Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Plague Carrier - Book Review


The Plague Carrier
by Merrie Destefano


What is it about:
A teenage runaway’s post-apocalyptic world comes tumbling down when she discovers a survivor in a field of dead bodies.

Condemned as a runaway and sentenced to work as a Cleaner, fifteen-year-old Anna now spends her days searching for valuables in a field of dead warriors. Her life goes from bad to worse, however, when she stumbles upon a plague carrier, a boy her age who could kill her entire camp with a single drop from the flask he carries around his neck.


What did I think of it:
This is a short post-apocalyptic YA story.

Anna's life has fallen to pieces, but she stills keeps hope and keeps going on. Then a dangerous boy shows up and might destroy what little she has left. I loved that there's a minimum of worldbuilding, but that Destefano still manages to create a clear post-apocalyptic setting and atmosphere with well chosen words and descriptions.

This being a short story I can't tell too much without spoiling, but it was a great read, and I wouldn't mind reading more stories in this setting.

Why should you read it:
This is a quick and satisfying Post-Apocalyptic YA read


Buy from Amazon

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Teaser Tuesdays - The Kiss of Deception


"My back is dirtier than a potato?"
She grunted and set to work.

(page 170, The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson)


Buy from bookdepository

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, 14 August 2017

Heroine Worship - Book Review


Heroine Worship (Heroine Complex #2)
by Sarah Kuhn


What is it about:
Once upon a time, Aveda Jupiter (aka Annie Chang) was demon-infested San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine, a beacon of hope and strength and really awesome outfits. But all that changed the day she agreed to share the spotlight with her best friend and former assistant Evie Tanaka—who’s now a badass, fire-wielding superheroine in her own right. They were supposed to be a dynamic duo, but more and more, Aveda finds herself shoved into the sidekick role. Where, it must be said, she is not at all comfortable.

It doesn’t help that Aveda’s finally being forced to deal with fallout from her diva behavior—and the fact that she’s been a less than stellar friend to Evie. Or that Scott Cameron—the man Aveda’s loved for nearly a decade—is suddenly giving her the cold shoulder after what seemed to be some promising steps toward friendship. Or that the city has been demon-free for three months in the wake of Evie and Aveda’s apocalypse-preventing battle against the evil forces of the Otherworld, leaving Aveda without the one thing she craves most in life: a mission.

All of this is causing Aveda’s burning sense of heroic purpose—the thing that’s guided her all these years—to falter.

In short, Aveda Jupiter is having an identity crisis.

When Evie gets engaged and drafts Aveda as her maid-of-honor, Aveda finally sees a chance to reclaim her sense of self and sets out on a single-minded mission to make sure Evie has the most epic wedding ever. But when a mysterious, unseen supernatural evil rises up and starts attacking brides-to-be, Aveda must summon both her superheroine and best friend mojo to take down the enemy and make sure Evie’s wedding goes off without a hitch—or see both her city and her most important friendship destroyed forever.


What did I think of it:
I ordered this book right after I finished the first book in this series.

And this is yet another fun read.

Aveda is not as easy to like as Evie, in fact I didn't much like her in the first book. But in this book you get to see more about what makes her tick, and soon I could understand why Aveda is such a difficult person. I even started to root for her. It sure helps that Aveda is aware of her flaws and is actively trying to better herself, even though not always in the best way. By the end of the book I loved Aveda.

Aveda's love interest was also a character in the first book, and I wasn't impressed by him there, and in this book he didn't manage to make much of an impression either.

Luckily there's so much more to this book than the romance. I was invested in what was going on from the start and wanted to find out who or what was behind all the strange things that were happening. As with the first book I love how suspense and humor manage to go hand in hand. There isn't a dull moment.

Even though the first book is still my favorite, I very much enjoyed this book as well, and you bet I will get my greedy trotters on the third book once it releases.

Why should you read it:
It's a fun and very entertaining Superhero read.


Buy from bookdepository

Friday, 11 August 2017

The Nothing - Book Review


The Nothing (The Between #3)
by Kerry Schafer


What is it about:
When people in Wakeworld begin dying in their sleep, Vivian Maylor travels through an increasingly unstable Between on a quest to stop the mysterious epidemic. Although she has no love for the dark magic of the Sorcieri, they hold the only hope of stopping the disaster. Vivian has one chance to save the worlds – if she can persuade the Master of the Sorcieri to share his secrets, and if she is willing to sacrifice everything she loves…

What did I think of it:
Did you ever love a series so much you both wanted to read the last book and didn't want to read it, because then it would officially mean it was over? That's how I felt about this series. And the longer you wait to pick up that last book the harder it gets, because that means you should reread the previous books, and when you do you get all angsty about reading that last book all over again.

But I finally sat down, reread the previous books and dove into The Nothing.

And this is an awesome read!

I knew things would be difficult and I knew not everyone was going to make it out in one piece, or even alive, but I still hoped and rooted for all my favorites.

What an emotional roller coaster!

Vivian and the others encounter lots of danger, difficult decisions, and heartache. There are choices to be made, sacrifices... I can tell you I shed some tears over events in this book.

Everything leads up to an edge of your seat finale that blew me away. What a great ending to a wonderful and emotional series. This series is a keeper for sure!

Why should you read it:
It's an awesome and emotional UF read with dragons and a cool penguin!


Buy from bookdepository

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Wakeworld - Book Review (repost)


Wakeworld (The Between #2)
by Kerry Schafer


What is it about:
Vivian Maylor is trying to hold it together. But her attempts to build a life with the man she loves seem doomed by the dragon inside her yearning to break free. Vivian is a dreamshifter, the last line of defense between reality and the dreamworld, and the only one of her kind.

Weston Jennings also believes he is the only one of his kind. He fears his powers as a dreamshifter, and resists learning to control them. After suffering a tragic loss, Weston heads deep into the woods of the Pacific Northwest to embrace a safe life of solitude. But when a terrible mistake leads to an innocent’s death, his guilt drives him to his former home, where he encounters what he never thought he would find: another shifter.

Now Vivian and Weston must work together to defeat a new threat to the dreamworld.


What did I think of it:
I loved Between, the first book in this series, and preordered Wakeworld as soon as it was possible. Still it took me a while to find the time to pick it up.

I'm very glad I finally found that time though, because this is yet another winner.

Schafer doesn't make it easy for her characters. They have to struggle and fight to get where they're trying to go. I felt for Vivian, and even more for Zee (Vivian's love interest). They get challenges thrown their way that could easily break them. Still they keep trying.

I really liked to see that Vivian has grown since the first book. There she let herself be dragged along mostly, powerless to stop what was happening to her. In this book she was starting to take control of things, not always with success, but at least she was doing everything she could to change her fate.

