Book Review of Roaring by Lindsey Duga

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Title: Roaring

Author: Lindsey Duga

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

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Back cover:

Colt Clemmons is an agent in a specialized division within the Bureau of Investigation—one that hunts down not just mobsters, but also monsters.

For reasons that are kept top secret, Colt is the only person who can resist a siren’s voice. But he’s never had a chance to test this ability. The last siren left in the world mysteriously disappeared years ago.

Then one night, with a single word, she reveals herself. It seems too good to be true.

And it is. Because nothing about this siren—her past, her powers, or her purpose—is what it seems…

*I received this book from YA Bound Tours for an honest review*

I could not put this book down! This is a great historical fantasy that is set in the 1930s with flappers, speakeasies, and monsters! What more could you want? It felt like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them mixed with Percy Jackson. There were a lot of twists and turns and I found it to be paced perfectly and had the right amount of information that kept me interested.

The main character, a siren, is on the radar of more than one agency. The government wants her, the people who have been hiding her don’t want anyone to know what she is, and her original creator wants her back. Little does she know that her gifts are actually supernatural powers that have been forced upon her at a young age.

That is, until Colt comes in. He throws her life for a loop as he wants to take her back to the US government headquarters. Never did he realize what other mysteries were surrounding her and the other monsters in the dark. A great spin on the genre that kept me wanting more. I hope there are more books in this series, as I want to know what else is in store for them.

I highly recommend for fans of the 1930s and fantasy!

~Dani

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Excerpt:

Still with Madame Maldu’s gaze at my back, I slipped around the bar and headed for the young man sitting by himself, his fedora pulled low over his eyes. His sleeves had been rolled up to his elbows, showing off pale, but muscular, hands, wrists, and arms. It was a warm autumn for Boston, so his lack of coat wasn’t odd, but it stood out. In fact, he was the kind of fella who seemed like he could do whatever he wanted. If his goal was to blend in and not be seen, he could throw on his coat and sit with a drink and not talk to anyone, becoming one with the furniture. If he preferred to stand out, he could tip his hat back, and lift his face and smile, but if he wanted just the right kind of attention, all he needed to do was roll up his sleeves.

I shook my head. How could I have gotten all that from his exposed forearms?

Walking up to his table, I pulled out my waitressing tools and poised my pencil on my pad of paper, awaiting his order.

It was then that he looked up and I got a peak at the face below the hat.

His eyes were dark. It was the first thing I noticed. Eyes where you could barely tell if there were pupils at all.

It was clear he was attractive, but not in a pretty, hotsy-totsy sort of way. His face was geometric. Perfect, square jaw, a straight plane nose, triangular, high cheekbones, and a rectangle forehead. His light brown hair, practically blond, was swept to the side under his hat. But, like Madame Maldu, he was not handsome solely because of his looks, it was his air. His…competence.

A strange way to describe a stranger, perhaps, but it seemed to me that this was a fella who knew his place in life. His past. His present. Maybe even his future.

It wasn’t until he cleared his throat that I realized I was staring. Redirecting my gaze to the pad of paper, I waited for his order, heat creeping up my neck and into my cheeks, and a small shiver going down my spine.

He said nothing.

Glancing up from my pad, I caught him staring as well.

Oh. He’s waiting for me. Now even my ears growing hot, I tapped my pad with my pencil, and gestured it toward him, showing him what I couldn’t say in words.

His brow furrowed, and for a worrisome moment, I wondered if he didn’t talk either.

After a few long, silent, and awkward seconds, he asked, “You want to take my order?”

Relieved, I nodded vigorously.

His rectangular brow dented deeper, more into a right angle. “Do you not speak?”

I couldn’t help but admire the quality of his voice. It was a low timbre, a combination of the strings of a cello, the pluck of a bass, and the lingering bottom note of a sax.

Again, I nodded.

The stranger’s brow now seemed to be a straight V, as if this angered or frustrated him somehow. An aura of hostility exuded from him.

Tentatively, I took a step back.

