Saturday, 18 November 2017

REVIEW - ENIGMA - SCHRODINGERS CONSORTIUM BY TONYA KUPER

Title: Enigma
Series: Schrodingers Consortium
Author: Tonya Kuper
Genre: YA, Supernatural, Paranormal, Sci-Fi
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: 3rd July 2017

BLURB from Goodreads

Worst. Road Trip. Ever.

Escaping with Reid Wentworth should have been fun, but how can I enjoy it when I just (accidentally) killed someone, my mom and brother are in danger, and the Consortium is trying to enslave humanity? (Yeah, they aren’t fooling around.) So feeling something for Reid Wentworth was not part of the plan. Trying to help unite the Resistance against the Consortium means I can’t be distracted by hot boys.

The Resistance secret hideout isn’t exactly the rebel base of my dreams. A traitor there wants me dead, but we have no idea who it is. And with both the Resistance and the Consortium trying to control me, the only one I can trust is Reid. If we’re going to have any chance of protecting my family, controlling my unstable powers, and surviving the clash between the Oculi factions, I’m going to have to catch this traitor. By using myself as bait.


Goodreads Link

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon US
Amazon UK

REVIEW
After reading Anomaly I was really looking forward to being able to read Enigma. I had some other titles to read and then finally got around to reading Enigma, and it felt like time and the book flew past whilst reading it. I was looking forward to catching up with the great characters of Josie and Reid, as well as finding out how Josie is coping with an awful act she had no choice but to commit in book one!

Josie is once again the main feature of this cover, though the background colour of the book is grey so lighter than the murky blue of book one. Is that an indication of things being easier and a lighter time for Josie? I love the byline of "Anomalies are the target. She's the bullseye" 

So approaching reading Enigma we know that Josie's father is working deep undercover at the Consortium, though as they haven't heard from him for quite a while they do not know if his true identity has been discovered and resulted in him being killed. Josie's mum and dad were founder members of the Resistance who invented the enhancement serum that increases the Oculi powers. We know that there are three types of Oculi, Pushers, Retractors and Anomalies. The full true power of the serum is not totally known, however Josie risked her life to hand a vial of this serum to Vice President Brown. In reference to the byline, the consortium is seeking out all anomalies to destroy them, and the ultimate anomaly is of course Josie! Can Reid protect Josie? And if he manages to protect her, who will be there to watch over Meg, Josie's mother and younger brother Eli? As being closely related could put them at risk of being used to get to Josie.

Enigma picks up just three days after the ending of Anomaly. Josie is struggling with the fact she had to kill someone she had come to think of as a friend. Josie's relationship with Reid is still in the very early stages where she is embarrassed when he catches sight of her packing away one of her bras. It has been practical for safety purposes that they share a room. Josie and Reid have accepted that they are girlfriend/boyfriend but they will need to be discreet about this fact with other people. It's been decided by others at the hub that Reid and Josie should head over to a safe house. When they receive unexpected message from Meg. It says that she and Eli are heading to the Hub as 3 founders need to be present to make executive decisions for for the entirety of the Resistance. As Meg is a founder it is her duty to be at the hub for such decision making. The message also tells them that the council is unaware of a mole at the hub and that Josie & Reid should remain cautious. Naturally Josie's reaction is to be worried about the safety of her mother and little brother Eli. Josie and Reid argue as to whether they should go to the safe house or just go to the hub in an attempt to draw out the mole. Josie wins the argument by saying the mole may attempt to hurt her mother or brother as a way to get to her. 
They make the long trip to the rather well hidden hub. The area is very sparse, in fact it looks as if there is nothing at all for miles around. After seeing one lone sign claiming they are on "Private Land". Josie breaks the mounting tension by laughing at remarking "Please tell me the next sign will say Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters". It works when they both laugh.
They discuss that when they get to within sight of the security cameras for the hub that they should act more as trainer and trainee. As relationships between trainers and trainees are banned and Reid could end up losing his job and all the status within the hub that he has earnt. It is difficult and its clear to some of the other trainees in the hub that Reid is prepared to die to protect Josie and her family. 
There's lots of strange things that happen as if the mole wishes to make Josie think she is going into some downward spiral similar to the one her older brother Nick had. Certain members of the council do not seem to even want to acknowledge the possibility of a mole in the hub. Then Reid's father Harrison turns up, apparently he has been undercover all this time and he has a contact at the Consortium that is giving him insider intelligence on a regular basis. Reid is obviously shocked and even initially suspicious of Harrison as he had thought his father dead for some time. Reid eventually gathers a few people whom he trusts enough to allow them help to keep Josie safe. Josie and Reid become more suspicious about who could possibly be the mole when the council is not concerned about the fact that Meg Harper and Eli are late getting to the hub. In fact the mole pulls his/her stunt to scare Josie.
Reid and Josie are told Meg and Eli have finally arrived and head to the room for a reunion and to check they are all okay. When they get into the corridor they find Eli wandering about. Eli rushes up to hug Josie, holding her tight and explains that he needs the toilet but doesn't want to go with Josie, and insists that Reid take him. So Reid shows Eli the way whilst Josie rushes into the room to her mother Meg. Its as she enters the room that Eli rushes up to hug her! Josie hugs him but then asks him whats going on, as she explains about "Eli" being at the toilet with Reid, a rather panicked Reid rushes into the room saying Eli has disappeared. This incident certainly upsets everyone, and makes Reid re-think who he can trust to help him keep the Harper family safe. In the end its a small group made up of, Harrison - Reids father, Cohen - Reid fellow trainer at the hub, Kat - another trainee learning the ways of the Oculi alongside of Josie, the last member of the team is Zac Brown - son of the Vice President Brown.