The story is full of twists and turns, and you have to keep paying attention to what's happening. I was on the edge of my seat and had to keep reading to see if Vivian and Zee would manage to get out alive and (mostly) well.

The ending was satisfying, but left many things open that make me anxious and eager for the next book. I will most certainly get my trotters on the next book when it releases, because I want more!

Why should you read it:
It's a wonderful (Urban) Fantasy read with dragons.


Buy from bookdepository

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Between - Book Review (repost)

In celebration of the Release of World Tree Girl I decided to repost my reviews of other books by Kerry Schafer this week.


Between (The Between #1)
by Kerry Schafer


What is it about:
Vivian Maylor can’t sleep. Maybe it’s because she just broke up with her boyfriend and moved to a new town, or it could be the stress of her new job at the hospital. But perhaps it’s because her dreams have started to bleed through into her waking hours.

All of her life Vivian has rejected her mother’s insane ramblings about Dreamworlds for concrete science and fact, until an emergency room patient ranting about dragons spontaneously combusts before her eyes—forcing Viv to consider the idea that her visions of mythical beasts might be real.

And when a chance encounter leads her to a man she knows only from her dreams, Vivian finds herself falling into a world that seems strange and familiar all at once—a world where the line between dream and reality is hard to determine, and hard to control…


What did I think of it:
This is a beautiful read.

I will confess I had expected this to be a cool Urban Fantasy read. What I didn't expect was to be taken on a roller coaster ride of emotions. This story frustrated me, made me feel worry, anger and hope. Vivian is a very likable heroine and I couldn't help cheering her on and screaming at her in total frustration at times. The things that happen to her are new and scary for her and I think Schafer did a wonderful job in showing how this affects Vivian.

It might not surprise anyone when I tell you I fell in love with Poe, the penguin Vivian encounters in the Dreamworld. He's a great character and brought a lot of emotion to the story without even being able to speak.

The story itself is really beautiful and intricate. There are lots of things going on that Vivian has to figure out and I was curious to find out where it all would lead. The ending leaves a lot open for the sequel, but not in a frustrating way. instead I was left feeling satisfied for now while looking forward to read book two as soon as it releases.

Why should you read it:
It's a beautiful and emotional Urban Fantasy read.


Buy from bookdepository

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

World Tree Girl - Release Day Book Review


World Tree Girl (Shadow Valley Manor #2)
by Kerry Schafer


What is it about:
The girl with the full-body tattoo of a world tree is not just another runaway. She's dead, for starters, and her veins are emptied of blood and oozing a strange, jelly-like substance. To Maureen Keslyn, seasoned paranormal investigator, former FBI agent, new owner of the Shadow Valley Manor Retirement Home, this isn’t just a corpse. It’s a sign that the Medusa, a dangerous paranormal hybrid, is on another killing spree.

Maureen and her team—Jake, the local sheriff, Matt, the Shadow Valley Manor cook with knife skills that extend beyond the kitchen, and eighteen-year-old Sophronia, who has an uncanny affinity for ghosts—are determined to hunt down and eliminate the creature.

Their case is complicated by the ghost of Maureen’s former partner, Phil Evers, who refuses to cross to the other side, and his very much alive daughter Jillian, who shows up demanding to know how Maureen inherited the Manor. When Sophronia uses her power to try to help Phil across, a huge spirit storm blows up at Shadow Valley Manor, and she disappears. With the life of one of their own in deadly peril, Maureen and the team have a ticking clock to find Sophronia and bring down the Medusa.


What did I think of it:
I pre-ordered this book as soon as it was available, but release day drew near and still no word from bookdepository that they would start to ship anytime soon. Luckily the awesome Kerry Schafer offered me a digital review copy so I could read the book early while waiting for my print copy to arrive.

And this is yet another great read!
There will be book hugging once my print copy arrives.

While this book is perfectly readable as a standalone, I'm going to tell you to get your hands on Dead Before Dying first, because you will want all the Maureen you can get!

Maureen sure knows how to find trouble, and when she doesn't find it, it manages to find her.

I was on the edge of my seat and couldn't put the book down. I had to find out if the Medusa was indeed on a killing spree, who was involved, and if Maureen would be in time to rescue those she loves.

I will confess I did want to scream at Maureen from time to time to be more resolute to those people who bothered her. She was being much too polite in my opinion. I would have lost my temper and booted them out of my manor if I was her.

That aside this is a wonderful, action-packed and suspenseful read. Maureen is awesome, but the other characters are all really cool as well. I especially loved Mac and Sophronia, but Jake and Matt are also great.

And the ending! Wow! I need the next book! Let there be a next book!

All in all I loved this book and will keep an eye out for news on this series and anything else Kerry writes.

Why should you read it:
It's a really cool and suspenseful Paranormal read


Buy from bookdepository

Monday, 7 August 2017

Dead Before Dying - Book Review (repost)

Tomorrow it's the release day of World Tree Girl, the second book in the Shadow Valley Manor series, so I'm reposting my review of Dead Before Dying today.

Check back tomorrow for my review of World Tree Girl


Dead Before Dying (Shadow Valley Manor #1)
by Kerry Schafer


What is it about:
In this supernatural thriller, shot through with biting wit, Maureen Keslyn checks herself in to Shadow Valley Manor to recuperate and rehabilitate from her last job. There, she runs afoul of the stern director and makes friends with some of the other residents, mostly older, all harboring either a secret or a grudge. With secrets of her own, like why she has her own Federal Agent checking up on her, and how she injured herself in the first place, Maureen fits right in, even as she sticks out like a thorn.

But Shadow Valley isn't just for rest. Maureen is working undercover, seeking to find and eradicate whatever forces are picking off the residents (and staff) at a grisly clip. With her resources dwindling one death at a time, and unnatural forces seething to rise up once more, Maureen's experience fighting the supernatural will be her only hope to destroy a clever and powerful evil and her only chance at surviving it.

She'll need people as paranoid as she is from the sheriff, to the undertaker's daughter, to a cook whose knife skills in the kitchen could prove deadly out of it if she is going to bring rest to the weary, and peace to the dead...


What did I think of it:
I love Kerry Schafer's The Between books (even though I still haven't read the last book, because I don't want the series to be over), so when I heard about this new series I had to get my trotters on it.

And this is an amazing read!

I loved Maureen from the start and once I read the first few pages I almost couldn't put it down. If not for the fact I had appointments to keep, I would have finished this book in one sitting, it's that engaging.

Maureen meets some really cool people, and some rather nasty people as well, but all were interesting. As one death after another happens I was totally invested in Maureen and her unlikely allies getting to the truth of things.

The writing and story are fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat. There's also lots of humor to keep you entertained as well. I reached the ending of this book much too soon in my opinion. I want to read much, much more about Maureen.

