Fangirl Book Club Pick of the Month: “The Forest of Hands and Teeth” by Carrie Ryan

"The Forest of Hands and Feet" by Carrie RyanA review written/summarized by Amanda.

Every month, our club votes on the book that we will read for that month. August’s choice was The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.

Spoiler-free Synopsis:

Mary’s village is isolated in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, so called because of the masses of once-living creatures, the Unconsecrated, who seek human flesh. Protected by Guardians and guided by the Sisterhood,the villagers lead simple lives, routines occasionally disrupted by the Unconsecrated. Mary tries to be content with her fate; someday soon she will join the Sisterhood. Her only other option is to hope that a boy will speak for her. They’ll be betrothed and then married, and then expected to provide children to build up the dwindling population. Neither of these options appeal to Mary, who longs for the ocean in her mother’s stories, a fairy tale according to everything they’ve been taught. A terrible secret leads to a horrible tragedy and sends Mary and her friends on an adventure that they never expected, one they might not survive.

What We Liked:

The book is full of amazing imagery. The author did an excellent job of describing the landscape with just enough detail to bring the pictures to life, but not so much that we felt compelled to skip ahead. Many of us appreciated that Mary comes across as a typical teenager. She is occasionally ruled by her hormones and is overwhelmed by her emotions. She gets passionately angry when things don’t go how she thinks they should. Her romantic feelings waffle back and forth and she doesn’t always know what she wants. It was refreshing to read about a normal teenager who happens to be living in the midst of a zombie horde. We also liked Mary’s refusal to settle for less than exactly what she wants. Even when she gets what she thinks she wants, she still isn’t content. We also enjoyed the relationships and dynamics between Mary’s friends, particularly Harry and Travis. This book is full of emotional moments, both joyful and tragic. We applaud any author who can make us feel so much, good and bad, in the span of a few hundred pages.

What We Didn’t Like:

Mary was not the most sympathetic of characters. Her behavior was often frustrating, much in the same way that adults are frustrated by the actions of teenagers. It was difficult to root for her as the protagonist when you also wanted to metaphorically slap her upside the head. There is a lot of tragedy and sadness in this story, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but made it difficult for some readers to get through. The book also ends on a cliffhanger, leaving the fates of several characters unknown.

There are two sequels to this book (The Dead-Tossed Waves and The Dark and Hollow Places), both with different narrators. Readers have found that they relate better to the new protagonists and are able enjoy those stories more.

 

Fangirl rating: 2.7 out of 5 stars.

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Review: “The Witches of Blackbrook” by Tish Thawer

The Witches of Blackbrook by Tish ThawerA review by Domoni.

Three sisters, true witches born in Massachusetts at the height of the witch hunt, only want to help others with the powers they possess. When fear condemns the eldest to death, she casts a spell so they will always find their way back to each other. Jump forward centuries to the present time and Trin has found one of her younger sisters time and time again. With each new life she is still searching for the youngest of the three. Is something blocking the sisters from reuniting? Trin won’t give up; she is determined to reunite her family and regain their full powers no matter how long it takes.

This is an interesting book. It time hops frequently, but the author wrote that well enough that the reader does not get lost in the changes. The characters are well developed and the story kept me interested. The relationships are fascinating to me. I felt myself more interested in the sisters from the past. I liked the way they interacted.

The future timeline is harder to follow. It jumps around and is very mingled and I feel as though the story is rushed. I want more information. The dialogue is excellent but it is all dialogue. The author didn’t fill it with things to help me know the characters’ expressions and I just want more life and description. The romance aspect is nice, but again there isn’t enough. It is hard to invest in a story without the extras. It feels like I am just skimming along the top. The only aspects that were well described is the witchcraft, which you expect because it is about witches, but that is the least interesting aspect for me.

All of those things aside, it is a very interesting story and it picks up at the end. I did enjoy reading this book and I want to thank the author for giving me a copy to read in exchange for my honest review.

 

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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BOOK TOUR: Review: “The Banished Craft” by E.D.E Bell

A review by Domoni.

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read her novel in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

The story opens with a prologue. A scientist is explaining how different dimensions have been discovered and how one of her children has caused a disruption. In fact a split was created and a pocket universe was turned into two. Now they are separate places with no knowledge that they have been split.  The memories of the world before are simply myths and dismissals they use to brush away the history of what is no longer around. In one world the humans live and set about trying to govern themselves with an apparent class division and rebellion at hand. The second world is of dragons, ruled by an emperor and warrior class. This world too seems to be at a turning point, on the brink of a rebellion.

