Category Archives: ARC Review

Tide: Review

Tide
by Lacy Sheridan
Published March 6th 2020
541 pages
Genres: Fantasy Action & Adventure

Book Reviews - Loved It

Synopsis:

Content Rating: YA romance (kissing but no sex), Action/adventure, Slavery and Physical abuse.

When the tides roll in, death follows.

That is what eighteen-year-old Hania has been told all her life. For the depths of the sea hide the cruel and magical tidespeople, strange gods and creatures of the water who see human life as nothing more than a game. When they sweep her brother away with them, a new pet for their queen, she knows she has no option but to get him back. And her one hope is Aven, a lonely, imprisoned selkie desperate to return home. So she strikes a deal.

She will return his skin, and his power with it, and in exchange Aven will take her to the Realm of Tides.

But once there Hania finds a world unlike any she imagined. A world of beauty and danger, of magic beyond any the old tales could have prepared her for. The longer she finds herself there the more fear of the undersea realm turns to awe–and an uneasy alliance with Aven turns to something far more thrilling and far more damning. But here deadlier creatures than Aven lurk, eager to kill her, claim her, or break her.

Her brother’s capture is only the beginning of the game. A game of hearts and lives, loyalty and cunning. And to save them all she must be willing to play it and win–or die trying.

Review:

  • I received this book free from the author.

This book was so much fun! I’m so glad the author reached out through my blog and gave me the chance to read her story. It was unlike any other YA book I’ve read. Also can we take a moment and acknowledge the beautiful cover? 😍 Wow.

The world you first enter is rather familiar for YA fantasy readers. Middle ages setting, small village, the market square, the baker’s son, a heroine that loves her home and has a tragic backstory. You even first enter the story with Hania getting an archery lesson. It was easy for me to think, “Ah, I know where this is going….”

I was so, so wrong! Happily so.

Once the story gets rolling it becomes something totally unique.

I’m not even sure how to review it without spoilers. So be forewarned there may be slight spoilers ahead, although I have done my best to minimize them.

The world of Tides is an amazing place full of amazing settings and creatures. I want to go back and reread the descriptions of the forest where they enter the land of Tides. I was engrossed in the action and hungry to know what was going to happen that I didn’t fully take them in.

Hania grew on me, I was afraid of another oh-so-special-chosen-one type heroine or the possibility of that she’d be the girl everyone falls in love with so they will do anything for her. In the end Hania was her own person who gains friends by being frank, but courteous, carefully thinking through situations and sheer will. She stands out from the other humans the Tidespeople meet because of that she is just too determined to quit. 

This book touches on some deep issues of slavery, revenge, loyalty and family.  I was impressed for what at first seemed like a typical YA fantasy and  a debut none the less. On the one hand the story had so much action and adventure but on the other it really resonates.

Bottom Line:

A treat of a read! World building, beautiful settings, strong characters and surprising twists make this a great YA book.

Goodreads / Amazon

Make Your Myth Taker

The story continues see my previous posts here.

Johanna knew that in order to free her people from the hand of the Frank’s that she’d need allies. There was a tournament announced at Ipswich. She had just a fortnight to make it there and that would mean chartering a boat to take the way through IJsseloog. It wouldn’t come cheap though.

Sailors claimed those waters were haunted. Ships sailing near those waters disappeared.

She found a drunken Captain with enough debts to make him desperate enough to attempt the straight.

The weather was pleasant but as they approach the small rocky islands near the center of the straight the ship grew silent and the sailors pensive.

It wasn’t long before  the singing began. At first a low hum, then a sweet melody swept over the deck. “Siren” someone whispered, but it was too late.  The men were now calm, their eyes glassy, each one was now starring to the North, to the rocks.

Johanna began to panic if they steered the ship in that direction the boat would be dashed to pieces.

The Second Adventure

How will Johanna escape the Siren?

  1. The Captain may be a drunk but he wasn’t a fool. He hired a deaf helms man. With a nod the new helms man steps forward and steer the ship on course. He can’t hear the Sirens song nor the pleas of the crewmen. (If so my next post will be a continuation of the 40 Series with 40 Myths, Monsters and Legends.)
  2. A sudden squall sweeps the ship past the rocks and the Siren. (If so my next post will be a review  a review of Feast of Phantoms.)
  3. A mermaid comes along to intervene. (If so my next post will be a review of NeverSea.)
  4. Nothing works! The ship is steered onto the rocks and destroyed and Johanna is the only survivor. (If so my next post will be a tour of my TBR shelves.)

