Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

Published by: Tor Books

Publication Date: February 23, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adult

Page Count: 512

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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


It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift–back into Black London.

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games–an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries–a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.


 

“Magic and magician must between them balance. Magic itself is chaos. The magician must be calm. The fractured self must be a pure vessel for power, spilling power without focus measure from every crack.”

I never thought I’d love this series this much when I first picked up A Darker Shade of Magic. But as I write this review, I know Shades of Magic will be one series I’ll cherish over others. The magic, the thrill, and the friendship will always bring me back. And I want more time to revel in Red London.

Victoria is an author to marvel at. She creates these complex and highly detailed magical worlds and systems. She unravels an intricate and layered story that makes you love storytelling all over again. And her characters stand on their own yet complement each other beautifully. I adore how each character has developed from the aftermath of the first book.

Kell must live with the actions of saving his brother, Rhy, and bringing a deadly magic to their world. Both the king and queen have lost their trust in Kell, and he feels that loss and resentment when they force more restrictions on him. Rhy and Kell’s bond though is what anchors the both of them, and I loved their interactions together. I also enjoyed how Kell’s entire perspective of his life changes. He struggles with his choices that bound his life with Rhy’s. And that internal battle builds depth to his character.

Lila, the stab-happy and would-be pirate, adapts well to Red London. She is one character who I loved reading in the ADSOM. And even though I want to rant about how her stubbornness gets in the way of growth, I can’t help but admire her badassery. Alucard Emery, the captain of Night Spire, just adds a little flare to everyone’s life. I thought I’d hate him, but he’s such an exciting addition.

The worldbuilding expands in this sequel. As the Essen Tacsh begins, magicians compete against each other. Over five days, thirty-six contenders must battle each other out until a competitor is crowned the winner. I absolutely loved seeing different magicians from other regions of Red London. You see how each country wields magic. But while people are enchanted by the Element Games, an old threat reappears.

What stands out the most is Victoria’s writing. She ensares your love of magic and shows you how beautiful yet dangerous it is. I was entranced the entire time, and I knew I need more from this world. Victoria doesn’t rely on romance to tell her story. She allows the magic to envelop her readers, and I’ll forever respect her series.

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Review: This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong

This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong

Published by: Doubleday Canada

Publication Date: January 30, 2018

Genre: Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary

Page Count: 400

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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


When Casey Duncan first arrived at Rockton, the off-the-grid, isolated community built as a haven for people running from their pasts, she had no idea what to expect. There are no cell phones, no internet, no mail, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. She certainly didn’t expect to become the town homicide detective. But, the very last thing she expected was for the council to drop a dangerous criminal into their midst without a plan to keep him imprisoned. And she never thought that she’d have to be responsible for him.

The longer Oliver Brady stays in town, the more people seem to die around him. When evidence begins piling up that someone inside Rockton is working as his accomplice, Casey races to figure out who exactly Brady is and what crimes he’s truly responsible for committing.


I have always enjoyed Kelley’s decisions to explore other genres. Thriller seems to suit her almost as much as fantasy. And now, she ups the ante in this already nerve-wracking series. She doesn’t stray away from the vile side of our humanity. She somehow perfectly shows you what we humans are capable of inflicting onto others. And this unremorseful and daring storyline is why she is my favourite author.

Spring arrives to Rockton, a secluded town in the Yukon where people come to hide. Casey, her lover and sheriff Eric, and the residents believe they can finally move past the horrific events that rocked this community. But this hidden and often bought-for town comes with a price. The Council, a governing body who decides who enters and stays in Rockton, drops off a sadist murderer for safe keeping. Even though this man swears he’s innocent, people start dying, and Casey and Eric must find out why and who may be helping him.

The town is built on a corrupt concept. People buy their way into this community. They are either running from someone who will kill them or trying to escape authorities. You’d think the Council vets out the serial murderers or rapists, but money is its determining factor. This time, it may harm, not support Rockton.

