Guest Post: How to Make Your Books Both Enjoyable and Educational

This is a guest post by author Fiona Ingram as part of her book blog tour.

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Teachers and parents welcome with open arms books that help kids enjoy reading, immerse them in a wonderful new world and encourage them to want to learn more about the subject or topics covered in the story. The hardest part of writing fiction that involves facts, history, mythology, geography and the details that my middle-grade adventures involve is knowing what to put in and what to leave out.

My first middle-grade book, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, is set in Egypt. Although I actually went to Egypt with my mom and my two nephews (who later became the templates for my young heroes), going to a place and writing about it are very different. I think Egypt was even more daunting than I imagined because so much has been written about the country, its history, and its culture that I felt under enormous pressure to check, double check, and check again (just in case) all my facts. There are also conflicting opinions of experts so one must be careful whose opinion one chooses.

I confess I overwrote the rough drafts of the first manuscript. There was so much information that I ended up almost drowning in it. It seems a shame that hours of research goes into looking up facts that will make perhaps only a brief mention in the chapter concerned. However, there is no point in inundating readers with lots of information. After careful thought, I realized that all I should include was what the young heroes needed to know as the plot unfolded. Details should be carefully and subtly woven into the story, always being an integral part of what the heroes need to know to move along in their adventure.

So, after the excitement of Egypt, what came next? The next book in my adventure series The Chronicles of the Stone takes place in Scotland, where the heroes are in search of the Second Stone of Power. The title is The Search for the Stone of Excalibur and that should be enough of a clue for fans to see where the story is heading. I had already spent a few amazing weeks in Scotland, researching old castles. Ask me anything about castles … with or without drawbridges, moats, portcullises, battlements … you name it, I visited it.

Finally, I settled upon the fabulous, fairytale setting of Dunrobin Castle, for me
an exquisite vision, as the setting for Book Two. Interviews with experts are a real boon. Leila, our fantastic guide in Egypt, was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge on the country. Contrary to what one might think, travel guides (the official ones) in any country, have a vast amount of knowledge on their subject. It came as no surprise to find that Leila had a university degree!

In Book 3: The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper, set in Mexico, the young heroes must play an ancient form of a ball game, the Mesoamerican ball game, to survive. I was fortunate enough to find an expert on the subject whose advice and book were invaluable. Again, so much has been written on this topic, as well as the ancient cultures of the Maya and the Aztecs—that feature in the story—that I really had to pare down the details to just what was integral to the plot and to the young heroes’ survival. Dialogue is a great way to include details that are necessary and having characters exchange information makes the detail realistic and interesting. I try to include storytelling by characters to share information. In all my books there are old stories or legends that make an appearance and add to the mystery. Told as a story within the main story makes it interesting for young readers. This could also lead on to further activities—for example, the students might enjoy acting out scenes from the stories, or even undertake their own research to find out if and how the fictional version deviates from the known facts.

Stories within the main story are a must. This gives an added depth and introduces cultural elements that are so unusual for young readers in a modern, media-driven and technologically saturated world. Within each of my books, the young heroes are told old stories, either legends or myths or in the case of Book 2: The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, the old ghost stories surrounding the castle. What a lovely experience, with delicious shivers going up and down their spines! In Book 3: The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper, the young heroes hear some important stories about the ancient Aztec and Maya gods, and when their adventures are finally over, they tell the story of their exploits to the villagers seated around the campfire, perhaps creating their own legends in a way.

Another excellent idea for authors whose books contain facts and relevant information is to include an appendix, either a young readers’ guide (which I do) or even just a glossary of unfamiliar words. Parents can then encourage their kids to read this to enhance their enjoyment of the story, achieve a greater understanding of the environment and atmosphere of the events, and teachers can use it to inspire further research. Contrary to popular opinion, kids love to learn, be it new words or new facts and/or details. Books that inspire the desire in kids to learn more deserve a top place on every bookshelf.

You can find Fiona at –
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/secretofthesacredscarab/
Website: www.chroniclesofthestone.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/FionaRobyn
Author Site: http://www.FionaIngram.com
Blog: http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2868182.Fiona_Ingram


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Book Review: Kasali’s Africa

Hey bookworms.

Guess what?! I got to do a book review for an author in Africa! This book was called Kasali’s Africa by Feyisayo Anjorin.

