Thursday, February 28, 2013

Justice (Deck of Lies #1)

I was contacted by Varden through my blog for a review request. After reading the synopsis I happily accepted the request. I didn't know then that it would make me fail my philosophy test coming up due to the fact that it was not a book that was easily put down once started (I haven't failed the philosophy test...yet ;).  I was definitely not disappointed. This book quickly grabbed my attention and became impossible to put down. For those reasons, it was a FOUR STAR read.

"Only one thing was clear that night: this was Carsyn von Shelton's fault. She was the one who had just destroyed my entire life with her stupid, mean-spirited prank. And I hated her."

The book is told in Rain's perspective. It is generally in present tense with a few future tense comments from Rain. The future bits were more like a 'wish I'd known then what I know now' type of feel and they always kept the reader hooked and waiting to find out what she knows in the future that she doesn't know during the story. I was rapidly hooked and found it incredibly hard to put the book down finishing the read in less than a day. It starts with Rain attending a new school full of prissy little rich kids. It tells the tale of her struggles to fit in through all the chaos that becomes her life. Without giving too much away, it really is hard to say more about the plot. Just know that it was a fast paced novel that will not disappoint.

The only suggestion I would have for improvement would be to edit more carefully, there were a few spelling errors that were missed. At one point the wrong name was used. The future bits were great but slightly overused. When the reader is already hooked, they were not needed to hook the reader. The errors in the book were not numerous and did not detract from the story greatly. The ending was short, and without reading the prologue provided at the end of the book, I would not be hooked enough to pick up the second book in the series. However, because I did enjoy the book as greatly as I did, personally, I would be picking up the next book regardless.

Overall, it was a great read. As I have stated several times over now, I could not put the book down. It took up a lot of hours that I should have been studying for a philosophy test that I'm not looking forward to. But it was a great escape and tool for procrastination. However, now that it is finished, and the reviews are posted, I guess I really should start reading my philosophy books. Great work Varden. I really enjoyed the read and look forward to future works.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

After Summer by Hannah Harvey

Cover Reveal!

I am so excited to be participating in my first ever cover reveal. What makes it all the more special is that it is of a book that I am looking forward to reading. Given the fact that I have not done one of these before, please be patient with me and feel free to give me your feedback in the comments. 

About the Author:

I will begin by telling you a bit more about the author. Hannah has had a keen interest in writing for a long time, starting out writing short stories when she was young. As she got older she started taking her writing more seriously, and writing longer pieces, but it wasn’t until taking part in and completing NaNoWriMo, that she decided to really pursue her writing. Her first novel ‘How I Got Here’ was released in the summer of 2012. She also keeps a blog so if you want to hear more about Hannah, be sure to follow this link and follow her blog. 

About the New Read and The Cover Reveal:

Now, for the juicy part. The 'all about the book' and let's not forget, the COVER! I must say, I am very impressed, if I were browsing my favourite bookstore and came across this book, the cover would grab my attention and make me want to read more. Lucky for you, I have your one stop shop right here. The cover, the synopsis, an excerpt, and I will be posting links for you to purchase your copy on the release day (which I will also tell you). So let's get started.

A Short Synopsis:

Everything changes for Arianna when she loses one of her best friends in an accident, suddenly everything that felt happy and safe, is no longer there, and she can't handle it.
It used to be Ben, Summer and Arianna, always together, and now it's just Ben and Arianna left, and she needs to escape.
After Summer's death she pushes Ben away, cutting of her connection with who she used to be, but she can't keep running forever, not when the past is always ready to catch her up, especially since it's more than just Summer's death that she's running from.

Now that the book has grabbed your attention, we move on to the excerpt. By the time you are done reading, you will be eager to purchase this new read as soon as possible. I'm already hooked but let's continue shall we?

