Sunday, September 30, 2012

{Review} City of Woe by Christopher Ryan

ISBN #: 978-1475159233
Page Count: 358
Copyright: July 17, 2012
Publisher: CreateSpace


Description:

What if detectives Frank Mallory and Alberto "Gunner" Gennaro were forced to play catch up with a killer who may or may not be a demon and who leaves trails of Dantesque murders, each one occurring further south in Manhattan and deeper into his version of The Inferno? How could these situations be connected? How long can the detectives stick to strict police procedural facts when confronted with increasingly bizarre events, especially once they begin invading Mallory's private life? And how does he find a balance between his rejection of the case's alleged demonic elements and his strong desire to believe his dying father's visions of long dead relatives beckoning him to heaven? When must a detective reconsider what exists outside man's law?

These are dominant concerns of City of Woe, a novel combining Ryan's personal experiences, knowledge of the family business (the NYPD), an understanding of literary classics and a love for classic rock and roll.


Charlene's Review:

Detective Mallory and his partner, Gunner, are called to what they believe is a standard issue murder. They too soon find themselves wrapped up in a series of murders with a killer becoming more personal as the crimes escalate. With car chases, explosions, and possible demonic possession, Mallory fights to find the killer, alongside his partner, a shaman, and a Catholic Priest, before he becomes the next target.

This novel should be named "City of WHOA!" I found myself holding my breath, repeatedly, waiting for the story to play out. Non-stop suspense is the rule for this story, and it never wavers.

Not usually my favored genre, I whole-heartedly fell for the characters of Mallory and Gunner, and will be delighted to read any sequels to see how these characters evolve. In the midst of the action, Mr. Ryan balances the family life of Mallory perfectly, and touches on belief systems, that rather than lower the psychological impact, enhance it.

Having never read Dante's Inferno I can't say how closely this relates, but I do know the plot was flawless, as far as thrillers go. Packed with murder, paranormal activity, and occasional dry humor, Ryan never allowed the action to overshadow the characters. As the killer focuses his attacks according to his victims "degree of sin" it awakens the reader to the moral standards our country is lacking. There is just so much going on in this book, it is mind-boggling. I highly recommend that you give this book a chance. Explosive entertainment in every page. Bring on Volume 2, please!


*A physical copy of the book was provided by the author's publicist in exchange for an honest review.

{Blog Tour/Interview} Roots of Insight by Breeana Puttroff


Welcome to Literary R&R's stop on Breeana Puttroff's Roots of Insight book blog tour, hosted by Lightning Book Promotions. For our stop, an interview has been conducted by Kate, our newest team member.


Book Info:

ISBN #: 978-0983993032
Page Count: 306
Copyright: January 9, 2012
Publisher: Musefish Independent Press


Summary:

Quinn Robbins has just returned from spending ten days in Eirentheos, a world she had never known existed. Trying to settle back into her familiar life and establish a relationship with her new boyfriend, Zander, is more of a challenge than she ever dreamed it would be. Things are just beginning to feel normal again when Thomas shows up in her world, and invites her back to Eirentheos for a royal wedding. She's excited at the chance to reconnect with the people and places she had begun to fall in love with. What she doesn't realize is just how deeply connected with this new world she might become ... and just what old secrets might be beginning to unravel.


Author Interview:

Hello Breeana! Thank you so much for joining us today :-)

Hi Kate! Thanks so much for having me. :-)

What made you decide to create another world/reality while still having part of the story take place on Earth (rather than having the whole story be in one world or the other)?

The idea for The Dusk Gate Chronicles built sort of slowly. It was inspired by a real broken and neglected bridge I saw up in the mountains one day when my dad and I took my daughter for a picnic. I knew as soon as I saw it that there was a story in it, but it took me another six months of thinking about it before I was ready to start writing. Because the whole idea for the story was the bridge, it sort of had to take place in both worlds. :-)

Can you tell us a little bit more about the Kingdom's structure (namely in terms of each child of the royal family having a different "gift")?

The children of the royal families in Eirentheos and Philotheum (the two main kingdoms in the story) are given "gifts" shortly after they're born. It's a tradition in their world that stems back from a time that the two kingdoms were actually part of one larger kingdom. While the gifts are not actually magical, they are a way of passing down the characteristics that the people of those kingdoms believe are important in maintaining a peaceful and well-functioning society.

How did you decide on the gifts for the family members and which one to give to each character?

The gifts are given in order of birth, so the firstborn child in a royal family is given the gift of leadership - a gift which will serve them as they take on the roles they will grow into. The rest of the gifts are other things that would benefit the people of the kingdom. The gifts aren't a destiny set in stone, each royal child still has to make the decisions about how they will use their gifts. William, for example, was never required to become a healer.

A gift can be a double-edged sword, as well. A person can become overconfident in his or her gift, and not be careful with it. A leader might expect that everyone will listen to him simply because of his gift, when he is not demonstrating that leadership. Or a second-born gifted with Justice might come to think his opinions were always right.

Since you know how much I love Thomas ;-) can you tell us how relationships in the kingdom work versus here on Earth (for example both worlds have marriage, but what about dating relationships, girlfriend/boyfriend terms, etc)?

Thomas is definitely lovable. ;-) Relationships is Eirentheos and in our world are fairly similar, although in Eirentheos, teenage relationships are taken probably a bit more seriously. Theirs is a culture where family is very valued and important, and their "teenagers" have more adult responsibilities. It is very common there for people to marry quite young (though due to the differences in the timeline, they really are older in many ways.)

Teenagers there might begin a relationship by beginning an informal courtship. They would spend time together, usually close to one or both of their families, doing things like picnics, horseback rides, family dinners, and parties. If the two are not compatible, this stage usually ends quickly. Thomas has had a few of these. :-) If they are compatible, this stage is longer, and usually culminates in the couple deciding to pursue a formal courtship.

A formal courtship is shared with both families, and in the case of royal children, the courtship is announced and made public knowledge. During this stage, a couple will spend more time together, and with both of their families, and it is understood that the couple is making a decision about whether they are compatible for marriage. It is traditional for a courting couple to exchange "courtship bracelets," each bracelet bearing the other's name, on the night they announce their formal courtship.

Formal courtships can vary in length, and they can be broken off by either party at any time. Couples make serious decisions during a formal courtship, and they know that at this point, the relationship is headed toward marriage.

After a formal courtship comes the betrothal, and the couple formally announces their intention to marry. Betrothals are usually expected, and also usually short. Most weddings take place as soon after the betrothal as they can be arranged.

The terms "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" are not really slang in Eirentheos. Usually, the person you are courting is known as a companion or a partner.

What is the hardest part in creating your own world (beside having to answer all my strange questions, haha)?