Vote by leaving me a comment or going to my Twitter poll. The adventure will continue soon…

Dead Ringer: Review

Dead Ringer Book CoverDead Ringer (Gaslamp Gothic #5)
by Kat Ross
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 13th 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling

Book Reviews - Loved It

Synopsis:

Content Rating: Adult content including violence.

A poisonous secret.
A terrifying curse.
And a client she’d just as soon see dead in a ditch….

Summer 1889. Harrison Fearing Pell hoped for adventure when she signed on with the Society for Psychical Research as an occult investigator. Slogging through New York’s sewers in pursuit of a “mud man” wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. But the reeking monster terrorizing the dance halls of the Tenderloin leads her to an even more peculiar mystery — and the last man on earth Harry wishes to become entangled with.

James Moran is a prodigy in music, mathematics . . . and crime. Harry’s older sister, the famed detective Myrtle Fearing Pell, has vowed to put him behind bars. But Harry owes Moran a personal debt, so when he demands her aid she can hardly refuse. It turns out that the brilliant black sheep of New York Society is part of a secret club at Columbia College whose members have started dying in bizarre ways that may not be accidents.

Thus begins one of the strangest cases of Harry’s career, a tale of murder, cold-blooded revenge and fairytale bogeymen to make the Brothers Grimm shudder. As the bodies pile up, each preceded by sightings of the victim’s doppelgänger, Harry and her stalwart friend John Weston must race against time to save a man who arguably deserves his macabre fate.

Review:

If the X-Files were set in turn of the century New York Dead Ringer would make a great episode.

I’m not much of a fan of mysteries, but Dead Ringer is a tension-building fast paced story that has enough of the fantasy elements, plus good characters that kept me interested.

The whole Gaslamp Gothic series is very moody. The dark streets of the seedier parts of New York can practically be felt (I was just glad I couldn’t actually smell the sewers.) I could perfectly picture the stately manor of the Moran family and the Central Park gardens on a sunny afternoon. And I wanted to close my eyes with Harry when she is creeping up the steps and has to navigate the one squeaky spot. Mood in this book is 💯.

I enjoyed coming back to Harry and John after spending two books of the series centered on Gabriel  and Anne. And although you could start with the  The Daemoniac, the first book in the series, you don’t need to. Like a good Sherlock Holmes novel Dead Ringer carries its own weight, and although reading the other books will give you more of a backstory with the characters and world-building it isn’t necessary to enjoying this entry.

Kat Ross always has good characters in her books, as in deep, thoughtful well-written characters that you want to take out to tea and spend an afternoon talking to, even the criminal mastermind James Moran would be interesting company for an afternoon.

Harry and John have great chemistry and I hope their slow burn romance will have some big payout in a future book.

Bottom Line:

Dead Ringer is a moody gothic supernatural mystery that I think will appeal to readers across genre lines. It’s just plain good.

From the corner of my eye, I sensed him studying me. “What?” I snapped.

“You’re prettier than her.”

I didn’t need to ask who he meant. “Don’t waste your time with flattery,” I replied scornfully.

“It’s not flattery, simply a fact. And here’s another fact. She’s smarter.”

I scowled and Moran gave me a crooked little smile. “But not by much.”

Read my reviews of other books in this series:

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

 

🤩 Leave a comment to enter my giveaway for a kindle copy of A Bad Breed by Kat Ross.. 💬 Every blog comment between now and Valentines Day (Feb 14th) will get you one entry the giveaway of this darkly magical reimagining of Beauty and the Beast. Giveaway is International, so long as you can receive a link to redeem a Kindle book from Amazon.

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By the Feet of Men: Review

By the Feet of Men
by Grant Price
Publication date:  September 2019
Genres: Science Fiction, Adventure, Dystopian

Book Reviews- Liked it Alot

Synopsis:

WANTED: Men and women willing to drive through the valley of the shadow of death.

The world’s population has been decimated by the Change, a chain reaction of events triggered by global warming. In Europe, governments have fallen, cities have crumbled and the wheels of production have ground to a halt. The Alps region, containing most of the continent’s remaining fresh water, has become a closed state with heavily fortified borders. Survivors cling on by trading through the Runners, truck drivers who deliver cargo and take a percentage. Amid the ruins of central Germany, two Runners, Cassady and Ghazi, are called on to deliver medical supplies to a research base deep in the Italian desert, where scientists claim to be building a machine that could reverse the effects of the Change. Joining the pair are a ragtag collection of drivers, all of whom have something to prove. Standing in their way are starving nomads, crumbling cities, hostile weather and a rogue state hell-bent on the convoy’s destruction. And there’s another problem: Cassady is close to losing his nerve.

