Release Day Party Eighty-Eight Keys

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We’re celebrating the release day party of romantic suspense novel Eighty-Eight Keys today. Get your copy of Eighty-Eight Keys now!

Visit the author’s website!

About Eighty-Eight Keys

eighteightkets_10032012_oneTitle: Eighty-Eight Keys

Author: Catherine Lavender

Genre: Romance/Suspense

Leah is a young woman who is trying to break free from a strict religious background and pursue her dream as a pianist in the world of show business. While trying to find her independence her heart is held captive by Jason Rowe a local basketball star who established an organization to help troubled youth. When Jason is found murdered in his home, Leah is determined to get answers from a closed investigation. During her state of emotional turmoil, Leah finds comfort not only in the melody of her music, but in the arms of a married man named Calvin. With her dreams at her fingertips, Leah is tangled in a web of lies and deceit. Despite the fear of learning the truth, Leah has to realize that only the truth can set her free.
A dead lover, with a trail of broken hearts…
A married man, with a double-life…
A dream chaser, with a killer at her heels…
A piano, with eighty-eight keys…

About Catherine Lavender

front-page-picCatherine Lavender is from Baltimore, Maryland but now resides in Tampa, Florida with her miniature schnauzer name Ripken. She is an animal activist, as well as a supporter of the organization First Book which helps supply literature for underprivileged children. In her spare time, Catherine enjoys reading classic literature and playing the acoustic guitar.

Visit her website!

Book Review: Celebrating The Journey by Ashley Hill

9780615651446.MAIN_.jpg-199x300Title: Celebrating the Journey

Author: Ashley Hill

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Ashley Hill is excited yet nervous about her first year of college. She has an encounter that sends her life on an unforgettable path. She begins on a journey in pursuit of her authentic self to become a whole person again and fulfill her destiny. This candid account of her story will leave readers inspired and encouraged to accomplish their dreams.

Celebrating The Journey: Rediscovering Me is a memoir, self-help book by author Ashley Hill that talks about the author’s life before she went to college. It focuses on the hardships of life we all have to go through at that age, from dealing with tough relationships to figuring out who we truly are, who we want to be, and what our purpose is in this world.

The author wrote a touching book that greatly invests in the power of education, and how education can help us all to grow into responsible adults with a mind of our own. In the beginning of the book, Ashley Hill struggles with marriages problems and an abusive relationship. Her college education really helps her to step up for herself and say enough is enough.
The cool thing about this book were the flow charts you can fill in to track your own progress. I thought that was kind of neat.
I do recommend this book to people struggling with abusive relationships, or who want to empower themselves in any possible way. The writing was good and honest, and parts of the book really moved me. Going to college isn’t just about “going to college”, it’s also about becoming an adult and reaching a certain level of maturity, which this book explains well.

Book Review: The Haunting Season by Michelle Muto

16141351Title: The Haunting Season

Author: Michelle Muto

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 4,5 stars

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Be careful what you let in…

Siler House has stood silent beneath Savannah’s moss-draped oaks for decades. Notoriously haunted, it has remained empty until college-bound Jess Perry and three of her peers gather to take part in a month-long study on the paranormal. Jess, who talks to ghosts, quickly bonds with her fellow test subjects. One is a girl possessed. Another just wants to forget. The third is a guy who really knows how to turn up the August heat, not to mention Jess’s heart rate…when he’s not resurrecting the dead.

The study soon turns into something far more sinister when they discover that Siler House and the dark forces within are determined to keep them forever. In order to escape, Jess and the others will have to open themselves up to the true horror of Siler House and channel the very evil that has welcomed them all.

The Haunting Season is the second book I’ve read by Michelle Muto. I really enjoyed the first book, Don’t Fear The Reaper, so I was eager to start reading this one. It’s not in the same series – The Haunting Season is a stand-alone.