I somewhat missed the slower pace from the two previous books. That atmospheric tone creates a complex and thrilling environment to read. In This Fallen Prey though, Kelley never stops the fast-paced action, which sets this book apart from the last installments. Her writing grips ahold of you and frightens you. She demonstrates how people revert back to their primal form when society no longer exists, and laws do not apply to them.

This Fallen Prey is an unnerving and suspenseful read that keeps you fearing what is next for these characters. You are on this gripping ride as much as the Rockton residents are. While I enjoyed how Kelley weaves in the tension, she excels at making this sequel a character-driven treat. Casey will be one of my favourite characters. Even though her past still haunts her, she doesn’t let the darkness win. And the relationship with Eric, who is finally opening up, just makes the storyline sweeter.

The Rockton Thriller is one series you shouldn’t miss. With murder, trickery, and plot twists, This Fallen Prey will keep you on the edge of suspense. I’m eagerly awaiting to see what’s next.

Do you like thrillers? What is your favourite series? Let’s talk in the comment’s section!

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway | Dark Glitter by C. M. Stunich and Tate James

Dark Glitter by C. M. Stunich and Tate James

Published by: Sarian Royal

Publication Date: January 24, 2018

Genre: Adult, Paranormal, Thriller

Page Count:

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: eARC from Xpresso Book Tours

Goodreads | Amazon US


Ciarah O’Rourke was born into torture.
A human spirit reincarnated in the body of an ancient fae goddess, she’s spent the last five years in iron shackles, her mind poisoned with magic for secrets she doesn’t know.

Waking up in a dirty alley with no memory of her escape, Ciarah finds herself in the hands of The Wild Hunt Motorcycle Club–a ruthless and violent group of bikers with faerie blood in their veins.

Arlo. Reece. Killian.
Three men drenched in death, sin, and old magic.
From their clubhouse in the middle of the Louisiana bayou, they’ll offer Ciarah the keys to unlock her memories and control the veil between worlds.  But even her knights can’t erase the twisted scars that remind her they aren’t the only ones who hunt.

When The Wild Hunt rides, the souls of the dead join their parade.
All that’s missing now is their queen.


I’ve received an eARC for an unbiased and honest review. I want to thank Xpresso Book Tours, the authors, and the publisher for providing me with this copy.

 

I’m the goddess and I’ll have my males as I please.

Calling all paranormal romance lovers, this book should be on your TBR list. The Fae Queen is back, and she’s looking for her Lords. Brimming with magic, Dark Glitter blends together urban fantasy with old-world folklore, but with a twist.

Sweet Jesus. For all you paranormal romance and reverse harem readers out there, do not read Dark Glitter anywhere outside of the confines of your house, or you’ll go red in the face. This steamy read will entice all readers who are looking to spice up their book collection.

The reason I signed up for this tour is because of Tate. I previously read her debut novel, The Vixen’s Lead, and I knew I had to get my hands on another one of her books. I admit that Dark Glitter is not a Kit Davenport story. You don’t get intense and quiet Cole or sultry River. What you do get are hardened fae bikers who have been looking for the Keeper of the Veil, who must carry out her destiny. And she so happens to be Ciarah O’Rourke. The only issue is that she doesn’t have any of her memories, except the ones where she’s tortured. And she needs them so that she can bring her fae people back home.

I loved the mythology in this romance novel. Both authors excelled in introducing lore from different backgrounds. You get a mix of a few, and that livens up the story. The romance is fierce and starts off rather quickly. I was hoping for more lead up to that since it allows readers to get to know the characters in their own right, then see them progress into that romance. But don’t expect any mates here. The main character wants her men, and she shall get them indeed.

Dark Glitter is more plot driven. The story relies heavily on the lore. But I don’t mind that direction though. As you continue through the story, the authors introduce more layers. But you may not see a large amount of character development, which I wanted to see more of. However, I do find the characters intriguing though.

