Image Map Image Map

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Anomaly by Wendy Joyce Review

2/5 Stars
Details of the Book
paperback, 514 pages
Published by Capital Electronic Reporting
Published on March 8, 2013
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository |

Synopsis as taken from A tale of Haven and Hades, of watchful Guides and transmigrating Souls, and of the little, green Soul, from the Order of Agitators, who derails them all. 

Narrated from both sides of life, The Anomaly presents an alternate reality, a dimension where every Person is a Player, where every Player is a reincarnated Soul, and where every Soul is a patron of either Haven or Hades... except Zia. 

Chilkoot Pass, Alaska 1898. From Zia's lies come a disastrous ripple effect; her 10th life ends, the paths of four others skew, and the cord to humanity's future shifts. Haven and Hades ignite into war. Across celestial and physical planes, Hades sends their most ruthless Soul--Triite, Order of Persuaders--to track, target, and coerce Zia. While fighting Hades' plots to claim or destroy her, Haven discovers a paradox within Zia's Soul--a devastating paradox. For Haven to have any chance of regaining the cord in the 21st Century, they must first win another battle--a battle of wits, wisdom, and strategies to redeem the irrepressible prankster, practiced opportunist, artful liar Zia.

Thank you to the author Wendy Joyce for sending me a paperback copy of The Anomaly in exchange for an honest review.

This is a book about souls that get reincarnated into different "players" (humans) in order to decide who has more influence over the universe, "One" (God) or "BeezleNiine" (The Devil). This book seemed like it was meant for teenagers and young adults to be able to relate to. However in my opinion, it read like an adult writing what she thinks teenagers and young adults are like. I'll expand on this when I talk about the character Zia later in the review. Admittedly, I had a hard time getting through this book because it was just so long, and there were so many details that in the end seemed inconsequential. It was only towards the last third of the book where everything seemed to fall into place and finally make sense.


1) I really liked all of the characters in this novel. Particularly, I loved Spaghetti-man. For those of you who decide to read this book, you'll know who I'm talking about.

2) After Book III, I felt that the entire story really started to pick up and become interesting. The plot flowed better and almost everything made sense.

3) I really appreciated the fact that justice was served in the book's conclusion. Too often, the "bad guys" are romanticized and redeemed in the end.


1) In the beginning, this book had a lot of details. These details described the Orders and Divisions of Haven. Although there is a list on the first page, the reader gets no real explanation until after approximately 100 pages into the book and even then, the explanations can only be inferred since the descriptions are written as if the reader should already know. I don't know how many readers (no matter how dedicated) would want to read over 100 pages before getting some sense of all the details that are thrown at them in the beginning of a book. And to be honest, if asked, I couldn't explain to anyone what was so important about the Neutral Point, what a Dyad is, or how it's decided what division souls end up (except the obvious ones like Order of Agitators and Order of Persuaders).

2) The book is written from both first and third person POV. While in the Zia's (the protagonist) point-of-view, the writing was in first-person, but when switched over to any of the other characters, it was written in third-person. This made it very confusing to differentiate whose point-of-view I was reading from.

3) All the sound effects were written out. If someone was humming, the humming itself was written out. Yelling, slamming, purring, flying, were all written like "IIEEEE" or "BAMM" or "WHOOSH" or "Grrgrrgrr." Despite the fact that most of the novel was written using very sophisticated diction, I felt that these sound effects just didn't fit. They just came off sounding childish and awkward.

4) Generally, I don't make a habit of commenting about the physical appearance of a book (with the whole "don't judge a book by its cover" and all) but in this case, the way it looked affected my experience as a reader. The book is 499 pages long, so I can only assume that this was done in an ill-attempt to make the book shorter. However there is no line spacing, and so everything is all smashed together.

5) This book was far too long, and at the same time somehow felt too crammed to include the overwhelming amount of information that was divulged. For an example, imagine if J.K. Rowling crammed all of the Harry Potter books into one huge novel--it would simply be too much information, too many characters, and too many details, especially if you're going to go to such an intense level of world-building. Therefore I would have preferred if the author had split this book into a trilogy, so that there would be more room for explanation and detail to the plot. I felt that Book I and Book II were so rushed that I could not get attached to any of the characters until I reached Book III. If I wasn't reviewing this book and I had simply picked it up on a whim, I would have stopped reading before reaching Book II.