Luckily there will most likely be a sequel, so I'll be keeping an eye out for that!

Why should you read it:
It's a witty and awesome Supernatural Thriller.


Buy from bookdepository

Friday, 4 August 2017

Enclave - Book Review (repost)

I'm busy rereading this series, because it's just so awesome!


Enclave (Razorland #1)
by Ann Aguirre


What is it about:
In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.


What did I think of it:
Being a sucker for stories set in a post-apocalyptic world I just had to read this book.

And let me tell you: Enclave totally blew me away!

Let me start with the setting:
Aguirre creates a realistic, gritty, grim and even barbaric world and describes this in such colorful detail I could easily picture it. The Enclave in which Deuce lives and the tunnels around it feel real and alive. I was impressed by how Aguirre described this strange and yet familiar world and succeeded in letting me see it through Deuce's eyes.

As for the characters:
Deuce is a difficult person to love at first, but as she learns and grows I started to grow to like her until I found myself rooting for her. Fade on the other hand is someone I connected with and rooted for from the start and often I found myself agreeing with him when he and Deuce collided with each other.

The story:
Absolutely awesome!
It has everything I love: suspense, kick-ass action, terrifying monsters, betrayal, hope and even love. It's gritty, dark and full of emotion. I like how Aguirre doesn't pull any punches and shows the gruesome reality of a world in ruins and what mankind can turn into when the worst comes to the worst.

So nothing negative to say?
The critical reader might find some small inconsistencies, like Deuce using the word window and then later on in the story she suddenly doesn't know what a window is, but it's nothing major and it certainly didn't diminish my enjoyment of this book.

Why should you read it:
It's an awesome post-apocalyptic Young Adult story.


Buy from bookdepository

Thursday, 3 August 2017

On McPig's wishlist - Forest of a Thousand Lanterns


Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress #1)
by Julie C. Dao


An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl's quest to become Empress--and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng's majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins--sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.



Buy from bookdepository

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Wildfire - Ranty Book Review


Wildfire (Hidden Legacy #3)
by Ilona Andrews


What is it about:
Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke.


What did I think of it:
If this had been the first book in a series by a new to me author, I don't know if I'd finished it.

Don't get me wrong: the worldbuilding is excellent, the main storyline really cool, and most of the characters are fun as well.

It was the other woman trope that really annoyed me. Why do so many authors think they can only keep a relationship interesting by introducing another (wo)man so the hero(ine) gets all insecure and jealous? I'm so tired of this trope. I want to see more secure female friendships where they support each other and encourage each other. Not this bullshit where every woman who's not family is a potential rival.

That rant over with: apart from the catfighty atmosphere whenever Rogan's ex-fiancee was present I enjoyed the story. There was cool action, some very intriguing revelations, and a solid plot. The ending tied some things up very nicely, but left enough open for there to be more books. I'll be keeping an eye out for news on this series.

Why should you read it:
This is a cool PNR read with excellent worldbuilding


Buy from bookdepository

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

TBR Orphans - How did I do in July?


I started July with an Orphan:
Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan

After that I only read books I had recently acquired though, so just one Orphan read in July.
For August i'm again starting with an Orphaned book. Let's see if I manage to read more than just one this month.

How did you do on your challenges?

Monday, 31 July 2017

The Pages of the Mind - Book Review (repost)

The Pages of the Mind won the 2017 RITA in the category Paranormal Romance!!!

So I want to congratulate Jeffe with this well deserved win, and I'm reposting my review for those who still haven't read it.


The Pages of the Mind (The Twelve Kingdoms #4/The Uncharted Realms #1)
by Jeffe Kennedy


What is it about:
An Orphan's Throne

Magic has broken free over the Twelve Kingdoms. The population is beset by shapeshifters and portents, landscapes that migrate, uncanny allies who are not quite human…and enemies eager to take advantage of the chaos.

Dafne Mailloux is no adventurer--she's a librarian. But the High Queen trusts Dafne's ability with languages, her way of winnowing the useful facts from a dusty scroll, and even more important, the subtlety and guile that three decades under the thumb of a tyrant taught her.

Dafne never thought to need those skills again. But she accepts her duty. Until her journey drops her into the arms of a barbarian king. He speaks no tongue she knows but that of power, yet he recognizes his captive as a valuable pawn. Dafne must submit to a wedding of alliance, becoming a prisoner-queen in a court she does not understand. If she is to save herself and her country, she will have to learn to read the heart of a wild stranger. And there are more secrets written there than even Dafne could suspect...


What did I think of it:
Am I biased because there's a lake in this book that's named after me?

Maybe a little, but only in so much that I made soft squee sounds when coming across references about that lake and the kingdom that lake is in. (Hey: when someone names a lake after you, you're allowed to squee!)

But even if there wasn't a lake named after yours truly, this is yet another story to fall in love with.

Dafne has been supporting and helping others for a long time. Her own dreams have faded, and she has almost made peace with the fact that she will always be the bridesmaid and never the bride, so to speak. Then she is send on a diplomatic quest, and she is pushed into more adventure than she could ever have dreamed of.

I have liked Dafne since she was first introduced in The Mark of the Tala. She's practical, kind, loyal, and a book nerd. She might not know how to handle a blade, but she does know how to handle delicate negotiations - words are her weapon - but when she ends upon an island where no one speaks the same language as she, that makes it a bit difficult to communicate.

But Dafne is no damsel in distress. She rises to the challenge and adapts.

I loved this story and the romance at the heart of it. King Nakoa is intriguing, charismatic, and knows what he wants. The romance between Dafne and Nakoa is delicious and hot. It was so good to read how they try to communicate and get to know each other.

The world building is once again wonderful. I love the exotic island Dafne ends up on and the secrets the island slowly reveals.

The romance and main storyline are resolved in this book (very satisfactory I might add), but there's enough revealed about the world that there is plenty of room for many more stories to come. I can only hope Jeffe will keep writing them.

Why should you read it:
It's a wonderful and delicious Fantasy Romance read.


find buy links here


Friday, 28 July 2017

Heroine Complex - Book Review


Heroine Complex (Heroine Complex #1)
by Sarah Kuhn


What is it about:
Being a superheroine is hard. Working for one is even harder.

Evie Tanaka is the put-upon personal assistant to Aveda Jupiter, her childhood best friend and San Francisco's most beloved superheroine. She's great at her job—blending into the background, handling her boss's epic diva tantrums, and getting demon blood out of leather pants.

Unfortunately, she's not nearly as together when it comes to running her own life, standing up for herself, or raising her tempestuous teenage sister, Bea.

