Thursday, March 31, 2016

Personal Apocalypse (The Hopeless World Book 1) by Nazarea Andrews Blog Tour (Review)


Hey readers! Ethan here with quite possibly one of my most exciting reviews of 2015! I always love when I devour an extremely anticipated novel and it turns out to be everything I was anticipating and more. This time I'm reviewing the first novel in the spin-off series to another of my all-time favorite series. On the chopping block this time? Personal Apocalypse by Nazarea Andrews. Today's stop on the blog tour will feature my thoughts on the novel as well as some awesome promo. Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the novel and our author:

Josiah grew up in a dying world. The Holdout survived, but when you are the son of Sylvia Cragen, you give up delusions early. He knew that they would die bloody--it wasn't a matter of if. Only when.

Parker shouldn't be alive. He should have died long before scouts from the Last Holdout rescued him. And he knows better than to believe that sailing away from the safety of the Holdout is a good idea.

Now, without the Holdout to protect them, all of his nightmares are coming true. Josiah is just crazy enough to believe that a fresh start is a good thing. But Parker has lived as prey, hunted by zombies and survivors before--and he knows that no one really survives. In the wild, zombie claimed world outside the walls of safety, there is only the dead walking.




          



Nazarea Andrews




Nazarea Andrews is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. She loves chocolate and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, and overgrown dog. She is the author of Girl Lost, Edge of the Falls, and The University of Branton Series. 

Find Nazarea Andrews




*****
My Thoughts:

As any of my regular readers will well know, Ethan here is not a huge fan of the zombie paranormal-sub genre. Well, I wasn't. Not until Nazarea Andrews. It's been a couple of years now since I was first introduced to Andrews and her incredible World Without End series, but I still cannot get over how incredible it was. When the series ended last summer, I was devastated to see a favorite of mine was finished. Imagine my shock and surprise when I discovered Andrews had an ace up her sleeve: a spin-off series!

Picking up right where the World Without End series finished, this new series, beginning with Personal Apocalypse continues to follow the story of life after Eli-Milan has decimated the planet, but with two new starring characters: Josiah and Parker. Anyone who finished the previous series will remember Finn (our former male-MC's) discovery of a brother and their interesting relationship. This first novel explores that relationship and really gives us an insight to the family dynamic we were really excited to discover in the previous series finale. While this is an entirely new series, we still have huge flashbacks from WWE. Nurrin and Finn are still major characters in Personal Apocalypse, but to avoid spoilers I won't mention too much there.

Now, this all being said, PA is an entirely new series. While a spin-off, it isn't necessarily imperative that you have read the previous series to understand what is happening. Andrews does an absolutely incredible job introducing her world to readers in a way that both series vets and new readers will be immersed into the world without being lost. It's an incredible novel to introduce you to this literary universe that Andrews has crafted.

One of my favorite parts about PA is that while it absolutely is full of the horror you would expect from a novel of this genre, you definitely don't have the gore and violence we've seen from her in the past. Why? Personal Apocalypse is just that. Personal. It's an extremely psychological read. Way more personal than I was expecting from Andrews and this new series. It's an emotionally gripping tale that will leave you hooked until the very last page.

I have to say that as much as I loved WWE, this new series is seriously a hard-hitter. Andrews has evolved so much as an author in the past few years that it is absolutely astounding to see the two compared. The characters in this series are definitely set to give Ren and Finn a run for their money as well. I can't say enough how absolutely blown away I was by Personal Apocalypse. It's truly a testament to the writing style of Andrews to be able to capture readers for so long and across series as she has.

Through emotional twists, horrific new terrain, and writing the history of a world we only thought we knew, Andrews blows the doors wide open with Personal Apocalypse. I know don't know about anyone else, but I know this reader was thoroughly impressed. It should come as no surprise that I am granting Personal Apocalypse a near-perfect 5-star review. Do not miss this opportunity to check out this read, add it to your TBR today! 

*****


Alright readers, that's all I have for you on the topic of Personal Apocalypse by the incredible Nazarea Andrews. As you guys can clearly see, I absolutely loved every page of this incredible novel and I absolutely cannot wait to see what Andrews does next with this series. This world she has built is one of my favorite literary realms and I know each installment is going to be better than the last! Huge thanks to InkSlinger PR for allowing me to be a part of the tour and supplying me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I, Zombie by Jo Michaels Review

Hey readers, Ethan here with a special review for you guys today. I had the great pleasure of devouring this read from one of the radical authors I know a few weeks ago and I'm so excited to share my thoughts. So is the author! In fact, so excited that she's hosting a $0.99 sale to celebrate! What are we raving about today? I, Zombie by Jo Michaels. Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the novel and our author:


It's the end of the world as we know it.

Trixie Collins is a normal teen making her way through high school. One night at a party, a boy comes on to her and won't take no for an answer. As she jerks her arm away, his fingernails cut into her skin.

When she finds her dog's mutilated body and realizes she's to blame, she starts to think maybe the zombie apocalypse they've been screaming about on the news isn't a hoax after all. Worse, she begins to think maybe she's one of the infected.

Now it's a fight for life as she joins together with her brethren to stop the humans intent on destroying them. Are zombies all bad, or is it just a huge misunderstanding?




          

Jo Michaels


Jo Michaels is...

