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Book Review: Citizen Kill by Stephen Clark

Book Review: Citizen Kill by Stephen ClarkRating: 4/5 teacups

Summary

“When a devastating explosion kills the new President’s young son, her administration seeks to finally end the war on terror. CIA black-ops agent Justin Raines is among the recruits in a new program that targets for assassination U.S. citizens suspected of radicalizing Muslims.

Haunted by a botched assignment overseas, Justin is determined to redeem himself through the program. But when he is assigned to kill a mysterious Muslim educator that he believes is innocent, he grows disillusioned. Now he must find a way to prove her innocence and derail the program before they both are assassinated.

This explosive political thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat as Washington stops at nothing to protect the nation from terrorists, while Justin Raines risks everything to protect the nation from Washington.”

-From Amazon.com

Review

I was contacted by Stephen to read his book and at the title, I was hooked. It grabbed my attention immediately. And then I read the summary and I was just so curious as to what the story was about. It was clear that it was going to hit close to home with terrorism and all of these events currently going on in the U.S., but it was definitely worth the read.

Based in reality.
The book is based in reality and has no fantastical aspects. It is completely realistic in how it portrays the government, how it works, and how they operate and the kind of secrets they hold. Of course, it’s not based on fact, but it was interesting to see how this idea was mixed into reality and used the fears that people have in the book.

The topic of conversation was Islamophobia.
The main purpose of the book was the cover the idea of Islamophobia and how just because someone is a Muslim, people seem to assume that they are a terrorist. That was one of the points of the book which I thought was interesting to cover. Of course it is covered in non-fiction books but I haven’t come across it in a fiction book before and it was nice that that kind of issue was addressed.

Action packed.
The story kept you on your toes and kept changes and so you weren’t really sure what to expect next, up until the last pages. It was kind of like real life. You expect something to go one way but it actually ended up going the other, especially with politics and it being an ever-changing ground and you can’t predict what will happen next.

I also really liked the idea that everyone thought that they were the good guy. The bad guy thinks that he is the good guy and the good guy thinks that he is the good guy. Everyone thinks that they are doing what is best for everyone. I liked that that was addressed but it is a true fact of life. Wrong or right, everyone thinks that what they do is to better everyone else, no matter what they are doing.

Overall I really liked the book and will give it 4/5 teacups!

rating four tea cups mlcwo

I would suggest reading it, especially if you like politically fueled reads and ones that keep you turning pages. The chapters were nice and short so you were able to bite through it quickly so it wasn’t a long read.

Happy Reading and let me know what you think!

 

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Book Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller


Book Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Rating: 4/5 teacups!

Summary

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map―the key to a legendary treasure trove―seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

In Daughter of the Pirate King, debut author Tricia Levenseller blends action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic into a thrilling YA pirate tale.”

-From Amazon.com

Review

This book was all over Instagram and everyone was absolutely raving about it. So of course I had to just order it from my library and 24 hours later, it arrived. If you’ve been keeping up with my Insta, you will have seen that I have been drowning in books as of late so I have so many to read. But I put them all on hold so I could complete this one quickly. I read it in about 2 hours.

Overall it was highly entertaining.
It was really a good story and very entertaining. I loved that the main character, Alosa, was so strong and determined. The fact that it was about pirates was wonderful as well. It’s a good summer read because who doesn’t love a good pirate story in the summer? Reading about pirates, within books, is generally rare as everything is about zombies, vampires and angels in these kind of novels. So having something more angled towards the sea was a nice change!

Alosa was a little too strong and didn’t have enough flaws.
It did bother me and that she was so stronger than all of these much larger pirates, and she was like 17 or something. It was a little unrealistic with that, which of course made sense later when you find out what she actually was (read it to find out as I am not spoiling it for you!). But until that point, I was just like “how is this little girl able to kick ass. Like no way!” There were also a few moments within the book of some simple writing language, which bothered me a bit. I can’t remember where exactly but it was like the writing style just declined suddenly and the sentences became simple. But then it went back to the original writing style. I had to keep reminding myself that it was definitely written for middle aged YA.

The romance made the story good!
This was a romance story and apparently some people didn’t really love that aspect of it, or so I heard from people on Insta, but I did quite like it. It made the story what it was. Without the romance between Alosa and Riden the story would have been so dull and boring. The little spats that the two of them had really harked back to Pirates of the Carribean and the kind of things going on there.

