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review 2018-08-20 17:18
Story shrouded in darkness, just the way Kerrigan Byrne can do it so well.
The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo - Kerrigan Byrne

This story had me turning pages furiously from the very beginning. So much pain, darkness, and misery could not stand up to the light of Lorelai's innocence, caring, and persistence. Ash/the Rook was such an empty man, but I loved how he knew from the start that Lorelai belonged to him, was his safety, his reason for living, though he was unable to voice it. Their love changed both of them but for the better. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and could not put it down. I highly recommend it.

I received a copy of this story through Netgalley, and it is a Book Obsessed Chicks Review Team selection. This is my unsolicited review.

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review 2018-08-20 12:16
For lovers of poetic prose, complex narration and unique voices, a book about faith, guilt, and identity
The Incendiaries - R.O. Kwon

Thanks to NetGalley and to Grace Vincent, on behalf of Virago, Little Brown Book Group UK, for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review. Thanks also for the opportunity to take part in the blog tour for the launch of the novel, the first book published by R.O. Kwon, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

This novel describes the attempts by one of its protagonists, Will Kendall, of making sense and understanding the events that have led to his girlfriend’s, Phoebe Lin, participation in a horrific event. As often happens in novels with a narrator (or several), no matter what the story is about, the book often ends up becoming a search for understanding and meaning, not only of the events that form the plot but also of the actual narrator. Why is s/he telling that particular story? And why is s/he telling that story in that particular way? This novel is no different, although the manner the story is told can, at times, work as a smokescreen, and we don’t know exactly who is telling what, and how accurate he or she might be.

On the surface, the novel is divided into chapters, each one headed by one of three characters, John Leal (this one written in the third person and always quite brief), Phoebe (written in the first person), and Will, also written in the first person. At first, it’s possible to imagine that Phoebe’s chapters have been written by her, but later, we notice intrusions of another narrator, a narrator trying to imagine what she might have said, or to transcribe what she had said, or what she was possibly thinking or feeling at certain times. As we read this book, that is quite short notwithstanding the seriousness of the subjects it deals in, we come to realise that the whole novel is narrated by Will, who, after the fact, is trying to make sense of what happened, by collecting information and remembering things, and also by imagining what might have gone on when he was not present. He acknowledges he might be a pretty unreliable narrator, and that is true, for a variety of reasons, some of which he might be more aware than others.

The novel is about faith, about finding it, losing it, and using it as a way to atone and to find meaning, but also as a way to manipulate others. It is about love, that can be another aspect of faith, and they seem to go hand in hand in Will’s case. He discovered his Christian faith in high school, in part as a refuge from his terrible family life, and lost it when it did not live up to his expectations (God did not give him a sign when he asked for one). He moved out of Bible School and into Edwards, and there he met Phoebe, a girl fighting her own demons, a very private person who did not share her thoughts or guilt with anybody. Will falls in love with her and transfers his faith and obsession onto her. But she is also unknowable, at least to the degree he wishes her to be open and understandable for him, and she becomes involved in something that gives meaning to her life, but he cannot truly become a part of. He abandoned his faith, but he seems less likely and able to do so with his belief in her.

The novel is also about identity. The three main characters, and many others that appear in the book do not seem to fully fit in anywhere, and try different behaviours and identities for size. Will invents a wealthy family who’ve lost it all, to fit into the new college better; Phoebe hides details of her past and her wealth, and is Korean but knows hardly anything about it and John Leal… Well, it’s difficult to know, as we only get Will’s point of view of him, but he might, or might not, have totally invented a truly traumatic past to convince the members of what becomes his cult, to follow him.

The language used varies, depending on what we are reading. The dialogue reflects the different characters and voices, whilst the narrator uses sometimes very beautiful and poetic language that would fit in with the character (somebody who had been proselytizing, who was used to reading the Bible, and who tried to be the best scholar not to be found out). Also, he tends to use that language when remembering what his girlfriend had told him or imagining what John Leal might have said as if he remembered her as more beautiful, more eloquent, and more transcendent than anybody else. This is a book of characters (or of a character and his imaginings and the personas he creates for others he has known) and not a page-turner driven by plot. The story is fascinating and horrifying but we know from early on (if not the details, we have an inkling of the kind of thing that will happen) where we are going, and it’s not so much the where, but the how, that is important. The book describes well —through the different characters— student life, the nature of friendships in college, and some other serious subjects are hinted at but not explored in detail (a girl makes an accusation of rape, and she is not the only victim of such crime, there is prejudice, mental illness, drug use, abortion…).

I read some reviews that felt the description or the blurb were misleading, as it leads them to expect a thriller, and the book is anything but. I am not sure if there must have been an earlier version of the blurb, but just in case, no, this book is not a thriller. It’s a very subjective book where we come to realise we have spent most of the time inside of the head of one single character. Nonetheless, it offers fascinating insights into faith, the nature of obsession, and what can drive people to follow a cult and to become strangers to themselves and to those they love.

The ending is left open (if we accept the narrator’s point of view, although there is an option of closure if we don’t) and I was impressed by one of the longest acknowledgements I’ve ever read. It hints not only of a grateful writer attentive to detail but also of a book which has undergone a long process and many transformations before getting into our hands.

A couple of examples of the poetic language in the book:

Punch-stained red cups split underfoot, opening into plastic petals. Palms open, she levitated both hands.

