Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson #11) by Patricia Briggs – Book Review

Angelo mio — Storm Cursed sketch covers by Dan Dos Santos

This is what happens when you take a hiatus from reading – you forget everything. Or maybe that also has to do with the concussion I sustained after the car accident.. I can’t remember where the last book started or ended. So here I am, reading the book for a second time. I do think it speaks volumes on Patricia Briggs’s writing ability, her ability to continue to captivate and continue to pull in her audience. I mean, book 11 people!! I am sure we have all read those series that just get sad. Some you can’t finish, some you make yourself finish because of the time and emotions you have put into the book but then regret finishing it. Let me tell you, this is not one of those series.


Published: May 7, 2019

Pages: 384

Stars: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:
My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.

And a coyote shapeshifter.

And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.

Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.

The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.

But we are pack, and we have given our word.

We will die to keep it

Mercy Thompson World Series Guide - Under the Covers Book Blog

Review:
As you remember in Silence Fallen, Mercy was captured and it was very much the ordeal getting her back. Fast forward to this book and now Mercy is training with a cutlass. Not only that, but she is having to carry it around wherever she goes… A cutlass…

Engravable French Naval Cutlass

I guess carrying this around with her helps everyone stay calm about her ability to protect herself.. A cutlass… This seems a bit out there and out of character for Mercy. Maybe it’s a connection to the pirate game that they mention half a dozen times in this book.. I am a bit over the game and hearing about it. But also understand it’s their ‘thing’.

I both love and hate Mary Jo. If she would just let up on Adam needing someone like his ex, someone delicate and human, I would really like her. First and foremost Adam’s ex, Christy, is the worst! She is cold, self centered, and manipulative to the bone.. Maybe it’s the manipulation piece that explains why Mary Jo can’t let go of Christy. Regardless, Adam wasn’t happy with Christy and he need more, someone like Mercy. Someone who isn’t afraid of him, makes him feel awful for being who/what he is, and someone who truly loves him. It does bother me how the Pact still hasn’t fully accepted her. Why is this still going on? I find it odd how Mercy is fierce in some situations but let’s others (ahem, the Pact) walk over her in other situations.

This book has so much going on, it’s hard to know where to start. You discover more of Sherwood’s background and see just how powerful he is. Old and new allies step forward to take down a greater threat than they have seen in the past.

Have you ever wondered why Mercy finds herself getting caught between one awful situation after another? Yes, part of it is her father, coyote, but still she can never catch a break.

“I decided then and there, without consulting my husband, that we did consider Mesa a part of our territory. If I continued this trend, I was going to make us responsible for half the state. “

I know Mercy cares about others and wants to protect everyone, but when will the line be drawn? She keeps taking on more which then makes her – and the Pact – responsible for more, and sooner or later she is gong to bite off more than she can handle. This is the one point I slightly agree with the Pact on.

Regardless of Mercy’s big heart, there is a bigger reason why she can’t seem to catch a break and this book clarifies that missing link. Storm Cursed has taken every battle, every confrontation, everything that has been brewing in the previous books in this series and connected it all together. Now instead of each book having an isolated battle, you discover the enemy behind them all and just how powerful of an enemy that is. It’s absolutely brilliant!!

Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson, #11) by Patricia Briggs

I am so torn when it comes to Wolfe. Anyone else feel this way? He is such a scary psychopath. But there is a side to him that interests me. The more I read about him, the more mixed emotions I have for him. We discover more about Wolfe’s magic and it’s not what I expected it to be. Maybe that’s because he’s also a vampire which in a way is magic itself? Even though he is frightening and unpredictable, I found myself smiling and even laughing a little at some of the scenes.  I also found great sadness in the kind of person he was and who he is now. He is such a complex character and it will be interesting to see what Patricia Briggs does with him. I really hope Mercy doesn’t have to end up killing him.

And then there’s Elizaveta. Wow, I don’t even know where to begin with her. I can’t say I liked her as a character but after reading this book I can now say with 100% certainty that I really don’t like her. So many secrets she kept hidden.. Then there was the kiss and what followed next had me glued to each word! I could not believe what I was reading. Wow, just wow. I wish I could say more but I don’t want to give away too much 🙂

It did feel like some of the same information was over shared in this book. Yes, we get Mercy isn’t happy about the bond to Stephen. We know the in’s and out’s of how magic affects her differently. I guess it felt like there was some filler information that wasn’t needed. Overall I enjoyed this book. As always, Patricia Briggs doesn’t disappoint. Her writing is captivating and I love the depth she puts in each of her characters. I always get sucked in reading her books and for good reason. This book did feel like it was headed for a bit of a slump. But the ending pulled it together. I am looking forward to the next installment.

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Otherwise – Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Wicked Hour (Heirs of Chicagoland #2) by Chloe Neill – Book Review

PDF] Wicked Hour By Chloe Neill Free Download.. | BaracBook | VK

We all have those few Authors who never disappoint and for me, Chloe Neill is one of those Authors!! I love her imagery, story telling, and the depth of her characters. While this book is not as intense as Wild Hunger, it was easy enough to slip into the book and get lost between the wonderful pages.


Published: December 3, 2019

Pages: 341

Stars: 5 out of 5

Synopsis:
Vampires were made, not born—until Elisa Sullivan came along. As the only vampire child in existence, she grew up with a heavy legacy, and tried to flee her past. Then circumstances drew her back to Chicago, and she stayed to keep it safe. With shifter Connor Keene, the only son of Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, at her side, she faced down a supernatural evil that threatened to destroy Chicago forever.

After the dust from the attack has settled, Elisa is surprised when Connor invites her to a usually private Pack event in the north woods of Minnesota, and by the warm welcome she receives from some of Connor’s family, even though she’s a vampire. But the peace doesn’t last. The shifters tell tales of a monster in the woods, and when the celebration is marred by death, Elisa and Connor find themselves in the middle of a struggle for control that forces Elisa to face her true self—fangs and all.

Review:
This is one of those books I find myself trying to write a review but realizing I took very little notes. Funny how a good book can capture so much of your attention.

The majority of this book takes place in Minnesota and if you have ever been there, you have heard about “Minnesota Nice”. I think it’s hilarious to find it quoted in this book and applied so perfectly.

Minnesota Nice | ReverbNation

I am not a cat person but I absolutely love Eleanor of Aquitaine!! She is spicy with so much attitude. Not to mention how Elisa and Lulu treat her –

“We went cautiously inside, closed and relocked the door, then peeked around the corner – a vampire and the daughter of two sorcerers checking the battlefield for their frenemy.”

Salem Cat Gif GIFs | Tenor

On a quick side note, I really love LuLu’s character. She is one of those people that everyone should have in their lives. She is someone who will push us when we know we should but struggle to take that first step. I can’t wait to see if something develops between her and Alexei. It does seem like something is there but not sure exactly what..

The book begins as Connor asks Elisa to accompany him to something no vampire has ever been allowed to be apart of. Why wouldn’t Elisa want to go? The interesting thing is Elisa tries to convince herself she is going strictly as a professional and not because the guy she is seeing asked her to come be apart of something that’s special to him and his family.

My heart pounded, as it if understood something the rest of me hadn’t yet. “What kind of prince do you want to be?” He looked up at me, blue eyes shinning as if they were lit from within. “The kind that’s good enough for you.”

Although Elisa is in a relationship, a controversial one might I add, with Connor, she is a bit dense and really needs Connor to spell things out for her. I will say, there are some situations that come up in this book that would make me question Connor’s commitment/interest. But regardless, I am a sucker for romance and I love that Connor is confident enough to say these things.