This story is rather unique. I suppose it is to be considered a high fantasy novel and those at times take meandering paths, which meant at times this was very difficult to follow. Especially since we seem to be focused on three different worlds and pop in and out of multiple story lines in each. The scientist pops in to narrate as she tries to repair the damage done by the split before both worlds completely collapse. This aspect is one of the only things that keeps this story meshed together. I like the insight that is received from the source outside the two disconnected worlds.

The human world has many varied characters though my interest was most piqued by the woman Cor who defies the laws  which tell her she is just a girl with no value outside of child rearing. She is determined to discover the secrets her parents left for her and to learn about how the world works. She is receptive to picking up the scientists attempts to communicate, even if she doesn’t understand what is happening. When she begins ingesting ha leaves, her visions become clearer. She is a strong character full of life in a rather bland world of restrictive laws. The other human characters did not come across with as much dimension though they all play a great part in the world.

In the world of dragons, the scientist Atesh is studying the illegal ha plant with a hunch it may be important. When ordered by the emperor Zee to create a poison for her, he pretends to do so and continues his studies. It is Atesh’s wife Jwala who comes across as the strongest character in the dragon world for me though. She wants to support her husband but protect him at the same time. When she realizes the emperor and her enforcer Colonel Dronna are using her husband, she is angry and becomes an enemy to Dronna.

With so many characters and stories going on, I cannot explain them all. This story is hard to follow and kind of slow paced because it jumps around so much. Seeing as this is to be a series, I feel as though it may have been a better bet to write separate books for the different stories. Yes they all mix up eventually, but honestly it was hard for me to get through because it was so easy to lose track of everything and it really felt rushed and chaotic. Even writing this opinion is hard to do because to tell you a little about all of it, would take much more time than I have. All of that aside, it is a good solid story.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

This page contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.

TheBanishedCraft_Banner

Welcome to my tour stop for The Banished Craft by E.D.E. Bell!  The tour runs August 18 – September 1 with reviews, interviews, guest posts, excerpts and giveaways.The Banished Craft is a fantasy novel and is written for adults but is appropriate for mature young adult readers. This is the first book of the Shkode series and releases on September 1, 2015.

 About the Book:
front_cover_forweb
The Banished Craft is a genre-bending fantasy saga that follows the adventures of Cor, a woman caught in a dying world that does not accept her, and Atesh, a dragon scientist who’s been asked to violate his own ethics or put the lives of his family at risk. Follow their trials as they deal with a shattered world, mired in political upheaval, while they try to rediscover a lost magic. The Banished Craft begins the Shkode trilogy: a quirky and modern take on dragons and wizards, exploring themes of identity, prejudice, violence, compassion, and the ways we are all connected.
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“A wonderfully delightful and deeply imaginative tale of struggle and the quest for knowledge, set in a well-developed and complex high fantasy setting.”

–G. S. Jennsen, author of Science-Fiction saga Aurora Rhapsody

“I love Bell’s sensitive and insightful exploration of compassion, connection, and relationships. The Banished Craft provides layers of thought-provoking ideas as well as good old-fashioned escapism.”

–Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, bestselling author of The 30-Day Vegan Challenge



Website | Facebook | Twitter @edebellauthor | Pinterest | Instagram |  WattpadBell will be releasing her first Wattpad story on 1 Sept to coincide with the release of The Banished Craft.

Giveaway:
$25 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Ends Sept. 9th
Prizing is provided by the publisher and hosts are not responsible in any way.

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BOOK TOUR: Review: “Bad News Cowboy” by Maisey Yates

"Bad News Cowboy" by Maisey YatesA review by Maria.

I’d like to thank author Maisey Yates for giving me the opportunity to read her third book in the Copper Ridge series, Bad News Cowboy, in exchange for a honest review.

Bad News Cowboy continues the story of the Garrett siblings, this time featuring the youngest, Kate Garrett. Kate is happy working with her brothers on their ranch and practicing rodeo tricks with her horses. She’d like to go pro one day but feels that she’s not ready. She’s keyed up and ready for change especially now that both of her brothers have found love. Suddenly poker nights with her brothers and their best friend, Jack Monaghan, have become more charged; and she doesn’t understand why her feelings toward Jack are starting to change.

Kate and Jack’s banter are some of the best moments in the previous Copper Ridge books. They are witty, feisty, and hilarious around each other; having this oil and water combination already established, made this book even more exciting to read.  When their feelings started to change toward each other, the banter and sexiness kicked up a huge notch.

