50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews · Sunday Short and Sweet Review

Hunt by L.C. Mawson

Short and Sweet

 
Genre: 
Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Createspace
Date of Release: September 23, 2015
Pages: 209 pages
Format: ePub
Links: Good ReadsAuthor WebsiteMy Autistic POVTumblrYouTube

My Rating:

3.55 Stars
3-stars

About the Book:

When the Earth is reduced to a smoking crater, the only thing left to do is turn back the clock.

Lily Snow, granddaughter of Death and one of the most powerful magical beings on Earth, knows that her daughter most likely won’t survive in this timeline, so she gives her life to create another.

No one remembers the war between humanity and magical beings, and humanity has become altogether blissfully unaware of magic.

Freya Snow, now a sarcastic, awkward, probably-autistic teenager, has spent her whole life moving from foster home to foster home, wanting nothing more than to start living her life, rather than being stuck in the stasis of high school.

But when the ghost of her mother’s mentor appears to protect her from the demons hunting her, she finds that she should have been careful with her wish for change.

The world is a dangerous place, and a pup without a pack is nothing but prey.

I received this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The story starts out with an introduction to Freya’s mother and to her guardian, Amber. It introduces the realm that Freya is from, and that her mother didn’t make it and the father is unknown. The way to save Freya was to take her to another realm.
Which fast forwards us to Freya, age 14 and in the foster care system. She is possibly autistic, and has been in and out of foster homes her whole life. All she has is her roommate and best friend Alice, until she is fostered by a young couple living in the next city over. Which for any teenager is tough, new school, city and new people. Freya protects herself though, keeps to herself until she befriends Damon, an unusual boy who has clearly been living under a rock.
After accidentally flooding the bathroom at her new school, her suspicions of being watched are confirmed as a spirit possessing a teacher informs Freya that she is a family friend tasked to her care and education of unknown and latent magical powers.

While you get the concept of the story; it is a common one with a kid who has no major family ties and struggles to make friends, finds out they’re super special and begin a journey to hone their skills, and possibly save the world.
One of my biggest issues with the book, however, was the lack of world building. Yes, Freya had magical powers but there was little information about where she was from. It would have been a good idea if this story had delved into that more, to introduce the history and to give the reader an idea of what ride they were in for.
I also found that Damon’s family’s position in the story was a little too confusing. Even with the explanation of his uncle’s partner.

But at the same time, there were good things about the book too. Freya often didn’t seem her age, and her maturity was refreshing. She also took to being told she has latent magical powers and isn’t from Earth originally pretty darn well. Her eagerness to learn was enjoyable as well, and her willingness to learn on her own too.

This story just needed a little more build up to make it a little more believable for me. But I absolutely enjoyed that Freya was autistic and it was interesting to see the world from her eyes.

Where to Buy:

Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the Author:


L.C. Mawson is an autistic author and blogger. When she’s not writing, she’s studying autism from a sociological standpoint. And when she’s not doing that, she’s blogging about how allistic writers can better write autistic characters, and about her life as an autistic woman in general. She also reviews current examples of autism in media on YouTube.

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50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews · Sunday Short and Sweet Review · Uncategorized

Rebirth of the Gangster by CJ Standal and Juan Romera (Issue 4)

Short and Sweet

 
Genre: 
Crime, Comic
Publisher: CJ Standal Productions
Date of Release: November 8, 2016
Pages: 23 pages
Format: PDF
Links: WebsiteFacebookTwitterBlog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Rating:
4.50 Stars

4 Stars

About the Book:

“This issue kicks off with a bang as Andrea, Marcus’s mom, commits a horrible crime and tries to hide it, possibly even from her husband Curtis.

Meanwhile, Detective Lorena Sanchez interrogates Hunter after last issue’s revelations.

And Marcus goes gun shopping…”

I received this comic from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Issue 4 brings Andrea, Marcus’s mother, to the forefront and introduces us to her. Shockingly, she commits a crime that she is clearly trying to hide.

Meanwhile Marcus is clearly spooked enough to buy a gun. Unlike his own mother, heh.

Hunter is confronted by Detective Lorena Sanchez because she recognized his signature tag from their childhood.
Plus a small dip into Hunter’s parent’s past with a young woman who looks a lot like a young Andrea. Hmm.

So many questions unanswered. I look forward to issue 5!