At my retreat, his face cleared and he gave me an easy smile, completely changing the lines of his face into something real handsome.

I’d been right. This man was a chameleon. He wore a rugged grin that would make most gals swoon. Maybe me included, if I hadn’t felt that anger coming off him like heat from a radiator in the dead of winter.

“Not a chatter, eh? That’s all right. I can talk enough for the two of us.” He leaned forward, folding his arms and resting his elbows on the table as his grin widened. I noticed his feet shift, hooking his ankles around the legs of the spindle chair. “If you don’t speak, I guess you can’t tell me your name,” the stranger said, his head cocking in a way that made him look contemplative. “Which is a pity. Lovely dame like you, I bet you’ve got a name to match. Do you mind if I take a few guesses?”

He wanted to guess my name? I merely stared at him. Not sure how to handle this one. Maybe I should back away and let Stanley take his order.

But I had to admit, the stranger intrigued me. It was a scary, thrilling sort of intrigue. Like hearing a scary story. Nerves heightened, bated breath, terrified and yet captivated, thrilled and yet wary.

He was the kind of thrilling a person would want to be brave for.

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About the Author

Lindsey Duga developed a deep love for courageous heroes, dastardly villains, and enchanting worlds from the cartoon shows, books, and graphic novels she read as a kid. Drawing inspiration from these fantastical works of fiction, she wrote her first novel in college while she was getting her bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University. By day, Lindsey is an account manager at a digital marketing agency based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. By night, and the wee hours of the morning, she writes both middle grade and young adult. She has a weakness for magic, anything classical, all kinds of mythology, and falls in love with tragic heroes. Other than writing and cuddling with her morkie puppy, Delphi, Lindsey loves catching up on the latest superhero TV show, practicing yoga, and listening (and belting) to her favorite music artists and show tunes. KISS OF THE ROYAL is her YA debut novel.

Author Links:

Website: https://lindseyduga.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lindseyduga
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/linzduga/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lduga
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15853318.Lindsey_Duga
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lindsey-Duga/e/B07BJNMRHX/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1524077289&sr=1-1

Blog Tour Organized By:

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Book Review of The Veiled Threat and The Veiled Descendants by Sophia Menesini

 

Title: The Veiled Threat (Book 1)

Series: The Veiled Duchess

Author: Sophia Menesini

Genre: NA High Fantasy/Adventure Romance/LGBTQ

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

The Veiled Threat (The Veiled Duchess #1) on Goodreads

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Back cover:

Love is a Dangerous Heist for a Pirate. Captain Shea Lara is the leader of The Veiled Duchess, the most feared pirate ship in all of Nereid. And now, after completing her former mentor’s final score, she’s retiring. Everything she’s known seems to be coming to an end. Until a night in her favorite tavern, when a mysterious stranger drags her back into the fold with an offer for a score, she can’t refuse. All she has to do is kidnap the crowned princess of the northern Queendom, Joana of Arethusa. The prize is just within reach. But sparks fly as the two women collide. And a veiled threat that could upturn Shea’s entire world storms on the horizon. Join the crew of Captain Shea Lara as they battle their way through dangerous court intrigue, rebellion against slavery, an unlikely romance, and ultimately face villains whose masks conceal them till the very end. Something’s brewing on the horizon and the Veiled Threat is just the beginning.

*I received this book from YA Bound Tours for an honest review*

This is a great, creative story that is a mix of Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, and LGBTQ. It takes place in a fantasy world with humans, elves, and Greek gods. I loved how the author mixed these elements, and made the main character a pirate. I am always game for a pirate story, and this one did not disappoint!

The other part of this story I enjoyed was the representation of LGBTQ characters. It felt believable, the romance wasn’t forced, and it went with the story well. The main character, Shea, is an awesome, strong, female character that is an elf. I loved her development through the story and her voice. There is also great world-building for the queendom and how it worked.

I definitely recommend this story to anyone who loves fantasy and pirates, and the representation of LGBTQ characters!

