It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (38)

itsmondayIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila of Book Journey. It’s where book bloggers gather to talk about what books they read and reviewed last week, what books they’re currently reading and what books they’re planning to read. This is a great way for me to plan my reading week, and to take a sneak peek at what others are reading.

Finished Reading

Currently Reading

   

What are you reading this week?

Book Tours: Starter Day Party The Strings of the Violin

stringsbanner

I’m celebrating the starter day party for “The Strings of the Violin” today, a YA fantasy novel that sounds amazing. I’ll be reviewing the book on October 7. Meanwhile, visit all the other tour stops!

Tour Schedule

September 29th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

 September 30th: Book Excerpt and Giveaway @ Stephanie’s Bookshelf

October 1st: Book Review @ Bookaholic Ramblings

October 2rd: Author Interview, Excerpt and Giveaway @ Michael SciFi Fan

October 4th: Book Review and Giveaway @ I Heart Reading

October 5th: Book Excerpt @ Sylv Jenkins’ Blog

October 6th: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog

October 7th: Book Review @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

October 8th: Guest Post @ The Runaway Pen

October 9th: Book Excerpt @ The Book Daily

October 11th: Book Review and Giveaway @ Endazzled Reading

October 13th:  Book Review @ The Reading Guru

The Strings of the Violin

483744_520338378004928_174011960_nTitle: The Strings of the Violin

Author: Alisse Lee Goldberg

Genre: YA Fantasy

Seventeen-year-old Carrie is lying in her backyard ignoring all the looming responsibilities in her life, when a fox makes a mad dash across the grass in front of her. After she manages to keep her dog from attacking the frightened animal, the fox turns to Carrie and seems to bow in gratitude before he disappears into the bushes. All Carrie knows in that moment is that something has unexpectedly changed in her life.

Carrie has been best friends with Lindsay Smith and Rebecca Campbell for years. During a summer when they should focus on choosing colleges, the girls suddenly find themselves swept away on the adventure of their lives. The fox reappears three days later and reveals to Carrie that he is Adom, emissary to the king of Hadariah. With his land of music and magic in peril, Adom has been sent to seek help from Carrie and her friends. In the blink of an eye, the three teenage girls go from living an average suburban life to being the champions of a world where they must contend with giants, witches, and magical beings. Will they ever make it home once more?

Author Bio

385154_279592102079558_825527829_nAlisse Lee Goldenberg is an author of Horror and Young Adult fantasy fiction. She has her Bachelors of Education and a Fine Arts degree, and has studied fantasy and folk lore since she was a child. Alisse lives in Toronto with her husband Brian, their triplets Joseph, Phillip, and Hailey, and their rambunctious Goldendoodle Sebastian.

Links

Purchase Links

http://www.prizmbooks.com/zencart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=67

http://www.amazon.com/The-Strings-Violin-ebook/dp/B00DOIT9PM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372441531&sr=8-1&keywords=alisse+lee+Goldenberg

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1610404947/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?qid=1373124932&sr=8-4&pi=AA75

Other Links

www.alisseleegoldenberg.com

http://www.facebook.com/#%21/pages/Alisse-Lee-Goldenberg/254397934598975

@AliLGoldenberg

Book Review: Lunula by Alyssa Auch

Lunula font 2cTitle: Lunula

Author: Alyssa Auch

Genre: YA Fantasy

Age Group: Young Adults

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon, B&N

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

The witch knows he will hunt her.

If history repeats itself, as it always does, Wynn will have no choice but to cross paths with her feared counterpart, the warlock. If given the chance, he would kill Wynn, absorbing her aura and obtaining ultimate power. In a desperate attempt to outrun destiny, Wynn moves from place to place, hoping to stray from the map laid out by the Fates. But by chance, on an urgent errand for Queen Alexandria herself, Wynn finds she has fallen into the hands of the one man she so hopelessly fled from. Now his captive, Wynn must guard her secret and that of her kingdom, or risk bringing forth a dark age not seen in hundreds of years.

