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review 2015-08-23 14:25
A little less drama would have been nice
Firewalker - Josephine Angelini Firewalker - Josephine Angelini

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Firewalker was an anticipated novel but I ended up feeling 50/50 about it. On one hand, it is a fantastic follow up to Trial by Fire but it was also filled with romantic drama and I hated that.

With this book, Lily’s Tristan--the one she used to love--is back in the picture. I was actually surprised by how well that was handled. I was happy that even though Tristan clearly had feelings, Lily doesn't feel the same way any more. Rowan also trusts Lily enough not to question things, SO YAY! But the problem was that Rowan and Lily’s relationship kind of took a bad turn in this book. For a good chunk of the book, they are both keeping secrets from each other and we all know how that ends. In case you don't know, IT ENDS BADLY. And just because you’re keeping secrets to protect one another doesn’t mean the result will be any different. SERIOUSLY, this is all Relationship 101 stuff. I think given a lot of the awkwardness surrounding Lily and Rowan’s relationship (what with the fact that Rowan used to be in love with Lillian) I just want them to be a strong couple who stand side by side instead of one who doesn’t know how to communicate. Don’t get me wrong, secrets aside, they still work fantastically together with Rowan respecting Lily’s wishes and vice versa but secrets just suck. Then there was something that happens towards the end that bothered me. There was a lot of dramatic irony and the whole situation just made me antsy. I just wanted to shout at both of them to build a bridge and GET OVER IT.

I also had a hard time taking in Lily’s Tristan, Breakfast and Una easy acceptance of the situation at hand. I wanted them to not let go of things they had known all their life so easily. Situations like these are always so tricky because one might get annoyed if characters take too long adapting or if they don’t even bat an eye at the situation.

Lily's struggle on the other hand was fantastically portrayed. Lily is still very much adjusting to all these changes and learning new things about herself. For example, Lily has all this magic at her disposal but she still doesn’t know how to handle all of this power, so she constantly needs to be grounded and reminded not to take over her mechanics’ minds. Lily has her selfish moments but in spite of all of this, she is still very much Lily but she struggles to remember that throughout the book. Lily becomes haunted by the similarities between herself and Lillian and a lot of this book deals with Lily trying to find something that makes her Lily and not Lillian. By the end of this book, I was SO proud of Lily and the choices she had made (even though there were times when I disagreed.. LIKE WITH ALL THE SECRET KEEPING.)

However, I was a little bothered by how Lily was treated by her friends/mechanics. I get it, mechanics must protect their witches but she is a super powerful witch and I wanted to see that in their treatment of her. I wanted Lily to be seen as badass instead of just having the ability to be badass.  Also there were times when her opinions weren’t even considered. We as readers know that she is on to something but I hated when her own mechanics just dismissed the things she said.

Lillian plays a big role in this series and the more we learn about her, the more I want to know. She is the 'other Lily', the one who had a different upbringing than Lily but is similar to her in many ways. This book really made us question her role as a villain by showing her side of the story and things became all sorts of complicated. It made Lily question herself and the people around her but it also made me question aspects of the story.  I don’t know where things will go but to be honest, I’d rather Lillian not turn out to be this amazingly good person because the things she has done cannot just be excused because she had ‘good’ intentions.

One of my favorite things about this book was seeing Lily’s Juliet. I absolutely adore her and Lily’s relationship and it was so much fun seeing her again (and I hope we get to see her again!!) Juliet is such a fantastic sister and I love that she was on Lily’s side no matter what.

This series is so rich in its world building and I loved seeing even more of that in this book. We aren’t just given enough details to keep the story going. Instead Angelini pushes the limit and we learn more things about the world and question things we hadn’t before. I LOVE that.

I am having so much fun with this series and while I did have some issues with this book (AND WHAT HAPPENED a little before the end) I think it's a good follow-up and I am ready to sell my soul for Traitor’s Pyre. IS IT 2016 yet because I NEEEDS to read Traitor’s Pyre.

Note that I received an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review

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review 2015-01-02 15:55
A Single Step (The Grayson Trilogy #1)
A Single Step (Book 1 of The Grayson Trilogy) - Georgia Rose

Author: Georgia Rose

Published: February 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Category: Romantic Drama, Contemporary


Emma Grayson was left devastated when her life was torn apart by tragedy and betrayal. Now someone believes it’s time for her to start again and puts an advert for a job through her door which leads her to the Melton Estate. Despite her desire for a solitary existence she finds herself discovering a life she could never have imagined, challenging her independence, her fears and her resistance to love.

Emma Grayson desperately needs a fresh start after a devastating personal trauma compounded by a betrayal she couldn’t comprehend. She secures a job with Lord Cavendish of Melton Manor Estate, managing the stables and looking after the horses, after the advert for the job had been posted to her anonymously. Hurt beyond measure and disillusioned, she is wary of getting close to anyone again and just wants to get on with her job and be left alone. The community on the Estate is a tight knit one though and Emma soon finds herself, almost against her will, being drawn in and actually enjoying making new friends.