6) It's imperative for the characters to develop their own distinctive voices and personalities, but often it was only by their names that I could really tell them apart. More specifically, there were two characters whose manner of speaking was too similar to one another: Zia, and Carly. When talking, both would go on and on, jumping from one tangent to another, often with tones that were tense and loud. In addition, all the men in this book sounded too similar, perhaps with the exception of Fikus and his father.

7) There was a lot of man-hating in this book. I understand why Zia, a female soul, hated being sent to live as a male (though I don't recall any real explanation as to why she wasn't allowed a female body) but the things that were said about the male gender were pretty harsh in general. Here are a few examples:

"'And it's all your fault, Mr. Perriman, because that's what all men do. All men. They marry beautiful young girls whose tender bodies can be claimed, soiled, and imprisoned by the man's planted seed. "Cook for me, clean for me, bear my children," until her beauty is spent, her lot is servitude, and her desires match those of a mongrel dog yearning for a master's approval and attention. And then, Mr. Perriman, what do men do? After he commits these atrocities on her, what do men do?' The irony started Monique laughing. 'He blames her, blames her for becoming a pathetic worn-out rag, and his eye wanders to the next pretty victim. That's what men do, Mr. Perriman. They sanction their iniquities by calling it love'"(83). 

"I don't want the male brain. It's gummed up with ego and poisoned by testosterone" (72). 

"He hated to argue with any woman because women were very good with words. They practiced their word-skills by nagging at me: Don't wash your dirty hands near the colander of noodles; don't scratch or fart in church; don't wear a hat or blow your nose at the dinner table. Women used their words either to nag or to confuse men" (222). 

8) Zia's character as a soul is described as an adolescent, but to me, she came off more as a stubborn child who often acted too immature to be believable as a teenager. When she came into her gender-patched "player" body, she was supposed to be a grown woman (in her early 20s, I think), and yet she still acted no older than a nine-year-old. It seemed to me that the author tried her best to describe a teenager, but she did it from an adult point-of-view--the kind of adult that has forgotten what the world looks and sounds like from a younger person's point of view and thus has trouble expressing the thoughts and feelings of a younger character. Also despite the climactic ending, it's hard to read a book and relate to a character who hardly undergoes any character development throughout the course of 500 pages.

Favorite Quotes/Moments: 

1) "People love themselves too much already. If someone has to search for their goodness, it means they're an asshole. Fikus made it sound like people were saints just for trying to be good. Months ago, the Youth Center's administration pulled that crap, insisting that each Blue Dolphin receive a ribbon at every meet, whether the kid butterflied beautifully or flailed miserably. The importance, they told me, was on the trying, not on the succeeding. Very nicely, I told them they were nuts. Trying to swim is called drowning" (282).

Monday, August 19, 2013

Haze (Rephaim 2) by Paula Weston

Format: Paperback, 417 pages.
Publisher: Text Publishing Company 
Expected Publication (for the USA & Canada): *September, 9 2014*
"But what if we can’t find Jude?" 

He leans closer. His breath is warm on my ear. "We will."
"How can you be so sure?" I want to believe him so badly, but this is Rafa. The guy who’s all action and no plan. His smile is tired, knowing. An echo of a shared past I don’t remember. 

"Because I’m not smart enough to give up, and you don’t know how to." 

Gaby Winters’ nightmares have stopped but she still can’t remember her old life. Still can’t quite believe she is one of the Rephaim—the wingless half-angels who can shift from place to place, country to country, in the blink of an eye. That she was once the Rephaim’s best fighter. That demons exist. That Rafa has stayed.

But most of all, she can’t quite believe that her twin brother, Jude, might be alive.

And Gaby can’t explain the hesitancy that sidetracks the search for him, infuriates Rafa, and sends them, again, into the darkest danger

Friday, August 16, 2013

Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst ARC Review *some spoilers*

Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst
eARC, 368 pages
Published by Walker Books for Young Readers
Published on: September 3, 2013
Rating: 3/5 Stars

Synopsis: Eve has a new home, a new face, and a new name—but no memories of her past. She’s been told that she's in a witness protection program. That she escaped a dangerous magic-wielding serial killer who still hunts her. The only thing she knows for sure is that there is something horrifying in her memories the people hiding her want to access—and there is nothing they won’t say—or do—to her to get her to remember.

