Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dark Passage by M.L. Woolley (Chosen #1)

The house on the Dark Passage of Puget Sound in Olalla, Washington has a very dark past. The forces of Good have decided that it's time to reclaim the house so they start recruiting, but the forces of Evil aren't giving it up without a fight. Bill heads to Olalla while working on a new book and is inexplicably drawn to the house, so much so that he decides to buy it. While in the house tragedy befalls Bill with a little help from his demon controlled cousin, Lisa and her current lover Dr. Winter. Bill winds up in a coma and his friend Peter, a lawyer, arranges for his client, Jen to live in and take care of the house. It's a perfect opportunity for Jen, who is trying to divorce John, a very violent, abusive husband. Jen's friend Ivy convinces her to take the house sitting job, helps her move and occasionally stays with her. Ivy herself has a troubled past and is fighting inner demons of her own. The stage has been set, sides have been chosen. Will Good triumph over Evil, or has Evil grown too strong?

I really wanted to like this book but there were a few issues that made Dark Passage difficult for me to get through. There were quite a few editing issues (I have the kindle edition) along the lines of misspellings and grammar mistakes but the major one for me was the character mix-up. There was a particular part in the book where the author is clearly talking about Peter but then all of a sudden he's being referred to as Bill. The other difficulty I had was with the several points of view that the story was told in. There were seven POVs in all and they seemed to change suddenly. This made following the story quite confusing especially with the kindle edition as page and paragraph breaks were off kilter. That being said, I really did like the story concept. I thought it was very interesting and unique. There were some religious undertones and normally that is a bit of a put off for me, but they were minor and appropriate for the story.

This is the first book of the Chosen trilogy and book two is currently in the works. As a first in the series, Dark Passage was a bit shaky. I think the trilogy could have great potential if the editing gets cleaned up. For that reason I will be checking out book two when it is available!

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Thursday, August 16, 2012

White Witch by Trish Milburn

* I was given a free copy of this book for review purposes. The review is based solely on my opinion and was not influenced by author or publisher.

Jax Pherson's family is going to be the death of her. Literally. Jax belongs to a family of powerfully evil witches. The family is extremely strict and does not tolerate insubordination or withdrawing from the family. The punishment is a slow, excruciating death. 16 year old Jax does the only thing she can think of to keep her sanity, she runs away. After years of careful preparation it seems that Jax may have finally found someplace to start over, away from her family. She's even kept pretty close to her promise of not using any magic, after all she wouldn't want her family to trace the magical footprint that she would leave behind. But things aren't going so smoothly for Jax. Sure she has made a couple of friends but most of the girls in her new school seem to hate her because of the attention the boys are giving her. The one boy she feels a strong attraction to just happens to be the Hunter that was after her on one of her first nights in Baker Gap, North Carolina. Oh and there is that pesky part about hiding her abilities from everyone even though she is supposed to be getting stronger, and living with the fear that her family will find her. Can she keep her true self hidden from her friends and the family that hunts her? What will happen if she can't?

I loved this book! I wish it hadn't sat in my review pile for a few weeks. Award winning author, Trish Milburn knocks one out of the park with 'White Witch'. This is the first book of the Coven Trilogy and it provides a solid foundation for what looks to be a fantastic series. The story is fresh and piqued my interest throughout. The author shows great attention to detail but doesn't over explain things. Characters are really well written and I especially like how their histories aren't crammed together in one section but introduced to us over time. I feel like I'm get to know the character better that way. The story clipped along at a great pace and while there weren't many plot twists the story was not at all predictable. I am excited to delve into book two and find out what's next for Jax, her friends and her enemies.

Book two of the trilogy, 'Bane', was released May 2012. 

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pledged Excerpts 3rd and Final Day

Enjoy getting to know Caleb and Talitha in the last installment of 'Pledged' Excerpts.  If you like what you've read over the past 3 days you can enter for a chance to win one of three e-copies of 'Pledged'.  Click here to go to the post containing the rafflecopter!

Erin flicked her hair behind her ear and watched Caleb straighten his clothing. He took a deep breath and entered the hut. They followed right after him, drifting through the closed door as if it didn’t exist. Seth laughed, holding his hand up to Erin for a high-five – until he noticed that Caleb’s Gefallen had also wafted into the cabin with them. Even though he had no idea how to defend Erin from a ghost, he stepped in front of her to protect her. But the wraith ignored them and sailed over to Caleb.