Hi, I'm Jo. Let's forget all the "Jo Michaels is blah, blah, blah" stuff and just go with it. I'm a voracious reader (often reading more than one book at a time), a writer, a book reviewer, a mom, a wife, and one of the EICs at INDIE Books Gone Wild. I have an almost photographic memory and tend to make people cringe at the number of details I can recall about them and/or their book(s). My imagination follows me around like a conjoined twin and causes me to space out pretty often or laugh out loud randomly in completely inappropriate situations.

I have a degree in graphic design, and my journey to the end was one few students who begin that program ever complete. However, this was one case where my memory and OCD tendencies helped me. Graduation was one of the most amazing days of my life. But, my most amazing day was when my now husband proposed. Every little girl dreams of being Cinderella someday, and he pulled off the proposal of fantasies.

At the risk of sounding cliche, I'm going to let it out there and say how much I absolutely adore the man I'm married to. Along with my children, he's my whole world.

I've lived in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Georgia, but I've had my feet in almost every state. Traveling is something I adore, and have plans to someday see the Mongolia I've written about in Yassa.

One of my favorite things is hearing from fans! You can find me on social media most any day of the week. Connect! I'd love to hear from you.




*****
My Thoughts:

While I have read collaborative works from Michaels in the past, I, Zombie marks my first full-length read from her. I've heard incredible words of praise from her fans, so I was more than pumped to check out this read from Jo. As many of my readers will well-remember, zombies are one of my least favorite genres. I've read two series that to this day remain two of my all-time favorites (Nazarea Andrews' The World Without End and Rachel Aukes Deadland Saga), but I have been hard pressed to find any other novels in this specific genre that have held my attention as they have.

I am proud to say that through a truly original and unique plot and an elegant writing style that left me hanging onto every word, Jo Michaels has definitely earned her spot on my list of favorites in the zombie genre.

I, Zombie was everything I wanted, and more!

I'm not going to lie to you guys, this was a super quick read for me and I can't say too terribly much about the plot without giving away massive spoilers. Like other zombie-poc novels, this one follows the story of the supposed end of days, but this time, with a twist. It's told from the point of view of the infected through their decline and fight with the virus that cripples their lives and civilization. Truly imaginative storytelling on Michaels part. It's a fast-paced tale that I devoured in just a couple of sittings. Michaels formatting on this one really was reflective of the plot. Each of the novels 26 chapters are appropriately titled with a letter of the alphabet corresponding to the appropriate theme, tone, or feelings expressed in that chapter. It was so exciting to see that literary device utilized to such perfection. The plot is full of twists and turns and features an ending that will leave you begging for more. You won't see this one coming, promise!

One of the more interesting aspects of this novel were the characters Michaels crafted. While the story has a relatively large cast Michaels was able to fully evolve each character and provide full story arcs for each member of her cast while still fitting the story into a shorter format. There was no need for excessive character description or subplots, as all characters involved were working towards a similar goal: survival. I'll touch on this more later, but this was definitely one read that left my mind reeling, long after finishing the final chapter. Of all the characters I really only want to touch on our main heroine, Trixie. Trixie grew on me massively over the course of the novel. Admittedly, I couldn't really relate to her for the longest time and at first she kind of got on my nerves ever so slightly. By the end of the novel I really saw Michaels make huge strides with Trixie's character and I was thoroughly impressed with the level of development we saw and the maturity her character gained. One extremely heart-wrenching moment truly captured Trixie's transition from girl to woman and it was one of the most powerful passages I've read in some time. Definitely an incredible twist on the 'coming-of-age' portion of the story.

A Southern girl herself, Michaels crafted the setting to I, Zombie to perfection. The feel of the bayou, the sounds of the wildlife, the thick humid air: Michaels nailed it with this one. I have never read a novel such as this one set in the Louisiana bayou. Over the years and many other novels, this has proven to be one of my favorite settings for novels, but few have conquered the tone the way Michaels has in this novel. It's beyond fitting to the story line and really pushes the plot further in many occasions.

I have to say I was more than a little overtaken with emotions at times during my reading of I, Zombie. I was forewarned that tissues may be needed, but I truly didn't expect hardcore emotion in a novel about zombies. In my experience reading zombie novels (admittedly I've read fewer than I can count on both hands), strong emotion is one of the last things I feel. Often gritty tales of survival, Michaels turns the genre on its' head with I, Zombie. Reading the transition from human to 'zombie' through the eyes of our protagonist Trixie made for an extremely touching tale that lead to many important themes being tackled along the way. Family, love, forgiveness, strength, mortality, and the declination of society are all themes that Michaels really hits home with in the pages of this novel. I don't expect there will be many dry eyes after devouring this read. It is definite a novel giving cause for reflection.

Truly one of the most unique reads I have read in this genre, Jo Michaels blew me away with I, Zombie. Never would I have imagined I would have felt the emotional pull of my heartstrings like Michaels achieved with this incredible novel. It was truly a pleasure to devour and will forever hold a special place on my shelf of unique reads. It should come as no surprise that I am granting I, Zombie a near-perfect 5-star review. I couldn't get enough of this story and I know I'll come back to this one again and again! A perfect read for all fans of horror or paranormal novels as well as anyone looking to add a new twist on an old favorite to their TBRs! This read is not to be missed! 

