Blog Tour Review and Kindle Fire Giveaway: The Vixen’s Lead by Tate James

 

The Vixen’s Lead by Tate James

Published by: KDP

Publication Date: September 19, 2017

Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Page Count:

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Xpresso Book Tours

Goodreads | Amazon CAN | Amazon US


I want vengeance so badly that I can almost taste it. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. So, I did what any privileged, adopted boarding school girl would do. I slapped on a secret identity and became an internationally renowned thief, known as The Fox. Nobody knows me. Nobody can catch me.

Or so I thought…

It turns out; I have what they want. Special abilities. And trust me, these abilities are coveted–and dangerous. Now, I don’t know who to trust or where to go. Peril lurks on every corner as I try to uncover my past and origin. Teaming up with unlikely allies may be my only chance at survival or my biggest mistake. Only time will tell.

I’m Kit Davenport and this is only the beginning.


I’ve received an eARC for an unbiased and honest review.

“Don’t move from this spot, Vixen. There are some bad sorts in this room, but you’ll be safe here.”

Listen up, paranormal romance fans. Tate James is paving her way, and you had better not miss this series because it’s the next sizzling read you’ve been waiting for.

Hellbent on revenge, Kit Davenport—known as “the Fox,” a renown thief—teams up with her closest friend and fellow foster sister, Lucy. Together, they’ve faced untold pain by the hand of an abusive foster parent. Now, Kit steals from the very men who wronged them. And she hasn’t been caught yet. Until now. When a team of men stops an attempted abduction, Kit must confront her past, trust these men, and figure out how she has developed these abilities.

I’m not going to lie: I love this book, and I’m dying to get my hands on the sequels. I would have finished this in probably two days, but this cold kicked my butt. Nonetheless, I love it! And I recommend it to any PR reader who’s looking for a steamy, dangerous, and insta-lust novel.

Vixen’s Lead is my first reverse harem story. So I’m not accustomed to this type of storyline, but Tate weaves it in naturally. And it doesn’t ruin the overall story; it enhances everything. I also thought that this many characters might detract from the book. However, I fell in love with all of them. I was hoping for a bit more development, though. But the author plans on writing six books for her series, so I can’t hold that issue against her. This debut novel is more plot-driven. Tates adds in horrific backstories, hardened yet fragile (and relatable) characters, and action-packed scenes.

The relationship between Kit and Lucy will melt your heart. Tates gives you real characters who are still fighting their past and somehow working past their pain, albeit slowly. She also throws in sexy banter and steamy chemistry among Kit and these men who work for the Omega Group. I’d suggest you book some time off and prepare yourself for these delectable alpha males because there are plenty, and you don’t want to miss out on a single one.

The paranormal side works as a secondary arc in this novel. It plays a stronger role in the last half of the book and opens up new storylines for future books, so I’m not disappointed that it doesn’t take centre stage. Kit does. She is one of those female leads who will rival my own sarcasm, and I appreciate seeing that in a character like her. Her weakness will speak to many readers looking for believable characters.

I wasn’t sure if I’d like reading this story, but, as you can tell, I was wrong. And I’m glad I am. I cannot wait to read what else is in store for Kit. This suspenseful paranormal romance will make you ask for more.

Be warned that the novel involves several triggers that readers may not be comfortable reading.

 


Author’s Bio

Tate James was born and raised in the Land of the Long White Cloud (New Zealand) but now lives in Australia with her husband, baby and furbaby.
She is a lover of books, red wine, cats and coffee and is not a morning person. She is a bit too sarcastic and swears too much for polite society and definitely tells too many dirty jokes.

Website | Facebook | Instagram

 


Giveaway

I’m excited to announce the giveaway! Enter for your chance to win a Kindle Fire. This contest is open to American and Canadian readers. ENTER HERE.

 


Tour Schedule

Don’t miss out on the other reviews and posts!

December 11th
Rolling with the Moments >> Review
So Few Books >> Interview
Jenea’s Book Obsession >> Review
Meghan’s Mindless Mutterings: Reviews & Giveaways >> Review

December 12th
Rainy Days and Pajamas >> Playlist
C Exley Books >> Excerpt
Loves Great Reads >> Excerpt
Smada’s Book Smack >> Review
Novelties >> Review
Books,Dreams,Life >> Excerpt
Pervy Ladies Books >> Review

December 13th
Jazzy Book Reviews >> Excerpt
Lovely Paranormal Books >> Guest post
Chill and read >> Excerpt
Butterfly-o-Meter Books >> Guest post
Hawthorn Book Reviews >> Review

December 14th
BrizzleLass Books >> Review
Stylish Brunette >> Excerpt
Abooktropolis >> Review
Just Books >> Excerpt
The Avid Reader >> Review
JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder >> Excerpt

December 15th
Book Addict >> Review
Booked J >> Excerpt
tfaulcbookreviews >> Review
Books a Plenty Book Reviews >> Review
Reading for the Stars and Moon >> Review
Book Lovers 4Ever >> Excerpt

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Blog Tour Review: Monsterland by Michael Okon

 

Monsterland by Michael Okon

Published by: WordFire Press

Publication Date: October 13, 2017

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal

Page Count: 214

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Rockstar Book Tours

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | iBooks


Welcome to Monsterland, the scariest place on earth.