The plot is original, even though it vaguely reminded me of The Haunting. A bunch of teenagers are chosen as test subjects to live in a supposed haunted mansion for a month. In The Haunting, the premise was the same, but the execution is very different. Here we have teenagers, two boys and two girls, and each come with their unique sets of gifts. Now these gifts bothered me. I know it brought them together, but the ‘gifts’ in some cases weren’t gifts at all. Main character Jess can talk to ghosts. Or at least she could, before her Dad passed away. She’s desperate to talk to his ghost, but her gift fails her.

Allison was once possessed by a demon and she’s frightened to let the demons in for another round. She was, by far, my favorite character. I wouldn’t have minded if the book was entirely about her, and Jess was a secondary character instead. Allison was, naturally, frightened at first, as she’s the only one who senses the truth about Siler House from the get-go. The others think she’s losing it, and Jess even gets angry at her once or twice, while I kept having this nagging feeling Allison was right and the rest of them were all big, BIG, fools. I didn’t like the way Jess treated Allison. Admittedly, she acts a little weird and probably a little creepy, but Jess was prone to overreacting and jumping to conclusions about her roommate.

The two boys are mostly meh. Gage can raise the dead. Or at least, he could raise his brother’s dog from the dead, but he hasn’t been able to use his ability ever since. It didn’t work on his brother, and his parents will always blame him for that. The background story was interesting enough, but his character fell a little flat for me. Both boys did. They’re both interested in Jess because she looks ‘hot’ but never go beyond that. Bryan, the other guy, is convinced Gage will get her in the end because he looks better than Bryan does. All right, well, what’s with all the superficialness? I know teenage boys may tend to be a bit superficial, but I doubt that’s all there is about them. I enjoyed Gage as a seperate character, but not in a relationship with Jess. In my opinion, it didn’t work. Even Bryan would’ve been a better chocie. He seemed to fit better with her. Bryan can make things vanish. Once, he made his Dad disappear.

While all characters have a background story defining them, and each had a distinct personality, I had trouble understanding some of their decisions. What I thought was great though was how Siler House had a personality of its own as well. The house was foreboding and threatening, even if the characters couldn’t see it, and it was a great example of a haunted house.

I thought the story itself was great. It was scary, but not too scary because the group isn’t exactly defenseless against the ghosts. It did build up a bit fast though. It went from glimpse of a ghost to full-out scarefest. I like slower build ups in haunted house stories, but here it worked.

I wouldn’t mind reading a prequel for this book, detailing Allison’s struggle with the demons. (Please, please, please?) I really liked her, and she was, in my opinion, the most interesting character.

That said, there aren’t so many well-written haunted house stories for young adults out there. The Haunting Season is a great choice if you’re looking for a book in that genre, but also if you’re more into general paranormal thrillers, the book is an excellent read. I enjoyed it, and am looking forward to more books by the author.

Book Review: Hair Side, Flesh Side by Helen Marshall

15821238Title: Hair Side, Flesh Side

Author: Helen Marshall

Genre: Dark Fiction, Anthology, Short Story Collection

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 3 stars

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A child receives the body of Saint Lucia of Syracuse for her seventh birthday. A rebelling angel rewrites the Book of Judgement to protect the woman he loves. A young woman discovers the lost manuscript of Jane Austen written on the inside of her skin. A 747 populated by a dying pantheon makes the extraordinary journey to the beginning of the universe. Lyrical and tender, quirky and cutting, Helen Marshall’s exceptional debut collection weaves the fantastic and the horrific alongside the touchingly human in fifteen modern parables about history, memory, and cost of creating art.

Hair Side, Flesh Side is a lyrical short story collection ranging from slightly humorous stories to downright horrifying tales. What they have in common is that all of them are strange, and are somewhat related to the human body. It’s a loose thread though, considering I wouldn’t even place some of these stories under the same genre. It’s dark fiction, yes, but I would’ve preferred if I could classify all of them under ‘horror’ or ‘bizar’, not a mix-match of things. I was continuously looking for horror. Now, of course, that could just be me, but I prefer my collections more straightforward. That’s not to say the stories have to be, but the theme of the collection must be.

