3

Mirror Me: This Plot is Twisty-Turny Awesome!

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Mirror MeMirror Me
by Tara St. Pierre
208 Pages
YA / Paranormal / Romance
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

Hannah McCauley doesn’t look at herself in the mirror anymore.

After a rebellious past, she now attends a strict private school in a new town, where her recently divorced mother has put her on social lockdown. No driving. No bad grades. No skipping classes. No unapproved friends. No makeup. No boys. And the subject of her best friend from her old school is definitely forbidden.

Hannah is being punished for something that happened a year earlier, something that she would like to put behind her. But strange occurrences frighten her, and she’s accused of breaking rules and doing other terrible things without any recollection of them. No one believes her, so she starts distrusting everything, even her own reflection.

Is she being haunted by her past? Stalked by someone with a grudge? Or is it all in her head? If she doesn’t figure out what’s happening fast, her existence could end up irreparably shattered.

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4.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: THOSE MORALS, THOUGH!; this is as close to a “life-ruiner” as I’ve gotten in a while; maybe a bit too much focus on the romance and not enough on the friendship; slight warning for mature/sensitive subjects; awesome, well-rounded, complex plot and characters!

HUGE thanks to Tara St. Pierre for sending me a free egalley of this title in exchange for a voluntary honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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Having now finished TWO of her novels, I think it’s safe for me to say that Tara St. Pierre is one of those authors with imaginations that know NO bounds. Because I read her debut novel last year, I went into this book TOTALLY blind–and let me tell you, I am so so glad that I did! Because I had no preconceived notions of what this book was about, I was able to take the journey in an unbiased and completely open way, which was both an awesome experiment and something I hope to experience again in the future.

 

This book was just…. GAAAAAH! I knew, from the first book I read of hers, that I was bound to stumble upon an incredibly moving, absolutely unique premise. Let me tell you, I was in absolutely no way disappointed! This novel takes a pretty old idea–being able to look at yourself in the mirror–and twists it into something unrecognizable, yet still completely relatable. When I reached the end, I sat here staring at the last line in total awe at just how far the morals and lessons stretched for this read. Seriously, coming out on the other side of these pages, I grasped the message entirely–and bow down to Tara St. Pierre for tackling such an abstract concept head-on, and making it into this gorgeous journey!

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I just… I cannot sing enough praises for this novel! I did feel, at times, that the focus on the romance came out a bit too steeped for my taste. There are some awesome, complex side-characters that sort of get kicked off to the wayside in the course of this book, and while this is both realistic and understandable given the circumstances…. I just felt as if those friendships might have done better to be more cultivated. Especially when the bomb near the end drops and they get pulled into the middle of the chaos–they accepted the strange situation VERY easily, and I couldn’t quite wrap my head around how quickly they pulled together to help Hannah.

 

Still, this was an entertaining and beautifully inspiring journey…and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at a mirror in quite the same way again! Tara St. Pierre DID include some potentially triggering, mature subjects, so for sensitive readers–please, please keep yourselves safe! The characters are complex and vibrant, the plot is filled with twisty-turny vines and angst, and that ending! OH, MY PENGUINS, that ending is just glorious! I’d recommend this to lovers of unique premises, emotionally-challenging journeys, and characters who find their strength and come out on top in the end. Take a look in the mirror today, Penguins; this book just might change your point of view.

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0

The Wrong Prince: So. Many. Butterflies!

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The Wrong PrinceThe Wrong Prince
by C.K. Brooke
Fantasy / Romance / New Adult
48fourteen Publishing
236 Pages
Publication Year: 2016
Get a copy here!

BLURB: 

Two princes. One bride. A dire misunderstanding…

Geo and Dmitri are the princes of Tybiria. Though Geo is the obvious athlete, it’s bookish Dmitri that yields the credit – and consequences – for slaying a foreign prince. But whose arrow really struck the boy?

Luccia Camerlane is the Baron of Backshore’s enigmatic daughter…as well as Prince Geo’s secret mistress…until she learns of her disastrous betrothal to none other than his brother, Prince Dmitri.

When Dmitri is abducted by the deranged King of Llewes, star-crossed lovers Geo and Lucie must set aside their woes and differences to rescue the Crown Prince from the formidable Wintersea fortress. A precocious castle ward, a fascinating love-quadrangle, and a hit-woman harlot complete this action packed rom com in another wickedly fast-paced fantasy adventure from C.K. Brooke, author of The Red Pearl and the Books of Jordinia.

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4.25Penguins
Quick Reasons: YAY for more Jordinia!; this premise was super entertaining; well-rounded, complex characters; fast-paced, humorous (at times), romantically-charged plot; C.K. Brooke is awesome at penning headstrong, independent characters

Huge thanks to C.K. Brooke and 48fourteen Publishing for sending me a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest voluntary review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book (because Penguins, you all KNOW I go absolutely gaga for Jordinia–and if you don’t know that, you should).