In Enigma, Josie really does go on a roller-coaster of emotions. First she has to hide her true feelings for Reid. The council suggest she may have a breakdown or episode like her brother Nick. Then they speak about her in terms of her being a weapon when a new Oculi trait becomes apparent when Josie is being tested at the hub in front of the council members. Then she is contending with the mole playing little tricks on her as well as her being worried that the mole may hurt her family to get to her. Josie does sometimes miss her quieter life before she came into her Oculi abilities. She actually longs for some normality. . . be careful what you wish for Josie!

I truly loved reading this book. I felt I sped through Anomaly but wow! Enigma is so much more action packed. Get ready to sit and read, and read and read, because seriously you will not want to put this brilliant book down! This book is still from the points of view of the two main characters Josie and Reid. This book really grabs you and holds you it becomes a compulsive, addictive read! I could literally go on and on about this book and series. I have tried my best not to give away too many details about either book. I highly recommend reading Anomaly and Enigma.

We meet more new characters in this book. I admit I really wasn't at all keen of Zac - son of Vice President Brown at all but I think he really redeemed himself towards the last pages of the book. I was very suspicious about who the mole could be and had my own little list of possible suspects. I adored the character of Eli, and would love to have more of Eli in the book or hopefully books to come. I'd also like to see more of Reid and Josie, maybe they can be the council in a hub or the trainers for new Oculi. I would also be interested in Jared who at one point was near the very top of my "possible moles" list, as well as more on the remaining council members. There has to be much more from this series to come? . . . please?

My initial thoughts/feelings on finishing reading Enigma were Wow! .... just wow! brilliant, action packed, hope there's more to come?

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

REVIEW - ANOMALY - SCHRODINGERS CONSORTIUM BY TONYA KUPER

Title: Anomaly
Series: Schrodinger's Consortium
Author: Tonya Kuper
Genre: YA, Supernatural, Paranormal, Sci-Fi
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: 25th November 2014

BLURB from Goodreads
Reality is only an illusion.
Except for those who can control it…
 

Worst. Birthday. Ever. 

My first boyfriend dumped me—happy birthday, Josie!—my dad is who knows where, I have some weird virus that makes me want to hurl, and now my ex is licking another girl’s tonsils. Oh, and I’m officially the same age as my brother was when he died. Yeah, today is about as fun-filled as the swamps of Dagobah. But then weird things start happening…

Like I make something materialize just by thinking about it.

When hottily-hot badass Reid Wentworth shows up on a motorcycle, everything changes. Like, everything. Who I am. My family. What really happened to my brother. Existence. I am Oculi, and I have the ability to change reality with my thoughts. Now Reid, in all his hotness, is charged with guiding and protecting me as I begin learning how to bend reality. And he’s the only thing standing between me and the secret organization that wants me dead…


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I've had this book both from Netgalley and I bought it a while ago when it was available at a special price too! I was looking forward to reading Anomaly and then Entangled Teen generously offered me a copy of bk 2 in the Schrodinger's Consortium Series which is called Enigma.

The cover features a young female on the cover strawberry blonde/red hair and rather piercing green eyes. The female I had guessed and confirmed by reading the book is the main character Josie Harper. Behind Josie the sky looks dark and troubled, does that represent the teens mood? or can she somehow control lightening? Then there's the byline "Not everyone is born equal" The combination of the cover, byline and blurb had me asking those couple of questions and many more, so it certainly did it's job! Will it stand out on a book store shelf?. . .I think it would yes with the hair and those eyes! They really pull you in and make you want to pick up the book and read the blurb. 

So a brief or my attempt at a brief description of the book. .  .Well Josie Harper is now the eldest child of Mr & Mrs Harper as their eldest child Nick died about 2 years ago. Since they have always moved around a lot, and Josie and the other Harper children used to be home schooled, Josie doesn't really make friends very easily. At the moment Josie lives with her mother and younger brother Eli. Their father has been working away for longer and longer periods of time. As the book begins Josie isn't having a great time at all, her father isn't going to be home for her birthday, her boyfriend just broke up with her because ''she won't put out'' and a lab assistant job she had managed to get has also strangely fallen through. So she's not having the best day let alone a great birthday!
All that is about to change, in fact Josie has been having "strange things" happening, and they coincide with her having headaches and feeling ill. One such "strange happening" is when two motorbikes pull up at school where Josie and Hannah, the first person she would ever call a best friend are leant on the wall outside school. Josie thinks it would be nice if these bikers were hunks and goes into detail even including the intricate one off tattoo her brother had. When the guys remove their helmets and walk across to the girls they introduce themselves as Reid and Santos. And yep the guys are both just what Josie and Hannah have been dreaming and thinking about! Later in the book Reid and Santos are revealed to be there to help Josie hone her talents as an Occuli. Reid is an Oculi and an Anomaly like Josie, and Santos is an Oculi "pusher". I won't go into detail about the whole Anomaly, Resistance and Consortium, but lets just say Josie may have wished for Reid and a more exciting life and she sure gets one. In fact she has been living a life on the run, which is why they have been constantly moving whilst she grew up. It seems that Schrodingers Consortium want all Anomalies under their control. Reid, Santos, Mr & Mrs Harper, some of their old friends from years ago are part of the resistance. Reid and Santos have arrived to train Josie in the ways of the Oculi which is what they all are.
As Reid and Santos reveal and explain the oculi to Josie we as the reader learn about it too. 
In one of the first Oculi lessons Reid tells Josie the three rules. Rule One, cause no harm. Rule Two, never reveal your oculi abilities, and finally Rule Three, Don't play God.
Then Reid and Santos explain the different types of oculi, Pushers who make the possible real. Meaning they can create items but only items that they are familiar with. Retractors retract reality, meaning they can take away anything/item. Then there is an Anomaly who can both push and retract. Oculi come into their powers at around the age of seventeen. In Josie's case she was a pusher initially and then her retracting power began, making her unusual and an Anomaly. The oculi "power" is not a bottomless energy, eventually oculi come to the end of their reserve of "power". Being an Oculi is hereditary, in fact both Josie's mother and father are Oculi. Josie learns about a lot of secrets that have been kept from her until now. Her mother explains about the Consortium and the Resistance.