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Synopsis: Kasali’s Africa is the story of Kasali Adebayor’s struggle with the encroachment of the modern on the domain of the ancient in West Africa of the late 80s and 90s, as the states struggle in the treacherous waters of local politics; the time of the Liberian civil war, and the Sierra Leone diamond wars, and the military government’s devastating grip on power in Nigerian.

Kasali Adebayor, a barely literate farmer, who lives in the distant end of Akure, his home state’s capital city with his five wives and numerous children, gets a unanimous vote from all the farmers in the state as the head of the state farmers’ union; this happens at a time when government policy direction favours the agricultural sector.

The popular farmer, unprepared for the burdens of fame, becomes a hit with the press for his charisma and the myths attached to his name, and soon gets the attention of Liberia’s dictator, President Samuel Glay, who tries to match the desperation of persistent coup plotters with his own desperation to hold on to power by any means necessary.
Glay’s government is soon swept away, ushering in an unbridled reign of blood, tears, ruin, and rot.

And with the passage of time, Liberia’s national crises appears to unravel as Kasali’s family tragedy, as the farmer’s obsession with his youngest wife turns out fatal.

This is the story of humanity; the best of us, the worst of us, and everything in-between.

This book was interesting. It followed this farmer Kasali and the life he chose to live. He had about 5 wives and was working on a 6th. All of his children were put to work on his farm to work away their days. It was his form of homeschooling his children because he believed that they should follow in the footsteps of their father.

The storyline was ok because it switched it up a bit to give you different perspectives of other characters but I did find that at times I would get bored. Kasali’s life was definitely different from say your life or my life. He drank pretty much every evening and flaunted that he had lots of money (however, he did give some of his farms produce to charity).

There were parts where the story would pick up and it would have a little action in it. These parts I liked a lot and were what kept me going. The ending is very abrupt and not what I expected so I was also a fan of that (I hate when you know exactly what is going to happen).

Overall, it was decent and I would give it a middle rating. There was enough to keep me going through it. I also found it interesting how when characters were speaking to each other, they would end sentences with “o”. Example: “What are you doing o?”. I’m not sure if this is a cultural thing or not but it was cool.

Book Rating: 3/5

You can find the book on Amazon! You can also find the author on Twitter and Instagram. He promotes the book a lot on these platforms.

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.


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Author Interview: Dan Jolley

Hey there bookworms! I took part in another blog tour for Dan Jolley’s trilogy. With aliens and genetic mutations in the series, the Gray Widow Trilogy encompasses science fiction, urban fantasy and superhero fiction. The covers for this series were done by Dark Horse Comics artist John Nadeau.

About the author:   Dan Jolley began writing professionally at age 19. Starting out in comic books, Dan has worked for major publishers such as DC (Firestorm), Marvel (Dr. Strange), Dark Horse (Aliens), and Image (G.I. Joe), and soon branched out into licensed-property novels (Star Trek), film novelizations (Iron Man), and original novels, including the Middle Grade Urban Fantasy series Five Elements and the Urban Sci-Fi Gray Widow Trilogy.

Dan began writing for video games in 2007 and has contributed storylines, characters, and dialogue to titles such as Transformers: War for Cybertron, Prototype 2, and Dying Light, among others. Dan lives with his wife Tracy and a handful of largely inert felines in northwest Georgia, and enjoys connecting with readers via his website (www.danjolley.com) and on Twitter (@_DanJolley).

And now for the moment you have all been waiting for ….. the interview 😛

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

  1. How did you start writing?

If you mean, when did I start writing in general? That would be, I’d say, eight or ten minutes after I learned to read, honestly. I’ve always made up stories, as far back as I can remember, and as soon as I figured out how to put words on a page, I started writing them down. (Brief aside: I didn’t go to kindergarten, and when I got to first grade, I couldn’t read. At all. I mean, I knew the letters of the alphabet, but I didn’t know how they fit together. So, for the first, I don’t know, two or three months, I was in the slowest “reading group” in my class. Then, one day, kind of in a huge epiphany, all the letters and words just *clicked*, and from one week to the next I got bumped up to the fastest “reading group.” I’ve never looked back.)

If you mean, when did I start writing professionally? That happened when I was nineteen and still in college. I met a girl in a video game arcade, asked her out, and subsequently got introduced to a few of her friends who were professional comic book artists. That connection led to my first writing contract. I didn’t actually get any money for that contract, because the company went under before they could pay me (or publish the story), but not long afterward I landed another comic book job that ended up providing a couple of terms’ tuition. I still write comic books, but over the years I’ve branched out into licensed-property novels, movie novelizations, original novels, and video games. I’m really not picky *what* I’m writing. As long as I’m writing *something*, I’m happy.

