Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











Of River and RaynnFrom Goodreads: They found me when I was five; a little girl sitting on a bench in Grand Central Station, soaking wet, asking about the rain.

I remembered nothing about how I got there, or who my parents were. I couldn’t even remember my name. I was tagged, labeled and doomed to cycle through state care for the next twelve years; moving from one family to another. They all rejected me as the dreams began to come, the memories began to return, and things around me began to explode.

Now my mind is full of a world of shadows, things that my heart pleads with me to be true, that I hope are only fantasy. That the disturbing past I see is not mine.

When I sleep I hear whispers of magic, and of evil queens, and a world that exists alongside our own. Things that could never be. But, there is one thing I know to be true. That there was a boy who was torn from me. A boy that I know means more to me than a brother, or than a lover. But what he is to me, I am not sure. I hear him cry for me in my dreams, I hear people call him The Catalyst.

I know I need to find him.

I wouldn’t have tried, if I would have known that finding River would have made all my dreams turn into a haunting reality.

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I have been waiting with bated breath for the release of this novel for a while now, as Rebecca Ethington’s interactive website, riverandraynn.com, piqued my interest way back in June, involving me in the story even before the novel even released. Ethington’s unique way of bringing the story to life captivated me from the get go, and this new wave of interactive storytelling is definitely something I’d like to see more authors begin emulating. Told through a series of videos, journal entries, and social media updates, potential readers were given a glimpse into the world of River and Raynn, the main characters in the novel—a story that, until today, hadn’t actually released yet. This allowed readers like me to meet the characters as Ethington envisioned them, hearing their voices and seeing their emotions and expressions as I viewed cryptic portions of their story.  It also allowed me to actually interact with both River and Raynn via social media… and I fell in love. With River. With Raynn. With the dark nature of the story. This—this interaction—is what bringing a story to life is all about, and I truly loved the novel before I ever opened it thanks to Ethington’s ingenious interactive website. I nearly popped through the roof when River responded to a tweet I sent my followers about how much I loved him. And while I know the story itself is fiction and the characters are actors, the interactiveness of the site and the actors portraying the characters blew my mind and had me continually coming back for more. So. you can image that when I received an ARC of this fabulous novel a few days ago, I tore into it immediately.

I’m extremely excited to note that Ethington’s captivating interactive storytelling moves seamlessly from the web to the pages of her novel, and going into the story I already felt connected to the characters. Yet, one does not need to take part in the interactive website in order to understand it—the web interactions are completely optional and everything you need to know is in the book, but if you want an experience like no other, I highly suggest you visit the interactive site, too. For me, it made having River and Raynn’s story in front of me, in book format, an added bonus, and I love how it is told through alternating first person narratives from River and Raynn—just like the interactive site.

But rest assured, even with all the information online leading up to this fabulous book’s release, I was still surprised by events in the novel as it indeed went in a completely different direction than I expected it to, and lovers of fantasy novels and world building are going to absolutely adore the parallel world that Ethington creates as the story unfolds. Truthfully, I’m not really a fan of fantasy or otherworlds, I’m more of a contemporary paranormal lover myself, but I was floored by the revelations and events Ethington creates in this novel, and all I can say is, you need to read it.

With magical ties, great evil, a fantastical world, a smidgen of romance, and many dire, dark circumstances, this novel is a gem that is sure to leave you wanting more. The characters are realistic and well written, and living their story alongside them is both harrowing and exhilarating at the same time. I really, really enjoyed the novel, and I am excited for more to come–especially as the interactive journey continues with more in-depth videos to come with deeper insight into each chapter of the novel! Four and a half stars.

4.5 stars

I received an ARC of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

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Meet my book boyfriend, River:

Watch the official trailer:

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Illusions of FateFrom Goodreads: Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray.

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This novel pulled me in from the get go with its alluring magic and snarky, realistic characters. I absolutely adored it, and I am really hoping that there will be more novels set in this world. While a stand-alone, I’d love some companion novels or, better yet, a sequel. But, as it is, perfection abounds. If you’re a lover of Downton Abbey and all things paranormal, then this is definitely the novel for you. Similar to the hidden world of Harry Potter, White’s archaic world gives an old-world, realistic feeling to readers, and it exists exactly how I expect the early 1900s to have existed in Europe, but with a catch. Unbeknownst to the populace, the upper class possess magical traits, passed down through their lineage, adding an air of mystery and intrigue to this novel as the plot unfolds. And I loved every moment of it!

Jessamin is a wonderful, snarky, quick-witted character, and I just loved her interactions with my dear swoonworthy Finn. While utterly infuriating, Finn is indeed the epitome of the perfect man, and I really enjoyed getting to know him, as well as watching his and Jessamin’s love grow. Jessamin is a strong character, set in her ways, full of pride, and it was amazing to watch her carry on, especially once she was pulled into the magical war between Finn and Lord Downpike—a despicable man we just love to hate.

I have to admit that White had me on pins and needles as the novel progressed, especially near the end then the other show seemed to drop and I feared the worst. Thankfully, White does tie the end up with a nice bow, leaving readers exhaling in relief—and in my opinion, White also leaves the ending open enough that there could be more to come, should she choose to write it. And as I said, I hope she does. Five amazing stars!

5 stars

I received this novel from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble

 



Heir of FireFrom Goodreads: Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

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This novel, like the others in the series, in indeed very, very good, but it’s also extremely long. Even with series that I absolutely adore, there sometimes comes a time when reading that I tend to zone out a bit, and I’m sorry to say that that did happen with Maas’ third novel, Heir of Fire. Whereas the other novels tend to be a bit more action packed and, let’s face it, shorter, this novel is nearly 600 pages and there is a bit more down time than I personally can handle in a 600 pager. Don’t get me wrong, the novel is fantastic, but there were a few points in the middle where I personally felt like it was just dragging along. Thankfully, Maas would come in a spruce it up a bit with a fight scene or some other tidbit that would throw me right back into the pages with a vengeance, so the downtime was few and far between, but enough that it sticks out in my mind.