 

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Okay, Penguins–I have to come clean. I absolutely cannot imagine a world where I don’t go GAGA for Jordinia! (bet you thought I’d say Cocoa Puffs, didn’t you? WRONG! although Cocoa Puffs sound really tasty right about now.)

 

Well-known slogans for cereal aside, I cannot think of a time I picked up a book by C.K. Brooke and didn’t come out absolutely loving the world/characters. Seriously, everything this woman writes is, in my opinion, almost absolute perfection–this book being just another example of such! So I’m going to start with the characters. C.K. Brooke knows how to write complex, headstrong, fiercely independent personalities. Every one leaps off the page and into reality for me while reading; I can imagine them almost entirely, from their reactions to their words. They are so well-written, in fact, I leave each novel feeling as if I’ve just said goodbye to very dear friends.

 

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Once again, the plot of this read is fast-paced and filled with humor, romance, and drama. I thoroughly enjoy following each of C.K. Brooke’s characters and learning the different ways they tick…but I ALSO enjoy watching them interact with and react to the world surrounding them! Each story is filled with believable emotions and situations; my poor penguin heart usually winds up a twisted mess of FEELS by the end of chapter one, which should tell you just how immersive and awesome these books always are!

 

I am so happy to have been able to pick up yet another Jordinia story! The characters are just as colorful and realistic as always. C.K. Brooke definitely knows how to weave her worlds around readers, and keep them fully entrenched until the very end! I recommend this (or any of her novels!) to lovers of fantasy, fantastic world-building, and SO MANY BUTTERFLIES! Saddle up your trusty steed, Penguins; the rescue is afoot!

0

Fall in One Day: These Characters Read a Lot Younger to Me

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Fall in One DayFall in One Day
by Craig Terlson
327 Pages
YA / Historical
Blue Moon Publishers
Publication Date: May 16th, 2017
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

In the summer of 1973, fifteen-year-old Joe Beck lives in a small Canadian city near the U.S. border where he watches dark-suited politicians lie on TV during something called Watergate. So when his best friend Brian goes missing, Joe has a hard time believing that adults ever tell the truth.

Joe learns that Brian left town with his father after Brian’s mother ended up in the hospital. He listens to the news reports for information, but nothing is being said. Eventually, Joe launches his own investigation, using a tape recorder—just like the American president—to help sift through the clues. Feeling that everything is up to him, Joe embarks on a perilous and enlightening journey to decipher a mental institution diary full of secrets about a drug called LSD, and uncover the truth about Brian’s father and save his best friend.

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3.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: I seriously thought Joe was younger than he is for, like…this whole read, which was problematic; interesting, suspenseful read; there are some intriguing, if not a little bit confusing, tangents woven throughout; Joe’s brain is a mess of confusion and teenager angst and humor

Huge thanks to Craig Terlson, Blue Moon Publishers, and Netgalley for sending me a free digital galley of this read in exchange for a voluntary honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this title.

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I have to start with admitting I went into this read putting emphasis on the wrong words for this title. It wasn’t until I stumbled across the title in the text (thankfully not long after starting this read) that I realized the error of my ways…and then totally understood how brilliant this title actually is. Seriously, once the whole emphasis thing was figured out…everything with the title fell into place, and made such better sense for me.

 

I also have to admit I thought, through the entirety of this read, that Joe was a WHOLE LOT younger than it turns out he is. See, I have this habit of not actually reading a book’s blurb–I’ll skim over it to see if it sounds like something I’d be interested in, but I pretty much forget everything about the blurb after deciding to pick a book up. Which means that Joe, in this book, came off a whole lot more like 12 or 13…and not the apparent 15 he actually is. Which, in my opinion, is problematic. I’m not sure if it’s the way he was written, or if I just stumbled upon this assumption by mistake, but Joe came off a lot more immature than I think a 15 year old actually would–there were moments I found myself wondering if he was actually 10, honestly, and I can’t convince myself of the truth now, thinking back on the read.

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Regardless of the weird age thing, this was an entertaining and intriguing read. We’re given such a complex, confusing glimpse into Joe’s head–I felt as if I was actually living in one of the darkest, deepest corners of his mind! To watch him react to and interact with his friend going missing, and the whole “crazy father” thing, was gut-wrenching and nail-bitingly realistic. I did feel he was a bit naive to the world yet…and the fact his friend seemed equally young didn’t help. The parents seemed to be babying them, on top of it, which only helped to confuse me further. This is also a pretty “subversive” read–there are a lot of twisty, curvy trails of tangents and plot lines that don’t seem to lead anywhere…and yet, somehow, add to the story nonetheless.

