Author Archives: Fickle Fiona

Escape by L.S. O’Dea

While Escape by L.S. O’Dea isn’t exactly unique in the genere of YA dystopian fiction, I really enjoy the way the author went about telling the story.  The character development is really well done.  Better physical descriptions of the non-human characters might have bumped the rating up a notch.

EscapeTitle:  Escape
Author:  L.S. O’Dea
SeriesLake of Sins Book 01
Publish Date:  Dec 27, 2014
Genre:  YA Distopian
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s DescriptionBackbreaking work from dusk to dawn is just a typical day for sixteen year old Trinity, but that is about to change.

Harvest is over which means that it’s time for the less than perfect teens to be removed from camp. Trinity is okay with that. It’s just another stage of a Producer’s life, but she fears her new home will be like her old one unless she can figure out a way to make friends.

She’s different than the other Producers and even though she’s hidden her fangs and claws her entire life, the others still sense her strangeness.

She concocts a plan to sneak into the forest and discover where the teenagers are taken every year. Once she figures that out she can return home. The other kids will be dying to learn the secret which means that they will have to talk to her and once they get to know her, they’ll like her.

Escaping into the forest is simple; she’s done it before, but never at night. That is different. So is the feeling that she is being followed.

When she stumbles across a new creature, a large fish-like river man, that is only the beginning of her adventures in the forest.

She is hunted, captured, and befriended but she still needs to discover the fate of her kind and return home before the week is up or her mother will be punished for her escape.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Fickle_Fiona_100Fickle Fiona says…

I was pleasantly surprised with this book. While the core of the story is similar to other YA dystopian novels, the author did a good job of telling the story in a different way and creating characters to both love and to hate.

While the main character, Trinity, whines and complains at times, I like how the author has her snap herself out of it and face the situations she is in. It makes Trinity come across as maturing throughout the story. And given that she’s a teenager, that fits. 😉

Since this is the first book of a series, there is a lot of world building and setup for the next story. I had to remind myself of this when I got frustrated with the amount of detail; but, it’s exciting to think of what is going to happen later in the story!

The development of the speaking characters is very well done. I think a little more attention could have been paid to the physical description of the non-human characters to give the reader a better image of how each one looks. Otherwise, I like the world outside the gate.

Inside the gate, I wish there were more description about what each class does to contribute to the community and what defines their classes. Some things are hinted at, and a few are described later on in the book; but, it would be nice to know some things – like the limit of the skills Trinity is taught growing up – before entering the forest.

badge3v4Once Trinity finds out the dark secrets that lie in store for her community, she seeks to save them all. This is an exciting tale of an outcast-turned-heroine and the journey she embarks on. I say give it a read. It’s worth it.

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, The Giver by Lois Lowry, or Black Blood by John Hennessy.

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Tiny Glitches by Rebecca Chastain

Today, we not only have a great book for you, but the author is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card.  Be sure to check it out!

Tiny GlitchesTitle:  Tiny Glitches
Author:  Rebecca Chastain
Publish Date:  January 12, 2016
Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s DescriptionLife isn’t exactly normal for Eva Parker: the stronger Eva’s emotions, the faster nearby electrical devices die. Eva can’t have a cell phone, use a computer, or be in a car for more than a few minutes without killing it. Dealing with her electricity-killing curse makes living in modern-day Los Angeles complicated enough for Eva—and that was before she was blackmailed into hiding a stolen baby elephant and partnered with Hudson, a sexy electrical engineer Eva just met.

Dodging repeated attempts on her life made by ruthless corporations hunting the elephant is easier for Eva than quelling her growing affection for Hudson, and while protecting an elephant is hard, controlling her curse is a lot harder. However, Eva must do both, because if she lets her emotions free and falls in love with Hudson, neither of them will survive.

Enchanting and quirky, TINY GLITCHES fuses electrifying romance and high-voltage suspense in a rollicking adventure.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Fickle_Fiona_100Fickle Fiona says…

What would you do if you couldn’t use any electrical devices? Well, Eva Parker knows exactly what it’s like. Due to her “curse,” her emotions drain electrical energy from anything she’s near. On top of that, she has now been blackmailed into hiding a baby elephant. Then there is Hudson, the hunk she literally just met, that gets wrapped up in all the chaos and believes the elephant is cursing the electronics around them. Now, while keeping her emotions in control, Eva must figure out what to do with the elephant, who is after her, and why on earth is Hudson sticking around through it all?!

