Book Review: Antique Charming by Natalie-Nicole Bates

12753184Title: Antique Charming
Author: Natalie-Nicole Bates
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Adult, Short Story
Publisher: Books To Go Now
Publication Date: September 24th 2011
Goodreads | Amazon | Author Website

Third-generation funeral director Lizzie Morton is about to have her dream realized. She has purchased the long abandoned Nichols Funeral Home and its upstairs flat, determined to restore the funeral home to its once former glory. But a late night visitor, Adam Nichols, claims the funeral home still belongs to his family. Lizzie scoffs at his odd behavior and outlandish claims, but when a vintage photograph appears, she soon realizes, to her horror, that Adam Nichols did once own the funeral home more than one hundred years ago and now she has allowed this entity to pass into her home.

Lizzie Morton buys the long abandoned Nichols Funeral Home, one of her life-long dreams coming true. Then one night, a man named Adam Nichols knocks on her door and claims to be the owner of the funeral home. Lizzie is skeptic at first, but after a little investigating on her own, and discovering an old picture of aforementioned Adam Nichols, she comes to a stunning conclusion…

I don’t write a lot of short story reviews. That’s mostly because I don’t tend to read short stories, and if I read them, I don’t normally end up reviewing them. Generally, my reviews tend to be long, but since this is a short story, it will probably be a lot shorter.

Let me start by saying that I enjoyed this story. For a short story specifically, the characters are strong and developed, three-dimensional, with an impressive array of emotions and feelings. Although the story is pretty simple, it did manage to grab me and it pulled me in from start to finish. I very much enjoyed Lizzie’s interactions with Adam, and her own little investigation in to what was going on. I’ve seen a lot of people rage about the length of this book – it is a short story, so if it’s only about 7 pages long, that doesn’t surprise me or annoy me at all. It is what the author meant it to be. Do I see potential in this story to be something more? Yes, of course. But the author meant it to be a short story, not a novel, and not even a novella, so I’m going to review it for what it is and now complain about what it isn’t.

I love short stories that spread out several clues but let the reader come to their own conclusion. Antique Charming does that very well. It lays down the foundations but leaves the conclusion in the middle. I thoroughly enjoyed that, and I wouldn’t mind reading more short stories by Natalie-Nicole Bates. She definitely knows how to write a short story that grabs your attention from the first page and doesn’t let you go. If you want an introduction to the author’s writing, this is it. A must-read both for paranormal romance fans and short story fans.

Book Review: Thorn by Intisar Khanani

14059999Title: Thorn
Author: Intisar Khanani
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: May 30th 2012
Publisher: Self-Published
Goodreads | Author Website | First Chapters | Amazon

Princess Alyrra’s strength lies in silence. Scorned by her family, she avoids the court, spending her time with servants. When her marriage is unexpectedly arranged with the prince of a powerful neighboring kingdom, Alyrra feels trapped. As the court celebrates her match, dark rumors spread about the unexplained deaths of the women of her new family. Alyrra begins her journey with mounting trepidation; betrayed while traveling, she seizes an opportunity to start a life away from court.
Walking away from a prince whom she doesn’t know should have been easy. But from the moment she sets eyes on him, Alyrra realizes that her freedom could cost him his life. Without any magical defense of her own, she is plunged into a lethal game of sorcery and deceit. Now Alyrra must decide whom she can trust and what she’s willing to fight for—before her silence proves fatal.

“Wow” is a good term to describe Thorn, debut YA fantasy novel by author Intisar Khanani. This book certainly left me in awe. That said, head over to Amazon now and get your free copy of Thorn. The free action is only from June 25th to June 28th, so get your copy now, because you don’t want to miss out on this one.

Thorn tells the story of the Goose Girl, a well-known fairytale I read a couple of times when I was a kid but never enjoyed that much. I mean, it was enjoyable, but I had other fairytales I enjoyed a lot more back then. However, this adapted version of Goose Girl is a spectacular novel that pulled me in from the first page and refused to let me go till I turned the last page. I had to take a short break due to studying between, else I would’ve read it in one sitting. It is, really, that good.

