Friday, March 29, 2013

Gates of Paradise by Melissa De La Cruz

Article first published as Book Review: Gates of Paradise: A Blue Bloods Novel by Melissa De La Cruz on Blogcritics.

With the explosion of books and stories about the eternal struggle each view is like another layer added to what many believe in. The subject makes for good reading and adventurous treks through the depths of hell and back, often followed by unimaginable horror. So how does one make a mark and find a way to stand out from the rest in the tale of the epic struggle.
In the Blue Bloods Novel, Gates of Paradise by Melissa De La Cruz, you will find the characters that have become the epitome of both good and darkness over the course of the series. In the struggle to both close the gates of hell, and conquer their own darkness, inherent in their background, many of the core group struggles to survive. Follow the continued exploits of Jack and Mimi, as they are tested on their abilities to fight the Dark Prince, or fold to his power. Schuyler Van Alen unknowingly holds the secret to save them all, but can she find the answers before it is too late.  In a world where much is hidden and alternate struggle continues unseen by most, fought by vampires and wolves, as well as angels both good and bad, many of those that have found some success in the past are suddenly no longer there. The darkness has found a way to win the war and the end inexorably moves towards an unimaginable ending. When Jack and Mimi find themselves with no way out, Schuyler is kidnapped as a sacrifice there is only one way out.
Is love truly immortal, able to cross all realms? Follow feats of courage and sacrifice as the beginning of the end comes with a blinding unexpectedness. Is the world ready to fall into the hands of darkness or with the light of love and right find a way through?
The characters and places throughout the book are an exceptional blend of realism as well as fatalism. The beauty and brutality of the scenes take your breath away as you watch for your favorites to emerge victorious. Your hurt and horror as some are struck down feel real as though you have known and loved them yourself. The horror of the sacrifice and the betrayals feel real, part of your own soul.
Da La Cruz builds a crescendo of excitement and mystery in her closing volume which will make you search to find the rest of the series. If you love the books of apocalyptic endings, the fight of good against evil and a great mystery, you will enjoy her work. Through in absolute love and sprinkle the mix with vampires, wolves and angels and you have a book that harkens to a variety of readers.
This is a great book for those that enjoy the epic battles of right and wrong, as well as the connoisseur of love stories, horror, vampire tales, and mysteries. A welcome addition to any library, this is one that can be read again and again. But make room on your shelves because you will want to find the rest of the series for their rightful place in this bold adventure.
Rating 5/5
This book was received free from the authors publicist. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway:The Book of Paul by Richard Long

Article first published as Book Review:The Book of Paul by Richard Long on Blogcritics.

Is it really possible for a parallel universe to exist, one right beside our own where those that inhabit both, live lives very different from those on our own existence? If so, what if this world was a part of the beginnings and endings of everything we believe to be real.  
In The Book of Paul by Richard Long we meet some unique and interesting characters. But it is the world itself that takes you on a roller coaster of a journey, one that will both horrify and delight you, as you hit the highs and lows through the cast of characters that border on both genius and madness.
Paul is not who many believe him to be. For some he is a friend, and others a father figure, but only very few really know the truth behind his being. Having rescued Martin from and manipulative and deadly mother as a child, he raises him the best way he knows how. Or does he? There is depth and depravity, hidden from most, and Martin becomes a stone cold personality, with no one other than his foster father Paul who understands him.
But then he meets Rose, she too is damaged, yet holds a secret that she herself has hidden deep. Her own life is addicted to pain and sex, yet when she meets Martin, she immediately recognizes a feeling, that seems centuries old.
If these characters are not enough, there are watchers, and doers throughout the communities, each with their own brand of narcissism, waiting for their own entrance to the horror that continues to build as the pieces come together and the time for recognition comes through.
Often the “devil is in the detail,” and such is the case, but don’t leave out the angels or the existence of just about every form of belief you have heard of or imagined. With a sharp wit, and strong sense of the macabre, Long has delivered a work of horror that keeps you reading to the very end.
What happens? How do the characters survive, or do they? Can they stop Paul from his ever increasing frenzy?
If you enjoy historical religious and pagan beliefs, this book is chock full of information. If you like horror with your romance, then you will find yourself immersed in both. Long has written a fascinating and oftentimes horrific look into the depths of belief, and used an eclectic mix of differing histories to pull off a work that keeps you guessing.
This would be a great book for a discussion group, there is so much going on that you could read it untold times and still find something new. A group would find a great deal to discuss with all of the differing offers.
Even with the horror there is a sense of purpose, but be prepared to become immersed, keep the lights on and the doors locked, the horror will keep the chills flowing.
 The Book of Paul Book Summary:
"Everything you've ever believed about yourself...about the description of reality you've clung to so stubbornly all your life...all of it...every bit of an illusion."