Don’t get me wrong. The stories Helen Marshall provides the reader with are, each in their own right, interesting. There’s “Blessed”, about a seven-year-old girl who receives a saint’s body for her birthday. In the world of “Blessed”, this is common place, and children argue with each other over who received the most interesting body or body part of a Saint. This is an intriguing, but undoubtably strange and eerie concept. I found it horrific, yet not scary. “The Art of Dying” leaned more toward horror. Then there was my favorite, “Dead White Men”, which was a ghost story. “Sandition” was another interesting story, about an editor who finds a lost manuscript by Jane Austen inked on the inside of her skin. That one wasn’t horrifying at all, just well, ew, and the main focus was on the power struggle between the editor and the author.

I liked most of the stories in this collection. “The Mouth, Open” didn’t do it for me though. It completely ruined my appetite (which was probably the author’s intention) but also my will to read on, which wasn’t that good. The other stories ranged from decent to near brilliant. Another thing that annoyed me was the varying quality of different stories in this collection, like I said, some were bordering on brilliant whereas others were mediocre at best. I couldn’t see a common theme or a common quality, and that bothered me.

The author’s writing style however, is simply sublime. It reminded me of Jane Austen and Mary Shelley. The plot of most of the stories in the collection strikes me as imaginative and original as well. Like I said, my favorite was “Dead White Men”, which was about a woman who channeled the spirits of great poets and authors into the bodies of her lovers. While I did think this was morbid and macabre, it also left me a little frightened, peering around my shoulder and expecting to see Lovecraft or Poe back alive.

No common theme was my major concern here, like I said. Looked on a one by one basis, the stories are quite strong and decent. But looked at it together…I just don’t see it. Maybe someone who does can come enlighten me. I enjoyed reading this book, but for me, it was nothing spectacular. As a short story on its own though, “Dead White Men” would have probably gotten a higher rating from me.

Book Review: The Exemeus by Folami Morris

front__cover_imageTitle: The Exemeus

Author: Folami Morris & Abeni Morris

Genre: Fantasy, Science-Fiction, Dystopian

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 5 stars

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Hyalee Smith is dead, she just doesn’t know it yet.

Her short life was devoted to love and to hate. Love of the man who stole her heart, hate for the man who stole the world. Murdered by the government she swore to destroy, she has been given another chance to make it right. But to save the planet, she needs the help of the most powerful mystic the world has ever seen—unfortunately he hasn’t been born yet.

In a world where fear is the only currency, Dephon has committed the ultimate crime:inspiring hope.

His only goal is to make it safely through ninth grade, but on a post-apocalyptic Earth run by the Treptonian government, it isn’t that simple. Heir to a legendary power, Dephon Johnson is the only threat to the government’s rule. And on Trepton, all threats must be eliminated. When hundreds of assassins are dispatched to neutralize him, Dephon is forced to fight back. His only chance of survival is to enlist the aid of the greatest warrior the world has ever known. The only problem is, she’s been dead for 13 years.

I thought dystopian wasn’t for me. I thought I’d seen it all when I read The Hunger Games, enjoyed it, but then suffered endlessly as the book was turned into a movie and the dystopian hype began. Book after book set in said genre passed my review cue, and I thought it would never end.

After reading The Exemeus, I’m glad it didn’t. I’m glad that, despite how I felt baout the genre, I gave this one a shot. Because it was awesome.

Hyalee is the greastest warrior Trepton has ever known. But she’s been dead for thirteen years. Unfortunately though, teenager Dephon desperately needs her help. He’s the heir to a legendary power, and because of that, the government of Trepton wants to see him destroyed. Trepton is a dystopian society if I’ve ever seen one. Its rules are strict, any form of rebellion is quickly stopped, and whoever brings the citizens an ounce of hope is eliminated. That faith awaits Dephon, if he can’t put a stop to Trepton’s tyranny.

I thought all dystopian societies followed a pretty standard format, but I was pleasantly surprised with Trepton. It stood out, and felt more original somehow. Dephon, the main character, has to be one of my favorite main characters in young adult books ever. For starters, he’s a guy. For some reason most young adult books feature female main characters, so I was glad this time around we got to deal with a boy. Secondly, he’s a fun mix of intelligence, courage, teenage awkwardness and hilarity.

