Review: Block 24 by Evan Tyler

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“Natalie Clarke might be spiteful at best and vicious at worst, but was that reason enough for Phillip Gise to leave her lonely and diseased? Fortunately, she has a set of devious plans that just might keep her busy enough to forget her present situation.

Julia Clarke, Natalie’s younger sister, has arrived in Brooklyn to uncover their grandmother’s secret life in Block 24, the site of Auschwitz’s little-known brothel. What Julia discovers proves more relevant in the present age than ever before.
Both heady and sobering, Block 24 is a look at the ways evil from the past can so insidiously visit the present.”

The Good: If you have read Evan Tyler’s previous work, you will definitely be able to recognize her style. Block 24 is brilliantly written, combining historical fiction within a contemporary story. A work of art if you will. Tyler weaves three story lines into one, giving the reader a omniscient view of all the characters with a third-person narrative. This author’s style is truly defined in this novel and I only have praise for Evan Tyler.

The Bad: Expect some graphic mental images. Like I mentioned before, we get a glimpse of history in this novel and Evan Tyler’s writing will transport you to a very grim Nazi era, specifically to the concentration camps in Auschwitz, where Polish Jews were at the mercy (or lack of) the Nazi guard unit Schutz-Staffel (SS).

The Ugly: Absolutely nothing. Evan’s writing is nearly flawless. While I find her writing very descriptive, it never slows the flow. This is a true contemporary fiction, and while there is an element of romance, it doesn’t have a romance-driven plot, so just a word of caution for my GoodReads friends and followers.

ARC provided by the author for a honest review. Get your copy now at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

This review is part of Block 24 blog tour. Make sure to check the following link for a fantastic giveaway!

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Special Review: The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard

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Allison O’Malley lives at home with her single-mother Elizabeth, and Elizabeth’s parents. Quickly after Allison was born, Elizabeth’s mind started to deteriorate without much explanation. Elizabeth’s parents took both Elizabeth and Allison and became Elizabeth’s main caretakers.
Allison has grown in a small community with plenty of family around. Her cousin Nicole has always been like a sister, the popular one. Allison has always been a little bit of a recluse but she has been noticed by the local boys. Especially Ethan, who she happens to have noticed for quite some time too. Allison decides to take some interest in Ethan when a random young guy shows up at her grandparent’s house asking for her mother. Allison is confused at first but quickly recognition takes place. The man asking for her mother is the same man that she has seen in pictures, the man that broke her mother’s heart.
With him, Liam has brought hope for Elizabeth, but before he can see her again he has to take care of the problem he left behind and that has kept him away for the last 22 years.

Laura Howard makes a great debut as a New Adult genre writer. The Forgotten Ones is the first book in a series that will appeal to several readers. From YA, to paranormal, from romance to fantasy readers, The Forgotten Ones is a quick paced story about the legends of the Tuatha de Danaan, an Irish ancient tribe that has been somewhat forgotten. Get ready to delve into a magical story, an enchanted world where not everything is as it seems and that will only leave you wanting for more.

This Novel released early on May 1st. Get your copy at Amazon!

Spotlight: On The Island by Tracy Garvis-Graves

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Here is this month’s spotlight! I read On The Island last summer when it was self-published. This book reminded me of one of my favorite movies of all time: Tom Hank’s “Cast Away.” As I began to read the story I was not immediately tuned to it, since I had not read the synopsis and I didn’t connect with the main characters right away. I thought the beginning was a little rough but that only lasted a chapter or two. You absolutely have to check this story. I really felt like the body of the book was amazing. I remember I thought the ending was a little weak but I still thought this book was one of the BEST reads of 2012.
Again, do yourself a favor and check this out out. It is risky, thought-provoking, absolutely incredible story dealing with a lot of issues from everyday survival to defying morality.

Review Request: A Happy Accident by Evan Tyler

 

happy accident Before starting this review I was trying to put my thoughts in order so I can better explain my rating. I loved this story despite there is no happy ending.

First off, I have to address the third person narrative. While this style gives a lot of flexibility to the writer, the story usually focuses on one story line. In this case, we have a few stories being told. While “A Happy Accident” mainly focuses on the two main characters -Kindle and Bobby- the reader gets a taste of a subsequent main character.

I found Kindle to be a strong and smart young woman. While damaged in many ways, her heart is not beyond repair. When Bobby meets Kindle, he comes into her life unexpected and full of surprises. Bobby is a young soul idealist, always following his ever-growing heart. A talented musician living in the moment, Bobby has found his muse, but his new found love comes with a high price tag: The price of sacrifice.

Kindle and Bobby’s love story is short lived but with a big dose of consequence. The book sets around that short period of time as foundation for what’s yet to come. This story will grab you from beginning to end, leaving you wishing for more. The author is a great story teller and I’m looking forward to the continuation of this story.

This full review was requested by the author. Copy provided by author. Check it out on Amazon!

Favorite: The Bronze Horseman Series by Paullina Simons

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Last August a lot of friends that I interact with on Facebook recommended this book series to me. I am going to be honest here, I was very worried that it was a Historical Romance, which always equals to lengthy, factual and sometimes distracting secondary plots. In fact, I wasn’t wrong about my judgment, but the time that you spend reading these books will be no match for the time you will wish you had to dedicate to this story. When I finished reading I didn’t want them to end. I am still struggling and can’t move on. Soon I will be back with individual reviews. In the mean time, do yourself a favor and check this series out. You won’t regret it.

Review: True Love Story by Willow Aster

17166702“Before Sparrow Fisher moves to New York City, she meets Ian Sterling, a musician Sparrow has dreamed about since she first saw him. The attraction is instant, but their relationship isn’t so simple. Over a five year span, Sparrow and Ian run into each other in unusual places. Each time, Sparrow has to decide if she can trust him, if he feels the same for her, and finally, if love is really enough.”

The Good: I really loved the plot and the character development in this story. Sparrow, the main character is funny and very likable. I think the reader can easily relate to her and her struggles. The plot is quite different and I was pleasantly surprised with a few of the twists. Warning, this story made me cry ugly tears a few times.

The Bad: Because of the synopsis I thought we would be seeing more of the main character’s struggle with a conservative family, but once I read past the first few chapters I noticed that her parents were actually quite relaxed for being preachers. Willow is a good kid and she has morals, but she doesn’t really play the goody-two shoes part. I just thought it was a little deceiving (reason #749 why I hate reading synopses) and I made a mental note on that. I wasn’t sure if she was just out of character or if that’s how the author intended it to be.

The Ugly: Besides the ugly tears you will be shedding with this book, there’s nothing else I can say about it. I enjoyed the story very much and had a hard time getting into another book for a couple of days after finishing up the ARC that I receive from the author.

Release day is February 19th. Mark your calendars!

ETA: Released early. Get your copy today on Amazon

Spotlight: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

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“Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…”

I have decided to start spotlighting some of the books that I read last year, and I didn’t get a chance to write a review for. Hopeless came out sometime before Christmas time and I just recently noticed that I never got around to review it. Sadly I feel it’s too late for me to give a honest review now, since it has been a long time since I read it, and while I remember loving the story, I don’t remember enough detail to do it justice.

All I wanted to say is that I loved the story. I recommended the story to all my friends and they all have loved it. If you have not read it, do yourself a favor and get your own copy. You will want to read this book again and again. I know I will when I have a little more time, maybe this summer!

Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Review: Destined To Change by Lisa Harley

17182066 “Loralei Harper’s destiny was determined before her birth. It was very simple. She was expected to graduate from high school, marry Declan Sharp, and have two kids. She would stay at home with them, while her husband worked on the family farm. But the funny thing about destiny is…it can change in the blink of an eye.”

The Good: Great character development. I have to give props to the author because even though this is not my type of book, I was able to enjoy the plot and I found the characters to be likable and believable. This is a country love story, with a bit of conflict and heartbreak.

The Bad: While this is not exclusive to this novel, I have to mention that I felt like there was more to the story that needed to be told. At some points I felt like the characters wanted to say more but couldn’t. This specific reason is why I rated character development higher than everything else. I made the connection with the character and felt like the author censored certain parts to move on with the story.

The Ugly: Subplots needed more development and I wish we could have seen more of some of the characters mentioned at the beginning of the book. In general I just missed the few characters that we met in the first few chapters. Not a deal breaker though.

Overall this book is a nice read for a debut novel. Available on Valentines Day 2013 on ebook through Amazon.

Review: Insanity by Lauren Hammond

13557662“Adelaide’s mother abandoned her when she was ten years old, leaving her to be raised by her abusive and alcoholic father. Damien on the other hand came from a wealthy family, was a local celebrity, and seemed to have a bright future ahead of him. Despite their differences, Adelaide and Damien were young, wild, and fiercely in love. And they had a plan. They were going to run away.”

The Good: The writing style was excellent. I had received a warning about this story from friends that recommended the series to me, so from the moment I started reading I was paying extra attention to the way the writer wanted the story to be told. Mrs. Hammond didn’t disappoint. I was able to immerse in the (crazy) world of Adelaide and try to differentiate what was true and what seemed true. This book is called insanity for a reason and readers will be left wondering about their own sanity.

The Bad: The plot, while not complicated, it is a bit confusing. Even while that was the intent, I think it was a little over done. Sometimes the main character’s banter was repetitive and while the character development was good, I just couldn’t connect with the characters themselves. I obviously sided with the main character as she’s the narrator but she lacked charisma and I concluded that she is indeed mentally disturbed.

The Ugly: This trilogy is on hold, the third book has been pushed back several times and I will hold on until the final installment is out before I read the second book. Readers have to be in the right mind-set to enjoy this story. While the mystery is great, the romance is rather weak.

Overall a very interesting read with great ratings from other readers. Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Review: Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

cover23350-medium “Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He’s exacting, blunt, inconsiderate—and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.”

The Good: This was a quick, fun read and I personally liked the character development. Also the writing was casual and entertaining which should appeal to any reader looking for a short fun story.

The Bad: As some of you may know, this story used to be a Twilight fan-fiction. Once upon a time (not too long ago) I would have passed on it, but I was interested in reading this story because it went straight from fan-fiction to a traditional publisher. I figured, if a publisher deems it good enough, then it must be. I think my expectations were greater because of it. In general I felt it lacked substance.

The Ugly: It needs more plot. The characters were really well done but the story was shallow. I would have loved to see a subplot or more conflict. The story left me unsatisfied.

Credit: Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC. This book will be available tomorrow February 12th at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.