Archive | January, 2010

Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze

7 Jan

What do you do when what you have written gets you into more trouble than you could imagine?

Beth Rider is a writer who has finally hit the big time. Her new novel about vampires seeking redemption is selling like hot cakes and has become a best seller. Everyone is reading it, including some very unsavoury characters.

On a book tour to promote the novel, Beth is approached by a dark and menacing man who gives her a warning: Watch your back!

But the thing of it is, no one else saw the mysterious stranger. Beth tries to chalk it up to nerves, but something about the man frightens her and strikes a deep fear into her. Her worst fears come to life when the man attacks her in her hotel room.

That man is Jack Dawn, one of the Rakum, a race of darkness that has spread evil and then thrive on it. Jack knows that Beth Rider’s book is dangerous, that it provokes the wrong kinds of questions. Questions that could mean the end of his powerful race.

Deciding to take matters into his own hands, he marks Beth as a Rabbit. Forcing Beth to swallow some of his blood, she is now a marked woman. Unable to die, she can also be tracked by other Rakum who will find her and torture her.

But one Rakum stands for hope in the darkness.

Michael Stone smells Beth Rider before he sees her. He knows that scent; it belongs to one that is marked as a Rabbit, a plaything for his kind. He knows that Rabbits are usually those who are crooks or thieves, those that would deserve a slow and painful death.

However, when he realizes the scent of the Rabbit is coming from Beth, Michael knows something is wrong. More than that, he feels a connection to her that he has never felt with any other being, Rakum or human.  Smitten, and knowing that something is decidedly wrong, Michael decides to go against everything he has been taught as a Rakum and protect Beth from a world of darkness she knows nothing about.

As Beth and Michael try to hide from an entire race that means them harm, they are faced with a choice. But the wrong choice could cost them more than their lives; it could cost them their souls as well…

I had no idea what to expect when I began to read Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze. None whatsoever. However, I love books that take a myth that has been written to death, vampires, and turn it on its head to make it into something new. I love it when an author is courageous enough to go against the grain and give readers something new that grew from something old.

However, it doesn’t always work. Sometimes, the book falls flat or what begins as a great premise isn’t carried off very well. Thankfully, Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze suffers from none of these problems. In fact, Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider is perhaps one of the best novels I have read. Ever.

Instead of relying on tired old cliché’s, Maze takes the old vampire myth and throws it out the window. Instead, she essentially creates an entire mythology and an entire race from the ground up. This is no easy feat for an author and many others have tried and failed. But Maze pulls it off with grace, skill and aplomb.

In fact, I find it difficult to believe that Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider is Maze’s first published novel. The book is so good, so incredible, that it reads like the work of a seasoned pro.

Beth Rider is an immediately likeable character that I came to identify with and actually care for as the book hurtled towards its incredible and explosive climax. Michael Stone is wonderfully sympathetic and is the perfect white knight. Maze is able to write characters that simply leap off the page and you can’t help reading more to find out what happens to them.

Even better than that, Maze has given us a novel with a lightning paced plot that rivals the works of Dan Brown or Stephen King. Part love story, part mythology, part vampire tale and all heat, Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider is the very definition of page turner. The book hooked me from the very first page and I could not stop reading, could not put the book down, until I found out what happened.

This isn’t your average page turner either. Surprisingly, Maze fills the book with some pretty heavy food for thought. The story deals with issues like faith, redemption, salvation, right and wrong, ones moral compass, light and darkness but Maze covers the heavier subject matter with a deft hand. She doesn’t beat you over the head with anything except a great story that won’t let you go.

If you’re looking for a book that has thrills, chills, a great plot, mythology and incredible characters, look no further than Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze. Not only will the story hook you from page one, it will haunt you and stay with you well after you’ve turned the last page.

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The Circle of Friends Book V: Heather by L. Diane Wolfe

3 Jan

 

Heather Jennings is lost within herself.

She should be happy, she should be thrilled. Having finished college, she’s been offered an assistant coach position at Clemson College, her dream job. Heather loves the thrill of the sport and the challenge of it.

But part of her knows that her heart isn’t really in it.