*****

Alright folks, that's all I have for you on the topic of I, Zombie by the incredible Jo Michaels. As you can clearly see, I loved nearly everything about this novel. I couldn't get enough. Be sure to add it to your TBR today! And don't forget to take advantage of the $0.99 sale 48 HOURS (3/30-3/31/16) ONLY! Special thanks to Jo for supplying me with a copy in exchange for my honest review. Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Dissolution by Lee S. Hawke Review

Hey readers, Ethan here on this Tuesday to share my thoughts on yet another awesome read. I've been all over the place in 2016 reading from just about every genre. That being said, I've been craving a good sci-fi dystopian. And boy did I find a great one! (Well, technically speaking it found me...) This time on the chopping block? Dissolution by Lee S. Hawke. Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the novel and our author:




What would you sell yourself for?

Madeline knows. She’s spent the last eighteen years impatiently waiting for her Auctioning so she can sell herself to MERCE Solutions Limited for a hundred thousand credits. But when the Auctioneer fails to call her and two suits show up at her doorstep, Madeline discovers there are far worse bargains to be made.

So when your loved ones are in danger, there’s a bounty on your head and your entire city might turn out to be a lie… what would you sell yourself for?





     

Lee S. Hawke

Hi, I'm Lee. I'm a science fiction writer by early morning, a technology lawyer by day, and an avid reader in all the other spare moments I can find. I have two dogs, a robot vacuum named Cinderella, and probably spend far too much time online learning things and arguing with people. These facts all may or may not be related.

At the end of the day, I write because the world is such a brilliant, bloody, fascinating place. I write because not a day goes by without me learning something new and thinking what if…

And I write to connect people with stories. If just one person reads something of mine that makes them look at the world a different way, then I'll count that as a success. So thanks for joining me on this journey.


*****
My Thoughts:

As anyone who follows my reviews well knows, I love a good dystopian novel. For far too long I’ve heard “dystopian is dead/dying’, yet incredible new stories keep flying into my inbox. I still haven’t quite figured out why the bookish community has written off this fascinating genre. With so many unique twists on dystopian literature floating out there, I’m confident there’s something out there for all readers.

Last week I was contacted by a new indie author about a new release that really caught my eye. It’s been a while since I’ve devoured a new sci-fi dystopian, but I couldn’t pass this one up. Could Dissolution live up to the hype?

Yes! And then some!

While I won’t go so far as to say that Dissolution was the most original idea I have read in the genre, I was still engrossed from page one. It’s a short read (clocking in at just over 100 pages on my Nook), that I was able to devour in just one sitting. It’s fast-paced and written with a fresh voice I haven’t seen in some time. Hawke is definitely an author I will be watching!

When it comes to the plot, Dissolution reads much in the same vein as other dystopians such as Veronica Roth’s Divergent or Sarah Negovetich’s Acceptance series. A futuristic society divided into factions, following the story of one rogue girl looking to make a difference and change the future forever. What’s different? Oh boy. Hawke makes her mark, let’s just say that. Madeline (our heroine) doesn’t mess around.

Dissolution is truly the first ‘new adult’ dystopian novel I have read. The stakes are higher and it’s filled with far more adult themes than other novels in the genre I have read. The entire story has an incredible dark/ominous tone that definitely will leave you full of reflection by the time you finish. While the language and content are more than appropriate for young adult readers as well, Dissolution is one of those stories that really begs for more mature readers and thought. It’s truly a testament to the unique writing style of Hawke to provoke such thought with a novel such as Dissolution.

The story isn’t bogged down with world building or rules, but Hawke still manages to give us a complete setting that is easy to follow throughout the story. Definitely worth checking out for all readers looking to add something new to their TBR.

I’m not quite sure what Hawke has planned for the future of this series, but I know that this reader will be watching her career intently! Don’t miss this opportunity to add this incredible new dystopian read to your TBR today. I am so excited to be granting Dissolution by Lee S. Hawke a well-deserved 4-star review. Highly recommended to all fans of sci-fi and dystopian, you won’t regret this read!

*****

Alright readers, that's all I have for you tonight on the subject of Dissolution by Lee S. Hawke. An incredible, short novel that will have you falling in love with the dystopian genre all over again, you won't want to miss this one. Add it to your TBR today! Thanks so much for stopping by. Until next time, Happy Reading! 

-Ethan

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case (Jayne Frost #1) by Kristen Painter Review

Hey readers! Ethan here with another review for you awesome folks. Tonight's review comes to us from one of my new favorite authors. A lady who honestly has crafted one of the most unique paranormal series I've ever read. Who? The incredibly talented Kristen Painter! I'm absolutely obsessed with her Nocturne Falls series so imagine how I felt when I learned of the spin-off! Up on the chopping block this time? Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case, the first installment in Painter's newest Jayne Frost series. Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the novel and our author:

Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year.

Jayne Frost is a lot of things. Winter elf, Jack Frost’s daughter, Santa Claus’s niece, heir to the Winter Throne and now…private investigator. Sort of.

Needing someone he can trust, her father sends her undercover to Nocturne Falls to find out why employees at the Santa’s Workshop toy store are going missing.

Doing that requires getting to know the town, which leads to interesting encounters with a sexy vampire, an old flame, and an elevator that’s strictly off-limits. The more Jayne finds out, the more questions she has, but the answers lead her deeper into danger.

Will her magic save her? Or will she come up cold?
          

 Kristen Painter



Kristen Painter likes to balance her obsessions with shoes and cats by making the lives of her characters miserable and surprising her readers with interesting twists. She currently writes award-winning paranormal romance and urban fantasy.








