Book Review: The Human (The Children of Wisdom Book 3) by Stephanie Erickson

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The Human (The Children of Wisdom Book 3) by Stephanie Erickson

A Fiction Novel that will be published (03/06/2016)

Summary:

This woman is like no human I’ve ever encountered. (Kindle Location 1417).

Michaela the Reaper has been captured during her latest Reaping of a Surprise. Did the child make it to heaven or has the human intervened in Fate once again? Even the Fates know the true evil behind the snipped threads and innocent souls trapped in hell and their bent on fixing things and rescuing Michaele.

Keywords:

Fate, Life, Death, Order, Chaos, God, Humans, Immortals, Love, Friendship, Heaven, Earth, Hell, Tapestry of Life, Demons, Escape, Capture, Humanity, Morals

My Review:

The flow of knowledge and understanding about the plot are finally revealed! The plot is clever and integrated well into all three books. The pacing is slower than your average novel and care is taken at all plot points to really dig into the action. Tension was never very high, but the book will keep you reading. Nothing was very surprising, but the book (and series) were still satisfying, kind of like a well-known fairy tale where you know there’s going to be a happily ever after, but you want to read about the journey anyways.

Every time God was mentioned or seen was interesting as he is portrayed as very human. He wears clothing and goes by the gendered pronoun “he.” His handwriting is not perfect, nor are his words always perfectly understandable. In everything, what is God doing? He’s like the mysterious wizard behind the curtain, not really part of the adventure, but the voice of wisdom all the same.

The only note I had on the book was that Shiloh did not act like a child, but like a 1000 year old soul, which seemed rather odd.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author and this is an honest review.

This novel will be published 03/05/2016 and will be available on Amazon.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Stephanie Erickson’s Website

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Book Review: The Reaper (The Children of Wisdom Book 2) by Stephanie Erickson

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The Reaper (The Children of Wisdom Book 2) by Stephanie Erickson

A Fiction Novel that will be published (03/06/2016)

Summary:

“We only fail if we give up.” (Kindle Location 2005).

Penn is back, but it is Michaela the Reaper who tells the story in this second installment of the Children of Fate. The “surprises” that have shown up on the Reaper’s lists for weeks now, keep on coming. Who is cutting lives short? Michaela found these surprise souls in a limbo prison in hell and not in heaven where they belong. She can’t fix this by herself, so she gets Penn and the other Fates to help her get to the bottom of the mystery. Is it too late to save these souls? Will there be more lives cut short? Who is to blame? Why isn’t G-d doing something about it?

Keywords:

Fate, Life, Death, Order, Chaos, God, Humans, Immortals, Banishment, Punishment, Love, Love Sick, Friendship, Heaven, Earth, Hell, Tough Choices, Tapestry of Life, Demons, Escape

My Review:

The Reaper continues where The Fate left off, but through the eyes of Michaela and not of Penn. The cliffhanger and less than satisfying ending in The Fate is replicated in book two. Loose threads were not tied up, but they are beginning to unravel to their tips. We get more of the story behind the main love story found in book one.

The end of the Reaper is like that of a serial episode and not like that of a full novel. The cliffhanger is more abrupt. The final scene is more abrupt. The pacing of this overall series is not predictable. I would have liked to see the Children of Wisdom not as multiple books, but as serials or one book.

I like how Stephanie Erickson shows us heaven, hell, and the places in between. The worldbuilding is just enough to show us everything the characters see and know and feel. I also love her ‘rules’ for the Fates and the various types of people who live and work in this afterlife (beforelife?). Demons are not to be trusted. Reapers are compassionate. Fates can work wonders with their hands.

Overall it was a fun book and I look forward to reading the third book in this series.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author and this is an honest review.

