Friday, 21 February 2014

Book Review #1 - 'Flight' (The Crescent Chronicles) by Alyssa Rose Ivy


Since Alyssa Rose Ivy has very recently released a novella for the Crescent Chronicles series, and I read that rather eagerly and in record time, just desperate for even an inkling of an insight into some of my favorite characters; it put me in the mood to re-read the whole story from the very beginning, thus explaining my choice of 'Flight' for my first book review.

In short, the story is centred around a mature eighteen year old girl called Allie, who is looking to spend her last summer before starting college in a new and hopefully (she wishes) an exciting way.
Allie and her best friend Jess head to New Orleans after receiving a job offer from Allie's dad, to work in his hotel. But unbeknownst to Allie however, the hotel basement houses the headquarters to a powerful supernatural Society, a world which she becomes unwillingly thrust into thanks to the over confident hottie she meets; Levi Laurent, who also just so happens to be one of those supernaturals.

What I liked the most about Allie as the main character, was the fact that she wasn't your typical flaky girl; and by that I mean that she didn't immediately fall in love with Levi and therefore spend her entire inner dialogue swooning over him. If anything, Allie fights her feelings for Levi throughout the book, torn between the intensity of her feelings for the over confident Pteron prince and the fact that she doesn't want to get too close to him after her failings with previous relationships (and later in the book because he hurts her).

Allie goes to New Orleans knowing she has her life pretty much already set out before her; she has firm plans to attend Princeton and seems a mixture of pleased and anxious about it. However, it's obvious from the outset that as much as she appears to have a sensible head on her shoulders, part of her does seek adventure, excitement and thrills of some kind, in order to rebel against the path she feels she's expected to go down.
Her character was immediately likable, but not because she was a 'nice' person, more so because she was a strongly minded individual who wouldn't be intimidated by anyone, even a dangerously strong supernatural shifter who kept trying to push her buttons.

It was refreshing to have a lead female character who wasn't constantly falling all over herself to get with the main male character, spouting confessions of true love on every other page. Her stubborn determination not to have feelings for Levi actually increased the anticipation because it wasn't over as quickly as the usual 'boy meets girl, they fall in love, the end' type of story-line that you often find in the romance genre. I think the last page demonstrated her inner turmoil perfectly, the way she wants to despise Levi and yet can't stop her feelings for him no matter how much she wants to:

Levi pulled me tightly against him. "I love you. I have never felt this way before and the thought of losing you scares me."
"And that's supposed to make everything better?" I bristled. "You love me? It doesn't matter anyway."
"Why not?"
"Because I don't love you." Even as the words left my lips, I knew they weren't true.

Levi was an excellent male lead and if anything there were times he was written so well that I wanted to punch him in the face; which just evidenced how 'real' Alyssa made her characters.
He seemed like a nice guy, obviously gorgeous and a typical player BUT he was also arrogant and over confident and at times completely infuriating, the way he wouldn't take no for an answer and kept pushing Allie in order to get his own way insistently. Maddening!

And the fact that he duped her into becoming his chosen mate....well lets just say I was completely torn on that one. On the one hand I wanted Allie to kick him to the curb immediately; giving her his family's ring under false pretenses and then sleeping with her to 'seal the deal' - of all the most idiotic things he could have done, the silly prince! But on the other hand I did feel that as much as it was a selfish and crazy thing to do, Levi clearly thought he was doing it for the right reasons i.e. that he really felt deeply for Allie and he was scared what would happen when she left for college.
He was just a great character overall, he didn't give too much away, being particularly evasive at times which only added to the intrigue about him and who he really was. I loved him one minute and then hated him the next but it was clear from their very first encounter that Allie and Levi would be perfect for each other because they challenged each other every step of the way; neither one willing to bow to the other's needs; and he did just seem to 'get her' from the start, knowing instinctively that Allie longed for adventure, for something more than her life as it was.

