Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · New Releases · Release Blitz · The Parliament House Press

Book Review: Stolen (Book 1) by Marlena Frank

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, The Parliament House Press,  for an honest review. 

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: It’s difficult taking care of a delusional father by yourself. Sixteen-year-old Shaleigh Mallet would rather explore and photograph dilapidated buildings than cater to her father’s dark episodes. But when she’s kidnapped by a creature who carries her atop a flying bicycle into another world, she realizes this wasn’t the escape she wanted.

In a kingdom known as the Garden, where minotaurs pull carriages and parties are held in hot air balloons, Madam Cloom and her faerie servant, Teagan, rule over the land with incredible but terrifying magic. Shaleigh must prove that she is the reincarnation of a long-dead ruler, not because she believes it, but because it’s her only chance to survive. With the help of a trespassing faerie, a stoatling, and a living statue, Shaleigh hopes to outwit everyone. She aims to break the bonds of servitude and finally make her way home. What she doesn’t realize, however, is that she’s playing right into the hands of a far worse enemy…

Opinion:

I feel as if I’ve just fallen off a Yellow Brick Road into a Rabbit Hole.

Downdowndown

…into the dark depths of h

HAH, kidding.

It’s more like the magical depths of WonderOzRinth.

This author is clever.

While reading Stolen I got INSTANT vibes of Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. A rat-boy creature driving a flying bike through the sky, a garden with an evil “Queen”, a cowardly lion, and a main character with the last name Mallet. Hmmm…something makes me think this book is FULL of little Easter eggs!

Though I loved the world building, writing and direction this author took the story, I was having a hard time getting through it.

Though there was an even pace throughout Stolen, it was a slow pace that seemed to drag on and on without a lot happening. Due to this being the first book in the series, I imagine this might be the grand setup for what is to come. But even so, I was expecting a little more turmoil and pizzazz! I wanted more examples of strange mythical creatures or examples of the differences between this world and the human realm. The writing was flawless and the author succeeded in describing details of the world intricately, but I wanted to know MORE about the world Shaleigh fell into. I felt like I was given a great TASTE of the magic and uniqueness of this place, but wasn’t fully enveloped in it.

I wanted to drown in it, not just stick my toes in.

I would have liked to connect to the characters more, because they came off as one-dimensional with not a lot of substance. Shaleigh started out as a unique character with an affinity for taking photos in decrepit abandoned buildings. I thought this was such a RANDOM attribute for a character, but one I instantly loved and connected with. But as the story progressed, I felt as if she was just in the background of the book, even though she’s the main character. She doesn’t seem that surprised/scared/in awe of this new world she was dropped into. Why? I would be FREAKING out!

I was also a bit unclear of ages of everyone, except Shaleigh. I know this doesn’t seem like it would be a big deal, but when I have little basis of how old a character is, it takes away from the intent of their dialogue and I am left feeling confused. My human nature wants to predict a love interest or friend/foe from the beginning, and I need ages and more descriptions of body language to do that. Out of everyone, I think Mawr and Colin were the most developed and likable characters, but we unfortunately don’t get a whole lot of time with them.

All in all, this story is a great read…even if I had a few qualms with it. The writing is PERFECTION and it transported me to a new world that feels familiar to my heart. It may not have gotten my heart rate up or made me overly obsessed with the characters, but I would be very interested to see where this series goes. The author left the book in a place where she can go several ways with the plot, and I am very curious as to how she will spin everything together.

I’d recommend it to anyone with a love for Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz or Labyrinth.

With that said…

 

3-stars

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books · New Releases · Pre-order · Upcoming Releases

Bindings of Bindings #19: My Top 10 Anticipated June Book Releases

So this was supposed to be posted on Friday, just like every other Binding of Bindings post.
But…it wasn’t.
So…
Happy MONDAY!

 

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~* My 10 Anticipated June Book Releases *~

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1. Before the Broken Star (The Evermore Chronicles, Book 1) by Emily R. King
Release Date: June 1, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Sci-fi/Steampunk

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Before the Broken Star is said to be a “dark re-imagining and gender swap of Pinocchio“.

Intrigued?

Of course you are.

The series is a YA Fantasy, Sci-fi, Steampunk, Historical Fiction about a girl who turns herself in for crimes she hasn’t committed in order to avenge the murder of her family. In all honesty, the synopsis for this book is vague, and the reviews aren’t giving me much to go on here.