When world markets are decimated by a crippling plague, philanthropist, and billionaire businessman, Vincent Konrad decides to place monsters in a theme park setting to promote education and tolerance. Copper Valley is chosen as the primary site for the park in the United States. 

Wyatt Baldwin, a high school senior is dying to go to the opening and when he lands special passes to the park, he and his friends are expecting the experience of a lifetime. 

After all, in a theme park where real zombies, werewolves, and vampires are the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong? 


I’ve received an eARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

 

“The gate loomed before them. The first thing he noticed was the ‘Monsterland’ logo, a large M in the center of the vampire teeth.”

Picture Disneyland with a Jurassic Park twist, and you’ve got Monsterland. This over-the-top thrill ride will appeal to the fantasy and horror lover who is looking for the next unique read. Monsterland amplifies the fear factor, so watch out!

As a plague paralyzes the world, the market, and all the countries, Vincent Konrad, philanthropist and businessman, finds a solution to the ever-growing problem: to build a worldwide theme park teeming with monsters. And Wyatt, who is given passes to attend opening night, cannot wait to walk through the front doors. But what can happen at an amusement park filled with werewolves, zombies, and vampires? Everything.

So I had to read this book when I first heard about it. There was no chance I could pass it up. Come on now. I adore Jurassic Park (and World), and I’m a huge fantasy fan. So I instantly signed up for the book tour. Unfortunately, life got in the way, and I wish I spent more time focusing on the book. However, I enjoyed this intriguing story. Michael doesn’t leave out any beasty that readers have grown to love reading. But he brings a new approach to the horror genre.

What sparks my interest in the book is the backstory. Governments are crumbling when Vincent steps in with his extraordinary scheme. This theme park will bring back the jobs, stabilize the economy, and create a solution to the plague and the other monsters. But it puts into question the rights of these once human beings. Human rights play a strong role in this book, and I enjoyed that a lot.

Monsterland also reminds me of the movie Saw, in the sense that, since we haven’t seen this attraction before, it scares us, and we want more, even though it goes against what we are as a society. We want something that terrifies us, frightens us, and is bigger and flashier, yet we can’t look away. We’ll always want the better scare, no matter the cost.

The strong point in this story is the characters. Wyatt is your typical teen who loves the girl who is dating the school jock. But he must deal with cooperating with his step-dad, brother, weird friends, and the prospect that his life has changed for the worst since his dad died. The relationship between Wyatt and his step-dad, Carter, is strained at best, but you get a real sense of their character development later on in the book. Wyatt’s friends and love interest and the other secondary characters are a lively cast and brighten this dark story. But they don’t take away from the horror.

I feel that Monsterland is somewhat disorganized by the end. A lot of scenes are taking place, and the plot twist throws off the overall storyline. And at times, I felt that the story takes off at a prolonged start and slows down much more than I liked, and I hoped for more action in a few scenes. However, Michael stays true to the story and gives you a horror-filled adventure you’ve been waiting for. He isn’t afraid to bring more dark elements to fantasy.

So if you’re looking for a story that is totally out there and that you haven’t read before, pick up Monsterland. Horror lovers can rejoice in this wild ride.


About the Author

Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.

Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Snapchat

 


Giveaway

Looking for your next scream? Enter win Monsterland! 2 winners will receive a free copy. Only US residents can enter.

 


Tour Schedule

 

Week One

10/30/2017- Owl Always Be Reading– Excerpt

10/30/2017- Abooktropolis– Review

 

10/31/2017- Books, Dreams, Life– Spotlight

10/31/2017- Texan Girl Reads– Review

 

11/1/2017- Reese’s Reviews– Guest Post

11/1/2017- Under the Book Cover– Review

 

11/2/2017- Dazzled by Books– Excerpt

11/2/2017- A Gingerly Review– Review

 

11/3/2017- Twirling Book Princess- Excerpt

11/3/2017- Birdie Bookworm– Review

 

Week Two

11/6/2017- Books at Dawn– Guest Post

11/6/2017- Don’t Judge, Read– Review

 

11/7/2017- BookHounds YA– Interview

11/7/2017- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Review

 

11/8/2017- Savings in Seconds– Spotlight

11/8/2017- Novelties– Review

 

