Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A. J. Myrfield: The Dagger of Souls

In her debut self-published novel A. J. Myrfield enters into the world of a small town and the life of Megan McAllister whose destiny is just about to be discovered and released, but first she needs to finish high school:

"What do you see when you look in the mirror?" Seems like such an easy question but when asked to write a poem about it Megan is struggling but she knows that in order to graduate High School English she need to write an amazing poem. This is that Megan does not know what she see within her reflection other that an ugly girl, who can never do anything right and a family life that is every deteriorating. Megan does not know that there is a destiny waiting for her outside of school outside of this life, but as she struggles with the bullying, the violence and the tragedies around her, it becomes a question of whether she will be able to survive to fulfill this destiny and save a world.

I do not read within the YA novel too often, and I am unsure of the topics that are normally discussed within the more contemporary novels. Within this novel Myrfield tackles many hard topics of bullying, racism, and at home family violence. This novel is very fast paced to the point that it feels like everything is happening at once and that Megan is never able to get any type of a break from the negative aspects around her. This book definitely keeps the emotions going, which is very similar to a teenager's every changing emotions especially when there are major events occurring.

You can tell that this is a debut novel, the writing style lacks the finesses and flow of a more seasoned writer and editor (I feel that the book still needs another really good edit). There are points where Myrfield uses too many words non descriptive words to try and pull a scenes together which affects the readers overall emersion into the story as well as the flow of the book. I did not like that when Detective Walters was always referred to as the detective. He has an important role in this book and I think he should be referred to as Detective Walters. It was also odd as this was the only person that Myrfield choose to refer to in this way every other character was referred to by their first name when the narration was about them. Myrfield's writing style does improve the farther the reader goes into the book, therefore, I think the farther into this series Myrfield's writing style will get better.

This novel is supposed to have a paranormal aspect to it, but other than Megan's ability to dream the future and the prologue of the book, the paranormal aspect is non-existent through more than half of the book, it only becomes apparent within the last few chapters of the book. I know that this is the first book in a six part series, and other than Megan's ability to dream the future, the paranormal aspect could have been left out and people would still enjoy the read. It will be interesting to see how Myrfield develops further in the future books.

I think that readers would become attached to Megan even without the paranormal aspect. Megan, is struggling with what teenagers normally do, who are they. This is well placed within the book with an English assignment to write a poem. Every teenager goes through the stage of not knowing who they are and that they are worthless, there are just some homes and school lives that help promote those feelings. I am very interested in the Dagger character and learning more about her powers and abilities, Mryfield does enough just to keep you interested and questions who the Dagger really is as a character. I find the contrast between the Dagger's world and belief's quite interesting and how it appeals that the Dagger has gone away from the ideals, beliefs and culture that were part of her life.

I think that the school and life dynamic that Myrfield has set up could be transferred to any school across the world. There is always going to bullying, racism and cliques within school, even though many will try to deny this. Will the bullying and racism always go to the side that it does within this novel, No, they can be more extreme or not, but the belief and acts are still there.

While I do not read in the YA genre that often, this novel tackles many hard hitting topics that I think will appeal to both YA and adults. I think that with time Myrfield's writing style will improve, but some readers may, at times find, it slightly harder to read than a seasoned writer. I think this is a good start to a new series and I am interested to see where Myrfield takes it, it has a very interesting and different type of ending. As Myrfield self published this novel, you can order and ebook or paperback copy from her website LoveLight Creations.


Note: This novel has many scenes and descriptions related to Bullying, Racism and Family Violence, therefore, please be warned about this ahead of time.

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Amanda Stevens: The Prophet

This is the third book in a series and you will need to read the first two books in the series The Restorer and The Kingdom before this novel, as everything is set up in those first two book from the relationships to the plot. 

In her third book in her Graveyard Queen series Amanda Stevens has Amelia Gray returning to Charlestons to face everything that was haunting her before she left.

Amelia Gray has lived by the same rules since she was a child but she has thrown the rules out the door and does not know how to handle the situation or Devlin, the man that she loves. She has returned from Asher Falls where she nearly escaped death, but that does not mean that she does not have physical, psychological and mystical scars. She is back in Charleston to pick up the pieces of her life and try to return to what she loves, restoring old graveyards, but a ghost of a dead cop Robert Freeman seems to defy all odds and is able to haunt her in her sanctuary. He is not willing to give her up until she can find out who is murderer was. Though she knows the rules she is forced into helping Freeman discover his murder, but in her investigation she is going to uncover more than she bargained for and she realizes how many secrets this town has been keeping.