Kate keeps people at arm’s length partly due to her mother abandoning her and her brothers when she was only two years old. She doesn’t feel like she’s capable of loving or being loved; which is why even though she’s in her twenties she’s still a virgin. Well, that and she thinks her brothers would probably shoot any man she’d want to date. So she remains content working for a small business, helping with her family ranch, training her horses, and pleasant gatherings with her family like poker nights. Now she’s starting to feel a stirring in her blood, especially when she’s around family friend, Jack. And her entertaining reaction to this newfound attraction could only be described as horror.

Jack was always a pleasant and witty side character hanging out in the Copper Ridge stories. He is a womanizer in every sense of the wham, bam, thank you ma’am way. He hardly ever sleeps with the same woman twice and is always out of bed before morning. But moving Jack up to main character status allowed  the reader to see a new side of him. Jack was also abandoned because he was the bastard child of the most powerful man in town. At 18 he was paid off to never claim any ties to this family; and with that money he made himself into a powerful man. However he sees his half-siblings in town and then meets his father for the first time at 33 years old. Now he finds he wants to be known and wants to be seen for more than his roots.  He suddenly wants young Kate Garrett to look at him in a new way.

This book moved very fast and had hardly any down time. It’s not necessary to read the first books beforehand but there were some spoilers in this book. And honestly, reading others in this series first, had already endeared this family to me. Bad News Cowboy was very witty, family centric, and a very sexy romantic read.

I’d recommend this book to any adults looking for a romantic and fast read.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

This page contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.

 

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Welcome to my tour stop for Bad News Cowboy by Maisey Yates.  Bad News Cowboy is the third book in the Copper Ridge trilogy, a sexy new contemporary romance series featuring a small-town setting and gorgeous cowboys finding love unexpectedly.  Bad News Cowboy released July 28, 2015 from Harlequin and it can be read as a standalone.

Follow the tour on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from August 3-21st for reviews, author interviews, guest posts and excerpts. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.

IMG_0987 About the Book:

Title: Bad News Cowboy

Author: Maisey Yates
Genre: Romance
Age: Adult
ISBN #: 9780373788538
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: HQN
Series: Copper Ridge Series, #3
Publication date: August 2015 (Official on sale date: 7/28/2015)
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 512
Price: $7.99
Can the bad boy of Copper Ridge, Oregon, make good—and win the rodeo girl of his dreams?

Kate Garrett keeps life simple—working hard, riding her beloved horses, playing cards with her brothers. Lately, though, she feels a bit restless, especially when family friend Jack Monaghan is around. Sexy and shameless, Jack is the kind of trouble you don’t tangle with unless you want your heart broken. Still, Kate could always use his help in learning how to lasso someone a little less high-risk…
Jack can’t pinpoint the moment the Garrett brothers’ little sister suddenly stopped seeming so…little. Now here he is, giving flirting tips to the one woman who needs zero help turning him on. Love’s a game he’s never wanted to play. But he’ll have to hurry up and learn how before the best thing that ever entered his life rides right back out again…
 
Don’t miss out on the previous books in the series, Part Time Cowboy and Brokedown Cowboy.

Maisey YatesAbout the Author:

USA Today Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit.
In 2009, at the age of twenty-three Maisey sold her first book. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances  set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.
 
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Giveaway:
5 sets of the Copper Ridge Series (Part Time Cowboy, Brokedown Cowboy and Bad News Cowboy)

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER.Sweepstakes opens 8/3/2015 at 12:01 AM (EDT) and closes 8/25/2015 at 11:59 PM (EDT). Enter online at http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4a6581ad5. Open to legal residents of the U.S. and Canada who have reached the age of majority or older. Void where prohibited by law. Void in Quebec. Five (5) prizes available to be won consisting of a “Copper Ridge” trilogy of books by Maisey Yates (Total ARV: $23.00 USD). Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Full details and Official Rules available online at http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4a6581ad5. Sponsor: Harlequin Enterprises Limited.

 

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BOOK TOUR: Review: “The Black Swan Company” by Luna DeMasi

"The Black Swan Company" by Luna DeMasiA review by Domoni.

I would first like to thank the author for allowing me to read her novel in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Melody ran away from The Colony. Desperate to find out what is happening to her friends, she recklessly escapes. Now on the run from the Sanguines, she finds herself the unexpected guest of Bastion. Though he is a sanguine, for some reason she trusts him not to eat her and stays on with him. They start to form a deep friendship as he helps her understand what is going on in the world around her. As she adapts they find her friends; many have become sanguine themselves. As Melody learns to deal with the changing reality, she discovers not all of them are monsters like she had believed. But what is The Black Swan Company? Are they stealing people and turning them into pets for the sanguines or just meals? Things, of course, are never what they seem to be.

