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#paranormal

Book Bargain: Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter

Hey, everyone! It’s been a loooooooong time, but I just wanted to let everyone know that Born at Midnight, the first book in the Shadow Falls series, by C.C. Hunter is on sale at the moment via Kindle, Kobo and Apple Books! Currently, it’s only 1.99 CAD! Honestly, this is one of my favourite books in the paranormal genre and I remember awaiting the second book with so much eagerness! I definitely recommend Born at Midnight with all my heart!

Take care, everyone!

–  Sumaya

Review: Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Summary

Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep.

He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.

Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.

Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

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Review

Hey, everyone! It’s been a while since I read Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand, but I really wanted to talk about it. There was just something about this book that made me read on, even as I long interest at the end. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good book and want to see what else Claire Legrand has to offer, like Furyborn.

Firstly, I was a big fan of the urban legends surrounding Sawkill Rock and its inhabitants.  Not only was it super creepy, but it was also pretty relevant to the town’s culture as well as the patriarchy. Isn’t that what urban legends spring from? Something true? There was a lot about how girls and women are treated as a whole, from the monsters who haunt their every move to the “heroes” that are supposed to banish these monsters (not talking about our protagonists in this case, but a secret organization that I will say no more about for fear of spoilers). The line is blurred between the two to the point where you don’t know who to trust. And that’s probably the point.

The characters themselves had really great POVs, and there wasn’t a character I wanted to read more than the other. That, in itself, is pretty rare for me, since I usually have a favourite character whose story I’d like to get back to over the others. While these POVs did intertwine, I loved how each character developed and at the end of the novel, there was real change in them versus the beginning of the novel. There was a good moment where I thought that at least two of the protagonists might have been compromised and joined the dark side… But I won’t tell you which ones; you’ll just have to find out on your own! 😉

Well, that’s all I have to say about Sawkill Girls, other than the fact that the cover is super gorgeous! If you have any questions or thoughts about this novel or whether I should read Furyborn, leave a comment in the section below. Thanks for reading!

–  Sumaya

 

ARC Review: A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

Summary

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.

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Review

Hi, everybody! I’m back with another review. But first, I’d like to apologize to anyone wanting to comment on Monday’s blog post and found that they couldn’t. I didn’t realize the Comments Section was closed until the next day. I love hearing what people think and will make sure to double-check to see if the Comments Section is open.

Anyways, back to today’s review, which is on L.L. McKinney’s debut, A Blade So Black. It starts off with some action, setting the stage for two of the main characters and their dynamic. This relationship between Alice and her mentor, Addison, was one of the main reasons that I liked the book. They cared for one another on a really deep and emotional level. However, readers only get to see the result of spending months together, so who knows? It might have not been the best teacher-student relationship in the beginning. 😄

I also appreciated how the author adapted Alice in Wonderland to fit into her retelling. I honestly loved all the changes she made, and thought that it made the story more enriched and engaging. One of my major hang-ups on retellings is when the retelling could be exactly the same as the story, with the exception of setting or something like that. It’s always nice to see what authors add on to an older story, you know?

The only thing I that I didn’t like when reading the book was that sometimes I’d go from really invested to looking around the room in semi-boredom. Thankfully, the ending was interesting enough to redeem the novel overall, but I doesn’t erase how I fell in and out of reading at times.

Well, that’s all I have to say about A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney today. I liked what it brought to the table as a retelling, even though it had its slow moments. If you have any questions or comments about this book, though, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below! And remember, if you’re interested in reading A Blade So Black, the book comes out on September 25th, 2018!

And as always, thanks for reading everyone!

– Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider

Summary

Rose Asher believes in ghosts. She should, since she has one for a best friend: Logan, her annoying, Netflix-addicted brother, who is forever stuck at fifteen. But Rose is growing up, and when an old friend moves back to Laguna Canyon and appears in her drama class, things get complicated.

Jamie Aldridge is charming, confident, and a painful reminder of the life Rose has been missing out on since her brother’s death. She watches as Jamie easily rejoins their former friends–a group of magnificently silly theater nerds–while avoiding her so intensely that it must be deliberate.

Yet when the two of them unexpectedly cross paths, Rose learns that Jamie has a secret of his own, one that changes everything. Rose finds herself drawn back into her old life–and to Jamie. But she quickly starts to suspect that he isn’t telling her the whole truth.

All Rose knows is that it’s becoming harder to choose between the boy who makes her feel alive and the brother she isn’t ready to lose.