The nephilim at hand, radiant galaxies pirouetting at God’s command. Faith lifted mountains. Miracles. Healings.

Not a light or easy read, but a book for those eager to find a new voice and to explore issues of faith, love, identity. Oh, and for those who love an unreliable narrator. A first book of what promises to be a long and fascinating literary career.

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review 2018-08-20 10:46
Release Day Review! Darkest Heart (Dominion #1) Juliette Cross!
Darkest Heart - Juliette Cross

 

 

Wrong side of heaven...right side of redemption.

 

Anya—a stoic, blue-winged angelic warrior— was bitten by a demon prince in battle, and now she has precious little time to find a cure for his deadly venom. But the only archangel with the power to stop the dark poison from corrupting her body and soul is missing. She’ll have to trust her guide, the outcast high demon Dommiel, who is as handsome as he is dangerous if she has any hope.

 

An outcast of his own kind, high demon Dommiel stays under cover while the war between angels and demons rages on. But when the only person who ever showed him kindness asks for his help, he has no choice but to try to save the angel. Venturing back into the dens he has avoided for so long, Anya makes him want and feel things he never thought possible.

 

But Dommiel knows there is no way an angel can ever love a demon…

 

 

This forbidden love story is a fascinating and thrilling apocalyptic read that involves the war between heaven and hell and everything in between. Anya and Dommiel are two strong, entrancing characters that easily draw readers into their intriguing story, especially since love between an angel and a demon is a very unlikely relationship. The romance part of this story is sweet, yet rousing as it is full of steamy, zinging chemistry and fiery passion while the relationship has not only that major obstacle to be overcome but quite a few others and since both characters aren’t even remotely thinking of a relationship, but the chemistry keeps pulling drawing them together, letting the feelings sneak up on them.

 

The plot is fast paced and flows smoothly throughout the book, keeping readers glued to the pages with lots of excitement and danger as they face dangerous adversaries throughout their treacherous quest to find and free the archangel that can stop the ark poison that is corrupting Anya’s body and soul. There is lots of exhilarating battles and surprising twists that keeps readers glued to the pages and the author brings it all too vivid life so the readers can easily picture each and every scene as it happens.

 

Dominion is an apocalyptic world where heaven and hell are at war and the angels and demons fight among the humans and together with the fascinating characters gives readers an exciting experience as they become caught up in the story. I was completely caught up in Darkest Heart from the very beginning and found the world very intriguing with some fascinating unique elements to add that something extra to the story as well as the characters. I was especially fascinated by Dommiel as he is dangerous and sexy with some unique attributes, so I am looking forward to future books in this series.

 

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26877686-darkest-heart

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/books/darkest-heart-by-juliette-cross

 


The 1st book in the Dominion series

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/series/237514-dominion

 

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G5K8LZJ?ref=series_rw_dp_labf

 

Author - https://www.juliettecross.com/dominion

 

 

which includes
The 1st book in the Dominion series

.5 The Deepest Well
1 Darkest Heart

& #2 Hard Fall (coming December 10, 2018)

 

 

Available in print or ebook at:

 

Entangled Publishing - https://entangledpublishing.com/darkest-heart.html

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G13C74Z/


B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/darkest-heart-juliette-cross/1129198358


iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/darkest-heart/id1419650289?mt=11


Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/darkest-heart

 

 

Juliette lives in lush, moss-laden Louisiana where she lives with her husband, four kids, and black lab, Kona.

 

Multi-published author of paranormal and urban fantasy romance, she loves reading and writing brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes.

 

From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.

 

Website - http://juliettecross.com/

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7795664.Juliette_Cross

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/authors/juliette-cross

 

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/juliettecrossauthor

 

Twitter - https://twitter.com/Juliette__Cross

 

Pintrest - http://www.pinterest.com/crossjuliette/

 

Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Juliette-Cross/e/B00MQ18Z1W/

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-08-20 01:09
Sheer: A Hollywood Romance (Exposed Book 3) by Sarah Robinson
Sheer: A Hollywood Romance - Sarah Robinson

 

Wounded hearts get a chance to heal. Robinson takes the broken and makes them whole. The beauty of the Exposed series is that images can be deceiving. There's drama under the surface waiting to bubble over. It's how the people handle the fallout that makes the stories so intriguing. Sheer is the beginning of the end for an unforgettable series. As Grant and Simone find their way in the industry of bright lights and heartache, each tackles hard knocks in their personal lives and insecurities in their professional ones. The fault in our stars is that we all have flaws. It's the lessons we learn and the peace we find from working through them, that helps us become who we're meant to be. Gritty, sensitive and inspiring tale.

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review 2018-08-19 21:50
Practice Husband (Trophy Husbands, #2) by Noelle Adams
Practice Husband - Noelle Adams

 

It's tough to move away from the past when every step finds you within the same place. Hunter and Sam had a destiny. They were meant to be together, but life kept getting in the way. Practice Husband is a chance to start over for two people who never seemed to get it right. Hunter is so much more than his sordid past and with a helping hand from a valued friend, he has a chance to move away from the chains of prison and into the light of the real world. Sam is a bit naive, but her beautiful heart is a treasure just waiting to shine it's value. What began in heartache became an inspiring tale of hope and salvation.

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