Review: Strange Gods

Alison Kimble’s debut YA fantasy, Strange Gods was definitely an epic tale of saving the world from its impending doom.

Spooky is sent off to summer camp for troubled teens, but what she doesn’t expect is for an ancient and powerful god to pull her into his world. Spooky needs to navigate a world of monsters and gods to save the Earth.

While I enjoyed this story, I did feel like the pacing was off a little. The time the reader spends in Carcass’s world and at the camp, is more than half the book. However, the world building it lush and I could absolutely picture Carcass’s world and the repeating trees.

When the action really gets going – as Spooky travels to see and negotiate with other gods to save Earth – as well as the ending, were a little rushed in comparison.

I also felt like the dialogue needed work in some areas – I definitely found myself skimming the dialogue throughout the book.

All of this said, I found myself thinking about Spooky’s quest to save Earth even when I wasn’t able to sit and read.

Thank you to author Alison Kimble for the review copy in exchange for my honest review! Strange Gods is available now!

Review: Spells Trouble

This book. THIS BOOK! 

I don’t usually read witchy books, but the blurb for Spells Trouble sounded too good to pass up. Twin witches Hunter and Mercy are Gatekeepers – protectors of the gates to the different underworlds.

When their mother is the first in a string of murders, the teens have to come together with their magic to  save themselves, their town and the world.

The growth of Mercy and Hunter learning their magic as they figure out a spell to heal the trees and close the portals was great to read. 

I especially liked how the two girls brought together their family’s historical magic with modern technology to create the spell. 

I was absolutely wrapped up in the story and fund myself heading out for walks, picking up long awaited projects and working past closing at work just to keep listening.

I will say, though, there was some stunted dialogue that seemed to throw off the flow of the story sometimes. And an awkwardly explicit steamy sexual scene that felt both out of place and unnecessary. It also felt incredibly inappropriate for a YA Fantasy book, since it was very explicit.

That said, holy cliff hanger! While I knew this was the first book in a series, it ends on one heck of a cliff hanger that had me screaming at my phone in frustration!

I listened to Spells Trouble as an audiobook thanks to NetGalley and MacMillan Audio.

Review: A Curse so Dark and Lonely

I was a little nervous to read A Curse so Dark and Lonely because of al the hype that surrounds this series. I almost never like over-hyped series.

And I was especially nervous as I started reading this one because, for me, it was very slow to start. It took me a good long while to get into this one.

However, once the action started to pick up a little I was hooked and found myself flipping pages pretty fast and finishing this book rather quickly.

I will say, I appreciated that the author gave Harper a disability, but didn’t let that slow her down any. She fought and battled right along with the rest of the troops. It’s great representation for the disabled community.

I will say, of the whole book, my favorite chapters are the chapters in the Monster’s POV towards the end. There’s something that’s just perfectly succinct and yet telling about those chapters. I also really appreciated the bonus chapter in Grey’s POV.

As a Beauty and the Beast retelling, I kind of assumed how this book ended (it’s a Tale as Old as Time, after all). But it was a fun read and enjoyable to experience the relationships blossom and grown between Harper and Grey and Harper and Rhen. 

Book Review: Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy

I enjoy a good fairy tale retelling, and Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy was a fun romp through the fairy tale realm.

Filomena is your typical middle school girl, who loves to read and is kind of an introvert. She’s a huge fan of the Never After series of books, but when she goes to the bookstore on publication day of the thirteenth and final book of the series, she finds out the book isn’t being published.

As she leaves the bookstore to head home, she notices she’s being followed – by the main characters from the Never After books!

Jack the Giant Stalker and Alistair Bartholomew Barnaby are trying to save Never After from the ogre queen – and Filomena has some connection to saving the fairy tale realm!

I loved all of the connections between fairy tale characters – like Jack Stalker and Jill (from Jack and Jill) are cousins. And the twisted fairy tales, the “real” tales as these characters call them, definitely make the reader look at the fairy tales as we’ve known them in a different way.

