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Book Review: When Enemies Offend Thee by Sally Whitney

Thank you so much to Kate Rock Book Tours for providing an e-copy of the novel for review and tour purposes! All opinions are my own!

Quick Facts:

  • Title: When Enemies Offend Thee
  • Series: Standalone
  • Author: Sally M. Whitney
  • Publisher & Release: Pen L Publishing, 3/1/2020
  • Length: 329 Pages
  • Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟✨ for fans of contemporaries

Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

Viciousness can lurk beneath even the most serene of surfaces.

Recently widowed, Clementine Loftis returns to her hometown in North Carolina looking for comfort and peace. Instead, she finds an angry former high-school classmate who sexually assaults her in a bizarre attempt to settle an old score.

When her lack of evidence prevents police from charging him, Clementine vows to get even on her own. After her first attempt doesn’t pan out, she escalates her effort. When that fails, she escalates again . . . and again.

Clementine’s determination to make her attacker pay for what he’s done drives her to walk a fine, dangerous line between vengeance and justice, making her question who she really is and whether she can ever again be the woman she wants to be.

Clementine returns to her hometown to start anew after her spouse dies. She is looking to restart her life and open an antique store. After she is raped at knife point, Clementine has to come to terms with an inconceivable lack of justice in the system and find her own power again. How can she do it?

This book handles some tough topics but also is a great read about reconnecting with family, good friends, racial divides, revenge, justice, staying true to your morals, and second chances. There is also a bit of a discourse on power and sanity and going over the edge.

I really enjoyed the characters, especially Ehrlene and Alfred. I think Ehrlene was my favorite. She was the strong and sensible one and it was interesting to read about the women’s friendship through the lens of someone who’s mother used to work for Clementine’s. I had a hard time reconciling part 1 Clementine with the one in part 2 but I mean really, what would I do in her shoes? I think I would lose my mind in her shoes and just stab the guy, but Root Magic was interesting too. The IRS thing just seemed a little ridiculous and I also couldn’t reconcile Clementine hurting innocent people, which was where the star deduction came in.

If you like contemporary novels with female friendships, found family and bit of a thriller element, check this one out!

Thank you again to Kate Rock Book Tours for having me on the Instagram Tour!


I found some author links to share:

Author’s Website: https://sallywhitney.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smwhitney65/

The Book on Amazon:

Categories
Fantasy

Book Tour Stop!! Hidden Realm by T.R. Slauf

     Thank you so much to Literary Bound Tours for having me on the tour for Hidden Realm by T.R. Slauf!  Pay attention my fairytale and dark fantasy loving friends because you don’t want to miss this one!

Quick Facts:

  • Title: Hidden Realm
  • Series: Legends of Lightning, #1
  • Author: T.R. Slauf
  • Publisher & Release: self published, October 6th 2020
  • Length: 267 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 yes for not fainthearted fans of the genre who can take a few bawdy/lewd/crude exchanges and a house pet sacrificed

Here is the synopsis:

     “The next Realm Walker will bring with them a storm. Lightning must fight the Crimson Shadow, or the lands will be cast into eternal darkness.”

     When she was a child, Esther was plagued with vivid nightmares. Now they have returned to haunt her. Bloodthirsty monsters chase her through a forest of dead trees while a mysterious hooded figure stalks her. After waking with fresh wounds from her dreams, Esther searches for the truth about who she is and the Hidden Realm she is destined to save.

     Join Esther on her journey of self-discovery as she travels into a world long forgotten. Unsure if she can trust her hooded guide, she is hunted by unknown enemies and smothered by expectations of grandeur. Deciphering friend from foe she travels the lands, trying to unite kingdoms torn by pride. 

Esther is a resident of modern day Earth who finds herself literally torn between two realms. After performing a ritual to enter the Hidden Realm, which is a mashup of dark fairy tales based off of the brothers Grimm, she must unite the kingdom against the elusive (but actually pretty tragic and complicated) enemy called the Crimson Shadow.

I really enjoyed the story itself, and reading all the gritty details found in a proper dark fantasy. Evil wolves, humans talking to animals, the stereotypical man of all men character, bandits, magic, dragons that hoard books, and the fairy tale queens like you’ve never seen them before, Hidden Realm has something for every lover of stories. The second half and especially last quarter also moved significantly faster than the first half, which was a nice treat that made the book hard to put down.