At night she dreams of a tattered carnival tent and buttons being sewn into her skin. But during the day, she shelves books at the local library, trying to not let anyone know that she can do things—things like change the color of her eyes or walk through walls. When she does use her strange powers, she blacks out and is drawn into terrifying visions, returning to find that days or weeks have passed—and she’s lost all short-term memories. Eve must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her—but the truth may be more dangerous than anyone could have ever imagined.

Thank you and Walker Childrens for my electronic ARC of this novel.

This is book is Pinocchio meets Alice and Wonderland in a creepy, supernatural novel about a girl is haunted by her past. This book is magical, creepy, and surprising. I have to admit that I'm really getting sick of books where the plot moves forward from the main character trying to remember memories that were taken from her, but at least in this case the memories were unique and bizarre.

On a side note, Netgalley and has this book listed as a children's book but I would say it is more of a pre-teen and older book. There are descriptions of death and dismemberment that I don't think is appropriate for children.


1) The ending of this book really surprised me. I figured that she was tortured and being from another world, but I was not expecting this. I actually had a hard time wrapping my head around it. It was something that belonged to a plot line from the TV show Once Upon a Time. 

2) I loved Zach. He was really cute and his unrelenting chatter and imagination was extremely endearing. I found myself highlighting all of his sections. He was such a cutie-pie ^_^

3) Another one of my favorite characters was Aunt Nikki. I found her to be the most realistic character in the novel. She wasn't unwillingly devoted her time to Eve, and was right to be suspicious and a little afraid of her. She has a very dry sense of humor, and her sarcasm made me giggle almost every time.

4) I liked the magical elements in this book. Everything sounded so enchanting and beautiful. I'll include some of those moments in the Favorite section.

5) I found the writing style to be pretty ordinary but in one thing that it was extremely effective in was that I felt just as disorientated as the main character. This is pretty amazing considering the book is written in third-person.

6) I love how the Magician and the Storyteller's love story unfolded backwards. What I mean by that is, the their story starts at it's end and as the plot moves forward we see their relationship back track all the way to the beginning.


1) Besides Zach and Eve and the Magician and the Storyteller, the relationships in this book were lacking. The way it was written I felt like people were only grouped together for power-alliances or were co-workers. This book is not a small one, so I felt that the author could have benefited more by developing the other character's relationship--or lack thereof. I even wanted more out of Zach and Eve's relationship and they were the main couple.

2) There was too many flat characters. The three other characters with power, Aidan, Topher, and Victoria, I didn't know enough about to consider them main characters. In fact, the story in my opinion would have been completely unaffected if Topher and Victoria were cut from the book all-together.

Favorite Quotes and Moments (SPOILERS):

1) "'I'm Zach, library page, at your service.' After a second's hesitation, she shook his hand. It was warm and soft. 'I think it's a shame that it's customary to shake hands upon greeting when what I really want to do is kiss your lips and see if you taste like strawberries.'

She released his hand. 'I'm Eve. I've never eaten a strawberry.'

'Allergies? I'm allergic to cats. Not cats themselves, per se. Hairless cats are fine. It's the cat dandruff, caught in the fur. Need serious anti-cat-dandruff shampoo.' His hair had slid over his eyes as he talked; he shook it back and smiled at her. 'Glad you didn't freak when I said I want to kiss you. I'll wait for an invitation, of course, but I believe in being up front about these kind of things. Prevents misunderstandings later. I don't want you thinking that we can ever be just friends. Unless it's friends with benefits'" (28). 

2) "'Never met an Eve, either, come to think of it. I will resist the obvious apple jokes, promise.'

So he wasn't sent by Malcolm to watch her. 'Apples?'

'Little-known facts about apples: apples are members of the rose family, it takes energy from fifty leaves to produce one fruit, and humans have been eating apples since at least sixty-five hundred BC. Bet you're asking yourself how a handsome guy like me who can't seem to stop talking ended up working in a library where the talking thing is not so condoned.'