Lunula started out a bit slow. Main character Wynn is stuck in a dungeon somewhere, but manages to escape using her abilities. Once she’s free again, we find out more about Wynn, and turns out she’s a witch. Not just a witch, because in her world, there’s only one witch and one warlock every one hundred years, and they’re sworn enemies. Wynn has spent her entire life trying to escape her destiny, but when she’s sent on an urgent errand for none other than the Queen, she finds out destiny is not that easily escaped.

I don’t want to give too much away, because the book was filled with pleasant, unexpected turns and twists that really kept things intriguing. Once you think you can predict what’ll happen next, something else happens, and then you’re lost again. Wynn was a lovely character to read about. She has plenty of flaws, the most prominent one being her stubbornness. I also liked her evil counterpart, Gethin. Whenever these two characters spoke to each other, there was so much underlying tension and so many snappy comments that it made for very enjoyable dialogues.

My primary pet peeve with the book however, was the beginning. It all started out rather slow, and the world building wasn’t all that original. It had some original elements, but not enough to completely convince me, hence the 4 instead of 5 star rating.

As far as the plot and characters were concerned though, the author did an amazing job. The writing itself was great as well, although sometimes there was telling instead of showing, but it didn’t happen all that often.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I can’t wait for the sequel!

Book Review: All Hallow’s ABC by Jennifer Mahal

CoverHallowWebTitle: All Hallow’s ABC

Author: Jennifer Mahal

Genre: Kids Books, Picture Books

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Tomely or Kobo

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

From Apples to Zombies, the alphabet has never been spookier! Find visual treats and tricky rhymes in this colorful Halloween primer. All Hallow’s ABC is a delight to read out loud for kids of all ages.

All Hallow’s ABC is a delightful, fun read for young kids. Each page contains a rhyme and gorgeous illustrations of ghosts (not the scary kind, think Casper), little vampires, Victorian houses, skeletons, and much more. The illustrations are age-appropriate, and they fit the story well. As the title suggests, the book goes on to explain the ABC, but in true Halloween fashion. For example: “A is for apples we’ll bob tonight, B is for a ghostly boo! We shiver in fright.” These are two pages, so there’s rhyme every other page.

The rhymes are well done, and some of them would, no doubt, make a child laugh out loud. I’m not a child anymore, and even I enjoyed it! The illustrations weren’t overdone, and they really fit the theme. The book was well-formatted, and everything about it was a good choice, from the font to the illustrations to the colors. The author did an amazing job.

I’d love to read more kids books by this author. She clearly has the talent to keep her text uncomplicated and fun, while actually teaching kids something.

Giveaway

I’m happy to give away a print copy of this book, and a poster based on the book. The poster looks amazing, and the illustration matches the ones in the book. Want a chance at winning this? Awesome! In that case, fill in the Rafflecopter form below to participate. Contest is US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Nightmare Man by Alan Ryker

18297261Title: Nightmare Man

Author: Alan Ryker

Genre: Horror, Dark Fiction

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

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

Jessie is not living the life he imagined. He spends his days working a job he hates. He spends his nights tormented by night terrors.

He once had goals and dreams. Now he’s just trying to get by.

Unfortunately for Jessie and his family, while he’s given up on his dreams, his nightmares haven’t given up on him. And right now one is crossing over into the waking world.

The plot for Nightmare Man holds the middle between being familiar and being original. The concept of being haunted by lost dreams and opportunities, and having nightmares about it, is probably familiar to everyone. But Jessie, our main character, takes it a step further. Not only is he doing a job he loathes, he also spends his nights being tormented by a shadow man. Every night, the creature is born in his nightmares, time and time again, and haunted him till the night is over. As the nightmares get more serious, and he even begins to sleepwalk, Jessie realizes it can’t go further like that.

He enlists in an experimental program to help people with sleeping issues. But instead of getting better, the nightmares only seem to get worse. When his young son notices the nightmare man standing in his bedroom, Jessie knows he’ll  have to confront this nightmare being before it’s too late.