  1. Who is your favorite author?

It changes as I get older. I grew up reading Louis L’Amour westerns and Larry Niven hard sci-fi, and for a long time, they tied for my top spot. L’Amour and Niven eventually lost out to Dean Koontz, and later Koontz got thrown over for John Sandford, and I’d say lately my favorite is Jim Butcher. I don’t know. I’m about to start reading James S.A. Corey’s Expanse novels, so we’ll see what happens.

  1. What goes into your writing/planning process?

There are two general schools of thought about writing, especially writing novels, often referred to as “Plotters vs. Pantsers,” as in “people who carefully plot out a story” vs. “people who fly by the seat of their pants and make up the story as they go along.”

I’m the opposite of a pantser. I outline relentlessly. I usually use the twelve-point skeleton advocated by Christopher Vogler in his book The Writer’s Journey, expand that into a fairly beefy outline, and refer to that outline constantly as I’m writing a novel. It gets even more granular when I’m working on a comic book or a video game, since the space constraints on those are sort of draconian, and I’ll actually draw out a diagram in a big sketchbook that lets me visualize the whole story before I ever start in on the script.

A big part of this is that basically when you sign a contract with a publisher to create something for them, with the understanding that they’ll be paying you for this creation, they want to know what it is they’re paying for. So even if I weren’t already naturally inclined to plot everything out before the actual fingers-to-keyboard gets started, I’d have to anyway. No publisher anywhere is going to pay you if they don’t know what your story’s going to be.

  1. What do you like about reading?

When you become a writer, you can’t help but look at entertainment in a different way from what you used to. I can still enjoy a good movie or TV show or game or book, but every second that I’m taking it in, watching or playing or reading, I’m *analyzing* it. “How did the writer achieve that effect?” and “Wow, that’s powerful characterization, I’ll have to remember that technique.” and “Hey, there’s the break between Acts 2 and 3.”

So I never read a hundred percent for pleasure anymore, but at the same time, when I do read something great, it’s like my education as a writer continues. I never want to stop learning or stop trying to get better. Reading these days is part fun, part job research, but I’m fine with that.

  1. Where is your favorite reading spot?

I’ve got a nice comfy recliner in my office, set up across from a TV with my PS4 hooked up to it. That’s where I do all my reading and gaming.

  1. What words of advice do you give to the readers of your book?

Well, since GRAY WIDOW’S WAR is the third book in the Gray Widow Trilogy, I would advise readers to get their hands on the first and second books first. (I realize that comes off as shameless self-promotion, but the fact remains… if you just start with the third book, you’ll be kind of lost.)

GRAY WIDOW’S WAR is Urban Science-Fiction, and if it were a movie, it would definitely be rated R. It’s about a group of humans who, unbeknownst to them, become subjects in an extraterrestrial weapons experiment that alters their DNA and turns them into military combat archetypes—Reconnaissance, Infantry, Interrogator, Medic, etc.

The story concerns how this process affects these people, not just physically, but also mentally and, especially, emotionally. It centers on a young woman named Janey Sinclair, whose life has been marked by tragedy after tragedy, and her decision to use her “Augmentation” to try to prevent other people from experiencing the same kind of pain and anguish that she has. The real question becomes—even as she has to deal with issues such as bloodthirsty shape-shifters, mind-controllers, and huge armored aliens—can Janey ever truly heal herself?

The Gray Widow Trilogy involves some superhero tropes, but it dives pretty quickly into science-fiction and horror, and doesn’t shy away from sexuality. So, I would say, if you’re looking for a stupendously badass female protagonist, some emotional roller-coaster rides, and a heaping helping of horrifying violence, you’ve come to the right place. If, on the other hand, you normally watch Merchant-Ivory films and think the “Drama in Real Life” segments of Reader’s Digest are too stimulating… proceed with caution? I guess?


That wraps up another author interview! Make sure to check Dan Jolley out on Twitter and go see his website. And read his trilogy people! It’s pretty freakin sweet 🙂


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Author Interview: Jay Cadmus

Hey there bookworms! I did another author interview with a gentleman I have been conversing back and forth with for a while. His name is Jay Cadmus and he is the author of Constable Outreach 35. I am currently reading his book and will be posting a review of it in the near future. But for now, check out the interview I conducted with Jay!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW


ERIK: What is your top read of 2018 so far?