It probably doesn’t help that not many are happy about the Connor and Elisa’s relationship. They’ll have to overcome hundreds of years of bias, fear and judgement. That’s what makes Connor’s invitation that much more controversial. Pack rules specifically outline who can and cannot attend ceremonies, let alone be together. I’ll give you a hint, vampires are not part of that list. I do love how confident Connor is and how he takes a stand for what he wants. It’s no surprise that he wants both Elisa and the Pact. It’s interesting how the Pact responds to him.

I wondered if that reaction bothered Connor. Not the pause, but the implicit acknowledgement that he was different. Pact, but different.

In this case, Chloe Neill isn’t referring to the same kind of difference that Elisa is hiding. This particular scene shows how isolating it can be when you are looked at as the potential next leader. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to enter a room – a room full of friends, family, those closest – and instead of smacks on the back and handshakes, Connor is met with silence once everyone realizes who walked in. In Wild Hunger, you get to see the transformation of Connor going from playboy to someone to take serious, someone who has their own path they will walk. In Wicked Hour, you see the path Connor walks is separate, isolated from the rest of his Pact. Although this path is made harder by having Elisa by his side, it doesn’t seem as lonely.

We all know Elisa isn’t a typical vampire. First off, she was born and not bitten. Second, as she likes to refer to it, she has a monster dwelling inside her. Another thing that separates her from other vampires is her dislike for politics and engaging in verbal warfare.

I understood battle, and I understood politics. But I liked on of those a lot more than the other. I wasn’t looking forward to this war of words. words were often pointless, and politics just an irritating ego game. Give me a sword any day.”

I really loved this quite because I also am not one for politics. But I think it is safe to say politics is an essential part of vampires. And for Elisa to rather fight with a sword than battle with words, I can’t help but see how that is more of a shifter mentality than that of a vampires.

Elisa faced a lot of challenges throughout this book and because of those, she has had to make some difficult choices. There is one particular challenge that struck a cord with Elisa’s moral compass. Which led her down the path she never imagined being on; led her to do the unthinkable.

Blog types crying zac efron GIF - Find on GIFER

I don’t believe in giving away the entire book while writing a review. So I apologize ahead of time if this is cryptic. But I am worried if I say too much more, that I will be giving away a big part of what happens in this book. I will say Chloe Neill did an amazing job describing the inner turmoil Elisa was dealing with. But this is one of those situations where if you read the Chicagoland Vampires Series, you have a better understanding exactly how difficult this situation was.

“Do you want me to tell you that you did the right thing?” (said Ethan, Elisa’s Dad)
So much, I thought. So much it made my chest ache. “Yes.”
“You did the right thing, ” he said, his answer coming quickly. “But that doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences. And those can be the hardest consequences to bear – the ones we face because we’ve done the right thing, the hard thing.”

The passage that follows this quote briefly describes why Elisa is twisted inside over what happened while also giving a quick overview of what you might have missed in the Chicagoland Vampires series. I liked that Chloe Neill added this but it really doesn’t give it justice.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I love the relationship between Connor and Elisa. I love the mystery and action. I am looking forward to the next book in this series!!!

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Otherwise – Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Wild Hunger (Heirs to Chicagoland #1) by Chloe Neill – Book Review & Top Quotes

Wild Hunger (Heirs of Chicagoland, #1) | Bound to Be Me

Okay, so this is the third time reading this book. F.Y.I. still loving it.. life has thrown a lot at me lately and I ended up walking away from books. Part of walking away was due to the needing to focus on life and trying to get back to a calmer state. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that another part, maybe even a bigger one, was due to losing the enjoyment I once felt when I read. Today is the first day I could even pick up a book and that reading even sounded interesting. But getting back to the book at hand.


Published: August 14, 2018

Pages: 352

Stars: 5 out of 5

Synopsis:
As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she’s a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he’s prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.


To find my original review, click here 🙂

There has just been too much time (just over a year) that has passed between reading this book and the second. I felt I was due for a reconnect and refresher before digging into Wicked Hour. So since this is my third round with this book and I already have a review down, I thought I would highlight some of my favorite passages. This post does contain spoilers so please refer to my spoiler-free book review (link just above) if you are considering reading this book. If you’ve already read the book, by all means continue on..


As she bit her lip, Elisa looked up at Connor and saw the flush of embarrassment on his cheeks. She didn’t like being teased – or not that much, anyway – but she really didn’t like that look on his face. She stepped forward, putting her small body between Connor and his father. “It was my fault,” she said.

This passage came out of the Prologue and it’s the first insight into who Elisa is, what she stands for, with a little clue of her weakness for Connor. Elisa is the type that will never stand bye while someone else takes the blame. Even if she only played a little part in what happened, she will always do the right thing. Always stand even when it is the hardest thing to do. It’s one of the things I admire about her character.


“There are some decisions that we make, and some that are made for us. Sometimes you accept the path that’s offered to you, and you live that path – that life – with grace. And sometimes you push forward, and you chart your own path. That decision is yours. It’s always been yours.”

“Doesn’t matter if the road is hard,” Connor finally said. “The road is the road.”

The first quote comes from the famous Ethan, Elisa’s Father, and was in the very beginning of the book. There are always two paths you can take, even when it only looks like there is one. The primary focus of this quote is Elisa and deciding what path she will walk, who she will be now that she is all grown up. But underneath all of this, something that is not as obvious – is the struggle Connor faces throughout this book. He has been given a path that if played by the rules, he will get everything he has always wanted. The second quote is found at the very end, the Epilogue, when Connor decides his path is not the one handed to him but one most will not approve.


“It’s not an advantage to be numb to terrible things. It means we can’t feel. When we can feel, and we do it anyway, we show our bravery. And terrible times are when we need to act most of all. That’s when we do the most good.”

This quote comes from Merit, Sentinel and Elisa’s Mother. Although I think this quote stands on it’s own, I feel I need to still say it. What is happening in the world today is awful and we have to fight to continue to feel. Because without feeling, there is no action and that is what we need most right now – action! This quote leads into the what I feel is a prominent theme throughout this book – Prejudiced, racism, and privilege.

“‘Killer’ is in the shifter’s name, for god’s sake” (quote from Dearborn)
“It’s a family name, Gabriel said.. “There’s history behind it that has nothing to do with this.”

“That was the other penalty of the deal made with the mayor, the other promise exacted from Cadogan House… (all the vampire houses) They were, basically, allowed to exist. Ironic, considering the House had been in the city longer than any of its humans had been alive.”

“But it’s their city, too, and they’re entitled to the same rights as humans. Including being considered innocent until proven guilty.” (Elisa)
“That’s surprisingly naive for a vampire.”
“It’s not naive,” I said. “It’s the ideal. If we don’t live up to it, we’ve failed.

“You put your life on the line because the fairy would have killed her. And instead of thanking you, she insulted you. She’s the monster. Not you.”

When I first read this book, I thought this theme was more of an underlining idea, not one that is throughout the book. Oh, how I was ever wrong! This book is hits home to the struggles many face today. I love how Chloe Neill went here.

In the book – Whether it’s certain vampires who regard shape shifters as less, shape shifters who regard vamipires as the nothing more than dirt, humans who hold themselves as more superior than all other race – the theme of injustice is strong throughout this book. When one community, one race holds privilege and disregards the life of another race as unimportant, it’s wrong.


“We could end up dead.” (Elisa said)
“That’s true for you every time the sun rises. The only thing that matters is what you do in the dark.” (Connor)

“You are braver than me,” (Elisa mimics the excuse Seri used when her and her house abandoned Elisa in town)
“Is it wrong if I say there’s something bitchy about that? Like she’s using it as an excuse. ‘Oh, you’re just braver than me.” (Lulu said)

I love these two quotes because it highlights the difference of a true friend. A friend will not pity you or make you feel bad because your convictions are strong. No, a true friend will always build you up and help you stand stronger when times are tough.