I was not such a fan of the main character, Esther, mainly due to a lack of back story that enabled her to step into her role of heroine. She was a timid librarian that managed to step into a world of danger and then hardly ever looked back. She never even mentioned her father after he passed away, and let Oison off the hook way too easily for being evasive. I really love the side characters and banter though. Davon was the perfect innocent boy chatting with birds who grew right into hiself, I also loved Winston, and so much of the dialogue in the book was just perfect.

Not sure they would have had the word fuck in fairytale land though. On that note I think Slauf did a great job with atmosphere and mood setting between characters. I would have liked a little more description of the physical settings in some places.

All in all this book had me rapt, and I fully recommend it but not for the easily offended or faint of heart. Content includes everything from bandits laughing about female and male rape to a house pet being sacrificed, to swearing, gore, parental death, pairings of many gender combinations in both hook ups and marriage, talk of sibling loss, STDs, and others. As I said – a dark fantasy gem.

Thank you again so much to Literary Bound Tours for having me on the tour for Hidden Realm!


Here is the link so you can check out what the other hosts think!

Here is the author info and book links!

About T.R. Slauf

I have always been torn between two halves of myself; one half revels in all things scientific and longs to explore the secrets of the universe, while the other half finds solace and excitement within the arts. When it came time to choose a college degree, I put aside my creative hobbies and perused a career path in biochemistry. For me, college was an expensive privilege, thus I decided a degree within STEM was the most logical route for my costly investments. Through my years in college I still tried to enjoy the arts, reading novels and drawing in my sketchbooks when time permitted.

​Five long years later, I graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and molecular biology. I immediately began working full time in an academic research lab, it was miserable. I quickly grew weary and depressed in the toxic and hostile work environment created by our supervisor. I begun interviewing for other jobs and exploring my creative hobbies again when my congenital heart condition required me to have another open-heart surgery.

​In the months before my operation, I became determined to finish my first novel; I had started and abandoned several over the years. Once I was well enough, I continued writing during my recovery. Nine months after my operation, I left my job at the research lab and invested more of myself in my novel. It wasn’t an easy transition and it did not happen over-night, but I decided to start a new career as a novelist.  

​Now, almost three years later I am proud to share with you my debut novel Legends of Lightning, Hidden Realm. I hope you enjoy reading this story as much as I enjoyed bringing it to life. I am eager to hear your thoughts, please leave reviews or contact me directly. I look forward to sharing many more stories with you in the future.

Links:

Website: https://www.trslauf.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/t.r.slauf

Blog: http://trslauf.com/sneak-peeks

Buy the Book;

Categories
Dystopian Fantasy Science Fiction

Book Review: Skyhunter by Marie Lu

Thank you to Bookish First and the publisher for providing a finished copy of Skyhunter in exchange for an honest review!

Quick Facts:

  • Title: Skyhunter
  • Series: Skyhunter, #1
  • Author: Marie Lu
  • Publisher & Release: Roaring Brook Press 9/29/20 
  • Length: 384 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 for the target age range, sure

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

A broken world.
An overwhelming evil.
A team of warriors ready to strike back.

Talin is a Striker, a member of an elite fighting force that stands as the last defense for the only free nation in the world: Mara.

A refugee, Talin knows firsthand the horrors of the Federation, a world-dominating war machine responsible for destroying nation after nation with its terrifying army of mutant beasts known only as Ghosts.

But when a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front to Mara’s capital, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? What secrets is he hiding?

Only one thing is clear: Talin is ready to fight to the death alongside her fellow Strikers for the only homeland she has left… with or without the boy who might just be the weapon to save—or destroy—them all.

To put my rating into perspective, I look at the target age range of the book and how appropriate it is for that group too, not necessarily for my own adult enjoyment. In this case 12-17 is advertised and I am not necessarily rating these in comparison to adult novels.

Skyhunter is a pretty exciting YA scifi/dystopia where a conquering nation is taking over it’s continent and one free nation, Mara, is left to fight back. Mara presents an elite force of fighters, mainly teens because death forces a high turnover rate, that fights against the war-machine monsters created by the Federation. All bets are off when one of the Federation experiments breaks loose and joins forces with Mara’s soldiers, especially with Talin, the main character.