The plot itself moved fast, and it was filled with so many surprises I hadn’t seen coming that it kept me on the edge of my seat. The book is pretty long, more than 500 pages, but I didn’t get the feeling it was long at all while reading. The interactions between the characters was natural, their voices authentic and original. I enjoyed the writing style as well. The authors managed to give a lot of detail without rambling off descriptions.

A highly recommended novel for everyone who enjoys young adult fantasy.

Starter Day Party Shifty Business

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I’m happy to announce the starter day party for Shifty Business today, a paranormal romance novel.

Tour Schedule

January 15th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

January 16th: Book Excerpt @ Hollow Readers

January 18th: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog

January 20th: Book Review @ Classy Me Books

January 22nd: Book Excerpt @ The Book Daily

January 24th: Author Interview @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

January 26th: Book Review @ I’m an eclectic reader

January 28th:  Book Excerpt @ Bookaholic Ramblings

January 30th:  Book Review @ The Single Librarian

February 2nd: Book Excerpt @ Regina May Ross

February 4th: Book Review @ I Heart Reading

February 6th: Author Interview @ Sara in Bookland Blog

February 8th: Book Excerpt @ 365 Days of Reading

February 10th: Author Interview @ Books and Tales

 February 11th: Book Excerpt @ Forever Book Lover

February 12th: Book Review @ Books, Books and More Books

February 14th: Book Excerpt @ Frankie Blooding’s Bookshelf

February 15th: Guest Post @ Andi’s Book Reviews

About Shifty Business

BookCoverPreviewTitle: Shifty Business (Bend-Bite-Shift #3)

Author: Olivia Hardin

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Gerry Hinton thought she had the perfect career as an operative for the Company. Her next assignment should have been another “mission accomplished”, but hell was delivering hand baskets that day.

When a little girl gives a mysterious silver box to Gerry, her world self-destructs. Suddenly under constant mental attacks, the only person who can save her is her partner, Nicky–but nothing comes without a cost. Secrets buried deep in the past begin to rise, threatening everything she holds dear.

If she can’t out run her past, can she save her future?

 Author Bio

azaleapicWhen Olivia Hardin began having strange movie-like dreams in her teens, she had no choice but to begin putting them to paper.  Before long the writing bug had her and she knew she wanted to be a published author.  Several rejections plus a little bit of life later, and she was temporarily “cured” of the urge to write.  That is until she met a group of talented and fabulous writers who gave her the direction and encouragement she needed to get lost in the words again.

Olivia’s attended three different universities over the years.  She toyed with majors in Computer Technology, English, History and Geology until one day she heard the term road scholar and she knew that was what she wanted to be.  Now she “studies” anything and everything just for the joy of learning.   She’s also an insatiable crafter who only completes about 1 out of 5 projects, a jogger who hates to run, and she’s sometimes accused of being artistic.

A native Texas girl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband, Danny and their puppy, Bonnie.
Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodreadsAmazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback | B&N

Giveaway

There will be a giveaway during this tour for a $50 Amazon Gift Card and paperback copies of all three books in the Bend-Bite-Shift Series!

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Book Review: Fiona Thorn and The Carapacem Spell by Jen Barton

16053916Title: Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell

Author: Jen Barton

Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade Fantasy

Age Group: Middle Grade

Rating: 4 stars

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

When Fiona Thorn, an ornery orphan with an expertise in explosives, sets out to rescue her imprisoned friend, Jaydin Rowan, she wants nothing more than a few sleeping guards and a satchel full of Blast. What she gets is a run-in with three bickering princesses that puts all four girls on the wrong side of a locked dungeon door.

Now, accidentally involved in a plot to assassinate the King and accused of kidnapping the princesses, Fiona must find a way to free them all, save the King, and rescue Jaydin, all while struggling to pay the magical debt that’s slowly killing her. Unless the princesses’ annoying sibling rivalry kills her first.