Where to Buy:

Amazon CAN | Amazon US
Issue 1-3: Amazon

About the Author:

I love writing in all sorts of playgrounds: Rebirth of the Gangsters  is my first comic book, and I’ve been published by Slant magazine: https://www.slantnews.com/user/cj.standal

You can also find me on Philip Smith’s site promoting indie authors:
http://www.philipsmith.eu/kindle-ebook/rebirth-gangster-meet-family-marcus

I’m also a high school English teacher: next year I’ll be teaching a graphic novel course; in the past I’ve taught a hip hop course; and I educate the youth about other valuable things, like Shakespeare.

Thanks,
CJ.

50 Books in a Year · Sunday Short and Sweet Review

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Short and Sweet

 
Genre: 
Young Adult, Zombies, Paranormal Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Date of Release: September 25, 2012
Pages: 404 pages
Format: Paperback, own copy
Links: http://members.genashowalter.com/Good Reads Book PageGood Reads Author Page

 

 

 

 

 

My Rating:

5-stars

About the Book:

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

If anyone had told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.”

This review is of my own choice.

If you are looking for a darker re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland, I’m sorry to disappoint but this is not the book. While this had hints of Alice in Wonderland; it isn’t Alice in Wonderland with Zombies. Sorry to disappoint.

As a zombie everything fan, this was a great and unique take on zombies. Not everyone can see these zombies but special people like Alice and Cole. They’re more like specter’s and the only way to defeat them is in spirit form. So in a way, Alice Bell did fall down the figurative rabbit hole.

This has some mushy romance in it between Ali and Cole. However I enjoyed the on and off refreshment Kat and Frosty. Their love for each other was totally relationship goals of laughter and being totally right for each other. I also loved Kat, she was a breath of fresh air in her quips. Reminded me a little of my own best friend and myself. That is what makes this book so great. Relatability.

I definitely recommend this for anyone looking for a new and unique read. Stay tuned for the next book in the series.

50 Books in a Year · Sunday Short and Sweet Review

Story of Lucius Cane by Vanya Ferreira

Short and Sweet

SofLC 
Genre: 
Fantasy, Mystery, Horror, Short Story
Publisher: Self-Published
Date of Release: February 9, 2016
Pages: 43
Format: Mobi
Links: Good ReadsTwitterAmazon Author Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Rating:

3.75 Stars
3-stars

Summary:

“London, 1794. Lucius Cane, a peculiar sort of vampire, comes upon an opponent the likes of which he has never seen before – a brute with remarkable abilities. But not all is as it seems as their encounter unfolds in a manner that neither of them expected.”

I received this short story from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This was a good starting tale. I would, almost, liken this to a modern Penny Dreadful (where we got Sweeney Todd from originally).

In this story, we meet Lucius Cane who was born a vampire. He stalks his prey Anne Hathborne as she walks home unescorted from a ball. Then we meet Jack, who, on a fateful night, met and survived a Lycanthrope attack. With his father’s death, and his new found half Lycan powers, Jack sets off to become a pirate and earns himself the nickname The Hound. His skill set is what gets him hired on to kill Lucius.

The only issues that I really had with this was that Jack spoke, perhaps, a little too well? He would have lacked basic education at that time, plus having been surrounded with rough sorts.
Also the hunt for Lucius was severely anti-climatic on his point. Like… why wait around for your death? Boring. Make it tough for your pursuer.

Either way, it was still a good starting story.

Where to Buy:

Amazon CAN | Amazon US

About the Author:


Vanya Ferreira was born in South Africa and spent 5 years of his life in Australia. He has been reading since he can remember and has a passion for writing; he simply finds the syntactical nature of language to be a beautiful and mesmerizing creature. Apart from his short story collection, Vanya is also currently working on a full length psychological crime thriller that should be released before the end of the year.

You can find Vanya on Facebook here: Vanya Ferreira

And on twitter here: @AuthorVanyaF

50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews · Sunday Short and Sweet Review

Soul Betrayed by Katlyn Duncan

Short and Sweet


Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Carina UK
Date of Release: February 27, 2014
Pages: 223 pages
Format: Mobi
Links: WebsiteFacebookTwitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Rating:
4 Stars

Summary:

“A Life for a Life

The battle between Shadowed and Guard has brought destruction and terror to Gate Seven and now Maggie wants revenge. As the only after-life being who can save the souls from ultimate death Maggie comes face to face with her own human body, preserved for a century, waiting for just this moment to arrive.

