BOOK TOUR Review: “Persephone’s Orchard” by Molly Ringle

Review-

A review by Domoni.

Sophie is starting college. She is far from home. Already she misses her family and friends and her boyfriend Jacob.  Her parents have just dropped her off when a stranger walks into her dorm room carrying on a heated discussion on his cell phone in a foreign language. When he finishes his call, his kind, confused manner convinces Sophie to help him find the school bookstore. The walk across the campus takes a scenic turn when he suddenly grabs her and somehow transports her to another realm. Confused and afraid, Sophie tries to run from him across the strange vast field, only to encounter a giant lion. Out of nowhere Adrian, a handsome man with a loyal dog, steps in to save her. When he starts to explain to her where she is, that is when things get really strange.  So, Hades is a hot 21 year old kiwi, and Sophie is his longtime, every lifetime love, Persephone. She could become immortal and stay with him if she chooses, or go back to college and live a normal life. Don’t forget the secret organization out to stop the immortals. Leaving home wasn’t supposed to be this kind of exciting.

I very much enjoyed this book. I have read a few similar type of stories about reincarnated loves, or reincarnated gods. I generally like the idea but am often let down by the actual book. The author did an amazing job with this story though. The world is well created, very vivid and easy to imagine. The characters are full and exciting. I loved how as Sophie remembered her past, she remained herself. She didn’t just spark that first memory of Adrian/Hades and fall instantly into her role and in love with Adrian. As she worked through all the past lives and memories, she questioned every step and fell into a natural slow rhythm of learning who she was and who Adrian was.

The story was a clean read, I had no moments where I was bored. I easily read it in one day, not wanting to take a break. I cannot wait to find out more and read the rest of this series. I did receive this book as an ARC copy in exchange for a review.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

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Review: “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War” by Max Brooks

World War Z by Max Brooks

A review by Courtney.

I picked up this book because the season finale of The Walking Dead had aired and I wanted a zombie fix. I had already seen the movie that was based on this book and was assured by multiple sources that the only similarities between the two were their titles and that they both were about zombies, so I assumed it would be a fresh experience. I did start the book with a little trepidation because it is a collection of short stories and I really hate short stories. Short stories just aren’t long enough for me to feel any resolution of the story or any connections with the characters.

World War Z is broken down into sections: Blame, The Great Panic, Around the World and Above, etc. Within each section are stories from people in different parts of the world sharing about how different parts of the war went down. You go to China for the first diagnosis and see the real fear in the memory of a doctor encountering an infected person for the first time. There is a story about a family in Canada going as far north as they can to escape the zombies because supposedly zombies freeze in the winter and can’t attack you. In another story you witness a battle against the zombies that ends with the platoon surrounded by bodies stacked 30 feet tall on all sides and the platoon is victorious. You learn of the horrifying military plan that involved purposely leaving civilians in danger so the military could have an easier time regrouping and going on the offensive. The stories take place in very different people’s perspectives all around the world.

The common thread that held this book together is the narrator and in the beginning the narrator makes it clear that he is only “asking questions” to help the people he is talking to tell their stories. I was impressed at the sheer number and variety of stories within the book. I can’t think of someone’s perspective that I wish had been told because there were so many, even ones I wouldn’t necessarily even have thought about. Some stories ended on a high note, others with a twist I failed to see coming, but most ended on a sad note that I felt would be very accurate if all of this had actually happened. The only time I got a little bored with this book was at the end because the final stories were extremely short, less than a page long. I had a harder time focusing on the book at that point. The rest of the book, however, really pulled me in and I couldn’t wait to see what part of the world we were traveling to next and what the zombie war would look like from that vantage point.

I would  recommend this book to mature readers, and anyone who loves zombies, history, or both.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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BOOK TOUR Review: “Unforgiving” by Alisic Adnan

BOOK TOUR Review- "Unforgiving" by Alisic Adnan

A review by Domoni.

Meho is a teenage boy with teenage problems. He lives at home with his family, goes to school everyday, can’t figure out how to talk to his crush, and has problems with a bully. Meho also has problems a typical teenage boy doesn’t have. Meho is from Sarajevo. His village destroyed, he was adopted by an American family; a mother and father who give him everything he needs and a brother, Bucky, who worships him.  Meho is haunted by what he has done to survive and what he will do to those who destroyed his home and family.