An Excerpt:

‘Don’t lecture me Ben I can’t deal with that tonight.’
‘I expected more from you.’ He sighs.
‘That’s the whole issue though,’ Arianna shouts, ‘so many people expected so much from me, by the time I was about thirteen my whole life had been mapped out, and I felt like if I changed even one thing, I’d be letting everyone down! I was drowning in expectations. After Summer died I just couldn’t do it anymore, but that Arianna, the one I used to be, she was so tied down by all of that, so I had to become someone new.’
‘And cut everyone out of your life? I know it’s not just me, you hardly talk to Alex anymore, you’re withdrawn around your parents, you don’t talk to my parents anymore, all of your friends were dropped, you don’t talk to Kate, and she says that Fletcher has been trying to contact you but you won’t talk to him either. I don’t understand it, you had a great life and sure I know things weren’t perfect, but you had a support system of friends and family, and you pushed them all away. What’s so horrible about the life you had planned?’
‘Nothing’s horrible about it,’
‘Then just explain to me what you’re doing? Why you’re acting like this prom queen type of girl.’
‘Maybe because I am the prom queen,’ she shrugs noncommittally, ‘I like who I am now, I have a big group of friends, I have money, I don’t have to worry about being labelled a nerd, I actually have a varied social life that consists of more than staying at home, or going to the arcade. I don’t have to care,’
‘About anything,’ he finishes for her, ‘that’s the biggest problem, you used to care about things and people, but now you don’t, or you pretend you don’t.’
‘I didn’t come here to talk about myself, so if this is the way the nights going then I’ll leave now.’ She snaps back angrily.

Wow, trouble in the waters. I'm already wondering why the cut off. What is she running from? Why is it that when Summer dies and leaves Arianna and Ben alone that Arianna cuts Ben out also? So many questions that will be left unanswered until the release of "After Summer". So, when does this book become available, and where? It will be available on Amazon on March 1st, 2013. There you have it, the wait is almost over. But wait, we're forgetting something here. The whole point of a cover reveal is to, well, reveal the cover! So here is the cover of "After Summer" by Hannah Harvey accompanied by a longer synopsis.

The Cover Reveal and Full Synopsis:

After Summer is a young adult fiction novel, set in a fictional beachside small town in America. It centres around Arianna, an eighteen year old who has just graduated high school. All her life Arianna has had a plan in place, but after her best friend Summer dies, she finds it increasingly difficult to live up to the expectations.
She has secrets, and throughout the novels she’s battling between what she wants, and what she thinks others want for her. 
Most of the story is told in third person, though there are a few journal style letters incorporated.

After Summer is a book about discovering who you are, through many trials of growing up. It delves into loss, love, expectations and a fear of asking for help, even when you know you need it.

And there you have it. All you need to get hooked on Hannah's new book that will be available on March 1st, 2013. All that is left for me to say, besides the fact that I can't wait to get my hands on a copy, are the links to connect with Hannah and the links to purchase this amazing read. Thank you so much Hannah for the opportunity to share this cover with the readers of Schwartz Reviews. 

The Links:

Hannah Harvey's Amazon Page - "After Summer" will be listed under her novels after it is released.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What Lies Behind

This book was a great way to relax. It took me a few days to read because I did not want to rush it. I wanted to enjoy it for as long as possible. It was slow paced, which normally I dislike in a book but this time it suited the story well and I found that I didn't mind the slower pace at all. If anything, it made the story all that more precious. I rated it four stars because it was overall a great relaxing read.

The story is told in Lisa's (present day) perspective and in Lillian's (past day) perspective. Lisa is Lillian's grand daughter and is going through some ups and downs in life, just as her grandmother went through in her time. The story ties together nicely and I found myself wanting to know more and more about each of their lives. Lives that were similar, but because of the times lived they were extremely different. Even though they suffer similar situations, the reactions of others to the situations vary greatly simply because of the time that they live. I found myself feeling bad for Lillian and Lisa with what they deal with. In the end, I was very happy with Lisa's decision.

On a personal note, I found it amusing that I showed up in the story. Purely coincidence I'm sure. Somewhere near the end of the book enters Mrs. Schwartz. A few pages later and Lisa is talking to an accountant who was also an aspiring novelist. BAM! There you have it. Me in a nutshell.

