Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











Silver VengeanceFrom Goodreads: Were-witches. These hybrid creatures stalk the earth with the raw, primal power of the werewolf and the cunning, dark magic of the witch. They’re deadly hunters with the capability for both bloodthirsty vengeance and an unwavering loyalty to their own.

Gabrielle Gayle is an ambitious chef in one of New Haven’s trendiest restaurants. Her concerns consist of getting ahead in her career, dodging barbed insults from her sharp-tongued mother, and dealing with the nagging certainty that she has always had powers. However, when the Clan of were-witches seeks revenge for her mother murdering one of their own, she and her sister are brutally attacked. With nowhere else to go, she turns to Nick, a Hunter of witches, werewolves, demons, and any combination thereof.

However, Gabrielle learns that she has much more in common with the Clan than she ever imagined. And, in order to save herself and her family from being destroyed, she must embrace her powers and become the very creature she fears the most.

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If you’re looking for something completely different in the paranormal world, or urban fantasy, for that matter, then look no further than Kasey Shoemaker’s enticing novel, Silver Vengeance. Filled with mystery and mayhem, readers are introduced to Gabrielle Gayle, a kick-butt heroine who must seek the truth about her own heritage in order to survive a deadly game of cat and mouse.

The characterization within this novel is a wonderful testament to Shoemaker’s writing capabilities. All the characters, both good and evil, are exceptionally real, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them as the novel unfolded. Nick reminds me very much of Dean Winchester from Supernatural, out to take down those who shouldn’t exist, and as Gabrielle and her family team up with him to fight against the were-witches, a coven/pack dead set on ripping apart the Gayle family, sparks and blood fly.

I really enjoyed the combination of werewolves with witches, an ingenious idea that has me wondering what other hybrid concoctions would produce in the paranormal world… being a lover of all things strange, I find it absolutely fascinating, and I loved how Shoemaker brought the two together, creating a unique backdrop to this awesome story. All around, this novel is a ton of fun, and if you’re a fan of Supernatural or Grimm, then I highly suggest you check it out. Four stars.

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

Amazon | Kindle (.99 cents) | Nook

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AfterworldsFrom Goodreads: Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

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While I generally love Scott Westerfeld’s novels, this one fell just a bit flat for me. The novel itself is extremely long, and after the first 200 pages, I found that both storylines began to drag a bit, which is unfortunate since the novel started out with much intrigue. Unfortunately, I ended up not caring much for either protagonists, and I think a lot of my enjoyment of the story diminished as I got to know them more and more.

Darcy is somewhat of a boring person. Unsure of herself within the world of authors, she stumbles along and overspends on her writing advance time and time again, wrapped in the throes of what, to me, seemed like an instant lesbian relationship meant to shock readers more than drive the plot. The relationship seems to fabricate out of thin air, and while Darcy definitely learns the ropes of authorhood from girlfriend Imogen, this portion of the story felt forced to me. And while I do enjoy novels that portray the world of authors, Afterworlds is the third novel I’ve read over the past month that deals with this topic, and by this time, it sort of felt old hat. Having read and loved both The Write Stuff by Tiffany King and Neurotica by Eliza Gordon prior to Afterworlds, I found that Darcy’s story just didn’t bring anything new to the table for me, aside from a protagonist who’s story was juxtaposed with her novel–awesome in theory, less so in execution.

As Afterworlds tells two different stories, one of the real world in which Darcy resides, and one of the paranormal world in which Lizzie, the protagonist of Darcy’s debut novel, resides, I actually found myself more drawn to Lizzie’s story. Westerfeld alternates between the two, and I found myself, in the beginning, really wanting more and more of Lizzie’s story, but again, as the novel progressed, I found myself liking Lizzie less and less, and as it turns out, we don’t get the full story of Lizzie and her newfound powers—instead, it’s more of a shell. And I soon found myself losing interest in Lizzie and her world as well.

Honestly, I feel as if the novel could be divided up into two shorter novels as the worlds don’t really intersect in the book, aside from the fact that Darcy is the author of Lizzie’s story, and that the publisher wants massive rewrites to the story. I really would love a fully developed novel surrounding Lizzie and her world, but I doubt we’re actually going to get it. Two stars.

