Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











NightcrawlersFrom Goodreads: 200 years ago, the village of Clavitt Fields was burned to the ground. It was hoped that what lived there had perished in the fire. But they did not perish. They went underground…

For generations, they lived and bred in darkness, adapting themselves to a subterranean existence. Now they are rising to the surface, and what they’ve become is a horror beyond belief, a crawling nightmare of evil and bloodthirsty violence bent on destruction.

The night is alive…and it belongs to them.
NIGHTCRAWLERS, the horrifying new novel from master of suspense Tim Curran.

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What started out as a freaky horror novel complete with the creep factor ended a little anticlimactic for me. I was expecting some big reveal, something awesome that would explain it all, but what I got instead was a revelation that just didn’t… sit well with me. I wanted curses, or ghosts, or even zombies, but that’s not it. What it is just struck me as odd, and for me, the revelation and the ending took a lot of the steam right out of the novel, which is unfortunate.

The blood, and guts, and the creepy pale bloated bodies… I loved it. It’s not too graphic, just enough to send chills down your spine, and I loved how it opened up with the police digging up the bodies in the abandoned field. There were a ton of events that made me really curious, and were just a tad bit scary as well, especially when the police go off looking for the shapes they see coming out of the fog… and it really kept me on my toes, to a point. However, there was absolutely no character connection for me. I think the focus was so much on the chill factor and the heart-pounding events that the characters remained static. And perhaps that’s a good things, since they basically all die, but even so, no connection with characters leaves me feeling a little desolate; as is, I don’t really have much feeling about them, or their story, one way or another. Had a tighter ending been put on this, I think it could have been a real gem, but as is, it fell just a little flat for me. Three stars.

3 stars

DarkFuse has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on March 4, 2014, in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon | Kindle

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13138635From Goodreads: It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
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I really enjoyed this novel in the beginning.  It caught my attention right away and drew me in—the spacecraft, the elegance, the social rift between Lilac and Tarver—I really enjoyed it all.  However, as the novel went on, I began to feel like their time on the planet was dragging on a bit too long for my liking.  It almost felt like Cast Away or The Life of Pi in that there were limited characters and little action as the story went on.  I tend to need constant interactions to stay focused, and there were definitely times that I felt this novel was lagging, but on the other hand, there were many times that it was fast-paced and interesting as well, especially when the phenomenon began to happen to Lilac.  I can’t go into much detail here without giving anything away, but know this: there is a creepy paranormal element that makes its way into this story, and it’s really unique and interesting.  I’m afraid it’s a little beyond my comprehension, as it were, because at the end there, I wasn’t sure exactly what was happening anymore, but even so, this curve in the story definitely took me by surprise and, when all’s said and done, I enjoyed it, even if I’m not 100% sure what exactly happened there at the end.

What I loved the most about the novel is that it’s a flashback.  We learn early on that Tarver is being questioned by higher ups about his time on the planet with Lilac, and as Tarver responds in clipped and sarcastic manners, we learn what he is attempting to hide from society, including his feelings for Lilac and exactly what happened on the planet.

The end leaves a little to be desired, which makes me wonder if there will be a sequel?  I didn’t feel like it resolved much, but in truth, it’s not a bad place to end their tale, either, so I guess we shall have to wait and see.  If you’re looking for something completely different with a side of creepiness, then I suggest you pick this one up.  Three and a half stars.

3.5 stars

Disney Hyperion has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on December 10, 2013



16000436From Goodreads: Worst. Summer. Ever.

Emma Guthrie races to learn the hoodoo magic needed to break The Beaumont Curse before her marked boyfriend Cooper’s sixteenth birthday. But deep in the South Carolina Lowcountry, dark, mysterious forces encroach, conspiring to separate Emma and Cooper forever. When Cooper starts to change, turning cold and indifferent, Emma discovers that both his heart and body are marked for possession by competing but equally powerful adversaries.

Desperate to save him, Emma and her twin brother, Jack, risk their lives to uncover the source of the black magic that has allured Cooper and holds him in its grip. Face with the horror of a soul-eating boohag, Emma and Jack must fight to resist its fiendish power to free Cooper long enough to join their strengths and face it together, before it destroys them all.

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The tables have turned in this sequel to Conjure, and though one curse was broken, another looms on the horizon, one thats potential to wreak havoc threatens not only Cooper, but Emma and Jack as well.  Everything is nearly right with the world again now that Jack is finally back to his caring, loving self, however there’s another curse to break, and suddenly, Cooper isn’t acting like himself.  In truth, Nolan replaced my hate for Jack with my hate for Cooper in this sequel, and it seems there truly is no break for Emma from the mental and verbal abuse she endures, first in Conjure, and now in Allure.