The only issue I had with this book was that it ended quickly. I felt that there was more that needed to be said before the story was finished. Other then that though, the story was written well. It was not hard to imagine the world that Hill was painting, and it flowed well for a book that jumps from present to past. I would recommend this book to any reader who enjoys slower paced books. I look forward to more amazing work from Hill, a great writer.
Sunday, February 24, 2013

Touch of Beyond

I should be upfront with you, it will make my review all the more special for Twist. I'll be honest, I normally do not like short stories. I love writing short stories, because...well...they're short. But reading them? I would so much rather a 'never ending series' type books. I fall in love with characters easily and I would rather read about their entire life then have to learn about another character. That being said, this collection of short stories is rated FOUR stars.

I don't want to give too much away about these, because, well, they are short. Anything I say, would detract from what you'll read. So this will be my most vague review ever. I will definitely recommend this book. Which says a lot considering the fact that I don't generally enjoy short stories. Each story in this book is powerful. There are quite a few that I would love the author to continue, not because they were too short, because they weren't. But because the storyline in them were so amazing and unique and have so much potential for a full length novel. Several of the stories are better short. They used every word wisely and the story would either give you chills, or have a lesson.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was creeped out, saddened, laughing, and thoughtful. The author has a power with words and the descriptions were amazing. Normally I would say that the author used too much description, but in this book, it worked. The only complaint I would have were that some of the sentences ran on forever. They could have been broken into a couple of sentences instead. That being said, it was a minuscule problem that did not detract from the power of these stories. I will be recommending this book to any reader I come across. There is something in this book for everyone. Good job Twist, you wrote a book of short stories that everyone, even people who dislike short stories, is sure to enjoy.
Friday, February 22, 2013

Upcoming Cover Reveal

I am excited to say that I will be taking part on my first ever cover reveal! My only worries is that I won't do the author enough justice. Hannah Harvey is revealing the cover of her 'After Summer' book on February 27th and she has allowed me the privilege of participating. Her new book will be released on March 1st and I will definitely be picking it up and reviewing it here. Her first novel was released last summer and is titled 'How I Got Here'. Her work is amazing and I look forward to telling you more about her newest release on February 27th. Stay tuned.
Thursday, February 21, 2013

Games of Fate

I just finished reading this book and I can tell you that it will be highly recommended from me. This is an author to keep your eye on. The power of her words will take you on an amazing adventure of fates, shifters, and burners with some tasteful romance to keep you glued to the pages. I could not put this book down for the life of me and through it all I was cheering encouragement to Rysa and Ladon to defeat the evil and allow their emotions to fully develop. I was not disappointed in the least which is why I chose to rate this as a five star read.

Rysa begins her journey without any knowledge of who she truly is and the power she can potentially hold.
She meets Ladon and his dragon in a time of need and the three of them fight against all odds to beat back the evil that holds Rysa and threatens to destroy them all. The book played easily with my emotions making me angry at any character fighting against them, happy when they finally accepted to fight together as one, and ALMOST...ok, it brought me to tears when Rysa's mother spoke her riddles of forgiveness. It made me laugh when Rysa ponders what she wishes her future could be, her white picket fence and Ladon and Dragon by her side for always. As I turned the last pages I was holding my breath through fear and worry for the characters that I fell in love with throughout the pages. This book held me captive until I flipped the last page.

I am looking forward to the next book in the series. Not because the story ended with a cliff hanger, because this book can easily stand alone, but because I love the authors style of writing and am eager to fall captive to another one of her books. My only suggestion to the author for the next series is to have a dictionary of new terms within her pages to allow the reader more knowledge of the history of specific breeds within the book. Amazing work Radcliffe, you have stolen a place among my favourite authors.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The White Swan

I was offered the opportunity to read this book in order to give it my honest review for Morrison. I found that the story was a great storyline, however it lacked some development and had a few spelling errors and typos. All in all, I would rate it four stars.

It begins by introducing you to Johnny, a psychic entertainer. He is eventually approached by a family who is seeking answers for an unsolved murder of a loved one. I was hooked within the first few chapters and raced to the end to discover who-done-it. It was a great mystery read. It put me in a little bit of an awkward position as I usually find myself rooting for the main character to succeed in the novels I read. This book however, the main character (Johnny) is a fraud. While he can read people, he is in no way a psychic. Even though he is a shady character, I was still rooting for him to succeed and solve the murder mystery.