Being totally honest the pace of this book was initially a bit slow for my taste, then suddenly as certain things were revealed it caught my interest more and I became much more immersed in the book. It did remind me a little of the Seer's Series by Heather Frost and I truly adored that series. I am certainly enjoying this book more now that Josie knows what she is. .This book is well written and from the points of view of the two main characters, Josie Harper and Reid Wentworth. The detailed descriptions of the characters enable you to visualise them and by the latter part of the book you really do have enough insight into the characters to predict how they will react in certain situations. The book has plenty of action with all the pushing and retracting during the training sessions that Reid and Santos have with Josie. There is immediate chemistry between Josie and Reid. However relationships between trainer and trainee are forbidden. Reid also knew Josie's brother Nick and we discover more details about Nick's death within this book via Reid. This book is so in depth and comprehensive about the oculi history, the Resistance and the Consortium. A lot of work has gone into the background of the characters, the associations of the Consortium and the Resistance. There really is a lot to take in, but it makes the book all the more interesting to read.

My favourite characters are Josie and Reid but I also enjoyed learning about the background and relationships within the Harper family as a whole. 
So what with great characters, oculi powers of pushing and retracting, then the Anomalies there's loads going on in this book. Then throw in a serum that everyone wants to get hold of and wow! I really enjoyed this book, and will certainly be reading the next book, Enigma as soon as I can! I would also checkout any other books by this author too.
My immediate thoughts when I finished reading Anomaly were, Loved reading this book. What a fantastic start to a potentially addictive brilliant series! When can I read the next one?

Friday, 10 November 2017

REVIEW - ANSWERS FROM HEAVEN BY THERESA CHEUNG & CLAIRE BROAD

ABOUT THE BOOK

ANSWERS FROM HEAVEN
Incredible True Stories of Heavenly Encounters and the Afterlife

Sunday Times best selling author, Theresa Cheung and Medium, Claire Broad believe the Afterlife is real and that it is possible to gain inspiration, hope and comfort from loved ones who choose to return to us from beyond the grave. Through sharing the true stories of everyday people and Claire’s personal experience as a medium, Theresa and Claire join voices as co-authors of new book Answers From Heaven - True Stories of Heavenly Encounters and the Afterlife (Piatkus), to guide us through how those in the spirit world reach out to us, both directly and through mediumship and why we have nothing to fear and everything to gain from these experiences.

In part one, Theresa shares direct contact stories such as Mick’s which shows the profound affect these experiences have on the grieving:

I lost my daughter two years ago. She was only seventeen months and it hit my marriage really hard. So hard that my wife and I split up. I missed my daughter terribly when she passed, but after splitting from my wife the pain was unbearable. I felt so alone. Im not ashamed to say as I think tears in both men and women are a sign of strength not weakness that many nights I would cry myself to sleep. I started to leave the TV on at night so that I would not feel alone as Id hear the sound of voices.
Ten days after my wife moved out I remember waking up in the early hours of the morning and the TV wasnt on. There was no reassuring sound. I panicked, but then I felt someone holding my hand. My hand was outside the duvet. The hand was tiny and it felt electric and warm. I was wide awake at that point, but I pretended to be asleep as the tiny hand in mine was so comforting. Then I felt a gentle kiss on my hand. My daughter used to kiss my hand when I held hers. I knew it was her. I felt her all around me. I drifted off to a peaceful sleep and in the morning when I woke up I knew my daughter was alive somewhere and always would be with me. It is the most comforting feeling.
This happened two years ago and I can honestly say it helped me manage my grief. A colleague at work recently lost his teenage son in a road accident and my experience has really helped me help him. After my daughter died I thought I would never see or touch her again but now whenever I want to I close my eyes and I remember her tiny little hand in mine. Its blissful. In those moments it feels like she is alive again.

Not all of us are lucky to have direct contact from a deceased loved one however in part two medium, Claire Broad addresses why it is that people decide to consult a medium after the death of a loved one and how many of those people receive peace of mind and healing during a sitting. Claire shares many inspiring true stories of readings she has conducted for clients in the past, such as the story of physiotherapist, Anita.

Summarised here from the book, Anita lost her husband to cancer and came to Claire in the hope to be reconnected with him.  During the reading his spirit returns to let Anita know the love they shared can never die.  Anita’s husband is able to communicate so strongly that he provides Claire with details specific to Anita that her analytical mind cannot deny.  Her husband speaks of their anniversary and his wish to gift her a ring.  He conveys his occupation as a pharmaceutical scientist and why he was surprised to find himself very much alive following his passing.  He shares what he is doing now in the spirit world and who he is with and names his mother, as well as passing on his knowledge of Anita’s family members and what they have been doing since his passing, providing further evidence for his survival. Finally, he seeks to reassure Anita that his suffering with cancer was short lived and that he is now well and still very much part of her life. 

Death may end a life, but not a relationship and this is very much the theme of Answers From Heaven as through it’s uplifting pages and the many true stories shared, Theresa and Claire show us how those in the afterlife return to us and why this is heavenly.