In all honesty, the fact that there was an elephant in this book is what caught my attention. I love animals! Rebecca Chastain does a great job with the elephant scenes and giving you a picture of exactly what is going on. The relationship between Eva and Hudson is well developed, and appropriate given the tumultuous adventure they are on. The supporting characters help bring comedy and drama that rounds out the story.

TrueLove

Due to her curse, Eva can also see apparitions around people that express their emotions. While I really liked the fact that she drains energy from electronics nearby, and it really adds to the story and makes simple things like riding in a car a big ordeal, I don’t think that the apparitions really added much to the story. I found myself skipping through these descriptions, wanting to get on with the actual story plot. I’m also not completely sold on the cover. I feel like it doesn’t do the story justice.

badge3v4Overall, I think Tiny Glitches is a light, quirky story that draws you in to the madness Eva and Hudson experience. You want them to win, to come out on top, but the twists and turns throughout the story keep you on edge.

Tiny Glitches can be found at:

Win A $25 Gift Card to Amazon

RebeccaChastainRebecca is giving away a $25 gift card to Amazon.com to one lucky winner!  The giveaway runs from January 12 to February 12, 2016 and is open internationally.  Go to Rebecca’s Rafflecopter site to enter.

Rebecca Chastain is the international bestselling fantasy author of A FISTFUL OF EVIL, A FISTFUL OF FIRE, and MAGIC OF THE GARGOYLES. She has found seven four-leaf clovers to date, won a purebred Arabian horse in a drawing, and once tamed a blackbird for a day. Dreaming up the absurd and writing stories designed to amuse and entertain has been her passion since she was eleven years old. She lives in northern California with her wonderful husband and two bossy cats. TINY GLITCHES is her latest novel.

Find Rebecca at:

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try the Undead series by Mary Janice Davidson, Notes from the Underbelly by Risa Green, or Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella.  Also, try Rebecca’s Madison Fox, Illuminant Enforcer series, winner of One Book Two’s 2015 Standout Award!

Into A Million Pieces by Angela V. Cook

Two sisters have a normal summer off of school. Well, as normal as can be when they are both succubi, kissing a guy will give him a cold, and “going all the way” will sentence him to death!

Into A Million PiecesTitle: Into A Million Pieces
Author: Angela V. Cook
Publish Date: January 27th, 2015
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s Description: Allison McKready is a succubus. So is her twin sister. But while Allison spends her summer break hiding in the library behind her Goth makeup, Jade fools around as often as she can. Allison can’t believe Jade would ignore their mother’s fatal example so recklessly, but concealing a cursed bloodline and its dangerous effects is far from Allison’s only problem. Mean girl Julie’s snob mob is determined to ruin her summer, and Aunt Sarah’s Bible thumping is getting louder. Only her new friend, Ren Fisher, offers safe haven from the chaos of her life.

When one of Jade’s risky dates leads to humiliation and sudden tragedy, Allison reels, and Ren catches her. But as her feelings for him grow, so does her fear that she’ll hurt him—or worse—in an unguarded moment. The choice is coming—love him or save him—but Allison might not live to make it. One way or another, the curse will have its due.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy_Procrastinator_50Hey, you read Into A Million Pieces, right? What did you think?

Fickle_Fiona_50I liked it. I liked that it was a teenage succubus book but it wasn’t preaching abstinence. And then the unexpected twist! That was a real slap in the face. Not at all what I was expecting. I went with it, though, and it turned out being pretty good!

Percy_Procrastinator_50I agree. I liked the book as well and I was surprised. The author got and held my attention for nearly two thirds of a book with no mystery, just plot of two teenage girls on summer break. I really liked the supernatural aspect to the story, but I liked the characters as well. I liked Jade and Alison and their interactions. I liked that Alison wasn’t a know-it-all. She caught onto a few things really well, missed a few things completely, and had to have a few things explained to her.

Fickle_Fiona_50I was really hoping it wouldn’t be too sexual. I mean, it’s meant for the YA audience. Then we got to a point where the characters were going further and further, although still shy of sex. I would say this is obviously for older teens; I think it went a bit too far for a young adult. It is different than when I was a kid, though, and I’m a prude, so I’m glad they stopped where they did in those scenes.

Percy_Procrastinator_50It also surprised me how much sexuality they did have. What the girls were willing to do or try, knowing it would be dangerous to have sex. For me, it was a nice twist on how far you can go without having sex. I also thought it highlighted the dangers of sex by taking it to the extreme. I thought that was a good twist.