But everything changes when Evie's forced to pose as her glamorous boss for one night, and her darkest comes out: she has powers, too. Now it's up to her to contend with murderous cupcakes, nosy gossip bloggers, and supernatural karaoke battles—all while juggling unexpected romance and Aveda's increasingly outrageous demands. And when a larger threat emerges, Evie must finally take charge and become a superheroine in her own right... or see her city fall to a full-on demonic invasion.


What did I think of it:
This book starts out with a fight between Aveda Jupiter and murderous cupcakes, and I was immediately hooked!

What a fun read!

I really liked Evie, even though I thought she was letting herself be treated like a doormat at first. The events she gets involved in, force her to make some important decisions, including how she lets other people treat her. Most of the other characters were fun to read about as well. My favorites were Nate, the stoic scientist, and Lucy, Aveda's personal trainer and Karaoke champion. I didn't much care for Evie's sister at first, but there's some really interesting character growth in both Evie and Bea that made me reconsider later in the book.

I loved how much humor this book has, while still being a really suspenseful read. What is going on? Will Evie manage to save the day? What weird situation will she get involved in next? What's with the breakfast cereal?

All in all this is a fast paced, fun and funny read, and I can tell you I ordered the next book in this trilogy right after finishing this book. And not because this one ends with a cliffhanger, but because it's just that good!

Why should you read it:
It's a really fun and action-packed Superheroine read.


Buy from bookdepository

Thursday, 27 July 2017

What’s in a Name? More Than You Think! - Guest Post by Susannah Sandlin


Illumination, the last book in the Penton Legacy series, released earlier this month. I finally managed to get hold of a print copy this week, so expect a review soon.

Today Susannah is visiting my blog with a guest post about names.


What’s in a Name? More Than You Think!
by Susannah Sandlin


“How do you name your characters?” It’s one of the common questions authors get, and the answers vary from author to author. Here are my methods:

A name drops out of the ether.
Shay Underwood, the heroine of ILLUMINATION, was one of those. The name just came to me, I liked it, it wasn’t too similar to any other major characters in my books, and I kept it. Ditto with the hero, Nikolas Dimitrou, aka Nik. He is half Greek. It sounds Greek. I kept it. Ditto with the hero of the previous Penton book, Cage Reynolds.

A family or acquaintance name fits the character.
I did this more often in my early books. Drusilla Jane “DJ” Jaco, the heroine of my Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (written as Suzanne Johnson) is a mashed-up version of my great-grandmothers Drusilla Jane Harris and Ida Jaco. Quince Randolph pays homage to my great-grandfather Rand Sandlin. And, yes, my pen is also that of my gggg-grandmother Susannah Sandlin (who’s probably spinning in her grave up in Bug Tussle, Alabama). I used a slew of my own and my pets’ names in my book LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP (the hero, Shane, was named after my Irish terrier; my rott-chow-triever Tanker played himself). The surname of my neighbors in New Orleans was Zrakovi, which I took as my villain’s name in the Sentinels books.

I look for a name with a specific meaning, or that’s right for the era or location.
I knew the head of my Penton Legacy vampire scathe (or family) was in his human life an Irish farmer, so what’s more Irish than Murphy? And Aidan, originally Áodhán, is an old Gaelic name. In the Sentinels series, the character of Alex needed a strong, warrior-like name to match his nature, so I chose Alexander and softened it as a nod to his Louisiana mama by giving him the (to him) embarrassing middle name of Basile.

I look for pronounceable names that are simple but distinctive.
One of my favorite tricks is using surnames as given names. The Penton Legacy character of Mirren Kincaid drew his first name from, yep, actress Helen Mirren (shhh…don’t tell him). I liked the last name Gentry, so I gave it to my hero of WILD MAN’S CURSE as a first name: Gentry Broussard. I also like ironic names, which is why I named Penton’s eagle shifter Robin (her sister is named Wren). My STORM FORCE heroine is named after a nearby university, Emory, although she has shortened it to Mori.

I keep my minor character names simple.
Thus, we have names like Jonathan, David, Michael and Linda—nice names but not ones I’m likely to use for hero or heroine material.


But naming characters has its pitfalls.

You don’t want too many characters with similar names.
I learned that lesson the hard way when I was writing Penton #2, ABSOLUTION, the first book in which the character of Cage Reynolds makes an appearance. His original name was Marcus, but I realized in the course of revision that I had a Mirren, a Mark, a Melissa, a Matthias—and now a Marcus. The other four were already in the previous book so that barn door had closed. I could, however, change “Marcus” to “Cage.”

You don’t want use names with baggage.
I mean, would you want a hero named Adolph or Hitler? ‘Nuff said.

Make sure old-fashioned names aren’t TOO old-fashioned.
I mean, “Sarah” is a timeless name, but a heroine named Bertha or Gertrude? Uh, probably not. My grandmother was Bertha, so I named a hurricane for her in STORM FORCE; I wasn’t saddling a character with her name, sweet woman that she was.

Make sure your name is right for the era.
Aidan Murphy’s original name was Galen, right up until my “alpha reader” got her draft of REDEMPTION. She hated the name Galen so much that she did some research and found that the name Galen was not used in Ireland in Aidan’s human lifetime of the early 1600s and therefore I had to change it. Áodhán, however, was in use, so Galen became Aidan.

Avoid names from popular books in the same or similar genre.
Aidan’s heroine, Krys (named after the fast-food chain, Krystal Hamburgers), was originally named Bethany, aka Beth. Somewhere along the way, I realized Beth was the name of the heroine in JR Ward’s first Black Dagger Brotherhood book, so while Galen became Aidan, Beth became Krys. Boy, was that manuscript a mess as I tried to catch all the changed names!

So, how do you get your names? It’s a more complex process than one might think! Do you have a favorite name from a book you’ve read lately? I’ll give away a $10 Amazon gift card (or equivalent order from Book Depository if outside the U.S.) to a commenter*. In the U.S., $10 will buy the Kindle versions of the entire five-book Penton Legacy series plus the Penton 3.5 spinoff, STORM FORCE, through the end of this month!



About Illumination:


He came to Penton seeking peace. Nik Dimitrou joined the Army to escape his family legacy, only to have his psychic abilities exploited as a weapon. Now, as a civilian, he turns to the bottle to veil the images that haunt his mind whenever he touches anyone—except vampires. With them, he has finally found a home. But as Penton, Alabama, moves into open warfare with the Vampire Tribunal, Nik finds himself a linchpin in the deepening conflict, not to mention facing a transformation in his own body more frightening than anything he’s encountered before.

She wanted to change the world. Shay Underwood watched her Peace Corps parents move from one third world country to another—until both died following an outbreak of fever. Driven to her own career in tropical medicine, Shay works in New Orleans to cure the disease that killed her parents—until a careless weekend outing draws her into a world far more dangerous than the diseases she studies: a vampire society engaged in human trafficking and on the verge of all-out war.