2 stars

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

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Common DescentFrom Goodreads: Eighteen-year old Jaycie Lerner’s telekinesis is finally in check – too bad levitating a picnic table is now a workout. Not to mention her previously dormant telepathy is back and raging out of control. As she struggles to manage her frightening power, the Dey-Vah announce they will soon reveal the supernatural world to the human race. To make matters worse, people start dropping dead all over northern Alabama. Then, a mysterious new enemy emerges. Jaycie must elicit the help of the world’s only master vampire slayer and an assassin who converses with the voices in her head. Strengthening the Core is the only way to protect mankind from the coming vampire army, and that’s not even their most dangerous threat. Jaycie and her family face their darkest hour when an innocent young girl serves as a pawn to form a deadly Alliance. The perfect vampire, Lilith Bradshaw, becomes an eye-opening example of how far the Alliance will go to serve their own destructive ends. The world around Jaycie plummets into darkness, and betrayals from the past threaten to undo them all.

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Jaycie Lerner’s story continues in this third installment of the Darwin’s Children series, an action packed ride for those in love with all things paranormal. As is Larry’s nature, this novel indeed picks up where the Unnatural Law left us, and we thrust deep into the storyline from the very first page.

As is true in all things, once one aspect of Jaycie’s life within the Core seems fixed, all hell breaks loose elsewhere. Such is the case time and time again as Jaycie, her beau Matt, Haylee, and the entire cast of characters complete or smooth over an aspect within the novel. I almost feel bad for them; while there is some downtime, much of the novel itself is action related as Jaycie attempts to figure out the truth behind her enemies and the growing vampire army intent on destroying everything she holds dear. And yet, these constant events keep the novel hopping with its fast paced nature, easily gluing readers to the pages as it all unfolds.

Jaycie and Haylee continued to grow on me throughout this novel, and at this point, I really do love them. As their budding relationships blossom as well, there are some swoonworthy scenes that steal the show, as it were. And as the threats around Jaycie and Haylee abound, I couldn’t help but begin to really fret for their safety, especially at the end, where Larry again throws readers one hell of a cliffhanger. I’m looking forward to the fourth installment already! Four stars.

4 stars

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

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The ReflectiveFrom Goodreads: Those born Reflective are the only beings with the ability to jump between worlds. With The Cause firmly entrenched by years of highly stylized military-type training in combat of every kind, they use their natural born ability for inter-dimensional travel to police worlds where wrongdoing has overtaken civility.

As an elite Reflective, Jeb Merrick finds himself partnered with a rare female Reflective. Merrick is convinced that she can do nothing but slow him down. Beth Jasper is small, in both stature and mindset. When they are thrust together as partners, Merrick vows that she will receive the same neutral treatment as a male. Merrick cannot allow the unlikely union of Beth Jasper to get in the way of finding his prophesied soulmate. .

Beth discovers she is partnered with the cockiest of all pureblood Reflectives and struggles to maintain her composure with a hostile partner whose loyalty she doesn’t possess.

Can the Reflectives uphold The Cause, reach a point of compromise and find their chosen soulmates?

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This is another beautiful story by the ever talented Tamara Rose Blodgett, a new series that combines the world of Blodgett’s Death, Blood, and Savage series, but with a completely new cast of characters.

The Reflective are part of The Cause, policing the many world by jumping through reflective sources, such as mirrors, water, knives, and the like. The novel instantly pulls the reader in as we meet Beth, a young girl intent on becoming a warrior. Her story is intriguing, and we automatically want to know more about it. Blodgett then jumps ahead a number of years, and as Beth is finally completing her training, we learn of her ill treatment and status in a world where she is the sole female reflective warrior in a world of males. Thrust together with Jeb Merrick, an intense, extremely male warrior, her story unfolds as she and Jeb jump from world to world unintentionally wreaking havoc and upending their world as they know it.

The characterization is absoltuely superb; Blodgett has created extremely vivid, realistic characters in not only actions, but also the way they speak. Her world-building is amazing as well, and I was whisked away into this intriguing story immediatley, especially with the imagery Blodgett creates through her words. I can’t wait for more!

Complete with vampires, reflectives, savages, and earthlings, readers do meet up with some old characters from Blodgett’s other series, as well as meeting a completely new set of evildoers that will leave your blood chillled.

This is an intense read that is tons of fun, though reader beware, there is a cliffhanger that will leave you dying for more. Five stars.

