Friday, September 16, 2011

REVIEW: Pulse of Heroes by A. Jacob Sweeny (with Giveaway!)

Good afternoon, all, and welcome to our next stop on the Romancing Your Dark Side Paranormal Book Tour! Joining us today is the lovely A. Jacob Sweeny, who has been gracious enough to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a large Pulse of Heroes calender poster. Full details following my review!

A. Jacob Sweeny holds a degree in History with an emphasis on Ancient Near East. Her immersion in world myths and her archaeological fieldwork provided the initial spark that led to the development of Pulse of Heroes. She has always been fascinated by the awesome power of words to excite and inspire the mind, and sought to combine her love of writing with her passion for the past..


SYNOPSIS: A suspenseful, passionate, paranormal romance that sweeps through the emotions of first love and heartache as it traverses centuries and continents. Michelle used to feel like she was behind in everything, especially school and relationships. Her great aunt from the old country says she is like a bland meal, "no salt or pepper". But in junior year, everything changes. Her father takes a position on the Town Council, a popular boy in school becomes interested in her, and most importantly, the Hekademos Learning Center, a private school for 'troubled' students, moves into her quiet neighborhood amidst the protests of the entire town. After seeing the School Regent out with a group of young guys just before Christmas, Michelle is convinced that there is something odd about them. Her curiosity gets the better of her and she embarks upon a mission to figure out what is really going on. After an embarrassing fall over the school wall, Michelle meets Elliot and her ordinary ‘bland’ life changes its course forever. Elliot is no ordinary human. In fact, no one at the Hekademos Learning Center is. Beautiful and fierce, they have survived throughout the millennia by weaving in and out of human events. Through them, Michelle learns that history and myths from around the world are dotted with references to their kind. Michelle falls madly in love with the ever-striking and mysterious Elliot and, as much as he tries to fight it, he develops strong feelings for her as well. Although Elliot carries numerous painful memories from his many pasts, he disregards his own better judgment and the advice of his friends, and finds himself falling for Michelle‘s offbeat personality. Their feelings grow in intensity, but when History catches up with them, the difference between their life paths threatens to destroy any future that they might have had together. Michelle learns that there are infinite shades of gray between black and white, and has to deal with the bundle of contradictory emotions called love. After some unexpected twists during a family trip to Europe, she has to trust her intuition in order to face the danger and uncertainty of being drawn into Elliot’s wondrous world. Ultimately, it is up to Michelle to make the split-second, life-altering decision that will either tear them apart forever, or give them another chance.

REVIEW: I jumped at the chance to review Pulse of Heroes as soon as I read the bit in A. Jacob Sweeny's bio about "immersion in world myths and her archaeological fieldwork." That experience defintely shows. For me, the novel was definitely strongest when exploring the history of her immortals, transporting the reader backwards through time and across the world.

The sheer detail sometimes bordered on overwhelming, but I loved being immersed in the history of places like Russia, Egypt, and even Transylvania. The descriptions were extraordinary vivid, and as clear to the mind's eye as Sweeny's love for the material. What's more, the sense of danger was palatable, as was the extremity of pain that seemed to haunt her characters - both in living and reliving the past.

Unfortunately, while I enjoyed the plotting and loved the history, I had a problem connecting with any of the characters. Michelle came across as desperate and immature, almost as if she were attempting to live the cliche of a paranormal romance heroine. I wanted to like her, but as much as I kept reminding myself that she was a teenage girl, the way she seemed to throw herself at the men in her life, and the way she overlooked cruelties that bordered on abuse, made it hard.

As for the men, I liked them as historical characters, as warriors who had lived through history and had a hand in shaping the parts of the world they touched, but as romantic partners . . . I'd have kicked half of them to the curb, and put a restraining order against the others. Michelle does redeem herself somewhat in the latter half of the book but, by that point, she simply had left me with too much baggage to overcome.

The language of the book is beautiful, and the descriptions of sceney and action were fantastic. Sweeny paints a vivid picture, and really excels at talking you through it. The frequent (and abrupt) changes in POV were an issue for me, and were enough of a distraction to make me take a pause to collect my thoughts.

Overall, probably not a series I'd be interested in pursuing, but one that I suspect has strong appeal for a younger audience.


As I mentioned earlier, A. Jacob Sweeny has offered up a large Pulse of Heroes calender poster to one lucky reader!

To enter, simply leave a comment below . . . it's that easy . . . and I'll pick a winner via on September 23rd.

Thanks so much to A. Jacob Sweeny for stopping by. If you'd like to follow her, and the rest of the participating authors, check out her schedule on the Calendar of Events page at The Virtual Book Tour Cafe or check her out at

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of The Virtual Book Tour Cafe' and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by The Virtual Book Tour Cafe', no payment was received by me in exchange for this review nor was there an obligation to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely of my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*


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  2. Here it is again. Some people wonder why I like your review so much- as they would think that I would be unhappy with 3 stars- but after reading your review- I realize that it is 3 stars based on your own interest in the book and not an overall rating on my writing or story telling ability

    So Thank you for a very good review! despite not being able to connect with Michelle or swooning over the guys... Of course I get many readers who see themselves so very similar to the way I describe Michelle- when they were young. Again, we all have different experiences growing up, and what one might be able to identify with, another will not.

    I feel that as a reviewer you were able to put that aside and read my writing and story for what it is. Something that some others (unfortunately) find hard to do.
    I can honestly say that You have earned my respect- I don't say that so often ;)

    It is so very interesting to see readership's reactions. Some say 'I wish you had less about the guy's past and more of the plot between Elliot and Michelle and Haden- saying that they wanted more action, while others relish in my story telling of the past and discovering about worlds that they never knew existed. I am happy with this review.
    As this is the first ever novel I have ever written- I have been humbled by the reception. Thank you!

  3. This actually is a fantastic review! Well written and I just love it! Thank you for hosting Sally :). Great job AJ too for being so open to her thoughts.


  4. I think it's great that the review is an honest one, and that A.J.S. understand where you are coming from and appreciates your honesty. Unfortunately you don't see that often.

  5. A great review,I must say!!

  6. Different types of reviews help you as a writer...just don't try to please everyone and remember to write for yourself. I can't wait to read it!