*****
My Thoughts:

Anyone who follows this blog knows that last year I was introduced to Kristen Painter and her Nocturne Falls series for the first time. I fell in love with every word and haven't looked back since. Wow. Just wow. I can't get enough. I've read and reread these novels so many times that I can't help but shout about them from the rooftops. You guys can't even begin to understand the excitement I felt upon learning that Painter was releasing a spin-off series in the same literary world! An awesome paranormal mystery series that was sure to impress, but would it have the same impact as Nocturne Falls?

Absolutely!

I have to say that I really didn't know what to expect when I started this one. While it lives within the world Painter has crafted through five previous novels, it definitely blazes a trail all its' own. From the very first chapter we're introduced to an entirely different type of paranormal creature: elves. Not just any elves: Winter Elves. North Pole-Santa-Winter Wonderland kind of elves. With all the paranormal awesome that Painter has unleashed previously I shouldn't have been surprised by this bold move by Painter, but it definitely surprised me in the best possibly way. I love Christmas so having the chance to intermingle that Christmas theme with Nocturne Fall's Halloween spirit was an amazing combination!

I have to say, I think the characters in this novel were some of my favorite from Painter yet, particularly Jayne. Jayne Frost, daughter of Jack Frost and niece to Kris Kringle himself, is about as awesome as heroines come. She's intelligent, independent, and pretty doggone fearless. It was really awesome to read such a well rounded character's development through the story. One of my favorite parts about Painter and her writing style is that she can craft an incredible story full of amazing characters without bogging the stories down with details. It's very evident to me, as a reader and fan, that Painter is in love with her stories as it shows. They're non-stop fun from start to finish. But back to the characters, Painter doesn't mess around with convention or the confines the genre may present. She gives us the characters she wants to write and for that I have mad respect. The supporting cast of this first novel was awesome and while I was on the fence about some character, I really grew to appreciate each of them by the novel's gripping finale. 

Painter continues to knock it out of the park with her settings within Nocturne Falls. I never know what she'll come up with next. I actually am kind of hoping for some sort of Nocturne Falls map one day, I know it'd sure be a place on my bucket list to visit. We see many familiar faces in this novel and travel to places we've seen before. Except this time we get to see them with an entirely new set of eyes and in a mystery aspect. When everyone is a suspect, Nocturne Falls turns into quite a different place!

Above all, this read was just great fun. It was a fast read that I devoured in one sitting. I cannot wait to see what direction Painter takes with the remainder of this series. I know that this reader will absolutely be devouring each passing installment. This being said, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I am granting Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case a glowing 5-star review. An excellent start to what I know will be an incredible new series from Painter! Don't miss out, add this one to your TBR today!

*****

Alright folks, that's all I have for you today on the topic of Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case by the incredible Kristen Painter. It's always such a pleasure to devour one of her latest releases. Huge thanks to Kristen and her team for supplying me with a copy in exchange for my review and to all of you for stopping by! Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

Dark Forsaken (The Devil's Assistant #3) by HD Smith Review

Hey readers! Ethan here on this March morning to bring you another review. It's been over a year since I've posted about this incredible series and I am so excited to share my thoughts on the latest release. It's a series that really got me started on an entirely new genre of novels and now I can't put them down. A truly remarkable series that has kept me intrigued since the very first page! On the chopping block today? Dark Forsaken, the third novel in The Devil's Assistant series by HD Smith. Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the novel and our author:

Last Spring, Claire was framed for the murder of Junior, the Devil’s oldest hellspawn.

Last Summer, she reawakened the fourth realm, saved the world (after almost destroying it), and wound up with the worst job ever.

Now, Claire’s been locked out of her realm, given an assistant that doesn’t actually assist, and told to handle a small problem in Underworld that might just get her killed.

And to top it all off, Mab’s made one of the contenders her untouchable. So, yeah, you could say Claire’s having one of those days.

Follow more of Claire’s adventures in Dark Forsaken, book 3 of the Devil’s Assistant Series, to find out if Claire can defeat the latest contender, survive the quads, and replace the curator before Harry figures out she’s stolen his blood.


     

 HD SMITH
HD Smith has been writing as a hobby for over ten years. DARK HOPEwas her first full length novel. She has previously published two middle grade novellas in ebook format. She is a software developer by day, working for an awesome cruise line in Celebration, FL.

HD grew up in South Carolina, but has called the Sunshine State home since 1997. She has Computer Science degrees from Clemson University (BS) and Florida Institute of Technology (MS). Her other hobbies include painting and screen printing. She enjoys creating t- shirts inspired by the places in her books.




FIND HD SMITH

*****
My Thoughts:

As many of you who follow my reviews will remember, way back in the summer of 2014, I took a chance on a review request from a new-to-me author and her upcoming paranormal series at the time. I took a chance on an unknown and was absolutely blown away at the results. Dark Hope showed me everything an indie author could give and blew the doors wide open on my thoughts on the conventions of the genre. It's been many months and reads since that first novel and I still hold nearly all paranormal novels I review to the high standards that HD Smith set!

Could Smith still ignite that spark after three novels?

It's been over a year since I was immersed into the very intricate world of HD Smith and The Devil's Assistant. I won't lie, while this series is a favorite of mine, they are not easy to keep on top of. More characters than I could possibly name and settings and plot cycles that mirror a high fantasy series, this series is truly a testament to a writing style such as Smith's. While the casual reader can certainly enjoy this series, it will take a keen eye and devotion to truly follow this story. That being said, I was so thankful that Smith included a glossary and 'recap' of sorts into the beginning of the novel. Without it, I certainly would have been lost. It took a few chapters, but once I dove back in and found myself surrounded by the world Smith created, I couldn't look back. The story came back to me like an old friend and I was ready to tackle Claire's latest adventure.

