Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Alive? By Melissa Woods

Just in time for Halloween is a fabulous new zombie series! Check out that amazing cover. Let's dive in and find out more about this brand new release. 

Title: Alive?
Author: Melissa Woods
Series: The Alive? #1
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: October 30th 2018
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Zombies
Everyone knows the first rule of the zombie apocalypse: Don’t. Get. Bitten.
Too bad Violet has never been great at following the rules. Walking home after a night of partying, she manages to let one of the Dead take a chunk out of her only hours after they’ve begun walking again. Fortunately for Violet, she doesn’t die. Unfortunately for Violet—she’s not exactly alive, either.
Violet’s body is undergoing changes, and suddenly the taste of human flesh is not as revolting as it once sounded. Controlling her new urges will be hard. Living with survivors who have no idea will be even harder. And the real zombies? They still want to eat her, too…
Surviving the zompocalypse is tricky when you play for both teams.
New from author Melissa Woods, Alive? is a heart-pounding adventure with suspenseful plot twists, complex characters, and a dash of dark humor. Gritty and raw, Alive? is sure to keep you guessing, and will delight zombie apocalypse fans everywhere.

A creak of floorboards. Violet opened her eyes just in time to see a woman lunge. She was wearing a white lace nightie, offset slightly by the gaping wound in her stomach. Violet held out her arms, pushing back with all her strength. She barely had any left, but it was just enough to keep the zombie at bay. The woman’s eyes were almost white, and her teeth snapped in Violet’s face. Though she had no idea what caused this or why it was happening, she knew this thing wanted to kill her.
Her arms were hurting, but she continued to fight. The zombie moved her head suddenly, sinking her teeth into Violet’s left arm, just below the elbow. She screamed as teeth tore through her skin.
It was worse than any pain she’d ever experienced—sharp and brutal. She kicked out, catching the woman in the stomach and pushing her back. Violet ran, clutching her bleeding arm against her chest. She had no idea where the back door was, so she ran up the stairs. When she saw the bathroom up ahead, she threw herself inside.
The door slammed shut, and Violet saw a man click the lock into place as she dropped onto the floor by the sink. He was normal, not dead like the others. There was a hammering at the wood, rattling the frame. The man grabbed a towel, hurriedly wrapping Violet’s arm. She wanted to thank him, but her eyes felt heavy. Within seconds, everything was black.

Writer, primary school teacher, zompocalyptic obsessive.
Melissa Woods is the author of 'Alive?', a young adult zombie adventure story, set for release on October 30th 2018.
When she's not writing or teaching, Melissa can usually be found walking her three dogs, playing video games, or, occasionally, spending time with her husband.


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Cover Reveal: Sourpuss by Merricat Mulwray

I don't know about you guys, but I am ready for this week to be over already. Alas, it's only Wednesday. The good news is I have a fantastic new cover to show you to brighten your day. Sourpuss promises to be an interesting commentary on the college party life and the chaos that ensues. Be sure to add it to your TBR for 2019. 

Title: Sourpuss
Author: Merricat Mulwray
Published by: Haigh 38 Press
Publication date: January 20th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Dark Comedy, Contemporary, Satire
Sourpuss is a blistering satire of the depraved and entitled culture that pervades college campuses.
Mallory Wahl loathes the campus party scene . . .
She’s sprinting through her senior year obsessed with winning a spot on the US Olympic track team. But she runs straight into a hurdle in the form of fraternity president Graham Patterson, an intern assigned to help her recover from an injury – one she blames on him.
Once Graham’s therapies begin to work, Mallory pretends to fall in love but traps herself in her own scheme and tailspins deep into his debauched world. When a scandal erupts which threatens to shatter her Olympic dreams once and for all, Mallory must finally face the dark truth she’s been running from since freshman year.
In the style of a ’90s dark comedy flick, Merricat Mulwray’s debut brings an insightful and humorous perspective to the reckless behavior college students perpetually get away with. Mallory, herself a flawed heroine, is backed by a self-serving cast of athletes, party girls, townies, and fraternity brothers so hilariously dark that the book will leave you wondering if anyone ever gets what they deserve.