The hardest part has probably been coming up with all of the details, and making sure they are consistent across the stories. And the history - as the books progress, we learn a lot more about the history of the kingdoms and the characters. Some of the history is a story in itself. :-)

I know currently there are three books out in the series, do you have a number you plan to stop at or will the series continue as long as you have ideas?

The fourth, and final, book in the main story arc will be released later this year. November 23rd is currently the projected date. I am considering a prequel (speaking of history!) that would take place before Quinn was born, and I am also thinking about a possible sequel that would take place about ten years after the fourth book ends, and much of which would be told from a different character's point of view.

I have a completely different project I am planning on releasing before doing either of those stories, however.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and for visiting us at the blog.

Again, thank you so much for having me on your lovely blog! :-)

--
Breeana Puttroff
Author of The Dusk Gate Chronicles

Book One: Seeds of Discovery
Book Two: Roots of Insight
Book Three: Thorns of Decision

Find them at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, or ask your favorite bookseller.

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

{Review} The Tomb by Dave Ferraro

ASIN #: B0059K5W68
File Size: 423 KB
Page Count: 306
Copyright: July 1, 2011
Publisher: David Ferraro


Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

18-year-old Rachel Thyme has been handed the opportunity of a lifetime when she joins an archaeological dig off the coast of Australia. Eager to have some experience under her belt, she doesn't question the rumors the locals tell of the previous archaeology crews and the haunting disappearances. She ignores the first signs that something is wrong when her crewmates begin to do strange things, that propel them deeper into the bowels of Black Forest Island. But she can hardly write off discovery after discovery that lead her to confront a long-hidden tomb and puts into question what she thinks she knows about the supernatural.

Rachel wants nothing more than to prove herself on this excursion, especially as it was her daddy's money that helped her land this job, and as she makes friends, and even sees a little romance, she discovers horrors she can hardly imagine, from evil slowly awakening around her, to the hidden demons locked in her past.

The Tomb is a stand-alone prequel to the Hunters of the Dark paranormal fantasy series.


Mandy's Review:

I enjoyed reading a prequel that wasn't about Shanna, the main focus of the Hunters of the Dark series. But I'm wondering why Rachel? It certainly explains why she's known as a 'bitch' amongst the group of hunters, but I'm wondering if there's going to be stories about all of the hunters' beginnings. I would like to know how they all came to the point of joining the group and what their first experiences were.

In The Tomb, Rachel is in Australia on a three-month dig. The females that are around her age are somewhat jealous of Rachel because of her looks, family money, and being able to pull strings to get on the team. The guys that are around her age all want to hook up with her. Rachel is not savvy in the ways of romantic mystique, though, since she was basically brought up in a French all-girl boarding school. She would like to be friends with them all, but her main focus is the job at hand. It doesn't help her reputation, though, when it's her that discovers the hidden doors that lead into the tombs.

There are some weird things going on. People are in trances doing strange things and then people begin disappearing. Is it the work of a team member or is there something paranormal going on?

The Tomb was interesting to read, but I missed the camaraderie of the group of Hunters.


*An ecopy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

{Review} Amery House by Samantha J. Moore

ASIN #: B0082OIUEY
File Size: 525 KB
Page Count: 84
Copyright: May 11, 2012
Publisher: Angelic Knight Press


Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

Set against the jazz-ridden backdrop of the 1920's, amidst the underground world of New York City burlesque, young Nadine Frost is a dancer and free spirit who thrives at the side of her club-owner boyfriend.

With the sudden and debilitating crash of the stock market in 1929, and the brutal murder of her lover and manager, Nadine is forced to travel to New Orleans where she becomes "Miss Naddy," prostitute and mistress of the old French Quarter. In the throes of The Great Depression, Nadine finds herself in a world of boot-leg liquor, sex, murder, and betrayal. With the company of the other "Showgirls," four women with their own haunted pasts, Nadine must forge a new life in the brothel on Royal Street.

Amery House is the story of five women, prostitutes and performers, who yearn to escape the dark, underground world of the sex trade. From New York City to New Orleans, this haunting tale asks how far you have to go to outrun the ghosts of your past.


Kathy's Review:

I was drawn to this story because it takes place in New Orleans in the 1920's and 30's, and Nawlins is one of my favorite cities in the world. I also find this period in history to be interesting - the Great Depression, Prohibition and the like. Although this shows the seedier side of life in those times, it was still a good historical representation of what was happening during those days.

However, this story is largely disappointing. It's so short that there is no time for the plot or characters to unfold. The main character, Old Nadine, is the narrator and begins the story by murdering her boyfriend in New York. The motive for the murder is pretty weak, and not believable. After finding her way to New Orleans she is drawn into a life of prostitution at Amery House with four other women. The idea that the women form a sisterhood is intriguing, but there's hardly any action that helps develop the bonds.

Each woman has a backstory, and each of these could have been drawn out more to establish each of them as fuller characters. Particularly the story of Margaret and Mildred, twin sisters escaping from a life of abuse.

Then there's the ending. Not to ruin it, but a ghost who has been little more than an apparition in the night begins taunting and joking during the action? This just seemed to come out of left field.

One last thing - the cover. There are two women on the cover. I'm presuming one is Nadine - who is the other woman? There's really not a second woman who is given more prominence over the others in Amery House, so this confused me.

I would encourage the author to spend more time on this story and develop it more. I thought what was there was written well, but lacking more meat.


*An ecopy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, September 28, 2012

{Event Invite} Fall for the Book - Stories of Self-Publishing Success

Are you going to be near the DC area this weekend? Don't have any plans this Saturday? Why not join the literary event: Fall for the Book - Stories of Self-Publishing Success?!


Event Details:

Date: September 29, 2012
Time: 10 a.m. EST
Venue: Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center
Address: 3740 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22030

This event will involve a 1 hour panel discussion (includes short Q&A) followed by a 1 hour meet-and-greet. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

If you need additional info, please feel free to click here to visit Matthew Iden's website.


Panelists:
Karen Cantwell
Matthew Iden










Michael J. Sullivan

Scott Nicholson
Robin Sullivan


 

Karen Cantwell writes the humorous Barbara Marr Murder Mystery Series which includes Take the Monkeys and Run, Citizen Insane, and Silenced by the Yams, all of which have been Kindle bestsellers.

Matthew Iden writes fantasy, science fiction, horror, thrillers, crime fiction, and contemporary literary fiction with a psychological twist.

Scott Nicholson has hit the Kindle Top 100 ten different times in three countries and more than a million of his ebooks have been downloaded.

Michael J. Sullivan made over a quarter of a million dollars in self-publishing then sold that same series to big-six publisher Hachette Book Group for six-figures and more than twice that for 14 foreign language contracts.

