Book Blitz: The Cursed Trilogy

Book Blitz: The Cursed Trilogy

I’m always on the look out for more diverse books, so when I heard about The Cursed Trilogy I fell in love. Diversity, family ties, and high fantasy makes this an instant add to my must-reads list.

Here you’ll find the series summary, a giveaway (opened internationally), and an excerpt.

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Summary: An urban fantasy series for fans of the “Supernatural” TV show, CURSED tells the story of Constance Ramirez, a hardened young woman determined to protect her adopted sister, Dro, from the bloodthirsty demons hunting her– and from Dro’s own deadly powers. As the sisters cross paths with demon slayers, psychics, and angels, they become tangled in a dangerous web that brings Constance’s past back to haunt her. Protecting her sister and her new allies will test Constance in ways she never imagined– though she may be too human to survive it.

Excerpt:

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About the Author: Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.

You can hang out with her on her author website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

 

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The Shattered Seam (Book Tour!)

The Shattered Seam (Book Tour!)

Fan of haunted houses? Looking for an authentic voice? The Shattered Seam is the book for you! Below you can find my review of the book as well as a bit about the author and a giveaway for Kindle Fire (US/CAN only). Be sure to check out the rest of the tour here!

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Author: Kathleen Groger

Genre: YA Paranormal, Horror

Summary: Spending spring break on an isolated island rumored to be haunted is not sixteen-year-old Sam’s idea of fun. Spending spring break with her uncle and his ghost-hunting film crew on an isolated island is even worse.

Way worse.

Her family’s secrets—and a genetic ability she can no longer deny—surface, along with the ghost of a rich serial killer who left behind a trail of trapped souls.

And he’s not through yet.

With only one chance for escape, Sam must embrace her family’s curse and close the Seam between the living and the dead. Or be lost, forever.

My Opinion: The Shattered Seam is a cool concept with a unique narrator. I immediately fell in love with Sam’s voice and the other characters were fun to read about too. In many ways this book reminded me of an updated version of the horror classic Hell House. Overall I gave this book 3 stars due to a major issue that touched too close to home for me.

When I read the first page of The Shattered Seam I gasped. Sam’s voice was so authentic I had to pause to take it in. It was beautiful. I really enjoyed reading from her view point because it really did feel like I was reading a 16 year old’s thoughts. I also really liked that Sam started out a skeptic and was thrown in with a group of hardcore ghost hunters that fully believed in what they were doing. It added a fresh spin to the old “non-believer” trope. This book reminded me of Hell House, but in a good way. The violence, the mysteriousness, and the numerous creepy going-ons hailed back to that sort of thing. But the story behind the castle is unique and interesting, making The Shattered Seam stand on its own.

But despite the fresh take on a classic (and favorite) horror trope, I can’t overlook the schizophrenia issue this book has. Note, Sam does not have the illness, nor does anyone else in the book. But schizophrenia is a real mental illness that impacts real people and real families. Sam thinking that she had schizophrenia, her mother allowing her to think this, as well as her grandmother allowing this thought, came off almost as insulting to those who are impacted by it to me. From the get-go we know that Sam is going to see ghost at some point or another and her skepticism will turn into belief. We’re here for the fun stuff of seeing how that all pans out. It wasn’t fun reading over and over again, Sam trying to justify what she saw because she was “supposed to be” mentally ill. It didn’t feel like a quest for self discovery. It felt awkward and unrealistic. Mental illness is never something you want to make cool in any form because that mindset can prevent people from getting the help they need. As one of the most demonized of mental illnesses, I worry that people reading the book will misunderstand what schizophrenia is really like. Because it is nothing like what is described in the book. There were some other issues, but they were easily overlooked thanks to the wonderful writing style and characterization.

I think that Uncle Eric was my favorite character. At first he appears to be a ghost obsessed man, trying to get good ratings for his show, but as Sam discovers more about herself, she also discovers more about her uncle and his crew. Her bond with Eric became something I really enjoyed and looked forward to as the book went on (I was not dissapointed). Each of Eric’s crew members have distinct personalities. This mix of characters was so authentic that the book really did feel like a behind the scenes look at a paranormal investigation show.

