BOOK TOUR Review: “The Gathering Dark (The Newfoundland Vampire Book 3)” by Charles O’Keefe

BOOK TOUR Review:

A review by Domoni.

I would like to thank the author for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This story is the third in an ongoing series. I have not read the two books previous. Though they may add a small level of understanding to the world created by this author, this book is capable of being read as a standalone story.

Anne Bonny is a vampire. Yes, the famed pirate of legend. She still lives her life on her terms and with eternity at her fingertips, she plans to continue to do so. When she receives the mental message of his impending death from her only vampire progeny, Anne decides to venture to Newfoundland and meet these vampires who killed her despised offspring.

Cassandra was sired by John, the cruel progeny of Anne. When she falls for and turns Joseph, she convinces him to help her kill the evil vampire. Joseph is having trouble letting go of his humanity and has decided to part ways with Cassandra. When Anne seeks them out to understand what transpired between them all the trio gets swept up into a battle. The evil vampires of the council plan to enslave many mortals creating brainwashed tools.  Can the figure out and thwart the plan that endangers humanity as well as defend themselves against their enemies?

This story is well written. It easily captured my attention and help it for the entire read. There were a few parts that I more than likely would have benefitted from reading the past novels, but it wasn’t a huge hindrance. Though it peaked my attention enough for me to want to purchase those and fill in the gaps. The scenes were crafted well enough to develop a clear image in the mind as I read along.

Though I would not class this book as erotica, there were a few well written sexy scenes between the characters. They were a nice addition to keep a little sexy touch to an interesting story, though not too often to change the genre of this story to what I call a bodice ripper. The author skillfully filled out the love scenes between the various couplings with enough material to entice those who enjoy intimate scenes between all sorts of couples.

The characters were well written and exciting. They had fleshed out histories and were individually exciting as well as carrying enough charisma in a group to add to the overall dynamic of the story. There was a small bit of cheese factor, which I enjoyed and added a touch of lightheartedness in the right spots. I would recommend this book to friends and plan to read more from this author in the future.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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

GIVEAWAY!

Charles O’Keefe will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Advertisements

Review: “Scrappy Little Nobody” by Anna Kendrick

A review by Amanda.

Scrappy Little Nobody is Anna Kendrick’s first foray as a published author. Readers may recognize Kendrick from her roles in movies such as Pitch Perfect, Up In The Air, Trolls, the Twilight Saga, and so much more. She’s famous for her forthright manner and acerbic wit, in interviews and on social media alike. Her autobiography is a collection of unique experiences, amusing and awkward anecdotes, and sprinkled with pertinent life advice from which many young ladies could benefit. She includes childhood memories, the struggles of an aspiring actress new to Los Angeles, hilarity on film sets (complete with some light name dropping), and everything in between. Her stories are poignant, humorous, and mildly self-deprecating.

Kendrick’s writing highlights her vibrant personality. The stories flow well, beginning in her childhood, introducing us to her family and showing readers what life was like growing up in Portland, Maine. Love and respect for her family, and gratitude for their support and sacrifices are featured throughout. This keeps the book feeling grounded in reality amongst tales of her celebrity encounters and the surreal experience of attending the Oscars. Readers will find Kendrick relatable and open. Her honesty about her faults could easily have felt forced or sanctimonious but is instead completely genuine.

Full disclosure: I was fortunate enough to catch Kendrick’s book tour in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. I received a copy of her book with my paid ticket to the event, as did everyone who attended. While I have been an admirer of her work in film for a few years, I did not know what to expect from her as an author. Her writing drew me in with her humor and approachability. I especially appreciated her candor about her love life and the serious advice that she imparts as a result of one such experience. Her frank talk about her anxiety and insecurities is invigorating and relatable. The timeline flows smoothly, with occasional jumps back to the present or an aside to the reader. She expertly tantalizes readers with a bit of celebrity gossip but handles it with great respect for those she names, and usually places herself in the more embarrassing light. I would recommend this book to anyone who is familiar with Kendrick from her movies or social media, and to those who are looking for an entertaining non-fiction read. Kendrick does not hold back in terms of strong language and does talk about some sexual encounters, although not explicitly. Mature teenagers should handle the content just fine.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

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

Review: “Nightshades” by Melissa F. Olson

A review by Amanda.

Vampires, more commonly known as shades, are terrorizing Chicago. Teenagers have gone missing and bodies are turning up, and Chicago’s newly formed Bureau of Preternatural Investigations has been tasked with hunting down the shades responsible. The recently promoted Special Agent-In-Charge, Alex McKenna, and his team will have to think outside of the box to catch these bad guys. Alex goes farther beyond the box than any other agent has by adding a shade to the team, hoping to use her wealth of inside information to gain the advantage. Perhaps, in extreme cases, only a shade can catch a shade.

