Publicat în Cyndy Aleo, Uncategorized

Undying (Undying #1) by Cyndy Aleo

Synopsis:

What if the world isn’t ready for your miracle?

Cameron Tattersall’s wife, Adrienne, should not be cooking breakfast when he wakes up. After all, he buried her yesterday. Yet the woman in his kitchen not only claims she is his wife, but also refuses to accept that she’s supposed to be dead.

Cameron doesn’t know what this woman is: hallucination, con-woman, or bona fide miracle. For all he knows, he’s crazy, but her reappearance may return the only thing he ever wanted: a life with Adrienne.When their families discover Cameron isn’t alone in his house, the couple learns coming back from the dead has its own set of trials: angry surviving family members, confused insurance companies, and a media storm that simultaneously wants to build the couple up and tear them down. There’s also the matter of just who, or what, was buried in that coffin. Or not buried.

Thrust into the spotlight, Cameron and Adrienne have to decide whether living under a microscope is a fair trade for a miracle, and to reconcile their need for privacy with the desire for answers.

Review:

I probably cried when I was reading some sad books when I was a child. I definitely remember crying a damn cascade while reading half of the Harry Potter books. But it’s been decades ago and since then, my masochistic brain keeps looking for books that would tear me apart completely and make me feel everything that the characters feel at such a deep level that I’d forget that I’m crying for the pain of an imaginary person.

When I started this book I chose it because of how interesting the idea looked. Maybe it’s a thriller with an impostor trying to impersonate the dead wife of a poor husband. Maybe it’s a zombie book. Maybe it’s a fantasy one. A dead wife showing up in her husband’s bed next day after her funeral? I literally had no idea how things could have evolved. But what I definitely didn’t expect was to cry uncontrollably after the first chapter. I have no words to explain how amazing this book is. Without notice, the story starts flowing through your veins, touching every part of your soul, forcing your brain to feel absolutely every single damn thing that Cameron feels. You’re thrown into a path of pain and anguish so deeply that you feel the story at the most personal level. Because what is the biggest fear of all of us? Not spiders, not monsters, not poverty, not loneliness, not our own death. But the death of our loved ones. And the feeling that no matter how much you’d wish, there’s absolutely nothing that you can do to stop that, to help them, to keep them longer next to you.

Cameron goes through all of this in the year when he finds out that his wife, Adrienne has a devastating form of cancer. She’s young, beautiful and healthy and all of a sudden the terrible news descend over them. And one year is not enough to get used to the idea that the whole future that you imagined is shattering to pieces. But one year of suffering is also clearly not going to make things easy when he wakes up after her funeral to find her in their kitchen. Young. Beautiful. Healthy. Undead. And cooking breakfast.

So what follows is exactly what you would imagine. Because Cameron lives in our universe, not a parallel one, not in a fantasy world. He lives in this one, where miracles don’t exist, when you cannot continue your life like nothing happened after the wife that you just buried literally just came back from the dead. The world will not allow it. You will become a „case” that needs to be studied and explored from all the practical angles: legally, medically, by lawyers and doctors and churches and media. Over and over again, since there seem not to be any answers that could solve such a mistery.

I loved how realistic the author treated her idea. She took an unthinkable fact and throw it in our society that is very far from accepting the impossible as possible. There’s nothing forced, nothing romantic and magical about it. Her characters don’t treat the whole thing just like a miracle because the human brain simply doesn’t work like that. No matter how enormous the happiness and amazement can be once they accept that what happened is true, they are still very well anchored in reality and take the whole right and mundane road to understand how was it possible.

Every reaction, every gesture, every word and action, even the ones that piss you off are all perfectly drawn and completely understandable and realistic. I loved the fact that nothing comes easily, that the characters actually go willingly into the chaotic carousel that their lifes became, even if sometimes they cannot feel in any other way than totally overwhelmed by what’s happening to them.

If you have any doubts about reading this book, just take them all and throw them into the garbage right now. You need this book! The storyline is flawless, the writing, the characters, the action, everything has a bright, shinny „perfect” label on it! You will be carried through the whole spectrum of emotions, you will cry, laugh, be surprised, melt into a puddle, die of curiosity and live the whole story at the same intensity as the characters are.

