Category Archives: Luna Lovebooks

Darklands: Requiem by Lyn I. Kelley

Good versus evil is just the beginning for this purgatory-like novel.

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

Title: Darklands: Requiem
Author: Lyn I. Kelley
Series: Darklands, Book 1 
Publish Date: August 26, 2015
Publisher: Lulu Publishing Services
Genre: YA Dark Fantasy
Source: Provided by the author & Wordslinger

Publisher’s Description:
Webb Thompson awakes, disoriented and fearful. He sees green grass and a black, boiling sky spread out before him. He finds his little sister nearby, unconscious. When he reaches her side, Sundown is alive. But now they have other problems: where are they, how did they get there, and what is that growling noise? Webb and Sundown have awakened in the Dark Lands-a world between life and death where sacred souls battle malevolent evil for control of the living realm, a battle of which mere mortals know nothing. How did Webb and Sundown come to this place? Are they living? Are they dead? Or are they something else? Webb and Sundown will soon discover mystical abilities within themselves, abilities they will need to practice and perfect because evil is growing. His name is the Dark Man, an ancient evil, but one new to the Dark Lands. His very presence threatens to destroy the fabric of the Dark Lands, the living world and of time itself. The battle lines have been drawn. The war is soon to begin. . .


Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: There was something truly unique about this book but at the same time there was something familiar about it. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but I truly enjoyed this book. The characters are diverse and believable. Sundown and Webb must deal with not only the fact they are now in a purgatory like world but also that they are part of some big good versus evil plot.  The world building is fantastic. Many interesting characters/creatures/and features that are unique to this story.

Dislikes: There is very little back story to the characters and it leaves some questions – like why does Webb have so much pent up anger? Granted he has just found out that he has died but the anger seems deeper than that. While the world building is amazing; there is a lot of information that make the majority of the book an information dump while the reader gets acquainted with the surroundings. Some of the elements were predictable and some of the names for the evil creatures comical.

Overall this a good start to a YA series and I give it 4 Maurdians. 

 

Other recommendations…

Recommendations: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, The Uncommitted by Margaret Goss, and Wizard Bound by Christian Boustead.

A Dream of Ashes by Orlando A. Sanchez

Ava James has been framed for murder – and the real culprit behind the Mystic deaths is drawing closer to home with every kill.

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

TitleA Dream of Ashes 
Author: Orlando A. Sanchez
Series: Chronicles of the Modern Mystics 
Publish Date: April 27, 2016
Publisher: OM Publishing
Genre: Urban fantasy
Source: Provided by the author & Wordslinger.

Publisher’s Description:

Mystics. Magic. Murder.

A Rogue Mystic. A Ruthless Killer. A Dark Secret.

Ava James is a fire mystic with the Mystic Investigative Division. As a branch of the Enclave, a worldwide mystic organization, the MID is feared, respected and reviled. When the half-charred body of a Mystic is found, the Enclave sends her to investigate the strange death. Ava finds that all the clues point to the killer being a fire mystic, one of her own. Accused by the Enclave of working with the killer she must solve the case before a secret buried in her past is revealed and destroys her world.

Can she save herself? Will she find the murderer?

If you like hardcore, fast-moving action, complex mystical powers and an unstoppable heroine, then you’ll love Orlando A. Sanchez’ thrilling new series: Chronicles of the Modern Mystics. Buy A Dream of Ashes and join Ava on her adventure today!


Kat Mandu says…

In A Dream of Ashes, readers are introduced to Ava, a mystic with the ability to create and manipulate fire. Right from the beginning of the book, she’s been framed for several vicious murders she didn’t commit, not to mention she’s being hunted by a group of obviously wicked mystics trying to kill her. As she tries to navigate her way through a unique New York City without getting caught or killed, she’s gotta figure out where her uncle is and just who he was taken by. But getting mixed up in the affairs of mystics much more powerful than her is not what she intended, so she’ll need every ally and skill she can get.

Likes: This really is full of action and cool visuals, so it reads like a fast-paced movie with lots of awesome graphics. Plus, you know, the majority of the characters are Japanese, so ninjas. Either way, I really loved the easy-to-read flow of the book and I was quite fond of the quirky one-liners Ava gets to dish out.

