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Review: Ask Me by Kimberly Pauley

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Ask Me
Author: Kimberly Pauley
Publisher: Soho Teen
Publication Date: 8 April 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Ask Aria Morse anything, and she must answer with the truth. Yet she rarely understands the cryptic words she‘s compelled to utter. Blessed—or cursed—with the power of an Oracle who cannot decipher her own predictions, she does her best to avoid anyone and everyone.

But Aria can no longer hide when Jade, one of the few girls at school who ever showed her any kindness, disappears. Any time Aria overhears a question about Jade, she inadvertently reveals something new, a clue or hint as to why Jade vanished. But like stray pieces from different puzzles, her words never present a clear picture.

Then there’s Alex, damaged and dangerous, but the first person other than Jade to stand up for her. And Will, who offers a bond that seems impossible for a girl who’s always been alone. Both were involved with Jade. Aria may be the only one who can find out what happened, but the closer she gets to solving the crime, the more she becomes a target. Not everyone wants the truth to come out.

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REVIEW 

I don’t know whether you’ve noticed but there seem to be a few books out/coming out that feature an oracle (Greek Mythology) as the main character of the story. We’ve caught snippets of oracles in most of the YA fiction based in Greek Mythology so the chance to get to know one on a personal basis wasn’t something I could pass up :)

I’ve got to say from the onset that the ‘criminal’ was OBVIOUS, the clever way in which it was revealed provided an ‘ah ha’ moment lol. Saying it was obvious to me, doesn’t detract from the ingenious yet chilling portrayal of a sociopath – charismatic yet manipulative, self-absorped and with an utter lack of regret/guilt sent chills down my spine.

Told from Aria’s point of view, she inherited the ‘gift’ of prophecy as a direct descendant of the original Sybil she has to answer any question she hears; whether its directed at her or not. This, as you can imagine can lead to some very uncomfortable situations resulting in loss of friend and family. My heart-ached for Aria. Add in the fact that the prophecies rarely make sense and can cause her physical pain, you can empathise with her retreat from socializing and losing herself in music. The music lyrics, songs titles and artist at the chapter headings added to the plot while providing a deeper connection with Aria, you could listen to the song at the same time as Aria in the story.

Kimberly Pauley’s writing is beautifully descriptive adding depth to the imagery; I did, however, have a problem picturing Aria, her physical description was scattered throughout the narrative. I think I would have preferred the description earlier in order to connect with her further.

For all the bad Aria has encountered due to her ‘gift’ she retains her optimism. She is kind, considerate and empathetic while her trust issues create a barrier to making friends when they do break through they are guarenteed unquestioned loyalty and devotion :)

Ask Me is fast paced, a murder mystery wrapped in paranormal with a good dose of theology. Providing more insight into the role of an oracle Ask Me leaves you asking more ;)

Review: The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons

Image Received from InkSlingerPR

Image Received from InkSlingerPR

Title: The Deep End of the Sea
Author: Heather Lyons
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 4  Fab 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

What if all the legends you’ve learned were wrong?

Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she’s spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard. As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age.

But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse. Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be—because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again.

REVIEW 

You are probably already aware that I have a complete paranoid phobia about *shudders* snakes. So as you can imagine Medusa is like the worst possible nightmare for me, in fact I’ve had more than my fair share of Medusa themes nightmares. So you could have bowled me over with a feather when I actually started to feel sympathy for a ‘creature’ that has a head full of snakes and can turn people to stone just by looking at them. I know, colour me shocked.

Heather Lyons does a fantastic job of making Medusa into a wonderful, caring girl as opposed to the monster of my nightmares. Unfairly cursed by the gods after being violated by Poseidon, Medusa accepts her punishment with grace, the kind of selflessness that is rare. She torments herself with her victims, suffering from guilt and nightmares due to something beyond her control. She cares for the statues of her ‘victims’ have become making sure they are clean and well placed on the tiny island that is her prison. Now you can see what I mean when I say it’s impossible not to like the Medusa, Heather Lyons has created.

