Friday, December 15, 2017

Keepers verses Reapers

Title: Keeper Vs. Reaper
Author: Jennifer Malone Wright
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

After the death of their father, Lucy Estmond inherits the family business even though she is the youngest.  She knew she would be the one to take over watching the souls in the graveyard and keeping them from being stolen from the Reapers.  Reapers are beings that eat souls to keep their strength.  Each despise each other and Lucy continues the age old battle.  But everything changes when Lucy finds out about a prophecy of a Chosen One..  A prophecy that she fulfills of being the  keeper to bring the end of the Reapers.  During a chance encounter at her sister's bakery Lucy meets Jack.  A gorgeous man....and a Reaper.  After their meeting the two realize they now have an attraction they cannot break.  They have a need to be together, almost like breathing.  When Lucy gets kidnapped by Jack's own mother, he joins the Estmond family to save her.  Will they be able to figure out what is behind this unnatural attraction in time?  Will Lucy discover answers to all her lingering questions?

So the premise is interesting keeper and reapers battling over souls and a chosen one to bring down the end of the other.  But it is an idea that has been done many times including the idea of the chosen one being the seventh child, born on the seventh day of the seventh month.  I've seen this 7 theme in other books (the 7th son of the 7 son will be a chosen one type of thing)  Star crossed lovers, too cliché of the Romeo and Juliet ideal. I don't want to give spoilers but several times quotes from Romeo and Juliet entered my head as I was reading this.

The pacing is super slow, it takes a long time to build up and even then the climax sort of falls short of what I was expecting and the ending made me think "that's it?"  It didn't really make eager and excited to read the next book in the series.  There were too many questions left unanswered, and readers are left wondering why the characters are doing the things that they are doing.  The language in this is fowl lots of f words and other cussing.  I understand people do this and do it often, but sometimes in novels it takes away from what the author is trying to do.  It was way overused and got old after a while. 

The characters had no depth to them, you thought they would at various points, but then their story gets dropped.  Lucy totally treats Ethan like crap, Jack is a man whore who changes his ways for Lucy.  There are so many of the siblings that sometimes you lose track of who is who and some aren't even really in the book or have side moments just as a reminder, almost like "Oh hey yea there is a sister named Steph."  The prophecy doesn't even get explained more other than Lucy is the chosen one to bring an end to the reapers.  There should be more to it at least for the readers.  It didn't seem like the Estmonds were too concerned with finding out more about the prophecy to help Lucy other than caging her into the house.

If I see the second novel available on like a free ebook day I may read it to see if there are questions answered, but I don't expect myself to read the next one.  As I always this book may not have been for me, but someone else might enjoy it, so if you enjoy paranormal fantasies and the like then sure check out this novel.

If you have any recommendations for a fantasy novel you want me to review feel free to let me know in the comments!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


For those of you who know me personally know not only do I love books, but I love tea of all sorts.  I am always up for trying something new with tea and checking out new local tea places or things online.  The other day I stumble across a product that is perfectly right up my alley:  Novelteas.  This is a tea that comes in a tea tin that looks like a book and has a name related to that of the book it represents like Oliver Lemon Twist.  How cute is that!!

The design and artwork of the tins are all original and make them special and unique.  I love that look like classic older books with the gold inlay and everything.  The "flavors" the have include (some are available for refills as well which is really cool):

  • Don QuixoTea - Man of La ManChai
  • Oscar Wilde's - The Picture of Earl Grey
  • War and Peach by L.N. Tolstoy
  • Pride and Peppermint by Jane Austen
  • Oliver Lemon Twist by Charles Dickens
  • Matcha Do About Nothing by W. Shakespeare

  • I ordered the Picture of Earl Grey (The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde).  After getting it in the mail I will come back and let you all know what it's like.  But regardless if you like tea and like books worth a look right?  Anyway just wanted to share this with you.  :)

    Happy Reading|!

    Monday, December 11, 2017

    Biggest Bounty

    Title: The Biggest Bounty
    Author: Chris Pisano Brian Koscienski
    Genre: Science Fiction
    Rating:  4 out of 5

    Fiore is all muscle, granted it's chemically enhanced, and Zeus is more than a super genius.  Together they make the greatest bounty hunter team; in their minds.  When the famed bounty hunter "The Legend" takes their bounty from them, the duo embark on a crazy journey to track him down and get their bounty back.  Their task takes them on an interplanetary trek across the universe following leads and making new contacts....even entering into a to the death fighting match. The pair make the unlikeliest of contacts and partnerships all the while find exquisite milks from across the galaxy.  Grab a glass and prepare for a thrill ride of humor and mishaps.