“I don’t mind rescuing you the first time,” he (Connor) said. … “But you don’t really need rescuing, Lis. You just need a good partner.”

“I didn’t expect… I didn’t expect you, Lis.” … His eyes were dark, stormy, and unfathomable. And he didn’t say a word.

“I thought you were leaving,” I said (Elisa)
“I was. And then Theo called, said you’d been taken to the castle…”
“I guess I owe you for the second rescue.” … “What – What is this?”
“I don’t have the foggiest idea, brat.” He looked down at his linked fingers. “Confusing?”
“Yeah,” I said
“But also maybe…” He trailed off,a nd then he turned to me again, and then his hand was on my cheek, pulling me closer, and his mouth was on mine, hard and hot and possessive.”

Of course I had to pull some of my favorite moments between Connor and Elisa. There is this entire scene on page 300 -301 that makes me giddy every time I read it. This is the moment Connor and Elisa figure it out, figure out what they have between each other. I gave a small snippet in the last quote above but I promise it doesn’t do the passage justice. I am a sucker for a good romance but what really gets me is when both characters are strong, independent, and they each respect each other because of that. Elisa is not some damsel in distress and Connor’s confidence doesn’t come off as an asshole who doesn’t care. There is strength is being able to show vulnerability and emotions. These are strong characters with depth to them.


“We all carry expectations,” Seri said quietly, her eyes suddenly clouded. “Sometimes our own, sometimes others’. Both can be heavy.”

“My smart and kind and beautiful girl.” He (Ethan) liked to say that, had been saying it for years, and had always put “beautiful” last. Whether it was true or not, he’d tell me it was the least important of the three. “You are smart,” he’d say. “You should be kind. And if you are, you’ll always be beautiful.”

These are just quotes that I feel stand on their own. Almost food for thought..


Well, that’s it for this book. I feel like I could go on and on about how much I love this book but I promise I will save you from all of that.

If you’ve read this book, I would love to hear from you! What are some of your favorite quotes/moments from the book?

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Otherwise – Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Veiled Magic (Veiled Magic, #1) by Deborah Blake – Book Review

What to say, Hmm. What to say.. Yup, that pretty much sums up the book for me. I think most people liked the book. Not sure if any LOVED the book but most liked it.


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Author: Deborah Blake
Published: November 17, 2015
Pages: 280

Stars: 2 out of 5

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Where to Buy:
Amazon
Barnes&Noble
Synopsis:
Since Witches came out of the broom-closet in the early 21st century, they have worked alongside humans as police officers, healers, stock traders, and more. But they aren’t the only paranormal entities in our world…

Police officer and Witch Donata Santori spends her days interrogating dead witnesses by summoning their spectral forms. Normally the job is little more than taking statements and filing reports. But when she’s called in on the case of a murdered art restorer, she finds herself suddenly in possession of a mystical portrait that both the human and paranormal communities would kill to get their hands on.

Unable to take on the forces hunting her alone, Donata seeks help from two unlikely and attractive allies: a reluctant shape-changer and a half-dragon art forger. But as the three of them hurry to uncover the truth about the powerful painting, Donata realizes that she’s caught in the middle of not one but two wars—one for possession of the painting’s secrets and one for possession of her heart…

Review:
Donata is a cop with witch powers. Although unpleasant, she is able to talk to dead victims in order to help solve crimes. Given a chance of a lifetime, Donata jumps at the possibility to prove herself to her boss and solve a simple painting heist gone wrong. But of course the painting is more than it seems and donate’s life gets completely turned upside down.

The plot is somewhat slow going and at times the flow is choppy. I feel like I need to share with you that there is an annoying love triangle in this book

I really wish there was a disclaimer for that sort of thing. And how on earth does Donata not see that these men are seeking out her affection. I really hate characters that come off as that naive, clueless.

I’ll be honest, I put the book down for a few days, a week or so, and didn’t think much about it. When I finally remembered I was reading this book, I realized there had only been two more chapters to read before the book was over. I’m really not sure what this book accomplished or what the point was. Donata was practically in the same spot she started in.

My overall feelings about the book is of indifference.

I didn’t love it or hate it. This was an enjoyable, okay book but not something I would invest more time into reading. The author did a lot of telling us instead of showing the reader through dialogue/action. This drives me crazy. I just couldn’t really get invested.

Comment below and let me know your thoughts. Did you love the book, hate it, want to read it.. Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Incandescent (Knights RebelsMC, #1) by River Savage – Book Review

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This is the second time reading this book and I’m a little disappointed because I don’t love it as much as I had before. I still enjoyed the book but I’m not sure motorcycle club/gang books are really my thing. This also shows how timing is everything when you read a book. You can read something and it hits just perfect. But when you pick up the book a couple years later, you hardly remember why you enjoyed the book to begin with. Funny how that works..


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Author: River Savage
Published: August 9th, 2014
Pages: 301

Stars first time reading the book: 5 out of 5
Stars second time reading the book: 3 out of 5

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Where to Buy:
Amazon
Barnes&Noble (Currently free for Nook)


Synopsis
:
Phoenix ‘Nix’ Knight thought pulling his club out of the illegal shit his Pops got them into was difficult.

Until he meets Kadence.

Kadence Turner has no business lusting over a student’s father, especially the president of the Knights Rebels MC. Nix is crass, obnoxious and dangerously sexy and for some reason, Kadence can’t seem to hate him for it. The bossy biker breaks down her defenses, but unlike the old Kadence, the woman she is today won’t give in without a fight.

The tension is undeniable, the attraction fierce. A man that wants what he wants and a woman that will fight him every step of the way.

“What did I do to deserve you?” I wonder aloud, feeling like this woman just doesn’t stop bewitching me.
“Nothing really. You bossed me into dating you. Fucked me good, and then you wouldn’t leave me alone. Now you’re stuck with me.” 
― River Savage, Incandescent

Review:
As I was saying above, I enjoyed the book but wish I hadn’t bought it. Who knows, maybe if I feel the desire to want to read this book for a third time, the timing might be right and I might love it all over again.

I feel like there are commonalities between all MC books – dominant men with a ‘bad boy’ image, club rules with a brotherhood that is thicker than blood, a sometimes degrading but mostly dirty mouth, and a vocabulary that is mainly made up of profanity.

To an extent, I don’t really mind these aspects. But it’s how uneducated the characters sound that disconnects me from these types of books. Well, that and how ghetto dramatic everything is. That can get a little old..

The attraction between Nix and Kadence comes on kind of strong. It doesn’t take long for things between them to start heating up. Kadence has a history of falling for the wrong men, particularly men who are part of a motorcycle club. Kadence has an interesting personality. On the one hand she is timid and nice. But on the other hand she has a short temper and stands firm to her decisions. I wish her character would have had more… more depth maybe, I don’t know. On the surface level, I totally got who she was and what she was about. I just wish there was more depth in her character.

Nix is all alpha male and has the body to match his cocky persona. Nix’s character is strong, he has a dirty mouth, and he is very demanding. The book switches between the perspective of both nix and Kadence. When I would be reading from Nix’s perspective, I felt like I was following his line of thinking but then he would say something from left field that would completely throw me. There were times he would say something that would be the complete opposite of his internal monologue. All of this made him sound like he was saying things just to come off as a bad biker dude. It didn’t really line up for me.

