Tag Archives: jade varden

Day 17 – Author I wish people would read more

Not sure how this actually fits with the post - I just like Baby Brains :)

Not sure how this actually fits with the post – I just like Baby Brains 🙂

Just sneaking a post in at the end of the day – this book challenge is like a second job at the moment 🙂

For this topic, I couldn’t pinpoint a single author, but what I really do wish is that more people would give indie authors a chance. I know that there are books out there from indies which haven’t been edited well or are several drafts off being publishable – but you get previews in e-readers now, which give you a pretty good taste of that person’s writing and the story to give you an idea whether it will be for you or not. I still use these previews with traditional authors, to see if I really want to read the book (sorry Fifty Shades I couldn’t even get through the free preview!)

In the last couple of years, since I became an indie author, I’ve been lucky enough to meet and read several great indie authors, writing in a range of fiction genres. Several of them will be appearing in the Indie Author Event we run in May on my other blog, Aside from Writing, today I thought I would tell you about some of my favourite ones so far:

Amy Martin’s In Your Dreams books are really well written, exciting stories about Zara ‘Zip’ McKee and her blossoming romance with the new boy in school who suffers from narcolepsy. Or is it…? Once the truth about his condition begins to come out, you get a whole other story instead. I’ve just read the second book in the series and need to write my review (maybe once this challenge has ended, if I still have fingers!)

Marie Landry is a lovely author and blogger from Canada, I’ve been lucky enough to feature with her a few times in the past and she’ll be appearing in Indie Month again with us this year. Her romantic tales have been really good, my favourite being Blue Sky Days about a young couple dealing with their relationship around the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Fancy something with a little action?

Tony Talbot’s Eight Mile Island is a fantastic action-mystery, which will have you questioning the narrator as well as your perception of reality in the book. I’m just in the middle of reading Tony’s latest book, Medusa, a futuristic tale, set in a water-filled world – so far, it’s been great!

Jade Varden’s brilliant Deck of Lies series kept me hooked for eighteen months, waiting to find out what was coming next in this contemporary YA murder-mystery. It was as good as any traditionally published series I could pick up! Jade blogs on all things writing on her own blog – if you have an interest in writing you should certainly check out her Writing 101 section. Jade Varden – Blogspot

If you like your action with a little history Michael Cargill’s wartime short story in the Shades of Grey collection is good and I believe a full length follow up in a similar vein is due soon. Hazel B West’s books all have an historical setting, On A Foreign Field follows an English knight into William Wallace’s camp, giving a unique perspective on what might have been there. The research and detail of Hazel’s writing is as good as any historical fiction I’ve read. (My review for Aside from Writing is here).

These are just a few of the indie authors I’ve read, enjoyed and would heartily recommend. A quick glance through my Goodreads book list includes even more still, ranging from children’s books by Sara Zaske and Nicola Palmer, Lynda Meyer’s gritty Letters from the Ledge, Zombie with a brain from Stephen Herfst…vampires with human brothers in Patricia Lynne’s Being Human…Pride and Prejudice retold as US teens in Fall for You by Cecelia Gray.

The list just goes on and on, and I have enjoyed these indie books just as much as I do anything else I’ve come across from traditional publishers. I won’t deny there are indie books I’ve been sent to read that have not been a great standard, but I’ve just chosen not to read them, just like I’ve chosen not to read other books. All I would say is treat every book on it’s own merit – if you’ve never read an indie, find someone you like the look of, check out the free excerpt and if you like it, read it. If you don’t – move on to the next one, there’s lots to choose from 🙂

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Just Finished…Death by Jade Varden

So The Tower, Book 2 in Jade Varden’s Deck of Lies series left us with a real cliff-hanger, so what did the third book Death deliver?

Death is a great third addition to this series of books, after the flood of revelations and lies that came out in The Tower, which got to the point of being near overwhelming, Death has a more mellow pace – it’s like that period of disquiet (I certainly can’t call it calm) that comes after a storm…or perhaps that odd come down you feel after a major adrenaline rush and reality begins to sink in. Rain/Chloe/? our protagonist is still in the thick of it, with lies, odd family connections and dirty deeds seeping out of every brick in the fancy mansion she lives in…

Rain continues her quest for the truth – but what truth that is continues to change: her hunt for her identity led to a murder, her hunt for a murderer led her to more of her own secrets… Death delivers a good dose of reflection on the previous rollercoaster of events from Books 1 and 2, whilst continuing to throw up more surprises. I really liked the development of Rain’s character in this book – her experiences are certainly changing how she operates in the vicious world she’s found herself in. The re-appearance of one of my favourite characters was also nicely dealt with – definitely some good potential there for the last book in the series Judgement.

Deck of Lies is a fantastic YA mystery series, with plenty of twists and fans of soaps like Dallas, Days of Our Lives and Sunset Beach, will love the mad hookups and random family relationship relevations. Jade’s writing is style is vivid and concise, helping you to completely immerse yourself in her stories.