5 stars

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

Amazon (99 cents) | Barnes and Noble



 

Sometimes love has other plans.

Cover: Najla Qamber Designs

The Fated 5 have come together to bring you a collection of five steamy new adult urban fantasies about sacrifice, second chances, destiny and love against all odds.

Beginning August 21st, for a limited time, paranormal fans can purchase five full length bestselling novels all in one:

Amaranth by Rachael Wade

Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter by Nikki Jefford

Darkness of Light by Stacey Marie Brown

Flight by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Whisper by Heather Hildenbrand

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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

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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

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads Author Page

 

 

 



I’m excited to help reveal T.A. Kunz’s upcoming novel, Witch Hunter Olivia!  Check out that cover–it’s so gorgeous!

Witch Hunter Olivia

And check out the full wraparound cover:

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Synopsis:

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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Preorder on iBooks

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Author Bio:

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.

Links:

Website – www.takunz.com

Email – authort.a.kunz@gmail.com

Twitter – @AuthorTAKunz



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.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



DesireFrom Goodreads: Now that Nara and Ethan are working together to uncover the Corvus’ secrets, they’re confident nothing can stop them.

But while they’ve learned to anticipate dark outside forces gunning for them, neither is prepared for the insidious evil that slithers its way into their lives, nor the new challenges that surface so close to home.

Despite all the chaos and turmoil around them, the one constant they can depend on is their devotion and loyalty to each other. But as their relationship moves into deeper territory, sometimes the toughest battles are the ones waged within.

While the hunt for answers unravels more layers in the Corvus world, they also uncover new truths about themselves and their intricate connection to the powerful raven spirit.

When boundaries are suddenly redrawn and control shifts, Ethan and Nara will be forced to make choices that could bring them closer together or rip them apart forever.

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P.T. Michelle knows how to pack a punch in her writing, and I’ve been in love with her Brightest Kind of Darkness since the very beginning. Not only are her characters absolutely amazing, but her plotline is also fascinating and enticing, sprinkling in elements of romance and realism into this fast-paced, action packed paranormal series, and I just can’t get enough.

Desire, the fourth installment in this riveting series, kept me on my toes and held my attention just like all those that came before it, and I’m already on pins and needles waiting for the fifth and final book in the series. The plot is thickening, as they say, and Nara and Ethan are facing even more peril as the Corvus world begins to take over, threatening all that they hold dear. With Ethan torn between his own love for Nara and the uncontrollable force of his Corvus, Nara struggling to make sense of her role in it all, and demons intent on killing the Master Corvus, time is of the essence, and something Ethan and Nara are running out of, as it were.

I love that over the course of the series, both Ethan and Nara have really developed and come into themselves. And in Destiny, Michelle takes readers into a more mature relationship between the two main characters. Now, while I’m not one who really condones sexual relationships in my novels, (hence I’d put a 16+ rating on this novel) it works. Ethan and Nara have been through so much in the span of four novels, and it is definitely time for them to take their relationship to the next level. Though I’m a prude, Michelle handles this relationship shift with care, and I suspect that readers who have been following the series will rejoice in this union as it hits full bloom in a more explicit manner.

I love how Michelle blends romance with action, keeping readers on their toes, especially with the climactic ending that will leave readers dying for more. Overall, Michelle is an extremely talented writer and I love living inside the pages with her true-to-life characters, and I highly recommend this entire series to lovers of all things paranormal. Four and a half stars.

4.5 stars

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

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The KnowingFrom Goodreads: Not everyone can stay sane watching murder through the eyes of the killer, feeling him kill. She’s Haitian, born from love, raised with strength. Can she stop the visions if she stops the killer? His secrets threaten to destroy her world. Which one will survive?
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This was a fun paranormal novel surrounding a psychic connection between a young woman and a murderer. Nia struggles when the snow comes; it means that the murderer is on the prowl, and soon she’ll witness him murder again, just as she does every year… but this year she decides to do something about it. Though perhaps not the most rational of ideas, she runs to the warmest climate she can find in a pinch: Hawaii. Little does she know, this is exactly what the killer wants…

Though a little unrealistic at times, The Knowing was a good read overall. It was fun getting to know Nia; she’s a little bit spacey and flakey at times, and I definitely had my “yelling through the pages” moments as she made a few poor decisions, but with the help of unlikely friends, she stays on top of it all in this game of cat and mouse, a game that ends with a suspenseful climax that had me on the edge of my seat.