Robin Sullivan is a lecturer, blogger, small press publisher, and business manager/publicist for her husband, author Michael J. Sullivan.

{Review} Hiking the Continental Divide Trail: One Woman's Journey by Jennifer Hanson

ASIN #: B0052ZBJJ4
File Size: 1613 KB
Page Count: 275
Copyright: May 26, 2011
Publisher: Rainbow Books, Inc.


Description:

A how-to adventure for both armchair and real-life hikers.

An avid outdoorswoman, West Point graduate and former Captain in the U.S. Army, Jennifer Hanson - with her husband Greg Allen - set off to thru-hike the 2,400-mile Continental Divide Trail. During their hike, Jennifer learned that she had lost her father to cancer, and, within three weeks, her husband was forced to leave the trail due to an injured nerve in his foot. Jennifer finished the last nine hundred miles of the trail - alone.

Hiking the Continental Divide Trail: One Woman's Journey is the story of their incredible summer and is filled with courage, humor, stunning scenery, local personalities and the simple joys of backpacking. In addition, it is an invaluable resource for those planning their own section - or thru-hike of the CDT.


Charlene's Review:

Jennifer Hanson tells the story of her journey across the Continental Divide Trail. What started out as a joint adventure with her husband soon becomes a solo mission, and a journey into her own self-discovery. Even as she faces the loss of her father, and the injury to her husband that removes him from the hike, Jennifer presses on, and finds a strength and peace she did not know she possessed.

As much a backpacking manual as a personal story, Jennifer shares with us the breathtaking landscape, both peaceful and dangerous. I especially admired the stories of the strangers along the way that went above and beyond to help Jennifer complete her journey. This is an enjoyable look into nature, and the determination it takes to conquer your dreams.


*A paperback copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

{Review} Nothing for Christmas & Other Holiday Tales by John Bolen

ISBN #: 978-1467901932
Page Count: 146
Copyright: November 2, 2011
Publisher: CreateSpace


Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

A strange man in a bar declares that he is the real Santa; a couple married fifty years and both succumbing to Alzheimer's grasp to hold on to their memories of love; men tell tales of how a 12 inch doll altered their lives; these are just three of the nine short stories that deal with the comical, sentimental, dramatic, and sometimes tragic aspects of the human condition during the Holiday season.


Kathy's Review:

Let me get the negatives out of the way first. I try and follow the old adage of "don't judge a book by its cover," but in this case I have to say: this cover is atrocious. It looks like my 7-year-old made it. Sorry, but it's true.

Continuing with the bad news: formatting issues made it difficult for me to read the .mobi version of this book.

So far in this book review, I feel like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. But, remember when the Grinch's heart grew 14 sizes and nearly popped out of his ill-fitting Santa suit? And then he shared the Roast Beast with Cindy-Lou Who? So was my change of attitude about Nothing for Christmas. I had pretty low expectations for the book based on the cover but I was pleasantly surprised. Each of these short stories has a very charming, sentimental feel to it. They each center around a holiday, either Christmas or Thanksgiving, but usually the holiday is only the backdrop to the action taking place.

As is usually the case with short stories, you can get through this collection pretty quickly. I read this over the course of a couple of hours, taking breaks between each story.

I think the writing lacks some polish, but author Bolen does a nice job of quickly building character and weaving in some mystery. I also like the subtle morals of each story. Some have happy endings, others do not, but each offers a look into human relationships and love. It could be a family love, or a love at first sight.

Order a copy of this book, and then curl up next to a roaring fire during the holiday season this year and enjoy each of these short stories. They all have something different to offer, and I think you'll like what's within these pages.


*An ecopy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

{Review} The Shade Tree Choir by David Nelson

ASIN #: B0098QWTNS
File Size: 433 KB
Page Count: 128
Copyright: August 31, 2012
Publisher: Cowboy Poet Press


Description:

Krame suffers the physical and emotional abuse from his alcoholic parents and menatlly ill mother for nearly ten years. As a child, he promises himself he will leave the deprived area and never return. As an eight year old, Krame finds solace with three of his cohorts. He is known by the gang as the "Thinker" because he plans every escapade to the finest detail so they will never get caught. Little do the other three know, Krame does not want to be caught and suffer another beating at home. Things go on like this until tragedy strikes.

The grim truth of Krame's childhood stays hidden for forty years until he opens up to one of his old friends when he returns home to bury his father. In the process of remembering and opening up about his past, Krame discovers his dad was not who he thought he was.


Charlene's Review:

The Shade Tree Choir chronicles the life of Krame and his friends as they grow up in a time when physical abuse of children was a common practice. As the book begins, Krame has returned to the town of his childhood for his father's funeral. As he walks the streets of his old neighborhood, he reflects back on a life under the oppression of a detached mother, and alcoholic father. He also remembers the "gang" of friends that helped him through the good and bad. When he meets up with his old friend, "Bear," he is finally able to find the closure he so desperately needed as a boy, and share some secret burdens that he has held for many years.

Mr. Nelson has written a profoundly eye-opening story about a boy who lives in the shadow of abuse. This is a coming-of-age story, filled with pain and tragedy, and the incredible spirit children are born with, that allows them to overcome such abuse. As much as it focuses on abuse, it is also a story of hope, redemption, and forgiveness. I highly recommend this book, for its lessons, and for its poignant beauty.


*A paperback copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

{Review} God's Jukebox by Will Beattie

ASIN #: B007ZHV9U6
File Size: 463 KB
Page Count: 257
Copyright: May 5, 2012
Publisher: Will Beattie


Book Summary:
(Take from Goodreads)

Music Industry A&R man Zach Laudon watched as the remains of his life burned down around him. The dreams he built and lived, in the space of one week, had been ripped away, leaving nothing more than ghosts and shadows.

Finding himself seeking the only salvation he could at The Toucan public house - a tiny Guinness goldmine in London's Soho Square - with a shaman-like barman pulling prints from the tap that snaked down behind the bar under the streets of London all the way to the darkest heart of Africa, where the Guinness flows down a volcano like molten lava filtered through a river of ice before it settles into a pint glass, Zach had no idea his prayers were about to be answered.

A chance meeting with a mysterious old man offering Zach his shot at redemption - to go back in time via the soundtrack to his life and make the one choice, the one difference, that could undo all the carnage and chaos, to get back his beloved Evelyn, and resurrect his career in the music business.

The chance for Zach to reclaim him dreams was in his hands, but would his life ever be the same again?

Fate, destiny or Divine Intervention - Zach was about to find out just what his life means - all he had to do was play God's Jukebox.