She continued to stare at him, blinking once.

'Or perhaps you're wondering about hairless cats. They're less cuddly than you'd think. Also prone to sunburn. And oddly prone to more earwax, due to less ear hair. But I'm boring you. Cardinal sin when talking with a beautiful girl. Not to be confused with the original sin…And I promised no obvious jokes. Sorry. Don't hate me.'

'I'll try not to,' she said gravely.

'Now you're just being polite'" (29).

3) "'Oh. Well, that's okay, then. But you'll excuse me if I'm still a little bit jealous. Is this Aidan good looking?'

Eve shrugged. 'Yes.'

'Well, this just gets better and better.' Zach pushed away the pillows and stood up. He tossed the pillows toward the chairs. 'Buff guy? Likely to beat me up? Not that I wouldn't fight for you. I totally would. You are completely fight worthy… 

'Sorry, but it's somewhat of a shock to kiss the girl of your dreams and then find out she already has a boyfriend. I kind of wish you'd told me that earlier, except that I probably wouldn't have kissed you, and there goes fodder for my dreams for the next decade.' He ran his fingers through his hair. 'Did you mean what you said? You'd rather kiss me?'

She nodded. 'You don't play games.'

'Great. What a rousing endorsement next to Pretty Boy'" (113). 

4) "Behind him, she saw books sail off the shelves and then stack themselves around them, interlaced like stones in a wall, closing off their row from the rest of the library… green tips of plants burst through the worn carpet. They grew, thickening and sprouting. Curling, they wrapped around the bookshelves and spread across the ceiling tile. Leaves unfurled, and soon the bookshelves and walls were draped in lush summer green. Red buds popped from the bends in the green. And then the buds opened all around them, a right of burgundy roses" (175). 

5) "I don't want to travel forever. Someday I want a home that's ours, that we stay in, that we fill with our things and our memories. It should have lots of skylights. Maybe be near an ocean. You know, oceans cover seventy percent of the Earth's surface, and if you extracted all the salt, you could bury the continents in five feet of salt. It would be nice to be near an ocean" (358). 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Light of the Wicked by Frederick Hurr ARC Review

Light of the Wicked by Frederick Hurr
eARC, 352 pages
Published by B&H Books
Published on November 1, 2013
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Synopsis: In a small Victorian seaside town where nothing significant ever happens, evil takes up residence in the form of Lord Rimmon and his powerful demons.

The town is suddenly enveloped by catastrophe after catastrophe, the trend of evil beginning with the horrible death of a young clergyman. The local detective cannot explain the death but begins to believe, even with his skeptical mind, that supernatural forces are at work.

The night of Halloween is mayhem in the town; grisly murders, violence abounding, children suffering at the hands of dark forces. The police are perplexed and out of their depth, so the chief reluctantly goes to a Christian celebrity for answers and is shocked by what he learns.

A spiritual battle ensues, and humans become intricately involved; Christians recognize that demon possession and evil influences are everywhere and that the Prince of Darkness is taking over. As the veil between the normal world and spirit world is torn, the local bishop and curate fight back using prayer and direct confrontation with evil. Heaven’s angels descend to face the onslaught, but Satan, Lord Rimmon, and his army of devils are not going to give up the town without a desperate and furious war.

Thank you to, B&H Books, B&H Fiction, and B&H Kids for my electronic copy of this ARC.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I received this novel on Netgalley. Light of the Wicked is about the classic war between angels and demons. It's a mainly a religious book about humans who have either strayed from God's grace and the others who's life was transformed by it. I am not religious by any measure but I found the interlocking plot lines of all the characters very interesting. Although, this novel is centered around angels and demons, this novel is a story of love, satire, comedy, angst, war, homosexuality (not in an entirely hateful way), and faith.


1) The best way I can describe Frederick Hurr's writing style is classic. What I mean by classic is that his voice feels like it's from another time. His charming lines with extremely high diction, reminds me of authors like Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens, and Chaucer.

2) I was surprised by how much action there was in this book. The angels and demons were described as being in army ranks, and there was constant war planning and tactics used. And even more surprising is that it was all well written where I could easily picture everything in my head.