Check out below past the book 2 review for the giveaway and who the author sees as the cast of this series!


Title: The Veiled Descendants (Book 2)

Series: The Veiled Duchess

Author: Sophia Menesini

Genre: NA High Fantasy/Adventure Romance/LGBTQ

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

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Back Cover:

Captain Shea Lara and the crew are back in this thrilling sequel to The Veiled Threat, The Veiled Descendants. It’s been a year since she struck the deal — a year since she promised to marry her princess, a year of adventure, darkness, and change. Her fiancé has chased Shea across the Nereidan seas, but now it’s time for her to come back to Arethusa. The storm has arrived, and none of them are prepared for what’s coming. An elven Fae with a blood connection to Shea, who plans to take Nereid back from the humans, shatters the life of a young Oceanan prince, and now it’s up to Beck of Oceanus, Captain Shea, and Queen Joana to save their world from the powerful threat.

But they can’t do it alone. With the help of Shea’s father, Poseidon, God of the Sea, and her former lover: the goddess of love, she will set out on a quest to find the one being who can help prevent Perses from destroying everything she holds dear. A god, who just so happens to be Shea’s immortal brother, Triton.
Shea chose the family she has now, but the tides are changing, and what she wants may no longer matter. She’ll need to rely on the magic in her blood for the battle ahead. Perses is coming, with the help of vicious creatures, an evil empress, and the Lycon army, and he plans to drag her down to depths with him.

*I received this book from YA Bound Tours for an honest review*

Do not read the following if you haven’t read book 1 as there are spoilers!

Book 2 of this series is as good as the first book! We learn that Shea’s lineage is not just elf, but she is actually a daughter of Poseidon! Now there is an entire new land to fight for and our characters have to battle gods and Demigods. More history of the characters and world is explored and I think the author did a great job with world-building.

Not everything is easy for Shea in this book, and the author does a good job of making consequences for the MC’s actions. A lot of books make it so if the MC messes up, that everything is fine, so we don’t feel the actual threat. In this books, there is some loss and you really feel for the character.

I can’t wait for the next book! Check out below for the giveaway and who the author sees as the cast of this series!

~Dani

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE

About the Author

The Storyteller with Salt Water in Her Veins

Sophia Menesini lives in Martinez, CA with her husband, and their two small Chihuahuas, Ziggy and Zeppelin. The Veiled Threat is her first novel. Sophia is an avid tea connoisseur and lover of Scotland with an unconventional memory for obscure Disney and Broadway song lyrics.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.sophiamenesini.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MenesiniSophia

Tumblr: https://theveiledduchessseries.tumblr.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theveiledthreatnovel/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theveiledthreatnovel/?hl=en

Dream Cast For The Veiled Duchess Series

Blog Tour Organized By:

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Book Review of Zon by Maureen A. Miller

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Title: Zon (Beyond #5)

Author: Maureen A. Miller

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 4/5

Amazon: https://amzn.to/34UCfAE

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zon-maureen-a-miller/1136887607

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/zon-5

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/zon/id1509072890

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1016392

Back cover:

From USA TODAY bestselling author, Maureen A. Miller, comes this young adult cosmic adventure.

With a father from the planet, Ziratak, and a mother from Earth, Zon’s challenges are galactic. Zon doesn’t possess superpowers, though. If anything, he’s a bit of a klutz.

In Ziratakian folklore, the tale of the Temple of the Monarch has been passed down for generations. As legend has it, a series of miniature globes lead to the temple’s gate.

Folklore…nothing more.

Except, Zon knows of a cave with small globes in it. And with one clumsy mishap, he triggers the gate–opening a portal to other worlds.

A trip through this vortex transports him to Earth, where the first human he encounters is a young woman with challenges of her own.

This is a brand new saga, and a new generation. There is no need to read the BEYOND series. However, for readers of the series, you will enjoy this continuation of the epic science fiction adventure.

