The Witches of Vegas by Mark Rosendorf

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pages: 272

Series: The Witches of Vegas, Book 1

Genres: Paranormal; Witches; Urban Fantasy; Young Adult

Publication date: August 5, 2020

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Where can Witches and their vampire mentor practice their powers without being discovered or persecuted?

By using their magic, the Witches of Vegas become the number one act performing on the Las Vegas Strip—a great achievement for them, but not so much for the magicians—who can’t possibly keep pace.

Isis Rivera is the adopted fifteen-year old daughter of The Witches of Vegas. Zack Galloway is the teenage nephew and assistant to the last magician left in the city. Although they should be rivals, when Valeria, a four-hundred-year-old witch with a long-seeded grudge against humanity arrives in Sin-City, both teens act to bring their families together to stop the evil hag in her tracks.

But can the combined witches’ powers and the ingenuity of the magicians be enough to stop Valeria from taking over the city and possibly the world?

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“How… how do you know me?” Isis asked.

“You ask a lot of questions. I like that. A curious mind is a good thing.” Sebastian held out his hand and made circular motions. A tiny rainbow appeared inside the imaginary circle. Isis reached with her left hand for the rainbow. Her fingers went straight through as if it wasn’t there.

“My wife and her sister sensed you. They’re far more connected to the energy than I am. But maybe not as connected as you. We’ll have to see.”

Prologue

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I received this story in exchange for an honest review and I’m glad that this book was brought to my attention. It’s got exactly what I look for in a book – magic and mayhem. Who doesn’t like to watch a good magic show? While I’ve personally never been to Vegas so haven’t seen a magic show on the strip, I can only imagine that this would be even better if the show contained real witchy magic.

While the main plot of this story is certainly the battle against Valeria to save the world from her evil ways, I liked the more subtle lessons that the book dealt with as well. For instance, sometimes it’s hard to picture what consequences your actions will have, how they’ll affect other people. Hindsight is 20/20, but as soon as you’ve been shown the error of your ways, you should do what you can in order to prevent the same mistakes from happening again.

Isis might not have come into her full powers yet, but that doesn’t stop her from being a badass and doing what’s right in order to protect those who can’t protect herself. Even if it means risking her own life to do so.

Rosendorf did a fantastic job at creating a world that was vibrant and full of life. Of creating characters that have true emotions and motivations, family ties that are stronger than life itself. Even the way the story starts – Based on a true story from a different reality – had my attention peeked at once.

I greatly enjoyed my time in this world and look forward to jumping back into it in Journey to New Salem. Isis’ journey is far from over and I can’t wait to see what the crew will do from this point forward.

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Continue reading “The Witches of Vegas by Mark Rosendorf”

The Oracle of Philadelphia by Elizabeth Corrigan

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pages: 222

Series: Earthbound Angels, Book 1

Genres: Fantasy; Urban Fantasy; Paranormal; Angels & Demons; Mythology

Publication date: March 20, 2013

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Carrie works at a diner in South Philadelphia, dispensing advice to humans and angels wise enough to seek her counsel. But there are some problems that even the best advice can’t solve. Her latest supplicant, Sebastian, is unique among those who have sought her aid – he sold his soul to a demon to save his sister’s life. Yet his heart remains pure.

Carrie has lived for millennia with the knowledge that her immortality is due to the suffering of others and she can’t bare to see another good man damned while it’s within her power to prevent it. In order to negotiate his contract, Carrie must travel the depths of hall and parley with the demons that control pathways. As the cost of her journey rises, Carrie must determine how much she’s willing to sacrifice to save one good soul.

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We’d had what passed for a lunch rush – two whole tables occupied at once – and I was clearing off the tables when I heard the words that were going to change my life: “I’m here to see the Oracle.”

Chapter One

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I stumbled upon this read while looking at one of Corrigan’s other reads, and I absolutely felly in love with the cover. Not only is the cover fantastic, but I’ve always been drawn to stories about oracles and the different planes of existence. In this case, the mortal realm and the hell realm where the demons reside – my terms, the book just calls this being alive and in Hell. 