Publicat în April Fernsby, Uncategorized

A Deadly Delivery (A Psychic Cafe Mystery #1) by April Fernsby

Synopsis:

Karis Booth has had psychic abilities for as long as she can remember. But this is the first time she’s used them to solve a murder. 

Things are changing rapidly for Karis. As well as filing for divorce from her unfaithful husband, she decides it’s time to make peace with her estranged sister, Erin. With trepidation, Karis visits the café which Erin owns. To her great relief, Erin welcomes Karis back into her life with open arms. 

During their reconciliation, a young woman, Carmel, calls into the café with a bread delivery. As Karis watches Carmel, she experiences a strong psychic vision. She sees two shadows following Carmel. Only one of the shadows belongs to Carmel — the other belongs to the person who is going to murder her later that day. 

With help from her sister and an old neighbour, Karis does all that she can to find out who murdered Carmel. It doesn’t help that the investigating officer is an ex-boyfriend who broke up with Karis because he couldn’t cope with her psychic abilities. Despite this, Karis won’t rest until she finds the killer. 

Review:

We all have guilty pleasures that we try and try to stay away from, but eventually we just give up to and succumb into temptation. Don’t we? One of this guilty pleasures of mine are chick lit books. I know, I know. The stories are more or less the same every time, there are no „wow” events that would blow your mind and the scenarios are not bringing anything challenging for your brain to digest. But still… every now and then I start missing chick lit so much that my kindle gets filled up in 2 hours with 137 books that will probably remain unread for the rest of my life. Pretty much like when you’re going to the supermarket while hungry and end up with a whole cart of useless products that will expire and die in your fridge, completely untouched. Do I ever learn my lesson? Nope. But the good part is that… well, at least books don’t expire. And honestly speaking, the pleasure with which I finally read that one chick lit book (from the hundred that I got) is priceless.
This time, my spark of joy was A Deadly Delivery: a crime/mystery novel, with a touch of paranormal. Fast, well executed, with a little bit of everything. The main storyline follows the suspicions death of one of the side characters but on the way, we discover a background family story full of guilt and regrets, a romance that was supposed to be dead and buried but seems to blossom unexpectedly and a lot of charming and heart warming characters. There’s literally not a single thing that I disliked during the whole reading time.
One of the things that surprised me is the age of the heroine. I’m used to this kind of books to have young and innocent main characters, whose naivety accentuates the humor of the uncanny situations they end up into. And considering how easily manipulated Karis was during her marriage, initially I thought she’s just a young chick, just discovering her new inner strength along with her psychic abilities. The surprise came later, when I found out that she’s a middle aged woman, with an adult daughter even and that she’s actually having this wakeup phase way later than expected. All of a sudden, the story caught new shades and I was forced to rethink everything in my mind, from the look of the characters to the relations between them and to the impact that every action has on them. And weirdly, the story became even better from that point on.
There’s not a lot to tell about the book if I don’t want to give spoilers that would ruin your reading. If you’re in the mood for something light that will put a smile on your face, A Deadly Delivery is a good choice. It’s not a shallow story, it has a good background, some heartwarming moments and follows some deep topics that are somehow avoided in this genre: abusive relationships, difficult choices when it comes to sick or old family members, the way past events that seemed unimportant actually leave scars that are never erased, asking for forgiveness and allowing you also to forgive yourself, etc. It’s a bittersweet read, leaving you with a warm feeling in the end, but carrying you through some areas that normally you might try to avoid thinking about.
Publicat în Johnny B. Truant

Fat Vampire (Fat Vampire #1) by Johnny B. Truant

Synopsis:

From the author of „Unicorn Western” comes a story of fangs and fast food…

When overweight treadmill salesman Reginald Baskin finally meets a co-worker who doesn’t make fun of him, it’s just his own bad luck that tech guy Maurice turns out to be a thousand-year-old vampire. 

And when Maurice turns Reginald to save his life, it’s just Reginald’s own further bad luck that he wakes up to discover he’s become the slowest, weakest, most out-of-shape vampire ever born, doomed to „heal” to his corpulent self for all of eternity.

As Reginald struggles with the downsides of being a fat vampire – too slow to catch people to feed on, mocked by those he tries to glamour, assaulted by his intended prey and left for undead – he discovers in himself rare powers that few vampires have… and just in time too, because the Vampire Council might just want his head for being an inferior representative of their race. 

