Genres: Paranormal; Witches; Urban Fantasy; Young Adult
Publication date: August 5, 2020
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?
“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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Genres: Romance, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Retelling, Christian Fiction, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling
Publication date: July 7, 2021
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.
“I am spoiled, I suppose.”
“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.”
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.
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.
“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?”
Congratulations to author Andy Lewter on the re-release of her YA Fantasy, Gifted! Read on for more details!
Gifted (A Valens Series #1)
Rating: 3.75/5 stars
Genre: YA Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: March 15th, 2021
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.
Five years have passed since the Reapers invaded Earth and tore it asunder. Gregory, his mother, Trent, and their group of scavengers hunt the decimated wastelands for survival.
But when a sudden Reaper attack forces Gregory through a Reaper door, he finds himself in a bizarre place, one that may provide answers to the Reapers’ past and where they came from.
Can Gregory put together the pieces of the past and find his way home, or will he just become another human casualty in the lost war against the Reapers?
For the past five years, I let myself be defined by other peoples’ opinions. They told me I was nothing, so I believed it. They treated me like crap, and I allowed them to. But lately something had sparked in me.
I really like the way that Pongratz has created his post-apocalyptical world. The issues that arise from the very beginning – such as the rarity of food even five years after the catastrophic events that started it all – are all dealt with in a real way. Even just looking at the start of the global pandemic we’re currently going through shows that any disruption to the global food market greatly impacts the accessibility of food. As humans we no longer rely on nearby food supplies, so any event as catastrophic as the Reapers coming to Earth is going to make it hard to survive. I applaud Pongratz for these subtle, but powerful, additions to the world that he’s created.
That being said, the plot itself is what truly captures a reader’s attention. The twists and turns in this story managed to keep me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The action in this novel was thrilling and as eye catching as any action movie. Heck, even the way the characters act – both to each other but also Greg’s internal monologue – help make the situation feel real. Wouldn’t you be a pessimist if you were the cause of the end of the world?
If you’re looking for a fantastic thriller read, I’d highly recommend checking this story out. The Novella that started it all is a great stepping stone to this story. Reaper: Aftermath does a fantastic job at creating an apocalyptic world that I’d be terrified to live in but greatly enjoyed reading about.
Charlotte finally knows the secret that the student council has known all along: Jenica Woodruff, the only girl to attend the academy before Charlotte, didn’t commit suicide. She was murdered. And it was covered up. Now someone is after Charlotte and no matter where she goes, the killer follows. While not an official member of the student council, Charlotte has been taken under their wing after everything they’ve been through together.
It feels selfish of me to be so sad over Spencer when he was their friend first, their friend for longer. If you think about it, I barely knew the guy.
But there was something there.
There could have been something great there.
Regardless of Charlotte’s sentiment above, everyone deserves a chance to mourn. You might not have known someone long, but any relationship at all is enough time to know someone long enough to mourn them. Also, I love the way that Charlotte mourns the aforementioned friend – through texting him her feelings for him, to let him know that even though they might not have known each other long, there was something there. Their friendship meant something to her and even though she wasn’t sure he would ever hear her words, she wanted to make sure that he knew it.
Picking up almost exactly where The Secret Girl left off, this story gave me everything the first book did – minus the slow start. I’m glad that the bullying is pretty much done at this point in the story – from the student council at least. While I know that this tale is marketed as a bullying romance, I’ll admit that’s not a trope I generally enjoy. Like Charlotte herself, it’s the reverse harem aspect of this story that drew me in.
This story is filled with bate and switches that, while predictable, are enjoyable to read. The mystery itself is able to capture my attention and make me wanting more. Thankfully the budding romances in this tale are not the only focus of the story. Jenica might be dead, but her story is far from over.
Welcome to the book tour for Wendy L. Anderson’s latest novel, Ulrik! We have an exclusive excerpt for you and a chance to win a digital copy of the book!
Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, Time-Travel Romance
Publication Date: February 24th, 2021
Publisher: Infinity Publishing
Death was the beginning of their adventure.
Drowning when his ship went down in a vicious storm, Ulrik the Viking thought it was the end. Instead, he awakens on a new and brutal Earth. Believing he was banished to this strange land by the gods as punishment, he faces the mountainous wilderness alone.
Tessa, a lonely and broken-hearted woman, dies in her sleep on her 85th birthday. She too awakens surrounded by the frightful and the unknown. Both are mysteriously thrown into new bodies facing new lives, new hopes, new dangers, and new desires.
Cast through time and other dimensions, fate has given Ulrik and Tessa a second chance at life and love. They must survive on a ruthless new world against a brutal warrior race determined to use them to conquer extinction and enter into the age of metal. All that stands against them is ULRIK!
Ulrik sat on the bank of a cool stream that ran down the mountain where he usually hunted. He watched as the water trickled over smooth rocks and sprayed the moss-lined bank. Down the mountainside, the stream narrowed and was eventually joined by another river, widening to become a rushing, roaring froth of cold, crystal blue water flowing swiftly over rapids. His gaze followed the stream as it meandered off into the distance and gently widened into a deep slow-moving river. He listened to the different sounds the water made. The roar, as it cascaded down the waterfall further uphill, to the trickle of the stream over moss-covered rocks, and finally the faint pounding of distant rapids. The forest was raucous with sound and full of breath-taking sights.
The forest’s majesty was lost on him today. Ulrik was bored. He reached for a stone and tossed it into the stream then stood, grabbed his spear, and walked up the hill toward the lake at the bottom of the waterfall. He decided he had better find something for his supper and thought fish sounded as good as anything else.
Memories swamped him as he recalled all the times he had fished with his brothers as a young man. Those thoughts led him to contemplate, for the hundred thousandth time, his current solitary situation. By his count, it had been around two years that he lived alone in these mountains in this strange place. Being banished by the Gods he knew, enraged him and his loneliness made him feel like less of a man. Two years without speaking to another soul or without seeing another human’s face made him angry. He cursed, kicking at a stone in his path. The stone shot forward, struck a tree, and fell uselessly to the ground.
“By Odin and all the gods! I wish I had a woman!”
He cursed out loud and continued stomping up the path until he came to his usual fishing spot at the lakeside. He hefted his spear and waded into the lake, not even bothering to remove his boots.
The warm spring wind blew across his face. As he had a hundred times before, Ulrik stood still, slowed his breathing, and searched the deep emerald depths for the flicker of a silvery tail. Quick as lightning he stabbed down and, wrenching his arm back, pulled an impaled fish out of the water. He grasped the wriggling tail, pulled it from the spear blade, and threw it to the bank of the lake where it flopped, struggling to breathe as its life leached away.
About the Author
Wendy L. Anderson is a Colorado native and mother of two boys. She has an English Degree from Regis University and writes books, short stories and poetry. Wendy is a devout reader of the classics, fantasy, sci-fi and historical fiction. She has decided it is time to write down the fantasies from her own mind. Writing about everything from fantastical worlds to the stuff of her dreams she takes her stories along interesting paths while portraying characters and worlds she sees in her mind’s eye. Her goal is to deviate from common themes, write in original directions and transport her reader to the worlds of her creation.
As a fan of time travel, I appreciate the way that Anderson handled it in this read. Instead of jumping back and forth between times the way many time travel stories (that I’ve personally read) do, Ulrik and Tessa find themselves transported to a new place and time. They need to figure out how to survive in the new world they’ve found themselves in, to make peace with the fact that their lives are forever changed.
This is the first book I’ve read by Anderson, and I’m happy to say that I plan on picking up more in the future. Her characters feel real. They have emotions and motivations, flaws ands strengths. They’re lives have weight to them, they’re not just fluff written to further a plot. And I, for one, absolutely enjoyed reading about them.
That being said, I also enjoyed the plot of this story, and the world that Anderson has created. It can’t be easy to find yourself somewhere new and try to survive in the unknown. I applaud Ulrik for being able to survive as well as he did. Sure he was a warrior before being sent to this new place, but he was a warrior that knew how to deal with his world – not the new world. To be able to adapt and handle a new world with new challenges is impressive.