Book Review: Demon Whispers (The Survival Chronicles, Book 1) by N.R. Farnell

Demon Whispers (The Survival Chronicles, Book 1) by N.R. Farnell

An Urban Fantasy novel Independently published (05/17/2022)

Summary:

Devon has been captive for five long years but soon she will escape and find her sister. The knife she stole is hidden on her person and she knows that today is the day. Until a demon shows up and she has to pivot her plans. She knows she has to run, but when he offers her a deal she can’t refuse, it will go against all she’s ever known. She’s a demon hunter and he’s a demon after all.

Keywords:

Paranormal, Fantasy, Violence, Demon, Demon Hunter, Family, Romance, Enemies to Lovers, Fight or Flight, Injuries

My Review:

 

 

This novel was Independently published 05/17/2022 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 5.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Book Review: Flood of the Fire: A YA Epic Fantasy (The Outlawed Myth Book 4) by Evelyn Puerto

Flood of the Fire: A YA Epic Fantasy (The Outlawed Myth Book 4) by Evelyn Puerto

A YA fantasy novel published by Open Water Books (11/15/2022)

Summary:

“Confronting people with the truth is one thing. Inspiring them to have the courage to face it is another.” (Kindle Location 706).

Tereka isn’t the Desired One. At least, that’s what she keeps telling everyone and herself. What will it take for Tereka to believe in The Prophecy and in herself? With Damira and the Emporer invading Tlefas, Tereka will have to find out who really is the Desired One and whether this invading army will finally bring peace and freedom. Or perhaps they are just another power-hungry force that wants to rule the land.

Keywords:

Fantasy, Travel, Journey, Risk, Attack, Flee, Hide, Town, Secrets, Power, Rulers, Magic, Amulets, Love, Friendship, Romance, Triumph, Battle, Conclusion

My Review:

After four books, the story of Tereka, the mystery of the amulets, the promise of The Prophecy, and the conclusion of the romance are finally coming to an end. I forgot how much I missed Tereka and her story after the third book. In fact, I forgot a lot about Tereka, her story, her romances and friendships, and the struggles of Tlefas. It was difficult to jump right back into her story and try to remember who the characters were and why I cared about them. But I did care about them. I cared about some of them a lot! As the protagonist once again, Tereka was most important to me, but I also was still very fascinated by Damira. There was a will she/ won’t she have a happy ending teeter-totter. You’ll have to read this final book in the Outlawed Myth Series to find out what happens to Damira and her power struggles with the Scorpion Amulets.

I appreciated and was fascinated with Damira and the way she viewed the world versus how her brother, her loved one, and her enemy viewed her. That was the strongest pull of this story for me. I really, really wanted to know what was going to happen to Damira.

This book was one long conclusion and I appreciated how every thread from the previous three books was wrapped up, from Kaberco to Iskra. However, the ending was not as strong as I wanted it to be, particularly with the wrap-up between Tereka and Naco. I wanted more buildup to their conclusion, even if it was the ending that I didn’t know I wanted. Again, you’ll have to read the book to find out what happens between the two. Meanwhile, Kemet butts back into the story and I enjoyed having him back in the story. Bringing back Kemet provided some great tension.

This novel was published by Open Water Books 11/15/2022 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Evelyn Puerto’s Website

Book Review: Musical Games (Kinloch Series, #4) by Evie Alexander

Musical Games (Kinloch Series, #4) by Evie Alexander

A Comedic Romance Novel published by Emlin Press (01/27/23)

Summary:

Sam wants more. Bigger roles. Better roles. Making up an excuse to leave behind her life as a small-time soap opera star for a week, she heads to Scotland to meet Hollywood’s big star Brad. She meets Jamie instead, a homebody who still loves with his mother, and works at his dead-end electrician’s job day in and day out. Jamie has never left Scotland and is perfectly content to continue living with his mother, even in his late twenties. Sam’s arrival shakes up his routine and he can’t stop thinking about her. Sam can’t stop thinking about Jamie but is determined to use Brad to get ahead in her career. Will she get sidetracked by Jamie or will he be the best thing to ever happen to her life?

