Redlined by Richard W. Wise

Welcome to the blog tour for Redlined: A Novel of Boston by Richard W. Wise. Read on for an excerpt and a chance to win an audiobook edition of the book!

Length: 338 pages

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Publication date: June 2020

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The year is 1974. Boston’s Jamaica Plain is a neighborhood under siege, a community skating along the razor’s edge of decline. The banks have REDLINED Jamaica Plain, causing the housing market to crash, wiping out local homeowner’s lifetime investments and opening the neighborhood to blockbusters and slumlords. Now, someone has begun systematically torching those abandoned buildings and the charred body of Sandy Morgan, a dedicated young neighborhood organizer, has been found among the ashes. Why? Who stands to gain?

Community organizer and Marine combat veteran, Jedidiah Flynt and Alex Jordan, his beautiful Harvard educated researcher together with a group of local property owners are determined to stop the redlining and and bring the arsonists responsible for Sandy Morgan’s death to justice. Their search will lead them through a labyrinth of corrupt politicians, Asian gangsters and bent churchmen.

Two interwoven plots work their way through the narrative, one is absolutely true, the other never happened, but very well might have.

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Wolf’s Curse by Kelley Armstrong

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pages: 292

Series: Otherworld: Kate and Logan, Book 1

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Shapeshifters

Publication Date: March 19, 2020

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Warning: there are spoilers in this review for the series that take place in Armstrong’s Otherworld universe. 

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Growing up as the twins of the werewolf Alpha, Kate and Logan expected the “supernatural teen leadership conference” they’d been forced into to be boring and political. Instead, they find themselves taking a crash course in real life leadership.

Check out the first book – Wolf’s Bane.

Hell hounds outside; hell house inside. What more could we ask for? Human skulls nailed to the ceiling, apparently.

Kate, Ch. 1

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This is the second book in the duology, and I absolutely adore that it reads more like 1 book split in half than two stories stuck together. It made the world flow incredibly smoothly. If you have the chance to, I highly recommend reading these books back to back as this book picks up right where Wolf’s Bane ends. The main characters and their friends remain trapped in the dark witch’s cabin, needing to figure out how to escape with their lives.

As an extreme Kelley Armstrong fan, I knew I was going to like what I read in this story. I loved getting to read about the next generation from the Women of the Otherworld series. I loved that we got to read more about the experiments that were the plots of the Darkest Powers (beginning with The Summoning – review here) and Darkness Rising (beginning with The Gathering – review here) series. While there were minor character appearances from these series, and we get to hear very briefly about the main cast from the stories, I loved getting to experience this world with different characters that we, as readers, didn’t know beforehand.

I’d recommend reading this duology after you’ve read the other books in this world. While the stories themselves stand apart, if you go into the duology blind you’re going to end up missing out on a lot of context clues and references to Armstrong’s earlier writings. It may seem like a lot of reading before getting to this duology – 13 main books in the Otherworld series, multiple companion collections, 2 trilogies with their own short stories – but I promise it’s worth it. Having those stories in your mind going into this read will make the experience much smoother.

That being said, I truly did enjoy this duology as its own thing. Already being familiar with this world, I enjoyed the new aspects that Armstrong has thrown in here. Getting to read the development of the world and how the different stories interact with each other only heightened my enjoyment of the read. The idea of a leadership camp for supernaturals is an interesting one. Though this story focuses on how that can go awry, it was interesting to see team building exercises brought towards the occult and supernatural.

Something I’ve always enjoyed about this world and Armstrong’s writing is how she takes on the divide between supernatural races. There are clear parallels in her stories to the way our own world works. Not every supernatural race gets along with each other and some of these biases run deep. For example, sorcerers and witches can recognize each other by simply making eye contact. As these races have not gotten along in centuries, it leads to much fighting upon meeting. (Though I’ll let you make the real life comparison yourself there…)

Another example is the bias that most supernatural races have against werewolves and vampires. They generally consider these races to be brutes and not as intelligent as the other races. While my anthropological background brings a lot of real world examples to mind, I’m going to once again leave it up to you to make your own connections here. It’s not that hard, is it?

On top of the blatant parallels that Armstrong does a fantastic job writing, she has a way with words that helps bring her characters to life. If you’ve been around my blog for a while you’ve probably noticed the abundance of Armstrong reviews I’ve written. If you’re new here, I highly recommend checking some of them – and her works – out for yourself. Check out some of the reviews here: Bitten; The Summoning; The Gathering; Omens; The Unquiet Past; Exit Strategy; Wolf’s Bane.

