Thursday, 21 November 2013

Dark Flame Rising




Dark Flame Rising follows 14 year old Keegan in the hunt for a powerful elemental object required to reset the balance of the four elements. It is a young adult novel rated with THREE STARS.

Keegan begins the novel telling her tale of her life that has been spent jumping locations, a history later explained as required to keep her safe. From what, you find out later within the novel. These moves eventually take her to Turtle Springs, a small town that holds many secrets and a rich history. Keegan is a very curious girl, which brings her head first into a search for an object that she doesn't even fully understand.

"Keegan almost fell off the couch when she heard the words fall from Lavinia's lips. Her grandmother had always refused to speak of the place. Its very mention would dampen the brightest spirits and awaken a brooding beast in the old woman that was rarely seen otherwise - one that unleashed fierce reprimands or caused Lavinia to disappear for hours without explanation."

The pages of this novel hold many secrets, secrets that Keegan's curious mind refuses to keep hidden in her search for a truth that has been hidden from her for much of her life. She's on a powerful hunt for answers and comes across these answers in many dangerous adventures. Will Keegan be able to unearth the mystical object that is so very important to the Guardians restoring the elemental balance?

I have chosen to rate this novel with three stars because of a few reasons. One, when the story picks up pace there are several grammatical errors. I found that often times the descriptions were too thorough, wasting time describing scenes that didn't require much description. It made the novel quite wordy. I did enjoy the story, I found  that the author did an awful lot of research prior to publishing, the story is heavy with footnotes for further explanations of past events. Some of these were interesting to read, including the explanation of which element each zodiac sign covers. For instance, my element would be water due to the fact that I am a Pisces.

I would recommend this novel to younger readers who enjoy supernatural stories.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Lesser Gods





This is the third book in this amazing series of psionics and their war. After finishing the first two books in this series, I was eager to begin reading the third installment of this edge of your seat series. I found this novel almost as good as the first two with only one set back. Which is why I have chosen to rate this novel as a FOUR STAR read.

The story begins shortly after the second book. With Adrian facing more challenges than the first two books within this story. Adrian and Alia face major conflicts within these pages and they will keep you at the edge of your seat eager for more. These conflicts are quickly devoured as you will be unable to put the book down in these moments. Howell has an amazing way with words and the novel is written so well that you feel as though you are right there with them.
“I set the duffle bag next to my bed and sat down on my mattress. As I stared out the window on the other side of the room, I wondered what I would see and do on my second mission for the Raven Knights.”
Adrian is now an Honorary Guardian Knight and he is now accepting missions. Each of his missions are equally exciting and when you read through his adventures you cannot put the book down (No seriously. The book will not want to leave your hands).
“How would Laila feel if, in taking her mother’s place, I were to be killed tomorrow? What of Alia and Cindy, and even Terry? And what of me? Was I celebrating the last night of my life on this planet?”
As per usual, our Adrian is just a little dare devil. Taking giant risks in the name of eventually one day reuniting with his lost sister. Does he actually accomplish that goal? You’ll have to read to find out ;)


My only downfall with this book, that I didn’t find true of the first two novels, is that there are several chapters that are extremely slow paced. I’m more of a fast paced don’t want to stop reader so these slower moments were hard for me to get into. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Allegiant



It was no secret that I would review Allegiant after having read the first two novels in this series. Divergent and Insurgent were both five star reads and I eagerly jumped into Allegiant upon their completion. Allegiant takes a different style and faces different challenges but kept with the same captivating style that keeps you racing for more. All in all, however, this novel is rated as FOUR STAR read.

 Again, Allegiant picks up right where the last book, Insurgent, left off. Tris is outside of the city heading to a destination unknown. They eventually meet up with the bureau of genetics and that is where things start to heat up. Instantly there is conflict and you find yourself not only in Tris’ mind but also Tobias’. At first I was weary of this back and forth perspective because the authors style of writing is the same for both minds and it was occasionally confusing as to who I was reading from. However, by the end of the novel it becomes quite obvious why this method of writing suited the author. I won’t tell you why, you’ll have to read it yourself and find out ;)

There are a few new villains now that Janine has been defeated. Conflict rises in the city and outside as well. Tris is left with monstrous decisions and Tobias tries his hardest as well to keep up and find his own ways of supporting their efforts. I found that within this novel there was too much conflict between Tris and Tobias, my two newest favourite characters within the novel. I found myself frusturated that they just couldn’t smile and make up quicker than they do.

