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Category Archives: Fantasy

Tangled Tides by Karen Amanda Hooper

Source: Netgalley
* I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Publisher: Rhemalda Publishing
Release date: November 4th, 2011
Series: The Sea Monster Memoirs #1
Edition: Ebook, 314 pgs
Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon/ Barnes & Noble/ Book Depository

Yara Jones doesn’t believe in sea monsters—until she becomes one.

When a hurricane hits her island home and she wakes up with fins, Yara finds herself tangled up in an underwater world of mysterious merfolk and secretive selkies. Both sides believe Yara can save them by fulfilling a broken promise and opening the sealed gateway to their realm, but they are battling over how it should be done. The selkies want to take her life. The merfolk want something far more precious.

Treygan, the stormy-eyed merman who turned Yara mer, will stop at nothing and sacrifice everything to protect his people—until he falls for Yara. The tides turn as Yara fights to save herself, hundreds of sea creatures, and the merman who has her heart. She could lose her soul in the process—or she might open the gateway to a love that’s deeper than the oceans.

Tangled Tides did not win me over in the first chapter, or even the second for that matter, but the description had me so intrigued that I didn’t want to stop for fear of missing out on something great. I mean.. what’s more precious to Yara than HER LIFE?! I just had to know. My gut was right and I ended up loving this story!

This story is a combination of multiple paranormal / fantastical creatures. It’s not just mermaids and selkies like the description includes. There are also bird like Sirens, Ghost like figures, and Gorgons!! Yes Gorgons, as in Medusa. Snake hair and a gaze that turns you to stone MEDUSA! Karen Amanda Hooper added elements that basically made it to where I could not put this story down because I just HAD to know how it all tied together. 

The characters were strong, though some more than others. You may think that there is going to be a love triangle in the beginning of the story, but rest assured there is not. I really enjoyed the push and pull of the romance that was there and really can’t wait to see how it grows! Yara was a very …. Stubborn girl.. but she has her reasons. With all the lying going on around her and being forced to become a mermaid against her will, who wouldn’t be a bit pissed off and hard headed?

Sometimes the world got a bit confusing with so many elements going on. At times it frustrated me, and at others I thought ” this is probably how Yara feels about everything that’s going on. Overwhelmed.” 

The story has some great scenes. The concepts were wonderful and really had me entranced during certain scenes. There is some wonderful humor, interesting mythology, new ideas on mer and selkie lore, some heartbreak and deceit…. It just really all blended together wonderfully. 

There were definitely some complications with the story. Some ideas that didn’t quite mesh well, some moments when it seemed over the top, and some writing that didn’t quite feel polished. BUT the overall story held me and had me wanting more. None of those things made me want to stop the book or even put it down for a moment.

I would highly recommend Tangled Tides to fans of Mer and Selkie stories, and also fans of mythology. These elements are combined in a way that I hadn’t experienced before and I think other readers will really enjoy it!



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Steel Lily by Megan Curd – Dual Review and Giveaway

Steel Lily (The Periodic Series, #1)

Steel Lily by Megan Curd

Source: Received a copy from author in exchange for an honest review, no compensation.
Release date: August 12th, 2013
Edition: Ebook
Genre: Young Adult/Fiction/Dystopia
Rating: Brittany: 5/5
              Michelle: 4.5/5

Synopsis via Goodreads: 
AVERY PIKE is a commodity. No, more than a commodity. Her existence is guarded at all costs.

She’s a water Elementalist, the strongest of her dwindling kind. She creates steam to provide energy to fuel Dome Four: the only thing standing between humanity and an earth ravaged by World War III. No steam, no Dome. No Dome, no life.

Or so she thinks.

That is, until a mysterious man offers her a way out of having to donate steam. A way to escape the corrupt government of Dome Four. While the offer seems too good to be true, Avery is intrigued. But when she arrives to her new home, she realizes the grass isn’t any less dead on this side of the fence. Instead, the lies are just hidden better.

…Which means digging deeper.

When Avery enlists the help of her friends to uncover the truth, she learns that while some secrets are better left concealed, humankind was never meant to live in a cage. And when you can control the most sought after resource, you can learn to control anything…including the fate of your world.