THE AIM OF THE BOOK
Through true life stories of ordinary people who have had paranormal experiences, bestselling author Theresa Cheung and medium Claire Broad will show the various different ways that heaven is trying to answer our prayers, offer us comfort and provide proof of survival.
Chapters include: 
1. Messages from the other side 

2. Dreams from heaven 

3. Living and loving creatures in spirit 

4. Love from above 
5. Heaven is calling 
6. Conversations from Spirit 
7. Answers from higher realms 
8. Is anybody there? 
9. Your own answers from heaven.

By the end it is hoped that readers will have lost some of their fear of death, be more aware of when the spirit world is trying to contact them, have greater awareness of the scientific research available, understand that mediumship is an expression of eternal love and nothing to be feared and that it's possible for us all to ask questions and receive answers from the world of spirit.

REVIEW
Title: Answers From Heaven
Byline: Incredible True Stories of Heavenly Encounters and the Afterlife
Authors: Theresa Cheung & Claire Broad
Genre: Mind, Body, Spirit, Religion
Publisher: Piatkus, Little Brown
Release Date: 2nd November 2017

BLURB supplied by Author Right Marketing & Publicity
Bestselling author Theresa Cheung has long been fascinated by Mediumship. Noticing a rise in scientific research — from respected experts like Dr Julie Beischel, Director of Research at the Windbridge Institute —supporting the theory that human consciousness could survive, even after physical death, Theresa was moved to contact the honest medium, Claire Broad, to investigate the phenomenon further. Together they have joined forces — and voices — in Answers From Heaven: Incredible True Stories of Heavenly Encounters and the Afterlife in order to chart our collective and individual experiences of life after death, and to explore its practical benefits in the field of grievance counselling.

Mediumship is an expression of eternal love and nothing to be feared. The writers reveal how those in the Afterlife make contact with us; Cheung helps readers to identify Afterlife Signs by revealing her own visions and the genuine accounts of those she has interviewed who have first-hand experience of out of body experiences and Afterlife communications; Claire vividly outlines the medium’s role in this spiritual communication. True stories of messages delivered by Claire through her work, and the role played by teachers in the spirit world, including Claire’s spirit mentor, White Feather, are discussed. Claire and Theresa question and interpret the nature of Mediumship, illuminating the valuable role a genuine medium can play in helping to make death less frightening and an Afterlife feel within reach.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I received an email from Rachel Gilbey at Author Right asking if I would be interested in reading this book, as I enjoy reading non fiction titles too. When I read the blurb and information that Rachel sent me made me want to read this book. At first I was going to say thank-you but that I didn't have time and I don't actually do as many Book Tours on my blog now. I tend to just read and then add my reviews to my blog, but I don't know what it was. I just couldn't bring myself to delete the email! Then I just felt I had to read the book!


The cover features a bright yellow sun flower which certainly attracts your eye to the cover. The main title of the book is Answers From Heaven, with the sub header of "Incredible True Stories of Heavenly Encounters and the Afterlife, which basically what the book contains in just one sentence.

The basically consists of two halves, the first is written by Theresa Cheung, she is a best selling author who is fascinated by Mediumship and is from a family with an ancestral history of psychics. Theresa really looks at things more like a lay person. She manages to ask and answer the questions the reader wants to ask. Theresa also goes into the signs we can all see around us that come from our loved ones that have passed. Such as white feathers, or a some random song on the radio that your loved one used to sing or love. Our loved ones can also contact us in dreams, to try to help us with larger difficult decisions or somehow speak to us both in dreams and occasionally whilst we are awake to warn us of impending dangers. Theresa uses examples of people she has spoken too that are willing to share their stories.

The other half of the book is written by Claire Broad who is herself a Medium. So she explains the way to find a person who will give you a genuine reading. Claire also goes on to explain sometimes it may happen that you could book a reading and if your loved ones on the other side do not wish to take part you could actually end up getting nothing. So in other words she says just because you want a reading and book one it is not guarantee your loved ones will choose to come through via the medium. Claire also explains that a large percentage of the reading depends on the Mediums interpreting what your loved one is saying or showing them. Claire then shares some of her Mediumship clients stories and readings with the reader. 

I really enjoyed reading this book, it soon became a compulsive read. I most liked the stories of peoples real stories shared by both Theresa and Claire. I think I can safely say we have all lost someone we really love and who could not want to communicate them. Both Theresa and Claire discuss animals and their place in heaven and in messages too.
It would be easy for me to share the stories from within the book, however I think they are much better read within the actual context of the book. I think this book will appeal to a wide range of readers. My grandmother used to read tea leaves, and have prophetic dreams and certain things have happened that do make me truly believe in "messages from heaven". 

I guess there will be believers and those who think its all a lot of nonsense. I think we all have in our hearts and minds our own version of heaven and the afterlife. I like to think everyone has their dream home up there and they get a message, kind of like an email or text when their loved ones still living are thinking of them. Rather like we find white feathers etc when they are thinking of us. 

I don't want to offend anyone by saying this but I feel it needs to be said, you don't need to be religious, or even believe in the afterlife of any sort to read and enjoy this book. Having said that both Theresa and Claire talk about attending a spiritualist church to open yourself up more to be more receptive to any messages sent by those who have passed. It can also be a way of finding someone who you feel comfortable with to have a reading with. You may even receive a message whilst just attending the spiritualist church. The whole concept and reasons to attend a Spiritualist Church is explained much better than I have explained within this review.




I feel I should share just one of my experiences with you that happened the morning after I finished the book. I got up and went into my kitchen and there on the chopping board was a small, no tiny amount of butter that was in the shape of a heart! Checkout the photo I took!



