Friday, April 29, 2016


Title: Magnificent Agony
Author: Katie Mettner
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Carrie Butler at Forward Authority Design Services
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR


Eve Darling has learned one very important lesson in her twenty-six years; life never goes according to plan
The night of her high school graduation her heart was bursting with hopes and dreams for the future, but the universe had other ideas. Instead of New York and culinary school, she stayed in Magnificent, Wisconsin. Barely an adult herself, Eve was irrevocably tasked with becoming a mother to her big brother, Davis, the man with the heart and mind of a five-year-old boy. Now, eight years later, she’s become a successful entrepreneur, chef, and businesswoman. All of those responsibilities came at a price and her personal life was payment. No one was more acutely aware of that than she was.
And then, with one phone call, everything changed.
‘After life organizer’ Abraham Von Sallage was like no funeral director Eve had ever met. He was young, charming, witty, and had a unique perspective on life, because his business, was death. They both carried burdens society couldn’t, or wouldn’t, acknowledge, and in those burdens, they found an instantaneous connection. That night, as Abraham stood in the doorway of her cooking school, she saw hope in his eyes.
And then her world crumbled.
An inexplicably cruel twist of fate calls into question everything she knows about life, and death. With her soul adrift in guilt, she clung to the only person she could trust to save her from the agony her life has become. Shrouded by grief, it would take the love of one man, and the resolve of an entire community, to show her just how magnificent life can be.




I wasn't sure what I was getting into when I decided to read this book. The thought of a funeral director and a Chef was kinda odd, yet interesting. Then Eve’s relationship with her brother reminded me of the movie Love Actually. My favorite movie.

This was the story of Eve Darling, or as everyone called her, Darling, and Abraham Von Sallage, known as Von to most people in the tiny town of Magnificent, Wisconsin.

Von ran the family funeral home and was kind of in a depressed state because no woman wanted to date him because of the morbid nature of his job.

Darling had big dreams of being a top New York chef, but circumstances forced her to stay behind and help with her mentally disabled brother Davis. She opened a kitchen store and became famous for her Dutch ovens. She even taught a cooking class in the back of the store, which is how she met Von.

Davis, Eve’s brother, was an almost 40 year old man with the mind of a five year old boy. He loved Clifford the big red dog and Darling so much. He lived in the local nursing home.

This story at one point made me tear up because like any good story there has to be tragedy. In that tragedy, came a great love.

The only part of this story that bothered me was when they went off on a religious tangent. I understand that people turn to their faith in times of death and that's fine. It was already implied that the book would have some religious undertones because of his job.

That said it was a good different book. The writing was pretty and their first kiss was so sweet and pretty the way it was written. If a unique quirky story is what you’re looking for, this is your book. 