BUT there are mentions of a lethal female main character, clock shops and gadgets, deceit and murder, and a possible romance.

From my experience, sometimes the best books have the crappiest books descriptions.

Need I say more?

 

2. Ghosts of the Shadow Market (Books 1-10) by Cassandra Clare
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

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If you have read any of Cassandra Clare‘s books (The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, The Dark Artifices) then you’re probably already losing your pretty little mind over this release.

This series follows Brother Zachariah and a smattering of other characters like Anna Lightwood, Mathew Fairchild, Tessa Gray and Valentine Morgenstern as they come and go in The Shadow Market.

This is the first release of all 10 books in one edition, and I am honestly so excited to get my greedy hands on it!

 

3. The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Romance

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Emma Saylor‘s mother died when she was 10 years old, leaving behind stories of the Lake she grew up near. Now a young teen, she is sent to the same lake to spend the summer with her grandmother and cousins. But North Lake is divided between the working class and the wealthy, and even her own identity is divided between the daughter she is to her father and the girl she is to her mother’s side of her family.

The Rest of the Story is about Emma‘s journey to learn who she is, and the secrets her mother left behind. It is a coming-of-age tell about a girl who must decide who she wants to be, when two sides of expectation are pulling her in opposite directions.

 

4. The Beholder (Book 1) by Anna Bright
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

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The Beholder seems to be a retelling of various stories and fairy tales wrapped into one, but the two most prominent adaptations would be Cinderella and The Odyssey.

It is the story of a young Princess who yearns to marry a young man she has been in love with for as long as she can remember, but is rejected. Wishing to find her “Happily Ever After“, she is sent away by her stepmother on a voyage to find a future husband.

Though I have been seeing a lot of conflicting reviews on this story not being a true retelling of The Odyssey, I am still really excited for an sort of adaptation that follows the classic. It sounds like a very creative story, and I am a sucker for any type of period piece.

 

5. The Haunted by Danielle Vega
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Genre: YA/Paranormal/Horror

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YES!!!!!

I received an ARC copy of this in a Goodreads giveaway and I have been talking about this book for WEEKS and WEEKS!

Finally…it will be releasing!

The Haunted is your typical haunted house tale. A young girl and her family move to a new town, to a house that has a reputation for being haunted, and basically…s**t just hits the dusty ceiling fans. But in typical Danielle Vega fashion, I know this is going to be a story that creeps me out more than anything.

SO EXCITED!

 

6. Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Horror/Retelling

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Teeth in the Mist is a retelling of Faust – the tale of a man who makes a deal with the Devil in order to receive knowledge and pleasures.

It switches between the lives of three women, all from different parts of history. Zoey is sixteen living in modern times, and explores the haunted ruins of Medwyn Mill House with her friend. Roan is seventeen in 1851 and is, along with two others, the newest ward of Mill House. Hermione in 1583, is a young bride married to a man with plans of building a mansion and water mill.

Their lives are intertwined in this spooky horror retelling, and their only chance of survival is finding the man that brought them all together.

 

7. Bunny by Mona Awad
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Genre: Fiction/Suspense

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THIS. LOOKS. AMAZING.

Reviews are boasting of the weird, confusing, strange, creepy and obsessively wonderful characters and plot of this book…and honestly, it DOES sound weird AF.

It is about a group of strange rich girls at a University who call each other “Bunny“, who have an immense love and affection for one another, and who are always entangled in a fierce embrace. When outsider Samantha is invited to the Bunnies‘ “Smut Salon“, she is pulled into the dark and twisted world of the Bunny cult.

I know that sounds bizarre, but the actual synopsis of the book sounds much more intriguing and addicting. This book is at the top of my list for June – I can BARELY contain my excitement!!

What…a freak show.

 

8. The Exact Opposite of Okay (Izzy O’Neill, Book 1) by Laura Steven
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Feminism

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Feminist hearts, UNITE!

It is the typical tale of a young woman being labeled a slut after being found in a compromising position with the son of a powerful man. The Exact Opposite of Okay follows Izzy as she is forced to deal with peer judgements, gossip and ridicule.

In a world where women are standing up for themselves and each other more than ever before, this book is proving to be an important piece to educating audiences on the cruel reality that many women face.

I can tell this is going to be a heart-wrenching story, but one we can all relate to and appreciate.

Put this on your TBR list!

 

9. The Girl in Red by Christina Henry
Release Date: June 18, 2019
Genre: Fantasy/Horror/Retelling

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I’m telling you guys, 2019 is the year of retellings!!