I read this so fast, the story was such a fun read and the writing was so fast paced. I could absolutely see this story being turned into a movie or TV show. Every time I put this book down, my thoughts were still with this crew, wanting to know what happened next in Never After, to Jack, Alistair and Filomena. 

While this is a middle-grade book, it definitely held my attention and I enjoyed this fantasy story.

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours and author Melissa de la Cruz for this gifted copy!

Giveaway Details

Enter to win one (1) finished copy of Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy by Melissa de la Cruz! Open USA only. There will be 1 winner.

Giveaway starts: Monday, November 30, 2020

Giveaway ends: Monday, December 8, 2020 at 12:00 a.m. CST

Direct link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d14/? 

Synposis: 

Real life and fairy tales collide in Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy, book one in the new middle-grade Never After series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Descendants series, Melissa de la Cruz.

Nothing ever happens in Filomena Jefferson-Cho’s sleepy little suburban town of North Pasadena. The sun shines every day, the grass is always a perfect green, and while her progressive school swears there’s no such thing as bullying, she still feels bummed out. But one day, when Filomena is walking home on her own, something strange happens.

Filomena is being followed by Jack Stalker, one of the heroes in the Thirteenth Fairy, a series of books she loves about a brave girl and her ragtag group of friends who save their world from an evil enchantress. She must be dreaming, or still reading a book. But Jack is insistent—he’s real, the stories are real, and Filomena must come with him at once!

Soon, Filomena is thrust into the world of evil fairies and beautiful princesses, sorcerers and slayers, where an evil queen drives her ruthless armies to destroy what is left of the Fairy tribes. To save herself and the kingdom of Westphalia, Filomena must find the truth behind the fairytales and set the world back to rights before the cycle of sleep and destruction begins once more.

Author Bio:

Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York TimesUSA TodayWall Street JournalLos Angeles Times-and Publishers Weekly-internationally bestselling author of many critically acclaimed books for readers of all ages, including the Alex & Eliza trilogy and Disney’s Descendants novels.

Author Links:

Home

https://www.instagram.com/authormelissadelacruz/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21911.Melissa_de_la_Cruz#

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44280835-never-after?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=x7O1szxehq&rank=1

Book Purchase link:https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250311214

Review: Unchosen

“You will not choose my end, for this heart is mine.”

I don’t even know where to begin with this book. I was absolutely sucked in from the get go, Blair’s writing hooked me and left me breathless. I found myself getting to the end of a chapter and having to take long deep breaths every time.

Oh, and those chapters – almost always ended on a mini cliff hanger so I felt like I HAD to keep reading because gah! This story!

I loved how badass Charlotte is. I want to be her! But I also appreciate that she’s given flaws, and because of those flaws she feels real.

I don’t want to give too much away, either – but there were enough twists and turns in the book that I just couldn’t stop reading. And some of the twists I didn’t see coming! 

Unchosen has definitely given me one heck of a book hangover and I’m still thinking about the adventure and the magic of this book.

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours, Kathryn Blair and Epic Reads for a copy of Unchosen in exchange for my honest opinion.

Giveaway!!

Enter to win one of two (2) signed finished copies of Unchosen by Katharyn Blair! Open USA only. There will be 2 winners.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d20/

Giveaway starts: Monday, January 25, 2021

Giveaway ends: Monday, February 1, 2021 at 12:00 a.m. CST

Description: 

Katharyn Blair crafts a fiercely feminist fantasy with a horrifying curse, swoon-worthy sea captains, and the power of one girl to choose her own fate in this contemporary standalone adventure that’s perfect for fans of The Fifth Wave and Seafire, and for anyone who has ever felt unchosen.

For Charlotte Holloway, the world ended twice.

The first was when her childhood crush, Dean, fell in love—with her older sister.

The second was when the Crimson, a curse spread through eye contact, turned the majority of humanity into flesh-eating monsters.

Neither end of the world changed Charlotte. She’s still in the shadows of her siblings. Her popular older sister, Harlow, now commands forces of survivors. And her talented younger sister, Vanessa, is the Chosen One—who, legend has it, can end the curse.

When their settlement is raided by those seeking the Chosen One, Charlotte makes a reckless decision to save Vanessa: she takes her place as prisoner.