Princess Alyrra doesn’t have the life every fairytale princess dreams of. Her brother likes to torment her for no reason in particular besides his own twisted enjoyment, her dad passed away and her mom hasn’t said a kind word to her in years. She is forced to marry a prince she doesn’t know because her mother is convinced it will be a good decision for the Kingdom. Alyrra sets off to journey to the prince’s kingdom, until a woman mysteriously called The Lady switches her appearance with that of her lady-in-waiting, Valka. When Alyrra eventually arrives at the castle, the Prince makes her the new Goose Girl, and everyone starts calling her Thorn. What’s surprising is that Thorn isn’t exactly that appaled by her new status in life. She quite enjoys being a goose girl, and is reluctant to face her own destiny, and do what she needs to do to save the Kingdom. Shy and scared at first, she slowly grows into the person, the princess, she’s meant to be. With help from the famous horse Falada, who’s not actually a horse and miraculously enough can talk, she grows to accept the possibility of herself ruling a kingdom, and she grows into the new role she’s destined to play. When Alyrra’s feelings for the prince start to grow as well, she has no choice but to stand up for herself and what she believes in. And it’s about time.

Thorn’s character growth is amazing. She goes through an entire process, and not once does it grow to be unbelievable, do things happen to fast, etc. No, instead, her personality seems to grow almost like a plant, organically, without being pressured by anything except the circumstances of her life. That’s only a small sample of author Intisar Khanani’s skills: not only does she create characters I would love to cheer for, she also creates a solid, realistic fantasy world. I was truly impressed by her world-building skills, the easy flowing prose and the intriguing characters.

I liked how the villains, namely Valka and The Lady, aren’t one-dimensional either. Valka is a well-rounded character who goes through her own character growth: from being a nobody to being a somebody but realizing being a princess isn’t as good as it seems either. The prince is an interesting character as well. I loved how he realized something was wrong with Valka and Alyrra, but couldn’t quite pu this hinger on it. I loved his name as well. Kestrin. Gorgeous name. All right, so I may be a bit biased because of the character’s name, but don’t you just love that name?

I know a lot of people who easily skim past self-published books. Don’t. In this case you’ll really miss out on something. This story has so many twist and turns, such likeable characters, intriguing storylines and impressive world building that you need to read it. Like, now. What are you still doing here?

Review Halo of the Damned by Dina Rae

HaloOftheDamnedFINALCover2ndpicTitle: Halo of the Damned
Author: Dina Rae
Genre: Dark Paranormal Romance, Horror
Publisher: Eternal Press
Publication Date: February 7th 2012
Author Website | Amazon | Author Blog | Book Trailer

A chain of advertising agencies, a new breed of humans, and a fallen angel to worship…
“Andel Talistokov is known for his slick advertising agencies across the globe. He is a fallen angel that uses advertising as a weapon for Satan’s work. His growing power emboldens him to break several of Hell’s Commandments. Furious with his arrogance, Satan commands him to return to Hell after finding his own replacement.
Yezidism, an ancient angel worshiping religion, quietly expands throughout the West. Armaros appears as a guest of honor during their ceremonies. He mates with young women to produce nephilim, a mixed race of humans and angels. They are alone and unprepared for their supernatural power.
Joanna Easterhouse, a recovering drug addict, steps out of prison shortly after her mother’s fatal accident. She and her sister, Kim, unravel their mother’s secretive past. Intrigued, they learn their bloodline is part of a celestial legacy.
Both worlds collide.
Halo of the Damned is a horrifying tale that weaves research together with suspenseful twists and turns.

Halo of the Damned is intense, and not like what I expected at all, which is a good thing. When I heard ‘paranormal romance’ and ‘angels’, even with the words ‘dark’ and ‘horror’ added in, I immediately jumped to conclusions. I love paranormal romance, but I’ve seen all the clichés one too many times to enjoy them anymore. Halo of the Damned isn’t your typical paranormal romance. It doesn’t throw around clichés, instead it works with them and features them in a new spotlight.

The story starts out with one of the bad guys, Andel, and what an amazing start it is. I immediately fell in love with this villain, although he is, without a doubt, eviler than most of the villains you see nowadays. I liked him because there was a certain dark passion behind his motives, and a surprising amount of originality. The author wasn’t scared to shy away from violence and some gory scenes, but I personally didn’t mind. I see how some people could find it disturbing, but it is horror. While I usually tend to prefer my horror more of the psychological kind, this book offered more than enough balance between blood and gore and psychological horror to be entertaining.