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Review

My rating:

purple3

Hi, everyone! I’m back! Before I start talking about this book, I’d like to say thanks to anyone who has given me advice about my reading slump problem. I’m currently rereading The Alice series, and I’m having fun with it so far, even though there are a few odd things that I haven’t noticed before… But I’m still rereading with a passion, so I guess it’s not too bad. The series still contains a lot of gems, though. But enough about that; let’s talk about Invisible Ghosts!

Now, if I’m being honest, I was really, really excited for anything written by Robyn Schneider. Especially after The Beginning of Everything and Extraordinary Means. I kept on going back to her Goodreads page over and over again, just to see if she was writing a book and when it would come out. When I finally found out more about the book she was writing, there was nothing that could have stopped me from reading it! Especially since it also had to do with theatre! That hype is probably why it ended up being more of a miss than it would have otherwise. I was just too invested to the point where my expectations would never be met.

It’s not that I didn’t like the characters. They were interesting enough. I especially like Rose and her brother’s relationship, even though it kind of worried me in the beginning. And her friends were pretty fun, albeit a bit slippery. But overall, the dynamic of the characters and dialogue were worth reading.

It was actually the world-building and mythology that didn’t appeal to me as much. There was just so much left open to guessing in that area. Where exactly did Rose and Jamie’s ability to see ghosts come from? How come ghosts haven’t been popping up everywhere Rose goes? How do ghosts affect Rose versus Jamie? And that’s just the tip of the question iceberg! 😉

So, in the end, I didn’t enjoy Invisible Ghosts as much as I thought I would, but I’m glad I got a chance to read another one of Robyn Schneider’s novels. And for anyone who is interested, Invisible Ghosts comes out on June 5th, 2018!

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

– Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from HarperCollins Canada in exchange for an honest review.

Blog Tour: This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter

Summary

A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?

Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.

Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living, took more courage than dying?

This Heart of Mine is a haunting, poignant tale about living and dying, surviving grief, guilt, and heartache, while discovering love and hope in the midst of sadness.

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Review

My rating:

red4

Hi, everyone! I’m so glad to be on the blog tour for This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter! I’ve read all of her Shadow Falls books, whether the protagonist was Kylie, Della or Miranda! I remember when I first started that series way back when and the journey I went on with it. I’m so glad to have picked it up! However, I was kind worried how this book would stand against the Shadow Falls series, whether I would like it or not because of the constant comparison. I have to say, though, that I really did enjoy this novel!

One of the main things I liked about this novel was the character development that was expressed in the dual POVs of Leah and Matt, specifically Leah’s. All throughout the book, Leah would describe herself, contrasting her personality before and after she got sick. But I think it made it easier for readers to appreciate the character development she had gone through without actually seeing it. I do love that character now though; how she stands up for herself, making a point to take risks and regret less. I think that should be a lesson everyone could learn from. I did like reading in Matt’s POV though, as it gives a fuller sense of the story, while telling the story of a young man who understands what it’s like to live with intense grief and how he learns to manage it.

Another thing I liked was the plot. It always intrigued me whenever some new development was made, either with the mystery or their lives. It kept me reading right till the very end! And the writing style, always including things that are totally necessary but you didn’t think they would be! Plus, I loved seeing the arguments brought up within the book, like “literature vs genre”, because it got me so riled up! Especially when a lot of “literature” wasn’t even considered great in its day, sometimes downright scandalous. So we shouldn’t shame people on reading what they like! We should be celebrating it!

Well, that’s all I have to say about This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter! Overall, it was a really great read that makes me excited to see what C.C. Hunter will write next! Has anyone else read other books by C.C. Hunter? If so, feel free to share about them in the Comments Section below! And for those who are interested, This Heart of Mine is out today in stores! 🙂

Buy links

AmazonAmazon CA | Amazon UKKobo | Barnes & Noble | Chapters Indigo

About the Author

cc-hunter_no-credit

C.C. Hunter grew up in Alabama, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and regularly rescued potential princes, in the form of Alabama bullfrogs, from her brothers. Today, she’s still fascinated with lightning bugs, mostly wears shoes, but has turned her focus to rescuing mammals. She now lives in Texas with her four rescued cats, one dog, and a prince of a husband, who for the record, is so not a frog. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, spending time with her family, or is shooting things-with a camera, not a gun.

For more information on C.C. Hunter and the books she writes, check out her website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Thanks for reading, everyone! And have a nice day!