Even further than that, I’ve always been interested in tales about fallen angels and how the war between Lucifer and God impacted them. While the same characters always play a role – they were, after all, the angels that fought on the opposing sides in the way – I enjoyed the way that Corrigan dealt with them all. I loved the different personalities. Like Bedlam not always trying to cause chaos but always being the chaos that he stands for. Or Gabriel being so pure of heart that he makes Michael – right hand of God – feel inferior at times.

Carrie’s own story took center stage over the story I thought this book was going to tell – the tale of Sebastian and how Carrie was going to travel to Hell in order to save his soul. Don’t get me wrong, the synopsis wasn’t lying when it said that Sebastian’s request for help would be the driving force in Carrie’s life. But I expected more of an epic quest into Hell than what we’re given. Instead, the story is filled with flashbacks into Carrie’s long life and the events that led her to be the person she is.

Although it took me a while to be okay with the lack of an epic hellscape adventure like I was expecting, I ended up enjoying Carrie’s story much more than I think I would have had this story been exactly what I was expecting. Jumping between timelines isn’t always something I follow too well, but Corrigan did an amazing job at it. It not only helped make Carrie’s decisions make sense, but it also made her willingness to change her behaviour for one good soul that much more impactful. I can’t wait to dive back into this story and see when Carrie and her friends take the world.

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Continue reading “The Oracle of Philadelphia by Elizabeth Corrigan”

A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Pages: 336

Series: Thorne Manor, Book 1

Genres: Romance; Time Travel; Fantasy; Mystery; Paranormal; Historical Fiction; Paranormal Romance; Ghosts

Publication date: October 13, 2020

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Thorne Manor has always been haunted… and it’s always haunted Bronwyn Dale. As a young girl, Bronwyn could slip through time in her great aunt’s house where she could visit with William Thorne, a boy her own age, born two centuries earlier. After a family tragedy, Bronwyn is convinced that William existed only in her imagination.

Now, twenty years later, Bronwyn inherits Thorne Manor and the ghosts within it. When she returns, William is waiting.

William Thorne is no longer the boy she remembers. Grown into a difficult and tempestuous man, his own life has been marred by tragedy and scandal that has him living at the manor – and his beloved moors – in self imposed exile. He’s also holding a grudge at Bronwyn for abandoning him all those years ago.

As their friendship rekindles and sparks into something more, Bronwyn must also deal with the ghosts in the present version of the house. Soon she realizes that they are linked to William and the scandal surrounding him. To build a future, Bronwyn must confront the past.

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“There’s a little too much of the dark and brooding about you, but the young ladies today have all read Wuthering Heights. They’ll positively devour a mysterious lord who lives in the moors, pining for -“

“Dear God, yes, that is exactly what I want. A silly chit who mistakes me for a sadistic, obsessive fictional lout. Please, send a dozen on the next train.”

Chapter Four

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Like I said in my April TBR, I finished this book pretty early on in the month – April 2nd to be exact. This was the book I chose to read for the March Buzzword of “Time”. I started it pretty late in March which wouldn’t have usually been a problem, but after the first night where I flew through half this story, I couldn’t pick the book back up until I’d finished moving… in April. And my eternally procrastinating bottom has put off writing this review until the second half of the month – much later than I would have initially liked.

I didn’t read the synopsis going into this story because Kelley Armstrong is my favourite author of all time. I knew that no matter what she put in this book I was going to love it. And I was right. This is a fantastic story and if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend that you do.

The characters feel real, the world is inspiring, and somehow her twists always take me by surprise. I like to pride myself on my ability to catch plot twists coming, but Armstrong somehow manages to get me so caught up in her red herrings that I’m constantly missing the little, more subtle, clues. And the emotion that she’s able to get out of me!

Not only that, but I absolutely adore how clear it is that Armstrong put in work when it comes to her research. Sometimes it’s the subtle things like the cadence through which William and the people of the past speak. Sometimes it’s the more obvious things like historical events and how they impact the two timelines. It’s clear that Armstrong has put in time, dedication, and love into the book – enough that it comes flying off the page at the reader as the story progresses.

I have yet to read a Kelley Armstrong book that I haven’t fallen madly in love with, and I highly doubt that day will ever come. I’m sitting here, on the edge of my seat, waiting oh so impatiently for A Twist of Fate (GoodReads) to come out.