The word spreads across the seven seas—the Chosen One has been found.

But when Dean’s life is threatened and a resistance looms on the horizon, the lie keeping Charlotte alive begins to unravel. She’ll have to break free, forge new bonds, and choose her own destiny if she has any hope of saving her sisters, her love, and maybe even the world.

Because sometimes the end is just a new beginning.

Author Bio:

I live in LA, drink way too much coffee, and write all day long — because I’m crazy blessed to do what I’ve been doing for fun since I was a kid hiding in my garage loft writing terrible, terrible vampire stories. Glitter enthusiast. Bethyl shipper. Pluviophile. Ask me about my Dean Winchester obsession. John 1:5.

I’m wife to Ross and mom to Aryn, Liam, and River Grace. Also, mom to Cricket (a dog, not an insect), Maximus Dogimus Meridius (a ferocious cuddlebug) Maggie Rhee (cat, not the bad ass from The Walking Dead), and Kovacs (no parenthetical needed for him).

Author Links:

https://www.katharynblair.com/

https://www.instagram.com/katharyn_blair/

https://lightfire21.tumblr.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17937982.Katharyn_Blair

Book Feature: Elemental Outcast

I didn’t know the paranormal world existed. Until I became part of it.

TITLE: Elemental Outcast
SERIES: Paranormal Outcast Series
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy with action and adventure and PNR twined throughout

RELEASE DATE: 01.12.21
GIVEAWAY ENDS: 01.18.21
STEAM LEVEL: Clean
TRIGGER WARNINGS: None

BLURB:

All I wanted for my seventeenth birthday was a fun night out. But when a knife-wielding psychopath attacks my best friend, of course I try to stop him—and wind up getting myself killed. 

Or so I thought.

Next thing I know, I’m waking up to a glaring stranger with piercing red eyes. Jasper is an honest-to-goodness vampire straight out of the movies. He’s inhumanly beautiful, exceptionally strong…and he totally hates my guts.

Seems my near-death experience got me ensnared in a witch’s curse with twelve other paranormals known as the Outcasts. Supposedly, an ancient prophecy says the thirteenth Outcast will be the one to break the curse. That means me. Lucky number thirteen.

As I train to control a dangerous magic I didn’t know I possessed, the more I learn about the Outcasts, Jasper’s attitude, and my connection to the prophecy. And they’re all far more complicated than I thought. 

To make matters worse, another dangerous paranormal knows about the prophecy—and my connection to it. The closer I get to fulfilling my destiny, the more desperate they are to make sure that when I die again, it’s permanent.

Elemental Outcast is the first book in a young adult urban fantasy action adventure series, filled with vampires, shifters, witches, and more. If you like your books with a healthy dose of pulse-pounding fights, snark, sinister magic, and a slow-burn romance between people who can’t stand falling for each other, then the Elemental Outcasts series is for you!

COMPARABLE AUTHORS:

-Julie Hall, Cassandra Clare, Kimberly Loth, Chandelle LaVaun, A.L. Knorr, Rick Riordan

Pre-order link: https://geni.us/ElementalOutcast

Thank you to Book of Matches Media for hosting this tour!

Review: Daughter of Darkness

I spent the first couple of chapters of Daughter of Darkness confused about what was going on, but I’m glad I pushed through and kept reading.

Two parallel storylines – the past wit Kianna and the present with Kenna – and the thread that ties them together is Devon.

Devon is a warrior, called on by the gods to fix a mistake he made , but has no memory of the mistake and has no guidance from the gods on what his mission is.

I really enjoyed this story, flipping back and forth between the past and present, and, since the reader, similar to Devon, doesn’t know what his mission is, is figuring it out as the book progresses. 

There is a sexy sexy scene in this book, which makes me question whether this should be classified as YA (it is listed as “Upper YA/NA Contemporary Fantasy Romance”). Maybe I’m just being a prude? Maybe it’s because the 18 year old is sleeping with an immortal who’s hundred of years older than her (talk about an age gap!)?

