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

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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.


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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

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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

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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 🙂

Dying Bites (The Bloodhound Files, #1) – Book Review

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This book has come highly recommended but I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe it’s the timing or maybe the book is just as horrible as I think.. who knows, that’s up to you to decide 🙂


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Author: D.D. Barant
Published: June 30, 2009
Pages: 304

Stars: 1 out of 5

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Where to Buy:
Amazon
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Synopsis:
Her job description is the “tracking and apprehension of mentally-fractured killers.” What this really means in FBI profiler Jace Valchek’s brave new world—one in which only one percent of the population is human—is that a woman’s work is never done. And real is getting stranger every day…

Jace has been ripped from her reality by David Cassius, the vampire head of the NSA. He knows that she’s the best there in the business, and David needs her help in solving a series of gruesome murders of vampires and werewolves. David’s world—one that also includes lycanthropes and golems—is one with little knowledge of mental illness. An insane serial killer is a threat the NSA has no experience with. But Jace does. Stranded in a reality where Bela Lugosi is a bigger box office draw than Bruce Willis and every full moon is Mardi Gras, Jace must now hunt down a fellow human before he brings the entire planet to the brink of madness. Or she may never see her own world again…

Review:
This book is pretty catchy and starts off on an interesting note. The writing style is easy to follow and sucks you in right away. The details provided aren’t over the top, but just the right amount to allow you to get a solid picture of what’s happening. This is the first book I’ve read from this author but I’m not sure if it’s what I’m looking for. I think if you are really into those criminal shows like CSI or Bones, this book would be right up your alley. Although I don’t mind reading books like this, they aren’t really my thing and I tend to get a little a board while reading them.

‘… but Cassius only smiles. It’s a boyish, engaging smile, and I bet it makes all the sorority girls go all weak and giggly. I seriously considered putting a big whole into it.’

Ha! I love this. Jace is a… lot. Her character is funny but very flawed. She is also dense, hard headed, and more than a little rude. Jace works for the FBI in their Behavior Analysts Unit. She uses her criminal psychologist degree to get in the heads of psychos and helps bring them down.

The thing I don’t get about Jace is her negative outlook on romance and in particular relating it to heroin. Maybe I’m missing the connection there…  Jace  considers romance as self destructive, demeaning, and stupid. Bitter much? I mean wow. I think another adjective to describe Jace might also be bitchy. She’s also a little dense in the sense that her reactions and how she goes about her job is the same way she would do it on earth/her demention. Which probably sounds really odd until you get into the book and then you’ll get it. Jace still thinks she’s a hard ass with a big bad gun. Well, her gun doesn’t work and all she does is isolate herself from the people who are trying to help. Being strong is having the ability to know your weaknesses, accept help, and admit when you’re in over your head. Jace does none of those things and it’s irritating to read.

I’m always amused how vampires are always slightly different in each series I read. Some are ‘allergic’ to the sun while others aren’t. Some are describe as dead, some can be hurt by bullets.. you get the idea. In this series, vampires can be harmed by the sun but they only drink the blood of animals. Same goes for werewolfs. It’s all kind of bizarre and not at all what I was expecting. I’ll let you dig into the book to discover what else is  different.

I don’t like doing this, but I must admit defeat. Reading this book makes me want to fall asleep. What started out as reading each page, turned into skimming paragraphs and eventually skipping pages. This book is just not for me. Jace’s character drives me crazy with how annoying she is. Her character is so bitter yet everyone wants to have sex with her. I don’t get it.  This book is too much and not in the good way. I’m sorry, but this book falls into the DNF Graveyard…

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My Year – 2018 – in Books

Happy New Year and welcome to 2019!! I am happy to report this year has been better than the last. But it has been far from easy. Discovering and adjusting to my new norm after the accident has been difficult but a consistent theme in my life. Luckily, one thing that has remained a constant is my love for books! This year I read 26 books and around 8,135 pages.

Although I wish I would have read more, I am satisfied with what I did accomplish.


Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews
Img rulerIced by Karen Marie Moning
The shortest book I read in 2018 was Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews at 42 pages in length. The longest book I read was Iced by Karen Morning at 520 pages in length.
The average pages I read per book amounted to be 312

The book I read that has had the most popularity in 2018 is Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella with 354,850 other people reading this book. Unfortunately, I only gave this book 1 star. Probably would not recommend it..
Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

The book I read that has the least popularity is Good Girls Don’t Date Rock Stars by Codi Cary with 1,313 other reviewers. I gave this book 4 stars and thought it was a good read.  Let me know if you thought the same 🙂
Good Girls Don't Date Rock Stars by Codi Gary

The average rating in book reviews was 3.2 out of 5…. I am glad it wasn’t 2 🙂 I think I am in need of some book recommendations. Any suggestions? 


A book I HIGHLY recommend and has the highest rating on GoodReads is Wildfire by Ilona Andrews. The average rating is 4.56 and I absolutely love this series!!
Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Here’s a look at the books I have read this year! Click on the titles to jump to my review 🙂
1    Angel's Blood    Phantom Kiss    Blade Bound  Iced  Forever Black  Silent Blade  Good girls don't date rock stars  1  Priceless  1p
billionaire next door  1  1  1  1  1  1  1    1  2  1     11            1    11
silence_fallen_layout.indd

 


I am looking forward to 2019 and the many books I will hopefully read. Let me know what you think of this years books. Until next time, Happy Reading!!

Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10)

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This is the second time reading this book. I can count on one hand how many authors have the ability to not only get me to read their entire book without taking one single note, but to get to do this without even realizing it. I open the book and somehow get sucked in. Before I know it, I’m turning the last page oblivious to the time or what’s happening around me. But I will say, reading the book for the second time was so much fun! Already knowing the ending, I was able to pick up far more hidden treasures than I did the first time around. I don’t think there is any way to have caught them without knowing the twist at the end. My recommendation is read this book twice. You won’t regret it!!!


silence_fallen_layout.indd
Author: Patricia Briggs
Published: March 7, 2017
Pages: 371

Stars: 5 out of 5

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Other books in this Series:
Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9)

Where to Buy:
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

 

Synopsis:
Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…

Review:
The book opens on a light note with games and chocolate chip cookies. That is until Mercy finds herself in a car accident and abducted. With her connection to Adam temporary lost, she finds herself up against unknown vampires, very powerful ones. All of this seems to be one big misunderstanding. A misunderstanding that Wulfe created.

So much happens in this book, within every chapter, it’s impossible to talk about it all. So I’m not going to try. I have said this with few other books and this book falls into that category: I’m not going to write a normal review because if you’ve made it this far in the series, you know how amazing the book is going to be. Patricia Briggs packs so much into her books, there aren’t any dull page fillers. Everything she writes has a purpose and if you aren’t paying close enough attention, then you’ll miss the point of the book.
Most, if not all, of the books in this series are told through Mercy’s point of view. Getting Adam’s, Mercy’s mate, point of view was fun. I think the author made the right choice in bringing in duel POV. It would have been impossible to have kept with the same plot line and conveyed that amount of emotion. And Matt Smith, wow, was that not fun or what? I know you will hate me for this but I’m not saying anything else besides you will want to pay attention. Patricia Briggs, you are a very gifted writer!
In some ways, you get a better look into Wulfe’s mind and how he thinks. If I had to describe Wulfe, the words that come to mind are crazy, psychotic, and very much broken. Even though there is this part of him that is detached from reality, his motives behind what he does is kind of genius. Sending Bonarata after Marcy instead of Adam was ingenious. Although I do wonder if in fact she is more ‘powerful’ than Adam. Physically, no way. But Mercy has political strength, her mental strength is impressive and let’s not forget about how many powerful people she has who care about her.
I almost laughed out loud when Stefan told Mercy to hide and wait to be rescued. Like that is something she would ever do. I mean come on, her father is Old Coyote who is a trickster and father of chaos. So would we expect anything less from his daughter…
This book in particular showcases the amount of support and love Mercy has in her life. It’s remarkable really. So many people are willing to risk it all to help rescue her and bring her back home. I can’t help but think this is what everyone deserves in their life. Everyone deserves an Adam, someone who is devoted and completely in love with them. Everyone deserves friends who are willing to love you regardless of your faults and mishaps.
I love how much history is packed into Patricia Briggs books. She certainly does her research and it really does add to the book. While Mercy wonders around Europe, lost and attempting to avoid Bonarata, what she describes has just the right amount of detail to allow the reader to know what it looks and feels like without bombarding you with too much history. Briggs really did think of everything down to what a coyotes paws would feel like walking on the unfamiliar cobblestone.
‘Six hundred years old (old synagogue). I stared at it and tried to imagine how it would feel to be Bran or the Moor and look at such things and remember before they were built. To look around the city and realize that the oldest thing in this old city was probably you.’
In every book, Mercy runs into some kind of new monster/creature. This book is no different with the Golem of Prague. The story behind this character is fascinating.
“I looked like a victim. I was done, really done with being a victim” 
The end of the book left me with one thought, completely satisfied. This book is so amazing, I love it! But because of this, I’m doubtful I’m able to review this book (this series) with the same critical eye I normally use. So make what you will of this review.

