Book Review: The Gaiad

the-gaiad

In a society increasingly buried under the weight of its own insularity, an ancient and shadowy group selfishly guards a secret with the power to change everything. Tonight, on a stage in front of thousands, one of their members commits a horrible, shocking act. In the audience is Detective Fleur Romano. Bitter and world-weary, she vows to uncover the reasons behind the horror she just witnessed. In the process, she’ll discover that she’s led her lonely life ignorant a fundamental truth, a truth first discovered by a man who walked the earth millennia ago, a man mysteriously familiar.

In this powerful debut, William Burcher is willing to explore unique and fantastic themes with realism and grit. The GAIAD boldly poses big questions. What do we lose, as we separate ourselves from the earth and each other? What would the future hold, if suddenly something changed with that most fundamental of relationships—the one we have with our own planet?

Three Stars

three-stars

An original storyline based on a big idea.

The Gaiad’s intriguing premise is what brought me to it after meeting the author at a local writer’s event. Burcher tackles big, societal questions and challenges how we might think about our planet and our relationship with it through the eyes of a somewhat jaded police detective, the secret society she is about to come in violent contact with, and members of a civilization who lived their lives in a much simpler way that was more in harmony with the earth and her gifts.

Overall the writing is good. There were some awkward sentence structure issues and a couple of sudden instances of profanity that didn’t seem to mesh smoothly with the general theme and plot to me. Especially when uttered by the ancient people in the book. No, I’m not some prude who can’t handle a little profanity. This is where the three stars come in. The Gaiad is a good book with a great plot. The few things that pulled me out of the book were not nearly enough for a sub-par rating.

If you’re into alternative philosophies, thrillers, mysteries, and secret societies, I would encourage you to give this book a read.

Remember, just because this book wasn’t quite my cup of tea with crumpets on a beautiful spring day in an English garden, doesn’t mean it’s not yours. As it goes with any book, if it sounds interesting to you READ IT! Then help the author out and kindly REVIEW IT! Reviews are critical to any writer’s success.

If you’ve read The Gaiad, feel free to let me know what you thought. Let’s discuss.

 

 

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Book Review: Waking Hearts by Elizabeth Hunter

Getting an advanced copy of a book by Elizabeth Hunter is like getting a really good early Christmas present. Waking Hearts was just that kind of gift. The Cambio Springs series works so well because the paranormal elements are grounded in plenty of real life. Important real life stuff like heartache, incredible loyalty, family, friendship and cooperation in a small town where everyone looks out for one another. Oh, and of course the best part…love.

One of the things I loved best about Waking Hearts is that it’s centered on a single mom of four, count ‘em, four kids! She’s harried, she’s stressed, she’s a hot mess, and yet she is a rock. Life turned upside down, and in the middle of a controversial mystery with bad guys hunting her and her children she never loses sight of what’s important. Even when she finds out about her long-term friend’s true feelings for her. Feelings he’s carried since they were kids but never had the guts to reveal.

Until now.

Ollie knows that Allie is the only one for him. He knows this is his shot. He would do anything for Allie, including not hesitating in taking her entire family into his home to protect them. We have a real, genuine hero here. The kind of man that backs up what he says. The kind of guy that isn’t taking Allie’s four kids as her baggage but genuinely loves them and cares for them and her. How much bigger can a hero get?

The next thing that’s great about this book is the way that Allie’s friends and community rally around her. Truly, everyone in Cambio Springs is family and they take care of their own, whether they turn into snakes, bears, wolves, big cats, other people or nothing at all, doesn’t matter. This community is tight in all the right ways.

Wondering about the romance? Don’t worry, I didn’t forget. Think you can’t find time for romance when four kids are part of the package? Think again. Where there’s a will there’s a way. Not only do Allie and Ollie find time to be alone together, but when they do, the sparks are even hotter.

You might want to get ready to read this one in one sitting because you probably won’t want to put it down until it’s done. Elizabeth Hunter weaves the kind of compelling story that may actually leave you somewhat breathless at times and with a warm sensation somewhere in the vicinity of your heart.

Go to Elizabeth Hunter’s website for more information on Waking Hearts, the rest of the Cambio Springs series and Elizabeth Hunters other books. You can preorder Waking Hearts right now and it’s out tomorrow, November 24th.

Book Review: The Scarlet Deep

The Scarlet Deep

On the waves of the North Atlantic, a poison spreads, sapping the life from humans and striking madness into immortals.

Patrick Murphy, the immortal leader of Dublin, has been trying to stem the tide of Elixir washing into his territory, but nothing seems to stop the vampire drug. While others in the immortal world work to cure the creeping insanity that Elixir threatens, Murphy has been invited to London to join a summit of leaders hoping to discover who is shipping the drug. If Murphy and his allies can cut off the supply, they might be able to halt the spread long enough for a treatment to be found for the humans and vampires infected.

Anne O’Dea, Murphy’s former lover, retreated from public life over one hundred years ago to help immortals in need… and to heal her own broken heart. Though powerful connections keep her insulated from the violence of vampire politics, even Anne is starting to feel the effects of Elixir on her isolated world. The human blood supply has been tainted, and with Anne’s unique needs, even those closest to her might be in danger. Not just from infection, but Anne’s escalating bloodlust.

