Ariel’s Dream by Tahlia Newland

Ariel’s Dream

by Tahlia Newland

Genre: Short Story, Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

Five stars

Fifteen-year-old Ariel has a nightmare that somehow keeps intruding on her waking life; a shadow being that won’t seem to disappear even after she wakes. A simple trip to the beach with friends becomes a mind-stretching experience, and the monster seems to strengthen with her fear. How can she defeat it?

Tahlia Newland’s short story delivers her fantastic supernatural realism, but with an added chill factor of a tighter blend with reality. Ariel’s scary dream pushed into real life is just the sort of thing that everyone fears a little. The story’s added message of facing up to life’s fears reinforces the themes of her Diamond Peak series and connects it to Don’t Shatter Me. Ariel’s Dream is a quick, fun read with a little added story to fill in the series. Is that Nick we saw there with the six pack abs and the golden glow?

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Incubus by Jennifer Quintenz

 

Incubus

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Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

Braedyn, A succubus posing as a regular teen and working with the organization that fights the succubae for humankind, enters into a deeper threat in Incubus .   The arrival of Seth and his mother, a guard archivist, reveals that the gateway to the realm containing all the trapped Lilitu. An opportunity for the Lilitu to open the gate fast approaches.

Regular life has plenty of problems too. Braedyn loves Lucas and he loves her, but she might accidentally suck his life force out of him if they kiss. If she hurts anyone else, she may lose forever her chance to become human and have a regular life with Lucas. One of her best friends doesn’t know Braedyn’s scary secret and she’d like to keep it that way. Her high school nemesis, Amber, has amped up the evil and petty attacks on Braedyn, threatening to hurt her friends if she doesn’t leave the school.Who is the mysterious incubus planning to open the gate and can they stop him?  Can Braedyn overcome all this?

Jennifer has triumphed again in her second book of the series. Incubus was packed with action, intrigue, awesome characters, and a great surprise ending. I thoroughly enjoyed every page and felt a lot of frustration when my tablet battery ran out at midnight and I couldn’t finish the book until later the next day.

Braedyn is a character I can really connect with. She makes a lot of mistakes, acts impulsively, and feels like her impressions are the truth whether she has all the information or not. She really yearns for a human life and the reader will really want her to get it.

The supporting cast is no less intriguing. Lucas and his hunger to be treated like a man, but fears of being left alone, really make me want to pinch his cheeks. Seth was creepy, endearing, and a great motivator for the action with his drive to see his mother’s work through.

The ending gripped me and I had to exercise a lot of self-control to stop reading when my real life intruded. Jennifer wrote the stakes for Braedyn and the world in a very engaging manner with a lot of great twists and turns to keep me on my toes. I loved this book, as I did the first in the series, Thrall, and I would recommend both. Really, don’t skip the first, because they are both so good and two awesome reads are better than one!

I approve this title for Awesome Indies. http://awesomeindies.net

I received this book from the author for the purposes of unbiased review.

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Demon’s Grip by Tahlia Newland

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Demon’s Grip

by Tahlia Newland

Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary, Fantasy, New Adult, Metaphysical

Four Stars

Ariel has reached the city of Sheldra safely after defeating a second demon master. She enters the safety of Sheldra to train for her greatest challenge yet. With many difficulties, she battles the demon Emot, the demon of desire. A new twist on her weakness harasses Ariel in the form of Nick and her imagination regarding him. Can she sort out her feelings before they become an addiction?

Deep in the caves inside the mountain, her mother Nadima struggles against her own weakness. Will her Warrior training be enough to free her and the other prisoners from slavery to demons?

Get ready for another vivid tale of inner adventure made manifest. Tahlia’s spectacular descriptions bring her characters’ thoughts out into their physical world once again. She has added significantly more description of character, location, and action without losing her active writing style.

Tahlia has given us some resolution to Nick and Ariel’s frustrating relationship ambiguity in this volume, though their resolution gives birth to its own new troubles and a shocking new problem. I like the way Tahlia has made the couple into both each other’s strength and weakness.