The main reason that I’ve got so many Armstrong reviews is because of how real she makes her characters. Kate and Logan truly seem like teenagers. Each has their own baggage. Each is impacted by the lives of their parents’ generation and attempting to fit into high school society. Each has their own likes and dislikes, preferences and pet peeves. They’re characters who have depth to them. They don’t merely feel like 2D characters on a page.

I went into this read knowing that I’d end up being a little biased as I read through things, as I’m in love with not only Armstrong’s writing itself but the world that this story takes place in. So, keeping that in mind, if you’d like to hear my opinion on the story keep reading. Though be warned, this review is filled with spoilers.

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Year in Review: 2020

While this was the second year of my blog, it certainly wasn’t a consistent year for me. While I started the year feeling quite productive, things took a drastic decline partway through the year. Anyone who reads this is going to realize that 2020 has been a difficult year. The year started out with insane wildfires in Australia, which at the time most people assumed would be the low point of the year. But then COVID hit. And things didn’t really improve from there. 

I never expected to live through a global pandemic, which I can admit now was a quite naïve way of thinking with the way viruses change and evolve even with modern medicine. I count myself as blessed to have been born – and continue to live my life – in Canada, a highly developed country with a lot of first rate medical, social, political, etc. advancements. But that does not negate the fact that viruses are unpredictable.

Thanks to COVID, 2020 was a strange time to be alive. I remained lucky enough to not lose my full time job at all during the pandemic and was able to safely work from home most of the time. Myself and my loved ones remain safe during these trying times, though I know many thousands of people have not been as lucky.

My point of making this post – both last year and this one – is to look back at how the year was in regards to my reading goals for myself. However, I first think that it’s important to acknowledge how trying this tear has been for many. To everyone who has suffered because of this pandemic: I am so sorry for everything you’ve had to go through. I hope that 2021 is a much better year for you. 

Of course, the pandemic was not the only awful thing to happen this year. This is also the year where Black Lives Matter came to a heated peak. The BLM protests in the State were some horrifically brutal and blatantly racist moments in recent history. In general, politics in the States were horrific. On a more global look, China asserted itself in ways that negatively impacted its relations with other countries around the world – including but by no means not limited to Australia and India. Britain officially withdrew from the EU, and having family living there I can say without a doubt that it had a negative impact on at least some parts of their economy. These are just a handful of the events that happened concurrently to the pandemic, but each played a role on 2020 as a whole. 

For those of you who made it through all that and are still reading this, the main things I want to look at in regards to my reading stats for 2020 are: How many books did I read this year? Each month? Did I reach the reading goal that I set for myself? How do some months compare to others? How did the pandemic effect my reading? Did it effect it at all?

If you’re interested in how my 2019’s stats went, you can check my stats out here.

Now, for a touch of brightness, here are some pictures of Yzma from throughout 2020:

Continue reading for my 2020 stats:

Continue reading “Year in Review: 2020”

The Bird that Sang in Color by Grace Mattioli

Congratulations to author Grace Mattioli on the release of her novel The Bird that Sang in Color!

Today I have an excerpt for you to read and a chance to win a copy of the book!

The Bird that Sang in Color

Genres: Literary Fiction

Publication Date: January 17, 2021 (Today 🎉)

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Part family drama and part self-actualization story, this is about Donna Greco, who in her teens, subscribes to a conventional view of success in life and pushes her freewheeling, artistic brother, Vincent to do the same. However, he remains single, childless, and subsists in cramped apartments. She harbors guilt for her supposed failure to ensure his happiness until she discovers a book of sketches he made of his life, which allows her to see his internal joy and prompts her own journey of living authentically.

Thought-provoking, humorous, and filled with unforgettable characters, this book invites readers to ponder what pictures they will have of themselves by the end of their lives.

“Beautifully rendered, hugely moving, brilliant,” Lidia Yucknavitch.

“a refreshing family portrait about interpersonal evolution…presented with affection, humor, and insight…an inspiring slice of life blend of philosophy, psychology, and transformation that draws readers into a warm story and examines the wellsprings of creative force and future legacies…evocative, uplifting,” Midwest Book Review.

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Available on Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Apple | Google

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Debt-Free Asap! by John Nicholas

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Congratulations to John Nicholas on the release of his book, Debt-Free ASAP! Fitting that this book should come to the rescue after all our holiday excess! There is also a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card. Perhaps a treat for getting your finances in order?

ASAP COVERS - FRONT BACK - RED

Debt-Free ASAP!

Publication Date: January 8, 2021 (Today)

Genre: Non-Fiction/ Finances

“If you’re stressed out, maxed out or even wiped out by too much debt, then you’ve come to the right place.

We will help you gain peace of mind, get rid of your debt and chart a brighter future for you and your finances.

The key to your recovery is our simple 3-step ‘ASAP Protocol’ and I guarantee it will change your life as we walk you through it together.”

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Excerpt

Your Debt Load, Net Worth, P&L & FICO

Rodney and Crystal knew they had a lot of debt but weren’t sure exactly how much.

So they took turns guessing, as I listened to them talk on their speaker phone.

“I’ve got to have at least forty-five or fifty,” said Crystal, as she tried to calculate her card balances in her head. “But I don’t know how much you’ve got,” she said to her husband.

“Well I definitely don’t have as much as you!” He replied with a chortle, “But I’m guessing thirty-something, maybe forty K.”

Unfortunately, neither one of them was even close.

These two clients would set one of the highest debt-load totals for non-business-related credit card debt for a couple that I’ve come across, with 27 accounts totaling more than $168,000, including multiple accounts with the same banks. And that didn’t include their home mortgage or car loans or any kind of student loans or medical debts.

“Wow.” They said at least three times each as we reviewed their long list of accounts one by one then totaled them all up. It turned out Crystal was carrying more than ninety thousand and Rodney had over $70K worth of debt.

They didn’t know their total debt load and they didn’t realize their monthly minimums totaled more than $4,000 a month.

“Don’t worry,” I consoled them. “You’re not alone. Some people know their numbers to the penny, but most folks underestimate how much debt they have. They never add everything up, or they lose track or they just stop looking.”

Fortunately, these two had solid incomes. But even so they were burning up most of it on minimum monthly payments and were using credit cards and falling further behind every month to keep up with their other living expenses. They were the financial equivalent of a “heart attack waiting to happen.”

Available on Amazon!

About the Author

JP WHITE BRICK PHOTO

John Nicholas is the Founder of Debt-Free ASAP, a wealth coaching company offering affordable services and debt-relief support. John is a former pro football player, pastor and co-founder/partner of award winning sports media and real estate companies. He’s a Certified Debt Specialist and is a graduate of Brown University and Fuller Seminary who lives with his wife and dogs in McKinney, TX.

Learn more at www.Debt-FreeASAP.com.

For a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card, click the link below!

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2020 August and September Wrap Up

Do you ever put off looking back on the amount of reading you’ve done recently, convinced that you didn’t do nearly as much as you’d set out to read? Stopped yourself from thinking about it because you’re just a little disappointed in yourself for being lazy – because that’s the true reason you didn’t pick anything up. It’s not like there’s not time to read with the way the world is right now…

Well thankfully writing this post surprised me with how much I actually managed to read over the last couple of months. I was convinced I’d read next to nothing!

In the month of August I certainly got more reading done than I have in the last little while. Part of it had to do with putting aside more time for myself, to try and not feel pressured to always be “on”. With the way things are in the world right now, it’s nice to be able to relax a little bit, distress and take things one step at a time. But because I was putting this time away for myself, I didn’t think about the reading I did during this time as… well, as counting more or less.

That isn’t to say it shouldn’t count. Any reading you do counts – newspapers, comics, flyers… it all counts because you’re using your brain to process words on a page. You’re reading! You’ve picked something up in the spur of the moment just because? It counts! You got halfway through a book and then decided that book isn’t for you? It counts! I just have to remind myself of that sometimes.

I also got a nice chunk of reading done in September. Hard to believe since I posted virtually nothing this month, but I’m actually content with the amount of reading I’ve accomplished. Here’s hoping that the amount of reading I get done can be translated in a decent amount of posts over the next little bit.

However, I still need to work on creating a consistent upload schedule. (So thank you for being patient with me while I figure things out.) I’m going to aim to have 3 posts uploaded a week in 2021, but I make no promises. I’d love to have consistent days on which I upload things, but for now the first step is going to be attempting to upload three videos a week. As you can tell, I’ve been slacking a bit the last couple of months. In the past I’ve had very unsustainable goals with my upload scheduling, so here’s hoping that this format will make it possible for me to find some consistency in my blog posts.

As always, here are some pictures of my pup, Yzma. August was pretty chill for her, September full of hikes and playdates. (Shameless plug for her adorable PupStagram account @YzmaTheHound):

Without further ado, here’s my reading stats for August and September:


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

Total books completed: 11

Total pages: 4245 pages (avg. 386 pages per book)


Total books completed in August: 6

Total pages: 3046 pages (avg. 508 pages per book)

Completed Books:

  1. (Mis)fortune by Melissa Haag (Judgement of the Six, Book 2)[3.5 stars]
  2. Nosatsu Junkie by Ry Ryoko Fukuyama (Charming Junkie, Vol 14 – 16)[Avg. 4 stars]
  3. Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer (The Twilight Saga, Book 5)[0.5 stars]
  4. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard (Something Strange and Deadly, Book 1)[4.5 stars]
  5. Emmitt’s Treasure by Melissa Haag (Judgement of the Six Companion Series, Book 2)[3.5 stars]
  6. House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas (Crescent City, Book 1)[4.5 stars]

Total books completed in September: 5

Total pages: 1196 pages (avg. 239 pages per book)

Completed Books:

  1. Dreamthief by Tamara Grantham (Olive Kennedy, Fairy World M.D., Book 1)[3.5 stars]
  2. Holly Freakin’ Hughes by Kelsey Kingsley (Goodreads)[3 stars]
  3. Mistletoe Match by Lindzee Armstrong (No Match for Love, Book 6)[1 star]
  4. How to tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You by Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal) (Goodreads)[3 stars]
  5. Coffee, Tea, or Me by Rich Amooi (Goodreads)[3 stars]

Dedicated Blog Posts:

  1. Hope(less) by Melissa Haag
  2. Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
  3. Clay’s Hope by Melissa Haag
  4. Sea Glass by Maria V Snyder
  5. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
  6. Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer

Continue reading “2020 August and September Wrap Up”

Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer

Rating: 0.5 out of 5.

Pages: 662

Series: The Twilight Saga, Book 5

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Vampire, Romance, Supernatural

Publication date: August 4, 2020

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Until now, readers have only experiences Bella’s side of the events that happen in Twilight. Now, Midnight Sun gives the reader a chance to read things from Edward’s point of view.

Meeting Bella is both the most unnerving and intriguing thing that’s happened in Edward’s long second life. As the reader learns more about Edward’s past and his inner thoughts as he struggles with being around her, it’s apparent just how hard he fights to keep Bella safe. Even if it’s from himself.

“And yet, though her thoughts had been so clear in her odd eyes—odd because of the depth to them—I could hear only silence from the place she was sitting. Just… silence.”

Midnight Sun, Chapter 1

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Something Strange And Deadly by Susan Dennard

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Pages: 544

Series: Something Strange and Deadly, Book 1

Genres: Young Adult, Steampunk, Zombies, Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Romance, Horror, Supernatural

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Eleanor Fitt, of the Philadelphia Fitts, is heartbroken to discover her brother is missing. She’s terrified to know that his disappearance is tied together with the walking Dead in the streets, to know that the Necromancer has kidnapped him.

Doing what she can to rescue her brother, Eleanor enlists the help of the Spirit Hunters. This motley crew, hired to help protect the city from the Dead, is after the very necromancer that has Eleanor’s brother. As Eleanor spends more time with the crew, and their handsome inventor, the more dire the situation gets. Not only is her reputation at stake, but also her life.

“Don’t think I’ll look after you, though – the world would be better off with one less princess.”

“I’m not a princess,” I huffed, beating my brain for some worthy retort.

“A queen then?”

“No! That’s not what I meant – “

“Oh, an empress. I see. Pardon me, Your Majesty.” He swooped into a crouched bow, and when his torso sprang back up, a smile floated at the edge of his lips.

“N-no, not an empress either. I-I’m just…” The more I stuttered, the more pompous his smile became.

“You’re exasperating,” I finally groaned.

Susan Dennard, Something Strange and Deadly

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When Truthwitch came out, Susan Dennard hit my radar. I’d like to say that I read this book and loved it, but I have yet to actually give the series a read. The books in this series are certainly on my ridiculously long TBR, I just haven’t picked them up yet. The reason I bring this up is to show that Dennard’s books prior to Truthwitch were not on my radar. Something Strange and Deadly was even further removed from my “books to check out” radar since I hadn’t discovered my love for Steampunk yet. What brought the book to my radar – and Dennard’s amazing writing as a whole – was her amazingly perfect twitter thread about The Luminaries. As soon as I read this thread, I knew I had to get my hands on everything that Dennard had written.

I fell head over heels in love with her writing as I tuned in daily to see where The Luminaries was going to go. (Side note, I can’t wait until it’s possible to get my hands on a physical book that takes place in this amazing world. A book where the LumiNerd can’t mess with Winnie yet can still quench their thirst.) Her words while writing these twitter posts kept me engaged and waiting for more.

That’s why it came as absolutely no shock to me that I fell in love with Something Strange and Deadly from the very first line.

Since I got my car, I’ve loved listening to AudioBooks on my way to and from work on the days I need to go into the office. It took my a while to get through Something Strange and Deadly simply because I didn’t want the story to end. I found myself throwing other AudioBooks and Podcasts into the middle of my listen through because I didn’t want my time with Eleanor to end.

That is, until I remembered that I could easily grab the next book in the series and devour it just as soon as I finished Something Strange and Deadly. Suffice it to say, I listened to the second half of this story in one “sitting”. As I write this, I have A Darkness Strange and Lovely waiting for me on Audible. As soon as I’m done rambling on I’m going to jump right back into the world and see what Eleanor can get herself up to this time.


For someone who didn’t take such a roundabout route to find this book, here’s a quick breakdown as to why Something Strange and Deadly called to me:

In 2020 I discovered a love for the Steampunk genre in general. There’s something about the mixture of technology and historical fiction that calls to me. Dennard has done an amazing job at creating this Steampunk world. I found myself excited to see what the next invention was going to be, how it was going to help Eleanor find her brother, how it was going to help stop the Dead.

The world building itself – Steampunk elements aside – was done amazingly. I almost felt as if I was running around the streets with Eleanor, pretending to be a perfect High Society lady while frolicking in the darker parts of the city on a mission. I could imagine the places she went to, the opulence of her home and how it hid the truth of her family’s wealth. I could imagine in my mind’s eye the divide between the classes that was so glaringly obvious at this point in history.

But best of all, the characters Dennard was able to create were tangible personalities. I could guess how Eleanor and Daniel were going to react to something before it happened. I could see the way Eleanor’s face would contort in fury at just the right moment. I could feel the emotion coming from the story and sense the way it would impact what came next.

I’m not a huge fan of zombies in media – which could be the reason that this book wasn’t on my radar in the first place – but Dennard wrote this story in a way that it was even able to draw me into the mystery of the Dead. Necromancers have always fascinated me, but an army of the dead isn’t really my thing. And that being said, I enjoyed every second I spent in this world.

While this story continues to have less praise than her Witchlands books, Dennard has created a wonderful world that I can’t wait to jump back into. If you’re looking for a fun YA paranormal read, or even an interesting zombie story, I’d highly recommend giving this story a try. This isn’t your typical “walking dead” zombies are after you sort of story, so if this is what you’re looking for you probably won’t be please. However, I truly did enjoy the take on “zombies” that Dennard had here.

Continue reading “Something Strange And Deadly by Susan Dennard”

Sea Glass by Maria V Snyder

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Pages: 379

Series: Glass, Book 2; The Chronicles of Ixia, Book 5

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Magic, Fiction, Magic, Magicians

Publication Date: August 25, 2009

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Opal has weathered rough waters and twisting currents, yet instead of finding a tranquil eddy she’s caught in a riptide. As if the fight for controlling Opal’s glass messengers – and therefore controlling Opal – isn’t enough to deal with, it’s also up to Opal to prove that blood magic is still being used. When no one believes her, it’s up to Opal to decide what to believe in and how to prove the truth to the world.

When we reached the beach, Leif fell to his knees with a dramatic cry. “Solid ground! I’ll never take you for granted again.”

“Are you going to kiss the sand?” I asked.

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Now I’M the one being silly?”

“Yes.”

Maria V Snyder, Sea Glass

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Over the years I’ve certainly come to enjoy my time in Snyder’s worlds. She creates characters that are fun to be in the head of. She creates worlds that seem larger than life. She even creates conflict in ways I never would have thought of.

That being said, there’s definitely certain structural patterns to her stories that she doesn’t stray from. It’s clear that Snyder has found a pattern that works for her and she rarely strays from it. While this can be done in interesting ways, it’s starting to feel like her books are “Burger Essays” in book form.

Never heard the term “Burger Essay” before? It’s the kind of essay you’re expected to write in high school: introduction paragraph; first defense and example; second defense and example; third defense and example; concluding paragraph. Your first defense is always your second strongest point, the middle defense is your weakest, and the final point is your strongest to pull the entire paper together.

While this is a decent way to write essays in high school, it’s something you quickly learn to throw in the trash in post secondary school. No professor is going to give you a good grade on a Burger Essay. It’s a quick and easy way to bang out a paper, but never an interesting or unique read. Instead, your professor is going to expect you to change things up – make the essay interesting. Maybe you throw in a paragraph that’s a single sentence, maybe you add an extra example or defense to your paper. No matter what you do to change it up, there’s no way that you’re going to write to papers that can be placed side by side for your professor to say, “Oh yes, that’s exactly what I expected from this student. They’re near identical in structure.” Besides, can you imagine having to write a ten page burger essay? I’d fall asleep before the third page.

And that, my dear reader, is my long winded way to explain how Snyder’s works are currently feeling to me. While I enjoy reading them and spending time in the world, I find that I can’t read too many of them back to back. The events in the stories start to blend together for me. The characters begin to sound alike. I forget which major plot point we’re supposed to be following if I put the book down because they all follow the same formula.

While it may seem like I’m saying I didn’t enjoy this book, that’s not the truth at all. I did enjoy seeing Opal becoming her own person in this story. I did enjoy seeing her rise above her critics and prove that she was going to do what was right even if others didn’t see her side in things. I did enjoy watching her love story start to unfold. It’s just the elements of these plots points that were done before.

That isn’t to say you wouldn’t enjoy this story of Snyder’s writing style. I quite enjoyed my time in this book. What I mean is that you should expect exactly what all Maria V Snyder books are going to give you. It’ll be a fun visit into Snyder’s mind and this world of magic, but nothing exceptional to write home about.

Continue reading “Sea Glass by Maria V Snyder”

Clay’s Hope by Melissa Haag

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pages: 266

Series: Judgement of the Six Companion Series, Book 1

Genres: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Shapeshifter, Supernatural

Publication date: April 25, 2015

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Clay is a man with few human talents, yet as a wolf he hunts well and can fight off a grizzly twice his size. The idea of a Mate is one he never seriously entertained since he knew the chances were nearly non-existent. Then he meets Gabby, a human girl. She hates him at first sight, but everything other than her has become unimportant. Winning her over has become the only thing that matters.

“A good home, huh? I wonder if Gabby likes dogs.”

Probably not. I sighed, laid my head on my paws, and have Rachel my best woeful look.

“Aw, I’m sure she does. Look at you. What’s not to like?”

My thoughts exactly.

Chapter 4

While some authors write the same story from a different perspective in what seems to be a simple a cash grab, this is definitely not what Haag has done. (Though I will have a review coming out in a couple of days about a book that does just this in my opinion.) Instead, this story manages to give great insight into the world from a werewolf perspective. While many of the scenes are the same as those in Hope(less), they read almost as completely different scenes coming from Clay’s perspective. And I love it.

This story shows Clay transforming from a sad and lonely werewolf to a man with passion and a reason to live. I adore it as it shows a man pulling himself out of a sense of hopelessness and into the light. It shows him coming to terms with his current shortcomings and putting the work in to overcome them.

It also shows the way that he struggles to be the man that Gabby needs him to be. Of course his patience works out in the end, but that doesn’t stop him from getting frustrated at the slow progression of their relationship. He grew up knowing the rules of his world while Gabby did not, Gabby grew up knowing the rules of the human world while Clay continues to struggle with understanding them.

But my favourite part of this story has to be getting so see the way the same interaction can be interpreted from both perspectives. By reading Hope(less) and Clay’s Hope back to back, it’s clear how different a situation might seem to the people in it. More on this later. If you’re looking for a cute little romance surrounding a shapeshifter plot line, you might enjoy this story. While the first book in a series that I enjoy reading from time to time, it also holds up as its own love story. However, if you read it – or the two of them – without carrying on with the story, be prepared for some plot lines that’ll never get resolved.

That being said, there are some very serious things that happen in this story that I am in no way endorsing in real life. While it’s not explicitly written this way, there are moments that could be considered stalking or coercion. These things are not things that should ever be done in a real relationship.


Continue reading “Clay’s Hope by Melissa Haag”