I really liked the plot and scheming and felt like the action remained steady enough to keep me reading. The chapter lengths were perfect too to keep pages turning. Teens should have no problem staying engaged here, even if some of the action and plot revelations happen rather conveniently, i would expect this in books geared for 12 year olds. There is some monster face mashing gore and war scenes that might be a bit much for the low age range but it wasn’t too graphic.

I just loved the characters too. Talin can’t speak and is a bit of a pariah among the Strikers due to her ethnicity, but she remains strong in the face of it and continues to be a strong fighter. Red the Skyhunter is interesting too, I liked him ever since his little mouse friend popped out.  The book puts a huge emphasis on enemies and “enemies” also having human faces, and he is a great example of this.  There were a whole host of funny, strong, soft, ancillary characters too and I liked their little war band family of proximity.

The book remained more action than character driven, which I prefer. More world and action than character/relationship building and I am thankful that any romance remained contained mostly to shy glances and observations. One of my favorite aspects was how each enemy, even the monsters, had a human face presented as well and it kept the characters truer to their own humanity I think.

The ending too, omg the ending. I will need to refresh myself on this book before the next comes out because honestly I’ll probably forget it in two weeks but I definitely want to know what happens next!!

Categories
Fantasy

Book Tour Stop and Giveaway! A Wizard’s Forge by A.M. Justice

     Thank you so much to Storytellers On Tour for having me on the tour for A Wizard’s Forge!  Please check out the links at the bottom for the giveaway and other tour hosts!  While this was published in 2016, we are featuring the book to generate buzz for the upcoming sequel, A Wizard’s Sacrifice, coming on October 6th

a-wizards-forge_justice_banner-hosts

Quick Facts: 

  • Title: A Wizard’s Forge
  • Series: The Woern Saga, #1
  • Author: A.M. Justice
  • Published: Wise Ink Creative Publishing – September 2016
  • Length: 326 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟 with caution

Here is the synopsis:

Wizards are forged, not born.

Victoria of Ourtown lived through a nightmare to become the ruthless soldier known as Vic the Blade. Once she wished to explore the world settled by her spacefaring ancestors; now she thinks only of revenge.

Prince Ashel’s carefree days are filled with music, revels, and dreams of a life with Vic. Those hopes die when the thrust of an assassin’s knife drives him to war.

The target of Vic’s and Ashel’s wrath is Lornk Korng, a tyrant whose schemes stretch across a continent and a lifetime.

A mysterious alien race holds the key to a legendary—and lethal—power. Whoever possesses this power will hold the world in their hands. Will they save it, or doom it?

A gripping tale of empowerment and revenge plays out against a breathtaking backdrop of dark fantasy and science fiction.

     I have strong mixed feelings about the book but ended up at a 3 star rating.  Let me talk about the good things and then come back to the bad things, and end on a good note again.

     I liked the plot in general quite a bit.  A girl is captured as a young teen and sent to be essentially a sex slave to a realm lord.  She ends up escaped and in the hands of the Royal family of his enemy country, then in the military, and eventually obviously discovers magical prowess.  Whatever other misgivings I had, the book stayed interesting. 

     The only power that seems to exist in the land is mind speech and Listening, which is frustrating for those who don’t have it and interesting if not complicated for those who do.  Other than this telekinesis, only the wizard(s) have any magical prowess involving air/matter manipulation and the ability is guarded by a strange race of desert people. 

     The characters are a true mixed bag but there were a few highlights, including the manipulative Queen Elekia, Prince Ashel, and quite a few of the soldiers within Vic’s military circle.  

     The world building is pretty well done including religious descriptions that differ but are all based off of the Legend (or reality depending on who you ask) of the space ship Elesendar that originally brought humans to the world.

     And now I branch into my many digressions.  I feel like the space ship had to be real because you can’t just create warp drives and captains logs, but it’s totally irrelevant to the entire story, world, book, etc.  One other sci-fi element exists but the world denizens don’t even have electricity or firearms or anything, it’s very much a world of horses and swords WHERE a random network teleportation device exists.  Ummm…?

