in their power to outdo each other. The year the movie Titanic was released, the people in my apartment complex decided to do a little live-action art. Lit with a dim blue spotlight to mimic moonlight, our pool was transformed into the chilly Atlantic, containing two full-size lifeboats filled with shivering passengers wearing life vests that read – RMS TITANIC. Also floating in the water were several frozen faced passengers, those not lucky enough to make it off the doomed ocean liner alive, staring up glassy-eyed amongst large chunks of ice made from Styrofoam.

Granted, most of my neighbors in Hollywood were in the entertainment industry, make-up artists, set designers, truly creative souls who lived for the spectacle of Halloween. I was no different. Every year I had a huge party which became known as The Nightmare Ball, which is the name of the party Lily, the heroine in my debut novel “Haunted Lily – the Nightmare Ball” gives every year. And when I met my future husband Douglas, an actor and artist with extraordinary talents, the party only grew bigger and more elaborate.

That is - until we moved to Florida. I walked across the street to my new neighbors and their pumpkin, and was informed that a pagan holiday such as Halloween was frowned upon by the locals in this small town. To say this town was not the friendliest of places would be an underestimation. These people would rather run you down with their gold carts than say hello. It was true, only a handful of kids came by our house that night. Their eyes huge with exhilaration that someone actually dared to decorate. As a kid growing up in New York my neighborhood actually had a Halloween parade for all the children that ended at a house in the back of our subdivision where a costume contest was held. We had delicious food and played games like bobbing for apples and the Monster Mash. It was fun and safe. Today things are different.


In this new environment my husband and I found ourselves the outcasts.

The next day I was accosted in the supermarket by an old woman who called me a “Witch”. Perhaps I should have been offended, but all I could do was laugh. I thought that was a compliment. I felt like Kevin Bacon in Footloose, the new kid in town where no one is allowed to dance. Well, I was going to dance, no matter what…like a witch around her cauldron…I was going to dance…just you try stopping me!


We continued to decorate, bigger and better every year. We made a corn maze one year with a towering thirty-foot scarecrow. Another year we made a glow in the dark fun house. We became known as the “Halloween People”. Apparently, the word had spread about out our elaborate Halloween display because over the next few years the amount of trick-or-treaters and curiosity seekers had vastly grown. The town was growing and young families were moving in at a record pace. We went from a few dozen kids to a few hundred. Now we need three huge tubs of candy. The police have to come to handle crowd control, and happily almost the whole neighborhood decorates…the silly pagans!
 

One year a little girl dressed as Snow White told me that our house was the “coolest house in the neighborhood”. I told her to promise me that someday she would decorate her house to be the coolest house in the neighborhood. Snow White promised.
   
This year, as we were putting our Halloween decorations up, my husband noticed a small group of neighbors standing across the street watching him make a giant pumpkin face on our garage. He came in for a drink and told me about the gathering crowd. I could tell he felt like they were judging him for his pagan decorations. I told him to blow it off and just finish. He went back outside, the crowd was still there watching and waiting. When he finished, he stepped back to examine his work. It was then he heard – applause. He turned to see the group of neighbors giving him their approval. He smiled and waved. One lady called out – “We just wanted to see what amazing thing you were going to come up with this year!”

There is always a time on Halloween night when I just walk through the neighborhood with my son and we marvel at the costumed revelers and frightfully fabulous decorations. I like to think my husband and I had a little something to do with the celebration. And now people have found out that I had written Haunted Lily and bring their books to be signed, which I am so honored to do.  

I hope my little tale inspires you to carve a pumpkin, start your fog machine, turn up your Midnight Syndicate…and you too can be the coolest house in the neighborhood.

    Hauntingly Yours,
    Sidney Fox



 * * * * *

Q & A with Sidney

IPBR:  Wow, you really do go all out for Halloween!  How long does it take to complete all your decorations and do you do something different every year?

Sidney: We usually take inventory of all our props, then discuss the theme we are going for. We then draw up plans, buy any new items, and put all of our decorations up in one day. My husband can come up with the most incredible creatures and build them in record time. We always try to do something new each Halloween...bigger and better!

IPBR:  The cover art for Haunted Lily is intriguing and bizarre, but really cool.  What is the story behind it?

Sidney: I was looking for something really different when I came across a picture of a doll called, "Skull and Corset Bones" by gothic artist, Kerry Kate. I just fell in love with it. The doll was hauntingly beautiful like the heroine in my book, Lily, both are one of a kind. Kerry Kate was nice enough to let me use the doll for the cover art. My husband did the graphic design work which won the Covey Award last year.

IPBR:  What would you like readers to come away with after reading Haunted Lily?