Sometimes their interpersonal melodrama irritated me, but I’m also cranky and old with no patience for tumultuous romance. I admit their frustrating childishness brought out the big sister/mom in me and I wanted to give them a time out until they stopped with the melodrama. I felt like it drew away somewhat from the force of the story and the continuity. Once I realized where all the yearning and frustration led, I did understand a bit more why Tahlia wrote that way. I felt a bit like I missed the steps in a formula on the  progression of addiction through the story, with actions occurring that should mean something but I didn’t know what.

I appreciated Tahlia’s focus on addiction. She seems to tackle all the tough issues. The agony of that affliction and the beauty of victory over it touch most lives whether people admit it or not. She captured beautifully the shame, illogic, emotion, and power of addiction. Though I would write the story of overcoming differently as a Christian, I applaud any victory an addict can find. Salvation from oblivion and destruction should be appreciated no matter what the philosophy behind it.

Demon’s grip is yet another action-packed part of a series full of imagination and fantastic adventure.

I approve this title for Awesome Indies. http://awesomeindies.net

I received this book from the author for the purposes of unbiased review.

Although this can be read as a stand-alone novel, aspects of the story will be clearer if you have read the previous books in this series; Lethal Inheritance & Stalking Shadows.

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The Secret Eater by Ros Jackson

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The Secret Eater

 by Ros Jackson

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban

Five stars

Kenssie is a demon who eats secrets. Her mission in life is to creep into humans’ minds and devour the energy from their secrets. Her other missions include: pleasing her Master, Rakmanon, stirring up humiliation for him to feed on, and figuring out what is happening to her power. She is growing weaker and she doesn’t know why. The Demon Council offers no help, instead poking fun at her and kicking her out of their chambers. Her Master can’t seem to help her either.

But a part-demon witch named Permilia may have the answer to her problem. Should she risk angering the Council by stealing a magical tome from them or should she just accept her waning power and all the danger that comes with it?

Ros makes it easy to suspend disbelief with her quick fanciful story. Normally I don’t want to root for the success and wellbeing of demons, but Kenssie was such a relatable character. The tale proceeded from just her perspective and I found it easy to sympathize. She must try to complete difficult and dangerous tasks under the authority of unreasonable and downright evil authorities. She has to figure out how to think for herself and do the best she can with very little support or information. I can relate to that. While I read Kenssie’s adventures and hoped for her success, I kept remembering, “Oh, yeah. She’s a demon who feeds off of humanity.” I reflected a lot on the ability to see from someone else’s perspective. It also gave me a little sense of pleasant danger through the tale.

I would have liked to know more about the mechanics of the world Ros created. Kenssie didn’t seem entirely evil and I wondered how that fit into the story. Most of the demons seemed less than fully evil and mostly concerned with themselves and their pet obsession. Part of the reason the story appealed to me is that I’m highly interested in intelligent perspectives on evil and good, the afterlife, and the supernatural. Ros’ world fascinated me but left me with a lot of questions.

The short and sweet tale seemed to set the stage for possible future volumes. I wanted to know about Kenssie’s relationship with Rakmanon, how that started, and what he really had in mind. He is a demon, but she is too. Does he care about her? What is the deal about her incomplete information about whether she is full demon or not?

Please write more, Ros! I really like Kenssie the secret-eating demon. (Did I really just write that?)

I approve this title for Awesome Indies. http://awesomeindies.net

I received this book from the author for the purposes of unbiased review.

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Silent Symmetry by J.B. Dutton

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Silent Symmetry

by J.B. Dutton

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance

Five stars

A tragic car accident in their hometown in Wisconsin took away Kari’s father when she was very small. Kari arrives in New York ready for a new life. She is excited to support her mom in a new job and maybe a little romance.

A scholarship at the exclusive Chelsea Prep for Kari turns out to be one of the job perks of Mom’s new job as an IT at the Temple of Truth. The secretive organization intrigues Kari and she can’t help but snoop into its secrets. Even their apartment contains strange connections to the organization. The mysterious connection two cute boys in her class, Noon and Cruz, have to the ToT doesn’t make nosiness any less irresistible.

The deeper she delves into the ToT’s secrets, the stranger and more mysterious things get. When she discovers her part in the organization and its goals, life and existence turn out to be way more complicated than she ever imagined.

This book was my most interesting pick out of my long, long, read-and-review list. The title and the synopsis grabbed my attention from the start and I chose Silent Symmetry to read first for the summer. This book didn’t disappoint!