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The Forever Crew by C.M. Stunich

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Pages: 288

Series: Adamson All-Boys Academy, Book 3

Genres: Reverse Harem, Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense, Dark, Bullying Romance (sub genre)

Publication date: January 24, 2020

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Charlotte is officially dating the entire student council, a fact that her headmaster father isn’t thrilled with. Two students are dead at this point, and all signs point to Charlotte being next. Everyone is on her suspect list, even the very boys that she’s falling in love with. What’s a girl to do in a situation like this other than don the skirt she’d been refusing and show all of the haters that she’s not afraid of them? After all, it’s her final year in high school so she’s going to make the most of it.

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Our past isn’t an anchor that keeps us tied to a shipwreck beneath the sea; it’s the sail that we can collect wind in so that we can soar.

Chapter Four

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This story is the final in the trilogy and was a fun read. While the raunchiness ramped up throughout the entire story – and if that’s what you’re reading these books for then you’ll love it – the plot in this book just wasn’t as strong to me as the first two novels. Charlotte and her boys are still trying to piece together the who and the why about who’s trying to kill her, but that plot seems to have taken a backseat to the romance within this story.

To a certain extent that makes sense – this is a contemporary reverse harlem romance novel after all – but the mystery in the background has now been teased for two books leading up to this, the finale. Personally, I wish that this story paid more focus to the murder mystery part of the story than it did as the mystery held so much promise.

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The Peasant’s Dream by Melanie Dickerson

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Pages: 311

Series: Hagenheim, Book 11

Genres: Romance, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Retelling, Christian Fiction, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling

Publication date: July 7, 2021

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Adela, the daughter of the Duke of Hagenheim, is rarely allowed outside of the castle walls. But longing for freedom, she sneaks out to the marked disguised as a peasant where she meets a handsom woodcarver named Frederick.

Frederick, a poor farmer, is the sole provider for his family and often his mother’s defender from his father’s drunken rages. He dreams of making a living carving wood and is thrilled when the Bishop of Hagenheim commissions him to carve new doors for the cathedral. As he works on the project, he and Adela meet almost daily and it doesn’t take them long to fall in love. Yet her true identity remains hidden from him.

When disaster separates the two, Adela and Frederick find themselves caught in the midst of a deception far more dangerous than innocent disguises.

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“I am spoiled, I suppose.”

“Spoiled?”

“I am used to having everything I need and almost everything I want.”

“You aren’t spoiled. You are loved and blessed. And love is much more important than wealth. If you have to live without wealth, you might have some difficulties, but living without love… that would be tragic indeed.”

Chapter 5

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As this is a reverse Cinderella retelling, I didn’t think that I’d need to have read the rest of the series before diving into this story. I’d originally hoped to read this story in January as another read for the Buzzword Readathon/Reading Challenge, but the copy from my local library wasn’t available until mid to late March. So, I waited until the book was available and enjoyed the read.

While this was a decent story, I wouldn’t really call it a “Cinderella retelling” per say – or even a reverse retelling. While there was a very brief ball scene, the main Cinderella storyline doesn’t really happen in this story. While there’s nothing to say that a retelling has to stay true to the original – in fact, one of my favourite retellings ever is a twisted story that only follows the original bones of the source material – I still prefer the story to clearly pull from the source material.

It felt more like a traditional Historical YA read than a fairy tale retelling to me, but that’s a personal perspective. Historical fiction isn’t my favourite genre – unless it’s got a fantastical twist or is further broken down into the Steampunk subgenre – which also impacted my enjoyment of the story. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why some people would enjoy the historical aspect of this story. I’m just not the intended audience for this story (no matter how much I thought I was going into this read).

It was a cute story if you’re not trying to force it into the confines of a retelling, but I found the side storylines and characters more compelling than the main plot of this story. While I don’t regret reading this story, I don’t know if I’ll bother reading anything else from this series.

That isn’t to say I won’t read more of Dickerson’s works, I will. I enjoyed the writing style of this story immensely. It’s just the specific series that I don’t think is my speed.