    These two authors are two of my favorite people in the world.  I have had the honor of knowing both for a couple years now, and getting the chance to actually cause some mischief with them while they've been in Pittsburgh.  I started reading their books with Shatter Visage Lies and fell in love with their writing, along with themselves as authors and friends.  With these two, you never know what you are going to get, which makes reading their books a lot fun.  The Biggest Bounty is one of those books that makes you laugh while keeping you thrilled and waiting for the next thing to happen.  You find yourself wondering what hair-brained idea Fiore will come up with next or if the guys will get the bounty and the girl.  I loved Fiore and his crazy ideas that seem like really good ideas until he actually puts them into practice such as making up fight club rules.

    The story is interesting and keeps readers guessing at who is tracking these two crazy characters and why.  The readers do not get much in the way of background for Fiore and Zeus, but that's because the characters themselves don't know anything about each other.  It almost makes it feel like you are making a new friend as you find out new things about them.  Because I personally know these authors I can actually see various characteristics of both Brian and Chris in Zeus and Fiore, which made it a little more fun for me as I pictured them in those roles. Now I have myself wondering who would be Huva, Valla and some of the other characters...hmm.  The world they create is rather interesting with jump ports that allow travelers to get from on area to another quicker, almost like an intergalactic toll road. 

    These two are truly master geniuses at what they do (I'm sure that statement will go to their heads, but it's true).  I don't think you will be able to find a more unique novel than this one. I wanted to know more about each of the characters including Valla and Huva who are two kick ass bounty hunter women.  Some people have stated that the book is a combination of Alice in Wonderland and Grand Theft Auto.  I am not sure if I would make that comparison but I see why they would say that. These two are characters that I would imagine being bounty hunters in something like Guardians of the Galaxy.  I actually thought of Groot and Rocket in the beginning of the first movie looking to capture Quill for the units.

    With this book you get comedy, thrills, science fiction, sort of attempts at romance (Fiore ogling every woman and asking them out), fights....milks?  I found the various types of milk interesting almost like that was Fiore's guilty pleasure instead poker.  How many different things can you milk in this universe?  These two deliver a sort of tongue-in-cheek humor without having to include foul language, sex scenes or gruesome deaths.  They tell a good story that you will not forget anytime soon.  I would highly suggest this book for fans of science fiction, humor, thrills, or just a good ole fun story.  Check it out, you won't regret it.

    Til next time, Happy Reading!

    Thursday, December 7, 2017

    Solomon's Ring

    Title: Solomon's Ring
    AUthor: Mary Jennifer Payne
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

    Jade and Jasmine are twins sisters who have finally been reunited after 5 years.  They have that special twin connection, but they are also Seers known as Daughters of Light.  Their city is being overrun by demons who are coming over through the rift, or so it seems.  While fighting a demon, Jasmine is plague with the question of why he referred to her as the chosen one.  Throughout all this she also discovers someone has stolen a powerful ring, one that could control the demons.  It has become a race against time as the Daughters of Light enter into a battle with the forces of darkness.  Will it be too late?

    The idea of this book is fantastic.  I like the idea of twin sisters feeding off of each other's strengths and weaknesses, really being a team against the forces of evil rather than a guy and girl teaming up together and the inevitable romance ensues. This is one of the main reasons why I requested it from Netgalley and the publisher for an honest review, because it seemed like something out of the ordinary in the world of YA novels. The cover features the twins with a ring with the Star of David in the middle makes me interested to see what the story had to do with Judaism.

    From the very beginning of the book the reader has to distinguish between speakers as it changes between the two sisters' viewpoints, while this isn't something that I mind, but the chapters seem rather short and the reader doesn't get enough time with one or the other to really feel a connection with her.  I understand the girls are to be Latinas, but the dialogue doesn't really suggest this other than a few random Spanish words entering into random.  There could be a conversation in English and then boom one random Spanish word that makes it feel disconnected and out of place.  I honestly had a hard time connecting climate change terrorism with the acts of the demons and how that played a large role into the story, but I will admit I had a hard time finishing this book as well.

    The different perspective between the sisters do not seem to sync up with each other which makes it hard to pinpoint a timeline of events for the story.  The story feels very choppy and difficult to follow.  While the cover shows a ring with the Star of David the story did not show anything related to Judaism, I am not sure if it will come up later in other books.  I don't know if I would continue reading this series because of how disjoined this novel felt.  I don't think I would recommend it either.

    Friday, December 1, 2017

    Born Again

    Title: Born Again
    Author: Tom Harpur
    Genre: Non-fiction, Spiritual, Memoir
    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Tom Harpur is an Anglican priest, Rhodes Scholar, Professor at University of Toronto, writer and editor for Toronto Star and a published prolific author.  His previous book "The Pagan Christ" has received critical acclaim.  In this book, Harpur delves into his spiritual journey away from fundamentalism and into spiritual freedom.  He discusses his struggles and triumphs along the way to spiritual self discovery.  What Harpur brings to his audience is more than a memoir, it is something personal and gives us a glimpse into his life.

