Review: Gifted by HS Stone

Rating: Maybe

Perhaps it’s because I’ve seen several variations on this theme, but this story, for all of its promise, felt flat. Which is a shame, because I really enjoyed Stone’s other novel, In The Hands of Children. After reading this, I think it probably should have been labelled as middle grade rather than young adult, and a few tweaks would have kept it perfectly in line with this.

Gifted-cover2This young adult fantasy follows twins, Voima and Vennd, who are quite different. Voima is a giftless young woman, while Vennd is gifted with the power of nearly-instant healing (Think Wolverine pre-adamantium skeleton). This story bounces between their POVS and the king’s, who is capturing all Gifted people and making them fight to the death. We don’t really receive a clear explanation why, but power-hungry as he is, it’s self-explanatory.

The twins have a close relationship, and it’s obvious as the story unfolds that they’ll do anything to save each other. The stakes become clear when Vennd is discovered and captured by the king’s men.

This leads on to what made the story flat to me. Rather than experiencing the ensuing drama through Voima (or Vennd), most of her POV is spent reacting to things, rather than the story coming alive. I very much felt, at one point, that she was a character going through a plot rather than a person experiencing a horrifying, life-changing event. Part of it is because of how the scenes play out, with her reacting constantly without significant, real change from beginning to end. Part of what plays into this was constantly being told about her emotional state rather than experiencing it with her.

Having said that, the plot is fun to read through. We watch Gifteds struggle against the king and his sister’s tyranny. We get to experience life as Gifted’s on the run and how they manage to survive in a world which hates them. The cast is lively, and with more space or in future novels, would really shine on their own.

If you enjoy a quick, good read with an adventure fantasy plot, then this book would definitely appeal to you.

Gifted can be purchased at Amazon.

This Week’s Read: Gifted by HS Stone

In a kingdom where the Gifteds are captured and thrown into fights to the death, Voima is fortunate that she is just a Regular. However, her brother, Vendd, isn’t so lucky. Since his Power started manifesting itself, the siblings have lived a life on the run, barely escaping the king’s soldiers. Just as Voima and Vendd have settled into a new home, a fleeing Gifted enters their lives, begging for help Gifted-cover2but bringing soldiers after him. Despite the siblings’ efforts, the soldiers discover Vendd’s Power. Now Voima, an outmatched Regular girl, must find a way to defeat the kingdom’s most dangerous Gifteds in order to save her brother from certain death.

Gifted can be purchased at Amazon.

 

Even before he could read, H.S. Stone wanted to write a book. Fascinated by the stories that seemed to leap from his kindergarten teacher’s books, he went home and wrote his own book, with illustrations and bound by staples. Of course, since he didn’t know how to read or write yet, the book was full of gibberish. Undaunted, H.S. eventually mastered the ABC’s and continued to write throughout his grade school years, adolescence, and into adulthood. Despite earning a degree and working in a field not related to writing, he continued to pursue his writing passion. H.S. Stone’s publications include novels aimed at Young Adult and Middle Grade readers as well as several short stories. He currently lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

 

 

Review: Restless in Peaceville

Rating: Yay!

Genre: YA Paranormal

It’s all downs and downs for Luke, who’s been kicked out of the waiting line for heaven because of his choices in life. Instead he gets shipped back to Earth and his reward is becoming a zombie.

I’ll admit I’m not a zombie fan, but Pippa Jay did an amazing job of breathing a new kind of life into paranormal stories, zombies included. A quick read, Restless in Peaceville became a book I couldn’t put down.

There’s some tension, some crazies, a Voodoo Queen, a paranormal killer called The Peacemaker and so much more. Luke also has a sidekick in Annabelle, another zombie. They team up to find a solution that doesn’t involve consuming human flesh, though the choices aren’t easy ones.

This is a first person POV story, set in the town of Peaceville in swamp-filled New Orleans. For an author from across the pond, Pippa did an amazing job of embodying the creole/Cajun South of the area. From the language to the food and the visual imagery. I enjoyed being immersed in the environment and honestly loved the story.

If you’re looking for a good paranormal YA without love triangles and just so good, down home horror monsters overcoming the horror of their situation I highly recommend Restless in Peaceville.

Get your own copy:

Lycaon Press

Amazon 

Amazon UK

This Week’s Read: Restless in Peaceville by Pippa Jay

Restless in PeacevilleWelcome to Peaceville, population 2067 and rising…from the grave…

Luke Chester has had enough. He’s the school geek, the girls laugh at him, he’s lost his dead-end job at the pizza place, and in the midst of the world’s messiest divorce his parents don’t even know he exists. An overdose of his mom’s tranquilizers and a stomach full of whiskey should solve all his problems…

But they don’t. Instead, Luke finds himself booted out of the afterlife for not dying a natural death, with nowhere to go but back to his recently vacated corpse and reality. How the hell is he going to pass for one of the living without someone trying to blow his brains out for being one of the undead?
And it just gets worse. He’s got to fight his own desperate craving to consume the living, evade the weird supernatural hunter who’s having a field day with the new undeads rising, and there’s this creepy black shadow following him around. Add to that the distraction of female fellow undead Annabelle burning to avenge her own murder, and clearly there’s no rest for the wicked. Jeez, all he wanted to do was R.I.P.

 

 

Want your own copy before the review?