JAY: Just finished reading a resurrected copy of The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra, Second Edition. With another in the TBR list of Scarab of the Black Vatican by E.R. Robin Dover.

ERIK: What is your favorite book friendship?

JAY: Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill.

ERIK: How many books are in your TBR Pile?

JAY: Periodically, I cull my book holdings, based on interests. As I grew – and, those I’ve outgrown. However, I’m left with thirty books. Think: …Re-Read. A picture would probably be best.

ERIK: Most anticipated book release of 2018?

JAY: Most anticipated release? Back in April 2018, I anticipated the release
of my book, Constable Outreach 35. Now, my next book. Don’t feel it’s appropriate to make this about me. So, I’ll leave it at that.

ERIK: How did you start blogging?

JAY: WordPress.com. I felt there was something inside I needed to get out.
Seeing the words that came out, where I fit into society. Based on what
I’ve been taught. Opening lines of communication. Learning from alternate
points of view.

ERIK: How long have you been a blogger?

JAY: With such a sporadic record, the start was near 2012. Consistently? In
linear fashion? Sixteen years condensed into three months. Learning as I
went. Most postings deleted. With the changes in the situation.

ERIK: Who is your favorite author?

JAY: Hard to pin down one of many. But, one author I follow today is
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art.)

ERIK:  Where is your favorite reading spot?

JAY: Grabbing a minute or three while waiting… wherever that may be.
Other than that, at my desk so I can make notes on my thoughts from
reading.

ERIK: What do you like about reading?

JAY:  Learning. Experiencing the thoughts produced by the words of others.
My reading and following action have made me change. I like who’ve I
become.

Sidenote: How great was that last answer! It gave me chills when I read how he responded to this question. Such a beautiful way to express his love for reading. OK, back to the interview.

ERIK: If you had to describe yourself in a book title, what would it be?

JAY: Chameleon – Novice who learned from every ‘You’.


If you are an author and wish to have an interview with me, just comment below and I will be in touch with questions for the interview!

Talk to you soon bookworms 🙂


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Book Review: Hollow Fissure

Hey there bookworms! We have a new reviewer that has joined the ranks to help out with some of the ebooks I have piled up over here. His name is Joseph Harrison and he is a writer. I am thankful for his help. For his first review, he took on Hollow Fissure by Max E. Stone.

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Review:

The story opens with Melissa recovering from wounds suffered when she killed her father, a sex ring trafficker. She was hiding out in Trieste, Italy until the authorities found her and now want to bring her to justice in America, specifically, Rhode Island, however, she is not without guilt as we learn that she had taken a knife to her sister-in-law’s stomach and kidnapped her own daughter under what we learn
are hallucinations. Leeann feels Jon, Melissa’s brother is hiding something from her. I won’t spoil it so you’ll have to read it.

Overall, the story was easy to read and the writing was good. The dialog was especially good, but I felt like there was something missing. There was barely any description of any place the story took place in. For example; it said Kyle and Melissa’s flat. I would have liked a little more description here, also it didn’t explain to my satisfaction why they were in Trieste, Italy. Did they have relatives there? Did they know someone there? It could have described the city. I think readers would like to know what the city looked
like and felt like. At times, I felt like I was just listening in on people’s conversations as opposed to feeling like I was actually there.

CONS
The story could have been better with more description of the places. I know this was the 4th book in the series so I understand some of the events probably happened in earlier “books” but if you are going to market this as a separate book, it should bring the reader up to date as to what happened earlier. For example, if I watch Seinfeld or the Big Bang Theory I don’t need to know what happened in previous episodes, each episode has its own story. The last sex scene in the book bordered on light porn and I didn’t think it was necessary.

PROS
The dialog and editing were excellent. I could not find any glaring errors. I liked the writing, it made me want to find out more about the characters and the plot.

Book Rating: 3/5

You can find the book on Amazon.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.


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Goal Achieved: 200 Followers!!

Hey bookworms!

I just wanted to write a quick post because I am so grateful to all of you for reading the blog! I have reached 200 followers on the blog (it is up to 211 right now) and this was a personal goal of mine. I like to set goals to make myself push to achieve them and it is so cool when I do. But I wouldn’t have got to this point without all of you and for that, you have my thanks 🙂

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And stay posted because I will have another review coming this week from another of Mark Bello’s books!

What are your goals? How do you stay on track with your goals? Tell me in the comments below!

Talk to you later bookworms.


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TBR Piles and how to deal with them!