 

Overall, this was an interesting–if not a little confusing–read. While Joe and the rest of the characters his age felt more like 10 year olds than 15, their reactions to the world were entertaining and, at times, humorous. I’d recommend this to lovers of historical fiction, mystery/thrillers, and complexly written characters. Grab your jackets, Penguins; fall is coming.

8

My Viking Vampire: Lackluster Plot, Intriguing Characters

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My Viking Vampire (Sanctuary, Texas #1)

Bailey Ross’ world is crumbling around her. Her abusive ex, a human, is closing in on her again, and to make matters worse, a new enemy, a djinn, is stalking her. This supernatural being takes great pleasure in human pain, something Bailey has in excess thanks to her ex. If she’s caught by either, she’s as good as dead.

Backed into a corner and desperate to escape, she does something she swore wouldn’t ever be possible again –trusting a man. And he’s a vampire.

Protection via the sexy vampire Erick Thorson may prove to be a little more than she bargained for. Sparks fly between them and she finds herself agreeing to more than just protection. Though he has promised not to let anyone harm her, the small west Texas town is more than it seems and he may not be able to make good on his vow no matter how hard he tries.

Will Sanctuary be the home Bailey longs for or will she have to die to find out?

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Sanctuary, Texas #1
Paranormal / Romance / Fantasy
400 Pages
KS Publishing
Publication Date:  August 25th, 2014
Get a FREE copy here!

3Penguins
Quick Reasons: interesting premise; random POV shift at the very end?!; definite sense of insta-love; interesting exploration of BDSM and boundaries; some heavy, mature themes; the audiobook of this was entertaining and fun; intriguing, well-rounded characters

Okay, penguins. I am, once again, TRYING to read more books via my EARS and not my eyes. Therefore, this review will also include my thoughts on the audiobook, because…YAY audible listening!

Can I just take a moment to rant a little bit? Because… this book? Had a sudden POV shift at the very end, and it drove me absolutely BONKERS. Don’t get me wrong, okay. Sudden POV shifts are the best surprises ever sometimes–but…at the end of a book? Randomly? With seemingly no true purpose behind it? That just bothers me. In this instance, Erick’s POV I could have done without honestly. The language was different, his thoughts were a lot more…crude? and I just couldn’t get into his character. I’m not sure what it was, exactly, but something about him bugged me, and being thrust so suddenly into his head for only a few short pages did nothing for me but make my thoughts on this book drop a bit. It felt like Krystal Shannan switched up the language–made it harsher, more graphic, more crude–to make it fit her idea of what men think about…and that didn’t work for me. At all.

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Aside from that, I had fun listening to this audiobook! While the characters and plot felt a bit flat at times, there was plenty of action both in and out of the bedroom–though I admit I was much more into the action OUTSIDE of the bedroom than in it. Something about these characters just didn’t mesh well with me. Bailey, while scarred emotionally from an abusive past relationship, seemed TOO open–until it came to exploring BDSM. Erick, on the other hand… while his accent was sexy, I couldn’t get a real great sense of “him” from the read. This led to me not really being able to properly form a connection to the characters, or to truly believe them as a couple. Still, the read was entertaining, and Bailey had a few awesome moments of snark. A few of the other characters also stood out in my mind, and I’m curious to see if Krystal Shannan reintroduces them later in the series.

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I was a bit disappointed in the “insta-love” aspect of this read, though I suppose I should have expected it. Also, Bailey seemed like some sort of drug for the supernaturals–they all wanted her?! Which made close to zero sense to me, because…I mean…why would they all be fighting over ONE girl? The fact that she later has a sort of “special snowflake” destiny just irked me further. Authors, I promise, the world’s not going to end if your character isn’t the most perfect of perfect of perrrrrfect! The fact that there was very little explanation to or exploration of this theme in the book… Well, needless to say I sort of shoved that information to the back of my head until writing this review. So, yeah–that happened, too.

Overall, though, this was an entertaining book to listen to. There were some sort of steamy moments, I loved that BDSM was explored in a safe and consenting manner, and the characters were intriguing enough that I’m interested in picking up the next book in the series (which is good, because it’s already on my Kindle shelves). I’d recommend this to lovers of steamy reads, paranormal/supernatural elements, and a few heavy-handed subjects. This was a walk on the supernatural side, penguins; maybe you should see what the fuss is about!

0

The Quest for Humanity: Slightly Confusing, though Intriguing, Narrative

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MUDMEN - The Quest For Humanity

What if you thought you could play a better god than God?

