Author Archives: Kat Mandu

Kat Mandu’s New Groove

Hello blog friends! You might have noticed it’s been rather quiet on the site lately. My fellow reviewers and I have had some ups and downs and well, occasionally life gets in the way of doing things you really love. So to be honest, a couple of us are behind on ALL THE THINGS. But eventually, we’ll get back to a groove again.

But because you haven’t heard from me lately, I’d like to update you on what I’m up to these days. Plus what you can expect from me in the next several months.

Review Schedule!
I’ve been frantically trying to get through my long queue of requests from authors whose books I’ve accepted. Here’s a list of ten coming your way – and if you’re an author waiting on a review from me, I promise I’ll get to it soon.

Novus – Crystal Marcos
The Dragon’s Playlist – Laura Bickle
Superheroes in Prose, V2 – Sevan Paris
Southern Bound – Stuart Jaffe
Starlight – William Stacey
The Last Dinner Party – Carly M Duncan
Doc Graystone: Masks of Mayhem – Nicholas Olivo
Their Solitary Way – JN Chaney
Demon Princess – Kassandra Lynn
Rebels & Fools – David Michael Williams

Upcoming Read-Along!!
Staring August fourth, you can join me and other readers in a read-along of two awesome urban fantasy trilogies. Check out the dates, books, and events below!

Double-Triple Fae

The Shadow Reader trilogy by Sandy Williams

The Shadow Reader – August 4- August 10
The Shattered Dark – August 11 – 17
The Sharpest Blade – August 18 – 24

The Abby Sinclair trilogy by Allison Pang

August 25 -August 31 A Brush of Darkness
September 1 – September 7 A Sliver of Shadow
September 8 – September 13 A Trace of Moonlight

 

 

 

 

 

Writing News!!!
Writing is another one of the things I haven’t kept up with lately. I hit a bad slump in my personal life in the last month and haven’t really had the motivation to work on my pain YA project. It’s a good news, bad news moment because I’ve had the inspiration to write a couple short stories in the meantime. You can find one of them – Trouble – on WattPad! I’m excited to introduce you to some of the first characters I’ve ever worked with. And if you like urban fantasy with touches of romance and humor, these stories might be for you. Trouble is currently halfway done – and I’ve got plans to bring two more novellas into the mx once it is.

Please feel free to let me know what you think! You can find it here!

In other writing news, I’ve got two other projects I work on.

For one, I’m a D&D dungeon master (Dungeons and Dragons for those of you unfamiliar with the term) and I’ve got a nice, magical (and maniacal) murder mystery that needs a lot of tedious planning and mapping. It’s a lot of work – but it’s also a lot of fun! Are you a D&D player? Tell me some of your experiences. I love hearing fun roleplay stories.

I’m also teaming up with my little brother and together we’re stepping out onto the machinima scene. Machinima is the method of making animated film using software similar to that designed for making video and computer games. For those of you who are gamers and might enjoy this type of filming, here’s a great example of machinima: Rooster Teeth’s Red vs Blue, a web-series based on the Halo games with a comical twist.

Granted, these guys rule the roost, so there’s no way our project will be that awesome. But it’ll be fun to make our own scripts and play around the cinematic effects. I’ll keep you updated on our progress (and give you a link to our YouTube channel) but in the meantime, enjoy a Red vs Blue clip (I’m a huge fan, in case you couldn’t tell).

So as you can see, I’m up to a lot lately. And I’m also working two jobs. But I wanted you guys to know I’m still here, so thanks to those of you who still read and/or follow the blog. I’m grateful for your support! Stay tuned for more upcoming reviews, writing posts, and other book stuff! Read on fellow readers, read on!

Kat Mandu

T*Witches: Dead Wrong

In the fourth installment of the teen witch series, Alex returns to her hometown in Montana to rescue her best bud from a bad decision and to confront her father.

Title: Dead Wrong
Author: H.B. Gilmour and Randi Reisfeld
Series: T*Witches, Book 4
Publish Date: April 1, 2002
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description:

Alex and Cam return to Alex’s hometown in Montana to settle some scores. Numero Uno: Someone is trying to block Alex from being adopted by Cam’s family. Could it be Alex’s deadbeat stepdad? Numero Dos: Alex’s bud Evan is being blamed for a school death threat. When stepdad turns up Six Feet Under, the girls must power up for another battle with the forces of evil.