This novel will be published 03/05/2016 and will be available on Amazon.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.00

Links for more information:

Stephanie Erickson’s Website

Book Review: The Fate (The Children of Wisdom Book 1) by Stephanie Erickson

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The Fate (The Children of Wisdom Book 1) by Stephanie Erickson

A Fiction Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (11/22/2015)

Summary:

Penn is the first male Fate, the spinner of lives, a creator of life according to instructions from G-. Penn is the best spinner, one of three fates who create life and decide how long a life will be and how death will come. Penn has been spinning for decades until he creates the shiniest thread of them all, Kismet, and his entire world and everything he knows comes to a halt. He cannot create like he used to when all his thoughts are distracted by Kismet. She is everything. When Penn makes a mistake, he is banished to earth forever. Is this a true punishment when he can finally meet the real Kismet, or is there something more at work that Penn doesn’t yet know?

Keywords:

Fate, Life, Death, Order, Chaos, God, Humans, Immortals, Banishment, Punishment, Love, Love Sick, Friendship, Taylor, Creation, Heaven, Earth, Tough Choices, Tapestry of Life

My Review:

The Fate was a fun story told from an interesting perspective, that of only male spinner and molder of life, a Fate. Even though this story is told from “Heaven” and there are glimpses of God, the Fate is not a religious story. The Fate is a love story.

Penn’s story is a simple story that is complicated by a love he cannot have, a love he shouldn’t have. Penn is a Fate and Kismet is a human. He is immortal and she is not. On top of this, Penn has spun the perfect soul mate for Kismet. Penn could never be and will never be Kismet’s other half, but as fate would have it, he gets to meet her. He chooses to spend his banishment as close to Kismet as he can.

There are twists in this story that I did not like. They created an unsatisfying ending. Even though this is book one of a series, it did not tie up loose threads like a book should. Much like Erickson’s book, The Dead Room, the ending falls short of expectations. The ending notwithstanding, I very much enjoyed this book and the way it was told.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 11/22/2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Stephanie Erickson’s Website

Book Review: Undivided (The Unseen Trilogy Book 3) by Stephanie Erickson

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Undivided (The Unseen Trilogy Book 3) by Stephanie Erickson

A Young Adult Fantasy Novel published by Pickles Press (09/03/15)

Summary:

“I wouldn’t bury myself in that haze of depression ever again. I would take control of this situation, affect a change, and be Unseen.” (Kindle Locations 210-211).

In this exciting third book and conclusion to the Unseen Trilogy Mac is back, but so are the Potestas and their quest for power. Mac is developing new ways to use her abilities, but will she be ready in time before the Potestas make their big move with Zero, the chemical agent that kills without a care? Then a new player drops in on the action, claiming to save the world from Zero, but he may not be everything he claims to be.

Keywords:

Mind Readers, Secret Organization, Friends, Terrorists, Leadership, Taking Responsibility, Helplessness,, Sadness, Anger, Undercover, Save the World, Chemical Warfare

My Review:

This is the book where Mackenzie really embraces the Unseen and what it means to be Unseen. I liked this third and final book much better than book two because Undivided had a tone that was easier to embrace. Whereas book two was kind of depressing and had a negative mood, book three was where Mac came into her own and had the fighting spirit, giving this third book more hope and optimism than the other two books.

I liked Mac a lot more in book three than in books one and two. I like how she’s innovative and constantly challenging everything to find solutions to future problems. She puts herself out there and is willing to work hard and out of her comfort zone to save people’s lives.

Mac’s thought process for working through how things work related to mind reading and defenses is super fascinating. Like sci-fi of the mind. Whew, Erickson writes some fascinating mind reading/mind defending stuff.

I thought that those in power talked too simplistically and that there being an open job position right under the big boss seemed highly convenient.

I absolutely love the recurring theme of Gaspard de la Nuit.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This novel was published by Pickles Press September 8th, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Stephanie Erickson’s Website

 

Book Review: The Blackout by Stephanie Erickson

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The Blackout by Stephanie Erickson

A Dystopian Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (01/26/2014)

 

Summary:

Molly and Cindy are professors at the local college in Florida in the middle of the teaching day when the power goes out. After twenty minutes the school is let out and they discover that more than just the power is gone. Cell phones, cars, appliances, running water are all not working. Molly is most worried about her husband, Gary, a pilot currently in Pennsylvania. Gary’s first concern is for his customers, but after several days of no power and no help he decides to make the long trek on foot back home. There are dangers for both Gary on his journey and Molly as she stays put in their small neighborhood community. All it took was an EMP blast for chaos to reign in the United States and a blackout lasting indefinitely. Will Gary be reunited with Molly again?