 3) Generally, everyone understands that angels are good, demons are bad, but Frederick Hurr's characters were written as having likable and dislikable qualities. I found it easier to deal with all of the religious aspects of this book because the angels were not too righteous and the demons weren't just plain despicable. Each side had distinct personalities, feelings, desires.


1) There was a lot of tell and not enough show in this book. There were a lot of characters in this book, and I felt that the author thought it best to tell the reader all about them instead of the developing each and every one of them as the story went on, and he did so successfully. At the same time, I think it would have been much better if the author has chosen to cut a few of his characters and focused more on showing us their personalities and actions instead of telling us. By telling us so much about each character, I feel that it's hard to feel attached because the reader does not get to feel their thoughts and emotions.

2) As I previously stated, I'm not religious at all, but I felt that this book pushed the envelope with it's religious actions. This book makes it seem that any person can ask God for something, and if they are truly pious, God will answer their prayers. For example:

"To Sarah's surprise, Richard jumped to his feet. Standing tall, and theatrically throwing his arms aloft, he cried out, 'Lord! We want to see the most amazing shooting star cross the sky right there..' He pointed to a high point in the western sky. 'And we want it within the next thirty seconds.'

Sarah had scrambled to her feet, and was standing expectantly at his side as he started to count aloud. 'One, two, three, four…'

He got as far as fifteen when a light suddenly appeared above the horizon, flaming brightly, streaking across the night sky, accompanied by a sound like the roar of a great wind. Whoosh!" (153).

Growing up, religion was pushed on me, and that's probably why I pulled away, but from what I remember is that God doesn't answer every prayer and not everyone gets what they want just because they asked. I think that this was the most unrealistic part of the book.

Favorite Quotes/Moments: 

1) "His voice was like that of a ponderous bell tolling a funeral dirge, and it held the listener with an occult power that could not easily be denied. The sounds that issued from the mouth of this creature were like dark waters tumbling over a hellish waterfall. Every syllable commanded attention, and each phrase resonated deep within the black hearts of his servants" (23).

2) "'You're right, as usual.' he said tenderly. 'What would I do without you?'

'Probably sink into oblivion.'

'And which oblivion would that be?' he joked as he dug his fingers into her ribs to tickle her" (239).

3) "'I'm not sure if I like you as a human female.'

'I am not sure I like it myself,' replied Ganymede, inspecting himself in a full-length mirror. 'Though I think I could get used to it, except for these things.' He cupped his hands under his full breasts. 'As appendages, I can't imagine why mortal men drool over them.'

Gathan looked at Ganymede with an expression of disgust. 'Then why didn't you choose a masculine form like we did?'

'I thought it might be fun, Gathan--a concept that you simply cannot comprehend.'" (248).

Friday, August 2, 2013

The League of Delphi by Chris Everheart Review *SPOILER ALERT*

The League of Delphi by Chris Everheart
ebook, 300 pages
Published by Yellow Rocket Media
Published on July 22, 2012
Rating: 1/5 Stars

Synopsis: History’s darkest secrets hide in plain sight. 

One of the freshest new voices in the world of young adult suspense, Chris Everheart confirms that he’s here to stay with this fast-paced, ingeniously plotted, unputdownable thriller.

A lone teen, a suspicious death, an ancient conspiracy. The first book of the gripping new Delphi series, The League of Delphi draws you in, takes you on a tense and thrilling ride, and leaves you wanting more. 

Ten years after his father's mysterious death, 17-year-old Zach secretly returns to his wealthy hometown in search of answers. Why did his mother move him away then go into hiding to die alone? Why did she change his name, forbidding him to ever reveal his true identity? Why was he never allowed to return home?

Left with nothing and no one, Zach is desperate to reconnect with this seemingly “perfect” town. But something isn’t right. When a local teen commits suicide and no one seems to care, Zach’s hopes collapse into disenchantment and suspicion. Ashley, a local teenager on the fringe, piques his interest with whispers of a secret committee controlling the lives of everyone around them. Could it be true? Together, Zach and Ashley delve into the hidden life of the town and discover a dark connection to Ancient Greece and the Oracle at Delphi. Their suspicions are confirmed - but the conspiracy is more terrifying and dangerous than they ever imagined...