Hey there bookworms.

So I have these glaring TBR piles just sitting there staring me in the face and I have decided to try and tackle them head-on with a passion. I’m dedicating at least an hr and a half a day to reading and more if I am in the mood for it. It just gets difficult to set aside time to read when you work fulltime and then try to have a social life too.

Does anyone else have this problem where their TBR pile grows faster than their eyes can read :P? I’m trying to resist buying any more books until I am done this pile of beautiful books. A lot of these books were sent to me by authors and I owe it to them to give them my time to read these wonderful pieces of work that they put their time into creating. I love being a part of this community of book lovers and giving my opinions on the various books I read.

From now on, I will be giving myself book deadlines. This means that I will be treating the current book at hand like a school assignment where it is due at a certain date. It is still my hobby because I love reading and loved writing book reports in high school. But I am trying to up my pace at which I can read these bad boys and to finally quench the thirst of the authors that are longing to know my opinion on their masterpieces.

How do you bookworms handle your TBR piles? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Talk soon guys, have to get my nose back in this book!


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Book Review: Pray for the Innocent

Another book review to add to our library of posts! Chris Connors is back with another of his magnificent reviews for Pray for the Innocent by Alan Orloff.

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Synopsis: Can former best-selling novelist Mathias King—now a rumpled, grizzled English professor—save America from a terrorist of his own making? In the shadow of the Pentagon, a secret DoD brain research experiment goes terribly wrong, and an ex-Special Ops soldier escapes, believing he is Viktor Dragunov, the Russian operative from the 80’s thriller novel, Attack on America. To capture him, the Feds turn to the person uniquely qualified to predict his next moves, the man who created the fictional character, best-selling author Mathias King. Now a reclusive English professor, King is reluctant to get involved, having sworn off the culture of violence after a deranged fan murdered his wife. But when innocent people start dying, King is thrust back into that dark world. With help from his enthusiastic graduate assistant Emily Phan, King must outsmart his own creation—while outmaneuvering the cover-up-loving Feds—before Dragunov succeeds in his hell-bent mission. To destroy America.

It is often easy to tell if a book is written by an author working with a publishing house, or if the book is a self-published indie book. Alan Orloff’s book, Pray For The Innocent, is one of those indie novels that feels like it was run through a publishing house. The writing is clean, elegant, not clunky and tortured, and has a polished edge that you often obtain after professional editors have commented on it.

Orloff knows how to write characters that feel real. He uses little details that bring his characters to life. He does it so well I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d taken a class on how to write good characters. I was even concerned about one of his minor characters when the person she loved was killed. He had managed to make her “real” in just a few scant pages even though most of our knowledge of her came from her brother’s thoughts rather than her own scenes.

As I read the book, which had me up way too late, I was also thought, “Why hasn’t a publishing house grabbed this guy? He is better than some established prolific *coughLustbadercough* authors”. The premise was intriguing; some spy stuff, cutting-edge neuroscience research, an old professor with a tortured soul, an experiment that goes wrong. While the Amazon synopsis sounds a bit over-the-top with an ex-Special Ops soldier thinking he is a 1980s fictional Russian spy on a “hell-bent mission” to destroy America the author doesn’t let the novel turn into a jingoistic pile of patriotic propaganda. Instead he makes a rather implausible premise come across as more realistic without devolving to simplistic black-and-white ‘rah-rah USA!’ style writing.

I will nit-pick a few small things, and I mean really small, nothing that affects the book or writing. Nit-pick the first: A character watching birds, among other things, has a copy of the Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding to help him identify birds. That is not the book he’d use, it isn’t conducive to quick identification of tricky species—the bird seen is not tricky at all either—as there are pages of information about just one bird, often involving the bird in its drab fall plumage (the book is set in mid-summer so birds would still be in their brighter breeding plumage). One of the quick identification guides like Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America, or the ones by Peterson, or Sibley, or Stokes, or National Geographic are better.

Nit-pick 2: A scientist in the book says we shouldn’t try playing God. It is hard to imagine any scientist saying that. We recognize that we’ve been “playing God” for thousands of years when we treat and cure diseases, alter ecosystems on a vast scale, breed plants and animals to produce things that don’t look much like the original species, and now manipulate the genetic code.

Nit-pick 3: There is a serious misconception here. A character thinks his brother-in-law’s suicide is cowardly and selfish. This is a misconception that mental health professionals, among others, have been trying to correct for decades now. While the character might think this I was hoping somewhere in the novel this misconception would be addressed, but it was not.

