02/5/13

Review: Soul Control by C. Elizabeth

Soul Control Soul Control by C. Elizabeth

Print Length: 454 pages
Publisher: Wings ePress (December 1, 2012)
Genre: YA Paranormal

About: “Lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil.”

Words that ring true for seventeen-year-old Saydi Gardiner upon discovering her ancestry. But if she has doubts, further confirmation is forthcoming and it comes in the form of a wickedly gorgeous Nathanael Braxton, when he steals her heart and cuddles into her soul – the last place the boy should be.

Nineteen-year-old Nathanael’s unrelenting good looks aren’t the only thing that make him dangerous – and he knows it! However, his caring human side struggles with a loyalty – a loyalty that binds him to the hunt for the soul that will give his family the power they seek. There’s only one problem: When he finds her, Nathanael falls in love with his prey – Saydi.

“SOUL CONTROL pulled me in from the first sentence and had me on the edge of my seat all the way to the end. Everything you could want is there…wit, banter, romance (appropriate for the young adult reader) danger, suspense, mystery…and the list goes on. C. Elizabeth’s writing is flawless and relatable. 5 stars all the way!”
- – Laura Burks, author of Altered

My Review:  Unique and absorbing, Soul Control is a Young Adult Paranormal that will grab the reader within its grasp and hold tight until the very end.

With well-developed characters and a story line that has not been re-hashed a million different ways, Soul Control will appeal to a wide audience range – both in age and genre.  Saydi is a young adult nearing her eighteenth birthday.  She is like many girls her age – giggly, loves being around her friends, having fun and enjoying life.  However, what Saydi is soon to find out is that she is unlike any other girl her age.  She has a destiny to fulfill – one that will change the outcome of the entire world and each and every person who is in it.

Nathanael and his brothers – hunky and desirable triplets, are new to town.  With their good looks and charisma, the brothers are instant attractions for everyone.  What everyone does not know, however, is that with these brothers, what you see is not exactly what you get and there is an evil that lurks beneath the surface, waiting to break free and change everything.

Good vs. evil is one of the main characteristics and ideas of Soul Control, however there is so much more going on within the story.  There are several back stories of the characters that seamlessly intertwine together and further gives the main story line an excellent depth.  The ability to trust and follow your heart is a difficult thing under normal circumstances, throw in the fact that there is a plot to steal your soul and the one that holds your heart in his hand is suppose to play a major roll in this theft and you may feel as though you are caught in a whirlwind.

Honestly, there are so many aspects and parts of Soul Control that I loved.  The characters are written incredibly well, the twists and turns are plentiful, the main story idea is unique and there is an excellent blend of humor, romance, paranormal and courage.  The emotions within Soul Control are raw and often times gut-wrenching and I could not help but be swept up within the story.  Watching as Saydi develops her talents is incredible and being part of her growth in such a harrowing journey, mixed with the chemistry and relationship between her and Nathanael is something that will not soon be forgotten.

I absolutely loved how this story revolves around the soul – what it means in the bigger scheme of things.  The beauty and frailty of humankind is not often thought of, but is done so in Soul Control – at least for me, while giving life to an incredible story.  The romance is done in a way that is ideal for younger teen readers – very clean, while adding a bit of that yearning.  I cannot wait for the next story in this series.  C. Elizabeth is such an incredible talent and has transitioned from Adult Contemporary with her novels Absolute Obsession and Absolute Obstruction to the young adult perfectly.  Soul Control is a book that I highly recommend to anyone looking for an engrossing and hard-to-put-down young adult paranormal story!

Favorite Quote:  ”…You never know what has happened in someone’s life to make them who they are, and only until you know them completely will you understand.”

Rating 4

Excerpt:

Angie and Becky startled me when they stood up.
“Okay, I’m moving on in.” Becky proclaimed, confidently.
“Me too,” Angie piped up, gazing nervously around the table.
Todd, Norma and I laughed. “Go for it!” I said.
Angie flopped back down on the seat, defeated. “I’m such a chicken.”
Becky tugged on her hand. “Angie come on! What’s the worse they could do? Say no?”
Angie slowly stood and drew her shoulders back to show her strength, even if it was fake… but she was going to do it and off they went.
For some reason, the closer they got to the new boys, the harder it was for me to breath. My nails dug into Todd’s leg.
“Ouch!” he yelped, yanking my hand away. “That hurt!” He rubbed where my nails surely left a mark.
Without looking his way I apologized. My attention stayed with Becky and Angie as they made their way through the crowd.
It seemed to take them forever to get to the table, and when they did, all three boys looked up and smiled. Segra, Jocelyn, and Mattie sneered. Then Segra said something that had Mattie and Jocelyn laughing and giving her high fives.
The triplets didn’t seem to like the little exchange and flashed a quick look of disapproval at each other. All at the same time they sat straight up, distancing themselves from Segra’s little group — well, at least as a far as you can distance yourself when you’re sitting right beside someone in a cramped booth.
Something Angie said to them caused all three to take stock of our table. My first reaction was to cast my eyes down, that is until the one sitting against the wall took hold of them…
~ * ~
…A sea of dark ocean took me through caverns and caves. Being under water didn’t bother me, and my chest rose and sank as if I were on land. Something shimmered on the ocean floor, looking completely out of place. When I reached for it and cradled it in my hand, the crystal felt smooth and comfortable — soothing.
~ * ~
“Earth to Saydi!”
Someone shoved me.
“Saydi! Are you already daydreaming about them?” Todd snarled hotly.
It was easy to ignore Todd when the triplet’s face came back into full view, considering my imagination was playing tricks on me… his features twisted in such a way that it made my skin crawl — then it was gone, leaving behind a beautiful smile as he nodded once at me in a greeting.
“Saydi, are you all right?” Becky asked.
“Um, yeah, good.” I let out a nervous giggle.
They all stared with shocked looks.
I eased back in the seat. “What?”
The fact that all their eyes looked down at the table, then back up to me, enticed me to look too. The napkin in front of me had a drawing on it — a tear drop, with sun rays billowing out and ghosts floating away from it.
“What a cool drawing. Who drew it?” Clearly, I had five heads, at least that’s how they were making me feel by the way they were sizing me up.
“You did,” Todd said, raising a curious eyebrow.
Impossible! My only artistic side went as far as reading. I preferred sports. “I can’t draw.”
Becky plucked the pen from my hand. “Apparently, you can.”
“What was that?” Norma whispered through her teeth, inspecting my eyes.
“What was what? You guys are acting all weird.” Todd snorted. “You go off into some far off land and start drawing a spooky picture, and you say we’re acting weird?”
“I wasn’t daydrea…”
“Have a good night, Saydi,” said a dreamy, deep voice.
I whipped my head in its direction. One of the triplets, the one with green/blue eyes, knocked twice on our table and smiled directly at me as they passed. My tongue tied up in a knot, giving me no ability to spit, never mind talk. The only thing I could do was gape while all three brothers smiled and waved when they walked out the door… and to add to my already moronic reaction, I was certain drool played a part. I flopped my forehead on the table and moaned, “What is wrong with me?”
“That was Nathanael!” Angie gushed.
“Saydi, you can stop drooling,” Todd barked. No! I didn’t! Testing, just to make sure, I licked my lips then threw a look at him. “Todd!”
“What? You were.” Then he shoved the napkin with the picture in my face. “Here, why don’t you run after him? Maybe he’ll ask you out!”
The way he was acting was starting to piss me off, and to let him know, I formed each word perfectly as I said them. “Todd, what is wrong with you?”
“I’m just saying.” Crossing his arms, he refused to look at me.
Shaking my head, I turned back to Becky and Angie wanting information. “So?”
Angie blushed, nearly bursting at the seams. “Did you not see them?”
I bobbed my head, smiling, the drawing and Todd’s outburst forgotten.
Angie angled in close. “Well, the one against the wall… His name is Joshua, and you already know Nathanael.” She giggled. “And the one on the end was Job.” Then she arched in closer yet, as if to tell me a huge secret. “Weren’t they gorgeous?”
“Oh please!” Todd huffed.
“Oh shush!” Norma fanned her hands at him. “Angie, you can’t have all of them,” Becky informed. The way she said it led me to believe it wasn’t said all in fun. I picked up on the little bit of bitterness that had snuck into her tone.
Angie either ignored it or didn’t catch it. “Darn right, I can!” she insisted.
All us girls laughed — Becky used her fake one.

C. Elizabeth About C. Elizabeth: C. Elizabeth lives in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada and during her short writing career she’s learned a lot about herself, sometimes to the point that she wonders how the heck she got this far in life and know so little about herself.

For the majority of her life she dabbled in many things, such as drawing, photography, sewing, only to find that after a while, she would lose interest, but writing is a different story — it found her and continues to be an addiction, as well as a most wonderful, incredible passion.

Not only does she write novels, but she does whatever she can to hone her craft. Such as attending the New York Pitch Conference, seminars and the like, as well, she writes for online magazines on the topic of… you guessed it, writing.

Her latest book is the YA paranormal romance, Soul Control.

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AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

 

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Check out these other great blogs also on tour with C. Elizabeth and Soul Control!

Monday, February 4 – Guest Blogging at The Caffeinated Diva Reads

Monday, February 4 – Book Review at The Caffeinated Diva Reads

Tuesday, February 5 – Cover Envy at As the Pages Turn

Wednesday, February 6 – Book Review at Cafe of Dreams

Thursday, February 7 – Guest Blogging at What’s on the Bookshelf?

Friday, February 8 – Book Review at Must Read Faster

Friday, February 8 – Guest Blogging at Paranormal Haven

Monday, February 11 – Book Review at Good Choice Reading

Tuesday, February 12 – Interview at Between the Covers

Wednesday, February 13 – Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Thursday, February 14 – Book Review at Reader Girls Blog

Monday, February 18 – Book Review at Literary Getaway

Tuesday, February 19 – Book Review at Waiting on Sunday to Drown

Wednesday, February 20 – Interview at Examiner

Thursday, February 21 – First Chapter Reveal at Beyond the Books

Friday, February 22 – Book Review at My Cozie Corner

Monday, February 25 – First Chapter Review at Literarily Speaking

Tuesday, February 26 – Book Review at Paperback Princess

Friday, February 28 – Book Review at Miki’s Hope

01/23/13

Review: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter, #1)The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Reading level: Ages 13 and up
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (January 29, 2013)
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Suspense
*Book 1 in ‘Madman’s Daughter Trilogy’

About: Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

*Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.