Jessie is your average Joe. There’s nothing spectacular or even remotely interesting about him – which makes him the best main character for this kind of book. He works a stressful, dull job, and has long given up his dream of becoming a comic book artist. He’s a well-rounded character with (broken) dreams and aspirations, fears and things he’d wish he’d done differently. And at its core, that’s what this book is about. Not a supernatural creature ready to cause havoc, but about ordinary people, and about what happens when they look at themselves for too long and figure out where their lives went wrong.

This novella was an interesting read. It didn’t scare me, but it caused me to think about humanity in general, and about how often we blame others for choices we made ourselves, and how easy parents blame children for their own lost dreams. The writing was good, and the plot, although not entirely original, definitely held my interest.

Book Review: Mirror of the Nameless by Luke Walker

18297252Title: Mirror of the Nameless

Author: Luke Walker

Genre: Horror, Dark Fiction

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

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

In a world controlled by three monstrous gods ready to destroy everything at any point they choose, Dave Anderson knows the only way he can survive is to do the same as everybody else – keep his head down, question nothing and hope he doesn’t end up sacrificed to the gods. That’s his plan until he discovers his teenage daughter is risking her life in an attempt to rid the world of its rulers.

Terrified of losing his daughter, Dave joins her boyfriend in a frantic search while trying to avoid the authorities eager to offer him to their dark lords. The men must fight their way through a country governed by fear towards a derelict manor where a weapon for change and hope awaits. Here, a long-dead writer has left clues pointing to an object that might free the world of its terrible masters…or lead to something far worse…

I’ve been looking for a while for a book that really grabs me, that doesn’t let me go even after I’ve finished reading. My search is over. Mirror of the Nameless grabbed me from the start, pushed me to the edge of my seat, left me waiting for more, and ended in a rollercoaster of terror and chaos. The plot was so original, the descriptions so vivid, the stakes so high that even when I was done reading, I couldn’t let it go. If you want to know what true dark fiction is, the gripping, mind-blowing, life-changing type of fiction, then read Mirror of the Nameless. You won’t be disappointed.

The world has gone mad. Three monstrous gods terrorize civilization. One of them makes it rain mutated flesh, another turns people crazy so they start attacking each other. People who die while the gods have their unholy rituals of destroying mankind, are seen as sacrifices. In this dystopian civilization where everyone fights against everyone, no one is to be trusted, and attacks can happen at any random moment, Dave searches for his missing daughter, Ashleigh. Tom, Ashleigh’s boyfriend, helps him on this quest. Tom truly loves Ashleigh, which is extraordinary considering how rare love is in this messed up world.

The book reads like a movie, and the kind of horror movie that really leaves you breathless. There’s no escape, never. There’s no safe spot, no place where you can relax for a while and gather your strength. The moment Dave and Tom think they’re safe, another god shows up to teach them otherwise.

Throw in some Lovecraftian themes, like a deceased writer leaving messages from beyond the grave to stop this madness, and you’ve got a mix of gory and spooky that is both impressive and utterly terrifying. Then add in some humanity, some tough choices, and by halfway through, I had no idea who to root for anymore, or why. Dave makes some choices along the way that’ll forever change him, and the Dave we see at the end is a stark contrast to the Dave at the start. Then, with one final choice to make, I couldn’t possibly predict what decision Dave would make. It was completely unpredictable, and that’s what scared me the most.

There are no breaks in this book, not for the main characters, not for the reader. The plot travels from one dark place to another, even darker spot. Relentless and unforgiving, like the gods tormenting the world. It’s a bleak future, but it makes for the best horror read I’ve had all year. Since I devour horror books like candy, that means a lot

 

Book Review: The Homecoming (Niceville #2) by Carsten Stroud

16099140Title: The Homecoming (Niceville #2)

Author: Carsten Stroud

Genre: Horror, Supernatural Horror

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 2 stars

Purchase: Amazon, B&N

From its explosive opening to its eerie climax, The Homecoming is a page-turning, labyrinthine thrill ride that returns to Niceville . . . where evil lives far longer than men do.

