Book Review: The Apple Tart of Hope

Title: The Apple Tart of Hope — by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

Release Date: April 1, 2016

Page Count: 160

ISBN-13: 978-0823435616

Summary from Goodreads:

Oscar Dunleavy, who used to make the world’s most perfect apple tarts, is missing, presumed dead. No-one seems too surprised, except for Meg, his best friend, and his little brother Stevie. Surrounded by grief and confusion, Meg and Stevie are determined to find out what happened to Oscar, and together they learn about loyalty and friendship and the power of never giving up hope.

My Review

I really enjoyed reading the Apple Tart of Hope. The story was quite poignant and I liked the way the author set out to teach the reader several things about life. The first lesson is about hope. I think that the author wanted to convey to the reader that one should never never give up hope. Some of the characters lost hope at different points in the story, including Oscar and Meg, but that hope was redeemed when they tried to view their situations in a new way. I think that sometimes if a person feels that there’s no hope in a situation, he or she should try to look at the situation from a different perspective. This may help the person to see a solution to the problem that was not apparent before. The second lesson was about friendship. In the story, there were true friendships and false ones. I think that it was clever of the author to write about both types of friendships so that the reader could compare the two. I think that the author was trying to convey through the story that friendship should have no conditions. If a friendship does have conditions then it probably isn’t a true friendship. The third lesson in the book was about the fragility of people. Oscar was a fragile character who was driven to attempt suicide by the teasing of his peers and the cruelty of Paloma. I think that the author wants the reader to know that we should be careful of how we treat others. Some people are strong and can handle taunting but others are fragile and may consider commuting suicide if they are bullied. The bottom line here is to treat others nicely. I think that there were other lessons in the story, but these are the main ones.

I liked Oscar as a character. He was brave and grew as a person by the end of the story. I thought that Meg was an interesting character as well.

I also liked the imagery in the book. Some of the scenes that the author described were just beautiful.

Although this book was a bit sad I definitely recommend it because of the lessons that it teaches.

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Book Review: The Black Bead by J. D. Lakey

Title: The Black Bead — by J. D. Lakey

Release Date: January 10, 2016

Page Count: 162

ISBN-13: 978-0692609477

 

Summary for The Black Bead (from the inside flap)

What if you were on a colony ship and your spacecraft landed on a planet where all the animals and some of the plants were psychic? Not just psychic but psychically adept at manipulating their environment?

If you were a band of renegade scientists, you would genetically alter yourself and your children to be able to compete in the savage world of escalating mind games and then create a social system that honed the skills that would keep you alive.

Cheobawn has been born into just such a world. Two thousand years after planet-fall, she is the culmination of human bio-engineering. She doesn’t think of herself as special. Just the opposite, in fact. But the universe is shifting out from under her feet and she is forced to keep up with the changes happening inside her and the expectations of the adults of her tribal dome.

My Review

The Black Bead was a very interesting and compelling book. The book was a quick read and I had a difficult time putting it down. The story was very intriguing and had interesting characters as well. I liked the fact that the book contained a map and two glossaries. I found these items to be quite helpful as I was reading.

J. D. Lakey did a wonderful job with imagery throughout the story. I could clearly picture every situation. The author created a lush and vibrant world that was filled with dangers that left the reader wondering whether the characters would be able to survive or not. Speaking of characters, they were very interesting and well-developed. My favorite characters were Cheobawn and Tam who showed great courage throughout the story and matured by the end of the book.

I liked the way J. D. Lakey incorporated different mystical elements into the story. Many of the characters had psychic abilities and Cheobawn, the main character, was able to manipulate her own chi. These mystical elements were interwoven seamlessly into the Cheobawn’s world.

Link to download The Black Bead:

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Bead-Book-One-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B01AIK7OSM/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Author Interview with J. A. George and E-book Giveaway!

Hi Everyone,

I did an interview with J.A. George, a YA fantasy writer from the UK. J.A. George will be giving away 2 e-copies of her new book Gifted. To enter the giveaway just scroll to the bottom of the interview and click on the link. Good luck to everyone!

-Avery

Interview with J. A. George

1. When and why did you begin writing?
I have always loved to write, but I didn’t begin writing with the intention to publish until late 2013. I began writing GIFTED because I wanted to read it. I wanted to read a contemporary YA fantasy novel that didn’t feature instant-love, ‘the chosen one’ or a young woman born in a dystopian society, and so I wrote one. I started off with a basic plot line and before long, I was immersed in my fictional world. I wanted to know what happened next, to characters, to relationships and to the story line. So I carried on writing.

