Book Review: Everything You Left Me by Paige Classey

Title: Everything You Left Me
Author: Paige Classey
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 3 stars
Publication Date: February 1, 2023
Purchase: Amazon

When the police come knocking at her door, Maybeth is worried her mother is caught up in their small town’s drug scene again. Instead, the police are there to question Maybeth about her beloved and long-absent father. He has become the lead suspect in a string of unsolved murders across the country…and Maybeth may be the key to convicting him. Trapped between her scientific mind and her love for her father, Maybeth is forced to confront the reality of who her father really is–and what that might make her as well.

Told entirely in verse, Everything You Left Me is the story of Maybeth, whose father left her and her mother about ten years ago. When the police come knocking at Maybeth’s door, asking questions about her father’s whereabouts, she starts digging and uncovers some unsettling news… Her father is the lead suspect in a string of unsolved murders.

Maybeth struggles with coming to terms with who her father really is or might be. Is he a serial killer? Did he ever really love her? And if he did commit these heinous crimes – what does that make her?

The story is heartbreaking. We get flashbacks of Maybeth recalling how her father gave her a pink bicycle for Christmas, intermixed with her loneliness in the present as she deals with an absentee father, workaholic mother (probably to be able to pay the bills, poor woman) and the unsettling knowledge her father might be a monster.

The fact that this was written in verse was interesting, but it also made me not feel as connected to the characters as I think I would’ve been if the story was told in regular prose. There’s a lot we, as readers, have to fill in ourselves. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it made the book slightly less powerful than I think it otherwise would have been. Not all the poems are as strong on their own either. Some sentences are delivered powerfully, are shattering, and other verses are just mere connectors between one scene and another.

Still, it is a fast and engrossing read, and a good take on this sensitive subject matter. Nature versus nurture, and how do we come to terms with finding out the reality about our parents?


Book Review Julian Fox: The Dream Guardian by E.J. Miranda

Title: Julian Fox: The Dream Guardian
Author: E.J. Miranda
Genre: YA Fantasy
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon

It is said that dreams are just that: only dreams. But believe me, this is not always true. Some dreams are as real as the dreamer.

Thanks to their dreams, dreamers can receive the special visit of eternal wisdom that has inspired the creativity of great inventors, scientists, musicians, and even writers throughout the ages.

This creative wisdom is not always the type that appears to the eager conscience. Sometimes, a Defiler, a destroyer of dreams, is the one who tries to appear before the dreamer. These creatures were once humans, but they allowed their pain and desire for revenge to take over and seek the same miserable fate for the one who dreams.

You must not fear — Dream Guardians, also known as Kelsdrant, will always protect the one who dreams, even with their own life. They are people of flesh and bone, just like you and me, or at least they are on Earth.

The following story is dedicated to the fun, extravagant, and enlightening life of Julian Fox, the Dream Guardian.

Be prepared, dear reader. It is time to dream, laugh, reflect, and even maybe cry.

Welcome to the Land of the Wise Dreams.

In Julian Fox: The Dream Guardian, Julian Fox is living a seemingly normal life, until suddenly everything he’s ever known changes when he experiences a realistic dream that takes him to the Land of the Wise Dreams. There, he has to fight an evil force and learns the truth about himself and who he really is: a dream guardian, meant to protect dreamers.

On the one hand, the readers get to know Julian in the real world, while in the other, we get to know him in the magical world of dreams, where he battles terrifying creatures and learns about his own true strength. The fantasy world is by far the most intriguing one (duh) but it’s good to be reminded once in a while that Julian has an actual life waiting for him outside of this dream world.

I got pulled into the story right from the start. The characters, in particular Julian but also his brother, were very interesting to read about. The writing was good too, the pacing fast enough to keep me entertained throughout. Fans of YA novels and fantasy novels will love this one, no doubt!


Book Review: The Adventures of Immortal Zombie Girl

Title: The Adventures of the Immortal Zombie Girl
Author: Anthony Dial
Genre: Coming of Age, Paranormal, Young Adult
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon

What if you got a second shot at life?

