Armored Hearts by Pauline Creeden and Melissa Turner Lee: Book Details, Review and Giveaway
In this post: Book Details, Author Details, My Review, Giveaway
When a crippled young lord rescues a girl falling from a tree, it reveals a secret about himself and his mother's side of the family that could put him at the center of a war with beings he thought only existed in fairy tales. Tristan Gareth Smyth lived his entire life stuck at home at Waverly Park, left behind while his Grandfather makes trips to London, all because of his blasted wheelchair. Then an American heiress falls in his lap, literally, and he must find a way to keep her at a distance to protect not only his secret, but everyone around him from an assassin sent to kill him.
See it here: Amazon / Goodreads
In simple language, Pauline Creeden creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long.
Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy.
Armored Hearts, her joint effort with author Melissa Turner Lee, has been a #1 Bestseller in Christian Fantasy and been awarded the Crowned Heart for Excellence by InDtale Magazine. Her debut novel, Sanctuary is scheduled for release September 30, 2013, and has already been nominated for two awards in YA Science Fiction.
One of Pauline's short stories has won the CCW Short Story contest. Other short stories have been published in Fear & Trembling Magazine, Obsidian River and Avenir Eclectia. An urban fantasy short will appear in The Book of Sylvari: An Anthology of Elves from Port Yonder Press, and a vampire short will appear in Monsters! from Diminished Media Group.
Catch Pauline on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or at her Official Site.
Melissa Turner Lee
Melissa Turner Lee holds a BA in Communications with a concentration in Journalism from the University of South Carolina. She has studied fiction writing since 2008, attending various writing conferences and workshops, along with guidance from professional writing coaches. She resides in Spartanburg, SC with her husband and 3 sons.
Catch Melissa at Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and her Official Blog.
This post is part of the AH April Blog Tour. Find more posts about the book here.
This book was very well written and provided a fast, enjoyable read in a fascinating new world. As a fan of both steampunk and traditional fantasy I found it intriguing to see this combination of the two, particularly using the Scottish connections to the Fae folk mythology.
The characters hugely reminded me of the ensemble in Kady Cross's Steampunk Chronicles (another series that I love) - Gareth is another rendition of the Griffin King moody hero type, though he is made much more interesting by his physical condition. I enjoyed all of the characters and found them to be very individual and well developed.
I particularly enjoyed the idea of the 'bonnet club' and the automation elements of the story and would have liked to see more made of them. I didn't really get into the Fae side of the story to be honest so I was glad to have the other element to hold my interest. The relationship between Jessamine and Gareth was well-played and engaging to read.
Speaking as a disabled person myself, however, I did find Gareth to be too whiny about his condition for my liking. Considering the other incredible abilities he has, I don't really buy into his 'suffering in silence' feeling. Perhaps there wasn't enough of his persecution in the tale to really sell it to me, but that was the only thing that put me off this story. I suspect if you're not a disabled person then you won't focus on that sort of thing in the tale and will probably give it five stars!
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Caomhnoir by T. Brady: Review
In this post: Book Details, My Review, Author Hot Seat
Puck, a demon composed of dark matter, is the collective consciousness of evil and feasts on the death and destruction borne of warfare as he effortlessly manipulates the most potent weapon ever created: the human mind. The task of killing this evil antagonist rests on the shoulders of a solitary, mortal man; Neil Branch, the Caomhnóir. Branch naively considers himself to be an ordinary man with an extraordinary problem. He recklessly discounts his purpose and is in perpetual conflict with his destiny. Puck continuously assaults Branch within the realm of the subconscious and twists his dreams into surreal, insidious nightmares that forecast the demise of all that he holds sacred, but the visions also reveal the demons intent and expose clues that may lead to the beast’s downfall. Desperate, and driven to the brink of madness, Branch must resolve his emotional turmoil, accept his loses, and acknowledge his faults and frailties as he summons the courage to fight for the possession of his soul and deliver humanity from eternal bondage.
See it here: Amazon / Goodreads
Andy McNab meets Stephen King in this firestorm of demonic action and suspense.