Mudmen is a story unlike anything you have ever seen before. It all starts with a half-crazed dwarf scribbling furiously on a piece of paper while the world outside his little cottage is ravaged by a great storm. There is an artifact in his possession which gives him power over all else, but that artifact is stolen by the very creatures that he gave birth to in his frustration – these creatures are what we come to know as the Mudmen.

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Mudmen #1
Science Fiction / Fantasy
88 Pages
Publication Date:  January 31st, 2017
Get a copy here!

3Penguins
Quick Reasons: intriguing, entertaining premise; I was a bit confused on some of the key aspects; definite feel of an “oral narrative”; this felt a little unfinished; I didn’t feel a sense of connection with the characters or the story

Huge thanks to Shitij Sharma for sending me a free galley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

I have to admit, penguins–I was SUPER intrigued by the premise of this book. I thought there was perhaps a bit of something akin to Terry Pratchett happening here, and I was so excited for that. The idea of Mudmen, and of starting anew after the “cleansing” of the world, seemed like it might be right up my alley.

 

Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed with the execution in the end. As intrigued as I was by the premise and the stories being woven throughout, I felt at times that I was missing key pieces of information. I wasn’t able to “picture” what was happening–the scenery felt flat, the characters didn’t stand out or set themselves apart. There was something here, and I was intrigued…but I never really got the answers I wanted, either. I felt like I was thrown into the middle of a story that I should already have known the beginning of, instead of being taken on a journey.

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I was also unable to form any sort of connection to the characters or the adventure. There is quite a bit happening in this book, but I feel perhaps the timing of things was a bit off–instead of being able to take my time getting to know the characters and their quirks, figuring out where they were or what their goals were… I was thrust into the middle of a race to the finish. It felt rushed, in other words–instead of feeling as if I had all the information I needed for such a journey, I was left a bit confused and uncertain of what had just happened.

 

Still, the premise was intriguing, and I’m interested in the world that Shitij Sharma created for us. While I was confused about some of the finer world-building details, I loved the feel of “oral narrative” that was woven throughout the text, and would be interested in learning more about this world/these characters. I recommend this to lovers of origin stories, oral narratives, and interesting characters. Break out of your shells, penguins, and crack this journey open.

11

To Fall For You: Overwhelmingly Disappointing

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To Fall For You

 

When Emma is shocked to the core by a surprise break-up, the sudden arrival of the ‘new girl at school’ sends her into a frenzy and pushes her down a journey of heartbreak and betrayal. Will Emma be able to overcome life’s hurdles and learn to love again?

After spending her life moving around and facing troubles of her own, Renée is glad to be in her last year of school. That is, until she meets Emma. Will Renée be able to find acceptance and friendship in her new town?

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YA / Romance / Contemporary
150 Pages
Publication Date: January 1st, 2017
Get a copy here!

2Penguins
Quick Reasons: the blurb is a bit misleading; the plot moves WAY too quickly; SERIOUSLY WITH THAT ENDING?!; super confusing writing; Emma was just a BIT of a drama queen; I couldn’t connect with the characters or with this story, though I tried my hardest to

Huge thanks to R.J. Groves and BookTasters for sending me a free digital copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

When I read the blurb for this title, I thought FOR SURE Emma and Renée were bound to end up together in the end…not caught up in some weird girl-hate jealousy thing. So when the book began and I realized what this was actually about, I was, suffice to say, pretty severely disappointed. Having read back over the blurb now, after finishing the book, I realize where I went so wrong…BUT STILL! I had high hopes for you, book…and in the end, unfortunately, those hopes were popped like too-full balloons.

 

The characters were interesting. I didn’t feel much of an emotional investment in any of them, honestly; Emma was a drama queen, Renée was a bit 1-dimensional, and the rest of the characters seemed to be place-holders or plot-pushers. The fact that Renée and Emma find themselves stuck in this weird jealousy competition over Kane only served to disappoint me more–I mean, I WAS that girl in high school. I fell for a “friend’s” guy and ended up in a weird tug-of-war feud with her. Looking back on it now, I realize it was a bit petty…and I can’t help but roll my eyes whenever book characters find themselves doing the same. Girl-hate is such a cliched and horrible trope, I just can’t handle it in my books.

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There were a lot of really confusing moments throughout, as well–and I found myself, more than once, unable to suspend my disbelief long enough to actually get into and enjoy the story. Renée’s stint in the hospital, for instance, REALLY grated my nerves–mostly because I feel like some of the finer details in R.J. Groves’ writing were lacking research and medical “backup.” There were also some plot points I felt were “forced” or contrived merely to drive the story forward, instead of serving an actual purpose and/or making sense to the story itself.

