Category Archives: 1_Ratings

Ghost Writer by Damon Norko

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

Ghost WriterTitle: The Ghost Writer
Author: Damon Norko
Series: Stand Alone
Publish Date: November 20, 2015, Black Rose Writing
Genre: Paranormal Literary  Fiction
Source: Provided by Publisher

Publisher’s Description: What would you do if you came back as a ghost? You could finally write that novel . . .

Meet Arnold Showalter, ghost.

At night, Arnold haunts the magnificent underground Mystic Caverns of Appalachia. But during the day, Arnold becomes The Ghost Writer, the first “literary voice from beyond the grave.” Yet before Arnold can capitalize on his fame, he must first exorcise the “ghosts” of his own past. And it is easy to become bitter when one is dead . . .

Fortunately, Arnold’s world is rocked when he meets Clarisse, a 15-year-old fatality of a car accident. Her fresh outlook and spunky energy awaken Arnold to the real possibilities of post-life existence. Clarisse inspires a quest that takes Arnold to the farthest reaches of the universe, and deep within himself.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

I had a hard time trying to figure out how exactly to do my review and what to rate this one. I think it is an interesting idea, but that it is confusing and could have been planned out better.

The Ghost Writer is written using stream of consciousness. It jumps from scene to scene, past to present, earth to space and back very rapidly.  A lot happens in a short amount of pages, and it ends rather abruptly. I was left with unanswered questions and feel like there are loose ends that are not tied up.

As far as the characters go, I found myself wishing I could connect with them more. They are well thought out and I think—given the space of a full-sized novel—I would have come to love them. The world building could also use some work. Several ghosts seem to have jobs and are expected to sign a contract and clock in and out of work, but Arnold doesn’t seem to have set hours and often leaves his post early. The punishment for breaking a contract is disintegration by way of ghost cop, but these beings can clearly get far enough away by flying to the Moon that they can’t be caught. There is also some philosophical stuff at the end about Ghost Winds and how ghosts are the next stage of human evolution, but I feel like I missed something earlier in the book leading up to this. It just wasn’t very clear to me.

badge3v4While the novella does need a bit of work, it is a truly unique idea. I enjoyed the quick read. I just wish it could be expanded upon. I give it 3 stars.

 

More Paranormal Reads…

The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski, The Architect of Song by A.G. Howard, The Rattled Bones by S. M. Parker

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

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T*Witches: Don’t Think Twice by H.B. Gilmour and Randi Reisfeld

In book five of the T*witches series, Cam and Alex begin to receive strange messages – messages they believe are about their long, lost mother, Miranda. And although they’ve got the right idea, the way to Miranda seems to be through their friend, Bree, who is suffering from anorexia.

Meanwhile, on Coventry Island, Thantos, Karsh, Ileana, and others are joining center stage at a trial destined to discover who really murdered the father of the twins. Ileana, believing it’s Thantos, is the number one accuser. But the truth she may discover may put her on a path to madness and misery.

Title: Don’t Think Twice
Author: H.B. Gilmour and Randi Reisfeld
Series: T*Witches, Book 05
Publish Date: July 2002, Scholastic
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Cam’s best, Bree, is unraveling, and Cam feels locked out. Not so for Alex, who has been breaking into people’s minds. She knows all Bree’s secrets. But before the twins can help Bree, she is taken away. To a private place, for help. Serious help.

There, Bree meets a mysterious woman who is able to heal her like no one else. But this woman is more than a stranger. She holds the key to everything that Alex and Camryn have been searching for. If only they can get to her.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat Mandu says…

This is one of the shorter books in the series, and since I’ve read all ten books, I also know it’s one of those transitional books with a minor plot. Basically, this book is here so that the twins have a link to their long-lost and thought-to-be-dead mom. However, there are a lot of secrets that are revealed in the process… but those said secrets are pretty obvious if you were to read the four before this one because a lot of hints are given.

I think it’s weird that the twins are ragged on a lot for being “self-centered.” It’s a shame they can’t tell everyone that they’re going through a lot – both personally and magically. I think everyone who labels them as conceited would see they weren’t really. Even Alex, who doesn’t really want to join her sister’s “Six Pack” is drawn to Bree’s silent cry for help, and Alex is able to assist her without worrying about what she could get in return.

But anyway, this is an enjoyable read.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

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

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

Miss Audrey Rose is back at it again in this delightfully creepy mystery that will have you wondering what goes bump in the night.

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

Hunting Prince DraculaTitle: Hunting Prince Dracula
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #2
Publish Date: September 19, 2017; Jimmy Patterson
Genre: YA Historical Fiction Mystery
Source: Provided by Publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionFollowing the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

Maniscalco has done it again!

 I cannot stop gushing over how much I loved Staking Jack the Ripper. Seriously if you haven’t read it go do so right now. I will wait! …Read it yet? …GOOD! Now pick up Hunting Prince Dracula, with its whispered lore and beautiful snow covered scenery marred by blood, and fall even harder for Maniscalco’s writing!

I feel like a lot of research went into this book, not only when it came to the Romanian folklore but also the brutal history of Vlad the Impaler and Countess Dracula. The plot is complex and had some slower points, but the action and beautiful settings that make you feel like you are actually in a drafty old castle or walking snow covered forest paths more than make up for them.