In my opinion, Emma is too good of a person, and whereas I wanted her to leave Jack by the wayside in book one, I was even more desperate for Emma to leave Cooper by the wayside in book two. However, with a heart of gold and a love stronger than her hate, Emma works desperately to break Cooper’s curse.  She’s a much better person than I, that’s for sure, but, while Cooper is a jerk, the difference between Jack’s curse and Cooper’s is that this time, it’s obviously not Cooper’s fault he’s acting this way. Unfortunately, I’m not that forgiving and, fault or not, his actions still hurt, A LOT, so I desperately wanted Emma to leave Cooper in the dust, curse and all. However, some very interesting facts come out about this curse later on in the novel, and it’s not just the Beaumont’s that it effects, but also Emma and Jack, unbeknownst to them, and this makes the race against time a fun one for the reader, especially with the revelation of the boohag…

While a majority of this novel was much more predictable for me than the first one, I think it was meant to be written this way in order to add shock value for the reader later on, because all at once the reader is blindsided by some events that, I, at least, never saw coming. And, these events added an extra air of awesome for me as a reader, especially because it includes some magical forms that I’ve never thought about or read about in any other novels, which is epic.

There are a number of characters in this novel that we love to hate, and with the events unfurling, it becomes obvious that there is more evil present in this novel than readers initially knew going in. While there is a resolution of sorts in this novel, an even bigger allusion to events to come is looming overhead, and I can’t wait to read the next installment! Four stars.5 stars

Entangled Publishing, LLC has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release tomorrow, October 1, 2013.

Conjure (#1)

Allure (#2)



13425130From Goodreads: Be careful what you search for…

Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry–hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.

When a strange girl appears, bent on revenge; demon dogs become a threat; and Jack turns into a walking skeleton; Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before summer—and her friends–are lost forever.

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This past Spring, I went to a book festival in my area and had the pleasure of listening to Lea Nolan speak on a panel.  Up until that point, I had never head of Nolan, but as she spoke, and then read a snippet from her novel, Conjure, I knew I had to read this book, especially as it dealt with magic, mystery, and a curse that eats the flesh right off the bone.  Sound intriguing?  It is.

This novel follows the adventures of Emma, Jack, and Cooper as they attempt to break a 300-year-old curse that, until recently, they didn’t even know existed.

With the appearance of a beautiful young woman, Magnolia, everything changes for the teens, including Jack’s easy going disposition. As a reader, I really enjoyed the lore behind the curse, and the teens’ attempts to find it, however, Jack quickly moved onto my “hate list” as he began to whine and rage against everyone accept Maggie. For me, it was hard to know whether his change was due to the influence of Maggie or if this was his true character since he changed very early on in the novel, and it think this is one of the reasons that I truly hated him so much.  Not only is he degrading and nasty to his sister and best friend, the two people trying to help him, but he is self-centered, and this is just not endearing by any means.  However, as the story continued, I realized that an outside force had to be making Jack act this way, but as Nolan shields the truth behind it from the reader quite well, it’s virtually impossible to not hate him throughout much of the novel.

Once the curse took hold, dissolving Jack’s flesh from his skin in increments, I really wanted to say good riddance because his words and actions prior had been so hurtful, and he only gets worse as the novel continues.  Yet, both Emma and Cooper prove to be better than I, and with the understanding that Jack will die when the curse finally takes his last piece of flesh, the clock to stop the curse begins ticking.  And this, in my opinion, is where the novel really begins to take flight.  With the introduction of Miss Delia, the hoodoo apprenticeship begins, and readers are brought into a completely different world full of Gullah traditions and beliefs.  This was extremely eye opening and I really enjoyed this aspect of the novel, especially as sweet Emma works so hard to save her whiny, irritating twin, Jack.  Throw in some extremely large black dogs made of pure evil, and a second curse threatening the life of Emma’s love, Cooper, and the novel becomes one of many twists and turns that keep the reader glued to the pages.

What I really liked about this novel was that there were many different events happening, but Nolan worked to explain them and bring about a resolution before moving on to the next big issue.  While the reader initially believes this novel is all about saving Jack, and much time is devoted to this difficult task, this isn’t the only obstacle staring the teens in the face.  Cooper also has a curse, but Nolan waits to focus on this aspect until the time is right, creating a roller coaster effect for readers, without the whiplash.  There is triumph, and there are letdowns in this novel, which makes it all the more real as the fate of Emma’s family and one true love are in her hands, and I loved how the novel continually picked up speed, paving the way for the sequel, Allure.  Four stars.

4 stars

I purchased this novel at a book festival.

Conjure (#1)

Allure (#2)



et cetera
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