11/9/2017- Sweet Southern Home– Review

11/9/2017- Twisted Book Junkie– Review

 

11/10/2017- Parajunkee– Interview

11/10/2017- The Midnight Society– Review

Blog Tour Review: The Great and the Small by A. T. Balsara

 

The Great and the Small by A. T. Balsara

Published by: Common Deer Press

Publication Date: October 31,2017

Genre: Young Adult

Page Count: 294

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Common Deer Press

Goodreads | Common Deer Press | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


Deep below the market, in the dark tunnels no human knows exist, a war has begun. Lead by the charismatic Beloved Chairman, a colony of rats plots to exterminate the ugly two-legs who have tortured them in labs, crushed them with boots, and looked at them with disgust for as long as anyone can remember. 

When the Chairman’s nephew is injured and a young two-leg nurses him back to health, however, doubt about the war creeps in. Now the colony is split—obey the Chairman and infect the two-legs with the ancient sickness passed down from the Old Ones, or do the unthinkable… 

Rebel. 


I’ve received an eARC for an honest and unbiased review.

 

“Over the mountains and across the sea, there came a terrible scourge…a scourge that would deal death not only to the Old Ones, but to all.”

When I first heard of this YA illustrated novel, I knew I had to sign up for the tour. And I am not disappointed with what I read. This dark, poignant, yet somehow relevant tale will keep you on the edge.

Courtsey of A. T. Balsara and Common Deer Press

Strength is tested, lines are drawn, and a war has begun. As more two-legs (humans) torture rats in labs and see them as nothing more than vermin, the Chairman, the leader of a colony of rats deep underneath the city, conspires to release the old plague that wiped out these evil beings. Their time is now. They can taste their revenge. But doubt seeps into this colony when the Chairman’s nephew, Fin, is wounded, and a two-leg decides to take him in and heal him. Now that act of kindness divides a once united colony.

Andrea, the author, weaves a richly dark tale that speaks to readers of all ages. At first, I wasn’t sure how dark this story will go, but she pushes against the boundary of writing and also incorporates real-life health scares like Ebola and, most recently, the plague. Throughout the book, she shows you the cruel side of our society, yet she then demonstrates our humanity. The contrast between the two is rather jarring but realistic though. How many times have you freaked out over seeing a wild animal, even a rat, but you’re an advocate for animal rights?

Courtesy of A. T. Balsara and Common Deer Press

The Great and the Small is a slow burn. Andrea builds up the story by adding complex layers and characters. But I don’t mind that build up though. It is a character-driven book that needs time to reveal itself to readers. What speaks out among these pages is Fin and Ananda, the teenager who saves him. I adore reading Fin’s story, especially his history, which is heartbreaking. I didn’t know if I could connect with a rat, but the way Andrea writes him just makes you fall in love with this deeply conflicted yet loyal rat. And Ananda represents the essence of real humanity. She doesn’t see a rat and cringe; she sees it as a living being that needs as much protection as anyone else. And while the scenes between these two are short, I relished them.

I was surprised by the level of world building Andrea mixes into her story. She creates such an imaginative and lively underground for her rats. The politics will keep you guessing as well. This world is built on a two-tiered class, which, regardless of what the politicians say, sets each rat apart and divides them. The Chairman, Fin’s uncle, is a cunning, ruthless, yet charismatic antagonist. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the author drew inspiration from dictators we’ve grown to hate. What I love is the anticipation in the book. This atmospheric tone in Great and the Small builds suspense throughout each chapter. And I had to question each character’s decision and action.

Courtesy of A. T. Balsara and Common Deer Press

Typically, you don’t see a lot of illustrations in YA novels. But these drawings bring out the story and enrich it. I enjoyed seeing them. And you don’t usually find a YA with an animal as the main character. However, more authors are testing the limits of genres and book categories. They’re not always limiting their readership based on just an age range. And I appreciate that both the author and the publisher have done just so.

This illustrated novel holds a strong meaning behind it. Sometimes the unlikeliest stories will teach you something or give you perspective on another that you weren’t sure you’d ever find. And The Great and the Small is that book.

 

 

 

 

 

www.commondeerpress.com

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Blog Tour Review: Haven by Mary Lindsey

 

Haven by Mary Lindsey

Published by: Entangled Publishing

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Page Count: 400

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Rockstar Book Tours

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play Books | Indiebound | iBooks


“We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere, He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.


I’ve received an eARC for an honest review. It doesn’t affect my rating.

 

“I believe we all hide a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

Are you looking for a dark, twisted, and sizzling new YA fantasy? Haven‘s your book. With betrayals, forbidden love, power plays, and family secrets, it will surely keep you up at night as it did with me.