I felt engaged by Kari and her sad past, but also by her eager desire to care for her Mom and her positive attitude. The story began with many questions. When some of those questions were answered, I somehow found myself with more. I loved the natural way J.B. wove the tale, interlaced with questions resolving and mysteries uncovered. Even the ending left questions begging for a sequel.

Silent Symmetry was an entertaining and fast read that well deserved the first read of the Summer. I approve this title for Awesome Indies.

I received this book from the author for the purposes of unbiased review.

Silent Symmetry is available as an ebook here:
bit.ly/SilentSymmetry (Amazon.com)
bit.ly/SilentSymmetryUK (Amazon.co.uk)

Available in paperback here:
bit.ly/SilentSymmetryPB (Amazon.com)
bit.ly/SilentSymmetryPBUK (Amazon.co.uk)

Don’t Judge a Book By Its Magic

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Don’t Judge a Book By Its Magic

by Kate Policani

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal

Synopsis:

Colleen is a normal girl. She loves shoes, chick flicks, and cute clothes. The only thing abnormal about her is that she’s just become a magician; not the disappearing bunny kind, but the power-shooting-out-of-your-hands kind of magician.

Her problem now is that she doesn’t believe in magic. Well, she believes in it. She’s seen it shoot out of her own hands, but she opposes it in a moral sense; no hexes, no spells, no incantations, no potions, no amulets, no tomes, no casting circles, no eye of newt, none of that. She has to be very clear because people pressure her about it. Whatever they say about “how it’s done,” this is a morality issue for her and she will not cave in to their pressure.

Join Colleen at Seattle Pacific Regional University, where she becomes a part of The Convergence. She’ll learn the freaky side of Work Study, Financial Aid, and Vyxhepiocht. Seriously, she’s never seen so many hot guys. It’s going to be wild!

Read The Bookworm’s review: http://www.thebookwormextraordinare.blogspot.com/2012/09/review-dont-judge-book-by-its-magic-by.html

Read Maine Muse’s review: http://mainemuse.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/dont-judge-a-book-by-its-magic/

Read AM Day’s review: http://www.abookloverslibrary.com/27/post/2012/10/dont-judge-a-book-by-its-magic-a-book-review.html

Read Quillwielder’s review: http://quillwielder.com/2012/10/27/book-review-dont-judge-a-book-by-its-magic/

Read Fox Cutter’s review: http://foxcutter.livejournal.com/172716.html

Read Tima Lacoba’s review: http://bloodgifted.blogspot.com/2012/10/a-fellow-writers-release-party-kate.html

Read Night Owl Reviews opinion: http://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Reviews/Arianne-reviews-Don-t-Judge-A-Book-By-Its-Magic-by-Kate-Policani

Buy on Createspace: https://www.createspace.com/3910971

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Flower Bowl Spell by Olivia Boler

Flower Bowl Spell

by Olivia Boler

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal

Memphis Zhang sees fairies. Sure, she lives in San Francisco, but that’s pushing the West Coast Weird Factor a bit. She thought she’d left her Wiccan past behind her and settled into the ranks of “normal” life. A push in a Metro tunnel puts an end to that, though, and suddenly the world comes alive with all sorts of supernatural activity.

Memphis can’t help but reconnect with the religion she was raised to and the unusual powers she possesses. Unfortunately, someone else also has powers — someone with sinister motives. A reporter who writes stories about entertainment, Memphis has to find the who, what, when, where, and why for an event that promises to be anything but entertaining. She has to protect her friends and two little girls who are tossed into the middle of it all.

Olivia has crafted an interesting tale with a lot of depth. Though I don’t share Memphis’ religious perspective, I could appreciate her openness, tolerance, and struggle for the truth. I liked her courage and faithfulness to those near to her. I also enjoyed the mixed-heritage confusion she shouldered like a pro, and her confidence in what she loved and what she knew about herself.

The fantasy element of the story sparkled, with fairies, statues blowing raspberries, and a hula doll that can drive! Interesting and sometimes hilarious explanations illuminated these wonders in scientific terms. Memphis and her open disposition absorbed them all and wielded them in the battle against the evil lurking around her.

The elements of past and present, history and mythology, culture and beliefs, all layered nicely to the book’s conclusion. This one was a page-turner! Thanks, Olivia, for the great read!

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