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Friday, June 28, 2013

ARC Review The Crooked House- John A Longeway

A psychic reading gone awry. Dreams that hold terrifying glimpses of the future. A dark and foreboding house that defies description. Orphaned and psychic, Lilith St. John is driven to discover the origin of her mysterious powers. A psychic reading draws unwanted menace from supernatural forces and Lilith finds herself stalked, terrorized and ultimately attacked. Lilith awakens in The Crooked House, a ramshackle maze of shattered dreams and tortured souls ruled over by a hidden, malevolent force. Trapped in the mystifying labyrinth and hunted by the terrible creatures that roam the night, Lilith must master her psychic powers and solve the mystery of The Crooked House or be forever lost in its haunted corridors.

When I got asked to review The Crooked House I was wary, being an Indie author no one knows better than I that there are some people who just shouldn’t write. I know a lot of self published authors whose work is brilliant and some whose work just isn’t….

However sometimes you come upon jewels, people who just are a good writer and it’s neither here nor there why they are not found among the shelves at a Barnes N Nobles. Sometimes you find pieces of work like The Crooked House which make you eat up it’s pages like your favorite food and think, “Man now I HAVE to buy this in paper back form and share it with my friends.”

I read this book in two days, I didn’t want to stop and didn’t want to close down my computer…I longed for the time I could get back to the .pdf file and start reading again.

Wanting to do this author justice I made notes while I read and I am going to touch on a few things that stood out the most for me.

1) It did have a bit of a slow start and the author has a little trouble with over description. His novel is creepy enough my mind had no problems filling in the blanks, I didn’t always need the bit by bit account of every door, piece of furniture and dust mite.

2) The author does a great and unique job of describing psychic powers. Though he doesn’t have rules, we are never told what Lilith’s limits are, once she enters the house they just grow without rhyme or reason, with “magic” there needs more rules. I assume we shall find out more in the sequel.

3) The characters- were awesome. I have been complaining about the lack of strong female characters in YA of late and Lilith certainly is that. She is strong, smart and kick ass. The supporting characters are good too! They are complicated, have great back stories and are flushed out and well utilized. The villains (because there are more than one) are properly eerie and filled with the kind of evil, hate and mix of pity that I really crave from my bad guys…..

4) The house, dark goddess, the house….One of the best parts of this story for me was that I love a haunted house, even better I love a haunted house that has dozens of rooms each filled with the scary, disturbing and twisted. I don’t want to give too much away but the scene where Lilith stumbled into the abandoned child’s room with the tea party properly freaked me out.

5) There was a good plot line to this novel as well, it was a mystery and the pieces solved itself in a disquieting way. I had many of the twists figured out before the characters, but not because it was easy…because the character is freaked out and sixteen years old and I love a horror story. This reminded me of the movie 13 Ghosts. The writing was great, a twisting, churning pot of forbidding stew with a rotten spoon. I can’t tell you too much more than the synopsis or it will ruin the terror for you.

6) The ghosts- oh my…The ghost, can we say “don’t read this at night?” They were PERFECT….a blood soaked clown, child killers, a hanged man, a scuttling crab man, a were wolf, a precious child, the love interest…. Beautiful in its horridness.

7) Personal Pet Peve- Tarot cards do NOT just show death and the devil…Thank you very much

8) Eck…. Insta-love…And not just normal YA trope insta-love but a love that had no need or reason to even exist. Lilith does not need to fall in love, she doesn’t need a boyfriend. She needs to find out who she is and where she comes from. Adam wasn’t a bad character but the fact that they end with mushy “I love you’” just didn’t fit the story for me.

9) The ending and climax were excellent, the actions scenes brilliant. This book left me satisfied and wanting more at the same time. I hope the author contacts me to review the second one and that I find it as wonderful as this first installment.

Five Weeping Angels and remember….the shadows watch you…don’t blink.

ARC Mini Review- Monsters in Your Neighborhood -Jesse Petersen

As one of Frankenstein’s Creatures, Natalie Gray knows that unique parts sometimes make up a great whole. Still, leading a diverse support group for monsters—now including Cthulhu!—isn’t an easy task. Especially not since the internet arrived.

New York City embraces the different and the bizarre. Still, even for such a fun-loving city, the supernatural and monstrous might be a bit too much. It’s been six months since the members of “Club Monstrosity” overcame the most recent spate of anti-monster violence and they’ve reestablished their routine of meeting in a church basement once a week to (ugh!) talk about their feelings. Still, they also know a war against them is brewing.

Natalie and Alec (the werewolf) have begun dating, and the mummies Kai and Rehu are tighter than a bug in a…well, bandage. But when modern means (YouTube, Twitter, bits and bytes) are used to chilp away at the solidarity of these ancient monsters, it’s up to Natalie to save the day. #MonstersInNewYork may be trending on Twitter, but this girl’s trending toward saving the day…somehow.

              This was an ARC given to me for an honest review   Monsters in Your Neighborhood was a funny, clever, darling novel. I received this ARC not having read the first one and was a little nervous I would need to go back and read the first to understand this.