Heir of Fire follows four different stories at the same time, all including a new cast of characters to love, which was tons of fun. We are given an indepth look at events in both Adarlan and Wendlyn, following Chaol and newcomer Aiedan as they placate the King of Adarlan, Dorian and newcomer Sorcha as they work together to protect Dorian’s secret, Celaena and newcomer Rowan as he teaches Celaena how to harness her powers, and newcomer Mannon Blackbeak, an iron witch intent on fulfilling her duties to the King of Adarlan before retaking her homeland. I have to say, that out of all of them, Manon’s story was the most interesting to me. It is with Manon that we are introduced to the Wyvern, beasts I liken to a dragonish creature, similar to the black fell beast—sometimes known as a Hell-Hawk or Nazgûl-bird—we see the Witch-King of Angmar and his comrades ride in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. As the witch covens fight to tame the Wyverns, Manon seeks to win the games with her coven of 13 in order to lead the vast witch army—a group of cutthroat women who despise the other covens. Though I will admit that some of Manon’s story did feel like it could be cut out—I certainly didn’t need all the background information that was provided—readers will walk away knowing Manon and the Iron Witches quite well, and I am extremely interested to see what happens when Manon meets Celaena as some foreshadowing is at play that has me wondering just where Manon’s loyalties will lie.

Celaena’s story paints her in a much weaker light throughout this novel. In fact, all the characters are painted as weak as this novel unfolds. Chaol is not the same, unable to speak his mind to his best friend Dorian, and even Dorian seeks solace in the most surprising of places. I guess that at some point the strong characters must be portrayed as weak in order for growth to happen, as well as for the plot to thicken, but I found myself losing patience with them as the story unfolded as they continually backed down throughout the novel.

The end, however, was a wake-up slap to the face, and suddenly everyone we love, and I do mean everyone, is in danger, leaving me on pins and needles for the next installment, though I see that right now this series is slated for six novels, and we’ll only be at number four with the next—I do hope Maas picks up the pace in the next segment. Four stars.

4 stars

I received this novel from publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

This title releases today.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



WhisperBlogTour Banner

WhisperReview:

From Goodreads: The Cherokee believe when a person dies, their soul is reborn. Life is repeated. An endless cycle of lessons to be learned, love to be found, destiny to be fulfilled. For the past six months, in every flower, every bird, I’ve imagined my parents, relieved of their human forms.
Now, after five months at the Skye View Wellness Center, it was summer. A time for parties and friends, but that’s the last thing I want to do. So when my best friend Erin convinces me to attend a bonfire at Eagle Point, I can’t handle the crowd full of sympathetic stares or drunken class clowns who would use my tragedy as a way into my heart – or my pants. The solitude of the woods offers an escape, until I stumble upon a boy, unconscious and bleeding, his pockets stuffed not with identification but with poetry illustrating the beauty of dying. I’ve seen enough death. I will not leave this boy’s side.

Even after he wakes, when the only thing he can remember are visions of events that haven’t happened yet…

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When I heard that Heather Hildenbrand was updating and re-releasing her wonderful novel, Whisper, I was beyond excited. I first read this novel back in 2012, and I thoroughly enjoyed it then. And knowing that scenes were going to change, new events would be occurring, and that the relationship between Hildenbrand’s characters would be turned up a notch had me eagerly awaiting this novel for a re-read, and let me just say, it’s perfection.

Whisper is not like any of Hildenbrand’s other novels; it’s completely unique to her writing style yet still innately hers through and through. It’s a captivating read, tackling the very real issue of grief, while putting a supernatural spin on it.  While Hildenbrand has written many supernatural novels before, this novel has a more contemporary feel, and it’s attention to the tough topics of death and redemption are hard hitting, but extremely beautiful.  Truth be told, not all readers are going to understand Whisper’s feelings or struggle to move on with her life if they haven’t experienced such debilitating grief in their own lives, so it may seem a bit slow to some readers; it’s not an action novel (not until near the end, that is).  Yet, while it does start out slow, that’s the nature of this story; it’s not meant to be a fast-paced gripping novel, but rather one of love and grief.  Those feelings wouldn’t be portrayed correctly if it moved any faster than it does, and I, personally, enjoyed this slower paced novel, allowing me to connect with the characters in a more real, vivid way than action packed novels tend to do.

Dylan is a most amazing character. He completes Whisper in a way that automatically brings a smile to my face, and I just adore him. Hildenbrand did a phenomenal job fleshing out her characters so well, especially Whisper, making the reader really feel for her, and all the characters, for that matter. Whisper’s grief is palpable and her character drudged up some long buried feelings I had concerning my own grief.  Likewise, Taregan caused me to feel immense hatred, and yet, Hildenbrand was able to make me still feel sorry for him in the end; the fact that she actually made me feel for the one character I couldn’t stand is a testament to Hildenbrand’s sheer writing capabilities, and I really enjoyed this story, especially the Cherokee folklore, magic, and overall presence of the novel. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

I loved the changes in the novel as well. Hildenbrand has smoothed over some areas, added some steam, and she’s indeed changed the entire ending to create a more fluid conclusion. And I loved every minute of it. While I didn’t realize it the first time I read the novel a few years back, these updates bring about a real sense of connectivity, and they have strengthened the novel tenfold. If you haven’t read this novel yet, or even if you have, this updated re-release is a must read. Five stars.

5 stars

I received an ARC of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Paperback | Kindle

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Whisperteaser

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Excerpt:

I still couldn’t believe Dad’s good news. Months and months of research. Unceasing energy and determination. I hadn’t allowed myself the belief that it wouldn’t work. There was too much at stake for the animals. Especially Dolly. And now she was coming home to live with me instead of that nasty excuse for a trainer. I’d won!

I ate standing up. The microwave never cooked evenly so the outside edges were hotter than the middle. I didn’t care. I was starved. I didn’t even bother to chew until the fifth bite.