Fickle_Fiona_50I agree. I liked the distinction between the sisters and the aunt. One of the sisters likes the attention and the other is going out of her way to be goth and go unnoticed. And then the contrast to their aunt, who is all preachy and embracing celibacy and Christianity. I liked how each of them had their own way of dealing with it and that it fit the characters.

Percy_Procrastinator_50That was another good point of the book. In fact, what stopped this book from getting a five from me was only that they didn’t go into the supernatural world enough. I wanted to know more about the supernatural. Are they the only ones? Is it only their family? I think it would have fit for Alison to do research on succubi and for the author to use that as a way to introduce her mythology, whether real or made up, into the story.

Fickle_Fiona_50I also wondered how much longer until the family curse is over? They are paying for something done over two hundred years ago. When will it be over? Are they the last ones? Will it continue? From that perspective, I wanted to know more. I also wanted to know how tough it was for the sisters to live with their aunt, who looks just like their mother! Was it a daily challenge they dealt with? Or had it been long enough that they didn’t notice it anymore?

I also enjoyed how the author worked the title into the narrative. That was very well done!

Percy_Procrastinator_50I agree. I expected the title to be tied into the romance angle and when it wasn’t, it was done very well. It was a very pleasant surprise to me. The only bad thing is that I liked this book enough that I will have high expectations if there is a next book!

Fickle_Fiona_50Very true! I can accept it if this is where the story ends, but I will want a lot more from another book!


Percy_Procrastinator_100Percy Procrastinator says…

This was quite an enjoyable read. A solid 4.  I’m wanting more in this fictional world!

Things I didn’t like: Not knowing the romance genre very well, I found there to be too time spent with nothing really happening until the mystery started. I did think Alison was perhaps a bit too smart or intuitive at times but nothing terrible. I also thought the resolution of the mystery was quick.

The big thing for me was that I wanted more information on the supernatural side. (If more books are published, this is a great intro to that world. If not, I will be really bummed at the wasted potential. I want to see a wider world and how Alison reacts to that!) For my own entertainment, there wasn’t enough about that side of the world. Even if it was only via Allison reading legends to find out more about their heritage, or why her mom did what she did, I think this could have added that extra bit that I would want to see.

badge4v4Things I liked: The big twist almost ended up in the things I don’t like side. When it happened, it didn’t make sense to me. However, instead of making me put the book down, it kept me reading to find out if it happened if it was described or not. I was not disappointed. Stepping back, the book starts out very well. I’m introduced to the sisters and quickly get a sense of them, their aunt, and their world. The author does a great job of describing them and kept me interested even as they did mundane summer things. It helps that Alison likes to read books; while I have not read the ones she references, at least I could relate.

I was very happy with this book at the end of the read. As I said, I would like more in this world to see it expand and what else might be in it.  I might be asking too much from this genre, though.

Fickle_Fiona_100Fickle Fiona says…

This book was nothing like I expected it to be, and I liked that! I was drawn to this book because of the teenage succubus character. Having read succubus books before, I am well aware of the sexual content these books usually discuss, and was intrigued to see how it was handled in a YA genre. I felt that the way the author approached the topic in this book was very creative. It does not tout abstinence or condone sexual behavior amongst teens, but takes the path of self control.

badge4v4As for the main storyline, Allison and her twin sister, Jade, are opposites. While Jade flaunts her good looks and charming personality, Allison hides behind them to avoid temptation. But when Ren notices her and won’t let her walk away from him, she starts to fall. And hard. While the “love” story of this book is very heartwarming, the author hits you with tragic events that make you feel for the characters and want to hug those you love a little closer. Unexpected twists and turns in this story will keep you reading to find out just how Allison will survive.

Stand Out Award Badge2Other reviews…

If you like this book…

… you might like Kelley Armstrong’s YA series, Darkest Powers, or Shiver Cove Part 1: Tamyra by T.J. Shortt. For an adult succubus tale, check out the Georgina Kincaid series by Richelle Mead (who is also the author of the popular YA series Vampire Academy).

Shiver Cove Part 1: Tamyra

T.J. Shortt pulls you in with her characters and makes you want to discover what the big secret is in Shiver Cove.

Shiver Cove TamyraTitleShiver Cove, Part 1: Tamyra
AuthorT.J. Shortt
Series: Shiver Cove Part 1
Publication Date: May 4, 2015
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s DescriptionTamyra Costa flees the complications of big city life and becomes the new girl in mysterious Shiver Cove. She’s a painfully shy girl starting her senior year and is terrified of being left an outsider. Luckily, one of the popular boys has taken notice of her. Too bad his interest also draws a bully’s attention. Unfortunately, dealing with bullies isn’t the worst thing Tamyra will have to face in her new home.

