Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Scent of a Soul

The Scent of a Soul by Jennifer Thompson| Review

The Scent of a Soul by Jennifer Thompson

Published by Create Space on December 8, 2012
Pages            480

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Fleeing her recent past, Lilliah Woods finds refuge in the anonymity of the present day inner-city slums. As she settles into the seedy apartment she must now call home, she meets mysterious Marek Jamison when he materializes in her doorway demanding to know who she is. From that moment, he becomes a guardian and guide as she gradually discovers his hidden world.

As their relationship develops, Lilliah learns of Marek's dark past and of a brothers' quarrel he has been embroiled in for years. The quarrel turns into a larger battle of good and evil, liberty versus tyranny, and the separation of love and lust.
With Lilliah as the ultimate prize, the deadly conflict reaches out to threaten her family, and the outcome of the final battle will determine her fate. Lilliah must embark on an unexpected path that teaches her to trust in the man she has come to love, and give of herself as she never thought she could...

                              What I think:
I was approached by the author of this novel to do a review. I have to say I was happy to review this book as I am a huge fan of paranormal romance. I mean, who is the biggest and most loyal fan of vampires of this generation if not me? While I was happy to read the story there was also a little part of me that hoped and prayed that this book would not disappoint me and destroy my already wounded heart with a bad vampire story; I mean there have been so many really bad ones out there (can anyone say "Buffy the vampire slayer?"). I admit that when it comes to paranormal stories whether it is about vampires, ghosts or lycanthropes; I can be the biggest snob. It takes a really good story to get me going so believe me when I say that this book was a great read (in slang terms it was bad ass to say the least). I was sucked into the story the moment I started reading.

This story in my opinion is a paranormal romance in the vein of other paranormal stories like The vampire Diaries and Twilight. Now I am not saying this to mean that the author copied from any of these stories; I'm just saying that to enlighten prospective readers of the nature of the story. Kinda like describing the taste of pomegranate juice to someone who has never tasted it by comparing it to cranberry or grape juice. With this being said I think the author was very creative and original with her own twist on the lives of her vampire characters. For example she had a different twist on what a vampire looks like, how they die and the whole issue of immortality (which to me are almost always similar in every vampire paranormal story, so much so that they are fast becoming cliches). The fact that this book gave a completely new take was refreshing.

I liked all the characters in this book. Albeit there were times when I found it extremely hard to like the heroine Lilliah, but that was only because she constantly made decisions that I thought she shouldn't especially when it came to Jack. I had a love/hate relationship with her because while she did things I didn't like she was also really strong and independent; I love that she didn't play the role of damsel in distress like so many of the heroines in other books. She did not change completely and give her herself over to the hero (Marek) like some silly little school girl. I appreciated the fact that she stayed true to herself and her original character even to the end of the story. At the beginning of the novel it was said that Lilliah is a virgin and that she plans to wait until marriage. I love love that she did not just change her mind the minute Marek took his shirt off. As a matter of fact there was no graphic sex scenes in the book, so this is a story that is ideal for a reader that likes romance but does not want to have to suffer through uncomfortable sex scenes (even though I am fan of erotica I still found this fact refreshing).

Marek, the hero of the novel is European specifically Scottish. Now I normally prefer my villains to be European because there is nothing like a bad boy with a sexy accent. But Marek was the definition of sexy. Though there were times I did not agree with him because he was a little too commanding towards Lilliah but I guess he was trying to protect her. I like that he was in some sense a little old fashion, maybe it is because I am a huge fan of medieval times and he reminded me of that.

All in all I think this book was a great read. I loved that the author developed each character perfectly however I think that there were characters who could have been written in a separate story instead of simply giving them a point of view in this novel for example Abraham and Keri were two characters that I think could have been written in a great sequel to this book. It was hinted at the end of the novel that Lilliah's sister and Marek's friend might be written as a sequel so I am keeping my fingers crossed. Overall this is a story I would definitely recommend.


Sunday, 20 April 2014

Order of the Dimensions by Irene Helenowski

Order of the Dimensions by Irene Helenowski| Review

Order of the Dimensions by Irene Helenowski
Published by      Irene Helenowski on September 14, 2012
Pages                287

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When Jane Kremowski first began her graduate studies in physics at Madison State University in Wisconsin, little did she know where her work would take her. Now, she is embroiled in a multitude of dimensions all leading to different outcomes. She and her colleagues therefore must act wisely in order to take and keep away the Order of Dimension from falling into the wrong hands for the sake of her loved ones.