Ciarah awakens to find fractured memories and has no remember of who she is. Once the Wild Hunt finds her, she doesn’t understand her past. Two spirits inhabit her: her own and the spirit of the Keeper of the Veil. I truly sympathized with her, and her torture scenes are graphic, but she quickly learns her place in the fae. And her alpha female demeanour is not something to go up against. Her Lords—Reece, Arlo, and Killian—bring out a new side in Ciarah. I love their banter. I prefer Arlo though; he is the hard, alpha male who has a soft spot. Killian is sweet, quiet, and caring. And while Reece is adorable, I cannot stand his accent.

Dark Glitter is the new book on the paranormal romance scene. It’s dark, intense, and torrid. More importantly, it’s gritty and unapologetic. This woman rules over her Wild Hunt and her Lords. She is the Queen, and she’s looking for revenge.


Authors’ Biographies

C.M. Stunich is a self-admitted bibliophile with a love for exotic teas and a whole host of characters who live full time inside the strange, swirling vortex of her thoughts. Some folks might call this crazy, but Caitlin Morgan doesn’t mind – especially considering she has to write biographies in the third person. Oh, and half the host of characters in her head are searing hot bad boys with dirty mouths and skillful hands (among other things). If being crazy means hanging out with them everyday, C.M. has decided to have herself committed.

She hates tapioca pudding, loves to binge on cheesy horror movies, and is a slave to many cats. When she’s not vacuuming fur off of her couch, C.M. can be found with her nose buried in a book or her eyes glued to a computer screen. She’s the author of over thirty novels – romance, new adult, fantasy, and young adult included. Please, come and join her inside her crazy. There’s a heck of a lot to do there.

Oh, and Caitlin loves to chat (incessantly), so feel free to e-mail her, send her a Facebook message, or put up smoke signals. She’s already looking forward to it.

Author’s website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

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.

Author’s website | Facebook | Instagram

 


Giveaway

Are you a James and Stunich fan? Enter to win for a free copy of Dark Glitter. The contest is open internationally.

 


Tour Schedule

Find out ut out more reviews and post by following the tour:

March 5th
Rainy Days and pajamas >> Excerpt
tfaulcbookreviews >> Interview
Abooktropolis >> Excerpt
Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books! >> Review
FANNA >> Review
The Red Hatter Book Blog >> Excerpt

March 6th
Loves Great Reads >> Excerpt
Natalie The Biblioholic >> Review
Mes Livres >> Review
Behind Closed Doors Book Review >> Excerpt

March 7th
Girls With Books >> Excerpt
Aconite Cafe >> Review
Reading for the Stars and Moon >> Review
Bobo’s Book Bank >> Excerpt

March 8th
Silence Is Read >> Excerpt
Novelties >> Review
The Musings of Author Jeanne St. James >> Excerpt

March 9th
A British Bookworm’s Blog >> Review
Birdies Bibliotheca >> Review
Book Addict >> Review
Rolling with the Moments >> Review
JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder >> Guest post

 

March 12th
Just Books >> Guest post
Evermore Books >> Review
Viviana MacKade >> Interview
The Book Disciple >> Review

March 13th
The Writer’s Inkwell >> Excerpt
So Few Books >> Guest post
Novels & Necklaces >> Review

March 14th
Book Sniffers Anonymous >> Excerpt
FantasyRaiders >> Review
Two Ends of the Pen >> Interview

March 15th
Books a Plenty Book Reviews >> Review
The Pursuit Of Bookiness >> Review
Booker T’s Farm: Books & Nails & Puppy Dog Tales >> Review

March 16th
Rabid Readers book Blog >> Review
BrizzleLass Books >> Review
O. D. Book Reviews >> Excerpt
The Avid Reader >> Review

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway | Devil’s Gold by Amanda McKinney

 

Devil’s Gold by Amanda McKinney

Publication Date: February 13, 2018

Genre: Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Page Count: 121

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Xpresso Book Tours

Goodreads | Amazon US


Despite being chronically late, occasionally disheveled and a tad disorganized, Dixie Knight is one of the top private investigators in the country, and when a young woman goes missing in the small, Southern town of Devil’s Den, Dixie takes the case. She expected it to be another ordinary missing person case—until Lizzie Meyers is found naked and beaten to death at a local, seedy motel.