*I received a copy from YA Bound Book Tours for my honest opinion*

This was a nice lighthearted YA Sci-Fi novel that is quick to read. I read it all in one sitting and found it to be delightful. It follows Zon as he is transported to Earth and becomes friends with a human girl who he later must save. At the same time, he is supposed to be practicing and getting ready for a big test that is coming up. Will Zon pass this test or will he sacrifice it to help his new friend?

I haven’t read the rest of the series, which is more about Zon’s mother and father, but I wasn’t confused at all. This definitely can be read as a standalone. The only problem I had with it was that I felt it could use more description and sometimes I was confused as to where exactly he was until another character came into the picture.

All in all, this was a nice read for those who like light-hearted YA Sci-Fi. If you need something to read on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I definitely recommend this book!

~Dani

Enter the Giveaway below to win a $10 gift card to Amazon!:

 

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About the Author

USA TODAY bestselling author, Maureen A. Miller worked in the software industry for fifteen years. She crawled around plant floors in a hard hat and safety glasses hooking up computers to behemoth manufacturing machines. The job required extensive travel. The best form of escapism during those lengthy airport layovers became writing.

Maureen’s first novel, WIDOW’S TALE, earned her a Golden Heart nomination in Romantic Suspense. After that she became hooked to the genre. In fact, she was so hooked she is the founder of the JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE website.

Recently, Maureen branched out into the Young Adult Science Fiction market with the popular BEYOND Series. To her it was still Romantic Suspense…just on another planet!

Find more about Maureen at http://www.maureenamiller.com

Blog Tour Organized By:

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Book Review of Zero by Tom Leveen

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Title: Zero

Author: Tom Leveen

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

BACK THE KICKSTARTER HERE

Back cover:

After missing her best opportunity to attend a prestigious art school, 17-year-old Salvador Dali devotee Amanda Walsh (nicknamed Zero) begins dating Mike, a drummer in an up-and-coming punk band. As their tentative relationship blooms, Zero confronts a ton of baggage holding her back from her art career: the majorly awkward drama with her former best friend, Jenn; her dad’s excessive drinking and parents’ ongoing fights; and one formerly successful art teacher who might just hold the keys to her future . . . or smash Z’s hopes forever.

When Mike’s band gets a chance of lifetime to bust out of the black hole that is metro Phoenix, Zero must make a life-altering decision and answer the one question we all face at some point in our lives:

Follow your heart, or the heart of the one you love?

ZERO is a completed, award-winning young adult novel originally published by Random House Children’s Books in 2012.

Review:

I could not put this book down! I read it all in one sitting as I kept having to turn the page to know what happens next. Tom does a great job creating a voice that anyone can connect to. I felt for Zero and everything she went through, whether I had gone through the same things or not (of which some I have…).

Zero is an artist, and as any artist knows (whether they paint, draw, write, perform, etc) you want to succeed and create the things you love, but can those two things be the same thing? You can create what you love, but will anyone want it? That is a question Zero has to face, at the same time she is 17 and going through changes, new love, friendship problems, home problems, and not getting the scholarship she wanted. So much is going on in Zero’s life that you really feel for her and connect to the times when the whole world changed for you, whether you wanted it to or not.

I recommend this to anyone who loves YA and coming of age stories. It is something we all can connect to. It is set in ’92, which is the best year if we are honest. 90s were great. I miss the 90s…

Check out below about the Kickstarter Tom Leveen is doing for his book! I highly recommend backing and making this story and even bigger success! There will be notes, afterwards, and some other awesome perks! If we can reach the extended goals, we will know exactly what happens after the last page. Who doesn’t want that from a book they love? I know I want it, so go back it for me!

FROM KICKSTARTER PAGE:

Story

Where were you in ’92?

The Cold War was over! WE WON! The Berlin Wall had fallen, and David Hasselhoff was really lit about that! (Anyone? Anyone? Lit? The lightbulb jacket…?) Glam rock was dead, flannels suddenly cost $90, punk rock was transforming right before our eyes.