I have found white feathers on numerous occasions. When I miscarried and gave birth to my son at 4.5 months pregnant I heard certain songs on the radio that when I hear now make me think of him. When I moved into the house I am living in now I planted rose plants, and chose a white one for my son and more recently the palest yellow one I could find for my maternal grandparents. The white rose plant in memory of my son flowers around my daughters birthday (29th February) Mothers Day (March in the UK), on my mums birthday (9th June), my birthday (8th July) and my dads birthday (16th November) and it has even flowered at Christmas! 
I suppose by now you have realised I am a bit of a believer myself, whereas my 21 year old is a little skeptical and just gave me a wry smile and a head shake when I explained I was sharing a picture of my heart shaped butter!

I have had other experiences, one I want to share but feel I cannot reveal all in great detail on in my blog but I will say on the day of one of my Aunts funeral I was put through a police/divorce/drama by my ex. It was the worst day possible day and timing for what he did. I ended up sitting alone in a room wondering what was going to happen. I had no phone, was cold, and had no one to speak to. I honestly felt stunned, scared and at a loss how to handle what was happening. When I suddenly felt warmth at each side of me and I truthfully heard them whispering in my ear. Just tell the truth, everything will be okay. You're not on your own, we will both stay with you. They did and when I came out of the room, I was interviewed and believed, something just clicked and I was sent on my way home. I feel like I go on and on about this book and the subjects covered within it.

The three words that sprang to mind upon finishing reading this book were interesting, uplifting and enlightening.






Monday, 6 November 2017

REVIEW - MOONRISE BY SARAH CROSSAN

Title: Moonrise
Author: Sarah Crossan
Genre: Teens, YA, Literary, Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK & ANZ
Release Date: 7th September 2017

BLURB from Goodreads
'They think I hurt someone. 
But I didn't. You hear?
Coz people are gonna be telling you
all kinds of lies.
I need you to know the truth.'

From one-time winner and two-time Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this poignant, stirring, huge-hearted novel asks big questions. What value do you place on life? What can you forgive? And just how do you say goodbye?


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I have previously read a book by Sarah Crossan and loved that, so it was the authors name that initially caught my attention and made me want to learn more about the book. As soon as I read the blurb I decided I had to read the book!

The main colour of the cover is different shades of dark or muted blue, with the addition of a crescent moon so depicting the night time. There is a lone figure standing looking at the moon and stars. When you read the book you learn this is actually a scene described in the book, the lone figure being Joe. You'll know the scene when you get to it. Oh and have those tissues ready. The genre for this book has been classified as Literary,Teens & YA but to be honest I think it would appeal to a wider range of readers to include those who love contemporary and adults would also love this book.

The main character of this book is Joe Moon, who is just 7 years old when the book begins with a flashback. Joe is the only in the house to answer the telephone when it rings so naturally he answers it. The phone call is from his older brother Ed. Immediately Joe begins asking Ed when will he be home to play baseball but Ed has something very serious to tell Joe. Ed has been arrested and it's for something serious, people may start saying awful things about him and he needs Joe to know he didn't do it. As Ed is trying to explain to 7 year old Joe, their mother arrives home so Joe hands over the phone to his mom shouting "The police got Ed". Ed's mom is in a state of shock when she puts the telephone receiver down and tells Joe, the police have Ed and they are charging him with murder! Even with his mum telling him that Ed is in serious trouble, Joe still hopes that Ed will just walk through the door again soon.
Joe's main male figure has been his older brother Ed, he has been the one to make sure he got up in the morning and made it to school with some sandwiches for lunch time. Their mother was, well wasn't coping and had been turning to drink for quite some time. The person, Joe, Angela and Ed and also their mom rely on is Aunt Karen. So later as the book progresses when their mom literally goes out one day and doesn't come back it is Aunt Karen who tries her best to keep what is left of the family together.
Then the book jumps to present day where Joe has moved down to be near to Kirkland Farm where Ed is still on death row but has finally been given his date for execution! Though he is optimistic that there are a few options left before he will be executed. Angela who is Joe's older sister has a job and is saving hard to be able to take a trip to join Joe to see their brother Ed. Angela also has the task of attempting to find a lawyer they can afford to put across Ed's case of his innocence in a last ditch attempt to prevent him being executed.

The book follows Joe and Ed's brotherly relationship, separated when Joe was just 7 years old. Joe is in a strange place, in a grotty rented apartment with very little money to survive on. Joe has what little money he has earned from his job working with his friend Reed at Reed's Uncles garage. So when he is in the diner and hears there may be a job vacancy for a delivery driver, he jumps at the chance. Unfortunately there's a rather big hitch, the delivery driver needs his own transport as the delivery vehicle is broken down. Joe strikes a deal with Sammy the diner owner that if he can fix the car, he gets the job! Simple, right? Well not so simple but Joe is not a quitter and the food he is given whilst attempting to repair the vehicle solves his immediate money problem.

I absolutely adored the relationship between Joe and Ed. Ed has been both brother friend and father to Joe. Ed is also the one who attended all the parents evenings Joe can remember. Even though he has only just left school Joe bravely moves to Kirkland to be near his brother. In fact Ed has to apply for special permission for the under 18 year old Joe to even be allowed to visit him. Joe is in shock when he first visits Ed, he is totally out of his depth and stunned that there is thick glass separating them and that to speak and be heard by each other they have to used a telephone receiver. Joe is absolutely way out of his comfort zone which proves he would do anything he possibly can for his brother. Everything is a steep learning curve for Joe, never having lived alone, not knowing anyone other than the waitresses at the diner and no money for entertainment even if there were things to do in Kirkland. When Joe's older sister Angela rings for up dates, Joe hides how awful the apartment is, how he is "working" for just food. Money is tight for Angela as Aunt Karen has moved out and she is having to pay the full rent, meaning it will take her longer to save money to travel to Kirkland. It is no wonder Joe feels weighed down with responsibility.