Kathy's Review:

I guess from the title I was expecting something a little bit more inspirational, or with some moral to it. And maybe it did get there at some point. Zach is watching a rewind of his life, set to music, and his tour guide is a bartender who seems like he might be the Big Guy upstairs. At the end of each song/chapter, the bartender and Zach review what happened and the bartender often offers some life advice.

I liked the gimmick of naming each chapter after a song in Zach's life, marking a significant moment or turning point for him. But from there I became bored in the plot about his job in A&R, his horrible boss and his attempts to get the best of him. There was an event in his childhood that was interesting, but it never came back to it ... that was disappointing. It seems like it would have affected Zach's future, but it's not explained or explored in more depth.

Then, the significant action between Zach and girlfriend Evelyn comes late in the story, and I think it does a disservice to this part of the plot to not introduce it sooner. I wish I had known more about this, rather than all the chapters about the A&R business.

For a book with "God" in the title, there is a lot of language and adult situations, so that's just a caution for those of you out there who find this offensive.

I liked this premise, but as I said, the plot spends too much time in some places and not enough on others. The theme of looking back on your life and what you could change, and how it might affect the outcome of your life, is one I've explored in my own writing, and it's a subject that always intrigues me. So for that reason, I could relate to this story. I'm not sure what group of readers this would most appeal to. I guess those who have looked back on their own lives and wondered "what if" - you will appreciate this the most.


*An ecopy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

{Blog Tour/Review} Victorious Woman! Shaping Life's Challenges Into Personal Victories by Annmarie Kelly



Welcome to Literary R&R's stop on Annmarie Kelly's Victorious Woman blog tour, hosted by Tribute Books. Below you will find book info and a review.


ISBN #: 978-0974603704
Page Count: 279
Copyright: September 2004
Publisher: Optimal Living Press


Book Summary:

Real Women - Real Stories - Real Challenges - Real Victories

What's a woman to do? If she makes a bad choice or gets thrown one of life's curveballs, is she forever doomed?

Author Annmarie Kelly says "NO!" and proves it with compelling real life stories of women who faced and overcame seemingly overwhelming life challenges. This powerfully moving book overflows with intelligence, understanding, emotion and true grit.

Kelly explains victory as the stretch you make out of your comfort zone and into the greater, fuller expression of who you really are - your authentic self. She demonstrates victory by taking you inside the lives of nine distressed women and showing you how they became victorious. You are likely to recognize something of yourself woven in each of these stories; each one will inspire and encourage you to forge your own victory over whatever is challenging you right now. At the end of each woman's chapter you'll find soul-searching questions that you must ask yourself to insure your own victories.

Author Kelly concludes the stories with a "lessons learned" chapter. Gleaning the best from each Victorious Woman, from the many other women she interviewed and from her own intriguing life challenges, Kelly describes the FOUR LIFESTYLES that either support you in victory or sabotage you, and the SIX SKILLS every woman has to learn to be in control of her SELF. She also gives you, her readers, the Victorious Woman Model to help you figure out what you need at different stages of challenges. The result is a book that is part inspiration, part motivation and part skill building. Some have called Victorious Woman "a blueprint for life" and "a practical approach to taking control of your life."

Since its first publication, many women say that they keep Victorious Woman! on their book shelf for reference or on their nightstand for comfort at the end of a long day. This "celebration of life" is an encouraging and enlightening read for women who want to create their own personal and professional victories.


Mandy's Review:

Lillian went through emotionally (and probably physically) abusive relationships. Maureen got hit with a divorce out of the blue and had to work two jobs to help support herself and her five children with no child support coming from her ex-husband. Kathleen wound up in a failed marriage and had to pick herself back up again. Toni battled food-related health issues (along with her daughter) and had to make a decision on whether or not to put herself first. Nancy, an African-American woman in the 1950s, decided to leave an abusive marriage and raise her four sons on her own. Pattie was diagnosed with not just one cancer, but a possibility of three different cancers ... all at the same time. Alisa risked losing it all in order to do what she loved. Mary (aka Tekki) deals with dwarfism and had a hugely negative self-image.

All of the women mentioned above have one thing in common: they didn't give up. Each one figured out what it was she needed to do in order to overcome her obstacles. Reading about their stories had me looking at my life trying to figure out if I was unhappy in any area and, if so, what changes I needed to make in order to overcome them.

Each chapter has, what I call, a reflection section at the end themed on what was discussed in the chapter. The reflection section present questions to the reader about past and current situations. The answers are to be written in a journal.

Victorious Woman! is set up to inspire women as well as motivate them all at the same time. It really is a wonderful book to have in one's possession, especially if you need that extra boost to self-start your victorious path.


*A paperback copy of the book was provided by the author for the purposes of the tour in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

{Review} Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox by Lois Banner

ISBN #: 978-1608195312
Page Count: 528
Copyright: July 17, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA


Book Summary:

Marilyn Monroe was rooted in paradox: She was a powerful star and a childlike waif; a joyful, irreverent party girl with a deeply spiritual side; a superb friend and a narcissist; a dumb blonde and an intellectual. In the fifty years since Marilyn's death in 1962, no biographer has fully recognized - much less analyzed - most of these aspects of her personality. Lois Banner has.

A founder of the field of women's history, Banner reveals Marilyn Monroe as only a top-notch historian and biographer could. Her credentials opened doors in researching this book, gaining her access to Marilyn intimates who had never before spoken to biographers or reporters, as well as to a cache of private material previously unseen, ignored, or misinterpreted. With new details about Marilyn's childhood foster homes, her sexual abuse, her multiple marriages and affairs, and her untimely death at age thirty-six, Banner lends nuance and authoritative detail to sketchy rumors and whispered legends about a remarkable life and honors, as never before, the complexity of a truly immortal subject. In Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox, a goddess of Hollywood's Golden Age is at last rendered fully human.


Mandy's Review:

Like many people, I have an interest in Marilyn Monroe. Lois Banner's version of Marilyn Monroe's biography has gone into more depth than any other Marilyn biography that I'm aware of. She has taken the time to join the Los Angeles Marilyn fan club where members shared their collections. She then interviewed Marilyn friends and associates. Researching American and European archives, she was allowed access to never-before-seen collections. She bought many Marilyn items on eBay and at auctions. All of this, and more, allowed Lois to get a more in-depth look at Marilyn and her past.

All of this may seem like it would provide an overwhelming amount of information, but Ms. Banner has taken all of this information and has created a well-written, informative account of Marilyn Monroe's life; from her birth as Norma Jean to her first marriage at sixteen to her death.