I won’t spoil anything within this novel but I will say that it is an emotional roller coaster as the author has no issues introducing new characters throughout the series only to have them die off eventually. You come to love some of the lost characters and mourn for them through your tears (or at least I did ;)

So my two obvious favourite characters are Tris and Tobias, the stories main characters. But other than that, I found that I related a lot to Cara.
It’s strange to see people you don’t know well in the morning, with sleepy eyes and pillow creases in their cheeks; to know that Christina is cheerful in the morning, and Peter wakes up with his hair perfectly flat, but Cara communicates only through a series of grunts, inching her way, limb by limb, toward coffee.
The main reason this novel lost a star is due to the fact that: (1) The back and forth between Tris’ perspective and Tobias’ was hard to follow at times because the writing style never differed, and (2) I didn’t like the ending all that much. I could come up with a few different endings that would have satisfied me more. That being said, all in all, it was still an amazing read. Slower than the first two books, but just as interesting.

My Faction

At the end of this book was a faction quiz. So like every other Divergent fan out there I took that quiz. I figured I should share my results with the readers of my blog. The quiz is a short seven question multiple choice quiz and at the end of the quiz my results show that I would be a Erudite. That should have been obvious since I am a book nerd ;)


Are you interested in taking this quiz? You can find it online by clicking this LINK. Enjoy.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Insurgent by Veronica Roth



                After completing book one, Divergent, it was no question in my mind that I would also read book two, Insurgent. Book one was an action packed race to the finish for me and book two did not disappoint in the least. Insurgent by Veronica Roth is a definite FIVE STAR read.
                Insurgent starts off right where Divergent left off. With Tris on a train headed to Amity Headquarters, where her chosen faction is not entirely welcomed. With her choices dwindling and the conflicts rising, Tris has few options to consider on her quest to save humanity. Let me just say that Tris is one bad ass chick. She faces dilemma’s that no sixteen year old should ever have to face and even though her demise is inches away on multiple occasions she always finds a way to pull through. With the Erudite threat and not many left to trust, Tris and Four have monstrous decisions to make for the greater good, or what they believe the greater good is.
                “The truth has a way of changing a person’s plans.
                But it is difficult to persuade Tobias to do something he doesn’t want to do, and even more difficult to justify my feelings with no evidence except my intuition.                So I agree. But I do not change my mind.”
                This book will take you on an emotional journey.  You’ll find laughter, sadness, and shocking suspenseful moments around every corner of this story.
                “When I get back to my bedroom, Peter is standing next to my bed.                Instinct makes me straighten up and search the room for a blunt object.”
                Tris challenges everything, everyone, and challenges even herself. She has attitude and makes this story what it is. Without Tris, the book would be nothing. The character is extremely well developed and incredibly believable. You will be devouring this book and eating up every obstacle and challenge that she faces.
                “’You’ll have to do better than that,’ I say to Jeanine.”
                Readers who enjoy young adult dystopia novels have to read this series. I would not suggest starting at book two because a lot of the character development and plot development is set in book one. Trust me, it is worth the three book series. Happy Reading.



First Two Chapter Preview:

Click HERE.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Divergent



I decided to read Divergent just for my own enjoyment and I am glad that I did. This fast paced dystopian novel is a FIVE STAR page turner that many will enjoy. 

Beatrice is a conflicted girl. Born to a world split into five factions, the selfless Abnegation, the intelligent Erudite, the brave Dauntless, the peaceful Amity, and the honest Candor. In this world, every year all of the new sixteen year olds choose their future faction and then face initiation. If you pass the initiation then you join the chosen faction. If you fail the initiation, you become factionless and homeless.

Beatrice has many choices to make, several obstacles to face, and a conflict so big that success almost doesn't even seem possible. But each struggle she faces makes her stronger and braver to face her final battles.

