Thursday, 23 November 2017

REVIEW - THIS BODY WON'T BREAK ~ PT2 - THE O-NEGATIVE SERIES BY LEA MCKEE

Title: This Body Won't Break
Series: O-Negative
Author: Lea McKee
Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopian
Release Date: 3rd October 2017

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Freedom comes at a price.

Joanna has escaped. She’s finally free, but there’s no time to celebrate. The soldiers of the New Terra Alliance hunt her across unregulated land. A land filled with its own host of perilous dangers. Against the odds, Joanna pushes on, but she’s haunted by the faces of all the O-Negatives she left behind.

In less than thirty days they’ll all be dead. Harvested.

To have any hope of saving them, Joanna must join forces with a rebellion teetering on the edge of an uprising. But when she’s reunited with the one person who ever cared about her, and the mother she didn’t know she had, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to give up her only chance at freedom.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
After reading part one of this book I just had to read the next book. The cliff hanger from part one really leaves you eager to read part two. I love a great dystopian, though I would say this series has post apocalyptic elements too, which I also love. 

The cover is basically the same as that for part one with its stark white background perhaps but the explosion of colour is blue. Once again the title and author name fonts are quite basic yet stand out well. I think the "explosion" of the red would certainly attract attention to the book when it is on a bookshelf in a store. Once again the only thing I would be tempted to change about the cover is to add the first line of the blurb "Freedom comes at a price" to the cover.

So to say I had questions to be answered in this book was an understatement. I had oodles of things I wanted to know! Such as, why does Ethan/Knox seem so familiar to Joanna? Exactly who is Dianna? A friend to Amy? The person who took Joanna to the medical centre that ended up with Joanna being taken into the Institute.

Once again there's lots of action in this book. This part picks right up where part one ended, answering the immediate question of will Joanna survive the river. Knox is in charge of getting Joanna and also Cash as he is tagging along first out of the Institute and negotiate the wilder landscape and whilst avoiding recapture by the army that belong to the NTA & Institute as well as the exiles who run riot in the rougher landscape between the Institute and freedom. Knox ends up separating from Joanna and Cash a few times in attempts to give them a head start on those that would capture or harm them. 

I really liked the part where Joanna realises how institutionalised she has become. Joanna discovers that the full name of her rescuer/protector is Ethan Knox. At the institute no one has a surname, only a first name, birth month and ID number. So at the Institute she was known as Joanna August 638.

Now that Joanna is free and has met her mother, and Ethan's father she wants to know more about her own father too, but her mother constantly changes the subject. When Knox slips and tells her the identity of her father it certainly comes as a big shock! Joanna learns much more about the NTA and what they are doing at the Institute though still finds it hard to imagine that people give up their babies for the greater good. Amy, Joanna's mother came up with an alternative cure that has a 60% success rate and even made sure her paperwork was given to someone in the NTA but they didn't use it preferring to stick to their current "cure". Joanna is eager to go rescue those she has left behind in both the Institute and the few friends among the others at Phase 3.

During this book I grew to like Joanna more and really love the character of Ethan Knox even more. The way he checks in with Joanna making sure she is alright. He truly wants to protect her. The reason he blames himself for Joanna being in the Institute is revealed in this part too. I did begin to really like Cash in part one, his desperation to escape after learning some of the truths behind the Institute, even though he had tried and failed before. In this part I kind of became a little suspicious of him when some sort of device falls out of his pocket and he hurriedly hides it back in his pocket not really explaining to Joanna what it really was. Not sure what it could be, maybe he is undercover for the NTA, or the exiles?
The other character I had initially been a little wary of was Dianna, especially as she was supposed to join the "freedom fighters" when Joanna was rescued but she has yet to make contact or turn up. There was another male character that was undercover with Knox too but he is also missing. Could these missing freedom fighters have switched allegiance? Or be imprisoned or worse by the NTA. 

I definitely want to read more parts of this book and more of the series, there's so much more to happen and so many characters to both meet and learn about. I enjoy both the pace and writing style that Lea McKee delivers. This review may seem a little shorter than usual and perhaps disjointed or vague but it is difficult to reveal enough detail and tell you what I thought without revealing too many things that happen in the book that would spoil your own enjoyment of it. I've really taken to this series and find it quite an addictive read. Had I had access to part 3 upon finishing part 2 I'm sure I wouldn't have been able to resist reading it straight away!

My immediate thoughts when I finished this part of the book was wow! Loving this book/series. Now I have to wait (I'm)patiently for the next installment! 


Tuesday, 21 November 2017

REVIEW - THIS BODY WON'T BREAK ~ PT1 - THE O-NEGATIVE SERIES BY LEA MCKEE

Title: This Body Won't Break (Part One)
Series: The O-Negative Series
Author: Lea McKee
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Dystopian, Teens & YA
Release Date: 5th September 2017

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The truth doesn’t always set you free. 

Orphaned as a child, Joanna has lived her entire life in the care of the New Terra Alliance. On the verge of turning eighteen, Joanna eagerly awaits her release into what remains of society. 

It was a beautiful lie. 