Brittany’s Thoughts

This book was awesome!  It is steampunk, dystopian, elemental and science fiction heaven.  I LOVED the world building, it was so unique.  From the idea of domes, to the elemental abilities, to the character’s problems everything was so remarkably different than other books in this genre.  I was feeling tired of the dystopian genre but this book was the perfect cure. Megan Curd’s ability to create images is out of this world!  I felt like I was in the dome with the characters! The plot twists and turns enough to keep you guessing but not feeling dizzy.   

I really liked Avery’s character.  She is one of the strongest water Elementalists despite that she very much wants to be a normal teenager.  At first I was not sure if I was going to enjoy Avery but she really grows into a more sassy and spitfire character by the end.  I also really enjoyed the banter between Avery and Jaxon.  Yes, there is a swoon worthy boy in the book! 🙂

I haven’t read a dystopian this good since The Maze Runner, Divergent, or even Hunger Games.  It just caught my attention from the first sentences to the last!  The ending was ARGH and a little bittersweet but it makes me want the second! 

If you are looking for something different and love dystopian novels, than this book is for you!  I also really think fiction readers will like this book, it has just a little bit of something for everybody.

Michelle’s Thoughts

Ah Steampunk how I love you so! If it weren’t for the inevitable bad guys that always show up in steampunk novels I would want to dive in and live there. It’s just such a unique world. Right from the start of Steel Lily I could picture the world playing like a movie in my head, I could smell the rusty metal I could hear the gears turning. Megan Curd did a wonderful job of pulling me into Avery’s world and keeping me there… 

The characters in Steel Lily were entertaining, strong and varied. Jaxon was one of my favorites, so cocky and full of sarcasm but also a bit vulnerable once you break though the layers. Avery was a “spitfire” as well, She is tough and stands up for herself and her family and friends no matter what. I wanted to get to know some of the side characters more.. they kinda pop out of the background every now and again and leave you stunned. But it didn’t deter from my love of the story. 

The magic or Elemental side of the story was really interesting, I can’t wait to see how the idea grows with the characters and what more will come. Steam punk and magic was a perfect blend and really kept me hooked on the story. 

I agree with Brittany, Steel Lily has a bit of everything. Magic, Romance, Action, Adventure, Science and Survival. Mix it with amazing characters and Megan Curd has a fan in me! I can’t wait for # 2!!


We are so excited to offer you a chance to win a copy of Steel Lily for yourself! Megan has offered up 2 Ebook Copies ( international ) and 1 signed paperback for the U.S. ! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

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The Beautiful and The Damned by Jessica Verday ( Dual Review )

Source: Edelwiess and Netgalley

* We were given a copy of this book in exchange for an Honest review, all thoughts and opinions are our own.*
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: October 1st, 2013
Series: Companian to the Hollow Trilogy
* You do NOT need to read The Hollow Trilogy before reading this one, but there is a small spoiler if you haven’t*
Edition: Ebook, 320 pages
Genre: Young Adult/ Paranormal/ Fantasy
Rating: Brittany: 5/5
             Michelle: 4.5/5

Cyn’s blackouts have deadly consequences in this sexy, suspenseful spinoff to the New York Times bestselling Hollow series.Cyn and Avian are far from a perfect match. She’s a witch who casts spells on men so she can steal their cars. He spends his time being judge, jury, and executioner to the truly evil in the supernatural realm.

When the blackouts Cyn’s been having ever since her time in Sleepy Hollow start escalating, she finds herself unable to remember where she’s been or what she’s been doing. Frightened, she seeks guidance at a local church, and it’s there she meets Avian.

The unlikely pair soon discovers that her blackouts are a side effect of what she truly is—an Echo—a conduit for souls of the dead. The only way to prevent Cyn from losing complete control is to return to Sleepy Hollow and vanquish the source of her power—but she may not survive the process. And if she does? She won’t ever be the same…

Brittany’s Thoughts:

I read the first book in the Hollow Series so long ago that I have forgotten all about it. Apparently there are some spoilers in this book if you haven’t read the whole Hollow Series but I didn’t notice them. I loved Beautiful and the Damned. It’s a dark and very entertaining read. I am not sure where it fits in with the Hollow Series but its a great stand alone story. I think it is meant to be a companion novel. It is scary, twisted and just plain good and I read it in about one sitting.