It was the best of times to be 17. As much as being 17 can be the best of times…

ZERO is a completed, award-winning young adult novel originally published by Random House Children’s Books in 2012. I recently got the rights to this story returned to me, and because of its fan base, I want to re-release it with never-before-seen notes, annotations, and an afterword. And maybe more…

This campaign will also introduce new readers to the snarky, sympathetic struggles of a young artist navigating the turmoil of love and art!

 

BACK THIS KICKSTARTER BY CLICKING HERE

 

“This book will appeal to teens who enjoy romance with a bit of an edge.” ~ Voice Of Youth Advocates, Feb. 2012

ZERO is about a young artist and a young musician, high on their arts, each other, and nothing else. It’s the thrill of a first kiss, the anxiety of putting yourself out there, and all the excitement of being this age at this time — whether you were there or not.

The original hardcover jacket.

After missing her best opportunity to attend a prestigious art school, 17-year-old Salvador Dali devotee Amanda Walsh (nicknamed Zero) begins dating Mike, a drummer in an up-and-coming punk band. As their tentative relationship blooms, Zero confronts a ton of baggage holding her back from her art career: the majorly awkward drama with her former best friend, Jenn; her dad’s excessive drinking and parents’ ongoing fights; and one formerly successful art teacher who might just hold the keys to her future . . . or smash Z’s hopes forever.

When Mike’s band gets a chance of lifetime to bust out of the black hole that is metro Phoenix, Zero must make a life-altering decision and answer the one question we all face at some point in our lives:

Follow your heart, or the heart of the one you love?

“I don’t know how Tom Leveen did it, but ZERO (the book and the character) feels 100% authentic.” ~ Goodreads review

“Amanda’s snappy, consistent voice displays the tension between her conviction that she’s got what it takes to be an artist and her feelings of low self-worth. Artful.” Kirkus Reviews, April 24, 2012
What makes ZERO so special is its brutal authenticity. It perfectly captures the energy and fear and excitement and dread of being freshly graduated and experiencing what seems to be your life falling apart, whether that’s between you and your parents, or your best friend, or the boy or girl you really want to date. It doesn’t shy away from the complexity of sex and love or art and business. The book deals with these topics with a smile and a sigh, because Zero (the novel) knows you are not alone, which is one of the things Zero (the character) is still learning.

 

BACK THIS KICKSTARTER BY CLICKING HERE

I’m bringing this second edition of Zero to Kickstarter because I have learned from nine books and ten years that Story is best in community. In fact it can only exist in community. There are people I’ve met by chance as a result of my novels who I now consider good friends. Some of them I’ve never met in person, some I see frequently, but the depth of the community that has organically developed around my novels and stories is what keeps me going, and I want to share that with more people, just like I know my fans want to share with others, too.

Zero is a note; a reminder that while we are constantly faced with hard choices (particularly when we are young), it’s going to work out. It’s going to be okay.Its a note that says you’re not alone; to follow your instincts and believe that anything is possible. I don’t know about you, but I need that reminder constantly.

So let’s ramp up that good karma! Everyone who pledges above the first level will receive an e-book of the second edition, and everyone will receive a mention and Thank You in the new edition’s Acknowledgements.

Thank you so much for your encouragement, whether you’re a new reader or an old fan ready for more about Zero, Mike, and the band. 

Share your art!

BACK THIS KICKSTARTER BY CLICKING HERE

 

~Dani

 

 

Book Review of More Than Alive by Fernando Torres

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Title: More Than Alive

Author: Fernando Torres

Review by: Dani Hoots

Genre: YA Sci-fi/Fantasy

Release Date: June 22nd 2020

Rating: 4/5

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Back cover:

MORE THAN ALIVE: Death of an Idol, is a literary response to the growing interest in anime, manga, and Japanese culture. Told via alternating storylines MORE THAN ALIVE is a fast-paced, laugh-out-loud, sci-fi/paranormal novel set in Japan in the year 2042. Complete at 103,000 words, it takes advantage of my experiences living in Kyoto and lessons acquired concerning story and character development while working at ABC/Disney.