Though I didn’t necessarily find Nia’s relationships with the people of Hawaii to be too believable—they were all just a little too accepting, especially Trace and Whitney—I also have never lived in Hawaii, and I have indeed heard it is a much more laid back place. While it has it’s own share of crime, the people there tend to be just a little more understanding, so as I reflect, I have to note that yes, it actually is possible… it just isn’t be the way I personally approach people. I would have liked the relationship building here to have been a little more in-depth, I guess, because then I might have felt it was more believable as I read, but either way, in the end, it works for the story.

There is a lot of action in the novel surrounding Haitian roots, and it was fun to learn the lore as well as learn the true reason that Nia is connected to a psychopathic killer. I have to admit I wasn’t ready for the reveal—and neither was Nia—but as it’s revealed relatively early on in the story, it grew on me and as everything began to fall into place, it began to make perfect sense. Three stars.

3 stars

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

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Spellhollow WoodFrom Goodreads: Imagine embracing your mother one day, then having no memory of her 24 hours later …

That’s how thirteen year old Marie’s story begins in the spring of 1968. Each day her father, James, visits his wife’s empty grave, convinced she was the victim of a vicious bear attack. Marie’s memory impairment forces him to endure his grief silently, constantly reliving the horrifying incident— his wife literally torn from his daughter’s arms, with no trace of her ever found.

But this strange disappearance is only too common within the 220 square-mile tract of bewitched woodland they live next to, known locally as Spellhollow Wood— the last remaining ancient growth forest in all of North America. Even now in 2013, it is a place tucked away in obscurity.

And of course there was no bear attack. With the aid of a mysterious boy, Perion, and a homeless girl named Courinn, Marie discovers the truth about the mother she has no memory of. When she takes her first steps into the woods, Marie learns what still lurks there among its twisted branches and roots, after some three thousand years.

Kept secret for more than 40 years, this is the first account of Marie Meehanan’s incredible adventures. Now in her mid 50’s, Marie has played an instrumental role in allowing her unbelievable stories as a young teen to be told, contributing over a dozen of her own meticulous illustrations, which detail the events that occurred within the otherworldly forest she grew up among in New York State.

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This novel begins with aspects of the paranormal taking the forefront, and as a lover of all things paranormal, it drew me right in.  The tale actually sent chills down my spine as I began reading, and I could just imagine the scene unfolding as if I was there on the cliff overlook.  And I kind of wish I was. It is an unnerving beginning, with the sudden encroaching fog and the disappearance of Marie’s mother from her grasp; Scotti does a wonderful job setting an eerie stage for the reader.

And then the novel takes a turn toward the fantastical, leaving the paranormal behind as mystical creatures—a unicorn, a reanimated knight, vampires, living trees, slaugs, and many other sinister elements—begin tracking Marie and her otherworldly friends as they attempt to find Marie’s mother and the others that have been lost along the way.

Truth be told, Spellhollow Wood is an intriguing story of adventure and friendship, a true coming of age story.  Full of sinister plots, twists, and turns, it is an engaging read, and though some portions seemed a bit long in sequence for me, personally, I believe it will definitely spark the interest of any MG or YA lover of fantasy.  Not only is the novel reader friendly, but it has great themes within the pages, and though some of the characters were not my favorite, many were true to life and depicted the tween mind wonderfully.  If you’re a lover of all things fantasy, then I definitely recommend this novel.  Three and a half stars.

3.5 stars

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

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Check out the Trailer that made this a MUST read!



Perfect LiesFrom Goodreads: Annie and Fia are ready to fight back.

From Goodreads: The sisters have been manipulated and controlled by the Keane Foundation for years, trapped in a never ending battle for survival. Now they have found allies who can help them truly escape. After faking her own death, Annie has joined a group that is plotting to destroy the Foundation. And Fia is working with James Keane to bring his father down from the inside.

But Annie’s visions of the future can’t show her who to trust in the present. And though James is Fia’s first love, Fia knows he’s hiding something. The sisters can rely only on each other – but that may not be enough to save them.

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This was a decent read, but as I hadn’t read the prequel prior to starting this one, I felt a little lost at times. There are a lot of characters, and while I understand what’s happening in this novel, I really wish I had read these novels in order in order to have a better understanding of the characters and events they reference.