While visiting relatives on his two-week leave, Marine Liam Cash bumps into Dixie at the local bar, and his attraction to her is immediate. When Liam connects Dixie’s current case to two unsolved murders in his hometown, he steps in to help find the killer, and keep her safe, whether Dixie wants him to or not.

After another woman is found brutally beaten, Dixie turns the town upside down trying to solve the mystery—could it be the rumored witch that lives in the mountains; the rich, neurotic doctor’s wife; or the perky, blonde receptionist at the local medical clinic?

Time is running out and Dixie knows she has to put the pieces of the puzzle together before another body turns cold in Devil’s Den.


With high-paced action, steamy romance, a strong female lead, suspenseful twists, and a good dose of mystery, Devil’s Gold is a solid whodunit that will keep you surprised at every turn. It will truly keep you reading throughout the night. Thrillers typically don’t grace my TBR pile, but I want to see what Amanada has in store for this new series.

I need to remind myself that Devil’s Gold is a novella, so don’t expect anything more. But with what’s included drew my attention. It could have quickly been a typical mystery. But Amanada adds suspense to elevate this novella above other thrillers I’ve read. Even though it’s short, it introduces a layered and well-thoughout storyline. And the author quickly starts off with suspense and action. But with this story, the females rule, an they’re fiesty and ready to fight.

The Black Rose Investigation specializes in anything criminal. Three sisters who lost their parents in an accident run this organization. So when Dixie Knight, a PI, is tasked with finding out if a doctor is having an affair, she discovers she’s found a lot more trouble once the woman in question goes missing. I loved reading this spirited character. Dixie doesn’t need anyone to save her, even if her life is scattered all over the place. She’s easily relatable. And I admire her spunk and her determination to make her parents proud.

Sisterhood is at the heart of Devil’s Gold. And I adore how easy the relationship among these sisters has grown to be. The death of their parents hasn’t separated them, and their love is what keeps them together. And while they have opposite personalities, they are a united front. I hope to see more of their relationship in future stories.

Just to add more sizzle, a marine Liam Cash steps up to offer help on the missing case, which reminds him of the murders in his hometown. The instant attraction between Liam and Dixie flows organically, even though the ending is a little corny. But their quick banter makes up for all that though.

I hate when authors incorporate too many perpetrators. They muddy the story and don’t give readers a chance to get to learn more about the characters, even the bad ones. But this story’s length works in Amanada’s favour since the author doesn’t have to introduce more of them, and she only focuses on a select few.

I haven’t heard of this author before, but the Black Rose Mystery series intrigues me, and I’m interested to see what Amanda has in store for her next installments. So if you’re wanting torrid hookups, instant seduction, and a thriller as well, Devil’s Gold might interest you.

 


Author’s Bio

Amanda McKinney, author of Sexy, Suspenseful Mysteries wrote her debut novel, Lethal Legacy, after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. When Amanda isn’t tending to her two beautiful boys, she’s hidden behind her computer screen crafting page-turning murder mysteries, peppered with titillating love scenes. Having been born and raised in the south, Amanda’s books are set in small, country towns and reflect southern culture at its finest.

Amanda’s debut novel, Lethal Legacy, was released in January 2017, followed by the first two books in the Berry Springs series, The Woods and The Lake. The third book in the series, The Storm, is scheduled to be released in the Winter of 2017.

Author’s website | Goodreads | Facebook


Giveaway

Now onto to the contest. Enter to win for $50 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of Devil’s Gold! This contest is international.