Yet, how far will Maggie go to exact her revenge on the Shadowed? And when she comes face to face with her past, how will she survive the onslaught of memories she thought long gone?

For when the truth comes out all is not what it seems and Maggie has finally run out of time… She must choose her destiny or watch all she has perish in the fight for her life!”

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Answers to questions, finally!

The second book seemed never ending but this book answered some questions that had lingered about Maggie and Jackson, plus the entire After Life.

Maggie grew so much in this concluding story. She died so young and became an observer in the after life, so she didn’t really grow much. She only observed human behaviour but never experienced it. It was a treat to see her grow and blossom.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is that the romance is light. It’s not obsessive and there wasn’t anything openly sexual in it. Plus there was no awkward triangles or insta-love.

This concluding novel had such a great ending. It was highly unexpected. It totally did this novel series justice.

I hope one day that Maggie finds and keeps the love she deserves!

Where to Buy:

Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

About the Author: 


I’ve been writing and reading since I can remember. My fondest memories were pushing mom out of the house to get the latestGoosebumps installment. Even though I went to school and worked in the field of science, my head has always been in the clouds.

Outside of writing, I enjoy spending time with my hubs, pup, and sometimes a good rom com.

 

50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews · Sunday Short and Sweet Review

Soul Possessed by Katlyn Duncan

Short and Sweet

 
Genre:
Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy
Publisher: Carina UK
Date of Release: October 2013
Pages: 256 pages
Format: Mobi
Links: Author WebsiteFacebookTwitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Rating:
3.75 Stars
3 Stars

Summary:

“Life after Life

Now Maggie has been given the chance of her after-life to become a Guard, nothing will stand in her way. Not even the undeniable attraction she feels for her trainer and past love–Jackson. But when the battle between Shadowed and Guard begins again which side will she choose?

When her boss, Felix, partners Jackson and Maggie up with Ally and Cooper to investigate terrifying Shadowed activity in a small New England town, she doesn’t think it could get any worse. Jackson and Cooper barely tolerate each other and this time, Maggie isn’t just proving her loyalty to the Guard during one mission…she has a side mission too. One so secret and so dangerous she can’t tell a soul…”

I received this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Hmm, I wasn’t so enamored with this book like I was with the first one. I think this book suffered from “Second Book Syndrome.” This book fell pretty flat for me.

So.
Maggie is in the Guard now. Having managed to prove herself as Guard material and such. And she’s training with Jackson, her ex boyfriend and possible double agent. Huh.

The best part of the book I shall keep quiet about, as to not ruin it but I’m glad that Jackson did that for Maggie. Having a sense of family was very important for Maggie.

There really were more questions than answers in this book. Like, what the heck kind of powers does Maggie have? Why is Felix such an enigma? What the heck is Robert up to? Who took Jamie?
I understand that books must build up to the conclusion but this book felt like it would never end because it slowed down and lost the pace that the first book had. That tends to take away from the enjoyment of reading for me.

Stay tuned for the third novel’s review!

Where to Buy:
Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

About the Author:


I’ve been writing and reading since I can remember. My fondest memories were pushing mom out of the house to get the latest Goosebumps installment. Even though I went to school and worked in the field of science, my head has always been in the clouds.

Outside of writing, I enjoy spending time with my hubs, pup, and sometimes a good rom com.

50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews · Sunday Short and Sweet Review

Soul Taken by Katlyn Duncan

Short and Sweet

Genre: 
Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy
Publisher: Carina UK
Date of Release: June 14, 2013
Pages: 208 pages
Format: Mobi
Links: Author WebsiteFacebookTwitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Rating:
4.50 Stars
4 Stars

Summary: 
“After-life just got a lot more complicated.

Maggie is a Soul Collector. It’s her job to transport souls from the Living Realm to the After – but during a mission to New England to find a stolen soul, she ends up stuck in a teen mean girl’s body. Trapped, Maggie’s soul is catapulted into Ally’s life – and the human world she hasn’t experienced for one hundred years.

But, as a descendant of the most powerful beings in the After, Maggie must rescue Ally before the girl’s soul dies… To survive, Maggie must uncover devastating secrets – because with one soul taken by a terrifying enemy, Maggie’s could be next!”

I received this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

I love the name Maggie, it suited this character so well!