Rain Ryland, a misunderstood teen who can’t get a break in life, becomes an orphan when he loses his mother, who dies unexpectedly. He thinks he has an opportunity for a new start when he finds out he has an aunt, who lives in New Wurzburg, where he meets Friederike “Freddie” Burkhart, who warns him to stay away from her. Unfortunately, this new opportunity comes with a price, but he’s determined to save Freddie, find her father’s killer, and fight for someone who’s worth dying for.

I have to admit. I get an insta-love vibe off of this book, but, don’t let that fool you. Mary plays on that rather well. Haven reminds me of a shape-shaping version of Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. And I love how she doesn’t go with the female POV. It’s strictly Rain’s perspective throughout the entire book. I don’t see that often, so I enjoyed the change. Haven has a few rough edges, like Rain describing Freddie as perfect, but it kept me wanting more, kept me reading long into the night. It’s a refreshing story for anyone who’s looking for a quick read.

What surprises me the most is the backstory of the book. Mary wonderfully creates an intricate world with unique characters and intriguing history. Rain has stumbled upon a town where Weavers (witches) rule, and Watchers (shape-shifters/werewolves) obey. These characters originated from Germany and immigrated to the States when the German witch trials occured. Each character adds to the mystery of the town, which shapes into a character itself.

My favourites, obviously, are Rain and Freddie. Their chemistry is hot and intense and will keep you turning the page. Freddie, the only-female Alpha, refuses to back down, will protect her family and pact, and never runs away from a fight. I love her strong-willed attitude and her vulnerability because of her father’s murder. I’m a sucker for a tortured character, and Rain matches that through and through.

The world building is superb. Mary puts in a new twist in the overused werewolf and witch story. The politics in the world adds layers to this story and creates more mystery and suspense. I wasn’t expecting this kind of political play, but Mary pulls it off nicely. Haven is a fast-paced, intense, and dark adventure any fantasy lover will love to jump into.

 

“It’s said that on a full moon, that power of the earth reaches for the heavens at that one spot, infusing the surrounding area with magic strong enough to change man to beast.”

 


About Mary

Mary Lindsey is a multi award-winning, RITA® nominated author of romance for adults and teens. She lives on an island in the middle of a river. Seriously, she does. When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, two Cairn Terriers, and one husband.

Inexplicably, her favorite animal is the giant anteater and at one point, she had over 200 “pet” Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. The roaches are a long story involving three science-crazed kids and a soft spot for rescue animals. The good news is, the “pet” roaches found a home… somewhere else.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

 


Giveaway

Does Haven sound like your next YA fantasy read? Here’s your chance to win a free copy of it. One winner will receive a finished copy of Haven. Giveaway is for US residents only. ENTER HERE.

 


Tour Schedule

Week One
10/23/2017- Twinning for Books — Review
10/23/2017- Flyleaf Chronicles — Review

10/24/2017- Blushing Bibliophile — Review
10/24/2017- Ex Libris — Review

10/25/2017- Omg Books and More Books — Review
10/25/2017- Novelties — Review

10/26/2017- Deep Dark Feminist Reviews — Review
10/26/2017- Mama Reads Blog — Review

10/27/2017- Kendra Loves Books — Review
10/27/2017- Why I Read — Review

 

Week Two
10/30/2017- Bibliobakes — Review
10/30/2017- Betwixt the Pages — Review

10/31/2017- For the Lover of Books — Review
10/31/2017- Kati’s Bookaholic Rambling Reviews — Review

11/1/2017- Adventures Thru Wonderland — Review
11/1/2017- Tea With Mermaids — Review

11/2/2017- Hauntedbybooks13 — Review
11/2/2017- The Best Books Ever — Review

11/3/2017- Portrait of a Book — Review
11/3/2017- Nerdophiles — Review

Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Published by: Imprint

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairytales, Retellings

Page Count: 288

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


Enter the Grishaverse…

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, the tales in The Language of Thorns will transport you to lands both familiar and strange-to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, each of them lavishly illustrated and culminating in stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.


“Dark things have a way of slipping in through narrow spaces.”

Over the last few years, I’ve been looking for more retellings, fairytales, and folklore. I can’t stop myself by gravitating toward them. What is there to complain about? Readers enjoy to jump back into a familiar story, feel at home, and just live in these stories. In Language of Thorns, Leigh whisks me away, and I love her writing, storytelling, and captivating characters. The more she writes the more I want. She has evolved into a multi-faceted and talented author who I can’t help but adore.

These stories don’t match her other ones. The tone and writing are completely separate but are a part of her Grishaverse. Is that a problem? No. I actually appreciate the separation.