Ever since Charlotte Belmore came back from the dead getting through High School went from tough to insane. Now in addition to dealing with friends, family, homework, and romance, she’s pestered night and day by the malevolent hordes of darkness including a deranged witch, a maniacal demonic octopus from another dimension and the Grim Reaper himself! She’s survived death but Charlotte’s greatest challenge will be surviving life!

Can Charlotte protect her friends while overcoming her greatest enemy… herself?

This fun-filled illustrated comedy has something for everybody: magic, monsters, mayhem, super-powered criminals, enchanted artifacts, fast food, shopping, golf, and an undead heroine who just doesn’t know when to quit.
Read this book or your place in the afterlife CANNOT BE GUARANTEED!

The Adventures of the Immortal Zombie Girl is one of the most creative, engaging books I’ve read in ages. In a fast-paced mix of creativity, humor, and intriguing characters, author Anthony Dial sketches a whimsical world filled with the undead, demonic creatures, witches, and much more.

Charlotte Belmore’s life hasn’t always been easy, particularly not since she became a zombie, but besides her zombie-ism, she’s pretty much a regular, clumsy teen stumbling into typical teenage situations that range from hilarious to heartwarming. Charlotte and her friends make an amazing team, and I can’t wait for a sequel (please, please, pretty please, write one!)

Book Review and Giveaway Everything Under The Sun

Title: Everything Under The Sun
Author: Jessica Redmerski
Genre: YA/NA Crossover; Dystopian
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Thais Fenwick was eleven-years-old when civilization fell, devastated by a virus that killed off the majority of the world’s population. For seven years, Thais and her family lived in a community of survivors deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. But when her town is attacked by raiders, she and her blind sister are taken away to the East-Central Territory where she is destined to live the cruel and unjust kind of life her late mother warned her about.

Atticus Hunt is a troubled soldier in Lexington City who has spent the past seven years trying to conform to the vicious nature of men in a post-apocalyptic society. He knows that in order to survive, he must abandon his morals and his conscience and become like those he is surrounded by. But when he meets Thais, morals and conscience win out over conformity, and he risks his rank and his life to help her. They escape the city and set out together on a long and perilous journey to find safety in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Struggling to survive in a world without electricity, food, shelter, and clean water, Atticus and Thais shed their fear of growing too close, and they fall hopelessly in love. But can love survive in such dark times, or is it fated to die with them?

This is my first time reading a book by Jessica Redmerski, but I seroiusly doubt it’ll be my last. This book was just downright amazing. The world building was spectacular, the characters were intriguing, the pacing was perfect, and the story was sublime. Seriously, I’m struggling to find words to express how good this was.

First off, the book is extremely long (600+ pages) but it doesn’t feel that way. Instead, I wouldn’t have minded if the book was longer. And don’t let the cover (which looks all innocent and sweet) dupe you, because the story is anything but innocent and sweet.

Years ago, civilization ended. The end of the world, in the form of a virus. Thais has lived with her family and other survivors deep in the Appalachian Mountains, but then raiders attack their village, and Thais’ world, once again, falls apart. She meets Atticus, a man who is conflicted about the choices he was forced to make, and who, against all odds, risks his rank and life to help her. Together, they go on a dangerous journey that could cost them their lives… Or that will give them the one thing they most crave for: freedom.

Thais started off a little weak, struggling with life after the near end of the world, but oh boy, did she grow and change and evolve throughout this book! Atticus is so flawed yet so strong, and Thais brought out the best in him, and he brought out the best in her. It’s rare to come across a match this great, but you can find it here.

So, to anyone who reads and enjoys dystopian books, and even those who don’t but who like a solid romance story… I wholeheartedly recommnd Everything Under The Sun. Give it a shot, and don’t be afraid of the high page count, it’s more than worth it.

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Book Review: Derailed (A Prequel Novella) by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge

Title: Derailed (A Prequel Novella)
Author: Genevieve Iseult Eldredge
Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Fantasy
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Syl Skye. Rouen Rivoche. Star-crossed lovers who should be mortal enemies. This is the story of how they met.

A nightly excursion to DC. A goth-rock show. One innocent train ride. That’s all it takes for high school sophomore Syl Skye’s perfectly normal world to come crashing down.

Because unbeknownst to her, she’s a sleeper-princess of the fair Fae—a vessel of Fae power that has yet to Awaken—and there are dark Fae who want her dead, dead, dead.

Rouen Rivoche is one of those dark Fae. Bound to Agravaine the dark Fae Huntsman who is dedicated to wiping out all sleeper-princesses, Rouen has no choice but to hunt Syl down and spill her blood.

But a chance meeting in a nightclub, a brush of their hands, a lingering look… Despite herself, Rouen is attracted to Syl. And when she lets Syl get away…that’s when their troubles really begin.

After all, every couple has their issues, right?

Find out how Syl and Rouen met in this new prequel novella to MORIBUND, Book 1 of The Circuit Fae…

The world author Genevieve Iseult Eldredge establishes in “Derailed”, and the Circuit Fae series, is simply phenomenal.

In this prequel novella, Syl Skye’s life is turned upside down after a nightly excursion to DC. Turns out that Syl is a sleeper-princess of the Fae, and several dark Fae want her dead.

Rouen Rivoche is one of the dark Fae, and she has no choice but to hunt Syl down and kill her… Except that, despite herself, Rouen is attracted to Syl. Will that attraction stop her from killing the sleeper-princess?

This prequel is amazing. It sets the stage well for the first book in the series, establishes the romance and the connection between both main characters, and keeps readers on the edge of their seat from start to end. An excellent start to the Circuit Fae series!

Book Review: Crowned (Beholder #4) by Christina Bauer

Title: Crowned (Beholder #4)
Author: Christina Bauer
Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Young Adult
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Trust Christina Bauer to deliver a super bad-ass heroine and majorly page-turning plot line. This series is definitely a must read for you guys who love paranormal romance or urban fantasy.” – The Four Eyed Cat Reviews

At last, Elea has found the love of her life. Unfortunately, the evil Tsar Viktor is about to unleash an army of twisted mages bent on killing everyone Elea cares about… including the man who’s stolen her heart.

So what’s a powerful witch to do? Why, fight back, of course!

Elea goes on a mission to find the Sword of Theodora, the only weapon that can destroy Viktor. That’s challenge enough, but on the eve of battle, Elea realizes that her true enemies may be far more powerful than even Viktor: The deities Oni and Yuri could be out to destroy her as well. With major battles brewing on two fronts, Elea’s not sure that she’ll win, but with true love to inspire her, she’s certainly ready to fight.

In the last installment in Christina Bauer’s ‘Beholder’ series, Crowned, main character Elea is on a quest to find the one item that can destroy her nemesis, Viktor: the Sword of Theodora.

As the final battle draws closer, Elea discovers that her real enemies might be far more powerful than Viktor, and with enemies stalking her from both sides, the stakes are higher than ever before.

In this action-filled, intriguing fantasy story, with unique and complicated characters, and a rich fantasy setting, the core of the story is still romance; and what an epic romance it is. Elea and Rowan have a really strong connection that can’t be broken by anything, and an enormous amount of chemistry between them.

Fans of fantasy series simply can’t pass on the Beholder series – it’s a must read.


Book Review Work of Art: An Intention of Flowers by Ken La Salle

Title: Work of Art: An Intention of Flowers
Author: Ken La Salle
Genre: YA / Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Oily pavement.

Thick tempera paint.

A parking lot filled with history, fear, and regret.

A young man named Joseph Arillo sits in the parking lot and paints the pavement with flowers.

And Andy Hollis steps in it.

As the new art teacher at Santa Ana High School, he’s too curious about Joseph’s Flowers and unravels both of their lives in his pursuit for answers.

He learns that it’s all part of a rite of passage, an absurd test started by Joseph Arillo’s father, the suspiciously world-renowned artist named only Tom. Which also connects to the drama teacher at Santa Ana High, Katie Bustos. Whose daughter, Desiree, may or may not be dating Joseph. Who is putting himself in danger from a local gang, the lot’s mysterious history, and the police.

Andy puts himself in danger of losing his job, his home, and his freedom. If he can’t solve the riddle of Joseph’s Flowers, both of their lives will go up in smoke – despite any help from Winny, the old, Slovakian bureaucrat at school, or his students, or Tom himself.

But is Tom trying to help? And is Joseph really up to his father’s test?

And is Andy really fit to be a teacher? He doesn’t understand kids, can’t get to school on time, and… doesn’t appear to care about art or families or anything. But Joseph’s Flowers will challenge everything Andy believes: about himself, about the world, and most importantly of all about art.

Before Andy and Joseph are finished, they will witness the power art has to provide inspiration, to waken our hearts, and to shatter everything you ever believed about humanity.

An Intention of Flowers is the first book in a 5-book series, modestly titled Work of Art, about growing into the person you always wanted to be, making the most of what you have to give and not just what you have, and the power in each of us when we chose to be ourselves.

Work of Art: An Intention of Flowers is an intriguing, unique book that is both mysterious and compelling to read. Joseph Arillo is drawing flowers on the pavement. That’s when Andy Hollis, the new art teacher of Santa Ana High School sees him for the first time. Curious about the flowers, and about why Joseph is drawing them, he searches for answers that might unravel both their lives.

Part character study, part a book about growth and personal development, partially about how art can inspire people and change them for the better, this book brings a lot of unique features to the table that make it an intriguing read. The characters were rounded and three-dimensional. I particularly felt intrigued by Tom, a world-renowned artist whose life is cloaked in mystery, and who set up an absurd test for his son, Joseph.

Anyway, if you like contemporary fiction and in particular, if you like art and have ever felt inspired by it, then I would recommend this book. It’s a compelling read about the journey of growing up and finding your true self.

Here is the giveaway code for during the tour for Work of Art: An Intention of Flowers. The giveaway is for 5 copies of the book.
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Book Review: Monsterland by Michael Okon

Title: Monsterland
Author: Michael Okon
Genre: YA, Horror
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Welcome to Monsterland—the scariest place on Earth.

The last couple years of high school have not been fun for Wyatt Baldwin. His parents divorce, then his dad mysteriously dies. He’s not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather, Carter White, either. An on-going debate with his best friends Howard Drucker and Melvin over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He’d much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However, she’s dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks he doesn’t stand a chance.

But everything changes when Wyatt and his friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a groundbreaking theme park where guests can rock out with vampires at Vampire Village, be chased by actual werewolves on the Werewolf River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.

With real werewolves, vampires and zombies as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?

Monsterland is a theme park filled with monsters – any monster lover’s dream come through. Zombies, vampires, werewolves, you name it, and the park has them. Wyatt Baldwin, high school student, movie buff and monster fan never expected to get invited to the grand opening of Monsterland. But then luck (or destiny, depending on how you look at it) intervenes and they get to visit Monsterland on the grand opening. What could possibly go wrong?

Monsterland focuses on monsters and families, and it basically reads like Jurassic Park, but with monsters. Of course you know something will go wrong the moment Wyatt steps through those doors, but still, it’s an engaging, surprising read. Wyatt and his brother have a new stepdad, so the family dynamics are slightly troublesome. They’re trying to make it work, which is admirable. The family dynamics play an important part of the book, and help sketch the personality of our main character.

The book is filled with adventure, fast-paced escapes, and great writing. A perfect read for horror fans – I didn’t find it that scary, but it was very entertaining nonetheless.


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Book Review: The Imaginarium of the Innocent by H.A. Betancourt

Title: The Imaginarium of the Innocent
Author: H.A. Betancourt
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

While young Wendy and her brothers were taken to Neverland by Peter Pan, Alice fell through a rabbit hole and the Pevensie siblings crossed over to Narnia, another boy was taken to another fantastic place: his own heart.

Great losses crumble the worlds of even the steadiest individuals. In The Imaginarium of the Innocent, ten-year-old Tobias Young’s sense of home is torn from him in one night of wartime devastation in Belgium. Instead of security, love and peace, Toby now faces deep despair and cold numbness. In the aftermath of the destruction of his soul, he is crippled and orphaned in London.Not only does Toby struggle to accept his handicap, he battles the will to be happy. With the help of a magical soaring eagle, Eoloswing, Toby enters the endangered Imaginarium as the Nightingale—a young man destined to save his newfound friends from the evil of the Hopeslayer. As Toby searches for answers and happiness—with his new roommate and his sister—in both the orphanage and the gorgeous and captivating floating island of dreams, he must learn to address his own heart and remember to retain his own Spark of Elan.

In The Imaginarium of the Innocent, ten-year-old Tobias Young loses his home, innocence and family in one horrible night during the war. As his parents die in front of him, Toby is left with nothing but despair and numbness as he struggles to survive, his soul shattered, his world forever destroyed. In the aftermath of that horrible, devastating night, he finds himself in London, crippled and now an orphan.

Not only does he now have to learn to live with a handicap, but he also has to come to terms with his horrible loss, and learn to be happy again, although he seems to have lost the will for that. But happiness and magic tend to find their way, even when you least expect it.

With the help of a magical eagle, Eoloswing, Toby becomes the Nightingale in the world of the Imaginarium – a young man destined to save his friends.

This is a captivating book that is both devastating and haunting, yet also carries with it a message of hope and of salvation. The first few chapters were horrible to read because they meant such tragedy for Toby, and they showed the true horrors of war. Toby is a strong young man, a brave one too, and his strength really shows as the book progresses. However, the book isn’t all doom and gloom, it also shows a magical world where hope overcomes all terrors, and where one boy learns to be happy again.


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Book Review: Magdalena Gottschalk: The Crooked Trail

Title: Magdalena Gottschalk: The Crooked Trail
Author: M. Gail Grant
Genre: YA Fantasy
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

The enchanted secret of Lily Brooke was safe and sound, until Magdalena and her thirteen-year-old friends accidentally unleashed the revengeful demons of the past. How were they supposed to know that a friendly expedition in the woods on a stress-free Saturday morning would lead to the most intense and scary moments of their lives? So many mysterious happenings have occurred ever since they found that crooked trail leading to the sacrificial cave, and hidden monstrosity of a treehouse. With the chanting voices and shrill noises that only Magdalena could hear, the friends decide there is something sinister living amongst them. Time is of the essence to save Lily Brooke and their childhood club, the Mystical Alliance of Lily Brooke, knows it is up to them to capture the demons hiding in their community and set the town free. Witches, wizards, and some black magic may just be what it takes for Magdalena and her best friends to save the day.

Magdalena Gottschalk: The Crooked Trail is an intriguing fantasy story that will appeal to both young adults and middle graders. For middle graders, the book is a bit long, but the character’s ages (they main characters are thirteen years old) are ideal for this age group.

Magdalena is a thirteen-year-old girl who feels like something is missing. Life is just too ordinary. Even though she has two best friends who mean the world to her, and they often go exploring together, she still feels bored sometimes. Then, one morning Magdalena and her friends Hubert and Gabriel, go explore the woods behind Hubert’s family barn. They discover things they never thought possible, like strange sacrificial drawings in a cave, a crooked trail, and chanting voices only Magdalena can hear.

Their friendship is pushed to the limits, and they each have to face some of their fears if they want to save their hometown, Lily Brooke. Witches, wizards and black magic… Magdalena will certainly never call life boring again.

The book had a slow start but after a few chapters, the pacing really picked up. The story is very imaginative, and as a reader, you can easily feel a connection toward the main characters. I didn’t expect a lot of the twists that happened, and I found the book very entertaining.

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