Book Promo · Book Reviews · New Releases · Reviews

Book Review: Terrible Lizard: A Memoir of My Time in the Police Dinosaur Unit

Terrible Lizard

 

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

Genre: Fiction/Urban Fantasy

Plot: If you can train a chicken, you can train a dinosaur.

Or so Oak Jones thought. He’s wanted on the Police Dinosaur Unit all his life. Now that he’s in, he’s discovered that training a Police Working Velociraptor is a lot harder than he ever imagined. And if he thought training would be difficult, living with a Velociraptor is a whole new level of fun. Banshee can clear a six-foot fence like it was nothing, and he has a love for eating the neighborhood cats, which is putting Oak on the outs with his next-door neighbor, Christy Dao.

But there is a reason for everything, and when Oak discovers why Banshee struggles, it breaks his heart.

Terrible Lizard is a funny and endearing look at life with Banshee, a great working dinosaur, but one terrible lizard.

Opinion:

Move over Jurassic Park and Jurassic World.

There’s a new dinosaur tale in town.

Oak Jones has been obsessed with dinosaurs since he was a kid. With his classmates nicknaming him “Din-Oak” and “Oakasaurus”, he knew that the Police Dinosaur Unit would be his true calling. So he worked is way into Houston PD, and spent 7 of his 10 years in law enforcement in the Dinosaur Unit. But his journey to becoming a dinosaur handler was rocky, especially when it came to training his assigned velociraptor named Banshee – who had a tumultuous past and a pension for giving the cold shoulder. But once Oak learned more about Banshee, the two begin to embark on an adventure of hunting down criminals and forming an unbreakable friendship.

Guys.

This book is SO great.

It’s cute, fun, lighthearted, witty, comical, creative, entertaining and even gets a little dark! But only a little. 😉 The entire story is broken up into tales of Oak’s entry into the Houston Police Dinosaur Unit, his training, and the seven years he spent as an active member alongside his partner and velociraptor, Banshee. The book is obviously a work of fiction, but it is set in present times and closely mirrors how our world is now…except with a few dinosaurs roaming around and chasing after bad guys.

As always, author Doug Goodman executes this fantastical tale flawlessly by blending fact with fiction by way of research and his creative imagination. This book is filled with SO many amazing moments that had me giggling and blissfully enjoying every page! From a kleptomaniac dinosaur and dinosaur smuggling, to the PDU officers instructing their handlers to train a chicken to dance by way of positive reinforcement. This book is absolutely random, but everything you didn’t even know you wanted in an Urban Fantasy. The characters are relatable, likable and have a nice mixture of sarcasm coating their dialogue. I found it so easy to immerse myself in Oak’s stories of hunting down bad guys and training Banshee, and was completely impressed by the amount of inventive little tales that were shared.  

Oak is a great character to tell this story, and I’m glad he did. He is sarcastic, funny, charming and just a good guy all around. His character exudes such a fierce loyalty and love for dinosaurs, and when Banshee and him FINALLY start to warm up to each other…*sigh*. It’s just a magical little moment okay?

Just. Magical.

It never ceases to amaze me how thoughtful this author is when writing. He ensures that literally every reader will be able to form some kind of connection to the story or characters, and he does so in such a fun way. He talks about Pokemon Go, creates a backstory for dinosaurs that are trained in China, explains the civilian interactions with police trained dinosaurs and how people react to seeing them, and there is even a dinosaur named Chris Pratt.

I mean, come on.

Genius.

If you have read my previous reviews of Doug’s books, mainly his Zombie Dog series, then you will know how much I love gushing over the resources and real-life experience he entwines into each of his books. His time spent in Search and Rescue and his dedication to spreading the word of “dog working alongside man” really shines through in Terrible Lizard. The relationship between Oak and Banshee reminded me of the fierce bond and mutual respect that Angie and Murder (Cadaver Dog) share., and honestly…it took all I had not to shed a few tears thinking about that lovely duo.