I must also mention the artistry in and outside of this book. Sara Kipin, the illustrator, beautifully brings Leigh’s words to life. Each page reveals a new illustration in the book until the final one that gives you the end result. The book is worth the money, and, from time to time, I still keep catching myself flipping through the book. The Language of Thorns is a beautiful, haunting, lyrical, and dark collection of cleverly written tales. These stories aren’t you traditional folktale. She will take a traditional fairytale and turn it into a whimsically dark story of her own.

 

Ayama and the Thorn Wood

Ahh, I loved reading this story. Leigh weaves in bargains with betrayals, sacrifices, and power of an unremarkable girl, Ayama, who defies the odds of standing up against a beastly prince. Leigh incorporates many issues girls face in these kinds of stories: they can’t be the hero and must be pretty for them to have a good life. Ayama may be unattractive, but that fact doesn’t devalue her worth, and this story shows that sometimes the pretty girls don’t always get the happy ending.

 

The Too-Clever Fox

The anti-hero Koja the fox has never had a good start in life, so in order for him to survive, he outsmarts everyone in the forest. But this clever fox might be outwitted by a trickster he never sees coming. Smarts aren’t always a good thing.

 

The Witch of Duva

And here’s your twist on Hansel and Gretel and the evil stepmother. But that wicked old witch and mommy dearest aren’t the beasties you should fear. Leigh puts in the typical stereotypes in lore and then throws in a twist or two. I love this story.

 

Little Knife

Finally! Thank you, Leigh, for letting the girl not choose the man. Bow down to the queen. Give her that crown and throne. This tale is of a father who seeks the right, if I mean the most richest, suitor for his beautiful daughter and proposes a competition for all the men who want her. Whoever wins will get the hand of this fair maiden, but here’s a catch: she has other plans in mind.

 

The Soldier Prince

Leigh breaths in new life into this tale of the Nutcracker. He’s always there to serve, protect, and fight. But what if he wants something more in life. What if he wants something for himself. He finally wakes up. This story may keep you up at night.

 

When Water Sang Fire

I’ve found this story hard to read. The ending tore at me, made me want to hit something, yet showed me so much more. And that reaction is what I look for in a good story. Leigh throws in a new twist for this Little Mermaid retelling. What are you willing to give up so your people will accept you? What will you do to be who you want to be? Well, she sprinkles in some treachery and betrayal, and you have a poignant yet powerful tale.

And I finally meet a certain someone who goes by the name of Darkling. Bring on the swoon.

 

Blog Tour Review: Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

 

Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

Published by: Common Deer Press

Publication Date: October 5, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Page Count: 660

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Common Deer Press

Goodreads | Common Deer Press | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


A nanobot superorganism lays waste to the Earth. Is this the apocalypse? Or does the world’s end harbor new beginnings? Life will always find a way. Though some ways are better than others.

Evolution on steroids and crack cocaine–the most significant development since inanimate matter first gave rise to life. You can’t predict novel evolutionary developments, you recognize them only after they emerge.

Then you have to deal with them.


“Immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be”

Stop, take a step back, and marvel at this creation. I want to pick apart Collin’s mind because his writing is beyond what I imagined. Collin takes science fiction and flips it upside down. So get ready, world. Here comes Genesis 2.0.

The last survivors of the human race have been lied to. Now their lives have changed, and they must learn to live in a world they don’t understand. Problem is that Brian, the original human malls operational manager (MOM) and general badass who wreaked havoc in the first instalment, is on the warpath with the self-aware artificial intelligence, Sky, who’s in bit of a hurry to reboot herself, and now the heroes may run out of time to save themselves and their loved ones.

I usually write my reviews within the first day or two after reading, but when I finished this book, I had to adjust my thinking, digest what I’ve read, and somehow wrap my head around this impossibly creative world building. Collin adds layer upon layer, and each one is unbelievably complex in its own right. He doesn’t just stick with one arc, whether story or character. He throws in multiple storylines, and somehow, they combine together to make a captivating science fiction story. He makes me want to read that genre.

At first, Collins throws you in a new environment with new characters. Son and his family live in mondoland, the real world outside of the generated realities and the former malls. He, one of the few people to be born after a virus that made everyone sterile, eventually meets up with our favourite characters Cisco and Dee Zu, two tests pilots. And that is where everything goes to hell.

Mondoland, the remnants of our old world, isn’t what MOM, or Sky, made it out to be. No superorganisms are out to kill the rest of the human race. And now since the malls, where the last survivors of humanity lived, are non-operational, and the main characters’ world is completely turned upside down, they must survive in a landscape they’ve never lived in.

Beyond the world building, Collin excels at writing a deeply flawed yet compelling character. Even Sky, the AI, shows her humanity, yet you want to die as much as Brian. But what stands out the most is Cisco and Dee Zu. They lose everything, they realize their lives were built on a lie, and yet they create an incredible bond. I enjoyed reading their scenes, even though they were short. And I’m dying to see how their future plays out in the third novel, which, if you haven’t figured out, I want right now.