Surprisingly though, one of my favorite characters was actually one of the supporting characters; Jared!
The bad boy of the group, the pain in the arse, argumentative and moody play boy.
As much as Jared could be annoying and sometimes just down right rude, especially to Allie, it was clear there was more to him. Like for example, how it was mentioned in one of the scenes in the boys' apartment that Jared was the tidy one who made sure the place always looked presentable; that wasn't something you would imagine from the guy who could rather quickly go from acting normal to being super pissed off in a second flat.
And whilst I loved Allie and Levi's relationship (every encounter they had having me literally bubbling over with excitement!) I also enjoyed the budding friendship between Jared and Allie towards the end of the book.
After Allie's kidnapping ordeal, it was a nice surprise to find that Jared was the one who saved her, a good change to the usual cliche of the love interest being the knight in shining armor. And it was at that point that I think you could sense their friendship turning around:

"Jared?" I took a few steps towards him, tears of relief and fear slipping down my face.
He opened his arms, pulling me against his chest, letting me cry. 

One of my favorite parts of the story was (not so typically) the part where the Pterons show Allie what they really are; jumping off the roof and having Allie convinced that they were jumping to their deaths.
I thought it was a really good way to introduce her to what/who they were; no serious lengthy conversations that can so often feel wordy and rather boring, just a good old show and tell which was kept to a minimum and therefore retained excitement throughout, especially as Allie watches everyone else jump off the building and she's left standing alone with Levi, anticipating what will come next:

"You said you wanted an adventure," he said quietly, teasingly, as he tightened his hold.

The overall thing I truly loved about this story was the fact that it wasn't about vampires or werewolves. Not that I don't like those, I love anything to do with paranormal/supernaturals BUT 'crow-shifters' was a completely amazing concept, so different and exciting and it was great to not be able to predict what would happen in terms of what the Pterons were capable of, what abilities they had etc.compared to vampire/werewolf stories where it's rather obvious what abilities the characters will have.
As much as it sounds complex, it actually wasn't, the story was relatively easy to follow, with the latter part of the book setting the scene with just enough intrigue, for the next book.  

In my eyes, an absolutely wonderful YA book, enjoyable and at times intense. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who loves all things supernatural and anyone who loves a love story that isn't too predictable or without a few major bumps in the road. But trust me it's setting itself up to become an epic one that will build throughout the series and have you hankering for a love no less intense for yourself!

Hope you enjoyed the review, hopefully it'll make you want to read the book!


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Making good use of very little free time

So I was sitting around in bed the other night, after finishing another grueling day at my day job and feeling all kinds of sorry for myself because I felt a bit under the weather. I was a little annoyed to say the least, not wanting to waste what precious free time I actually do get, which is next to nothing at the moment; so I decided that I wanted to share with you, my thoughts on other authors' books' - to make use of any free time I get.

This is for a couple of reasons; the first is that I sincerely love to read, of course I do, I have always read books and am very passionate about reading, so to get to read many books in order to review them, well that's just a hugely exciting thing for me, as geeky as that may seem to others.

The second reason I want to review books is because as an avid book purchaser, I, like many others, tend to be encouraged/discouraged by readers' reviews; so if I can give an honest opinion about a book and it means the difference between a potential reader or someone who misses out on reading a brilliant book, then it's the least I can do for those authors' whose work has inspired, encouraged and motivated me to pursue my own dream of writing stories.

So in between writing my own books, working my day job, keeping my house running (or sort of running, sorry hubby!) and trying to keep some sort of social life afloat, i'm going to start reviewing books from today.

Now i'd love to say "I'll do one a week" but realistically speaking I know that I many not get the time to do that so I will just say that I intend to write at least a couple a month, and any more than that will be an awesome achievement for me and hopefully a benefit to you.

After endlessly scrolling through my Kindle library, procrastinating and indecisively choosing a few firm favorites, i've decided to go with 'Flight' - The Crescent Chronicles by Alyssa Rose Ivy for my first review. So watch this space...


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Summer Rain is finally finished!

So my very first book is FINALLY finished, woo hoo! And it's been a long and at times, a difficult path.

But it's also been a massive learning curve for me too and I am pleased to say that I have accomplished something I have always dreamed of doing; publishing my very own book. High five to me!