However the author did a great job and reviewing what had happened in the previous book without it being boring, and telling me about the characters without needing a TON of detail and a crap load of info dumping. I was never lost or confused.

I found the characters to be interesting and colorful, their individual personalities really shown. I mean who doesn’t love the image of a one fanged Dracula living in a pent house?

The plot line was good, if not a little predictable, it played with the age old problem of fearing what you do not understand. The villains were unremarkable but worked for the story’s basic idea.

This was a fun, easy read I that highly recommend.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DNF Review- The School For Good and Evil- Soman Chainani

“The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.”

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?


DNF Review

I stopped reading this at 300 out of 488 pages….. I hate doing that but I put this book down on May 31st and simply cannot convince myself to pick it back up.

The concept of this novel was good, two girls get taken to the schools for good and evil and are taught to be become heroes and villains in fairy tale stories.

The characters were fun, colorful and well thought out. Except Sophie, who I will get to later. The imagery was great, so imaginative…Very Harry Potteresque with the classes taught, books read and teachers.

However the good students are all pretty, perfect and snotty while the bad students are all evil, ugly and disgusting, I thought the author could have played around a little more with these stereotypes.

Then there was the big ole plot twist. Which was OBVIOUS .

Sophie always thought she would be a princess, she is beautiful and blonde selfish and vain. She winds up in the school for evil and spends the entire book whining about it, trying to make the son of King Arthur fall in love with her and treating her BFF like shit, all the while realizing she is becoming the most powerful villain to be seen. Sophie is the number one reason I cannot finish this book. She is horrid, there are absolutely no redeeming qualities about her and every time she came into the plot I just rolled my eyes, gritted my teeth and tried to read her stuff faster and faster.

Then there was Agatha, the kind of ugly, witch, who has a hairless cat, wears all black and lives in a cemetery. She is nice, sweet and shy. She winds up in the school for good and thinks it is stupid and silly and just wants to go home to her cat and cemetery. She thinks Sophie is her best friend and spends the entire book saving Sophie, acting like doormat and trying anything to get home, while realizing she has some major good powers, like talking to animals.

The plot line took FOREVER to get started and when I gave up I still wasn’t totally sure where the hell the story was going. This was middle grade fiction kind of traipsing into YA territory and honestly was too long. The cover is beautiful and the synopsis intriguing, hence why I picked it up in the first place.

So over all 2.5 stars, on goodreads rounding to 3 this book just didn’t do it for me and Sophie was so annoying it just wasn’t worth finishing.

Waiting on Wednesday- Heart Fortune

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where we show case a book we cannot wait to come out.

This week my pick is Heart Fortune by Robin D'Owens I have been reading her Celta series since I was 17 and love the great mix of humor, sex, drama and science fiction/fantasy it brings to the world/genre of romance. It is released August 6th 2013

On the faraway planet Celta, there are some forces you cannot fight…

Jace Bayrum has always been a loner. Concerned more with getting an adrenaline fix and making money to live on his own, Jace cares little for family ties or matters of the heart. On the other hand Glyssa Licorice, Jace’s former fling and true mate, is both loving and loyal. She is determined to track down her HeartMate and have him claim her.

After hearing that Jace has been involved in an accident, Glyssa sets out to find him, departing for the excavation site of the lost starship Lugh’s Spear. Though her goal is to help Jace and finesse him into recognizing her as his mate, the excavation itself draws her in…

Thrust by fate into working side-by-side, Jace and Glyssa’s electric connection from years before sparks once more. She intrigues him, and Jace begins to realize that a HeartMate can make a difference. And one as magnetic as Glyssa could be exactly what he has been searching for…

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday- Best Books So Far

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by Broke and Bookish. This week we are taking a look back our favorite novels so far in 2013

Here are mine in no particular order:

1) Stoker's Manuscript Review
When rare-manuscript expert Joseph Barkeley is hired to authenticate and purchase the original draft and notes for Bram Stoker's Dracula, little does he know that the reclusive buyer is a member of the oldest family in Transylvania.

2) NOS4A2  Review

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

3) Nameless Review

When Camille was six years old, she was discovered alone in the snow by Enrico Vultusino, godfather of the Seven—the powerful Families that rule magic-ridden New Haven. Papa Vultusino adopted the mute, scarred child, naming her after his dead wife and raising her in luxury on Haven Hill alongside his own son, Nico

4) Game Review

I Hunt Killers introduced the world to Jazz, the son of history’s most infamous serial killer, Billy Dent.

In an effort to prove murder didn’t run in the family, Jazz teamed with the police in the small town of Lobo’s Nod to solve a deadly case. And now, when a determined New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz’s door asking for help, he can’t say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple–and its police force–running scared. So Jazz and his girlfriend, Connie, hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer’s murderous game
5) The Fault in Our Stars Review

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten

6) Curse of the Thirteenth Fey: The True Tale of Sleeping Beauty Review

Gorse is the thirteenth and youngest in a family of fairies tied to the evil king's land and made to do his bidding. Because of an oath made to the king's great-great-ever-so-many-times-great-grandfather, if they try to leave or disobey the royals, they will burst into a thousand stars.