A tall, blonde-haired girl with almond-shaped brown eyes was waiting for Caleb. For Erin, the recognition was instantaneous; it was Talitha. “She’s so beautiful!”

“She’s okay,” Seth replied, looking her over critically. “But I don’t think Caleb’s here for her looks.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You said yourself that Caleb’s a good-looking guy. I bet he could have any girl he wants around here.”

Erin frowned; then she smiled as understanding dawned. “So, in guy-talk, you’re saying he loves her?”

Seth chuckled as he picked up Erin’s hand and put it on his heart. “Tell me what you’re feeling?”

Erin gasped at a disconcerting pulse thrumming in Seth’s chest, over-riding his own heartbeat. “It’s . . . no . . . It’s not possible.”

“I’ll bet it is. It’s Caleb’s heart beating.”

“How do you know it’s him? It could be Talitha.”

“It started the moment I saw him. It’s like it’s there to stop me denying that he and I were once friends. And I was watching Talitha when he walked in. She smiled, and it felt as if someone had just shot a thousand volts through him.”

“It’s amazing you’re so connected that you can feel him.”

Seth wasn’t so sure he agreed; it made being here just a little too real.

Erin felt her own heart and could faintly discern Talitha’s heartbeat; it was nowhere near as strong as the thump in Seth’s chest, but then, she figured, she wasn’t in denial the way he was.

They fell into silence as Caleb opened his arms to embrace Talitha. She draped her arms around his neck, twisting the dark curls tumbling onto his shoulders. He kissed the nape of her throat and ran his lips up her neck, over her chin to her mouth.

“This is awkward,” Erin murmured, looking away.

“You don’t say. All this way just to watch them making out.”

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pledged Excerpts Day 2

As promised yesterday, here is the second excerpt from Pledged by Gwynneth White.  This snippet introduces us to Jared and Sophia.

Jared nodded at Sophia and Kezeah without any sign of recognition. With two of his Pledged up front and two at their rear, he marched them down the corridor to a flight of stairs. Once at the bottom, he ducked beneath an archway, opening onto to a gloomy, narrow tunnel. Erin, never keen on dark, claustrophobic spaces, took a deep breath and paused.

“C’mon,” Seth said. “The sooner we walk through it, the quicker we get to the other side.”

“What happens if what’s on the other side is even worse?”

“Then you’ll know for sure that the dead guys are leading this expedition,” Seth said, wanting to deny the painful burning in his heart that reconnected him with a cursed Jared. He grabbed Erin’s arm and pulled her into the passage.

They’d taken no more than two tentative steps along the uneven floor when Sophia stopped. “Commander, I am not walking through this snake-hole!”

Jared turned back to look at her. With none of the fear or diffidence Erin and Seth expected from a boy with limited to exposure to girls – especially beautiful ones – he answered, “Of course, my lady. You’re from Norin, where I understand you live in grass huts.” He gave a sardonic smile. “But don’t despair, you’ll soon get used to bricks. Even our own Outcasts have learnt not to flinch at the sight of them.” He continued down the passage.

Seth’s mouth dropped at Jared’s rudeness; this was so foreign to the Jared he had seen just moments ago in his vision. It just added to his anger at Reuel’s Curse.

The Pledged at Sophia’s rear prodded her back; she gave him a fierce look and started walking.

For Seth and Sophia, both taller than Erin and Kezeah, negotiating the tortuous twists and turns of the tunnel was no easy matter. Stooping, cursing each time they bumped their heads on the rough ceiling, they struggled after Jared, but he kept up the merciless pace until they reached a dark staircase.

Her temper now as short as her breath, Sophia stopped walking and locked her arms across her chest. “Having just cracked my skull open, you now expect me to scramble up those treacherous stairs too. No doubt hoping I’ll fall and break my neck. Well, forget it. I’m not moving.”

“Sophia!” Kezeah whispered, jabbing her in the ribs as she stepped gingerly onto the first narrow step.

Sophia ignored her. “Only savages and rats live in places like this.”

Jared’s eyes narrowed. “Savages and rats, you say, my lady?”

Sophia set her face into a cold stare, locking her hypnotic blue eyes on his.

He surprised her by holding her gaze. “I hate to disappoint you, my lady, but Lord Rustus, Lord of the Household, under the direction of the Overlord himself, has chosen your apartment. Surely you don’t question their judgment in this matter?”

“As a matter of fact, I do.”