The action in this book is fun and helps keep the plot moving. The sex between Nix and Kadence is demanding with a D&S tone. If you’re into that kind of stuff, then I’m sure you will at least enjoy some of the sexual aspects from the book. But if you don’t like dirty talk, derogatory comments, spankings, or controlling sex, maybe skip this book. There were times I struggled with what I was reading – the feminist in me not enjoying some of the comments. I had to keep reminding myself of the roles both characters were playing.

The author doesn’t really show the reader but more tells the reader about different aspects from the book. For example, Allison (Zayden’s mom) is a bad mom. We know this because those words are said in Kadence’s head during the visit at school. But the author doesn’t really show us that. Yeah, Allison wasn’t as engaged but she didn’t do all that much to show us she was a bad mom. I don’t know if this is making sense. But when authors do this, it drives me crazy! Show me through examples, dialogue, scenes – don’t just tell me how it is.

Overall, the book is fun for those times when you want a raunchy, sexy romance. Just don’t go into this book thinking you will find more.

Book and Author Spotlight: Other Than by Mia Jo Celeste

This book has such a beautiful cover! Okay, enough of that. With an average rating of 4.55 on GoodReads, the reviews have all been positive with nothing lower than 4 out of 5 stars. Might be an interesting book to add to your To-Read shelf.
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Author Interview
When did you know first discover you wanted to be a writer and why writing?
Since I can remember I’ve loved stories, and I come from a family of writers, so I knew I wanted to be an author my whole life.

Tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
I went through a Gothic Romance stage in High School. I always wanted to see if I could write one.

What message or lasting thought do you hope your readers will take away from your book?
Redemption, or changing your ways is always possible. The heroine’s love interest, Victor is an antihero, who finally figures how to turn his life around with his brother’s and the heroine’s help.

What author and/or what book has had the greatest impact on your life?
The Bible

Can you offer any advice for beginning writers or those trying to get published?
Keep trying.

Beside your book, are there any other books you would recommend reading?
Any books you read are good, but if you’re a writer, you should probably read and enjoy the genre you hope to publish in.

What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the world-building within your book?
Other Than probably is the result of all the Gothic romances I devoured as a teenager and still add to my reading list today. Another example might be my novel Dark Bringer where I combined my childhood fantasies about the dark with a week-long power outage I lived through. I really missed the lights, heat and electronics I usually take for granted.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I loved writing the Howler attacks. Particularly when Evie’s father was murdered because of the emotional pull.

What are your future project(s)?
I’m working on a series called The Fairy Tale Effect, and I’m super excited to say that Other Than will soon be available as an audiofile.

Quick Draw:
Jeans or sweats? Jeans
Coffee or Tea?     Earl Grey
Chocolate or Chips?  Chocolate
Boxers, briefs or commando?  Boxer briefs
Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla

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Published: January 27,2017
Pages: 394

Add to GoodReads

Where to Buy:
Amazon
Kobo

Genre– a Gaslamp Fantasy/ Paranormal Historical Romance

Synopsis:
It only takes one drink from the Water of Immortality to kill Evie Woods—halfway. Trapped in undead flesh, the world’s last skin-slider wakens on an island purgatory where a cursed spring bubbles with immortality, and zombie cannibals crave living flesh.

Her only hope of escape rests in the hands of the one man who would see her fail. Bound to her by cords stronger than death, Lord Victor Lowell is both the man of her dreams, and her darkest nightmares. Contrary and intractable, Victor preys on others to maintain his angelic charisma and preternatural prowess. Drawn to the compellingly gallant and vulnerable soul behind his mercurial humors, Evie can only watch as protecting her forces Victor to sacrifice yet more of himself to the ancient evil long tethered to his soul.

Trapped in an ever-escalating war they can’t stop, Victor and Evie fight time for a cure, but as the long days pass blackness tears at Evie, ripping her thoughts from her one memory at a time. Victor will to do whatever it takes to prevent her from deteriorating into a rotting husk, even if it means dooming himself, but Evie won’t surrender his soul without a fight. Battle lines drawn, the soul mates resolve to find redemption or die trying.

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Excerpt:
He materialized in the inky shadow.

Or rather his apparition did. His ghostly frame hovered before her, sinuous and lithe. Against his shadowed form, the string glimmered like liquid silver. Slowly he unwrapped her, tossing the spectral bands to the floor until a coil lay between him and her.

Something inside her chest fluttered. “You followed me.”

An accusation.

He nodded. With a slight shrug, he spread his hands. “You shouldn’t be alone.”

She wanted to turn, giving him her back, but her betraying gaze remained fixated upon him. When he paced around her, she waved him away. “Don’t.”

He caught her hand and placed an insubstantial kiss in her palm. “Let me help you…please.”

A gallant gesture, perhaps, but her skin-slider sensitivity noted the rigidity of his stance, the twitch along his jaw, and the slight narrowing of his eyes. How could he think of helping her when he was in so much pain?

Ordinarily, she might be grateful. Might…if loss hadn’t hollowed her.

She ripped her cooling flesh from his spectral arms. “I don’t deserve kindness.”

“Good.” He gave her a rakish smirk. “Because I’m not kind.”

She shook her head, biting back the emerging smile that had no place on her countenance. She couldn’t be civil, couldn’t risk the involvement. “I can’t go on like this—stuck betwixt life and death.”

“You must. Don’t you see, sweet dove? You’re beyond both. You’re immortal. Like me.”

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Author Bio:

Mia Jo Celeste comes from a family of writers and English teachers, so it was no surprise when she chose to pursue both careers. She grew up watching horror movies and reading romances. To her, the two genres go together like salty and sweet in kettle corn.

 

Author Blog     Twitter     Facebook     Amazon Author Page

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Would love to hear from you! Comment below with your thoughts and until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

 

 

 

 

Djinn by Sang Kromah- Book Review

I am not really sure what happened to this post.

I wrote it months ago but instead of publishing it, for some unknown reason, I saved it for later. There it sat until now, waiting to be rediscovered. But the odd thing, is the book never really left my thoughts. I have found my thoughts drifting back to this book, and thinking about what happened and wondering about what next. I think that speaks volumes for the book and something to consider when thinking about whether or not you want to read it.

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This book is about deception, never knowing who to trust, and a destructive prophecy. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. Looking forward to the sequel. 


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Author: Sang Kromah
Published: March 20, 2018
Pages: 343

Stars: 4 out of 5

Add to GoodReads

Where to Buy:
Amazon (Part of Kindle Unlimited)
Barnes&Noble
Synopsis:
Some believe that at birth, we’re each born with a guardian attached to us, watching from afar, but never seen. Truth is, there are certain people, special people, born of this world and of the other, who need that extra protection. They go their entire lives, unaware of the other world, and unaware of the existence of their own personal watcher, watching from afar. But what happens when fate takes a turn for the worse, and The One who needs the aid of a watcher most can’t be found to be protected?

Bijou Fitzroy is strange. With the unwanted gift of being an empath, she has spent her entire life as a sheltered recluse, homeschooled by her secretive and overprotective grandmother, who never allows them to stay in one place long enough for Bijou to settle and make friends. When Bijou and her grandmother move to Sykesville and she starts to attend the local high school, Bijou’s world begins to crumble. Town locals begin to disappear and the creatures from her nightmares begin to take shape in her reality. She finds herself at the center of a war she never knew was being fought all around her.

Review:
I feel for Bijou! Never having a friend unless you count the faceless man from her dreams. She has never known who she is and is left struggling to discover her purpose. To say Bijou is an empath would be a lie because she is so much more than that. As I’m reading this book, I thought I’d figured out exactly who she is. But by the end of the book, I’m not really sure because things are left unclear. 