Packed with powerful magic, fun-loving fairies and a vicious ogre turned pet, Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell is a fantasy kids’ book sure to become a favorite in middle grade fiction.

Fiona Thorn and The Carapacem Spell is the first book in a series based on Fiona Thorn, an orphan girl who likes things that explode and who hates annoying princesses. The series is set in a magical kingdom, with other fantastical creatures such as faeries, cave bodkins, witches and more. The story starts off with Fiona, who’s trying to free her best friend Jayden from prison where he’s locked up after he’s been wrongfully accused of placing a curse on a young boy. Fiona intends to break him out of prison, but no sooner has she come near the castle, or she runs into the three princesses. Each of them manages to annoy Fiona in their own way, and while she’s eager to find her friend, they keep on stalling her. When they finally reach the castle, it becomes clear that there’s a huge plot going on to assassinate the king. Running for their lives, Fiona and the princesses must flee from the castle.

With her mission a big failure and Jayden’s life at stake, Fiona is fresh out of ideas. Her own life force is bleeding out of her after she asked for the Carapacem Spell, a risk she was willing to take if it meant Jayden would be saved. Now she’s being accused of kidnapping those wretched princesses, and Jayden is still locked up in the tower, things look grim for Fiona…

Fiona’s personality was a bit annoying at times. She had a smart mouth, and even though I can forgive quite a bit, it started working on my nerves around halfway through the book. I know middle grades like intelligent protagonists, but teaching them it’s all right to be as smart-mouthed as Fiona is, may be pushing it a bit. Even though Fiona’s attitude may be questionable at times, her heart is clearly at the right spot. She wants to rescue Jayden, and is even willing to risk her life to accomplish that, which I thought was very touching. She’s also quite a stubborn girl, and this adds to her personality.

I wasn’t a big fan of the princesses. They each complained, whined and complained some more. The little one was my favorite, because, thankfully, little Cricket couldn’t talk yet. Thank God, though, because the ones that could were annoying. It’s quite funny though to have such annoying brats tag along with Fiona on her adventures, and I imagine small children would’ve laughed out loud several times where I just grinned during the book. I did like the snake with his impossibly long name, and Manzy the talking horse.

This story has a lot of potential, and for a debut novel, it’s pretty good. I thought the pacing was a bit off though. In the beginning, we’re literally thrown into the story without much introduction, which may not be the best choice for the audience this book is meant for (middle graders). Then there are parts that dragged on, and other parts that were quickly skimmed through, some of these parts pretty interesting and necessary for the story. Apart from the pacing issues though, I had a blast reading this book and I’m confident middle graders would love it as well.

A fantastical adventure for middle graders that can be enjoyed by adults as well.

Book Review: In A Small Town by Marc A. Giacomo

16049946Title: In A Small Town

Author: Marc A. Giacomo

Genre: Thriller, Suspense

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 4 stars

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

The shotgun blast catches Detective Matthew Longo by surprise. His world unravels into a nightmare that seemingly won’t end. Murder, rapes, pedophiles, the small town of Hutchville, N.Y. is changing. It is up to him to make a difference.

While partner Donny Mello is in Italy attending a funeral for a family member who is connected, to say the least, a beautiful F.B.I. agent waits to question him about his family business.

Can Matt keep from answering the Agents questions? More importantly, can he hide a potentially career-ending secret from his community, his brother, and most especially Agent Cynthia Shyler?

In A Small Town tells the not-so-small story of police detective Matthew Longo. Whenwe first meet him, he’s been shot. He wasn’t even on the job at the time, and the experience left him more than a little spooked. The small town of Hutchville is filled with criminals in all shapes and sizes from pedophiles to murderers to wifebeaters to drug dealers. But Matthew has no idea who is after him this time around, and that’s what worries him. His opponent has no face, instead he’s a shadow. And as long as he doesn’t figure out who is behind the attack, it could be anyone.