The story follows Cyn and the predicaments she finds herself in due to her “nature.” I was very curious about Cyn’s blackouts and how everything would pan out. I was also very scared for her safety throughout the book because some scary stuff goes down while she is blacked out. I, of course, was just hoping that Avian would come to her rescue. Their relationship isn’t a quick and easy relationship, as they spend most of their time trying to avoid the other. I like that sort of push and pull relationship as opposed to the fall in love over night one.

Overall, I would recommend this book to paranormal lovers and for anyone that has read the Hollow Series. It was a fast read with lots of bumps and twists that will keep you reading.


Michelle’s Thoughts:

I LOVED the first two books in The Hollow Trilogy ( yes, I fell behind and haven’t gotten to #3 yet >.< ) Jessica Verday’s writing is just so rich, I still remember reading about the homemade perfumes in The Hollow Trilogy and immediately being able to actually imagine the smell. I will admit I tried making my own after that.. I failed. 

Anyway. The Beautiful and The Damned is a Companion novel to the Hollow Trilogy, But it’s quite different. It’s Darker.. at least in my opinion. Cyn is in a intense situation by no fault of her own, and some of the things that happen to her and almost happen to her are truly scary. The group of Characters is small, but it just allows you to get to know Cyn and Avian better. I agree with Brittany in that I really enjoyed the push and pull of their relationship rather than them having it easy. They are both characters that have had to deal with alot and it just makes them stronger. 

I’m excited to read more about these characters and their lives in future stories. I want to know more about Avians Demon background, how he becomes so close to a man of the church, and how Cyn is going to change him. I’m also curious how Cyn is going to change and grow now… The Beautiful and the Damned had a small spoiler for book #3 in the Hollow Trilogy. But It wasn’t so bad that I got upset about finding out, but I will be going and reading #3 ASAP. 

Highly recommend this story for fans of YA Dark Paranormals ! Also, if you Haven’t read the Hollow Trilogy? Go read that now as well! 😀

Grasping at Eternity by Karen Amanda Hooper

Grasping at Eternity by Karen Amanda Hooper

Source: NetGalley

Publisher: Starry Sky Publishing
Release date: May 25th 2012
Series: The Kinderly Series Book #1
Edition: Ebook, 368 pgs
Genre: Young Adult/ Paranormal Fantasy
Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon
* We receive a small kickback from amazon purchases, all will go towards funding future giveaways!
Rating: 4/5

Leave it to Maryah Woodsen to break the one rule that will screw up eternity: Never erase your memories.

Before entering this life, Maryah did the unthinkable—she erased. Now, at seventeen years old, she’s clueless that her new adoptive family has known her for centuries, that they are perpetually reincarnated souls, and that they have supernatural abilities. Oh, and she’s supposed to love (not despise) Nathan, the green-eyed daredevil who saved her life.

Nathan is convinced his family’s plan to spark Maryah’s memory is hopeless, but his love for her is undying. After spending (and remembering) so many lifetimes together, being around an empty version of his soulmate is heart shattering. He hates acting like a stalker, but has no choice because the evil outcast who murdered Maryah in their last lifetime is still after her.

While Maryah’s hunter inches closer, she and Nathan make assumptions and hide secrets that rip them further apart. Maryah has to believe in the magic within her, Nathan must have faith in the power of their love, and both need to grasp onto the truth before they lose each other forever—and discover just how lonely eternity can be.


Grasping at Eternity gave me everything I wanted out of this book and more! If I wasn’t already a huge fan of novels about Reincarnation, Grasping at Eternity would make me one. Karen Amanda Hooper adds some twists to the idea that really add to the story and helped keep me interested.

The characters are all vibrant and all have very different personalities. I fell in love with them and really enjoyed finding out more about their past lives. Reading about their past lives got a bit confusing at times, but it made sense for it to be that way. They can’t control what body they are reborn into. One life your best friend may be reborn as your brother/sister, the next they may be your father/mother! The one constant is they always had their soulmates. Until Marayah went and screwed that up for Nathan by Erasing that is.

Grasping at Eternity was a wonderful blend of just about everything I love in a story. Romance, Action, history, fantasy and a bit of mystery! I cannot wait to read book #2 and see what happens. Grasping at Eternity left me with my heart racing and dying to know what happens next. I also plan for sure on reading Karen Amanda Hooper’s other book  Tangled Tides. I’m curious to see what more this author has to offer and what she does in the world of Mermaids!