On the side of the good guys, we have Joanna and Kim. While I wasn’t particularly fond of them at first, they grew on me as characters. The most intriguing part behind the story is the brainwashing though, and the cult doing these things, no matter how horrifying, because of something they believe in. The author clearly did her research, and it shows. I thought the scenes of the rituals were, although gruesome, very fascinating as well, and it shows us the human pscyhe in a new shape and form. Even though there’s a romance storyline in this book, the book doesn’t depend heavily on it – it’s more of a side story.

I must applaud the author for bringing together a mix of genres that don’t always match well together: romance, horror, paranormal, mystery and thriller. This account of fallen angels is one of the most refreshing books I’ve read in a while in this particular genre. The book grabbed me from page one. It reads like a true pageturner, and kept me up till late in the night to finish reading. If you’re a fan of dark paranormal romance and/or horror, Halo of the Damned needs to be on your TBR list. Right now.

Review and Giveaway Protector (Anniversary of the Veil #1) by Vanna Smythe

FinalBookCoverProtectorFixAmazon72dpiTitle: Protector (Anniversary of The Veil #1)
Author: Vanna Smythe
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: March 10th 2012
Links: Author Blog | Twitter: @Vanna_Smythe | Facebook
Purchase: Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback)
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions.

Kiyarran just wanted to become a Protector of the Realm, a member of an elite order of fighters. Strange and powerful magical abilities awaken inside him once his wish comes true. The Priesthood that secretly controls the realm see his skill as a threat, and Kiyarran begins to learn that little about life as a Protector is what he thought it would be. To top it off, Kiyarran is falling in love with Princess Issiyanna, his friend of many years.
Issiyanna faces and arranged marriage, but she has been dreaming of another man, her one true love. Now her long gone mother is calling to her, promising she will return and take Issiyanna to meet the man from her dreams.
The world is split in half by a barrier called the Veil. A terrible sacrifice was made to put it in place and now, as the 1000th Anniversary of the Veil draws near, a second sacrifice is called for to keep it in place.
Both Kiyarran and Issiyanna are needed for the Anniversary. Even though they only just learned of the Veil and neither know the role they must play…

Protector (Anniversary of The Veil #1) is a decent, well-thought-through fantasy novel that easily transports its readers into a fantasy world, with its own rules, world-building and relatable main characters readers will soon find themselves rooting for. I certainly enjoyed reading this gem in indie fantasy literature. I was thoroughly impressed by the unique, albeit complicated magic system used in this book, and the amount of work the author has put into the worldbuilding and character development.

The world is seperated into two halves by a Veil. The two sides of the Veil couldn’t be more opposite. While on the one side, the Venerated side, it’s looked highly upon when someone displays magical abilities, on the other side, the side with descandants of the Righteous, people with any magic-related skills are used as slaves. The contradiction is well-established throughout the story. The magic in this book is known as the ‘life force’, and the magic system is very different from other fantasy books, which I found very enjoyable. Every thousand years, a sacrifice needs to happen to keep the Veil in place. And guess what? That time is drawing near…

Now on the side of the Righteous, princess Issiyanna is forced to marry the one the priests choose for her, much to her dislike. But no matter how much she pleads with her father, the King, he always bows to the priest’s wishes. Meanwhile, her guard, Kiyarran, has never wanted anything more than becoming a Protector of the Realm. Unfortunately, if he were to become one of the Protectors, that would mean ending all his connections with Issi, and in the time he’s been her guard, they’ve become good friends. Issi, if anything, is dissapointed with Kiyarran’s choices. As their friendship drifts apart, they have no idea of the terror about to be unleashed…

A group from the other side of the Veil emerges and kidnaps Issi. Kiyarran is the only one who can get her back, but when doing so he will not only have to reconsider all the choices he’s made up to this point, the true depths of his feelings for Issi and the mechanics of the world he lives in.

As I already mentioned, Protector‘s world-building is fantastic. Both sides of the Veil couldn’t be more opposite, yet eerily similar at once. I also really liked the character-development. These are three-dimensional, multi-layered characters with a history that shaped them, conflicting emotions, doubts and desires, and a whole array of feelings. Taking into account this is the author’s debut novel, I’m thoroughly impressed. As far as worldbuilding goes, this novel definitely deserves a full five stars. My only pet peeve however was the romance angle. I wasn’t entirely convinced of the romance in the novel, but that certainly didn’t make me like the book any less. A definite must for people who enjoy reading fantasy novels. Sublime world-building, excellent prose, the ancient archetypes we’ve all come to know and love, but in an intriguing mix of characters and events that make this book well worth your time.