Medusa’s only friends are a blind man and Hermes. Although it is obvious from the very beginning that Hermes cares deeply for Medusa. Something she is unwilling to acknowledge having lived in such seclusion and hurt. The simple acts of kindness Medusa is shown touch not only her heart but the readers alongside her. You rail against the unfairness and actually want to protect Medusa from feeling anymore pain.

The plot progression was outstanding weaving the characters of the Greek Gods in a unique and relatable way. Including a wonderful twist on the Hades and Persephone myth as well as the Grim Reaper. Although, it is Medusa’s character development that really shines through the narrative. Learning to relate to people and take care of herself, adjusting to life, love and family; Medusa never loses her innate caring qualities and it is this that endears her to all around her.

I absolutely adored the plot twists that Heather threw into the mix, completely unexpected and most definitely fantastic.

On the whole, The Deep End of the Sea blends smexy romance with mythology creating a wonderful sob filled swoon fest. If you enjoy twists on mythological tales be sure to pick this one up, you won’t regret it.

Spotlight: The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons

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Image Received from InkSlingerPR

Image Received from InkSlingerPR

THE DEEP END OF THE SEA Synopsis

What if all the legends you’ve learned were wrong?

Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she’s spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard. As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age.

But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse. Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be—because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again.

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About Heather Lyons

Image Received from InkSlingerPR

Image Received from InkSlingerPR

Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to. 

Links: Website/Author Goodreads/Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest

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Books I’ve Read: Underworld by Meg Cabot

Books

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Underworld
Series: Abandon #2
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date:
Source: Bought
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead.

Not this time.

But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilight world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.

Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance . . . on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.

But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there . . . and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.

And unless Pierce is careful, this time there’ll be no escape.

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Books that centre around mythology are high on my list of must read. I adore the world Meg Cabot has created around the Persephone myth. John is a cross between a Hades figure and a Sleepy Hollow-esque character. While Pierce is still discovering her role in the whole proceedings :)

Underworld deepens the connection between Pierce and John while throwing some very clever twists into the plot. The idea of the Furies possessing bodies gave an added paranormal/thriller element to the story.

Underworld has a significant twist at the end paving the way for Awaken. I am desperately rooting for Pierce and John to get a HEA :)

Review: Forged by Fate by Reese Monroe

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Forged by Fate
Series: Bound by Hades #1
Author: Reese Monroe
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Publication Date: 9 Dec 2013
Source: Bought
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

He’s waited more than 900 years to love her…

Being the Gatekeeper to Hades is no small feat, and waiting almost a millennia to meet your mate is damn near impossible. But Theo Bradford’s mark has finally surfaced on his intended. Now all he has to do is find her and convince her to embrace her supernatural heritage.

Young genius, Sadie Nowland, has got life figured out. Graduating college at the age of eighteen and accepting a six-figure job is just what she needs to prove she’s made something of herself. But when a strange tattoo mysteriously appears on her shoulder and Theo starts talking about Mates, it catapults her neatly laid out life into chaos.

Somehow a vicious demon banished to Hades defies Theo’s vanquish and returns, setting his target on Sadie, and she is thrust into the volatile world of Shomrei warriors and a connection to Theo her brain can’t comprehend and her body can’t deny. That primal bond proves more imperative to their survival than either could have ever imagined—and just may be the key to the world’s survival.

REVIEW 

You may already know I have a fascination with Classics Retold but did you know I am almost as obsessed with books containing mythology/theology. So you can imagine my delight when this little beauty popped up. A swoon worthy romance combining mythology alongside the battle of good versus evil.

The third person narrative provides a means to develop the multi-layered plot focusing on the relationship between the two main characters, Sadie and Theo. The characters are intense and their relationship is extraordinary, you know I love the whole soul-mate phenomena, well this takes it and amps it up a few decibel ;) Mixing the mythology of the underworld with religious concepts and idealogy.

The characters are engaging and intense, as the plot demands. However, the plot flow felt a little disjointed at times. There is a lot of back story and current action vying for attention in this book and this can be a little distracting. The story is fast paced and action packed, while this makes it a compelling read I did feel as if I would have liked a little more characterisation, especially of the peripheral characters. As well as a deeper understanding of the origin of the Shomrei warriors.

On the whole Forged by Fate is a quick, compelling read; one that leaves you in a state of anticipation for the next book.