Sidney: Everyone deals with loss, it is one of the hardest things we all have to go through. You can let it devour you and bring you down, or you can fight your way through it, and know that there is hope and life after loss. The main characters, Darby and Lily, find love through their subsequent tragedies. The book is truly a love story filled with real characters that go through real emotions as they take a frightening and fantastic journey through the spirit world. It's also a lot of fun!

IPBR:  Is there a particular scene or a line from your book that is a favorite of yours?

Sidney: Haunted Lily is a collection of many ghost stories. I love every one of my ghosts...I love the living characters as well, but the ghosts are my favorites. And the reader is taken through their lives and shown, through Lily, how they died and what keeps them on earth. 

IPBR:  Do you have any upcoming releases or other books in the works?

Sidney: My second book, Enchanted Shadows, is going to be released early next year. And I am finishing the follow-up to Haunted Lily, The Dark Circus, as we speak. Please visit my website SPOOKPALACE.COM for more information. 

I hope your readers get a chance to come into my creepy little world.  Happy Halloween!


Lightening Round!


IPBR: Vampires or Werewolves? 
Sidney: Blood-sucking Vampires! Love 'em!

IBPR: Ebooks or Print books?  

Sidney: Either...as long as you read.

IBPR: Plotter or Pantser? 

Sidney: I am both. I get an idea and write it down, but as I write the story and characters they take over.

IBPR: Comedy or Drama?

Sidney: Dramedy

IBPR: Chocolate or Vanilla? 
Sidney: Mmmm, chocolate.

IPBR: Cats or Dogs? 
Sidney: Woof!


Thanks so much for stopping by Sidney! :)

* * * * *


Haunted Lily: The Nightmare Ball
By Sidney Fox

Reality is shattered for British filmmaker, Darby McGregor, when his beautiful fiancée is tragically killed on their wedding day. After a dark time of mourning, Darby is tormented by a horrifying phantom bride in the eighteenth-century church he recently renovated. Is this the spirit of his beloved fiancée or something more sinister? Darby's sanity is in question, when fate steps in.
Her name is Lily, an enchanted young woman, who vibrantly shines through the darkness like a beacon of light for lost souls. Lily has been surrounded by the dearly departed since she was born, and has the gift/curse to penetrate the shadowy veil separating the living and the dead. Feeling an immediate connection, Lily agrees to be the subject of Darby's new documentary. However, Darby and his unsuspecting crew are not prepared for this chilling journey through the "spirit world".
As they spend time together, their bond grows. And when Darby learns of Lily's tragic upbringing and dealings with dangerous apparitions; he wants nothing more than to protect her. But it turns out he is the one in need of protection, when Lily's horrifying childhood nemesis returns from the afterworld to claim her. Ghosts, thrills, and chills drive the action in Haunted Lily, a tale sure to scare.

 Get the Book!  Amazon


Be sure to visit Sidney Fox at Spookpalace.com to learn all about Haunted Lily: The Nightmare Ball and other spooky and ghostly things. 


* * * * *

So how about you?  Do you decorate for Halloween?  Do you go all out like Sidney, just put out a few pumpkins, or something in between?

 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Finds: Sweet Indie Deals

Friday Finds is a way to share super sweet deals for indie paranormal ebooks.  All Friday finds are priced  Free ~ $3.00 and represent an awesome deal for the word count.

Books listed in Friday Finds have not been reviewed unless noted below with a link to the review.  It's up to the reader to determine if the book is a good fit for their reading tastes.  Follow the links for a description of the book and to download a free sample to see if you might like it. It's a great way to "test drive" a book.

Prices valid at the time of this post but they can change at any time, so get 'em while the gettin' is good!


 The Keeping by Nicky Charles
Word Count: approx. 151,916 (Novel Plus)
Free! at Smashwords



  Assumptions by CE Pietrowiak
Word Count: approx. 40,282 (Novella)
Free! at Smashwords w/Coupon Code AF96A
(coupon code from author website)
LIMITED TIME!!  Coupon expires October 31, 2010


Tempest by Holly Hook
Word Count: approx. 67,333 (Novel)
$0.99 at Smashwords
$0.99 at Amazon


The Tale of the Vampire Bride by Rhiannon Frater
Word Count: approx. 166,780 (Novel Plus)
$1.99 at Smashwords
$1.79 at Amazon


 Dark Muse by Broken Sword
Word Count: approx. 224,072 (Big Honkin' Novel!)
$2.99 at Smashwords



Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cover Love #7 - She Smells the Dead by E.J. Stevens

Every time I see this cover it makes me think of Wednesday Addams all grown up!  I love it!