So, as the summary says, Maggie is a Soul Collector in the After, and is vying for her chance at becoming a Guard. Guards look after the Prognatum and Prognatum, in turn, become Guards in the After.
One Prognatum, Ally, has her soul stolen and while trying to rescue her, Maggie’s soul is pulled into Ally’s body, and Maggie, plus Ally’s Guard Cooper, scramble to get Ally back before her transformation as a Prognatum.

This was such a great story idea and it was wonderfully written. I absolutely enjoyed Maggie’s character, although at first she seemed very cold and aloof but once she was in Ally’s body, her natural warmth came out. She accepted those who Ally wasn’t so keen on accepting. With Ally, think Mean Girls. That typical popular, pretty and basically a walking jerk to everyone type. Although I think her experience as a stolen soul will change her. I can’t imagine surviving that wouldn’t have an impact.

The love connection with Jackson, although he did seem like of creepy at first. Plus Maggie bonding with Jamie, there was a lot of great action in this book with little chance to cool down.

I definitely recommend this for anyone looking for a unique young adult, paranormal novel!

Where to Buy:
Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

About the Author: 


I’ve been writing and reading since I can remember. My fondest memories were pushing mom out of the house to get the latest Goosebumps installment. Even though I went to school and worked in the field of science, my head has always been in the clouds.

Outside of writing, I enjoy spending time with my hubs, pup, and sometimes a good rom com.

50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews · Sunday Short and Sweet Review

Dark Mind by Matthew Goldstein

Short and Sweet
DMMG 
Genre: 
Young Adult, Science Fiction, Supernatural Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Troy Book Makers
Date of Release: June 13, 2013
Pages: 288 pages
Format: ePub
Links: Author WebsiteFacebookTwitter,
Good Reads

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Rating:

3.85 Stars
3 Stars

Summary:

“What if you heard voices in your head? What if they were real?

Cole has the power to prevent tragedy. To use it, he must listen to the mysterious voices in his head. He’s lived with this ability in secret his entire life until one day he notices a boy watching him. Stalking him. What are this boy’s intentions? How are the two of them connected? Is it possible that Cole isn’t the only one who hears these voices?”

I received this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This was a good story and it kept me interested. I kept waiting to see if the ball would drop, because it had this awesome build up. I just knew something science fiction-y would drop out of the story eventually.

However, I did struggle with some aspects of the book. Sometimes the voice of the novel seemed to be directed at a bit of a younger audience and not teenagers. My jaw dropped when Cole and Amy said they were fourteen. I would have thought younger, like eleven. Cole’s responses were mature but his behaviour was young. Some of that might have been how sheltered he was from his mother. She treated him like he was much, much younger than 14. Man, sneaking out at 14 is a typical teen past time. Calling the cops on them because they snuck out, not so much. It was a little excessive in her obsessive need to protect him. Heck, when I was 14, I was babysitting overnight.
His aunt, though. She was incredibly selfish and aloof. It was so strange how she behaved around Cole and talked to him.

It also felt like there were three different stories going on in the novel. From the summary, you’d think that it’d be a focus on Cole and his abilities but once Amy and her struggles were added in, it veered away from that. It focused a lot on Amy, no longer about Cole. Also, who is this Brent guy with Dr. Stern? I kept waiting to find out more about Cole’s abilities and waiting for it to turn in into an episode of Fringe or The X-Files with creepy kids and their creepy abilities.

Either way, it was a good story. Don’t get me wrong. I just feel the voice of the novel needed to take on a more teenage voice, and the direction of the story to stay on point.

Where to Buy:
Amazon CAN | Amazon US

About the Author: 

MG Matthew Goldstein has been writing novels since he was a teenager, and won first place in his college’s short story competition. He worked for seven years as a Game Designer at 1st Playable Productions where his tasks included writing for video games. He recently completed Voices in the Night, the third book in The Dark Mind Trilogy, which was released in August 2015. He received his degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In his spare time, he loves to play drums and compose music. He lives in Pennsylvania.

50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews · Sunday Short and Sweet Review

Werewolves of Chicago: Howard by Faleena Hopkins

Short and Sweet

Genre: Supernatural Romance, Paranormal Fantasy
Publisher: Hop Hop Publications
Date of Release: March 27, 2016
Pages: 248 pages
Format: Mobi
Links: Author WebsiteFacebookGood Reads,
Twitter

 

 

 

 

My Rating: 

5 Stars

Summary:
“Curragh, Xavier and Draik made me prove myself. And I changed into something extraordinary.