2. Where are you from?
London, England, but I’m currently studying in Sheffield.

3. What inspired you to write your first book?
People. I’ve been asked this question many times before and I’ve never really known how to answer it until today. There wasn’t really a moment or catalyst that sparked the idea for the GIFTED series, so I always assumed it was just an idea that popped into my head one afternoon. GIFTED isn’t my first written novel, but it’s my first published one. People inspired it because GIFTED compressed into one line is: a story about ordinary young adults with extra-ordinary gifts. I believe each person has an extra-ordinary gift—it just might not be of the supernatural kind!

4. How did you come up with the title?
It just seemed to fit. My book is about gifted individuals. I thought about other titles, but nothing seemed to work as well for me. There are a few books out there with the same title, hence why I always add the series title when advertising or promoting. GIFTED – The Hayven Series.

5. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Find what makes you different and be it. Simple as that!

6. What books have most influenced your life most?
Believe it or not, Roald Dahl. I feel like I’m repeating myself, but Roald Dahl’s books are usually about ordinary people going through extra-ordinary events. It’s a message that seems to have stuck with me and fascinated me for years.

7. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Alive? Malorie Blackman. Dead? Roald Dahl.

8. What book are you reading now?
I’ve recently finished The Santa Klaus Murder by Mavis Doriel Hay and I loved it. I never thought I’d be interested in the murder mystery genre, but I really enjoyed this one!

9. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Karen Joy Fowler. I’m not sure if she is new or not, but she is new to me. I read her novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and can’t wait to read more from her. I just love the way she writes. I can’t describe it or compare it to anyone else I’ve read; it’s just different, and I really like different.

10. What are your current projects?
The second novel in the Gifted series. I’ve still got some work to do on it. Quite a bit actually!

11. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
It’s too soon to tell. GIFTED was published on the 13th of April so it all seems perfect to me now. Yet I know I’ll catch something when I read it in paperback format!

12. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My teachers in school used to praise me for my creative writing and it was always nice to have something you’re naturally good at. I didn’t think of it as a career until a few years ago and now it’s all I can think about.

13. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure! How about the first page?

Someone was watching me.

I turned the corner onto Dulscent Street, normally busy at five in the evening, but always deserted when it was raining. I looked back and caught the tail of a long black coat. Or it could have been a long black skirt. Trying to open my eyes wider was pointless because whatever I’d seen had already gone and I only saw what I’d squinted my eyes to avoid – flying strands of my brown hair and stray rain droplets.

A woman stepped out of the dental practice on the other side of the road, her heels clicking on the pavement as she ran to her car, climbed inside and drove off. Only a few other shops were open out of the many lining the street since most owners decided to close early on a Saturday. The dull, cloud-heavy sky drowned the entire town in grey, so I supposed shopping wasn’t what people had in mind.

That’s probably who was watching me, someone on their way home. Why were they staring at me? Well, I did the same thing when it was only me and another person and they couldn’t see me. I shook off the the call is coming from inside the house feeling and carried on up the hill. The wind blustered downwards, coercing my umbrella and me in opposite directions. My boyfriend jacket released itself from my one-handed grip, the zip scratching my palm as it did and flapped behind me. My fault for thinking a jacket one size down from my actual size would fit.

14. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
At first, I tried to please everyone. I wanted this book to do well and in order for it to do well, it has to sell. It took me two years to realise that pleasing everyone in one book is impossible. So I stopped writing for others and wrote for myself. I’m much happier because of that.

15. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Again, Roald Dahl. Being able to bring magic to life isn’t easy. Yet, he managed to do it for children and adults. But my favourite book is A Thousand Splendid Suns. I think Khaled Hosseini is a wonderful storyteller.

16. Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, but it’s very early days, who knows what might happen. I hope so, though because I love to travel.

17. Who designed the cover(s)?
Alisha from Damonza.com. She’s amazing. I actually wrote a blog post about my book cover journey if you’d like to read more about it:
http://www.thejourneyofgifted.co.uk

18. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Overcoming the reality that I couldn’t please everyone.

19. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learnt to write for myself and no-one else. That’s usually the first bit of advice, after ‘keep writing’, authors get given. I heard it, but never took it into account. Now I have. Better late than never! When you write for yourself, you care less about sales and more about how far you’ve come with the novel. Writing a novel isn’t easy, so it’s nice to sit down and tell yourself you’ve done well to just write one.

20. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing because if you want to be an author, you have no other choice. And write for yourself—trust me on that one.

21. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy GIFTED. I really enjoyed writing it so I can only hope you enjoy reading it!

22. What inspires you?
Opportunities and possibilities.

23. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Developing my characters. It’s so strange to say, but the more you write about them, the more real they become.

24. How do you find or make time to write?
It’s really bad, but I tend to push everything else aside because writing is always much more fun than anything else I need to do. I always try to write down an idea that pops into my head before it vanishes and sometimes that’s all I’ll write that day. Other days, I might write over two thousand words. However, I do prioritise, but writing does tend to take up most of my time!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 


 

Summary of Gifted by J. A. George:

There is no chosen one in this story.

She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and happened to make a decision that altered her future forever. It happens to all of us every day.

Avery Gray is a size twelve university student with a penchant for dry humour, and she’s as normal as they come. Up until now, the biggest choice she’s had to make was glasses or contacts? At the moment, it’s stay and save, or leave and be saved.

Allow me to explain. One rainy afternoon, Avery had to make a choice: go through the alleyway or around it. Two possible options. One would have had her future continue on as planned, the other would ensure that her future never remained the same again. She unknowingly went with the latter.

But change is not always bad. Avery meets Theodore-James Connors, an enigmatic young man who takes her to Hayven, a city separated from the rest of the world, where only gifters – ordinary people with extra-ordinary gifts – can go. She soon finds herself in a close-knit group of friends she’d never have imagined herself in; friends who are diverse in every possible way, from their ethnic backgrounds, to their personalities, from their gifts, to their life stories. Friends who make her laugh, who make her cry, who make her think and who make her…her.

However, change is not always good. The beautiful, golden city of Hayven has its dark side – Cliders. Gifters turned rogue, aka, Cliders are determined to aid fallen Clider, Madrina, return to rule Hayven. They will stop at nothing to make that happen, including harming those Ava has grown to love. Again, Ava is faced with a choice: spend her days finding a way to inhibit Madrina’s return, or walk away. After all, she isn’t the chosen one. Yet, there exists a third option – rig the future itself and make it work for her.


J. A. George’s Links:

Website

Goodreads

Purchase Gifted

Twitter Handle : @JGeorgie_

Book Review: This Monstrous Thing — By Mackenzie Lee

Title: This Monstrous Thing — by Mackenzie Lee

Release Date: September 22, 2015

Page Count: 384

ISBN-13:  978-0062382771

Summary from Amazon

In an alternative fantasy world where some men are made from clockwork parts and carriages are steam powered, Alasdair Finch, a young mechanic, does the unthinkable after his brother dies: he uses clockwork pieces to bring Oliver back from the dead.

But the resurrection does not go as planned, and Oliver returns more monster than man. Even worse, the novel Frankenstein is published and the townsfolk are determined to find the real-life doctor and his monster. With few places to turn for help, the dangers may ultimately bring the brothers together—or ruin them forever.

My Review

This Monstrous Thing was an excellent read. The book is filled with the perfect combination of action, romance and suspense. I never felt bored when I was reading and finished the book rather quickly. The cover of the book attracted me right away and so did the summary on the inside of the cover.

The characters were very well developed. The author makes the reader care about the characters over time. My favorite character was Alasdair because he seemed so real. The fact that he was carrying an awful secret around made him seem very human. I liked the way the author explored how holding a secret affected Alasdair’s character. I also liked how Alasdair curses so much in the novel. I appreciated the fact that the author made up curse words for the book or found period appropriate curses. I also liked Oliver a great deal. The author gets the reader to like Oliver despite his appearance and misdeeds which I thought was a great feat. Clemence was also an interesting character that I enjoyed reading about. I also liked the way that Alasdair and Oliver grow as characters over the course of the book.

One thing that I really loved was the imagery in this book. Lee has a great ability for describing intense emotions, sensations and the characters’ surroundings. The book is filled with wonderful descriptions that help the reader to envision different scenes very clearly.

Overall, the book is a very well written, poignant story about two brothers. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Frankenstein.

-Avery Griffin

Book Review: Heartlight — By T. A. Barron

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Heartlight — by T. A. Barron
Release Date: September 27, 1990
Page Count: 275
ISBN-13: 978-0399221804

Summary from Amazon

PCl (Pure Condensed Light) = FTL (Faster Than Light travel)

A butterfly’s wing, a silicon chip, and a new equation for light hold the key to humankind’s boldest dream–faster than light travel.