When two plane crashes set off a spellbinding chain reaction of murder, inadvertent kidnapping, corporate corruption, and financial double-dealing, it’s not enough that Niceville detective Nick Kavanaugh (ex–Special Forces) has to investigate. He and his wife, family lawyer Kate, have also just taken in brutally orphaned Rainey Teague. Something bothers Nick about Rainey—and it isn’t just that the woman in charge of attendance at Rainey’s prep school has disappeared. In fact, people have long been disappearing from seemingly placid Niceville, including, most disturbingly, Kate’s father. Using his files, Kate and Nick start to unearth Niceville’s blood stained history, but something (or is it Nothing?) stands in their way.

Once again, Carsten Stroud gives us unforgettable characters, including Coker, the steely, amoral police sniper, and Harvill Endicott, an urbanely manipulative psychopath, not to mention Warren Smoles, the most conniving lawyer you will ever meet. Stroud’s unique storytelling gifts bring us into a world where protecting your family from the unknown becomes almost impossible but essential for survival.

Anything is possible in The Homecoming.

After I reviewed the first book in this series, Niceville, I swore I wouldn’t buy the second book. But then I got it as a present from someone who meant well, and obviously thought I’d enjoy it. Based on the synopsis, it sure sounds like the kind of book I’d enjoy. Except that it isn’t. The Homecoming, the second book in the Niceville series, is only slightly better than its predecessor, and it still isn’t very impressive.

There’s too much action. That might be great for fans of noir fiction, or action thrillers, but this book is neither, so it’s remarkably out of place. The book starts with a plane filled with the Chinese mob crashing into a mountain in a terrible accident. The police of Niceville is still trying to figure out who was behind the terrible heist mentioned in the previous book, the bank robbery and then the murder of several police officers. We meet the culprits, and a dangerous cat and mouse game between them unfolds. Rainy Teague is living with our main character, Nick Cavanaugh, and each day, the boy acts stranger and stranger. Nick had to arrest his brother in law, Byron Deitz, for the bank robbery, but he doesn’t think Byron, even though he may occassionally beat his wife and is, in general, a bad person, would be stupid enough to do such a thing. His wife’s dad is still missing and her sister and cousins, Byron’s wife and children, are now living with them.

But the spirits of Niceville haven’t gone to rest yet, and they keep haunting the living. Except that it’s not scary. It’s too grotesque to be scary, the characters perceived in too much detail to keep hold of the major picture, too much stuff going on to truly focus on the macabre. The book details more about the plane crash, the creepy history of the town and the robbery gone wrong than it does about Niceville’s ghosts. The only thing truly scary would be Rainey, because he no longer acts like a little boy, but like something else entirely.

The best scenes for me was when they found the car wreck in the swamp (or whatever it was) and then found the weird skeletons attached. That intrigued me. It was something new, fresh, vibrant. The rest of the book, alas, isn’t like that at all. It’s a dull mix of different genres, and it tries too hard to stand out from the crowd.

The book is slightly better than the first, but it still doesn’t convince me. Too many loose storylines, not enough focus on the hauntings and disappearances, and way too much focus on robbers and mob deals.

Book Review: The Hole by William Meikle

18043356Title: The Hole

Author: William Meikle

Genre: Horror, Dark Fiction

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

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

It starts with an odd hum that brings headaches and nosebleeds to the inhabitants of a remote, sleepy country town. Then a sinkhole begins to form…and out from that hole comes the townspeople’s worst nightmares.

Facing their fears and the growing madness, a group of survivors descend into the collapsed area in an attempt to save what is left of their town. Sacrifices will be required, but will they be enough?

The hole is growing…spreading…and the horror within it is growing stronger…

The Hole surprised me. I thought it would be rather straightforward, but it’s actually a more complicated read than I gave it credit for.

Two men help out John Hopman when his septic tank gets stuck in some sort of sinking hole. Unfortunately, it’s not what they think at first, and the hole only grows in size, becoming a giant sinking hole soon threatening the whole city. But like that hole isn’t scary enough all on its own, it’s what’s inside that truly terrifies everyone. From the moment the hole was created, a strange humming sound has reached almost everyone in town. They can’t explain the sound, nor how it makes them feel, or why it causes their noses to bleed. And when what they find in the hole looks different to everyone, they figure their in over their heads.