Merricat Mulwray is the collaboration of two sisters. They live in Los Angeles where they hatch plans and develop schemes, sometimes these turn into novels.


Monday, October 22, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (10/22/18)

Good morning, and happy Monday reader friends!

I've been chugging along with my reading lately and am, in fact, a whole book ahead of schedule to hit my 120 books this year goal :). The best part is that it hasn't been a chore. I've kind of let myself sink into whatever I feel like reading, and not worry too much about finishing quickly. Hilariously, that's been making me read faster. What are you going to do?

Here's what my reading looks like lately.

I finished up two more Halloween Bingo books. Both Experimental Film by Gemma Files and The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey were fantastic!

Currently working my way through the last two books I need for Halloween Bingo! Classic romantic suspense, courtesy of Phyllis A. Whitney, and a murder mystery from Jon McGregor! Also, I'm finally finishing up The Book of M. It expired before I could finish, and I had to wait this long for my turn in the queue.

I honestly have no idea! We'll see where the wind takes me.
What are you reading this week? 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Book Review: Implanted by Lauren C. Teffeau

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Implanted
Author: Lauren C. Teffeau
Publisher: Angry Robot
Pages: Paperback; 400
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Source: Author
Genre: Science Fiction

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy quick moving science fiction with compelling characters!

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
The data stored in her blood can save a city on the brink… or destroy it, in this gripping cyberpunk thriller.

When college student Emery Driscoll is blackmailed into being a courier for a clandestine organisation, she’s cut off from the neural implant community which binds the domed city of New Worth together. Her new masters exploit her rare condition which allows her to carry encoded data in her blood, and train her to transport secrets throughout the troubled city. New Worth is on the brink of Emergence – freedom from the dome – but not everyone wants to leave. Then a data drop goes bad, and Emery is caught between factions: those who want her blood, and those who just want her dead.

Where to start with this? I can tell you right now that if you're new to Cyberpunk, like I was, this is an excellent place to start. While I love Science Fiction as a general rule, sometimes it can feel a little inaccessible. Cyberpunk has always peaked my interest though, because of the mix between advanced technology and dystopian world building. I took the plunge with Implanted, and I'm so glad that I did.

Imagine a world under glass. A world protected from the outside elements because the world we once knew is uninhabitable. That's the world that Emery lives in, and it's a fascinating one. I'm a stickler for world building, as you well know, and Teffeau shines in this respect. Everything about Emery's world instantly comes to life on the page. From the implants that both help and hinder society, to the stratification that comes from a city competing for resources, I immediately felt like I was part of this space. New Worth became my home for the duration of this book and it was equal parts intriguing and terrifying.

Even better, this book is written in first person. While some readers might not enjoy that perspective, I thought it worked perfectly in this story. It added to the overall mystery, since I was uncovering things right along with Emery. Each twist, each shock, it came over both of us at the same time. I felt like we were one, and that made all her emotion even more palpable. Teffeau created this space for me to live in during this story, and I loved every minute of it.

My only tiny issue with this book was how quickly it had to wrap up. I was so immersed in Emery, so lost in her quest to survive, that I didn't realize how close I was to the end of the story. It felt like the ending was a bit rushed, compared to the slow build up of everything that came before. No spoilers here, don't worry. This is absolutely a ride that you'll want to experience yourself, and it's best to go in blind. Pick this up!

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Book Review: The Scythian Trials by Elizabeth Isaacs

Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: The Scythian Trials
Author: Elizabeth Isaacs
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Pages: Paperback; 372
Release Date: October 23, 2018
Source: TLC Book Tours / Author
Content Screening: Mild Fantasy Violence

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy fast paced stories with plenty of twists.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon

Descendants of the Amazons, the Scythians work alongside prominent governments but answer to no one. Warriors living on the fringe of civilization, they live by one credo: Strength through Equality. Power through Knowledge.

Nya Thalestris is the brightest Scythian of her generation. Strong, capable, ruthless, she is sure to earn a spot in the Trials, a time-honored mating ritual responsible for the evolution of her species.