     As far as content, Vic’s entire world rotates around her lasting feelings for her captor, who tortured and stripped and humiliated her while constantly assaulting her. Now Vic was only 14 at first so it’s like grooming a child but with torture. But then in the weirdest situations, even while intent on killing him years and years later she kept remembering his fingers doing things to her and getting aroused and there were some pretty graphic descriptions.  Even with that she was just going to hop in bed with his son too.  And she never gets past it, or seems very hard to try to.  I thought this was written by a guy that has never interacted with a female and was a little surprised when I went back and reminded myself who was writing it.

     Additionally, there were so many times where random names and places were thrown in and never mentioned before.  Development between characters was hardly there – one minute they just met, then the book fast forwards and everyone is close friends without anything in between.  This occurred with skills too, Vic became a pretty pro wizard in about ten minutes and then a day or two later was capable of huge feats.  Plot forwarding is a plus but development in general is a hard no in this book.  This is why I didn’t list any of the main characters as favorites, it was impossible to connect to them. There are also a huge number of times where characters jump out of character and their actions make little sense.  

     There is one stylistic thing that kept popping up where chapters or breaks would begin in the middle of action, then we had to backtrack to learn what was going on.  To me this was just confusing and jarring every time because I thought I missed something, then learned to roll with it.  The other thing related to this is that especially with major revelations or with action happening, I think the author was trying to connect dots in the readers head by being vague and cryptic but I frankly just didn’t get it at times and wish the information had been spelled out.  

     Also Woern, as far as I remember, was never mentioned so I’m curious about the name of the series.

     Ok deep breath, let’s pull this back to the positives.

     I read the entire thing without skimming, no matter how frustrating it got.  I saw a LOT of really hard but sensible criticism for this book and I think the author probably took some of it into consideration for the next book, which I at least do want to read at some point.

     Do I recommend this book?  Honestly I have mixed feelings but the plot itself isn’t terrible and I think there are plenty of people who will enjoy it.


     Thank you again to Storytellers On Tour for having me! Here is the schedule so that you guys can see what the others thought of the book:

Tour Schedule: A Wizard’s Forge by A.M. Justice


The giveaway:

**GIVEAWAY**
We’re hosting a tour-wide giveaway!
 
Prize: The Woern Saga Book Bundle – Grand Prize: Signed Paperbacks, Runners-Up: Ebooks
Starts: September 30th, 2020 at 12:00am EDT
Ends: October 7th, 2020 at 11:59pm EDT
Restrictions: Paperbacks are US Only. Ebooks are international
Direct link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e832e98847/?

Book info and Author links:

• Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30813842-a-wizard-s-forge
• Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1945769076

Author Links
Website: https://www.amjusticeauthor.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AMJusticeWrites
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AMJusticeauthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amjusticeauthor/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6903962.A_M_Justice

Categories
Science Fiction Thrillers

Novella Review: Dust & Lightning by Rebecca Crunden

Thank you so much to Rebecca Crunden for sending an epub copy of her sci-fi novella in exchange for an honest review!

Quick Facts:

  • Title: Dust & Lightning
  • Series: standalone
  • Author: Rebecca Crunden
  • Length: 124 pages
  • Publisher & Release: Self – February 2020
  • Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 yes for fans of scifi and action!

Here is the description from Amazon:

In the near future, humans have gone beyond simple space travel. By the year 4054, multiple solar systems are inhabited, and taking a spaceship is as commonplace as taking an aeroplane.

Unfortunately, not everything about the future is so advanced. The central planets, led by Earth, have risen high at the expense of cheap labour on distant worlds. Dissent is widespread and arrests are common. Sometimes prisoners are released; sometimes they disappear without a trace, sent to labour camps in other solar systems.

When Ames Emerys receives a letter telling him that his brother Callum has died en route to the remote planet of Kilnin, he takes the first ship he can off Earth, desperate for answers. But the secrets Ames uncovers prove far more dangerous than he could have imagined.

And trouble isn’t far behind.

I read this in one session because the action just never stopped and it was impossible to put down. It was believable action too, involving a lot of narrow escapes and cool powers, and I felt like it was well paced.

It’s only 117 pages but there is enough description to get a visual image of the important places and objects, as well as a good sense of setting.