What didn’t grab me: Like my fellow reviewer, this book was lacking in that really strong world-building that really would have made this a five for me. I had the feeling that the more the author wrote, the more ideas he came up with, which is nice but makes the beginning lackluster compared to the final moments. I would get caught up in the action but was left wondering just what Enclaves were and what Enforcers did and how everything worked out. Even if the info isn’t dumped at the beginning and spread out in hints throughout the book, it would have improved that clear structure of Ava’s New York/Japan aka “Mystic world.” I just didn’t get much that would help me really understand how everything works.

The only other thing is that there is quite a few organizations that come into play, plus numerous allies. I wish I could have gotten some more details on them as well, so I didn’t have to go back and ask myself “Okay, what did these guys do again?”

I just think this needs a clearer focus, but overall, I was impressed and give this three stars.

Luna Lovebooks says… 

“Go lick your wounds. When I see you next I will erase your existence.’ He turned and walked away as the sphere turned opaque and shifted us away from Nezu. We are going to die.”

Likes: This book is fast paced and action packed! Much like poor Ava, the reader doesn’t get to stop and rest. The characters and world are interesting, if not fully developed. Ava was resilient, but still vulnerable and had moments of weakness.  I love the fact that she is strong but not super woman. The mysterious Ghost and his daughter are two characters I’d like to get to know better. I would also love to know more about warders and mystics in general. This may slow down the book a bit, but it would also back up the world building.

Dislikes: I feel there are too many unanswered questions, even if this is the first book in the series. The cover is part of what drew me to pick up this book. But when I received my copy the cover is very pixilated and loses some of its beauty. I’m am sure that as a writer Sanchez knows the world he is creating. It feels solid, but as a reader I was lost.  There isn’t much information given about enclaves, mystics, or those special sticks. I feel that the plot should have slowed down to give some more world building to the readers.

Over all I give this book 4 mystics. 

 

Other recommendations…

If you like magic with unique systems and spins, we’d recommend Brandon Sanderson, J. F. Lewis, and M.K. Hobson. 

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

Chasm by L.K. Kuhl

What do you do when your children are missing and your world crashes?

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

Title: Chasm
Author: L.K. Kuhl
Series: Stand-alone.
Publish Date: May 5, 2016
Genre: Romantic thriller
Publisher: Clean Reads Publishing
Source: Provided by the author.

Publisher’s Description:

What happens when you’re in love with your children’s abductor?

Taylor Vine thinks she can fight off the demons of her past when she moves back home to Estill Springs, Tennessee, but it doesn’t take long to see that things aren’t quite that easy. The bumps she hears in the night soon escalate, keeping her up at nights, and it isn’t long before her most precious possessions, her children, get abducted. She finds herself in a race against time to try to find them before it’s too late. One wrong move and the outcome could be disastrous.


Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: One of the qualities of a good book is the setting. Kuhl hit the success button with this novel. The symbolic desperation and gloom that fill many of the characters’ lives is also symbolically represented by the setting. I did like the characters. Their emotions were described with gut-wrenching detail and seemed very honest and very real to me.

Dislikes: The plot and sub plots were not brought to satisfying conclusions to me. It almost seemed like the author knew where she wanted the story to go but it fell short and seemed like there was still something left to be settled. While I did like the characters, they seemed to make the wrong decisions even after talking themselves out of making it in the first place. There were spaces in the story that were oddly verbose and overly descriptive.

There was so much going on it this one that I was both intrigued and deterred by everything that was going on. For this reason I give the book 3 rocking horses. 

Other recommendations…

Check out these other romantic thrillers: Naked in Death by J.D. Robb, Don’t Tell by Karen Rose, Lone Wolf Rising by Jami Brumfield.

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

Beast by Megan Crewe

What do you do when your best friend becomes a monster?

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

TitleBeast 
Author: Megan Crewe
Series: Stand-alone.
Publish Date: May 23, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Another World Press
Source: Provided by the author.

Publisher’s Description:

“You think you have it all figured out, Max, but this isn’t your game anymore.”