I don’t always read science fiction, but I think Collin has convinced me to jump into that world. So here it goes.

Blog Tour Review: Unwrap Your Candy by Jesse Miller

 

Unwrap Your Candy by Jesse Miller

Published by: Common Deer Press

Publication Date: September 10, 2017

Genre: Literary Fiction

Page Count: 250

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Common Deer Press

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Publisher’s Website | Book Depository


Thom’s life has a soundtrack. Unseen glass phalluses–thousands of them–whirring softly along conveyer belts on the other side of the factory wall. The snap and splash of eggs against plaster. The scratch-fizz-tang of cigarette lighters being flipped again and again. A thousand throats swallowing a thousand swigs of beer; a thousand sets of lungs choking on a thousand French inhales. Hard fists sinking into soft flesh; soft chunks dropping onto hard sidewalks. Plop-flush-drain repeat. And moonsong, high above, forever calling and calling, “Stud, rub her with the Stud Rubber.” If only it were so simple.


I’ve received an eARC for an honest review. Receiving one doesn’t affect my opinion of this book. I would also like to thank Common Deer Press for sending it.

 

“Barriers are only so effective. Sometimes things just leak through, even if you hold them back.”

You know when a book leaves you speechless, and you’re not sure how to properly express your enjoyment of it? Well, I’m in that particular situation. From the first opening scene, Jesse will show you what he’s made of.

A literary fiction that teeters on hilarity, intelligence, and downright fun, Unwrap Your Candy is a treat for any reader looking for the next unique read. Thom decides to leave his job at a local condom factory, all the while losing his sanity in the process.

Jesse beautifully crafts each sentence and transports you to Thom’s frame of mind. You can’t help but be impressed by the level of detail and precision Jesse puts in his story. I felt as if you might not get that attention in a book about a condom factory worker, but I was wrong. With Jesse’s writing, you see who Thom is as a man who slowly loses his mind.

Jesse’s prose illustrates the passion and ultimately the respect he has for the literary art form. Some constructions are out there, yet you never lose the appreciation for the final product. But don’t think of this book as pretentious. It isn’t. You see the dedication he weaves in each chapter. His lyrical storytelling pulls you this way, then that, and somehow, some way, you come to a satisfying conclusion at the end. And I enjoyed the adventure. It isn’t linear; it isn’t chronological. It’s organic.

One scene that sticks out the most to me is how Thom, whose life is essentially falling apart, consoles a coworker’s widow. I can’t decide why it has, yet it speaks to me, especially when Thom doesn’t quite know how to help this grieving man. And while several characters, like his girlfriend, Samantha, coworkers, and father make appearances, the story itself focuses solely on Thom and his eventual path. Maybe other authors may have developed the secondary characters, but Thom is the main focal point in this literary fiction. And I appreciate that detail to this character.

Jesse isn’t afraid to break the writing mould. So keep a look out for his future books!

 

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Review: The Darkest Surrender by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Surrender by Gena Showalter

Published by: Harlequin

Publication Date: September 27, 2011

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Page Count: 426

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

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Possessed by the demon of Defeat, Strider cannot lose a challenge without suffering unimaginable pain. For him, nothing stands in the way of victory. Until Kaia, an enchanting Harpy, tempts him to the razor’s edge of surrender.

Known among her people as The Disappointment, Kaia must bring home the gold in the Harpy Games or die. Strider is a distraction she can’t afford because he has an agenda of his own-steal first prize, an ancient godly artifact, before the winner can be named. But as the competition heats up, only one prize will matter-the love neither had thought possible.


“He held fire in his arms and he desperately wanted to be burned.”

Gena takes the essence of paranormal romance and cranks it to a thousand. The Darkest Surrender will take you on a pulse-pounding ride and won’t let go!

Strider, the keeper of Defeat, wants nothing more than to not find his mate. But when Kaia Skyhawk, a harpy, tempts him more than any other woman, he knows he’s in trouble. Yet he reluctantly agrees to be her temporary consort for the Harpy Games, which he can’t lose, or he might never find the Paring Rod again.

Sarcasm, witty banter, stubbornness, and a tantalizing love story create such an entertaining novel that will surely hook any hardcore Gena fan. I read the eighth Lords book back in August, and it stuck with me ever since. Gena has a way to write tortured characters, but with Strider, she doesn’t go that route. Strider is a dangerous, deadly, and steamy Lord who will win at everything, if not, he suffers horrendous pain at the hand of his demon. He tempted fate when he thought he was falling for Haidee, Amun’s woman, but he doesn’t know what he’s walking into when Kaia chooses him as her consort.