While there was a stand out issue for me, The Shattered Seam was a fun read. Cool characters, creepy setting and situations, and a nice mystery to go along with it all makes it a good read for anyone who’s a fan of haunted houses or who’s into paranormal investigation shows.

TL;DR: Despite the poor use of mental illnesses, this is a good book. Sam’s voice is completely authentic. Sam is not the only interesting character though and she’s joined by many others who are just as fun and interesting to read about. It’s a solid read that has some great takes on haunted houses.

 

About the Author

kathleen

Author Website, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter

Kathleen wrote her first story in elementary school about a pegasus named Sir Lancelot. It had no plot or conflict, but it sparked a dream. After serving a fifteen-year sentence in retail management, the bulk in big box bookstores, she turned her love of reading into a full-time career writing dark and haunting characters and stories. She writes paranormal, fantasy, suspense, horror YA books. She is a contributing member of READerlicious, writers who love readers. Check out her blogs here.

She lives by the mantra that a day is not complete without tea. Lots of tea. Kathleen lives in Ohio with her husband, two boys, and two attention-demanding dogs. When not writing or editing or revising, you can find her reading, cooking, spending time with her family, or photographing abandoned buildings.

Nine Candles of the Deepest Black (Book Tour!)

Nine Candles of the Deepest Black (Book Tour!)

If you’re looking for a book to read this October, Nine Candles of the Deepest Black is your bet! Below you can find my review of the book as well as a bit about the author and an international giveaway (Amazon gift card as well as a signed copy of the book). Be sure to check out the rest of the tour here!

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Author: Matthew S. Cox

Genre: Mature YA Horror, Paranormal

Summary: She saw it coming. She knew it would happen―but no one believed her.

Almost a year after tragedy shattered her family, sixteen-year-old Paige Thomas can’t break free from her guilt. Her mother ignores her, doting on her annoying little sister, while her father is a barely-functioning shell. He hopes a move to the quiet little town of Shadesboro PA will help them heal, but Paige doesn’t believe in happiness anymore.

On her first day at school, a chance encounter with a bullied eighth grader reawakens a gift Paige had forgotten, and ingratiates her into a pack of local outcasts. For weeks, they’ve been trying to cast a ritual to fulfill their innermost desires, but all they’ve done is waste time. After witnessing Paige touch the Ouija board and trigger a paranormal event, the girls are convinced another try with their new fifth member will finally work.

Once the darkness is unleashed, it’s not long before they learn it will give them exactly what they asked for―whether they want it or not.

My Opinion: There’s something to be said for classic horror. It touches on our base fears the most. Taking the tropes of demons, occult magic, and paranormal events and forming them into something is great fun if done right. Nine Candles of Deepest Black does it right. It’s a lovely homage to classical horror tropes while upgrading it all to something diverse, interesting, and unusual. There were just one or two things that rubbed me the wrong way, but regardless this was a fun read that fully earned 4 stars.

Most of the time in paranormal horror the ghost comes in after an introduction. Not so here. Almost immediately we discover that Paige is haunted by her dead sister. The death of Amber hit the family hard, and it seems like the only person who’s coping in a remotely healthy way is the annoying little sister. This is where the book stands out. We have multiple points of tension throughout. First we have Paige and her family, then the relationships with her new-found friends, and the tension the magic brings. Cox does a wonderful job of having these separate sources of tension feed into each other and move the book forward.