The birds come frozen? Eve didn’t tell me they come frozen! I felt myself hyperventilating a little bit. What do I do now?
I turned quickly, my hand losing its grip on the frozen hen in my hand. It went flying and missed the woman by no more than a hair. It landed on the floor with a clunk, took out a display of cracker boxes, and rolled a few feet where it came to rest, spinning slowly on its breast.
“Did I scare you?” she asked amused and I leaned against the large freezer.
“You didn’t tell me the birds are frozen!” I exclaimed.
She took step back and tried to hide her smile. “I guess I assumed everyone would already know that. I’ll make sure to add that to the syllabus for the course.”
“Eve, what am I going to do? My aunt and uncle are going to be here in,” I checked my watch, “seven hours and the birds are frozen!”
She held her hands out to calm me. “This isn’t the end of the world. We have options.”
“Options?” I shook the list at her. “It doesn’t say on the list the birds are frozen. What options are left?”
She was giggling by the time I finished my tirade. She snapped the list out of my hand. “It’s Sunday, right?” she asked and I nodded, perturbed as I was. “Well, I know for a fact Bob will have a fresh chicken or two in the back.”
“What good will that do us? I don’t know how to cook chicken!”
She shook her head at me as if to say, ‘Dude, take a pill.’
“Whether we cook four little birds or one big bird the result is the same, right?”
I huffed a little and picked up the offending hen off the floor. “It won’t look as fancy though. The little hens all done up with the stuffing looked nice at class.”
She put my hands back on the cart handle and set her own basket inside it. She steered me towards the meat department in the back of the store, while trying to soothe my ruffled feathers, no pun intended.
“We can make a chicken look just as fancy, if not fancier, than the game hens, and with a bigger bird it’s more forgiving. If you overcook it a little bit, no one will notice.”
“I hadn’t thought of that,” I mused as I stopped in front of the meat counter. “Oh, who am I kidding? I haven’t thought of anything. Why did I offer to make dinner? This is going to be a disaster.”
She laughed at me softly and I stopped my whining to listen. It was soft and joyous. It reminded me of the music that played from the transistor radio belonging to old Mrs. Mallard every Sunday.
“Hey, Darling, I didn’t expect to see you here. You usually spend Sunday with Davis,” Bob’s voice boomed from behind the counter.
I looked up at our very knowledgeable and overzealous butcher, who was leaning over the counter addressing Eve.
“Not today, Bob, I have a client. It’s a last minute thing and I need a chicken. I’m hoping you have a fresh one hiding back there for me.”
“A client, you say? Are you doing someone a favor again and making their dinner, so they can take credit for it?”
She bounced on the balls of her feet and grinned. “Something like that. I’m helping a friend. I don’t have time to defrost a bird, so if you don’t have a chicken, we’ll have to move to a nice roast.”
He held up his finger and twirled around, and I mean literally twirled around like a ballerina, and trotted back through the small doorway that led to the coolers.
“Eve, what are you doing?” I whispered, looking around the store for anyone we knew.
“I’m helping a friend,” she answered out of one side of her lip. “He’s having a bird about the birds, so I’m trying to find a bird that will stop the birding.”
I started to laugh, trying to hold it in, but failing miserably. I was in a full on giggle attack by the time Bob came back through the door. I had to cover my mouth and look anywhere, but at her.
Bob held up a stripped down chicken as though it was a newborn baby. “Look at this beauty. I wasn’t sure what I would do with her. She’s so big. Just look at those breasts.”


Katie Mettner writes inspirational and romantic suspense from a little house in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. She's the author of the four part epic family saga, The Sugar Series, The Northern Lights Series, the Snowberry Holiday Series, Kupid’s Cove Series and The Magnificent Series. All of her books are written against the beautiful backdrop of the Midwest and are a mix of new adult romance, romance, and romantic suspense.

Katie lives with her soulmate, whom she met online at Thanksgiving and married in April. After suffering an especially bad spill on the bunny hill in 1989, Katie became an amputee in 2011, giving her the much needed time to pen her first novel, Sugar's Dance. With the release of Sugar's story, Katie discovered the unfilled need for disabled heroes and heroines! Her stories are about empowering people with special circumstances to find the one person who will love them because of their abilities, not their inabilities. Katie has a slight addiction to Twitter and blogging, with a lessening aversion to Pinterest now that she quit trying to make the things she pinned.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

RELEASE and REVIEW -- UNITY by Laura Maisano, 5 Cranky Stars


The fires in Illirin have died down, and the survivors are suffering under Emperor Nor’s tyranny. Unfortunately, Illirin isn’t the only world in danger of oppression. Nor’s pet wizard, Matt, has issued an insane ultimatum to Earth’s world leaders. Now Gabe and Lea are running out of time. Again. 

For the past three months, Gabe has taken refuge on Earth with Lea. He’s broken and grieving, but he’s got to pull himself together to save those he left behind. Meanwhile, Lea prays Merlin’s prophecy of becoming powerful will come true. She’s busted her butt practicing her newfound magic. Too bad for her, she still sucks at it. Matt has had a lifetime to master his gift, and she’s fated to face him? Merlin must’ve made a mistake. 