The girls in this novel have been exploited and are seeking revenge; separated due to a plan that is apparently devised in the first novel, it picks right up where I can only assume book one left off, and it’s a whirlwind ride. Annie launches right in to her “shock” and “awe” at still being alive, and the fast pace starts immediately as the sister’s alternate their chapters, each in a different place, going back days and even months at a time to set up all the events that eventually bring them together again. It sort of reminds me of the movie Momento as readers have to piece everything together as the girls share their information and backtrack a bit, neither knowing exactly what the other is doing, but using their powers to try and make amends.

Annie can see the future, and Fia has flawless instincts—two powers that I found really interesting.  Separated, they must make choices that will ensure the survival of the other, all while lying about their true natures and plans. It’s very intriguing, however, I never really made any connections with any of the character mentioned, and I think part of this is due to there being so many, and partly because I didn’t read the first book.  Lately I’ve read a few sequels of novels and been able to follow the story just fine without needing to read the first in the series, but that is just not the case with this one.

Would I recommend it? Only if you’ve read the first book, which I plan to go back and do.  The story is well written and intense, as I imagine the first book will be as well.  Three stars.

3 starsHarper Collins has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Edelweiss, prior to its release on January 30, 2014.

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9781470129361_p0_v1_s260x420From Goodreads: The Hermitage House Miracle starts with a deep hook. “I’ve given you the last six years of my life, and for what? To always be running from one town to another? Never having a life of my own just so you could live?”

As Jamie lay alone in bed, not knowing his mother had just been killed while driving drunk, he was filled with disturbing thoughts. His mother’s last words to him before going out did not make sense. He was even more confused when she had added, in a drunken slur, “If I had a lick of sense I’d have let old Ernie do what he wanted!”

Why had his mother said she had given him the last six years of her life when he was twelve years old?

After being sent to live at the Hermitage House for Children, Jamie begins to have a series of strange and troubling dreams. Each dream is about a little blond-haired boy who has a little sister and a mother and a father. But the mother is not his mother who was killed in the car accident and he had never known his father. Yet his dreams are always about the same family, especially the little boy and his dog. And the father programs computers and makes games, even promising to build the boy a video game so lifelike the boy will think he’s actually inside it…

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This is a novel that seems extremely realistic and true to life, but then takes on aspects of fantasy and the paranormal, giving it an edge that can be a bit jarring should readers not be ready for it.  And yet, it’s a very well written story that warms the heart as it unfolds.  Jamie, now living in an orphanage, only remembers the past six years of his life, but as he begins to make friends and interact with others, a luxury he hadn’t known while his mother was alive, he begins to piece together his life through his vivid dreams and a video game that mysteriously appears in the arcade.

And as it unfolds, readers learn the truth behind Jamie’s lack of memories, behind the dog howling on the wind, and about his mother.  A quick read, this novel will leave you hugging your children close as you realize Jamie’s reality and note that the bond between parent and child remains long after the line is cut.  Three stars.

3 stars

Acorn Book Services has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read this novel, via Netgalley.



17347389From Goodreads: Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after.

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Unfortunately, this series apparently just isn’t for me.  While I didn’t particularly enjoy the first novel, I was hoping the story would grow on me in the second, especially because so many of my friends really adore these books.  But, it just isn’t meant for me, which happens.

I had a very hard time following the plot line of this story, similar to my personal issues with the first novel, as it turns out.  The novel jumps around too much for my taste, as well, and it was so hard for me to keep track of the characters and all the paranormal aspects. The characters are interesting, but there are a lot, more than I can handle, apparently, though I find that a bit weird because I generally don’t have any issues following characters all over the place.  But, in the end, that doesn’t really mean anything.  Some books just aren’t meant for some people.

Basically, I’ve come to the conclusion that those who loved the first book will thoroughly enjoy the second novel, as it’s the same writing style, jumping around from character to character and delving into the paranormal, with a slice of romance.  If you didn’t necessarily enjoy the first novel, then this second might be a little difficult for you to read, but in the end, I think it all comes down to reader preferences, and while this series doesn’t seem to be for me, don’t write it off until you try it.  Two stars.

2 stars

Scholastic has been very gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on September 17, 2013.



15947841From Goodreads: The Changed are on the move. The Spared are out of time. The End…is now.