She Smells the Dead by EJ Stevens

It's the beginning of senior year and Yuki's psychic awareness of ghostly spirits is threatening to ruin her life. Her ability to sense spirits of the dead isn't glamorous like the ghost hunting on television.

SHE SMELLS THE DEAD.

The smell impressions are becoming stronger. Yuki is being visited in her dreams, and she suspects that her friend Calvin is involved in something strange. To make matters worse her crush on Garrett is going unrequited, Yuki's friend Emma is on a rampage against bee oppression, and annoying Calvin Miller mysteriously disappears.

Will Yuki be able to focus her powers in time to save the lost soul who is haunting her? Meanwhile, who will save Yuki from following the spirits into the light?
  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hop on over to Goodreads and show your love...cover love that is!  Click the link below to add and vote for all your indie paranormal cover art favorites.  (Anyone can view but Goodreads membership needed to vote... no worries, it's free!).

Vote on your favorite Indie Book Cover Art

~ ~

While you are there, check out the other list for voting on your favorite PNR/UF indie books.  A great way to recommend your favorites indie books to other readers and find some new awesome books for yourself. Both links are on the left sidebar too.  

Indie Books - Paranormal Fiction
Vote for and Recommend your favorite PNR/UF Indie Books


Weekly meme hosted by Indie Paranormal Book Reviews

Got some cover lovin' going on?  Share a link to it in the comments and tell us why you love it :)


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesday! #4 - Oct 19, 2010

hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.

~~~~~

My Tuesday Teaser this week is from Day of Sacrifice by Stacey Wallace Benefiel

24% into book (it's an ebook!)
Her heart thudded in her chest as she drew closer, trying to reconcile what she was about to see with the desire to save her own ass.  She hoped he was dead already.


~~~~~

Do you have a teaser to share?  PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!
 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Review: Moon Rising by Laurie Bowler

Title:  Moon Rising
Author:   Laurie Bowler

Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Formats:  ebook, paperback
Publication Date:  July 2010
Word Count: approx. 106,038
Page count on Sony Reader:  240
Print Length: 352
Source:  ebook provided by author




DESCRIPTION from Amazon: 
Marinette (Nessy) is half vampire and half human flees her maker Hervidor, the strongest of their kind and the ruler of the underworld of vampires. As Nessy flees to be able to live her life as she chooses, her vengeance for the coven Hervidor created, The Tellis coven rises to the surface as she ventures into unknown parts of life that she has never seen or experienced.

Hervidor has kept Nessy locked away for centuries, his taunting and those tauntings of his coven have made Nessy stronger and one day capable of fleeing his grasp. As she runs through the unknown woods with her thirst on high alert she meets Charles and his coven, their ways and teachings of the new world that Nessy hasn’t seen before are shocking and exciting to Nessy who quickly learns to adjust and adapt so she can easily walk among humans during both day and night. Nessy quickly falls in love with Charles and they seal the bond that will capture and seal them together for eternity, their love being sealed and both of them finding their mate to walk the earth for as long as either one of them shall survive the passage of time and the changes it brings.

With the threat of Hervidor constantly at their heels and Nessy trying to run and making that final decision to stand and face him in the fight that will decide her fate, the Gulon and their own pack of cats become involved Heracio (Hera) is Nessy’s biological cousin and decides to impart to Nessy the many family traits she wasn’t aware off as a human, her own self discovery becomes apparent as she too transforms into the Gulon creature. As the biggest and strongest of the Gulon and long ago destined to become their leader, Nessy hands over the reins of the leadership back to Hera, claiming the ownership is his by mutual right, mutual consent and adoration of his pack.

As Nessy tries to come to terms with the changes happening to her and around her, she continues to slide on the path of love, together Charles, his coven and Nessy make the final stand against Hervidor and the detested Tellis coven to banish them from the earth but will they succeed in banishing Hervidor and his coven?

*****

MY REVIEW: 
Vampires.  Romance.  Vampire Romance.  This should have been right up my alley, but I had to give up on this one about 1/3 of the way through the book.  So sadly, this will be my first one-star DNF (did not finish) review and will only cover the first third of the book.

On the positive side, I think the story concept was okay and I also found myself interested in the Gulon characters (large cat-like shifters that hunt vampires) though I didn’t really experience enough of them in the time I had with the book to get a complete feel for these characters.  If there was one thing that might have encouraged me to stick with the book, it was seeing more of the Gulon. However, it just wasn’t enough to force myself through more of this book.

