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Halfway Bitten by Terry Maggert

2016-standout-award-badge-smallOutstanding sequel. ‘Nough said.

Halfway BittenTitle: Halfway Bitten
Author: Terry Maggert
Series: Halfway Witchy 02
Publish Date: February 9, 2016
Genre:  Paranormal
Source: Author provided ARC for honest review

Publisher’s Description: Take a bite out of evil.

The circus came to Halfway, and they brought the weird.

When clowns, vampires, and corpses start piling up in town, Carlie has to break away from her boyfriend, Wulfric, to bring her witchy skills to the table- or grill, as the case may be.

When the body of a young woman washes up in the lake, it unleashes a spiral of mystery that will bring Carlie, Gran, and Wulfric into a storm of magical warfare.

Spells will fly. Curses will rain. Amidst it all, Carlie will make waffles, protect her town, and find out if a man from the distant past can join her in happy ever after.

With love and honor at stake, Carlie has no peer.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!)


Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

This is an incredible story. I feel like Carlie and crew were really focused in this book.  Though I was disappointed there was no appearance by the faeries, there were other players that brought their own specialties to the table.

Carlie is forced to take the law into her own hands to protect her family lands and the great citizens of Halfway from evil vampiric clowns.  Clowns, in this context, is not a label, it’s an occupation.  Can you imagine clowns that are vampires?  Scares me, for sure.

Stand Out Award Badge2You might say “pfft, Carlie can handle it…” but there were a few times that I really thought she got over her head.  That made it exciting and also developed Carlie more for me.  She is young – very young.  She should know that she doesn’t know everything, but I’m sure that’s how I was at that age.  Gran is center stage with Carlie this episode and they have to put a stop to murders in Halfway.  It’s a mystery of WHO that is somewhat easy to figure out, but WHY is the reason the pages keep getting turned.  The characters that are brought in to help point Carlie and her Gran in the right direction didn’t need much introduction.  They were quick characters that added depth to the story.  Anna introduced her brother Alex, who in my opinion is MUCH nicer.  Carlie enlists help from the friendly neighborhood librarian who is one of the few residents of Halfway that are clued into the world around them.  Wulfric makes an attractive appearance, of course, but it’s the ending that really gets the ball rolling for the next book.  It’s not EXACTLY a cliffhanger as the book arc is finished, but the series arc is just getting it’s groove on.

badge5v4I have to admit that the author upped his game with this book.  I enjoyed it a lot and will be waiting in line for the next release.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

Halfway Bitten is another beautiful book by Terry Maggert. As in the first installment, Halfway Dead, the writing is lyrical and the characters are wonderful.

Maggert must believe, like many other folks, that the circus is as creepy as it is fascinating. Plus, there are clowns. In this novel, the circus is a front for a group of traveling vampires who are terrorizing all other vampires in Eastern North America and Canada. The right to survive becomes a competition; and Carley, Gran, and Wulfric get caught up in it.

badge4v4I absolutely love the introduction of ghosts in this novel. Ghosts of the town’s previous witches live on in “spirit.” They are able to assist, teach, mentor, or just socialize with living witches as long as their spirits are intact.

Once again, the audiobook version is superb. Erin Spencer perfectly captures Carly’s and Gran’s beautiful natures and the author’s lyrical writing.

Our reviews in this series…

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Halfway Dead by Terry Maggert

2016-standout-award-badge-smallNew series alert by old author!! I mean… not old… like age-wise… I mean old like he’s been featured on this blog before. Oh, geez. I’m in trouble now, aren’t I? Anyway, moving on… You like waffles? You like witches? You like white hat witches? You like nasty scary monsters dripping with gross goo from a filmy, oily pond where souls may or may not spend eternity? Have I got a book for you!

25827242Title: Halfway Dead
Author: Terry Maggert
Series: Halfway Witchy 01
Publish Date: June 30, 2015
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionCome for the waffles. Stay for the magic.

Carlie McEwan loves many things.

She loves being a witch. She loves her town of Halfway, NY—a tourist destination nestled on the shores of an Adirondack lake. Carlie loves her enormous familiar, Gus, who is twenty-five pounds of judgmental Maine Coon cat, and she positively worships her Grandmother, a witch of incredible power and wisdom. Carlie spends her days cooking at the finest—and only—real diner in town, and her life is a balance between magic and the mundane, just as she likes it.