Two cities, two near-strangers, one world. With Penton rebellion leader Aidan Murphy making risky choices and chief vampire lieutenant Mirren Kincaid forced to take a leadership role in Penton, it will fall to two outsiders, Nik and Shay, to find a way for the town—and themselves—to survive in this much-anticipated conclusion to the multiple award-winning Penton Legacy series.



Buy from Amazon


Note:
The entire Penton Legacy Series leading up to ILLUMINATION (Redemption, Absolution, Omega, and Allegiance, as well as the spinoff Storm Force—Penton 3.5—are on sale for 99 cents each for Kindle through July 31. You can find the series here and Storm Force here.)

About the Author:

Susannah Sandlin writes award-winning paranormal romance, including the popular Penton Legacy series, and romantic suspense and thrillers, including two series, The Collectors and Wilds of the Bayou. Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she writes the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series and a number of standalones. Suzanne grew up in Alabama halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’s birthplace and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, so she has a refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of college football and fried gator on a stick. She currently lives in Auburn, Alabama, where she is a full-time author who does copy editing for other authors on the side through Reedsy.com.

Web: www.suzannejohnsonauthor.com

Blog: www.suzannejohnsonauthor.com/blog

Twitter: @SusannahSandlin, @Suzanne_Johnson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSuzanneJohnson/


*comment before August 4, 2017 to be entered in the giveaway*
Winner = Liz S.


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

My Not So Perfect Life - Book Review by Voodoo Bride


My Not So Perfect Life
by Sophie Kinsella


What is it about:
Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?


What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
This is yet another fun and funny read by Kinsella.

Katie is trying hard to make it big in London, but with her low paying job it's hard to get by. She is creative in showing the world a perfect life though. This is especially because her father never understood the attraction of London, so when she's fired she doesn't want to face an "Ï told you so" and so the lies and subterfuge get bigger.

Kinsella knows how to tell a story in a funny way, so that even cringe-worthy moments are fun. I was hooked from the start and was eager to see what Katie would do to keep others from finding out the truth about her life. Throw in a father who thinks up more getting rich schemes than he can handle, and a possible revenge on the woman who fired her and there wasn't a boring moment in this book.

All in all a fast and very entertaining read, just as I've come to expect from Kinsella.

Why should you read it:
It's a funny and entertaining read.


Buy from bookdepository

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Teaser Tuesdays - The Edge of the Blade

I've been rereading the Twelve Kingdoms/Uncharted Realms books, and thought I'd give you a teaser from The Edge of the Blade today.


The dragons loomed in silent menace against the rosy dawn. They’d given me a serious chill the first time the Hákyrling sailed between their fearsome snarling mouths. This time their daunting size and gleaming black coils seemed to mock me.

(start of Chapter 1, The Edge of the Blade by Jeffe Kennedy)


Buy from bookdepository

---------

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Summer in the Elevator - Book Review


Summer in the Elevator
by Abigail Blakely


What is it about:
Summer Fridley is comfortable. She has a steady job, a bearable apartment, and a longtime boyfriend. Her only plan for the hot months ahead is to stay afloat and continue the course. She’ll also avoid her mother as much as possible. She doesn’t believe in ghosts or magic. Every moment is known, every hour is predictable, every day is the same.

Until June 11th, 2018.

Her cell phone chimes with a text message from an unknown number. A simple message from someone named Isaac Fishburne. Summer doesn't know that he died in the elevator and has remained there ever since. For years, Isaac watched the tenants of the apartment building. Something about Summer intrigues him. For the first time, he reaches out to someone living.

It may be a summer that changes them both... forever.


What did I think of it:
This is a beautiful story.

It's almost entirely set in an elevator and is more about mood, feelings and communication than that there's lots of action.

The chapters are set up as elevator rides in which Summer interacts with Isaac or others, or thinks about things that happen in her life. Discovering that Isaac is part of the elevator makes her connect with him and makes her think about her choices in life.

I loved getting to know Summer through these elevator glimpses, and rooted for her to figure out what she wants from life and if it's possible to reach her goals. I also loved reading how she and Isaac connect and are a comfort to each other.

All in all this is beautiful and haunting story, and I will definitely read more by Blakely.

Why should you read it:
It;s a beautiful, atmospheric story about friendship, love, and finding your place in the world.


Buy from Amazon

Friday, 21 July 2017

The Crowns of Croswald - Book Review


The Crowns of Croswald (The Croswald Series #1)
by D.E. Night


What is it about:
In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret…

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic––and her life––is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.


What did I think of it:
When I was offered to receive a bookish box that included a signed ARC of this book, I jumped at the chance, because this sounded like a fun read.

And this book is indeed fun and very entertaining.

Ivy is an interesting character. It's clear there's more to her than she herself knows and it was fun to discover both what that is and the magical world this story is set in.

After an introduction to Ivy and the world she grew up in, Ivy is soon on her way to a boarding school where she will learn what gifts she has. You might know how I love a good boarding school story, so you bet I was hooked from the start.

With a young orphan enrolling in a school of magic it's impossible not to compare with other such books, Harry Potter being the most famous of course. Although there are certainly similarities, there are enough differences that this book isn't a clone of any of those other magical boarding school books. It can firmly stand on its own.

I really liked the setting and the world Night created. I like the thought of the Scriveners: a mix between alchemists and magic users, their quill and imagination the tool they use instead of a wand.

The story is fast paced and works up to an action packed finale. The ending is satisfying: no cliffhanger, but enough has happened and has been revealed to promise lots of adventures for Ivy in a future book.

You bet I'll keep an eye out for the next book.

Why should you read it:
It's a fun and entertaining Middle Grade read.


Buy from Amazon

Thursday, 20 July 2017

In McPig's TBR Pile - Driven

The problem with getting lots of secondhand books at the same time, is that you easily forget about some of them, so they stay on your shelves unread. Here's another one that I might have to dust off and read one of these days.


Driven (Northern Waste #1)
by Eve Kenin, Eve Silver


In the harsh Northern Waste where human life is worth little, ice trucker Raina Bowen has learned to keep her eyes open and her knife close at hand. She's spent her life on the run, one step ahead of the megalomaniac who hunts her. All she wants is to stay out of trouble and haul her load of grain to Gladow Station.

But trouble finds her in the form of a sexy stranger called Wizard. He has the trucking pass she needs, and she has to drag him out of a brawl with the very people she's trying to hide from in order to get it. She may have rescued him, but Raina's not foolish enough to see Wizard as anything close to helpless. He's hard and honed and full of secrets--secrets that may destroy them both.