Kat Mandu says…

 

Dead Wrong takes us back to Crow Creek, Montana where spunky and punky Alex grew up. She and Cam have come on a mission to save Alex’s best bud, Evan. Not to mention deal with her dad, who is trying to gain custody of her.

Naturally, they find a lot more trouble than what they bargained for. Thantos and Fredo have been skulking around and now Alex’s dad is six feet under. Evan is tangled up with a group of jerky punks who are threatening to burn the local school to the ground. So the girls have got to get all their magic together and save the day.

There’s a lot of coincidental moments that get them out of trouble quite often I’m not exactly fond of, but also have learned to expect from this particular target age group. Again, my favorite part of the whole series is who the girls deal with real-life issues. It’s almost like the book was intended to be contemporary, dealing with issues you see more in real life… and then magic is thrown in for the twist.  Cam and Alex may be silly teenage girls, but they’re real enough that I’d want them to be my friends.

All in all, this is another great book in the series.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

…you might try Daughters of the Moon by Lynne Ewing, Sweep by Cate Tiernan, and Witches’ Key To Terror by Silver RavenWolf.

 

Flames Like Vines by Sara Raasch

In Cerie’s short-story, Winter and Angra may not be involved in the princess’s world yet…but that doesn’t mean Summer doesn’t have its own troubles.

Title: Flames Like Vines
Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes, Book 2.5 
Publish Date: September 8, 2015
Genre: YA High Fantasy
Source: Discovered on WattPad! Read here for free!

Publisher’s Description:

“She was part of Summer, and Summer was part of her, and this land wouldn’t abandon her too.”

Ceridwen Preben, princess of Summer, has spent her life plotting against her brother, Simon, the Summerian king. Simon has embraced the ruling family’s reputation for using their conduit to keep their subjects in a state of bliss, and has spent his reign slowly driving Summer into ruin, filling everyone with carelessness and letting them turn a blind eye to Summer’s rampant — and deadly — slave trade. But Ceridwen refuses to let her kingdom disintegrate, and with the help of her fellow rebel-in-arms, Lekan, she hopes to undo Simon’s lethal dealings.

But when Ceridwen uncovers Simon’s deadliest plot yet, she starts to realize just how deep magic runs — and that even though her kingdom is one of sunlight, with light, there always comes shadows.


Kat Mandu says…

I really enjoyed this side of the Summer plot line. Ceridwen’s point of view has always been one of my favorites through the whole trilogy, so I’m glad she got her chance to shine in this novella.

I don’t have too terribly much to say because I truly enjoyed it. The writing is flowy and descriptive, Cerie is as sassy as ever, and the growing threat of something stirring beneath the surface of Summer’s magic is a nice little cliffhanger. As I’ve read the entire series, I know just what that threat is, however, for spoilery purposes, I won’t divulge in too much.

I’m hoping other readers will enjoy this as much as I did. Plus it’s free! So go forth and read! 

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

…you might try Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins, Ruined by Amy Tintera, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.

The Universe Builders: Bernie & The Wizards

In Bernie’s world, everyone (including him) he knows are gods and goddesses capable of designing unique worlds for business, trade, and pleasure. Now he’s got to fix a “broken” one for his boss – and save the beings within the world before it’s destroyed. IF he can beat the bad guys inside.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

TitleBernie & The Wizards
Author: Steve LeBel
Series: The Universe Builders, Book 3
Publish Date: June 15, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Provided by the author.

Publisher’s Description:

Gods vs. Wizards ~ an epic struggle for survival

Bernie fixes broken universes for a living. Unlike other gods, who tend to take a hell-fire-and-brimstone approach to problem-solving, Bernie prefers a more gentle approach.

Bernie’s job is to restore production on the planet Photox, but he soon discovers a world caught up in a civil war. With a hard-to-please boss breathing down his neck and a personal life in desperate need of relationship advice, Bernie’s chances of success are dwindling fast. The gods on Bernie’s world are no help. If he fails to restore production, they will destroy Photox’s entire population.

Bernie is desperate to keep this from happening, even if the murderous wizard causing all the problems is powerful enough to hurt a god…


Kat Mandu says…

 

This is actually really a unique concept in the world of fantasy. Not often do you get to hear from an actual god as a narrator. Sure, I’ve read demi-gods (cough, cough Percy Jackson for example) but none with as much power as Bernie has. The world-building is really nice; basically, you have all these gods in control of everything, who are also able to create their own worlds or pay someone else to do so. “Builders” bring these worlds to life and then you have people like Bernie who are able to fix things in the world.