This was an interesting take on the vampire story. Though the approach of “not all monsters are bad” isn’t new, the humans choosing to be pets aspect isn’t seen as often. The writer did an excellent job with her story. It grabs you from the first sentence and takes you on an adventure that is sometimes scary, endearing and humorous.

Melody is a great character. She is witty and real with frequent mental conversations with her father for perspective. She also keeps a journal of sorts where she writes correspondence, and this helps you understand her head space.

Bastion is a wonderful character to compliment Melody. He is endearing and they play off of each other well. I really enjoyed the banter and the amount of personality they both radiated. The author did an amazing job creating this world and its inhabitants.

This was a pretty quick read which thoroughly absorbed me and I hope it becomes a long series, because it is a world I would gladly live in for a long time.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

This page contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.

"The Black Swan Company" by Luna DeMasi

The Black Swan Company

Book 1

Luna DeMasi

Genre: Paranormal Thriller, Urban Fantasy

ISBN: 1511521945

ISBN: 978-1511521949

ASIN: B00QXTME88

Number of pages: 380

Word Count: 114,000

Book Description:

Melody Fields is an investigative journalist.

…Or, at least, she used to be.

An epidemic has swept the United States, turning the majority of its population into undead creatures called Sanguines, who sustain themselves on the life force of the living. Those who weren’t afflicted were given a choice: Enter a protected Colony or hope to survive.

Guilted by her father to flee while she still could, Melody has been marooned on Nantucket Colony for four years. Unable to turn off her vocational instincts, the tough-as-nails, Boston-by-way-of-Foxboro journalist can’t help but notice when her fellow Colonists begin to disappear.

After months of observation, Melody finds a pattern to the disappearances, and it doesn’t take long for her act-first-think-later mentality to kick in and follow a group of kidnappees onto a ferry. Once on the mainland, though, her seldom-seen sense of self-preservation causes her to abandon her mission and flee. Desperate for a place to hide, she winds up in the home of a lonely, soft-spoken Sanguine named Bastian, who seemingly breaks all protocol with his disinterest in eating her alive and his offer of safe harbor.

A slow-growing trust developing between them, Bastian tries his best to help Melody find her place in a now-unfamiliar world, but she doesn’t understand how different her place really is until she reconnects with her inner-circle. Melody and her friends discover that they’ve been unraveling the same unsavory story from opposite ends, and when they tie their information together, they realize they might be uncovering a scandal that could change everything if it’s brought to light. But if they fail, it could mean the end for countless lives…even their own.

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/C5_jbi-d4ok

Available at Amazon  Createspace

Luna DeMasi

About the Author:

Luna DeMasi was born in New York, but currently resides in southeast Michigan. She holds a B. S. in psychology, a master’s of library and information science, and is a staunch advocate for human rights, animal rights, and gender equality.

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lunademasiBSC

My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/luna.demasi.1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lunademasi

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/11883596.Luna_DeMasi

Website: www.lunademasi.com

Tour giveaway

1 print copy The Black Swan Company

5 ebook copies The Black Swan Company

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Bewitching Book Tours

BOOK TOUR: Review: “Ella, The Slayer” by A.W. Exley

"Ella The Slayer" b A.W. ExleyA review by Maria.

I would like to thank author A.W Exley for allowing me to read her book: Ella, The Slayer in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This book was a pleasant combination of Cinderella, Downton Abbey, and The Walking Dead.

Ella’s father is the master of their house, and her deceased mother was a servant; but Ella still lived an elegant life. Several years back her father re-married. Her stepmother and two stepsisters forced her to live the life as a servant and not a lady. When her father came back from the war brain-damaged and disabled, 17-year-old Ella was left to care for the estate and the whims of her ambitious stepmother. Then the dead started to rise up and started attacking the living. When Ella kills one of the undead she’s deemed hell-bound and acts as the official slayer for her town since she’s already doomed. Then she meets Seth deMage, the new Duke of Leithfield, by nearly decapitating him thinking he was one of the undead. A partnership born of attraction and respect is formed. But Ella’s stepmother and stepsister will stop at nothing to gain Seth’s hand in marriage.

Ella is a braver version of Cinderella; one who is capable of saving herself and those around her. She’s kind, witty, stubborn, and courageous. She’s prepared herself to kill the undead even though the church says it is at the cost of her soul. But better one soul lost in the killing of the undead rather than many. Ella proves resourceful both in her slaying but also in thinking of ways to spend time with Seth. She knows the attraction can’t go anywhere because he’s nobility and she’s a servant but she enjoys their time together. She worries that one day he’ll learn her secret or worse, her step-family will.