Together, Gabe and Lea go to Illirin hoping to locate help, but the Winged survivors won’t aid Gabe, who they hold responsible for their losses. While short on friends and adding new enemies, Gabe and Lea must find a way to defeat Nor and stop Matt’s plan. Failure could mean being torn apart, the Winged hunted to extinction, and Earth at the mercy of a wizard bent on domination.


Amazon        Barnes & Noble         Kobo        Goodreads     MuseItUp Publishing


I read this book for The Twisted Book Curmudgeon and give it five stars.   

This series is a lot of fun to read with its action packed page turning adventures and romance too.  The author has once again reminded me why I love to read her stories. 

This is a fantasy adventure story with the themes of love, family and tolerance for those who are different.  It takes place on Earth and another world, Illirin.  

Lea, the lead character, finds she is not just a brilliant and strong young woman, but also a sorceress.  

Gabe is the leading man. His role is not domineering, but compassionate.   Don't get me wrong he is very courageous, and a talented fighter, but he is not an over the top alpha.

All the characters have a good and bad side, which makes them enjoyable to read about. 

In Unity, the Earth is in peril and Illirin is in turmoil.  It is up to both Earthlings and Illirinains to band together to save both worlds.  

The twists in the story are wonderful. I just needed to know what would happen next.  The book is the second in the series and while I would recommend reading book one, it is not needed to understand the story line, nor the connections between the characters. 



“How bad have things gotten, that you’d flee to Earth?” Gabe asked.
Arronn paced in place with restless hooves. “Because we sided with the Winged, Emperor Nor oppressed us more than the others. He taxed us into poverty, and his men steal the majority of the food our farmers have grown. In the cities, we starve because prices have soared, and in the country, the supplies have been choked off.” He sighed. “The smart ones left right away, before Emperor Nor spread soldiers into the smaller towns to enforce his laws. We had to wait till Annin was steadier on his feet and could run.”
The boy’s mother set him down, and he sat his rump on the blanket piled over the ice.
Each time Arronn said Emperor Nor, Gabe ground his teeth. An emperor leads people, and that bastard was anything but a leader. He was a tyrant. Illirin didn’t deserve to live under Nor.
“I’m so sorry,” he said.
The Legged blinked. “Thank you for your sympathy, but you must have it worse than us.”
But it’s my fault. If Arronn had recognized him, would he place blame? Without him, Nor wouldn’t have gotten the Stand. Without him, none of it would have happened. They wouldn’t have had to name the Razing.
“We should be on our way. We’ve only a few hours till dawn,” Arronn said as he got the kids ready to head out.
“May the wind be to your back,” Gabe offered them luck. They’d need it.
Arronn gripped Gabe’s forearm and shook again. “And may your paths be solid and sure.”
So, Arronn thought Gabe needed luck, too. He had plenty of luck, the bad kind.


Laura is the author of the Illirin series of YA urban fantasy books, SCHISM and UNITY. She has an MA in Technical writing and is a Senior Editor at Anaiah Press for their YA/NA Christian Fiction.
Her gamer husband and amazing daughter give support and inspiration every day. Their cats, Talyn and Moya, provide entertainment through living room battles and phantom-dust-mote hunting. Somehow, they all manage to survive living in Texas where it is hotter than any human being should have to endure. You can find updates about writing and the random stuff in her life on her blog or follow her on twitter @MaisanoLaura. If you’re more interested in just the professional angle, check out her website


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

New Review! Cruel Boundaries by Michelle Horst, 5 Cranky Stars


If you need a warning before reading a book, then this book is not for you. 
+18 ONLY. 

He’s my cousin and I love to hate him. 
He bullies me. 
He tries to break me every chance he gets 
I remind him constantly that he’s adopted. It’s the only weapon I have against him. 




Dark, gritty, and absolutely gripping.

Not everything is what it seems and sometimes, darkness outweighs the light.

Noah and Amy are cousins with a love/hate relationship. In the war between love and hate, more often than not, hate wins.

Noah was adopted, something Amy constantly reminds him of. It chips away at him and when he responds, it is always in kind.