 

Unfortunately, this was a swing and a miss read for me. I couldn’t connect with the characters, the story moved way too quickly plot-wise, and I spent a large part of my reading time feeling SUPER confused about what was going on. I was also pretty largely disappointed in how 1-dimensional the story turned out to be. Still…the cover is absolutely stunning, and there were some entertainingly snarky moments hidden in the murk! Also, just because this book didn’t work for me personally, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you–so keep that in mind!

5

Blog Tour, Teasers, Q&A, Playlist, Giveaway and Review: Obsidian Sky

The third and final novel in an epic steampunk horror series, OBSIDIAN SKY closes the dramatic adventures of Claire, Sawyer, Gemma, and Nash, digging up the final secrets of their past, bringing new allies into a dangerous fray, and drawing friends and foes into a battle where the cost may be too much to pay…

osThe final struggle against the Hellions has arrived. A trapped engineer and a desperate marauder scramble to fight an enemy with unspeakable power on its side. Time is running out, and one world will be destroyed…

After sacrificing herself to save the lives of her friends and family, Claire Abernathy struggles to outwit her Hellion captors. They torment and terrify her into working on a weapon with the sole purpose of obliterating the world, friends, and love she has struggled to save. If Claire has any chance of saving those she loves, she must delve deeper into the Hellion world, and witness nightmares she could never imagine.

In Westraven, Sawyer Kendric is desperate to find the woman he loves. To do so, he must finally embrace his family’s atrocious past and heal the wounds it has caused. He will be forced to make new allies, uncover secrets that change all he knows, and find the courage to lead a ragtag crew into the darkest, deadliest battle of their lives.

Claire and Sawyer fight to save their broken world in the final installment of the epic DARK SKY trilogy.

Buy it here:

Amazon | Kobo | Smashwords | Goodreads

DARK SKY SERIES GIVEAWAY

CLICK HERE to go to the giveaway!

Two stories are told in OBSIDIAN SKY––the first chronicling a young engineer named Claire Abernathy as she struggles to survive the in the terrifying world of Hellnore, home of the blood-drinking Hellions, forced to serve their ghastly King and avoid the torment of Davin Kendric, the Hellion general, in hopes that she will be able to escape and return to her home and loved ones. The second story follows Sawyer Kendric, the young pirate captain who must make final peace with his own inner demons and face his responsibilities as a leader, all while uncovering secrets that will either save Claire, or seal her bloody fate. Their adventures will collide in an explosive finale that will change their lives forever, and leave one world altered forever…

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A Message from AMY BRAUN (author):

While I love every book in the DARK SKY series, OBSIDIAN SKY is my favorite. I know I’m not supposed to pick a favorite, but I can’t help it. The book was just so much fun to write, allowing me the chance to write a story from two different perspectives and challenge myself as an author while bringing events to a conclusion where everything fell into place. Sometimes I worried that I was going to stray off from the main storyline, but thankfully everything fell into place just the way it needed to.

One of the great things about this novel is that it gets to move outside of Westraven. That’s been the main hub of activity throughout the first two books and two novellas, but I had made an expanded world and wanted to explore it. While Claire is stuck in Hellnore, which I modeled after Mordor from Lord of the Rings (a source of inspiration for almost every fantasy author, let’s be honest), Sawyer gets to explore the Aon, the country beyond the borders of Westraven. Both of them attract more than their share of trouble because let’s be honest, they couldn’t stay away from it if they tried.

World building aside, the best part about splitting the engineer and the marauder up was being able to focus on their individual characters and their final arcs. I did my best to balance the events and keep the tension and action flowing throughout the story, making the pacing fast for one character and slow for the other. When Claire needs a breather, Sawyer is the one getting into trouble and vice versa.

The ending is a lot more emotional than I intended, and it was sad to see these beloved characters reach their conclusions. This series has been with me for years, and there were a couple tears shed when I wrote the final chapter. I’m committed to going out with a big bang, so I worked hard with my editor to wrap up all the details and worked with XPresso Book Tours for a book blitz while organizing a second blog tour. I’ve also discounted the prices of every book in the series, and will keep them lowered for the month of February.

I can’t begin to express how excited the cover and artwork have made me. Deranged Doctor Design outdid themselves yet again, capturing everything this book is about: The red lava that represents Hellnore, the crossed swords for Sawyer, the claw marks and dents inflicted by the Hellions. I’m constantly floored by their fantastic work and can’t wait to work with them again in the future.

This is the second series I’ve closed in the past year, the first being the CURSED trilogy for urban fantasy fans. While I’m just as sad to say goodbye to this one, I’m also relieved that it’s a project off my plate. I learned so much from writing OBSIDIAN SKY and the DARK SKY series, and can’t wait to take these lessons and apply them to future work.

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Q & A: Amy Braun and Obsidian Sky–
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW.