Stevens blew me away with her debut novel, it was fantastic one of the best I have ever read, the second book was not my favorite as I felt like it was missing something important (which turns out to be Devlin) however, I liked this book more than the second one. This book returned to a format that was similar to the first and it attempts to verge on the dark side of things (but does not quite get there). I think that Stevens was trying to make this book as dark as the second book, but was not quite able to achieve it. I think that there were some opportunities that Stevens missed to expand upon or add more suspense to (especially the scenes with Darius).

I do not normally need a love interest within the books I read, but I think that it is the relationship between Amelia and Devlin that makes this story. It really is their relationship that is the key to everything in this series as it shapes everything from plot to character development. Amelia is a very different character in this novel. The events of Asher Falls have really changed her, and made her questions everything that she has known. Amelia through the first half of the book is a very depressing character and I think that Stevens takes it a little bit too far as I felt that what made Amelia unique was her drive her passion for graveyard restoring and the need to hunt down information was lost within this book. She was very lack luster in hunt for Robert Freeman murderer, which you would think would be important as it would stop him from haunting her, but she does not seem to really put any effort in to it. This was mainly due to the fact that she was so engrossed over what to do with Devlin, which is what consumes most of what she does throughout the novel.

I found this book a little bit slow to start as Amelia tries to cope with what happened in Asher Falls, and how to get her life back to normal and even if that is possible. Amelia is also struggling with what to do about her feelings for Devlin even though she knows that he is bad for her. However, in the second half of the book, events begin to pick up and more of the overall plot for this novel is played out and things really start to get interesting. I am very interested to see how Stevens explores more into Amelia's power and to be party of the journey she takes. I think that with Stevens' creative ability you really do not know how the next part of the story will unfold, which is very exciting to any reader.

I know that this may seem like a fairly negative review, but I really did enjoy this novel. I keep comparing it to the first book as Steven set the bar so high for herself, that I just want her to recapture it. This book was a lot better than second novel and I hope that Stevens is able to continue in this direction and recapture the hauntingly beautiful aspects of the first novel. I will be picking up the next novel.


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Monday, October 15, 2012

Ilsa J. Bick: Ashes

In the first novel of Ilsa J. Bick's Ashes Trilogy explores what happens to the world when all the electricity is suddenly turned off:

Alex has planned a hike into the woods to say goodbye to her parents, who were killed years earlier as well as attempt to come to terms with her own personal demons, or as Alex called it the monster in her brain. Alex has a terminal brain tumor which is beyond the help of treatment, even experimental treatment. Alex is not too sure how much longer she has left to live. Happening in only a split second, a large electromagnetic pulse flashes overhead eliminating the world’s electricity. Alex herself has changed whether for the good or bad, the pulse has changed the world and chaos has ensued; now Alex is trying everything she can to survive.
I did not realize that the protagonist within this novel was going to 17 when I picked it up and honestly just based upon her age I would have not read this book, as YA is not a genre I venture into (my own fault for not reading the premise of the book...oops, went purely on instinct on this pick). I actually thought that I was picking up an adult horror/dystopia, which is a genre that a really love and have not read too much of late. However, I was glad that I picked it up. I found for the most part that Alex's life and experiences aged her mentally beyond her years that I was able to relate to her in some ways. 

I personally would not classify this novel as a horror. I did not have that scared, need to keep the lights on feeling as I was reading it. I think that this is due to the lack of overall suspense within the novel. There were events where you know that Bick is trying to create suspenseful moments, however, I did not feel that she was able to actually get there. However, I did like that none of the characters (outside of Alex) were truly safe to the events that were happening around them. These characters could be there one moment and not the next, which adds to the sense of never knowing what could happen next, just the scenarios in which these events occurred did not reach a suspenseful state for me. (Not too sure if that makes sense, but I never felt like I was sitting on the edge of my seat Needing to know what happened next, I had already figured it out).