Footsteps in the hall behind me signaled Tinker must be off the phone. I waited for him to pick up our previous conversation, or tell me about some part of his day that I’d missed while stuck inside the walls of learning. But there was only silence. I turned and found him standing in the kitchen doorway, his hands limp at his sides and the most confused expression I’d ever seen on his face.

“Tinker?”

No answer.

He stared at a spot on the wood-planked wall that bordered the breakfast nook. My eyes followed his and I found a tiny cross-stitched plaque that read “Home Is Where the Heart Is” in blue thread. Grandma had sewn it years before I’d been born.

“Tinker?” I repeated. “Who was on the phone?”

“A friend of mine, lives down by Port Creek.” His voice was distant, hollow.

I hadn’t been worried until the moment our eyes locked. When they did, it felt like a tidal wave rushing up to meet me. Suddenly, I knew that whatever he was about to say would be very, very bad.

“Whisper …”

The doorbell rang, its chime echoing through the otherwise still house. I stared back at Tinker. Something final rested in his eyes. The only time I’d ever seen him look like that …

“I’ll get it,” I said around the lump in my throat.

I tossed the spaghetti aside and went to the door, sliding carefully by Tinker on my way. I didn’t want to touch him. It was something about the energy he gave off, and I knew if I touched him it would infect me. He didn’t move to follow.

I pulled open the door and found a man in a dark uniform staring back at me. The shiny silver buttons on his shirt matched a gleaming badge on his belt loop. His hat was big enough that, had it been yellow, this could’ve been a scene from Curious George Goes to Colorado.

“Ms. Whisper Grant?” he asked. His thin lips arched into a frown when he spoke.

“Yes?” I said. Tinker came up behind me. I felt his hand come down heavily onto my shoulder.

“I’m State Trooper Nelson. This is Hefley.” He gestured to another man off to the side, who I hadn’t even noticed, on the porch but away from the light of the door. His expression matched the first man’s. If they were going for gentle or caring, the twist in their lip ruined it.

Nelson consulted a single sheet of paper attached to the clipboard he held. “Says here your birthday was three weeks ago. You’re eighteen now. Is that correct?” he asked without looking up.

“Correct,” I confirmed. “Can I help you?” I asked. I felt the spray of another approaching wave and braced myself.

“Guess that makes you the official emergency contact.” He sighed like he’d hoped for a different answer. “I’m afraid I have some bad news. There was an accident. On the bridge near Port Creek. A pickup truck went over the embankment. The vehicle was registered to a Shawn and Anna Grant. They are your parents, I believe? A man at the scene said he knew you, gave us your address.”

Tinker’s hand squeezed into my shoulder.

That’s the last thing I remember of that night.

In fact, much of the next few weeks and months that followed is still a blur. Including the night I downed a pill bottle full of Xanax and went to sleep. Even after five months at Skye View, I still can’t remember it all. Over time, it’s become easier to cope with the missing pockets of time. To cope with the numbing sadness, the raging anger, the quiet desperation that came out of that moment of loss. But I’m still not me.

Tinker said I lost myself. He said it’s what animals do when the pain of loss is too much to bear. He said one day, I’ll find myself again. A new me, a version who is able to live despite the loss I’ve suffered. I told him that sounds like something Grandma would say. He said he learned it from her, and he’s learning to find himself again, too.

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About the Author:

Author of Across the Galaxy, Whisper, and the Dirty Blood series. I write, read, and fuss at my kids. Oh, and I do laundry, lots of laundry. I’m pretty good at it, too. Sometimes I even read WHILE doing laundry – and fussing at my kids. I’m a multi-tasker.

For more information on my books, release dates, or just general stalker material, um, I mean FAN material, visit my website. www.heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com. I love hearing from readers!

Likes and dislikes? I love vintage tees, hate socks with sandals, and if my house was on fire the one thing I’d grab is my Amazon Fire TV! (oh yeah, I’m a fan of puns.)

Website / Facebook / Twitter

 

 



Dark MetropolisFrom Goodreads: Cabaret meets Cassandra Clare-a haunting magical thriller set in a riveting 1930s-esque world.

Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder’s mother is cursed with a spell that’s driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. With no one else to contribute, Thea must make a living for both of them in a sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.
Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, and he agrees to help her uncover the city’s secrets-even while he hides secrets of his own.

Together, they find a whole new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. And if they’re not careful, the heartless masterminds behind the growing disappearances will be after them, too.

Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, this is a chilling thriller with a touch of magic where the dead don’t always seem to stay that way.

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If you enjoy magical-realism and/or the paranormal set within the realms of everyday life, then I highly suggest you pick up this novel. It reminded me just a touch of the movie Sin City based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller, with the spells and abilities replacing superpowers and villains, though I wouldn’t say Dark Metropolis is nearly as gruesome or action packed. Secrets abound, magic flies, and as the novel unfolds, Dolamore does a great job foreshadowing what’s to come, nudging readers in the right direction as they attempt to figure out just what is at work in the depths of the city.

I enojyed the characterization and the surprise at the end, and am interested to see what happens next in this surreal world full of danger and magic.  Told from the perspective of multiple characters, a writing style that I just adore, I think many will enjoy this series. Four stars.

4 stars

I received this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



Here’s what New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors are saying about Witch Hunter Olivia by T.A. Kunz:

 

“Witch hunters and sexy tattoo artists? This New Adult Paranormal is EVERYTHING fans of romance and action are looking for.”

– #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout

“A fun, action-packed, enjoyable read!”

– New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack

“The perfect blend of New Adult and Paranormal. It’s absolutely fantastic!”

– New York Times bestselling author Nichole Chase

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Reviewers are calling Witch Hunter Olivia “amazing, fun, well-written, and entertaining.” You don’t want to miss the hottest New Adult paranormal romance of the summer!

*****Read my 5 star review!*****

Witch Hunter Olivia

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In the town of Piedmont Pointe, where paranormal is the norm, a girl can easily get herself in over her head with a single wrong move. Unfortunately for Olivia Adams, she’s about to make several.