Bernie’s assignment is to discover why a certain world – Photox – is not delivering a certain good to the god who purchased it (in this case, weird peppers). The more he investigates, the more involved he gets with figuring out what happened to the farming race within Photox. Turns out there’s some nasty bad guys rampaging and destroying the villages and killing the residents. Bernie teams up with a village and its temporary shamanic leader, Reva to stop the bad guys – only it’ll be harder than he thinks, because these marauders are powerful enough to strike back even against Bernie.

I really love that Bernie is a good guy at heart, confounded by the way other gods treat the sentient beings they create, carelessly destroying the world despite what’s within it. I also like that his friends sometimes oppose his views, and don’t just go along with whatever he says. Overall, he’s a great character to read, caring deeply for the evolved humans he works with and the technical details of his assignment.

Another thing I love about this is the clear amount of research that went into some of the technical details you read. The author has spent a lot of time reading about genetics and farming and geography, etc. and you can clearly see that as the story continues.

My one complaint is that some of said technical details seem to draw out the story, making it even longer than it already is. I don’t mind lengthy books at all, but some of the descriptions make the reading slow down quite a bit, so it was hard for me to sit down and read it for long amounts of time.

But besides that, I liked it, so it gets a four from me! 

Other recommendations…

You might try some other godly stories like: Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan, The Goddess War trilogy by Kendare Blake, and WebMage by Kelly McCullough.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

T*Witches: Seeing Is Deceiving

With Karsh kidnapped, and Ileana trying to rescue him and currently out of commission, the twins are on their own – and coming face to face with their evil, manipulative Uncle Thantos.

Title: T*Witches: Seeing Is Deceiving
Author: Randi Reisfeld
Series: T*Witches, Book 3
Publish Date: December 2001
Genre: Teen Fantasy
Source: Purchased.

Publisher’s Description:

RAVE’N

Cam’s and Alex’s powers are getting in sync, and the twins can’t help themselves. They’re reading people’s minds, using magick on the soccer field. It’s bringing them closer together. But it’s forcing Cam and her bff, Beth, apart.

When Alex sneaks out to an all-night party, she suddenly finds Beth – and herself – in terrible danger. Thantos, the evil one who wants the twins eliminated, has taken Beth hostage. Must Alex sacrifice herself to save her sister and friend?


Kat Mandu says…

 

This one for me just worked out a lot better than the second one. Still has all the silliness and teen lingo of that particular time, but overall, more enjoyable and easier to get with. I’m still having a hard time figuring out all that’s happening with the bigger action scenes – like when Cam and Alex confront Thantos and Fredo at the rave, then things happen and then they’re magically “safe.” It is a younger book but I’m still thrown by the convenience of it all.

Also, you know it’s a kid’s book when THE FREAKING BAD GUY IS INVITED INTO THEIR BEDROOM FOR SNACKS AND “CHAT.” My goodness, these girls are super naive. How do the parents NOT wake up is what I want to know. Whether Shane redeemed himself or not, I’d still probably not let the former Thantos lackey anywhere near me.

I do like that the teens are still trying to figure out their place in the world. Cam, who has found a true partner in twin sister Alex, is neglecting former BFF Beth a little. Then she only makes it worse by trying to help and protect her. Cam desperately wants to meet her real mother, Miranda,

Alex on the other hand, is still struggling with where she fits in with the Barnes family, especially since Emily isn’t necessarily fond of her presence. And now her skeevy dad is filing for custody of her.

All in all, I’m still fond of these characters. I like the silly, I like the serious. Throw in a bit of magic and you’ve got me. Four stars altogether.

Our reviews in this series…

  • The Power of Two
  • Building A Mystery
  • Seeing Is Deceiving
  • Dead Wrong (All Coming Soon!)
  • Don’t Think Twice
  • Double Jeopardy
  • Kindred Spirits
  • The Witch Hunters
  • Split Decision
  • Destiny’s Twins

Other recommendations…
…you might try Daughters of the Moon by Lynne Ewing, Sweep by Cate Tiernan, and Witches’ Key To Terror by Silver RavenWolf.