Hopefully people will like 'Summer Rain' (link below at bottom of page) as much as I do. However, as much as I am pleased with it, I am, as with most authors, very self critical, so I am already picking fault with the story and it's only been available on Kindle for 12 hours so far....It's such a roller coaster of emotions to do something like this, to have other people read and review your work because there is always that slight possibility that you'll be told you're not good enough, that you're talentless or deluded. And that's the scariest thing in the world; not publishing a book for all the world to see, but the fact that some people will undoubtedly have negative comments. But I remain hopeful and undeterred. For now!

The barrage of feelings aside though, it's still a huge achievement for me and it's given me tons of motivation to continue writing, which I hope I can continue to improve upon with the more experience I gain and the more books I write. I am already thinking of a spin off from Summer Rain, which I had originally planned as being a one off. So watch this space for Taylor and Johnny's story...

My next project is a story called 'Who Am I?' which is centred around a girl called Nora Kensington who wakes up from a coma she's been in for 6 months to find that she doesn't know who she is. She is immediately thrust into a life of riches beyond her wildest dreams, a life that she apparently lived all too comfortably prior to her 'accident' but she doesn't feel as though she belongs anymore. Especially not with a suspicious ex-boyfriend hanging around who gives her a really bad feeling. And then there's the dreams she keeps having, of the vaguely familiar sinister voice, chasing her relentlessly, as she flees for her life.Will she ever regain her lost memories? And find out what really happened the day of her accident?

I'm hoping to have the book finished by Spring 2014, all being well, but in the meantime here's a little exert...

My hair flows wildly behind me as the wind blows through it relentlessly; my hands running freely through the long blades of grass as I run through the fields towards the old and beaten barn in the near distance.
Behind me I can distinctly hear the sound of children’s laughter, high pitched and happy; and my heart warms automatically at the thought of the delight on their faces as they play happily.
A voice calls to me from somewhere, but I can’t see anyone as I look around at my strange surroundings.
I instantly know the voice is coming from the barn, so I carry on running towards it curiously.
A figure abruptly emerges in front of me, startling me at first. It’s a boy, or a man maybe, with the most beautiful smile I have ever seen. But before I can get nearer to him, he disappears before my eyes. And I feel bereft, lost, alone.
The voice sounds different now, it’s somehow taken on a sinister tone; whereas before it felt serene and inviting, now it feels wrong, wicked even; and I feel as though I must flee from it.
My heart beats faster as fear pumps adrenaline through my body at a hundred miles per hour. I don’t know why but I feel it’s imperative to get away from that voice; I think my life might depend on it.
“You can’t run from me Nora…” the voice says, causing an ache in my chest akin to what I think a heart attack must feel like.
I am shaking with fear now, knowing that I can’t escape it, when all of a sudden my pounding heart stops.
I drop to the floor, short of breath and gasping for air, my vision begins to fail. As I begin to lose consciousness a sudden and terrifying jolt hits me in the chest, causing me to convulse momentarily as electricity charges through every part of me.

And just like that, I black out.

Hopefully you're intrigued? Me too! I almost wish I could find out what happens right now...


Saturday, 8 February 2014

It's almost time....

I genuinely cannot believe that it's been so long since I last wrote on my blog..... And that it's been over six months since I had originally said I wanted to publish my first book. Time really does fly!

So due to this and that and other just as lame excuses I have now only just finished my first book! And i'm about to upload it onto Kindle today, the thought of which completely terrifies me. But in the same light I am thrilled and ridiculously proud of myself. I may not be the best author in the world (yet...) but I am beyond ecstatic that I can actually call myself an author now.

In the last year, maybe more, I have learnt a lot about the kind of writer I am and the kind of writer I want to be. I like to think that along the way i've learnt from various mistakes i've made in writing this book, and that i've also learned how to deal with the self-doubt that often plagues even the most talented and gifted authors. So i'm hoping, above anything, that this journey has developed my abilities enough that it won't take me anywhere near as long to write my next book.....

So there it is, just a short note just to check in and now I must get on with something rather important on kindle!

Bye for now.