“In that case, I’ll gladly pass on your concerns. If that’s what you really want.”

“Enough, Sophia. This isn’t a fight you can win.” Sophia’s Guardian had joined them.

The release date for 'Pledged' is September 1st.  You can enter to win one of three e-copies of 'Pledged' by completing the rafflecopter at the end of yesterday's post.  Click here to get to that post.

Pledged Excerpts and Giveaway

Sorry about the unexpected hiatus from blogging.  I just moved out of state and life got a little hectic.  I should be posting more regularly now. :)

As part of the Pledged tour for the next three days I will be posting excerpts from the book that introduce the main characters.  As a bonus I will be giving away 3 e-copies of Pledged!  Please see giveaway details and rules after the excerpt.

The first excerpt introduces us to Seth and Erin:

Despite the heat, Seth felt icy. Dread could do that to him. Or so he had recently discovered. Deep breathing usually calmed him, so he sucked in a lungful of desert air and told himself to relax. It didn’t help. By the time he’d walked from the aircraft to the immigration hall he’d ripped off a jagged piece of thumbnail, already bitten raw. He handed his US passport to the Botswanan border official, and, after a frown, and a stamp, he joined the crowd at the baggage carousel. Botswana in southern Africa was the last place on earth he’d ever have picked for a holiday destination. But he wasn’t here on holiday. Not even close.

  His backpack was slow in coming. Tired from his long-haul flight from New York, he leaned against the wall and closed his eyes. Almost as if to mock him, the hated vision that had brought him to Botswana burst into his mind. In an instant he was back in ancient times, watching a man he knew only as Gideon. As usual, Gideon was huddled on a windswept hill with his band of hopeless soldiers, waiting to be slaughtered by a huge army gathered in the valley below.

Seth snapped his eyes open to stop the battle from waging in his mind. It wasn’t that he was particularly squeamish; he’d watched enough movies to iron clad his stomach against gory visuals. But no movie had ever left him icy with dread the way Gideon’s battle did. And the reason for that was simple. The moment the visions had started, he had known that the war, fought so long ago in a place he’d never heard of, was far from over. And, as reluctant as he was, he too was being enlisted to fight in a cause he didn’t understand or want.

He forced himself to focus on the present: Erin, who waited for him in the arrivals hall; his brother Kyle, whom he’d come to Botswana to visit; Kyle’s expedition to find the Lost City of the Kalahari . . .
He ripped off another piece of fingernail. Thinking about the search for the Lost City was almost as bad as the war-vision. I hope Kyle never finds the damned place. He slapped his hand on his thigh. Enough! Grabbing his backpack off the carousel, he set his face into a smile and strode into the arrivals hall.

The first hurdle was finding Erin. She was due to arrive an hour earlier on a flight from Cape Town in South Africa, one of Botswana’s neighbours. He’d never met her, although they had spoken over the phone once. Then she’d described herself as “a short, seventeen-year-old (a year younger than him) with a mass of ginger hair.” She’d sounded nice. Meeting her was the one ray of brightness in this otherwise dark picture.

He stopped to scan the crowd. A petite girl with shoulder length, reddish-blonde curls, dressed in skinny jeans and a purple blouse, immediately caught his eye. It had to be Erin. Nice legs. What’s it with girls that they always under-sell themselves? He studied her face with his artist’s eye. Vermeer would’ve killed to paint her. Suddenly wishing he didn’t look so grimy after his three plane-changes,
he walked over to join her. 

“Hi, I’m Seth. You’ve got to be Erin. My brother’s just married your sister Izzy.”

“And after only knowing each other for about a week.”

Her dimpled grin was infectious, making him crack his trademark crooked smile. “Madness.”

“Mysterious.” Erin cocked her head to one side, seemingly appraising him. He knew he had been accurate when he’d told her he was tall and dark-haired. But what he had failed to mention was what girls had often said they liked about him: his strong, angular face, softened by expressive brown eyes. He watched her eyes rove over his grey Muse: Resistance t-shirt, taking in his broad shoulders and chest. From there they darted down his black camo-pants to his boots. Amused by her blatant assessment, he cocked his head to one side, watching her. Suddenly Erin giggled –was she embarrassed? – and picked up her bag.

“We’ve yet another plane to catch. My fourth in the last twenty-four hours,” Seth said, hoping to explain away his rumpled appearance. “To a place called Maun.”

“So we do. Let the adventure begin.”

Giveaway details:
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a Rafflecopter giveaway