Category Archives: Fickle Fiona

A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe

2016-standout-award-badge-smallCan one girl struggling with her identity save Mount Fuji and all its inhabitants?

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Mortal SongTitle:  A Mortal Song
Author:  Megan Crewe
Series: stand alone
Publish Date:  September 13, 2016
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s DescriptionSora’s life was full of magic—until she discovered it was all a lie.

Heir to Mt. Fuji’s spirit kingdom, Sora yearns to finally take on the sacred kami duties. But just as she confronts her parents to make a plea, a ghostly army invades the mountain. Barely escaping with her life, Sora follows her mother’s last instructions to a heart-wrenching discovery: she is a human changeling, raised as a decoy while her parents’ true daughter remained safe but unaware in modern-day Tokyo. Her powers were only borrowed, never her own. Now, with the world’s natural cycles falling into chaos and the ghosts plotting an even more deadly assault, it falls on her to train the unprepared kami princess.

As Sora struggles with her emerging human weaknesses and the draw of an unanticipated ally with secrets of his own, she vows to keep fighting for her loved ones and the world they once protected. But for one mortal girl to make a difference in this desperate war between the spirits, she may have to give up the only home she’s ever known.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

What I liked: Japanese lore is quickly becoming one of my favorite subjects. This novel is filled with the benevolent spirits and the malicious ghosts that fill those tales. Sora is by far my favorite character. She struggles with the idea that she is not kami but human, but she never waivers in her devotion to the fact that Chiyo is the chosen one. The writing is beautiful and really takes you to Tokyo and the temples there and around Mount Fuji. A Mortal Song is a beautiful tale of figuring out who you are.

badge5v4What I didn’t like: I really didn’t like Chiyo’s character. She was way too chipper and accepting of what was going on for just finding out that she was actually a supernatural being. I found her quite annoying at times. I also did not like the fact that even after he betrays them so spectacularly everyone forgives Keiji rather quickly. There were a few times when I could predict what was going to happen.

Even though there were a few issues that bothered me, I loved this novel overall and give it a 5.

Fickle_Fiona_100Fickle Fiona says…

If you enjoyed the Harry Potter series, you will enjoy Mortal Song as well. On the surface, these stories seem worlds apart, but at their core, they follow the same premise—both protagonists grow up believing they are something they are not and, once that is discovered, they go on a journey to save the world from evil.

For the past 17 years, Sora has believed she is one of the spirits of the earth, the Kami, only to find out that she is actually human and has been using borrowed magic all her life. As the story progresses, she loses her borrowed magic and has to learn how to deal with her new human emotions and instincts.

While the story is starting and we are meeting the characters, the author does a great job of pulling you in with her description and imagery. The Kami are beautifully described, and I love that they are all kinds of creatures, especially the animal spirits. Crewe creates a beautiful world within our own that you cannot help but escape to in your mind.

badge4v4Once Sora’s journey starts the story really picks up. It is fun to watch Sora’s human aspects develop as she constantly struggles to do what needs to be done and know when to step back and allow others to take the lead.

If you like this book…

…you might try the InuYasha series (anime) by Rumiko Takahashi, Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn, and The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Advertisements

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.

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!

Guarding Angel by S.L. Saboviec

Not what I expected, and not like anything else I’ve read, this centuries-spanning novel takes you from Heaven to Hell and back in an attempt to examine human nature.

Guarding AngelTitle:  Guarding Angel
Author:  S. L. Saboviec
Series: Fallen Redemption Book 01
Publish Date:  May 7, 2014
Genre:  Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Guardian angel Enael can’t seem to keep her human Wards in check. They’re the ones who choose their paths before reincarnating—she’s just there to help make sure they stay on track. But it’s not as easy as it might look.

When she meets and falls in love with charismatic Kaspen, a fellow Guardian, Enael’s feelings about Heaven, Hell, demons, and the life she’s known are turned upside down. Worse, angel-turned-demon Yasva, Kaspen’s former love, still holds him in her clutches. Even as Yasva works toward obtaining complete control of Earth, she taunts and haunts Kaspen’s and Enael’s lives.

Now Enael is forced to face her past (which is centuries long and bursting with secrets), her present (which is terribly unfulfilling and full of questions), and her future (which becomes more uncertain as time passes). Armed with a newfound love and fear of losing it all, she must figure out how to save the world—-and the angel she loves. Which side will win? Who will Kaspen choose? Will Heaven and Earth continue to exist, or will everything go to Hell?

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Fickle_Fiona_100Fickle Fiona says…

For personal reasons, I wasn’t quite able to finish this book by today. That being said, I am really enjoying this story! I can’t wait to finish it to see where it goes. Unlike any other book I have read before, the author takes you between three worlds that she brings to life through beautiful depiction. You will fall in love with the characters and become entangled in their saga. Whether you are religious or not, this book brings to life the worlds of angels and demons in a non-specific aspect that I think many people will be able to enjoy.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

Guarding Angel is well written and intriguing. Saboviec creates an entire culture of angelic – and formerly angelic – beings without being religious or falling back on stereotypes of the genre. I never felt the story was predictable. In fact, I was never sure where the story was going, so my curiously kept me reading all weekend until I finished! I read a lot, and so finding something in my preferred genre that feels so unpredictable is quite a treat.

I particularly loved the peaceful feeling the author created for Heaven. I can’t say all the angels were nice to each other, but there is a feeling of being taken care of and being treated gently, of not being judged too harshly. Saboviec’s Heaven isn’t perfect, but it mostly feels like what I imagine Heaven to be.

I also love the idea that we reincarnate, and plan out our next lives purposefully to learn something each time we live. I don’t hold to any particular religious beliefs myself, but intellectually I’ve always loved the idea of reincarnation—of a soul returning to life over and over to grow and become wise, to be tempered by having so many experiences. It’s an idea that fits with my own passion for learning and self-improvement, and so it made this story all the more engaging for me.

In addition to the rich culture she created for Heaven, the author also created some wonderfully rich characters. Enael and Kaspen, the main characters, change so much over the course of the novel. They learn an awful lot from each other, from the humans they guard, and from their experiences that each of them is a very different angel at the end of the book than they were in the beginning.

badge4v4I’m thinking the message of the book has to lie somewhere in how these characters change over time; but I’m still processing. I don’t mean to say the message is vague or poorly written or even absent. I think it is a very well-crafted message that takes some thought. This isn’t a “popcorn” book – there’s not a lot of kicking-down-the-door-and-beating-your-enemies action. This is a very thoughtful book that will probably be percolating in your brain for a while.

Stand Out Award Badge2

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

Boy… Guarding Angel is not typical of the things I usually read, so I’m not sure I can recommend anything that might be similar to it.  Oh, I’ve read other angel/demon books, but the storytelling is nothing like Saboviec’s style.  If you’ve read something you think is similar, I’d love to hear about it!

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).