–  Sumaya

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking

Summary

Valkyries have one great responsibility: to return immortals to the afterlife by slaying them. As a Valkyrie, Malin has always known that the balance of the world rests on her ability to carry out orders. But when Malin discovers that her mother spared the life of an immortal who was destined to die, her world is thrown into chaos.

Malin not only wrestles with the knowledge that her mother might not be who she thought—she’s also thrust into the path of a gorgeous blue eyed guy named Asher who needs her help slaying the rogue immortal who destroyed his family. The balance of the world is at stake. And, as Asher competes with Malin’s ex for her love and loyalty, so is her heart.

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Review

My rating:

purple3

Hey, everyone! I just finished reading Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking! To be honest, I didn’t hear about her latest novel until around October, which seems pretty late in the game, but I was still pretty intrigued! I loved The Trylle Trilogy and The Kanin Chronicles, so I couldn’t wait to read this book! Once I started reading it though, I wasn’t as excited for it as I thought I would be…

A good reason for this might be the world-building within the novel. Usually, in the author’s past novels, the mythology is concise and easy to follow. In this case, I felt as if it was all over the place, with different mythologies coming together to create a hodgepodge all-encompassing mythological world. I just wasn’t a fan of mixing mythologies together and then just leaving holes in that world later on because of it. That and the fact that until the end, I had no clue whatsoever about where the book was set. It didn’t really bother me until Malin used some British slang and then I paused to ask myself “Wait! Where is this taking place?” Luckily, by the end, the book hints to take place in the U.S. since they mention Mexico and the border. I’m still not 100% sure… But those are just my opinions! I’m sure there are people who loved the world the novel was set in! 😉

As for the characters, while they were good for all intents and purposes, I didn’t connect with them that much. I mean, I was interested in their actions and whatnot, but that was more in terms of plot and the mystery surrounding them. Plus, I felt as if some of the characters could have used a bit more backstory. Not necessarily Malin and Quinn (I actually like the amount of backstory given to them), but Oona, Asher and even Marlow. Maybe it’s my feelings about the world building that’s clouding my judgement as well, but overall, I just didn’t click with the characters as much as I wanted to…

I guess that’s all I have to say about Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking. At least for now. While I wasn’t into this book as much as her other novels, I hope that the second book will be better. If you have any comments or questions about this book as well as any other novels by Amanda Hocking, feel free to share them in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz

Summary

When the music stops, the dance begins.

Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.

But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.

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Review

My rating:

black1.5

Hi, there! Another day, another review; this one is on The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz. Now with this book, I’ve got to say, I really wanted to like it. The book sounded intriguing with the ballet premise, the mystery of what has happened to the girls to their current predicament, the Master’s past and so forth. However, it didn’t come together the way I expected, and was thoroughly disappointed because of this.

First of all, I didn’t really like how the author kept on hinting at the mystery of it all by adding phrases like “Or so she thought.” at the end of a passage, making it less of a hint and more of a shout-out (for lack of a better word). If there was more show than tell, it might have been better. Also, it was weird that while the book was centred around dance, it barely talks about it. These girls could have been easily horseback riding and it wouldn’t have made a difference. I love reading books about performance art, so you could only imagine how disappointed I was when it wasn’t really relevant to the plot.

Another thing I thought had potential was the backstory given about the Master. I’ve always liked backstories to see what motivates people to act the way they do. And while I liked the backstory given, I didn’t really understand his motives to control a whole bunch of people. Maybe when it was about revenge, sure. But after that, nope, I couldn’t understand the purpose of holding a school, especially when the other pupils didn’t even matter in the story. They were basically the backdrop for Penny’s big debut. I know that we don’t get as much info on secondary characters since first person is a limited POV, but in this case, I don’t think her fellow classmates were relevant in the slightest. There was just no camaraderie, massive tension, or even some round characters, that made me care about them at all. Again, she could have been the Master’s sole pupil and it wouldn’t have changed the story. Overall, I felt as if some parts of the story weren’t really necessary.

Now, before this gets into a true rant, I’ll quit while I’m ahead and say that The Midnight Dance was not for me, despite wanting to like it. If you have any thoughts you’d like to share about the book, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Have a nice day, everyone!

–  Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti

Summary

What if you could ask for anything- and get it?

In the sandy Mojave Desert, Madison is a small town on the road between nothing and nowhere. But Eldon wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, because in Madison, everyone gets one wish—and that wish always comes true.