Starting over is never easy, but it seemed like the only option to Olivia. The decision to turn her back on the Guild of Witch Hunters, the very group she devoted her entire life to, was one of the hardest things she ever did. It meant leaving her family, her friends, and her old identity behind forever. Coming to terms with what caused her to abandon her duties in the first place was even harder.

While trying to lay low and stay off the Guild’s radar, Olivia finds herself thrust back into her old ways after unknowingly interrupting an assassination hit on a powerful witch. What follows is the last thing she ever thought she’d agree to do–protect the very thing she was groomed to hunt.

To complicate things even further, Olivia begins to develop feelings for a tattoo artist who also happens to be half warlock, and no matter how hard she tries to fight it, she can’t resist her inescapable draw to him. Olivia’s forbidden relationship isn’t her only issue though, because once the mystery behind the assassination attempt starts to unravel, she’s forced to choose sides when the loyalties still tied to her past life are tested again.

So much for the idea of a fresh start.

BUY THE BOOK NOW:

Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon AUS ~ B&N ~ iBooks ~ Kobo

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Adam Author Phot

Author T.A. Kunz has always had a fondness for reading thrilling mysteries and action-packed urban fantasies. So, it was no surprise when T.A. decided to write stories that they’d fall into one of those two genres. T.A. lives in Central Florida with two fur babies and a mechanical engineer who also happens to be quite the culinary badass, which there are no complaints about. Being a self-diagnosed caffeine addict, many joke that T.A.’s addiction to Starbucks coffee will likely be their downfall later in life.

STALK THE AUTHOR:

Website ~ Twitter



Witch Hunter OliviaFrom Goodreads: In the town of Piedmont Pointe, where paranormal is the norm, a girl can easily get herself in over her head with a single wrong move. Unfortunately for Olivia Adams, she’s about to make several.

Starting over is never easy, but it seemed like the only option to Olivia. The decision to turn her back on the Guild of Witch Hunters, the very group she devoted her entire life to, was one of the hardest things she ever did. It meant leaving her family, her friends, and her old identity behind forever. Coming to terms with what caused her to abandon her duties in the first place was even harder.

While trying to lay low and stay off the Guild’s radar, Olivia finds herself thrust back into her old ways after unknowingly interrupting an assassination hit on a powerful witch. What follows is the last thing she ever thought she’d agree to do—protect the very thing she was groomed to hunt.

To complicate things even further, Olivia begins to develop feelings for a tattoo artist who also happens to be half warlock, and no matter how hard she tries to fight it, she can’t resist her inescapable draw to him. Olivia’s forbidden relationship isn’t her only issue though, because once the mystery behind the assassination attempt starts to unravel, she’s forced to choose sides when the loyalties still tied to her past life are tested again.

So much for the idea of a fresh start.

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I was lucky enough to have a chance to beta this novel as it was being written—and let me just tell you, it’s a bangin’ story! Kunz is a wonderful storyteller, and the world of Piedmont Pointe, complete with witches, witch hunters, and other magical beings, is one you just can’t miss. If you like the world of the paranormal even just a bit, then this is definitely a novel you need to pick up.

Olivia Adams is a very real character—in fact, they all are, from their mannerisms to their emotions, I truly felt like I knew these characters on a deeper level. Even though they have magical capabilities, they are true to life and real; though the story revolves around magic, should it be removed, the story would still thrive on as it deals with so much more: betrayal, heartache, romance, mystery, intrigue, doing what’s right, and the list goes on. Kunz has weaved in some amazing themes, and as the story unfolds, one cannot help but fall in love with all things Olivia as she struggles to make sense of the world she left behind—a world that just won’t let go of her—as she attempts to fit into this new one.

Full of action, this novel will keep you on your toes as you read, and I already can’t wait for the next installment in this amazing series. Five stars.

5 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AUS | iBooks | B&N | Kobo

 



Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge

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 Genre: Urban Fantasy (adult) (new adult)

Synopsis:

I hadn’t set foot in the human world for more than a few hours in over three and a half months. Sure, I was stronger and faster than I’d ever been before, and I had a shiny new sword, but I was seriously chocolate deprived. I don’t recommend quitting cold turkey. And the new sword was a problem — to my mind, anyway. It represented all the expectations of a powerful father and a new otherworldly life. A life that wasn’t the one I’d worked so hard to build. It also represented the responsibility I had to bring my foster sister Sienna to … what? Justice? I didn’t know if that was even possible. What I did know was that Sienna wouldn’t stop, and that I couldn’t just leave everything up to fate and destiny … or maybe I was. Maybe I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. If you believed in that sort of thing.

I just hoped that before the chaos and mayhem renewed, I’d manage to get my hands on some chocolate. It didn’t even have to be single-origin Madagascar. I was utterly prepared to lower my standards.

BUY LINKS

Amazon Universal: myBook.to/Treasures_onAmazon

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/447404

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/treasures-demons-and-other-black-magic

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/treasures-demons-other-black/id889221118?ls=1&mt=11

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/treasures-demons-and-other-black-magic-dowser-3-meghan-ciana-doidge/1119733532?ean=2940046007411

AddtoGoodreads _______________________________________________________________________________

Check out these early reviews

“Once again, Meghan does a fabulous job of telling a compelling story of love and power, life and death, and the strength and weakness of family. This is a great story, and is high on my list of best loved reads!” – Leiah from So I Read This Book Today

http://soireadthisbooktoday.com/2014/06/04/review-treasures-demons-and-other-black-magic-dowser-3-by-meghan-ciana-doidge-2/

“….like practically nonstop action from the moment you start reading. Our cupcake baking, chocolate craving half witch and her friends not only use magic to do battle, but swords, knives, fists.”

Heather from Doubleshot: http://doubleshotbookreviews.com/2014/06/06/treasures-demons-and-other-black-magic-dowser-series-book-3-by-meghan-ciana-doidge/

Sarah Elizabeth via Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/925343083

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About Megan Ciana Doidge

Meghan Ciana Doidge is an award-winning writer based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She has a penchant for bloody love stories, superheroes, and the supernatural. She also has a thing for chocolate, potatoes, and sock yarn.