 


Blog Tour Schedule

Don’t miss out on this tour! Here’s the schedule:

February 12th
CBY Book Club
Whatever You Can Still Betray
Loves Great Reads

February 13th
Mes Livres
JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder
Writers and Authors

February 14th
Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!
Booked J >> Review

February 15th
Two Ends of the Pen
Evermore Books

February 16th
La libreria di Beppe
Viviana MacKade

February 19th
A British Bookworm’s Blog
the attic ghost
The Genre Minx Book Reviews
anie’s blog: diary of a wanna be writer

February 20th
Just Books
The Pursuit Of Bookiness
NewbookcatsReads

February 21st
Book Sniffers Anonymous
Novelties

February 22nd
So Few Books
tfaulcbookreviews
For The Love Of The Page

February 23rd
Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf
E. Lizard Breath Reads

Book and ARC Haul: December 2017

 

Well, December was quite uneventful and short. But I’ve been meaning to see what the fuss is with a certain series. And recently, I wanted to catch up on some blog tours. I haven’t honestly thought that I would buy an entire series, but here I am. I officially have no room on my shelves. So guess who needs at least two now. I need two jobs to support my habit.

I may need more willpower when it comes to buying books though.

 

 

Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas

For years, I’ve been wanting to get into the Throne of Glass series. And since a few months ago, I bought Tower of Dawn, I couldn’t just let that book sit alone on my shelf, right? Unfortunately, I spoiled myself. So I know what has occurred in this series. But I’m Maas trash, and I’d probably buy anything she decides to publish.

How do you like this series? Are you looking forward to the last book?

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

 

The Vixen’s Lead by Tate James

I found out this book has a reverse harem theme, and I thought, “Huh. Go for it.” I’m slowly growing my paranormal romance collection, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour! I’m dying to pick up the rest of the Kit Davenport series.

Goodreads | Amazon CAN | Amazon US

 

Hinder by Kristin Ping

Look at the cover, then you’ll realize why I picked up the book. This new series brings a new twist to the witch-themed storyline. Ethan and Alex constantly face danger because of their Earth powers. Both must learn how to work together and deny their attraction toward each other, but their union may save their supernatural world or end it all together.

If you’re looking for something, Hinder may spark your interest!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Published by: Tor Books

Publication Date: February 24, 2015

Genre: Science Fiction, Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 400

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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


Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.


“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

You know, not often do I find a book that reminds me why I love reading. And now I’m in this dilemma where I have no clue how I’ll get back to normal life. A Darker Shade of Magic is a rare treat for readers who hope to go back to their roots and find a book that truly surprises them.

Kell is a dying breed of Antari, a magician who travels through parallel Londons. He’s currently a messenger for Red London, one of four Londons, and a smuggler. Smuggling is forbidden though. Now it may come back to haunt him. When a deal goes amiss, he flees to Grey London where he meets Delilah Bard, a cross-dressing, aspiring pirate, and inadvertently sets off a deadly ripple effect that that may just threaten not only their lives but all the worlds.

I let a glorious book just sit on my TBR and not read it until the series ends. Why? I don’t know. Maybe life got in the way, and I underestimated my growing list. I regret not reading this book until now. I just want to pass this book onto the next reader and say, “Stop what you’re doing and read it. Now.”

I’ve only read Victoria’s Monsters of Verity series but have heard a lot of this one. And it is unlike any other book I’ve read. There were times where I had to convince myself not to burst out laughing, only to fail and scare my cat. I’m a full-fledged fan of her work now. ADSOM is a beautifully executed story that shows another side to magic.

 

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”

I cannot gush more about these characters. Kell is stubbornly loyal and protective to the end. That boy with those powers has a story to tell. He’s squeezed his way into my favourites list. The one character who sticks out is Delilah, or Lila. The quirky, clever, and dangerous pirate will capture anyone’s heart, then break it within a second. Her backstory intrigues me the most, and I was rooting for her from the start. I adore her. Both Kell and Lila blend seamlessly together, and I love how their chemistry carries the story. And finally an author writes a bisexual character who is realistic. I love Rhy, the devious prince from Red London and brother to Kell. You sense how much he cherishes Kell.