The hatred, however, masks misunderstandings and secrets. Revelations lead to something both never saw coming.

In order not to spoil, this story is about personal growth and survival. It's about finding a love you never thought possible and courage that's buried within.

This is beautiful story: passionate, tragic, and it kept me engrossed from the start to the finish.

Highly recommended.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

New Review! Milijun by Clayton Graham, 5 Cranky Stars



It is Australia in 2179. On a moonlit Nullarbor night, Laura Sinclair and son, Jason, witness aliens descend to Earth. The extraterrestrials endeavour to form a symbiotic relationship with humankind, and Jason is chosen as a genetic link in a bizarre trial involving the impregnation of human females with hybrid embryos and exploration of spiritual compatibility. Laura crosses swords with Major General Sebastian Ord from the Australian Defence Force, Eucla and Uriel, the enigmatic head of Milijun, a reclusive research facility in the outback. Following a disastrous armed attempt to capture aliens at Cocklebiddy Cave and a fierce confrontation at Eucla, Jason is abducted by an alien swarm. What follows tests the resolve of Laura to the core. Caught in a relentless web of frightening new technologies and alien mystery, spurred by the undying love of her son, she gains a strength of character she never thought possible. All she has to do is save herself, Jason and several women and unborn children from the scheming plans of man and alien alike.


Science fiction isn’t my usual genre since every time I read them I end up feeling rather common and lacking much needed brain cells, especially when the story takes you into quantum physics and the likes. 

When I picked up Milijun, I was a bit uneasy and thought I would get disoriented early on and end up getting bored with the book. Instead, I found myself pleasantly surprised by how well-written and readable Milijun was. Yes, the ever present “big-science-words” were there but everything had been explained and elaborated in such a way that even younger readers could understand it (although younger readers will probably understand it better than me!)

The story centered on Laura and her son, Jason who were on a holiday to the Australian outbacks. The world had gone through another great war and conflicts, and we are facing a new world set in the future. While driving up to their destination, mother and son chanced upon a strange sight in the sky which resembled a flock of birds yet obviously something they had never seen before.

Jason took photos and captured images that were so alien in nature they must be not of this earth. In doing so, he unwittingly became the “First Seen” on the planet by the aliens. The next events forced the two to run for their lives with hopes of finding refuge somewhere safe...only they found the town of Milijun.

What followed reminded me of The X-Files and Star Trek.

Page after page flew by and I found myself drawn more and more into the story. The world building is amazing. The story fast paced and well-defined. Although I didn’t finish the book in one sitting as I normally do when I fall in love with a story, Milijun is something that needed to be pondered. Stepping away from it helped me figure out a few crucial things only to find myself diving back into the story for more.

Secrets were revealed and the book ended without a cliffhanger. But what an ending it was! If ever aliens come for a visit, I hope to God I won’t be the First Seen or else the future of mankind will be so bleak and hopeless!

There is an epilogue which closed up loops with the characters as well as opened up new questions leading to a follow-on story. Methinks I wouldn’t mind so much picking up another sci-fi book by Clayton Graham.

With thanks to Lilac Reviews for the opportunity.

Cover Reveal -- Flying Blind by Caroline A. Gill


In a broken America, seventeen-year-old Iolani Bearse encounters a world full of wonder and danger. Lani discovers a secret: houseflies have magic.

Stealers have no mercy.
Armed with memory-draining lanterns, the stone-cold hunters relentlessly follow catastrophes, laying traps, preying on the weak.
Together with her father, Eleanor, Sam, and Mango, her beloved pinto mare, Lani rescues victims from the grasp of Memory-Stealers. One by one, she saves whomever she can, looking for any path that leads to safety. When her family''s farmhouse is attacked, Lani must act quickly to save those she loves.
Can Lani unmask their powerful, hidden enemies before the flies' magic fails and everything burns to ashes?
Will the loss of one of her greatest friends become her downfall?
Can Lani overcome the evil that is tearing her world apart, flying blind?