Abducted by their sworn enemy, the Drahzda, Nya is forever altered and spirals out of control. The Society sends in Jax Nickius. Infamous psychologist and one of the most brutal warriors of their kind, he discovers triggers planted in Nya’s mind. As Nya solidifies her spot in the Trials, Jax develops a plan to help—while pursuing her as a mate. But, Nya’s attraction to Jax is at war with her instinct to never let anyone get too close.

During the Trials, Nya’s repressed memories surface, revealing a new enemy—one from inside the consulate walls—and a traitorous alliance on the horizon that could irrevocably change the course of history.

Since before the Bronze Age, the Society has managed to safeguard humanity from itself … until now.

First off, credit where credit is due, this an absolutely stunning book cover. That's admittedly the first thing that drew me to The Scythian Trials. Secondly, I should start with the fact that I actually did enjoy this book overall. I'm fairly picky about my Sci Fi and Fantasy, especially when it comes to world building, so I wanted to get that out in the open. I'll do my best to share all the positives first, and then come around to why this book didn't quite click with me the way that I would have liked.

Let's start with Nya, our enigma of a main character. Part of the Scythian tribe, and therefore descended from Amazons, Nya's whole purpose in life is to be the best. Unfortunately for her, she's hampered by the fact that her memories are mysteriously locked away. There are secrets buried there, and trying to overcome them is Nya's main burden. This whole concept is actually the main reason why I enjoyed Nya as our lead. She has a strong will, but is inherently weakened by her mental barriers. Watching her grow as a person, while battling her inner demons, made me love her more. I was rooting for her, and it made this story fly by.

In terms of plot, this book definitely pushes forward at a manic pace. There is barely time to breathe as Nya's life barrels onward, allowing the reader to start to uncover what she's been unwittingly hiding this entire time. There are stirrings of war, the tiny flame of a budding romance, and more action than it seems can fit in one book. I admit that I love a quick pace, but I also felt like the book kind of skimmed over some of what I really wanted to know about Nya and her world. I felt slightly unmoored the entire story.

And there lies my issue with this book. The action is so forefront, and Nya's place in all the intrigue is so much the focus, that there really isn't any time for world building or back story. This book very much feels like the second in a series, where the author assumes that the reader already knows the characters and the setting intimately. There were flashbacks that attempted to fill things in, but I honestly believe that this book would have benefited from just a little time to settle the reader into their surroundings. I wanted to know more about the society, especially because their advanced world seemed so fascinating. I'm a reader who needs footing, and I wasn't given any.

So, as I mentioned when I started this review, I really did enjoy this book overall. Nya's story was intriguing, the plot moved lightning fast, and the twists kept me guessing. If only there were more attention to world building, this would have been a higher starred read for me. As it stands, I give this a solid three rating. There's definitely something starting here that I like, and I'm ready to see what comes next.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Book Review: The Point by John Dixon

Media Type: ebook
Title: The Point
Author: John Dixon
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: paperback, 320
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Sci-fi Fantasy

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy science fiction stories similar to X-Men.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon
Scarlett Winter has always been an outsider, and not only because she's a hardcore daredevil and born troublemaker--she has been hiding superhuman powers she doesn't yet understand. Now she's been recruited by a secret West Point unit for cadets with extraordinary abilities. Scarlett and her fellow students are learning to hone their skills, from telekinetic combat to running recon missions through strangers' dreamscapes. At The Point, Scarlett discovers that she may be the most powerful cadet of all. With the power to control pure energy, she's a human nuclear bomb--and she's not sure she can control her powers much longer.

Even in this army of outsiders, Scarlett feels like a misfit all over again, but when a threat that endangers her fellow students arises from the school's dark past, duty calls and Scarlett must make a choice between being herself and becoming something even greater: a hero.
This story started off strong. We meet Scarlett as she's blowing off her own high school graduation, much to her mother's dismay. She is a rebellious, angry, angsty teen who is struggling with her future plans. When she gets into trouble, her only option to avoid jail is to join the military program at West Point.

Of course this isn't just a regular program at West Point, Scarlett has special abilities that the military is interested in. Posthumans are in their own program where they are learning to control and focus their powers. As is standard for Scarlett, she isn't that interested in doing what she's told. I liked her rebelliousness and bending of the rules despite her angst ridden feelings.