 

Keywords:

 Apocalypse, Power-loss, blackout, brownout, chaos, EMP, government shutdown, military, coming together, community, family, hope, loss, scarcity of supplies, primitive living, violence, wandering thieves and murderers

My Review:

Erickson is not the first to imagine a world without power, but her story is not less frightening. She shows us a brief glimpse into a world we are familiar with and worries we may have ourselves about our day to day lives. After the blackout, Erickson shows us the step by step fall into chaos as a world falls apart without order and electricity. Erickson captures the attitude of those in her world as they go through the stages of disbelief and acceptance of this mind-numbing, terrible disaster. “The darkness was so… penetrating. She couldn’t wait for morning, when the world would be returned to the light.” (Page 31).

Erickson switches POV from Gary the husband in Pennsylvania to Molly the wife in hometown Florida. I liked having both perspectives and two different paths to survival. Gary was trying to get home, walking through cities and outskirts of town and he had different troubles and similar problems to Molly who stayed put in her neighborhood home. The Wanderers, the scum that rose up to take what they needed and wanted during the time of instability, plagued both Gary and Molly, providing an extra element of suspense and horror to the book.

Books like these are chilling. Can you ever be ready for this kind of total world chaos? Gary was a pilot and Molly a teacher, both nearly useless skills in a world without modernity. Almost nobody had supplies stocked or weapons ready. Almost nobody was prepared for what followed after the Blackout.

“Everyone in the world thought normalcy would be restored any minute, and no one was thinking in terms of permanency – not yet at least. Each community assumed they were the only ones stricken with the debilitating problem, and that soon their neighboring cities would come to their aid. They were wrong.” (Page 44).

My only complaint is why wouldn’t Gary find a bike to help him go faster in the beginning of his journey and to cover more than 10 miles a day?

 

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 01/26/2014 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Stephanie Erickson’s Website

Book Review: Unforgiven (The Unseen Trilogy Book 2) by Stephanie Erickson and Book Tour Pre-Stop Info

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Unforgiven (The Unseen Trilogy Book 2) by Stephanie Erickson

A Young Adult Fantasy Novel published by Pickles Press (06/03/15)

 

Summary:

“The important thing is to never assume something isn’t possible. It can leave you open to attack. Tracy is right. In the world of the mind, anything is possible.” (Page 118).

Mackenzie is back, sort of. She’s a shell of her former vibrant self. Maddie’s death in the first book hit her so hard, she can’t seem to recover. Her main functions now is sleeping and moping, until Owen is able to part her from her bed. She must continue training. She must help the Unseen. She must, because she’s the only one who can. Her first real mission is reconnaissance on a scientist she had researched and she finds out something that breaks her from her grief. Now she has purpose. Now she knows what she must do. Now she knows what she’s fighting against. Now she’s out for revenge.

 

Keywords:

Mind Readers, Secret Organization, Friends, Terrorists, Leadership, Taking Responsibility, Helplessness, Depression, Sadness, Anger, Regret, Guilt, Revenge

 

My Review:

Erickson has a way of setting the mood, making you feel Mackenzie’s depression and grief. The whole mood of the book is rather dark and will pull you down with it into the depths of Mackenzie’s despair and then up and up into the madness of her angered revenge. This is not the book to lift your mood, this is a book of raging grief and emotions that will put its mark on your own mood.

The story itself didn’t feel connected to the main plot as much as the first book did. This second book in the trilogy followed the same main plot, but it was more about Mackenzie working through her grief and the aftermath of what happened in book one more than anything new. Mac already found her romantic partner in Owen in book one. Mac already knew who her enemy was from book one: the Potestas. Mac already figured out why she was special and started working for the Unseen in book one. So where can book two go? It doesn’t have as much purpose as the Unseen, though it does advance the plot and show the ultimate destruction the Potestas are capable of and ramp up tension for book three.