And then there’s Sebastian. Once the author introduces him, you know right away this character is going to be important. From the first encounter when Sebastian and Bijou meet, there are strong emotions and conflicting actions. Sebastian is a complicated mystery that slowly unfolds throughout the book. By the end of the book, I know I like the surface level of his character but I can’t say I really know anything about him. In all honestly, I felt that way about most of the characters throughout this book. Beyond Bijou, the author didn’t really go in depth with any of the characters. 

A quote from the book that really stood out to me –

“Why would I want to be like everybody else when I can be myself?.. Being normal is highly overrated.” – Sebastian. 

This book is heavy on the mystery and initially I thought the book would be perfect for young adults (YA book lovers) and maybe even those in high school. Yet there are elements within the characters and plot that appeal to me. And the further I get into the story, the more I find myself enjoying the book. Especially around half way to two thirds of the way through – I didn’t want to stop reading. I was so curious how the book was going to end, I kept thinking ‘one more page, one more chapter’. I felt like the author really gained her momentum around this part of the book too. 

But there were a couple things that I didn’t really enjoy about the book. Some of these things were corrected the further you got in the book. But some did not.. 

Let’s break these down:

1. The main character is sheltered from everything going on around her. Her grandmother, Gigi, has sheltered her from who she is and Sebastian continues to shelter her while also trying to protect her. Everyone talks in code or makes cryptic comments. Not to mention all the weird and suspicious looks everyone is constantly giving her. The thing that really bothered me was at first she doesn’t pry, doesn’t ask what that look meant or what in the world is going on.

As I was reading this book, I was getting so frustrated. The plot is truly captivating but why must the heroine be so naive. And then I get far enough into the plot when things begin to change – thank goodness! Bijou finally gets mad and demands answers.

If you were borderline on liking Bijou’s character in the beginning of the book, you are going to love her now! Somehow she has transformed from this docile weird girl into a stronger woman whose finally ready to take charge of her life. This is the exact moment that I didn’t want to put down the book. I’m really glad the author didn’t leave Bijou as docile and weak. 

2. The next thing that struck me wrong is this concept of instant love. Bijou has known Sebastian for three days and she is already in love with him. At first I thought the only reason for this instant love for him is because he looks her in the eye and he acts somewhat protective of her. But that didn’t make any sense because he hasn’t even been overly nice or gone out of his way to flirt with her. I don’t want to ruin the book, so what I’ll say is this – Trust me, it’s more than that. The author clarifies this better later in the book even though you kind of guess this along the way. But then there’s this twist that I absolutely hate and this concept of instant love is back in the fold of things once more. I am not a fan of this. 

Because there is such a strong division of either hating this or loving it, I feel like I have to mention the author ended the book with a possible love triangle. I know what some of you are thinking.

I’m not thrilled about this either. I’m curious to see where the author takes this. But nonetheless, it’s not enough to dissuade me from reading the sequel. The plot is intriguing enough to look past this. 

The author does a nice job describing all the anxiety, clicks, and awkward social rules that can be found in a small town high school setting. I think some of the characters actions were a little dramatic and over the top, but that may just be me. 

 Overall I did enjoy the book and I am interested in reading the sequel. If you didn’t notice my many references I’ll say it again, I did enjoyed the plot. There were times I didn’t want to put the book down and the day I finished the book I kept wondering what would come next. I would say those are some of the qualities every author hopes their reader will walk away with. I wasn’t crazy about the instant love or the love triangle and I think the characters could use more depth. I only say that last part because I do like the characters but I want to know more about their personality. Bijou’s character is borderline annoyingly thick headed but she’s slowly growing on me. 

Comment below and share your thoughts with me. Until Next Time, Happy Reading 🙂

Author Spotlight – Sang Kromah with her new book, Djinn

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Authors like this make blogging so much fun! I am extremely excited to talk to you about Kromah’s upcoming book, Djinn.

“Hauntingly captivating. Perfect for fans of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and all things myth and fantasy. I can’t wait to read the next one!” – GoodReads Reviewer

This Young Adult book is full of mystery and sure to catch your attention! I had the opportunity to talk with Sang Kromah about her upcoming book, Djinn, and ask her a few questions about being a writer. 

When did you first discover you wanted to be a writer and why writing?
Honestly, I’ve always been a storyteller. Well before I could read or write, I was taking apart the traditional Liberian folklore my parents would tell me and reassembling them as stories of my own. When I became literate, I always had a notebook and a novel with me, reading and writing simultaneously. I remember telling my parents in the first grade that I was going to be a writer, so every time we’d travel (which was a lot), they’d make my younger brother and me write a story about that trip. After that, I would write down the things I’d see daily, and adding magical aspects to make reality seem a little more fantastical. In the seventh grade, I had the best Language Arts Teacher, Mrs. Norvell, who would allow me to read my stories to the class every Friday. After that year, I knew more than anything, I wanted to be a writer more than anything else in the world.

Tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
While most people were told fairytales of princesses losing slippers and beauties being awakened with kisses as children, I drifted off to sleep with stories of dwarfish baby snatchers, unearthly beauties, and looming shapeshifters, who granted twisted wishes. These were the tales my parents told me nightly from their native land of Liberia. Both of them had a knack for weaving dark and alluring characters of mystical beings, but there was one story that stood out to me about a strong-willed, mischievous girl named Femeni who escaped—what should have been sudden death at the hands of a notorious Djinn. After hearing the story, I always wondered what happened to Femeni, and did she have any other encounters with the Djinn? As I grew older, the questions became more complex; what was so special about Femeni that helped her escape the Djinn? What if Femeni had a child, would there be something special about that child as well? These questions and my obsession with ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ gave birth to my novel, Djinn.

This book has a very long history. As I would finish a chapter, I’d email it to my mom, and she would tear it apart, only to have me re-write it. I was angry with her at the time, but I’m grateful that she did, because my novel became something that I am so proud of.

After reading your book, it seems like this is the first in what looks to be a series.
There will definitely be more. I know exactly where I’m going with the story and I just completed my outline last night.

Can you tell me more about this series?
I feel like there’s no way to answer to this question without spoilers, but I can say the lore gets much deeper and since the truth is out, there’s no holding back.

I can tell you that this book takes place at the high school I went to, in the town that I grew up in, and although it’s fantasy, there are many real elements in this world I’ve created. (I’ll attach a photo of Main Street) (middle picture above) The bookstore (A Likely Story) (below) that Bijou, Sebastian, and Amina really exists, as well as the candle shop (Unwined) they visit.

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Where do you see this series going and what can the readers look forward to next?
I see the story eventually leading back to where it all began for Bijou. Liberia.

What message or lasting thought do you hope your readers will take away from your book?
Stay true to who you are. This is something Bijou (my MC) struggles with when the story starts. She’s insecure and constantly doubting herself and comparing herself to others. Within a few minutes of meeting Sebastian Sinjin, she makes a comment about why he speaks the way he does. His response? “Why would I want to be like everyone else when I can be myself?”

(I’ll be honest readers, before I asked if i could do an author spotlight, I was given the book to read. And don’t worry, the review is coming!! But I know exactly where this quote is in the book because I highlighted this exact one! I love that the author also singled this quote out. We so often get stuck in the day to day grime of life and politics that we sometimes forget who we are. This is such a great quote and reminder!!)

This message was important to me, because I’ve never really been able to conform. As a kid, I was bullied and never truly fit in at school, so I went through a stage, where I didn’t think I was good enough. Even though I was born and raised in America, you could look at me and tell I wasn’t a typical American kid and my name was definitely foreign. Then on the other hand, I didn’t truly fit in with people from my parent’s country as well. I always seemed to be on the outside, looking in. What helped a lot was having parents and a younger brother, who believed in me and supported my endeavors so much that I became so sure of myself that I didn’t mind marching to the beat of my own drum or sitting alone at lunch.