As they race across the Waste, trying to outrun rival truckers, ice pirates, and the powerful man bent on their destruction, Raina's forced to admit that trouble's found her. And this time, there's nowhere left to run.



Buy from Amazon

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Lonely Ones - Book Review


The Lonely Ones
by Kelsey Sutton


What is it about:
When your only friend is your own endless imagination, how do you escape your mind and connect to the world around you?

With parents too busy to pay her attention, an older brother and sister who would rather spend their time with friends, and peers who oscillate between picking on her and simply ignoring her, it's no wonder that Fain spends most of her time in a world of her own making. During the day, Fain takes solace in crafting her own fantastical adventures in writing, but in the darkness of night, these adventures come to life as Fain lives and breathes alongside a legion of imaginary creatures. Whether floating through space or under the sea, climbing mountains or traipsing through forests, Fain becomes queen beyond - and in spite of - the walls of her bedroom.

In time, Fain begins to see possibilities and friendships emerge in her day-to-day reality. . . yet when she is let down by the one relationship she thought she could trust, Fain must decide: remain queen of the imaginary creatures, or risk the pain that comes with opening herself up to the fragile connections that exist only in the real world?

Told in breathless and visual verse, THE LONELY ONES takes readers through the intricate inner workings of a girl who struggles to navigate isolation and finds friendship where she least expects it.


What did I think of it:
This is a beautiful and very touching read.

I mentioned in my review of Where Silence Gathers that Sutton has a beautiful writing style that adds to the atmosphere of her stories. In this book she uses verse to tell the story, making this book one long and beautiful poem.

I myself have loved poetry since discovering the poetry section of my local library back when I was about ten or eleven, so once I had the time to sit down with this book I got lost in the beauty of the writing and the heartache of this story until I finished it.

Fain is a lot like I used to be at that age, and this made the story recognizable and emotional. It made me smile, cry and hope for Fain and all those other overlooked lonely ones that are out there.

The story and its mood stayed with me long after I finished the book, and you bet I'll keep an eye out for Sutton's other works.

I can recommend this book to anyone who is, or was, an introvert with lots of imagination, and to everyone who loves beautifully written verse.

Why should you read it:
It's a beautiful Middle Grade read.


Buy from bookdepository

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Teaser Tuesdays - Sherlock Holmes vs. Cthulhu


"They aren't of this world, these things." He uttered the words slowly and so quietly I barely heard them. Then his eyes rose to mine, and they were glazed and hard as if he'd entered some sort of trance.

(page 85, Sherlock Holmes vs. Cthulhu: The Adventure of the Deadly Dimensions by Lois H. Gresh)


Buy from bookdepository

---------

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, 17 July 2017

A Royal Pain - Book Review by Voodoo Bride


A Royal Pain (Unruly Royals #1)
by Megan Mulry


What is it about:
Bronte Talbott follows all of the exploits of the British royals. After all, they're the world's most preeminent dysfunctional family. And who is she to judge? Bronte's own search for love isn't going all that well, especially after her smooth-talking Texan boyfriend abruptly leaves her in the dust.

Bronte keeps a lookout for a rebound to help mend her broken heart, and when she meets Max Heyworth, she's certain he's the perfect transition man. But when she discovers he's a duke, she has to decide if she wants to stay with him for the long haul and deal with the opportunities-- and challenges-- of becoming a royal.


What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
This is totally outside of my normal reading, but I got the book as a gift, so decided to give it a try.

I must confess I wondered if this whole fascination with royalty is an American thing, or if having seen a lot of the Dutch royal family made me jaded, because I can't say meeting any royalty ever has been a fantasy of mine.

That being said:

This is a nice read.

I had to get used to the writing style and the way Mulry told the story, but after a few chapters I was enjoying myself, although it did keep me from really losing myself in the story. There were a few things that made me grumble, unnecessary Goth bashing being one of them, but two of them are very personal pet peeves so I won't go into those.

All in all an entertaining romance. I have book two in this series as well, and might give it a try one of these days.

Why should you read it:
It's a nice Contemporary Romance read.


Buy from Amazon

Friday, 14 July 2017

Missing - A DNF


Missing
by Kelley Armstrong


What is it about:
Reeve's End is the kind of place every kid can't wait to escape. Each summer, a dozen kids leave and at least a quarter never come back. Winter Crane doesn't blame them - she plans to do the same in another year. She'll leave behind the trailer park, and never look back. All she has to do is stay out of trouble.

But then she has a chance encounter with a boy called Lennon, injured and left for dead in the woods. Her discovery has Winter questioning everything she thought she knew about her sleepy town. And when Lennon vanishes and his brother Jude comes looking for him, things take a sinister turn.

Someone wants Winter out of the picture. Can she trust Jude? Or will he deliver them both into the hands of a stalker?


What did I think of it:
This is the first book by Armstrong I just could not finish.

The book started out intriguing, and I was engrossed in the story until Jude arrived.

What a self righteous, condescending, pompous jerk!

I disliked him from the start and really tried to read on, because I did like Winter and was curious about what was going on, but every time Jude opened his mouth I felt my blood-pressure rise.

Maybe I gave up too soon, maybe he stops acting like a gigantic jerk later on, but if so it wasn't soon enough for me. I couldn't stand another page of his jerky, condescending attitude.

Why should you read it:
Maybe you don't mind teenage alpha jerks.


Buy from bookdepository

Thursday, 13 July 2017

A Bookish Box from D.E. Night


I received a Bookish Surprise this week from D.E. Night.
I must say I immediately fell in love with the box.


It's a Magical box!
How exciting.


This beautiful picture was on the back of the card.


Let's see what else is in the box.


A signed ARC of D.E. Night's upcoming book The Crowns of Croswald and a pretty blue bottle.

There was also a letter from D.E. Night as well.


The packing paper was a newspaper which had some intriguing headlines.
I can't wait to start reading the book!


The bottle is a Glanagerie Bottle.
According to the card that came with it "Glanageries are the ultimate potion of the mind. Where ideas, dreams, fears, and magic simmer together for out-of-this-world experiences."


And it glows!!!


Keep an eye out for my review of The Crowns of Croswald!


About the book:
In D.E. Night’s debut novel, The Crowns of Croswald, magic sparks around every corner in a kingdom ruled by a dark queen. Ivy, a young orphan living in the Kingdom of Croswald discovers that she has powers of her own. She enrolls at the Halls of Ivy, a school where young students learn to master their magical blood and the power that Croswald’s mysterious gems can wield. Unfortunately, Ivy’s schooling – and her life – is threatened by the evil queen and her henchmen. As Ivy tries to unearth her past and save Croswald’s future, a fantastical adventure ensues.