Prior to this book, I had read two other excellent books—by publishing house authors—in two days so my standards for a good book were now pretty high. I was reluctant to start Pray For The Innocent in case it killed my reader’s high from the previous two books: I needn’t have worried. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. That it was written as an indie book makes it all the more remarkable. Definitely 5 stars out of 5.

Book Rating: 5/5

Click on the image below to see it’s Amazon Page!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in digital format by the author to be read and honestly reviewed.

Charles Tyrwhitt

Book Review & Giveaway: Rats, Mice and Other Things You Can Take To The Bank

I finished another book guys! I did it. I read a lot 😀

This one was called Rats, Mice and Other Things You Can Take to the Bank by Leslie Handler. If you read the blog regularly, then you would have seen my post on the book highlight.

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Synopsis: Part memoir, part essay collection, Rats, Mice, and Other Things You Can’t Take to the Bank is written with both wit and charm. It will take you on a ride from finding a mouse in the house to the mortgage crisis, from a smile to a chuckle and from a few tears to the feeling of being wrapped in a blanket sipping a warm cup of cocoa on a cold winter’s day. Handler offers a rich, touching, heartfelt and reflective read that will leave the reader with an indelible uplifting spirit.

I really enjoyed this book. Reading this book was like sitting down with a good friend and chatting about life while having a coffee. It reminded me of the nice warm evenings spent in playing games and spending time with family.

Leslie speaks about her life and all the things she has encountered such as battling cancer, raising a family (more than just children, lots of pets), how she met the love of her life and how to cope with trends and technology among other things. All of her writing is very humorous and I found myself laughing a lot. She has a lot of good advice and it comes at you with a comforting motherly tone.

I would recommend this book to give yourself a boost in your mood. It will have you smiling in no time as you relate to more than one funny instance that we have all dealt with just like Leslie.

And you have the option to win it! She sent me two copies so I am hosting a giveaway! Click on the link below to enter and a winner will be drawn on May 31st!

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Alright well thats it for now. Talk to you later Bookworms and goodluck with the giveaway! I hope you win …..yes you.

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Book Review: Break by Clare Littlemore

Our reviewer @saramact was really excited when Clare Littlemore read her review and loved it. She even sent @saramact the second book of her series called Break so that she could read it too. So now, here is Sara’s review 🙂 !

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Synopsis: It’s been three months since Quin transferred to Patrol and discovered the terrifying truth about the community she lives in. Citizens of The Beck are disposable and those in charge are capable of terrible cruelty. Vowing to protect those around her, Quin has joined the Resistance. But she knows she is risking everything.

A rebellion of any kind must be secretive and clever. Gathering enough people to fight seems like an impossible task. When those closest to her are directly threatened, Quin knows she has to act. But time is running out. Governance will stop at nothing to protect the world it has worked to build. In the end, Quin must decide how far she is prepared to go to rescue the ones she loves.

Picking up soon after the previous book, Quin, our main character, is still adjusting to her new position in Beck society as a Patrol officer. In this dystopian society run by strict rules, Patrol officers are given more knowledge than the average citizen, which introduces them to some of the hidden horrors “required” to maintain this society and defend against outsiders. Quin and a group of rebels are quietly plotting action against the Beck society in this novel. They must stay under the radar while helping as many as they can and preparing to fight back. In this book, we learn more about the upper levels of the Beck society, while Quin and her group of friends struggle to retain appearances of good citizens while the horrible actions taken by the upper levels only get worse in their desperation to maintain control.

Just like the first novel, this book keeps you on your toes, waiting to see what happens next. This book, though, has even more action throughout than the first one, as we learn more about what it takes to keep such a strict society running – and how the citizens affected react. The characters are well developed, and the plot is entertaining without being predictable. The organization of the society is well thought out, with interesting aspects to be learned throughout the book that keep you searching for more. Overall this is very well written and entertaining and deserves to be one of the top books in the genre. I am eager to read what happens next in the series, as we were left on another cliffhanger at the end of the book!

My only complaints would be about some of the minor dramas between the characters, which are so common in young adult novels – confusion over feelings that would be solved with communication. This does give some depth to some of the characters, but I always prefer when these clichés can be avoided or written in a new way so that it feels less familiar. I also wish there was more of it! I can’t wait for the next book, and I wish this one had been longer.

Book Rating: 5/5

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Disclaimer: This book was provided to us by the author in digital format for an honest review.

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