Lois Banner's interpretation of Marilyn's life was an emotional journey for me. Even though I sort of understood why it happened, I was disgusted with how Marilyn's mother and grandmother kept putting her in different foster homes. I felt sorry for Marilyn as she had to feel unloved because of this. Then she was sexually molested, which pissed me off and I blame her family for since I don't think it would've happened had she not been in foster homes. The things that happen in our childhood shape the people that we become and this has been proven in its extreme with Marilyn's life.

If you enjoy biographies, then I would recommend this be added to your TBR pile.


*A hardcopy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

{Blog Tour/Review} One Last Lie by Rob Kaufman

ISBN #: 978-0985623111
Page Count: 322
Copyright: May 10, 2012
Publisher: Rob Kaufman


Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

Philip and Jonathan have had the perfect life together, fulfilling every dream except that of having a child. Along comes Angela, Philip's college friend who apparently conquered her old demons of obesity and manic-depression.

After reacquainting and becoming good friends, the three decide to have a child together through artificial insemination of Jonathan's sperm.

From that point, Philip and Jonathan's idyllic life begins to unravel. Angela's mask of deceit gradually slips as her pregnancy awakens psychological and physical problems, leaving Philip and Jonathan regretting ever allowing her into their lives.

Told from an elderly Jonathan's hospital bed, Angela's tangled web unwinds into heartbreak, deception, legal battles, and finally murder - with a surprise ending no one could have imagined.


Mandy's Review:

Even at 300+ pages, I was able to finish reading this book in a few hours. I didn't want to put it down. I liked that the story was told from an elderly Jonathan's point-of-view, sort of like a dying man's life passing before his eyes.

I enjoyed the dynamics of Philip and Jonathan's relationship. They worked well together. As characters, the reader gets a real sense of who they are separately and not just as a couple. When they're introduced, they've been together for twelve years, so there's a familiarity about them. Angela, though, is another story. This chic is cray-cray (aka crazy). Philip knew Angela from college fifteen years before. They stopped talking because he told her he was gay. Well that sent little Ms. Cray-Cray's plane all into a tailspin, honey. She didn't want anything else to do with him. Until fifteen years later ...

She walks through Philip and Jonathan's door for dinner looking svelte, fabulous, and completely put-together. Just remember people ... once the cookie crumbles, you're not going to be able to put it back together again. Angela is still crazy as a lunatic, but she's learned to cover it up well. So much so that Philip and Jonathan agree to have a child with her.

Gay or straight, men can be oblivious can't they?!

Sure enough, one thing leads to another and Angela's true colors come shining through! Unfortunately, it leads to murder. Now, I'm not going to tell you who or how because that would ruin the whole experience of you reading it for yourself. I will tell you, though, that this was an extremely well-conceptualized book. Even though I had an idea of what was going to happen, I still reacted to the story. I was saddened by the murder. I was shocked and angry at Angela's behavior. I just wanted to shake June, honey, until she woke up mentally. She was a nicer person than I ever would've been. The only sexual scene I recall in this book was between Angela and Tommy, so if m/m sex scenes bother you, don't worry about them. They're not in here.

One Last Lie is a suspenseful look at what could happen when you think you know someone you haven't seen in a long time.


*A physical copy of this book was provided through Pump Up Your Book, an online book publicity company, for the purposes of this tour in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, September 24, 2012

{Review} Face the Dark by Dave Ferraro

ASIN #: B0067EL3VI
File Size: 486 KB
Page Count: 357


Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

One will betray her.

Still reeling from the events of Greece, the hunters find themselves targeted by demons and werewolves. As they try to figure out who has marked them for assassination and why, Shanna learns more about who the mysterious figure Diana was, and about the people she is hunting alongside. After the dust settles, they will never be the same again.


Mandy's Review:

Face the Dark is the third book in the Hunters of the Dark series. To read my reviews on the first two books in the series, just click the titles: Her Dark Destiny (Book #1) and Night Cries (Book #2).

A well-written series, to me, is able to introduce new elements while still staying true to the fundamental design of the initial story. The Hunters of the Dark series does this.

In Face the Dark, the hunters have returned from their rescue mission in Greece. They've brought back a siren as a prisoner so the scholars can study her and try to figure her out. Almost immediately, they're called to a crime scene where it appears that ritualistic sacrifice and torture have been played out. While Shanna's looking around, she realizes one of the victims is still alive.

Quinn, traumatized from watching his parents being tortured, has become the newest member of the hunters. Shanna relates well to his predicament and tries to spend time with him to let him know that he's not alone and that someone understands. Cameron welcomes the newest member, but doesn't appreciate the amount of time Shanna is spending with him. It's bad enough that Cameron feels Shanna's desire for Damien, the sexy vampire, but now she's spending time with Quinn?! Needless to say, Cameron shows his jealous side. And it's this jealousy that leads Cameron to make a "deal with the devil," so to speak.

In Night Cries, the majority of the hunters were partially marked for assassination. If the mark isn't finished being made, then the hunters would die via their nervous systems failing due to the powder that was ingested creating the first part of the mark. Cameron is approached by a member of La Faer Noir requesting he finish making the assassination mark on the rest of the hunters. At first, he turns it down, but when he's made an offer his narcissistic-self cannot refuse, he agrees to finish the job. As you can tell, La Faer Noir is not part of the good guys.

Face the Dark tells the story of what can happen when a good hunter goes bad. People are injured further and can possibly die. Will the hunters be assassinated or will they be able to overcome the obstacles set forth for them by one of their very own?

I really enjoy this series. The author does an excellent job of continuing the hunters' storyline, creating long-lasting personal conflicts mixed with plenty of action. If you're a paranormal fan, I believe that the Hunters of the Dark series would be a great addition to your personal library.


*An ecopy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

{Review} A Death in C Minor by Rebecca Yount

ASIN #: B008BY13RQ
File Size: 814 KB
Page Count: 304
Copyright: June 15, 2012
Publisher: Independent Publisher


Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Determined to rebuild her life following a suicide attempt, beautiful young American concert pianist Jessica Beaumont retreats to a 17th century cottage near the village of Kenwick, in rural England. She is embroiled in the murder investigation of a secretive neighbor who was hacked to death in his manor house with his own kitchen cleaver. She soon becomes romantically entangled with one of the murder suspects, a handsome wealthy landowner. Hungry for love, she flings herself full-tilt into an affair with him. Then, on a rainy evening, Detective Inspector Michael "Mick" Chandra of New Scotland Yard shows up at the door of her rented cottage, informing her that he has been assigned to reopen the case.

Against the backdrop of a violent murder evolves a passionate love story. When Jess herself finds the critical clue to the killing, she is threatened to become the next victim.


Kathy's Review:

I'm not that experienced in reading the mystery genre, but I know there are always a ton of suspects and a lot of misdirection that occurs as the story unfolds. In A Death in C Minor, I quickly lost track of the suspects, as there are many, and some names were similar (e.g. Tony vs. Troy). Then, as I'm sure the author intended, I began to suspect someone completely off-base, only to be completely wrong in the end.