Keywords:

Romance, Contemporary, Standalone, HEA, Scotland, Sweet, Sex Scenes, Humor, Opposites Attract, Hollywood, Scotland, Scottish

My Review:

Another book set in the Kinloch series! I love that the author brings us a new story and new depth to characters from the other books of the series. Jamie is sweet and broody while Sam is career and future-focused. This book felt like a gender role reversal where the man is the good-looking yet sexually inexperienced main character while the woman is the lively and hot breadwinner. 

While Jamie is the hunky male hero, you’ll have to go along with the fact that he is a sex God virgin. Don’t roll your eyes but everything he learned, he learned from reading raunchy romance novels. Jamie has never had a girlfriend, never been kissed, and never had sex before. He is also poor at communicating, assumes that Sam will see how much he has fallen for her without actually saying anything, and also believes she’s too good for him and won’t want to slow down her life to accommodate him in it. I thought the relationship aspects of Jamie and how he approached his infatuation with Sam as so believable. Of course, someone who was never in a romantic relationship before wouldn’t know how to communicate with their partner! Apparently, Jamie didn’t learn how to talk to Sam about his feelings from those same raunchy romance novels. This is the kind of book and the kind of relationship-inexperienced character that makes you want to yell, “just tell her how you feel, man!” 

The idea and main plot, just like the previous books in the series, were well-executed, simple, and clean yet there’s always something going on.

I am very drawn to the romance, the writing style, and the intriguing plot of the Kinloch Series.

If you love over-the-top dreamy protagonists – even flawed they seem so unattainable in their perfection – you will absolutely enjoy this book and this series.

I received an ARC and this is my honest review.

This novel will be published by Emlin Press on 01/27/2023 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Author Bio:

Evie Alexander is the award-winning author of best-selling sexy romantic comedies with a very British sense of humor. She takes a method approach to her work, believing her capacity to repeatedly fail at life and love is what has given her such a rich supply of material for her writing.

Her interests include reading, eating, saving the world, and fantasizing about people who only exist between the pages of her books. She lives in the West country with her family.

Links for more information:

Book Review: Ex Appeal (Ponto Beach Reunion Book 3) by Cathy Yardley

Ex Appeal (Ponto Beach Reunion Book 3) by Cathy Yardley

A Romance published by Montlake (11/01/22)

Summary:

Vinh is on the fast track to make it big, until suddenly one of his accounts loses millions and the only one to blame is him. Or is he being set up? Locked out of the company and the accounts, Vinh will have no choice but to turn to the one person he trusts to hack the hacker, retrieve the money, and clear his name. Will she still be mad at him for breaking up with her ten years ago when her life was suddenly turned upside down or can he convince her to help him?

Emily was on track to graduate college, get a great job, and put her tech skills to use. But that was ten years ago, before her dad died, she dropped out of college to support her mother, and set aside her dreams. Now she works a tech support job, lives at home, and is barely making ends meet. When Vinh comes to her with a proposal, she wants to turn him down, but she could really use the money. She’s kept up with her hacking skills but is still angry with Vinh for the way he broke up with her all those years ago.

Keywords:

Romance, Friendship, Contemporary, Second Chance Romance, Exes, Hacker, Forced Proximity, Dual POV, Popularity, Heartbreak, Career Focused, Tech Support, Finances

My Review:

Another great Ponto Beach Reunion book! I absolutely loved the deep dive into both Vinh and Emily. They have real problems and are still not over each other. Emily is angry at Vinh for what he did. Vinh is still in love with her. The forced situation and forced proximity are the perfect setup to let this romance simmer and stew. The author is an expert at setting up situations between the main characters. 

Both Emily and Vinh are relatable and full of personality. I loved every time they were together and all the time they spent apart. I was rooting for them from the very beginning, even before I learned more about their previous breakup. 

From previous novels, I didn’t like Vinh. He seemed cold and distant and completely career-oriented and nothing more. That all changed when I read the chapters from his POV. The author truly brings him alive. 