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Continue reading “The Peasant’s Dream by Melanie Dickerson”

The Demon of Yodok by Adria Carmichael

I’m happy to share YA Dystopian novel, The Demon of Yodok! Read on for book details and a chance to win a signed hardcover edition. Oh, and for all you book reviewers: you can request a copy of this exciting book from R&R Book Tours!

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Demon of Yodok

Genre: YA Dystopian

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JUCHE [dʒuːtʃe]

Just when Areum, daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson, thought she was free from her personal prison, her world collapses around her as her family are taken away in the middle of the night to a hell-like camp in the mountains where people who have strayed from the righteous path are brutally re-educated through blood, sweat, tears and starvation.

There she has to fight for survival together with the family she hates and is forced to re-evaluate every aspect of her life until then – her deep resentment toward her twin sister; her view of her father in face of the mounting evidence he is a traitor with the blood of millions of fellow countrymen on his hands; and even her love and affection for the Great General – the eternal savior and protector of Choson, whom she had always considered her true father.

Add to Goodreads!

Available on Amazon!

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About the Author

Adria Carmichael is a writer of Young Adult Dystopian fiction with a twist. When she is not devouring dystopian and post-apocalyptic content in any format – books, movies, TV-series and PlayStation games – she is crafting the epic and highly-addictive Juche saga, her 2020 debut novel series that takes place in the brutal, totalitarian nation of Choson. When the limit of doom and gloom is reached, a 10K run on a sunny day or binging a silly sitcom on a rainy day is her go-to way to unwind.

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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Giveaway: For a chance to win a signed hardcover edition of The Demon of Yodok, click the link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveway will run from today until April 15th!

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Book Blitz Organized By:

R&R Book Tours

Condition Black by Gareth Worthington and Stu Jones (Spoiler free review)

Pages: 332

Goodreads: Condition Black

Genres: Medical Thriller; Military Thriller

Expected Publication date: April 13, 2021

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EVAN WEYLAND, a brilliant research scientist tasked with developing new technologies to fight cancer, sees the world through the lens of someone on the Autism Spectrum. His guiding light is his wife, Marie-a globally recognized war correspondent. When she returns home from Syria deathly ill with an unknown disease, Evan believes his research may be the key to unlocking the cure. However, when his superiors refuse his request for help, Evan’s single-minded love for Marie drives him to take matters into his own hands. It is a decision with far greater consequences than he could possibly fathom.

BILLY VICK, a Captain in the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, is a combat veteran unable to leave the horrors of war behind. Only the love of his family and a sense of absolute justice keeps him grounded. When Billy’s unit becomes aware of a US-sanctioned airstrike on a civilian settlement in Syria and an eye-witness reporter comatose with an unknown illness, he fears the worst. An unethical military project thought mothballed has resurfaced, and a civilian, Evan Weyland, maybe about to inadvertently unleash it upon the world. It’s a mistake that could cost the lives of millions.

Pitted against each other in a game of chess-like deception and intrigue, with time running out, both men must come to terms with the magnitude of what’s at stake-and what each is willing to sacrifice to win.

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“That’s Evan Weyland,” George said. “He comes through here all the time, dropping his wife off at the airport.”

“What’s wrong with him?” the soldier asked.

“He’s harmless,” George replied. “He’s on the spectrum. A bit odd, but clever as hell. He’s a researcher at John Hopkins. The guy doesn’t deserve a gun in the chest. You get me?”

“Yes, sir, but if he’s autistic shouldn’t he carry a medical card or something?”

“A medical card? Why? Do they make you carry one that says asshole on it?”

Chapter 3, pg. 28-29

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Available on Amazon!

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Continue reading “Condition Black by Gareth Worthington and Stu Jones (Spoiler free review)”

Gifted by Andy Lewter

Gifted

Congratulations to author Andy Lewter on the re-release of her YA Fantasy, Gifted! Read on for more details!

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Gifted (A Valens Series #1)

Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Genre: YA Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Publication Date: March 15th, 2021

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The last thing Abigail Everett thought would happen over spring break was having her world shift into an entirely new perspective. Unfortunately for her, that’s exactly what happened.