Fat Vampire is the story of an unlikely hero who, after having an imperfect eternity shoved into his grease-stained hands, must learn to turn the afterlife’s lemons into tasty lemon danishes.

Review:

What a fun and refreshing ride this was! Read the book description please. See the feeling that you’re getting? Like… this sounds fun and original and perhaps without the usual cliches that you encounter in most vampire books. And yes, it’s confirmed! That’s exactly what the book is. The synopsis is not at all deceiving, you’ll get exactly what you’re expecting.

Reginald Baskin is…well… fat. There’s no other word you’d think about when it comes to describing him. You know how sometimes you’re labeling people under a single term? That charming neighbor, the cute grocery girl, the kind cleaning lady, the bitchy office colleague, the dumb gym trainer, etc? Well, everyone who’s ever met Reginald would probably have him in their minds under „the fat guy” stamp. His life is boring and mediocre, he has no friends, he hates his work, his colleagues, his body, he’s not special or interesting in any ways and nothing ever happens. Until that night when, by mistake, he’s turned into a vampire. And surprise-surprise! Nothing changes! Nothing. He’s still fat. Still sweaty and lazy and slow. He still loves pizzas and fried chicken. People still mock him. And he still hates his life. But when his existence is threatened, he might finally need to find some motivation under all those layers of fat.

I loved the story! So unexpected and fun and totally not something that you’ve read before! Especially since the general idea is that vampires are cruel, cold hearted and absolutely gorgeous creatures that would charm you even without the help of their glamouring abilities. And Reginald is exactly the opposite of that. I loved the fact that he doesn’t change in any way, that eternity seems to be just as lame as his everyday human life was. His social interactions get a small improvement, but even this happens on a minimal level and mostly because of external factors, rather than his own will of changing things. Probably the only thing that I didn’t really like was the way Reginald unveils some surprises about his new self in the end. But overall, I don’t have a lot of complaints. Thinking about it, what Reginald does even as a vampire, in order to save his life and the lives of his dear ones are exactly his human habits: reading and watching YouTube videos.

I liked the other main characters, even if the author is not giving a very detailed insight into their minds. You get a basic idea about their motivations, but most of the time, each character is somehow caught in his own story, dealing with his own problems and, most importantly, not giving up on their whole lives in order to help Reginald. In so many books the secondary characters are becoming sidekicks of the protagonists that you forget that they should actually have their own lives and you end up seeing them only as extensions of the main heroes. I was pleasantly surprised to discover this is not the case in Fat Vampire.

There’s not a lot to debate about the novel. It comes with a bright idea, explores it in the best way possible, but it’s not a very deep or challenging story. It’s a fast and easy reading that will definitely cheer you up and offer you a new perspective of this overly used creatures that fantasy readers love obsessing over: vampires.

Publicat în Amy Garvey

Cold Kiss (Cold Kiss #1) by Amy Garvey

Synopsis:

It was a beautiful, warm summer day, the day Danny died.

Suddenly Wren was alone and shattered. In a heartbroken fury, armed with dark incantations and a secret power, Wren decides that what she wants—what she must do—is to bring Danny back.

But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy Wren fell in love with. His touch is icy; his skin, smooth and stiff as marble; his chest, cruelly silent when Wren rests her head against it.

Wren must keep Danny a secret, hiding him away, visiting him at night, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school, and Wren realizes that somehow, inexplicably, he can sense the powers that lie within her—and that he knows what she has done. And now Gabriel wants to help make things right.

But Wren alone has to undo what she has wrought—even if it means breaking her heart all over again.

Review:

I chose this book after I browsed through some GoodReads reviews and most of them were describing it as beautifully written, lyrical, heartbreaking, haunting, etc, etc. Plus, a lot of readers were mentioning how they cried while reading it more than they did in their whole life. And that’s exactly what I was wishing for. A book that would rip my heart apart, that would tear me to pieces and stick me back together, that would leave me breathless and make me live for a few days inside the protagonist’s mind.

And while I did enjoy going through the story, the book definitely didn’t reach the expectations those reviews created.