Fast paced ending.
I did feel the ending kind of moved fast though. There is another book scheduled to come out next year, which will clarify some of the open ends that were left, but the book came to such a quick ending. It was like they were in the middle of nowhere looking for the Pirate King and then suddenly the King had found them and then it was just over. Like bam, bam, bam. Not that that is necessarily a problem and it won’t bother most people, but I always like there to be a little more of a deep story. With the whole build up, I was really expecting some massive pirate battle. But alas, I was not rewarded with that kind of booty. Just an empty chest.

However the story was very enjoyable and I will be checking out the next book when it comes out next year. I absolutely loved the cover, which was one reason I had to check it out, and it was a nice fluffy read and when the second book comes out, I will be re-reading the series (as you always do!)  Let me know your thoughts.

Happy Reading!

I give this book 4 out of 5 teacups. 

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Singing Fire by T.L. Martin

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. 

Singing Fire by T.L. Martin

Summary

“Constant chills, panic attacks, and now paranoia – there’s a reason seventeen-year-old Charlie keeps to herself. Life is looking up when she gets a job at a whimsical tea shop and gains a few new friends, but little does Charlie know there are secrets lurking beyond its door. It only takes one night for her perspective on her small town to change forever. As if witches, vampires, and demons weren’t enough, she soon realizes she’s being hunted for a power she didn’t know she possessed. Singing Fire takes Charlie through an unexpected journey of self-discovery, betrayal, and forbidden love all while the clock is ticking for her to defeat the dark souls pursuing her – before anyone else dear to her has to die. Singing Fire is the first of a two-part series, and its sequel, Raining Fire, is due for release in 2017.”

-From Amazon.com

Review

I absolutely loved this book! Ms. Martin sent me an email asking for me to give it a read and the initial reason I said yes was because the cover was gorgeous. It caught my eye, as well as the summary. I love fantasy kind of books and I hadn’t read one for a little while, so I figured that it was time to.

Now this book just had so much amazing stuff going on. First of all, it was fantasy but not so much so that it wasn’t based in reality. It was kind of like the Shadowhunters idea where they were hiding in plain site. Then you have this girl who just gets sucked into the world. And then you have this vampire who she falls in love with (of course).

I mean come on! Who doesn’t love a good fantasy story, with romance, and a vampire!

I also loved the fact that the ‘base of operation’ was a tea shop! I mean my blood is literally tea, so I had to give it a read just because of that. I just loved imagining this beautiful tea shop that was so small and magical and had all these little secrets. In my mind it was so magical and beautiful.

The book was also not terribly long but so much happened within the short story! I read it in a few hours, outside in the sun (which was amazing) and I just couldn’t put it down. I wanted to know what was going to happen next and it just kept going and it kept you guessing all the way until the last sentence. I mean that ending had me dying. Come on Ms. Martin!!!! You just had to throw that curve ball! I loved it ‘cus I didn’t see half of the ending coming and it has me NEEDING the next book (which I am so excited for).

The cover of this book is also gorgeous as well. The turquoise with the fire in the middle just caught my eye as the colors were visually pleasing. I mean they say don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but you all should know by now that it’s all part of the package. I generally don’t have it negatively impact a book, but it can definitely make a book even better!

Overall I absolutely loved this book! Go check it out on amazon here!

It was definitely a read that I will be reading again in the summer, and just before I get the next book!

Happy Reading!

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

A Court of Thorns and Roses

Summary

“Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R.R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin–one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin–and his world–forever.”

-From Amazon.com

Review

Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting this at all. I’ve been seeing A Court of Thorns and Roses all over Instagram recently with some amazing photos of the book and it really caught my attention. Then it kept showing up on my feed and I just had to see what everyone was talking about and I am so glad that I did.

I honestly hadn’t heard anything about this book until I saw it on my timeline so clearly I’m living in my own little bubble because how could I have missed this?! I read the entire book in about 4-5 hours, with a small break for dinner, but just couldn’t put it down. It was so addictive.

First of all, the cover is beautiful! Just look at all that red and thorns and just, yes. Red covers always seem to catch my attention.  Of course I had seen some beautiful covers of it on Instagram as well. I will definitely be finishing the series after I finish my currently reading book.

The story was unique which was nice. The fairies in the book weren’t little things that were all adorable. They were badass and could kick some serious butt. It was more of a mature YA book because of that too, there was blood, violence and sex. The sex wasn’t explicit but it was enough to push it to be more mature and there was a decent amount of blood as well.