Buy from Amazon

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Keeping Her - Book Review by Voodoo Bride


Keeping Her (Losing It #1.5)
by Cora Carmack


What is it about:
Garrick Taylor and Bliss Edwards managed to find their happily-ever-after despite a rather . . . ahem . . . complicated start. By comparison, meeting the parents should be an absolute breeze, right?

But from the moment the pair lands in London, new snags just keep cropping up: a disapproving mother-in-law-to-be, more than one (mostly) minor mishap, and the realization that perhaps they aren't quite as ready for their future as they thought.

As it turns out, the only thing harder than finding love is keeping it.


What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
When looking for the next book in this series I noticed this novella. It was less than 4 Euro so I bought it together with the second book in the series.

And this is a nice read.

It's a novella so not a lot is happening, but it is a nice little extra to Bliss' story. There's lots of British ale, meddling family, miscommunication, and a happy end.

All in all a short and fun read for those who want a little bit more Bliss and Garrick after having read Losing It.

Why should you read it:
It's a fun little extra for people who loved Losing It.


Buy from bookdepository

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Illumination - Release Day Alert + Penton Legacy Sale

Illumination is releasing today!
You bet I'll be getting my trotters on in asap!


Illumination (Penton Legacy #5)
by Susannah Sandlin


From award-winning author Susannah Sandlin comes the final book in the smart and steamy Penton Legacy series.

He came to Penton seeking peace. Nik Dimitrou joined the Army to escape his family curse, only to have his psychic abilities exploited as a weapon. Now, as a civilian, he turns to the bottle to veil the images that come unbidden whenever he touches anyone–except vampires. With them, he has finally found a respite. But as Penton moves into open warfare with the Vampire Tribunal, Nik finds himself deep inside the conflict, not to mention fighting a transformation in his own body more frightening than anything he’s faced.

She wanted to change the world. Shay Underwood watched her Peace Corps parents move from one third world country to another, helping others–until both died following an outbreak of Dengue Fever. Driven to pursue a career in tropical medicine, Shay works in New Orleans to cure the disease that killed her parents–until a careless weekend outing draws her into a world far more dangerous than the diseases she studies: a desperate vampire society engaged in human trafficking.

Two cities, two strangers, one world. With Penton rebellion leader Aidan Murphy making risky choices and chief vampire lieutenant Mirrren Kincaid forced to take a leadership role, it will fall to two outsiders, Nik and Shay, to find a way for Penton–and themselves–to survive.



Buy from Amazon

================

Sale!!!

There's a 99 cent Kindle sale for the first four Penton Legacy books and the STORM FORCE spinoff! So go get them now!!


Monday, 10 July 2017

One of Us Is Lying - Spoilery Book Rant


One of Us Is Lying
by Karen M. McManus


What is it about:
One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.


What did I think about it:
Warning: I will spoil the heck out of this book!!!


So I picked this book up because it sounded like it might be a cool murder mystery. It even pretends to be a surprising murder mystery by using the tagline "A Geek, A Jock, A Criminal, A Princess. A Murder. Who would you believe?", as if we actually might be surprised by who did it and it's not going to be stereotypical...

Yeah...

I got my suspicions about where this story would lead when it was revealed that the best friend of the murder victim was - wait for it! - a Goth!

Still I kept reading in hope I was being too cynical, but all the pieces fit with my idea of what happened.

Along the way there is a big 'shocking' reveal that our jock is gay, the princess is a doormat, but due to all the events she grows a backbone, and geek and criminal fall in love.

And finally: I was right! The outcast with the Goth best friend committed suicide in such a way that the people who he sees as the ones who made things the most difficult for him are the ones to get blamed for his death...

Yup, surprising reveal: The Goths and Alternative outsiders get demonized once again.

The author tries to soften things by making the Goth a reluctant participant and the possessive boyfriend of one of our 'heroes' the vengeful lackey, but to no avail in my opinion. Once again prejudice against Goths prevails.

Blegh! I hate that I saw this coming from miles away and still kept hoping I would be wrong.

What you should go read instead:
Violent Ends


But if you really want to read this one:
Buy from bookdepository

Friday, 7 July 2017

Daughter of Deep Silence - Book Grumbles


Daughter of Deep Silence
by Carrie Ryan


What is it about:
In the wake of the complete destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, three people are left alive who know the truth about what happened and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace, rescued from the ocean after seven days adrift with her friend Libby (who died of thirst just before rescue), knows that the Persephone wasn't sunk by a rogue wave as survivors Senator Wells and his son Greyson are claiming it was attacked.

In order to insure her safety from the obviously dangerous and very powerful Wells family, Libby's father helps Frances assume Libby's identity. Frances has spent years in hiding, transforming herself into Libby, and she can no longer allow the people who murdered her entire family and Libby to get away with it even if she had been in love with Greyson Wells.

After years of careful plotting, she's ready to set her revenge plans into motion. The game has just begun, and Frances is not only playing dirty, she's playing to win.


What did I think of it:
I will confess that although I liked the premise of this book, there were some things that left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

The main problem I had with this story is how it seems to say that justice and revenge are the same thing. There are several people who tell Frances she should just let go and live her life instead of getting even. Now usually this might be good advice, but in this case letting go also means letting people get away with something truly horrible.

And while this message of "revenge is wrong, just let go and let the bad people get away with it" is being force-fed to the reader, the reader also gets the nice contradicting message that revenge might be the right way to go after all as Frances goes on trampling all over people to get her revenge.

I had wanted to see a bit more nuance between justice and revenge and for a certain character getting a serious wake up call instead of the infuriating turn of events this book gave me and where this person, who deserved all kinds of torment, to be painted as the wounded party.

Egh...

All in all this book started out promising only to annoy me more and more the closer I got to the end. It won't be a keeper.

Why should you read it:
It's a "smart revenge thriller" according to the blurb on Goodreads.


Buy from bookdepository

Thursday, 6 July 2017

On McPig's Radar - The Reluctant Queen

I loved the first book in this series, but the hardcover is a bit too expensive for me, so I'm waiting for the paperback.


The Reluctant Queen (The Queens of Renthia #2)
by Sarah Beth Durst


Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .
And those spirits want to kill you.
It’s the first lesson that every Renthian learns.

Not long ago, Daleina used her strength and skill to survive those spirits and assume the royal throne. Since then, the new queen has kept the peace and protected the humans of her land. But now for all her power, she is hiding a terrible secret: she is dying. And if she leaves the world before a new heir is ready, the spirits that inhabit her beloved realm will run wild, destroying her cities and slaughtering her people.

Naelin is one such person, and she couldn’t be further removed from the Queen—and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Her world is her two children, her husband, and the remote village tucked deep in the forest that is her home, and that’s all she needs. But when Ven, the Queens champion, passes through the village, Naelin’s ambitious husband proudly tells him of his wife’s ability to control spirits—magic that Naelin fervently denies. She knows that if the truth of her abilities is known, it will bring only death and separation from those she loves.