*sigh*

Anyways, this is an Urban Fantasy tale that is suitable for all ages. I think it was originally intended for a YA/Adult audience…but the author knew a child might be inclined to pick up a book with a dinosaur on the cover, so he made sure the book was kid friendly. And it is! Thought there were some grammatical errors throughout the book, it was not enough to become distracting or deter the reader from the story as a whole. It’s a quick read that will have you fully consumed and entertained until the last page. If you are looking for a book that is a little different, packed with creativity, and wanting to read something with a light-hearted mood – read this!

Because who doesn’t want to read about klepto dinosaurs?

Silly people. That’s who.

4-5-stars

 

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

Book Review: Fortuna Sworn by K. J. Sutton

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, K.J. Sutton, for an honest review. 

Genre: Adult/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy/Romance

Plot: We were meant to be seductive. We were designed to lure humans in.

Fortuna Sworn is the last of her kind.

Her brother disappeared two years ago, leaving her with no family or species to speak of. She hides among humans, spending her days working at a bar and her nights searching for him. The bleak pattern goes on and on… until she catches the eye of a powerful faerie.

He makes no attempt to hide that he desires Fortuna. And in exchange for her, he offers something irresistible. So Fortuna reluctantly leaves her safe existence behind to step back into a world of creatures and power.

It soon becomes clear that she may not have bargained with her heart, but her very life.

Opinion:

Like the nightmares that came at night, we were meant to be seductive. We were designed to lure our victims in. Then, when it was too late to draw back, we struck.”

This book is a nightmare beckoning you into the shadows of your fears and insecurities.

It sings promises of love and protection into your all too innocent ears, reaches a tender hand of surety out into the open space between you, and just as your fingertips meet…

just as you begin to taste the sweetness of heartfelt completion

it drags you down, down, down.

Into the recesses of sorrow, lies, heartbreak and death.

Until you’re nothing more a than mermaid trapped in a puddle, in a lonely decimated forest.

You’re a Nightmare.”

Fortuna Sworn is one of the fallen, a collection and species of various creatures descended from angels with intriguing abilities. But Fortuna is the last of The Nightmare’s – a creature of intoxicating beauty whose face shifts and transforms to accommodate the onlooker’s tastes. A creature that can reach into your mind with a gentle caress, find the fears that lay delicately in the folds of your thoughts, and turn them into a horrifying reality. But when Fortuna is captured by two goblins who intend to sell her to the highest bidder, she is freed by a strange faerie that offers her a deal she can’t refuse. He knows where her brother is, who disappeared two years prior, and he can take her to where he is being held if she agrees to just one thing: to be his mate.

Where do I even start with this book?

It…

*sigh*

it pains me.

I love and hate it. It makes me happy and sad, thrilled and disgusted, excited and revolted. I have so many feelings and thoughts on this book. About the questions that are left unanswered. About the characters I THOUGHT I knew, but obviously don’t know at all. About the direction I assumed this story was going, until the trap door opened up beneath my feet and swallowed me whole. But there is one single feeling that stands high above all of this.

Pure obsession.

Because I, am obsessed.

There is SO much happening in this story, and I barely even know which direction to turn to first. The Unseelie Court is the epicenter of the turmoil in this tale, and the Fae in this book are not the sweet and caring creatures we have come to love from Sarah J. Maas books. These are Holly Black level Fae. Twisted, dark, deviant and 100% psychotic! They love to get inside your head and jumble your inhibitions, to see you writhe in pain. They kill each other, own slaves, and even have sex in the middle of the damn throne room during parties!!

Oh no lassies.

This is NOT your fluffy little Fae tale.

But absolute horrors and atrocities aside, the real confusion of this book starts and ends with the lovely Fae male that Fortuna becomes mated to: Collith. He is…pure sex in earthling form? Can I say that on here…? He is mysterious, brooding, regal, rough and goddamn drool-worthy. Things get heated between Fortuna and Collith, and I don’t just mean Fortuna’s temper. It’s going to get steamy, and it’s going to get intense. But remember, no leading Fae male would be ever be complete without him contradicting EVERY single thing he says with questionable actions, vague answers and secrets on top of secrets on top of SECRETS. . So go forth, my child. Fall for this dreamy, tall, dark and handsome Fae male that stalks women until they mate him. Be my guest.

And enjoy the whole in your chest later on, okay?