Lycaon Press

Amazon 

Amazon UK

Author Bio:

After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include a YA science fiction novel—Gethyon—published through BURST (Champagne Books), a scifi romance novella—Tethered—published by Breathless Press, three self-published short stories (Terms & Conditions Apply, The Bones of the Sea, and Reboot), and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).

You can stalk her at her website http://pippajay.co.uk, or at her blog http://pippajay.blogspot.co.uk, but without doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

Review: Missing, Presumed Undead by Jeremy Davies

Genre: Fantasy Noir

Rating: Yay!

Holy smokes, readers, we’ve got a winner here.

This story follows a minotaur detective named Frank and his trusty side kick. And here is why I got hoomissingfin-SW300ked – the story is from the sidekick’s POV. And his helper? None other than an enchanted blade named Rhys, who, if it wasn’t obvious, is also a self-aware blade. It’s such a fresh, different POV that I was immediately intrigued.

It wasn’t just the POV. The story, which follows the disappearance of a young lady’s body (presumably through someone with necromancer skills), gives us a delicious mix-up of noir-style mystery with action-packed situations and an urban fantasy setting, this book beautifully ties all three into an engaging story.

Snarky Rhys the blade can’t help but add his digs in, proverbial and physical, along the way. We snake through Necromancers and attempted suicides, and up through GAOL and through Hightown, which is suffering all sorts of ills thanks to a murderer on the loose.

I don’t want to give too many details away, as it’s how all the bits tie together that make this story really good. In fact, the only quibble I have is that there were a few times where I wish the noir voice had been let up for the sake of simplicity/clarity. I love reading noir, but there were a few times where the character had to go out of his way to explain something that in theory, he shouldn’t have had to, or I had to reread a few times to make sure I understood exactly what was going on.

These were really minor moments in an otherwise stellar novel. I’d happily read more in this world/series. If you like unique voices, or want a fresh take on noir/urban fantasy, then definitely take this book out for a spin.

Missing, Presumed Undead can be found at the following retailers:

Amazon

Satalyte Publishing

This Week’s Read: Missing, Presumed Undead by Jeremy Davies

missingfin-SW300Welcome to the world of Casablantasy, where shining kingdoms are certainly not spread like blue mantles beneath the stars. Instead, the City: where corporate greed meets foul necromancy; the unrelenting advances of Maginology and the subtle menace of the Guilstapo exist beside squalid City breed cut throats and ogres with exaggerated axes.

Here, the legend of Franklin ‘Stubby’ Mynos begins: a be-spectacled minotaur with a mind for Kryptic Krosswords and a stomach for Hurghian coffee. There’s a killer on the loose, which is hardly news in a City crawlin’ with killers; but this killer—The Hightown Hacker—is killing the wrong kinds of people, in the wrong kinds of places. City commerce is suffering. Rich and powerful people are getting scared. The City Watch’s Magicrime Analysis Division (MAD) can’t buy a trick, and the Body Politik Registry wants to pay Frank a stack of Swine to do the deed.

It’s his first big case, the one that would put him on the map, but he’s not interested. He’s more into some dead body swiped from the Embalmers’ Guild and the ever-burgeoning zombie workforce: how they’re recruited and have they got a Union?

Forget what you’ve heard. This is the truth … or, at least, the facts strung together in a meaningful way.

You want the truth? Go see a poet.

Jeremy Davies is made of ink, but don’t dip a feather in him. It tickles. He is also an editor, a religious atheist, a liker of strong coffees, a Shakespeare-lover, a political anarchist and someone who rarely has a pen when he needs one. He has been a PhD candidate, a personal trainer, a life model, a bouncer, an infantry soldier and someone who rarely had a pen when he needed one. He has had words published in a variety of places, in a variety of publications, in a variety of forms, in a variety of moments: Canada, Wet Ink, SMS and twelve minutes past three in the afternoon being some of these. He lives in a ‘leafy’ area of Melbourne, Australia, that resembles City Eastside (a little).

Review: Dreaming of the Duke

Dreaming of the DukeGenre: Historical Romance

Rating: YAY!

Eva Devon is a new, hilarious voice in historical romance. This book is the quintessential ‘if it can go wrong, it will’.

Let’s start with the players: Cordelia Eversleigh, Duchess of Hunt. She’s a married virgin who wants to shed her marital status for freedom. There’s the Duke of Hunt, Jack Eversleigh, who’s known for debauching women in a blink an eye and neither caring or bothering to manage his estates or fortune. Secondary players include a take-no-prisoners Dowager Duchess of Hunt, a good-looking, sinful twin brother, and a couple other Dukes I can’t wait to read about.

Now for the plot: There’s shenanigans, a load of them, from all directions and all aimed at the intelligent and surprising Cordelia. Everyone wants her to do something: stay married, submit to seduction, or abandon her husband for greener pastures. It’s also apparent that Cordelia exists as a challenge and to men who can have anything or anyone a challenge is the perfect prescription.  This book covers off on some much crazy and spoke to me because I’m a heroine with more brains than beauty. I love seeing the geek get the guy, and the guy being inspired by her smarts then scared of them. With plenty of conflict amid expectations/responsibilities, coupled with a good shift between challenges for the hero and challenges for the heroine.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. This is the second one in the series and I enjoyed it more than the first. I’d say Devon is building momentum and can’t wait for the Duke to appear. If you want a book with historical elements that will make you laugh and exclaim “what can go wrong now?”, this is the book for you.

Here’s the buy links so you can grab your copy:

Amazon

Amazon Uk

Kobo

iBooks

Barnes and Noble

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