Matthew hides in his bedroom day in day out, trying to come to terms with what happened. No matter how much his parents and brother push him to go out and back to the job, he’s scared of doing so. His partner, the person he can rely on more than anything, Donny Mello, is attending a funeral in Italy, and as long as he’s not around, Matthew feels like there’s no one who has his back. But then a FBI agent pops up who has some interesting intel on the attack that nearly killed him and the person behind it.

Matthew realizes that sometimes the true villains aren’t the ones that you catch while on the job. The life of a cop is anything but simple.

I loved how the author managed to put so much reality into this book. When I read the author bio on the back, I discovered that the author is a retired police detective and well, it shows. He obviously knows what he’s talking about, both about regular police life, and about the hardships that come when something bad happens. After Matthew is shot, he goes through real pain, real fear as he tries to recuperate, and those emotions are so honest and raw that they left me more than a little impressed. While I did enjoy the side characters, and the fact that they’re all well-developed for side characters, Matthew stayed my favorite character throughout the book. Which is odd. Because Matthew isn’t your standard hero. He’s a cop, which in my book counts for at least some heroism, but he didn’t always work by the book. He tells the readers something about what happened to him and his partner Donny about halfway through the book, about how Donny reacted to a criminal by beating him to pulp, and well, it left me conflicted. I think it would leave anyone conflicted. If a person is bad enough, do you get to kill them? If you’re afraid no justice will be served, does that grant you the right to serve it yourself?

That’s one of the questions Matthew struggles with, but hardly the only one. I liked his inner turmoil. I liked the short, interesting dialogue and the vivid descriptions. The author has a gripping, suspenseful writing style that definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. The only downside of this book, in my opinion, was the romance. It didn’t work for me. Sure, there was passion, but that was about it. I can’t believe people would form a meaningful relationship in such a short period of time. It didn’t convince me, and I was actually convinced the book could do well without. The plot is more than strong enough on its own, without an added romantic subplot. But I bet some people will love the addition of romance, and it’s not so bad, nor does it slow down the plot, so I could live with it.

As far as police thrillers go, I was happily surprised by this one. It was gritty and suspensful, nothing over the top, no spectacular but near impossible heroic stunts. This is a detective thriller the way I want it to be, and I very much enjoyed reading it. If you’re a fan of the genre, you should definitely read In A Small Town. It’s a strong, powerful book by a talented author of whom I hope to read more books in the future.

Book Review: Shadow of Time by Jen Minkman

16166400Title: Shadow of Time

Author: Jen Minkman

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 4 stars

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

All Hannah needs is a nice and quiet vacation after her first year of teaching French at a high school. She joins her brother Ben for the summer in their mom’s log cabin in Arizona. There, she meets Josh again, Ben’s childhood friend from the Navajo reservation. The little boy from the rez has grown up fast, and Hannah can’t help but feeling more for him than just friendship.

But fate apparently has something else in store for her. And it’s not peace and quiet. Night after night, Hannah is plagued by strange nightmares about the past of Navajo Nation and terrifying shadows chasing her. They seem to come closer – and why is Josh always present in her dreams?

Sometimes, the past has a way of catching up with you.

As an avid reader of paranormal romance, I sometimes think I’ve seen it all. I’ve read numerous books on angels, demons, shapeshifters, vampires, and the rest of them. Even if the plot is original, it’s always the same paranormal creatures making an appearance.

Then, every once in a while, something else comes up. Something unique and original, and about ten times as enjoyable as the generic paranormal romance books. Shadow of Time is one of these unique books with an original concept that tries something completely different, and, in this case, succeeds.

Hannah is twenty-three years old. After working a stressy job for a year, she’s ready to retire for the summer to her mom’s log cabin in Arizona. She spent most of her childhood there, communicating with the Najavo community nearby, and hanging out with her little brother Ben and his best friend Josh. But when she comes back this time around, she realizes Josh has turned into an adult, and a handsome one at that. She doesn’t recognize him at first, but he sure does recognize her. Unfortunately growing up isn’t the only thing that happened to Josh. He’s changed, and his mood vary from light and humorous to dark and unpredictable in a matter of moments. Hannah’s best friend Emily warns her that something happened to Josh when he made the spiritual journey from youth to adulthood, and that has changed him.