The four Londons take a life of their own. Victoria makes them into characters in their own right. Grey London possesses no magic. Red London strikes the right balance of it. White London is overrun with it. And Black London no longer exists because of it. She take world building to a new extreme, and I appreciate that she took the time to develop them. Don’t expect this book to be fast paced. It’s a slow burn, which she excels well in. I want the story to open up in an organic way, not rushed.

Don’t do yourself a disservice. Read this book, then proceed with the sequels. I know I will. I want to travel back to the Londons and see what these worlds have to offer.

Mini Reviews: Adulthood Is a Myth and Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen

Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Andersen

Published by: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Publication Date: March 8, 2016

Genre: Comic Strip, Adult, Humour

Page Count: 109

Rating: 4/5

Source: Friend’s stash of books

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


Are you a special snowflake? Do you enjoy networking to advance your career? Is adulthood an exciting new challenge for which you feel fully prepared? Ugh. Please go away.

This book is for the rest of us. These comics document the wasting of entire beautiful weekends on the internet, the unbearable agony of holding hands on the street with a gorgeous guy, dreaming all day of getting home and back into pajamas, and wondering when, exactly, this adulthood thing begins. In other words, the horrors and awkwardnesses of young modern life.


Okay, I admit I don’t read many comic books or strips. But I’ve been a fan of Sarah’s work for years, well before she published her first book. Thankfully my friend bought both her books, and within an hour I blew through them.

Even though the strips are simplistic, I love how Sarah captures what people think, how they feel, and how they are all the same, regardless of what they believe. She takes you on an unbelievably hilarious adventure of a girl’s journey through life.

I can’t count how times I giggled while reading this book. And I haven’t devoured a comic book so quickly in a long while. Sarah takes these complicated adult problems all readers face daily or fear, and she turns them into some sort of therapeutic release for her followers. I relate to her characters, feelings, fears, and thoughts on every day things. From sniffing books to commandeering men’s hoodies, she makes her readers relate to each other so that they can realize we aren’t so different.

I will always look for more of Sarah’s work. She speaks to my inner introvert and bookworm (dragon tyvm). I think my only negative of the book is that it’s too short. Besides that issue, I love her strips. And I’ll eagerly await more of her illustrations.

 


Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen

Published by: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

Genre: Comic Strip, Adult, Humour

Page Count: 128

Rating: 4/5

Source: Friend’s stash of books

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


Sarah Andersen’s hugely popular, world-famous Sarah’s Scribbles comics are for those of us who boast bookstore-ready bodies and Netflix-ready hair, who are always down for all-night reading-in-bed parties and extremely exclusive after-hour one-person music festivals.

In addition to the most recent Sarah’s Scribbles fan favorites and dozens of all-new comics, this volume contains illustrated personal essays on Sarah’s real-life experiences with anxiety, career, relationships and other adulthood challenges that will remind readers of Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half and Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. The same uniquely frank, real, yet humorous and uplifting tone that makes Sarah’s Scribbles so relatable blooms beautifully in this new longer form.


Sarah is my spirit animal or my queen; I’m not sure which one, though. The anti-social, hate-filled woman in me squeals when I find “my people,” as in my fellow introverts. Sarah touches on bullying, self image, relationships, female problems, procrastination, and social awkwardness. While I like the first comic strip book, I feel that Sarah connects this sequel in a better cohesive way.

What I would give to sit down and talk with her about life. You get a better understanding of who she is and what issues make her uncomfortable. She addresses many social problems she battles with. And all I see is a reenactment of my life. How can I identify with a woman I haven’t met sometimes astounds me. But somehow I do, and while looking through Goodreads, I’ve realized many other readers feel the same.