Rating:

Heaven and Hellsbane by Paige Cuccaro

Heaven and Hellsbane (Hellsbane #2)


Source:Entangled Publishing – I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation.

Published:  August 27th 2013  by Entangled Publishing, LLC

Edition: Ebook
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon/Barnes & Noble

**We receive a small kickback from Amazon purchases, all of which will go towards giveaways!
Brittany’s Rating: 4/5

Synopsis via Goodreads: 
Emma Jane Hellsbane just unwittingly triggered a whole bunch of nephilim to come into their powers—and this new army has teamed up with Bariel, demon straight from Hell, who’s made it his mission to kill all the magisters on Earth. When they come after Eli, Emma and Officer Dan must work together to save him, but this makes Eli all the more tempted to Fall for Emma. And his fighting his feelings for her means Heaven has taken notice.

Now Emma isn’t just fighting off demons, rogue nephilim and Fallen angels, she’s defending her womanhood to the judgmental Seraphim angels, too, who want to separate Eli from Emma Jane. Can she protect Eli, Officer Dan, and find her rogue father? For Emma Jane, it’s all in a day’s work as Heaven’s ultimate bounty hunter.

Review:
This book did not suffer from second book syndrome, it had a really exciting plot line with nonstop action!  I even liked it better than the first!  There is also a little bit more of a love story in this book so that is a win for me!  When my heart get involved in books, I am even more invested.   Of course, the love story is a complication for both characters and I am not sure how Paige Cuccaro will resolve it in the end!
Oh Emma and Eli, their love story is so enticing but so forbidden. I know I said this about the first one but one thing I really like about this is author is that not everything ends up happy.  I have read too many books lately that don’t seem to have real life consequences.  Again, I know I am horrible for say that!

My only worry for the book is that the complicated plot line will overshadow everything else.  SO MUCH happens in this book, SO MUCH that I just wonder how will all these loose ends be tied together.  I am not sure how many books this series will be, I just hope there is more than one book left otherwise it might not be a clean finish  

There is an intimate sex scene in the book so I would not recommend to young readers! However, as an adult I really enjoyed this book.  It is a fun read and gave me the very same feeling that Black Wings by Christina Henry did.  It is just an overall pretty good book.  Check out the review here:http://www.thepassionatebookworm.blogspot.com/2013/08/stepping-out-of-your-element-3.html


Fate’s Fable by T. Rae Mitchell – Dual Review and Giveaway

Fate’s Fables
by T. Rae Mitchell

Source: We received a copy of this book from the Author in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Published: February 1st 2013 by Original Mix Media Inc.

Edition: Paperback
Series: Fate’s Journey #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon

**We receive a small kickback from Amazon purchases, all of which will go towards giveaways!
Brittany’s Rating: 5/5
Michelle’s Rating: 5/5

Synopsis via Goodreads: 
Seventeen-year-old Fate Floyd loves adventure –– as long as it’s enjoyed from the comfort of her couch. So it’s probably best she has no idea the future of the universe rests squarely on her shoulders.

Summoned by a desperate stranger’s spell in a last ditch effort to fix a colossal screw-up, Fate’s cast into a secret world bound by the ancient Book of Fables to retrieve a magical object powerful enough to set everything right. The only problem is, once she’s inside this savage wonderland, her only way out is to change the endings of the book’s eight dark fables into their mirror opposites. Fortunately, she doesn’t have to run this gauntlet alone, because she meets the mysteriously familiar Finn, who’s as inexplicably drawn to her as she is to him.

As they endure horrors beyond imagining, Fate awakens to powers she never knew she possessed and Finn questions his very existence, while an insidious darkness changes him in frightening ways. Ultimately, Fate must confront the faceless evil concealing itself behind the eyes of her one true love or remain trapped within the Book of Fables forever.


Brittany’s Thoughts:

This book was everything I have been missing in the YA scene.  It has the imagery and the storyline of a great fantasy novel.  I have not read anything this imaginative since Lord of the Rings or even Harry Potter.  Yes, you know how much I love Harry Potter.  The book is so beautifully and creatively written that I was lost in the story the minute I started.  The paperback is 478 pages so it’s long but it is well worth the time. 
Here are my quick words of wisdom about the story: The first two chapters are a sort of prologue to Fate’s story. It was a bit confusing and choppy but once those two chapters are over it is smooth sailing. Also, some younger readers may not appreciate this writing style because it is not a quick story like so many are in the current YA scene but this is a writing style I really appreciate.  
In a reader’s world, there is not much to time to do any re-reading but I will be rereading this story again and again.  Already can’t wait until Fate’s Keep!