Tamyra has a secret she’s desperate to protect. Her family genetics are of a long line of werewolves and her wolf form is emerging.

Something stalks the streets of Shiver Cove. Could her deepest fears be coming true? Could her werewolf side be killing or has something far more sinister than Tamyra can imagine made Shiver Cove its home?

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Fickle_Fiona_100Fickle Fiona says…

After being deserted by her father at her first “change,” Tamyra and her mom move to her aunt’s house so that she has more support and guidance about her developing werewolf form. As she gets ready to start her senior year in a new school, she dreads the idea of being the focus of the mean girls crowd again. And she’s so shy she can barely talk to people she doesn’t know. But when a friendly group of kids invites her into their inner circle, she decides Shiver Cove may not end up being that bad of a place.

The story we read here deals a lot with making new friends in a new place and how much trust you put into those people. Do you divulge every secret to them? What is it that you choose to share and you choose to hide from those in your life? As the friendships develop and her friends start to open up to Tamyra more, you learn more and more about each character. As the book progresses and strange things start happening around town, this group of friends decides to do some sleuthing to see if they can discover what is really going on.

The style of this book was a little odd to me, but that helped make it interesting and enticing. So, the way this series setup, I believe you are going to hear each person’s side of the story as the main overarching storyline develops. However, because of that, there was no major climax in this book and it seemed to end abruptly.

badge4v4Despite that, it kept me turning page after page wanting to know what was going on, what’s going to happen with these characters!!! There was certainly build-up and the main character in this book, Tamyra, had her conflict/resolution story — there just was no big reveal/fight scene/whatever like there normally is in stand-alone books.

The writing was good – simple, yet in depth. I liked that. Easy to get through, but still had substance and didn’t play down to the younger audience. The character development was really good. I mean, really good! It definitely made me want to read more details about each character individually.

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If you liked this book, try…

Bear Naked by R.J. Eliason

I would really like to give this book a 2-1/2 rating. While I do feel the overall story has potential, there are some elements that could be improved to make the story more compelling.

Bear NakedTitle: Bear Naked
Author: R.J. Eliason
Series: Bear Naked Book 01
Publication Date: January 1, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Source: Review copy provided by the author

Publisher’s Description: Amanda Burnson is a typical teen with all the typical problems: excess weight, struggles with body odor, random people trying to kill her . . . oh, and her boyfriend just might be a werewolf.

At seventeen, Amanda, who has been raised by her neo-pagan uncle, has more friends at the local Renaissance faire than at her high school. Most of her summers are spent at faires, festivals, and Aunt Maggie’s farm.

There is something new going on in the heart of America, in the small Iowa town that Amanda calls home. The whole town is changing—a tough way to begin a school year. New kids alongside the old; new attitudes colliding with the usual annoying old ones; menacing new faces alongside comforting ones. . . things will never be the same once this brew is boiled.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Fickle Fiona says…

Fickle_Fiona_100I appreciate where the author was headed with this story, though I feel it lacked some things in the way it got there. The first ⅔ of the book was extremely slow paced with no build up to the climax of the story. Secrets are revealed and fairly instantly accepted by other characters, without much display of reaction. It has the feel of an author writing a series for the first time and having trouble with pacing and development. I am interested to see if the second book has a better feel to it, now that she is invested in the story, and to see how the story develops.

I applaud the inclusion of vast differences of characters the author chooses to include. After looking into her history more, she appears to be an LGBT advocate, which is commendable. She incorporates characters into the story that are homosexual, as well as genderqueer – a term I was not familiar with before reading this book. That being the case, I feel like there was little outright explanation as to what exactly that meant. There were hints throughout the book that I eventually picked up on, but it would have been nice to know more earlier on. I originally felt like these were token characters. put in the book just to say she was being inclusive. Later in the story, I discovered they play a larger role; however, the genderqueer concept still has no major impact.

badge2v4The same can be said of the main character’s Pagan belief system. There are scenes in the book that are incredibly descriptive but sadly unnecessary. I would have found it more intriguing had the author gone into detail on scenes of the Pagan rituals and celebrations. With both the genderqueer and the Pagan lifestyles, I feel like the author could have taken advantage of this platform to educate people that are less informed on these topics.

Once finished, I can say that I enjoyed the overall story that the author was going for. Despite the basic writing style and lack of drama to keep the book moving, I never got to a point where I wanted to stop reading. It somehow managed to hold my attention and kept me turning the pages to see where it was going.

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