By the time I made it to middle school, I knew exactly who I was and what I was capable of. As I’ve grown, I’ve seen that there are other kids who can relate to how I felt and what I went through, so even when I write fantasy, my stories and characters reflect those experiences, how to cope, and how to rise above it. It seems easy to try to conform, but the more time you take trying to fit in, the longer it takes to find yourself.

What author and/or what book has had the greatest impact on your life?
This probably sounds very cliché, but To Kill a Mockingbird is the first book that moved me to tears. I actually read it before my classmates, because my mom made me read it the summer after seventh grade. I think I read it in two days. I remember hiding to read it at night, because it was after my bedtime, and crying so hard during the trial.

In the fifth grade, I became obsessed with R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps and Fear Street series. After reading Say Cheese and Die, I thought, I could definitely do this too. By that time, I was already used to writing every day, but I asked my mom to make sure I wrote a hundred words a day. I wrote my first book in middle school about vampire cheerleaders.

But if I’m talking about stories that have stuck with me, I’d have to say, just about Isabel Allende and Alice Hoffman. Both authors have the ability to weave magic into the lives of everyday people, transforming the mundane into something wondrously strange. That’s something I’ve always wanted to accomplish as a writer.

Can you offer any advice for beginning writers or those trying to get published?
Get used to hearing the word, “No!” I would be lying if I said that rejection has never hurt, but I’ve heard no so many times that I take it as a challenge, because all it takes is one “yes” to change your life. So I look at “no” as a message from the universe to keep going. I feel like that’s the only way you will ever get published. You have to develop thick skin, keep writing, and be persistent.

Besides your book, are there any other books you would recommend reading this Winter?
Currently, I’m really into witches (I’m lying. I’ve always been into witches) so I’m currently reading A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan. After that, I’m going to read A Discover of Witches by Deborah Harkness. But I’ve decided to re-read Alice Hoffman and Isabel Allende novels this year, and I suggest that if you love magical realism or witches that don’t have moles, you should do the same.


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Published
: March 20, 2018
Pages: 343

Add to GoodReads

Synopsis:
Some believe that at birth, we’re each born with some sort of guardian attached to us, watching from afar, but never seen. But are they wrong? Truth is, there are certain people, special people, born of this world and of the other, who need that extra protection…that extra guidance. They go their entire lives, unaware of the other world, and unaware of the existence of their own personal watcher that watches from afar. But what happens when fate takes a turn for the worse, and The One who needs the aid of a watcher more than anyone before her can’t be found to be protected?

Bijou Fitzroy is strange. With the unwanted gift of being an empath, she has spent her entire life as a sheltered recluse, homeschooled by her secretive and overprotective grandmother, who never allows them to stay in one place long enough for Bijou to settle and make friends. When Bijou and her grandmother move to Sykesville and she starts to attend the local high school, Bijou’s world begins to crumble. Town locals begin to disappear and the creatures from her nightmares begin to take shape in her reality. She finds herself at the center of a war she never knew was being fought all around her.


Excerpt, Chapter One:
Imagine not being able to tell whether it’s you or the person beside you who’s schizophrenic. That’s the story of my life.

Most mental illnesses have thousands of web pages devoted to them online, but whenever I insert my symptoms into a search engine, I get pages upon pages of fanfiction.

The only word that describes my appearance is “peculiar.” Almond shaped eyes might be considered beautiful on some people, but my almond shaped eyes can’t decide whether they’re green, amber, or gray, so “frightening” becomes a more accurate description. The changing colors of irises may not sound scary, but my eyes are the size and shape of a little green man’s. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but this is what I see when I look in a mirror. Peculiar.

I’m not white. But I’m not black. Well, at least I don’t think I am. I’m somewhere in between. Maybe. I’ve asked these same questions about my background, but the topic of race has always been off-limits with my grandmother Gigi. So, on an EEO survey, I have to choose other.

Gigi has always made excuses for people’s confusion. Words like “exotic,” “unique,” and “special” are thrown around, but never “pretty,” “cute,” or “beautiful.” People tend to stare, but when I look back and attempt to make eye contact, they look away in fear. How do I know it’s fear? Because I can feel what they feel. It doesn’t happen with everyone, just with typical people. While most people see race or ethnicity when they first meet, it isn’t that simple for me. Through my eyes, there are two types of people in this world, and the color of their skin has no part to play in the matter. With the Typicals, their emotions rub off on me when they’re in close proximity. It’s even worse if they happen to make eye contact; I see things—sometimes truly horrible things. It’s like being in a room full of babies who are screaming at the top of their lungs for attention. Luckily for me, eye contact is as rare as my interactions with Typicals. When I do have to be around people, I have to keep my hands busy or I’ll go into shock.

And then you have the Others. They’re a little harder to explain. I can’t feel what they feel and, when I see them, I know exactly what they are. They’re ethereal. Some are beautiful, but there’s always a haunting element about their appearance and presence that makes people want to avoid them. You would think I’d prefer their company since I can’t read them, but they scare me.

When I was a kid, my grandmother would tell me I was imagining these things, that I had an overactive imagination, so I just stopped talking about them. Claims like those would land me in a psychiatric ward, so, to block out emotions, I began carrying a deck of playing cards with me everywhere I go. Now I constantly shuffle, distracting myself from all the emotions that are vying for my attention.

“Bijou Fitzroy!” My grandmother’s voice startles me out of my closet. “You harass me about going to school, and, now that I’ve agreed, you’re going to be late on your first day. Allez! Dépêche-toi!”

She always becomes more French when she’s yelling.

“Webster’s defines a door as a moveable piece of wood that people use to enter or leave a room, but if Miss Manners were here, she’d insist on you knocking on said door before entering my bedroom.”

My grandmother, Gigi, is not amused as she addresses me with a cold blue glare. The chilly look, combined with her crown made of a tightly wound blonde bun, brings the term “Ice Queen” to mind.

“If you can memorize the entire dictionary, you have no business going to high school in Hicksville, USA.” She comes toward me in that intimidating way of hers, the way the Victoria’s Secret angels fly down a runway. “We could scrap the whole high school idea, go back to homeschooling, and spend the day exploring Eldersburg.”

“We live in Sykesville, Gigi, and I’m going to school. You know, like normal kids do?” Since moving to Maryland, Gigi and I have been in a constant argument about this. Sykesville and Eldersburg are neighboring towns with smudged borders. They’re so smudged, in fact, that you can live in Sykesville while your next-door neighbor lives in Eldersburg. It really doesn’t matter because the towns share one zip code. “My problem is that I can’t find anything to wear.”

Gigi rushes into my closet and, five seconds later, emerges with skinny jeans, a cute top, a cardigan with elbow patches, and tan Oxfords to match.

“How did you do that? I’ve been in there for the last half hour and nothing.”

“It’s a gift,” she says, leaning against the wall, her impatience apparent. “Magic, really.”

Gigi isn’t like other grandmothers. Yes, she’s the mother of my mother, but other than that, she looks as regal and young as Grace Kelly in High Society, and dresses like her too. She hardly looks like anyone’s grandmother, which is why calling her grandma is forbidden, and hence the name Gigi. Hell, we don’t even look related. She’s pale and tall with bone-straight, long, blonde hair. I’m of a darker hue, about five-foot-seven, and although my hair is long, it’s so black and wild that I break combs and brushes on a weekly basis. So she’s Tracy Samantha Lord and I’m Holly Golightly’s ethnically ambiguous half-sister with the crazy curls. We look nothing alike.