The strength and speed.
The night vision.
Hearing through walls and even into heartbeats.

All this is new. Strange. FANTASTIC.

Because I’m about to meet HER. The blue-haired girl. Around her, I act totally out of character. I would never hurt her, but HE might. Not every wolf gets a cool name. Not until they’ve earned it.”

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

I don’t know what it is, but nerdy guys gets this girl’s blood flowing. Might be because I’m a nerd myself. Drawn to the similar types. Howard is definitely attractive for his nerdy ways and his extremely awkward being. I was drawn to Howard in Curragh’s story, despite his wolfy-ness, he is endearing and sweet.

After Xavier and Draik take Howard to a club to break his virginity (yeah seriously, haha), Howard meets and locks eyes with her. Yep, the saucy “if you’re looking to get laid, you’re looking at the wrong person” blue haired girl named Alisa. He is inexplicably drawn to her as much as she is to him. Low and behold, they’re mates. Now that is love at first sight. Haha.

The story was getting really good and then it ended. That made me sad. I needed more pages to turn!!!

The only thing that bugged me was…really? That name? Why not Howie or Ward? Without ruining it for everyone, Howard’s new name makes me think of one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (thank you Supernatural and Charmed.)

Despite that, this was a great story. The character development was perfect. Howard just got better. Alisa was the perfect girl for him.
I look forward to reading Xavier and Draik’s stories further. Draik seems like another tough, elusive soul mate type, so that will be interesting.

Where to Buy:

Amazon CAN Amazon US | IndieBound | Barnes and Noble

About the Author:

 Not the most attentive of cooks, I burn toast…and hard-boiled eggs. Yes, it can be done. They make a cool and startling CRACK when the water evaporates and you’re in the other room writing a novel. I write about love, redemption, and often both deliciously entwined.

I believe sex is a part of life. So is drama. Pain. Love. Aching to find that special someone. Taking the leap of faith when you actually do – even if it means getting crushed. Because sometimes…you will be caught when you fall. Life is a grand experiment. A game. And I kinda believe wolves and vampires are real. I’ve certainly met a few zombies and demons. Some of my stories have supernatural things – some just don’t. But they’re all fun as hell.

I’m not only an author. Are you just one thing? Hell no. Check out my acting and filmmaking stuff by copy/pasting this: http://imdb.me/faleenahopkins

Come join the fun on FB where I post hot pics of men. Seriously. It’s kinda my thing.http://facebook.com/authorfaleenahopkins

50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Book Reviews · Sunday Short and Sweet Review

Let the Waves Come In by J.L. Leslie

Short and Sweet

Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self-published
Date of Release: May 14, 2016
Pages: 160 pages
Format: Mobi
Links: Author BlogFacebookGoogle+,
Good Reads

 

 

 

 

My Rating:
4.85 Stars
4 Stars

Summary:
“I’m Aubrey Somers. I’ve landed my dream job. I have a great apartment and I still keep in touch with my best friend…even though he lives hundreds of miles away. I’ve even started dating again. I have a lot going for me.

It doesn’t matter that I have to take an anti-depressant everyday or see a therapist every other week. It doesn’t matter that I refuse to drive anywhere. The wreck that ruined everything I had is almost a distant memory. Almost.

But now I have two men in my life. Two men who want to be with me. Two men I never thought I’d have the chance to be with. And I feel like I’m drowning…”

I received this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

This was a really awesome story. One of the best that I’ve read by J.L. Leslie so far. The depth in Aubrey and Declan made them very relatable. Especially Aubrey. What Declan did for a living was a little strange and questionable but as it is a story, that is alright.
The connection between Aubrey and Declan was very relatable too. How lucky of them to have been able to find each other after 6 years, without Drew’s help (Declan’s brother and Aubrey’s best friend). Their natural attraction to each other was wonderful and it was so lovely to see them finally fulfill it.
Adding Aubrey’s ex-fiance to the mix was definitely a good twist. It was a necessary twist so that Aubrey could find forgiveness in herself, in him and to finally move past her relationship with Chandler. Even if he wasn’t quite ready to give up that relationship himself.

All in all, it was a good romance story. I recommend it for all romance readers.

Where to Buy:
Amazon CAN | Amazon US

About the Author: 

J.L. Leslie: I am from a small town in Alabama and I’m happily married with three kids. I love living a small town life because it allows me the time to do what I love…read and write! I have just started self-publishing and Demons From My Past is my first book.