I have been waiting for Shadow Scale since I read Seraphina, and it lived up to my expectations. It had the same easy to slip into writing style, the same loveable characters, the same thought provoking world, with a surprising amount of humour thrown in for good measure. All I wish is that there was another sequel.
The Deathsniffer's Assistant was great - a combination of mystery and fantasy that I fell for instantly. the system of magic in this world is never explained point blank, but it was written in such a way that the magic, systems and politics of this highly original world felt like second nature. I love the story and the charmingly and terrifyingly unpredictable lady detective. The ending felt perfectly resolved but when I started to think about it more there were a lot of loose ends, so I was very relieved to learn there would be multiple sequels.
Familiar abuse or an uncertain future? Which would you choose?
This is Laurel Lee Page’s dilemma when she is faced with an unplanned pregnancy at nineteen. Born into a broken family, guilt and shame are all she has ever known. No matter what she does or whom she meets, Laurel appears to be living a condemned life. However, she is determined to find independence and freedom in spite of her family’s legacy of hatred and self-contempt.
Set in Southern California during the tumultuous 1960’s, Burnt Edges is a contemporary novel based on true events that prove strength can emerge in the most horrific of circumstances
Most of Burnt Edges was dark and hopeless, but at the very end, when Laurel found the strength inside herself and took charge of her own life, she showed the world that the darkness and hopelessness can be defeated. It's well written and Laurel is easy to care for, but it's not for everyone and it's definitely not a light read.
Dana Leipold's top 10 list
It’s 1861 and the Civil War has just started. Molly is an eighteen-year-old girl living on her family’s farm in Virginia when two deserters from the Southern Cause enter her life. One of them—a twenty-four-year-old Huck Finn—ends up saving her virtue, if not her life.
Molly is so enamored with Huck, she wants to run away with him. But Huck has other plans and is gone the next morning before she awakens. Thus starts a sequence of events that leads Molly into adventure after adventure; most of them not so nice.
We follow the travails of Molly Lee, starting when she is eighteen and ending when she is fifty-six. Even then Life has one more surprise in store for her.
Molly Lee is the story of a woman who knows what she wants and starts out to get it. Molly is about to set off on the quest of a lifetime . . . of two lifetimes.
Well . . . Molly Lee. I think I'm going to have to do this review in two sections. First I'll tell you about the first half of the book, then the second.
I hated the first half. It was quite implausible in places (I mean really, you just happen to find an abandoned cabin in the woods with a chest of gold in it?) and every time I put it down I felt like throwing up and then watching some cartoons to counter act it. Also I'm pretty sure it's medically impossible for her not to have gotten pregnant somewhere along the way given all that was happening. The first half gets a solid 1/10.
Quite abruptly almost exactly halfway through the book the feel of it changed completely and the second half was pretty good. I loved the characters and the feel of it and it ended really well. It gets a 7/10.
Nithya, a vivacious, intelligent and driven college senior has always known what she has wanted: a successful career in medicine and the love of her family. She’s even come to terms with the idea of an arranged marriage, a tradition her conservative Indian family has held up for thousands of years.
When a night of partying puts her on a collision course with danger, Nithya’s entire life changes.
Enter James St. Clair, the smart, challenging and heartbreakingly handsome American. As Nithya and James fall in love, she questions the future she and her parents have always planned.
Now, Nithya has a choice to make: become a doctor and a good Indian bride, or step away from her family and centuries of culture to forge her own path. The decision she comes to takes her on a journey that transforms how she sees her future, her relationships with loved ones, and how she learns to put herself back together when even her best-laid plans fall apart.
I really liked Rearranged Life. It has great characters who you can really be cheering for, and it is a great testament to love in all it's complex forms. Rearranged Life shows us how truly unconditional love can be, and even when people are on the outs with on another you can see they're only angry because they care. Rearranged Life is gorgeous.
Syrian-American, Lydia Fadoul, has spent a year waiting for her fiancé to return from war in Iraq, only to discover that he is broken by trauma and the devastating effects of PTSD. Just when he finally agrees to seek help, he takes his own life and leaves behind a story of murder, betrayal, and mystery.
In her second, contemporary fiction novel since Budapest, Tiffani Burnett-Velez weaves a fast-paced literary tale about the rumors we believe and the prejudices we create in order to protect our hearts from the truth.
Tiffani Burnett-Velez has been a freelance since 1996. Her non - fiction work has appeared in magazines and newspapers in the US and Europe, including Pennsylvania Magazine, Country Discoveries, St . Anthony Messenger, Health.com, Yahoo! News, and many more online and in print publications.
Her first novel, Budapest, was featured in the New York Book Festival and the 4 2nd Annual Conference of Jewish Librarians and it's re-release became a 2014 Amazon Bestseller in Literary and Inspirational Fiction.
Her second contemporary novel, All This Time, will be released by Booktrope in 2015, and the second, A Berlin Story, in her bestselling WWII novella series, Embers of War, is an Amazon Historical German Fiction Bestseller.
She has studied English Literature at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania and holds a BA in Cognitive Science from Ashford University. She is currently completing her MFA in Creative Writing.
Author Interview with Tiffani Burnett-Velez
Originally, Lydia was Muslim, but because I was raised Catholic (and have extensive experience with Eastern Catholics and I converted to Eastern Orthodoxy a few years ago), I run a much greater chance of NOT offending whole religious groups and people by writing what I know. I would have loved to have made Lydia Muslim. However, I just didn't feel that I held the appropriate knowledge to do so. I've ventured out into worlds I've never been to with Budapest and A Berlin Story (but I'm connected to both places and experiences, so it's not completely foreign), and "Little Syria" as it's called here in the Lehigh Valley is only a short drive away. I'm getting bolder, though, and I’ll venture out further each time I write.
All This Time was a great, engaging story. It was well written and really interesting and the characters felt real, but the end just sort of fizzled out. I mean I loved it, I really enjoyed reading it but as I have said before I prefer conclusive conclusions, and All This Time . . . no. That was not conclusive in the least.
The Black Stiletto is an interesting story; it's set alternately in 1958 and the present, about one woman in her late teens/early twenties and an old woman. As a young woman Judy Cooper is alone in New York City and just finding her feet in the world; she learns boxing and martial arts, then knife fighting. Then she becomes a masked vigilantly to avenge a murder and becomes famous as the Black Stiletto. As an old woman she has Alzheimer's and lives in a nursing home, when an old enemy is released from jail and comes looking for revenge. With the past/present double plot, it's quite a page turner, but doesn't have a very satisfying ending, it just sort of stops without much of a conclusion.