Chapter One

Stealing Home

Gasping for air, Jenny Ray struggled against his grip. Anton didn't care.
There was no time for kindness. Survival was at stake. And it didn’t look good. He pulled her tight against his chest, smothering her exclamation in the flannel of his thick shirt. Bending down, his lips moved, but his words were nearly undetectable, "Quiet! Quiet! Shhhhhh now. Hush!"
      All around them, the dying street lamps flickered weakly. Most of them didn't work at all. Anton found her there, standing in the middle of a suburban two way street, empty houses with broken front doors and windows all around. It could have been any street in America. They were all the same now. The last light sputtered.
   "Come on! Come on, we gotta move!" His voice was as sharp as his disapproval. "Open your eyes as big as you can, girl. See if the stars can give us a path."
Grabbing her forearm, Anton pulled the defiant fool in his wake, strong as a tugboat. Even with their eyes wide open to the night, it was still almost impossible to see anything in the pitch. Five steps later, Anton's shoes hit the curb of the sidewalk. He stumbled hard. His grip tightened. If anything, she kept him upright.
   Jenny missed the sad flicker of the extinguished street lights, but she missed the moon most of all. Outside lamps continued to work because they used solar heat for their main energy. The fluorescent lights stayed on for hours into the continual dark, but never through the whole night’s reach. The midnight-sun had been gone too long. Even the northern lights shimmering on the edge of the sky, offered little comfort.
   And without the light of the moon, there was nothing to be done. Nightfall meant hiding. Hiding and praying. There was precious little hope for that now.
   Urgently, Anton guided them both around three houses, hedges, and the tangled mess of an uncoiled garden hose. His fingertips touched the edges of each house they passed. Anton counted softly.
Suddenly, still holding her hand, he stopped and pulled her inside a leaf-covered storm door. Jenny Ray stumbled down along with him, completely off balance. They landed awkwardly in a pile of molding clothes at the bottom of the stairs. Lying on the damp cold of cement flooring, Jenny Ray could barely catch her breath. Anton did not let go of her hand even then.
  "Damn it, Jenny I told you not to come! You should have waited," he whispered, which was a lucky choice. Right after Anton spoke, a ghostly ray of lime green light glowed from the corner of the basement window, growing brighter by the second. Both children lay still, spooked as any wild animal by the harsh light of oncoming cars. Outside the mud-splattered window, the greedy light grew brighter and brighter, bringing the memory thieves with it.
   Anton pulled Jenny Ray close to him again. This time, she didn't fight him. This time, she didn't run. Shaking, she muttered, "Sorry, I'm sorry. I thought I would be safe. I thought no one was there…"
   "They always come in the night under the cover provided by the moonless sky. That's the worst time. You know that!" Nodding, Jenny Ray sniffled a little. The precious heat of her body against him warmed them both. "Best thing to do is lock the doors. We keep our heads down, that's the only way. Yeah, we lock our doors and pray."
   Their warm breath began to condense on the upper window. The mist gave the residual horrid green light a softer edge, almost like a dream, like ghosts outside the glass. The enemy was at the gates, no doubt.
Anton had learned fear in the last three days: the green lights meant trouble, death followed right behind. ‘Memory thieves,’ that’s what he called them. Thugs who traveled in packs of eight or ten adults. Just their size almost always meant they caught the poor, stunned people they hunted. Even hidden in the basement of an abandoned house, the two of the survivors had little chance against superior, organized forces. Anton threw one of the moldy blankets over both of their heads. It was all he could do. Running was a dicey choice. Stealers were formidable anytime, but at night, they were ruthless.
   He and Jenny huddled, silent as the grave. They didn't dare watch the eerie passage of the merciless light. Instead, they looked at the ground by their shoes, praying for the wretched cover of darkness to save them.
  Above them, glass shattered. Jenny stifled a scream.
  The tread of heavy footsteps made the wooden support beams above their heads creak and moan. Dust fell like snow, covering everything. Anton held Jenny Ray and tried not to choke on the mold in the blanket. The footfalls upstairs stopped. A door swung open. Ghost lights cascaded down the rough wood staircase—neither of them could see it. Only their ears could save them now.