Even though we don’t get to spend a lot of time in the small country town before things go to hell, Meikle does manage to capture the small town spirit well. The cast of characters is diverse and interesting, but some of them fell a little flat, and were too stereotypical for my liking. For example, the doctor. It seems like you can only go two ways with doctors in fiction: either they’re completely selfless, willing to risk everything for the greater good, or their selfish jerks. Nothing in between. Then there’s the local drunk who turns out to be quite the hero, and the town’s misfit who meets a girl and changes his life around. It was nice seeing these characters mix and mingle, but I wish some of them would’ve left the stereotypes and turned into real, developed characters.

The plot really pulled me in though. I kept guessing what was going on. The action was relentless from page one, with no quiet moments to relax at all. The atmosphere of terror was overwhelming, the randomness of it all making it all the more terrifying. I wasn’t fond of the whole biohazard stuff, but it fit the book. I’m just not a fan of that kind of plot in general, but here I could live with it. I liked how the reader was thrown from one direction to the other – were the creatures in the hole supernatural beings? Were they part of some satanic ritual? Aliens? Nature’s misfits? Plenty of guessing, little of answers until the very end.

An excellent read if you like horror, and especially if you, like me, are terrified of sinkholes.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (37)

itsmondayIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila of Book Journey. It’s where book bloggers gather to talk about what books they read and reviewed last week, what books they’re currently reading and what books they’re planning to read. This is a great way for me to plan my reading week, and to take a sneak peek at what others are reading.

Finished Reading

Currently Reading

   

What are you reading this week?

Book Tours: Starter Day Party Lunula

lunulabanner

I’m also hosting a starter day party for “Lunula” today, a YA fantasy novel. “Lunula” sounds like a great read! I’ll be reviewing the book on September 28th. Stay tuned for the review!

Tour Schedule

September 23rd: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

September 24th: Book Excerpt @  Adrienne Woods

September 26th: Book Excerpt @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

September 28th: Book Review @ I Heart Reading

September 30th: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog

October 1st: Book Excerpt @ Endazzled Reading

October 2nd: Book Review @ Rambling Voices In My Head

October 4th: Book Review @ Urban Fantasy Land

October 6th: Author Interview @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

October 7th: Guest Post @ Brenda McCreight’s Blog

Lunula

Lunula font 2cTitle: Lunula

Author: Alyssa Auch

Genre: YA Fantasy

The witch knows he will hunt her.

If history repeats itself, as it always does, Wynn will have no choice but to cross paths with her feared counterpart, the warlock. If given the chance, he would kill Wynn, absorbing her aura and obtaining ultimate power. In a desperate attempt to outrun destiny, Wynn moves from place to place, hoping to stray from the map laid out by the Fates. But by chance, on an urgent errand for Queen Alexandria herself, Wynn finds she has fallen into the hands of the one man she so hopelessly fled from. Now his captive, Wynn must guard her secret and that of her kingdom, or risk bringing forth a dark age not seen in hundreds of years.

Author Bio

authorAlyssa Auch was born and raised in Pennsylvania with loving parents and three hilarious younger siblings. Her imagination was sparked by the lush, green forests and bright colors of her home that often spoke of other worlds only found in the magic of writing. She brought that inspiration into the fantasy novels she so loves to create.

Currently, Alyssa is a senior at Brigham Young University-Idaho studying Marriage and Family Relations with a minor in English. She is married to her High School sweetheart, and they have three beautiful children who keep them both very occupied. Although her novels are often written in the late hours of the night and during cherished naptime blocks, she devotes a very special part of herself to the power of words and love of storytelling.

Links

Lunula Purchase Links

Publisher Site

http://www.caliburnbook.com/

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Lunula-ebook/dp/B009NINDRC/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1374095002&sr=8-1&keywords=Lunula

Barnes and Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lunula-alyssa-auch/1114110286?ean=2940016079295

Smashwords

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/246157

Author Contact

Blog: http://alyssaauch.blogspot.com

Email: alyssaauch@yahoo.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/alyssaauchwrites

Twitter: @alyssa_auch

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And a Goodreads giveaway:
http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/66259-lunula-irador-series-1?utm_medium=email&utm_source=giveaway_approved