Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Requiem for Blood by Alexandra Hope



"You are telling me that drinking another human's blood has enhanced your senses to near animalistic?" 

This book has a whole different take on the traditional vampire traditions. A view that I found quite intriguing. Olivia is a blood drinking human in a secluded colony of blood drinking humans. These humans basically live the life of a vampire while searching for the key to becoming a true vampire. Olivia, the main character, is the daughter of this colonies leader and unknowingly embarks on an adventure that will bring her face to face with her mother in a search for answers. I have rated this book with THREE STARS.

I found the changes to the traditional vampire stories refreshing. The characters were fully developed and they all faced some inner conflicts that made this novel a real page turner. Not only was this a story with vampires, but it also held the tale of some Japanese supernatural beings as well. I found it interesting how the whole book tied together both of these supernatural elements. I had a difficult time putting this book down and for the majority of my reading time I was racing to the finish to discover the answers in which Olivia was searching for. 

The reason I have taken a few stars off of this rating is due to the lack of editing. A lot of the times I felt as though the author had an idea in her head and simply raced to put it on paper. Normally I can see past these typos and errors but with this story I felt as though there were just too many. Had it not of been for these mistakes throughout the entire novel (typos, grammatical errors, wrong name used, double words, etc) this book would have been rated 4.5 stars. I know I generally do not rate for half stars, but one other small issue with this book just did not sit right with me. The hallucination after the overdose on blood was poorly put together and extremely difficult to follow. With the elimination of these two issues within this novel this book would have been a FIVE STAR read. 

The book ends with a bit of a hook, and will potentially be part of a series. With that being said, I hope the author takes a little bit longer during the editing process in order to up the stakes in her future work. This book had amazing potential, this series could be one of the great ones. 

All in all, I enjoyed the story greatly. It was difficult to stop reading and was a real page turner. I would recommend this novel to any patient urban fantasy reader.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Email Inbox

Just an update regarding the unanswered email inquiries in my inbox. I appreciate (once again) all of your patience. I am currently trying to get through some of the books on my TBR list before I accept any more requests for reviews. Which is why I have yet to respond to a lot of the emails in my inbox. I will respond within the next week or two, so again, thank you for your patience. I will get to each email, and respond, once I have posted a few more reviews off of the TBR list. I am still accepting requests, I just need more time to catch up. :)


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Conpulsio


It is no lie that I am in love with this new author, Kris Radcliffe. Her work leaves you constantly on the edge of your seat while you whip through the pages in a race to the end. This short story is no different and for that reason I have rated it as a FIVE STAR read.

This novel is just a short story and it goes back to before 'Games of Fate' and introduces a character that will be seen in book two 'Flux of Skin'. One of our loved characters from 'Games of Fate' is in this story as well, Ladon and Dragon. It tells a story of a race against time as Vesuvius is close to erupting and encasing them all in a sea of ash. The Jani Prime obey their fathers wishes while unknowingly an act so encompassing will take them on a path towards revenge.

I found it extremely interesting seeing Ladon and Mira interact in this story, before Rysa (Mira's future daughter) takes a place in Ladon's heart. It seemed as though almost instantly they have an understanding about one another. The 'new' character that will be in book two is Andreas, a man with a powerful gift that is more like a curse. I am extremely interested in this new character and am looking forward to reading more about him in the next book.

I really found nothing wrong with this short book, except for the fact that it was too short. I was sucked right into the story and would have loved to continue to read more. Maybe someday when the series is done Radcliffe will go back and tell more of their stories. All of the characters are fully developed with interesting behaviours and attitudes that guide their actions. All in all it was an amazing read and it will be highly recommended to any supernatural/paranormal readers out there.





Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cover Reveal: Conpulsio

It is no secret that I have become a fan of Kris Radcliffe's work since reviewing her novels Prolusio and Games of Fate. I'd like to think that the humble author has also become a fan of The Schwartz Reviews as well. She has been completely wonderful and keeps me up to date with all of her new adventures. One such adventure is the release of another novel and yet another novel on the way. Which, might I add, I am eager to read and review!

This post is regarding Conpulsio, a short novel that will be released by the end of April, if all goes to plan with Radcliffe that is. Which, as a fan of her work I genuinely hope she makes that deadline. Conpulsio takes place between Games of Fate (Book 1 in the series) and Flux of Skin (Book 2). It explains some back stories in Games of Fate and introduces an important character from Flux of Skin. So I know that I am eagerly sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the release of this book.