Alice Suzuki (16) has recently passed away, making her eligible to be a harvester, a transporter of souls. For her first thread, she finds herself investigating the death of Akari, a Japanese idol who died playing a VR game while on enhancer, a drug that turns off the suspension of disbelief. Unfortunately, the shadow demon Solak, who was formerly constrained to killing people in their dreams, has learned that enhancer allows him to get around the limitations imposed by free will. Alice must join the Japanese idol group, of which Akari was a member. Her journey is one of learning the true nature of attachment, particularly in regards to love.

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*I received an ARC from YA Bound Tours for my unbiased opinion*

The concept of More Than Alive was quite interesting. It mixed futuristic elements with fantasy having to do with grim reapers (although he doesn’t like to be called that), mystery, yakuza, and pop idols. Having read and watched a lot of Japanese manga and anime with similar themes, I didn’t hesitate to join this blog tour to see what it would be like to have those themes all wrapped together. I really felt it was original and an interesting concept and really liked the characters. It was full of suspense and I kept wanting to read more to know what happens.

One of the things I disliked about this book was the POV. It moved around from POV, sort of like omniscient POV, but not quite. It jumped around character too often and I didn’t feel grounded in any POV. It made me confused a lot of the time, but the story was still interesting enough where I kept on reading. I think this story would have done better if it didn’t switch, but that is my personal preference.

I also really liked the glossary in the back and now want to know why the author can’t open soy packets around shoji.

~Dani

 

About the Author

Fernando Torres is the best-selling author of “A Habit of Resistance,” “The Shadow That Endures,” and the soon to be released sci-fi novel “More Than Alive: Death of an Idol.” Fast-paced, humorous stories that poke fun at genre tropes and explore moral dilemmas are what define this author’s mission. Early in his media career, Fernando A. Torres created the definitive definition of media interactivity. At ABC/Disney, Inc., he worked behind the scenes on such shows as Boy Meets World, Family Matters, Grace Under Fire, Home Improvement, My Wife and Kids, and the Power Rangers. Influenced by many of his generation’s most talented writers and producers, Fernando Torres’ style developed a light, humorous edge that continues to influence his writing to this day. During his time at ABC/Disney, Inc., he contributed to the Writer’s Development program, which inspired additional contributions in education. Many of his stories are inspired by his travels, though he has more permanent roots in the United States and Japan. An instrument-rated pilot, he also enjoys writing music and photography.

“I write because the written word is a powerful ally in conveying truth.” – Fernando Torres

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Blog Tour Organized By: YA Bound Book Tours

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Book Review of Join or Die by J. Adrian Ruth

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Title: Join or Die

Series: Heir to the Scion

Author: J. Adrian Ruth

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

Amazon

Back cover:

A group of outcasts, struggling to survive in a school filled with monsters.

An average kid, growing up in Las Vegas, Alex Ayers life skids off the rails when a dragon shifter comes for him. Alex is a Creature, monsters from myths and legends. And he’s in line to lead all the Creatures in the world, if he doesn’t get killed first.

Now forced to attend a school filled with every horror he’s ever imagined, Alex draws together a group of friends to become his own mini-army.

A depressed vampire facing an identity crisis.

A class gossip with white hair and a frosty outlook.

A werewolf who plays with magic.

A Valkyrie straining against her berserker’s rage.

Can Alex keep his friends safe, fight for his own life, and catch a killer, all while keeping his grades up? And what will his future hold, as he begins his change into a Creature he knows nothing about?

*I received this book from Netgalley for my honest review*

This is a really cool mixture of Rosario+Vampire and Harry Potter. Alex’s life is thrown for a loop when he finds out he is halfbreed—half human, half creature. I won’t spoil what he is, as that is a big mystery he has to discover, but it is a really cool twist. He is mad his father left him and never told him the truth, and that resentment plays a big part on what he need to do to accept his fate.

