Saturday, May 28, 2016

Author: Gabriel Boutros
Published Date: December 5th 2014
Rating: 3 Stars
Synopsis: Montreal in the year 2039. Like most major cities, the air is poisonous. On the other side of the planet, the war on terror rages with no end in sight. A devastating attack on Canadian soil leads to the installation of a militaristic administration. Civil rights are curtailed and the justice system is rife with corruption. In the middle of this decaying world lives Allen Janus: husband, father, bureaucrat and backstabber. In a moment of petty vindictiveness he will betray the people who love him, setting the lives of everyone in his family on a tragic course.
Gabriel Boutros, author of The Guilty, brings you a story about how lies can entrap both the deceiver and the deceived.
For me at least, it is known that it's the characters who make it or break it.  The first 60% percent of the novel was hard to get into, because in all honestly I didn't like any of the characters. Not the prick Janus, the bastard Sevigny, the dutiful Terry, the saintly Joe(which was unrealistic). It's increasingly difficult to continue on with the story where the main character annoys you to no end so that you have to take a break from reading it.

Some of the main themes that the author explored were: corruption, greed, cheating, love, and guilt. I've also found a direct correlation between this book and his other one that I have read "The Guilty" because they both have written very unlikely male protagonists, except this time I wasn't even rooting for Janus even at the unexpected ending.

One of the positive things that I could find, is that it was interesting to see how history had been written in the future in this kind of dystopian way which was a path that I didn't expect the writer to take but it was established at the beginning of every chapter with the different laws that were stated. The title relates to the state of the environment in the setting, which is established early on, quite appreciated given the fact that I didn't have to keep on guessing what's going on; I knew what was happening in the game.

Overall, I can't say that I liked this book but I didn't hate it either, so after some long thinking I've decided to give this the neutral rating of 3 stars. Some more avid dystopian readers may find it more fascinating, but it didn't just do it for me.

*I have received an ebook version from "For Love of a Book" club in exchange for an honest review.*
Title:Tournament of Hearts (The Librarian Gladiator-Book One)
Author: Dustin Bilyk
Publisher: Perfect Wave Design House 
Published Date: January 1st ,2015
Rating: 4 Stars
Synopsis: Hamelin, a town separated from the rest of the world, has a deadly problem. Fierce, flying beasts ravage the countryside and cull the sparse human population, forcing the majority of Hamelin’s citizens to live within the safety of her boundaries for fear of being snatched away and torn into pieces. With no help in sight, the Town Council look to their gods for salvation and unearth a chilling answer to their problems. 

The Tournament of Hearts – a much-celebrated, barbaric event that pits four gladiators against each other in deadly combat. Winning The Tournament brings rich rewards, fame and glory for one’s bloodline. Losing, however, results in a deadly trip to the Sacrificial Altar for you and all of those who share your blood: man, woman and child. The sacrifice is said to be a blood offering to the gods in payment for reprieve – a necessary evil for the greater good of all. 

Neven Fairchild, adolescent town historian and librarian, is chosen by random draw to fight for the survival of his bloodline. Utterly inept at doing much other than reading and writing his histories, Neven must find the courage deep within himself to defeat his stronger opponents, for he discovers that much more than the lives of those he loves hangs in the balance. An evil lurks, waiting for its moment to deliver the death blow, and Neven is all that stands in its way, whether he likes it or not.

Disclaimer: I received an ebook copy of this book from the author via "For Love of a Book"

Initially, what first drew me into this book was the subtitle "The Library Gladiator" because I have always respected librarians. Well, how off I was on the content of what was about to come while reading this book. With every page, I was scrolling furiously because there was so much intense-action that was fast-paced, some of it flying over my head before I could even register the facts. Couple that with my typical speed-reading, and I definitely got confused on some parts of the chapter. That's probably my only reason why I didn't give it a full stars, because I believe that every book needs some slow and fast parts, and here there was minimal lull in the waves regarding plot, and that bothered me while trying to catch up with the surroundings. 

This book outlines Neven Fairchild struggle of survival and journey to accepting his faith. It really explores what it actually means to "go out of your comfort zone" and "recreate yourself." The writing of some scenes seemed so vivid and real that I couldn't help but place myself in exactly that situation, and so both of the books I was gasped in anticipation, let's be honest. None of the characters had any special connection with me, and for that I was sorely disappointed because that's a main factor that I search for in books, and this one just didn't do it for me.

I do have to say, that some parts of this get very graphic with various types of injuries, which made my stomach turn and cringe a little bit in certain situations. This book isn't for the faint-of heart, because you are going to reading images that may stick in your mind for some time after.

