Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Blog Tour: Reviews of Essenced + Emblazed by Connie L Smith (Young Adult, both 9/10E)

Hi, Nayu here! Today's blog tour is for Connie L Smith, a truly evil author (all will be explained in Emblazed review below). Now, for those of you who are quick enough Essenced is free on Amazon from the moment this post goes live until 28th February. Plus Connie will be putting copies up for grabs on her Twitter page! You won't be disappointed with either book, I promise! Right, review time. 
November 2013, Amazon Media, 346 pages, ebook & Paperback, Review copy

Content mild teen romance, some violence, lots of humour, tissues needed

Summary of the book from Connie's website
Years ago, demons were forced out of the earth’s realm by a band of supernatural fighters, banished from the place and its people in the aftermath of a horrific war. It should’ve ended there – would’ve – if not for the final demon’s claw snagging on the open portal. What felt like victory became only a reprieve, the winning warriors understanding that the tear would spread, and the demons eventually would escape exile. It was only a matter of time, and a need for future defense – a question of genetics and essences, magic and power.

Now, centuries later, a new army must bind together – one of teenagers with inhuman potentials and abilities…

AJ went to bed Sunday night an average teenage girl, clumsy and athletically lacking. So when she wakes up Monday morning with super-strength, she does what any rational person would do: She goes into denial. When a smoking hot guy in a suit shows up, rambling about the end of the war and demons spilling through some kind of rift, she refuses to listen, telling herself he’s insane. Except weird things just won’t quit happening, and the guy keeps popping up in her life, trying to explain the changes suddenly happening within her. Is she crazy, or is this guy… not so crazy after all?

Nayuleska's thoughts 
Confession time: I read this while germ gremlins were brewing inside me. I put that as the reason why I wanted to chuck my ereader out the window when I got to the point where the point of view changed. At the time I was mega grumpy about the story not being told from AJ's view. I like AJ. She cares for I say that carefully because I don't want to give spoilers and at the moment don't know what the blurb says. AJ is hot tempered, which makes for an entertaining read. she does have a sensible side which helps her understand what the angels are trying to get the teens to do. Her team mates are better understood from the pov changes, which +made complete sense when I was thinking straight.

 The abilities AJ and her colleagues have are so awesome! I love the negative traits to each person's essenced species-they include anti-social and health damaging habits.  The descriptions for each species had me completely captivated. I totally wanted to be fairy essenced or mermaid essenced. I have to stress how, barring the prologue which I wasn't captivated by and my fear that the fighting would happen quite soon in the story and would be horrific (I was wrong in both cases), this is a spectacular read. I often moan at books which don't spend too much story time training up characters for war, getting to know each training session's finer details, but Connie lets the reader see everything. Whenever I thought the story couldn't get any cooler, wham! A new plot twist appeared and made me squee. Its not just weapons and some special abilities involved - there is something unique to every species which makes the book incredible.
I'm really eager for book 2 now to see what form all the battles will take, and who will die as I'm certain some will. There are such high stakes - the entire world is under threat, which is a huge pressure. That is imporrtant to AJ, but foremost in her mind is her little sister and her parents. That is who she uses to get through the tough times, she can't afford to let them down. It doesn't stop her love/hate relationship with her mentor, which was an important part of the story but wasn't the entire story, if you get what I mean. AJ did focus on the status of the relationship, but she also concentrated on other areas of her life too.

Remember for a limited time until 28th February 2014 this is free on Amazon! I don't get anything by promoting it.
Suggested read
I highly recommend Rae of Hope by W J May as another thrilling read

24th February 2014, Amazon Media, 350ish pages (can't remember exact details & info isn't online at the time of writing this post), Ebook, Review copy 

Themes: angels, monsters, battles, friendships being forged,

Content: giant sn*ke, moderate teen romance, lots of humour, tissues most definitely needed

Summary of the book (from the press release info)  
After all the preparations, Nicholai’s warriors stand on the threshold of warfare, the demons entering the realm in battalions and the world unknowingly depending on the army’s success to continue intact. But the battle is only the beginning of deadly struggles, and the soldiers will soon realize how little they know, how many things are at stake, and how much they have to lose. 
Love, hate, hope, despair, anguish, joy… The journey is a gauntlet of emotion and combat, threatening their resolve as much as their lives.
Will their training and ties be enough, or will the complications and the forthcoming evil forever cripple the world’s last hope of survival?

Nayuleska's thoughts
The first thing I did when I finished this second in a series book was tweet to Connie how evil she is. What else can I do with that kind of cliff hanger ending? Just as in book 1, Essenced, lots of time is spent on the continuing friendships which are being strengthened during and between training sessions and battles. Yes the teen romance relations are also strengthened, but I confess to skim reading those points (hence the grade, as I skimmed the battle as I wasn't in the mood for intense situations...I read most of this book! It's what I do with every book, skimming is not the same as skipping entire chapters... Oddly I didn't totally skip the snake chapter because I was eager to see how Ray-Ray, a girl who makes me laugh just like Bree and McKenna do, as she is petrified of snakes. She does good is all I'm saying!

 *coughs* Regardless of the parts I didn't examine as closely as I could have, the rest swept me away. I love second books because I already know and love the characters. The banter between AJ and her friends is highly amusing, especially when they all come out with quips which fit them perfectly. It was such a joy to read about so much down time in training and to have the humour in medium to minor battles because there's a real sense of hope as opposed to doom and gloom. These days that is what keeps me reading (and skim reading) books with battles in. Battles are a part of AJ's crazy life, but, along with her friends, although they are only together for the battles it's what happens outside them which gives them (and me) the strength and the courage to fight for those love, regardless of whether they are nearby in battle or far away in ignorance of what the missing person in their family is doing. There are intense moments of gut-wrenching grief which make tissues a necessity, but they are buffered by the fun parts.

I love this series! Extremely desperate for book 3 thanks to the evil awfully good ending in book 2. Yes I did go on Twitter as soon as I finished it to tell Connie exactly how evil she is. She took it well!

Find out more on Connie's website.

Suggested read
You have to read book 1, Essenced which is reviewed above this one ^o^

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