Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Nadaness In Motion's Top Books 2015
As 2016 opens, it's time for the best books I've read and reviewed in 2015. Most of these I got from their authors requesting reviews or through blog tours.
It's been a good reading year, even though I was behind on several books and I didn't reach my target of 36 books.
Note: These books aren't arranged in any order whatsoever.
Revelations by Jennifer Carole Lewis
"Wherever there is prey, there are hunters. Jungle, ocean, city – the location doesn't matter. Predators will always find the vulnerable." – This is the opening line in Revelations (Book I of The Lalassu) by Jennifer Carole Lewis and one that rings true on several characters and lines in the story.
Revelations is a quick-paced action-packed adventure about Dani, a burlesque dancer with super human abilities, who for years has been fighting her family's urge to become the Lalassu people's High Priestess and serve as their guide and connection with the goddess.
Soon after we meet Dani, we encounter Michael Brooks, a developmental therapist for children, who can read emotions and minds when he gets in contact with others. The two eventually must work together to save the lalassu from one of their own.
The novel is rich in characters, imagery and beautiful lines.
"For everyone else, touch was something casual. It could at times become sensual or intimate, but no one else had to fear it. Every time Michael's skin touched someone or something else, he became privy to their inner thoughts, their darkest secrets, fears and hopes."
The Witches of BlackBrook by Tish Thawer
The Witches of BlackBrook by Tish Thawer is the first instalment in a series of the same name; however, it is does not have an open-ending.
Quick-paced and easy to navigate, the story is about three witches: Karina, Kara and Kenna, who lived in the late 1600's, when magic was practiced freely. Accused of murder and being the devil's daughter, Karina is sentenced to burn at the stake, where she performs a spell to protect her and her sisters.
The spell takes the sisters across time, to be reborn in different bodies every time and always separated, or at least two of them are always together in search of the third.
"Trin acknowledged the Magician card as her past, no surprises there. But the present and future card had her undivided attention.
The Seven of Swords indicated deceit and deception surrounding her present, while the reversed Tower forewarned her of major changes, where she could no longer count on those close to her."
Shadow, Shadow by V. B. Marlowe is the first instalment in The Shadow Pines trilogy and an amazing becoming-of-age novel about four school students given four Shadow Boxes on their sixteenth birthday. The students: Harley, Teaghan, Gianna and Brock, are told that they have the power to remove one person from their lives by giving them to the shadows. However, they must use the Shadow Boxes or someone close to them will be taken by the shadows.
“The four of you have been blessed with a great gift. Well, it’s a gift for you, but a curse for someone else.”
Family Secrets by Kat Nichols
is The first instalment in The Secret Societies Collection, Family Secrets by Kat Nichols is about Sophia, who has been living with her best friend Abby after both her parents died, but is soon sent to live with family she never knew existed.
Sophia discovers that she comes from a long line of witches. To top all that, she has to learn everything people have learnt in years in five months for her initiation on her eighteenth birthday. She is also to be named the next matriarch of the Blackthorne Coven, which is loaded with secrets of its own of rivalry, jealousy, and dark magic.
The novel has the interesting theme of who is the enemy amongst the characters. It is something Sophia has to discover for herself.
"The way she said 'dear' grated on my nerves. It turned an endearment into a dirty word."
Seasons of Time by Miriam Khan
Beginning with an eerie prologue of a jealous unnamed mystery woman and possible spell-casting, Seasons of Time by Miriam Khan sees Lara Voight sent to spend the summer with her step-mother's grandmother Gracen, a rude combination of grudge and age.
She soon begins to experience burning pains and emotions as well as a familiar fragrance that often results in a vision of the past. Lara also discovers that she is the "spitting image" of a Penelope Le Rose 'Pen', who was murdered in the mansion and later comes across her diary.
Check out the prologue and excerpt of the first chapter of Seasons of Time here.
Just Pru by Anne Pfeffer
Just Pru is a beautiful contemporary and mind-opening novel about Prudence, who suffers several psychological problems particularly when it comes to interacting and dealing with people.