This was a dark but interesting story. In a lot of ways it was easy to relate to the way Meho behaved. His early life was harsh and cold. Killing meant survival, and who wouldn’t want to off the people who have taken so much from them? Many of the things in this story were just too farfetched though. Meho and Bucky are incredible hackers, who were able to hack into the biggest banks and siphon off millions and not get caught.  They also were trained in biochemistry by their grandfather, enough to work in a lab alone apparently. The calculated way a teen can plan and execute professional killers was a bit of a stretch.  Looking past that, Meho is not an average boy and the story has some twists and turns I did not expect.

The author is a good writer and does an excellent job of fleshing out the characters and keeping the reader on their toes. The world is full and vibrant so the story is easy to read. I think it would have been easier for me if the characters were a little bit older as some things wouldn’t feel as implausible. Over all it is a good read and I would read more by this author.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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Unforgiving
Alisic Adnan
Publication date: January 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

12 years after surviving horrific massacre, 15-year- old Meho commits ruthless murders and sets in motion the event which could change the world order.

The murders are followed by the trial of the century, where media vilifies Meho as a psychopath, mass murderer, and a monster — all under the influence of FBI, who are trying to conceal the identity of the victims and protect the National Security.

The only person who believes that Meho is innocent is his 10-year-old brother Bucky, who will turn heavens and earth to free Meho. After learning the truth, Bucky is devastated, but not all things are as they seem, and the truth will be revealed at the very end.

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Author Bio:

After witnessing terrible war atrocities, Adnan Alisić escaped from Bosnia and came to Phoenix, Arizona where he became a successful businessman. Entangled in a gambling addiction, he was forced to execute this sensational casino heist. He can be reached at Alisic.adnan6@gmail.com or http://www.AlisicAdnan.

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BOOK TOUR Review: “A Bond of Venom and Magic” by Karen Tomlinson

BOOK TOUR Review: "A Bond of Venom and Magic" by Karen Tomlinson

A review by Domoni.

Diamond’s life isn’t easy. She is a half blood, half human and half fae. Unlike many half bloods, she cannot pass as one or the other and so she fits in with neither. In a world where prejudice against half bloods is strong, she has only her father and her friend Tom. Until the night the seekers found her. Sent by the Wraith Lord to kill her and steal her necklace, Diamond’s father is killed trying to save her.  Diamond is saved by Hugo and his troop of warrior Fae.  She is far from safe and far from being accepted.  Why does anyone want her dead, when half bloods matter so little?

This was a great read and an interesting story in the Fae world. The author did a wonderful job creating the characters and the world they lived in. The imagery was beautiful and the personalities distinct. Diamond is one of the more realistic female characters I have read in a long time. She is insecure and flawed with a habit of panicking. Her evolution through the story is not rushed, but flows in a manner that makes her believable and likeable.

Hugo is gruff and stern and a contradiction. He is a soldier of the queen, who hates all half bloods and is obsessed with magic. Currently he is assigned to fight under her ally the prince, to help him battle The Wraith Lord Ragor. Underneath his soldier exterior and the appearance of prejudice, he seems to be kind and loyal. And of course he is gorgeous, so how could Diamond not develop feelings for him?

I loved the evolution of this story; it did not feel like a typical fantasy with a forced love at first sight romance. The depiction of good and evil was complex and the presentation of magic was captivating. I look forward to reading the rest of this series.

I received this book as an ARC copy in exchange for a review.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

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A Bond Of Venom and Magic
Karen Tomlinson
(The Goddess and the Guardians #1)
Publication date: October 14th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

The Wraith Lord is hunting; his prize, the key to unleashing darkness and Chaos upon the eight Kingdoms.

For Diamond Gillon the war raging in the south seems a remote danger until her home is brutally attacked. Having lost everything she holds dear, Diamond is catapulted into a terrifying new world in which legendary beasts arise, magic is condemned and half blood fae, like her, have no rights. Despite her growing feelings for her saviour, Commander Hugo Casimir, he remains a paradox – not only is he a heartless killer, he is owned by the cruel immortal fae queen; a queen who will murder her own people for magic.

As Diamond’s circumstances become ever more perilous she is drawn deeper into Hugo’s world and discovers the lengths to which he will go to save what he holds dear. Will Hugo become her friend, her protector, or – an enemy not worthy of her trust?

A Bond of Venom and Magic is a tale of two people bound by magic and secrets, but trapped in the complexities of love and betrayal. It is the beginning of an epic journey, one that will test Diamond’s resolve and determination to battle an evil that threatens not only her world but that of Eternity, the land of The Guardians and The Goddess.