I love capable characters who find themselves in bad situations. Emily is an excellent hacker with skills she hasn’t let get too rusty. She just got stuck living paycheck to paycheck to support her mom and their living-beyond-their-means big house that their dad mortgaged into debt to afford. There is a believable reason for all the choices Emily has made in the last ten years but as a whole the current situation she’s in is so sad. As a strong, capable, intelligent person she is stuck. She’s not just stuck in her situation; she’s stuck in her head. There are both internal and external factors holding her back and she grows so much during the course of this story. You’ll be rooting for her and for Vinh the whole time. 

This novel was published by Montlake on 11/01/2022 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Cathy Yardley’s Website

Book Review: Bloodless Ties (The Marionettes #3) by Katie Wismer

Bloodless Ties (The Marionettes #3) by Katie Wismer

A Dark Urban Fantasy Novel published by Ahimsa Press (11/15/22)

Summary:

Valerie’s blood deal with James Westcott to free herself from the wendigo curse has trapped her in other ways. She’s far from home and everyone she loves thinks she’s dead, including Reid. With Westcott hiding more secrets, can Valerie figure out a way around the blood deal to get home without getting more involved?

Keywords:

Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Witches, Paranormal, Romance, Sacrifice, Blood, Attack, Mystery, Friendship, Family, Love, Gothic Fiction, New Adult

My Review:

In this third book of the series, we really get to see more of Valerie outside of the sphere of the Marionettes and the estate. The book focuses on her grief and how stuck she is within the blood deal she made at the end of the last book. She is hopeless but spirited. We really get to see her fighting inner strength and spirit laced with her grief. While reading the book, it feels like a lot of emotions are happening and you get caught up in Valerie’s feelings. After finishing this book, I realized that not a lot happened plot wise in this novel. I didn’t mind that though because I enjoyed getting more into Valerie’s head and I always enjoy the way the author writes descriptions and builds up this world of the Marionettes.

My favorite part about the Marionettes’ series is the character development and the writing style of the author. I loved getting more of Valerie as well as Connor and some of the new characters that were introduced, like Cam. I really, really like how well the author writes broody characters. I also quite enjoyed the way the author writes about werewolves. My favorite parts of the book were in their camp.

The ending felt like it was written at a different time than the rest of the book as the tone seems to change slightly, and it does feel a tad rushed. Get ready for more unanswered questions at the end because there is another book coming!

This novel was published by Ahimsa Press 11/15/22 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Katie Wismer’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Wildseed Witch by Marti Dumas

Wildseed Witch by Marti Dumas

A Middle-Grade Fantasy Novel published by Amulet Books (05/10/22)

Summary:

Hasani is all about growing her makeup YouTube channel this summer and getting to 100 followers. When an emotional outburst sets a bridge covered in vines, she’ll have to change her summer plans. She’s offered a scholarship to a charm school for witches. And Hasani is a wildseed witch. It’s a whirlwind for her as they get her ready to go to this school and her arrival at Les Belles Demoiselles is just as chaotic. Hasani just learned she was a witch and doesn’t know how to control her powers, while most of the other girls have known they were witches their whole lives.

Keywords:

Magic, Witches, School, Charm School, Old-Money, Control, YouTube, Influencer, Makeup, Power, Influence, Family, Friendship, Bullying

My Review:

After arriving at the charm school, this book continually challenged my assumptions of what magic can be. Just like Hasani, I had to learn what magic looks like and how it can be controlled at Les Belles Demoiselles. And just like Hasani and her mother, I did not know how to pronounce this charm school. We both had a lot to learn! The author keeps the reader in the dark as much as Hasani is in the dark about what to do, where to go, how to behave, what’s right, what’s wrong, and most everything else! I felt her frustration and confusion. And she didn’t even know where the bathroom was. Hasani is clueless. The other girls think her ignorant and wild. The teachers are reserving judgment, mostly. I would be crying myself to sleep every night in this situation.