So don’t expect the tormented storyline, because you won’t get it in this sequel. Strider has the biggest ego and isn’t afraid to flaunt it. And Kaia is his equal in every way. Their love story will give you relationship goals. Gena sometimes sways away from the original storyline of finding the artifacts that can save or kill the Lords. In this sequel though, while she now incorporates that arc and also focuses on the romance, she seamlessly combines the two.

In the Darkest Whisper, fans of the Lords of the Underworld were introduced to harpies, but they haven’t entered that world fully. So don’t worry. Gena doesn’t disappoint. I’ve been waiting to see how this world works, and let me tell you: don’t piss of a harpy, or you’re in a world of hurt. In this instalment, Kaia, nicknamed the Disappointment, must compete in the Harpy Games, where harpies battle each other to win a prize and bragging rights. This year, the Paring Rod, an artifact that rends a soul from a body, is said prize. But her past comes back to haunt her.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the banter and fighting between Strider and Kaia. They’re fire and oil, and somehow they work together perfectly. What surprises me the most is how Strider steps up and becomes the man Kaia needs. Some readers say that Kaia is the star of Strider’s book. But I disagree. Strider needs a woman who is his equal but isn’t afraid to put him in his place. He isn’t looking for redemption. Kaia transforms him into the man he should be. Their character developments make the book and set it apart from the other Lords books.

If you’re looking for steamy love scenes, banter that will make you laugh throughout the night, bigger egos, and a sizzling romance, don’t miss this book. I cannot get enough of this book, and I highly recommend it to any paranormal romance readers. Lords of the Underworld is getting better and better.

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Wings Unseen by Rebecca Gomez Farrell

 

Wings Unseen by Rebecca Gomez Farrell

Published by: Meerkat Press

Publication Date: August 22, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 320

Rating: 3/5

Source: eARC from Xpresso Book Tours

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To end a civil war, Lansera’s King Turyn relinquished a quarter of his kingdom to create Medua, exiling all who would honor greed over valor to this new realm on the other side of the mountains. The Meduans and Lanserim have maintained an uneasy truce for two generations, but their ways of life are as compatible as oil and water.

When Vesperi, a Meduan noblewoman, kills a Lanserim spy with a lick of her silver flame, she hopes the powerful display of magic will convince her father to name her as his heir. She doesn’t know the act will draw the eye of the tyrannical Guj, Medua’s leader, or that the spy was the brother of Serrafina Gavenstone, the fiancee of Turyn’s grandson, Prince Janto. As Janto sets out for an annual competition on the mysterious island of Braven, Serra accepts an invitation to study with the religious Brotherhood, hoping for somewhere to grieve her brother’s murder in peace. What she finds instead is a horror that threatens both countries, devouring all living things and leaving husks of skin in its wake.

To defeat it, Janto and Serra must learn to work together with the only person who possesses the magic that can: the beautiful Vesperi, whom no one knows murdered Serra’s brother. An ultimate rejection plunges Vesperi forward toward their shared destiny, with the powerful Guj on her heels and the menacing beating of unseen wings all about.


Destiny awaits these three characters. With a good dose of fantasy and a danger that threatens two countries divided, Wings Unseen will keep you guessing until the very end.

With a kingdom split in two, three people—Vesperi, a noblewoman who possesses a lethal power; Janto, a prince; and Serra, the fiancée to the prince and a seer—must work as one to fight an evil that jeopardizes both their countries. But their shared fate faces a deadly path, and they must set aside their turbulent past in order to save their people.

Getting into this story was somewhat hard for me, and writing this review may prove harder. But the overall story sounds intriguing, and the cover hooks you in immediately. And while Wings Unseen is the author’s debut novel, it contains some good aspects for an interesting novel. Rebecca has captured the character’s voices rather quickly. And her writing also improves throughout the book and seizes your attention so you want to read more and find out what happens next.

The characters and their development are the highlights of this story. And I enjoyed how Serra, Janto, and Vesperi transform. However, I find the relationship among the three convoluting. The one character who stood out from this confusion is Serra, and surprisingly I sympathize for her because of the path she must travel. Giving up the man she loves so she can save her people, only to watch him fall for the woman who kills her brother, made me tear up. But I enjoyed her storyline, and I eagerly awaited her chapters.

At the beginning, I liked Vesperi, and by the end, I was expecting more from her. She uses her power, ruthlessness, and past as a way to get away with things. I wanted to like her. I truly did. She has potential to rise above her past and use it for good. Yet she doesn’t.

Same as Vesperi, I enjoyed Janto from the start. He doesn’t use his power as a prince to control others, he seems like a caring man, yet he lets destiny choose who he should love. His character falls flat when he decides to call Serra the “love of his life” while he can’t stop touching, dreaming of, and looking at Vesperi. By the end, I was disappointed in that character arc. The attraction between Janto and Serra is more believable than it is with Vesperi. But these characters’ growth is rather surprising and will draw readers in though.