Seth was a very pleasant substitute for Prince Charming in the story. Instead of hiding behind his noble birth, Seth went and fought in the war and continues to fight now against the un-dead back at home. He’s fascinated with the capable katana wielding Ella; and wants to get to know her more.

Also worth mentioning were the wonderful characters in the servants quarters both in Ella’s home and Seth’s. Through Ella, the book offers glimpses at how hard the life of a servant still was in 1918 and what little rights they had.

The only complaint I had about this novel was that I wished the author had delved more into the multiple character’s lives during their time in the war and a little more about how the undead zombies came into existence. But the theory on what motivates the undead and comparing them to a beehive was a fantastic new take on the zombie lore.

Fans of Cinderella, Downton Abbey, and The Walking Dead would enjoy this book as it’s a terrific blend of all three. I recommend this book to young-adults and adults alike. Even though the legend of Cinderella factors into this story I wouldn’t recommend it to younger readers as there’s plenty of gore and zombies in it.

My rating: 4.5/5 stars.

This page contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.Ella The Slayer Book Tour Banner

Welcome to my tour stop for Ella, the Slayer by A.W. Exley. Ella, the Slayer is an Edwardian retelling of Cinderella with an undead problem. It is an upper young adult novel.

The tour runs August 10-21 with reviews only. Check out the tour page for more information.

ELLA ebookAbout the Book:

The flu pandemic of 1918 took millions of souls within a few short weeks.
Except it wasn’t flu and death gave them back.

Seventeen-year-old Ella copes the best she can; caring for her war-injured father, scrubbing the floors, and slaying the undead that attack the locals. ‘Vermin’ they’re called, like rats they spread pestilence with their bite. Ella’s world collides with another when she nearly decapitates a handsome stranger, who is very much alive.

Seth deMage, the new Duke of Leithfield, has returned to his ancestral home with a mission from the War Office — to control the plague of vermin in rural Somerset. He needs help; he just didn’t expect to find it in a katana-wielding scullery maid.

Working alongside Seth blurs the line between their positions, and Ella glimpses a future she never dreamed was possible. But in overstepping society’s boundaries, Ella could lose everything – home, head and her heart…

 

A.W. ExleyAbout the Author:

 

Books and writing have always been an enormous part of A.W. Exley’s life.
She survived school by hiding out in the library, with several thousand fictional characters for company. At university, she overcame the boredom of studying accountancy by squeezing in Egyptology papers and learning to read hieroglyphics.
Today, Anita writes steampunk novels with a sexy edge and an Egyptian twist. She lives in rural New Zealand surrounded by an assortment of weird and wonderful equines, felines, canine and homicidal chickens.
 
GIVEAWAY:
$50 Amazon Gift Card
Signed paperback of Ella, the Slayer by A.W. Exley
Open Worldwide
Ends August 26th
Prizing is provided by the author, hosts are in no way responsible.
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Review: “Alive” by Scott Sigler

"Alive" by Scott SiglerA review by Amanda.

The last thing she remembers is going to bed the night before her twelfth birthday. She can’t move. She can’t see. She doesn’t remember her own name. Bars are holding her in place, and she soon realizes that she’s not in a bed – she’s encased in something eerily similar to a coffin. Terror seizes her and adrenaline aids her in breaking free. The letters M. Savage are engraved on the coffin – is that her name? Muffled yelling catches her attention – there are eleven coffins in the room besides hers and she is able to help five others escape theirs, introducing herself as “Em.” None of them remember their names or anything concrete about their lives or how they came to be in this place. All of them think they are twelve years old but appear to be nineteen or twenty. Each has a different initial and last name engraved on their prisons. Leaving the room only brings more questions, as the corridors are filled with disintegrated bodies. For some reason, the others trust Em to find answers and lead everyone to safety. No pressure…

This book captivated me from the very beginning. Told from Em’s perspective, the reader only knows what she does. She has only vague impressions, gut feelings, and flashes of memories to guide her and the reader is along for the ride. The author does a fantastic job of keeping you guessing the entire time. This story is creepy in a way that might cause readers to put the book down at night, while also compelling them to pick it back up as soon as daylight hits the next day. Em is an intriguing character. She doesn’t know what kind of a person she is and her decisions are initially formed based on appearing strong and doing whatever it takes to stay alive. A fine line is walked with these characters who are mentally and emotionally pre-teens but are physically and hormonally adults. Attraction between some characters is expected and acknowledged without any “ick” lines being crossed. I would recommend this story to fans of the sci-fi/horror crossover genre. This is the first in a trilogy and I am eagerly awaiting the second book!

 

My rating: 4.5/5 stars.

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