Giveaway

You can now win a paperback copy of Protector (Anniversary of the Veil #1). I loved this book, so I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as well! This contest is limited to US/CA only.

Fill in the Rafflecopter widget below to participate in the giveaway.

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Starter Day Party Protector

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Today is the starter day party for Protector by Vanna Smythe, an epic fantasy novel. Check out the schedule!

June 8th: Starter Day Party
@ I Heart Reading

June 9th: Interview and book excerpt
@ Emily’s Crammed Bookshelf

June 12th: Author Interview
@ Suzanne van Rooyen

June 14th: Guest Post and Giveaway
@ Full Moon Bites

June 16th: Review and Giveaway
@ I Heart Reading

June 17th: Guest Post
@ Rainy of the Dark

June 18th: Review and Character Interview
@ Endlessly Bookish

June 21st: Interview
@ Rainy of The Dark

June 23rd: Book Excerpt
@ The Reading Pile

June 25th: Review, excerpt and giveaway
@ Books, books and More Books

June 27th: Book Excerpt
@ Nicki J. Markus

June 29th: Guest Post and Giveaway
@ Soul Unsung

July 1st: Review and Giveaway
@ Always a Book Lover

July 2nd: Guest Post
@ Always a Book Lover

July 4th: Book Excerpt
@ Soul Unsung

July 5th: Character Interview
@ Readergirls Blog

July 6th: Review and Guest Post
@ Darlyn and Books

July 8th: Author Interview
@ Pageturner by Beth

Book Cover and Synopsis

FinalBookCoverProtectorFixAmazon72dpiTitle: Protector (Anniversary of the Veil #1)
Author: Vanna Smythe
Genre: Fantasy

Kiyarran just wanted to become a Protector of the Realm, a member of an elite order of fighters. Strange and powerful magical abilities awaken inside him once his wish comes true. The Priesthood that secretly controls the realm see his skill as a threat, and Kiyarran begins to learn that little about life as a Protector is what he thought it would be. To top it off, Kiyarran is falling in love with Princess Issiyanna, his friend of many years.

Issiyanna faces and arranged marriage, but she has been dreaming of another man, her one true love. Now her long gone mother is calling to her, promising she will return and take Issiyanna to meet the man from her dreams.

The world is split in half by a barrier called the Veil. A terrible sacrifice was made to put it in place and now, as the 1000th Anniversary of the Veil draws near, a second sacrifice is called for to keep it in place.

Both Kiyarran and Issiyanna are needed for the Anniversary. Even though they only just learned of the Veil and neither know the role they must play …

Author Bio

Vanna Smythe is the author of Protector, the first book in the Anniversary of the Veil fantasy series. She has been writing creatively since her early teens, though one could say her creative writing efforts started long before that. While still in kindergarten, she once tore up a library book to make alphabet soup, and has been fascinated with what words can do, the pictures and worlds they can create, ever since. Book two of the Anniversary of the Veil series, Decision Maker, is due out in Autumn, 2012.

Blog | Twitter: @Vanna_Smythe | Facebook | Amazon

Book Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking

11457525Title: Switched (Trylle Trilogy #1)
Author: Amanda Hocking
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: January 5th, 2012
Goodreads | Amanda’s Website

What if your entire world was built on a lie?
Wendy Everly knew she was different the day her mother tried to kill her and accused her of having been switched at birth. Although certain she’s not the monster her mother claims she is – she does feel that she doesn’t quite fit in…
She’s bored and frustrated by her small town life – and then there’s the secret that she can’t tell anyone. Her mysterious ability – she can influence people’s decisions, without knowing how, or why…
When the intense and darkly handsome newcomer Finn suddenly turns up at her bedroom window one night – her world is turned upside down. He holds the key to her past, the answers to her strange powers and is the doorway to a place she never imagined could exist. Förening, the home of the Trylle.
Finally everything makes sense. Among the Trylle, Wendy is not just different, but special. But what marks her out as chosen for greatness in this world also places her in grave danger. With everything around her changing, Finn is the only person she can trust. But dark forces are conspiring – not only to separate them, but to see the downfall everything that Wendy cares about.
The fate of Förening rests in Wendy’s hands, and the decisions she and Finn make could change all their lives forever…