When a blonde stranger sits at the diner counter and calls her by name, that balance is gone. Major Pickford asks Carlie to lead him into the deepest shadows of the forest to find a mythical circle of chestnut trees, thought lost to forever to mankind. There are ghosts in the forest, and one of them cries out to Carlie across the years–Come find me.

Like the forest shadows, danger can run deep. The threat is real, but Carlie’s magic is born of a pure spirit. With the help of Gus, and Gran, and a rugged cop who really does want to save the world, she’ll fight to bring a ghost home, and deliver justice to a murderer who hides in the cool, mysterious green of a forest gone mad with magic.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!)


Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

Terry does it again. This new series is somewhat similar to The Fearless Series, only by killing evil, yucky monsters. The character is a very likable young witch with incredible power. She does good as often as she can and even goes as far as granting wishes.

badge4v4Some idiot glory hound exposes, albeit unknowingly, rare trees that create all sort of a fuss. One thing leads to another and she finds out that an ancestor, a young boy, is trapped – well, his spirit is trapped and she takes it upon herself to save him. She meets characters along the way, exposes creatures that should not be left roaming wild and ends up saving the day, with a little help from her friends. Okay, a lot of help from her friends.

That is an incredibly succinct description of the story lacking in a lot of details of the twists and turns that her journey must take.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

What drew me to this book: I’ve been wanting to start this series by Terry Maggert for a while now. Nell beat me to finding it, and now I have to catch up. The cover and the description sound interesting!

Why I kept reading: I listened to this book in audio, and the narrator, Erin Spencer, really impressed me. She gives the main character, Carlie, a positive and content feel, which I believe is how she is meant to be portrayed. Carlie is happy in her little town, happy with her job, and happy with her life.

The combination of the narrator and the writing make the storytelling feel very lyrical, even in the midst of fighting nasty monsters. Carlie notices and comments on very small details—the moonlight shining through the window and onto her floor, for example—but these details make the world she inhabits vivid and beautiful while giving us a sense of her inner peace.

The book does fall prey to some of my pet peeves that often plague the first books in series. For example, I think the final battle ends too fast and too easily considering all the build-up to it. Also, the “big bad” is somewhat two-dimensional; the reader doesn’t know much about him other than he’s petty and evil. There is a surprise reveal at the end that, upon reflection, I don’t think was foreshadowed at all. That is a little disappointing. However, I have only listened to this book; I haven’t read it yet, and I find I pick up different aspects of a story depending on how I “consume” it. Perhaps those details are there, and I just missed them.

In any case, these pet peeves didn’t interfere much with my enjoyment of this book. I have a feeling that as the story gets deeper and the conflict gets more personal to Carlie, they won’t be an issue anymore. Plus, the author manages to set up a situation in which he can use the Viking word “jarl.”  Correctly. God, I love it when history teachers write. 😉

badge4v4Why I recommend it: Halfway Dead is a positive story about a gal who loves her life and tries to do good, positive things whenever she can. The “voice” of the story is lovely and a pleasure to hear in audio. If you want a break from the gritty urban fantasies about reluctant heroes with too many vices and would prefer a positive story where the people are good and only the monsters are evil, you can’t do much better than Halfway Dead.

Stand Out Award Badge2Our reviews in this series…

If you like this book, try…

Heartborn by Terry Maggert + Giveaway!

This beautiful YA novel spans time and hearts to convey a message of love and sacrifice. And to celebrate its release tomorrow, the author is giving away a $25 gift certificate to Amazon and an electronic copy of any one of his other books.  Be sure to enter at Rafflecopter.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

HeartbornTitleHeartborn
AuthorTerry Maggert
Series: no name yet, but it will be a series
Publish Date: September 01, 2016
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s Description: Her guardian angel was pushed.

Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where there violence and deceit are just around every corner.

His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival.

Until Keiron arrives.

In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.

Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

As you may know if you read this blog often, I do not prefer to read YA. Kat tells me I have some inaccurate stereotypes of what young adult literature is — whiny, overdramatic highschoolers bitching because life isn’t fair, making poor choices, and mooning over the football captain. I did not have a good time in high school and I do not wish to relive it in my mid-40s, thank you very much.