 

She’s not afraid to discuss social anxiety. She combines her humour with her anxiety and turns the latter into a platform for her to talk with other people who suffer from it. So I respect her for pulling off that accomplishment. Big Mushy Happy Lump is a light and airy read that hooks you from the first strip. I can’t wait to see what Sarah has to offer next.

Book Haul: March 2017

I’ve been catching up on my TBR list, so I haven’t bought anything recent. However, my friends at Common Deer Press sent me an eARC of their book coming out in April, and my bestie told me I must read her two favourite series (I love book lovers 😌).

What have you bought this month? Are you trying to tackle that growing TBR pile?

 

MOM by Collin Piprell

I admit I haven’t read a lot of sci-fi books. Some are good, and well, others don’t stand up to time. But I’ve been intrigued by this book since I first heard of it.

MOM is the first book in the Magic Circles series. Society is wiped out, and the last remaining humans live in malls and are protected by MOM, which is a mall operations manager. Humans are entirely dependent on this machine, and unfortunately for them, it’s become self-aware.

Next month I’ll be involved in the MOM blog tour. So watch out for some posts!

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The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter

Demons, mythology, and gorgeous men? Oh hi, I haven’t read you before. I may not be a huge romance reader, but with this book, I’m in. I’m a bit late getting into the series, but naturally I usually am.

I’m looking forward to the mythology in The Darkest Night. I’m usually an instant fan when authors incorporate Greek lore (actually, any good lore) into their work! I can’t wait to read this book.

Thank you, Beth! ❤️

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Dark Lover by J. R. Ward

I haven’t read vampire books in several years. I can’t remember the last time I have. When my friend handed me the book, I was a bit hesitant. But the author’s J. R. Ward, and she’s huge in this genre, so I have faith in this book recommendation. From the start, the Black Dagger Brotherhood appealed to me. And I like the whole pureblood concept.

I have an inkling these two fantasy romance novels may get me hooked. Help me if they do. Or at least drag me out to get some fresh air once in awhile.

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Book Haul: January and February 2017

I’ve been waiting forever to buy these books. Ah! Okay, clearly I didn’t have a huge haul for these two months, but I’m giddy to see them in the mail.

January

27883214Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I’ve read a lot of raving reviews for this book. And each one just solidifies my need to buy Caraval. The story has intrigued me from the first day I heard about it. It is my first carnival-themed novel, so I wasn’t sure if I’d like. I was wrong. I love it. Caraval is one of my favourite books for 2017!

I’m tempted to buy a UK edition, too. The book designs are simply beautiful!

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February

91519King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

Queen Victoria, you bless us with another enthralling story….And now I sound obsessed. Great.

I can’t wait for this book! I’ve been waiting for a good year or more. And while I saw the betrayal coming, Victoria’s debut novel just sparked something in me.

Victoria is an outspoken author, but that trait draws me to her books. And I hope that her views will translate into some interesting stories!

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24763621Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

I can’t get over that Sarah, aka JJ, expands on the Goblin King universe! And I’ve been drooling over this cover for months. I have huge hopes for Wintersong. And I love how she incorporates German folklore. She also draws a lot of inspiration from Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, which is one of my most beloved movies. It contains layers and undertones in each shot, so I expect nothing less for Sarah’s debut novel.

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31338270A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong

Not too long ago, I finished reading City of the Lost, but I can’t even enough of it. Kelley weaves in these dark and twisted arcs that just hook you from the very start. This series is a departure from her fantasy realm, but she has touched on mystery, thriller, and crime in her other series, though. So I have a feeling this book will ignite a new love. City of the Lost is definitely one of favourites!

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Review: City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

26869354.jpegCity of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

Published by: Random House Canada

Publication Date: January 2, 2016

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Adult, Contemporary

Extent: 480 pages

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase


Casey Duncan once killed a man and got away with it. But that’s not why she’s on the run. Her best friend’s ex has found Diana again, despite all Casey has done to protect her. And Diana has decided the only way she’ll ever be safe is if she finds the mythical town she’s heard of where people like her can go to hide. Turns out the town really exists, and will take Diana, but only if Casey, a talented young police detective, comes too.