I liked the other characters as well, especially Elvey, the half vampire-half elf roommate. That is, actually, one of my favorite mixtures and one that I think would be cool to read more about. Both a creature of life and death—a cool dynamic that hasn’t been touched on. I also like Yoshi and how he is a Japanese creature. The author did a great job of mixing a few different creature myths from different parts of the world.

All in all, if you like Percy Jackson or Harry Potter or Rosario+Vampire, I think you will like this series! The story is a little on the shorter side, but to me that is nice as it is a relaxing read.

~Dani

Book Review of Girl on the Run by Abigail Johnson

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Title: Girl on the Run

Author: Abigail Johnson

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

Release date: 10/6/20

PREORDER HERE

Back cover:

A fast-paced original paperback thriller about a girl who discovers that her mother might not be who she says she is . . . and now someone is hunting them both.

Katelyn wants the best for her widowed mom. Surprising her with an online dating profile seems like a good idea.

It isn’t. Katelyn’s mom hasn’t just been acting overprotective all these years–she’s been hiding something. And now that anyone can find them online , Katelyn is in a desperate race against time to uncover the secrets of the past–not only her mom’s, but also her own.

As Katelyn’s world unravels, she begins to trust the guy who brought this nightmare to her door and to doubt the one person she never thought she would. Because her mom has been hiding for a reason: she’s been waiting.

Underlined is a line of totally addictive romance, thriller, and horror paperback original titles coming to you fast and furious each month. Enjoy everything you want to read the way you want to read it.

*I received an ARC for my honest opinion*

This novel had me hooked from beginning to end! From chapter one, we are on the run and we don’t stop until the end. Everything is fast-paced and you can feel the adrenaline dripping from the page. This novel is filled with suspense, mystery, heartache, and you can’t put it down! The pacing was perfect and information was given to the character and reader in a believable amount and at a believable time frame. Johnson does a great job of showing us the emotions and action instead of telling. No wording felt awkward and the series of events flowed naturally together.

The characters were very believable as well. You get the right info about them at the right times to make you wonder what is really going on. I loved the mystery behind it and how our main character had to figure out what really happened. Katelyn was a believable teen going through this madness and her actions never felt contradictory. While reading, I could tell Johnson did a lot of research to make this story unique and believable, which is something I really like in a book.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves YA or thrillers. You won’t be disappointed!

~Dani

 

If you preorder from Changing Hands, you can get a preorder special! For details, CLICK HERE.

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Book Review of Shinto: The Kami Way by Dr. Sokyo Ono

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Title: Shinto: The Kami Way

Author: Dr. Sokyo Ono

In collaboration: William P. Woodard

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

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Back cover:

Shinto, the indigenous faith of the Japanese people, continues to fascinate and mystify both the casual visitor to Japan and the long-time resident. Relatively unknown among the religions of the world, Shinto: The Kami Way provides an enlightening window into this Japanese faith.

In its general aspects, Shinto is more than a religious faith. It is an amalgam of attitudes, ideas, and ways of doing things that through two millennia and more have become an integral part of the manner of the Japanese people. Shinto is both a personal faith in the kami—objects of worship in Shinto and an honorific for noble, sacred spirits—and a communal way of life according to the mind of the kami. This introduction unveils Shinto’s spiritual characteristics and discusses the architecture and function of Shinto shrines. Further examination of Shinto’s lively festivals, worship, music, and sacred regalia illustrates Shinto’s influence on all levels of Japanese life.

Fifteen photographs, numerous drawings and Dr. Ono’s text introduce the reader to two millennia of indigenous Japanese belief in the kami and communal life.

Chapters include:

  • The Kami Way
  • Shrines
  • Worship and Festivals
  • Political and Social Characteristics
  • Some Spiritual Characteristics

About the Author:
Dr. Sokyo Ono was a professor at Kokugakuin Daigaku, a Shinto university in Tokyo, and has lectured for the National Association of Shinto Shrines. He also served as Executive Director of the International Institute for the Study of Religions and the Japan Religious Cooperative Council

William Woodard directed the research unit of the Religious and Cultural Resources Division, Civil Information and Education Section, SCAP from 1946 to 1952.