When accident-prone Gorse falls ill just as the family is bid to bless the new princess, a fairytale starts to unfold. Sick as she is, Gorse races to the castle with the last piece of magic the family has left--a piece of the Thread of Life. But that is when accident, mayhem, and magic combine to drive Gorse's story into the unthinkable, threatening the baby, the kingdom, and all.

7) Monstrous Beauty  Review

Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago

8) Strands of Bronze and Gold Review

The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

9) Enchanted Review

It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

10) Dark of the Moon Review

Ariadne is destined to become a goddess of the moon. She leads a lonely life, filled with hours of rigorous training by stern priestesses. Her former friends no longer dare to look at her, much less speak to her. All that she has left are her mother and her beloved, misshapen brother Asterion, who must be held captive below the palace for his own safety.

Happy Reading, please comment and leave the link for YOUR TTT!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Stoker's Manuscript- Royce Prouty

When rare-manuscript expert Joseph Barkeley is hired to authenticate and purchase the original draft and notes for Bram Stoker's Dracula, little does he know that the reclusive buyer is a member of the oldest family in Transylvania.

After delivering the manuscript to the legendary Bran Castle in Romania, Barkeley—a Romanian orphan himself—realizes to his horror that he's become a prisoner to the son of Vlad Dracul. To earn his freedom, Barkeley must decipher cryptic messages hidden in the text of the original Dracula that reveal the burial sites of certain Dracul family members. Barkeley's only hope is to ensure that he does not exhaust his usefulness to his captor until he’s able to escape. Soon he discovers secrets about his own lineage that suggest his selection for the task was more than coincidence. In this knowledge may lie Barkeley's salvation—or his doom. For now he must choose between a coward's flight and a mortal conflict against an ancient foe.

Building on actual international events surrounding the publication of Bram Stoker's original novel, Royce Prouty has written a spellbinding debut novel that ranges from 1890s Chicago, London, and Transylvania to the perilous present.


Anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows I have a great deep love for anything Dracula, the more intense, creepy and sexy the better.

So it was with extreme happiness I took Stoker’s Manuscript from the hands of my best beloved one and eagerly began the process of deciding if I could read this fiction novel…. I tend to immerse myself mainly in YA.

After reading the book flap and flipping through a few of the pages I decided that I had to purchase this novel and devour it as fast as possibly.

The book was good, though this is perhaps too simple a statement. The book surrounds Joseph, a Romanian orfan who is hired to authenticate Bram Stoker’s original manuscript, notes, missing prologue and epilogue and take it to a mysterious buyer in Transylvania. Much of this book talked about the care and keeping of old books, many of the different paper types and authentication processes. Which I very much enjoyed. Joseph is a smart intriguing character. He is also prone to mistakes, mistakes that hurt people and help people in this novel. He calls himself a coward but like many “normal” men called to for duty, he does it with his full heart.

There is a lot of religion in this novel, Joseph’s brother Berns is a priest and Joseph meets other men of the cloth. Most of the characters are Catholic, so there is a lot of “Gods Will Be Done” stuff, which I don’t care for normally but worked for this novel.

The love interest, Sophia, is a very interesting character, though I felt the fact that she falls in love the MC kind of a throw away plot and not really used to the extent it could have been. She is a psychic who helps Jospeh with his quest.

There were many other fascinating side characters Joseph meets, all who play major roles in the climax and conflict. Each character was written in a way that they felt like real people you would meet in Romania. The author did an awesome job with providing information and detail without it being over whelming.

Now…the vampires… First off the author did his research into the family of Vlad the Impaler and uses two of his brothers in this novel, Radu and Dalca. He was able to keep the dark creepiness of Bram Stoker’s vampires while also adding his own touches. The author explains vampire are soulless creature, their jaws unhinge when they feed, like snakes. He states that they feed like mosquitoes and that vampires, after they have fed, smell like carrion because through their skin leaks the parts of the blood their bodies do not use. The author also goes on to tell us that each vampire “family” only has one wife, or breeding female and the “families” tend to kidnap each others wives so that they cannot breed. Joseph spends most of this book looking for Dalca and Radu’s wives.

The vampires were evil, godless creatures in this book, brutal and cruel. I enjoyed them, though I would have liked more information on the wives. They seem to be such an important plot line to have no voice in this novel.

There was some gore so be warned.

This book does not end happily ever after, but it ends well, if that makes any sense.

The only issue I had with this book was the ending felt rushed. I liked everything else about it, aside from the minor issues I have listed above. If you want a great vampire book where they have not become romanticized sparkling ya vomit piles then this novel is for you. If you loved Dracula then I recommend picking this up….He’s not in it, but it is centered around the novel, his home and his family tree.

Historically Accurate Note:

This novel centers around the premise that in Bram Stoker’s original manuscript there was a prologue and an epilogue that were thrown out/not published. This is accurate, and the author uses those forgotten chapters to his great advantage in the book. These notes were also put on display at Rosenbach Museum & Library, just as Stoker’s Manuscript states. You can find information about this:

Notes For Stoker's Dracula


Wiki Article