The book is satisfying in that there are clear-cut good guys and bad guys, and they're easy to root for or against. There's a damaged heroine in concert pianist Jessica Beaumont, an American ex-pat who has fled to a small town in England to avoid dealing with the death of her 10-year-old son. Mick Chandra, the detective investigating the murder of Peter Chandler, is a likable guy although he's got a huge ego on him. Adam Marr is a good looking, wealthy jerk, and as a reader I waited for him to get what was coming to him.

Some of the backstory of the murder was lost on me - with the Chechen mafia and the financial stuff that was going on - but mostly I was engaged throughout this entire book. There's a romance aspect with Jess and Mick, which is a nice complement to the murder mystery. Some of the details tied up too neatly, such as finding certain pieces of evidence, but as a relatively fledgling mystery reader I took these in stride.

I'm looking forward to Mick Chandra's next case, and I hope that Jess sticks around, too!


*An ecopy of the book was provided by the author's publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

{Review} Beautiful Wild Rose Girl by B. Magnolia

ISBN #: 978-0985428907
Page Count: 34
Copyright: April 23, 2012
Publisher: Mystic World Press


Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

This illustrated children's story, appropriate for ages 7 and up, has been awarded the prestigious Seal of Approval by Children's Literary Classics.

If everyone in the village calls her Beautiful Wild Rose Girl, why does this poor, sad girl live in a Swamp? And why, when she goes to bed every night, does she hear Bullfrogs singing to her: Trooonk! Trooonk! Trooonk! What A Stupid Ugly Girl!

This is a story about learning to see yourself as the beautiful person you really are. And how sometimes, to break a terrible spell, you need love, the understanding of a pure-hearted shepherd, and the help of a Very Mysterious Moth.


Mandy's Review:

Beautiful Wild Rose Girl is the first official release from Mystic World Press, a new independent children's book publisher based in San Francisco. If all of their releases are as wonderful as this one, they are well on their way to becoming a very successful business.

The main character is a young girl who lives in a swamp. Every day, she ventures through a field of wild roses to get to the village. On her way through the field, she gathers one basketful of roses to sell in the village's market. Once she sells her last rose of the day, she returns to the swamp. This is her daily life.

The men of the village find her very beautiful and desire to marry her. So they attempt to win her affections by calling her 'Beautiful Wild Rose Girl,' but she hears something very different and doesn't respond to any of them. One poor shepherd boy, though, falls in love with her and is determined to meet her and marry her.

What I love about this story is that, if you look beyond the basic fairy tale elements, this book is about self-esteem. The girl was beautiful but she thought herself ugly because she lived in a swamp all alone. The way she thought about herself tainted what she heard from others. It took the love of someone patient enough to bring her out of her shell and prove to her that she wasn't ugly at all, inside or out.

Whereas classic fairy tales have a dark, disturbing edge to them, this fairy tale is poignant and beautiful. This is the perfect fairy tale, with its wonderful hand-drawn illustrations, to read to a little girl at night before bed.


**Side Note: There are also handmade versions of this book available. The publisher (Mystic World Press) was gracious enough to send me one of the smaller and one of the larger handmade versions, along with the one sold on Amazon (pictured at the top). A picture of the larger handmade book is shown below.

{Review} Father of Emily by Kristofer Oliver

ISBN #: 978-1463660253
Page Count: 334
Copyright: July 25, 2011
Publisher: CreateSpace


Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Ben Millar's life feels like any other ex-pat romance, he drinks too much coffee, moans about the French and has just found out he has an unfaithful girlfriend. Almost a decade after he has left England he is forced to take on an emotional journey of discovery as fourteen-year-old Emily, the daughter of his teenage love Clara, comes to visit him in Paris. This new relationship makes Ben face his fears, his past and the guilt of leaving her mother - the girl he said he would never leave. Nothing could prepare Ben for the surprises that Emily brings with her.


Mandy's Review:

Ben's life has gone quickly downhill. His girlfriend is cheating on him with his (seemingly) gay boss, Greg. Greg, due to his affair with Ben's girlfriend, has fired Ben on the grounds that it would be awkward for them to work together. Then, out of the blue, Ben's ex-girlfriend's mother calls him up and asks him to watch his ex-girlfriend's daughter for a few weeks. Ben reluctantly agrees, feeling as if he has no choice. What then ensues is a discovery, for both Emily and Ben, about who Clara, Emily's mother, really was.

Watching Ben and Emily's relationship was a little strange. At first it almost seemed as if Emily had a teenage crush on Ben and desired his 'attention.' I began feeling a little uncomfortable for Ben and wondered a time or two where the story was heading. I'll go ahead and put your mind at ease and let you know that Ben and Emily's relationship stayed platonic (thank goodness!).

I must say I was confused by Nicolas, a wealthy acquaintance of Ben's. To be honest, I did not see the whole point of him being included in the cast of characters. The entire Nicolas section could've been removed with a few minor re-writes to change the introduction of Elodie, which I feel is the only reason why the section with Nicolas was written to begin with.

Despite the changes I recommended, this is an interesting story with an engaging plot.


*An ecopy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

{Review} How to Meet Broads: A Comprehensive Guide to the Art of Seduction by Jeff Cagney

ISBN #: 978-1461112778
Page Count: 204
Copyright: May 29, 2011
Publisher: CreateSpace


Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Are you shy around beautiful women? Do you break out in a cold sweat at the thought of approaching that cute girl across the bar? Are you crippled by the fear of rejection? On those rare occasions when you do find yourself chatting with a girl you're attracted to, do you freeze up and spend several minutes babbling idiotically until she finally, mercifully concocts an excuse to leave? Do you frequently find yourself going home alone, putting on some sad music, cursing your miserable life and crying yourself to sleep? Would you like to be that guy who walks into a bar by himself and exits shortly thereafter with the hottest broad in the room?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, How to Meet Broads: A Comprehensive Guide to the Art of Seduction is here to help! Using the ground-breaking How to Meet Broads system, you can improve your look, boost your self-confidence and successfully seduce the girls of your dreams!

How to Meet Broads: A Comprehensive Guide to the Art of Seduction offers a point-by-point process for becoming not only a man that women aspire to be with, but also one who is capable of sustaining a healthy relationship (when applicable). This process is elaborated upon in the form of letters written by the online readers of Mr. Cagney and his often-hilarious replies. Don't let the sarcasm and self-deprecation fool you, however ... at its most basic, this is a book about respecting yourself and those around you, and you'll be surprised at just how heartfelt Mr. Cagney is about helping others achieve happiness.