Now for what I didn’t like--unfortunately, it was almost everything else.  The writing style was awkward and I found myself constantly having to reread sentences or paragraphs that seemed nonsensical or poorly structured.  The grammar and punctuation appeared off to me. I’m no expert in this area, which is why I usually don’t nitpick on this much in my reviews, but in this case it jumped out at me on a regular basis.  Then there are the typos.  I experienced about 12 or more in just the first third of the book so if you factor that out to the rest of the book I can only assume there are considerably more to be found.  There were misspellings (or maybe just simply use of the wrong word) like “baited breath” instead of “bated breath” or “innocence” instead of “innocents”.  There was also an inconsistency I noted in Nessy’s eye color.  Early in the book Nessy is described as having black eyes and later they are “greenie-blue”.  At times I honestly wondered if this book received any objective editing. 

The main characters, Nessy and Charles, seemed one-dimensional and wooden. I felt absolutely nothing for them.  As far as the relationship between them, there was no romantic connection or spark at all.  Zip…Nada…Nothing.  The romance was completely underwhelming. The dialogue followed suit; it felt unnatural and stilted. 

The pacing of the book wasn’t too bad at the very beginning. I was pulled in at first, but it quickly slowed down.  Perhaps it picked up later but I wasn’t compelled to find out. As for the plot, I cannot speak much for that since I only got through one third of the book. I just couldn’t get past the poor mechanics and execution of this book.

Since I did give this book a low rating I looked for other reviews to provide a balance.  I was also interested to know if my review was in the general flow of traffic or if I was traveling down my own road.  I found quite a few reviews on Goodreads and a handful on Amazon (some appear to be cross-posted).  Well, color me surprised that this book had a high number of 5-star reviews.  Upon closer inspection of these reviews, I am a bit wary of the validity for many of them.  The links are included here so you can make your own judgment.

I cannot honestly recommend this book to anyone, but it appears somebody out there likes it and in the end a review is simply one person’s opinion. So, if you are curious about this book, then by all means try the free sample and judge for yourself whether it is worth pursuing.  And if you do read the sample or the book, I’d really love to know what you think, either good or bad.

Rating:  1 – Not My Cuppa Tea (Did Not Finish)

Typos found: 12 or more (for first third of the book)

ETA:  Laurie left a comment on my Goodreads review that this book has been revamped since I received my review copy.  I'm not sure what the definition of "revamped" includes, but I will check the newest version against my notes.

*****

This book is available in both paperback and ebook versions.  You can find Laurie Bowler on the web at:

Website: http://www.lauriebowler.com/ 
Twitter: http://twitter.com/laurieAuthor
Facebook: Laurie's FB Page
Goodreads: Laurie's Author Page


Get the book!  Smashwords, Kindle, Paperback

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Finds: Sweet Indie Deals

Friday Finds is a way to share super sweet deals for indie paranormal ebooks.  All Friday finds are priced from Free ~ $3.00 and represent an awesome deal for the word count.

Books listed in Friday Finds have not been reviewed unless noted below with a link to the review.  It's up to the reader to determine if the book is a good fit for their reading tastes.  Follow the links for a description of the book and to download a free sample to see if you might like it. It's a great way to "test drive" a book.

Prices valid at the time of this post but they can change at any time, so get 'em while the gettin' is good!

Fixing Mr. Styx by Geoffrey Thorne
Word Count: 16,045 (Short Story)
Free! at Smashwords
TIME LIMITED! Expires November 1, 2010



Ember by Bettie Sharpe
Word Count: unknown



Celtic Evil: A Fitzgerald Brother Novel by Sierra Rose
Word Count: approx. 94,259 (Novel)
$0.99 Smashwords 
$0.89 Amazon


Prophecy: Child of Light by FE Heaton
Word Count: 137,970 (Novel Plus)
$0.89 Amazon


Werelove: Dusk Conspiracy by Lakisha Spletzer
Word Count: 83,159 (Novel)
$1.99 Amazon


 Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble by HP Mallory
Word Count: 116,550 (Novel)
$2.39 Amazon

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Contest Alert! Be a character in HP Mallory's next book!

Visit HP Mallory's blog for a fun contest.  Winner gets to be a character in her next book, Toil and Trouble.  Contest runs through October 30th and winner is announced on Halloween!  Here is what the winner will get:

* A written part in Toil and Trouble and future Jolie Wilkins books
* The ability to read Toil and Trouble before it's released to the public
* Added to the Acknowledgments page of Toil and Trouble
* Interviewed on my (HP Mallory) blog
* A signed (with dedication) paperback copy of Toil and Trouble
* A signed paperback copy of Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble and To Kill A Warlock

Full entry details on HP's blog.  Good Luck y'all!  