As August the 18th draws closer Ed's case is reported on the TV which means people realise who Joe has been visiting. He has to put up with some rather verbal judgemental people in his face. The friends Joe has made rally round him. In fact one of the waitresses Sue tells Joe to just ignore them, as most people who live in Kirkland make a living doing a job that wouldn't exist if it wasn't for Kirkland Farm Prison. The other waitress Nell is younger, nearer Joe's age and does hang around with him, in fact they end up dating. However Joe eventually finds out why Nell is reluctant for her father to meet or even see Joe. It is another blow for an already emotional Joe. The cover depicts a beautiful scene from within the book, and yes it had me emotional, and eyes all bleary with tears. As I said in the Cover description you will need some tissues handy for a few places in this book. Your heart truly aches for Joe and Ed. I haven't really gone into whether Ed is guilty or not guilty or if he is executed as planned on the 18th August in the book as mentioning those would be too spoilery. There's a lot that goes on in the book that I am so limited on revealing as I don't want to give away spoilers. It is never my intention to over reveal,or over discuss in a way that would ruin someone discovering and reading the books themselves.

I really enjoyed reading this book and soon got into the flow of reading from the different perspectives. There's the present where Joe is in Kirkland and the past where Joe is telling us, the reader what has happened before he came to Kirkland. I really loved the use of the letters and telephone call's Ed makes to Joe. The descriptions are great for example when Aunt Karen's voice is described as "as hard as the stone in an apricot". You totally felt the mood of Joe's 11th birthday when he describes his cake, candles and the meal they ate as the cake was only for dessert. They way Joe reports that "dad was gone ten years and Ed was gone for." Joe obviously keeping a tally of the years his father and Ed have been gone. 
I also adored the conversation between Angela and Joe, describing living with her Aunt Karen and her rules as being like being in the military. Yet at the same time they are both grateful for the plentiful supply of milk in the fridge as well as the clean clothes in the closets. Though young they both know that Aunt Karen is really only trying to do her best for them. Aunt Karen is the person you call for help, and she normally came through for you and sorted out the mess. I honestly feel I cannot praise this book enough and how much I totally loved reading it. Seriously I cannot recommend this book enough! If you loved Countless by Karen Gregory, This Is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees, The Possible by Tara Altebrando or any of Lisa Heathfield books then this is a book you do not want to miss.

My immediate thoughts as I finished reading this book were that the book was a powerful, emotionally packed, amazing book. It has made me want to read more Sarah Crossan books soon.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

REVIEW - CHIMERA - WEREGIRL SERIES BY C.D. BELL


Title: Chimera
Author: C.D. Bell
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Shapeshifter 
Publisher: Chooseco
Release Date: 1st November 2017

BLURB from Goodreads
The forest is full of secrets. 

Nessa Kurland is adjusting to life as a weregirl—she is transforming with ease and running with a pack she cares for deeply. Her boyfriend Luc is a fellow shifter, and Paravida, the corporation responsible for unethical genetic experiments on the residents of Tether, has pulled out of town, leaving the community safe. 

But that’s just how it appears on the surface. 

Nessa returns home from a run with the pack to find an FBI raid and the shocking news that her mother Vivian is being held without bail for violations so serious she may be facing life in prison. What did Nessa’s mother, a small-town vet tech, do to threaten Homeland Security? Vivian’s secret past leads Nessa to discover there is more to her own story than she ever imagined. 

The wolves that are running through Tether’s woods are not the same pack Nessa knew before. These are not all natural wolves. And they are breeding. 

Nessa’s transformation is only just beginning. 


Goodreads Link

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon US
Amazon UK

REVIEW
After reading Weregirl I really wanted to know more about Nessa Kurland and her family. I also still wanted more of the shifter genre too. I had questions I wanted answering upon finishing Weregirl and was looking forward to the answers.

The main feature of this cover is the back of a girl's head. The girl has two plaits either side of her head. The hair is a mixture of browns and grey. The girls neck has fur that has a kind of mottled brown look to it. The byline on this cover says, "the forest is full of lies".
Prior to reading this book I of course had the obvious thought that this girl with animal markings was Nessa in a part wolf/girl form. However that is not the case and wow when it is revealed who this is, well it's most certainly a wow moment in this second book of the trilogy.