"Out of my peripheral vision, I see Four shove the door open and walk out. Apparently this fight isn't interesting enough for him. Or maybe he's going to find out why everthing's spinning like  top, and I don't blame him; I want to know the answer too."

The book is humorous, thrilling, and has romance thrown in. It truly does have it all. Will Beatrice gain entrance into her chosen faction? Will love find her in the middle of all of her trials? What will her family think if they could see her now? This book is a must read for dystopian lovers. 




Excerpt:

     
     He pushes the barrel into my forehead. My tears have stopped and the air feels cold as it touches my cheeks. I reach out and rest my hand on his chest so I can feel his heartbeat. At least his heartbeat is still him.
     The bullet clicks into the chamber. Maybe it will be as easy to let him shoot me as it was in the fear landscape, as it is in my dreams. Maybe it will just be a bang, and the lights will lift, and I will find myself in another world. I stand still and wait.
     Can I be forgiven for all I've done to get here?
     I don't know. I don't know.
     Please.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Adrian Howell's Psionic: The Tower



I had previously read book one, so I knew what to expect. Despite having read the first book (I read a few books between the first and second) my memory was foggy of the first one. After reading the first few pages, Adrian explains that he won’t recap. But he does recap just enough for you to remember where you left off. This amazing book is rated as FIVE stars and it earned every one of them.

It starts off with the narrator, which this being a first person is none other than Adrian Howell. They have escaped the research center and are headed to their new home… With the Guardians! Yes, that is right, Adrian’s new family chose a psionic faction to side with and things are going to change for Adrian. They arrive quickly at NH-1, or New Haven One, their new home. And while there are quite a bit of luxury here, there is also a lot of work to be done...For Adrian.
Adrian Howell is a destroyer, his psionics make him the perfect soldier. But Adrian doesn’t want that, he wants to live in peace. Nevertheless, he is trained by Terry who “was raised by wolves”.  He is also taxed with homeschooling, and teaching Alia (his younger ‘sister’) to mouth speak. I was slightly saddened at the burdens placed on Adrian. He seems to be, at 13 years of age, more a father to Alia than a brother. Teaching her to swim, ride a bike, talk, and basically tied to her side 99% of the time. It is the only downside, or problem, that I had with this novel.

“Then perhaps it would surprise you to know that we got an anonymous call that gave us not only your exact location, but also informed us that a team of Seraphim were hunting ou, and would probably have arrived before sunrise.”

As alsways, there was enough conflict and excitement to keep the pages turning. I, for one, read the book within a week. Picking it up every chance I could find to read and devouring it quickly. I found that the ending tied in to the book so well with all of the smaller details within the novel and it left me wondering what book three will have in store for me.

“Luck will only get you so far before it gets you killed.”


Adrian is one lucky boy, barely getting out of book two alive, leaping for book three we shall see what is in store for us but I bet that it will be another amazing story with awesome conflicts and page turning excitement.