And what an adventure it was!

I have to say that Dark Forsaken ended up being my favorite in the series thus far! And that's saying a whole lot. The stakes are higher than they've ever been. With Claire, no longer merely the Devil's assistant, now the Queen of the Fourth Realm, it's time for her to take her place among the Big Three. But can Mab, Harry, and The Boss ever truly see Claire for what she really is? With the Quads in their most peculiar predicament yet, only with Claire's help can they ban together and save the Underworld and the future of the realms from truly uncertain fates.

The plot for this one is extremely fast paced, but I do believe it was easier to follow at times than the previous two installments in the series. Everything flowed a little easier and I wasn't left with near as many questions as before. Smith does an incredible job of easing the reader into her world in order to avoid any confusion. One of the greatest things about this series is that Smith doesn't let anything back. She doesn't sell her readers short and gives us a full story that fans can really enjoy with ease. These aren't quick reads by any means either, if you decide to take the plunge, be ready for the time commitment!

My absolute favorite part of Dark Forsaken was the amount of character development that we see. I won't go into too much detail to avoid massive spoilers, but throughout three novels now, Smith has amassed quite a collection of characters for this series. With such a large cast, many haven't received the amount of page-time I would like in the past. Thankfully, Smith really ups the ante in Dark Forsaken and we begin to learn so much more about some of the most intriguing supporting characters in the series, particularly The Quads. The Quads are my absolute favorite characters in this series and I am so glad Smith gave them such an expanded role in this third outing. I will say that I was slightly disappointed by the lack of interaction between Claire and the Big Three in this one, but it definitely was not too big of a let down with the huge cliffhanger Smith left us on! I know book four is going to be absolutely amazing!

As I've mentioned in my reviews for the previous two novels, this is one of the most unique series I have read and reviewed in all my time blogging. It's so original and refreshing. It's becoming increasingly hard to even place this series in a genre classification. It's so much more than a paranormal, it's more than fantasy, it transcends genre classification and literary boundaries in only a way an author as talented as Smith can. Anyone who isn't adding The Devil's Assistant series to their TBR is missing out! 

As you guys can clearly see, Dark Forsaken ended up being an absolutely incredible read for me. I couldn't set it down and even days after finishing, I'm still suffering from a massive book-hangover. It was everything I was looking for and then some. Smith has truly outdone herself, setting the stage for greatness as she continues this groundbreaking series. It should come as absolutely no surprise that I am granting Dark Forsaken by HD Smith a near-perfect 5-star review! I highly recommend this series to all readers, regardless of genre preference. It's a thrilling adventure, sure to please all readers. Buckle up, it's a trip across the realms that's one 'Hell' of a ride! 

*****
Check out my 5-star reviews of the first two novels 
in the series by clicking the covers below!

      

Alright readers, that's all I have for you today on the topic of Dark Forsaken by the incredible HD Smith. I'm telling you this series is not to be missed. Be sure to grab yourself a copy today! Thank so much to the author for supplying me with a copy in exchange for my honest review and thanks to you for stopping by, Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Digital Horizon (#Hacker #3) by Sherry D. Ficklin Review

Hey readers! Ethan here tonight with another review for you guys. I've been closely following this series since the very beginning and it keeps getting better with each passing novel. Plus the author is one of my all-time favorites, win-win right? On the hopping block tonight? Digital Horizon, the third novel in the #Hacker series by the incredible Sherry D. Ficklin. Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the novel and our author:


One wants justice. 
One wants redemption. 
One just wants revenge. 

Still reeling from her devastating loss, Farris is barely holding it together when she’s approached by a covert government agency. The IDC is recruiting the best hackers in the country to form a team capable of tracking down and thwarting cyber terrorists. When they make her an offer she can’t refuse—a shot at catching the people responsible for the death of her father—she’s all in. But success will mean forging new alliances, betraying the people she loves, and trusting an old enemy. If she succeeds, she might finally get the closure she needs. If she fails, the digital world will crumble at her feet, putting thousands of lives at risk and exposing the world’s most dangerous secrets. In the dark web, where anything can be bought and sold, this talented young hacker just might have to sell her soul to get what she’s after. The question is, who’s buying?

          


ABOUT SHERRY D. FICKLIN:

Sherry-Ficklin


Sherry is a full time writer from Colorado and the author of over a dozen novels for teens and young adults including the best selling Stolen Empire series. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she's on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs. Sherry also writes New Adult fiction under the pen name Ranae Glass and is a contributing writer for fangirlish.com.




*****
My Thoughts:

As my readers well know, Sherry D. Ficklin is one of my all-time favorite young adult authors. Her works transcend across genres and shatter boundaries, leaving only awe in their paths. Back in the fall she released her newest series, a YA mystery sci-fi thriller that set the stage for a saga I wasn't too sure about. While book one and I may not have seen eye to eye, book two really upped the ante and had me singing its' praises. But could Ficklin continue the trend?

Absolutely!

Digital Horizon is my favorite in the series thus far, by-far! Wow!

Rather than rehash the events of the previous two novels, I'd like to jump right in with my thoughts on this one.

First and foremost, HOLY YA. Woah people. Ficklin didn't play around this time. This is one mature YA novel, definitely pushing the boundaries in only the way Ficklin can. Adult themes, situations, and language are prevalent, but in such a way that make this YA hard hitting and so much more realistic from others we see int he same genre. I continue to be absolutely astounded by Ficklin's writing style.