I will say, I figured out Devon’s mission before he did in the book, which made the last couple of chapters before the next set of action drag a little bit for me. But, even regardless of that, I enjoyed Daughter of Darkness.

Thank you to Book of Matches Media and Juliana Haygert for the gifted copy of this book!

TAGLINE: 

She is destined to kill a demon.
He is sent to protect her.
One of them is about to fail …

BLURB:

He spent centuries in the dark …
 
After 300 years spent in the underworld as a punishment, warrior Devon is called on by the gods for a chance to fix his mistake–and to win his redemption. But there’s a catch: the gods won’t tell him details about his mission. He’s supposed to suffer while trying to figure out what he did wrong in the past, and fix it in the present.
 
All Kenna ever wanted was to be the owner of her own life and destiny. But for now all she can do is run away from the evil wanting to claim her powers.
 
 … until she came …
 
When Devon becomes unintentionally entangled in his new neighbor’s life, he can’t help but feel he’s closer to his purpose. Every moment he spends with Kenna makes him confused, and every time he touches her, glimpses of the past, of his failed mission, come back to haunt him.
 
… and showed him the light.
 
Darkness is closing in, and with Kenna’s help, Devon needs to put the pieces of the puzzle together before he fails his mission again and evil consumes the world.
 
Only this time, he’s sure he won’t be the only one damned.

Review: Songs of Autumn

I’ve been reading more YA Fantasy recently – I think it’s because I want some escape from 2020 and there’s nothing like escaping into a completely fantastical world and carried along on a magical journey.

They description of Songs of Autumn caught my attention immediately:

“What if your entire life you knew the exact day you were going to die? ​Liz does.”

First – wow. So many bucket list items I’d want to check off the list. Second, tell me more!

Liz is the “Red Princess” who the prophecies told would save her kingdom from endless winter by being a blood sacrifice. However, on the day of the ceremony, Liz and her friend Tia escape the palace and run into the forest, heading for the mountains and hopefully far enough away from Liz’s husband/murderer as possible before winter hits.

I came into this book expecting my heart broken, but not as much as this book hurt my heart.

I loved Liz and Tia – their relationship so sweet. In fact, I fell in love with the entire journeying party Liz and Tia fall in with while traveling over the mountain passes.

The growing romantic relationship between with Matioch Steele and Liz is also incredibly romantic – with plenty of heat and tension. (But still very PG-13 for YA readers!)

I absolutely couldn’t put this book down and loved every minute of it. But the cliffhanger at the end. Ugh! I cannot wait until book two is released – because I need to know what happens NOW!

Thank you to Turn the Page tours for including me on this and to Lauren Sevier for providing me with this free copy in exchanging for my honest opinion.⁠

Book Description: 

What if your entire life you knew the exact day you were going to die?

​Liz does.

​Magick in the Kingdom of Aegis has almost run out. When that happens, the seasons will stop changing, the tides will cease to turn, and the sun will no longer be able to rise and set. The only way to save the lives of her people is if Liz agrees to be a blood sacrifice in a brutal ceremony that will take her life.

​The problem is, Liz isn’t ready to go.

​With the help of a mischievous wanna-be soldier, Matioch Steele, Liz dares to take her fate into her own hands. Defying a blood-thirsty sorcerer, her desperate flight teaches her how to truly live while Mat finds out what’s worth dying for. Each other.

​Love, Death, Magick, and Mystery come together to weave one girl’s epic tale of self-discovery.

​Her song will echo within us all.

Author Bio:

Lauren Sevier lives a simple life in small town Walker, Louisiana with her family and two mischievous dogs. She’s a proud firefighter wife and mother to her miracle son, born through IVF after an eight-year battle with infertility. She works full-time for a non-profit hospital in Cardiology caring for the elderly and low-income families all over the state of Louisiana in satellite and outreach clinics. Writing and being in the service of helping others are her two passions in life.

She started writing song lyrics and poems on the front porch swing of her family home nestled amidst a 200-year-old pecan tree orchard that was once part of a Civil War plantation. She’s inspired the most by Shakespeare, the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, and JK Rowling. Her background in Theatre introduced her to classic British literature, playwrights, and poets from a very young age. This helped her to understand story concepts, dramatization, and character development the way Shakespeare once did, as an actor.