There are some big lessons to learn from reading this book about controlling emotions and learning restraint, making friends, etc. The lessons feel very intertwined with the story and the main character’s growth.

I loved the details about the setting. The book takes place in New Orleans and carries with it the historical weight of the area.

This novel was published by Amulet Books on 05/10/2022 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.5

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Marti Dumas’ Website

Book Review: The Beauty of Perhaps by Eryn Scott

The Beauty of Perhaps by Eryn Scott

A Romance Novel published by Kristopherson Press (05/02/17)

Summary:

Molly has her life together… Same dinner dates every week. Same boyfriend. Same job. Smooth and predictable. Until her boyfriend breaks up with her because she’s boring. No boyfriend, no job, and nothing holding her back from trying out some impulsivity in her life. She gets accepted for a teaching job on the remote Scottish island Lilliebrae. Will she defy her predictable-loving nature or learn to accept some adventure and newness in her life?

Keywords:

Chick Lit, Romance, Contemporary, Love at First Sight, Friendship, Scotland, Travel, Painting, Parents, Baggage

My Review:

This book felt like a coming of age for a middle-twenties protagonist – which I absolutely loved! Like a quarter-life crisis that happens post-college. It was so rewarding to watch Molly’s growth as she changed throughout this book. There was as much self-growth for Molly as there was romance, which I appreciated. It wasn’t just Molly going through growth, but also her romantic partner Gates. I was pleasantly surprised that both Molly and Gates were fleshed out and given depth as characters. They were each compelling and flawed in their own way.

I absolutely loved the setting. I was instantly transported to the island of Lilliebrae. I could see it in the picturesque views and feel it in the tone of the place and the way the local townsfolk talked and acted. At times the local brogue was a bit difficult to parse and it took me out of the story as I tried to interpret what the characters were saying.

I really enjoyed how unique each of the other minor characters was, especially all the children! This really added to the meatiness of the novel. Solid contemporary read.

This novel was published by Kristopherson Press on 05/02/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Eryn Scott’s Website

Book Review: Daughter of Magic (The Daughter of Magic Trilogy Book 1) by Karen Eisenbrey

Daughter of Magic (The Daughter of Magic Trilogy Book 1) by Karen Eisenbrey

A YA Fantasy Novel published by Immortal Works (05/22/18)

Summary:

Luskell doesn’t think she has magic, even though her parents are both powerful wizards. They leave her behind in Deep River as they go to the city for their annual work trip as interpreters. Luskell has had strange dreams at night and during the day she starts to get into the small town feel of the place. She participates in gossip, makes new friends, and even names a new horse. Meanwhile, there’s something strange and concerning going on in the capital, but neither of Luskell’s parents can pin down what’s really going on. And then the strangest thing happens to Luskell and she decides to take action.

Keywords:

Coming of age, action, magic, wizards, transfiguration, spells, power, leader, small town, gossip, friendship, chores, sneaking out

My Review:

This fantasy is full of the YA feels. Luskell is your typical teenager. She rolls her eyes at her parents, argues with her mom, sneaks out, and speaks her mind. She is such a rebellious teenager who is headstrong, stubborn, acts before thinking, is competitive with others, and is impatient with herself. As soon as she thinks of an idea, she acts on it. On the other hand, she is brave and loyal and doesn’t pause to consider the potential danger and harm to herself if someone she loves is in danger. She is a YA main character to the max and I really enjoyed how well she is written and how much of a filled-out personality she has. Because Luskell (and other characters) are fully sketched out, I would enjoy reading more of this series.

I would also continue reading the next book in this trilogy because this first book has a hook beyond the in-depth characters. It has a plot that has action and intrigue. It has an arc that has a satisfying ending but also the potential to continue expanding the storyline and world through more books.

Though this book was a bit more difficult to get into at the beginning due to rapid character POV changes with almost every chapter, the writing style is easy to read and the world-building is slowly fleshed out. I had a hard time keeping the characters straight for a number of chapters but as the story slowly developed I became more and more engrossed and the characters and their relationships started to make more sense. Some of the characters shared names or name structures and most of them are introduced in the beginning.