The book flowed easily and the pace was quite even throughout. Erickson explores the mind and her concept of mind reading in this book more. It is interesting the ways in which mind readers can control and delve into the mind. The ‘training’ Mac went through in trying to get past the mind’s defenses was fascinating and quite imaginative.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This novel was published by Pickles Press June 3rd, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.00

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Stephanie Erickson’s Website

 

Links to Purchase:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Iv2OLc
iTunes: coming soon
Nook: http://bit.ly/1MHZ3U7
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1QLr9hD
Google: http://bit.ly/1HqxqyK

unforgiven tour banner

Unforgiven -EBook 300Mackenzie Day is reeling from the death of her best friend, Maddie. She’s lost her rock, her partner in crime, and her only family in one fell swoop. With that loss, Mac has lost track of herself, and the things she cares about, including her mind-reading abilities.

When the opportunity for vengeance arises, she becomes so blinded by her hatred that she no longer recognizes the person she’s become. As her empathy towards others slips away, even she can’t believe how far she is willing to go to claim justice for Maddie.

Without her moral compass and her sense of self, how can she possibly stop a group of mind-reading terrorists from killing tens of thousands of people? Can she see past her anger to care about anything besides retribution? How can she save her newfound family, when she can’t even tell the difference between herself and those who are truly unforgiven?

Put Unforgiven on your TBR list here.

 

Enter the Goodreads Giveaway for Unforgiven .

 

Join Stephanie’s Newsletter to get Book 1 – Unseen for free!

 

 

Stephanie Erickson headshotAbout the author:

Stephanie Erickson has always had a passion for the written word. She pursued her love of literature at Flagler College, in St. Augustine, FL, where she graduated with a BA in English. She has received several honors in her writing career, including recognition in the 72nd Annual Writer’s Digest Competition.

After graduation, she married and followed her husband in pursuit of his dream. The Cure and The Blackout were written to reignite Stephanie’s passion, when she found the time. Now that he is settled in his career, it’s her turn to devote more time and energy into writing.

Stephanie currently has 4 projects planned for 2015. Unforgiven is book 2 in the Unseen trilogy. The trilogy will be complete in September with the release of Undivided.

Stephanie, of course, loves to read and write. She also enjoys living on the beach on the Florida’s Treasure Coast. Most of all, she and her husband are in love with their baby girl.

Follow Stephanie on
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Book Review: The Cure by Stephanie Erickson

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The Cure by Stephanie Erickson

A YA Sci-fi/Dystopian Novel published on amazon.com (11/27/2013)

 

Summary:

“I gladly sacrifice my life for the good of others. One life will make the difference, and that life could be mine. For this reason, I’m devoted to finding the cure.” (Kindle Locations 59-60).

In a world that is on quarantine from a disease that kills 75% of the population, the push for the cure also lowers life expectancies. It is only through human trials that the government thinks a cure can be found. “Sixteen was a big birthday, though. The year everyone got their date— the day when you would live or die, the day when you would endure the experiments to find a cure. Everyone was given a date that would not precede their twentieth birthday. The date was then effective for the rest of your life. Every ten years, you would endure the testing on that date, until your sixtieth birthday— if you lived that long.” (Kindle Locations 457-459).

Macey questions the system of dates. Is there really even a disease or is the Cure a way to keep the people in line and the population in control? Macey is an artist about to enter her final year of schooling when she finds out her date will arrive two years earlier than anybody else’s has. She feels gypped, that her whole world and all that she knows is in chaos. She ponders quitting school and starting an artist apprenticeship. She ponders politically incorrect drawings. She ponders life as those around her come up on their own dates and may never return.

 

Keywords:

Post-apocalyptic, Dystopian, Controlling Government, Disease, Cure, Testing, Art, Questioning Everything, Romance, Family, Love, Saving Lives, Sacrifice, Routine, Tradition

My Review:

Stephanie Erickson is able to build her world from the very first sentence. She evokes the time and the setting with those first words. I was shown right away a totalitarian society in a post-apocalyptic dying world and I knew I was going to love this book. Erickson lays out all the important information in the beginning of the story, but layers it throughout the interactions the main character Macey has with her world and environment.