Anyone who is following this series will well remember than book two, In Too Deep, ended on one of the most emotional notes imaginable, changing Farris' life forever. That heartbreak and emotion aided Digital Horizon in becoming one of Ficklin's most well-written stories to-date.

When it comes to the plot of Digital Horizon, I was thoroughly impressed. I'll be honest, I'm not much for the spy/James Bond-esque novels, but Ficklin changed thoughts with this one. Unlike the previous two novels, this 'mystery' isn't quite the same. While we're definitely still hunting a villain, the stakes are much higher. And our girl Farris definitely has some work to do. Not even old enough to drink and Farris is handling matters of international security like a champ. She's truly the perfect heroine! Digital Horizon packed such a huge punch in terms of the plotline that I couldn't set it down. I absolutely devoured this one. It's action-packed and fast-paced so any reader will fly through this one.

Not only did Digital Horizon see a much more mature plot, it also so a much more mature Farris. The biggest issue I had with the beginning of this series was the immaturity I saw in our main characters and their struggles, it wasn't the type of writing I was used to from Ficklin. Through three amazing stories now, Farris has grown and really come into her own. She's fierce in every aspect of the word and truly an incredible character role model for an entire generation of readers. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Farris in future installments of this series.

As I've already mentioned several times now, this novel is definitely more for the mature-YA readers. Sex, violence, and language are all present here and help to contribute to some of the novel's most hard-hitting themes. While definitely something to take note of, it definitely did not hinder my reading experience in the least bit. In fact, I was loving every second. It's authors like Ficklin who understand the capacities of our youth who are moving the industry forward by not sugar coating the realities of young adult life in the twenty-first century.

This story really touched me in an awesome way and left me with incredible hope for the remainder of the series. I absolutely cannot wait to see what we can expect in book four of the series. It should come as absolutely no surprise that I am granting Digital Horizon by Sherry D. Ficklin a near-perfect 5-star review. I couldn't recommend this series more highly if I tried. To anyone looking to add something a bit different to your TBR, look no more! Check out the #Hacker series today!

*****


Don't miss out on book one, available now for FREE!
Click the cover below for more info and to read my thoughts!


Alright folks, that's all I have for you on the topic of Digital Horizon by the incredible Sherry D. Ficklin. You guys all know she's one of my all-time favorite authors and this read only cemented that even further! Don't miss it! Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

Frantic (Book Two: The Frenzy Series) by Casey L. Bond Review

Hey Readers! Ethan here with another awesome review for you guys! I'm going a bit out of order to give you guys this review ASAP since it just released this past Friday. I absolutely devoured this read in one sitting and I cannot wait to share my thoughts on this one. Up on the chopping block? Frantic, book two in the Frenzy series by the incredible Casey L. Bond! Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the novel and our author:



Porschia Grant is in Frenzy. The hunger is constant. It’s all-consuming, as is the pain and sickness. Something went wrong when she turned. Perhaps it was the fact that an infected bit her moments before, or maybe it’s something else entirely.

One thing is certain, if Porschia can’t learn to feed, she will die. If she can’t learn to control her extreme emotional swings, she will kill someone. And that would destroy her.

How long can the night-walkers keep her turning a secret from the Colony? Will Saul stand beside her now that she’s changed? And what will happen when she re-enters the forest?




     


Casey L. Bond


Casey L. Bond resides in Milton, West Virginia with her husband and their two beautiful daughters.
When she’s not busy being a domestic goddess and chasing her baby girls, she loves to write young adult and new adult fiction.

In 2003, Bond graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marshall University in the field of Criminal Justice. 





*****
My Thoughts:

"There would always be reminders of my former life, like wounds that were torn open again and again. They would never heal, but I had eternity to bleed."

As anyone who follows this blog will well know, I am a huge Casey L. Bond fan. Admittedly, I haven't read her entire backlog and just recently jumped on board the Bond Bandwagon, but even based on the few works I have devoured, I can say with confidence that she's one of the most talented writers I've worked with as of late. Her stories are full of gripping emotion and such vivid plots and settings that really leave a lasting impression on the mind of her readers. 

Anyone who knows me also knows that I am absolutely obsessed with anything paranormal. And vampires? My favorite. Bring it on. But what happens when you miss the living dead with the undead? Can a novel with both vampires and zombies work in a post-apocalyptic setting? Hell yes. And so much more. 

Anyone who read my recent review of book one in this series, Frenzy, will well-remember that I absolutely adored each and every word. I absolutely fell in love with Bond's ability to craft a story beyond convention that didn't stick between the lines of what one would expect from a traditional novel of this genre. That's one of my favorite characteristics I look for in an author: pushing the limits, and does Bond ever! 

Frantic picks up right as we left our characters in Frenzy: confused, scared, and in one heck of a mess. With Portia's life on the line, she makes the only decision she has: drink from the blood of her poisoned ring and become the creature she's been raised to hate. A Nightcrawler. A Vampire. Being newly turned can only mean one thing: a new fledgling is in Frenzy. Can Blackwater handle the effects of another newly turned? 

Bond really ups the ante with Frantic. With the same high-octane thrills and crippling feels as we saw in book one, Bond builds upon those emotions to craft an incredible sophomore outing in the series. I have to say there were several plot twists that I absolutely did not see coming and more than a few moments that left my heart heavy with emotions. This groundbreaking series is not to be missed. With a plot so fast paced, it was no surprise to me that I absolutely devoured this one. 