Novels – After The Virus, Spirit Binder, Time Walker, Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic – Dowser #1, Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Bloody Magic – Dowser #2, Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic – Dowser #3

Novellas/Shorts – Love Lies Bleeding and The Graveyard Kiss

WARNING: author has been known to manipulate characters with chocolate, sex, and fantastical plotting. Readers beware http://author.to/meghancianadoidge

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Links:

Blog, www.madebymeghan.ca

Twitter, @mcdoidge

Facebook, Meghan Ciana Doidge

NEW RELEASE MAILING LIST

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HexedFrom Goodreads: If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her? Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But it’s when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie’s world that she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she’s a witch too. Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie’s about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.

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This was an interesting story filled with magic, murder, and mayhem; just what I like in my paranormal novels. However, the main character rubbed me the wrong way on many an occasion, which is unfortunate for me, as the novel is extremely well written. In my personal opinion, Indie is a less than likable, and my inability to connect with her made the novel a little less enjoyable for me. She begins as the token cheerleader who thinks she’s amazing and treats those less than “cool” like dirt, including her neighbor Paige, who she comes to rely on in many ways. Rarely is Indie sorry for the way she treats Paige, instead questioning why Paige isn’t elated that Indie is even talking to her, and I have a really hard time dealing with unlikable characters like this. While it is true that Indie slowly changes over the course of the novel, my initial impression stayed with me and we just never clicked. We are just too opposite.

Now, Bishop was an intense, fun character that I did connect with, and I enjoyed him immensely. He is swoon worthy and so aggravating, but my type of guy 100%. I felt the relationship between Indie and Bishop was a little too quickly developed, almost forced, if you will, but he does tend to being out the best in her as the story progresses, and I really liked that about not only the story itself, but also Bishop as well.

One aspect I have noticed in many YA novels lately is that many tend to have some big reveal or climax during a school dance. Hexed is no different in this aspect, but thankfully Krys adds some key elements that make her rendition stand apart from all the rest. I won’t say more because I don’t want to give it away, but this was definitely a plus that made it different from all the rest. In fact, the school dance was my favorite aspect of the novel as a whole. Magic plus papier-mâché just doesn’t bode well, and I just loved what Krys does in this scene.

Reader beware, this novel does end on a cliffhanger of sorts, and while I usually dislike them, this works. As there are a lot of unresolved conflicts in this first installment, the cliffhanger reminds readers that more is to come. Would I have like more resolution? Of course, doesn’t everyone? But the way this novel ends is sort of perfect, in my mind. Three stars.

I received this novel from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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After the EndFrom Goodreads: She’s searching for answers to her past. They’re hunting her to save their future.

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They’ve survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she’s trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

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I didn’t have access to the internet when I started reading this novel on my Kindle, so I couldn’t refresh my memory about the synopsis before I plunged in. But truth be told, I actually think not knowing the synopsis made After the End even more interesting for me because early on, when the truth hit about WWIII for Juneau and Miles, I was shocked and totally riveted to the spot. It’s always fun to go into a book without knowing the premise, and generally I am always surprised by what I learn along the way, having no expectations going in, and so I feel like I should do it more often, especially after absolutely falling in love with this novel.
I will admit that the first chapter didn’t reel me in right away. I wasn’t sure what was going on, and this is why people write a synopsis for books in the first place—to give a little background. Juneau’s story was a bit interesting, but not riveting, and I was definitely thinking Hunger Games throughout that first chapter, but then Miles came on the scene and changed everything for me. I can’t express how exciting it is to figure something out before a character does; to have an “aha” moment before the entire picture becomes clear, but as Miles’ story began to evolve, I definitely had a moment where everything suddenly clicked and I was hooked, line and sinker.

If you haven’t read the synopsis above as of yet, well, I’m about to ruin it for you. The whole idea of a society gone into hiding after WWIII, only for the truth to come out that there never was a WWIII, well… genius. Just. Genius.

Can you imagine finding out that the entire world you know and understand, or thought you knew and understood, was a lie? That everyone, mentors and parents included, have lied to you since birth? It’s mind boggling, yet this is exactly what Juneau experiences as her world deteriorates around her. Thrust into the unknown, a world she was taught to fear, she must trust the most unlikely allies in order to find her family, and it’s definitely a bumpy and intense ride the entire way.

Filled with elements of the paranormal, Plum’s latest novel is epically fun. I especially love that it’s told from two different viewpoints, allowing readers inside the minds of both Juneau and Miles as they make decisions and choices that could ultimately end with their death if they aren’t careful—but to not take risks means ultimate failure and the death of others. Locked between a rock and a hard place, unsure just how much trust to put in the other, both Juneau and Miles have many choices to make, and lots of growing up to do. Five amazing stars.

5 stars

In exchange for an honest review, has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on May 6, 2014.

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Spirits and Spells Review:

From Goodreads: Ivy LaRue didn’t intend on being happy when she moved to Sage Springs, Mo., but that’s exactly what happened. First, Eliza and Lexi wiggled in through the cracks of her carefully constructed defensive walls. Now her best friend, a spirit, is in the flesh thanks to mysterious circumstances. And Ivy can’t help but notice it’s some mighty fine flesh, which just adds another layer of complication to her life.

With only days to find a cure to keep her friend in human form, Ivy attempts to find the town’s magical spring to save his life. While doing so, however, she must battle an unseen spirit who seems determined to make Ivy’s life as difficult as possible. Assistance comes from unlikely places as she faces her past to attain the future she never thought she wanted.

Casting spells, dodging love and forming friendships soon make this snarky witch realize life is much more interesting than she ever imagined it could be.

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After reading Hollie Westring’s debut novel, Whispers and Wishes, I was sold on the beautiful and haunting town of Sage Springs. With her quirky characters, charming townsfolk, and overall laid back atmosphere, Westring easily draws readers into Sage Springs, throwing in twists and turns where we’d least expect it.