But Ven has a single task: to find the best possible candidate to protect the people of Aratay. He did it once when he discovered Daleina, and he’s certain he’s done it again. Yet for all his appeals to duty, Naelin is a mother, and she knows her duty is to her children first and foremost. Only as the Queen’s power begins to wane and the spirits become emboldened—even as ominous rumors trickle down from the north—does she realize that the best way to keep her son and daughter safe is to risk everything.



Buy from bookdepository

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

River of Teeth - Book Review


River of Teeth (River of Teeth #1)
by Sarah Gailey


What is it about:
In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true.

Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.

This was a terrible plan.

Contained within this volume is an 1890s America that might have been: a bayou overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe. It is the story of Winslow Houndstooth and his crew. It is the story of their fortunes. It is the story of his revenge.


What did I think of it:
Some of you may know I love hippos.

So maybe you can understand I wasn't able to resist when I saw mention of this novella about feral hippos and hippo wranglers.

And even though it was a bit pricey for its size I can tell you it was worth every cent.

Winslow and his crew are a diverse group of mercs. Some I immediately liked, others I had my doubts about. Together they set out to rid the marshlands of the feral hippos. Little do they know there's more opposition to this plan than you'd expect.

This being a novella character building has to be short and sweet, which made that some of the characters are a bit grotesque. That aside I very much enjoyed this story from start to finish. It has everything you could want from a novella about hippos in the American marshland: Hippo wranglers, feral man-eating hippos, hippo mayhem, betrayal, and much more.

The ending was quite epic and left a lot of things open, so I'm glad there will be a second book in September. You bet I'll get my trotters on it!

Why should you read it:
Hippo mayhem!


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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Teaser Tuesdays - Cormorant Run


"Well, neither of us can ask her now." The man tapped his fingers against her file, each one drumming like the fat fucking meatstick it was. "She's dead."

(page 35, Cormorant Run by Lilith Saintcrow)


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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, 3 July 2017

I Wish You Happy - Book Review


I Wish You Happy
by Kerry Anne King


What is it about:
Told with warmth and wit, I Wish You Happy explores the sometimes-dark complexity of relationships, the transformative power of friendship—and the magic of hope.

Rescuing abandoned animals is easier for Rae than attempting relationships with people. According to her therapist, she lacks a dimmer switch—her energy is either full-intensity on or off. Lately, she’s been opting for off.

But the switch flips back on when Rae’s car collides with a cyclist, leaving the rider fighting for her life. After discovering the crash was a suicide attempt, Rae invites the victim—emotionally and physically fragile Kat—into her home. Soon, Rae finds herself opening up, not just to friendship but also to the possibility of love with Cole, the crisis worker assigned to Kat’s case.

However, Kat’s pain threatens to overshadow Rae as their codependent friendship deepens. When disaster strikes again, Rae is desperate to help Kat heal, but the plan backfires, putting at risk Rae’s tenuous connections and forcing her to confront the most difficult challenge of all— embracing her own happiness.


What did I think of it:
I'm usually not into Contemporary Fiction, but Kerry Anne King is the alter ego of Kerry Schafer, so I just had to give this book a try.

And right in the first few pages Kerry hooked me when Rae gets upset at her therapist when the therapist says something demeaning about Rae's dead pet rat. If there's one thing I understand and which makes me relate it's someone being sad about the death of a beloved pet and how hurtful it can be when others don't understand.

From that moment on I was invested in what happened to Rae and I wanted her to be happy.

Rae is a very sensitive person who is trying very hard to survive in a world that's often too hard for her. I recognized the need to want to do the right thing, but not always having the energy for it. And Rae is taking it a step further: she feels responsible for the happiness and well being of others and thinks her own happiness is less important.

This observation and the above blurb may make you think this is a very serious book. But although it certainly is about serious issues this book is fun and heartwarming as well. Remember the the dead rat? I loved the storyline that dealt with the aftermath of his passing. It was awesome, funny and touching.

As the story unfolds Rae gets forced to make important decisions for herself and she learns a lot about herself, the people around her, and what friendship should be about. I will tell you that this book made me laugh, sniffle, grumble, and smile.

If you like Contemporary Fiction (or if you are usually on the fence, like me) I can really recommend this book. It's a wonderful read.

Why should you read it:
It's a beautiful and touching Contemporary Novel.


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Sunday, 2 July 2017

TBR Orphans Update


We managed to read three TBR Orphans in June!

Desert Rising by Kelley Grant
Pleasure and Purpose by Megan Hart
Past Malice by Dana Cameron


And the first book I read in July was an Orphan as well, so I'm at eight total and back on track for my total of at least twelve this year. Although I really should try to get at least one TBR Orphan read each month.

How are you doing on your challenges?

Friday, 30 June 2017

Roar - Book Review


Roar (Stormheart #1)
by Cora Carmack


What is it about:
In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.


What did I think of it:
I first heard about this book when I was investigating the authors who would be at the Love Letter Convention in Berlin last month. It sounded awesome and when I read the description of the June FairyLoot box I was 90% certain it would have Roar in it. This sounded like a win-win situation for me: Get a box full of cool loot and a book I really wanted to read, so I immediately ordered.

When I was in Berlin I was cheeky enough that I asked Cora Carmack if she could confirm Roar was in the June FairyLoot box, and she did!

So you bet I immediately started on Roar when my box arrived last week. (The rest of the box was totally awesome as well, btw.)

And for once I think this book is certainly worth the hype.

I really liked Aurora. She's had both a sheltered and a hard life, making her both inexperienced at some things, while hardened at other things. I could relate and rooted for her from the start. She really wants to do the right thing, but when she has to choose between what looks like the fast route to a secure future and her own happiness she decides to let her happiness come first.

There are 4 other viewpoint characters if I counted correctly. All were interesting, but some were more likeable than others. There were two viewpoint characters I'm very interested in learning more about. One of those is clearly an ally to Aurora, the other can still go in either direction. It will be interesting to see how both of them develop in the next book.

I loved the world building and the storm hunting. The team of storm hunters that Aurora encounters is a diverse bunch and I liked how they interacted with each other. I hope some of them will get bigger roles in the next book as well.

There's lots of cool action and a bit of romance. I wasn't impressed with the love interest, so for once I'm hoping for some triangly drama to spice things up.

All in all this is a really cool and fun YA Fantasy that ends not in a cliffhanger perse, but it does end in a way that makes me eager for the next book. You bet I'm going to get my grabby trotters on that as soon as it releases.

Why should you read it:
It's an awesome action-packed YA Fantasy read


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