Joanna was never meant to leave. She is part of the August Harvest, slated to die before the month’s end. With a rogue soldier’s promise to find her a way out, Joanna dares to hope. But if the NTA finds out what she knows, it won’t only be her own life at stake, but the life of the handsome soldier who has vowed to set her free. 
Fans of Divergent, The Darkest Minds, and The Handmaid’s Tale will love this dystopian story of twisted secrets, romance, and page-turning suspense.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
After reading a few contemporary books I felt ready to go back to one of my favoured genres of Post Apocalyptic or Dystopian. When I read the blurb of this book I decided this was what I wanted to read. I was lucky enough to have an e-copy from Netgalley, though I had forgotten I had it! and bought an e-copy of the book from Amazon UK. At the very end of the blurb there's a snippet that recommends this book for fans of Divergent, The Darkest Minds, and The Handmaid’s Tale saying it is story of twisted secrets, romance, and page-turning suspense. I loved Divergent when I read it so decided to read this book.

The background cover of the book is just a plain white and has an explosion of red on it. Upon reading I would say that the red represents the O-Negative series name as well as fitting well with they way blood is a large part of the plot/story of the book. The title and author name fonts are quite basic yet stand out well. I think the "explosion" of the red would certainly attract attention to the book when it is on a bookshelf in a store. The only thing I would be tempted to change about the cover is to add the first line of the blurb "The truth doesn’t always set you free."to the cover 

After finishing my previous book I decided to read just a couple of pages of this book (as it was late at night) I felt pulled into this book almost immediately, and read more than just a few pages as originally planned! I finally forced myself to stop reading at around 26% I seriously didn't want to put it down  In fact I ended up reading this book in just two reading sessions. This book certainly draws you in quickly and keeps a hold on you until the very end! I wanted to start the next part straight away so went on Amazon UK to buy that one and to pre-order the last part too!

The main background part of this book you need to know, is that a virus was caused by nuclear fallout and has become airborne which leads to a terminal sickness that has wiped out a lot of the population making it necessary for the government referred to as the NTA to take the steps of introducing an Institute for those orphaned to be brought up and prepared for being useful citizens when they reach working age. Each area has a few of these Institutes where those that live in them go through phases one and two, preparing them to leave and go onto phase three.  Upon reaching maturity, at 17 almost 18 years old those at the Institute are taken to "phase 3" where they will be tested and helped to choose and train for their chosen job in society. 

We meet the main character of the book, Joanna as she is dressing in her black, white and dull green uniform that marks her out as being part of zone 3. She looks around her room an exact copy of every other room in phase 2 at the Institute. Those living in the Institute are orphans'aspirants who have lost their families to the dreaded virus which is referred to as TEN. Its August which is Joanna's birth month, she is now considered an adult and will be leaving for phase 3 along with the other aspirants with the same birthday month. This leaving phase 2 and moving on to phase 3 is referred to as harvesting. Joanna first came to live at the Institute quite late in life at just three years old. Her parents died in an accident, leaving her an orphan so she was sent to the Institute. The others at the Institute such as Danny and Sophie have been there all their lives like the other aspirants at the Institute. Making friends is not really encouraged so it is unusual when Dianna, one of the Institute workers seems to take Joanna under her wing, allowing her to eat her meals with her in the kitchen instead of alone in her room. This friendship is the only reason Joanna can think of, when Dianna pulls her to one side in a desperate bid to hurriedly tell her something before she is actually transported to phase three. The information that strikes Joanna as odd, that she remembers Dianna telling her is that, Things are not as they seem. That they have been risen like a farmer raises pigs. Joanna doesn't get the opportunity to ask Dianna exactly what she means as guards appear to usher all the aspirants into an awaiting van. As the ten aspirants from Joanna's Institute get into the van, they are all pondering what will happen at phase 3. One girl says they will only be at phase 3 for a month before being sent out to specific areas to train for their future jobs. After her brief warning from Dianna Joanna is even more perplexed when the van guard berates the ten aspirants for not working "it" out. He actually tells them they have thirty days and they should make the most of them. Another character in the van who is even more suspicious about what is to come in phase 3 is Chase. We learn has escaped twice already, the first time out of pure curiosity, and the second time because of something he had seen that he shouldn't have! When their van stops they are told to leave the van in an orderly way and wait along with other aspirants from all the other Institutes in the different areas. Males and females are assigned their wings and room numbers and will only mix with each other in the shared communal spaces. Only for some strange reason Cash is assigned to the same room as Joanna, and two other female characters, Danny and Sophie. 
Joanna's suspicions are raised even more when a guard whom seems strangely familiar to her hands her a piece of paper saying he needs to show her something. Should Joanna trust him? Is it some sort of trap or part of the training or even a test.
So I have decided at this point I cannot really tell you much more of the plot, as you should have things unfold and pique your individual curiosity as you read the book.

The character I instantly liked was Joanna, who has to try to piece together clues she is seeing to decide whom she can trust. Joanna also has to deal with Cash and his distrust of the establishment that runs the Institute and has brought them up. I think maybe Joanna would have just put her concerns aside but with Cash asking questions and then the guard Knox saying there is something she needs to see, she cannot just forget and go on blindly. I loved the description and character of Knox. When Joanna has her recurring nightmare of falling from a tree despite a hand from above trying to save her, and this time she see's the actual face belonging to the hand and it's Knox you realise there is much more to Knox that Joanna cannot remember. 