The author did a wonderful job with this book and my only suggestion would be to edit carefully. Some sentences ran on too long, and the book is thick with descriptions that aren't always needed. That all being said, I still really enjoyed the story and would recommend this book to any mystery lovers. Great job Morrison!
Tuesday, February 19, 2013

S'Wanee: A Paranoid Thriller

I stumbled upon this book from my group in goodreads. Winston was looking for reviews for this self published masterpiece. I gladly took him up on his offer since the synopsis really peaked my interest. I began reading and it kept me up hours later then I usually stay up for, rough morning the next day did not stop me from reading for hours on end until I had finally devoured the book entirely. The fact that I had such a hard time putting this book down, and the fact that I was completely interested throughout the whole book, is the reason I have no choice but to rate this with five stars.

My only complaint with this book was that there was too much description at times. That being said, this book was still amazing. It is a story about Cody, a high school student on his way to university. He has it all planned out until mysteriously an offer from S'Wanee makes him question his plans. Eventually he ends up registering for S'Wanee and begins his freshman year on the beautiful grounds of S'wanee. It begins slowly, and gives you time to get to know several other characters and Cody's routines. All of a sudden everything goes haywire and the mystery begins. It kept me on my toes and guessing the entire time. It made me laugh, it made me frustrated, and it made me constantly question Cody's surroundings.

I was not expecting the ending and I would have loved to see something different happen. However, the ending was still great and the storyline flowed smoothly to make it all acceptable.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I WILL be recommending this book to any mystery, thriller, and adventure readers. Great book Winston!
Sunday, February 17, 2013

Prolusio: a FIVE star read

I was offered the opportunity to read and review this book by the author. Am I ever glad I accepted! I honestly loved these short stories. My only issue with this book is this: I want to read MORE! That being said, I have to rate this five stars. There really wasn't anything that detracted from the authors story in this book. It was worth the short read.

The first story was about a fallen pop star reaching for the stars again. Until he crosses path with disaster. It kept me on my toes throughout the story, and left me wanting more. I really wish that Radcliffe will continue where she left off with this one, it was exactly the type of supernatural story that I love reading.

The second story was possibly a little too short. I didn't quite understand what was going on until the very end, and even then I was left scratching my head a little bit.

The third story, was awesome! I loved it, the descriptions made it as if I were standing huddled in the corner watching the whole thing take place. I was slightly grossed out with the whole blob in the cup thing, but I got over it. I'm excited that Radcliffe has chosen to continue the third story in another book, which by the way, I will be reading and reviewing as well.

All in all, it was a great short read. I would recommend this to anyone interested in supernatural reads. Or if anyone is looking to just sit for an hour and read a few short stories, this is a book to pick up for sure!

Thank-you Radcliffe for the opportunity to read and review your work. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

The Secret (Includes Spoilers)

I had to include some spoilers because they got my emotions jumping and I had to write about it, feel free to skip this review if you don't want to see the spoilers.

After reading and reviewing the first book in this series (It's All Coming Back to Me Now) for the author, Whitmore gave me a copy of this book to review as well. I really enjoyed this short story, which explains the five stars I am giving it. There were some spelling errors and some typos that were over looked, but they were few and far between and did not detract from the story whatsoever.

I was shocked to discover that Latrease had an identical twin sister, who just shows up in the beginning of the book. The story was well developed though and it all was wrote so smoothly that it was easily accepted. I have read a LOT of books with twins, and I was praying that Whitmore did not do the whole 'one twin tricks the other twins love interest into bed' thing. My prayers were not answered though because that is exactly what happens in this story. That being said, even though I was slightly disappointed that the author used such a common storyline, it still worked well in THIS story. It made sense and it was one of the greatest conflicts that the couple had to face.

Throughout the whole story I was arguing with Latrease (rather I was arguing with myself over how I wanted Latrease to behave). I found that she jumps to conclusions rather quickly, and nine times out of ten, she'd jump to the wrong conclusion. Randy (the male interest) was such a sweet guy and I fell in love with him instantly and wanted it to work out between the two of them. I was rooting for them until the very end. Well, until the second last sentence anyway.

Spoiler alert, don't read any further if you don't want the ending ruined.