The Girl in Red is a Little Red Riding Hood retelling set in a post-apocalyptic world of evil, darkness and grit. It is a Horror based novel that follows Cordeila, or Red, after a mysterious viral outbreak has decimated the world. She sets out on a journey to her grandmother’s cabin in the woods, and along the way is forced to do anything she can to survive.

I cannot wait to dive into another dark and depressing world that Christina Henry so eloquently creates! She has a knack for turning our beloved fairytales into one’s of pure horror! 

 

10. The Evil Queen (The Forest of Good and Evil, Book 1) by Gena Showalter
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

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ANOTHER RETELLING!

A retelling of Snow White, The Evil Queen is about a girl named Everly who was taken away from the magical land of Enchantia as a baby and raised in the mortal realm. But as Everly grows older she learns of an ability to communicate through mirrors, and starts to see a strange girl in them. It is prophesized that she is the Evil Queen and enemy of Snow White, and that the darkness will soon take her over completely. Forced to return to Enchantia, Everly does everything she can to fight the prophecy and to change her fate.

There is a lot of Maleficent vibes flowing around this book, and I can’t help but be really excited for it. I love a story that twists the villain into a character that isn’t actually so villainous, and when the author gives them a spotlight to show how amazing they really are.

Bring on the darkness!

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Are you guys excited for any of these releases?
I’d love to hear about any other books you are anticipating the release for in June, there are so many great ones coming out this year!!
As always, Stay Witchy! ❤

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · Reviews

Book Review: Drowning by Margaret McHeyzer

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, via NetGalley, for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fiction/Mental Health

Plot: I’m a cutter.
I cut because I find solace in it.
I cut because it helps calm my frantic mind.
I cut because the voices inside my head tell me to.
I cut because this is the only way I know how to handle life.

Opinion:

Look, I totally see where the author was trying to go with this.

To bring awareness to Mental Health issues, to give a voice to those who might not be able to speak about their struggles, to help the public understand what it means to have inner demons.

I can really appreciate all of that.

These are important topics that REALLY need to be talked about more.

But for me, the way this story was executed – how the characters were developed, their dialogue, reactions and problem solving – was cringe-worthy.

And not in a good way.

I’m obviously completely in the minority on this one, because this book has nothing but amazing reviews on Goodreads. If we’re talking about the message the author is trying to send to the reader, then hell yes, it’s a 5-star read. It covers several difficult topics that so many people can relate to. It gives a voice to those who are suffering from similar demons and traumatic experiences, and sheds light on situations that other people may not know a lot about. The book gets HEAVY with these topics, and it isn’t for the fainthearted.

But if we set that aside and talk about the writing, character development, dialogue, etc.

It’s just not done well.

It was SO hard to make a connection with any of the characters. Their struggles and personalities were voiced, but I didn’t have the chance to really KNOW any of them. The moments of Ivy cutting herself were the closest I could get to having a meaningful connection with her. They were detailed and really expressed the emotional terror that envelopes a person when they self-harm. In those instances, I could really feel her pain and confusion. The dark scenes translated well through the pages! But in every other aspect, Ivy’s character fell flat and seemed really all over the place in terms of her development.

Her character flips back and forth between being all-knowing and dishing out advice, to knowing nothing and not being able to practice any of the things she tells others to do.

That doesn’t make sense to me.

The dialogue felt awkward and forced, it didn’t have a nice flow, and I was cringing the entire time from how uncomfortable it kept making me. Some of the conversations run on for too long, and it causes a lot of repeated sentences and ideas. Every response is “nope” and every emotion that Ivy may feel is summed up with an “ugh” instead of being creatively described. Then when a REALLY serious moment is happening the characters can only come up with the same phrase to say over, and over, and over – “oh, man” or “It’s okay dad, tell me, I need to know dad”.

Can’t they say something else?

Tobias’s character is really frustrating to me too. He instantly latches onto Ivy with his INSTA-LOVE, and becomes REALLY controlling and possessive with her. Why do none of the other characters see an issue with this? He’s super pushy and aggressive. I KNOW HE’S WORKING THROUGH ISSUES, OKAY? But does that make it okay for his character to go around throwing punches and freaking out? AND WHY IS EVERY OTHER CHARACTER OKAY WITH HIS ATTITUDE?! They all continually make excuses for out of control behavior.

Someone gets hit in the face – “here, have a soda”.