I enjoyed the writing style and pace of the book. Lea managed to reveal things slowly but still hold enough back to make you so eager to read more, I really hated having to put this book down! There is so much going on in this part of the book I am really looking forward to part 2 & part 3. I think there is so much more to come about the NTA, why "they" are doing what they are, as well as probably meeting the talented scientist who is in exile who has come up with an alternative to the NTA harvesting. I want to know who Dianna really is, why she is working at the Institute if she is secretly opposed to what they are doing. Why did she risk so much to be a friend to Joannna? I do have some suspicions about who Dianna may be and am looking forward to that being revealed. I'm also eager to learn more about the guard Knox, how was he part of Joanna's past? I want to know if it was in fact Knox in Joanna's dream? And does he survive the ending of this book part? The ending of this part of the book is at such a crucial moment and creates a brilliant cliff hanger! Lea how could you stop it right there? 

I have read some other reviews on this book upon finishing it where people complain that it is only part of the book rather than the whole book. . . I honestly didn't think of it as a problem book parts 1 & 3 are priced at just 99p, though bk part 2 is more expensive and had it been the first installment I probably wouldn't have been so eager to pay as much, not knowing if I would like it. Though at a total cost of under £5 I don't think its too overly expensive. Being totally truthful my usual limit is around at most £5 for an ebook, dependent on author and how much I want to read the book too!

My immediate thoughts upon finishing the book were, Oh wow I have found another series I have immediately fallen in love with! Just bought part 2 as soon as I finished this one! Will be starting to read the next part as soon as I have done my review of this part, which is gonna be super difficult to do without giving away too much! I hope I have told you enough in this review to encourage to read the book without giving away too many details and spoiling the flow of the book for you to read for yourself. What else can I say, I loved this book. Certain aspects in it reminded me of other titles I have read. There is a certain aspect within the book that seems to be an upcoming new sub genre. This book had me thinking of Body Parts by Jessica Kapp, The Body Institute by Carol Riggs, The Vampire Games by Stephanie Archer along with a few other titles I have read. I'd definitely recommend reading it, whether you read it in three separate parts or waiting until the whole book is released.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

REVIEW - ENIGMA - SCHRODINGERS CONSORTIUM BY TONYA KUPER

Title: Enigma
Series: Schrodingers Consortium
Author: Tonya Kuper
Genre: YA, Supernatural, Paranormal, Sci-Fi
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: 3rd July 2017

BLURB from Goodreads

Worst. Road Trip. Ever.

Escaping with Reid Wentworth should have been fun, but how can I enjoy it when I just (accidentally) killed someone, my mom and brother are in danger, and the Consortium is trying to enslave humanity? (Yeah, they aren’t fooling around.) So feeling something for Reid Wentworth was not part of the plan. Trying to help unite the Resistance against the Consortium means I can’t be distracted by hot boys.

The Resistance secret hideout isn’t exactly the rebel base of my dreams. A traitor there wants me dead, but we have no idea who it is. And with both the Resistance and the Consortium trying to control me, the only one I can trust is Reid. If we’re going to have any chance of protecting my family, controlling my unstable powers, and surviving the clash between the Oculi factions, I’m going to have to catch this traitor. By using myself as bait.


Goodreads Link

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon US
Amazon UK

REVIEW
After reading Anomaly I was really looking forward to being able to read Enigma. I had some other titles to read and then finally got around to reading Enigma, and it felt like time and the book flew past whilst reading it. I was looking forward to catching up with the great characters of Josie and Reid, as well as finding out how Josie is coping with an awful act she had no choice but to commit in book one!

Josie is once again the main feature of this cover, though the background colour of the book is grey so lighter than the murky blue of book one. Is that an indication of things being easier and a lighter time for Josie? I love the byline of "Anomalies are the target. She's the bullseye" 

So approaching reading Enigma we know that Josie's father is working deep undercover at the Consortium, though as they haven't heard from him for quite a while they do not know if his true identity has been discovered and resulted in him being killed. Josie's mum and dad were founder members of the Resistance who invented the enhancement serum that increases the Oculi powers. We know that there are three types of Oculi, Pushers, Retractors and Anomalies. The full true power of the serum is not totally known, however Josie risked her life to hand a vial of this serum to Vice President Brown. In reference to the byline, the consortium is seeking out all anomalies to destroy them, and the ultimate anomaly is of course Josie! Can Reid protect Josie? And if he manages to protect her, who will be there to watch over Meg, Josie's mother and younger brother Eli? As being closely related could put them at risk of being used to get to Josie.