Max Weston knows that life is a game: Turn on the charm, say what people want to hear, and whatever you want is yours for the taking. What do a few lies matter if everyone ends up happy? His best friend, Davey, can’t look a cute girl in the eye and barely scrapes by in school, so yeah, Max hassles him sometimes. But he always has the guy’s back—even when a strange beast attacks Davey in the woods.

As Davey heals, something awakens inside him. Something with razor-sharp teeth, vicious reflexes, and no patience for Max’s ploys. Suddenly Davey is challenging Max, getting smarter, stronger, faster—and harder to control. Max plunges into a series of schemes to save his friend, but with each move he makes, Davey lashes back twice as hard. The monster inside him is calling the shots now, and the game it wants to play has deadly consequences for everyone Max loves.

If Max forfeits, he’s giving up on his best friend. But winning might mean losing even more.

Teen Wolf meets Pretty Little Liars in this edge-of-your-seat supernatural thriller.


Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: Beast reads like a 90s bubblegum horror movie…AND I LOVE IT! Yes, it can be cheesy in parts and it’s not remotely horrifying, but it works. Now don’t get me wrong there is bloodshed – and it can get graphic, but again it works. I love the development of the main character Max and the realizations he comes to. I also like the fact that readers get the sense that Davey is a werewolf but never specifically comes out and says that he is in fact a werewolf. I was pleasantly surprised by the ending.

Dislikes: It can be a little cheesy. The plans the kids come up with make you want to pull your hair out because you know it isn’t going to work – but honestly I’m glad they didn’t and that it ended the way it did. While these didn’t bother me, there are some graphic scenes and scenes that involve teenage drug usage.

I give this book 5 howls.

Other recommendations…

Checkout these other must read werewolf tales: The Wolfman by Nicholas Pekearo, The Wolf’s Hour by Robert R. McCammon, and The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore

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

Troll Whispers by Ashley C. Harris

This stand-alone novel set in the Troll Universe gives readers a closer look or how Cordelia came to be who she is in the later novels!

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

TitleTroll Whispers 
Author: Ashley C. Harris 
Series: Troll Universe (trilogy)
Publish Date: May 2, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Provided by the author/publisher.

Publisher’s Description:

The highly anticipated standalone novella from the International Bestselling TROLL series!

At the age of seventeen, Cordelia Connor’s teenage life is not what it seems…. By day, she attends high school and pretends to be normal. But by night, she and a select group of other teens, called the Knights, spend their time training and sparring. They are preparing to fight the most magically seductive and wicked creatures of all, the trolls.

Cordelia yearns for her classroom life to end so she can help hunt underground. But time seems to be going by ever so slowly, especially while she watches other high schoolers date and have fun. To Cordelia, non-knight boys are off limits. Something that’s not a disappointment until the new kid, Daemon Banks, shows up.

Daemon is nothing like the knight boys or high school males she has known. He’s taller, stronger, faster, and up to something in Cordelia’s little beach side town. Because he’s a normal human, whatever his motives are… they should be off limits. But when a possible troll sighting sends the knights to a débaucheras party that Daemon is attending. Suddenly, his and Cordelia’s worlds get scrambled, and she’ll have to decide if she should let Daemon in.

Who to trust becomes alarming as troll sightings and mischief turn into a grave battle. Because of a traitor among the knights, the perilous treat only seems to be multiplying in Cordelia’s world.


Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: The overall story is entertaining and fairly original. I enjoyed reading it. It was interesting to know the back story to Cordelia’s character and get a little more immersed in the world of trolls. There were a few twists and surprises that I did not see coming that made my jaw drop. Troll Whispers is a fairly fast-paced read.

Dislikes: This is an advanced readers copy, but there were still numerous areas with awkward/repetitive wording that I hope gets fixed before the final copy. While it is a good read, I feel it could be a bit more engaging. There are sections that lagged for me.

Taking into consideration that this is an advanced copy I give this book three knives. 

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

…you might try  Troll Series by Ashley C. Harris, Camp So and So by Mary Mccoy, The Beast Is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale.

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