During the latter parts of the book I lost my ability to relate to Alex. Alex became the whiny teenager who is only thinking about herself. I had come to like Alex and her ability to survive but I found that I was unable to relate to her in this part of the book. Instead of challenging things like an adult (basically how she had been portrayed through most of the book, minus some insecurities in the romance department) Bick decided that now would be the point that Alex would act as a teen. I understand that this is a YA novel, but if you spend the majority of the book with your teen acting like an adult as this is their character to do so, then I think that Bick should have continued on this path. I think that by continuing to have Alex act like an adult would have made the flow of the story more consistent as well as keep me engaged with Alex's character. I also found it strange that Alex could not figure out what had happened to "monster" in her brain and how the treatments that she had had in the past would have changed with the flash. If the reader can figure it out right away, there is no reason that Alex should not be able to.

I wish that Bick would have been more consistent in her character portrayal of Alex, however, she does leave the end of the story at a cliff-hanger so I am going to read the next book in the series but it is not at the top of my list. I think that those people who do enjoy dystopia YA novel (either young or old readers) will like this novel, but I think if you do not normally read within the YA genre you may want to leave this one alone.


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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cody McFadyen: The Darker Side

Cody McFayden is back with his third novel of his Smokey Barrett series. I noticed for this one that McFayden takes the time to very quickly recap what has happened in the first two books of this series that it is not essential to read the other two first books (Shadow Man & The Face of Death). However, I think as a reader you will be doing yourself a great disservice as the first two books are fantastic reads that will keep you up all night whether you want to or not.

Everyone has secrets that they never want to be found out, and are willing to take them to the grave to protect themselves and others. But there is someone out there that wants these secrets to be revealed not only to him but to the public as well. Showing that these normal people have a dark past, a dark secret that they have done everything to keep buried is this killer’s game. This killer has found a way to route out every secret that you have had and takes time to choose his next victim, and taking time to show the world who this person really was. You never know who is going to be next, even when all the clues are right there in front of Smokey and her team struggle to put them together and wonder if something that they hold secret will make them the next target on the list.

I am a BIG fan of McFayden's Smokey Barrett series and I think it is possible this expectation and love for this series lead me not to like this book as much as the others, as my expectations were possible too high. I found that the plot line and serial killers within the first two books were more creative and definitely not the norm. This book definitely fell towards the "normal" side of things. I also found that this book lacked character development of the first two. There are some big announcements especially within the first few chapters of the book, but they really do not get very much attention or change anything. I believe that McFayden did this on purpose to show that these announcements are not a big deal to the team or anyone, but if they do not matter or do not change anything why introduce them?

I really enjoy Kirby and wish to see more of her in future novels. I think that she adds the much needed comic relief when things get too intense for the team with her ability to access the FBI headquarters even though she is not an agent. I also feel that Kirby is the character that has been least explored by McFayden, therefore I hope he changes that. I would really like to know how Kirby became an assassin, who trained her, just her history in general I think would be a very interesting read.

I will always love Smokey as the main character and she has had some awful things happen to her in her life and has been challenged with her ability to come back from them. However, I felt that McFayden was stretching it in this book in that he was attempting have one more thing that she blames on herself or that she had to suffer through. I think that McFayden was just looking for something new to shock us with, where Smokey gets all her anger and her the darkness inside her. Really I think that everything that has happened is enough to justify her way of life and how she sees the world. I think that McFayden was just looking for another thing, and really compared to some of the other incidence that have happened to Smokey in the past this one is by no means the worst. However, I did like the further development of Smokey and Bonnie's relationship and Bonnie's strive to become normal after everything that has happened to her and her push to help Smokey do the same.

There is no doubt that this book is well written, has an interesting, suspenseful and yes at times scary/creepy as hell plot, but I just had higher expectations from McFayden to keep his creative serial killer and plot lines coming. That said I still will be picking up and reading the next book in the series Abandoned, just to see what McFayden can come up with next (and I hope that it is something new/interesting).

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Saturday, October 6, 2012


Hi Everyone,

I just want to take the time to thank the authors once again who were able to participate in my Blogoversary and share their thoughts about their own writing process as well as their novels and for providing a book (or 2) for a giveaway. Thanks to them my Blogoversary would not have been such a success.

I would also like to thank each person who was able to take time to read the interviews, comment on them and to follow Blood Rose Books and I hope to keep you as a follower for years to come. Hopefully I will be able to help you find your next great read or new author that you have never heard about before.

Now the Fun part. Winners have been chosen for all the Giveaways, so make sure to check your email (and yes junk mail too) for your Blogoversary Winner announcement and congratulations again to all those who have won.


Don't worry reviews will be coming shorty :)