Enigma picks up just three days after the ending of Anomaly. Josie is struggling with the fact she had to kill someone she had come to think of as a friend. Josie's relationship with Reid is still in the very early stages where she is embarrassed when he catches sight of her packing away one of her bras. It has been practical for safety purposes that they share a room. Josie and Reid have accepted that they are girlfriend/boyfriend but they will need to be discreet about this fact with other people. It's been decided by others at the hub that Reid and Josie should head over to a safe house. When they receive unexpected message from Meg. It says that she and Eli are heading to the Hub as 3 founders need to be present to make executive decisions for for the entirety of the Resistance. As Meg is a founder it is her duty to be at the hub for such decision making. The message also tells them that the council is unaware of a mole at the hub and that Josie & Reid should remain cautious. Naturally Josie's reaction is to be worried about the safety of her mother and little brother Eli. Josie and Reid argue as to whether they should go to the safe house or just go to the hub in an attempt to draw out the mole. Josie wins the argument by saying the mole may attempt to hurt her mother or brother as a way to get to her. 
They make the long trip to the rather well hidden hub. The area is very sparse, in fact it looks as if there is nothing at all for miles around. After seeing one lone sign claiming they are on "Private Land". Josie breaks the mounting tension by laughing at remarking "Please tell me the next sign will say Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters". It works when they both laugh.
They discuss that when they get to within sight of the security cameras for the hub that they should act more as trainer and trainee. As relationships between trainers and trainees are banned and Reid could end up losing his job and all the status within the hub that he has earnt. It is difficult and its clear to some of the other trainees in the hub that Reid is prepared to die to protect Josie and her family. 
There's lots of strange things that happen as if the mole wishes to make Josie think she is going into some downward spiral similar to the one her older brother Nick had. Certain members of the council do not seem to even want to acknowledge the possibility of a mole in the hub. Then Reid's father Harrison turns up, apparently he has been undercover all this time and he has a contact at the Consortium that is giving him insider intelligence on a regular basis. Reid is obviously shocked and even initially suspicious of Harrison as he had thought his father dead for some time. Reid eventually gathers a few people whom he trusts enough to allow them help to keep Josie safe. Josie and Reid become more suspicious about who could possibly be the mole when the council is not concerned about the fact that Meg Harper and Eli are late getting to the hub. In fact the mole pulls his/her stunt to scare Josie.
Reid and Josie are told Meg and Eli have finally arrived and head to the room for a reunion and to check they are all okay. When they get into the corridor they find Eli wandering about. Eli rushes up to hug Josie, holding her tight and explains that he needs the toilet but doesn't want to go with Josie, and insists that Reid take him. So Reid shows Eli the way whilst Josie rushes into the room to her mother Meg. Its as she enters the room that Eli rushes up to hug her! Josie hugs him but then asks him whats going on, as she explains about "Eli" being at the toilet with Reid, a rather panicked Reid rushes into the room saying Eli has disappeared. This incident certainly upsets everyone, and makes Reid re-think who he can trust to help him keep the Harper family safe. In the end its a small group made up of, Harrison - Reids father, Cohen - Reid fellow trainer at the hub, Kat - another trainee learning the ways of the Oculi alongside of Josie, the last member of the team is Zac Brown - son of the Vice President Brown.

In Enigma, Josie really does go on a roller-coaster of emotions. First she has to hide her true feelings for Reid. The council suggest she may have a breakdown or episode like her brother Nick. Then they speak about her in terms of her being a weapon when a new Oculi trait becomes apparent when Josie is being tested at the hub in front of the council members. Then she is contending with the mole playing little tricks on her as well as her being worried that the mole may hurt her family to get to her. Josie does sometimes miss her quieter life before she came into her Oculi abilities. She actually longs for some normality. . . be careful what you wish for Josie!

I truly loved reading this book. I felt I sped through Anomaly but wow! Enigma is so much more action packed. Get ready to sit and read, and read and read, because seriously you will not want to put this brilliant book down! This book is still from the points of view of the two main characters Josie and Reid. This book really grabs you and holds you it becomes a compulsive, addictive read! I could literally go on and on about this book and series. I have tried my best not to give away too many details about either book. I highly recommend reading Anomaly and Enigma.

We meet more new characters in this book. I admit I really wasn't at all keen of Zac - son of Vice President Brown at all but I think he really redeemed himself towards the last pages of the book. I was very suspicious about who the mole could be and had my own little list of possible suspects. I adored the character of Eli, and would love to have more of Eli in the book or hopefully books to come. I'd also like to see more of Reid and Josie, maybe they can be the council in a hub or the trainers for new Oculi. I would also be interested in Jared who at one point was near the very top of my "possible moles" list, as well as more on the remaining council members. There has to be much more from this series to come? . . . please?

My initial thoughts/feelings on finishing reading Enigma were Wow! .... just wow! brilliant, action packed, hope there's more to come?

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

REVIEW - ANOMALY - SCHRODINGERS CONSORTIUM BY TONYA KUPER

Title: Anomaly
Series: Schrodinger's Consortium
Author: Tonya Kuper
Genre: YA, Supernatural, Paranormal, Sci-Fi
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: 25th November 2014

BLURB from Goodreads
Reality is only an illusion.
Except for those who can control it…
 

Worst. Birthday. Ever. 

My first boyfriend dumped me—happy birthday, Josie!—my dad is who knows where, I have some weird virus that makes me want to hurl, and now my ex is licking another girl’s tonsils. Oh, and I’m officially the same age as my brother was when he died. Yeah, today is about as fun-filled as the swamps of Dagobah. But then weird things start happening…

Like I make something materialize just by thinking about it.

When hottily-hot badass Reid Wentworth shows up on a motorcycle, everything changes. Like, everything. Who I am. My family. What really happened to my brother. Existence. I am Oculi, and I have the ability to change reality with my thoughts. Now Reid, in all his hotness, is charged with guiding and protecting me as I begin learning how to bend reality. And he’s the only thing standing between me and the secret organization that wants me dead…


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I've had this book both from Netgalley and I bought it a while ago when it was available at a special price too! I was looking forward to reading Anomaly and then Entangled Teen generously offered me a copy of bk 2 in the Schrodinger's Consortium Series which is called Enigma.

The cover features a young female on the cover strawberry blonde/red hair and rather piercing green eyes. The female I had guessed and confirmed by reading the book is the main character Josie Harper. Behind Josie the sky looks dark and troubled, does that represent the teens mood? or can she somehow control lightening? Then there's the byline "Not everyone is born equal" The combination of the cover, byline and blurb had me asking those couple of questions and many more, so it certainly did it's job! Will it stand out on a book store shelf?. . .I think it would yes with the hair and those eyes! They really pull you in and make you want to pick up the book and read the blurb. 