Wren is a teenager that inherits magical powers from her family, but is still pretty much witless of the way she can use the powers inside her, since they are a taboo topic in her house. So when her first love dies suddenly, she impulsively takes the decision to try and bring him back. Only that, of course, the… thing that she brings back is barely a shell of the boy that she loved. And slowly, day after day, she becomes more and more conscious of the fact that maybe this wasn’t such a great idea after all.

I loved how the author made a very clear difference between the flashbacks from the past, that illustrate the amazing relation between Wren and Danny and the present, when things are so wrong, but still tender, painful but still heart warming. Before Danny starts becoming a complete different being, in the first weeks after his death (and resurrection), he still holds most of the parts that made him be who he was. He’s still the one Wren loved more than anything, he’s still her comfort zone, still the one that makes all bad things disappear with only a hug. It’s only his need of her that starts growing in an alarming way, his increasing addiction to her presence that makes things worrying. And slowly, his memories that Wren was hoping to hide are now all surfacing, making him confused, angry and dangerous.

When the protagonist meets another boy that is also gifted in a similar way she is, and whom unexpectedly, seems to know what she’s done, it starts becoming obvious that she needs to fix the mistake that she made.

I loved the realistic feeling that the book offered, despite the fact that it’s a fantasy story. The magic has its own place, while life continues to be very normal in most of the ways. Wren has to juggle between hiding her undead boyfriend, going to school and a part-time job, not losing her best friends for good, following her mum’s rules and keeping a decent relationship with her family. And between all of this, she also has to deal with the guilt of falling for somebody else, while Danny’s new existence is revolving only around her.

Even if usually I roll my eyes when I hear about love triangles, the author did such a good job that it didn’t disturb me at all. Considering that Wren is only 17 and that her life is such a huge chaos, I didn’t find it weird or inappropriate that the new guy looks like the only light in the whole darkness. Plus, she’s mature enough to solve her own mess without turning to him as a damsel in distress. Or, at least, not more than she should. All her mood swings are comprehendable, all her drama queen moments are very much self explanatory because of the pressure that she’s holding on her shoulders.

I enjoyed the whole ride, I emphasized with all the characters and understood their decisions and motivations. I didn’t find any remarkable personalities in any of them, but they are all well written, without major flaws and give you the feeling that they could be any real persons that you could meet in your everyday life.

The strongest point of the book remains the romance. It’s sweet and surprisingly, comes in smaller doses than expected and makes you melt a little bit every time when you encounter it.

Of course the novel will have a different effect on each reader. But in the end, I believe it’s almost impossible not to like the story. Because what’s the biggest fear that we all have if not the fear of losing our loved ones? And so, just by thinking about it, all the actions and decisions of Wren become alternative realities of what each of us, the readers, might do in an imaginary world where death wouldn’t be the final step.

Publicat în Ioana Visan

Broken people (seria Broken People, volumul 1) – Ioana Visan

Broken people (seria Broken People, volumul 1) - Ioana VisanBroken people

Ioana Visan

Disponibil: Amazon

Numar pagini: 230

*

Sinopsis:

You don’t always get what you want, but if you’re lucky, you might get what you need.

For one week only, an impenetrable castle is open to the public, and Dale Armstrong has come to Bratislava to rob it. When he finds his partner’s arms mangled, he desperately searches for a way to fix him before time runs out. 

Because the war in the Far East is sapping all the allied nation’s resources, only The Nightingale Circus has the spare parts, the power, and the expertise to fix prosthetics and help the injured, but nothing is free.

Unfortunately, Dale doesn’t know about The Nightingale Circus’s side job, but a forced encounter with the most dangerous woman in the city, the Golden Lady, sends him their way. On this roller coaster of crazy twists and flips, schemes and deceit, wishes and dreams, no one can foresee how the aerialist will land. 

Anything is possible in a world of Broken People.

Parerea mea:

De multe ori, atunci cand trece mai multa vreme intre momentele in care parcurg volume consecutive din anumite serii, ajung aproape sa uit cat de mult am indragit o anumita poveste. Asa mi s-a intamplat si cu noua serie a Ioanei Visan, Broken People. Am citit prequel-ul The Nightingale Circus, volumul de povestiri ce introduce in scena membrii circului si evident, stiam ca mi-a placut mult. Insa uitasem CAT de mult! Odata ce am parcurs insa primele pagini din Broken People, mi-au revenit insa toate sentimentele aproape uitate si am cazut parca intr-o transa din care abia am reusit sa ma trezesc cand am ajuns la finalul romanului.