Wendy Everly is not your average girl. She barely touches food, and half of the food she does end up touching, she despises. When she was five years old, her Mom tried to kill her, because she was convinced Wendy wasn’t her own child, but a changeling, switched at birth. How strange as it sounds, even now her Mom, safely locked up in an asylum where she can no longer try to harm Wendy, is still confident her youngest daughter is not her own.

But as she grows older, Wendy gets more and more convinced her Mom might’ve been telling the truth. She has a strange ability to influence other people’s decisions, and although it happens mostly on accident, it’s still dangerous. When handsome Finn shows up behind her window one night, telling her that she’s in fact a troll, Wendy’s worst nightmare becomes reality. Her mother was right all along: she isn’t human. Worse than that: she’s a troll. On the giant list of supernatural creatures you’d lik to be, trolls don’t score particularly high.

After scarcely escaping an attack, Finn takes Wendy to Forening, the land of trolls, much to her dislike. There Wendy meets her real mother, who happens to be the Queen of Trolls. Not only does her mother show absolutely zero emotion toward Wendy, it seems as if no one in Forening is prone to many emotions. Wendy struggles to adapt to her new lifestyle as a princess, to being guarded day and night and to be stuck in the middle of a war happening between two rivaling Troll tribes. And in the midst of all that, she also manages to fall in love…

When I saw Switched in my local book store, I was immediately intrigued. Not so much by the back blurb (I have to admit I didn’t even read it) or the cover (although it’s beautiful) but because it’s written by Amanda Hocking, the queen of self-publishing, the author who managed to sell over one million copies of her books…on her own. Of course I had to read it and see what all the fuss was about.

Switched definitely didn’t dissapoint me. With trolls as the main supernatural species of interest, I was immediately intrigued. The YA book world definitely isn’t overflooded with books involving trolls. Wendy is a likeable main character, especially because she has a bunch of fun quirks that reveal her true heritage, but nobody figures them out, like barely liking anything she has to eat. The book is told from Wendy’s POV, but I really enjoyed her POV. I also liked Finn. As far as love interests though, he holds up his own. He’s mysterious, dangerous, dark and seductive. He also borders on being a stalker since he guards Wendy practically day and night, but at least it has a cause in this book.

I have to admit there wasn’t a lot of action in this book. It builds up the tension for what’s to come, and introduces us to the world of trolls, the characters and their dynamics, but that’s about it. What makes up for this lack of action though, is Amanda Hocking’s engaging writing style and her sense of humor. I’ve laughed out loud several times during this book, and that is a great sign. I loved some of Wendy’s remarks, and Finn manages sarcasm very well also. The humor really added an additional point to this novel.

The romance is awesome. The bond between Wendy and Finn is clear from the start, and although they pull back and give in several times, it’s obvious they share a real connection. When they kiss, the passion practically drops from the pages. I’m not only very impressed by how well the author pulled this off, but also longing to read more.

Switched is definitely a great start for the series. After I finished reading this one, I couldn’t wait to buy the sequel and read it as well. If you’re a fan of YA and you want to read about the untapped fantasy troll world, then this is an excellent choice.

Book Review: Need by Carrie Jones

4070493Title: Need
Author: Carrie Jones
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Publication Date: December 23rd 2008
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Review copy purchased by yours truly.

Zara White suspects there’s a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She’s also obsessed with phobias. And it’s true, she hasn’t exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane…but Zara’s pretty sure her mom just can’t deal with her right now.
She couldn’t be more wrong. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara’s overactive imagination. In fact, he’s still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There’s something not right – not human – in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs point to Zara.
In this creepy, compelling breakout novel, Carrie Jones delivers romance, suspense, and a creature you never thought you’d have to fear.