In the brief span of knowing these characters I definitely felt like I knew Ames pretty well, and could at least appreciate Violet for her sense of daring and Callum for his strength. Ames is out to rescue his brother and discovers a whole can of worms (ha ha) involving the corruption of the Democratic Planetary Alliance.

I hope there is a part 2 to this because I really want to know the outcome of the rebellion!


Author and purchase links:

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51004978-dust-lightning
Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Dust-Lightning-Rebecca-Crunden-ebook/dp/B084HKS69M/
Website: https://rebeccacrunden.com
Categories
Science Fiction

ARC Review: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

Thank you so much to Tor Books via NetGalley for the e ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own!

Quick Facts:

  • Title: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
  • Series: currently a standalone in his new ‘Fractalverse’
  • Author: Christopher Paolini
  • Publisher & Release: Tor Books – 9/15/20
  • Length: 880 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟✨ For fans, yes

Here is the description from GoodReads:

Kira Navárez dreamed of life on new worlds. Now she’s awakened a nightmare.

During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move.

As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human.

While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope . . .

My first thoughts upon putting the book down were “can I come up now? Is it over?” Not necessarily in a bad way but this is an extremely long book to read on a Kindle. It’s a reviewers biggest nightmare to end up with a super long book that eats into the reading productivity of the month. Literally I wanted to finish this weeks ago before pub date but it wasn’t a quick read, it was impossible to skim for fear of missing anything, and then I had to collect my thoughts.

I think if people have time to get lost in this massive world that spans everything from xenobiology to history of lost alien races, from intergalactic war to peace, multiple settings and two full crews, and immense amounts of world building along the way… It’s a pretty solid space epic.

I might have enjoyed the book more spread out and developed as a trilogy, bringing the different crews and adventures and timelines into more separate stories. As it was, I felt yanked from one setting to another just as I was getting comfortable with the place and people involved in the prior one. It takes place over…. Somewhere between 2-4 years I think.

The world building and science involved is something amazing though, the years put into writing this are quite clear. I think I read 8 years he spent drafting and writing and re-writing. Sometimes the details and world building dragged the plot to a standstill, which explains the length in both time count and reading time for me.

The Wallfish crew were my favorite characters. Falconi and Trig and Sparrow and the ship’s pets were up my alley of dark humour at times. That is a crew that I would happily spend endless hours with. I never really connected with Kira herself, she never felt real and although I liked her well enough, I felt kind of blah about what happened to her.

I think Gregorovich, the ship mind, is widely a fan favorite and I 100% agree.

The crew is gathering in the mess hall, if you wish to partake, O Spiky Meatbag. – Gregorovich

Or when he calls the alien Be-tentacled friend, Queen of Thorns, or Sparrow Birdname! But then also Gregorovich:

I screamed, though I have no mouth to scream. I wept, though I have no eyes for tears. I crawled through space and time, a worm inching through a labyrinth built by the dreams of a mad god. This I learned, meatbag, this and nothing more: when air, food, and shelter are assured, only two things matter. Work and companionship. To be alone and without purpose is to be the living dead.”

Definitely some pretty well multifaceted characters, I think that crew together is one of the more shippable ones in adult literature that I’ve read.

I was totally ok with that ending too, bittersweet and I get along really well.

All in all: not bad but I think the book got lost in itself at times for being a standalone. At this point it is the starting point of a new universe, but apparently to be a standalone within that world so all that worldbuilding may make more sense later on.

Also: I think PigFinger should have been included in the dictionary at the end 🤣

Have you read it? Want to discuss it? Leave a comment!

Categories
Fantasy Young Adult

ARC Review: The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

Guys it’s finally here and I am so glad to be able to share it finally!!  Thank you so much to Wednesday Books for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!

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Quick Facts:

  • Title: The Silvered Serpents
  • Series: The Guilded Wolves #2
  • Author: Roshani Chokshi
  • Puisher & Release: Wednesday Books, September 22, 2020
  • Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 oh yes for fans of YA fantasy, magic, and heists

Here is the synopsis:

Returning to the dark and glamorous 19th century world of her New York Times instant bestseller, The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi dazzles us with another riveting tale as full of mystery and danger as ever in The Silvered Serpents.

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost — one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into the icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

The most important thing to know is that The Silvered Serpents is 100% inarguably better than the Gilded Wolves. I honestly didn’t love that book as it was overdone with prose and long scientific ramblings. Chokshi speeds it up in this followup – Holly Black apparently offered advice on spicing things up a bit and it definitely worked.