It’s your funeral, I’m just always dressed for it.

With every lash, I lost more than skin and blood. I lost the potential to someday love my mate.”

But of course, the true gem of this stomach pain inducing book is Fortuna. She is a fiery, snarky, sarcastic and saucy woman who my dark little heart can only PRAY to resemble one day. This woman is badass incarnate and would have ZERO problems sinking her claws into your face while she takes a trip into hell, and drags you down with her. From the very start of the book she proves to be an intelligent and ruthless character, but also incredibly human. She is both powerful and unique, but she is also so relatable and heartfelt in everything she does. She is confident and tough, as well as sensitive and compassionate.

I adored Fortuna and every deliciously horrifying comment that dripped from her lips like sweet wine.

For a terrible moment, I considered snapping my brother’s neck.”

Though I wholeheartedly am ravaged by this book, I do wish it was a bit longer and more drawn out. I felt like the trials Fortuna had undergone were a bit rushed, and therefor her emotions towards what she was forced to do and endure weren’t focused on as much as I would have liked. What can I say? I like to see characters in immense suffering. I also would have preferred more time with her and Collith to see if their relationship would grow/evolve/crumble, but I guess that is what book two is for…right?

As this is Kelsey Sutton’s first Adult book, I am positively impressed and not at all surprised at her abilities to make me lose my mind over another one of her books. Fortuna Sworn is an addicting and vile book that you need to get your spindly hands on NOW.

 

 

4-stars

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books

Binding of Bindings #26: 10 Book Retellings You Need To Own

Princes and Princesses.
Evil Queens and deadly magicians.
Magical kisses, tall towers, dragons, knights in shining armor and damsels who just can’t seem to get themselves out of their own distresses.
Fairy tales.

We know them by heart, don’t we?
But…
What if we didn’t?
What if everything wasn’t as pretty, peppy and perfect as it seemed?

 

Are you sure you know the true story?

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~* 10 Book Retellings *~

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1. Dorothy Must Die (Book 1) by Danielle Paige
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Retelling of: Wizard of Oz

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Dorothy Must Die is the story of the OTHER girl from Kansas, Amy Gumm.

After Dorothy finds her way back to Oz, she seizes power and becomes crazed with ruling. Now, Oz is a land where the good are bad, the bad are good, and executions are more frequent than not. Amy must find away to take Dorothy down, once and for all. 

 

2. The Girl in Red by Christina Henry
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Horror
Retelling of: Little Red Riding Hood

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Set in a post-apocalyptic world, The Girl in Red is a Fantasy/Horror about a woman trying to survive in a decimated wasteland filled with vicious creatures: human AND animal.

This is a dark, twisted, gritty, and frightening version of Little Red Riding Hood, and one that NEEDS to be read. The reviews for this book are OUTSTANDING! Even if horror isn’t your thing, TRY to read this.

Christina Henry rewriting fairy tales is seriously, everything.

 

3. Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Horror
Retelling of: Faust

Teeth in the Mist

The tale of Faust is about a man who makes a deal with the Devil in order to receive knowledge and pleasures greater than his wildest dreams. In Teeth in the Mist, the story is told in the voices of three women from varying times in 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 the eerie Mill House. Hermione in 1583, is a young bride married to a man with plans of building a mansion and water mill with a few rumors of dark rituals.

Their only chance of survival is finding the man that brought them all together.

Reviewers have been LOSING it all over Goodreads about the creepiness and obsession that is this book! If you don’t read it now, at least save it for October!

 

4. Stealing Snow (Book 1) by Danielle Paige
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Retelling of: The Snow Queen

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Snow White set in an Insane Asylum?

VIBE.

Stealing Snow is set at Whittaker Psychiatric, where seventeen-year-old Snow is spending her days…even though she isn’t crazy. But when her first kiss with Bale turns him violent, Snow is suddenly drawn to a new orderly who promises to whisk her away to a mysterious kingdom that could be the answer to all of their prayers.

 

5. Entwined by Heather Dixon Wallwork
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance
Retelling of: Twelve Dancing Princesses

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You know the tale to the Twelve Dancing Princesses right?