What I think:
Now while Science Fiction is right up there in my list of  top five favorite genres of movies and TV shows (It comes in at a close second right behind paranormal/supernatural); I can't really say that I have read a lot SciFi books. The main character in the story is Jane Kremowski; Jane is a physicist who with the help of other physicists has come up with a device called a "multiverser" which in theory is supposed to transport matter between different dimensions. Jane however has a secret; she has been using the multiverser to transport herself between dimensions. Jane thinks she is the only person who knows about the fact that she is jumping dimensions but little does she know that Dr. Zelov has been watching her. Now Dr. Zelov I have to say is my favorite character in the story. I have always preferred the antagonists in stories (Lord Voldemort, Zod, Loki and Lex Luther are my all time favorites). He comes off as the typical antagonist in a story; he wants to take over the world ("Pinky &the Brain" anyone?). What I realize after a while is his obsession with Jane, you'll see this in the fact that whenever he manipulates the multiverser he goes to a dimension where he is married to Jane even though he knows very well that Jane has a boyfriend. So this makes me wonder, is it unrequited love? Or is he just obsessed with controlling everything and everyone. His character to me is the most complex and interesting one in the story.

"Well, I was just thinking ... it would be fascinating ... if we could incorporate several dimensions into one. To create a world optimal for everyone ... a New World Order, if you will,” Dr. Zelov continued.

In the story we see where Dr. Zelov's character has come up with an elaborate scheme to use the multiverser to control the world with a "new world order" (think "1984" or "Brave New World"). There is one instance in the novel where the history of a whole country and the nationality of various influential historical individuals were changed to glorify one country which, you guessed it is where Dr. Zelov is from (talk about arrogance!). Every time Dr. Zelov uses the multiverser to merge dimensions and control the world, Jane wakes up in a dimension where she is his wife. She along with her boyfriend Randy and other characters oppose Dr. Zelov and end up back in a dimension where he does not control them anymore. However when they return to the correct world nobody but her remembers. Jane is always aware of the dimension she is in, however other characters do not always know about it. So she finds herself living in constant fear that she might wake up in a different dimension where she may or may not enjoy it.

Now I am very open minded when it comes to stuff like human cloning, time travelling, super human powers and the works but there were times in the novel when I was utterly confused because it was not always obvious when The characters were "jumping" dimensions. However, the further I went into the story the better I became at telling whether or not the characters were switching dimensions.
I did not particularly like all the characters in the novel for example I could not stand Randy (Jane's boyfriend and husband in some dimensions). I often found myself wishing Jane would stay with Dr. Zelov instead of him. That is what I appreciated most about this novel, the author found a way to evoke different emotions based on the characters.
I can easily picture this book as a film. I found myself coming up with different actors or actresses I would love to see play each character (I can see Tom Hiddleston playing Dr. Zelov).

I think Irene Helenowski is a very unique writer; she thinks out of the normal story lines that is seen these days. The plot was great and the characters interesting. While some of the ideas that are described in the book are a little out there and sometimes a little too impossible, it was still in my opinion, a good read. The only hang up I have with this book is that while reading I felt that the thoughts were a little rushed at times with too much happening in one breath which was confusing sometimes. Apart from that however, I would definitely recommend it.


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Friday, 4 April 2014

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass| Review

The Selection    by Kiera Cass
Published by      HarperTeen on April 24, 2012
Pages                 336

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For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

What I think:
Now while I tend to shy away from young adult fiction, I have to say that this book was a great read. I had bought it on a whim because I liked the cover and the pretty dress... a little juvenile I know but what can I say? At first I was a little skeptical about it because after reading the first few pages I realized it was set in a future world or post war era and I am more of a medieval times kinda girl; I tend to prefer the past (I was born a few centuries too late). I however decided to read it and see where it took me. By chapter two I was completely sucked in to America Singer's life and all her surroundings. Kiera Cass did a great job in painting a world that was both magical and frightening at times. Though the struggles that were faced in the novel are quite similar to the struggles being faced today, the rich's oppression of the less fortunate and the wide contrast between rich and poor, high class and lower class societies, she described it in a way that was so different you could not help but wonder what it would be like if you were in that position. 

“True love is usually the most inconvenient kind.”

At the beginning I got to see how painful it can be when true love between people is just not enough, I saw where sometimes one has to be selfless for the one he/she loves even when it's not what he/she wants to do. I are then swept up into the whole "selection" process and I got to experience it all along with America. I liked that while Kiera Cass clearly had the theme of beautiful prince and shy poor girl, she did not create a knight in shining armor out of Prince Maxon; I mean I love the whole white knight situation as much as the next girl but not all of us want to be cinderella. 

Throughout the novel, I found myself getting very angry at some of America's decisions. There were other times when I laughed out loud and even broke down in some instances, imaging me sitting by myself in a restaurant making snickering sounds and grumbling at things that happened in the book... I must have looked like a crazy person! 
While it is written in first person narrative, we only get to see the world from America's point of view. I didn't mind this though it would have been great to see what how Prince Maxon saw the world (we luckily get to see a little of this in the novella "The Prince"). 

Though this book is not as fast paced as others, I really had a good read. After reading I found myself seeking out young adult fiction at the book store or on amazon. Overall I would definitely recommend it.