Fans of Charles Benoit (You; Fall From Grace) and Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games) will instantly connect with Chris Everheart’s “visual” storytelling style and relatable characters. The League of Delphi delivers a fascinating thriller filled with nerve-wrenching suspense that confounds the reader to the very end and solidifies Everheart’s status as one of the hottest newcomers to hit the shelves.

No matter how much I tried, I just couldn't get into this novel. It's overdramatic, impulsive, and unclear. There was nothing about it that made me feel attached or emotionally invested in the plot or the characters. In my opinion, it seems like the author was coming up with this plot as he was writing the book.


1) Ninety percent of this novel is written in prose, with practically no dialogue. With barely any communication between the characters, how can the reader be expected to feel engaged in the story? The story is written from "Zach's" point-of-view, but because the writing is primarily focused on Zach's thoughts, it's impossible to connect, understand, and develop the other characters personalities.

2) Clarity is a huge issue in this novel. This book has a lot of things all going on at once, and none of them are explained properly. It's unclear why each tiny moment is significant relevant to the plot or the development of the characters.  Here are some specific problems of clarity in this novel:

It's not completely explained what it is the city is after in testing these strange "medicine" on these children and specifically the medical treatment for specific girls for what purpose. The word prophecy is thrown around, and we are basically told that using drugs, they expect for the girls to hallucinate and produce "oracles." But it's not explained for what purpose. Do the oracles predict the winning lottery numbers? Which stocks will plummet? No one knows.

Another problem is that somehow most of the town known about this "project" for the special kids but at the same time it's a big secret. It doesn't make sense how it's a big secret but a lot of people in town are aware of it, and think it's the right thing to do. Also, if this whole thing is such a huge secret that the government officials of Arcanville track everything people do on the internet, then why is all the information easily accessible in the town's public library? Doesn't sound like much of a secret to me.

Lastly, how does Crazy Larry recognize Zach, when the last time he saw him was a baby? The boy is sixteen years old. There is no way he looks exactly the same as when he first popped out of his mother. But somehow, Crazy Larry knows who he is, follows him around undetected, and gets all his information without causing anyone in town to suspect him or Zach.

3) Arcanville, is depicted as a town that doesn't care about its kids. They are just pawns for their government. Although towards the end of the book we are given a confusing explanation as to why this is this, the author wants the reader to get that long before this explanation. I didn't see what was so weird about this town. One main example the author tries to use to make us, the readers, believe that there is something wrong about this town because of its is little reaction to a local teen's suicide. Unfortunately, suicide happens every day, and I fail to see how an entire town insufficiently grieving over one kid's death illustrates how unfeeling and despicable the townspeople are.

4) Zach, as a whole, is not a character that makes any sense. First off, he's been on his own basically his entire life. Going to school in France, means he graduated high school at the age of sixteen, two years before the kids in Arcanville. He has barely had any parental figure in his life, works and supports himself. By this description, I would think that Zach would be a very mature, self-sufficient and put together individual when in fact he's the opposite. He's no more different than all his peers that he looks down upon. He's immature, whiny, and overtly judgmental.

His attachment to the other characters in the novel doesn't add up for me. To start off, his emotional attachment to Sutton (the kid who killed himself). Since Zach's move to France he had no contact with Sutton. So basically, the last time he saw him was in the second grade. Now, practically an adult Zach is enraged that the entire town is not affected by this suicide. He becomes obsessed with this dead kid, one that he didn't bother to keep in contact with while he was gone.

Zach's love interest, Ashley, who he spends most of the book describing her as crazy, falls in love with her after her sister Katie loses interest in him and a couple of meetings where the two barely speak to one another. Then bam! Out of nowhere, they are in love. Somehow, I just don't buy it.

5) It's never explained how Zach gets away with all of his lies. We are told that Arcanville basically decides who has the right to live in town, so how does he on a name that no one recognizes lives there? How is it possible that during a police investigation that Zach gets away with explaining that the police can't contact his parents because their out of town. Realistically, the police would have come back a week later, demanding to speak to his parents, but this never happens.

Well guys that's all I have to say (for now) about this book. I'm sorry that I don't have any quotes or moments in this book that I could share with you guys. Hopefully, I'll be able to give you guys more in my next review.