Team Rhysand
From Redbubble

Now, as for the story, the first book ended quite well in a nice neat package so you don’t have to finish the series I guess as it did finish the book quite well, but there were some things not answered and I just want to see what happens next! And the two teams to choose from; Team Tamlin or Team Rhysand. I don’t know which team I am on yet. I was Team Tamlin, but Rhysand though….

 

I mean this book was just so good and I cannot wait to be able to read the next one. It is a best-seller on Amazon which clearly shows that it is liked by many.

Team Tamlin
From Redbubble

Have any of you lovelies read this series yet? Or just this book? Whose team are you on and did you like the series?

Happy Reading!!!

 

 

 

 

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Riven: My Myth Trilogy, Book 1 [BOOK SPOTLIGHT and INTERVIEW!]

Riven Cover

Imaginative Heroine Uses Fantasy as
Salvation from Abuse in Issue-Driven
YA Psychological Thriller, Riven

Coppell, TX – In Jane Alvey Harris’s award-winning debut psychological thriller, Riven (ISBN 978-1944244163), readers are swept inside the fantasy world created by a teenager who finds the trauma and abuse she has endured to be vastly more than she can handle. The novel is the recipient of the 2016 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards Gold Medal for Best E Book, Young Adult Fiction and the 2016 BookLife Prize in Fiction in the Young Adult category.

Told in the first person, Riven opens with seventeen-year-old Emily in the unenviable position of parenting herself and her younger brothers and sister. Her father is in prison for securities fraud, and her mother is strung out on pain meds. Emily thinks she has her life under control until a few weeks before her dad’s release, when she begins hearing voices. Then Gabe, the attractive lifeguard at the pool, notices strange markings engraved on her arm. Emily doesn’t know what these symbols mean or how they got there. All she knows is that they appeared overnight and are becoming infected.

Filled with anxiety, unable to sleep and driven to self-medicate, Emily’s childhood nightmares begin resurfacing. They are commandeering her consciousness even when she’s awake. The fairytale creatures she created as a little girl insist they need her help.

Triggered by the return of her childhood abuser, unable to cope with reality and desperately in need of refuge, Emily slips completely inside her elaborate fantasy world. She wants to stay here, to lose herself in enchantment and romance, but something sinister lurks in the forest shadows. Before long, Emily discovers her demons have followed her inside her beloved fairytale. They are hunting her.

“I wrote this story to document how victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse often use fantasy as a coping mechanism for their trauma,” said Harris. “I also wanted to show that the essential first step taken by those who wish to thrive in spite of their abuse is self-acceptance.”

Jane Alvey Harris has a humanities degree from Brigham Young University with emphases in art history, Italian, and studio art. She is fascinated with the visual and performing arts and enjoys playing classical piano, painting, sketching, singing, acting, and writing poetry and prose. Nonetheless, her real passion is people; she loves to watch and study human beings. An unabashed dreamer, her favorite activity is to weave together sublime settings and stories for characters to live and learn in, herself included. Jane currently lives in an enchanted fairy-princess castle in Dallas, Texas, with her three often-adorable children and their three seldom-adorable cats.

For more information on the author or Riven, please visit www.JaneAlveyHarris.com.


Q&A with Jane Alvey Harris

Jane Headshot

  1. What inspired you to create Riven and the My Myth Trilogy series?

Honestly, when I began writing Riven, I was just looking for relief. I was struggling through a really dark time in my life and was doing therapy with an amazing counselor who encouraged me to write. I didn’t have a synopsis or even an outline; I was just writing scenes from my head and connecting them together. It took me a couple years to get the first draft out and even longer to realize what the story was really about.

Somewhere in the middle of undoing myself in therapy, the narrative in my writing transformed. It matured from a pretty fairytale to a hard-hitting, issue-driven documentation of a survivor’s journey to make peace with her wounded egos and achieve self-acceptance. It was dark, but it felt important. More than that, in the act of weaving my tale I realized I was laying my hands directly on the tattered pieces of a buried map leading to rich interior landscapes I’d never acknowledged or explored before, because I considered them ugly, worthless, and humiliating.

It was about this time that other people in my life began sharing their long-guarded accounts of abuse with me. I was overwhelmed by sorrow at their suffering, but also inspired by their confidence in me, which helped me understand I wasn’t alone. With the help of my therapist and my editor, who both prompted me to dig deep and tell the real story, I gained new purpose, new confidence. I learned that I was brave, that I was strong. I realized that my writing might actually help others who struggled.

  1. Your main character, Emily, is a seventeen-year-old who finds herself in difficult circumstances. What is her situation in the story and how did she get there?

