Friday, June 20, 2014

Antithesis, by Kacey Vanderkarr

Antithesis is the first novel by indie author Kacey Vanderkarr, and is the second book of hers that I have read. She has become one of my favorite authors, and  has one of the best, most intriguing covers I’ve seen in a long time.

The Blurb:

My name is Gavyn.

Liam doesn’t care that I only have one arm. He actually likes my red hair and 
freckles. I might forgive him for kidnapping me.

My name is Gavyn.

I lost my Liam. I’ve lost them all. And now it’s my job to make sure they don’t show up again.

My name is Gavyn.

I had a life with Liam, but he couldn’t give me what I need. Then I killed his father. I don’t expect he’ll forgive me for that.

My name is Gavyn

My Review:
I just want to say, I loved this book. It’s nonstop action from page one, Gavyn is awesome and Liam is hotter than a tin roof in august.  Nothing got done yesterday, because I had to read this book.

Gavyn has one arm, and while it’s irritating and an inconvenience, she just gets on with her life. Her wild red hair is more of a problem in her eyes.
Liam is exactly the egotistical badboy you don’t want your daughter to date, much less travel around with for months on end, alone.  Things do get hot and steamy between them, but this is technically a YA sci-fi/romance.

The story is fast paced. Liam and Gavyn race through many different dimensions, and in each one they must deal with radically different versions of themselves, and Gavyn’s best friends, Lena and Demetri.  Some versions are out to kill them, and some versions must die.

Vanderkarr has done her homework on dimensional theories, and all of her plot twists, theories, and fictional science have a genuine, plausible feel to them. She never loses control of the plot, and it remains good science fiction from cover to cover.

This was an excellent read. Now I’m practically hopping from foot to foot, looking forward to her next release, every bit as much as I am the next Tad Williams book.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Destruction: The December People Book One, by Sharon Bayliss

Today we will be exploring an urban fantasy by Sharon Bayliss, Destruction: Book 1 of the December People Series. This is one of those books that you don't want to start if you are not going to be able to just sit down and read with NO distractions.

David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything.

Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn't a choice.

Eleven years ago, David's secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David's wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.

On page one, you discover a family of real people, people who do the best they can to do good in the world, and people who do not always behave as well as they would like. This is most definitely a morality tale.

David's marriage is not perfect, but he loves his wife, Amanda, and together they have 3 children, Emmy, Patrick, and Jude. His and Amanda's children are not perfect, David's business is not perfect, but they are what he has, and he is determined to keep them at all costs.

Despite the fact he loves Amanda fiercely, he had an extramarital relationship with another woman whom he also loved, one that produced Evangeline and Xavier. They are nearly the same age as 2 of his children, and older than his youngest daughter. He is desperate to keep his children together. His love for Crystal had nothing to do with his love for Amanda, and while he refuses to examine that too closely, he is determined to make his new situation work.

When Crystal dies, David is contacted by the authorities. He brings the two children home. things go to hell, but Amanda is determined to keep and raise them along with their own. They are also raising the daughter of friends, and this makes 6 children, ranging in ages from 12 to 18 -- six teenagers under one roof.

The disintegration of the marriage, and the reconstruction of the family into a much stronger unit is a real journey into both betrayal and forgiveness. David is not alone in having kept a serious secret. Amanda is a caring person, but she is obsessed with control, and is ruthless when it comes to keeping the children together. There is nothing she won't do to achieve her goals. The worst aspects of human nature, things that cop up even in the 'nicest' families is dealt with here.

This book is gripping. It is a stand-alone book. It is the first in a series, but you get a proper ending for all your time spent in their world. I really enjoyed this novel, and it stayed with me for a long while afterward. I am really looking forward to the next installment.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Reflection Pond, By Kacey Vanderkarr

Today I am reviewing a fairly new book, Reflection Pond, by indie author Kacey Vanderkarr. It is an urban fantasy, centering around the concept of the fae world, juxtaposed against the mortal world.

The Blurb:
Sometimes you find home, sometimes it comes looking for you.

Callie knows a lot more about pain than she does about family. She’s never belonged, at least, not until she falls through a portal into her true home. The beautiful faerie city of Eirensae doesn't come free. Callie must find her amulet and bind herself to the city, and most importantly, avoid the Fallen fae who seek her life. Seems like a small price to pay for the family she’s always wanted.

Then she meets cynical and gorgeous Rowan, who reads the darkness of her past in her eyes. He becomes Callie’s part-time protector and full-time pain in the ass. He has secrets of his own for Callie to unravel. What they don’t know is that the future of Eirensae lies with them, and the once peaceful city is about to become a battleground for power.

My Review:
This was a book I might never have come across if it hadn't been for a little serendipity. I happened to meet Kacey Vanderkarr via her book review website. I was hoping to get a review of Huw the Bard, and while she declined to review my book,(it is definitely not YA which is all she reviews) the premise of her book intrigued me, so I bought it. 

The blurb makes it sound like a full on romance, but it is not—it’s an adventure with a romance, and there are adult themes mentioned, but it’s not graphic.  

Callie is portrayed realistically, and her reactions to the situations she finds herself in are quite true to the way a person with her history might react. Rowan is also quite realistically portrayed, and he too has a painful history.

The politics of Eirensae and lust for power displayed by several of the fae who guard her is well plotted. The fae don't raise their own children, instead they are raised as orphans in foster homes by mortal who are unaware of their true origin. When they come of age, they are brought back, and then they must find their amulet, or be cast out again. That is a really original take on the old changeling myth, one that made sense to me.

This is a good story. There is something about this little adventure that kept me turning pages, ignoring work I was supposed to be doing. 

Vanderkarr writes with power. Her narrative sucks you in, and doesn't let you go. My one and only complaint is that while it did have an ending of sorts, it's a set up for the next book, and who know how long before she can get the next installment written. Still, it was a full day’s entertainment, and what more can a person ask for out of a book than that?

I highly recommend it as a New Adult Fantasy, and give it 5 stars.