Q: Were you nervous about writing the end of Obsidian Sky? Was everything planned or were some events spontaneous?

A: I’m a meticulous planner when it comes to world building and plots, but there were some events that I hadn’t intended that were added into the final story. Certain characters and events appeared in places and scenes where I hadn’t intended them to. Characters acted in ways I hadn’t originally planned, or would have to think creatively to escape a challenge. I had a great time experimenting and using a lot of “What If” scenarios where my characters were pushed to the limits and forced to react unconventionally. I felt like I was experiencing their adventures with them, and at some points, didn’t know what would happen next, either.

Q: Did you have any challenges writing Obsidian Sky?

A: Sometimes I can’t seem to control my characters––they go off and do what they want! Sawyer was notorious for this (which isn’t a surprise, really), and his scenes often took off in directions I didn’t anticipate. Claire’s challenges were a little more planned out, though I remember a particular moment about three-quarters of the way through the book where she got to be an ultra badass. That was a lot of fun to do. Other challenges I had were with the new elements and characters being introduced. I wanted them to have a major impact to the story, and had to work with my editor to make sure their presence was balanced with the other characters. But for the most part, I was stoked to write this book and couldn’t be happier with the way everything turned out.

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Q: How did it feel to close out a series you’ve worked on for so long?

A: It’s a mix of sadness and happiness. On one hand, I realize how much I’ll miss these characters and this world. I came up with the idea when I was fourteen years old, and now over ten years later, it’s finally over. It’s a lot to let go of. But on the other hand, I feel a great deal of closure. Here was this crazy, random idea I had as a kid, and I finally went ahead and made it a reality. Now that it’s done with and received with better success than I could have hoped for, helped me establish my career, I’m aware that if I work hard, put in the time and effort, and do all the re-writes, I can transform any idea into a book. And if you’re an author still hesitant about such a thing, read the opening dedication to Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. She did the same thing, and she became published. Never give up on your idea!

Q: What will you miss most about the series and the characters?

A: I’m definitely going to miss the world and the creatures in it. Writing the Hellions and Hellnore was so much fun. I’m also going to miss Claire’s inventiveness, Sawyer’s attitude, Nash’s soft-heart, and Gemma’s tendency to scream her lungs out in battle.

Q: Is there any chance of a continuation or a spin-off series in the future?

A: A reviewer actually asked me that not too long ago. While I’ll never say never to anything, at this moment, I have no plans to continue the Dark Sky books. Nash and Gemma have both already had their own spin-off prequel novellas, titled Amber SkyAmber Sky and Smoke Sky respectively, and if I did do another spinoff, it would likely be a prequel series. But the odds of that happening in the near future are slim, given how I want to move onto other projects.

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Q: Now that the series is over, what’s next?

A: At the moment, I’m working on two brand new series. I don’t want to say much about them to avoid giving away spoilers, but the first series will be an urban fantasy involving the Greek gods, and the second project is a Young Adult fantasy series with Gargoyles that was inspired by Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I wish I could tell you more at this point, but I can’t give you anything such as titles or release dates as both of these projects are going to be going to literary agents. I received amazing feedback on the Greek god project from one of my favorite fantasy authors, Michael J. Sullivan, and have been diligently working to improve it. I’ll know in the next month or so whether or not it’ll be going the indie or traditional route, and my newsletter subscribers and website/social media followers will be the first to know.

The same can be said for the YA fantasy Gargoyle project. I’m working on editing it and am hoping that in the next month or so I can send it to literary agents. YA fantasy is extremely popular right now, and I’m hoping that will be my “in,” but if not, I will happily take the project through independent publishing. I learned a lot last year and am ready to use that knowledge to expand my horizons and hopefully gain new readers.

At this point, the only project that will be happening will be the release of the complete Dark Sky box set in April. But anything can happen in this industry, and I doubt anything could slow me down at this point. I’m having too much fun!

amyAuthor Bio:

Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense
action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, worldbuilding
and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


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OBSIDIAN SKY PLAYLIST
(because fun!)

1. Far From Over – Rev Theory

2. Brave This Storm – Trivium

3. Forget About Me – Escape The Fate

4. Dangerous – Within Temptation feat. Howard Jones

5. Canine – Senses Fail

6. Gateways – Dimmu Borgir

7. Fever Dream – Tyler Bates

8. Eye Of The Storm – Killswitch Engage

9. Before The Hangmans’s Noose – DevilDriver

10. Ghost River – Nightwish

11. Beast – Nico Vega

12. Let You Down – Black Veil Brides

13. Iron – Woodkid

14. My Name (Wearing Me Put) – Shinedown

15. Forgiveness Is A Six Gun – DevilDriver

16. Drunken Whaler (The Dishonored Video Game Track)

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bookreview

4.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: can we talk about this cover?!; can we talk about THIS SERIES?!; awesome, complex, strong-willed characters; satisfying end; trigger warning for sensitive readers; this whole journey was filled with heartbreak, horror, and darkly intense atmospheres; I’m sad to see it end, but so happy to have read it