Between struggling to master her newly-formed abilities, coming face-to-face with dark, deceiving mind tricks by those that seek her leadership, and learning of a mythical world that she never deemed possible, Abigail risks everything with the future of mankind and the safety of its’ people in her hands.

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Add to Goodreads

Now Available on Amazon!

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Excerpt

“How much do you know?” he suddenly asked. There was intensity in his expression now, a determination.

I pulled my hand away and felt my brows furrow. “I don’t understand.”

“When did you turn?” he pressed again, quirking an eyebrow.

I stared. I had no idea what he was talking about. Worst of all, I was terrified to ask.

My silence hung so thick in the air I felt I could grasp it. “Your father never told you anything?”

Taking my continued silence as an answer, he released a dark, dangerous laugh.

A laugh that held secrets. About me. And I was the only one left in the dark.

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Continue reading “Gifted by Andy Lewter”

2021 April TBR

March wasn’t as productive reading wise as I’d hoped, but I was busy than normal the entire month which at least partially explains it. I also found myself in a little bit of a reading slump where I just wasn’t in the mood to read. Thankfully that’s passed and I’m already enjoying the stories that I’ve begun diving into this month.

Most of the stories that I plan on reading this month are tied to book tours that I’m luck to be a part of. I look forward to devouring these stories and letting you know my thoughts and feelings on them. While I’ve already read one of the stories on the list below, and started 2 others, there’s a lot that I have yet to get to. My plans this month include a mix of new reads and rereads. It’s been a while since I’ve read the rereads I plan on getting to, so I’m looking forward to that immensely.

**For anyone who’s here for the first time, I’ve organized the books by Physical Books, eBooks, AudioBooks, and Library books. **

As always, I expect to deviate from the TBR a bit, but here are the books I look forward to choosing from this month:

Total books: 17

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2021 March Wrap Up

Moving is always more work than you realize when you’re in the midst of it. I might be using that as a little bit of an excuse, but I’m not lying when I say that moving at the end of March drastically reduced the time I had to read – and write blog posts about what I read.

Basically, I didn’t get nearly as much reading done as I’d hoped this month. While part of me is hoping that by moving my reading plans into April in order to get caught up, I know that this realistically won’t be the case. Another reason that I didn’t read some of the books I’d planned to this month is because some of the book tours were postponed until April. So, I look forward to getting around to at least those stories this coming month.

As always, here are some pictures of my pup, Yzma. (Shameless plug for her adorable PupStagram account @YzmaTheHound):

Without further ado, here’s my reading stats for February:


For reference: Physical books, eBooks, AudioBooks, and Library books.

Total books completed: 4

Total pages read: 969 pages (avg. 323 pages) + 1 eBook of unspecified pages


Completed Books:

  1. Reaper: Aftermath by Jonathan Pongratz (Reaper, Book 2)[4 stars] 338 pages
  2. The Moscow Whisper by Michael Jenkins (Sean Richardson, Book 3)[4 stars] 320 pages
  3. The Peasant’s Dream by Melanie Dickerson (Hagenheim, Book 11)[3 stars] 311 pages
  4. Ulrik by Wendy L. Anderson (Goodreads)[4 stars]
  5. That’s it, that’s every book I completed in March.

Review Posts:

  1. The Moscow Whisper by Michael Jenkins *Spoiler free*
  2. Reaper: Aftermath by Jonathan Pongratz *Spoiler free*
  3. A Conventicle of Magpies by LMR Clarke *Spoiler review*
  4. (Mis)fortune by Melissa Haag
  5. The Secret Girl by C.M. Stunich
  6. Hidden by Lyla Oweds
  7. How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You by Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal)
  8. Dreamthief by Tamara Grantham
  9. Emmitt’s Treasure by Melissa Haag
  10. Notatsu (Charming) Junkie by Ryoko Fukuyama *Series review*
  11. Balance by Lyla Oweds
  12. Ulrik by Wendy L. Anderson *Spoiler free*
  13. The Ruthless Boys by C.M. Stunich
  14. Reaper: Aftermath by Jonathan Pongratz *Spoiler review*

Spotlight Posts:

  1. Weasel Words by Dale E. Lehman

Continue reading “2021 March Wrap Up”