###

“I really don’t understand the need to go to high school here,” she says as she follows me to my mirror with the only brush in the house that hasn’t lost the battle with my hair yet. “Jou Jou, you’re in the eleventh grade and it’s the middle of the school year. And besides, with your marks, you could get your degree now.” She’s right. I’ve been homeschooled my entire life. With a photographic memory, retention of information makes schoolwork simple, but I’m sixteen years old and I’ve never set foot in a school building, never had a friend.

I know why I’m supposed to respect her opinion about my education. She’s been a mother to me since my mom died during childbirth, and my father is an unknown entity. Parents should be respected, but our relationship is a strange one. To me, she’s Lilith Fitzroy, my vain grandmother who looks too young to be a grandmother. To the world, Gigi is the international bestselling paranormal romance author, Anastasia Powers. She writes under a pen name to conceal her identity from the world, and whenever some nosey journalist starts to get close to discovering who she really is, we pack up and move. This is why I’ve been homeschooled my entire life. This is why she’s not very comfortable with me making friends with random strangers, but all that changed last month when she bought a house in Maryland and decided to move us here. It’s a huge change from the big cities we’re used to. Imagine leaving Park Avenue for a home at the end of a cul de sac in a development where most of the houses look the same, the grass is measured, and people smile when they really want to spit at you. Sykesville may be a little too normal, but it’s home now, and I’m glad we’re here.

After Gigi gives up the fight of taming my curls, we leave for school.

On the way, she continues trying to convince me to go shopping instead of going to Liberty High School. “Last chance to change your mind.” Her tone is less than enthusiastic as she glares at my new peers with disgust. “Didn’t you say once that you wanted to write a book? I could talk to my agent, and we can make it happen.”

Just as I’m about to retort, a figure wearing a black hoodie and black jeans comes into view. He’s standing completely still, staring at me, as the crowd maneuvers around him. I close my eyes tight in disappointment, knowing that he’s found me once again.

“You’re not here. You’re not here. You’re not here,” I whisper to myself. When I reopen my eyes, he’s no longer there.

Maybe I’m imagining him, but this hooded figure has been following me for a long time.

“No! No! No!” Gigi interrupts. “You’re not doing this again. If you’re going to attend school with these people, no weirdness and no talking to yourself. The last thing we need is these people running us out of town or attempting to burn you at the stake because you start doing or saying things they don’t understand.”

She can be such a snob. She fails to realize how much I need this. I could get into any top-tier university, but when it comes down to the test of relating to my peers, I fail miserably. I have zero social skills, and I am sure I will be a laughingstock once I open my mouth. The girls will probably snicker and point, while the boys won’t bother looking at me at all. But I’m not too concerned about the boys.

There is one boy though, a boy I’ve always thought about. The disappointing part is that he only exists in my dreams, faceless like so many characters in dreams. Though I don’t know what he looks like, I think about him entirely too much. I know this makes me certifiable, but he’s the only friend I’ve ever had. He was my playmate as a kid and grew to be my protector, keeping me safe in my dream world.

I’m sure other homeschooled kids have friends and some semblance of a social life, but not me. Gigi is an overprotective hawk, watching my every move, keeping me busy with one activity or another. I have been taking martial arts, gymnastics and piano lessons for as long as I can remember, but none of these activities involves an outside individual. She’s always taught me, so it’s always just been us.

“I love you Gigi,” I say as I exit her red Jaguar F-type, “but I’ll write a book after I get some real-world experience.”

“You’re so special, Jou Jou, and my fear is you may be too special for small-town folks,” she murmurs. I’m sure her words are supposed to be comforting, but they put me on edge even more. I smile weakly as she pulls off.

Cursed is a more fitting description.

Cutting through the schoolyard chatter, a flood of emotions hits me like a bloodcurdling scream at the beginning of an Anastasia Powers novel. It’s sometimes hard to separate my own feelings from the influx of emotions that come from others. I pull out my cards and begin shuffling. It must look like I’m about to do some magic trick. I shuffle so fast I have no need to look at the cards as I survey the school from the entrance to the yard. It looks large for a small-town high school. I glance around as I try not to run through the crowd to the entrance. They all look so comfortable with each other. They’ve probably known each other since kindergarten and won’t welcome the arrival of a weirdo who will unbalance things.

I definitely don’t fit in.

“Check out the cards,” a blonde girl says as I walk by. She isn’t exactly one of the Others, but something’s not right about her. “Don’t we belong in a freak show!” The sarcasm in her voice is venomous.

Something about her makes me stop walking and shuffling completely.

“Tell me she doesn’t have a perm,” another girl says as they continue toward the school.

My heart beats wildly, but the moment she leaves, everything returns to normal. Or as close to normal as it gets for me.

I am becoming more agitated by the second, so I resume shuffling my cards and walk away. I’m relieved to enter the front office. It’s not as intimidating as the entrance of the school. The walls are a pale shade of blue and in dire need of a paint job.

Breathe, I tell myself as I walk toward the front desk, clearing my throat.

“Hello, I’m Bij—”

I am interrupted mid-sentence by a dirty look from a frail, spray-tanned receptionist with salt-and-pepper hair. She looks up from her romance novel as if I have disrupted the juiciest part, and she points in the direction of a tall boy I hadn’t noticed until now.

“Hi, I’m-”

“Bijou Fitzroy. I’m aware.”

Normally, I would’ve been irritated about being interrupted for a second time, but I am distracted.

He’s perfect.

His lips are so full that I can only pray he has horrid teeth to make me feel better about my own appearance. He’s slender, muscular, and tall. A veil of dark lashes almost hides the intensity of his eyes. He looks as though he’s swallowed a piece of the sun, and its golden rays glow within his flawless skin. Though we don’t know each other, there is something familiar about him.

“Well, that’s kind of rude,” I say. “You know who I am, and I have no idea who you are.” His silence and unblinking stare make me nervous, so I keep yammering. “Okay, you have about five seconds to say something before I start believing you’ve been stalking me.”

He just stands there staring at me with deep-set, gray eyes—never blinking. I can’t help but stare as well. It takes me a moment to notice he’s making direct eye contact with me. No one ever does.

He tilts his head to the side like a dog ogling a shiny new object when a sudden look of mystification etches his dark brows, and he contorts as if something ghastly has appeared before him.

He looks sideways.

Have I somehow offended him?

He turns back. “My apologies. G’day, I’m Sebastian.”

G’day? Is this how high school students talk? It’s nothing like Pretty Little Liars.

He reaches out to shake my hand, not giving me more than a glance. I stop shuffling, stuffing my cards into my leather satchel to take his hand.

The touch of his hand sends a jolt of electricity through my body, and flashes of a familiar scene of someone drowning surges through my mind until he retracts his hand, putting an end to the vision.

It’s obvious he feels something as well.

The look of concern returns to his face, and then he quickly looks away.

“Just consider me your personal tour guide, eh? They want you to follow me ‘cause we have identical schedules, so where I lead, you’ll follow. No sooking and no whinging.”

The more he speaks, the more evident his accent becomes.

I nod, intimidated by his assertiveness, but I am intrigued.

“Right-o, let’s be on then.” He starts toward the door, expecting me to follow. “Hooroo, Mrs. Reaper,” he salutes the unfriendly receptionist, who actually smiles at him, exposing teeth smudged with red lipstick.

The halls are quiet as we make our way to first period.

“Liberty High,” he says. “Not a ripper. Small town, so lots of bogans, but it’s fair dinkum.”

“I don’t mean to be rude, but I didn’t understand half of what you said.”