A distinguished astronomer and a sensitive young woman are hurled into a dazzling cross-galactic adventure when an unexpected discover links the explosive uncertainties of quantum physics with the still-untapped psychic powers of human kind.

PCL is a bold theoretical synthesis, launching a voyage through awesome wonders–and into unimaginable terrrors. For Dr. Miles Prancer, at the end of his career, has made a discovery too horrifying to share with humanity. He has found a black hole in the center of the Sun that gives our solar system less than three years to live!

My Review

I happened upon this book at my local library in the YA section. Although it was written quite some time ago, the book has a great storyline and is sure to please many fantasy and sci-fi fans of today. The book is not very long and was well worth the time that I spent reading it. The characters were unique and well developed. My favorite character was Kate, but I also enjoyed eading about Morpheus, Orpheus and Ariella. Throughout the story, the reader can really sympathize with the main character and all that she must endure during her journey. Kate is a very realistic character and I felt that her behavior and dialog was appropriate for someone her age. The other characters were all very interesting to read about and I was glad that the author included some alien characters in the story. I think that it’s often difficult for authors to create alien characters, but the author does a good job with this task. As an aside, when I was writing my first book (The Demon Rolmar) it was very difficult for me to invent alien worlds with societies that have unique languages, customs, etc. However, it is a lot of fun creating these worlds and determining how their inhabitants will behave.

One thing that I really enjoyed about this book was the imagery. The author did a great job of describing different scenes in the book. Some of the beginning scenes of the story involving butterflies contained beautiful imagery. The author certainly has a knack for description. This book was quite moving and I felt that the author did a good job of pulling the reader into the story. T.A. Barron has a talent for crafting characters that the reader will care about and scenes that he or she will find poignant. I definitely recommend this book for anyone  that is looking for a great sci-fi read!

Stygian Rift – By Jayra Almanzor

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Stygian Rift – By Jayra Almanzor
Release Date: July 14, 2014
Page Count: 318
ISBN-13: 978-0692269831

Summary from Amazon

What would you do if you woke up in hell and couldn’t remember a thing? Set in a dystopian society about 150 years from the 21st century…… Suddenly rousing in a place completely different from his world, seventeen-year-old Robert is greeted with accusations, bullying, and fear from the teenagers around him. Life isn’t easy in the new place, especially if it’s the direct opposite of how and where he was raised. However, there’s something more about the place that gives him the chills. Is it the fact that monsters and demons always get to massacre someone every night, and then leave when dawn comes? Or that he can’t recall what his surname is? Maybe it’s that the locals are always blaming him for what happened to Cleo, a girl whom Robert doesn’t even know. Determined to find out what happened, how he got there, and how to get out, Robert and his unreliable fox companion tries to persuade the most stubborn party of defeatists to help them on their crusade, or go off on their own. Filled with thrills, devotion, realism and originality, Stygian Rift is one unforgettable, emotional journey!

My Review

I really enjoyed reading this book. I was pleasantly surprised by the talent of such a young author. She was able to create a convincing dystopian world full of interesting characters and frightening monsters. I thought that her writing was very good, especially when describing the Chamber and its monsters. I had a very clear picture of how the Chamber appeared and the cells that it contained.

I also liked many of the characters in the book. My favorite character was Bo. I thought that he had very realistic reactions, thoughts and dialogue throughout the book. The devil inside of Bo’s head was also an interesting part of Miguel’s psyche. I liked the reactions that the imp would have to Bo’s thoughts and to what was happening around Bo. I also liked Miguel as well. I thought that it was interesting how the reader didn’t know if he would help Bo at first. This made the interactions between them more interesting. Anise was a character that I liked as well and I thought that the descriptions of all the monsters were all very good. I definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for a great dystopian novel.

Kindle Countdown Promotion Being Held for The Demon Rolmar!

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Hi Everyone,

I’ve decided to hold a Kindle Countdown Promotion for my book, The Demon Rolmar. The promotion will start on Thursday Jan 15 at 8 A.M. (EST) and end on January 19 at 11 P.M. (EST). The price of the book will begin at .99 cents and increase every day until the original list price has been reached. The initial promotional price for the book (.99 cents) will last for 22 hours. I hope that everyone will take advantage of this promotion.

To look at the book and read some reviews ahead of time, click here.