Retaining the same post-apocalyptic setting as book one, Bond delves more into the tone and psyche of the setting in book two. It's not so much about where you are, it's about what you make of it. Human? Infected? Vampire? Each setting means a different outcome for each race. Can three races with absolute different motives co-exist? Or are their motives really all that different?

As I mentioned before, Bond really challenges the conventions of the genre with this installment. It's so much more than what you see on the surface and that in itself will leave you with so many questions at the end of the novel. Questions that will leave you pondering everything you thought you knew about the genre and leave you begging for more!

As you can clearly see, book two spoke to me just as clearly as its' predecessor. It's full of emotion, grit, and appeal that only an author as talented as Casey L. Bond can delivery. A true nail biter from page one, Frantic is everything I needed in a sequel and more! It should come as absolutely no surprise that I am granting this second installment to The Frenzy Series a well-earned 5-star review. Take note book world, we've got a new rising series on our hands. It's to die for. Don't let this one slip away, add it to your TBR today! 

*****

Alright readers, that's all I have for you on the topic of Frantic by Casey L. Bond. It was a fun, fast-paced read that I couldn't put down. I have yet to read something from Bond that I didn't love from the very first sentence. I know this guy will be anxiously awaiting the release of Frequency next month. Be on the look out for my thoughts on it soon! Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Soulless (Heartless #2) by Kelly Martin Review

Hey readers! Late Night-Ethan here again with another awesome book review for you folks. Back in January, I had the great honor of reviewing book one in this incredible series. It touched me in ways I hadn't been touched in a long time. It really changed my outlook on life and was a genuine pleasure to read. Could book two live up to those huge expectations? This time on the chopping block? Soulless by Kelly Martin. Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the novel and our author:




Sometimes all the wishing in the world doesn't change the fact that in order to save everyone, you have to destroy yourself.
Sometimes good doesn't always win.
Sometimes choices suck.
Sometimes people don't break their promises
Sometimes the thing we hate the most is the one thing that can save us.
Sometimes...
Sometimes love ruins everything.







     

Kelly Martin



Kelly Martin is the bestselling author of contemporary, historical, and YA romance. She has been married for over ten years and has three rowdy, angelic daughters. When Kelly isn't writing, she loves watching horror gamers on YouTube, even though she is a huge wimp, and drinking white chocolate mochas.







*****
My Thoughts:

"I sound tired. I am tired. It's like I want it to be over, but I know it won't be. My life, as I knew it before, is gone. I thought I has it bad then? I had no idea. If I could go back, even to last week, I'd be happy. I'm not sure how to even go on from here..."

As I mentioned in my feels-filled review for Heartless, it isn't often that I read a novel that completely changes the way I view the industry. A novel the that fills my being and takes over in a way that I become so immersed into the story that I truly leave reality behind in the midst of its' pages. Kelly Martin absolutely astounded me. I had no idea if she could bring me back into the full swing of emotion again. I should've known better.

Soulless is a literary gem. Never before has a sequel caught my attention in such a way as this one. It's almost as though there are no breaks within the story and rather than a new installment, we're merely receiving a continuation of the first novel. That being said, I'm absolutely going to have to say that this novel is a NO READ unless you read book one. I don't usually say that, but I am beyond passionate that no reader will understand the depth of this series without following Gracen's trials from the beginning.

Let's get started.

Soulless picks up near immediately after the closing of Heartless. For obvious reasons, I can't elaborate too much on the plot of this one, but I can tell you that Martin shines. It takes an author of true talent to continue such a heartwrenching stories with such grace and ferocity as Martin did with Soulless. The plot is fast-paced which makes for a quick read. Much like Heartless, this series is about so much more than what we read on the surface. It's not a flashy, action-filled series, but one that will take you on a psychological road trip from which you won't return the same person as when you started. Much like it's predecessor, there are moment of absolute horror in Soulless so again this one is not recommended for the faint of heart.

There were so many moments when reading Soulless that I had to take a moment to compose myself and my thoughts, It's an extremely hard-hitting novel for so many reasons, but such a worthwhile literary adventure. I have highlighted over twenty extremely hard-hitting passages from this read that have hit me in the feels on so many occasions.

Soulless did an incredible job in continuing with Martin's character development and arcs. As the second novel in the trilogy, she didn't have to introduce many new characters which really gave her time to focus on our main duo or Gracen and Hart. I have to say I've never quite seen character development in such as way as I've seen in this series. Redemption is a huge theme in this series and Martin writes it with an elegance we don't see often enough in contemporary literature. Again, for reasons of spoilers I cannot elaborate too much, but I can assure you that I was not disappointed in any capacity.

In terms of setting, Martin again, hit the nail right on the head. In true New Adult fashion, we're situated at college, complete with the allure, excitement, stress, and ambiance of campus life and living. The first apartment, the libraries, Martin really did an incredible job with keeping her story tied to the new adult setting that one comes to look for in a novel of this genre. 