I enjoyed the fact that Macey had one skill and one activity she liked above others. She was an artist and her world revolved around her art and the way she creatively viewed herself and her world. I have never been much of an artist or understood having that kind of skill, so seeing it through Macey’s eyes was exhilarating and eye-opening. On top of a good story with emotional draw, Erickson gave me something else to take away from The Cure.

After the initial setup for the plot and showing the condition the main characters lived in and how their world was set up, the plot began to meander and you’re just waiting for the other boot to drop. It is Macey’s date. Her date is significant. Will the book just end? What will happen? The reader isn’t given much information, just like Macey isn’t until she gets there.

I like how Erickson crafted the ultimate difficult situation for her main character and showed how Macey thought through her decision and the supposed consequences of each decision and how they would affect her life. It’s always fascinating to watch someone struggle with an important decision and to feel their anxiety and watch as they choose their paths in life. Erickson captured Macey’s emotional struggle in this novel.

This novel was published through Createspace Independent Publishing Platform 11/27/2013 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Stephanie Erickson’s Website

Book Review: The Dead Room by Stephanie Erickson

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The Dead Room by Stephanie Erickson

A YA Dystopian Novel published by Pickles Press (03/10/2015)

 

Summary:

“Civilization had crumbled at its own hands, and the islanders were the only survivors.” (Location 131)

Far few books have accurate book descriptions and the Dead Room is one of them. You get exactly what you read with the summary. This is why I’m not including my own summary of the book and suggest you read Stephanie Erickson’s book summary if you want to know what the book is about.

 

Keywords:

 Apocalypse, Intrigue, Secrets, Inquisitive Main Character, Two Main Characters, Guarding Secrets, Survivors, Refuge, Political Subterfuge, Kept in the Dark, Jealousy, Power Hungry, Twists, Island, Mainland

My Review:

 

Right from the start, Erickson pulls the reader into her world. There are a plethora of post-apocalyptic books out there, but she puts her survivors on an island. The island is like the silos in Hugh Howey’s Wool, separate and apart from society in order to preserve humanity for future generations. Just like a silo, an island has limited space, creating tension and the necessity for law and order. The island is run by the elders who are not all men, thank you Erickson. Too many books repeat real life stereotypes and only place men in positions of power, but The Dead Room has several females as authority figures.

Erickson creates a unique world and describes it so that it is vivid in the reader’s mind. She sets up the plot efficiently and with tension between the main characters and what their goals are. “Questions were more Ashly’s department. Mason preferred a go-along-to-get-along attitude.” (Location 793). Ashley’s inquisitive nature immediately butts heads with the elders. Mason seems like he’s only along for the ride, until he’s pulled along by Ashley into a new world.

This story had a great hook and a great plot and solid storytelling…

But!

SPOILER ALERT
SPOILER ALERT
SPOILER ALERT
What’s wrong with you Stephanie Erickson? The plot was plodding along steadily, the buildup to where Ashely and Mason leave the island leaves the reader in great suspense and on the edge of the seat and then Wham! You kill Ashley. No, no, and no. You cannot kill your main character and then attempt to promote Mason. Suddenly Ashely is dead and the book takes a twisted turn, but the pacing is thrown off kilter and you’ve killed a character unnecessarily, the main one at that! There were so few important people in the book and Ashley moved the entire plot along, she was the inquisitive mind and the do-it-yourself to get-it-done girl, she can’t be gone! This death was way too abrupt and the rest of the book is left hanging and the entire narrative is left to Mason. He is not up to snuff, though he does his best. The book was about Ashely, you cannot just get rid of her. I very much do not appreciate this turn of events and have docked the entire book’s rating down from a 5-star to a 4-star because of this jolting uneven pacing.

 

This novel was published by Pickles Press 03/10/2015 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Stephanie Erickson’s Website