The Violet Hour: December 25, 2011

Friday, December 30, 2011

Review – A MARKED PAST by Leslie Deaton

Paperback, 356 pages/span>

Published October 28th 2011



“Lyla Mercer’s life changed the moment her dad was murdered, and again when she heard that she could be next. Forced to move to Salem for safe keeping, Lyla soon discovers her family has a dark history in the small town, and when a glossy black moon appears on the back of her neck she becomes newest part of that legacy.

Her family is marked and being hunted, but Lyla may be the weapon they need to survive. Lyla attempts to ignore the danger, pretending to be normal, but whispers and rumors follow her everywhere. She thinks nothing can ever be normal for her again until she meets Caleb, the minister’s son, and the absolute wrong boy to be dating a witch. He’s everything she wants to be, just a normal kid from a normal family. At least that’s what she thinks, but nothing is as it seems in Salem. Caleb has secrets to keep about his family that rival her own.

Until recently, her father’s murderer has managed to keep his true identity a secret, but when Lyla uncovers the truth about him, nobody is safe, especially her. “

Author Leslie Deaton contacted me for a review of A MARKED PAST, and since I have always been interested in the history of the Salem Witch Trials, I readily accepted. I found this tale of the Mercer family to be quite captivating and I was very curious to learn more about each member. 

I will say that I wasn’t a huge fan of the physical cover because the girl in the center is very blurry. The number of lines per page made the book seem overwhelming at first (40 lines average), but I believe that might be a CreateSpace issue. These are small ‘complaints’ when the story itself was so lush. I absolutely loved the Mercer family. From Lyla and her parents, cousins and uncle, I wanted to be in the family, too. It was heartbreaking to go through the experience of losing her father with Lyla, then to her mother making the decision to uproot and move to the spooky town of Salem. She left behind friends and a boyfriend, though they became a distant memory as she began to get situated in her new life.

Once in Salem, Lyla not only has to live in a dilapidated family-owned house, but discovers that she has two female cousins that she never knew about. I have to admit I was a little jealous. All my cousins were boys and much older than me, and the bond developed between Lyla, Hana and Sage was just really sweet. The two younger girls quickly figure out they have more in common than blood, and get themselves into a bit of trouble. They are still new to the secrets of the Mercer family, and their only source of information was not all that forthcoming. The most devastating discovery is that her father’s death was no accident. Someone from their past is methodically killing off members of the family. This person must be stopped at all costs. 

The story flowed very well, and I feel each character had their own distinguished ‘voice’. Deaton built a strong beginning for the Mercer Legacy series. I can’t believe so much was packed into one book, yet didn’t seem too crammed. A very good sign, indeed. I have no word on with the next installment is due, but I hope it’s soon. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review – TOMMY NIGHTMARE by JL Bryan

ebook, 284 pages

Published April 10th 2011 by

ISBN 0012383422


“While Fallen Oak recovers from the Jenny pox, someone new is hunting Jenny.

Like Jenny, Ashleigh Goodling belonged to a pair of opposites with powers that mirror each other.

Now Jenny and Seth must face the opposite of love…”

As the second installment of The Paranormals series, TOMMY NIGHTMARE was a dark, engrossing read that I started and finished in one day. It had been a few months since I read book one, JENNY POX, but that didn’t matter. I eased into the book with Bryan’s memorable style of writing and was swept into this powerful world.
I felt so bad for Tommy. He was a foster kid living in a too-small house with too many kids. His foster dad was a strangely ‘religious’ man who forced the kids to go to ‘church’, which turned out to be the barn. He was very cruel. Though Tommy possessed a strange power that released fear into anyone who touched him, he didn’t deserve the treatment he received. The kids had to sleep two to a bed until they were too afraid of Tommy, thus giving him the nickname ‘Tommy Nightmare’. Doing his chores and keeping his head down wasn’t enough to escape his foster family, so one day Tommy decides he has had enough and gets the heck out of Dodge.
The story follows Jenny and Seth’s journey of figuring out what to do after the destruction at the end of book one. Half the town is dead, and the government is called in to try and determine the cause of the mass deaths. Tommy recognizes his ‘opposite’ and is desperate to make a connection. I love the way JL Bryan began adding in the revelations of each of their past lives, while staying ‘in the moment’. I’ve read books where an author tries to pull this off, but Bryan nails it. The addition of this just makes the story that much more full. As with JENNY POX there were a few short explicit scenes that in my opinion could have been described a bit more tactfully. No big deal, just a difference in taste. 
There are a few new and mysterious characters introduced and I’m extremely curious to see how their parts play out in the next book, ALEXANDER DEATH. Bryan knows exactly how to end a book and leave the reader both with lots of questions and begging for more. I like that in an author!

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