There is still some chattering about puzzles and math, but the book becomes generally a lot more readable. There is still a lot of “purple prose” but descriptions are entirely more concise and the action flows so much better.  I admire Chokshi for keeping the advice and criticism from book one in mind and making this a better sequel.

The Silvered Serpents has plenty of it’s own merits, including the elevation of Laila to my list of top 5 favorite YA heroines ever. She pulled an Inej and loudly, proudly declared that she was not responsible for the soul, fixing, or happiness of some ruined asshole. I mentally dropped the book and started clapping because Laila is amazing. She is the group’s caretaker, the cement, the big sister that they all need.

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Chokshi gives her young readers credit, something that a lot of YA authors aren’t doing. Authors: please spare teens and other readers the endless repetition and pining and terrible inner monologue rambling that I have seen in a lot of recent novels. The YA genre deserves the reading comprehension level that this book offers. The only thing that slowed the book down for me was how in some chapters it seemed like she had the thesaurus open and was going for the most obscure words possible. To some extent vocabulary in young adult novels is very important, but there is a point where it slows the story down and just gets unnecessary. She clumps them together too and it threw me off just a bit.

These characters have fixed themselves in history firmly as my favorite heist crew. Enrique and Zofia essentially carried the book for me character wise, along with Hypnos’ antics and Laila’s amazingness. I am shipping these people SO hard

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The plot itself is more interesting as well, the crew is tracking down the Sleeping Palace and The Divine Lyrics, which can make gods or break the world depending on how the artifact is wielded. The architecture, traps, obstacles, and magic in this book had me HOOKED. So did some of the historical references, such as the pogroms. Chokshi is bringing in history and lore that actually make sense to the time period and that is awesome.

One other point that I admire is that this book is a meditation on love, masking as grief. Masking as horror. Concern. Banter. Cake and poison. I fully enjoyed reading her discourses on both grief and love in their various forms of expression and think they are both important themes for young adults. I would hand these books to any kid, totally just RIGHT for the target audience.

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My best advice is that even if you struggle reading The Gilded Wolves, read this. It gets better. 100% 5 stars all day long

Categories
Contemporary Fiction Middle Grade Mysteries

Book Tour And Giveaway! The Wild Path by Sarah R. Baughman

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours for having me on the tour for The Wild path!! I will share the synopsis, a quick review, and my favorite quotes from the book mixed in!. I will start by saying that this book has a huge 5 star 🐴🐴🐴🐴🐴❤❤❤❤❤🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating from me as a horse person with questionable mental health at times, just so timely and perfect.

Categories
Contemporary Fiction Paranormal Young Adult

Book Review: Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour

Quick Facts:

  • Title: Watch Over Me
  • Author: Nina LaCour
  • Publisher & Release: Dutton Books for Young Readers, Sept 15th 2020
  • Length: 272 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 for fans of contemporary!

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Mila is used to being alone. Maybe that’s why she said yes to the opportunity: living in this remote place, among the flowers and the fog and the crash of waves far below.

But she hadn’t known about the ghosts.

Newly graduated from high school, Mila has aged out of the foster care system. So when she’s offered a job and a place to stay at a farm on an isolated part of the Northern California Coast, she immediately accepts. Maybe she will finally find a new home, a real home. The farm is a refuge, but also haunted by the past traumas its young residents have come to escape. And Mila’s own terrible memories are starting to rise to the surface.

My Thoughts:

Thank you so much to the publisher via Bookish First for the finished copy in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own!

Watch Over Me is a deeeeeply atmospheric young adult contemporary read, with a paranormal/magical realism twist involving ghosts and residual hauntings related to trauma.

Mila becomes too old to remain in foster care, and goes to teach on a farm in northern California where the owners have fostered 40+ children. The interns cook, clean, teach, tend to the farm and children, and everyone lives in a structured environment and seem like one big amazing family.

Then there are the ghosts. Ghosts of children playing in the yard. A dancing ghost that plays the piano. A ghost that re-enacts Mila’s past traumas?