The novel begins two weeks after Pru's therapist has died, leaving her unable to go out into the world since. After a fire in her building and the loss of her apartment, Pru is terrified of having to go back to her overprotective parents.
Pru's experience with humans comes from the hundreds of shows and series, she's watched; however, these play an important role in her later interactions and transformation.
"I thought longingly of my pills. They were the colours of summer – a pale baby blue one, same as the sky, and a lozenge in cheerful green and white, like striped lawn chairs."
I don't think anyone has ever thought so lovingly of medication, especially for depression.
Bound Series by Stormy Smith
The Bound Series spans three books. It begins with Bound by Duty, which focuses on and is narrated by Amelia, who holds unimaginable power, of which she has no idea how important it is or how to control it.
Throughout her whole life Amelia has been lied to by everyone. Her mother was murdered by Queen Julia, a Hilter-like power-seeking character. Not only that, as a baby Amelia was betrothed to Julia's son, and must wed him when she's 21.
"I felt my power build; pinpricks of electricity racing through my veins, filling my blood inch by inch."
One of the images, of many, that I loved in the novel was: "I was a war-torn battlefield of emotion."
The second instalment in the series is Bound by Spells, which picks up where the first book left off, throwing the reader directly into the action, which is both fun and different from most books, which start out slow.
Also narrated from the first person, Bound by Spells shifts between Amelia and Aidan, with each of them being in a different place. One of the things I liked about the book is that it contains reminders of scenes mentioned in the first book, so the reader does not feel lost or confused, but is capable of connecting events.
"Our power was a faucet constantly turned on. As long as it ran, we lived. But if it turned off, we were done".
The Corpse with the Diamond Hand by Cathy Ace
The Corpse with the Diamond Hand by Cathy Ace is a fun, mind-provoking cozy mystery in the Cait Morgan mystery series.
Two days before Cait's and Bud's honeymoon ends, the ship's card instructor drops dead. To everyone on board, Tommy Trussler seems to have died of natural causes, but to Cait, the man appears to have been poisoned.
"As human beings, we're not capable of experiencing the world as it is – we always experience it as we are, with all our faults, flaws, preconceptions and prejudices filtering and infusing everything we perceive."
Since the novel is narrated from Cait's perspective, we get her first impressions on everything.
"But the captain's micro-expressions told me he was still feeling the weight of the suspicious death on his shoulders."
The first instalment in a gripping series, The Enchanted Rose by Nadia Nader, focuses on Vivian, whose mother recently passed away and who has been shipped off to quirky aunts she's never heard of in a town called Misty Hills.
There she learns about her lineage, her family and their curse. Worst of all, Vivian discovers she has a twin sister and a hoard of secrets kept hidden by her mother.
The Huntress by Nadja Losbohm
The Huntress: The Beginnings by Nadja Losbohm is the first instalment in The Huntress series. The story is about Ada Pearce, an overweight ordinary sport-hating woman, who meets the immortal Father Michael and whose life is turned upside down when she is told that she is destined to become a Huntress.
Ada is pregnant and is going to meet with a reporter to tell her story and open people's eyes to the monsters on the streets and the need to be careful. Her trainer and only companion, Father Michael, opposes this idea at first but understands Ada's need to keep people safe.
"So, when I can't make my rounds, who else is there to protect all those people from what's lurking in the dark?"
The novella sets the background for the following four parts and has significant character development for Ada, Father Michael and to an extent the reporter.
The Memory Chair by Susan White
A short emotional novel with lots of deep characters and a little magic, The Memory Chair by Susan White is narrated from thirteen-year-old Betony's perspective. It opens with Betony telling us how going to her great-grandmother's is a sort of punishment she has to endure.
This changes when Betony sits on her great-grandmother's large brown chair, where she gets a vivid dream of a family that resembles her own but decades before she is born. She soon realises that these aren't dreams but memories of her great-grandmother when she was very young. They show a young boy called Warren, whom Betony has never seen or heard of. When she starts to ask about the boy, no one seems to remember him and her great-grandmother starts acting strangely.
"Each memory I had seen had brought me closer to Gram, and now I cared about her in a way I had never imagined possible."