HUGE thanks, as always, to Amy Braun for being the epic author she is and sending me a free digital copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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Wheeeeeew, penguins. This was an intense, bitter-sweet ending to a journey that I’ve adored and been in awe of these last few years. And I don’t mean bitter-sweet in terms of the way this series ended…but instead that it had to end at all. I’ve fallen so deeply in love with this world, and these characters… I’m sad to see them go. I know one of the first things I intend to do, as soon as I’m able, is buy these books in physical copies–I NEED them on my shelves. I mean, just the covers alone are GOOOOORGEOUS; whoever designed these books did an A++ job on it, seriously. But the stories?! The stories inside are just as gorgeous, and I need them in more than one form. NEED, penguins.

Let’s talk gritty for a minute, though. This is a courtesy trigger warning for sensitive readers–certain difficult topics are broached and handled throughout. These include, but are not necessarily limited to: rape; physical assault; physical abuse. These are, by far, the biggest that I found. Please be careful if you decide to pick this series up–keep yourselves safe! While most scenes are brief and not overly detailed, there were some difficult moments, so keep this in mind.

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These characters are just… They’re going to haunt me for a while to come. They are well-rounded and realistic, and while they’ve made some judgement calls I’m not sure I agree with… I love them. I love them all so hardcore, I can’t even. The plot is action-packed, filled with drama, and just SO epic I can’t even begin to explain. Amy Braun knows how to ratchet up the tension, and she does so twenty-fold in this book especially. I found myself unhinged in several key instances, both glued to the pages and wanting to fling the book away in “NO NO NO don’t hurt me again!” pleas. These, of course, went mostly unheard.

In the end, this was a WILD ride–from page one, book one to the last closing words. I have, once again, been reminded why I need to pick up more steampunk novels–they always wind up being some of my favorites, and this series is no exception! I definitely recommend this journey to lovers of alien vampires, cloud-surfing pirates, and plots that are more like delicious action stew. Amy Braun, this series has turned the cogs in my penguin heart; I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for your writing! Take down the Hellions with me, penguins; let’s save the world!

6

Devil in the Countryside: This is Not Your Average Witch-Hunt

bookreview

Devil in the Countryside

Devil in the Countryside is a story about the most famous werewolf investigation in history, brimming with intrigue and war, love and betrayal, and long-kept vendettas.

It’s 1588, the height of the Reformation, and a killer is terrorizing the German countryside. There are reports that the legendary Werewolf of Bedburg has returned to a once-peaceful land. Heinrich Franz, a cold and calculating investigator, is tasked with finding whomever — or whatever — the killer might be. He’ll need all the help he can get, including that of a strange hunter who’s recently stumbled into town. Though they’re after the same thing, their reasons are worlds apart.

And through it all, a priest tries to keep the peace among his frightened townsfolk, while a young woman threatens his most basic beliefs.

Historical / Horror / Adult Fiction
348 Pages
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication Dates–January 5th, 2017 (Paperback)
February 15th, 2017 (Ebook)
Get a copy here!

4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: creeptastic to the penguinth degree; LOVE the many different POVs; I’d never heard of the Werewolf of Bedburg before, and now I’m intrigued; super entertaining, informative, and fast-paced; Cory Barclay brought so many different personalities to life, I’m in awe; some of the practices in 1588 disturbed me greatly

Huge thanks to Cory Barclay and CreateSpace for sending me a free digital copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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Okay, penguins. This was SUPER out of my comfort zone–in a lot of ways–but OH MY PENGUIN GLOBS, did I enjoy stepping off that cliff! I am going to take a second to talk about trigger warnings, though–this book has some pretty mature subjects floating around throughout, including: rape; gore; graphic violence/descriptions; assault. Please, PLEASE be careful if you’re easily triggered and/or bothered by such things!

Now that that’s out of the way…. THIS BOOK! The plot is fantastic–fast-paced, full of drama and intrigue, and super creeptastic in the best of ways. I could feel the terror, the upheaval of emotions, churning at me through the pages. The character’s emotions bled from these words and seeped into my own mind, leaving me breathless and curious about what was happening, what would happen. At all moments, I was enthralled and intrigued–this is definitely an informative, edge-of-your-seat read!

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We’re given several varying POVs throughout, as well–but they didn’t feel muddied or rushed. Instead, each character brought a new and unique vantage point to the events surrounding this journey. Also, their personalities are complex and well-rounded, bringing more depth and delicious story-telling mastery to this tale. This is, as I’m sure some of you deduced, based on real life events…but Cory Barclay portrayed the pertinent details in such entertaining and interesting ways, the suspension of disbelief wasn’t once broken for me.