12 Princesses, sisters, are on lock-down by their father, the King. But unbeknownst to him, the girls sneak out every night and go dancing until sun up. Once a sweet story, now…

Well. Not a sweet story.

Entwined is about Azalea and her eleven sisters who walk through an enchanted passage each night to go dancing in the silver forest, invited each night by The Keeper. The Keeper knows what it is like to be unable to leave, but the Keeper also likes to keep things.

 

6. Mechanica (Book 1) by Betsy Cornwell
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Steampunk
Retelling of: Cinderella

Mechanica

Mechanica is a steampunk Cinderella retelling about a sixteen-year-old inventor who discovers a secret workshop in her cellar filled with magical animal creations and gadgets.

After Nicolette’s mother dies, her father remarries a cruel woman with two even crueler daughters. But when her father dies, Nicolette is forced to live under the rule of her new family. But once Nicolette discovers the workshop that she knows can change her life forever, she sets her sight on the upcoming ball – a convention to showcase inventions and talents.

 

7. Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Retelling of: Little Red Riding Hood

Red Hood.jpg

Another Little Red Riding Hood retelling, because wine not?

Red Hood follows Bisou Martel who has grown up under the care of her grandmother. But then a wolf attacks her on homecoming night, and Bisou ends up killing it. The next morning, however, she realizes that one of her male classmates has been found dead. And she wonders, was he the wolf?

My description is s**t, I know. But I didn’t have much to work with here okay?

Basically what I am gathering from the reviews is this is a story of toxic masculinity and feminism, and really packs an emotional punch. I all ready to read it!

 

8. Thorn by Intisar Khanani
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Retelling of: The Goose Girl

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Thorn is about a princess who longs to escape her vicious family and cruel courtiers, and her betrothal to a Prince in a kingdom called Kestrin. So when a sorceress robs Princess Alyrra of her identity, she jumps at the change to start her life as a goose girl. But life in Kestrin is different from what she was expecting – less lavishness, and more suffering.

Now Alyrra must decide which kingdom she will stand for, the kingdom of her birthright, or the kingdom that offered her freedom?

 

9. Lost Boy by Christina Henry
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Horror
Retelling of: Peter Pan

Lost Boy.jpg

Another Christina Henry Horror Retelling!

My gift to you.

Because I love you.

In Lost Boy, Jamie is Peter’s closest friend and favorite. When Peter took him from the Other Place years ago, he was enamored with the world that Peter created. A world where there weren’t any grownups to tell them what to do. A place where they could be young forever, playing tricks on pirates, and swimming with mermaids.

But Peter isn’t who Jaime thinks he is. Peter only wants to have fun, and doesn’t care if there are a few deaths and monstrosities along the way. Because the way the lost boys play is hard and dangerous.

 

10. Coiled by H.L. Burke
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Retelling of: Eros and Psyche

Coiled

Oh look, another sweet tale for all us Slytherins out there ❤

Coiled is about a Princess who has always lived in the shadow of her beautiful sister, due to the curse that was placed on them at birth. But each time her sister is cruel to another, she becomes lovelier. And each time Princess Lairda uses her power of healing, she becomes more ugly. 

Embarrassed of their daughter, she is shipped away to an island where another pair of male twins reside who are also cursed. The curse for one of the boys, Calen, is that each time anyone sets eyes on him, he is turned into a snake. But Laidra sees the good in Calen, and together they fight to break their curses.

 

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Stay Witchy

 

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

Book Review: The Myth Seeker by Cory Barclay

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Goodreads.com – The Myth Seeker by Cory Barclay

Amazon.com – The Myth Seeker by Cory Barclay

Disclaimer: I was sent an ARC copy of this book by the author, Cory Barclay, for an honest review

Genre: Fiction/Urban Fantasy

Plot: A banshee who just wants to sing.
A leprechaun with a gambling problem.
A sex-addicted succubus in recovery.
Vampires who want a sunny day at the beach.
And then there’s Steve, the regular Joe who inadvertently brought these flawed mythical beings to our world. But he has no idea how he did it, which is a problem, because it’s his job to bring them home.
All this responsibility is putting a serious damper on Steve’s directionless lifestyle. Then he finds out a dark force is trying to kill him and his friends. And he might be falling in love with one of his charges…
Steve realizes he must get his act together, before it’s too late…

Opinion: If you have been keeping up with my reviews lately, you will know that I am a big fan of Cory Barclay’s Of Witches and Werewolves series. It had grabbed my attention with its imaginative story that is based loosely on true events, the wonderful character and story building, and Cory’s ability to write in a way that transports the reader back in time.