In the rubble-strewn wasteland of Alphabet City, a squalid tenement conceals a treasure "beyond all imagining"-- an immaculately preserved, fifth century codex. The sole repository of ancient Hermetic lore, it contains the alchemical rituals for transforming thought into substance, transmuting matter at will...and attaining eternal life.

When Rose, a sex and pain addicted East Village tattoo artist has a torrid encounter with Martin, a battle-hardened loner, they discover they are unwitting pawns on opposing sides of a battle that has shaped the course of human history. At the center of the conflict is Paul, the villainous overlord of an underground feudal society, who guards the book's occult secrets in preparation for the fulfillment of an apocalyptic prophecy.

The action is relentless as Rose and Martin fight to escape Paul's clutches and Martin's destiny as the chosen recipient of Paul's sinister legacy. Science and magic, mythology and technology converge in a monumental battle where the stakes couldn't be higher: control of the ultimate power in the universe--the Maelstrom.

The Book of Paul is the first of seven volumes in a sweeping mythological narrative tracing the mystical connections between Hermes Trismegistus in ancient Egypt, Sophia, the female counterpart of Christ, and the Celtic druids of Clan Kelly.

Link to an excerpt from The Book of Paul:

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      Richard Long
's Bio:
Richard Long writes to exorcize the demons of his past and manifest the dreams of his future. His debut novel, The Book of Paul, is a dark, thrilling, and psychologically rich supernatural horror/thriller that blends mythology, science and mystery into a page-turning addiction. Richard is also writing a YA novel, The Dream Palace, primarily so that his children can read his books. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, two amazing children and their wicked black cat, Merlin.

Prices/Formats: $19.95 paperback, $2.99-$3.99 ebook
Publisher: Open Eyes
ISBN: 9780615648644
Pages: 492
Release: June 2012

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Heartache and Hope in Haiti: The Britney Gengel Story by Len and Cherlyann Gengel

Article first published as Book Review: Heartache and Hope in Haiti: The Britney Gengel Story by Len and Cherylann Gengel on Blogcritics.

Nature often wreaks havoc on the world. Many times we see the destruction through the view of a camera, while other times the action is on our doorstep. Never sure where disaster will strike, when the damage happens elsewhere, we watch in sadness. When nature’s fury hits close to home, despair overcomes those involved.
In Heartache and Hope in Haiti: The Britney Gengel Story by Len and CheryLann Gengel , the authors share with us the pain and disbelief of such a powerful force. In 2010 their daughter Britney, a sophomore at Lynn University, traveled with a group of student to work for an aide group. This was their chance to give back to the world, and Britney in particular was touched. After a short time in Haiti, she determined that her life’s work would be to help open an orphanage in this country where hope was alive in its children. Yet only a few short hours later, an earthquake leveled Port-au-Prince and the Hotel she had been staying in.
Unable to reach her, the family lives in fear, alternately dreading and then excited by the news. But as with confusion and reporting, the news was often not just misleading but entirely wrong. Their Britney was never coming home again.
Here begins the life of rebuilding and how Len and Cherylann chose to take a vision and make it real. Shaking off their own grief, they take Britney’s dream and move it towards reality.
This is a heartfelt and hurt filled story, but filled with love and hope. To see how others transcend past the pain of losing a child and find a way to offer hope is a testament to that love. They chose to take that anguish and use the power of that pain to move forward and build the dream that keeps their daughter alive in a very different way.
While I had heard about the Earthquake, I was able to view it from afar where it didn’t touch me. Even hearing the stories and seeing the footage, the sadness and caring were there, but the destruction seemed remote and far away. With the Store of Britney and the Gengel’s efforts to make her wishes come true, you have no choice but to become a part of the devastation and pain. You feel the horror and the hope as they wait for news that will bring their daughter home. IF you have children this will tear at your soul. Reading the stories of the children and the people in Haiti, bring home the devastation in a way, that even pictures on the news were unable to capture.  
This is a remarkable story, built with courage and love. The inspiration lends us an example of how goodness flows in even the worst of times. This would be a marvelous book for a reading group. The story pulls you in and the chills and despair felt by the Gengel’s becomes your own. Even the profits of the book are slated to benefit the Orphanage now built in Britney’s name for the honor of the children of Haiti. You cannot move away from this story unmoved. You will marvel at the tenacity of the will to make a dream succeed.
Rating 4/5
This book was received from the authors publicist. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.