According to the quote on the front cover, Need is what you would get if you would get if you would ask Stephenie Meyer and Steven King to collaborate on a novel. That’s probably one of the oddest things I’ve ever heard. First of all, why would Stephenie Meyer and Steven King, who both write completely different genres, ever want to work on a novel together? Secondly, given the fact that Steven King writes horror, and Need can’t qualify as being even remotely scary, I wonder why anyone would link this book to King’s ouvre – only because it happens in Maine? Secondly, Stephenie Meyer’s characters have the personality of a cardboard figure – meaning, none, whereas the main character of Need, Zara, has one of the most interesting, quirky and funny personalities I’ve ever seen in YA literature. So, whoever came up with the idea that this is a crossover between Meyer and King, either read a completely different book than I did, or has never read anything written by either King or Meyer.

That aside, Need is really a good book. Not that spectacular in terms of originality, but I can forgive it a lot if the writing is good enough, and it is. Carrie Jones has an entertaining writing style and her characters are very relatable. Sometimes the dialogue is a bit corny, but I found myself enjoying that, and sometimes even laughing out loud.

As far as plot goes, Zara White moves to Maine after her father’s death, because she’s incapable of feeling anything and her Mom thinks, with good reason, that Zara’s severely depressed, so she goes to live with her grandmother for a while. In her new school, she quickly meets a couple of new friends, including Ian and Nick. Almost immediately, Zara develops a crush on handsome, charming Nick. But Ian is obviously interested in her as well, and she finds him intriguing – especially after he beats her while running during gym class without even breaking a sweat. Considering Zara is one of the best runners there is, that’s saying something.

But people are disappearing in town, young boys of around Zara’s age. And it’s not the first time this happened, a decade ago, the same thing happened as well. Zara and her new friends quickly suspect something supernatural is going on, especially since they find pixie dust on the crime scene. Someone is out in the woods, one of the fey, and he’s up to no good. He has to fill his Need, and to fill that, he either needs to find a Queen, or feed on teenage boys. Coincedence or not, but the pixie chooses Zara as its desired Queen…

Indeed, plot-wise, this story doesn’t bring anything new to the table, at least not at first glance. But it’s the characters that make this book interesting. Zara is the kind of person who wants to save the world. She loves nature, animals, running and writing letters for Amnesty International. She has the tendency to rattle off phobias whenever she gets scared, and each chapter actually has the name of a phobia, some real, some imagined.

Unfortunately, the fun characters and original use of phobias doesn’t do anything for the sloppy plotline, the out-of-the-blue love affair between Nick and Zara, the two of them making out at random moments and sometimes even at the most unlikely of times, and the fact that while Ian is mentioned heavily in the beginning of the book, he disappears for the better half of it to miraculously reappear near the end. Also, this book offers weretigers. Yes, weretigers. Like anyone would want to change into a tiger when it’s full moon. But it’s not like the characters here need a full moon: they can change at will. Still…weretigers?

I wish I could say that I loved this book. I loved it enough to read a sequel, but not enough to be extraordinary happy about it. The upside is that there’s no real love triangle – thank God for that. The main character is a joy, since she’s one of the most original characters I’ve read in a while. But that’s it. The supportive cast is bland, barely featured, and their emotions and/or pain is glanced over quickly. The evil guys pop up near the end, and when I say pop up, I mean literally pop up. The mystery is revealed in record time, and I felt myself wanting…more. At least more emotions, not necessarily more book. I felt like things wrapped up too quickly for me to really care a lot. I also thought the final battle was a bit disappointing.

All in all, Need definitely isn’t a bad book. I enjoyed parts of it, and I will definitely read the sequel, so that counts for something. However, it left me mostly unimpressed. Nice for when you have some time to kill, but don’t expect this one to be the next ‘big thing’.

Book Review: Kill Me Again by Leslie Rule

594809Title: Kill Me Again
Author: Leslie Rule
Genre: Supernatural, Ghosts, Paranormal Mystery, Young Adult
Publisher: Andrew McMeel Publishing
Publication Date: April 3th, 2012
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Review copy provided by the publisher through Netgalley.

In her dreams, her life was not her own. Awake, the threat of danger was real. Everyone said that she was crazy. But when Alexis dreamed of dying, she knew she had been killed before. And if it had happened once, it could happen again.

This must be one of the shortest synopses ever, but yet it still intrigued me enough to request a review copy of this book through Netgalley. Let me start by saying that Kill Me Again did not dissapoint in the slightest. When I first started this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought this was going to be a ghost story, or at least a story about a girl who dreams about a past life. While that’s partly true, this novel is so much more as well. Alexis travels back to the town where her Mom grew up. But as soon as she arrives in town, it looks eerily familiar, as if she’d been there before.

