Inception: A Dark Paranormal Romance (The Marked Book 1)
by Bianca Scardoni
Published in September of 2015 it has 4.5 Stars on 727 Amazon reviews.
I chose this book because I wanted one that was doing really well on the top 100 Young Adult book index. This was number 11, behind a bunch of Harry Potters and Hunger Game titles, on the day I bought it. It's now at 31 on that list, though #1 on three indices and #205 on the paid kindle store.
Book 2 was published in June of 2016 and Book 3 in April of this year, 2017. I don't know from looking at them if they will end with the third book, or if the series will continue. But, if you like it, there are at least two more in the series.
The Amazon blurb tells us....
My name is Jemma Blackburn and I have a secret. I know vampires are real. I watched one murder my father eight months ago, and even though they tried to convince me it didn’t happen—that I’d lost touch with reality due to the trauma, I know what I saw was real.
Hollow Hills is now the place I call home. It was supposed to be my chance at a normal life. My chance to bury my secret and start over. But everyone around me is keeping their own secrets, whispering lies into my ears like promises, and one of them is about to turn my entire world upside down.
I thought I had it all figured out. I thought I had the answers. I thought I knew who I was. The truth is, I didn’t even know the half of it. There's a reason these vampires are still after me. There's a reason they will always hunt me. Because I'm not human.
I'm the devil they fear and the angel they crave.
Only problem is, I don't know it yet.
INCEPTION is the enthralling first installment in The Marked Saga. A coming of age YA paranormal romance full of atmosphere, supernatural adventure, and jaw-dropping twists that will keep you guessing until the very last page.
Perfect for fans of Twilight, Vampire Diaries and Fallen Angel Romances.
The Amazon preview has the Preface and the first five chapters. I'm going to read you the preface, which is really short...just the way I like a preface...and then the first two chapters.
Here we go....
What do I like about these chapters. The author is very descriptive and creates the mysterious mood of the area that Jemma has been moved to. She shows in the interactions with her uncle and her sister that something is going on that no one wants to talk about.
I think this book is as popular as it is because it hits all the points of a paranormal YA. I haven't read that many novels, but the characteristics of this story sound very familiar to others in the genre...which is the right thing to do if you want to sell books. Give people what they want. What has Bianca given us in these first two chapters?
A teenage girl torn from her family and placed far away with a relative.
Moved to a mysterious place. Something on the porch at night which the uncle won't admit he knows about. People killed by wild animals. And a high class prep school. The mysterious bad boy in her first class is almost as cliché as the mean girl who doesn't want Jemma looking at him. Sure. There has to be a love interest and a romantic conflict, but these two come across as a little too predictable. The preview promises us jaw dropping twists. If these two break the mold they appear to have come from, I would drop my jaw for that.
I'm impressed by the protagonists ability to observe eye color so quickly. After I meet someone for the first time, I can usually tell you how many eyes they had. Not much more. Especially from across the room. I've taken chemistry in college, so I should be able to tell you how cobalt blue differs from other blues, but I can't.
I'm giving this a four star recommendation, because I think it will be perfect for anyone looking for something to read that will be very much like, what books did the blurb name? Oh yeah. Twilight, Vampire Diaries and Fallen Angel Romances. Whether it crosses enough new territory, with jaw dropping twists, will remain to be seen. If it meets that expectation it set, then I would rate it five stars. If you read this and find it's more than just a well written, more of the same novel. Let me know.
Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin Mckinley
First published in 1978 by HarperTeen
So, that is the first chapter of Beauty. About sixteen pages. I love the author's use of language. Even though the story is told in first person, I hardly notice it.
The story continues with the family selling off their mansion in the city, traveling to the country and setting up shop on the edge of an enchanted forest. It takes a few twists but eventually Beauty ends up in the magical castle, alone with the fright some beast.
When Disney's Beauty and the Beast was announced, I looked forward to it with the hope that it would have the same charm as I found in this book. I think it fell way short. Even with Lumier, Cogsworth and Gaston (Or maybe because of...). In the movie, I never felt an affection for the beast as I did in reading this book.
Anyway. I hope you have a Merry Christmas or other celebration of choice. I'm going to go read Beauty for the eleventh time.
Thanks for listening and we'll see you next week.
In retrospect, I think this is more of a middle grade story. At least it starts that way. And since I already recorded the first two chapters I'm going with it for this weeks episode anyway. Mostly because I like the author's voice. She has found a convincing way of portraying the time period in her choice of language. The characters are interesting and realistic. Also, the other book I started had two violent rapes in the first five pages and the writing was mediocre. If you're interested in reading a violent, mediocre book, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll let you know what the name is.
So, here's Erasmus T. Muddiman
It was published in August of 2016. It currently has 4.8 stars on sixteen reviews.
Here's the Amazon blurb:
It is London 1665, a year fraught with strange and unearthly events. Comets fly low in the sky while merchants clamor for war.
Eleven year old Erasmus T. Muddiman attends St Paul’s School with his younger brother. He enjoys Latin but hates to create Latin verses, preferring the new sciences as seen at the Royal Society. He plays football with the lads in Paul’s Yard, shimmies up the drainpipe outside his bedchamber window and he saves his brother, Desiderius, from all sorts of scrapes.
Soon, Erasmus cannot avoid the rumors of war. Men and boys are pressganged, taken to ships or the dockyards. Plague enters the city. As school fellows disappear, Erasmus and his family meet a terrible fate of survival. Who will live and who will die?
The Amazon preview has the first four chapters. Here are the first two....
What I like most about this story is that it brings history alive. I'm a big fan of history podcasts, like Hardcore History, and Revolutions podcast. These two chapters gave me a real feeling for life in that time period, from looking at comets through a hand held spyglass, to the smell of the air from the top of a bell tower, and the frozen rubbish in the street where the boys kicked their football.
The author has several more books that all appear to involve young people and historical fiction. On the author's amazon author page it says.
Katherine Pym likes history, especially 17th century England, specifically London during the 1660's. The decade is so exciting. It is filled with human interest stories as the people adjust from one government to another, and all their changing rules and regulations.
I also chose this book because the first two chapters occure shortly before Christmas and as I'm recording this, Christmas is about two weeks away. Next week I'm going to read the first few chapters of my favorite book of all time. I've read it nearly ten times and always in the month or two before Christmas.
Thanks for listening. And, we'll see you next week.
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
4.3 Stars 291 reviews
Published November 2014 by Harper Collins
First in the Three book Firebird series
Book 2, Nov 2015
Book 3, Nov 2016
Cloud Atlas meets Orphan Black in this epic dimension-bending trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray about a girl who must chase her father's killer through multiple dimensions.
Marguerite Caine's physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite's father is murdered, and the killer—her parent's handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.
Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul's guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father's death is far more sinister than she expected.
A Thousand Pieces of You explores an amazingly intricate multi-universe where fate is unavoidable, the truth elusive, and love the greatest mystery of all.
I really liked these chapters and recommend this book enthusiastically. It has almost all of what I like. It has mystery, action, science and nerdy romance. What could be better than dimension hopping with a beautiful young woman. It's well written. The plot flows and all the science, whether it's grounded or not, is entered into the dialog and narrative seamlessly. I'm recommending this as a 4, realizing that not everyone will be as enchanted by the science fiction as much as I am.