I'll be honest with you, when I read the title of this book I thought I'd be reading some heavy, archaic prose right out of the dark ages. I was SO wrong about that and I implore you all not to judge this book at first glance. Pick it up and start reading, because as soon as you do, you'll be bowled over by a gritty, realistic soldier's narrative that twists its plot superbly to a range of modern historic times and places. The prose is literary but not overdone and makes for a rich but quick-paced read.
The supernatural elements to the tale were what initially drew me in, but as the story progressed I really became invested in Neil, George, John and Sean as characters and by the end of the novel it was their lives that had me captivated rather than the unholy chaos going on around them. Puck was a well crafted villain and the visions that Neil experiences during the novel are vivid and truly horrific. I'm not usually a fan of starting in the middle of the narrative and jumping back into backstory, but this writer knows how to deliver a timeline of events with poise and precision.
Overall this book is highly recommended for those who enjoy military fiction and sci-fi/fantasy tales, but in all honesty I think that anyone with a strong stomach and a thirst for high-impact adventure will thoroughly enjoy it too.
The Hot Seat: Five Burning Questions Answered by T. Brady
1) What experiences in your own life influenced the decision to set the caomhnoir legend amid the world of the military?
I have always had a fascination with history, military history in particular. As far as Caomhnoir is concerned, it originated from an article that I had read about the My Lai village massacre during the Vietnam war. U.S. soldiers killed over three hundred men, women and children without provocation. I began to think, “what would cause these men to commit such a heinous act?” and then my imagination took over. “What if these events were orchestrated by some sort of supernatural phenomena, a force of evil that could manipulate the human mind?”
2) How long did it take you to write this novel and what was that experience like for you?
The original story was written in 2001 as a screenplay titled “The Antagonist.” Through several edits and rewrites, the final work was well reviewed and recommended by a script writing service, but I had no takers. Although I went on to write over a dozen screenplays, this tale kept haunting me. I felt as if I had left Branch in lurch, his story was not fully realized. So in 2005 I began working on converting the screenplay into a novel. I wrote while working fulltime and raising a family, so it was a long process. I had actually put it aside a few times for extended periods. The hours of editing, revision, and fact checking became a bit overwhelming at times as the story evolved and took on a life of its own, but I had to see it through. I have learned that this process is unavoidable, especially for a first time novelist, and will determine if you have the stamina and perseverance to write; regardless if you are monetarily successful or not.
3) In my imagination, your villain Puck looked like a young Ian McKellen straight out of Macbeth. Who do you picture when you see his face in your head?
Jeremy Irons comes to mind when I think of Puck, in his middle aged years, not now (pictured above).
4) None of the relationships between the soldiers and their wives went very well in your novel. Was it a conscious decision to represent military men and their guarded emotions in this way?
I tried to stay true to the mind set, attitudes, and social norms of the day. Men were very reserved in this time period, so I just amplified that with Branch and Meadows. Each man is emotionally wounded and scarred, although their experiences differ, they did not have a consistent or dependable male role model. The very act of war is very damaging to a person’s emotional state, which affects each man’s ability to connect with others who are outside of their realm of experience, and in Branch’s case this is magnified by his designation as Caomhnoir.
5) What's next for you as a writer? Do you have more books planned?
I am currently working on a prequel to Caomhnoir, which delves into the origins of Puck and the Caomhnoir order. I have many ideas on the table, I feel that a few of my screenplays would translate well into novels, so I’ll just keep pecking away.
In this post: Book Details and Giveaway, My Review, Character Interview
Book Two in the Escaping Fate Series
Arrabella thought she was done with dreams, done with curses and the threat of death.
After surviving the ancient Aztec curse that had plagued her family for centuries, Arra was more than ready for her new life in the boring little town of Grainer, Maine. Boring and small sounded perfect...but she should have known better than to think it would last.
The dream was odd, but Arra passed it off as nerves about starting school in Grainer. Her boyfriend, Tanner, was there to distract her…and get her into a little trouble as well. He pushes the dream out of her mind until they walk onto the school campus and see her. The lonely girl from Arra’s dream.