Review:

  • I received a copy of this book from the author.

I accepted this book partly because I love dystopian fiction and partly because I have a truck driver for a husband. It took me a while to get to it because I have this HUGE, I mean TOWERING TBR pile.

By The Feet of Men is a fast paced novel that still finds the time for deep character moments.

I really enjoyed the main characters Ghazi and Cass. Although there were times that I couldn’t quite get what Ghazi was thinking. Or why he seemed to jump from one thing to another… although by the end he seemed to have evened out. Cass however was really well written, you could feel his seams ripping out, you feared that he was a breath away from losing it all together. The tension in him was palpable.

The post-climate-apocalyptic setting is one that’s setup to appeal to current audiences, and seems to be an “in” trend these days. This was usually handled pretty well in the book, but there were sometimes it was just too much. A little too much hit-you-over-the-head, guilt-tripping exposition. At other times you could really feel like the setting and history were really plausible.

Hope Hart BookmarkSidenote: I always try to pick ironic bookmarks and for By The Feet of Men I used one of our American Agri-Women Women Heros of Science and Technology bookmarks. It felt absolutely perfect to have Hope Hart,  the leader of the molecular characterization team at Sygenta, with me every time I picked up the book.

Late in the book you get to hear the backstory of a character who lived through the collapse, and man that was emotional and well done and believable.

The big thing that kept this book from receiving my highest rating is that it goes on for a little too long. The team gets hit again, and again, and again, and by the end I felt a little fatigue from it all.

Bottom Line:

A solid post-apocalyptic, dystopian science fiction novel. It’s one I enjoyed even if it went on a little too long.

Goodreads / Amazon

P.S. Every blog comment between now and Valentines Day (Feb 14th) will get you one entry into a giveaway of a kindle copy of A Bad Breed by Kat Ross. A darkly magical reimagining of Beauty and the Beast. Giveaway is International, so long as you can receive a link to redeem a Kindle book from Amazon.

Mythical Me: Review

Mythical Me: Finding Freedom from Constant Comparison
by Richella Parham
Publication Date : October 22nd 2019
Publish by: IVP Books
152 pages

Book Reviews - Loved It

Synopsis:

Do you ever find yourself stuck in the comparison trap?

Speaker and author Richella Parham knows what this feels like. “I couldn’t break free from admiring one person’s achievements, someone else’s personality, another’s skills, yet another’s relationships. And don’t get me started on how I looked at other people’s appearances,” she writes. “I was haunted by the admirable attributes of other people, certain that I could never match their worthiness. No matter how well-intentioned the teaching or pithy the advice, I found that most of it didn’t help me change my thoughts, feelings, or actions.”

While there are no easy answers, Parham has identified cultural and spiritual myths about others, God, and ourselves that keep us trapped. From there the journey is a spiritual one. We can pick up practices that help us walk in the freedom of Christ with confidence in ourselves. If you’ve ever suffered from tortured moments of comparison on Facebook, in the office, or in the hallway at church, you’ll benefit from this fresh perspective.

Review:

  • I received this book from the publisher. This review is based on a complimentary pre-release copy.

Have you ever read a book you liked so much that you could hardly review it? That’s Mythical Me, in my mind.

This book came to me at just the right time in my life and it delivered just the right wisdom.

Insightful, inspirational, and raw Richella delivers her wisdom from a personal struggle with comparison. Her battle with it really struck a chord with me. Her gentle way of moving you through the struggles and into freedom leaves you feeling that it is achievable. It’s a book full of hope.

My copy is full of dog eared corners (which I do not normally do, but I couldn’t pause to find something to mark the page with.) I was engrossed, yet I couldn’t hurry. It felt like I need to take the book in breaths, hold it in, breath it out and then go back for more.

Bottom Line:

Buy this book, read it, share it. Have a study with some of your close friends. Suggest it to your women’s ministry and church library. This book is full of wisdom for today and it needs to be heard.

Goodreads / Amazon

“It turns out that insecurity is both the root of comparison and the fruit of comparison.

“I heard God’s voice speak to me. Simply and clearly, God said, “I made you to bless, not impress.””