Tag Archives: indie

Book Review – Exile (The Book of Ever #1) by James Cormier

22961594Title: Exile (The Book of Ever #1)

Author: James Cormier

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: Centuries after the Fall, the United States has been wiped away. The crumbling remains of the great American empire are home now only to savage, lawless tribes and packs of ravening Damned-the twisted children of the apocalypse. Most of those few who survived humanity’s destruction spend their short lives in a violent struggle for survival. But some light still flickers in the darkness: the Blessed of Bountiful live in seclusion, relying on walls both physical and spiritual to protect them from the Desolation that their world has become. Among them are the Saints, those few men and women born with superhuman abilities that the Blessed see as gifts from God. The violent apostate tribes of the Northeast Kingdom have always been a danger, but up until recently its small size and the vigilance of its people have made Bountiful an unappealing target. As attacks on the community grow harsher and more frequent, however, even the steadfast Blessed are forced to start preparing for the worst. With her home’s very existence threatened, seventeen year old Ever Oaks, a Saint with the power to heal, is forced to make a difficult choice, one that may come to define her people’s future…

Huge thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of this book for review. In no way is my review biased due to this. My opinions are my own.

River’s Review:

I will admit that I don’t often review indie or self pubbed books but I made an exception for this one because the author is local (MA) an it just sounded interesting. I haven’t read a good dystopian in awhile and I thought why not.

I’m SO glad I read this! I loved it! I was so INVESTED in it and didn’t want to put it down. It’s very well written and really touched a lot of things that I love about dystopian, sci-fi and even fantasy. I love it when dystopians are SO dystopian that they’re thrown back into the stone ages.

Ever Oaks and her village are Blessed. They’re survivors of The Fall (the end of the world basically) and some of her people are gifted with super-human abilities and deemed Saints. Ever is a Saint with the power to heal. She lives in a very, VERY religious society where men are in control and women are basically owned by their father’s and husbands. We know this is the future but it feels so very much like the past.

Ever is a good girl, a godly girl, but she does what she wants and when her village is attacked by the outside tribes who live savagely and witout God, she joins the quest to find her people a new home. She leaves with three other men to head north to find a new home. What they find instead is a powerful enemy, the truth about The Fall and Ever’s destiny.

When I first started this the religious part threw me for a loop. I’m not a fan of traditional religion and while this is very much based on Christian belief it was never preachy and I loved how much of the society and customs were based in this old belief system. I never once felt anything negative towards the religious aspects of this book and usually when I read books with religion in them I can usually find something that makes my stomach twist the wrong way. But this was beautiful and the intent of the religion in this book was not to preach as you.

I loved the world building in this. There were times that I felt elements of The Walking Dead, other times elements of Divergent. Never did this feel like it was trying to be those. It just felt very familiar and I liked that. So often dystopian novels try to make things TOO different and crazy and I’m just left wondering how that could have happened or WHY that happened. But this book had a wonderful set up and world build and when the story took unexpected twists and threw in some sci-fi elements I was ready for it and enjoyed it greatly.

The unexpected twists were SO good. I thought that this was going to be a journey book (which is part of why I picked it up, because I’m a HUGE fan of survival and journey stories) and while it was, it wasn’t in the way I thought it was going to be. I thought I had it pegged and then there were two twists that made me SO happy that this WASN’T predictable and made me love it even more.

And let’s talk about the romance for a second. While the beginning was a little bit fast (Ever and Jared spend a day together and at the start of the day she was annoyed with him and at the end of the day she admitted to having some different feelings towards him… thought they DID go through a lot together in that one day) I liked how it smoothed out and grew. The book isn’t heavy on romance, but man, when things did come together I felt that flutter that I get when two characters I’m rooting for finally kiss.

Overall this was a GREAT book and if you’re a fan of Divergent, The Birthmarked Trilogy or dystopian survival stories then you’ll want to check this out. I can’t WAIT for the next book!

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ARC Review – Fish Out of Water by Natalie Whipple

24081785Title: Fish Out of Water

Author: Natalie Whipple

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Mika is about to fulfill her dream of working at the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium when her plans are derailed by an unexpected arrival—her estranged grandmother Betty. Betty has dementia, and is no longer able to take care of herself. Betty is in need of her family’s help—and she’s not going to be particularly nice about it.