Overall though, this was very hard to stop reading or put down, even though life dictated that I had to. I also really am grateful that the author didn't end a major cliffhanger, or then I would have to wait for a long time because the second book came out. I would definitely recommend it to fantasy adventure looking readers who aren't afraid to look outside the book in that genre.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Title:The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline
Author: Tabitha Caplinger
Publisher: Vox Dei
Published Date: November 3,2015
Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis: Zoe thought the loss of her parents would be the most difficult thing she’d ever have to endure. When she began seeing things she couldn’t explain in her new home of Torchcreek, Virginia, she was sure the grief was driving her mad. Instead Zoe discovers she is part of an ancient bloodline, one destined to defeat the powers of darkness from condemning the world. But Zoe, the daughter of the three, isn’t just another descendant–she’s the key to humanity’s salvation. 

In this first installment of the Christian fantasy trilogy The Chronicle of the Three, Zoe Andrews learns that not all shadows are harmless interceptions of light. Some are a more sinister darkness that wants to torment the soul.

Ohmygoodness! I literally devoured this book in one sitting, being so spellbound that I couldn’t move from my chair and therefore read all of it in basically one sitting. Where to start?

This book outlines Zoe’s journey to finding herself and creating her fate. The book starts off with her moving far away after losing both of her parents, and staying under her Aunt Claire’s care. At school she observes something that changes everything and forces Claire to do something that she’s never wanted to, something that she really hoped that she could protect her niece from, <i>simply tell her the truth</i>. The worldbuilding was absolutely stellar, as it's not really the typical dystopian feel that you get with a lot of books these genres, it goes beyond that because it’s 10x more mysterious, and both the reader’s and Zoe are left in the dark,which I’ll elaborate on later.

One plot device that the author really utilized was that the author paints signs & symbols and scatters them throughout the whole book, which makes everything seamlessly connected. There was so much creativity overflowing onto these pages, because I didn’t even realize that this is Christian fiction, it was displayed very indirectly and subtly. So its not one of those convert-right-now type of stories at all.

Onto the characters, they were some of the most honest warriors that I’ve ever met, and by the end I felt myself rooting very hard for them, especially for the ever-dutiful hurting Aunt Claire. The speed at which they were able to adjust and grow so close together, like a mini-family was actually quite adorable to watch and process throughout.

The only reason why I didn’t give this a full star five stars, was actually because I thought there  were too little explanations, (Zoe and the readers deserved to know more).It kind of seemed like everything just suddenly “happened” even though there was some foreshadowing, I still wanted the reasoning of why behind the brain and plan. At points in the plot moving along, it seemed like some things just “popped out of the blue” and I guess that this isn’t really my thing as a reader.

Overall though, I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this series, as this was a cliffhanger of sorts and I’m dying to see what happens next. If you have never heard of this book, it’s totally worth a try, and hey, you may end up liking it just as much as I do.

Disclaimer: I received an ebook copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Title:God's Not Dead 2
Author: Travis Thrashher
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Published Date: March 1st 2016
Rating: 4 Stars

“Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled "This could change your life.”
― Helen Exley--

This book was an up from the first one, as I thought that it jumped around in POVs a little bit too much, and generally wasn't that passionate as this one is. It's told by the perspectives of two main characters; Amy the reporter/blogger and Tom the lonely lawyer. In the book, there are many haunting questions that will stick around with you, in particular I remember the memory:

"Who do you say I am?

This was, as I could identify it, the thread that runs through the whole book and makes it message loud and clear. It's not just a book about a court case and faith on trail, it's also all of the characters on trail everyday in their personal life.As Grace Wesley says in a metaphor, which really seemed to strike a chord with Tom the Lawyer. I would classify this as Christian fiction- but apparently it's based on the true story of a court case which now I can better understand and imagine.

I do realize that this is a about faith-based principles book, and so I think that it stuck to that main idea very well, because it wasn't trivial about relationships or upholding the appearances, it was more about the internal struggle.

To whomever may be reading this review, I beg of you to not make the same mistake as I have in regards to this. Always read the book first before watching the movie, because in this particular story is much more deeper with diving into belief systems, past mistakes, and dysfunctioning relationships. The fact is, that the author can definitively cover more ground with 378 pages than an almost two hour movie ever good.

I would recommend this to anyone who is curious or searching about information on Christianity. This book provides a realistic relatable journey of struggles and doubts, and it's not one of those works that try to push their religion in your face, all of the characters play it out in quite a subtle way. And you honestly won't walk away the same, it's that dangerous!