The story opens at the end of July, the summer before Emily has to repeat junior year of high school. Her dad’s been in prison for ten years, and her mom, a school teacher, becomes increasingly dependent on prescription pain meds. She loses her job and basically stays in bed all day, relying on Emily to parent her two younger brothers and younger sister. Still, Emily thinks she’s got things mostly under control. But as the date for her dad’s release from prison gets closer, Emily’s stress levels increase exponentially. She finds herself unable to cope with her reality and slips into a fantasy world she created as a little girl.

  1. What are the main themes in Riven and how are they developed in the story?

Riven is all about hard hitting social issues, including mental illness, feminism, and rape culture, to name a few. But the main theme is one of self-acceptance. My goals were to illustrate the damage that buried guilt and shame have on the psyche and demonstrate how acknowledging personal truth is the first step in healing from trauma.

  1. There are a number of fantastical elements to Riven, including the imaginary world of the First Realm. What role does fantasy play in the story, and how is important to the development of the book’s characters?

Okay, this is juicy stuff. First, like Emily, many victims of childhood abuse use fantasy to escape a reality they can’t cope with. Not only is it key in the backstory, as a plot device, and in Emily’s growth throughout the book, it also adds layers of depth which engage readers on different levels.

Fantasy keeps the readers on their toes, too. Emily is an unreliable narrator, to say the least. She questions her own sanity, and as her stress increases throughout the first half of the book, she starts to self-medicate. At times, she’s unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality. The reader experiences this fracturing along with her, catching glimpses of the past, and is sometimes plunged into the fantasy First Realm without warning. Ultimately, it’s up to each reader to decide what is really real.

Mixing fantasy elements with gritty contemporary realism also adds action, adventure, and gave me the perfect opportunity to play with some really gorgeous settings. I’m a huge fan of Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. On one hand, fantasy is whimsical and innocent. It lightens some of the darker themes of Riven. On the other hand, juxtaposing the ethereal with horror heightens poignancy of tragedy and psychological distress.

Most importantly, it is through the world of imagination that Emily is able to envision herself as a powerful individual. She creates a Realm where she’s able to accept and forgive herself.

  1. Much of Riven is based on your own real-life experiences. How does your personal story inform the novel and, more-specifically, Emily’s character?

Well, Emily basically has my personality. The book began as a love story to my three children, (Jacob, Aidan, and Claire, who you’ll meet in the book) at a time I was very vulnerable in my life. So, if the strength of the sibling relationships seems super-real, it’s because that’s really them, and Emily is really me. Lots of the dialogue I’ve taken directly from real life. While I don’t claim all of Emily’s experiences, I will say they are true, a combination of stories and experiences which have been shared with me, along with a healthy dose of my dreams and imagination.

  1. Riven deals with serious issues for teens, including abandonment, drug use, cutting, and sexual abuse. How do novels like yours help survivors and supporters with awareness and solutions for these issues?

Issues like these continue to be such a huge problem, because they make people uncomfortable and because they’re difficult to talk about. It’s easy to sweep the topic of childhood sexual abuse, and the many destructive behaviors which result from it, under the rug, because it just isn’t comfortable. The vast majority of survivors never reveal their experiences because of guilt and shame. How can we heal if we hide? My hope is that telling this story will help to normalize people. Not just victims of abuse, but anyone who struggles with negative self-image.

While I wrote Riven to be as entertaining and immersive as possible, my main purpose was to shed light on darkness and ugliness that don’t have to be life sentences of suffering. There is hope. There are resources. There are networks of supporters waiting to help. My dream is that Riven and the My Myth Trilogy will spark discussion and help people heal, while calling the rest of us to action as supporters. If we educate ourselves and abolish buried guilt and shame, we can end the cycle of abuse.

  1. Are you working on the next novel in the series and, if so, what can you tell us about it?

Yes, and I’m SO EXCITED! The second book in the trilogy is called Secret Keeper. While Riven deals with the nature of legitimate victimhood, Secret Keeper is all about what comes next. Self-acceptance is just the very first step in recovery; Emily still has to do all the work of telling her truth in the real world if she wants to protect her siblings. And what happens when you speak that kind of truth? How do people react? How do you stop being a victim? How do you protect yourself from repeating the cycle of abuse? The pendulum swings in the completely opposite direction from victim in Secret Keeper, though not necessarily in a healthy way. There’s a lot of bad-assery afoot. I’m having a blast writing and meeting new characters, and I know readers will love them!