Two sisters, Nor and Zadie, are twins and best friends who live in a village where villagers reside in houses on stilts in the ocean. Their mother has planned and prepared for them to be valid princesses so the Elders can choose one of them for the prince’s wife when he’s ready to rule. Nor has a scar on her face caused by a scrape against a blood coral so the villagers assume that Zadie or Alys will be chosen by the Elders. Zadie and Nor have been best friends with Sami since they were young and now Zadie and Sami are in love, so Zadie doesn’t want to leave home. Nor has always wanted to explore the world beyond the village. When Zadie is chosen, she’s desperate to do anything to stay with Sami. After she acts on her desperation, Nor’s life is turned upside down. She travels to New Castle in the mountains far away from home so she can meet and marry the prince who turns out to be cold and unkind. Nor gathers some allies and vows to do everything she can to take care of her family, village and the kingdom she’s going to be the princess of someday. 5 stars for this fantasy involving sibling sacrifice and strength!
The story feels a bit scattered because Jocey is relaying information that way. The more I read, the more I wondered what is holding Jocey together. She received a letter coded in a way that only herself, Noah and her deceased brother knew about so she’s bound and determined to find her brother alive. Jocey, Jack and Noah lived in a foster home together when they were younger. The three of them were best friends and stuck up for each other and trusted no one else. Joecey’s latest discovery has her traveling to the Peace Tower to hopefully find her brother or at least another clue. With Noah’s help, Jocey decodes and chases clues, tries to avoid danger and hunts for anything to do with Jack. If I say anymore, I’ll spoil the storyline. This story is a riddle with a unique and unexpected ending. The twist is mind-boggling and the author did a fantastic job pulling everything together, 5 stars for a wonderfully twisted mystery thriller.
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter. Leah is awaiting a heart transplant and in the meantime she’s being tutored and doing her schoolwork at home with her teachers’ help. Leah’s story (first person point of view) alternates with the (third person point of view) story of twins, Matt and Eric, who are still reeling from the loss of their father. One of the twins tutors Leah for extra credit on a day that the math teacher cannot make it. Leah is unsure which twin it is and confesses that she’s had a crush on Matt for years. I’m not sure how much time passes before Eric ends up dying in the hospital from a gunshot wound. Leah’s family receives a call from the hospital letting them know a heart is available for her transplant. She discovers that she’s received Eric’s heart and she keeps this information to herself. Eventually Leah and Matt talk about the transplant and how they’ve both been having dreams about Eric’s death and believe that it wasn’t suicide. In the dreams, they hear a voice other than Eric’s and they also see how Eric was running from something before he was shot. The mystery progresses and finally Detective Henderson sees proof of foul play. The main point of the book is to experience the process of needing a transplant, receiving one and learning to embrace life all over again. The author shares her family’s experiences with transplants at the end of the book. These experiences brought this story to life. 4 stars for the strength and perseverance shown by the main characters!
Book of lies by Teri Terry immediately pulled me into the story about twins separated at birth and then meeting for the first time when they are seventeen. Piper was raised by their mother, while Quinn was not. There’s a mystery surrounding the twins and, while Quinn was forced to live with their grandmother, hidden away and having few unhappy visits from their mother, Piper enjoyed a happier and more comfortable life being raised by their mother. They both seem to be hiding secrets from others and each other. Supernatural forces take hold of the twins while the story twists and mysteries are revealed and secrets are told. I couldn’t stop reading this book and finished it quickly. Great read for fans of mystery, suspense and a touch of the paranormal; 5 stars!
The Dead of Winter, by Kresley Cole, left me hanging and in anxious anticipation of the fourth book in The Arcana Chronicles! The book begins with Evie leaving Death (Aric) to save Jack from the torturous twins. She makes more allies and, eventually, Death visits their camp. Together they are able to rescue Jack after some intense action and cooperation. The twins have taken Selena, the Archer, and Evie, Jack and Death work together to try to save her from the sadistic and twisted twins. Evie finally makes a choice between Death and Jack before an attack occurs and the book ends with no publication date specified for the fourth book-AAAHHH!
I absolutely love the variety of languages, the humor, the dynamics of the characters and the amount of complexity of each character – a perfect amount – and the fact that no character in this series is static!