Overall Verdict: 4.5* If you’re not already into this series and enjoy a good contemporary YA read, then you’re missing out! I can’t wait for Judgement

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WWW Wednesday – 4

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted over at Should Be Reading…it just takes a few minutes: to play along, just answer the following three questions…

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?
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What are you currently reading?
The Passage by Justin Cronin – as it’s a pretty big book I’d put off starting it in March because I had a lot going on at the time and needed to meet my target of reading five dystopian books for a Goodreads challenge – so even though (I think) it is going to be dystopian-ish, it would have killed my chances in the challenge. Now I just have to read it and give it back to my friend at work and so I’m jumping right in now!
What did you recently finish reading?
Shadowland by C.M. Gray – fantastic YA/adult historical adventure (the male protagonists are both young men). It’s a fast paced, interesting read set in Arthurian England and has some nice twists and turns, mystical elements as well as action. It’s also really well written, lovely description and scene-setting, in-keeping with the historic setting, as well as plenty of witty dialogue between the boys.
What do you think you’ll read next?
I’m really need to start Zed – the zombie with a brain – by Stephen Herfst, as a broken kindle held me up last week (now replaced by the lovely peeps at Amazon) and then I’ve got some other lovely books I can’t wait to get to (but you’ll see those in Friday Finds over on Aside from Writing!) 🙂

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WWW Wednesday – 3

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted over at Should Be Reading…it just takes a few minutes: to play along, just answer the following three questions…

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?
What are you currently reading?
I’m still reading Shadowland by C.M. Gray because I took a break over the weekend to read a couple of different books. I’m about halfway through though now and enjoying it still – lots of dark ages adventure and mystery set against a backdrop of Saxon invasions and the decline of the Roman Empire – the main characters are both interesting and well-written – reads a little like a book springboarded out of a film like King Arthur with Clive Owen.
What did you recently finish reading?
I read The Tower by Jade Varden, which is Book 2 in the tarot inspired Deck of Lies. Really good mystery-thriller contemporary YA and I enjoyed it as much as the first book Justice. You can read my review of it here https://melcj.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/just-finished-the-tower-by-jade-varden/ and if you like the sound of it there’s a giveaway running this week to win both books so you can enter off my review too.
What do you think you’ll read next?
I’m thinking Zed by Stephen Herfst – I’ve never read a zombie book, but I love zombie films (guilty pleasure) and so I’m looking forward to this 🙂

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Just Finished…The Tower by Jade Varden

Synopsis: Death brings some families closer, but it’s ripped mine apart. I wanted to convince the police that they had the wrong suspect…but I never expected them to start suspecting me. Now, I have no choice but to keep searching for the truth, even if all my relationships fall to pieces around me.

Someone is trying to make me look guilty. I never thought my mission to prove my own innocence would lead me to more family secrets. I thought I had already discovered the truth about myself. But every answer raises more questions, and everything I think I know is about to change…again.

I have to find the truth, no matter how much it hurts — before I get charged with murder.

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When I read Justice, the first book in Jade Varden’s Deck of Lies series, earlier this year I was looking forward to the release of the follow-up book The Tower after being left with a doozy of a cliff-hanger. You can read my review of Justice at Aside from Writing blog.

So…after the wait, did The Tower deliver? Absolutely! 🙂 I stayed up reading with one eye it was that good!

Normally I struggle with “Second-Book-Syndrome” – I love the first then find the second one less than satisfying (Twilight, The Hunger Games, Hush Hush series and Darkest Powers series all had this for me) – with The Tower I actually liked it better than Justice and would agree with the idea that you could read this book without having read the first. Although the characters and story continues from the first book, The Tower is written in a way that also allows it to work as a stand-alone book, which I think is great.

It is a difficult book to review without giving spoilers, but I’ll try…in contrast to Justice which focuses on the mystery surrounding the kidnapping of a baby girl and her subsequent reuniting with her real family over a decade later, The Tower is more a murder mystery. It reminded me a little of the Point Horror books I used to love when I read young adult fiction the first time around, where someone in the middle of the action needs to solve the riddles the police cannot, although it is written with much more depth and sophistication. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing and another good cliffhanger to seal the end of the book. I liked the epilogue particularly in how it drew the themes of the story back to the symbol of the tarot card ‘the tower’ – very neatly done.

Overall, I’d say 4.5* for me – it was practically perfect – I did get a little lost in twists in the middle (just like Rain I wanted paper to map them out) and missed a character who featured heavily in Justice, but it was great seeing Sawyer  in more depth and I liked the relationship between him and Rain as they work through the mystery. Jade has a really good writing style: well-described, interesting and believable characters, who work well in the events of the novel. I absolutely have my suspicions as to who has done what…but I’ll need to read the next book to find out! So I’m looking forward to the next instalment.

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So – do you think this sounds good? Well – the author has kindly provided me with ebooks of her books so that one lucky reader could win both Justice and The Tower to read for themselves. The competition starts tomorrow and you’ll have a week to enter, so visit my main website and ‘like’ this review or follow on Twitter and get yourself in it to win it! 

Enter Competition at http://cusick-jones.com/giveaway.php

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