Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Book Review: Blood Ties by Mari Mancusi

Blood Ties (A Blood Coven Vampire Novel)Blood Ties by Mari Mancusi
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Publish Date: August 2, 2011
Paperback, 256 pages 
Fiction, Young Adult, Paranormal
 ISBN: 978-0425241363
Blood Coven Series #6

My Review:
I will start this review by saying I have not read any of the the previous Blood Coven books. That said, it was really easy to get into Blood Ties and follow along.  The first chapter has Sunny summarizing what has happened to her so far to get her to where she is at the start of Blood Ties.  Of course this is brief so as not to bore those who have read the series, but enough detail so those of us just picking up Blood Ties can catch up.  It was a good enough catch-up to me that I was able to follow along with the book.  However I will say that now I want to go back and read the books because I am fascinated by this world that Mari Mancusi has created and want to read more about it.  But I don't think you have to read the first 5 books to read Blood Ties.

Blood Ties follows Sunny as she wants to save her best friend Jayden's soul while her boyfriend Magnus is going about trying to save the vampire race from an all-out war and trying to protect Sunny and save Jayden's soul.  Mischief and mayhem of course follow, there are misunderstandings, fights, kick-butt scenes, hot kisses and lots of fun.  I found Blood Ties to be the type of brain candy that I really miss in young adult fiction.  It's light, it's fun and it has action.  It's fast-paced, doesn't require me to think to hard and keeps me engaged and keeps me reading.  I liked it and I could not put it down.  I read this with my kids playing in the water while we were out on the boat on Sunday and it was the perfect boat book.  I only had to pause a few minute when my youngest was stung by a jellyfish.  When that crisis was over (which was mainly handled by the daddy) I went right back to Sunny, Magnus, and Jayden's world.

Run, don't walk and pick this one up.  I'm saving my pennies and getting the start of this series next on my Kindle so I can learn more about Sunny and her friends.  I am also anxiously awaiting the next in the series because let me tell you this one wraps up nicely but then there is a cliffhanger to beat all cliffhangers and I can't wait to see what happens next!  Great job Ms. Mancusi - you have scored another devout reader to your Blood Coven series.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

About the Book:

Officially back in the arms of her vampire boyfriend Magnus, Sunny finds she still can't forget the gentle mortal Jayden who once saved her life. When darkness threatens to steal his humanity, Sunny must make a choice: stay true to her love, or defy him in a desperate attempt to save Jayden's soul.

Meanwhile, the Blood Coven is gearing up its toughest fight yet. They are going head-to-head with a splinter group of Slayer Inc. that's regrouping in Tokyo, Japan--still determined to take over the world.

In dark blood bars and hidden temples, it'll be vampires versus slayers in a showdown that could not only cost Sunny her heart...but also her life.

About the Author: 
Mari Mancusi works as a freelance television producer and has won two Emmys. She lives in Texas.

Mari's Website
Blood Coven Website

FTC Information: I received this book from the publisher through Teen Book Scene for an honest review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

Book Review: The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan Le Fey by Alex Epstein

The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan Le FeyThe Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan Le Fey by Alex Epstein
Publisher: Tradewind Books
Publish Date: August 1, 2011
Paperback, 304 pages 
Fiction, Historical, Fantasy, Paranormal
 ISBN: 978-1896580630

My Review:
What an intriguing story.  I have never thought about how Morgan Le Fey's life came about or who she was before she was part of the Arthurian legend.  Mr. Epstein has remedied that with his version of the tale of a girl who starts of with the name of Anna on the Isle of Britain and has to go on the run or be killed at the early age of twelve and ends up in Ireland which is a entirely different world to her.

Witchcraft is something that drives her through the book, Anna, who becomes Morgan at sea on the way to Ireland feels the power of the land at a ceremony while the men are off at war before she leaves Britain.  She also feels the power from the land while she is in Ireland and it benefits her when she needs it.  I loved seeing her in different experiences throughout Ireland.  She definitely led an interesting life at an early age as did many girls in that era who married at early ages.

Another driving force in Morgan's life is revenge.  Revenge is what keeps her alive and keeps her motivated through the book.  The reader will see revenge as motivation for most of what she does.  And even though it's her primary motivation, you still find yourself really liking her character.  She's strong, but she knows when to stand back and stand behind her husband or her chieftan.  I really liked Morgan, she had compassion towards some people who were deserving of it and she did not like those who did not deserve it.

The Circle Cast was a fascinating look at what Morgan's life might have been like in the early years and I loved every minute of the book.  Mr. Epstein's writing was great, he dove right into the mind of an adolescent girl in early Britain and brought out this marvelous story of her life as she traveled in a foreign country and navigated their customs as she fought for her life and plotted and schemed toward her own revenge and getting back to Britain.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

About the Book:

How did an exiled girl become the most powerful witch in legend?

Britain, 480 AD. Saxon barbarians are invading, pushing the civilized British out of their own island. Morgan is the daughter of the governor of Cornwall. But when her father is murdered and her mother taken as the King's new wife, she has to flee to Ireland to avoid being murdered herself.

But Ireland is no refuge. She's captured in a slave raid and sold to a village witch. As Morgan comes of age, she discovers her own immense magical powers. She falls in love with a young Irish chieftain, and makes him powerful.

But will her drive for revenge destroy her one chance for love and happiness?

About the Author: 
A native New Yorker, Alex Epstein studied Computer Science and English at Yale University. After a year in Paris, he studied filmmaking at the University of California, Los Angeles in the School of Theatre, Film and Television, finishing with an MFA.

Throughout the 1990s, Epstein worked in the motion picture industry as a development executive. His first book, Crafty Screenwriting, came out of his experiences developing movies.

Epstein moved to Montreal in 2000 and began his career as a professional screenwriter. He co-created the comedy series Naked Josh, which ran for three seasons, and co-wrote the hit buddy cop comedy Bon Cop / Bad Cop.

Epstein lives in Montreal's Old Port with his wife, Lisa Hunter (author of The Intrepid Art Collector) and his two children.



FTC Information: I received this book from the author through Teen Book Scene for an honest review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.