So as the blurb reveals Paravida have left Tether and everyone is safe, or maybe they feel safer. . .but are they? Nessa is adjusting well under the circumstances to her ability to transform into a wolf. In fact that's where this book picks up, Nessa is out in her wolf form running through the woods with Luc. Luc was born with the ability to transform into a wolf, and one day not that far away his human side will walk into the woods, transform into a wolf and never return to his human form or life again.
It's whilst Luc and Nessa are chasing around, kind of playing in their wolf forms that they scent Paravida wolves. They follow the trail of the wolves when Nessa scents something familiar, however it is not so familiar to her in her wolf form. The two wolves then smell blood, meaning the wolves they are following are hurt. Eventually Nessa's wolf brain/memory clears and she recognises the smell as one she has been around in her work at the vets surgery. The smell is anaesthesia, meaning the Paravida Wolf has been shot with a tranquilizer gun. Luc and Nessa finally find the end of the trail and discover the tyre tracks. Whoever tranquilized the wolves have taken the bodies with them. Obviously somewhat puzzled Luc and Nessa make their way back to their little cabin behind Lucs home but far enough into the woods to be hidden. They change back to their human forms and hug and talk about what they have just discovered. Luc and Nessa have been dating a while and are comfortable with each other in both their human and wolf forms.  I personally think Luc is a large part of the reason Nessa has adapted to her wolf so well. He has taught her about the transformation process, how to supress it and how to make it happen when you need it. Nessa still has to transform at both new and full moons. Nessa has also gotten to a point where she can move in and out of wolf form at will. Nessa merely thinks of her family to enable her to switch back easily into her human form. To become a wolf, Nessa think about the way she feels running as a wolf to transform into her wolf. Luc and Nessa's discovery soon becomes the least of her problems when she returns home to find the FBI and Homeland Security in and all around her home. Using her wolf hearing Nessa hears snippets of different conversations going on. Upon entering the house she and her family live in she first sees a worried Delphine, whose face instantly relaxes when she see's her older sister. Nate however is in an even worse state than Delphine. Nate is in the corner alone, as far away from the bustle as possible, hugging his knees and becoming more and more upset by all the people and police in his home which is usually his sanctuary. The officers are using Geiger counters and are searching every room and drawer and cupboard in the house. It's then Nessa's eyes finally land on her mother who is continually asking the officers what they are looking for. Vivian is sat at the table in an awkward bent forward position as her arms are in handcuffs behind her back. The officers pull Vivian upright to a standing position to take her away with them. Vivian has just moments to give orders to Nessa for her to call Aunt Jane to come get them. Vivian's other instructions are for Nessa to phone Dr Morgan to ask for more shifts at the vet surgery and to continue Vivian's work there. Both calling Aunt Jane and asking for extra shifts at the vets instantly make total sense to Nessa. It's the latter suggestion confuses Nessa somewhat as she is certainly not as qualified as her mum so couldn't possibly perform her duties at the veterinarian surgery. 

I also enjoyed reading the sections that featured the Paravida wolves. The Paravida wolves had been scientifically created and raised by human researchers at the secret laboratories on the Paravida Corporate Campus North of Tethers town. These wolves had been purposely bred to be highly aggressive and were isolated from each other, kept in individual cages instead of being allowed to co-exist or form a pack as they would naturally do. In this book, Chimera these wolves had escaped into the wild, fighting each other, starving or ransacking garbage for food. Sadly this meant they had no idea of how to interact with natural born wolves. Luc has taken on the task to attempt to teach them what being part of a pack is and how they should be co-existing with each other and other wolves in the area. I love the relationship between the Paravida wolf Jack and one of the Tether wolf pack resulting in super cute sounding baby wolf cubs. There's some great scenes within the book of Luc and Nessa playing with these wolf pups. 

There seemed to be a lot of things that had happened after the ending of Weregirl yet before Chimera begins, such as the whole Nessa & Luc relationship and also the incident where Bree, Luc and Nessa break into Paravida and take a box full of files and documentation. This box is mentioned as maybe being the information that the FBI and Homeland Security were searching for in the Kurland home? The box and it's contents could perhaps be a factor in Vivian's arrest too? The box is mentioned a couple of times and then nothing else about it. An envelope is found in the important roll top writing desk made or restored by grandpa, yet this piece of treasured furniture hadn't been mentioned before, in fact I initially thought that the girls were looking for a number/envelope in a roll-a-desk telephone number gadget from the description!  To say there is a lot going on in this book is an understatement where in book one, Weregirl the plot initially felt a little slow, in this book, Chimera everything happens so very, very fast! We even get to meet Nessa & Delphine's father. There are many questions around and concerning their father. The one that immediately came to my mind was, well who is Nate's father? Then there is the whole ethics of the scientific experiments her father is doing. The shock that her mother once approved and did similar experiments herself. Then Nessa comes face to face with an experiment that should no longer exist. I could seriously go on and on and on about everything that happens in this book.

Another issue Nessa has to deal with is the increasing support in her previously peaceful loving town of Tether for hunting and killing the wolves. . . .all the wolves, not just the Paravida one's. There are some fantastic scenes where Luc and Nessa are trying to help the wolves to leave the Tether wood and escape from impending death.

I really grew to love the character of Nessa even more in this book. Nessa goes through lots of changes from the person she was in Weregirl to who she is at the end of Chimera. Nessa has to deal with losses of things and people close to her. Nessa has to become more independent and confident, she has many choices ahead of her with very few people she can discuss them with. What should she believe about her mother Vivian, Why has she been arrested? Why is she so set that Nessa should avoid her father along with any help he ever offers? Then there is her father, how come he is so rich? and the rest of the Kurland family so poor? What sort of experiments is he really doing? How should she feel when he reveals Nessa is named after his mother Vanessa? Nessa was very young when her parents split but she does have flashbacks to that time, which she uses to decipher the lies within the truths she is presented with.

Nessa really goes through the ringer in this book, she has to accept that what she has with Luc is not permanent. Nessa feels pulled in many directions during this book by her mother, her father and her pack, the Tether wolves. Nessa has to deal with the feeling of ostracisation when some of the people of Tether turn against Vivian. Nessa also deals with bullies at school who seem to love talking about her mothers arrest. It both annoys and upsets Nessa, these are the same people whose pets Vivian has saved or treated for free when they were down on their luck and money. Poor Nessa seems to solve one problem only to have another one land in her lap.

Another much smaller character within Chimera that I really liked a lot was Vivian's court appointed lawyer, Zach Chandler. Zach is young but knows what is needed to help Vivian and when because of his firm not wanting to go up against a large company like Paravida reveal they would take a plea for a shorter jail sentence instead of going the whole way through the court to free Vivian he meets with Nessa, explains the situation and gives her pointers on where to find the right sort of help. 