The author creates a world with two countries that are divided. You get a glimpse of this rivalry in some scenes, but I didn’t get the world building that I expected. Even with some flaws, Wings Unseen kept me wanting to read more. I was invested in the story and needed to know how it unfolds.

 


Author’s Biography

In all but one career aptitude test Rebecca Gomez Farrell has taken, writer has been the #1 result. But when she tastes the salty air and hears the sea lions bark, she wonders if maybe sea captain was the right choice after all. Currently marooned in Oakland, CA, Becca is an associate member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Her short stories, which run the gamut of speculative fiction genres, have been published by Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Pulp Literature, the Future Fire, Typehouse Literary Magazine, and an upcoming story in theDark, Luminous Wings anthology from Pole to Pole Publishing among others. Maya’s Vacation, her contemporary romance novella, is available from Clean Reads. She is thrilled to have Meerkat Press publish her debut novel.
Becca’s food, drink, and travel writing, which has appeared in local media in CA and NC, can primarily be found at her blog, The Gourmez. For a list of all her published work, fiction and nonfiction, check out her author website at RebeccaGomezFarrell.com.

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Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Published by: McElderry Books

Publication Date: May 23, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy

Page Count: 701

Rating: 3.75/5

Source: Purchase

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Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?

And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters’ demands. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear—before it’s too late.


“We fear things because we value them. We fear losing people because we love them. We fear dying because we value being alive. Don’t wish you didn’t fear anything. All that would mean is that you didn’t feel anything.”

I went into this book thinking that the storyline will eventually go dark. And it does. But what I expected does not compare to what I got. The second instalment in the Dark Artifices, Lord of Shadows will shatter your expectations, divide the already fractured Shadowhunter world, make you ugly cry, and change the Downworld forever.

Even though Emma Carstairs has slain her parents’ murderer, she faces a more troubling situation: the love she has for her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn. A love that’s forbidden to all parabatais. But as she dates Mark so she can convince Julian she doesn’t love him, the faerie courts stir up trouble. Mark, Julian, Emma, Christina, and the rest of the Blackthorn family race to find a way to protect their own and hope to prevent a war among all Shadowhunters and Downworlders.

I raged, I yelled, and I cried once I finished this book. I saw the heartache weave through each page and path these characters take, and yet I’m so conflicted! And I have a hard time rating Lord of Shadows because it has obvious flaws in it, but it took me on an emotional ride I haven’t felt in awhile. I warn you now that Lord of Shadow is a tear-jerker. It will demand all your emotions and tears.

Shadowhunter lovers will know where I stand. Like I said before, Cassie’s work is like a Russian roulette for me. I don’t know if I’ll like her next piece. While I enjoyed the book, some storylines were drawn out too long, long chapters were draining, and some scenes were questionable.

But Cassie’s writing has improved over the years, and I appreciate her attention to detail to the expanded faerie world, the Julian-and-Emma arc, the adorable Kit-and-Ty relationship, and the overall tension the Downworld faces. This hostility among the Council, the Cohorts, and the Centurions heavily reflects our current political environment. And what I love most of YA books and authors is how they show our flaws in our society and aren’t afraid to speak up. I have to give thanks to Cassie for standing up.

I find writing this review without tears challenging. Cassie knows how to rip out your heart. And the characters’ progression throughout this sequel is hard to read, yet each one captivates me. That endearing Mark will always bring a smile to my face. I personally want him to separate from his potential love interests. I want him to find himself, but the love triangle with Mark, Christina, and Kieran prevents him from doing so. I see a new side to Kieran, and while I still hate what he has done, I received a better perspective of him.

Besides Mark and Emma being my favourite characters, Christina shines above them all. But I hope to see a forceful side to her in the next book. She may just be the Shadowhunter who gets rid of the Cold Peace, but if she wants something, fight for it. I was waiting for her to do so. The one trio that surprises me the most is Livvy, Ty, and Kit. I loved reading their scenes, and their dynamic plays off the page rather well. Finally, finally, we see the backstory to Diana and her possible love story. You have no idea how much I squeed. And Julian and Emma come last, as always. I’m still hesitant with them. Their arc worries me, and I don’t see happiness in their future, which I find disheartening because they deserve it the most.

Surprisingly, Lord of Shadows represents many pieces in our society, from sexuality, mental illnesses and conditions, and diversity. I haven’t seen this much representation in one book alone, and I love how it naturally flows through the story.

If you honestly think Cassie’s first and second series are heartbreaking, prepare for this book. Stock up on your Kleenex and hope you don’t break down. I can’t wait to see what Cassie has in store in the finale.