‘I’m asleep with my face plastered against the top of a metal table. Being sophisticated like this just comes naturally to me – what can I say?’ – Mercy Thompson

Rev It Up (Black Knights Inc. #3)

I’m not too sure which cover’s better… maybe the one on the left.. But in case you find yourself wondering why would someone read another book in a series they obviously didn’t enjoy? The answers rather simple, a very convincing book seller sold the damn book to me. What else am I supposed to do? I already bought the book, might as well read it.


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Author: Julie Walker
Published: October 2, 2012
Pages: 321

Stars: 2.5 out of 5

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Other books in the Series:
Hell on Wheels

Where to Buy:
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

 

Synopsis:
He’s the heartbreaker she left behind…

He Never Misses a Target

Jake “the Snake” Sommers earned his SEAL code name by striking quickly and quietly—and with lethal force. That’s also how he broke Michelle Carter’s heart. It was the only way to keep her safe—from himself. Four long years later, Jake is determined to get a second chance. But to steal back into Michelle’s loving arms, Jake is going to have to prove he can take things slow. Real slow…

She Aims to Make Him Beg

Michelle Carter has never forgiven Jake for being so cliché as to “love her and leave her.” But when her brother, head of the Black Knights elite ops agency, ticks off the wrong mobster, she must do the unimaginable: place her life in Jake’s hands. No matter what they call him, this man is far from cold-blooded. And once he’s wrapped around her heart, he’ll never let her go…

Review:
This book starts off heavy. Right away you learn Jake (aka the snake) pushes the one woman he loves, Michelle, into his friends, Preacher, arms. Surprising to Jake, they end up getting married. Not so surprising, Preacher dies on a mission. Also not so surprising, Jake blames himself. But I will say there is a heaviness at the end of chapter one that sticks with you.

Michelle is the sister to the head of the Black Nights Elite ops. She has a long and hurtful history with Jake. Fast forward a couple years and Jake comes back to town wanting to be apart of Michelle’s life. But considering the way Jake treated her, I’m not sure I could get past that very easily. And then there is Michelle’s betrayal.. Wow! Now that would be hard to get over. I wish I could say more but that would be giving away a huge twist in the plot. Besides, where would the fun be in that?

With that said, I have zero sympathy for Michelle. What she did and her reasons for doing them, unforgivable! And maybe there might have been a way I could overlook all this and enjoy the ending of the book, but I couldn’t. Not when the author was trying to play the sympathy card with her.

The writing style is much better than it was in book one. The author is able to jump between character perspectives much smoother. Overall the book is so much easier to read. But Jake’s surfer dialect was annoying. It almost felt like the author threw random words like ‘yo’ and ‘word up’ in and it just didn’t work. It made his character sound more like a wannabe gangster or thug than a surfer boy. And please tell me this, how does one smell like the beach? It’s not like he’s putting sun block on everyday.

Overall, the book was okay. Again, not one that I will ever read again. The book will actually be going in my next garage sale. But I think I would have enjoyed this book if it wasn’t for Michelle and what she did. That just really hits a cord with me and makes me angry. Not a response I want while reading a romance book.

Hell on Wheels (Black Knight Inc. #1)

I am really glad they switched covers. The cover on the left is just ridiculous, more silly/funny than anything else. There are a lot of character voices  in this book. It took me a little bit to keep up because I felt almost like a ping pong ball, bouncing from one characters point of view to the next. I’m not really a fan of books like these. I find myself wanting to skim ahead just so I can read from my preferred character’s POV.