I’d also mulled over who had put this through my letterbox in the first place, dismissing most of the names I came up with and leaving me with one suspect. My still viciously raw feelings towards her and the thought of her motivation for doing this was to get me to move away almost made me tear it up. In the end, however, so as not to spite myself, I’d written a curriculum vitae, attached it to an email as requested, and sent it together with a covering letter.

The story is told in the first person by Emma, which gives the tragedy she suffered even more poignancy and engenders a deep sympathy and understanding for her. Despite her initial contrary attitude with people, it’s easy to like her and very obvious she loves the horses and her dog, Susie. 


The suspense builds slowly and, with little hints dropped about Emma’s self-defense abilities, you know something is looming, and Emma’s skills are displayed unexpectedly during a night out. And as the sparks begin between Emma and Trent, it becomes apparent he has secrets of his own which he’s unwilling to talk about.


Really good, strong portrayals of Trent, enigmatic and aloof, and Emma, stubborn and edgy, and their personalities develop as the story progresses. The other characters, although likeable, were slightly less well-rounded but hopefully will come into their own as the series moves forward. The setting and atmosphere of the estate is created in such detail it’s easy to have a mental picture running with the narrative. And, although I’m not a horsey person, I found the descriptions of work at the stables and the horses interesting to read. 


There are a lot of surprises revealed along the way, character wise, and even the estate isn’t quite what it seems. Melton Manor has an air of mystery about it as Lord Cavendish and his right hand man, Trent, disappear on business trips several times in the Estate’s helicopter and the male staff all belong, in some capacity, to the military. 


Well written and entertaining, I enjoyed the storyline and look forward to following on with the series.

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review 2015-01-02 15:47
Losing It All
Losing It All - Marsha Cornelius

Author: Marsha Cornelius

Published: February 2013 by Hickory Flat Books

Category: Romantic Drama


Frank Barnes is content living on the streets of Atlanta. A soup kitchen and a makeshift shanty sure beat his days as a POW in Vietnam. But Chloe Roberts can’t handle the eviction that sends her into the hell of homelessness. 

Many thanks to Marsha Cornelius for sending me a copy 


Frank and Chloe, for completely different reasons find themselves homeless. Frank is happy enough on the streets, collecting cans each day to make a little money. After the horrors of fighting and battling to survive in the Vietnam war, he returns to the US disabled and ignored and turns to alcohol and drugs to dull the physical and mental pain. Another homeless man, Randall, helps Frank work through his issues, get dried out and cleaned up. They forge a close friendship.

This morning, he woke to a cold, sluggish fog that has his foot throbbing before he even stood. His only relief was to shift his weight to his toes and keep pressure off the heel. Of course, the gimp walk didn’t do much for his appearance. People already shied away from his long hair and shaggy beard. The shuffling limp and tortured expression convinced onlookers he was a derelict.

Frank makes the most of the little he has, with his good friends and the little community they have built. When all Frank knows is destroyed horrifically and violently one night, and he almost loses his life, he doesn’t know whether he will be able to claw his way back again. Until a chance meeting changes his life forever.


Chloe, after being abandoned by her husband, and with no-one to turn to for help, is left with two children and debts she can’t pay off. After losing her home and all her possessions, she doesn’t know how her life could get any worse. But it can…a whole lot worse. 

She could not speak. Reaching out, she took the check from the sheriff’s hand and stared at it as though she might find a number out of place, or something on the small piece of paper that might explain where the money had gone.

Sinking further and further into a pit of despair and hopelessness, Chloe can’t se a way forward. She is at the mercy of a very defective system of shelters, incompetent childcare and predatory men, leaving her emotionally battered and completely drained. Until a helping hand reaches out to pull her back from the brink.


The story is told from both Frank’s and Chloe’s points of view. It brings home the stark reminder that the homeless of this world are actually out there, struggling to survive from day-to-day against sometimes unimaginable odds. Losing it all. How far can one person fall before all hope is gone. This is a fascinating book with wonderfully developing characters and a sometimes harrowing storyline, dealing with the complex issues and situations the homeless can, and more than likely do, face.


I was drawn to Frank immediately, there’s depth and authenticity in his character. He’s had a really rough deal but despite everything he cares about others and does whatever he can to help. Chloe hasn’t had a happy life and, I think partly because of that, chose poorly when it came to a husband and father for her children. The two characters’ lives are interlinked and brought together in a compelling and profound storyline. Their portrayal is genuine, believable and endearing. The writing is accomplished and descriptive with a reality that encompasses so many emotions, hope, love, anguish, misery, all of which shine through the narrative. 


A really excellent read which enforces the old adage, never judge a book…You never really know the true story behind a person’s appearance and what events forced them into a certain situation. Or how a single act of kindness can be the start of changing someone’s life for the better.


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review 2013-10-20 18:21
'Panty melting'
Knowing Vera (Chance For Love, #3) - Rachelle Ayala


Romance, suspense, and mystery rolled into one? No one will be able to drag you out of your house till you're done! I was already suffering from sleep deprivation but every time I thought about sleep another part thought 'one more chapter'.
This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review. Please visit me at http://www.theproductschool.org to view my full review.
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