BOOK BLURB:


79 AD: Rome presses outward. Vesuvius smokes. Ladon exacts a terrible vengeance for an unthinkable act—and sets in motion the unavoidable collision of four people:
Two Fates bound by the rigidity of the past and the arrogance of the future.
One Shifter with a gift too vile to use.
And a man and a dragon who must save them from the mountain’s smoldering anger—and the weight of their soul’s ashes.

Conpuslio, a new novella set in the Fate ~ Fire ~ Shifter ~ Dragon universe, expands the story of Ladon and Dragon before they meet Rysa, the heroine of Games of Fate.  Set during the infamous night Vesuvius destroys Pompeii, Conpulsio asks two questions:  Who is bound?  Who is compelled? 

Fate ~ Fire ~ Shifter ~ Dragon, a New Adult Urban Fantasy series with Strong Romantic Elements by Kris Austen Radcliffe, follows Rysa and Ladon—and Ladon’s companion beast, Dragon—through a landscape punctuated by unfamiliar creatures:  Fates with the ability to see past, present, and future.  Ghouls called Burners who devour with fire and acid.  Shifters who shape much more than their bodies.  And two dragons who speak with color and pattern.



The synopsis of this story, along with the beautiful cover, is enough to keep me counting the days until it's released. I can pretty much guarantee that this book will be worth the read but just in case you are not quite sure about it, feel free to stay tuned for our review of this book. If you trust me, and want to get your hands on a copy of this amazing tale that will set the stage for Flux of Skin (book 2), then keep your eye on amazon, where the book will be available for purchase near the end of April!



Thursday, April 11, 2013

Eternal Spring




                                                                           
Product Details
What happens when a seemingly infinite natural resource is discovered to be, well, finite? Eternal Spring by Doug Galante answers that question. Panic, threats of coup d'├ętat, riots, love, a town ripped apart, and a town brought together. This four star book has it all.
The tiny town of Scarlet Oak, Pennsylvania is nestled quietly in the Appalachian mountains. Named for the red deciduous trees that grew there when the first settlers made homes there, Scarlet Oak is essentially cut off from the rest of the world by choice. Literally fenced in to keep outsiders away, Scarlet Oak is harboring a carefully guarded secret- a fountain of youth. The people of Scarlet Oak are extremely sheltered and they are fed information from their city council, newspaper, and television (with only 2 channels) that the outside world is evil and dangerous. No internet, no Facebook (gasp!), and no cell phones. No one is allowed in and no one is allowed out. But the townspeople are happy. Wouldn't you be if you could live to be 150 and have the energy of a 30 year old? However, as one old man in the book says, "long life ain't the answer to everything."
The main character is Andrew, who has become so career driven that he has forgotten about his family and has risked everything to follow in his father's footsteps to get a coveted seat on the city council. However, the day Andrew is sworn in his best friend drops a bomb on him. The spring that supplies the town with their precious, old-age inhibiting water is running out, and it's running out fast. His friends hatch a scheme to leave town and they want him to join them. But Andrew always plays by the rules. He has to make decisions that go against everything he stands for. Does he choose to do what's right for the town, his friends, and his family, or does he choose what his father considers to be right?
Cons- I had a hard time getting into this book at first. It seemed a little too "wordy" for my taste. I did not like that there were no definite chapters, mostly because that is how I mark my time ("Just one more chapter and then I'll do the dishes.") There were a few minor grammatical and spelling errors but not enough to distract the reader. At times I felt the dialogue was a little unbelievable (for example, I wouldn't think that someone living in a town cut off from the rest of the world would know to call someone a "douchebag.") I thought the ending was a little too contrived and it seemed a little too rushed.
Pros- The story was a little bit Stepford Wives (because the town is so perfect) mixed with a little bit of The Hunger Games (fenced in town and a government that feeds the people stories of what the outside is like to scare them into not wanting to leave. Minus the games, of course.) The characters were very well developed. I felt connected to Andrew and could feel the turmoil he was going through. The story is a very good example that everything in this world is finite. A good warning of what could happen to our depleting natural resources.
All in all, this was a good book and I would recommend it if you're looking for a good thriller!