Whereas Whispers and Wishes focuses on the character of Eliza, Spirits and Spells gives readers a more in-depth look at Eliza’s spunky sidekick, Ivy LaRue, a young woman running from both past and present. Bedding down in the illustrious Sage Springs, with her candle business booming and the magical realm just beneath her fingertips, Ivy’s story drew me in right away, especially as I see a bit of myself in her. A little stand-offish and full of snark, Ivy’s cover for her heart of gold, she continually blames herself, closing doors on relationships before one can say “happily ever after.” But when a dark spell begins to threaten those she loves, Ivy really begins to come into herself, and there is no limit on surprises that Westring throws at readers as this sweet love story unfolds.

Oliver is, of course, to die for… He completes Ivy in a way no else ever has, and I just loved their back and forth quips throughout the novel. Hilarity ensues as the novel progresses, and Ivy’s strong kick-butt personality, along with Eliza’s pragmatism, Lexi’s cheer, and Oliver’s swoonworthyness will make this a novel you won’t soon forget. With a dash of mystery, romance, and magic, this novel is sure to be your perfect afternoon read. Four stars.

4 starsIn exchange for an honest review, I received an ARC of this novel from the author.

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Hollie WestringAbout the Author:

Hollie Westring hails from Kansas City, Mo. She used to be a journalist, which probably explains her extreme dislike of the serial comma and her preference for AP style.

After realizing the hours of journalists were not productive to any type of social or family life, she settled into a job at a publishing syndicate. She worked with comics, astrology columns, word puzzles and feature columns for six years. Although she enjoyed her time there, Hollie decided to leave the nine-to-five world and join the twenty-four/seven world of motherhood. Now she edits from home.

When not writing, editing or reading, Hollie can be found baking cookies or watching more than her fair share of crime TV. She’s a loyal Royals and Chiefs fan.

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Death SwornFrom Goodreads: When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.

But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.

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Unfortunately, I found this novel to be rather anticlimactic on a number of levels.  First, I did not connect with any of the characters. Not stubborn Sorin, resigned Ileni, nor any other assassin in the novel.  While I usually adore novels about assassins, there just wasn’t much in terms of assassinations to keep my interest in this novel. Now, the entire novel takes place inside a cave, so assassinations would be hard to carry out amongst the assassin clan, but even so, I excepted there to be more battles, more angst (Ileni is the only female in the compound, afterall), and more of a plot itself.

Instead, I found Ileni to be too much of a needy young woman to do any worth while, and as the plot revolves around her, not much happens.  She has been sent to the caves to find out the truth behind the murders of the sorcery teachers that came before her, but even that mystery is only lightly probed.  Little magis is spun, and though Ileni is losing her magi, resigned to her death, and overall quite depressing, I expected a lot more action and magic to take place as I read.

As the story stands, I still don’t know much about the Empire aside from their repressive state, and the assassins are chosen to try and stop them.  And that’s about all I know from this segment.  I realize that it’s the first in the series, and that book two will definitely probe more into the life of the Empire, but knowing very little at this time has made it difficult for me to really care about an upcoming sequel a year or so away.

Likewise, for knowing very little about the Empire and the assassins, I found that some of the events in the plot were a little too far-fetched; too easily overcome.  For one, Ileni is a lost little girl scared of everything, though she tried to put on a good front, and yet near the end too many events she struggled with throughout the entire novel happened much too easily. I can’t say much in terms of these events without spoilers, so I’ll leave you with this: Ileni does two things that should have been near impossible, and she meets no resistance in either, and yet they are hugely impactful to the story.  Instead of a reprimand, she easily saunters away from each, which I personally found unbelievable and anticlimactic as a reader.

2 stars

In exchange for an honest review, I received this novel from the publisher during NCTE 2013.

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Blood DutyFrom Goodreads: In a remote mountain valley, a scout is tortured and killed in a brutal rite of summoning. An army of demons will soon be on the move. Fellow scout Jessup Inntour wouldn’t care very much if the empire he reluctantly serves is attacked, but the woman he loves is another matter.

Tamra Dervon, Captain of the Guard of Wayfare Keep, thinks her biggest problem is her love affair with Jessup. The scout is holding things back from her, and she doesn’t know what. But when the seemingly unbeatable army of demons invades, Tamra’s personal problems look very small. Tamra and Jessup find themselves leading a last-ditch defense. Their army is defeated. Jessup disappears in the retreat. As Tamra continues the struggle to defend her homeland, she discovers that another duty lies ahead — to face a demon horde alone.
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For those who really enjoy Fantasy novels, I highly suggest this book. Although my tastes have changed over the past few years and I’m no longer a fantasy fanatic, this novel definitely piqued my interest and kept me captivated from beginning to end. It’s a fast paced novel full of battle scenes and preparation as a blood-lusting King and his army, full of dark magic, march across the land, leaving no survivors. Bent on taking the kingdom of Ilkasar as they approach, the dark King and his mages torture and kill those in their paths, using magic to bind the dead to huge creatures of the dark. Jessup and Tamra, the two main characters of this novel, work to battle against the incoming force, but the army they are up against is much more than they can handle, and it will take an offset of strong magic to break the dark King and his army from taking over all the land.

I really enjoyed the imagery in this novel, and for me, it was like the battles of Helms Deep and Gondor (Lord of the Rings Series) in my mind. With the lumbering monsters and the evil army attaching the forge, it played out in my mind much the same, and it was great fun to read, especially as the defending kingdom is caught completely unawares. The Ixich is a great beast full of magic, and I could see it in my minds-eye as it attacked, using magic of its own to take down the enemy… in this case Tamra and Jessup and their army.

I also liked that in this world, woman fight as warriors alongside the men, and while Jessup is a talented scout, Tamra is the leader of the Keep’s army. She is a great warrior, though tied to her duty even though she wants nothing more than to ride off into the abyss with be lover, Jessup. I love that she is strong and that both men and women alike are shown as strong entities in this novel—it was a fresh change from the many fantasy books I’ve read where the women are helpless and the men must care for all.

Overall, this is a great novel that I highly recommend. Four stars.

