Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Cry Your Way Home by Damien Angelica Walters book thoughts

Title: Cry Your Way Home
Series: N/A
Author: Damien Angelica Walters
Published Date: January 2nd, 2018
Publisher: Amazon
Source: Publisher
# of Pages: 259
Format: Ebook
Genre: Anthology/Horror/Sci-Fi
Days to Read: 4
Rating: 3.51 out of 5
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

"Once upon a time there was a monster. This is how they tell you the story starts. This is a lie."

Sometimes things are not what they appear to be. DNA doesn't define us, gravity doesn't hold us, a home doesn't mean we belong. From circus tents to space stations, Damien Angelica Walters creates stories that are both achingly familiar and chillingly surreal. Within her second short story collection, she questions who the real monsters are, rips families apart and stitches them back together, and turns a cell phone into the sharpest of weapons.

Cry Your Way Home brings together seventeen stories that delve deep into human sorrow and loss, weaving pain, fear, and resilience into beautiful tales that are sure to haunt you long after you turn the last page.

"Once upon a time there was a girl ..."

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this anthology over-all! Here are the story names and my individual ratings (which equaled to 3.51 average)

"Tooth, Tongue, and Claw" - 5 stars
"Deep Within the Marrow, Hidden in My Smile" - 4.5 stars
"On the Other Side of the Door, Everything Changes" - 5 stars
"This Is the Way I Die" - 3.75 stars
"The Hands That Hold, the Lies That Bind" - 3.5 stars
"Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys: The Elephant's Tale" - 4 stars
"The Judas Child" - 3.5 stars
"S Is for Soliloquy" - 2 stars
"The Floating Girls: A Documentary" - 4.5 stars
"Take a Walk in the Night, My Love" - 4 stars
"Falling Under, Through the Dark" - 5 stars
"The Serial Killer's Astronaut Daughter" - 4.5 stars
"Umbilicus" - 3 stars
"A Lie You Give, and Thus I Take" - 3.5 stars
"Little Girl Blue, Come Cry Your Way Home" - 1 star
"Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice" - 1 star
"In the Spaces Where You Once Lived" - 2 stars

As for the ones I didn't care for or like, sometimes it was as simple as it just wasn't for me or I didn't get it which could entirely be a me thing. Over-all though I loved the anthology with many of them packing hard emotional punches, and yes, some even made me cry! I cry easily at books but short stories? Now that's a feat! Many important themes were touched through-out the stories, delved into and written beautifully. My only complaint is I want more! <3 I definitely recommend checking this out when it comes out in January!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand book thoughts

Title: The Afterlife of Holly Chase
Series: N/A
Author: Cynthia Hand
Published Date: October 24th, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Won ARC in Goodreads Giveaway
# of Pages: 389
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult/Retellings
Days to Read: 5
Rating: ★★★.75 (3.75 out of 5)
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she'd become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.

She didn't.

And then she died.

Now she's stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge--as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.

Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly's afterlife has been miserable.

But this year, everything is about to change. . . .

My Thoughts

TW: Fire, Death

I won an arc of this in a giveaway on Goodreads. All thoughts are my own. Since this is an arc it might differ to the final version, I do not know.

Since I enjoyed this over-all, as usual i'll get my minor gripes out of the way first. It took me between 50-100 pages to get into it but honestly I should have guessed it, because Holly, the scrooge, starts off so unlike-able and awful, the perfect scrooge! But by 100 pages I was sold, and it just kept getting better from there, which i'll get into in a minute.

Since it is A Christmas Carol retelling I honestly should have also expected the Christian over-tones. I know the story, and while I can't read Dickens writing i've seen adaptations of it and do enjoy the story as it as a good message in it. I don't mind religion in books if it doesn't feel preachy or a bit much, and as the story goes it did feel a bit preachy-ish to me a couple times, but this could just be a me thing. It didn't ruin the book for me or anything, just made me roll my eyes.

Also while reading I found the project scrooge people...well creepy and kind of hated them sometimes, to varying degrees, but now that i've finished the book I actually understand why things were that way, for the most part. I still think it's a bit creepy, and I felt like they could have had more compassion sometimes, I mean wasn't that supposed to be the point? But I digress.

I also disliked the tone of "A day wasted on others is not wasted on one's self," type of things here and there. I get helping others is awesome and you should do your best to be a good person, but one shouldn't forget to take care of oneself either and at times I got the impression that taking care of yourself at all is considered selfish and bad. I don't think that was supposed to be the message though.

Wow that sounds like I hated the book. Trust me there is much to love about it too! While it took me awhile to come to terms with Holly, I really got to know her over the course of the book. Why she was that way. Why scrooges come to be scrooges. Sometimes you have to look past the surface and really dig deep. You have to look into someone's past. I loved the character development and complexity that shined through!

As the plot progressed and the pacing picked up I just kept loving it more as I continued reading and eventually I didn't want to put it down! It was thought-provoking at times and I ended up loving Holly's POV. I got very emotional many times through-out the novel, i've annotated this book like crazy! Also there is a twist I didn't see coming and she does get her happy ending, but not like you'd think! I'll leave you with this quote.

"Without stories, we're all just lonely islands."
"Stories let us see and hear and feel what someone else does," she explained. "They build bridges to the other islands. That's why stories are so important. They create true empathy."

So yes, I do recommend this book, particularly around the holidays! It was a wonderful holiday read that i'm really glad I read and stuck with! I wish I could say more about it but I don't want to spoil it!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Pierced Ink by Dani René book thoughts

Title: Pierced Ink
Series: N/A
Author: Dani René
Published Date: November 27th, 2017
Publisher: Carina Press
Source: Netgalley
# of Pages: 50
Format: Ebook/Kindle
Genre: Adult/Erotica/Romance/Contemporary
Days to Read: 1
Rating: ★★★★.5 (4.5 out of 5)
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

The Dirty Bits from Carina Press give you what you want, when you want it. Designed to be read in an hour or two, these sex-filled micro-romances are guaranteed to pack a punch and deliver a happily-ever-after.

Ava was the only woman to really get me. She broke down the walls I built up and burrowed herself beneath the surface. She became a part of me. There’s no other way to describe her, or us.

Everything about her drew me in. From her captivating smile to those nipple piercings she used to love me tugging on. Her body is pure perfection—smooth tanned skin covered in ink I gave her, and surface piercings on either hip I loved to tease with my tongue.

Two years ago, at the height of our love—the height of us—she woke up and packed her stuff into a single small suitcase.

The next moments passed by in a blur. And then she was gone. No explanation. Nothing but an empty room.

My world crashed around me and I let it.
I let her walk out.

Two years without a word from her—until today. Ava’s back in my shop, on her knees, begging me to mark her once again.

My Thoughts

This is a short story so I don't want to give too much away, but despite being short it really packed a punch!

I fell in love with Ava and Jag. At first I wasn't sure what to think but then things fell into place, at what had happened and how they got to where they were. And things hit rather close to home for me in some ways and by 50% I was crying. Like ugly crying. This story managed to quickly hit me right in the heart and feels and i'm just bitter it's so short because i'm greedy and want more!

I was worried that it being so short would hurt the characters but that wasn't the case! They have so much depth to them and it's wrapped in a short, sweet, and erotic, story! I ended up really understanding Ava and why she did and felt the way she did and Jag, ugh i'm in love with them <3!