So, let me just say that Heartborn does NOT fit my stereotype of YA. Though the protagonists are young, we don’t see them in school (thank goodness!) and they are not whining about their circumstances at all; in fact, they are being incredibly brave and mature—something many adults could learn from.

For much of the book, there appear to be two storylines. One is set in a fantasy world in the sky where the ruling body is brutal, selfish, and concerned more with its own power than the welfare of its citizens (I know, art imitating life, right?). This storyline follows characters who are planning to overthrow this ruling body so its citizens may be free.

The other storyline follows Livvy, a young girl in a world like our own who works in a library, makes friends with her co-worker and the library regulars, and falls in love with a cute patron. Livvy has half a heart, or a heart condition that severely limits her ability to participate in many of the activities of everyday life. Livvy is no whiner, though.  She does what’s necessary to cope with her condition, but she isn’t going to let any opportunity to really live pass her by.

I enjoyed both storylines, but the way they come together confused me at first. I did NOT expect it and, I’ll be honest, my brain had to take a step back and look at the whole story from a completely new angle after the reveal. The reread value of this book will be pretty good; once you “get it,” there are metaphors and allusions and other “Easter eggs” to find.

And I have to take a minute to talk about this cover.  OMG, it’s amazing! Staci Hart, of Quirky Bird, should win some awards for this cover.

badge3v4I’m pretty impressed with Heartborn and am happy to find that all YA books aren’t what I imagine. I struggled to set aside my linear, literal thinking for this book. If you know going in that you’ll have to do the same, or you aren’t burdened with that limitation in the first place, I think you’ll find this book very engaging.

Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

I had a hard time deciding what to rate this.

On the one hand, the writing is lovely and descriptive, though sometimes it goes a bit over the top. For the most part I enjoyed the lushness of the setting and introductions to the characters and both worlds that are introduced in this book. There are a couple of pronouns that make it hard to tell who’s narrating, especially in fight scenes towards the end, but nothing that distracts me from the actual story.

On the other hand, as much as I enjoyed the build-up of the world, character, and plotlines, the execution of the ending really fell short with me. I didn’t know what happened, nor did I understand why the characters were doing what they were doing. We had a classic scenario of 2+2 = 17. Something was missing and it was something big, so it really drew away from what the story was trying to say.

I also didn’t find myself relating to any of the characters because we knew so little about their roles in the story. Then there was this beautiful world erected – but it wasn’t explained very well. The ending came and it sucked in all of that world-building and just vanished. Some of the character names were forgotten too easily; there were creatures that weren’t given a description, so you had to concoct your own; and although it was a good attempt at coalescing two very different storylines together, it mostly failed when it mattered most.

badge3v4If I could, I’d give it a 2.5 because even though I enjoyed most of what I read, the rest didn’t come together for me. I don’t feel like it’ll be something I pick up again because my brain hurts from thinking too hard about what the author was trying to convey. But then again, it started out super cool with its new take on angels who can create magic and wield swords.

So I’ll settle for a three and hope others are less confused than I am.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Halfway Hunted by Terry Maggert

Some prey bites back.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

halfway Hunted2Title: Halfway Hunted
Author: Terry Maggert
Series: Halfway Witchy Book 3
Publish Date: June 2, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s Description: Welcome to Halfway; where the waffles are golden, the moon is silver, and magic is just around every corner.

A century old curse is broken, releasing Exit Wainwright, an innocent man trapped alone in time.

Lost and in danger, he enlists Carlie, Gran, and their magic to find the warlock who sentenced him to a hundred years of darkness. The hunter becomes the hunted when Carlie’s spells awaken a cold-blooded killer intent on adding another pelt to their gruesome collection: hers.

But the killer has never been to Halfway before, where there are three unbreakable rules:

1. Don’t complain about the diner’s waffles.
2. Don’t break the laws of magic.
3. Never threaten a witch on her home turf.

Can Carlie solve an ancient crime, defeat a ruthless killer and save the love of her life from a vampire’s curse without burning the waffles?