In mod surprinzator, personajul principal al seriei nu face parte din gama acelor personaje deja cunoscute in The Nightingale Circus. Il cunoastem pe Dale, un presupus… mercenar (?)/raufacator(?), aflat in Bratislava pentru a da o spargere de amploare. Curand insa, din cauza unui incident neplacut si spre nemultumirea sa , povestea acestuia se intersecteaza cu cea a personajelor deja familiare din cadrul circului. Iar treptat, ceea ce parea sa fie doar un contact temporar, se transforma intr-o relatie complexa, cu suisuri si coborasuri.

Firul narativ se intinde pe doua planuri, dand nastere unor provocari diferite, insa in timp, acestea ajung sa se amestece si sa se contopeasca intr-un scop comun. Evident, fiecare personaj are o tinta diferita, fiecare se straduieste pentru a obtine un alt premiu. Insa lupta lor este aceeasi si, de voie, de nevoie, sunt nevoiti sa o duca impreuna si sa isi ajusteze treptat dorintele si actiunile in functie de nevoile tuturor.

Minunat construite, personajele iti lasa senzatia ca nu exista un singur protagonist, ca rolurile fiecaruia sunt la fel de importante si ca daca il scoti din joc pe unul singur, intreaga actiune va fi compromisa. Portretele lor sunt aproape la fel de captivante precum actiunea, mentinandu-te curios si cu ochii lipiti de carte chiar si in momentele – rare, ce-i drept – in care actiunea incetineste. Iar relatiile dintre ele, de prietenie amestecata cu suspiciune, cu toleranta, cu exasperare uneori, cu mici frustrari si nemultumiri ocazionale, sunt deopotriva de fermecatoare.

Desi planul de ansamblu iti este dezvaluit inca de la inceput, autoarea reuseste sa isi pastreze nenumarati asi in maneca pe care ti-i divulga pe parcurs si iti mentine astfel interesul la cote maxime. Iar povestea se modifica aproape la fiecare pas, apar constant factori care ii forteaza pe cei implicati sa se adapteze din mers pentru a-si asigura succesul. Mi-a placut mult faptul ca autoarea nu face deloc lucrurile usoare pentru personajele sale, ca treburile nu merg de cele mai multe ori asa cum acestea si-au propus si ca din nou si din nou trebuie sa faca fata unor provocari neasteptate. Sincer, in momentul in care destinul lui Dale ajunge sa se intersecteze cu cel al membrilor circului, credeam ca cel putin aspectul pentru care acesta ii contacteaza initial se va rezolva in doar cateva pagini, aproape pocnind din degete, mai ales tinand cont de abilitatile celor de la circ. Am fost asadar deopotriva contrariata si placut surprinsa de faptul ca socotelile initiale se duc pe apa sambetei, dand nastere unui fir narativ neasteptat de incalcit.

Finalul, departe de a fi cel pe care il banuiam, m-a lasat totusi cu zambetul pe buze, mai ales ca promite o continuare la fel de atractiva a povestii. Si in acelasi timp si datorita faptului ca abia acum, in incheiere, relatia tensionata dintre Dale si enigmatica Golden Lady pare sa se aseze pe un fagas mai clar definit. Iar apropo de asta, un alt punct forte mi s-a parut exact romantismul abia schitat, relatiile timide, ezitante, atat de realist conturate intre mai multe posibile cupluri de personaje si lipsa acelor momente atat de exasperante in alte carti in care personajele se arunca pur si simplu in niste relatii amoroase, fara a se gandi macar de doua ori la modul in care aceasta alegere le va influenta viitorul.

Romanul abunda de mister, de umor, de emotii si tensiune si trebuie sa va spun ca pe tot parcursul lecturii nu am putut sa nu ma intreb de ce dumnezeu o astfel de poveste nu apare mai des pe blogurile de recenzii si in revistele online de literatura din Romania. Pentru ca sincer, este mult mai buna decat multe dintre cartile autorilor straini despre care apar avalanse de recenzii, articole si comentarii in media romaneasca.