Even though Josh gives mixed hot and cold gestures, Hannah finds herself falling for him. But then, she starts having creepy nightmares featuring Josh, in a setting several hundred years ago. She wonders what it all means, and if somehow her nightmares could be real. Then a terrifying treat finds Hannah in the supposedly secure village, and she realizes she may be in more trouble than she thought possible.

I liked Hannah. As far as protagonists go, she was a pretty decent one. With paranormal romance, you either get the whiny, can’t-do-anything-herself damsel in distress (think Bella Swan) or the kick-ass feminist heroine who needs no help from anyone (think Xena, Warrior Princess). But Hannah holds the middle between those. She’s certainly not a brave, demon-slaying hero, but she’s not a scared chicken either. She actually felt like a regular human being, who found herself in a situation she had no control over and that was so strange she could barely comprehend it. So, at first glance I liked her. There were some moments when I wanted to strangle her because she was a bit stubborn to realize the truth, even if it was standing right in front of her, but I could easily forgive her for that. We all have those moments, I guess. In retrospect, it made her seem more like a regular human and less like a book character that she had these kind of flaws.

Josh was all right as well. He was Mr. Mysterious all right, especially in the beginning, but the mystery is what kept me on the edge of my seat, so I can’t complain about that. I wanted to find out what was happening to him, and why he went from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde on several occassions. His personality was well-developed, and there were no inconsistencies in his personality, which is quite a feat to write when your character suffers from hot and cold syndrom.

But my favorite character is, hands down, Ben. We don’t often see supportive siblings who love each other and want to help each other in literature, and I was glad to see Ben belonged to this rare category. I simply loved his interactions, both with his sister Hannah and his best friend Josh. He’s the kind of person I wouldn’t mind being friends with.

The romance was great. Mainly because it didn’t just happen within the first fifty-so pages. There was an actual build up, plus it’s not like Josh and Hannah didn’t know each other before they fell in love. They had a long history, and that’s my favorite kind of romance. There was actual depth and feeling there. And there was awkwardness, and not knowing how to behave, and all those typical things you get when you first fall in love.

But the true strength of this work, in my opinion, is the story. It focuses heavily on Navajo culture, and it’s obvious the author did a lot of research before she started this book. She gives the reader a lot of details about Navajo rituals, spells and traditions. Sometimes I feel too much explanation slows the story down, but that wasn’t the case here. If anything, it added to the story. I liked the “bad guys”, skinwalkers, mentioned in this book. They were actually pretty creepy, which is saying a lot, coming from someone who devours creepy stories on a daily base. I loved the lore behind them as well, and they’re origin in Navajo culture.

The plot itself started out slow, but then build up as the story progressed. I had trouble getting into the story at first, but after fifty-something pages, I was hooked. My only let down is the ending, which felt a bit rushed. I liked it, but it felt like the author wanted to tie everything together a bit too fast.

I would recommend this novel to everyone who enjoys paranormal romance and is looking for something different. With a solid story, enjoyable characters and a detailed look on Navajo culture, Shadow of Time is a great read.

Feature and Follow Friday (6)

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Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison can Read. Each week, they ask bloggers a question they respond to in their Feature and Follow post.

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This week’s question: If you could choose one supernatural being/creature to really exists what would it be and why?

That’s vampires, hands down. I know that they’re usually the bloodsucking type, not the sparkly ones, and I’m fine with that as long as…well…I get to be one as well. I’m terrified of growong old, and eventually dying. Yep. That’s one of my worst fears right there (confession time for me, heh) and I seriously don’t want that to happen. So I’m going for vampires. Then I’ll make a bargain with one of them to turn me into a vampire as well, and I’ll live forever. That’s my genius master plan. The alternative is that I turn into Buffy The Vampire Slayer and kick their ass if they don’t want to change me.

What type of supernatural being would you like to exist, if any?