*Parental Advisory For Some Rough Language*


Mandy's Review:

Oh, where to begin?

I accepted this book for review because I appreciate sarcasm. I use it almost daily and find it funny in certain situations. I believed from the summary that this book would be what I would find humorous, despite its title using the offensive word "broads." As a matter of fact, let's talk about the title for a moment.

"How to Meet Broads" and "The Comprehensive Guide to the Art of Seduction" being put together is an oxymoron. To have them juxtaposed together to form the title is a little confusing. When I see "How to Meet Broads" I'm picturing a guy from the 60s or 70s with nothing in mind but to add notches to his bedpost. This man is not concerned with a woman's feelings, only the sexual satisfaction he can find in bedding her. On the other hand, when I see "The Comprehensive Guide to the Art of Seduction" I picture a gentleman who is wanting nothing more than to seduce a lady he's interested in. Yes, sexual gratification may be involved, but it would be special for her, too.

Do I even need to talk about the cover?

When I look at the lady on the cover, all I see is someone who smokes, frequents bars, and has sex with any man she likes. She has a foul mouth and will fight someone just for the heck of it. Men, if this is the type of woman you really want to meet and bed, then you need to read this book. However, if you're looking for a woman who actually has some respect for herself, then forget you've even heard of this book. No self-respecting woman would be taken in by anything you would do based on what you've read in these pages.

As you may can tell, I did not find this book funny, sarcastic or otherwise. I found the language abrasive and crude. The author even called a woman's female friends as (*cover your eyes you children below 18*) 'cunty.' I cannot begin to tell you how reading that word lit my fire. The author's attitude towards women is very demeaning. If any man talked to me the way the author talked in this book, his behind would be in a hospital so fast he wouldn't know what day of the week it was.


*An ecopy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

{Review} Grace Unexpected by Gale Martin

ISBN #: 978-1935961611
Page Count: 273
Copyright: July 2, 2012
Publisher: Booktrope Editions


Description:
(Taken from back cover)

Thirty-something Grace Savage has slogged through crummy jobs and dead-end relationships with men who would rather go bald than say "I do." In search of respite from her current job, she visits Shaker Village in New Hampshire. Instead of renewal, she's unnerved to learn that Shaker men and women lived and worked side by side in complete celibacy. When her longtime boyfriend dumps her instead of proposing, Grace avows the sexless Shaker ways. Resolved to stick to her new plan - dubbed the Shaker Plan - despite ovaries ticking like time bombs, she returns to her life in Pennsylvania. Almost immediately, she's juggling two eligible bachelors: Addison, a young beat reporter; and True, a venerable anthropology professor. Both men have ample charms and soul mate potential to test her newfound Shaker-style self-control, and Grace appears to be on the fast track to a marriage proposal ... until secrets revealed deliver a death rattle to the Shaker Plan.


Charlene's Review:

After visiting a Shaker Village where celibacy was historically practiced, and reeling after an unexpected break-up, Grace decides that she, too, will follow the celibacy path and play "hard to get" in hopes of finally snagging a worthwhile man. All too soon, her resolve is tested as Addison and True both begin to compete for her affections. When the truth about both men comes out, Grace is faced with more drama than any woman ever needed. As she so eloquently puts it; "Imagine that. My love life was too skanky for Jerry Springer."

This is chick-lit at its finest. I believe all women will find themselves identifying with Grace as she muddles through her wretched love life and fights to stay on top of a job while up against a calculating opponent. There are many laugh out loud moments, as well as lessons in self-discovery. The supporting characters are just as enjoyable as Grace, herself. Wit, drama and surprise fill every page of this novel and make it a 5 star read. 273 pages of fun!


*A paperback copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, September 21, 2012

{Review} Night Cries by Dave Ferraro

ASIN #: B004ZZQJK6
File Size: 477 KB
Page Count: 389


Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

An unexpected attack on Shanna Hunt and her new friends prompts the team of monster hunters to venture to Greece, where they encounter an abandoned city, ancient ruins, and a haunting mystery. Something has caused a mass evacuation of the city, something sinister that will stop at nothing to get what it wants. And if the powerful force lurking in the wings isn't enough to tear the team apart, perhaps the secrets they are keeping from each other are.


Mandy's Review:

Night Cries is the second Hunters of the Dark novel. Her Dark Destiny being the first. So, let me catch you up to speed a bit...

Shanna Hunt is a girl who lost her parents when she was young. She lived alone in an apartment in an apartment building her aunt owned. She had one close friend, Kelly, who was murdered one night at a club. The events that night introduced Shanna into the world of hunters, people who kill paranormal and other-worldly entities (i.e. vampires, zombies, giants, and many more). Since Shanna didn't have anybody left in her life that she cared about, she decided to head off to the East Coast and become a member of this group of hunters.

Shanna has trained with the hunters and has even participated in a major case while finding out she may be a reincarnated vampiress named Diana. She has conflicting feelings for two guys and feels insecure as a person. However, as these stories tend to go, Shanna is supposed to be the next best thing since sliced bread when it comes to hunters and she is the potential fulfillment of an ancient prophecy.

Now that you're caught up, let delve into Night Cries, shall we?

Night Cries begins a few months after the end of Her Dark Destiny. Shanna and Cameron have begun to solidify their relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend ... even though Shanna is having problems forgetting Damien, a sexy vampire she let drink blood from her neck. The group of hunters have been doing simple missions the past few months; nothing too strenuous, but enough to keep them in shape and their skills honed. It's on one of these missions that a decision is made that puts Cameron into danger. The group of hunters go after him and wind up in Greece fighting mythological creatures.

When Night Cries first began, I thought it was going to be about vampires, werewolves, glamours, and the like similar to Her Dark Destiny. And, at first, it was. Then what I thought was going to be the meat of the story turned out to be merely a precursor into something greater.

This novel introduced the element of mythology (mostly Greek, but with some Roman thrown in there). I enjoyed the change of scenery, by taking the group to Greece instead of leaving them in the States, and I enjoyed the mythological addition to the storyline. Shanna is still fighting her feelings for Damien and is still trying to deny that she may very well be Diana. Cameron finally reveals why he's standoffish while they're being intimate (not that intimate ... get your mind out of the gutter). Rachel, who is usually the bitch, reveals her deeper self to Shanna and they begin to become friends. Valor, the leader of the hunters, plays a bigger role in this novel and the reader gets to see more of her emotional side, which is nice since she usually plays the tough, no-nonsense leader.

Overall this novel is packed with action and suspense. While I won't say that I'm in love with this series, I will say that I am enjoying this series tremendously and expect to re-read these books later on down the road.

