Saturday, August 8, 2015

Salem's Fury by Aaron Galvin

Salem's Fury
Author:   Aaron Galvin
Publisher:    Aames & Abernathy
Release Date: April 13th, 2015
Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Sarah Kelly fears a father’s sins are revisited upon the children.
Her sister believes different. Adopted by the Miamiak and raised in the wilderness, Rebecca shares no such concerns. For her, memories of their early life and of Hecate’s attack remain dim.
But history condemns those who neglect the past.
When a war party brings news of a neighboring tribe attacked for harboring white folk, they demand the Miamiak aid in avenging their fallen brothers. With rumors the culprits were held in sway to a fearless witch on the rampage, Rebecca must decide whether to guard those she holds dear or seek vengeance upon a forgotten shade of Salem.

There was a lot I enjoyed with the first book in the Vengeance Trilogy,  but that feels overcast by how much I loved this wonderful follow up. Aaron Galvin takes us back into the world of the Salem Witch Trials, but this time, we see through the eyes of the Miamiak. 

Rebecca is a formidable spirit, with a wild nature that is easy to embrace and adore. While Sarah could sometimes be passive, Rebecca is anything but. I love when books have a strong female lead, but especially one that feels believable like this. Rebecca was skilled, but not unbeatable. She was brave, but not without fault. There is something very human and very complex about her personality that made her feel like a kindred soul.

I think Aaron did a good job of linking back to the first novel; it was done in a way readers who jump straight from book 1 to 2 don't get that "when we last left our heroes!" rush, but also left enough clues people who maybe took some space between the books (like me) could easily get back into it. While sometimes I dislike time jumps, this one felt satisfying. I liked seeing this startling growth in Rebecca, and liked seeing a new story taking place within an existing world. The old problems still exist, but it's someone else's turn to solve them. And not to knock Sarah, but I think Rebecca is much better equipped to handle it all. 

This book had plenty of twists and turns, and I won't lie, there were tears in my eyes at a few points. It had some of the dark spookiness from the previous books, but it felt very real. Personally, I like stories like this, where the dangers were things that honestly existed at the times. Yeah, there are terrible things happening here. But sometimes, life gets a little grim. 

Overall, this may be my favorite of Aaron Galvin's work. I just really relate to Rebecca, and like to think maybe there is a piece of her in me. That's the best sort of feeling you can come away from a story with, in my opinion. But how can you not like her? 

I guess my philosophy is something like this: some female characters are helpless, some are fighters, and some are phoenix; when you try to take down a phoenix, they just set the world ablaze. I'd put my bets on Rebecca. She's got her own spark, and I'm excited to see what it does next.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

NEW! Advertisement Opening

Hi authors, I just wanted to let you know I am opening up a little advertisement area over on my blogs sidebar. For $10 a month, or $3 a week, you can rent the ad space and promote your book! Rather than rent the space out to adsense, which could advertise anything from fashion to jail bonds, I figured this space could go back to authors and books, which is why we're all here. If interested in this space, please e-mail me at I'll even help you format the ad so you make the best impression! Again, this is for book or author promotion only, and ads are subject to review.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

H.A.L.F. The Deep Beneath by Natalie Wright

H.A.L.F. The Deep Beneath
Author:   Natalie Wright
Publisher:   Valknut Press
Release Date: January 7th, 2015
Source: Recieved from the author in exchange for an honest review.
H.A.L.F. 9 has taken his first breath of desert air and his first steps in the human world. Created to be a weapon, he proved too powerful for his makers and has lived a sedated life hidden from humans. But H.A.L.F. 9 has escaped the underground lab he called home, and the sedation has worn off. He has never been more alive. More powerful. Or more deadly.

Erika Holt longs to ride her motorcycle east until pavement meets shore. She bides her time until graduation when she’ll say adios to the trailer she shares with her alcoholic mother and memories of her dead father. But a typical night in the desert with friends thrusts Erika into a situation more dangerous than she ever imagined. 

Circumstances push the two together, and each must make a fateful choice. Will Erika help H.A.L.F. 9 despite her “don’t get involved” rule? And will H.A.L.F. 9 let Erika live even though he was trained to kill? 

The two may need to forget their rules and training and if either is to survive the dangers of the deep beneath them.

H.A.L.F. The Deep Beneath started out pretty promising. I was drawn in by the first few pages and had high hopes for the rest of the story. But somewhere within the first or second chapter it fizzled just a little bit, and I never did get back to that same excitement. While the writing wasn't bad, it never wowed me. I think the author has potential, but there was room for improvement.

One of the primary problems I think with that lack of "wow" factor was just the general plot. H.A.L.F. 9 is an alien who escaped from an underground lab, and runs into Erika. Then there is an attempt to get away without freaking out the rest of the world about the existence of extraterrestrials. Which in itself could be eventful, if it hadn't been a sort of overused theme. When you encounter something that feels common like that, you unfortunately land in the "been here, done this" category. 

There need to be something to set it apart. Maybe a character, maybe a twist. I'm not sure I found that in this book. 

Erika herself is pretty likable, as is our alien boy. But likable doesn't necessarily mean great. Erika is tough which is nice, but this instantaneous connection with H.A.L.F. 9 felt a little forced to me. H.A.L.F. 9 is well, an alien, so there is going to be a lack of connection there to begin with. 

Alien lands in foreign world, makes a ton of mistakes. Check. 

Actually a lot of things felt a little like a checklist. The plot felt predictable, despite some small moments when I thought it could be otherwise. Is it rude to say generic? Maybe? But really, I wanted something new here, like I hoped for in the beginning. I mean come on, girl offered tons of money to give birth to a baby which turns out to totally not be a normal baby! Where did that story go?

To sum it up, this was sort of your run of the mill, "conspiracy theories are totally the truth" alien story. I just feel like I've seen it handled in a much more creative manner to really applaud what I found in this book. I'm a Stargate fan, so I adore takes on aliens like The Asgards, where there is a little taste of existing conspiracies (Roswell Greys) while still having their own unique spin on it. I didn't get that same moment with H.A.L.F. We had the basic recipe: aliens caught, experiments, genetic research, whoops it's too powerful and escaped, enter love interest. By the hallway point, I really lost the motivation to pick up the book. It wasn't that it was terrible. I just didn't feel like I was really missing anything?

You know when you watch some T.V. shows, and you get distracted for a minute, come back, and you're okay with that. There's no desire to rewind to see what you missed. I never had that reaction to jump into this story and make sure I caught everything. If I have nothing else to read, yeah, it would take up the time. But would I run home to tell everyone to read it too? Sadly, I wouldn't. 

Natalie Wright has potential as a writer, but I'm not sure this story was the golden ticket to set her apart.