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Magic HighFrom Goodreads: Welcome to Andrew High, a school for mages…

That is, until its doors are opened to the non-magical, or “normie,” population. That means no more magic allowed on school property. For Tabetha Long, whose powers are directly related to emotions, hiding her magic is difficult. When her mother is hired as the new gym teacher, and her father comes back to town with is reality television show, difficult becomes impossible.

Now her every move is being caught on video and everyone else at school wants in too. All Tabetha wants is to become invisible.

But then the mysterious and cute new guy, Eric wouldn’t be able to see her either…

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High school is never easy, but imagine going to an all magic school and suddenly finding out that “normies,” non magic folk, will be populating the school soon due to an unforeseen shut down of their own facility? Imagine being forced to hide who you are after not having to do so for years? Now wrap that up into your worst year of high school, and you’ve got Magic High.

With a little bit of romance, some botched up spells, and lots of humorous situations, Magic High is a cute and enjoyable read complete with magic and ghosts.  I absolutely loved Tabetha’s voice and the way she carries herself throughout the entire novel. She’s just a little bit quirky and snarky, and the perfect narrator for this fun read, especially when it comes to the drama of high school.

I really enjoyed this, especially the ghost aspect. I had an inkling from the get-go, but until it was 100% revealed, I wasn’t sure. Gaudet does a great job foreshadowing by not overdoing it, leaving enough mystery and anticipation there for readers to enjoy while creating an intriguing read that will bring a smile to your face long after it’s done.  I really enjoyed this novel and highly suggest both MG and YA readers scoop it up.  Four stars.

4 stars

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17406847From Goodreads: A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king’s army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince’s guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can’t prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she’s sworn to protect?

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If you’re a fan of Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series and/or Mulan, then you will definitely enjoy this novel. There are many similarities to both–magic, a sexy prince, an evil empire, the best fighter in all the land is female (unbeknownst to many), and I’m sure the list goes on. Some may say there are too many similarities, and yes, it crossed my mind as I was reading, however, it is vastly different as well, and I just love the idea behind it. It’s very well written; you can’t help but fall in love with the characters and their plight, and the story itself is intriguing. So, even if you’re a little worried that it will be too similar to Sarah J. Maas, I suggest you read it anyway, because it’s epic.

Alexa, or Alex, as it were, is my favorite.  She’s a strong female lead stuck perpetrating a male in an empire that would otherwise cast her to the breeding house.  Forced to hide her identity in order to survive, she has become the top fighter on the prince’s guard.  Those loath to protect the empire that took everything from her, her fierce loyalty to her twin brother and those she’s friended on the guard make her a fierce defender of the crown, if nothing more than to protect her friends and family in protecting the prince.

As the story unfolds, we learn much about Alexa and her life in the guard, but the novel really takes off when the resistance comes to capture the prince.  Captured and taken far from their country, it quickly becomes seen that not all is what it seems, and Alexa is not the only one with a secret.

There is a bit of a love triangle in this novel, but this one is not overbearing, for which I was very thankful.  While I was afraid it would take over the novel, it’s more on the sidelines as Alexa, Ryland, and Damien attempt to figure out how much they can trust one another and those who have kidnapped them.  Truthfully, I thought the characterization was superb, and the story itself was action packed, keeping me glued to the pages.  There were many fight sequences that helped spur the reader on, but just enough romance to also keep it interesting.  I really enjoy this novel, and can’t wait for the sequel. Five stars.

5 stars

Scholastic Press has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel prior to its release on January 7, 2014.

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18074584From Goodreads: Because some Celtic stories won’t be contained in myth . . .

A little magic has always run in sixteen-year-old McKayla McCleery’s family—at least that’s what she’s been told. McKayla’s eccentric Aunt Avril travels the world as a psychic for the FBI, and her mother can make amazing delicacies out of the most basic of ingredients. But McKayla doesn’t think for a second that the magic is real—it’s just good storytelling. Besides, McKayla doesn’t need magic. She recently moved to beautiful Star Valley, Wyoming, and already she has a best friend, a solo in her upcoming ballet recital—and the gorgeous guy in her physics class keeps looking her way.

When an unexpected fascination with Irish dance leads McKayla to seek instruction from the mute, crippled janitor at her high school, she learns that her family is not the only one with unexplained abilities.

After Aunt Avril comes to Star Valley in pursuit of a supernatural killer, people begin disappearing, and the lives of those McKayla holds most dear are threatened. When the janitor reveals that an ancient curse, known as a geis, has awakened deadly powers that defy explanation, McKayla is forced to come to terms with what is real and what is fantasy.

A thrilling debut novel based in Celtic mythology, Awakening is a gripping young adult fantasy rife with magic, romance, and mystery.

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This story had a very interesting premise, mixing magic, Irish dance, an alternate universe, and a curse unlike any other in order to set the stage for the events that unfold within Awakening.  McKayla is a great female lead, with a kick-butt mentality and faithful heart, she wraps readers around her finger from the get go, making them fall in love with her almost immediately.  I really enjoyed her and, though experiencing many hardships, I loved that she kept her head up and stayed positive, which is extremely difficult in the face of adversity.  Her slow acceptance of magic also gave her a more realistic feel as she didn’t jump on board with her Aunt Avril right away, and she questioned information put before her without blind acceptance.  While I tend to really like blind acceptance in my fictional worlds, I also understand that it isn’t realistic, and so I believe Dorrity did a fantastic job bring McKayla to life.

The portion of the novel dedicated to dance, as it were, was a bit above me as I’m not a dancer and I have no ambition or care for anything dance related. But in truth, it is a very unique and interesting way to bring about the truth behind the mute janitor’s world, and I applaud Dorrity for presenting dance in this way, as I’d never have thought of it myself.

I think of all the characters, Aunt Avril and her eccentric ways, as well as the magical lizard, were my favorite.  They were just so different and added a different feel to the entire novel, which fantasy lovers will no doubt highly enjoy as they’re completely different from any characters I’ve read about in my books.

Celtic mythology is also something I know little about, and this is the first book I’ve read that actually touches on the topic, as far as I can remember.  It has actually really stirred my curiosity and now I’d love to do a little more research, and read more novels on the subject, as I feel it’s one not very many authors attempt.  Overall, this was a completely unique novel (with an AMAZING cover) and I highly suggest magical lovers scoop it up.  I am looking forward to more from Dorrity, though perhaps a little less dance on my end.  Three and a half stars.

3 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 



bloodFrom Goodreads: Julia has Awakened and in so doing bound herself to her one true soul mate, the king to her queen. The blood-binding which was foretold between fang and claw ultimately rescued her from certain death, the Circle of Protection is now complete.

Yet, another would-be queen vies for the position of ultimate ruler and believes she has found an ancient loophole that will upset the new balance of potential peace that has been put into play by Julia’s prophesied reign. Jacqueline will stop at nothing to achieve her goals, even using the dreaded Were to further her victory.

Cynthia and Adrianna form an unlikely alliance to survive against an enemy that now has help for his madness to take shape. Emmanuel, the Feral and Truman find themselves drawn to defend and protect a new order with a past that haunts their efforts, while a broken Were rises to a position of power through sacrifice and the one woman that holds his heart.

Can Julia and her one true mate bring peace to the species and rescue the ones they love? Will the Blood Singers fulfill their destiny to unite three groups of sworn enemies to come together as one?

**Mature Content Warning: This novel contains sexual inference, violence, and moderate profanity.**

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This third installment of the amazing new adult Blood Series by Tamara Rose Blodgett takes on a much darker, edgier tone as tensions rise between the three groups: Singers, Vampires, and Weres. Julia, thought to be off the hook and out of danger since choosing a mate among the Singers finds rather quickly that some knowledge has been withheld—mainly, how the Queen Singer must align the three groups through marriage… something neither Scott nor Julia want to hear having just declared their feelings for one another.

To make matters worse, Julia’s husband (by human law), Jason, is on the prowl, and he’s none to happy to see his wife engaged to another, even if their past human lives bear no authority in the magical realm and he feels nothing for her… or does he?  Mix in an honorable vampire, William, who is willing to risk all for Julia, and everything Julia thought she knew and wanted becomes extremely strained as tempers flare, profanities fly alongside fists, and dangers lurk around every corner.

Full of angst and with the reappearance of Jacqueline and the sadistic, misogynist Tony, relations are even further tested and, unbeknownst to our would-be heroes, there is more dangerous magic at work than they ever realized existed.  Forced to put their anger aside and work together, Scott, Jason, and William along with the most trusted among their groups plunge head first into a war they most likely can’t win against an ancient and powerful magic they’ve never dealt with before.  It is here that Blodgett really wows her readers with the insertion of a magical realm thought only to be a rumor amongst the groups, thrusting the characters into danger unparalleled in the previous novels and, sadly, ending with the death of a beloved character, for a magic this dark will cannot leave all unscathed.

I was completely blown away with Blodgett’s additional magical group—a group I’ve read much about in many other novels, but never thought would show itself within the Blood Series, and yet, they fit quite nicely, and Blodgett’s definitely done her homework concerning with sadistic group of meddlesome entities.  But, no spoilers here.  If you want to know who they are, you’ve got to read the series, because it’s a great one, touching on realistic emotions and not sugar coating the ups and downs of life. You’ll be hooked. Four stars.

4 stars

I received an ARC of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.



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)



13049897From Goodreads: Tristan Coleman has survived the change from Clann magic user to vampire, much to Savannah Colbert’s joy—and despair. By changing the Clann’s golden boy and newly elected leader, even to save him from death, she has unleashed a fury of hatred and fear that they cannot escape.

As the Clann and the vampire council go to war, Tristan and Sav face a new threat—a fracturing of the all-consuming bond they share. To fight for peace, they must forge a new trust and risk everything to take down their deadliest enemy, even as they must run for their lives. Soon they will learn that some bonds are stronger than love—and some battles cannot be won without sacrifice.

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I began reading this novel without realizing it was the third and final in the series.  It’s actually my first novel of the author’s, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that, though not technically a stand-alone, it can be read on its own and still make perfect sense.  It’s extremely well written and I highly enjoyed it, even though I missed out on the events in the first two novels.  But Darnell does a phenomenal job keeping the reader up to speed from the very beginning, and she lets readers know the important events from the previous novels without an info-dump at the beginning.  Instead, she weaves the important facts throughout the story as a reminder to those who have read the other novels, and I really liked this method of intertwining events as a reminder, or in my case, to help explain, since I’m reading this series backwards, as it were.  Now, do I have some questions, sure. Were a ton of them answered in this novel? Yep. And it was so good that I’m going to go back and read books one and two because, even though I already know what’s going to happen in them, I’m excited to witness the events in slow motion with more detail.
The characters in this novel are actually running for their lives throughout a majority of the story, so there’s a lot of downtime and Darnell uses this to really flesh out her characters.  Truthfully, much of the novel focuses on the issues brewing between Tristan and Savannah more than anything else, but I kind of liked this as a new reader of the series.  I’m not sure how others will feel about the slower pacing, especially if they’ve read the other novels and already know the characters well, but I, personally, found it helpful in really getting to know the characters.

Darnell splits the novel into separate points of view, and I really enjoyed traveling through the mind of both Tristan and Savannah as the novel progressed. It was enlightening as Tristan and Savannah went back and forth with their feeling and sense of right versus wrong.  Their growing divide over a particular issues was extremely interesting to me because it’s one we discuss a lot in my classroom when we get into philosophical debates, and Darnell presents both sides, but leaves it open for reader interpretation, which I really enjoyed.  And the mindspeak?  This was very well written into the story. I imagine it’d be a pain in the butt to have this ability, especially with a significant other, but I’d like to have it just the same. I want to hear people’s thoughts, too… Overall, the characterization of this novel was phenomenal, the entire novel was clean, and I’m pretty sure this will be a great full series to share with my students. Book three definitely is, that’s for sure. Four stars.

4 stars

Harlequin has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on August 27, 2013.



et cetera
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