When Anne and Murphy are both called to London, they’re forced to confront a connection as immortal as they are. As they search for a traitor among allies, they must also come to terms with their past. Behind the safe facade of politics, old hungers still burn, even as an ancient power threatens the fate of the Elemental World.

From paranormal romance/romance writer Elizabeth Hunter, author of the Elemental Mysteries, Irin Chronicles, and Cambio Springs series comes the latest installment in the Elemental World series. I’m so thrilled to have been selected to receive an unconditional Advanced Reader Copy of The Scarlet Deep.

Elizabeth Hunter’s Elemental World is dark, dreamy, action packed and pretty damned steamy. Romance vampire style is serious business, even after 100 years of separation, but I get ahead of myself.

First, I will say that although the book is entertaining by itself, you will get much deeper satisfaction out of it if you read the Elemental Mysteries and the first two books in the Elemental World series. Go ahead. I will still be here. And if you’re a paranormal romance fan, you won’t be sorry. If you’ve been waiting for The Scarlet Deep, you have not been waiting in vain.

Okay, now that you’re prepared. Guess what? Chaos, doom, mystery, political intrigue, broken-furniture-love-making, sass, and maybe even a few tears are in store. That’s vampires for you. Never a dull moment…except when they’re sleeping…then they’re like….dead.

Elizabeth Hunter’s writing has a way of worming it’s way into your brain and pulling you into the story. Her books are the kind that you set down (if you can set it down before devouring the whole thing in one sitting) and feel like you’ve suddenly surfaced from another dimension, another world. It takes a minute to focus on reality, shake off the vivid elemental world, and remember when you last ate. This book is no different and when you finish, you’re already trying to figure out how to get your hands on the next book.

Like Elixir, these books are addictive and The Scarlet Deep is no exception. Vibrant writing, compelling characters, and an imaginative and yet coherent story give The Scarlet Deep and Hunter’s other books an otherworldly believeability that will hold on to you and not let go.

It’s a good thing books don’t have calories because after being introduced to the sassy Anne O’Dea and the magnetic scoundrel, Patrick Murphy sparks are going to fly and you’re probably going to be doing some binge-reading.

Look for The Scarlet Deep on retail book sites like amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. Pre-ordering is open and the book is set to release July 7, 2015.

Feel free to let me know what you thought of The Scarlet Deep by commenting below, even if you don’t agree with my opinion.

Book Review: All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

I know, this one’s been around for a while and I’m a little late.

All the light we cannot See garnered a Pulitzer Prize for New York Times Bestselling author Anthony Doerr. It’s not his first award, but it may be the most recognizable. My feelings about this book are <dramatic pause> complicated.

On the one hand I can appreciate it for the Pulitzer Prize winning novel that it is. On the other hand I found it a little tedious. So let’s get a few preliminary things out of the way. First, I avoided reading any reviews or opinions about this novel before I read it. I didn’t want any preconceived notions going in. Second, historical novels, especially those set in the middle of a war are not really my cup of tea. Third, I’m not a very patient person when it comes to getting to the point. That being said, I still appreciate it for what it is, a beautiful work of art in the form of words.

The story is about a blind French girl fleeing the war and a German boy drafted into the ranks of the German Nazi army. The convergence of their paths in occupied France is heartbreakingly beautiful as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Despite her blindness, 14-year-old Marie Laure lives in a world with rich and vibrant colors provided by her other senses and her glorious imagination. Her father nurtures her curiosity and builds up her independence every chance he gets. He tries to save her from the ravages of WWII by taking her to her great uncle’s house in the seaside city of Saint-Malo. Her father tries to protect her and help her understand her new surroundings. In the process, he is taken prisoner by the Germans. Losing the people who support her one by one, Marie does her best to survive the hardships of war as it inexorably marches toward her.  Then there’s her father’s secret that she must keep safe, but should she?

Werner is an orphan recruited into a brutal branch of the Hitler youth army and torn from his only family, his sister. His childhood obsession with radios and other gadgets attracts the attention of a German engineer at the Nazi youth school. Soon he is out in the field tracking down forbidden radio signals all over Russia and Europe, which leads him to Saint-Malo where his world collides with Marie’s in the middle of the occupation of the city by German forces followed by its liberation by allied forces. Yet Werner’s punishing training never destroys the tenderness in his heart, perhaps causing him some extra pain.

I said that historical war stories are really not my thing whether fictional or not. However, I would still maintain that this one is heartbreakingly beautiful. Although the story jumps between characters and flashbacks at break-neck speed, I was usually able to follow fairly easily. The couple of times I was lost for a moment I kind of felt like it added to the tumultuous times I was reading about and caused me to sympathize. Especially with Marie.

Some have spoken about this book being full of “purple prose”, that is to say, ornate and extravagantly overly descriptive writing. In general, that may be true and a no, no for writers. BUT in this case, I think it works. All the Light We Cannot See couples beautifully flowing, vibrant, and colorful writing against the stark, chilling, and gruesome background of WWII in a way that is compelling and full of emotion. If no one ever broke the rules, we’d never know what freedom can feel like. The statement applies to life as much as it does to writing. The trick is, knowing when and how to do it.

I thought I’d be glad when this book was over. Yet in the end, it was one of those stories that left a kind of aching emptiness in its wake.

5/5 Stars
5/5 Stars for beauty and character