Friday, 1 November 2013

A Little Chat with Ramz Artso


Hello Ramz Artso! Thank you so much for stopping by and agreeing to answer a few questions for your readers and the readers of The Schwartz Reviews. I’m sure both will greatly appreciate the time you spend here. Let’s jump in, shall we?
My first question to authors is always the same, when did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
Hi, Mrs. Schwartz, and thank you very much for having me. To answer your question, as far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to create fictional worlds and tell stories. My initial plan was to become a filmmaker, but that didn’t work out too well. That being the case, at the age of fifteen, I decided I could weave tales through writing.
You do seem to have a talent for telling a fast paced story with the ability of hooking readers. Your novel was a quick and great read earning five stars on The Schwartz Reviews. How does it feel to know that your book is gaining such great reviews?
First and foremost, thank you. Truth be told, it feels fantastic, almost as if someone’s pouring honey over your soul. It could also be likened to receiving a great compliment, one that isn’t contrived and that you hoped to receive.
What genre of books do you generally write?
Young-adult and New adult fantasy with as much romance as possible. That said, some of my books, like the Peter Simmons Series, for instance, aren’t romantic at all, although they are still in the YA/NA genre. Speaking of genres, I do plan to write some dinosaur, zombie and horror books later on in my career, as doing so seems a delightful prospect.
I am a huge fan of many genres so I can appreciate a writer who likes to branch out to cover more than one genre. I would love to see your new works, your writing style does have a way of sucking in a reader thoroughly. Do you see yourself continuing with the faster paced novels?
Thank you, it’s nice to hear, as that’s the effect I strive to achieve. I most definitely do plan to write more fast-paced books, as well as thicker, longer ones. The reason being that I understand there are people who prefer big, hefty books and others who have a short attention span.
How do you develop your characters and keep them unique from one another?
Some of my characters come into being entirely by themselves, and I simply censor them every now and then; make sure they stay within the boundaries of what they stand for. Other characters are outlined, given one particular or several different traits/weaknesses and thrown into action to see how they do. I also assign specific habits or words to my protagonists. Take Michael Fleming as an example. Although he is British, he often refers to his conversers as ‘friend’.
It works well giving them all character and making them believable. How long does it generally take for you to write a novel?
Thank you. It can take me anywhere from two weeks to two years to type up a story. I can’t write something unless it feels right, and more often than not, it takes time for that to happen. I then go on to read the book twice or thrice, so as to revise and edit it here and there.
Even reading your shorter work, I could tell that a lot of time went into it. I found it extremely well written. Where do you get your inspiration?
I am easily influenced by creative types, so inspiration comes without much difficulty to me. For example, the whole Peter Simmons series was inspired by Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’.  And if I run out of ideas, I just read, play videogames, watch movies, cartoons and then sit down and meditate on how it could help my writing.
Those are some great ways to beat writers block, I am glad that you have shared those ideas within the guest post. Would you mind sharing what is the single most helpful thing to you as an author?
Definitely the internet, as research is an extremely important aspect in creative writing. I don’t need to buy a ticket and live in Oslo, for instance, if I want to write about Norway. I can just Google the city, read about its history and people’s personal experiences they’ve managed to accumulate during their stay there to get a picture of what it’s like.
The internet definitely makes a lot of things easier. That being said, when can we anticipate the release of your next work?
I’m currently writing a vampire romance story entitled Immortal Blood, and it should be out fairly soon – in two/three weeks.
I do love me a good vampire story. Vampires are extremely popular nowadays so I’m sure it will be another great success. May I ask why you choose to write?
Thank you, I certainly hope my readers will appreciate the story, as keeping them entertained is my primary goal. I write because I feel the need to express myself and be heard. I’ve an overactive imagination, so I always have something to talk and write about. For me, writing is a cathartic experience. Writing is what I do. I live for the process, I breathe it.
Sounds like me with reading. Who has influenced your writing and how?
Stephen King has definitely had an effect on me and my writing. He taught me to be more simplistic in prose and not overly descriptive.
Both good ideas that I’m sure your readers appreciate. Where did you get the idea to write “Victoria Carnahan and the Red Cloaks” a book of yours previously reviewed by The Schwartz Reviews?
Thank you, I do hope so. The idea of Victoria Carnahan and the Red Cloaks was partly inspired by the Harry Potter books and mainly by the numerous vampire stories I’ve had the privilege to read throughout my life. I remember thinking to myself: wouldn’t it be cool if vampires met wands?

I thought that it did mix well together and was different enough to be truly enjoyed as its own work. Any last words to your readers?
I’d like to take this wonderful opportunity and thank everyone for reading. Your opinion means the world to me, guys. If I’ve managed to make your day a little better through my writing, that is wonderful and my day is made. If I did the exact opposite, I’m terribly sorry to disappoint. I’ve got many more books in the works, though, so you’re bound to like at least one sooner or later.
Where can your readers find you?

I can be found on Twitter, here’s my handle: @RamzArtso.
Also, I have a Facebook page, here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ramz-Artso/195195860646876.
And last but definitely not least, you can always contact me on my personal blog:
And last but definitely not least, you can always contact me on my personal blog: http://ramzartso.blogspot.ru/
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