    When I seen this book on Netgalley I was interested in reading someone else's spiritual quest, but also was unsure of what to expect.  I have read a few memoirs that fell short and didn't seem as interesting as the synopsis made it seem, but this book held my attention from beginning to end.  Harpur basically opens the door to his own life for readers to experience.  He doesn't bore readers with every little detail of  his life, but pinpoints the critical points along his journey.

    He writes with a knowledgeable, sage voice and include very candid comments about things he observed throughout life which made reading the book all the more real.  He makes it personal and relatable which is something I love about his memoir as opposed to others.  I haven't been able to feel connected to my author the way I did while I was reading this book.  Harpur address some of the things I have been thinking in my own personal spiritual odyssey.

    Throughout this memoir, there is a lot of insight and revelation that leads to his personal renewal, his personal freedom from the fundamentalism of organized religion.  This book really hit home as I admit it is something I struggle with in my own personal walk.  I found it very resourceful and know I will find myself returning back to it time and time again., and I feel each time I return to it, I will find something else that will be helpful.

    I recommend this to anyone who longs for spiritual freedom, and someone who enjoys memoirs.  It is definitely one of those reads that will get you thinking about things. 

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

    The Hollow Crown

    Title: The Hollow Crown
    Author: Jeff Wheeler
    Genre:  Fantasy
    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    While celebrating the wedding of the new king, Tryneowy's mother discloses a vision she had had of an upcoming war, one that may devastate the kingdom.  She had grown up learning of military and political strategy.  In her heart, she knows she is to protect the country as a knight rather than a Wizr.  Tyrneowy struggles to find her own destiny within this world she studies her mother's traditions and secretly trains with the general.  An evil force now threatens the future and the kingdom.  Trynne hopes she has what it takes to help protect the kingdom, but does she have what the kingdom needs, or will she fall short?

    I have not read the beginning of the series, as I received a copy of this novel from Netgally and the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.  But I do not think one needs to read the series in order, thought it would be beneficial as you will understand the kingdom and key players, and the magic that is used.  The story has a lot of background in it, a lot of build up to the climax and conclusion, which is very much important in the end.  The characters are beyond complex and filled with depth.  From the very beginning of the story, your heart aches for Tryneowy.

    The way Wheeler describes things and builds his characters, it is easy to understand them and the motives behind every action and spoken word.  He has given each one such personality, it felt like I was watching a movie rather than reading a book, I could almost see this being made into a movie and acted out.  I would love to see how Hollywood would depict the magic he creates.  I liked the idea of the main character going against what is expected of her and following her dream regardless of how she will be viewed or what her parents think, though I believe her father approved as he gave her permission to train with the sword.

    There aren't many lose ends other than those one would expect to carry over into the next novel.  I am excited to see what else Jeff Wheeler has in store for his readers, and I now have to go back to read the other books in this series.  If they are anything like this book, I will be hooked on yet another series!  I would recommend this book and potentially series to anyone who enjoys reading a good fantasy novel.  Anyone who loves to get lost in another realm and wish to never come back, then this is the book for you!  Great novel, great writing, new fan!

    Monday, November 27, 2017

    The Waking Land

    Title: The Waking Land
    Author: Callie Bates
    Genre: Fantasy
    Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

    Lady Elanna is dedicated to the man she knew like a father: the King.  When the king suddenly mysteriously dies Elanna is now the prime suspect and she runs away for her own safety.  Now that she has returned to her magical homeland she must reconcile with a father she never knew and face the truth about the powers within her and her connection to the lands.  Quickly a new threat faces her and now she has to lead a rebellion against the realm she once called home.  She struggles between her loyalties, feeling devoted and connected to both.  Will she be able to come to terms with her destiny, or will she be torn apart in the process?

    When I received this book from Netgalley, I was already interested based on the synopsis.  I love a good earth magic book and that is what I was expecting.  What I got was so much more.  First let me mention that cover! OMG how gorgeous is that!  It is what initially drew me into the blurb and captured my heart.  Great art work.  Now into the book:

    There is so much going on in this book with different kingdoms and different characters (each with their own personalities).  I understand that might deter some people but there seemed to be too many, some of which we don't meet in this novel, maybe we will in future novels, but I don't know. Elanna was interesting at first, but the more she struggles back and forth between her emotions made it difficult to follow along with the real plot of the story. It was really hard to relate to her on a level beyond struggling within yourself.  I liked the idea of being one with nature and feeling connected to nature, but to wed the land..what does that mean? How does one actually marry the land?  And don't get me started on the sex scenes, I know this is a YA novel, but the scenes included made this 35 year old woman gasp and blush!  I couldn't believe they were included in a novel meant for young adults. 

    The writing was beautifully lyrical, almost like reading poetry but it was also hard to follow and get an easy grasp on what was exactly happening, maybe because there was SO much going on.  In all honesty I don't think I could recommend this novel to others as it was difficult for myself to read it.  If Callie writes more I would consider reading it, but I hope she tones down the amount of characters/plots and make the romantic scenes not so explicit.