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Review: Flaming Dove by Daniel Arenson

Title:  Flaming Dove
Author:  Daniel Arenson

Genre:  Dark Paranormal Fantasy
Formats:  ebook, paperback
Publication Date: August 2010
Word Count: approx. 87,585
Page count on Sony Reader:  242 (includes preview of Firefly Island)
Print Length: 294 Pages
Source:  ebook provided by author



Description from Goodreads: 
Outcast from Hell. Banished from Heaven. Lost on Earth.

The battle of Armageddon was finally fought... and ended with no clear victor. Upon the mountain, the armies of Hell and Heaven beat each other into a bloody, uneasy standstill, leaving the Earth in ruins. Armageddon should have ended with Heaven winning, ushering in an era of peace. That's what the prophecies said. Instead, the two armies--one of angels, one of demons--hunker down in the scorched planet, lick their wounds, and gear up for a prolonged war with no end in sight.

In this chaos of warring armies and ruined landscapes, Laila doesn't want to take sides. Her mother was an angel, her father a demon; she is outcast from both camps. And yet both armies need her, for with her mixed blood, Laila can become the ultimate spy... or ultimate soldier. As the armies of Heaven and Hell pursue her, Laila's only war is within her heart--a struggle between her demonic and heavenly blood.

*****

My Review: 
Angels vs. Demons Smackdown!  

Armageddon has taken place--now the fight continues and the winner takes Earth.  Enter Laila, half-demon and half-angel.  She cannot live in either Heaven or Hell.  In Heaven the godlight burns her demon half and in Hell the hellfire burns her angel half.  She is exiled to Earth where she is alone except for her constant companion, a wolf named Volksfair. If Heaven wins then the Earth will be filled with godlight.  If Hell wins then the Earth will be filled with Hellfire.  Either way…Laila dies. 

Both Heaven and Hell want to recruit her for their own agenda.  But Laila has an agenda of her own.  If she stays on Earth she will eventually perish in either the godlight or hellfire so she hatches a plan to take over Hell, rid it of hellfire, and make it her home.  In order to do this she must kill Beelzebub, who is a fallen angel and the ruler of Hell. He is also the brother of Archangel Michael.  Can she bring herself to kill her former lover who she almost married? 

I wasn’t immediately invested in this story.  It took about 1/3 of the book before I started to get interested.  I found the world that the author created to be interesting, but not intriguing. The story takes place 27 years after Armageddon and few humans are left around the world.  In fact, this story had only one significant human character that is minor to the story and introduced late in the book.  The entire cast of characters consists of either angels or demons.  That’s not a bad thing and I actually liked it. Another thing I liked is the way the story blurs the line between good and evil, Heaven and Hell, friends and enemies.

At times I felt the prose and dialogue were a little overdramatic and other times the story seemed to be to having an identity crisis.  It didn’t know if it wanted to be a serious dark fantasy or something a little lighter.  Occasionally, the dialogue and narrative would switch from a more serious and formal tone to something more modern and casual, such as Laila saying “Owie” after falling to Earth in a battle with a demon that almost kills her.  Owie?  Laila of the night.  Laila of the shadows.  Laila of tears and blood.  Laila who has fallen and rises again, etc.  This Laila says “owie”? 

This is probably just a quirk of my own personal preference, but the one other thing that bothered me about the dialogue is the use of the word “dad” instead of “father” or maybe in the case of a demon, “sire”.  Dad just seems too casual and human and it didn’t seem to go with the overall tone of the book. There was one scene where Bat El (Laila’s sister and an angel) uses the word dad to refer to Gabriel, her father.  This is the only time it felt appropriate because it was a more personal moment.  

The character of Laila was probably the most interesting to me, but I also found myself getting interested in Beelzebub as well.  However, I couldn’t make out if he was a bad guy or good guy in bad guy’s clothing.  Sometimes he was gentle and kind and at other times he would do something really twisted (yeah, I know…ruler of hell and all that). The only other character that I liked was a minor character, Nathaniel, an angel who lost his wings and an eye in battle with a demon and was relegated to patrol Earth. You first meet him at the beginning of the story. He is a jaded and gritty character and one of the few that came off as credible.

There is a light romantic element in this book. The love scenes are short and behind closed doors. This worked fine later in the book but I felt the first scene between the two characters was pivotal and would have benefited from a little more attention to the emotion and intimacy of the scene.  

Overall, I liked the book but I’m not doing cartwheels over it.  It wasn’t a pager turner for me and I wasn’t compelled to get back to it when I had to stop, but when I was reading it I enjoyed my time with the book once I got in to the meat of it.  The ending seemed to be a cliffhanger leading to another book, but I can’t say for sure. 

Rating:  3 – I Liked It

Typos found:  7

*****

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