My favorite interaction between Fate and Finn:
Tears stung her eyes as she shook her head, “If you’re trying to say you’re leaving me again, I’ll just follow.  You’re stuck with me, buster. Just think of me as barnacle…or one of those suckerfish. Better yet, duct tape.” 

Michelle’s Thoughts: 

My Gosh where has this been hiding!? I’ll put it this way. I already plan on purchasing this as a gift for 3 of my friends- one of them being my mom :). I loved it so much I refuse to even give them a choice! lol.

I agree with Brittany, the first few intro pages are confusing.. I did not enjoy the characters that were dominant in those chapters and feared for the rest of the story. But then it switches over to Fate’s story and oh my goodness does it pick up!

The writing style is kind of.. mixed. But in a good way! There are the more updated parts where Fate is in the ” real world ” Then there is the beautiful, rich, enchanting style of the Fables. I really couldn’t get enough of those. You get a story inside a story! They were perfect. Very Storybook-esk they just have that perfect feel of something that needs to be read aloud, in a cozy dark room with a candle glowing. Ah man, seriously. I loved the fables. All unique and so interesting!

The few main characters are very interesting, all with very different back stories which make for great interaction between them. I loved getting to see how they each reacted to the different fables, with each having a bit of a different theme it was interesting to see how they handled the situations and how they were going to change things.

With the story switching over to a new fable every few chapters it was easy for me to just keep turning pages. If my boyfriend hadn’t come in multiple times to remind me I only had a few hours to get sleep before work.. I probably would have just read through the night without stopping! While it is not exactly a fast read, I do think it had a great pace that will keep readers itching for more!

This is a story I feel I will be recommending very often. It’s great for fans of more classic fairy tales, for fans of retellings, Epic fantasies, as well as some lighter fantasies. And just.. All around awesomeness really.


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The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

An entire week dedicated to re-tellings of Lewis Carroll’s Classic story: 
Alice in Wonderland

The Looking Glass Wars 
by Frank Beddor

Source: My Own Shelf

Published: September 26th 2006 by Dial Books

Edition: Paperback
Genre: YA Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon/Barnes & Noble

**We receive a small kickback from Amazon purchases, all of which will go towards giveaways!
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis via Goodreads:
When Alyss Heart, heir to the Wonderland throne, must flee through the Pool of Tears to escape the murderous aunt Redd, she finds herself lost and alone in Victorian London. Befriended by an aspiring author named Lewis Carrol, Alyss tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Alyss trusts this author to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere will find her and bring her home. But he gets the story all wrong. He even spells her name incorrectly!

Fortunately, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan knows all too well the awful truth of Alyss’ story and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may eventually battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

The Looking Glass Wars unabashedly challenges our Wonderland assumptions surrounding mad tea parties, grinning Cheshire cats, and a curious little blond girl to reveal an epic battle in the endless war for Imagination.

This is another interesting Alice in Wonderland retelling with some awesome twists! The story is told in third person from multiple perspectives with a Victorian London twist. I like books that have multiple perspectives because it lets you keep track of a more complex plot line. The Looking Glass Wars is an exciting, action packed read.

This is the second Alice retelling, that I have read, that has Lewis Carroll getting the story wrong. I love reading about the connection of Lewis Carroll and the actual Alice story. The main character, Alyss, is really let down when the story published by Lewis Carroll is not even close to the real story. Her name is even spelled wrong, oh the nerve!

Sadly, this is not one of my favorite Alice retelling. I am actually quite indifferent about the whole book. The book switched between London and Wonderland so frequently that neither settings were fully developed. I also did not enjoy the droid/futuristic theme at all. Everything in Wonderland is created by Imagination and I would have liked if they did not create droids. I usually enjoy the futuristic feel of books but unfortunately I did not enjoy this rendition. 


I couldn’t get a strong connection to any of the characters because both London and Wonderland were underdeveloped.  I felt bad and happy for the characters but was not really invested in the future.

BUT I absolutely still plan on reading the rest of the series because I need to know the ending. Hence my 3.5 rating. 🙂