General Update

Hello! Just another general update on what is going on with this blog. You have probably noticed that the blog has slowed down some. In no way shape or form have I decided to no longer review. That will NOT happen. What has happened is I have entered into my exam period. I tend to update the blog followers via The Schwartz Reviews Facebook page. If you have yet to like the page, then feel free to do so soon so you can remain updated on the Schwartz Reviews blog.

I have not been reading any novels on the TBR list for the past week or so, and the blog has taken a spot on the back burner for the time being. I have exams over the next two weeks ending on next Saturday. On Sunday I am hosting my sons sixth birthday party and that evening when everything settles down I will resume reading. Thank you again for all of your patience!

On another note. I have found a few reviewers to help with this site. So some updates to some of the pages will be expected when my exam period is over. Until then, keep your eyes open for some reviews from my amazing reviewers that have agreed to help me out. :) Thanks for following The Schwartz Reviews and for continuously leaving feedback through the comments! I love reading everything you write to the blog :)




Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tea & Biscuits with T. Torrest



I recently had the pleasure of reading “Remember When” written by Tina Torrest. If you are a follower of my blog then you have already seen my five star review for this read. After reading and reviewing this great love story, I immediately contacted the author for an interview. Somehow I managed to trick her into answering my questions, Muahahaha. Ok, so I didn’t trick her, I simply asked and she was thrilled to let me, my readers, and her fans know more about her. She has been an absolute pleasure to work with and I look forward to continuously bringing the readers of The Schwartz Reviews updates on Torrest’s latest work as it is available. So grab your coffee (or tea, water, or whatever helps you relax) and kick up your feet and read our interview.

After the publication of your first novel (Remember When) became a well-loved book by all of its readers, I’m sure that you must be asked this question a lot; but when did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?

I didn’t! It’s just something I’ve always done simply because I enjoyed it. I never thought about making it a career, but after the economy crashed, I (like so many others) found myself out of a job. I had a lot of time on my hands, so I revisited some old ideas. Turns out, my unemployment was a blessing in disguise. I love this new chapter in my life (Oh, God, how corny. Insert bad pun here)!
Haha! I love the pun, every reader should ;) Now, Remember When is a romantic novel for the New Adult readers (also a great read for adults I might add), is this the genre that you will continue to write or will you branch out to new genres?
Hmmm.  I’ve learned to never say never, but I’m pretty well immersed in this whole romance thing. It’s what I enjoy reading!  
Fair enough. I’m a definite romantic at heart too.
Your characters have received a lot of praise in your reviews on amazon. How do you develop them and keep them unique from one another?
I see them in my head as I write. Sometimes, they remind me of combinations of people that I know. Basically, I steal personality traits from my friends and family, people on TV, people I meet on the street… Whatever it takes to flesh them out.
 What made you decide to write Remember When in a first person narrative?
 I wanted the reader to BE Layla. We’ve all been her on some level anyway. I also loved the idea of only learning about the people in her life through their dialogue. I think it keeps Trip’s motivations more of a mystery.
Well that worked! I was practically screaming at Layla and Trip to just SAY something! I was sure their feelings were the same!
Did you expect your readers to fall for Trip as hard as they have?
 Oh, yeah. At least I hoped they would. Hell, I know I sure did!
 Remember When has received a lot of five star reviews on amazon, did you expect the feedback that you have gotten?
 Never. I remember watching that first sale go through. I was so excited thinking that someone was reading my book! Mine had been THE ONLY eyes on it since Day One. I didn’t even tell my family and friends until after I’d gotten some positive feedback. I didn’t know if it was garbage! When that first review came in, I was in tears. I still get emotional at each new one.
 That is a secret that I am sure was hard to keep and the reviews that you are receiving are definitely well earned, the book was extremely well written.  I hear a lot of authors say that their story took on a life of its own and what they originally planned to happen didn’t happen because the characters fought them throughout the story. Did your original plan become RW or did your characters take on a life of their own?
Ha! Good question. Yes, some characters kept vying for more attention, some needed way less. Some things managed to surprise me. For example, I never meant for Cooper to be so relevant to Layla’s life, but he turned out to be the glue. He also wound up being the biggest motivating factor behind Trip’s decisions.
 How long does it take for you to write a novel generally speaking?
 Yikes. My first one took seven years. REMEMBER WHEN took about two. RW2 has a deadline of six months.
 Wow! I hope you make your deadline, and to be honest, I am secretly happy that I will be able to expect Remember When book two soon. How long is your editing process?
What starts out as free-flowing ideas on paper gets tuned, and then fine-tuned until it’s a coherent narrative. But then I have to change a word, expand a sentence so the rhythm is right, add a comma, take one away. Move entire sections. Add in some more dialogue, take some away. I edit repeatedly throughout the writing. Once a story’s “complete”, I will read it in its entirety about three or four or ten more times, re-editing until I feel it’s as perfect as it can be. But it’s never over. I’m STILL editing RW!