Tanner’s reaction is fierce. He won’t risk losing Arra again and demands she stay away from Sibeal, but Arra can’t stop thinking about her haunted expression. What if she can help her? Arra can’t just walk away and let whatever curse has a hold of Sibeal claim her without trying to stop it. But what if Sibeal deserves the punishment?
Arra’s battle to make the right choice about Sibeal only gets harder when she is forced to turn to the person in town she likes least for help. Sebastian Wallace is arrogant and irritating, but he’s seems to be the only one who can help her. As Arra tries to determine what the right choice is, she finds out saving Sibeal may be the least of her problems.
This is the second instalment in this series after Escaping Fate and the story of Arra's life gets bigger, better and a whole lot scarier from here!
Like Escaping Fate, this book begins instantly with a supernatural intrigue with central character Arra being plagued by horrific and fascinating dreams. In this tale Arra is pulled into danger once more by the problems of new student Sibeal, a mysterious shy girl newly arrived to the small town of Grainer.
I enjoyed the further development of Arra and Tanner in this book and it was really interesting to see a teen relationship realistically portrayed with all the ups and downs that you would expect a pair of 16 year olds to go through. My favourite character in this tale, however, was Bas: the local hero with surprising hidden depths. He really made the story for me as he brought a new conflict into the action and helped Arra's character develop a lot more than she did in the first novel.
Overall if you enjoyed Escaping Fate, you will definitely enjoy Soul Stone because it mixes the familiar elements from book one with a larger, more exciting plot with a lot of physical action as well as emotional trials.
The Hot Seat: Character Interview with Sebastian 'Bas' Wallace
1) So Bas, people around Grainer really rate you. They say you're a local hero! Care to elaborate on that?
I see you start with the tough questions first, Kim. I can appreciate that, even if I don’t particularly care to talk about this one. People around here only see what they want to see. Maybe it’s easier. They want to move on, to celebrate a hero instead of carrying around the burden of blame. I can understand that, but I can’t let go of what happened.
2) You're popular with almost everyone in town... except for that new Manhattan girl, Arra. What's up with that?
Have you ever met someone who just brought out the worst in you for some reason? That’s pretty much me when it comes to Arra. I mean, sure, she thinks I’m constantly getting her in trouble, but most of those were completely on accident. I have a knack for rubbing her the wrong way, and at some point she might realize why.
3) We all know you're a star for the archery team, but what else do you like to do in your free time?
The beaches around Grainer aren’t world class surf spots, but as soon as it’s warm enough, that’s where you’ll find me most days. Being out on the water is liberating. I can get away from everyone’s expectations an attention when I surf. The waves don’t owe me anything. They’re brutal when I mess up and peaceful when we get along. I don’t get that anywhere else, except maybe…never mind.
4) If you could change anything in your life right now, what would it be?
If you were asking me what I’d like to change about my past, I’d have a whole list for you. Right now? I’d change the way people see me. There are days I want to escape. I think about leaving more than I should. Leaving won’t fix anything, though.
5) Do you believe in the supernatural?
It’s hard not to when you grow up in my family! I’ve lived in the U.S. my whole life, but my mom grew up in Ireland. She is incredibly superstitious and believes in everything from leprechauns and will-o-the-wisps to curses and magic. She passed all of her stories down to me and my siblings like they were facts, so naturally, we grew up scared of the dullahan and convinced we’d find a selkie on the beach at night. I guess she helped prepare me to hear Arra’s story and not pass it off as fantasy. I can’t even begin to explain how grateful I am for that.
About DelSheree Gladden
DelSheree Gladden lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities. When she is not writing, DelSheree is usually reading, painting, sewing, or working as a Dental Hygienist. Her works include Escaping Fate, Twin Souls Saga, The Destroyer Trilogy, and Invisible. Look for, Wicked Power, the next book in the Someone Wicked This Way Comes Series, and Soul Stone, book two in the Escaping Fate Series, coming 2014.
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