He doesn’t stop walking. He doesn’t even look my way. He smiles as if my comment is right on time.

“It’s Aussie-speak.”

“Why don’t you just talk like everyone else?” The stupid question escapes before I have time to censor it.

“Why would I want to be like everyone else when I can be myself?” He holds the door open for me. “Being normal is highly overrated, ta.”

He looks at me point blank and winks.


sang+author+headshot1

Sang Kromah was born in Philly, raised in Sykesville, became confident as a writer in New York, but is Liberian at heart and by blood. As a child, Kromah would sit in the living room with her brother and listen to her parents recount the folklore of their native land of Liberia, absorbing in the words and falling in love simultaneously.  Born a storyteller, Kromah would run away with the words, creating her own stories, telling them to her family and anyone else who would listen. The summer after receiving her Master’s degree in Communications from New York Institute of Technology, she decided she was going to do what she said she would as a little girl. She moved to Liberia and wrote the novel she was born to write, Djinn.

As a communications specialist, Kromah’s credits range from her work at Seventeen Magazine to UN Women and Half the Sky Documentary. As a model, she’s been featured in Essence Magazine, Jet Magazine, and more, but her greatest accomplishments are with Project READ, a female-run library initiative she started and Project GirlSpire, an online media site she started where girls and women empower each other through digital storytelling.

 Facebook           Twitter           Instagram           Project GirlSpire


Keep an eye out for my review and don’t forget to comment below if you have already read the book or your thoughts on this author! Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Magic in the Blood (Allie Beckstrom, #2) by Devon Monk – Book Review

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I couldn’t stop thinking about book one, Magic to the Bone, and decided to jump into the next book in the series. This book was a fun one to read and packed full of emotions. With close to 7,000 ratings and over 300 reviews, Magic in the Blood is holding solid at 4 stars. If you haven’t already, check out my review of book one. This just might be the series for you 🙂


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Author: Devon Monk
Published: May 5th, 2009
Pages: 368

Stars: 4 out of 5

Add to GoodReads

Other books in the series:
Magic in the Bones (Allie Beckstrom, #1)

Where to buy:
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

 

Synopsis:
In the second book in Devon Monk’s Allie Beckstrom series, when the police’s magical enforcement division asks Allie to consult on a missing persons case, she finds herself drawn into an underworld of criminals, ghosts, and blood magic.

Working as a Hound—tracing illegal spells back to their casters—has taken its toll on Allison Beckstrom. But even though magic has given her migraines and stolen her recent memory, Allie isn’t about to quit. Then the police’s magic enforcement division asks her to consult on a missing persons case. But what seems to be a straightforward job turns out to be anything but, as Allie finds herself drawn into the underworld of criminals, ghosts, and blood magic.

Review:
I feel for Allie! Losing important memories and walking around fearful of losing more would be terrible. I am also saddened by the loss of what could have been and what was between her and Zayvion. Ugh, starting over would suck, especially when you can’t remember anything but the other person can. But in all honesty, it was kind of fun watching Allie fall in love with Zayvion again. I am a sap for a good romance.

I really do like Zayvion’s character. But he is just as mysterious as ever. I was really hoping the author would give us more information about him. Don’t get me wrong, there is something sexy and fun about a mysterious guy. But by book two, there should be some known aspects about him. I mean, he doesn’t have to be an open book but he shouldn’t be a complete mystery either. And what is with the constant flip-flopping of moods?!?! One moment, he’s acting all cute and is determined to date Allie.. then the next moment, he’s dangerous, cold, and holds too many secrets. I feel like this is getting old and it why the book lost one star.

Allie is really outside her element and in way over her head in this book. She has all this Magic but constantly struggles to control it. She has this huge gap in her memory, conflicting feels for Zayvion, and so many people are after her. She just can’t catch a break! And not to mention her ‘Daddy’ issues continue to haunt her. Even in death Allie can’t seem to catch a break from her Dad.

Allie isn’t one to have a lot of friends. Add in her trust issues and you can see how this might complicate things in the friends department.  Which makes it all the more worse when one of the few people she has in her life that she calls a friend is hounded and found to be using blood Magic. But of course not everything is as it seems…

And in case you were wondering, this book has some good twists that keep the pages flying by. Wouldn’t expect anything less from Devon Monk 🙂

I really like this series. Allie is strong, stubborn, and has a beautiful heart. If only she valued her life more. The risks she takes are too high and are always life threatening. Does that make her brave or stupid.. I don’t know.

And the ending, holly hell, the ending is awesome. I promise not to give anything away, but let me say it’s not so much a cliff hanger but your reaction to it is all the same. I don’t think I’ll be able to pick up book three fast enough.

Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom, #1) – Book Review

This is one of a couple books a store clerk talked me into buying. Unlike the others, this one was actually a pleasant surprise 🙂 For me, this book was a page turner – didn’t want to put down and stayed up way too late kind of book. I love a good series that you don’t want to put down.


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Author: Devon Monk
Published: November 4, 2008
Pages: 355

Stars: 4.5 out of 5

Add to GoodReads

Where to Buy:
Amazon

 

Synopsis:
Allie would rather moonlight as a Hound than accept the family fortune – and the strings that come with it. All magic use has costs — hers include migraines and memory loss. She finds a boy dying from a magic Offload with her father’s signature, then her father is murdered. Allie’s search for the truth calls on her country friend and the handsome man originally assigned as her bodyguard. Someone is forging magic signatures — and hers is on her dead father.

Review:
The book opens with a very much down on her luck Allie and the death of a young boy. For Allie, being twenty-five, broke, and in debt does not make for a comfortable life. Add a crazy and powerful – very powerful – father into the mix, and Alli’s life isn’t great.

All Ailli’s ever known and associated her father with is hate. I can’t imagine having such strong and negative feelings for someone whose supposed to love and care for you. That makes me so sad and I mourn the missed relationship that could have been.

Allie’s character is strong and by far imperfect. In fact, she makes a LOT of really stupid decisions based on some impractical logic of hers. But she has a big, loving heart… that can also get her into trouble. Allie is a hound with an impressive ability to trace a spell back to the person who sent it. The downside is every time she or anyone uses magic, it comes at a cost. For every spell cast, there is an Offload of equal measure. Small magics might result in a migraine; large-scale magics might mean death for the caster. As you can imagine, Allie uses a lot of magic in this book and is constantly battling the Offload.

Allie’s character is complicated and honestly has a continual string of bad luck. She is accused of murder, discovers magic isn’t black and white but can do many improbable things, gets betrayed (A LOT) and is constantly fighting for her life. Her life is tough, she has been through a significant amount of trauma, and at times she can come off a little jaded. To say the decisions she makes doesn’t always makes sense, is an understatement but one that makes sense considering the amount of trauma she has been through.

Okay, I will be the first to say I hate the instant attraction kind of story plots. But there is something about the writing and the way the author describes the passionate kiss between Allie and Zayvion, that makes me want more. To be honest, I think their connection is part of why I like this book so much. Zayvion’s character is strong, sexy, and so very complicated. It’s almost like Allie and Zayvion are both broken and work so well together because of it.

The book is written in third person, passed tense, which for some reason makes this book stand out from the rest of the books I’ve recently been reading. I will say the author added twists within the plot I didn’t see coming and that’s refreshing. One of the things that stands out from the plot is Magic and the mystery behind it all. I find it all very fascinating and my curiosity is peaked.

This book really caught me by surprise. I am interested in this series and wondering where the author will take it. I loved the connection between Allie and Zayvion. I still don’t think we’ve gotten the full picture of who Zayvion is, but I am looking forward to finding it out. This might become one of my new favorite series. Time will tell 🙂