My Review:  Breathtaking and heart-pounding, The Madman’s Daughter is filled with twists, turns, blanket-gripping, page-flying and unstoppable chills that will keep you up long into the night.

Megan Shepherd has an amazing talent for bringing stories and characters to life – as is prominently displayed within the pages of The Madman’s Daughter.  The beginning has an incredible Gothic and dark feel to it that left me with near chills, and as the story progressed, this aspect only got better.  The story begins in London during the late 1800′s.  Juliet is left orphened after her mother passes away from consumption.  Juliet is forced to take on work as a cleaning girl at a local college to pay her way for room and board.  When she is attacked, all bets are off and she must decide what to do with herself if she doesn’t want to end up on the dirty streets, paying her way with her body.  It is when she comes across a childhood friend that her life changes forever.

After a treacherous trip across the ocean, Juliet is reunited with a father that she thought dead.  The reunion, however, is anything but pleasant and deep, dark and horrendous secrets are uncovered.  Juliet makes discoveries about her father, as well as herself, that will forever alter her life and those lives around her.

The Madman’s Daughter is truly a work of creative art.  I found the story line to be very unique and captivating, as well reveling in the detailing of the characters – enabling me to truly feel myself within the story.  Ms. Shephard brings the time period easily to life with the mannerisms, dialog and descriptions of the characters and their surroundings.  I loved Juliet – her bravery, intelligence and feistiness where refreshing and added an excellence to the story that would have otherwise been missing.  I have to say that I found myself detesting the father, questioning Edward and loving Montgomery.  There are light doses of romance throughout the story, which were very well written and added a bit of “push and pull” to the story – as well as a touch of “frenzy”, if you will.  A few of the twists and turns I did have figured out ahead of time, but many I did not and found myself gasping in surprise.  There were times I wanted to cry, times I wanted to scream and times that I wanted to slap someone as I read.  The ending is perfect for leaving the reader hanging (one of the times that I wanted to scream!! lol) and left me dying to read the next book to see what happens.

The Madman’s Daughter is the perfect story for readers looking for something unique, engrossing, puzzling, adventuresome and a story and characters that will not soon leave your mind.  I know that the age for this book says 13 and up, and while I am ok with that, I would shoot for readers a bit older than that – possibly 15+, simply for the sake of truly understanding what is going on within the story and the characters.  However, that is just my opinion.  I can say that adults will have a very easy time getting into this story and having their attention held until the very end.  I am giving The Madman’s Daughter a 4 1/2 out of 5 – though it truly is so close to perfect that it hurts, lol!!!  I can truly say that this is going on my list of favorite reads of 2013!

A few of my favorite quotes (taken from an uncorrected proof):

“As I said, I’m glad you came.”  His eyes held mine, leaving little doubt as to his meaning.  Montgomery wasn’t one for games.

My corset felt even more constricting than usual.  I wanted to rip the stays and fill my burning lungs with air.  His touch was thrilling.  His whispered words, I’m glad you came, turned my insides molten.  Emotions were a puzzle, something to be studied and fitted together carefully.  But the edges of this puzzle didn’t fit within the lines I knew.

~~~~~~

A door slammed from within, making me jump, and a boy appeared, running in a strange skipping manner toward us.  He took hold of the horse’s bridle while Montgomery climbed down and ruffled the boy’s hair.  I couldn’t help but stare.  The child’s jaw protruded at an odd angle below a nearly nonexistent nose.  A dark, fine hair covered his bare arms.  A shiver ran over my skin.  It was as if my father had stumbled upon some collection of natives whom the theory of evolution – were Mr. Darwin to be believed – had skipped by.

~~~~~~~~~

This was madness.  This curiosity inside me was unnatural.  It had pushed me further from my mother, further from reason and rules and logic.  But there were times I still couldn’t resist.

I rested my forehead against the wall and closed my eyes.  It wasn’t just my curiosity, or my fascination with anatomy, or how I could unhesitatingly chop a rabbit’s head off with an ax when a roomful of boys couldn’t.  Those things were all symptoms of the same sickness – a kind of madness inherited from my father.  It was a dangerous pull in my guy drawing me toward the dark possibilities of science, toward the thin line between life and death, toward the animal impulses hidden behind a corset and a smile.

Rating 4 4 1/2

Image of Megan ShepherdAbout Megan Shepherd:  Megan Shepherd grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where her family has owned and operated an independent bookstore for over 35 years. Shepherd attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she majored in international studies and went on to live and work in Costa Rica, Senegal, Scotland, Spain, and many other countries. Now, Shepherd has returned to Western North Carolina and is a full-time writer of young adult novels.