So a brief or my attempt at a brief description of the book. .  .Well Josie Harper is now the eldest child of Mr & Mrs Harper as their eldest child Nick died about 2 years ago. Since they have always moved around a lot, and Josie and the other Harper children used to be home schooled, Josie doesn't really make friends very easily. At the moment Josie lives with her mother and younger brother Eli. Their father has been working away for longer and longer periods of time. As the book begins Josie isn't having a great time at all, her father isn't going to be home for her birthday, her boyfriend just broke up with her because ''she won't put out'' and a lab assistant job she had managed to get has also strangely fallen through. So she's not having the best day let alone a great birthday!
All that is about to change, in fact Josie has been having "strange things" happening, and they coincide with her having headaches and feeling ill. One such "strange happening" is when two motorbikes pull up at school where Josie and Hannah, the first person she would ever call a best friend are leant on the wall outside school. Josie thinks it would be nice if these bikers were hunks and goes into detail even including the intricate one off tattoo her brother had. When the guys remove their helmets and walk across to the girls they introduce themselves as Reid and Santos. And yep the guys are both just what Josie and Hannah have been dreaming and thinking about! Later in the book Reid and Santos are revealed to be there to help Josie hone her talents as an Occuli. Reid is an Oculi and an Anomaly like Josie, and Santos is an Oculi "pusher". I won't go into detail about the whole Anomaly, Resistance and Consortium, but lets just say Josie may have wished for Reid and a more exciting life and she sure gets one. In fact she has been living a life on the run, which is why they have been constantly moving whilst she grew up. It seems that Schrodingers Consortium want all Anomalies under their control. Reid, Santos, Mr & Mrs Harper, some of their old friends from years ago are part of the resistance. Reid and Santos have arrived to train Josie in the ways of the Oculi which is what they all are.
As Reid and Santos reveal and explain the oculi to Josie we as the reader learn about it too. 
In one of the first Oculi lessons Reid tells Josie the three rules. Rule One, cause no harm. Rule Two, never reveal your oculi abilities, and finally Rule Three, Don't play God.
Then Reid and Santos explain the different types of oculi, Pushers who make the possible real. Meaning they can create items but only items that they are familiar with. Retractors retract reality, meaning they can take away anything/item. Then there is an Anomaly who can both push and retract. Oculi come into their powers at around the age of seventeen. In Josie's case she was a pusher initially and then her retracting power began, making her unusual and an Anomaly. The oculi "power" is not a bottomless energy, eventually oculi come to the end of their reserve of "power". Being an Oculi is hereditary, in fact both Josie's mother and father are Oculi. Josie learns about a lot of secrets that have been kept from her until now. Her mother explains about the Consortium and the Resistance.

Being totally honest the pace of this book was initially a bit slow for my taste, then suddenly as certain things were revealed it caught my interest more and I became much more immersed in the book. It did remind me a little of the Seer's Series by Heather Frost and I truly adored that series. I am certainly enjoying this book more now that Josie knows what she is. .This book is well written and from the points of view of the two main characters, Josie Harper and Reid Wentworth. The detailed descriptions of the characters enable you to visualise them and by the latter part of the book you really do have enough insight into the characters to predict how they will react in certain situations. The book has plenty of action with all the pushing and retracting during the training sessions that Reid and Santos have with Josie. There is immediate chemistry between Josie and Reid. However relationships between trainer and trainee are forbidden. Reid also knew Josie's brother Nick and we discover more details about Nick's death within this book via Reid. This book is so in depth and comprehensive about the oculi history, the Resistance and the Consortium. A lot of work has gone into the background of the characters, the associations of the Consortium and the Resistance. There really is a lot to take in, but it makes the book all the more interesting to read.

My favourite characters are Josie and Reid but I also enjoyed learning about the background and relationships within the Harper family as a whole. 
So what with great characters, oculi powers of pushing and retracting, then the Anomalies there's loads going on in this book. Then throw in a serum that everyone wants to get hold of and wow! I really enjoyed this book, and will certainly be reading the next book, Enigma as soon as I can! I would also checkout any other books by this author too.
My immediate thoughts when I finished reading Anomaly were, Loved reading this book. What a fantastic start to a potentially addictive brilliant series! When can I read the next one?

Friday, 10 November 2017

REVIEW - ANSWERS FROM HEAVEN BY THERESA CHEUNG & CLAIRE BROAD

ABOUT THE BOOK

ANSWERS FROM HEAVEN
Incredible True Stories of Heavenly Encounters and the Afterlife

Sunday Times best selling author, Theresa Cheung and Medium, Claire Broad believe the Afterlife is real and that it is possible to gain inspiration, hope and comfort from loved ones who choose to return to us from beyond the grave. Through sharing the true stories of everyday people and Claire’s personal experience as a medium, Theresa and Claire join voices as co-authors of new book Answers From Heaven - True Stories of Heavenly Encounters and the Afterlife (Piatkus), to guide us through how those in the spirit world reach out to us, both directly and through mediumship and why we have nothing to fear and everything to gain from these experiences.