One note to authors, and this is something that Kathy and I both have mentioned several times, please edit your works. I came across a particular phrase twice: "thermostat of coffee." Spellcheck will not catch this. Editing is essential in any work, I don't care how popular the author.

Now on to third novel in this series: Face the Dark. Look out for my review to come soon!


*An ecopy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

{Book Blog Hop} #17


Welcome to Literary R&R's stop on this week's Book Blogger Hop, created by Jen over at Crazy For Books. To view this week's participants, just click on the Crazy for Books link above to view the linky list.


This week's question:

What is the one thing that your blog readers probably do not know about you?


Mandy's Answer:

Not only am I a book nerd, I also love to play card games. Since my husband doesn't like to play games, I get my fix online via Pogo.com. My favorite card game: Canasta. I grew up playing this game with my grandmother, mom, and brother. When I saw it was on Pogo, I had to join.

It doesn't stop there ... I also host Canasta tournaments on Pogo. It's something I enjoy and the league I'm a part of is wonderful.


Now that you know what kind of dork I am, what don't I know about you?


Kate's Answer:

I have a scar on my forehead of relatively substantial size. Most people seem not to notice it. I think this is because first how well the stitches were done, then the placement (on the left side of my forehead going into the hairline), but mostly I think it is because I am so pale the scar blends with my natural color.

I've never done much to hide it, sometimes I even part my hair at it (which then makes it show). I find some scars (the ones that have no real bad memories with them, like mine) add character. And it is an interesting story to tell!


Kathy's Answer:

I'm sure most don't know that I would love to be a published author myself. Often when I'm reviewing books I'll think, "I wish I thought of that!" Being a reviewer has opened my eyes to how easy it is to self-publish, although I'd love the affirmation of being published by a "real" publishing house! I'd love to publish something in the literary fiction genre, or a collection of humorous essays.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

{Review} The Sleepwalkers by J. Gabriel Gates

ISBN #: 978-0757315886
Page Count: 336
Copyright: October 3, 2011
Publisher: HCI Teens (1st Edition)


Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Privileged and popular Caleb Mason is celebrating his high school graduation when he receives a mysterious, disturbing letter from his long-lost childhood playmate, Christine. Caleb and his jokester friend Bean decide to travel to his tiny hometown of Hudsonville, Florida, to find her.

Upon arrival, they discover the town has taken a horrifying turn for the worse. Caleb's childhood home is abandoned and his father has disappeared. Children are going missing. The old insane asylum has reopened, and Christine is locked inside. Her mother, a witch, is consumed with madness, and Christine's long-dead twin sister whispers clues to Caleb through the static of an a.m. radio.

The terrifying prophesies of the spirits are coming to pass. Sixteen clocks are ticking; sixty-six murdered souls will bring about the end of the world. As Caleb peels back layer after layer of mystery, he uncovers a truth more horrible than anything he had imagined, a truth that could only be uttered by the lips of the dead.


Mandy's Review:

It's rare that I find a book or movie that gives me the heebee jeebies as I'm reading or watching it. The Sleepwalkers gave me the heebee jeebies.

It opened a little slow for me, but once it got going it was one twist right after the other. Normally I can figure out who is doing what or what's about to happen, but I couldn't do that with this book. I tried a couple times and found out later what I thought was wrong.

I enjoyed Mr. Gates' writing style. He has a semi-sick and twisted thought process, which I appreciate. There's nothing too graphic in here, which is wonderful since it's written for teens. Now, that I've had a few days to process the story, though, I do have questions concerning the story. I don't want to give anything away, but there are some situations that I would've loved to have had more insight into. I can promise you, though, that while you're reading this book, you don't really care about the why's and how's, you just want to know what in the world is going to happen next and would it please hurry up and get there!!!

The impatience I had while reading was a good thing. It means that I was so engrossed in the story I just had to know what was going to happen next. It was just so freakin' creepy ... I loved it!

If you're a fan of spooky, suspenseful, weird, strange novels, then I recommend this book to you.


*An ecopy of the book was provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

{Blog Tour/Review} Demons by Heather Frost



Welcome to Literary R&R's stop on Heather Frost's Demons book blog tour. We are participating in this tour with a review of Heather's latest release. We hope you enjoy!


ISBN #: 978-1462110346
Page Count: 432
Copyright: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Sweetwater Books


Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Kate's life is far from normal. She can see auras, her boyfriend is immortal, and her powers make her a target. But now that the Demon Lord is hunting her, things are about to go from dangerous to truly deadly.

Packed with action, mind-blowing plot twists, and characters you can't get enough of, this is a fast-paced, heart-pounding read from cover to cover.


Mandy's Review:

Cover

This cover is one dark, sexy, smoldering inferno. I love it.

Plot/Main Characters

Kate and Patrick have decided to take a chance and have a relationship, which isn't often done between a Seer and a Guardian. The problem is that when a Seer dies, they are not given a chance to become a Guardian. Seers automatically go to Heaven or Hell when they die. Kate's not aware of this fact. She's under the impression that, should she die, she'd have the option of becoming an immortal Guardian and being with Patrick for forever.

Patrick, being immortal, is under the impression that Guardians cannot get sick and die. During a mission one night, though, he comes across a Guardian who is in fact dying. Flabbergasted at how this could be, Patrick reaches out to try and console the sick and dying Guardian ... much to his detriment.

In less than a week's time, Patrick is so violently ill that he is unable to be an effective Guardian. Kate is extremely upset to know that Patrick may be dying and would do anything to acquire an antidote to the virus attacking Patrick's body. Which is a good thing since the Demon Lord requires her assistance and gets her to come to him with the promise of the antidote for Patrick.

Does the Demon Lord really have the antidote? Should Kate trust the Demon Lord enough to do the requested mission? What will Patrick think about going to the Demon Lord for help?

Overall

Demons is a superbly written sequel to the first book in this trilogy, Seers. It had me laughing, angry, sad, wistful ... I absolutely adored this book and the series. I cannot wait for the final book, Guardians, to come out so I can see how it'll all end.



Author Info:


You can find Heather at:

Her website: http://heatherfrost.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Seers-The-Official-Fan-Page/158893460846605?ref=ts
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4983261.Heather_Frost


*A PDF of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

{Teaser Tuesday}


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Mizb at Should Be Reading. To participate, you need to:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Be careful not to include spoilers
  • Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser
 

Kate's Teaser:


There wasn't much Gansey didn't like about flying. He liked airports, with their masses of people all doing things, and he liked planes, with their thick-paned windows and fold-out trays. The way that a jet charged down a runway reminded him of how the Camero pressed him back in the driver's seat when he hit the gas.

And then he said what he couldn't say before. He asked, "Can I ... can I press charges?"


The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Press

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