Now her biggest inspiration for writing is her son who, like all children, learns by example. Lauren is determined to set a specific example for him; to live simply, work hard, and to never stop chasing her dreams. Because, one day, you just might catch them.

Author Links:

https://www.laurensevier.com/

https://www.twitter.com/laurensevier/

https://www.instagram.com/laurensevier/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUeZHxk_ovbB93BIVeInF1A

GIVEAWAY:

Enter to win one (1) digital copy of Songs of Autumn by Lauren Sevier! Open USA and international.

Giveaway starts: Sunday, November 15, 200

Giveaway ends: Sunday, November 22, 2020 at 12:00 a.m. CDT

Direct link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d7/

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49204479-songs-of-autumn?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=Hi1KhKlNke&rank=1 

Book Purchase links:

Review: Crisanta Knight: Inherent Fate

I truly enjoyed reading “Crisanta Knight: Inherent Fate.” 

I jumped into this series on this book – and  never felt lost or like I was missing part of the plot because I jumped into to series on book three.

While I wish there had been a little bit more action in the book, I appreciate that this is book, and this series, is an epic adventure quest and the story isn’t just about the action.

I loved the overarching story that focuses on finding who you are inside – finding your inner strength. (I may or may not have been humming Reflection from Mulan while reading parts of this.)

While this book focuses on Crisa and Daniel for the majority of the book, they do meet back up with their friends in the last quarter. And I really enjoyed the dynamic of the whole team together.

That said, I honestly want to go back and read books one and two because the dynamic shift between Crisanta and Daniel throughout this book is heartwarming. But, I would love to go back and see the beginning of that relationship.

Possibly my favorite part of the book, which really said a lot to me about Crisa as a person, was a very small scene when she and Daniel are in Germany. As they are getting ready to leave, she activates her Hole Tracker and leaves a cryptic note in one of Yunru’s books which will lead her to Alderon. I  hope to see Yunru again in a future Crisanta Knight book!

After reading this, if I was ever confused about the terms “antagonist” and “protagonist” I definitely have them figured out now! I truly loved that the group’s quest was to find the Author (although 100% expected the Author’s name to be Geanna! Imagine my surprise when it wasn’t!)

I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in Crisanta’s adventure. Thank you to author Geanna Culbertson for providing me with this  free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review: The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours and Page Street YA for hosting this tour!

I LOVED this The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice! The story was so immersive and I enjoyed the gender swap retelling of Pinocchio. 

Set in an old world German-style town, I felt like I could walk right in and become part of this town. The town, the shops, the maker’s, even the local pub felt so real. 

And the makers – I loved them all, especially Nan who felt like the big sister to everyone. Taking care of them all, but also a little sassy.

As Pirouette works for the Margrave and she enlists the help of the makers, I fell in love with each of them all over again. Their friendships are so beautiful and honest and the way the come to each other’s aid is heartwarming.

The use of forbidden magic in the town was used well. The tension between Pirouette’s existence and what brought her to life was palpable. And use of magic and its consequences throughout the book helped to thread the tension throughout the story.

I found myself reading through this story quickly; Lisa DeSelm’s writing is engaging and easy to read. I loved that the elements of the Pinoccio story came through, but DeSelm made the story her own.

BLURB

Impressed by the work of the puppetmaster and his apprentice, Tavia’s ruler, The Margrave, has ordered dozens of life-size marionette soldiers to be sent to Wolfspire Hall. When the orders for more soldiers come in with increasingly urgent deadlines, the puppetmaster’s health suffers and Pirouette, his daughter and protégé, is left to build in his stead. But there is something far more twisted brewing at Wolfspire—the Margrave’s son wants Pirouette to create an assassin. And he wants her to give it life.

With Tavia teetering on the brink of war and her father dying in the dungeons, Pirouette has no choice but to accept. Racing against the rise of the next blue moon—the magic that will bring her creations to life—she can’t help but wonder, is she making a masterpiece…or a monster?