The Tyrant’s Daughter – J.C. Carleson

4/5 stars.
(ARC) ebook, 304 pages.
Read from January 20 to 29, 2014.

Thank you Netgalley for inviting me to read this novel, as I may not have come across it otherwise. This book is a gem in the YA genre and one that every young person living in this post 9/11 world needs to read. With all the hype that has come with America’s war on terror it’s easy to forget that there are two-sides to every story and while this novel is fiction it depicts the emotional side of the other story.

Laila is a teenage girl who was living like royalty in a middle-eastern country run by her father, that is, until he is assassinated.  Overnight Laila becomes a nobody and she is moved with her family to the USA which, is a world and a lifestyle none of them are familiar with. Laila has more worries and concerns than most US teenage girls do and while she does her best to fit in, her past has left her with unanswered questions. Her mother is up to something, scheming with people that they would not normally associate with and Laila wants answers. She is afraid of the truth but she has to know if the way her family is being portrayed in the American media is true and if she knows her family as well as she thought she did.

This book is riveting and, on an emotional level, so realistically depicted. It makes you take a look at the war that is being waged and the consequences it has for the people who are suffering through the ordeal first hand. It makes you wonder if we are really ever able to grasp what living in a world like the middle-east would be like? We are so unbelievably safe here and have practically all of our basic needs met. How could any of us possibly understand the culture and times of countries that have none of these things? Laila offers us an inside to this world and her struggles in coming to terms with who she is and where she is.

I think the only compliant I have with this book is that I highly doubt that the American teenagers depicted in this book would be as kind as they are described to Lalia, knowing her origin. I think in the real world, if these kids knew who she was and where she came from they would be unrelentingly cruel to her. I would suspect violence from teenagers and potentially other adults. Despite this potential falsity, the emotions felt and portrayed by Lalia in the book make up for this fact. Her inner turmoil and bravery are truly what make this book great.

A highly recommended read for any North American.

Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

3/5 stars.
ebook, 161 pages.
Read from January 09 to 15, 2014.

I picked this book up in anticipation of the movie coming out called The Seventh Son. I have heard that the movie is invariably different than the book and the book series itself which makes me a little bit sad but that is usually the case with book to movie interpretations. The book series, called ‘The Last Apprentice’ or the ‘Wardston Chronicles’ contains 12 books.

As a young adult novel, this story is not only extremely exciting but very dark at the same time making this story appealing to variety of age groups, which I think is what the movie creators saw. Thomas Ward is the seventh son of the seventh son and like all boys in this birth position he is sent off at to apprentice to become a ‘Spook.’ A Spook, is the person in charge of managing all of the evil and supernatural in the area, such as witches, boggarts and ghosts. The seventh son of the seventh son is sent for this position as they are born with special intuitive gifts that keep them in tune with the supernatural. The downside to all of this is that the work is very dangerous and lonely. Spooks are not well liked and all of the apprentices prior to Thomas have not lived to see themselves become the next Spook. Thomas finds himself in a pinch when he inadvertently has to deal with a very malevolent witch early on in his training.

There are a lot of different details in this book that make me want to continue the series: I have questions about Thomas’ mother and the strange friendship that Thomas builds with a young witch he encounters. Additionally, the writing appeals to readers of all ages as the author plays with the grey area between good and evil, where most us find ourselves in, adding that extra moral dilemma for the characters and the reader.  Also, the author, while making Thomas the hero, still manages to keep the physical and emotional age of Thomas in proportion. This makes the story more enticing and exciting as Thomas is facing obstacles that no boy his age should be but the author ensures that he reacts appropriately for his age in these experiences.

Overall, a solid young-adult fantasy read . I am looking forward to the next book in the series and the movie, even if it does end up being a bit a different from the book.

 

 

Control by Charlotte Stein

4/5 stars.
(ARC) ebook, 238 pages.
Read from January 02 to 13, 2014

Well out of all the Erotica I’ve read so far, this one, surprisingly, has been my favourite. Ms. Stein has found the perfect balance of smut, character and plot. She was able to provide the reader just enough information about the characters for you to invest into them but didn’t divert so far that you forgot you were reading a piece of Erotica. The story plays with the idea of both female and male dominance and the author was very effective in showing both of these stances in the same story.

Madison, the main female in the story, which seems to be a popular name to use in Erotica as it’s the second piece I’ve read that has used the name for their main female character, owns a bookstore. Not just any bookstore but one that specifically sells Romance and Erotica. In her pursuit to find some help running her store she encounters Andy and Gabriel. While she doesn’t hire Andy, she has rough dirty sex with him on a regular basis. Andy himself, is rough and takes great pleasure in taking control of any sexual encounter. She hires Gabriel because she is enthralled by his passive and quiet nature. Gabriel is the exact opposite of Andy, in every aspect, and what Madison will end up discovering through the many sexual adventures between and with both of them (at the same time) is a side of her she didn’t know about and a pleasure and a love she didn’t know existed.

This book has some immensely erotic scenes that would get just about anyone’s heart racing. I would highly recommend this book to any Erotica lovers or new comers into the genre who aren’t afraid of something new and a little adventure.