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Author Bio:

Karen Tomlinson is the author of The Goddess and the Guardians series of Young Adult fantasy books. Book one A Bond of Venom and Magic will be released October 14th 2016.

Karen has always been an avid reader. Her taste in books is eclectic but she likes nothing better than an exciting fantasy, set in a new and magical world. She lives in Derbyshire, England, with her husband, twin girls and her dalmatian, Poppy. Karen trained as a nurse and currently works as a resuscitation and clinical skills trainer, this involves training a wide variety of health care professionals and medical students in acute patient care. In addition to writing, and reading whenever she can, Karen likes to keep active. She has been training at Shotokan karate since being thirteen, likes walking, mountain biking and (for something completely different) cake decorating. She is currently working on book two in The Goddess and the Guardians series.

About me!

As soon as I could read I spent hours getting lost in the new worlds books could give me. Spending my pocket money had to be done (obviously) but not on sweets, well, not many…I spent my money on books. Back then it was Enid Blyton’s Famous Five which sparked my young mind. I didn’t rest until I had the whole set, then I migrated to the secret seven…(there was no Harry Potter then) As a teenager I would trawl through all my mum and dad’s discarded books. It was probably highly inappropriate for a thirteen year old to be reading swoony Mills and Boon romances followed by Ian Flemming, Alistair Maclean and Wilbur Smith!
Because I read anything and everything I could get my hands on back then, I now have an eclectic taste in books. I will read anything that catches my eye and absolutely love illustrated book covers! In my late teens I discovered fantasy and that genre has stayed my firm favourite. I am and will always remain a complete sucker for a fantasy with kick ass characters and worlds steeped in magic and romance!

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Review: “Mockingbird Volume 1: I Can Explain” by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk

Mockingbird Volume 1: I Can Explain by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk

A review by Courtney.

I bought Volume 1 of Mockingbird when I saw the cover of issue 8 had Mockingbird wearing a shirt proclaiming, “ask me about my feminist agenda.” I decided this was a comic book I needed to start reading and I needed to catch up, because I really wanted to read issue 8. I had previously read and enjoyed the Mockingbird one shot, which was released about a year ago, so I was hopeful this was a comic I was going to enjoy.

Mockingbird (also known as Bobbi Morse, and Agent 19), starts with our heroine in a Shield medical center, going in for her regular exam. We learn Nick Fury injected her with Super Soldier Serum and Infinity formula to save her life.  Bobbi is now considered high risk and the doctors of Shield are taking precautions and keeping a close eye on her. She is given a beeper and must come into the doctor’s office whenever they page her. Bobbi is shown in the doctor’s office in a variety of different clothes and we learn that the progressing issues are her adventures and this explains the different clothes. Bobbi is a multifaceted spy who does excel at kicking butt, but she also loves math and science and is incredibly snarky. Bobbi’s adventures revolve around saving people, and sometimes those people are her exes, whom she still has good relationships with.

This comic is told from Mockingbird’s perspective; which I love and thought was incredibly smart because it allowed me to get in her head. Bobbi is the sarcastic, witty, intelligent, strong woman I want to be when I grow up. It’s not often when I can identify with superheroines, but Bobbi is so confident, that you can’t help but want to be like her. I had also initially underestimated how funny this comic was going to be, but I was literally laughing out loud reading this book. The art was great, with a number of visually awesome action sequences, I have no idea how they were conceived because there is a lot that happens very quickly. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys comics with a strong female lead, because honestly, it doesn’t get any better than this. I was going to add this comic to my pull list, but as of this writing Mockingbird has been cancelled, so go buy all 8 issues while you can!

My rating: 5/5 stars.

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BOOK TOUR Review: “Girl Within Girl” by S.P. Aruna

BOOK TOUR Review:

A review by Domoni.

Katrina is a nurse in a psychiatric hospital.  She goes about her day helping the doctors help the patients. She notices things are off, but she just ignores them, even when those things are about herself.  Cherry is a photojournalist who wants to travel the world, take pictures of famous men, and sleep with them. The rougher the sex, the more she likes it. Anisa is a spy for the government. She will use her vast abilities to take out her targets; the perfect soldier. What do these three women have in common? They all exist in one body. Now they know about each other, and the government can’t have that. Things are falling apart, they are unravelling.  With the help of  young Dr. Paisley they run and hide, hoping to be saved and in the end be healed.