So naturally, when Cory asked me to read and review his newest story The Myth Seeker, I jumped at the chance. I love witnessing an author I enjoy trying something new and stepping out of their writing “norm”, and this new urban fantasy sounded really promising. Unfortunately, this just really didn’t hit the mark for me and I am left feeling a little disappointed and confused.

Steve Remington is trying desperately to make it in the music world and to hold on to his sobriety, just one day at a time. While at his father’s funeral Steve comes across a young girl named Annabel playing a guitar against a headstone, and offers his services to help her make a record. But little do Annabel and Steve know that their worlds have changed forever. Soon strange things begin to happen every time Annabel sings, and even stranger characters begin to pop up in Steve’s life. Leprechauns, angels, vampires, druids are suddenly everywhere, and Steve seems to be at the epicenter of the chaos.

As I had said above, I was really looking forward to reading this story. I love ANYTHING Fantasy, especially when it involves such an array of mythical creatures and magic. I am very fond of Cory Barclay’s writing style in the Of Witches and Werewolves series, as well as his ability to connect the characters and the reader so easily. I have found that this author writes lengthy stories that build a fantastic plot and world, but doesn’t overdo it with giving the reader too much information and “fluff”. His characters are always quirky and somewhat flawed, but feel very real and important to the reader. Not only do I always stay completely glued to his stories, but I often find myself not expecting the ending or what will happen next.

When it comes to The Myth Seeker however, I feel like it is lacking in a lot of those qualities that I enjoy from this author. Though the idea for this story is both thoughtful and intriguing, I personally feel like it missed the mark. This story is an urban fantasy set in present times in Southern California, and combines the world that we know with another mythical plane/realm/world. I felt that this movement from Cory writing historical fictions set in the 16th century to present, changed his writing style to something that felt more forced than natural. The writing felt too wordy at times and focused on one moment or scene for way too long, which in turn made it seem like a lot was being repeated. It felt a bit too wordy during many of the dialogues, and took away from the overall story and what was happening. It seems like a lot of useless “fluff” was put in to fill up space when it came to conversation between characters, or our main character observing or describing something. I would have preferred more story building rather than reading about a lot of things that felt unnecessary, in my opinion.

I also had a hard time connecting with any of the characters. By the end of the story I found Steve to be pretentious, arrogant, overly crude and honestly…he just kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I was a little turned off by the overuse of crudeness and excessive cussing by him. DON’T GET ME WRONG. I cuss like a sailor, and I understand he’s a macho kind of character. But when it comes to writing, I think there should be a distinction between the character being cruder and the entire story adopting that style. I think that an author using more raunchy ways of writing takes away from their writing skills and the story, and it makes it look like that they don’t have the ability to write in a more sophisticated way. Which I KNOW to be untrue regarding Cory Barclay, because I have seen proof of his amazing writing.

The character of Annabel also threw me for a bit of a loop. She spoke in a very formal way that was meant to make her look worldly and to back the notion that her parents (who are vampires) are from a VERY long time ago. All fine and dandy. But for some reason, the way she “spoke” kept making me visualize a pre-teen rather than a young adult. Her character came off as very young and naïve, and even Dale and Steve would speak to her like she was a young child. So obviously when the romance between Steve and Annabel eventually arouse, I was more than a little taken aback and confused. Because of my disconnect for these characters, I didn’t find myself caring about what happened to them.

I think because of those issues that I had while reading, it took away from my appreciation from this story. I found myself predicting the ending and speed-reading through because of the little things that were throwing me off. I think Cory had the right idea for this story, but that it could have been shaped a little better. I am really upset that I wasn’t as enthralled with this story as I was with his other series, but I have confidence in Cory’s writing that he will produce countless enjoyable and interesting stories in the future.

2-5-stars

 

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