Mika has to give up her summer internship at the Aquarium and stick to working part-time at AnimalZone in order to take care of Betty. The manager at AnimalZone has hired his nephew Dylan to work there, and Mika thinks he’s entitled and annoying. Or is he just trying to become a better person?

Mika is trying to be as patient as possible with her grandma—but Betty doesn’t make that easy. And neither does Dylan.

Huge thank you to Natalie Whipple for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

Fish Out of Water is not what you expect. It’s got a swell romance, handles some interesting issues, and is just insanely sweet to read. I found it to be a bit slow at first, but I’m happy I stuck with it because the story grew on me as I read on.

Mika is a somewhat unusual heroine in that she actually likes her part-time job. Can I just say that I’ve never really seen that in a YA novel? Sure, girls like the job when there’s a hot boy involved, but Mika genuinely likes her job. It’s cute, it’s odd, I liked it. Actually, to be honest, I loved reading about the antics in the AnimalZone, and seeing her come out of her shell in various ways. Whipple does this great job of giving the reader this gradual build in Mika’s growth, one that feels so organically done.

There there’s all the sacrifice. In a lot of ways, this story is a lot about that word, and it’s one that a lot of people struggle with. That being forced to give something up even though you know it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes they have to be made, and I feel like the characters in this novel learn it the hard way, and it’s completely believable. It’s hard to make sacrifices when someone is ill in your life, and that’s where part of this story admittedly mirrored parts of my own life. I understood Mika, her frustrations, because taking care of someone else is :not an easy job, and sometimes it can feel a little thankless, even if those you love appreciate it.

I thought a lot of the characters were wonderful and diverse. Oddly the character I did have a hard time with, was the love interest Dylan. He rubbed me the wrong way, and I didn’t really care for him at first. But much like this novel, he grew on me, but I still found myself not entirely bought in to his genuineness considering the horrific thing he does in the story. It did have a hard time with that and even though there’s cute fluff between he and Mika, I still feel like this resolved a bit too neatly.

Still, I think Fish Out of Water is a wonderfully clever, quirky little read. It’s got a lot of great elements and the charm simply oozes in ways that a lot of contemporary novels miss. I highly recommend checking it out — it definitely has something for every kind of reader.

For those curious, you can purchase Fish Out of Water at AmazonThe Book Depository and other major outlets that sell books. Remember to support great indie authors when you find them!

Cover Reveal – The Shadow Stealer by Melissa Giorgio

It’s that time again! I dunno what it is about cover reveals, but I get so damn excited by them. Melissa Giorgio sent me an e-mail with a wonderful request, one which I get to fulfill right NOW! As many of you are aware, Melissa writes a series called The Silver Moon Saga, which you should ALL GO OUT AND READ. If you haven’t that is. Go, go read it. GO READ IT. NOW NOW NOW.

*Ahem* In any case, she asked me and River to cover the cover to the last novel in the series. The anticipated final book titled, The Shadow Stealer. Are you ready to see it? Okay…

Three…

Two…

One…

LET’S JAM! (Excuse the Cowboy Bebop reference, or not, go watch that too.)

cover

Add The Shadow Stealer to Goodreads shelf!

Can we talk about how beautiful this cover is? It is super pretty, and might be my new favourite of the five covers that exist. Such intensity in the model’s eyes. I like it! Wanna know what it is about? Here’s the blurb:

Ever since that fateful night Gabi Saw her first demon, she’s been questioning who and, better yet, what she is. When given a chance to find the answers she seeks, she seizes it, even if it means putting herself—and her beloved friends—in danger. 

From upstate New York to the streets of Manhattan, Gabi chases after the truth that has, until this point, remained out of reach. But when her whole world shatters, Gabi wonders if it would have been better to remain ignorant. Because once you know the truth, there’s no going back.  

In the final installment of the Silver Moon Saga, the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been for Gabi and her friends, and no one’s guaranteed a happy ending. Will Gabi triumph or will the shadows claim her for their own?

Ahhhhhh, I cannot wait to read this! And it’s actually coming out very soon: on  February 27th, 2015.

If you haven’t read the first book in the series, I encourage you to do so. Here’s where you can start The Silver Moon Saga: Amazon.com (also available on Amazon.ca)