The less I think about the ghost element, the more I enjoy the book. It doesn’t make a ton of sense to me to bring residual hauntings to actual life, but I understand it in a symbolic sense. The theme of residual hauntings due to trauma is deep and difficult and handled so well by LaCour, and these resilient kids who have been through so much. There is a literal but symbolic gesture of embracing the lost and detached part of oneself that still deserves love and belonging and healing.

I loved the little kids, especially Lee, the farm family, and the whole found family theme in general. The farm atmosphere was so real that I always felt like I was walking in the chilly air next to the characters, or joining them at dinner or in the family room.

It’s a shorter and quick book that kept me rapt the entire time, and if I had more time it could have easily been read in a day.  A similar book that I read this year, and the review is here somewhere, was Echoes Between Us by Katie McCarty.

Content for gas lighting, housefires, parental abandonment, child abuse, sex overheard and then imagined in no explicit detail, two naked girls in a bath tub with nothing sexual occurring, one usage of the word f**k, near drowning, personal injury, ghosts, and pain related to ghostly encounters

Categories
Crime Horror Paranormal

ARC Review: Comanche by Brett Riley

Quick Facts:

  • Title: Comanche
  • Author: Brett Riley
  • Publisher & Release: Imbrifex Books, Sept 1st 2020
  • Length: 336 pages
  • Rating & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟⚡ probably

Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

Like a cylinder in a six-shooter, what goes around, comes around.

In 1887 near the tiny Texas town of Comanche, a posse finally ends the murderous career of The Piney Woods Kid in a hail of bullets. Still in the grip of blood-lust, the vigilantes hack the Kid’s corpse to bits in the dead house behind the train depot. The people of Comanche rejoice. Justice has been done. A long bloody chapter in the town’s history is over.

The year is now 2016. Comanche police are stymied by a double murder at the train depot. Witnesses swear the killer was dressed like an old-time gunslinger. Rumors fly that it’s the ghost of The Piney Woods Kid, back to wreak revenge on the descendants of the vigilantes who killed him.

Help arrives in the form of a team of investigators from New Orleans. Shunned by the local community and haunted by their own pasts, they’re nonetheless determined to unravel the mystery. They follow the evidence and soon find themselves in the crosshairs of the killer.

Thank you to Imbrifex Books for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own.

Raymond and LeBlanc are two Private Investigators from New Orleans, and they are called to Comanche, TX, to help investigate some brutal murders that have the local authorities stumped.

The settings were extremely well done, whether 1800’s Comanche or present day was being described. The local flavor was there plus the small town politics and family drama. I loved how much Ray and Leblanc love food too, all the talk about NOLA specialties had me hungry. The weather and layout and setting in general played a big role in the book, and it was well done so that I felt like I was there.

The murderer…well… It’s either a person, a ghost, or a person emulating a ghost, and he is a pretty scary entity. I stay away from most ghost and horror stories out of fear but this one was manageable. The legends surrounding Comanche and The Piney Woods Kid and then ghosts in general were pretty well done, and I think they took a predictable but interesting route to track down and stop the killer.

I liked the characters too, I would definitely read more from Ray and Leblanc and McDonald, the psychic.

A few notes: the action was definitely good and heart pounding at times but got a little bit repetitive. The book also does not use quotes, which provided for a smooth reading experience but was an adjustment to get used to. As far as how repetitive the book was in general, I felt like maybe it was a novella or shorter work that got brought to novel length.

Lastly, time for the OneReadingNurse medical rant©: I get that Raymond is an alcoholic and this was done tastefully. It felt real, the struggle is definitely real. What I didn’t love was how after Ray’s hand got pulverized – yes, pulverized – they were making a huge deal out of him taking a prescribed percocet. I get that people can get addicted to anything but 5/325 (mg oxycodone to tylenol) is a standard percocet and for the love of everything I get concerned when patients are afraid to take narcotics for legitimate acute problems. I don’t love seeing that feeling perpetuated in shows because pain and lack of activity post procedure is a much bigger issue than the taking of a medication as prescribed.

Anyway – yes I would recommend it but be aware of the format in case the style will throw you off


P.S: I really am trying to stay active on booksta and here but my brain and body and life in general suck right now.  I’m trying but will only be writing for author ARC requests and book tours for a bit.  All my plans for self published fantasy month… Ah… Like I said, I’m trying