Ivy comes clean about her demons and opens up to her friends, and their response? “Yea let’s just drop it and talk about it some other time”.

WHAT?!

It seems to me that the author was so focused on shoving every “hot topic” into this book, that she forgot to put work into her characters and what they say. There isn’t any FEELING behind their thoughts and actions, it’s robotic, stiff and dull. It just feels like lazy writing.

I really wanted to like this, because I feel strongly about Mental Health Issues NEEDING to be talked about in society, and handled with compassion and care. As a society I think we shy away from these topics, or look down on people who think or behave differently.

I commend the author for giving Mental Health a voice.

But in terms of a great book, this isn’t it.

 

2-stars

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Book Reviews · Book Wrap-up · Books · Netgalley · New Releases · Reviews · Wrap-Up

Binding of Bindings #17: April Book Wrap-up

Another month, gone.
Deceased.
Extinct.
Dried up.
Blown away into a wind of little, to no, s**ts given.
It was fun while it lasted, but…
We’re

 

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~* April Book Wrap-Up *~

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1. White Rose by Kip Wilson

White Rose

I started this month out in typical fashion…

…with a gut-punch to the heart.

White Rose is a YA Historical Fiction based on the inspiring true story of Sophie Scholl, who became part of an anti-Nazi resistance group. The group was formed in June of 1942 by a group of University of Munich students who protested the Nazi regime and Hitler, by drafting and distributing political resistance leaflets across Germany.

It is a story of bravery and conviction.

But one of the most beautiful aspects of this story is that it is written entirely in poetry.

It is heartbreaking and daunting, but it will make your heart soar and make you feel happy to know people like this exist in the world.

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A REALIZATION

Our deaths
Will mean
Something.

The world will react,
And someday
Someone
Will punish
The people
Who are doing
These terrible things.

The ribbon widens,
Flooding
My mind
With a river of hope.

5-stars

(See my review here)

 

2. Stars in the Winter Sky by Michael Duda

Stars in the Winter Sky

Michael Duda is one of my FAVORITE authors, and thank the cauldron, he is FINALLY writing a full-length book.

Michael is known for his dark, eerie and somewhat twisted short stories. They each shine a light on human nature, the good and the bad. But his latest short story, Stars in the Winter Sky, comes with a lighter tone.

It is about two women who venture into the woods in search of the Winter Revelers, a group of people that would come once a year to celebrate the Snowfall. But one year, only two people come back, and the others were lost forever.

 Just like every Michael Duda’s story, Stars in the Winter Sky will make you think. This tale is beautiful and breathtaking, and definitely worth a read.

5-stars

(See my review here)

 

3. Killing November (Book 1) by Adriana Mather

Killing November

This…is where my April went from a fast-paced roller coaster

to an aimless stumble in the dark.

Killing November wasn’t horrible for me, but it definitely let me down. I had VERY high hopes for this story, I even bought the hardcover on release day (even though I received a copy from Netgalley) because I knew it was a book I was SURE to love.

The story follows November as she arrives at Academy Absconditi, a place for students to train to be assassins and spies. Classes range from Knife Throwing, Poisons and the Art of Deception. But November has no idea why she is at this school, why her father would send her to such a place where every move and conversation is calculated and part of a game. So when dead bodies start turning up around the school, November is forced to learn more about her past and who she really is.

My issue with this story was the main character. She acted like a deer in headlights for 80% of the story, but during a class she would suddenly turn arrogant and pompous. It was such a confusing thing to have her go from timid to annoyingly confident, and back and forth. The romance had a strange pacing, and the entire story was sort of dull.

It was SO hard to get through this book, and it’s definitely the cause of why I didn’t get to read as many books this month as I hoped. Though I am in the minority on my opinion for Killing November, I’m sticking to my guns and my rating.

I mean honestly, 3 stars was generous.

3-stars

(See my review here)

 

4. Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton

Smoke and Key

SMOKE AND KEY!!!!!!!!!!

It’s dark.

It’s Gothic.

It’s Romantic.

And it’s about dead people.

What more could you ask for?!?

It starts with a young woman waking up in a place of darkness. She learns that she is dead and has fallen out of her grave to a place called Under, a place that is neither Heaven nor Hell. Each inhabitant of Under is named by the possession they wake up with – Key, Smoke, Ribbon, Doll, Journal. But the problem is that nobody can remember their past lives, who they are, or how they died. Except Key. As she starts to regain the memories from her life, she begins to realize there is a much bigger reason for why she and the people of Under are stuck.