When her parents died, Alex thought things couldn’t get much worse-until the doctors found the monster in her head.

She headed into the wilderness as a good-bye, to leave everything behind. But then the end of the world happened, and Alex took the first step down a treacherous road of betrayal and terror and death.

Now, with no hope of rescue-on the brink of starvation in a winter that just won’t quit-she discovers a new and horrifying truth.

The Change isn’t over.
The Changed are still evolving.
And…they’ve had help.

With this final volume of The Ashes Trilogy, Ilsa J. Bick delivers a riveting, blockbuster finish, returning readers to a brutal, post-apocalyptic world where no one is safe and hope is in short supply.

A world where, from these ashes, the monsters may rise.

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Bick jumps right into this final installment without giving any playback, so if you haven’t read the other books, you’ll be lost in this one. And if you haven’t read the other books recently, you’ll most likely need a refresher course because there are a ton of characters, and the story jumps back and forth between them all, leaving the reader on constant pins and needles as each change over happens on a cliffhanger.  To be truthful, Bick is the queen of cliffhangers—I haven’t read another author that does it so flawlessly and so often within his/her writing; it’s an art, really, and I admire Bick’s ability to write a story like this that leaves me yearning for more and more, freaking out at each mini cliffhanger within the chapters.  And guess what?  The ending, in my opinion, leaves the door wide open for a spinoff series if Bick so chooses, which I would love, cliffhangers and all.

The characterization is great, but I was a bit confused by some of the paranormal activity that takes place in this novel, which I either forgot about from the previous novels, or I just plain missed in this one. I don’t really understand Alex’s ability and the monster within her, but I’m going to chalk it up to reader error because, honestly, Bick has never lead me astray.  I’ve highly enjoyed all her novels, and this zombie apocalypse is a smash hit.

Overall, Monsters was one hell of a ride and a great end to the series, but just a little too long for my tastes. I, personally, would have gotten more joy out of it had it been pared down from nearly 700 pages to two separate books.  Instead of a trilogy, a four book series would have been superb and made reading this final installment that much easier.  Regardless, though, this was an epic end to the series, but readers beware, it’s basically a nonstop action ride, jumping from character to character with mini cliffhangers written in between the multiple points of view.  There isn’t much down time, though I’ll admit there was a little, so I came out of it extremely tense and my body hurt from it all because I just couldn’t let myself relax as I read, and 700 pages is a long time to be tense. But it’s so good, it was worth it.  Four stars.

4 stars

Egmont USA has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on September 10, 2013.



16431540From Goodreads: Ever since the car accident that killed his twin brother, Marshall Windsor has been consumed with guilt and crippled by secrets of that fateful night. He has only one chance to make amends, to right his wrongs and set things right. He must find a Thin Space—a mythical point where the barrier between this world and the next is thin enough for a person to step through to the other side.

But, when a new girl moves into the house next door, the same house Marsh is sure holds a thin space, she may be the key—or the unraveling of all his secrets.

As they get closer to finding a thin space—and closer to each other—Marsh must decide once and for all how far he’s willing to go to right the wrongs of the living…and the dead.

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This is the story of a young man so wrought with grief that he’s given up living, so set in his own delusion that he wanders everywhere barefoot in hopes of finding a thin space to connect with the dead. For the longest time, I thought I knew what happened that night that Austin died. There are so many instances when Marsh begins to tell the story, only to stop, giving enough snippets to connect all the dots, except for the biggest one of them all that some readers may catch, but I certainly didn’t. This, in and of itself, blew the whole story out of the water, and pushed what I thought to be just a decent read into a higher category for me. I love when I’m floored by the events in books, and this novel definitely left my jaw hanging. Of course, looking back on it, there are so, so many clues throughout, and Marsh even basically admits it at one point, but it went right over my head. Epic.

Basically, what seems to be reality in this novel is just the opposite, and I loved that Casella threw in a little bit of paranormal near the end, because I really thought the story itself was depressing and I was worried for Marsh. Since the accident that killed his twin and left Marsh scarred both inside and out, he’s become an introvert, wishing he could trade places, so sorry for the events and fight prior to the car accident that claimed Austin’s life. He’s lost all his friends, though not for lack of trying on their part; he’s despondent and zones out on many an occasion, and at multiple points in the novel, as he deals with his grief, the reader cannot help but wonder if, perhaps, he’s just crazy.