This was a strange take on The Manchurian Candidate. The Cia operates in a hospital where they use extreme electroshock therapy to erase people’s minds and reprogram them. The goal is to create the  most loyal, perfect soldier. It appears they have done that with Katrina. She is completely unaware of the acts her other personalities participate in. Even when she stumbles over evidence that makes her wonder, she is programmed to ignore it.  Until she meets and falls for the new doctor.

Dr. Sean Paisley is enjoying helping patients and really enjoying getting to know the nurse Katrina. Though when he follows the prescribed protocols on the patients needing shock therapy, he starts to feel like things are not right in the hospital. Somehow he locates a file on katrina, Anisa, and Cherry. He makes sure she sees the file before he is fired and this starts them on the path of learning the truth and running for their lives.

The book had some good moments and some not so good moments. I did not like it for the first half. The characters felt cliche and the events rather implausible. The sex scenes were detailed but the wording was juvenile. As I pushed through the book, I was more interested and invested in the storyline. Though the ending was very abrupt and I don’t know if I would wait around to read the next book in this series, it did somewhat redeem itself to me. This book would appeal to fans of rough erotica and those who enjoy the 50 Shades series.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

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BOOK TOUR Review: About the Book
Title: Girl Within Girl
Author: S.P. Aruna
Genre: Erotic Thriller
Katrina is never alone. She is bound to others inside her, tighter than any Siamese twins could ever be: Cherry, the freewheeling photojournalist, Anisa, the covert spy-assassin, and others as yet unknown, all sharing her body and mind as she goes about her work in a psychiatric hospital. But she is starting to unravel, and her sole hope is the handsome Dr. Sean Paisley, the only one who can make her whole again.
Girl Within Girl is a dark erotic thriller that wanders through a sensual maze of mind control and torture.

S.P. ArunaAuthor Bio
Half French, half Khmer (Cambodian), I’m a woman whose head is filled with fantasies and intriguing stories, and who wants to share them with others.

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BOOK TOUR Review: “Calling the Reaper” by Jason Pere

BOOK TOUR Review: "Calling the Reaper" by Jason Pere

A review by Domoni.

War is human nature. Men and women have waged wars in every culture in every time. The strongest warriors all eventually die. When it is their time, they shall meet the Reaper.

Calling the Reaper is a difficult book for me to review in the manner I normally do so. Writing up a paragraph that gives a broad sense of the book has been a struggle today. This book was pitched as a fantasy that covers various realms of the world, and it is. However, essentially this is a book of short stories that at some point will connect; I believe that may be in the second book though, as even the epilogue did not tie things together in an understandable way for me.

This book covers eight different storylines, each in three consecutive parts. The author writes well and creates interesting characters, but the majority of the book is build up, with little in the way of conclusion. None of the characters the stories center on achieve their ultimate goal. I found myself reading through each portion, waiting to feel a connection to the character, yet struggled to do so. This intensified the further I read into the book, with each changing character.

The very first story about the pirate Dante, caught my attention and when it suddenly ended and the book moved on to a new character and story, I felt annoyed that this was all I would get of him. I would much prefer if each character had a full story of its own and this was a series. While the author’s writing is well done and he definitely puts the time into the crafting of the world around the characters, the book just left me wanting.

My rating: 2/5 stars.

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About the Author:

 

Jason PereJason Pere is a born-and-raised New Englander. He always had a passion for the arts and creative storytelling. At the age of thirteen, Jason took up the craft of acting for film and theater. He pursued that interest for over a decade until refocusing his medium of expression into writing.

At first, Jason took a causal interest in writing, starting with poetry and journaling. Over time, he honed his direction and finally began writing larger works. In November of 2012, Jason self-published his first book, Modern Knighthood: Diary of a Warrior Poet.

Since then, Jason has continued writing on his own, mostly short stories and poetry. Calling the Reaper was his first experience committing to a full-length fiction title.

In early 2015, Jason became affiliated with Collaborative Writing Challenge (CWC). Since then, he has joined many other writers on numerous collaborative projects. Jason is a regular contributor to CWC and is scheduled to have multiple pieces of his work appear in their publications throughout 2016.

You can find out more about Jason Pere’s involvement and publications in collaborative fiction at: http://www.collaborativewritingchallenge.com

To connect with Jason, check him out at: http://www.facebook.com/jason.pere.7

Jason also writes fanfiction for Team Covenant on their Blog of the Pheonixborn, dedicated to the new game by Plaid Hat Games, “Ashes.” Go to http://teamcovenant.com/ashesonline/ to read Jason’s flash fiction work.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29099920-calling-the-reaper

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6648189.Jason_Pere

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HRCG75U/