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Author: Julie Walker
Published: August 7, 2012
Pages: 349

Stars: 1 out of 5

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Where to Buy:
Amazon
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Synopsis:
He’s the bad boy she’s always wanted…

Nate “Ghost” Weller has loved Ali Morgan nearly half his life. But he’s done something so heinous he’s convinced she’ll never forgive him if she discovers the truth, so he keeps his feelings and his secrets to himself. Then she blows into town with a mother lode of bad guys on her tail and Nate can’t deny she’s in serious trouble. Unfortunately, he’s the only one who can help her.

She’s the good girl he’s kept at arm’s length…

Ali knows Nate as the most solemn, aloof man on the planet. Sadly, he’s also the sexiest. For years she’s avoided him, unable to stomach his dark scowls and brooding silences… especially when she secretly yearns for his touch. Now she must rely on him to save her from the malevolent shadows ghosting her every move. When the bullets explode, so does their passion. But can love really conquer all? Or are some things just too terrible to forgive?

Review:
The book is kind of heavy on the military talk, which also isn’t really my thing. I’ve read a couple special ops romance books in the past and they always end up being alright. Never something I love or something I would read again. With that said, how did I find myself buying three books from this series? A damn good sells-person… never again..

As I’m digging into this book, I’m having a hard time connecting this plot with any sense of reality. Supposedly no one suspects this ‘biker’ shop to be anything more than that, yet they have a guard at the gate and top security? And then they not only let the baby sister of one of their fallen into the compound, but they’re also straight forward about who they are .Even though the first handful of chapters stressed the point that no one can ever know that they are more than just a biker shop… And who in their right mind does missions while riding a motorcycle? Does this make sense to anyone else or am I the only one struggling with this plot line?!?

But regardless of the not at all plausible plot line, I continued to read the book.  Alisa, aka Ali, is off limits. As Nate’s best friends baby sister, she is the forbidden fruit that can never be touched. Ali is a sweet, innocent kindergarten teacher who wears risky lingerie and has a belly ring. I don’t hate her character but I also don’t like her. The author created her character as something between a damsel in distress meets strong heroine. I felt like her character was in constant contradiction of itself. One moment she is so scared that she’s frozen in place and then the next she’s asking and handling a gun like it’s second nature. And let’s not forget her constant puking because she can’t stomach the exact same things she demanded. Really, Puking?

Nate, known as Ghost in the special ops community, is kind of a dick. He is constantly push Ali away and then pulling her close. Figure it out man! Either man up or walk away.

This book is not one I would read again. If I wasn’t home sick with nothing else to do, I’m not sure I would have even finished the book. The sexist comments and demand that women can only fit into this column (caretaker, housewife) while men are the protectors, blah blah blah. Reading stuff like that makes me want to vomit. And the comment in the book about a mans greatest weakness is a woman’s tears, can we be any more stereotypical? I mean come on!

Unraveling Destiny (The Fae Chronicles, #5)

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The books in this series have amazing covers!! There is just something irresistible about them.


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Author: Amelia Hutchins
Published: September 26, 2017
Pages: 388

Stars: 1 out of 5

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Other Books in this series:
Fighting Destiny (Fea Chronicles #1)

Synopsis:
I knew Destiny wasn’t done with me. I knew that she was just getting warmed up, but I had no clue just how hard my world was going to come crashing down on me.
I had thought that I was going to get my fairytale wedding and marry the man of my dreams.
I was wrong.
Now, faced with having my world torn asunder and Faery exposed, I have to make choices I never thought I’d have to make.
I’m divided between two worlds, and I have to decide just how far I will go to get back what was stolen from me.
Old enemies are closing in, new enemies are being revealed, and surprising allies are entering the playing field. War is on the horizon, and it’s coming right for us.

Review:
It’s been a long while since I’ve read books 1-4 in this series. So it took me a while to remember the plot line, who everyone is.. But that didn’t seem to help. I really struggled getting into this book which surprised me because I enjoyed reading the other books in this series.

Ultimately I couldn’t do the writing style. I’m no prude to fowl language but for some reason all the cursing in this just turned me off. Isn’t there another way to describe your feelings.. I don’t know.
I’m not done with series and maybe starting over with book one will help me get back into it. But until then, this books falls into the DNF Graveyard
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