At times though I was taken out of this tension due to a couple of things. Cox has a wonderful writing style and is very descriptive. It’s easy to picture what’s going on, but sometimes things were just a little too metaphorical. Frequently we’re told about Paige’s black cloud and it took me a couple of times reading that to realize it was metaphorical. I think. Considering all the other things going on, it wouldn’t have surprised me if it was actually real. This was never really cleared up, but considering everyone’s non-reaction to it, I’m assuming it was metaphorical. This kind of seemed to be a thing though, some things were just over-described which caused confusion. The descriptions of clothing were great…but sometimes the focus was a bit too heavy on what each girl was wearing which needlessly slowed down things. Also, sometimes the gore felt less necessary and more like the trope where people assume horror has a ton of blood and gore in it. These issues took me out of the book and the reading experience. The book is also incredibly heavy and at times the book felt a little too dark to be full on enjoyable for me. Ultimately  despite having gore, nudity, detailed talk of suicide, and forced sexual situations, for the most part all of it was handled very well.

Now for my favorite part of any review, and my favorite element of Nine Candles of Deepest Black: the characters. The characters are diverse, and the WoC, Santana and Renne, are fleshed out and the focus is not solely on their skin color. They have interests and personality while embracing their culture which is always refreshing. Horror tends to have a lot of tokenism in this area, and I was pleased to find this wasn’t the case for this book. These girls have their own hopes and dreams and are stuck in the same fear boat as Paige our heroine. Overall, all characters were well rounded and believable. There’s a variety of ages as well. We see how the supernatural (and death in general) impacts everyone from 8 years old to adults. I also really enjoyed seeing how Paige grew as a person and how her growth impacted those around her. Again this is another element that makes the book stand out from typical horror.

If the characters weren’t going to win me over the hat-tips to classic horror and weird fiction would have. I loved how Cox alluded to the greats such as Stephen King and Niel Gaiman. Even if this wasn’t intentional, it was there and added a lovely mood to the story.  Classic tropes such as girls trying a ritual, demons running crazy and being unstoppable, nightmare sequences that may or may not be real, were all done superbly. Overused tropes are a grantee to bore the reader, but here they’re reborn with eeriness and tension. True, you can find a ton of books and movies with those elements in it, but the book takes these things and makes them fresh.

Nine Candles of Deepest Black is a great bet if you want dark and creepy. It’s a solid read and does a lovely job weaving the old with the new. If you’re looking for something to creep you out this coming October, here’s your book. It’s darker than night, suspenseful, and fresh.

TL;DR: Despite being incredibly dark, and having a little bit too much focus on descriptions at times, Nine Candles of Deepest Black is a lovely homage to classical horror tropes while upgrading it all to something diverse, interesting, and unusual. If horror is your thing and you’re looking for a fresh spin on classical horror, this is your book.

About the Author:

matthew

Author Website, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter

Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.

Hobbies and Interests:

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.

He is also fond of cats.

The Exiled Seven (Book Blitz)

The Exiled Seven (Book Blitz)

Ok, so I took one look at this summary and had to get my hands on the book. I’m currently reading it and I can tell you it’s fantastic! Be sure to check out the excerpt and giveaway (US/CAN only) below. It’s 100% worth it.

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Book #1 in The Exiled Series

Published May 12, 2016

Author: Blake Renworth

Genre: New Adult Fantasy/Faerie Tale Retelling

Synopsis: When Alariq is exiled from his home city-state for a crime he did not commit, only six stand by his side, convinced of his innocence and steadfast in their loyalty.

The seven dwarfs must set out from Ishtara to look for a new place to call home, but in doing so, they make a discovery that puts them all in danger. They are rescued and taken in by a mysterious and beautiful outsider, who lives alone in the depths of Loraheem Forest. What follows is Alariq’s struggle to come to terms with his exile, as those around him seek to make a place for themselves in this new life. Soon, however, it becomes clear their situation is more complex than they initially realized, and they begin to wonder if there is more behind Alariq’s exile than simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Told in a unique storyteller voice, this reversal and reimagining of the classic fairy tale explores the themes of shattering betrayal, the subsequent struggle to trust again, and the basic desire to take control of one’s own destiny.

 

Excerpt: If you will, please imagine the tallest and most beautifully handsome man you can, the complete and perfect embodiment of classic male beauty, charm, and chivalry. Now—cast this image far from your mind. For this tale is not about him. Many of such tales have already been told, and to tell yet another would be a great disservice to the other heroes of the world.