Smoke and Key is mysterious, creepy, sad, uplifting, depressing and just downright EVERYTHING! I am STILL so crushed that I can’t dive into this story to wear the corsets and creep around in Under. I am SO in love with this book.

Kelsey Sutton is life.

5-stars

(See my review here)

 

5. Zombie Dog ( Book 3) by Doug Goodman

Zombie Dog

My last read of April, and it was a brilliant one!

This is the third book in the Zombie Dog series by Doug Goodman, and BY FAR, my favorite one yet.

The Zombie Dog series follows Angie Graves, who trained Cadaver Dogs to work with the police in searches. But when giant wasps are discovered to be attaching themselves to the heads of corpses, creating zombies, Angie transitions her field to train her dog Murder to be a zombie tracker. This installment follows Angie and Murder as they work in Houston, Ground Zero for the Zombies outbreak.

Zombie Dog is dark, gritty and twisted. I was sweating, I was cringing and I most definitely was flopping around in my chair wishing the horrors would JUST END!

But naturally, above all else, I was obsessed.

I am continually blown away by this author. The amount of detail and passion he puts into his writing is unbelievable. His knowledge screams through the pages, and easily immerses the reader in a world that feels all too real.

It was easy throwing five stars at this book.

5-stars

(See my review here)

 

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April may not have been my BEST month ever in terms of numbers, but it was filled with almost all winners!

But April is gone, and May is bringing new stories!

I’m stuffed to the broom with exciting reads for May, and my current read is AMAZING!

Until next time my lovelies, stay witchy! ❤

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Reviews

Book Review: Zombie Dog (Zombie Dog, Book 3) by Doug Goodman

Zombie Dog

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book by the author, Doug Goodman, for an honest review

Genre: Fiction/Horror/Suspense

Plot: You have to be there for your dog. On any search, your dog is the only one who didn’t volunteer for this work.

Murder has always been there for Angie. He stood loyally by her side in the Colorado wildfires, and he led her to safety in Big Bend National Park. But now they are hunting zombies in the city, joining the City of Houston Zombie Task Force. Their mission is to discover the source of weaponized zombies and prevent gangs from using them. Working with police detectives and curanderos, Angie and Murder work their way through Houston’s criminal underworld, but at what price? Angie must remember, Murder is her responsibility, and he is her loyal friend. Can she protect him as well as he has protected her?

Opinion:

HOLY S**T, Doug Goodman.

You just took this zombie series to a whole new level of disturbing, dark and twisted!

GOODBYE fluffy tale of a woman and her dog hunting corpses controlled by giant wasps

HELLO seriously deranged, body tensing book of 100% pure horror!

I can’t…look…away…

I love it.

They succeeded in the Colorado wildfires and survived the dangerous chase into Big Bend National Park. But back in Houston, “Ground Zero” for the wasp outbreak, Angie and Murder’s zombie tracking services are needed more than ever. Reports have been flooding into Houston PD of gangs weaponizing zombies, missing persons reports, and suburban homes that may be hiding monstrous creatures. Enlisted to assist the Houston Zombie Task Force, Angie and Murder begin working diligently to hunt the living corpses into extinction, all while helping form the Zombie Squad of other tracking dogs. But as the task force comes closer to uncovering the reason for the disappearances and Frankenstein zombies, they find something much more grotesque than they had ever expected.

Run for your lives, kids.

The wasps are multiplying.

I am honestly SO shocked with Zombie Dog, I’m not even sure how to begin.

I have fallen in love with Angie and Murder over the years, looked forward to their amazing and dangerous adventures, and delighted in their resilience. So as I began book 3 in the Zombie Dog series, I expected to feel much of the same mild, skin-crawly vibes and elated adoration for these two amazing characters. But what Doug Goodman has given the reader in this installment is

so much more than I could have ever asked for in this series.

I am severely disturbed by the gruesome evolution and reproducing of these zombies, obsessed with the Curandero elements, and beyond impressed with the detail and OBVIOUS research this author has done. Books 1 and 2 don’t even compare to the gut-punch that this book is! It is horrific, it is emotional, it is touching, exciting and borderline demented! Look, I thought wasps with giant stingers kidnapping people was bad…

…but what they’re doing NOW?!?!

THIS IS SO MUCH WORSE!!!!!

Goodman has raised the “what in the actual f**k” bar by about 1,000,000 Scoville. I’m sweating, I’m frightened, I’m cringing into the couch whimpering and wailing like a six-year-old version of myself that sees a spider free-falling from the ceiling towards her face.