Luskell is a main character who discovers her magic midway through the book and with a short training montage is able to quickly master several spells without issue. She is a main character who seems like she might be the most powerful wizard and it’s not that difficult (one afternoon of intense training) for her to learn to use her magic (to learn to use less power at one time). Since I was already invested in Luskell and the story and the dire situation, I looked past this trope but still noticed that it was happening. At this point in the book, I already loved the three teens and wanted them to succeed.

There is a hint of a romance and a potential love triangle, but this element is not given nearly as much attention as Luskell coming into her magic and her desire to use it immediately to help the ones she loves. Perhaps in further books, this romance will be more developed. Since the characters were my favorite part of the book, I would love to see where this romantic development goes.

This novel was published by Not a Pipe Publishing on 05/22/2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Karen Eisenbrey’s Website

Book Review: Strange Gods by Alison Kimble

Strange Gods by Alison Kimble

A YA Fantasy Novel published by Immortal Works (07/20/21)

Summary:

Spooky is at a summer camp for troubled teens. She’s waiting for The Change – a big moment that starts the rest of her life. Maybe sneaking out for her first kiss will be The Change. Instead, she gets pulled into another dimension and confronted with a trickster God. Either she tells him stories for the rest of her life or she finds a way to appease him and supply him with endless stories. After a few hours, she’s already hoarse. Can she talk her way out of her predicament?

Keywords:

Weird Mythology, Portal, Lessons Learned, Summer Camp, Troubled Teens, Bargain, Travel, Journey, Strange Gods

My Review:

What an extraordinary out-of-the-ordinary book that I didn’t even know I needed in my life! I absolutely adore well-written strange and creative books and this one is no exception. The characters – especially Spooky – were given depth, personality, and realism. I wanted to know what made Spooky tick. The fact that she’s at a camp that exploits the campers’ biggest fears added another dimension. What motivates Spooky to conform to her parent’s expectations? Why is everyone else in this camp? This camp is both a terrible place and a terribly fascinating place (to those not currently stuck there that is). The world-building drew me in immediately and the way the author slowly unraveled the mystery of this camp and some of the other campers’ backstories was expertly done.

 

It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel because it’s so well written and well edited. It’s fast-paced and has a definitive story arc. There are setbacks and obstacles. The main character has to learn her lesson along the journey. There are high stakes. Though the main plot is highly fantastical, the logic and the journey are very realistically written. The characters eat and never forget their bruises or their snark.

 

If you enjoy a book that isn’t totally mainstream but a little creepy and strange, you’ll love this YA novel.

 

This novel was published by Immortal Works on 07/20/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Allison Kimble’s Website

Book Review: In Her Way by Eryn Scott

In Her Way by Eryn Scott

A Romantic Suspense Novel published by Kristopherson Press (09/08/15)

Summary:

Julep is in the midst of launching her first business – a dentist’s office. Everything is going to plan until it isn’t.

Keywords:

Chick Lit, Romance, Mystery, Contemporary, Love at First Sight, Dentist, Friendship

My Review:

The characters were not that interesting. I didn’t feel very invested in them or the outcome of their relationships. I did not relate to them or care what happened to them. They felt flat and with very little depth. The main character’s thoughts were too surface level and there was too much inner monologuing and speaking directly to the reader.
I wanted more action and less telling. Even with what little was going on (there was a definitive beginning, middle, and end) I just didn’t feel engaged in the story. There didn’t seem to be much going on in the beginning half of the story and by the time the main plot was revealed, I just didn’t care. It was cliche, not very well thought out, and not very well written. It didn’t feel like there were any stakes in the first half and by the time there were stakes, they didn’t feel believable.
Kaylee and the way she was written annoyed me the most. She didn’t feel realistic. It seemed like she was the glue holding the plot together amidst this laughable romance between Andrew and Julep. I wouldn’t have finished if I wasn’t reading a physical book.
I loved the premise of the book but the execution fell far short.

This novel was published by Emlin Press on 09/08/2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 2.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Eryn Scott’s Website