Some people wish for money, some people wish for love, but Eldon has seen how wishes have broken the people around him. And with the lives of his family and friends in chaos, he’s left with more questions than answers. Can he make their lives better? How can he be happy if the people around him aren’t? And what hope is there for any of them if happiness isn’t an achievable dream? Doubts build, leading Eldon to a more outlandish and scary thought: maybe you can’t wish for happiness…maybe, just maybe, you have to make it for yourself.

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Review

My rating:

blue4.5

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hi, lovely readers! It’s been a while, but I finally have my review up for As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti! And as you can tell from the rating, I loved it! The whole concept was intriguing when I first heard of it. A town where wishes are real and that everyone has access to them? Enter Eldon, a guy who doesn’t know what to do with his wish, try and save his sister or find the perfect wish to set his life right. After all, according to Eldon, everyone else in the town regrets the wish they’ve made. Thankfully, the overall reading experience failed to disappoint me! 🙂

As I’ve said, I really like the paranormal world set up in this book, with it being set in a town called Madison, Nevada. I think it explains how a whole magical town can go unnoticed by the world pretty well, even though it doesn’t really explain how wishing came to be (although it does hint at it near the end). That being said, I like how wishing is connected to adolescence and growing up. You get one wish on your eighteenth birthday, and it’s practically a rite of passage that sets up the rest of your life. After that, you have to take responsibility for your actions (in this case, wishing). You learn so much about people just on their wishes and how they came to be! It makes me really wish an anthology of Madison’s wishes was published for me to read, just like the one in the town museum! 😉

Then there’s Eldon, our protagonist that readers obtain all their info from. At first, you don’t know much about him and just assume that he’s being hard on himself. But as the novel progresses, readers learn more about Eldon of the past and how he was towards others. I found it kind of a funny setup. Usually, the character is made more redeemable by the end of the novel. In this case, Eldon kind of isn’t after learning that he wasn’t so nice to begin with. It was more about rounding out his character than any development really, if that makes any sense. 😉

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and now want to read more by Chelsea Sedoti! Are any of you excited to read As You Wish? I hope you like it just as much as I do! By the way, all comments and questions are welcome in the section below! And for those of you who are interested, As You Wish comes out on January 2nd, 2018! Thanks for reading everyone!

–  Sumaya

Review: Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean

Blurb

Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends.

With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you.

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Review

My rating: red1.5

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hi, everyone! I’m back with another review, this one being on Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean. First off, I’d like to say that I’m really sorry to NetGalley in terms of wishing for this book, even though later on I realized I had no interest in it. I avoided it as much as possible afterwards, and didn’t even request it (at least, I’m pretty sure I didn’t, since this was a wish granted). But then my wish came back to haunt me and I thought,”Well, I might as well read it.” So I did. And at first, the book seemed really great. But then it went downhill from there…

As I said, in the beginning, the book was a treat to read! I liked the way I felt like I related to Maren, being sent over seas to new relatives you didn’t even know, learning customs that made you feel kind of out of place. I also really liked the mysterious vibe added once Maren learns more about her parents’ past. But then Gavin came along and ruined everything! Once he got on the scene, I felt as if the storyline suffered. Maren wouldn’t be seen interacting with her friends as much to the point where I wouldn’t even call them friends (more like acquaintances). Or she wouldn’t think of herself in such a great light, thinking that if he didn’t like her, it was all her fault, even at times when Gavin clearly states that the fault is his! Plus, with Gavin there, Maren doesn’t have as much chance to be a hero, with him saving her all the time! I get that he’s otherworldly, but come on! Maren shouldn’t have to be such a damsel in distress because she has an otherworldy being on her side! And then there was the fact that the instalove is way too much for me in this book! It was extremely unbelievable, so much so that I cringed every time they were together.

Also, the plot seemed really unorganic to me. I felt that they were sacrificing some serious tension and suspense by just by explaining things right off the bat, not making the protagonist or the reader work for them. I don’t want to read exposition that’s lazily put in there just so that the story can move along. Overall, I felt as if the story could have been really something, but a lot of the potential, both in the character development and plot, was lost…

Well, that’s all I have to say about Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean. It wasn’t my cup of tea, and has certainly taught me to be really careful with wishing on NetGalley, just as much as you have to be careful of requesting books that you’d like as well. I think that this might be a good fit for Twilight fans though, even if I didn’t like it… If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Take care, everyone! And keep reading!

–  Sumaya

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