Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: Transcendent: Tales of the Paranormal

Transcendent: Tales of the Paranormal by Lani Woodland, Melonie Piper, Rita J. Webb, Wendy Swore, Melanie Marks, Heather McCubbin, and Evan Joseph

*** I received this book from one of the authors in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon Product Description:
Discover the secrets of a siren, fly with a hawk girl over the mountains of Montana, and flee supernatural party-crashers as the d├ęcor comes to life in this magical journey through paranormal stories. Along the way, watch for ghosts in a haunted house, or ride through the moonlight with a stranger. Save a comatose boy who has lost his soul, and don’t forget to bring your garlic and wolfsbane—you never know when the shadows will snag you. Transcendent includes eight stories of magic, love, death, and choice by some of the newest names in young adult fiction.
My thoughts:
This is a fantastic collection of short paranormal stories.  Each one stands alone as a great quick read.  I usually find myself choosing a favorite story or author when I read a collection such as this, but with this book I found that I enjoyed each story as much as the one before it. I thought that each story was my favorite until I read the next one.  Each story is one of dreams and desires, longing and loss, hope and expectation.  This is a great introduction into YA paranormal.
     The book begins with Seduction of a Siren by Lani Woodland and Melonie Piper.  The characters are great, the story is entertaining and creative, and the ending is clever.  I loved the message that there is more to someone than what meets the eye.
     The next story: Feather by Rita J. Webb, is an interesting tale of heritage and dreams.  I am shifter fan and this is a nicely done piece.  
     Spectre by Wendy Swore is next and is one of the the only non-romance type stories in the collection.  This one has a bit of the creepy, horror feel to it.  It's a little twisted from reality, with a tinge of Cinderella story gone scary.  
     Shadows of Promise by Heather McCubbin is sort of a romance, but truly this one is a ghost story.  The characters are well-done and the story is smooth and entertaining.  It wasn't what I expected as I started reading it.
     Pumpkin Thief by Evan Joseph is the best re-make of the legend I have read.  (Sounds odd, but I don't want to give too much away).  Completely enjoyed it.
     Strike by Wendy Swore and Rita J. Webb is next and will continue to entertain and enthrall.  This is clever, creative, and new in idea from the normal YA paranormal I read. 
     Ryan's Wish by Melanie Marks is a dark love story.  I enjoyed the read, but found myself saddened by lost love and desperate dreams - although buoyed by new hopes. 
     Kiss of Death by Lani Woodland and Melonie Piper is the final installment in this fabulous collection and is a wonderful story.  It is a little twist of fate, cheat death kind of a read.  
***all in all - I enjoyed each story completely and would recommend this to young readers, all lovers of YA, and any one who is looking for a well-written, fast read. 

Review: Mind Over Matter by SJ Clarke

Mind Over Matter by SJ Clarke

***I received this ebook in exchange for an honest review and participation in the blog tour.

Smashwords Product Description:
For three years, Rebecca McKenney grieved the loss of her daughter. Now, a vision showing Sabrina three years older, suggests her baby is still alive, and the FBI agent who gave up the search is the only one who can help find her. Rebecca once witnessed a psychic connection between Agent Cooper and her daughter. She only hopes their fragile bond remains – and that the coward has the decency to pursue it.

Special Agent Dan Cooper, haunted by a tragic mistake made early in the investigation, agrees to help Rebecca to ease his conscience, if nothing else. Together they fight inner demons, all too real bad guys, and an attraction neither wants to admit to. Each step closer to finding her daughter unearths widespread deception and an evil so vile it threatens to break Rebecca's spirit. The thought of having her daughter back in her arms is all that keeps her going. Until she learns the horrifying truth – her daughter is scheduled to die in mere days. 

My Thoughts:
Wow!  I loved this book.  A mother's worst nightmare is a kidnapped child.  As a single mother I was on the edge of my seat for the entire book.  Well-written with wonderful characters, a chilling plot, lost love, betrayal on a number of levels, and a little bit of romance too!

The author has created a world in which Rebecca has isolated herself and her grief.  A world where she struggles to stay focused on the present and not dwell too much on the past.  She has few friends, a lot of anger, some coping struggles, and a psychic connection that could either help her save her child or put her in the nuthouse.  We are given detailed descriptions of the town and the lifestyles of the people who live in it - which lends to the reader become submersed in the story from the very start.

The characters are realistic (Dan may be too good to be true, but realistic enough as we all want him to be real) and easy to invest in as you are instantly pulled into the story.  The characters are so well developed that they seem almost real and your heart goes out to those who are struggling.  Rebecca is courageous, stubborn, and willing to risk EVERYTHING for the life of her daughter.  The "bad guys" are delightfully nasty and unappealing - the kind of villain that a reader loves to hate.    

The mysterious group of people who hold Rebecca's daughter are a complex mix; ranging in age and power levels.  The identity of a few of them is shocking!  The levels of betrayal, misplaced trust and belief is staggering.  The story is both nicely planned and paced, seems to flow from the pages.

Well worth the read - parent or no - you don't want to miss out on this one.

You can buy a copy of this book at Smashwords for $5.50 by clicking HERE.