There is SO much happening in this story. Gangs are turning zombies into walking death traps by attaching saws, blades, nails and metal armor to their bodies. Dogs Chainsaw and Kali are being trained to join the Zombie Squad in hunting down the growing wasps. Elements of voodoo and magic (can I call this magic?) are intertwined FLAWLESSLY into the story, making it nearly impossible to remember this is fiction. And the pregnant women are…

…*sigh*…the pregnant women…

But I think what is really impressing me, is Angie. Her character makes SUCH strides in this installment. She has blossomed from a somewhat cold and serious character to this beautiful, loving and fiercely passionate woman! She’s still as sarcastic and fiery as ever, don’t you worry! But in Zombie Dog I feel like I finally get to KNOW who she is. The author really took the time to go much more in depth with Angie and Murder, and it is something I didn’t even know I needed until I was immersed in it.

I know Doug Goodman is a huge outdoor enthusiast and previously worked in search and rescue, so I can never be surprised by the amount of resources that he pulls into his stories. This author goes above and beyond to give you EXACT directions to areas of Houston, precise details of how a task force/police unit is assembled and organized, and an easy and exciting understanding of how to read a dog when they are on a scent. These books aren’t just thrilling rides of fiction, they are pamphlets of knowledge and survivalist tools. This author literally puts everything he has into creating these books, and it is shouting through the pages. I wish more authors would put the amount of effort and heart into their work, as much as Doug Goodman obviously does.

Goodman lives and breathes the outdoors and the connection between man and dog, and it shows in every word that he shares on these pages.

5-stars

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · New Releases · Reviews

Book Review: Killing November (Book 1) by Adriana Mather

Killing November.jpg

 

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Random House Children’s, via NetGalley for an honest review.  

Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

Plot: It’s a school completely off the grid, hidden by dense forest and surrounded by traps. There’s no electricity, no internet, and an eye-for-an-eye punishment system. Classes include everything from Knife-Throwing and Poisons to the Art of Deception and Historical Analysis. And all of the students are children of the world’s most elite strategists—training to become assassins, counselors, spies, and master impersonators. Into this world walks November Adley, who quickly discovers that friends are few in a school where personal revelations are discouraged and competition is everything. When another student is murdered, all eyes turn to November, who must figure out exactly how she fits into the school’s bizarre strategy games before she is found guilty of the crime…or becomes the killer’s next victim.

Opinion:

You know those books you come across that sound AMAZING, like they will be an EXACT fit for you, and are already praised and LOVED by EVERYONE?

And then you start reading it, all giddy and excited for what’s to come…

…but then you get about 60 pages in and are just kind of like…

Yeah.

Killing November.

November assumed she had a normal upbringing, that was until she arrived at Academy Absconditi. Here, the students aren’t animated with conversation, worried about calculus tests and pining over who will ask them to homecoming. Their movements are deliberate, and they are masters at mind games and killing. So why would November’s father leave her in a place like this? Where the teachers enact an “eye for an eye” punishment system,  family secrets are to be kept hidden for one’s safety and students keep turning up dead? Surrounded by people who assume she is weaving a clever game of innocence and daftness, November is thrust into a world she can barely navigate, all the while trying to learn the secrets of her family and who she is.

Killing November is a YA Mystery dripping in deceit, manipulation, darkness and brutality.

I witnessed all these themes and more while reading.

But in the end, all I was REALLY left feeling,

was indifference.

It started out great. November describes being named after a maple tree, how her father describes her as “too trusting”, and having awakened in dungeon-like room with little idea how she arrived there. Who wouldn’t be intrigued? As I started reading more, I learned that November is just like most of us readers – not entirely proficient in the art of deceiving and killing people via poisons, a bow and arrow or a set of freshly sharpened knives.

Woe is us for our normalcy.

She knows nothing of Strategia – an ancient secret society of spies and assassins, has barely heard a whisper about the Families of the Strategia who are responsible for pulling the strings behind MAJOR historical events throughout history, and has no idea how she fits into any of it. So as the story started picking up and November was thrust into her new lessons, I started noticing a constant theme of wishy-washiness with this character.

For most of the story, November is running around like a confused goose saying and doing the wrong things. I don’t blame the poor girl either, this school sounds like a nuthouse. But when November is given a task in lessons to steal a scarf off another player in the dark, or throw knives at targets…she becomes arrogant and cocky and just magically knows what she is doing.