Imagine a hidden town, isolated in the Yukon wilderness, where everyone is pretending to be someone they’re not. Even good people can get up to some very bad stuff. The laconic town sheriff dispenses his own frontier justice, but he’s more accustomed to sobering up drunks in the horse trough, than attempting to solve the series of brutal murders that has rocked the town. As much as he hates it, he needs Casey. As for Casey, coming to the far North may have started out as a sacrifice she was willing to make for her best friend. But maybe, just maybe, she needs Rockton as much as the town needs her.


Kelley has ventured in the suspense, thriller, and mystery genres before, so I had a general idea of where she might go in City of the Lost. I was wrong. So wonderfully wrong. The first book in the new Rockton Thriller series strikes down any preconceived suspicions. It contains touches of her Nadia Stafford series, one which I enjoyed greatly.

After surviving a horrific attack, Casey Duncan, a detective, discovers her tumultuous past comes back seeking revenge. But she is not the only person facing former conflicts. Diana, a high school friend, desperately searches for a way to escape her abusive husband. When Diana proposes an idea for them to find a hidden town where people escape their lives, Casey agrees to disappear from society. The catch? She must destroy any record of their lives, cut ties with all loved ones, and find a possible serial killer among the town’s people within six months, when her time runs out.

Rockton, in the Yukon territory, morphs into a character of its own. It’s rough and brash yet quiet and watchful. One aspect I love about City of the Lost is how Kelley slowly and deliberately reveals this character. She builds off each layer. And, similar to Stonehaven in Women of the Otherworld series, I can’t help but fall in love with it. Kelley fleshes out the natural atmosphere of Rockton perfectly, showcasing the beauty of Canada’s rugged landscape. This psychological thriller shows the brutality of our society and the North. Animals will act out of fear or survival. Humans, on the other hand, act on savagery, hunger, drive, and desire. She encapsulates the difference between the two beasts in such an effortless way.

The characters, including the town, make the story. Each one opens up a new history and a new threat. People aren’t afraid to kill, and they certainly aren’t afraid to show their true side. Some may have run from abusive lovers, drug lords, or possible convictions. They aren’t the heroes. They may have even created the horrors we fear. However, each characters’ vulnerabilities break down the door to salvation and possible self-forgiveness.

One character who stands out is Casey. I identify with her. She’s driven, determined, yet separated from people. And with good reason. Throughout the book, she tries to come to terms with murdering her boyfriend, Blaine twelve years ago. While on a date with him, local gang members accuse him of trespassing on their territory. And while he says he’s the grandson of a Montreal mobster, he abandons Casey. Her action conflicts with her career path, though, and also forces her to build a wall between her and others. Her possible rape and her physical assault prevent her from doing so. And I relate to that decision. While there are many resources women and men have access to after sexual assault, sometimes they simply cannot move on. I instantly connect with Casey, who is, by far, my favourite character in the series.

Eric Dalton, Rockton’s sheriff, dedicates his life to protecting the town and its residents. His history fascinates me. The way he rules his town will surprise and may even anger you. But wait until you see why. Rockton isn’t in an urban environment. Controlling these residents requires Dalton to inflict police brutality at times. But he must stay harsh in this dangerous town.

I first gave this book a 4.5 rating, but I see nothing wrong with it, nothing to improve. Kelley creates a solid, refreshing, and invigorating psychological thriller that will resonate with many readers. It’ll take you on a intriguing journey highlighting the human condition. I warn you now: you might know who the serial killer is at certain stages of the book, but finding out who commits these crimes may stump you. Kelley tricked even me, and I’ve been reading her books since I was twelve. The character arcs move beyond that discovery, and they add more richness to the story. So I’ve bumped it up to a 5. 😉

Have you heard of these towns where people can escape? What would you do if you lived in one? Tell me in the comments.

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