The hero around whom this tale revolves—and a hero I assure you he was, even if your faith may waver during the events that follow—was a hero of a different sort. Though it would be altogether unfair to say that he did not entirely look the part. He was as handsome as dwarfs come. Strong, in both physique and demeanor, and clearly one who commanded respect. But his jaw-length, dark blonde hair, the color of wet straw, and not even five-foot stature are not what you and I are accustomed to seeing in our mind’s eye when we think of the heroes of tall tales. Nor his slightly crooked nose or angular jawline, for that matter.

What about his personality, you ask? For, of course, looks are not all that matter in a
champion. And I applaud your depth of character. But sadly, I must disappoint you and your commendable optimism. For this hero was not charming, or dashing, or gallant, or really very pleasant in any way at all. In fact, he could be downright unpleasant to be around when in one of his all-too- frequent foul dispositions. And unfortunately, it is in such a disposition that we find Alariq as we join his story.

As disagreeable as Alariq was, I am sure you will find his demeanor quite understandable. You see, his story is an unfortunate one. We find him, and his six loyal companions, banished from their city-state, Alariq for a crime he did not commit, and the others for their loyalty to him and their faith in his innocence.

Seven dwarfs they were, exiled and alone.

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Tempting Death (Book Blitz)

Tempting Death (Book Blitz)

I’m really excited to be teaming up with Xpresso Book Tours to help promote Tempting Death by Elizabeth Holloway. It sounds like a great twist on the paranormal romance story and I’m really excited about it. Tempting Death is the first in The Grim Trilogy.

Included is a guest post by Holloway on what inspired her setting, and a giveaway ($50 Amazon Gift Card and a signed copy of Tempting Death; opened Internationally). Be sure to check both out!

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Book #1 in The Grim Trilogy

Published May 30th 2016

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Synopsis: The truck should have turned Libbi Piper into a Libbi pancake, but a mysterious boy named Aaron saved her life. The problem? Aaron’s the local Grim Reaper. The bigger problem? He saved Libbi’s life so she can take over his job.

Libbi has just days to choose between dying like she was supposed to or living a lonely life as Death Incarnate. The choice only gets harder when she learns Aaron’s reasons for wanting out of the whole morbid business. Basically, his job sucks.

Still, when Aaron looks at her, there’s something more in his eyes. Something dark and secret. Something he’s hiding. Libbi will be damned if she’ll die without figuring it out. And she’ll be damned if she lets him go.

 

The World of Carroll Falls, by Elizabeth Holloway: Carroll Falls is a small town in remote Pennsylvania that’s featured in The Grim Trilogy. It’s a completely made up place, but I modeled it after the many small towns I’ve visited and driven through as a resident of PA.

What I love about Carroll Falls is how normal it is. It’s one of those towns where everyone knows everyone else. When something tragic happens, the town doesn’t quickly forget, as much as Aaron wishes they would.

Carroll Falls, and Libbi for that matter, are normal on purpose. I wanted a normal girl from a normal town to be thrown into the dark life of a Reaper. I wanted her life to be flipped completely.

In The Grim Trilogy, there is not just one Grim Reaper. There are thousands. They are lorded over by Abaddon, aka Death himself, and are locked inside the territory they are responsible for reaping. It’s a very lonely existence. Reapers are invisible and inaudible to the living and can’t leave their territories. And they have the crappiest job ever. They have to watch people die. Every day. And they have to escort those people, sometimes people they love, to the Gateway, which may or may not be Hell. Basically, the job sucks. Well, except for the flying part. Libbi thinks flying’s pretty awesome.

 

About the Author: Elizabeth Holloway is a writer of young adult fiction living in Southern Pennsylvania with her two teen children and their growing number of pets.

In addition to writing, she is a registered nurse, an avid reader, an out-of-practice artist, a karaoke singer, and a music lover. She is still trying to decide what she wants to be when she grows up.

You can find Elizabeth on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and on her author website.

 

 

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