Look, I love a confident character who has witty comments and a snarky attitude.

I know that she had a little training in these areas as a child.

But when the main character acts like a deer in headlights for 80% of the book, and has a few random and brief moments of god-awful one-liners boasting her perfection, it’s a turn-off.  After the first instance of this, and the multiple continuances of her silly demeanor and confusing personality after, I became increasingly checked out.

I almost DNF’d this book about 15 times, but kept at it because so many other readers were telling me how much they loved it. So I forced myself to keep reading…and reading…and…reading. In the end, they were right in some cases. It DID get better. But it wasn’t amazing and unforgettable.

It was just okay.

I really wish I could have fell in love with this story more, because the suspense was there. The mystery and grittiness were shouting through the pages, but I just couldn’t connect with November or any of the other characters for that matter.  The romance element was lacking in that it felt shoved together rather than formed naturally, and the friendship between Layla and November felt stiff. I just wasn’t invested in this read at all, and for that I am truly dismayed.

3-stars

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books · JKS Communications · Reviews

Binding of Bindings #15: 10 Male Authors You Need To Know About

Binding of Bindings #15 isn’t just for the gallant, creative and amazing male authors out there!
Apparently, it’s also for a TON of Science Fiction stories that will make your head SPIN!
The ladies had their turn, now it’s time for the MEN!!

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~ 10 Male Authors You NEED To Know About~

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1. Michael Duda (M. Duda)

 

Michael Duda.

The author with the ability to reach into your mind, flip your thoughts sideways and upways, and then leave you lying there questioning your entire existence.

He’s an author of a collection of Shadow Books: A Cat Will Play, Bedtime for Seneca and Deny the Father. Each book contains three to five short stories, and each one will hurt your heart, your morals, or both. Some are creepy an show the negative side of human nature, and some show the beauty in life.

He has become one of my favorite authors because he can take such a simple interaction between characters, and turn it into one dripping with a thousand different meanings.

His latest release was Stars in the Winter Sky (see my review here) and it was, as usual, a delicate and wistful story. It follows two women as they travel into the woods to find the Winter Revelers, a supposed group of people who mysteriously perished.

If short stories aren’t your thing, it doesn’t matter. Read these books.

 

2. Evan Ronan

 

Evan Ronan has a special place in my book heart.

He is the VERY FIRST author to send me a book for review, and it was the first in his series, The Unearthed. The series follows Eddie McCloskey and his team of local ghost hunters as they travel around the country investigating claims of paranormal activity. The series can get quite dark, scary and gritty – so definitely for an older audience.

The series has 7 books in total, and they are so addicting. So I suggest just buying them all at once 😉

Otherworld is Ronan’s first attempt at a YA Fantasy story…and he killed it! It is a hugely imaginative and creative story filled with giant Venus flytraps and talking trash bins. It is guaranteed to make every reader feel like a kid again.

 

3. Arnulfo Cantarero

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Emotions is a Sci-fi/Fantasy about an extraterrestrial being who is born to human parents to live a life as a human, in order to better understand human emotions. The reader follows Jason Ariaz as he grows and navigates a world he has trouble understanding. With the assistance of his implanted thinking computer, Jason is able to better understand the feelings of humans and hopefully feel them himself one day.

This is the first book in a series, and hopefully the next one will be releasing soon. It is a really interesting and unique idea for a story, and one that immediately grabbed my attention.

This author just knows how to think outside of the box!

 

4. Cory Barclay

 

Another HUGELY talented author is Cory Barclay.

He has historical fiction DOWN, but where he really shines is his plot development and his amazingly dynamic characters.

His Of Witches and Werewolves series is a little Fantasy, a little Mystery/Horror and you guessed it, a Historical Fiction. It’s set in 1588 in Germany, and is based loosely on actual events that went on for about 20 years of the “Werewolf of Bedburg“. It jumps between various characters who are affected by the gruesome murders taking place in the countryside, and the series goes on to weave a haunting and disturbing tale of treachery.

This series started my Historical Fiction obsession, and it will always be one of my favorites due to his multitude of themes.

(See my review for book 1 here)

 

5. Doug Goodman

 

For all you adventure seekers who love a science fiction twist, Doug Goodman has you covered!