  There wasn't much time. Run? Or stay where they were, praying no shoelace or lock of hair would give them away? The topmost stair creaked under the intruder's step. On the window sill, flies buzzed, disturbed. Fear overtook them both, seizing their heart strings like a boa constrictor, leaving only the air in their lungs to sustain them.
   In a blur of speed, Anton threw off the blanket and grabbed Jenny Ray’s hands, pulling her upright and halfway up the side stairs. She looked back in fear as the lime-green light flooded the basement. She had a clear view as a shoe and then a leg descended into the cellar where they hid. Faster than she would have believed possible, Anton got the latch undone that held the cellar’s storm door shut. The door flew upward, open. Anton barely caught the edge of the wood before it hit the pavement. The noise of its impact would have given everything away. At best, they had a few seconds to escape.
   "Anyone down here? Anyone? Hullo?" the voice called out from behind them, inside the damp room below. Innocent and helpful by its tone, anyone left knew it was death to answer.
   Outside, the moonless night was broken only by the light of the memory thieves, blooming from inside the house and through the windows and the partially-open front door. Anton did not wait. "Run!" he whispered to her, fleeing like a rabbit from its destroyed warren. "Run!"
   And so they did with the hounds of hell right behind them. Thieves emerged from the cellar door and poured out the front of the house. Jenny Ray stopped looking back. They ran for their lives, through the pitch darkness, trying to escape the inevitable. Without the moon, where could they go? Every step they took demanded the faith of giants. Still, they couldn't stop as they plunged into the grasp of the merciless night. Death—and only death—followed close behind.
  They stumbled together in the dark, feeling their way around obstacles. By some miracle, they made it to a street corner and turned down a dirt alley. No longer running, they moved quickly through the fallen trash cans and the ivy-covered fences.
   On the next street over, a car drove slowly parallel to their path. They couldn't keep going forward. That way was blocked. They would never make it past the memory thieves. Anton pulled Jenny Ray through a hole in some chain link fencing. With his hands out in front of him, Anton fumbled through an abandoned, overgrown backyard. Jenny Ray held onto his waist. Inching forward, the two fleeing survivors passed a rusted barbecue grill. Anton froze suddenly.
In front of the house, bright headlamps swept the street. Then the car stopped. The engine turned off with a finality that made their hearts drop.
   Thieves of life and memory had them surrounded. It was over, and they knew it.
   Jenny started sobbing. The same sickly-sweet voice that had called to them in the cellar, now cajoled from the front of the house, like they were friends, like Christmas had come in October. "Hey? You there? You lost? Sweetie?" The voice paused as the predators closed the trap, flanking any exits in preparation of finishing their short, vibrant lives.
Anton squeezed her hand and patted her back as Jenny Ray cried. "It's okay, Jenny Ray, it's okay. I know. I know ya didn't mean it. I know." Even now, Anton couldn't be mad at her, even as they were surrounded by the lantern wielders.
She continued to cry, and he hugged her tight against his chest. It would be their last memory.
Around the corner of the unfamiliar house, the greedy green light bloomed.
Right behind them, the pitch-black night air began to swirl in a strange pattern. The two, scared and exhausted, didn't even see it form into a beautiful sixteen-pointed star. The memory catchers and their horrid, thieving lanterns struggled to pass the bulk of a rotting and unstable firewood pile. They worked devilishly fast to clear a path to the backyard. Fat logs full of mealy bugs conspired to block their awful progress, as if nature herself gave one last attempt to shelter the fugitives from the Stealers' hungry maw. Spilled logs bought the two runners a few seconds.
   Anton could hear the men cursing at the obstacles and the remorseless blackberries that scratched at their skin and hands. "I," he whispered to the crying girl huddled next to him, "I wish we could have seen the moon again, Jenny Ray. I wish that—for both of us."
She squeezed his hand. "Me, too," she whispered. "Me, too. Ant–"
Before she could finish her thought, a hand reached out of the empty, moonless night behind them.
My hand.
   Grabbing onto Anton's collar, I pulled hard—upwards and back at the same time. "What the—" I could hear him exclaim. "Jen–Jenny Ray, something's got me—" Neither of them could see, but the young woman trusted him too much to let go of Anton's hand. That's what I was counting on. 