Part of her heart is held in check. Her father, Thomas, is dying of terminal cancer. Heather is constantly afraid that the next phone call she gets will be from her mother telling Heather that her father is dead. Though she doesn’t say it, the fear is eating away at her.

Another part of her heart is held by Matt Gardener. Friends since high school, Heather has carried a flame for him for years. A flame that went unanswered. Matt never felt the same way about her as Heather did for him. Instead, he fell in love with Heather’s college roommate, Sarah. Eventually they married and now they have children.

After that heartbreak, Heather chose to keep herself alone and isolated from the opposite sex. With too much to lose if she let herself love again, Heather prefers to keep herself alone. But that all changes when she sees Matt’s brother Mark again.

The two are instantly attracted to each other and soon they are in the midst of what Heather never wanted: a serious relationship where love is involved. Added to that, Mark wants nothing to do with marriage or children, two things that Heather has come to realize she wants more than anything.

Heather’s world is further complicated when her dream job becomes a nightmare. One of the team members of Clemson’s Lady Tigers reacts badly to Heather’s position of authority within the team. Challenging her at every turn, Brandi seems to have made it her life’s ambition to make Heather’s job a living nightmare.

With everything in her life so upside down, Heather’s confidence begins to fail. Soon, Heather is only a shell of her former self.

But when a life changing event shatters what confidence that remains, Heather will have to fight to regain control over her life and begin to believe in the healing power of love…

I have been both anticipating and dreading The Circle of Friends Book V: Heather by powerhouse author L. Diane Wolfe. I’ve been anticipating the book because it is the last book in her phenomenal series. And dreading much for the same reason.

Having been a long time fan of L. Diane Wolfe’s The Circle of Friends Series, I gobbled up each offering, each new book, knowing that the end was coming; knowing that the end would eventually have to happen. And the end is here.

I had wondered how Wolfe would end The Circle of Friends Series. Each book in the series has been better than the last one; she has given herself a heavy task of topping herself. How do you end a series that has everything you could wish for?

In The Circle of Friends Series you have love, hate, betrayal, friendship, devotion, abuse, relationships, family, buried secrets and earth shattering events. How do you end a five book series and top all that?

Thankfully, L. Diane Wolfe’s The Circle of Friends Book V: Heather is the ultimate ending to the series and she finishes off the series with her best and most emotionally charged novel yet.

Heather has always been one of my favourite characters in the series and I wondered how her story would play out. What I didn’t expect was to become so emotionally involved with her during the reading of the book. I ached for Heather, I yearned for her to find love. I needed her to find the healing she needed.

It takes a very gifted author to make her characters so incredibly real. It takes an even more gifted author to fill her pages with so much emotion, you can’t help but become emotionally involved. Wolfe has always succeeded in giving her readers character that we can care about. But in The Circle of Friends Book V: Heather, she has gone above and beyond that.

Wolfe has given us characters that we can love and know as well as our own friends and family. She has given us characters that feel like family, our family; we know them so well by the end of the novel and this helps to fuel the books emotional charge.

What I love so much about Wolf’s writing is that she gives us real people living through very real situations. Not only can we relate to them, but we feel for them because they are so real and because they are living through things that each and every one of us have gone through.

A lot of authors would not be able to handle such an emotional storyline, but in The Circle of Friends Book V: Heather, Wolfe handles the emotion and plot with grace and aplomb. Instead of having it read like a saccharine after school special, The Circle of Friends Book V: Heather is one of the most intense and real novels ever written.

Wolfe has given us what in the end is the ultimate study of human nature. She has let us into the lives of these incredibly real people and their plight. Even after reading the novel, I am haunted by these characters: Heather, her father Thomas, her mother Lauren, her sister Dawn. Matt and his brother Mark. These characters are real to me, living breathing people that I now feel like I’ve known for years. This is the power of Wolfe’s writing.

Though I have been silently dreading the ending of The Circle of Friends Series, I am thrilled that Wolfe has ended the series with Heather’s story. Not only is Heather’s story the one that most readers have been looking forward too, it carries the most important message.

Yes, Heather has a lot to deal with during the course of her story. But Wolfe shows us that with the power of love, we can overcome anything. With the healing power of love, even the most devastating blow to our self confidence can become a positive.

She shows us that, with the healing power of love, anything is possible.