I really liked that Maddie latched on to Marsh to help him through this extremely difficult time. She has her own dark past as well, though, and watching the two come to trust and help each other was really nice.

Overall, this is a good read. Just remember, not everything is what it seems. Four stars.
4 stars

Beyond Words Publishing has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on September 10, 2013.

 



Found RDL

17202502From Goodreads: Levi might be hot, strong, and have a cool set of wings, but it’s not enough to make up for keeping Allie in the dark.

Allie’s tired of being left with more questions than answers. She’s tired of loving a guy who refuses to level with her. Most of all, she’s tired of her life spinning out of control.

Desperate to save Jess no matter the personal cost, Allie has to face the possibility that the only one she can trust is herself.

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This final installment in the Crescent Chronicles finally finds Allie and Levi at peace, in love, and on the same wave length, well, most of the time.  The fighting is virtually over, and now that all the angst and trickery is out of the way, Allie and Levi are free to live their lives in bliss, except that Allie just learned something that has her questioning Levi’s love for her and her role in the Pteron world.

I enjoyed this novel just as much as the first two, but reader beware, Ivy is no long “fading to black” in her sex scenes, giving the full play by play, and it happens a lot as Allie’s and Levi’s newly reciprocated love has them whisking off for alone time much more often than not.  If you’ve been waiting for our beloved characters to finally make amends and truly be together, then this final novel will give you everything you want.  If you’re like me, then you’ll just gloss over those scenes and continue on with the meat of the story: how Allie is going to save Jess.

I have to say that I missed the constant bickering and banter between Allie and Levi in this novel, but Ivy makes up for it by finally putting the two lovers at ease with one another.  Although Allie learns something about herself that has her questioning Levi’s love, and the admiration of all the Pteron heirs in the country, she remains strong and endeavors to save her best friend and solidify the Pteron.

I enjoyed that this novel is much more laid back than the others, starting off almost floating along as Allie and Levi are finally able to just enjoy themselves and their relationship.  Interspersed here and there with the appearance of Allie’s deranged ex, Toby, and Levi’s callous grandmother, the novel gives readers jolts of anticipation, heeding the warnings as they come.  Thus, readers are given a sense of calm and joy and then are overtaken by a sense of foreboding as the novel unfolds, and I really liked this combination.  I was surprised by Allie’s decisions in the later half of the novel as everything began to heat up—her decisions to make a move for Jess on her own didn’t floor me, per say, because of her strong nature, but her bargaining and interactions with others made me tense.  It’s a beautiful ending, though.  Perfect in every way, but it’s not over.  Not really.  Ivy just announced that she’s not ready to give up the Pteron’s, and a spinoff series will be releasing late this year.  Oh thank heaven.  If you haven’t read the Crescent Chronicles yet, I highly suggest you do in time for the next installment.  Four stars.

4 stars

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

Check out the rest of The Crescent Chronicles:

Flight #1

Focus #2

Found #3

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alyssaroseivyAbout Alyssa Rose Ivy:

Alyssa Rose Ivy is a New Adult and Young Adult author who loves to weave stories with romance and a southern setting. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college.

After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children, and she can usually be found with a cup of coffee in her hand.

Links: 

Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Website | Facebook | FOUND Goodreads

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And now for the giveaway!

Alyssa Rose Ivy is giving away TWO signed paperbacks of FOUND!

Click this Rafflecopter link to go to the entry form!

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15781433From Goodreads: Freshman year of college is hard even when you’re not tied to the future king of a supernatural society.

Allie dives into college head first with Hailey as her roommate and the city of New Orleans as her backyard. As things within The Society heat up, Allie realizes that whether she’s with Levi or not, she’s in far too deep to turn back.

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This second novel picks up virtually where the first one, Flight, ended, making it a sequential novel that will leave readers clueless if they don’t read in order.  I personally really like series novels, and as I picked up Focus just a few minutes after finishing Flight, which was perfect.  While there is a little bit of what’s known as “info dumping” in the beginning chapters of book two, it’s not overbearing and Ivy seamlessly weaves it into the story, allowing those who have had down time between the novels time enough to remember the main plotline before whisking the reader away on a new and awesome adventure.