I really enjoyed the first 3/4 of the book, where we learn all about Scarlett and her experience with other posthumans. My frustration with the ending is mostly that is feels so different from the rest of the story. We are quickly introduced to the enemy and there's a showdown of sorts. Very movie-esque in its hastiness.

If you're looking for an interesting science fiction story that feels a lot like X-Men or the show Heroes, I think you would enjoy this book a lot. It definitely leans more towards Young Adult genre, but not in a bad way.

 FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Book Blogger Hop: Halloween Edition!

Book Blogger Hop: Halloween Edition!

Happy Friday friends!

It's been a really long time since I've participated in one of these hops, mainly because we were posting infrequently for a while. I missed them! Getting to answer fun questions, visiting other people on their blogs, it's a great way to network! I actually miss being up on what other book bloggers are doing, and so it's one of my goals for the rest of this year and all of next year to start getting connected again.

Let's start things out with this book blog hop, shall we?


This week's question:
It's getting close to Halloween. If you HAD to read one of these two genres, which would you prefer -- urban fantasy, or horror, and why?


This is actually an easy one for me, because I read both of these genres! So, to make it a little tougher, I'm going to go ahead and choose one as a favorite and explain why. Are you ready? Because I'm going to settle right into why I love HORROR.

Horror books run the gambit from middle grade, all the way up to adult books and I love every single aspect of this genre. I could gush for ages about everything from ghost stories, to gore filled slasher stories, to stories filled with tense moments and overall dread. There's something beautiful about a well-written horror novel. They allow characters to take chances, face their fears and, hopefully, come out the other side a stronger person. They pit us, the reader, against all the things that we normally try to hide from. They make the fears we hold inside a little bit easier to understand, because we can see them through the eyes of someone else.

Plus, I just love to be scared!

Since I was a young reader I've loved that feeling of encroaching dread that comes with a good scary story. Every September and October you'll see my bookshelves filled with these kind of books and I can't wait!

Want some recs?

If you want some YA horror that features ghosts, fabulous characters, and ominous happenings, try The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud. The whole series is fabulous!

If you want to read a tome, that features historical fiction mixed with horror, try The Terror by Dan Simmons. It's gory, but wonderfully done.

Finally, if you want a book that will enchant you, terrify you, and make you fall in love with every single character, try Boy's Life by Robert McCammon. Get tissues. You'll need them.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Book Review: Begone the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Begone the Raggedy Witches
Author: Celine Kiernan
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: Hardcover; 288
Release Date: September 11, 2018
Source: NetGalley / Publisher
Content Screening: Mild Fantasy Violence

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers of all ages who love a good story about family, filled to the brim with magic.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
When witches kidnap her dad, Mup is swept up in a wild tide of magic that carries her to another world. Can she reunite her family and find her way back?

On the night that Aunty dies, the raggedy witches come for Mup's family. Pale, cold, and relentless, the witches will do anything for the tyrannical queen who has outlawed most magic and enforces her laws with terror and cruelty -- and who happens to be Mup's grandmother. When witches carry off her dad, Mup and her mam leave the mundane world to rescue him. But everything is odd in the strange, glittering Witches Borough, even Mam. Even Mup herself. In a world of rhyming crows, talking cats, and golden forests, it's all Mup can do to keep her wits about her. And even if she can save her dad, Mup's not sure if anything will ever be the same again. First in a new trilogy by Irish author Celine Kiernan, this tale of family and forbidden magic charts a fresh path through the landscape of beloved fantasy tradition -- and promises to bewitch any reader in search of stories to love.

This is my first book by Celine Kiernan, but it definitely won't be my last. Although Begone the Raggedy Witches is aimed at young readers, this is a story that will resonate with readers of all ages. It's a story filled with family love, tough choices, and beautifully created magic. Books like this make my heart sing, because they don't talk down to their intended audience. Kiernan weaves an exquisitely vivid world around Mup and her family, and it's one that I guarantee you won't mind being lost in.