Goodman’s Zombie Dog series follows main character Angie Graves, who trains dogs to work with law enforcement to sniff out anything from guns to bodies. But when Angie and her dog come across a cadaver with a giant wasp attached to it’s skull, she changes up her line of work as a zombie tracker. After finding a half-dead and brutally beaten dog on the side of the road, Angie brings him back to health and begins training him to track the zombies that are taking over Colorado.

I am currently reading the last book in the series, and I am reading as slow as I can so this adventurous tale doesn’t end.

Goodman uses his real-life experience as a former search and rescue worker and love for the outdoors for his inspiration into this series, and you can REALLY tell that he knows what he’s talking about. His writing is superb, detailed and the reader will get lost in his story.

 

6. Jonathan Ballagh

 

Another Sci-fi series for your inner child to drool over.

The Quantum Door and The Quantum Ghost or books 1 and 2 in The Quantum Worlds series, but can definitely be read separately if desired.

The Quantum Door follows young brothers Brady and Felix as they stumble upon a door to another world where A.I.’s have taken over, and are slowly crumbling the world into nothing short of danger. The Quantum Ghost goes back to the same world where A.I.’s and “Elder Minds” rule, but follows a young girl named Remi Cobb.

Jonathan Ballagh is an expert at Science Fiction writing. He can easily transport the reader into another dimension that feels both exciting and frightening, while keeping the reader completely enthralled throughout.

This author is the reason for my love of Science Fiction now, and if you just read his books, you will know why.

 

7. Peter Brunton

The Stolen Child

I reviewed The Stolen Child back in 2015, and was BLOWN AWAY by Peter Brunton and his writing.

This book, is beyond AMAZING.

As I said in my review: “This book has literally robbed me of my acceptance of living in this ordinary world we call reality, and thinking that it was enough for me to escape into made up stories once and awhile. “

It’s THAT good.

The Stolen Child is a YA Fantasy set partly in London, and partly in a place called the Borderlands where flying ships and a floating Utopian society resides. It flips between two young female characters who live in different parts of the world, but are pulled together by strange events that happened before their births.

It is a WILD, magical and action-packed ride and I am f*****g shocked that it doesn’t have more review on Goodreads. This author is a born story-teller. His writing is flawless, his story building is vivid and creative, and I just can’t get enough of this book!

 

8. Mark C. King

 

I have had the IMMENSE pleasure of working with Mark C. King in all four of these books as an Alpha reader through his editing process, and was even written into Whispers of Bedlam Asylum.

I was made into a woman in an insane asylum.

Fitting? You know it.

The first three books are in the Sigmund Shaw series, which is a Sci-Fi Steampunk adventure collection. It follows Sigmund Shaw who has a penchant for breaking the law, but naturally only for good! The series is filled with gadgets, motorized carriages, and some rather sinister happenings.

The Book Reapers is set in England in 1891, where Naomi Gladwyn is sent to live in a work house after the mysterious death of her parents. It is a curious and riveting tale of a group known as the Book Reapers, who are a secret society who work to protect the world from the emotions that books can bring out in a person.

Mark is an amazing writer and one who has grown and improved so much over the years. I definitely recommend giving his books a try!

 

9. Robert Pence

 

Robert Pence is a fantastic writer of young Middle Grade books filled with mystery and SO much imagination!

One Deed Dude follows Otis who is cursed to only do one good deed a day after accidentally killing a gypsy boy-scout. Enraged by the accident, the mother of the gypsy boy-scout curses Otis to only be able to perform one good deed a day or else suffer terrible living nightmares.

Thump Squash is the tale of a creature who kidnaps children and chops off their feet. After the disappearance of eleven-year-old Billy, his friends go on the hunt to find Thump Squash and get billy back.

Both stories are delightfully spooky and unique for their strange plots, but ones that are WAY too good to pass up. Robert Pence is a witty writer who gives his young characters thoughtful and incredible voices.

 

10. Gary McPherson

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I was just introduced to Gary McPherson by JKS Communications when they sent me this book for review, and I was pleasantly surprised with his writing and story.

So much, that he has been given the honor of making it on this weeks book list! 😉

Joshua and the Shadow of Death is the first in the fictional Berserker series. It is the story of a childhood development psychologist that diagnosed two young boys with Berserker syndrome, a condition that causes the person to fly into a blind rage, and how he guides one of the boys through adulthood. After the father of one of the boys is found dead, the obvious suspect is his son who has been known to become quite angry and violent.

The reader is taken on a “who-done-it” ride, while also getting some interesting insight into the psychology of children.

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As usual, stay witchy!

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