Allie, a strong-willed female, asserts herself even more in this novel, and though she struggles with her attraction and feelings for Levi, I love that she doesn’t just give in to his constant “charm,” especially after what he did to her in the previous novel (no spoilers, sorry, but if you read Flight, I’m sure you’ll be just as livid as Allie AND I were).  I was exceptionally happy to note that Allie doesn’t let Levi off the hook, even though everyone around her tells her to get over it, and I really enjoyed her strong sense of self of worth.  While she constantly questions her heart, she doesn’t immediately give in to her sexual desires, and she doesn’t let Levi’s treachery slide, either.  Way to go, Allie!

I also loved the strong female bond between Hailey and Allie, which began to develop in the first novel and really solidifies in this second.  There is no rolling-over to the men in their lives, and while there is definitely much sexual tension and relationship woes, Ivy keeps this novel clean as well, just like she did in the first, “fading to black” for all sexual encounters and focusing more on fleshing out the relationships and working through the characters’ issues. I absolutely adore Ivy’s adherence to leaving it to the imagination, and her writing style makes me comfortable as I read, which is a major plus. This novel has real relationship depth and I just loved how everything ended up in the end, especially with the twist.  I’d like to say that I saw it coming, and a part of me did, but even so, I was still shocked and nearly died when I realized it was a cliffhanger, but lucky for us all, Ivy’s final installment in the Crescent Series has just released.  Excited?  You should be.  Four stars.

4 starsI purchased this novel from Amazon.

Check out the rest of The Crescent Chronicles:

Flight #1

Focus #2

Found #3



13570162From Goodreads: Sometimes you just have to take flight.

A summer in New Orleans is exactly what Allie needs before starting college. Accepting her dad’s invitation to work at his hotel offers an escape from her ex-boyfriend and the chance to spend the summer with her best friend. Meeting a guy is the last thing on her mind—until she sees Levi.

Unable to resist the infuriating yet alluring Levi, Allie finds herself at the center of a supernatural society and forced to decide between following the path she has always trusted or saving a city that might just save her.

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Alyssa Rose Ivy has done a phenomenal job creating a paranormal world that really draws the reader in.  Set in New Orleans, Ivy places her fictional characters in a place that exudes otherworldly power, and I loved that Ivy really gave readers a taste of the area and culture, weaving it into the story alongside her interesting plotline.  The paranormal aspect of this novel was extremely unique, and Ivy does a great job whetting readers’ appetites; I can’t wait for more because she’s only just begun to scratch the surface in terms of who the Pteron really are and what power they hold over the entire paranormal world.

Initially, however, I didn’t like Levi.  He is the representation of the cocky male who knows he looks good and won’t take no for an answer, and this persona has never impressed me in real life or fiction.  Levi is arrogant, and he’s always turning the conversation into something sexual, so I was worried that I actually wasn’t going to like the novel since Allie seemed to be giving in to him too easily, which is a big no-no for me as I’m a supporter of the strong female lead.  Yet, as the book progressed, Levi grew on me a little, and I began to enjoy his and Allie’s whirlwind summer romance, especially once I knew more about Levi’s background and noted that Allie was strong in her own right.  My love for Levi was once again suspended, though, when he went ahead and did something that angered me to no end, something I’m not okay with by any means, and neither is Allie, as is evidenced from the last 30% of the novel.  But truth be told, I’m very proud of Allie’s reaction.  I feel exactly the same way Allie does when everything comes to light, but I am also a little worried that her defenses will fall away too easily as Levi attempts to smooth talk his way out of this situation.  Only time will tell.

I really do like Allie, but many times throughout the novel I found her making rash and ill-advised decisions, which turned me off a bit.  However, she has just graduated from high school, she’s 18, has no supervision, and has just ended a long relationship.  I know how it feels to be let loose and trying to turn over a new leaf, so I can’t hold it against her.

I also was very thankful that Ivy keeps her novel clean.  With Levi as the main character and his obsession, it seems, with getting Allie into bed, it was nice that Allie held out and that any and all sexual encounters between the characters were all “fade to black.”  This is turn makes it more YA friendly in that it’s not explicit or overbearing for younger readers whom I think will really enjoy the story and Allie’s strong sense of self-worth.  She doesn’t need a man to make her strong, and I loved that she was so assertive and a good role model in that respect.  Four stars.

4 stars

I purchased this novel from Amazon.

Check out the rest of The Crescent Chronicles:

Flight #1

Focus #2

Found #3



et cetera
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