Come hunt with Carlie, and answer the call of the wild.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (or, in other words, SPOILERS).


Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

This is an urban fantasy with a mystery. There are a couple of hot sex scenes, but nothing untoward. There is not any undeserving gore and the good guys take a hit more than once. There are lessons to be learned and scores to settle. There is a satisfying ending but not without its consequences.

Carlie and her Gran have a missing person to find. A gentleman from a hundred years past is looking for his wife. It shouldn’t amaze me, since this is Book #3, but the story ducks and weaves its way to the final blowout. First, Carlie’s team has to figure out the how. Then comes why and then the justice on the who.

I was riveted to the story and I think this is the best one of the series yet. Carlie is very likable but she has challenges just like everyone else. She has a fantastic attitude and some of her one liners are golden… just like her waffles. Carlie grew up in Halfway and the small town portrayed in the story is spot on.  The detailed descriptions are written in such a way that I never thought about what I was reading—I just imagined it.  That’s first class.

badge5v4The other part of the story is where Carlie is put on the epic trail of her ancestry and what could happen if she gives in to the dark side.  Wulfric, Carlie’s main squeeze, fell to the shadows at the end of Book #2 and Carlie is determined to try anything to get him back to the land of the living…..um….sort of .  She challenges her morals and her magic.  She has to be so very careful to not get sucked in to the ease of blood magic and the power that comes with it.  It’s rather like a lesson in real life.  The easy way is not necessarily the right thing and revenge is a dish best served cold.

Our reviews in this series…

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try:

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Banshee by Terry Maggert

Dragons and their riders out to save the world…

25044045TitleBanshee
AuthorTerry Maggert
Publish Date:  March 7, 2015
Genre:  Fantasy
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s DescriptionCities Fall. Dragons Rise. War Begins.
The war for earth began in Hell. First came the earthquakes. Then came the floods. Finally, from the darkened mines, caves and pits, the creatures of our nightmares boiled forth to sweep across the planet in a wave of death.

Mankind, on the run and unprepared, is not alone. We have dragons.
Emerging from their slumber, giant dragons select riders to go to war. Their forces strike back at the legions of demons that attack on the night of every new moon. The Killing Moon, as it becomes known, is the proving ground for warriors of skill and heart. Among the riders is Saavin, a brave young woman from the shattered remains of Texas. Her dragon, Banshee, is swift and fearless, but they will need help to fight a trio of monstrous creatures that Hell is using to take cities one by one.

With the help of French Heavener, a warrior of noble intent, Banshee and Saavin will launch a desperate defense of New Madrid, the last city standing. But first, they’ll have to go into the very cave where demons bide their time until the sun fades and the moon is black.

The hope of mankind rests on dragon’s wings and the bravery of Saavin and French.

They have the guts. They have the guns.

They have dragons.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


The_Phantom_100The Phantom says…

Banshee by Terry Maggert reminded me a bit of the book World War Z by Max Brooks. Both books are post-apocalyptic in nature and humanity is in the brink of extinction. In this book, demon like creatures are taking over the world instead of zombies. Dragons are on the side of humanity by fighting with the humans to stem the seemingly eventual destruction of the world.

I normally read books that lead me to identify with the protagonist, getting invested in him/her by knowing where the character comes from, what is their motivation, and what trauma he/she endured to move though the story to present time. Banshee has the normal story structure within it’s pages, but like World War Z, it has historical chapters which are like interviews of individuals who have survived but not associated with the main characters. These historical chapters are informative and help set up the story line, but were very distracting for me. I believe the continual shifts between history and badge4v4advancement of the character development slowed down the process of becoming invested in any one character. With that said, I eventually got to know the characters and, for me, that is when the adventure began.

On the other hand, the author took a risk with this book by using chapter divisions to recap history and advance characters. I must concede that the shifts in perspective did help with the story development as well as the specific characters. The risk was wisely taken as it was a positive to the book – it just took getting used to. It was a breath of fresh air to what I’m normally reading as a format to a fantasy story. The book was engaging and I read it in one sitting, but to be honest, I was more curious than compelled to see how things would end.

There is no cliffhanger to this book, but there could possibly be lead in to a sequel. I want to give this book a solid 3.5 rating.

Other reviews…

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