[ LATREASE NEVER HAD AMNESIA? That is where I hit the roof. The last line of the book. She tells Randy that she never had amnesia while Randy is throwing himself at her and begging to give their marriage a shot. If there is a third book for this storyline, I would LOVE to see Randy stand up, and WALK AWAY! Let Latrease beg for Randy. Let Latrease go through all the trials that Randy THOUGHT he was facing to get the love of his life back. Let Latrease do all the hard work and do NOT make it easy for her. Randy was awesome! And I'm left thinking that Latrease is not right in the head. ]

All in all, five stars for a great read. It got MY emotions flared in the ending and had me instantly messaging the author with the question of whether or not there was a third book in the series. I would recommend this read for anyone who enjoys romance stories. I honestly loved this series. Great work Whitmore!
Saturday, February 16, 2013

Idol Hands Review

I had the privilege of reading this book to review it for the author. I say privilege because I really enjoyed this read. I had a few issues with it, which is why I have rated it four stars out of five.

It is written in diary form, which at first I found annoying but it didn't take long for it to grow on me. I honestly think that the story would not have been as good if it wasn't in diary format, a lot would have been missed, or too much description would have been added that really was not needed. So the diary format really worked for this story.

Tara, a woman in her thirties, goes on quite the adventure. Some thoughts in the diary were repeated a little too often, which annoyed me. I started to get annoyed every time she would talk about the lesser known guards and how they would take advantage of their job. I found that the back story, her relationship with Aiden, was often lacking the answers I wanted to hear. I wrote that up to the fact that because it was in diary format we were only getting one side of the story. I got most of the answers I wanted in the end though, I just had to be patient.

I honestly felt bad for Tara. I found myself rooting for her through all of her trials and just hoping that she would succeed. When her travels were good, I wanted her to stick it out there for a bit. Just live in the moments, but like her, I became restless and wanted her to continue. I did feel bad for Gil, I thought that he at least deserved a letter explaining the situation or some form of contact information to be exchanged so that she could find him again in the future, even if to just continue their friendship.

Here's where I spoil things so be warned. The ending is shocking, however, it wasn't something that I didn't see coming.  During her time in Philadelphia when she first started to get the massive migraines that would set her back sometimes days at a time from her quest I began to think that maybe this whole thing was in her head. I began to think that she could have some form of a brain tumour or something along those lines that would potentially cause her to lose touch with reality. I did not predict the murder of her husband, Steve, before her journey began. That was a shock. And I didn't predict the attack on Aiden. However, after seeing the 'love of her life' with another woman, in her head, the anger was justified.

I would have liked more answers in the end, through the blog entries and news clips. However, I choose to believe that she was not as crazy as they made her out to be. I believe she was honest throughout her journey and that her switch flipped only with what she saw when she finally reached her beloved Aiden.

Some technical errors throughout the read, some spelling errors and typos. However, with all the text, they were very few and far between. Desperate times cause for desperate measures, some measures that were difficult to read, but somehow even harder to put down. All in all, it was a great story, an amazing read, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for some sort of mystery, self exploration journey read. Great job Hill!
Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's All Coming Back to Me Now

I was asked by the author of this book to give an honest review. I honestly thought that this was a great story. There were a few things that should have been edited more thoroughly, but all in all, I give it 4 stars.

Latrease is a 21 year old who is in love with a man, Randy, who is non-committal. We've all met that guy who just does not want to stop playing the game, but one day, it just sneaks up on Randy and he doesn't even realize that he has been benched. He only has eyes for Latrease. It worries him and he fights it for a while, which causes Latrease to go through some intense emotions which eventually cause her to begin her journey.

It was so nice to finally read a nice short love story that was not all about sex. To just curl up in my bed and just read a romance. I thought that the story was great. However, there were several typos and grammatical errors that were overlooked during the editing process. Near the end of the book there was a reoccurring dream that the author chose to repeat word for word at least three times (I say at least because I eventually skipped the dreams completely) that should have been worded differently to keep the reader reading.  I would have liked to seen Latrease be more confident rather then insecure. I also did not like the way Randy made his four year old son lie to Latrease. As a parent, that just rubbed me the wrong way.

That being said, I would still give it 4 stars because those errors were small, and the story really was great. I would recommend this book to any romance readers out there just looking for a short and satisfying read. Great work Whitmore!
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