A long process then huh? The readers can see your hard work in your novels. Remember When is such an amazing story from start to finish. I have to ask, where does your inspiration come from and how do you come up with your storylines?
Life.  At least the way I think it should be.  But I don’t really know. Something just sparks, and I’m drawn to explore it. DOWN THE SHORE was a romanticized version of how I met my husband (It stars Layla’s cousin Jack as the rock star male lead. Tess Valetti and Cooper’s sister Shana are also secondary characters). In the case of REMEMBER WHEN, I dreamt it. Swear to God. Almost the entire vibe of the story. Only it starred an actual famous actor who shall forever remain nameless.

Haha awe, now I’m curious! Moving on, what would you say is the single most helpful thing to you as an author?
The support of my husband. The guy works all day refinishing floors and comes home to see me sitting on the couch with the damned laptop across my legs. When I’m in the middle of a creative spurt, he really picks up so much of my slack with the house and the kids, without complaint.
That is sweet. Even in your interview, you make it romantic ;) This question is for your fans (and myself), when do you anticipate the release of your next book?
REMEMBER WHEN 2: THE SEQUEL will be released in June.
*Happy Dance* I look forward to the release. I need another Trip fix soon, I’m sure I’m not alone. Readers are now eager for book two and are following your progress closely. Remember When is the first book in the Remember Trilogy. How did you know that you wanted to write a trilogy?
I never set out to write a trilogy! I already mentioned how the story played out for me in a dream. I woke up with a killer first line in my head and the rest just took on a life of its own. Then more ideas came and I just kept expanding on them. Believe it or not, I already knew exactly how Trip and Layla’s story would end before I ever put the first word to paper.
Must have been some dream ;)
Now completely unrelated to your novel, what does a typical day in the life of T. Torrest look like?
Oh jeez. Wake up tired. Get the kids out the door to school. Check email, facebook, goodreads and amazon. Maybe clean, maybe work out, maybe shower! Then it’s right into writing, taking the occasional break on the aforementioned sites. Kids home. Homework, dinner, play, baths, bedtime. TV with hubby. Maybe some variables here… and then sleep. Finally.
Sounds like my day, only instead of writing I am reading to review.  You have gained a following of fans rapidly. What has been the most surprising thing throughout this whole experience?
That I could make a living at it! And of course, the feedback I’ve received from readers. I read and respond to every personal message. I am shocked and flattered and humbled and grateful with each and every one.
 What do you do in your spare time?
 What is this “spare time” of which you speak?
I’m not entirely sure myself, if I ever find some I will let you know where to look! Haha.
After you are done writing the Remember Trilogy, what is next for you?
I’m gunning for a family vacation. Seriously. We will have all earned it by then. Then, it’s right back to the computer, where I’ll completely rewrite DOWN THE SHORE, and finish the two other half-completed manuscripts on my shelf. I have a couple additional ideas floating around for new books, and I’m sure more will come in the meantime.
You will have definitely earned one! 
What is the best way for your fans to reach you?
Email: ttorrest@optonline.netFacebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/TTorrest-Author-Page/127136890800725Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/TTorrest
Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AUV1R42

Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview! I am sure I am not alone when I say that I will be following your progress and that I look forward to the release of Remember When 2.

Thank you so much for having me! I enjoyed the interview process and will keep you posted on any Remember When details. 

For those of you who have not read Remember When yet, what are you waiting for? With amazing reviews and a 'Can't put this book down' story line, it is definitely worth the read! Check out the cover art and a little blurb to get you ready to read more.



Book One tells Layla's story of A-list hottie Trip in the years before his skyrocketing fame.
It will take you back to that time before the real world kicked in, that limbo between adolescence and adulthood, that trial of hanging on to the past while figuring out where the future will lie. It's filled with hilarious eighties references, a few steamy scenes for good measure, with a heart-shredding romance at its core.
It's a relate-able journey through the tumultuous world of friendship, family and high school… 
 …and the memory of that one incredible guy your heart just can't seem to forget.

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