I asked for this book for Christmas to help with my research for two different YA Japanese Fantasy novels I am working on. I felt that this gave some good insight of what it is like at Shinto shrines and how Shintoism is engrained in a lot of daily life actions in modern Japan. I found it to be quite fascinating, as we don’t learn much about this religion in schools or while looking at cultures in general. A lot is said about Buddism, but not much is said about Shintoism, and this book goes over a bit of why that is. I wished it went a little more on the changes throughout history and what actions changed or didn’t with a timeline, as my novel takes place in different periods through Japan.

I highly recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about this religion, whether it be because they are interested in Japanese culture, research for something they are writing, or if they want to visit shrines in Japan and understand what is respectful and what is not. I can’t wait to visit Japan and pay my respects to the kami at various shrines.

~Dani

Book Review of The Damned by Renée Ahdieh

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Title: The Damned

Author: Renée Ahdieh

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Back cover:

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with the second installment of her new sumptuous, sultry and romantic series, The Beautiful.

Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly.

But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien. Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not ready to learn.

Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.

The Damned, Renée’s latest installment in The Beautiful series is just as decadent, thrilling, and mysterious as her last, as she continues her most potent fantasy series yet.

This book was nonstop magical! From page one I was hooked! I finished the first book a couple of months ago (see book 1 review here) and I enjoyed it a lot, but this one was all that and more!

*Warning, Book 1 spoilers below*

Book 1 leaves off with Celine having her memories of Bastien wiped and Bastien having been turned into a vampire. Instead of starting off with Celine, whom was the main character for the first book, this story mostly takes place from Bastien’s POV and other vampires in his group. I loved this duality, so we finally see what is going one behind the series. The first book was a little slow, although there is something to be said about slow paced books to really set the mood, but this one is nonstop. We learn a lot more about the folklore behind vampires and the werewolves. I won’t spoil any more, but this a mythology that is well weaved together and left me wanting more. I really want to read book 3 right now!

If you didn’t care for book 1, I highly recommend still picking this book up to read. You will not be disappointed!

~Dani

Book Review of Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kong

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Title: Opium and Absinthe

Author: Lydia Kang

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

Amazon

Back cover:

From the bestselling author of A Beautiful Poison comes another spellbinding historical novel full of intrigue, occult mystery, and unexpected twists.

New York City, 1899. Tillie Pembroke’s sister lies dead, her body drained of blood and with two puncture wounds on her neck. Bram Stoker’s new novel, Dracula, has just been published, and Tillie’s imagination leaps to the impossible: the murderer is a vampire. But it can’t be—can it?

A ravenous reader and researcher, Tillie has something of an addiction to truth, and she won’t rest until she unravels the mystery of her sister’s death. Unfortunately, Tillie’s addicted to more than just truth; to ease the pain from a recent injury, she’s taking more and more laudanum…and some in her immediate circle are happy to keep her well supplied.

Tillie can’t bring herself to believe vampires exist. But with the hysteria surrounding her sister’s death, the continued vampiric slayings, and the opium swirling through her body, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for a girl who relies on facts and figures to know what’s real—or whether she can trust those closest to her.

I haven’t read any historical mysteries in quite a while, but when I saw this one had the folklore of vampires, I couldn’t resist. From page one, I was hooked on this story. It started off with Tillie getting injured from a horse-riding accident. She gets treated with some opium, and slowly the opium addiction Tillie faces starts to develop. I could tell Kang did a lot of research on the history of medicine during this time. I loved how it was weaved into the story and had a big part of what challenges Tillie faced.

The mystery of her sister’s death was also well set up. There were a lot of twists and turns, and I didn’t know who to trust. I really loved how much suspense and mystery there was. Although there were some parts that felt a little slow, I felt it was good pacing overall.

If you enjoy Historical Fiction and Amateur Sleuths, I highly recommend!

~Dani