My immediate thoughts upon reading the last page in Chimera was, Wow I really, really hope there are more books to come in this series! I now know, after a little research that this book is part of a trilogy. This book covered so much but I would truly love more! Loved it! I would love a novella or two, perhaps covering Nessa and Lucs relationship and him helping Nessa come to terms with what she transforms into. Also a novella on Vivian set before she returned to Tether, so we know exactly what she took part in and how she argued with Nessa's father about the ethics of what they were doing and maybe even more about Vivian after the ending of this book too. Every time I think about Chimera and its ending all I can think is wow when can I read the final book in the trilogy?

WEREGIRL REVIEW


Title: Weregirl
Author: C.D. Bell
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Shapeshifter 
Publisher: Chooseco
Release Date: 1st November 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
Eager to escape her small hometown, high school junior Nessa Kurland is focused on winning a college scholarship for cross-country running. A chance encounter with a trapped wolf while out on a run leads to powerful and frightening changes, and one day, Nessa is transformed into a full werewolf. Now Nessa must navigate the challenges of high school while coming face to face with true human darkness, as she tries to make peace with her new wild nature.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I'd had this book on my kindle quite a while and had just not gotten around to reading it. I decided to look back on my kindle and checkout the titles that weren't so new. I fancied a shifter/werewolf genre read so with a title like Weregirl this one seemed the perfect choice!

The first thing I noticed about the cover were the beautiful piercing icy blue eyes of a wolf. Before reading the book I automatically presumed they would belong to the werewolf/girl that was also the simple straight to the point title of the book. The fur of the werewolf on the front cover is a luxurious looking white, silver grey. The byline on the cover say's "everyone has an animal inside" and after reading the book I can say is a quote from another mystical character we meet in the book who tries and I feel succeeds in being instrumental to Nessa accepting her gift.

The central character of this book is Nessa Kurland who lives with her hardworking single parent mother Vivian Kurland and her younger siblings, Delphine and Nate. Vivian works as a veterinarian technician at the local vets in Tether. The youngest in the family Nate has ADHD/Autism so has to be handled in a certain way to prevent him withdrawing completely into himself or having a meltdown. Structure and routine are extremely important to Nate. Delphine is the middle child, she loves fashion, clothes and is probably the most social of the siblings. Nessa is more reserved than Delphine and enjoys working weekends at the vet surgery her mum works at earning her own money to fund her running necessities, such as trainers etc. It's whilst Nessa is doing her running through the woods that she comes across a wolf stuck in a farmers trap. Nessa is an animal lover and has a good calming way with animals and she cannot just run by, unlike the other runner Cynthia that was supposed to be meeting with Nessa for them to run together. Cynthia hadn't waited and it was whilst attempting to catch up with her that Nessa found the injured wolf. Nessa approaches the animal carefully making sure it knows she is wanting to help. It's whilst freeing the trapped wolf that Nessa is attacked by a different wolf and is bitten. Nessa passes out and when she wakens she is in the health centre with Dr Kallish dressing her fairly large, painful wound. Dr Kallish asks about the wolves Nessa encountered and reassures her he has given her shots to counteract infection and the possibility of rabies, he even gives her the tooth that the wolf left behind in her hip when it bit her. Dr Kallish and Dr Raab work at the health centre where Nate and other children his age are being regularly monitored to check for any ill health that could be the result of the enviromental waste that a local company called Dutch Chem has illegally and irresponsibly dumped in the area. 
Nessa heals much more rapidly than expected and is eager to abandon her crutches and get back to school and her running training with Coach Hoffman. Delphine, Nessa's younger sister takes the tooth to school and gets a hole drilled in the tooth to make into a necklace/talisman for her sisterDespite still being in pain from the bite, Nessa begins running faster times. It is good news as if Nessa is to get into college she will need a scholarship. Then things start to be a bit strange, her hearing becomes much more sensitive. One day whilst at her best friends studying, she hears a conversation between Bree and Gabe who are both downstairs whilst she is in the upstairs bathroom. Nessa's eyesight has also improved so much that she no longer needs her contact lenses. Nessa hides all these changes including the recurring nightmares she is still having about being attacked by the wolf. The final straw that finally makes her reach out for help is when she dreams that she is changing into the wolf. That's when a friends of Bree's rather hippy mum introduces Nessa to a local shaman who helps Nessa understand what is happening and how to deal with it.

I was immediately pulled in by the prologue, and wanted to learn more about the scientist featured in it called Camille Rogerson. Camille has been given a job on the team attempting to to clean up what Dutch Chem has left behind in the form of pollution. It's whilst working alone than Camille has an encounter with wolves. Then the book begins telling us Nessa's story. It was a shame we didn't revisit Camille and learn more about her work and her run in with the wolves. The genres I have seen this book labelled as are YA, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Paranormal and Shifter, which all fit the book well.  

I did really enjoy this book, its difficult to explain why on Goodreads I only gave the book 4/5 stars. The book felt a little slow in some places, though it is well worth sticking with and reading to the end. I enjoyed this book so much I read the second in the series that is called Chimera straight away. The cover of Chimera has me making all sorts of guesses and thoughts about what could happen next.


My immediate thoughts upon finishing reading this book were that I found this to be an interesting start to what could be a fantastic book series! Not sure how to explain it other than to compare it to two Book/TV adaptations and say it's more like the Teen-wolf TV series and YA aimed than the Bitten series adaptation from Kelley Armstrong's Women Of The Otherworld book series.