According to her Mom, that’s normal because she went there once when she was a toddler. Eerily enough, while she was there, Alexis stumbled upon the body of a teenage girl, who drowned in a pond in the park. But as Alexis spends more and more time in her hometown, she begins to suspect the teenage girl drowning wasn’t a drowning at all. And as for her aunt Nan, Alexis isn’t entirely convinced Nan left home all those years ago.

Then another girl ends up missing, and eventually Alexis is the one to find her body in the same body she found that other drowned girl over a decade ago. As she begins to remember things she couldn’t possibly remember, Alexis grows convinced of two things. She’s the reincarnation of Nan, and she didn’t run away from home – she was murdered. And she wasn’t the only one…A serial killer is loose in the town of Oxford, and Alexis is the only one who can figure out who it is. Before it’s too late and she becomes his next target.

The author does a great job of describing the town of Oxford to the readers. I especially liked the “drowned” city, a part of the city flooded by water which now rests in an underground lake.

I really enjoyed Kill Me Again. All of the topics, from the romance subplot to a serial killer on the loose to reincarnation intrigued me. I was a bit dissapointed that ghosts didn’t play an actual part in this book, but I got over that quickly. Leslie Rule definitely surprises with sublime characterization skills, excellent prose and the ability to hold one’s interest until the very end, revealing the clues slowly enough to keep tension building. If you’re a fan of thrillers, ghost stories and paranormal mysteries, this is definitely a nice read. I hope Leslie Rule’s other book, Whispers From The Grave, is just as good.

Starter Day Party for Halo of the Damned

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Hey everyone! I’m happy to host the starter day party for Halo of the Damned today on my blog! Halo of the Damned is a horror/paranormal romance by Dina Rae. Here’s the tour schedule:

June 1st: Tour Starter Day Party
@ I Heart Reading

June 2nd: Character Interview and Excerpt
@ Reader Girls Blog

June 4th: Book Excerpt Post
@ The Book Blurb

June 6th: Review
@ The Reading Pile

June 7th: Guest Post and Book Excerpt post
@ CS Dorsey’s Blog

June 9th: Guest Post
@ Mama Knows Books

June 11nd: Review
@ Manda-Rae Reads

June 13rd: Review
@ Embrace a Book

June 14th: Review and Excerpt
@ Divine Secrets of a Little Bookworm

June 16th: Review
@ eReading on the Cheap

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Book Cover and Synopsis

HaloOftheDamnedFINALCover2ndpicTitle: Halo of the Damned
Author: Dina Rae
Genre: Paranormal, Horror, Romance

A chain of advertising agencies, a new breed of humans, and a fallen angel to worship…

Andel Talistokov is known for his slick advertising agencies across the globe. He is a fallen angel that uses advertising as a weapon for Satan’s work. His growing power emboldens him to break several of Hell’s Commandments. Furious with his arrogance, Satan commands him to return to Hell after finding his own replacement. Yezidism, an ancient angel worshiping religion, quietly expands throughout the West. Armaros appears as a guest of honor during their ceremonies. He mates with young women to produce nephilim, a mixed race of humans and angels. They are alone and unprepared for their supernatural power. Joanna Easterhouse, a recovering drug addict, steps out of prison shortly after her mother’s fatal accident. She and her sister, Kim, unravel their mother’s secretive past. Intrigued, they learn their bloodline is part of a celestial legacy. Both worlds collide. Halo of the Damned is a horrifying tale that weaves research together with suspenseful twists and turns.

Author Bio

Dina Rae is a new author here to stay. As a former teacher, she brings an academic element to her work. Her two novels, Halo of the Damned and The Last Degree, weave research and suspense throughout the plots.

Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside of Chicago. She is a Christian, an avid tennis player, movie buff, and self-proclaimed expert on several conspiracy theories. When she is not writing, she is reading novels from her favorite authors Dan Brown, Anne Rice, Brad Thor, Jim Marrs, Alex Jones, C.C. Finlay, and Preston & Childs.

Dina Rae | Dina Rae Writes Stuff | Book Trailer | Twitter: @haloofthedamned

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