I'd like to recycle these thoughts from my review of Heartless as they absolutely pertain to my thoughts on the second installment as well:

I'm going to make this a little personal for a moment. I often try to detach myself from the emotions of a novel. Only because I feel that if you relate too closely with the source material when reviewing, it's tends to cause some bias results. I'll be honest, I couldn't help but relate with everything Martin wrote in this incredible story. It's dark, far darker than I ever anticipated from an author with such a bubbly-upbeat personality. It's reflective on so many aspects of my life and I loved every second. It was such a cathartic read for me that I desperately needed. Words are so useful in dispelling the darkness and Martin and this series do an incredible job. I can't say many stories have touched me the way [Soulless] has.
As a member of this book community, I read a whole lot. It's not often I come across a series as special and with as much potential as I have found in Martin's Heartless series. I cannot sing its' praises higher if I tried. It's such a testament to the talent and writing style of Martin to have crafted a such a beautiful work of literary art. I have nothing but praise for Soulless and absolutely cannot imagine what I will discover when the final novel of the series is released this fall.

It should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone that I am granting Soulless by Kelly Martin a near-perfect 5-star review. As I said with Heartless, Soulless is "a truly unique read, Martin ignites a flame with her elegant words, captivating settings, and enough psychological insight to keep even the most hesitant of readers satisfied." Don't miss your chance to add this one to your TBR today. You absolutely will not regret this addition to your shelves!

*****

Check out my 5-star review of book one in the series, Heartless, by clicking the cover below.


Alright readers, that's all I have for you on the topic of Soulless by Kelly Martin. As you guys can clearly see, this book spoke to me in ways I haven't been spoken to in a very long time. I couldn't recommend this series any more highly if I tried. Do yourself a huge favor and grab your copy today! Huge shout out to Kelly for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Frenzy (Book One: The Frenzy Series) by Casey L. Bond Review

Hello readers! I am back from yet another long break (which I'll address in a later post) with my first of several reviews from my February reads. February was a really rough month for me so I only got a a handful of reads in. Thankfully they were all amazing and I'm so pumped to share my thoughts. Kicking off this review spree? Frantic, the latest thrilling release from the amazing Casey L. Bond! Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the novel and our author:

After the world was ravaged by a viral apocalypse, Blackwater is one of the only colonies that remains. The survivors came together to create this safe haven. Nestled between a fierce river and a city’s flood wall, the well-being of its residents hangs on a long-established treaty with the night-walkers. Sounds simple enough, but lately, the people of Blackwater have been dying, and the humans believe the night-walkers are to blame.

Porschia Grant starves for more than her parents’ affection. Forced to enter the rotation, she will be given extra food rations in exchange for becoming a vampire’s breakfast and dinner for a week. The rotation has an extra responsibility as well: leave the colony and enter the dangerous forest to hunt for food. A night-walker will protect the hunters from the infected that roam the woods. But with the treaty hanging in the balance and tension between the humans and vampires rising, anything could happen in the darkness.

What would you do if your only chance at survival might kill you?

     


Casey L. Bond


Casey L. Bond resides in Milton, West Virginia with her husband and their two beautiful daughters.
When she’s not busy being a domestic goddess and chasing her baby girls, she loves to write young adult and new adult fiction.

In 2003, Bond graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marshall University in the field of Criminal Justice. 





*****
My Thoughts:

As anyone who follows this blog will well know, I am a huge Casey L. Bond fan. Admittedly, I haven't read her entire backlog and just recently jumped on board the Bond Bandwagon, but even based on the few works I have devoured, I can say with confidence that she's one of the most talented writers I've worked with as of late. Her stories are full of gripping emotion and such vivid plots and settings that really leave a lasting impression on the mind of her readers. 

Anyone who knows me also knows that I am absolutely obsessed with anything paranormal. And vampires? My favorite. Bring it on. But what happens when you miss the living dead with the undead? Can a novel with both vampires and zombies work in a post-apocalyptic setting? Hell yes. And so much more. 

When it came to the plot of Frenzy, Bond really knocked it out of the park. It's extremely fast-paced and reads much like her previous Harvest Saga. A crippling dystopian future full of family struggles and more emotions than you can imagine, Bond crafted one of the most unique and original plots I have seen in quite some time. It was such an interesting twist on vampire lore that I couldn't devour it fast enough. Truly a testament to the power of Bond's writing talents. 

The characters in Frenzy were more than intriguing. They are all well rounded and left me feeling whole and more than satisfied with their character arcs and development. Filled with plenty of unexpected moments, Bond was able to really dig deep into the psyche of her character, both mortal and paranormal, to provide her readers with exemplary examples of how the genre should be tackled. 

The setting for Frenzy was probably my favorite aspect of the story. Maybe setting is the wrong word. Let's say tone. The story has this entire 'black and white' feel to it. It played out like a dark, Frank Miller-esque tone and setting that I could not get enough of. I had chills and could feel the tension in each scene Bond crafted. Truly a landmark in its' genre, Frenzy is a powerful beginning to a groundbreaking series. 

Speaking of series? Let's talk about the potential of this one. Bond end the first novel with quite the bang. One I can honestly say I didn't see coming. I am so anxious to see where Bond takes this story and to see if she can continue to build the momentum as she has in Frenzy.

Look out Anne Rice and Stephenie Meyer, you've got competition in a big way!

It should come as no surprise that I am granting this spellbinding read from Casey L. Bond a near-perfect 5-star review. It was everything I didn't even know I wanted, and then some! Don't miss your chance to pick up this read today. It's free for KU subscribers, what are you waiting for?! I know this guy cannot wait for more from Bond and this series!

*****

Alright readers, that's all I have for you on the topic of Frenzy by Casey L. Bond. It was a fun, fast-paced read that I couldn't put down. I have yet to read something from Bond that I didn't love from the very first sentence. I know this guy will be anxiously awaiting the release of Frantic later this week. Be on the look out for my thoughts on it soon! Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan