ARC Review: Fire and Vengeance by Robert McCaw

Title: Fire and Vengeance (Koa Kane Hawaiian Mystery #3)

Author: Robert McCaw

Genre: Mystery

Publication Date: September 1st, 2020 (though I believe the Kindle version was available May 26th!)

Source: Publisher (Oceanview Publishing)

Content/Trigger warnings: Suicide, gun violence, animal death

Rating: ★★★★

Book Links: Bookshop::Indiebound::TBD::B&N::Amazon::Goodreads

One Sentence Synopsis

Chief Detective Koa Kane finds himself embroiled in a fight for justice after a volcanic vent destroys an elementary school, killing multiple children and teachers.

Favorite Quote

This quote is from an uncorrected copy and may change in the final version

“[Koa] sensed a seething rage bubbling just below the surface underlining the community’s shared loss. People came to honor the dead, but Koa felt a powerful groundswell of outrage rising like a rogue wave directed at the officials who’d let this disaster happen.”


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Book Review: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

Title: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

Author: Grady Hendrix

Genre: Horror

Source: Borrowed (library)

CW: Violence, gore, suicide, child abuse

Rating: ★★★★

Book Links: Bookshop::Indiebound::TBD::B&N::Amazon::Goodreads

One Sentence Synopsis

Patricia and the members of her book club find themselves in a fight for their neighborhood when they unwittingly invite a vampire to join.

Favorite Quote

“He thinks we’re what we look like on the outside: nice Southern ladies. Let me tell you something…there’s nothing nice about Southern ladies.”


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Book Review: Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

Title: Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

Author: Jessica Townsend

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Source: Bought (Bookshop.org)

Rating: ★★★★

Book Links: Bookshop::Indiebound::TBD::B&N::Amazon::Goodreads

One Sentence Synopsis

Morrigan Crow, a cursed child who has been told her whole life that she will die on Eventide, finds herself whisked away to the enchanting world of Nevermoor and competing in a trial that could change her life.

Favorite Quote

“Death is boring. Life is much more fun. Things happen in life all the time. Unexpected things. Things you couldn’t possibly expect because they’re so very… unexpected.”

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ARC Review: Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara

Title: Who Did You Tell?

Author: Lesley Kara

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publication Date: June 16th, 2020

Source: e-ARC (Netgalley)

Content/Trigger warnings: Suicide, suicidal ideation, alcoholism

Rating: ★★★★

Book Links: Bookshop::Indiebound::TBD::B&N::Amazon::Goodreads


One Sentence Synopsis:

Astrid, a recovering alcoholic who is living with her mom in a small, coastal town, starts to fear for her life when she receives threatening messages linked to her past.

Favorite Quote:

This quote is from an uncorrected copy and may change in the final version

“Sometimes I think it’s like The Truman Show and all I’ve got to do is find the perimeter of the set and break out through the papery screen to the real world on the other side. The messy, chaotic world of noise and pain and sharp-faced strangers who look straight through you.”


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Blog Tour: Crossing in Time by D.L. Orton

Hello, reader!

It’s time for another #TheWriteReads Ultimate Blog Tour! Today, I’m one of the stops on the tour for a time-travelling love story called Crossing in Time by D.L. Orton. I want to thank Dave @TheWriteReads, Rocky Mountain Press, and the author for sending me a free e-book in exchange for this honest review! I’m excited to give you my thoughts on this fast-paced tale.

That being said, let’s get to it!


Synopsis

The past isn’t over, it’s an opening. The future isn’t hidden, it’s a trap.
If she ever wants to see him again, she’ll have to take the risk.

Fall into this “Funny, Romantic & Harrowing” (Publishers Weekly Starred Review) dystopian love story and prepare to encounter a finicky time machine, a mysterious seashell, and a very clever dog (some sex, some swearing, some violence, but no vampires and absolutely NO ditzes!)

When offered a one-way trip to the past, Isabel sacrifices everything for a chance to change the rapidly deteriorating present–and see her murdered lover one last time. When she arrives twenty years in the past, buck naked and mortally wounded, she has 24 hours to convince a stunned but enraptured nineteen-year-old to change their future. Definitely easier said than done, as success means losing him to a brainy, smart-mouthed bombshell (her younger self), and that’s a heart breaker, save the world or not.

This offbeat tale is about falling madly in love when one is too cynical for such things, letting go of pessimism when it’s the last life jacket on a sinking ship, and racing against the clock when one doesn’t have the proper footwear. It’s a coming-of-age story for old fogeys, a how-to-make-love guide for diehard celibates, and a laugh-out-loud tragedy with a hopeful twist.”

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ARC Review: The Court of Miracles

Title: The Court of Miracles

Author: Kester Grant

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication Date: June 2nd, 2020

Source: e-ARC (Netgalley)

Rating: ★★★★

Book Links:

Bookshop::Indiebound::TBD::B&N::Amazon::Goodreads


One Sentence Synopsis:

Nina is the best cat burglar in all of an alternate 1828 Paris who, to save her sisters, considers starting a war within the underworld criminal guilds.

Favorite Quote:

This quote is from an uncorrected copy and may change in the final version

“Be useful, be smart, and stay one step ahead of everyone. Be brave even when you’re afraid. Remember that everyone is afraid.”

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Blog Tour: The Faith Machine by Tone Milazzo

Hello, reader!

I once again have the honor of participating in a blog tour run by the lovely people behind Storytellers on Tour. The book I’ll be talking about today is a little different from the books I usually read. I mean, I read sci-fi, but this has the added twist of being a spy thriller, as well! When I read the synopsis for this novel, I just had to sign up and see what it was all about. So, thank you to Storytellers on Tour, Running Wild Press, and the author for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Of course, my blog is just one stop on this magical mystery tour! If you’d like check out the other wonderful bloggers/Bookstgrammers involved, you can find the schedule here. I’ll also be posting a graphic below.

With all that being said, let’s get to it!


Synopsis

“Welcome to the dangerous, clandestine world of ESPionage. Welcome to The Strip, where operatives on the fringe command teams of ‘Cards’: Agents cursed with subtle, specialized, and sometimes sloppy psychic powers. Dr Ken Park, Korean-American psychologist and spy, dares to lead six of these Cards. Together, they tackle esoteric threats the Department of Homeland Security cannot.

Park takes his team to Africa to retrieve the Faith Machine. Built by the Soviets to turn prayers into suffering, the psychotronic device fell into the hands of a demented warlord. Tragically, the mission fails and the madman slaughters hundreds of innocents while the machine burns.

They return to the States in disgrace, and into an ambush by the mysterious and brutal Casemen. Cut off from command and each other, the scattered agents rush to their safe house in the west. While spy agencies from around the world want retribution for the catastrophe in Africa. Park’s team outplays enemies left and right, while uncovering the true threat. There’s another Faith Machine, one destined to bring hell on earth.”

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Mini Reviews: Audiobook Edition

Mini Reviews: Audiobooks

Hello, reader!

It’s been a minute since I’ve done a mini review, right? I’ve been doing quite a few blog tours and I’m really loving the experience! I have also been listening to a lot of audiobooks lately as I drive to work, so that seemed like a perfect theme for this edition. I feel like I go through phases with audiobooks. I’ll go through a stretch where I listen to them constantly and then I just… stop. I’m taking advantage of these current stretch by listening to as many as I can! And, today, I’ll be talking about three I’ve finished recently. Let’s get to it!


Title: The Poet X

Author/Narrator: Elizabeth Acevedo

Genre: YA Contemporary

Source: Borrowed (Scribd)

Rating: ★★★★★

Links: Bookshop::Indiebound::TBD::B&N::Amazon

I was recently talking about this book because I did a whole post about books written in verse. It’s been on my radar for a minute, but I was always hesitant about picking it up. I’m just not a poetry person, it’s not my thing. But I had heard so many rave reviews about this coming-of-age story centered around a young, Dominican girl discovering slam poetry and her place in the world. I had also heard that the audiobook was the way to go to read this one, so, when I found it on Scribd, I thought I’d give it a shot.

Y’all… I’m mad. I’m mad at myself for waiting SO LONG TO READ THIS BOOK! I find it hard to put together words to describe how good this book was! It’s so powerful and raw and poignant. It wraps you up in Xiomara’s world and you feel all her fears, all her anxieties, and all her joys. It’s just so damn beautiful 💕

I feel part of my visceral reaction to this book is due to listening to the author perform her work. Elizabeth Acevedo narrates the audiobook and it’s just *chef’s kiss* She is an award winning slam poet and it is easy to see (or, rather, hear) why! She puts so much emotion into her performance. It absolutely takes your breath away as you listen!


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Blog Tour: Catalyst by Tracy Richardson

Hello, reader!

Today, #TheWriteReads Ultimate Blog Tour is making a stop at my little blog! We’ll be talking about a book that took me by surprise: Catalyst by Tracy Richardson. This is quite an interesting novel that was different than what I was expecting.

But let me save my thoughts for the review! First, I want to thank the author, Brown Books Publishing Group, and  Dave @TheWriteReads for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. As always, I appreciate it so much! It”s such a privileged to be a part of the Write Reads gang and I’m glad to be able to participate in all the exciting blog tours that Dave puts together 😊

With that being said, let’s get to it!


Synopsis

Marcie is spending her summer working on the archaeological dig that her mother runs: Angel Mounds, a site of an ancient indigenous civilization. Soon after she arrives, she meet some intriguing individuals, and becomes wrapped up in a supernaturally-charged mission to save the planet from the destruction man has brought upon itself.

Marcie Horton has a sixth sense. Not in the “I see dead people” way, but . . . well, maybe a little. She feels a sort of knowing about certain things that can’t be explained-an intuition that goes beyond the normal. Then there was that one summer four years ago, when she connected with a long-departed spirit . . . But nothing that incredible has happened to Marcie since.
This summer, Marcie is spending time working at Angel Mounds, the archaeological dig her mother heads, along with her brother, Eric, and his girlfriend, Renee. The dig is the site of an ancient indigenous civilization, and things immediately shift into the paranormal when Marcie and her teammates meet Lorraine and Zeke. The two mysterious dig assistants reveal their abilities to access the Universal Energy Field with their minds-something Marcie knows only vaguely that her brother has also had experience with. Marcie learns how our planet will disintegrate if action is not taken, and she and her team must decide if they are brave enough to help Lorraine and Zeke in their plan to save Mother Earth, her resources, and her history. It looks like the summer just got a lot more interesting.”

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Blog Tour: Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

Hello, reader!

There’s an aspect of myself that I haven’t talked about much on my blog: I’m a huge fan of horror movies. I grew up watching them and have longed held a love for all things creepy. Of course that means when I started expanding my reading tastes beyond fantasy, horror was one of the first ones I picked up. I’m slowly making my way through Stephen King’s vast amount of novels and I generally think the creepier the better! So, when Dave @TheWriteReads asked if I wanted to be part of a blog tour for a horror book that centered around a fake horror movie, I jumped at the chance!

Today, I will be one of the stops on said blog tour. I want to thank @TheWriteReads for working so hard to put this all together! I would also like to thank the publisher, Penguin Books, for providing an e-ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It is all very much appreciated!

Now, let’s dive in!

Synopsis

The must-have thriller of 2020 that will keep you gripped, keep you guessing and keep you up all night.

Welcome to Harrow Lake.

Someone’s expecting you.

Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker – she thinks nothing can scare her.

But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s swiftly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot. The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map – and then there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.

And there’s someone – or something – stalking her every move.

The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her . . .”

Book Details

  • Author: Kat Ellis
  • Publisher: Penguin Books
  • Publication date: August 25th, 2020 (July 9th in the UK)
  • Genre: Horror/Thriller
  • Age group: Young adult
  • Content Warnings: Violence, abuse

Book Links

Bookshop::Indiebound::TBD::B&N::Amazon::Goodreads

About the Author

Kat Ellis is the author of YA novels PURGE, BLACKFIN SKY, and BREAKER, and the novella THE TWINS OF BLACKFIN in the THREE STRIKES collection. Her next book, HARROW LAKE, will be published in the summer of 2020.

You’ll usually find Kat up to no good on Twitter, trekking through ruins and cemeteries with her camera, or watching scary films with her husband.

Author Links

Website::Twitter::Goodreads

My Review

So I grew up on horror movies, right? I remember watching The Night of the Living Dead at a ridiculously inappropriate age and being terrified of zombies for years afterwards! I’ve watched a gambit of classics when I was young and, as I grew up, I found myself gravitating to the genre. And I found that I wasn’t scared as I had once been. No more hiding under blankets because I saw a mummy scooping some guy’s brains out with a coat hanger for this girl!

I say all this to really get to one point: I don’t scare easy.

Why do I bring this up? Because most people go into horror novels expecting to be scared! I’m sure you want to know if Harrow Lake delivered.

Well… sort of?

I will say that this book delivered on the creep factor. There’s something about an isolated, small town that’s only famous because a surreal horror movie was filmed there that lends itself to being utterly creepy. I think the author did a masterful job of instilling a deep sense of foreboding as we discover the town of Harrow Lake alongside our main character, Lola. The residents are strange, the town itself is on the verge of literal collapse, and the atmosphere is perfectly odd.

But, still, was I scared? Not even once. But I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing! Why? Because the entire time I was reading this, I felt like I was watching a campy horror movie. And I love campy horror movies! They aren’t necessarily the scariest, but they definitely are fun as hell. That’s how I felt about Harrow Lake. It was terrifying, but I had a blast reading it!

I think my favorite part of the whole book was Lola. She was such an interesting main character! She clearly had her own issues before being shipped off to the town where her famous father filmed his most iconic movie. I do love a book with an unreliable narrator, as well. I like to be kept on my toes as to whether or not I should take everything I’m being told with a grain of salt. It adds to the suspense for me, so I appreciated not knowing whether Lola’s POV was 100% trustworthy.

Also, like I said, the creep factor of this book is top notch! I’d imagine more so if you’re not a fan of bugs. I liked the weird backstory of the Big Baddie. I thought the strangeness of the town and the people who lived there was wonderfully written. The isolation and the hostility could almost be felt radiating from the pages! It all combined to give this book a certain chilliness that I appreciate in my horror in any format.

I will say, though, that I guessed pretty much every twist before it occurred. I think there was one twist I didn’t see coming and it was a minor one. But, again, I have watched a lot of horror movies and this book felt like a horror movie in paper form. Honestly, if it’s ever made into a movie, I would definitely watch it! So I can excuse a little predictability because it was still an engrossing ride.

Final thoughts: Though this was a bit predictable, it was a thrill to read and definitely delivered when it came to creepiness. If you’re looking for a dark story that reads kind of like a campy horror flick, you’re going to love Harrow Lake!

Star rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.