I love that Miss Wadsworth is still reeling from the events in Stalking Jack the Ripper. But I was a little disappointed to see her worrying more about what society would think, particularly when it came to Mr. Cresswell (who, by the way, I am becoming a huge fan-girl of) than in the previous novel. But once Audrey deals with her personal demons and throws the incessant worrying about society’s rules out the window, things pick up speed. I was also pleasantly surprised by who the culprit really is. I did not see it coming AT ALL!

badge5v5It is a rare event when a sequel is on par with the first installment of a series. This novel will be taking its rightful place next to Stalking Jack on my shelves and I will shout praises from the rooftop until I am blue in the face. For its complex mystery, beautiful writing, and life-like characters, I give Hunting Prince Dracula 5 leather wings (I’d say Romanian Tarantula, but I hate spiders and that chapter made me itchy!) and eagerly await the third installment!

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

Check out these other historical fiction reads: The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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

Lost in Wonderland by Nicky Peacock

This is not your typical Wonderland. You have been warned.

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

Lost in WonderlandTitle: Lost in Wonderland
Author: Nicky Peacock
Series: The Twisted and the Brave #1
Genre: YA Paranormal Mystery
Source: Provided by author

Publisher’s DescriptionMonsters, serial killers, and imaginary friends—being a Wonderlander can be murder…

Once upon a time, Kayla was lost. Then she found Wonderland, but not the one you know. Run by ex-government agents and funded by an eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire, this Wonderland is the name of a collective of highly trained vigilantes who hunt serial killers. Now Kayla, aka Mouse, works tirelessly alongside her fellow Wonderlanders, Rabbit and Cheshire, baiting dangerous murderers. But even her extensive training hasn’t prepared her for the return of her older brother…

Shilo has spent most of his life in an insane asylum, convinced his mother was abducted by a sinister Alaskan monster who lures the lost away to feast upon their flesh. And now he’s certain that his sister is in the same monster’s crosshairs. But if Shilo is going to save what’s left of his family, he’ll have to convince his sister that maybe, just maybe, we’re all a little mad.

 


Luna Lovebooks says…Luna_Lovebooks_100

“You used to be much more…muchier. You’ve neglected your muchness, Mouse.”

I must admit even after reading the synopsis I was expecting something more akin to the fantastical Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Other Stories. While it was a little shock to discover this isn’t the case, this tale delivers the fantastical and humorous as well as being dark and thrilling!

This is undoubtedly one clever book. In its own right the book is dark. It is chock full of murder and intrigue. I mean a secret vigilantly group that hunts and kills serial killers? That would be awesome by itself!  But the little bits of Carrol’s Alice makes things a little lighter. Quotes and references litter the pages adding to the characters and the tale over all. And made this reviewer love the tale all that much more.

The characters all have their own strengths and weaknesses. This makes them seem more realistic – even the killer/monster, the Kustaka.  This also adds to the narration as badge4v5the story is told from Kayla and Shilo’s point of view, as well as that of the Kustaka.

The ending to the story felt a bit rushed and I found my self wishing that the chase was drawn out just a bit longer. But over all this is a powerful start to a series and I can’t wait to read the next installments. 4 teacups all around!

 

Other recommendations…

If you love Wonderland tales, you might try the following re-tellings: Splintered by A.G. Howard, Death of the Mad Hatter by Sarah J Pepper, Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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

Carnifex by D. P. Prior

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

CarnifexTitle: Carnifex
Author: D. P. Prior
Series: Legend of the Nameless Dwarf Book 01
Publish Date: January 15th 2016, Homunculus
Genre: High Fantasy
Source: Publisher
Publisher’s Description: For more than a thousand years, the dwarves have hidden away from the world in their ravine city of Arx Gravis.
Governed by an inflexible council whose sole aim is to avoid the errors of the past, the defining virtue of their society is that nothing should ever change.

But when the Scriptorium is broken into, and Ravine Guard Carnifex Thane sees a homunculus fleeing the scene of the crime, events are set in motion that will ensure nothing will ever be the same again.

Deception and death are coming to Arx Gravis.

The riddles that preceded Carnifex’s birth crystalize into a horrifying fate that inexorably closes in.

But it is in blood that legends are born, and redemption is sometimes seeded in the gravest of sins.
For Carnifex is destined to become the Ravine Butcher, before even that grim appellation is forever lost, along with everything that once defined him.


Luna Lovebooks says…Luna_Lovebooks_100

It is rare to find a fantasy story centered around dwarves, and I enjoyed the world building. The dwarven world was captured quite well in my opinion. Their culture is an odd mix of Scottish and Viking. Masculinity is prized, but it is a matriarchal society. Outsiders are not welcome, and this has lead to a stagnation of their culture. But exciting things are about to happen whether the dwarves want to admit it or not. 

The characters were well written in my opinion, if not what we would consider traditional dwarves. Most of the dwarves I am familiar with live deep underground. These dwarves live very much like humans. I can’t decide if this adds to the story or takes away from it. But I think I am leaning more towards the non-traditional tropes adding to the dwarf mythos.

The plot was a little slow in places, but it is fun and adventurous. The battle scenes are not something to be laughed at. It can be extremely difficult to write a scene involving combat well. Prior’s are violent and gripping, however.

I will admit that when writing this review I had to step outside myself to write it well. I, personally, did not enjoy this story as well as I thought I would. That isn’t to say that badge4v5Carnifex isn’t a wonderfully written work because it is, it just wasn’t for me. I may try to go back to it at another time to see if my opinion changes. This also makes it very hard to rate. Because of my lack of enjoyment I really want to give it a three, however, I am settling on a 4 because it is well written and I may come back to it at a later date.

Other recommendations…

If you like dwarves check out these other great reads: The Dwarves by Markus Heitz, The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

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