I had an awesome journey diving into and reading about this time-period, and will be seeking out more information about the Werewolf of Bedburg in the future. While there were some very difficult moments to read in this title, I was enthralled by the fast-paced action and air of intrigue surrounding the chapters. I recommend this to lovers of historical fiction, those interested in this time period, and readers seeking a journey outside their normal safety nets. Sink your teeth into this book, penguins; just beware the full moon.

2

Villainous Love Songs (#34)

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Because c’mon–you think those characters with the hearts of ice, the unbreakable wills, the huge tendency to bully DON’T jam out to the mushy-gushy on their iPods sometimes?

I am of the firm opinion that villains, just like everybody else, have a love song they just can’t help but…well…LOVE!

This will be a consistent new feature on my blog–probably posted every Monday.  Because there are a LOT of villains, and a LOT of love songs, out there to match… and I’m bound and determined to do it!

If you like this meme, feel free to post up your own–just be sure to link back to mine!

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VILLAINOUS LOVE SONGS

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Poison Ivy

“Haven’t you heard that I’m the new cancer?
Never looked better and you can’t stand it.”

I mean really, you can’t GET a closer match than this?  I can just imagine Poison Ivy singing this song at the TOP of her lungs while strangling someone with her vines.

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VooDolly
(Somniare, by D.T. Dyllin)

I mean….again, I guess I was feeling a bit ironic and snarky?  She’s a voodoo doll….the song is telling people to clap their hands… It just makes sense in my head, okay?!?! But you’d probably have to actually be IN my head to understand it.  Oops?

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Tinkerbell
(Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie)

It’s been said that Tinkerbell struggles so much with her emotions because she’s so tiny–she can only ever feel ONE emotion at a time.  Which is why, when she’s jealous or angry, that’s ALL she feels.  This song?  Basically sums her up.  Just think about it before you tell me I’m wrong, okay?

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AND THERE YOU HAVE IT!

Villains…and the love songs they don’t want anyone to know they rock out to.

If villains in your world had a favorite love song, which would it be?  Let me know what you think of this post below–or feel free to jump in and post your own pairs!

Until next time, happy book-ing!

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7

Top Ten Tuesday (#47)

toptentuesday

HOSTED BY: The Broke and The Bookish
DESCRIPTION:  Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Find their latest post here!

BLAHBLAHBLAH here’s all the same words you’ve been seeing from me for FOREVER why don’t I just tell you what the theme is this week?!?!?!?!

Because I missed out on this post when it was ACTUALLY the week for it, I decided to go back and do a theme from the past!  Except of course I’m going to put my own twist on it, BECAUSE I WANNA THAT’S WHY!  Also because I know at least two of you who will appreciate the twist better.

(and now I’m singing Journey to the Past from Anastasia… DARN YOU, BRAIN!)

I present to you…

My Top Seven Favorite Music Videos (as of this second right now because my favorites are CONSTANTLY changing)

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Not going to lie, mouthful title is a MOUTHFUL! Whew!

There’s just something I LOOOOOVE about this video?  I don’t even know if I can explain it.  Those scenes with the black costumes and the gold skin jewels, though?!  Those are BOMB.  I mean, I’m not gonna lie–Hilary Duff is also bae.  My love for her is nevereeeeeeending.

I don’t think this song would be NEARLY the same had I not listened to it the first time while watching this music video.  I just… SO MUCH of this story is told through the video?  I wouldn’t have gotten the same story just listening to the lyrics.

I LOOOOOVELOVELOVE all the colors–it’s such a stunningly beautiful visual.  The water scenes are also gorgeous, and… Okay, this whole video is gorgeous?! SO MANY KUDOS to the director, seriously.

This is a difficult watch, penguins–but so gorgeously done?  I mean, there’s not much else I can say but that.

I just adoooooooooooore how this song was put together.  Seriously, everything about this video screams gorgeous to me.  I love it so hard.

Again, this song wouldn’t have QUITE the same impact on me if I hadn’t watched the music video to begin with.  The story being told here…it’s so disturbing, and terrifying, and…Gaaaaaah.  If you watch just ONE of these videos, make it this one, okay?

I KNOW, I KNOW, this song and video are SO super dirty, but I LOOOOOOVE them so much?  I don’t even know…I can’t even explain… I HAVE A PROBLEM, okay?!

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What are some of YOUR favorite music videos, and why do you love them so much?  What did you think of my selection?

Feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comments, or link me to your own Top Ten Tuesday!

Until next time, happy book-ing!

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