In part one, Theresa shares direct contact stories such as Mick’s which shows the profound affect these experiences have on the grieving:

I lost my daughter two years ago. She was only seventeen months and it hit my marriage really hard. So hard that my wife and I split up. I missed my daughter terribly when she passed, but after splitting from my wife the pain was unbearable. I felt so alone. Im not ashamed to say as I think tears in both men and women are a sign of strength not weakness that many nights I would cry myself to sleep. I started to leave the TV on at night so that I would not feel alone as Id hear the sound of voices.
Ten days after my wife moved out I remember waking up in the early hours of the morning and the TV wasnt on. There was no reassuring sound. I panicked, but then I felt someone holding my hand. My hand was outside the duvet. The hand was tiny and it felt electric and warm. I was wide awake at that point, but I pretended to be asleep as the tiny hand in mine was so comforting. Then I felt a gentle kiss on my hand. My daughter used to kiss my hand when I held hers. I knew it was her. I felt her all around me. I drifted off to a peaceful sleep and in the morning when I woke up I knew my daughter was alive somewhere and always would be with me. It is the most comforting feeling.
This happened two years ago and I can honestly say it helped me manage my grief. A colleague at work recently lost his teenage son in a road accident and my experience has really helped me help him. After my daughter died I thought I would never see or touch her again but now whenever I want to I close my eyes and I remember her tiny little hand in mine. Its blissful. In those moments it feels like she is alive again.

Not all of us are lucky to have direct contact from a deceased loved one however in part two medium, Claire Broad addresses why it is that people decide to consult a medium after the death of a loved one and how many of those people receive peace of mind and healing during a sitting. Claire shares many inspiring true stories of readings she has conducted for clients in the past, such as the story of physiotherapist, Anita.

Summarised here from the book, Anita lost her husband to cancer and came to Claire in the hope to be reconnected with him.  During the reading his spirit returns to let Anita know the love they shared can never die.  Anita’s husband is able to communicate so strongly that he provides Claire with details specific to Anita that her analytical mind cannot deny.  Her husband speaks of their anniversary and his wish to gift her a ring.  He conveys his occupation as a pharmaceutical scientist and why he was surprised to find himself very much alive following his passing.  He shares what he is doing now in the spirit world and who he is with and names his mother, as well as passing on his knowledge of Anita’s family members and what they have been doing since his passing, providing further evidence for his survival. Finally, he seeks to reassure Anita that his suffering with cancer was short lived and that he is now well and still very much part of her life. 

Death may end a life, but not a relationship and this is very much the theme of Answers From Heaven as through it’s uplifting pages and the many true stories shared, Theresa and Claire show us how those in the afterlife return to us and why this is heavenly.

THE AIM OF THE BOOK
Through true life stories of ordinary people who have had paranormal experiences, bestselling author Theresa Cheung and medium Claire Broad will show the various different ways that heaven is trying to answer our prayers, offer us comfort and provide proof of survival.
Chapters include: 
1. Messages from the other side 

2. Dreams from heaven 

3. Living and loving creatures in spirit 

4. Love from above 

5. Heaven is calling 
6. Conversations from Spirit 
7. Answers from higher realms 
8. Is anybody there? 
9. Your own answers from heaven.

By the end it is hoped that readers will have lost some of their fear of death, be more aware of when the spirit world is trying to contact them, have greater awareness of the scientific research available, understand that mediumship is an expression of eternal love and nothing to be feared and that it's possible for us all to ask questions and receive answers from the world of spirit.

REVIEW
Title: Answers From Heaven
Byline: Incredible True Stories of Heavenly Encounters and the Afterlife
Authors: Theresa Cheung & Claire Broad
Genre: Mind, Body, Spirit, Religion
Publisher: Piatkus, Little Brown
Release Date: 2nd November 2017

BLURB supplied by Author Right Marketing & Publicity
Bestselling author Theresa Cheung has long been fascinated by Mediumship. Noticing a rise in scientific research — from respected experts like Dr Julie Beischel, Director of Research at the Windbridge Institute —supporting the theory that human consciousness could survive, even after physical death, Theresa was moved to contact the honest medium, Claire Broad, to investigate the phenomenon further. Together they have joined forces — and voices — in Answers From Heaven: Incredible True Stories of Heavenly Encounters and the Afterlife in order to chart our collective and individual experiences of life after death, and to explore its practical benefits in the field of grievance counselling.

Mediumship is an expression of eternal love and nothing to be feared. The writers reveal how those in the Afterlife make contact with us; Cheung helps readers to identify Afterlife Signs by revealing her own visions and the genuine accounts of those she has interviewed who have first-hand experience of out of body experiences and Afterlife communications; Claire vividly outlines the medium’s role in this spiritual communication. True stories of messages delivered by Claire through her work, and the role played by teachers in the spirit world, including Claire’s spirit mentor, White Feather, are discussed. Claire and Theresa question and interpret the nature of Mediumship, illuminating the valuable role a genuine medium can play in helping to make death less frightening and an Afterlife feel within reach.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I received an email from Rachel Gilbey at Author Right asking if I would be interested in reading this book, as I enjoy reading non fiction titles too. When I read the blurb and information that Rachel sent me made me want to read this book. At first I was going to say thank-you but that I didn't have time and I don't actually do as many Book Tours on my blog now. I tend to just read and then add my reviews to my blog, but I don't know what it was. I just couldn't bring myself to delete the email! Then I just felt I had to read the book!


The cover features a bright yellow sun flower which certainly attracts your eye to the cover. The main title of the book is Answers From Heaven, with the sub header of "Incredible True Stories of Heavenly Encounters and the Afterlife, which basically what the book contains in just one sentence.

The basically consists of two halves, the first is written by Theresa Cheung, she is a best selling author who is fascinated by Mediumship and is from a family with an ancestral history of psychics. Theresa really looks at things more like a lay person. She manages to ask and answer the questions the reader wants to ask. Theresa also goes into the signs we can all see around us that come from our loved ones that have passed. Such as white feathers, or a some random song on the radio that your loved one used to sing or love. Our loved ones can also contact us in dreams, to try to help us with larger difficult decisions or somehow speak to us both in dreams and occasionally whilst we are awake to warn us of impending dangers. Theresa uses examples of people she has spoken too that are willing to share their stories.

The other half of the book is written by Claire Broad who is herself a Medium. So she explains the way to find a person who will give you a genuine reading. Claire also goes on to explain sometimes it may happen that you could book a reading and if your loved ones on the other side do not wish to take part you could actually end up getting nothing. So in other words she says just because you want a reading and book one it is not guarantee your loved ones will choose to come through via the medium. Claire also explains that a large percentage of the reading depends on the Mediums interpreting what your loved one is saying or showing them. Claire then shares some of her Mediumship clients stories and readings with the reader. 

I really enjoyed reading this book, it soon became a compulsive read. I most liked the stories of peoples real stories shared by both Theresa and Claire. I think I can safely say we have all lost someone we really love and who could not want to communicate them. Both Theresa and Claire discuss animals and their place in heaven and in messages too.
It would be easy for me to share the stories from within the book, however I think they are much better read within the actual context of the book. I think this book will appeal to a wide range of readers. My grandmother used to read tea leaves, and have prophetic dreams and certain things have happened that do make me truly believe in "messages from heaven". 

I guess there will be believers and those who think its all a lot of nonsense. I think we all have in our hearts and minds our own version of heaven and the afterlife. I like to think everyone has their dream home up there and they get a message, kind of like an email or text when their loved ones still living are thinking of them. Rather like we find white feathers etc when they are thinking of us. 

I don't want to offend anyone by saying this but I feel it needs to be said, you don't need to be religious, or even believe in the afterlife of any sort to read and enjoy this book. Having said that both Theresa and Claire talk about attending a spiritualist church to open yourself up more to be more receptive to any messages sent by those who have passed. It can also be a way of finding someone who you feel comfortable with to have a reading with. You may even receive a message whilst just attending the spiritualist church. The whole concept and reasons to attend a Spiritualist Church is explained much better than I have explained within this review.




I feel I should share just one of my experiences with you that happened the morning after I finished the book. I got up and went into my kitchen and there on the chopping board was a small, no tiny amount of butter that was in the shape of a heart! Checkout the photo I took!



I have found white feathers on numerous occasions. When I miscarried and gave birth to my son at 4.5 months pregnant I heard certain songs on the radio that when I hear now make me think of him. When I moved into the house I am living in now I planted rose plants, and chose a white one for my son and more recently the palest yellow one I could find for my maternal grandparents. The white rose plant in memory of my son flowers around my daughters birthday (29th February) Mothers Day (March in the UK), on my mums birthday (9th June), my birthday (8th July) and my dads birthday (16th November) and it has even flowered at Christmas! 
I suppose by now you have realised I am a bit of a believer myself, whereas my 21 year old is a little skeptical and just gave me a wry smile and a head shake when I explained I was sharing a picture of my heart shaped butter!

I have had other experiences, one I want to share but feel I cannot reveal all in great detail on in my blog but I will say on the day of one of my Aunts funeral I was put through a police/divorce/drama by my ex. It was the worst day possible day and timing for what he did. I ended up sitting alone in a room wondering what was going to happen. I had no phone, was cold, and had no one to speak to. I honestly felt stunned, scared and at a loss how to handle what was happening. When I suddenly felt warmth at each side of me and I truthfully heard them whispering in my ear. Just tell the truth, everything will be okay. You're not on your own, we will both stay with you. They did and when I came out of the room, I was interviewed and believed, something just clicked and I was sent on my way home. I feel like I go on and on about this book and the subjects covered within it.

The three words that sprang to mind upon finishing reading this book were interesting, uplifting and enlightening.






Monday, 6 November 2017

REVIEW - MOONRISE BY SARAH CROSSAN

Title: Moonrise
Author: Sarah Crossan
Genre: Teens, YA, Literary, Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK & ANZ
Release Date: 7th September 2017

BLURB from Goodreads
'They think I hurt someone. 
But I didn't. You hear?
Coz people are gonna be telling you
all kinds of lies.
I need you to know the truth.'

From one-time winner and two-time Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this poignant, stirring, huge-hearted novel asks big questions. What value do you place on life? What can you forgive? And just how do you say goodbye?


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I have previously read a book by Sarah Crossan and loved that, so it was the authors name that initially caught my attention and made me want to learn more about the book. As soon as I read the blurb I decided I had to read the book!

The main colour of the cover is different shades of dark or muted blue, with the addition of a crescent moon so depicting the night time. There is a lone figure standing looking at the moon and stars. When you read the book you learn this is actually a scene described in the book, the lone figure being Joe. You'll know the scene when you get to it. Oh and have those tissues ready. The genre for this book has been classified as Literary,Teens & YA but to be honest I think it would appeal to a wider range of readers to include those who love contemporary and adults would also love this book.

The main character of this book is Joe Moon, who is just 7 years old when the book begins with a flashback. Joe is the only in the house to answer the telephone when it rings so naturally he answers it. The phone call is from his older brother Ed. Immediately Joe begins asking Ed when will he be home to play baseball but Ed has something very serious to tell Joe. Ed has been arrested and it's for something serious, people may start saying awful things about him and he needs Joe to know he didn't do it. As Ed is trying to explain to 7 year old Joe, their mother arrives home so Joe hands over the phone to his mom shouting "The police got Ed". Ed's mom is in a state of shock when she puts the telephone receiver down and tells Joe, the police have Ed and they are charging him with murder! Even with his mum telling him that Ed is in serious trouble, Joe still hopes that Ed will just walk through the door again soon.
Joe's main male figure has been his older brother Ed, he has been the one to make sure he got up in the morning and made it to school with some sandwiches for lunch time. Their mother was, well wasn't coping and had been turning to drink for quite some time. The person, Joe, Angela and Ed and also their mom rely on is Aunt Karen. So later as the book progresses when their mom literally goes out one day and doesn't come back it is Aunt Karen who tries her best to keep what is left of the family together.
Then the book jumps to present day where Joe has moved down to be near to Kirkland Farm where Ed is still on death row but has finally been given his date for execution! Though he is optimistic that there are a few options left before he will be executed. Angela who is Joe's older sister has a job and is saving hard to be able to take a trip to join Joe to see their brother Ed. Angela also has the task of attempting to find a lawyer they can afford to put across Ed's case of his innocence in a last ditch attempt to prevent him being executed.

The book follows Joe and Ed's brotherly relationship, separated when Joe was just 7 years old. Joe is in a strange place, in a grotty rented apartment with very little money to survive on. Joe has what little money he has earned from his job working with his friend Reed at Reed's Uncles garage. So when he is in the diner and hears there may be a job vacancy for a delivery driver, he jumps at the chance. Unfortunately there's a rather big hitch, the delivery driver needs his own transport as the delivery vehicle is broken down. Joe strikes a deal with Sammy the diner owner that if he can fix the car, he gets the job! Simple, right? Well not so simple but Joe is not a quitter and the food he is given whilst attempting to repair the vehicle solves his immediate money problem.

I absolutely adored the relationship between Joe and Ed. Ed has been both brother friend and father to Joe. Ed is also the one who attended all the parents evenings Joe can remember. Even though he has only just left school Joe bravely moves to Kirkland to be near his brother. In fact Ed has to apply for special permission for the under 18 year old Joe to even be allowed to visit him. Joe is in shock when he first visits Ed, he is totally out of his depth and stunned that there is thick glass separating them and that to speak and be heard by each other they have to used a telephone receiver. Joe is absolutely way out of his comfort zone which proves he would do anything he possibly can for his brother. Everything is a steep learning curve for Joe, never having lived alone, not knowing anyone other than the waitresses at the diner and no money for entertainment even if there were things to do in Kirkland. When Joe's older sister Angela rings for up dates, Joe hides how awful the apartment is, how he is "working" for just food. Money is tight for Angela as Aunt Karen has moved out and she is having to pay the full rent, meaning it will take her longer to save money to travel to Kirkland. It is no wonder Joe feels weighed down with responsibility.

As August the 18th draws closer Ed's case is reported on the TV which means people realise who Joe has been visiting. He has to put up with some rather verbal judgemental people in his face. The friends Joe has made rally round him. In fact one of the waitresses Sue tells Joe to just ignore them, as most people who live in Kirkland make a living doing a job that wouldn't exist if it wasn't for Kirkland Farm Prison. The other waitress Nell is younger, nearer Joe's age and does hang around with him, in fact they end up dating. However Joe eventually finds out why Nell is reluctant for her father to meet or even see Joe. It is another blow for an already emotional Joe. The cover depicts a beautiful scene from within the book, and yes it had me emotional, and eyes all bleary with tears. As I said in the Cover description you will need some tissues handy for a few places in this book. Your heart truly aches for Joe and Ed. I haven't really gone into whether Ed is guilty or not guilty or if he is executed as planned on the 18th August in the book as mentioning those would be too spoilery. There's a lot that goes on in the book that I am so limited on revealing as I don't want to give away spoilers. It is never my intention to over reveal,or over discuss in a way that would ruin someone discovering and reading the books themselves.

I really enjoyed reading this book and soon got into the flow of reading from the different perspectives. There's the present where Joe is in Kirkland and the past where Joe is telling us, the reader what has happened before he came to Kirkland. I really loved the use of the letters and telephone call's Ed makes to Joe. The descriptions are great for example when Aunt Karen's voice is described as "as hard as the stone in an apricot". You totally felt the mood of Joe's 11th birthday when he describes his cake, candles and the meal they ate as the cake was only for dessert. They way Joe reports that "dad was gone ten years and Ed was gone for." Joe obviously keeping a tally of the years his father and Ed have been gone. 
I also adored the conversation between Angela and Joe, describing living with her Aunt Karen and her rules as being like being in the military. Yet at the same time they are both grateful for the plentiful supply of milk in the fridge as well as the clean clothes in the closets. Though young they both know that Aunt Karen is really only trying to do her best for them. Aunt Karen is the person you call for help, and she normally came through for you and sorted out the mess. I honestly feel I cannot praise this book enough and how much I totally loved reading it. Seriously I cannot recommend this book enough! If you loved Countless by Karen Gregory, This Is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees, The Possible by Tara Altebrando or any of Lisa Heathfield books then this is a book you do not want to miss.

My immediate thoughts as I finished reading this book were that the book was a powerful, emotionally packed, amazing book. It has made me want to read more Sarah Crossan books soon.