I am loving the Arcana Chronicles series! The second book, Endless Knight, begins right where Poison Princess left off – when Evie transformed into the Empress to save her life through self-defense and Jackson saw her with all of her powers. Jackson states that he doesn’t want to be with the Arcana; he says they aren’t right. Evie, Selena, Finn and Matthew continue to meet more Arcana and make truces with some. Jack and Evie work through their differences and overcome their problems. Death kidnaps Evie and stunts her powers. The more she gets to know death, the more she understands him and cares for him. Then Matthew tells Evie that Jack has been captured by twin Arcana who enjoy torturing their victims, so now Evie must choose between Jack or Death. Wow! I love this book and I am excited to continue reading with the third book, Dead of Winter. Great characters, interesting surroundings, lots of action and adventure, dynamic relationships and romance make this a fun series to read!
True Born, Bk. 1 drops 3 May, 2016!
What encouraged me to write True Born?
The nuts and bolts answer would be to tell you that I never initially intended to write True Born as a novel! I initially only intended to write this as a novella – which I posted on the story-sharing site, Wattpad. It was intended to help me develop a substantial backstory to another trilogy of novels I wanted to write set in the same world, and with a couple of shared characters.
But the novella was a big hit with readers on Wattpad, and I enjoyed what I’d written so much, that I decided to turn the story into a novel… and then into a trilogy.
Another inspiration was my family. I’ve been quite obsessed by the incredible story of my great-grandmother, who was born in England and sent to the U.S. to be an indentured servant circa 1900. As the story goes, she was very young when she was shipped over, and I imagine the whole voyage was traumatic, because apparently my great-grandmother forgot who she was through the crossing.
When she finally arrived in the U.S. she gave everyone her twin’s name instead of her own. She ended up living her entire life, up until she was a middle-aged adult, by her twin’s name. It’s such a fascinating tale – I really wanted to explore the idea of having a bond with someone that was so close that it took over your own, so I explored this in a fictional world.
“Isn’t it a little weird that we have to do our tests again? Was there some kind of mistake with the first one?” Margot says it innocently enough, a slight twang to her voice to match the nurse’s rabble-like twang.
“Well, hon, sometimes they get mixed signals, you know? Like when you think a boy likes you but then he goes all hot and cold?” She winks. Margot’s fingers tighten on mine.
“Uh huh.” Margot nods. “So there’s a problem with your machines? Or with the staff?”
The nurse frowns. “Not this staff. They’re five-star amazing. Must have just been a bad sample or something. Try not to worry about it, sweetie.” She pats Margot’s arm just before she shoves the needle in my sister’s vein.
I squirm on my seat. The skin on my arm crawls from the sharp pain originating in my sister’s arm. Relaxed beside me, Margot doesn’t move a muscle. She knows what I’m feeling even if she can’t do anything about it. This is just how it is with us.
“How much are you going to take this time?” My voice shakes as our coltish nurse comes around to me and drives a needle into my arm. It doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as Margot’s did. Our hands stay folded together. There’s a note in our file about letting us. One of the perks of being born us.
“Oh.” For the first time she looks a little dismayed. “I’m sorry, hon. Didn’t they tell you? We gotta go through the whole protocol again. The whole shebang.”
My twin and I did know. We’d been told. Still, it bothers us. A full day’s worth of giving blood, going through tests, having your organs measured and documented. Urine
samples, more blood samples, hair samples. We’d already been through this two times in the last two months. We no longer believe they’d gotten “bad” samples—not that we’re
going to let on to the nurse.
And funny thing is, each time we come, the Protocols Nurse is new. This is the third we’ve had, each as clueless as the last.
We know better than to ask our parents. The deepening silence and constant rounds of testing and lies must mean the news is the worst. Late at night we lie together, holding hands and whispering under the deep canopy of one or other of our beds. We’ve thought about what it will mean if one of us turns out to be a Laster. We’ve talked until dawn about what we’d want, what we’d do. I tell Margot I’d want to go with her, but she’s against the idea.
“One of us needs to survive,” she said to me, her graygreen eyes as serious as I’ve ever seen them.
“What if it’s not that?” I asked her.
“What do you mean?”
“What if we’re, you know,” the words mere whispers, “True Born?”
Thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for the arc of The Map of Bones by Francesca Haig! The Map of Bones is the second book in The Fire Sermon series. Radiation destroyed the world and created defects and oddities, as well as everyone alive having a twin. The strong twin is the Alpha and the different twin is the Omega. The Omegas are persecuted, but if one twin dies, they both die. Secrets of life after the blast are discovered and the race is on between the council and the resistance to see who gains and uses the knowledge first. Cass has grown wiser through her trials and experiences with others. The suspenseful and interesting world building make this a good read!