With a tremendous yank, I pulled them both through the flies' spinning star pattern and out of the terrible, hopeless night.

New Review! Clallam Bay by L.C. Morgan, 4.5 Cranky Stars

L.C. Morgan is a new to me author, and I am so glad I agreed to pick up the review for this book.  I will definitely check out other books by this author on the future.

Hailey is new to town and moves in next door to Collin, a man about town, so she thinks.
"He’s a guy. He’s Coll, the ultimate guy’s guy. I doubt he’s going to talk to you unless you go talk to him first."

Innocently enough Hailey and Collin form a friendship that attempts to turn into more.  Long trips at sea fishing and mixed signals make for confusing thoughts and lots of unanswered questions for Hailey.

The twists and turns of this story had me engaged throughout.  There was just enough angst to keep me wondering and hoping where things would go.  The book was well written, the characters were very relatable, and everything flowed very well.

"Those hands had seen a lot. They were skillful and strong, all while staying gentle and kind. I’d felt them over my clothes many times and across my bare skin just a few. I wanted to know how they felt against the more sensitive parts of my body. Rough yet somehow soft, maybe. Probably."

Though this book most certainly is about romance, it is not the typical sexy time filled story full of tons of steam, just the way I like it.  It is a sweet story with just enough to draw you in and keep you pinned to your kindle until the very end.

I would highly recommend this book.

Monday, April 25, 2016

New Review! Escape (Alliance Book 1) by Inna Hardison, 4 Cranky Stars


Book One of the Alliance Series. 

What if everything you knew about the world around you was a lie, and the very people you were taught to fear were your salvation, your escape?

Meet Amelia, raised in the safety of a Replenisher compound, a protectorate for the few Alliance females who can bear children. In two months, she will have to choose a mate and begin her duties, except it doesn't happen like that.

When she witnesses a Zoriner boy fall over the wall of the compound, the very wall designed to keep those like her safe from those like him, the injured boy becomes her burden and maybe, if she lets him, her escape from the life she is meant to have, and the key to unraveling of the many secrets and lies on both sides of this conflict and each other. This is the very beginning of her journey.


This is the first book I’ve read by Inna Hardison, but it won’t be the last. She is a beautiful writer and her melancholy tone drew me in.

The premise of Escape reminded me a little of Children of Men and The Handmaid’s Tale. Set in the aftermath of a world ravaged by illness and controlled by a totalitarian government, it is told in multiple points of view.

Hardison also takes the reader through differing time periods where explanations of how the current situation came to be.

Divided into groups where one is seemingly privileged over the other, what is slowly unveiled to the reader are layers of horror. In a world dedicated to safeguarding the survival of the human race, what is lost is people’s humanity.

When the two groups collide, a chain of events is set in motion that upsets the finally balanced structure those in power seek to maintain.

Hardison weaves an engrossing tale with likable characters and something rare in dystopian-apocalyptic works: the gift of kindness. The leads and secondary characters retain their humanity when it would be so easy to fall into cruelty.

Some of my criticisms of this work are that with the multiple points of view and time periods, the story turned in on itself. Differing characters and time periods are some of my favourite literary devices, but at times it took me out of the moment and threw me into another one when I didn’t want to be.

Two characters, sisters, had similar names, and I had to read twice for clarification in order to determine who was narrating that section.

The pacing slowed at thirty percent and then recovered its groove, drawing me in again. Although I won’t spoil, I did find the ending a little unconvincing and convenient.

In saying that, I look forward to continuing on with this series and learning the fate of the characters.

Highly recommended.