Mup is such a delightful character, that I fell into step with her instantly. She's everything that a young girl would look up to, facing everything that comes her way with a kind heart and a brave face. It was so satisfying to read from her point of view, and Kiernan does a stellar job of making her feel just as real as you and I. Her love for her family is fierce, and her tiny spirit even fiercer. In other words, Mup is the perfect person to face the trials that unexpectedly come her way and it makes this book a joy to read.

There is no lack of action here either, and the plot zips along at a pace that perfectly matches Kiernan's elegant writing. Everything is described just enough to settle the reader right into the dark land that Mup's mother Stella finds herself in. There are no punches pulled as war breaks out, and Mup is unfortunate enough to be right in the middle of it. As I said before, I love stories that don't talk down to their readers and this definitely fits that bill. Kiernan shows just how dark things can get, but how brightly one can shine in the midst of that as well.

What else can I say? This book was just a delight to read, and I'm so happy that I had to the chance to review it. There will always be this special place in my heart for Middle Grade books. Authors like Celine Kiernan, who weave magical places for young readers to visit, are my favorite. So, I loved this! I think you might too.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Cursed Rebel by H.G. Lynch

Happy Monday readers! What an exciting start to the week with this fabulous new Faery tale. That cover is breathtaking and I'm sure the story will be too. 

Cursed Rebel
H.G. Lynch
Publication date: October 5th 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

My grandma always warned me never to trust a Faery. I never believed they were real…until I was kidnapped by one.

Finn is an obnoxious, mercurial Fae whose job it is to bring me to the King. He’s gorgeous, but in this world, the prettiest things are the deadliest.

But if I want to survive the Fae realm and find a way home, I’ll have to trust him…for now.

Add it: Goodreads / Amazon
My breath caught in part fear and part awe at the faery boy‘s beauty. One side of his mouth tilted up in a smirk.

"About time you woke up. I was starting to think you were going to pull a Sleeping Beauty, and I‘d have to kiss you to wake you up."

I swallowed and sat up, forcing my eyes off him to take in my surroundings. I was lying in a field of swaying purple flowers, the sun beating down on me through a canopy of lush green leaves. Through the shifting pattern of leaves above, I could see the sky was a perfect, summer-soft blue. The air was warm, a gentle breeze teasing my hair around my face. Somewhere, a bird sang in trilling, sweet notes. It was incredibly beautiful, and completely terrifying.

H.G. Lynch is a Paranormal Romance author from Scotland. She is an avid reader, and cat-lover. She spends most of her days writing, while wrestling her cat off her laptop. She loves horse-riding, Star Trek, and snow.

Her books are dark paranormal romances.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


Friday, October 5, 2018

Small Business Spotlight: Spooky Finds

It's time for another small business spotlight post, and this time around we're celebrating all things spooky! Or, at least, spooky cute? Heck, it's just stuff that I would totally want to buy and now I'm sharing it with you. Let's get started!

** note that all photos are the property of the store owners **


Double, Double, Toil & Trouble Pin by TheGrumpyUnicornCo

Every witch needs her very own boiling cauldron to cackle over. If it's pin sized, and ready to put on your lapel, I call that a win! Plus we have a Shakespeare reference here. So, bookish friends, why don't you just go ahead and click already? You know you want it!

Girl From the Ring - Felt Bookmark by SpeedSnailShop

I might be a little biased, because I love embroidery, but this bookmark is so freaking cool! I'm torn because I want it, but I'm also afraid I'd set my book down and then be startled when I saw the bookmark on the outside. Spooky and practical. Who could ask for more?

Midnight in Salem Candle by TheBookishCandle

Need something to set that seance mood? I'm thinking this candle might be just the ticket! With heady florals and fruits, this is definitely a way to celebrate the spooky season!

My Books Would Give You Nightmares Mug by NoteworthyGiftsInc

Finally, to round things out, here's the perfect mug to pair with those oh so spooky reads that you've been devouring this month. Horror books and warm tea? Damn right.


There you have it ladies and gents! A list of the perfect items to help this season be extra spooky! Find anything else out there in Etsy land that you love? Shout it out in the comments!


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