I'm just bitter it's short. I mean it's wrapped up wonderfully and I love it, i'm just greedy with characters I fall in love with, I always want more. If you want a quick and dirty, but also very sweet romance, i'd definitely recommend this!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Forbidden Blood by R. L. Kenderson book thoughts

Title: Forbidden Blood
Series: Yes (Forbidden #1)
Author: R. L. Kenderson
Published Date: July 1st, 2014
Publisher: R. L. Kenderson
Source: Netgalley (and later Amazon because it was free)
# of Pages: 302
Format: Ebook
Genre: Adult/Paranormal Romance/Erotica
Days to Read: 7
Rating: ★★★★.25 (4.25 out of 5)
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

Love knows no boundaries and rarely ever follows the rules, even if you’re a vampire.

Naya Kensington has always been an impeccable daughter, honoring her father and mother, the king and queen of the Vampires. Now her parents are planning her future with a complete disregard for her wishes and desires. Feeling restless and a bit rebellious, she retreats to a human nightclub on the wrong side of the tracks with the coaxing of her best friend. Despite the energetic crowd, Naya remains discontent and detached from life. However, everything changes when she meets a dark stranger, named Vaughn, who’s unlike anyone she’s met before—vampire or human. Taking a chance, Naya leaves with him, and their evening ends with a one-night stand. Knowing they can only have the one night, she gives herself to the stranger completely, and even though it is forbidden for her kind to drink from humans, she unintentionally consumes his blood during the intensity of their passion.

When Vaughn Llewelyn spots the woman across the nightclub, he immediately wants her and knows no one else will do. Upon meeting Naya, Vaughn senses she is special and willingly accepts this, because he is different in his own way. Unable to fight the irresistible pull, their one-night stand extends past their expectations. Nonetheless, they can never have forever and reluctantly part ways, because Vaughn understands Naya’s obligations as he has duties of his own. Resigned to a future without Naya, Vaughn is ultimately shocked when he sees her again and discovers their first encounter has unexpectedly bonded them together, including her need for his blood alone.

As everything they know changes, Naya and Vaughn struggle to find where they belong in their own worlds as well as each other’s. To do this, they must conquer societal prejudices in their determination to be together. But unbeknownst to them and everyone around, there is a dangerous and devious scheme that could threaten their newfound love and possibly their lives.

My Thoughts

I initially picked this up from Netgalley but then later saw it free for a day on Amazon and picked it up there too so I have it, though it was still free either way.

I love vampires! I have since I first saw Buffy the vampire slayer. I saw vampires and paranormal romance I was like YES, GIVE IT TO MEEEE but i'm still new to the paranormal romance genre, even though I already knew i'm a sucker for vampires. And I am so glad I picked this up!

Because I did love this over-all let's get my one issue with it out of the way. At times it seemed, to me, painfully heteronormative. I'm bisexual and can gladly read any romance, m-f, f-f, m-m, m-m-f, f-f-m etc. I don't care as long as it's well written. I'm just talking about me personally here, not saying others can't.

This is very erotic which I wasn't expecting (not my problem with it, I loved it!) so of course there is plenty of arousal at certain things and possessiveness (but not in a bad way, i'll get to more on that later). Some of the things I am talking about in terms of heteronormative-ness "Along with the bond it created, this was probably why unmated vampires fed from the wrist of someone of the same gender" "Did the opposite gender's blood cause sexual urges?" it's never mentioned what about gay or bi vampires? I can get how it would be switched around for gay vampires but bisexual ones? Are they just doomed to always be horny and want to fuck everyone, ya know, the stereotype for bisexual people? This is literally my only issue with the book, which yes it bugged me, but I found so much more to love about this story!

There are also shifters (cats and wolves) in this book and they can be possessive of their mates. Each person does have a different personality and is well thought out, which I loved. Just because someone is a cat shifter and has that possessive-ness doesn't mean they have to be a jerk about it or scary. They can still temper it with their human side, think, and be caring and attentive to others wants and needs and not be, well a huge jerk about it for lack of knowing how to better say it. Being an Alpha does not have to go hand in hand with being a jerk as this book ended up showing and I loved it!

Due to the differences in shifter and vampire culture there were some mixed signals in the book but eventually communication would happen and it'd be worked out.

I loved learning about how vampires and shifters worked in this book. I also really enjoyed all the different characters. There are several POV's in this story and normally I get confused very easily but thankfully that didn't happen here. I still found it easy to know who was who and what was going on. Sure I don't love all the characters but I love their characterization. They are all different and complex, learning more about them as it goes on. I know real people like them exist and could easily believe people would act the way they were. I also loved how it touched on important themes, messages and had strong characters. I am living for these character arcs! This book had my emotions going all over the place and by the end, there were tears!

I am loving the plot too. I'm trying to not give too much away though this book is making that hard! Yes, it's erotica and has sex scenes, but it also has well developed characters and a thought-out plot! I am invested in what is going to happen to these characters, the plot is believable (as long as you can get behind vampires and shifters existing which I love paranormal stuff like this personally) and I need to know what happens next! Also Naya and Vaughn are now my OTP.

If you are into paranormal romance and this sounds like something you'd be interested in, i'd definitely recommend picking it up!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Dark Goddess Craft: A Journey through the Heart of Transformation by Stephanie Woodfield book thoughts

Title: Dark Goddess Craft: A Journey through the Heart of Transformation
Series: N/A
Author: Stephanie Woodfield
Published Date: November 8th, 2017
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Source: Netgalley
# of Pages: 240
Format: Kindle
Genre: Nonfiction/Spirituality
Days to Read: 3
Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

Discover how to use the many faces of the dark goddess to navigate the process of deep and rewarding change. This practical guide looks at the misconceptions surrounding dark deities and encourages you to draw on the power of the dark goddesses to work through aspects of yourself or your life that you wish to change.

Organized into three sections—the descent, challenge, and rebirth—Dark Goddess Craft guides you into your own darkness and helps you emerge renewed. Stephanie Woodfield presents the goddesses you will meet along your path of transformation and explains each one's role in helping you. This book will light your way through the shadows and show you how to become the best version of yourself.

My Thoughts

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me this e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

People hear of dark goddesses or dark things in general and think evil, bad, negative and are scared of them. That isn't the case here, and no this doesn't deal with dark magick. Yes, things in this book deal with things that frighten us, but they aren't evil. It helps teach how to deal with our demons, we all have them. How to deal with the darkness within us. That balance is a necessary part of the world and sometimes, what we think of as dark, is just something we have trouble with and are scared of. Honestly this book is hard to describe and review as it's non-fiction and spiritual based.

I think almost anyone could learn things from this book though. I learned a lot reading it. About mythology, about humanity, about myself. I hope to go through this book again at some point but take it much slower really taking the time to go through each part as I am pagan too. Even if someone is not pagan, if you are open to it I do think anyone could gain things from this book, even if everything in it is not for you. Also please keep in mind if something in particular does not work for you, your path is your own and you can rework things so they work for you and your life and ignore what doesn't work for you.

For not knowing how to put it in better words, i'll let the book speak for itself. Please keep in my mind I got an uncorrected proof from Netgalley, which may differ in the final version.

"The dark goddess and the lessons she teaches are vital to our lives. Her destructive aspects teach us that there is death within life, that we are constantly changing and evolving. No matter what we have been through in our lives, we can rise from the ashes and like Kali dance ecstatically on the ruins of our old selves toward rebirth. As the fierce warrior drinking the blood of the slain, she is a no-nonsense goddess, teaching us to make our voices heard, to stand up and be counted, and inspiring us to bring about change, both in ourselves and the world around us. And she is also the shadowy keeper of the dead, teaching us how to pierce the veil, to see into the future, and to commune with the beloved dead. But she is also the side of the Divine we avoid the most, and as a consequence we often have difficulty working with her."

"Dark Gods rule over the things we fear the most. Some fear that working with this aspect of the dark goddess will bring out the darkest or worst parts of themselves. Other times we are simply afraid to welcome change into our lives and finally release the things we keep buried deep within our souls. While working with the darker aspects of the Goddess may make you face things about yourself you would rather ignore, her path is one of transformation and ultimately one of healing."

"Today we like to think of the world in terms of everything having its opposite, instead of seeing that most things, including the gods, fall into a gray area. There is male and female, night and day, and good and evil. Dark deities are in no way evil, but what we have learned to do when we approach the gods in this manner is to label any deity that holds sway over a realm or concept that frightens us as "dark." Gods who rule over death, change, war, violence, anger, and all the things that make life difficult or painful must also be dangerous and untrustable in some way, not unlike the things they hold sway over. What we often fail to see is that dark gods are not the cause of these things, but rather the very beings who teach us to understand them, who challenge us to move past our fears and give us the strength to face some of the more painful unavoidable things in life."

"Defining "dark" as a term that always indicates something negative also has racial connotations. There is an element of cultural baggage around the idea that lightness is good or preferable and being darker is shameful when it comes to skin color. There is even a myth about how Parvati is shamed by another god who calls her dark-skinned, and she takes measures to lighten her appearance, the darkness she sheds transforming into the goddess Kali, whose name means "black." We have to let go of the idea that "dark," within any context, is a bad thing. These attitudes influence not just the way we look at each other but how we perceive deity."

"You may be a parent, a spouse, a child, and a coworker and play many roles to different people, but you are still one person. When we put a label on something, we tend to forget that it is anything else but the label we have given it. It took me many years to see that the Morrigan has other aspects and faces. She can be dark and scary, but that is not the limit of her power or scope as a deity. The problem with labeling something "dark" or "light" is that we put blinders on and forget that the gods are more than the title or box people put them in."

"Throughout this book, I will refer to the goddesses we are working with as dark, but only because this has evolved into the terminology that we are most familiar with."

I know that's a lot but there is so much more I have highlighted. So much more i'd love to share and talk about but I want others to experience the book for themselves. This is a very educational and thought-provoking book, and one I really should work more in-depth with.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Winterglass by Benjanun Sriduangkaew book thoughts

Title: Winterglass
Series: N/A
Author: Benjanun Sriduangkaew
Published Date: December 5th, 2017
Publisher: Apex
Source: From Publisher
# of Pages: 127
Format: Ebook
Genre: Fantasy
Days to Read: 3
Rating: ★★★.25 (3.25/5)
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

The city-state Sirapirat once knew only warmth and monsoon. When the Winter Queen conquered it, she remade the land in her image, turning Sirapirat into a country of snow and unending frost. But an empire is not her only goal. In secret, she seeks the fragments of a mirror whose power will grant her deepest desire.

At her right hand is General Lussadh, who bears a mirror shard in her heart, as loyal to winter as she is plagued by her past as a traitor to her country. Tasked with locating other glass-bearers, she finds one in Nuawa, an insurgent who’s forged herself into a weapon that will strike down the queen.

To earn her place in the queen’s army, Nuawa must enter a deadly tournament where the losers’ souls are given in service to winter. To free Sirapirat, she is prepared to make sacrifices: those she loves, herself, and the complicated bond slowly forming between her and Lussadh.

If the splinter of glass in Nuawa’s heart doesn’t destroy her first.

My Thoughts

This story is beautifully written. A queer retelling of the snow queen. It has fantasy, sci-fi and steampunk elements. Interesting and tough characters that I did like reading about. The world-building was beautiful too.

Fantasy sometimes goes over my head as it did here. I would have liked a bit more explanation and in-depth but I don't think it's a story fault. I think it's more so me being easily confused and not well versed in fantasy or the snow queen fairy tale. If you are more into fantasy, steampunk or the snow queen retelling I'd bet you'd understand it more than I did.

That said I still did enjoy reading it. I got it at least some of the story, enough to like what I was reading. There are also some erotic elements to it (which I enjoy but I know everyone has different tastes).

I loved how it's unapologetically queer! Being trans, different pronouns, being queer, it's no big deal and I loved that! I do highly recommend this. I'm sorry I didn't fully understand everything but what I did was beautiful and I'm thinking I'll need to do a re-read of it in the future. Thank you to Apex publishing for providing me with a copy to read in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Siren by Jaimie Roberts book thoughts

Title: Siren
Series: No
Author: Jaimie Roberts
Published Date: September 6th, 2016
Publisher: Amazon
Source: I bought it
# of Pages: 291
Format: Ebook
Genre: Adult/Dark Erotica/Contemporary
Days to Read: 4
Rating: ★★★★★(5/5)
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

I’m not a good person. In fact, I’m a real bitch. If the opportunity arises, I will take your husband, give him the best sex he’s ever had, and laugh behind your back once I’m done with him. I do not put on airs and graces. I just take what I want whenever I want it.

I am the abused who has become the abuser. I live for power because all power had been stripped from me for years. Now that I have it back, I feed off of it like it’s my primary sustenance, and I don’t care who I hurt in the process.

Every woman hates me, but do you know what? I don’t give a shit.

You won’t like me. I’m not here to be liked. You want to know my story? I won’t stop you from observing. Just know that once I’m done with you, no shower—no matter how scalding—will ever get me out from under your skin.

Warning: If you’re looking for pink, fluffy clouds, rainbows, and HEA’s, then this book is not for you. These pages contain flashback scenes of child abuse in all forms (physical, sexual, and emotional) as well as BDSM and other taboo themes.

Love does not live in this book. Only dark, twisted, and sick obsessions thrive here.

You. Have. Been. Warned!

My Thoughts

TW: Rape, Death, Abuse

This book is a tough read. It's sick, it's raw, and deliciously twisted. Scarlet isn't always easy to like, heck she doesn't like herself, and sometimes she's downright despicable, but man if this book didn't have me rooting for her! Let's back up. Scarlet was abused as a child. To say Scarlet has daddy issues is the understatement of the century. Her dad rapes her starting at 14 years old. She was the unwanted child in a way, and she pays for it. Her sister and mother don't believe her. They all have their reasons, but that doesn't change it's fucked up. Only she gets to see the evil inside of him. He ruins her.

In her early 20s she ends up, well like the blurb says. She'll take what she wants when she wants it. She gets power and she uses it. After all when she was a teen all power was stripped from her, and it twists her. Ultimately though she just wants revenge on those that hurt her, and she WILL GET IT. If you ask me, and probably anyone with a heart, she deserves her revenge. I wanted them to pay for what they did to her. They get no sympathy from me. But it takes her down a dark path, and there is more twisted shit going on than she knows. Some happiness does come through the book, but mostly it's just twisted sick obsessions and pain. And those obsessions can prove deadly.

I don't want to give too much away so sorry if i'm being vague. The book is fast-paced. It had me wanting to read so much faster than I actually can, I didn't want to stop reading, though at times I had to take a breather. It had me thinking hard at times. My emotions went all over the place, from aroused, to rooting for her with a grin on my face (questioning my sanity here), to crying, to shock and feeling like my insides were being squeezed. This book will make you feel dirty but you won't be able to get clean no matter how hard you try.

The writing flowed nicely and the characters were well written. I either loved them or loved to hate them. Scarlet is so much more layered than at first glance (and she has good in her). She may be twisted, but she was made, not born, that way. She's only twisted because she's human, so very human, and has went through so much hell that no one, especially a child, should ever have to go through. I just want to hug and protect her, let her cry and tell her it will all be okay. It won't be okay though, this book has chewed me up and spit me out.

I related to her feelings in ways through tore at my heart. I haven't went through what she has but I resonated with some of her feelings. The shutting off of emotions, or thinking that one has anyway, and she became my baby. You know those characters, they become your children.

This book has complex and well written characters and plot. It has strong messages and will make you think. It'll also shatter your heart.
This book can be hard to read, require tissues, and may shatter your soul, but if you think you can handle it or decide to give it a shot I do highly recommend it, as long as you are in a good head-space and have the tissues close. This book isn't for everyone. I recently finished this (a few hours ago as of writing this) and pieces of the puzzle are still falling into place...and I really wish they weren't.

Love does not live in this book. Only dark, twisted, and sick obsessions thrive here.

You. Have. Been. Warned!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Halloween Carnival Volume 2 edited by Brian James Freeman book thoughts

Title: Halloween Carnival Volume 2
Series: Yes, #2 out of 5 Halloween Carnival Anthologies
Author: Glen Hirshberg, Lee Thomas, Holly Newstein, Del James, Al Sarrantonio, edited by Brian James Freeman
Published Date: October 10th, 2017
Publisher: Hydra
Source: Netgalley
# of Pages: 130
Format: Ebook
Genre: Horror/Anthology
Days to Read: 2
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

Glen Hirshberg, Lee Thomas, Holly Newstein, Del James, and Al Sarrantonio bring the ghouls of the most haunted night of the year to life in a chilling collection of stories curated by master of horror Brian James Freeman.

MR. DARK’S CARNIVAL by Glen Hirshberg
Halloween is more than just a holiday in Clarkson, Montana; it’s a tradition passed down through generations. Only this year, the ghosts of the past may just be a little closer than usual.

When David was young, he believed in magic. In fact, he wanted to become a magician himself. But meddling in the forces of the mind has consequences beyond what an eleven-year-old can see.

MISCHIEF NIGHT by Holly Newstein
Cabbage Night, Goose Night, Devil’s Night—they’re all the same. Before the treats come the tricks. It’s all in good fun . . . until someone gets hurt.

When people need to disappear, I make them vanish. The catch? I’ve always got to be on guard—because that knock at the door may not just be a little monster looking for candy.

THE PUMPKIN BOY by Al Sarrantonio
When boys start going missing, Detective Len Schneider is determined to make it right. But his partner knows that there are worse things out there than a dead kid.

My Thoughts

TW: Death, Suicide, Murder, Gun, Alcoholism, Abuse

Mr. Dark’s Carnival by Glen Hirshberg- 4.5 stars

A ghost story in Montana. David, a college professor, teaches a class about folklore and his favorite part of the course is about the folk tale of Mr. Dark’s Carnival. It’s been rumored for years that a mysterous carnival pops up and only a certain few people get chosen to attend. He has never met anyone that has been to the carnival and doesn’t believe it exists, until he gets his ticket.

I loved the story, the creepiness, the folk lore, the atmosphere, and the carnival. The ending had me wanting to cry!

The Facts in the Case of My Sister by Lee Thomas- 5 stars

At 11 years old David gets into magic and hypnosis, using his new found talent on his 8 year old sister Joyce. Later in life Joyce ends up in the hospital from an “accident” that he doesn’t believe was an accident at all. This story was so heart-wrenching and had me in tears. David pulls a trick from his past to bring to light what really happened and learns that magic has consequences, even when ment for good, beyond what an 11 year old can see, and that sometimes, believing in monsters is a good thing. It’s all in the wording.

Mischief Night by Holly Newstein- 5 stars

Mischief Night in Pennsylvania some kids play annoying though harmless pranks. TPing trees, egging cars. But sometimes lines get crossed and things can get deadly. Willard, an old man had a good life with a wife and kids. Never drinking due to growing up with a nasty drunk for a father. In his retirement he figures it’s a harmless way to celebrate, but the bottle doesn’t let go of him. A troubled teen stumbles into his basement on mischief night. Can Willard’s bad decisions help the troubled teen on the path he’s on?

This story also had me in tears.

The Ghost Maker by Del James- 2.5 stars

You have to be on guard when your a mob hit man, especially on Halloween. Truthfully I liked it until the end only because I didn’t get it.

The Pumpkin Boy by Al Sarrantonio- 1.5 stars

Jody is home alone, 5 years old, for ½ an hour everyday after his babysitter leaves and before mom gets home. He knows he isn’t supposed to leave the house but he can’t resist following a pumpkin boy. A boy with metal for a body and a pumpkin for a head. There’s more to it but I didn’t understand it. Other people do though so i’m thinking this is a “it’s me” problem and not the story.

I loved 3 out of 5 stories and the other 2 I just didn't get personally but others have. I definitely recommend this anthology and enjoyed it even more than the first! I do plan on picking up the other 3 too! Thank you to Netgalley and Hydra for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott book thoughts

Title: The Pilo Family Circus
Series: Yes (The Pilo Family Circus #1)
Author: Will Elliott
Published Date: October 1st, 2006
Publisher: ABC Books
Source: I bought it
# of Pages: 321 pages
Format: Ebook
Genre: Horror
Days to Read: 3
Rating: ★★★★.5(4.5/5) stars
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

"You have two days to pass your audition. You better pass it, feller. You’re joining the circus. Ain’t that the best news you ever got?"

Delivered by a trio of psychotic clowns, this ultimatum plunges Jamie into the horrific alternate universe that is the centuries-old Pilo Family Circus, a borderline world between Hell and Earth from which humankind’s greatest tragedies have been perpetrated. Yet in this place—peopled by the gruesome, grotesque, and monstrous—where violence and savagery are the norm, Jamie finds that his worst enemy is himself.

When he applies the white face paint, he is transformed into JJ, the most vicious clown of all. And JJ wants Jamie dead!

My Thoughts

TW: Homophobia, Fire, Death, Animal Abuse (and death), Murder, Language, Self-Harm, R-word, Drugs

I'm not really sure what to say about this book, other than I loved it! It's horrorific at times, funny at others and tugged at my heart at other times still. It's fast-paced, or maybe that's me as I read it in 3 days because Spookathon. Still I was entertained and wanting to know what was going to happen through-out the entire book. It occasionally made me think. The writing was easy to read.

I fell in love with Jamie. The characters felt well done to me for their purposes. The plot and world-building really shined to me. I fell in love with the carnival! In a weird way sure, but still. Writing a review is difficult for this book but not for lack of love for it! If this sounds at all up your alley give it a shot! I can't wait to get the sequel!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Subhuman by Michael McBride book thoughts

Title: Subhuman
Series: Yes (Unit 51 #1)
Author: Michael McBride
Published Date: October 31st, 2017
Publisher: Pinnacle
Source: Netgalley
# of Pages: 400
Format: Ebook
Genre: Thriller
Days to Read: 6
Rating: ★★★.5 (3.5/5)
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

At a research station in Antarctica, five of the world’s top scientists have been brought together to solve one of the greatest mysteries in human history. Their subject, however, is anything but human . . .

Deep beneath the ice, the submerged ruins of a lost civilization hold the key to the strange mutations that each scientist has encountered across the globe: A misshapen skull in Russia. The grotesque carvings of a lost race in Peru. The mummified remains of a humanoid monstrosity in Egypt . . .

When a series of sound waves trigger the ancient organisms, a new kind of evolution begins. Latching onto a human host—crossbreeding with human DNA—a long-extinct life form is reborn. Its kind has not walked the earth for thousands of years. Its instincts are fiercer, more savage, than any predator alive. And its prey are the scientists who unleashed it, the humans who spawned it, and the tender living flesh on which it feeds . . .

My Thoughts

TW: Death, Blood, Self-harm, Fire, Mention of Nazi's in the past

It seemed to have a bit of a slow and confusing start but in time I figured out why it started out the way it did. I ended up reading this faster than I normally would, or at least it felt that way, because I was flying through the pages. Similar to how The Martian was for me. It's very heavy on the science and honestly I didn't understand a lot of it, but was able to get the basics of the story and I never felt like it was being pretentious or that I was dumb. I actually learned stuff from reading this and highlighted things I want to look up.

The only real downside is don't ask me who was who. I mean I should know but just didn't care enough to write down who was who and it didn't matter to me too much, I got the story, that's all I cared about.

It was thought-provoking at times. I loved the premise and the setting. One of the things I learned was that Antarctica has mountains...I probably should have already known that but Geography was not my strong suit in school. It had some emotional moments in the story too.

I enjoyed learning about stuff I should have learnt in school, but didn't or forgot, learning about the sciencey things as well as the characters and what they did, even if I can't tell you who did what. And I especially loved the conclusion! The second half was much more of a thriller and very bloody and I soaked it all up!

If it sounds interesting to you, give it a shot! I do plan on continuing on with this series.

"Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. both are equally terrifying. -Arthur C. Clarke"

Thank you to Netgalley and Pinnacle for letting me read this.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Halloween Carnival Volume 1 edited by Brian James Freeman book thoughts

Title: Halloween Carnival Volume 1
Series: Yes (#1/5)
Author: Robert McCammon, Kevin Lucia, John R. Little, Lisa Morton and Mark Allen Gunnells, edited by Brian James Freeman
Published Date: October 3rd, 2017
Publisher: Hydra
Source: Netgalley
# of Pages: 149
Format: Ebook
Genre: Horror/Anthology
Days to Read: 1
Rating: ★★★(3/5)
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

Robert McCammon, Kevin Lucia, John R. Little, Lisa Morton, and Mark Allan Gunnells put the horror back in Halloween with a quintet of devilishly delightful tales, curated by acclaimed author and editor Brian James Freeman.

STRANGE CANDY by Robert McCammon
Chocolate bars and sour suckers are trick-or-treat staples, but beware the odd sweet at the bottom of your bag. You never know who it’s from—or what it might do to you.

Father Ward should have heeded the warnings about hearing confession on All Hallow’s Eve. Because a man is about to tell him a secret more haunting than any he has heard before.

DEMON AIR by John R. Little
Fear of flying is not uncommon. But on this transpacific airline, the real danger isn’t the flight itself. It’s whoever—or whatever—is up in the air with you.

Trick McGrew, former cowboy star of the silver screen, has never believed in tall tales. But down in Mexico, the land of La Llorona, he’s about to find out just how real urban legends can be.

Some people will go to any lengths to rack up retweets, likes, and follows on social media, no matter who they end up hurting . . . or even killing.

My Thoughts

STRANGE CANDY by Robert McCammon★★★★★(5/5)

My favorite out of the collection! Not scary so much as heart-breaking, both hopeful and sad. A short but powerful ghost story.

THE RAGE OF ACHILLES by Kevin Lucia★★★.5 (3.5/5)

TW: Death, Murder, Suicide

Slightly confusing, but mostly heart-wrenching and haunting, about the pain of loss so all consuming it never really ends. A very moving story. A man has a son with autism who he loves very much and will go to great lengths for. I can't speak on the autism. Might be a bit hard to read for some in regards to ableism for lack of knowing how to better put it (though I wish I could figure out how to better put it). I am disabled myself (not autistic though so again, can't speak there) and can see how it might be hard to read for some disabled people, but personally I found it very well done. Not an easy read but still a powerful one about loss and grief.

DEMON AIR by John R. Little★.5(1.5/5)

This made no sense to me. I have no idea how Halle being Aborigine had anything to do with finding courage. I liked the part about her wanting to find out more about her identity after finding out she was adopted, but it just didn't go anywhere. One minute it had just became Halloween, the pilots became demon things to introduce the Halloween theme, Halle being Aborigine, which she just found out, ment she had to be courageous and stand up to them (which just felt like a weak plot point that had so much potential), and then quickly the scene and the day is over and they are still flying above the ocean. Not sure how that works. It just felt like the story had so much potential but it was too short to be fleshed out at all and didn't make any sense.

LA HACIENDA DE LOS MUERTOS by Lisa Morton★★(2/5)

TW: Racism

A racist actor gets called to be in a movie in Mexico. He doesn't believe in tall tales but is about to find out how true Urban Legends can be. It's at a ranch that is legitimately haunted. It's not really scary though. The actor's racism is talked about again and again, never followed up on and suddenly it's resolved magically at the end. I liked the urban legend and there is a bit of twist to it that I really appreciated.

#MAKEHALLOWEENSCARYAGAIN by Mark Allan Gunnells★★★.75(3.75/5)

TW: Death, Murder, Homophobia

A horror author is annoyed that people have turned Halloween into something no longer scary. So he starts a hashtag #MakeHalloweenScaryAgain that flops and does not catch on...except with one twisted person that ends up being a serial killer seeking out this past Halloween greatness and using the hashtag as a calling card at the murder scenes. Action and suspense were through-out the entire story (also the longest one being about 1/2 the book) at least until the end. I did guess the ending but did enjoy the journey getting there.

Final Thoughts

Average = 3.15

It's an anthology and in my limited anthology experience they do always seem to have some stories I enjoy and some I don't. It's just what happens. I am glad I read this for the 3 out of 5 stories I enjoyed and would recommend checking it out if you're interested. Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for this arc in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle book thoughts

Title: The Goblins of Bellwater
Series: N/A
Author: Molly Ringle
Published Date: October 1st, 2017
Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing
Source: Netgalley
# of Pages: 289
Format: Ebook
Genre: Fantasy/New Adult/Romance
Days to Read: 3
Rating: ★★★★.5 (4.5/5)
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out. Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit's end trying to understand what's wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn't talk of such things: he's the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.Then Kit starts dating Livy, and Skye draws Kit's cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods. Skye and Grady are doomed to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever, unless Livy, the only one untainted by enchantment, can unravel the spell by walking a dangerous magical path of her own.

My Thoughts

TW: Fire, Depression, Sexual Assault, PTSD

The Synopsis on Goodreads is spot on and I don't really know any other way to say it. Goblins, Fae, Romance and Magic.

It started off slow but even from the very beginning I was interested and enjoying it. The first 1/2 I wanted to keep reading and was intrigued, but in no rush, then the second half really picked up the pace and intrigue and I couldn't put it down! I read the first 1/2 in 2 days, the second 1/2 in one and stayed up too late doing so! There was one thing I predicted but only maybe a couple pages in advance, and I still loved it!

The writing was very readable. I don't necessarily think it's the best writing but I personally enjoyed it. I loved the characters! I don't think I can pick a favorite character, I just loved them all! Kit has had it so rough with the curse on his family and he's truly caring of others, and an artist with a chainsaw (sculptures). Livy is smart, a scientist, strong and also very caring. Grady is a wonderful chef and Skye is also an artist (without a chainsaw) who sketches and makes art in peoples coffee as a barista. Truly they are all caring people with their own things going on.

I enjoyed the world-building, it's set in washington (the state) but in a fictional town and while the real world is in there, so is fairies, goblins and magic! I truly enjoyed the atmosphere of the place.

The TW for fire (I was in a house fire 5 years ago and have PTSD from it) is something I wouldn't have been able to get through 5 years ago, so I mention it for anyone else who needs the TW. If you want to brace yourself for it, it's after water (that'll make sense in the book). About the 75% mark. I had to stop a couple times while reading it even still. However i'm really glad I read I this book and continued on with it! I have nothing against it of course, it's just trauma event=ptsd=trigger warnings for well-being.

The PTSD I mention isn't stated directly as PTSD in the book but to myself, someone with PTSD, it was plainly obvious and felt very real to my own experiences with it, with nightmares in particular. I would have had a hard time believing it if some trauma wasn't experienced after all that, but there was and for me personally I thought it was well done for what it was.

If an entertaining fantasy read with evil goblins, some good fae, romance, curses and magic, that is pretty light and fast to read with a bit of depth (but not too much) sprinkled in sounds interesting to you i'd definitely recommend checking it out! Some things below I wanted to talk about but may be considered spoilers.

*minor spoilers*

There is a thing with 9 fingers in the book, and I have 9 fingers, and I really enjoyed it! Of course it's nothing like my real life situation but I loved the way it was handled after the fact! No one made a big deal of it but of course they had to get used to it. I was born with a hypoplastic left thumb, and had a pollicization surgery (moved index finger to thumb spot) when I was 2 almost 3 years old. I was too young to remember the surgery but I do remember having to learn how to do things with my new hand. Since I was still a tot I had learned some motor skills but not all of them, so while it took some practice it wasn't too hard. I felt them getting used to it afterwards was very realistic in my own experience.

I can understand why some people have issues with the relationship between Grady and Skye but the awkwardness and stuff from the curse is mentioned and dealt with. Perhaps too neatly for some or not delved into enough but personally I loved it. It was a light fun read for me that I squeed a lot over. I was truly like this over some things.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Crowns of Croswald by D. E. Night book thoughts

Title: The Crowns of Croswald
Series: I think so
Author: D. E. Night
Published Date: July 21st, 2017
Publisher: Stories Untold
Source: Publisher
# of Pages: 310
Format: Physical
Genre: Middle Grade/Fantasy
Days to Read: 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Would I recommend it?: Yes
Would I read more books by this Author?: Yes
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret...

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic—and her life—is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.

My Thoughts

Thank you to the Author and Publisher for giving me this free book in exchange for an honest review.

A girl, Ivy, lives as a maid in a castle that has beautiful slurry fields where she sometimes meets her friend that is a dwarf while she enjoys sketching. One day she is kicked out for stuff that isn't even her fault, along with a dragon that had gotten sick (a temporary illness like a cold) that ends up being like a pet to her, she is almost 16, and she gets picked up by people that had been looking for her, because of her magical blood, in a flying carriage to go off to the Halls of Ivy to hone her skills as a scrivenist, in a town that as an evil Dark Queen for a ruler.

I ended up reading this entire book with a migraine, which I still have. Not because of the book, I think it's the changing seasons but i'm not sure. If I hadn't had said migraine I could have finished this book in 2-3 days. It's a light middle grade fantasy read, full of magic, adventure, and danger! So that may have clouded my enjoyment a bit.

It started off a bit slow for me. It does have the trope early on of an ugly woman with an ugly personality to match, even saying "Perhaps her horrid personality had seeped out and shaped her appearance." Yes, I really enjoyed this book but I always try to mention stuff I liked and didn't like in reviews. Maybe this is a me thing but i'm getting tired of seeing, especially in middle grade books where it seems to be most common, (from what i've seen), an ugly or disfigured person being evil or an asshole, as if someone's appearance and personality have to match. There was also a bit of talk about bodily emissions that, due to personal medical issues, I didn't quite appreciate. However all this is early in the book and doesn't last long.

It did pick up and I really enjoyed the rest of the book. It reminded me a bit of Harry Potter, in all the right ways, while still being different and standing on it's own! It did have some nice messages through-out the book too that I really did appreciate. The writing was easy to read and flowed well for me. I really enjoyed Ivy once I got to know her. She hasn't had an easy life but she is a nice girl, with a bit of a rebellious and stubborn side to her which I frankly loved! She knows people are keeping stuff about her from her and she is determined to find answers that she deserves to have about herself! I did enjoy the friendships in the book too and hope to see more of them in future books.

I loved the magic system in the book, no wands are needed! I did also enjoy the world-building, though I do still have some questions but the way it leaves off i'm assuming there is going to be more books, and if so hopefully we'll get some answers in them. I can't stop wondering if the hairies, little fairy creatures in lanterns used as lights, enjoy being used in that way, are they happy like that? How did that come about?

There was a twist that I loved and, personally I didn't see coming, but someone more read in fantasy might? I have no idea, but I enjoyed it just the same! Getting to figure out what secrets were being kept. There is still danger for the town, in the form of the Dark Queen that rules the place, and someone that betrayed Ivy and the school that is still unknown who it is. I have my guesses but will just have to wait for the next book to see if any of them are right!

It's truly a tale that gets more magical and exciting as you read with secrets being revealed through-out the story. If you enjoy middle grade fantasy with magic, adventure, secrets, rule-breaking, and an evil Queen in power i'd definitely recommend checking this out!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Savage Woods by Mary SanGiovanni book thoughts

Title: Savage Woods
Series: No
Author: Mary SanGiovanni
Published Date: September 26th, 2017
Publisher: Lyrical Underground
Source: Netgalley
# of Pages: 204
Format: Ebook
Genre: Horror
Days to Read: 3
Rating: ★★★.5
Would I recommend it?: Yes, if it's up your alley
Would I read more books by this Author?: Yes
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

Bram Stoker award-nominated author Mary SanGiovanni returns with a terrifying tale of madness, murder, and mind-shattering evil . . .

Nilhollow—six-hundred-plus acres of haunted woods in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens—is the stuff of urban legend. Amid tales of tree spirits and all-powerful forest gods are frightening accounts of hikers who went insane right before taking their own lives. It is here that Julia Russo flees when her violent ex-boyfriend runs her off the road . . . here that she vanishes without a trace.

State Trooper Peter Grainger has witnessed unspeakable things that have broken other men. But he has to find Julia and can’t turn back now. Every step takes him closer to an ugliness that won’t be appeased—a centuries-old, devouring hatred rising up to eviscerate humankind. Waiting, feeding, surviving. It’s unstoppable. And its time has come.

My Thoughts

TW: Blood, Gore, Language, Fire, Abuse, Death, Suicide, Self-Harm, Murder, Rape

This was an entertaining horror novel that kept me turning the pages fast. Julia has an abusive ex. One that made me able to relate to her in that way because i've been what she has been through, to a degree. Her ex goes completely off the rails to say the least but before that, the way he made her feel, the thoughts she had, i've been there. It felt real to me. It's told in what I believe is 3rd person and I think that's why I didn't actually get too emotional over it, just the way it's told for me. However I did really like Julia as she develops through-out the novel. She learns she deserves better, she's worth it and is a strong character. I was very much rooting for her! And sadly I know people like her ex exist in real life.

To put is simply without spoiling anything, there is evil in the woods. Julia's ex ends up chasing her into the woods and when it's realized they are missing and their cars are by the woods that have evil stories told about that area, some cops go looking for her. Obviously horror ensues in those woods.

I very much enjoyed the storyline and it kept me entertained, rooting for Julia especially, and wanting to know what was going to happen. I wasn't really scared, not totally sure why but that could just be me, but I was entertained. I wouldn't say it's a perfect novel, some things felt a little off here and there but nothing that made me quit enjoying it. Honestly Julia was my favorite part of the novel and her character development. I did enjoy the creepy woods too and the backstory of it and how it worked.

I was able to picture the woods very well from the descriptions. I also really liked the ending, it was a very satisfying ending!

I would recommend it if a short horror story about evil woods sounds up your alley, and you can handle the TW's.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fortitude Smashed by Taylor Brooke book thoughts

Title: Fortitude Smashed
Series: Yes (The Camellia Clock Cycle Book 1)
Author: Taylor Brooke
Published Date: September 21st, 2017
Publisher: Interlude Press
Source: Author
# of Pages: 331
Format: Ebook
Genre: NA/Contemporary/LGBT+
Days to Read: 5
Rating: ★★★★★
Would I recommend it?: Yes
Would I read more books by this Author?: Yes
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Sysnopsis

After scientists stumbled across an anomalous human hormone present during moments of emotional intimacy, further research created the ability to harness the direction of living energy and pinpoint when two lines will merge. Personalized chips are now implanted beneath the thumbnails of every infant, where glowing numbers count down to the moment they will meet their soul mate. Fate is now a calculation.

But loving someone isn’t.

When Shannon Wurther, the youngest detective in Southern California, finds himself face-to-face with Aiden Maar, the reckless art thief Shannon’s precinct has been chasing for months, they are both stunned. Their Camellia Clocks have timed out, and the men are left with a choice—love one another or defy fate.

My Thoughts

TW: Fire, Sexual Assault

Camellia Clocks are implanted beneath every infants thumbnail, where glowing numbers count down to the moment they will meet their soul mate. It seems to work out about 98% of the time, and even though the clocks will count down until you meet your soul mate, it's still your choice what to do with that information and it still takes work to have a relationship. Honestly with that synopsis I was a bit worried about how the book would go, but i'm so glad I gave it shot as I ended up loving it!

A thief, Aiden, attempting to steal a painting, and a detective, Shannon, end up timing out when Shannon catches Aiden attempting to steal said painting. Needless to say they were both kinda confused at that.

It's own voices for bi/pan characters, and mental illness rep. Aiden suffers from Dissociative Dysthymia, a chronic depression. He gets panic attacks.

I ended up relating to Aiden so much! His depression and his reactions mirror what i've experienced exactly! My reason are different than his, but the feelings are the same and I don't believe i've ever seen these feelings described so well, that fit me like a tee, in a book before. I've seen other great mental illness rep that fit me too in regards to anxiety but as for the Dissociative Dysthymia and panic attacks, not so much. Here, I felt like I was reading my story. It's an amazing feeling to know one isn't alone in such things. To know someone else understands.

All the characters in this book are complex and very well fleshed out. It really shows you how to look beyond what you first see when you see someone. You can't tell someone's story just by looking at them and knowing one facet of who they are, people are so much more than that and I loved how this book captured that! They are flawed, and at times I got angry at some of the other characters, but everything ended up being unpacked. I was angry because I was supposed to be and for good reason. Conversations were had and stuff was called out.

Yes, there is a romance here, but it is so much more than that. And no, mental illness is NOT cured by love. Yes it has a HEA, but Aiden is not cured. (Thank you!!)

There isn't really much action or plot to speak of, this is much more character-driven. If you're looking for an action packed plot-based book, this isn't it. But if you want a story with well-fleshed out, complex characters going through their life, trying to figure stuff out, sometimes making mistakes and being human, that is sweet and will tug at your heart, i'd highly recommend this!

Thank you to the author for giving me a chance to read this.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen book thoughts

Title: Nyxia
Series: Yes (The Nyxia Triad #1)
Author: Scott Reintgen
Published Date: September 12th, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Source: Netgalley
# of Pages: 384
Format: Kindle
Genre: YA/Sci-Fi
Days to Read: 6
Rating: 4.25 out of 5
Would I recommend it?: Yes
Would I read more books by this Author?: Yes
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

Emmett Atwater isn't just leaving Detroit; he's leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.


Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden--a planet that Babel has kept hidden--where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel's ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won't forever compromise what it means to be human.

My Thoughts

Emmett is one of 10 teens picked to go to the planet Eden. There they will meet a new species, try and set up a good life, and mine the very interesting substance called Nyxia. They are put through very tough training as they have to be prepared for life on Eden. They will be scored and not everyone gets to go to Eden.

The company they are working for is Babel Communications, and you know they are keeping secrets. Whoever does get to go to Eden gets a lot of money and they and their families will be set for life. Some of the kids form bonds despite competing against each other but sometimes they do need teamwork.

My favorite part of this book has to be the characters! Emmett is our MC and a black male from Detroit who has had a tough life, all the kids have really in their own ways, though Emmett does having a loving family. The other main characters include a smart and book loving Japanese girl, a southern belle from Tennessee, a pure ray of Sunshine from Palestine, a badass female warrior from Kenya, a calculating girl from Brazil, and more. A character also opens up a conversation on perceptions of people that I loved. I was able to see parts of myself in a couple of the characters and fell in love with each of them over the course of the book in their own ways. They are all different, and real. Their background and personalities shine through! I may have my favorite characters but they are all well done.


This book took me just a little bit to get into, and part of that may have been because life was being difficult, but it didn't take too long and the pace really picked up. I don't think anything was wasted time. The further into the book I got the more I had to keep reading on! It made me think on more than one occasion. I loved Emmett's POV and the book was very readable and easy to get into for me. The world-building, well they are on a ship through-out the book in space. I could picture it well enough. I'm more interested in Eden to be honest! There were twists that I didn't see coming. I have questions and I need the second book now!

The relationships between the characters I absolutely loved! There are rivalries, friendships that form and they are beautiful <3. My only issue is the romance at the end of the book felt a bit...off. It didn't feel developed enough for me or really make much sense to me. It just seemed to lack something for me. However there is a second and third book coming so I hope to see that more developed over time.

I had a lot of feels and tears through-out the book and other than the romance thing didn't really have any issues with it. I can't wait for the next book to find out what happens! I have feels and I need answers..

They are doing a lot of things, that's what they are doing.

Thank you to Netgalley and Crown Books for Young Readers for giving me the chance to read this book. If it sounds up your alley i'd highly recommend giving it a chance as it comes out September 12th, 2017!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Martian by Andy Weir book thoughts

Title: The Martian
Series: No
Author: Andy Weir
Published Date: Sept 27th, 2012
Publisher: Broadway Books
Source: I bought it
# of Pages: 435
Format: Paperback
Genre: Sci-Fi
Days to Read: 4
Rating: 3.75 stars
Would I recommend it?: Yes
Would I read more books by this Author?: Yes
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

My Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed and ate this book up! I was a little hesitant because I heard how sciency it is, and it is, but I found out understanding said science is not required, thankfully! I was still able to get the story and what was going on. I really liked Mark, he uses a bit of humor at times to help him get through rough times so there were plenty of laugh out loud moments as well as tension and emotional moments. I had to keep turning the pages to find out what was going to happen and how he'd survive being stranded on Mars, would they get to him in time?

His fellow crew mates had every reason to think he was dead when he wasn't hence how he ended up being stranded on Mars.

There were a couple really short moments that bugged me. One comment about wearing diapers seeming to imply that only babies wear diapers (and if you're an EVA suit of course). I have a neurogenic bladder and was born with IA (imperforate anus) aka I lack all control at the back end because I don't have a sphincter, I grew up doing enemas called malones through inserting a catheter into my belly button and hooking it up to saline because nothing would happen otherwise and i'd have accidents. I now have a colostomy. My bladder issues, I should really see a doctor about but right now just always wearing a pad is enough because I leak. I can't help these issues but they are purely physical. I was born with vacterl association, I am a complex medical mess and a lot of adults, even young ones, or teens, may have to wear diapers because of medical issues they can't control but that don't mean they are a baby or anything like that. It's a quick thing that maybe I took too personally but that is just my experience.

There is also one joke about prostitution which i'm sure to some people wouldn't be funny and could be hurtful. There is also one instance of rape mentioned but not in the literal sense. It's about "raping the MAV" aka tearing it apart so he could escape Mars, which while I understood is also...eh and again I mention it for those that might want to be warned of that.

Cons aside I loved Mark! I loved getting his thoughts as it's mostly told in his POV. I laughed, I cried, I was worried about him. I loved the morals of not giving up and that humans, at least most of us, care about trying to help each other in times of crisis. Marks POV was just everything to me. I had no idea that such a science heavy book about a guy stranded on Mars could be so entertaining and readable but it was and I do very much recommend it!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Aaru by David Meredith book thoughts

Title: Aaru
Series: Yes (The Aaru Cycyle Book 1)
Author: David Meredith
Published Date: July 9th, 2017
Publisher: Amazon
Source: Author
# of Pages: 305
Format: Ebook
Genre: YA/NA/Sci-Fi
Days to Read: 4
Rating: 3.75/5 stars
Would I recommend it?: Yes
Would I read more books by this Author?: Yes
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

"…Death and the stillness of death are the only things certain and common to all in this future…"
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear.

She is sixteen years old.

Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive super computer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model.

Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale.
What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed.

My Thoughts

I received this copy from David Meredith in exchange for my honest review.

This book really did tug at my heart strings. It starts off with Rose dying in the hospital thanks to Leukemia. While I have never had Leukemia so I understand it's different, having been born with vacterl association, among other things, living disabled and with chronic pain, and often being in the hospital for one surgery or another, I was able to relate to Rose in ways. In how she felt and the things she thought, I've had those same feelings and thoughts. And I don't think i've ever seen them written so plainly in a book before.

Even though Rose's body dies, they scan her brain beforehand so she can live on in Aaru, still able to communicate with others like her sister Koren and their parents. Her essence living on in basically a huge computer. What would you do if you could communicate with a loved one after death, their essence living on, able to talk to you through data in a computer, through a computer screen you could see each other? Sound too much like blasphemy? Playing God? Would you think it's a wonderful future, essentially conquering death once and for all? What about their soul? Is it truly them?

Since Rose is the first to really experience it, Koren is asked to be a spokesperson for Aaru, to help spread the word, and at just 13 years old becomes a celebrity. Both Rose and Koren have POV's. Not everyone is happy with Aaru but Koren does get many fans. The life of a young celebrity isn't exactly easy though. Even among her fans not everyone is...well good.

This tackles questions of life and death, of what it means to be alive, of being a celebrity and young.

I had a couple issues with it but over all did enjoy it. My issues having to do with Koren's mother slapping her and that never being mentioned as not ok, despite the situation. Even though I could understand her mother's feelings it isn't ok to slap your 13 year old child. One case of the r-word and a thing with Jonas (Koren's celebrity crush that she does end up meeting) that I don't want to spoil but left a bad taste in my mouth. Though about that last thing I did like that Koren does act like the young teenager that she is. I have nothing against the way she acted and thought, I could understand that having once been a teenager myself. I just don't want to spoil it..

I loved the characters and the writing had me flying across the pages while I was reading it, desperate to know what happened next. I cried and felt many emotions while reading. I loved the conversations about life, death, being sick, the way people treat you and the things they say when your chronically ill that I related so much too, and the role religion played. There were people of different religions and ethnicities in Aaru and that played a part in how they felt about it.

I am glad to have read this and am looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

I Hate Fairyland Vol 2 Fluff My Life by Skottie Young book thoughts

Title: Fluff My Life
Series: Yes (I Hate Fairyland #2)
Author: Skottie Young
Published Date: December 13th, 2016
Publisher: Image Comics
Source: I bought it
# of Pages: 128
Format: Comic/Paperback
Genre: Fantasy/Humor
Days to Read: 2
Rating: 4/5 stars
Would I recommend it?: Yes
Would I read more books by this Author?: Yes
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

All hail Gertrude, the new Queen of Fairyland. After thirty years of wreaking havoc across this magical world to find her way back home, she must now overcome her biggest challenge yet... ruling the place she hates most. Join Gert as she continues her never-ending quest to get the FLUFF out of Fairyland. The hilariously brutal Fairytale adventure continues by superstar cartoonist SKOTTIE YOUNG. Collects issues 6-10.

My Thoughts

It's difficult to review a comic, especially as this is not the first in the series. That said I very much enjoyed this second installment of I Hate Fairyland! Gertrude is still trying to escape fairyland to get back home. There is still plenty of deaths, blood and humor. I know how it sounds but this series doesn't take itself too seriously and it's all cartoony and colorful and still definitely not for kids! It's funny, gory and light-hearted. I feel like a bit more happened in the first volume but I still very much enjoyed this one and am looking forward to the third volume.