Lindy Frederick has gone “mainstream” for the last several decades, forgoing her kind’s habit of living off the grid. She’s worked hard to blend in and put the past behind her, using her knowledge of languages to work as a translator. Working for the BPI puts her human pretense at risk, but the shades who have been taking the teens are risking exposing everyone and Lindy has to decide for herself which risk is greater. She agrees to join Alex’s team under the condition that her human cover stays intact. Can they put their prejudices aside to solve this case, before anyone else goes missing?

Nightshades reads as a police procedural with a supernatural bend. It is quick-paced and a bit dry, but definitely not boring. The twist on the overused vampire mythology is different enough to be entertaining rather than predictable. The characters do not have a ton of depth. There is definitely room for growth and further development for each of main characters but they are all interesting people. I found myself wanting to keep reading so I could get to know them better. The author has set the stage beautifully for a sequel, which I will read without hesitation.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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

BOOK TOUR Review: “The Alchemists of Loom” by Elise Kova

Book tour Review- The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova

A review by Domoni.

Ari is a the White Wraith. A legendary criminal who refuses to bow under the rule of the Dragons. She is a Chimera, a Fenthri imbued with blood or organs from dragons. On Loom, the three humanoid races live together, though not in peace. When Ari finds Cvareh injured on the ground, she moves to kill the dragon and steal his heart. He promises her his boon if she will get him to the alchemists. Ari knows that it would be a risk, and though she despises all dragons, having the chance to get her wish granted convinces her to save and help him.  When Ari’s charge Florence is separated from her after dragons attack their town, Ari realizes Cvareh is running from something much bigger than she realized. The dragon king has his strongest warriors searching for them and it will be a miracle if they make it to the alchemists.

This is an interesting fantasy/steampunk story. The author’s writing is excellent and she has created a deep full world full of vivid scenery and characters. The hierarchies of the different races are complex and frustrating, making the world ripe for resistance. The story had some wonderful moral underlays that hit the heart, making you connect deeper to the characters.

I enjoyed the main characters. Ari is fierce and strong and though her anger was ever present in her distaste for the dragons, you eventually learn the reasons and it makes sense. Florence was actually my favorite. I loved her strength and determination. A good book with two amazing female characters is always a plus for me. I was bothered that the first half of the book alluded to the women being in an intimate relationship and then suddenly they yanked that out from under us. I would have preferred that the author not tease us in that manner, as it quite put me off when the reality was revealed. The actual romance was one of those instalove from hate kind of relationships that I don’t care for and it damaged the story a bit in my mind.

The author created a very distinct new world that did take a little bit of work to keep track of, but it is worth diving into and will invite the reader to return to learn more about this story.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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

The Alchemists of Loom
Elise Kova
(Loom Saga #1)
Publication date: January 10th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Her vengeance. His vision.

Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.

Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.

When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.

He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks

 

Author Bio:

Elise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she is not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She is the USA Today bestselling author of the Air Awakens Series as well as the upcoming Loom Saga (Keymaster, 2017).

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

Review: “One Piece: Skypeia 25-27” by Eiichiro Oda

one-piece-skypeia-25-27-by-eiichiro-oda

A review by Hannah.

One Piece was started in 1997 and is continuing today. There are 81 volumes to date, which is why this series of reviews will be broken up into three volume books. From now on there will be spoilers for what happens in the rest of the series. You have been warned…

The crew is on Jaya, where they read a story about Noland the Liar and they learn what it takes to get up into the ocean in the sky. It takes being shot directly into the sky and hoping you make it to the Emperor Clouds before the Knock Up Stream gives out and sends you plummeting to your death. Luffy is all in with this method; Ussopp and Nami not so much. Everyone else just goes with the flow.

Obviously they survive. Luffy, Chopper, and Robin are still hammers and can’t swim in the cloud ocean. The crew is attached by a masked man and saved by Gan Fall and his “pegasus,” Pierre. The crew sneaks onto Angel Island, meets Conis and her father Pagaya. They learn about Dials, eat sky fish, and try out Pagaya’s waver, a one-person boat that doesn’t need wind. Nami rides the waver to a place called Upper Yard. Upper Yard is an island covered in thick jungle. It’s also where the Kami and his priests live.

The Merry Go is forcibly towed with Chopper, Nami, Robin, and Zoro on board to Upper Yard. Turns out the crew are considered criminals and must face the Kami’s judgement. Zoro, Nami, and Robin leave to explore the island and find a way back to the rest of the crew. Chopper stays behind to guard the Merry Go. Luffy, Sanji, and Ussop barrow Conis’s training waver, a slow crow shaped ship, and leave to find their friends. All will have to face the ordeals of Kami and his priests.

A lot happens in these volumes. There’s politics, fighting, and a campout party with wolves. We learn new things about characters, like Sanji is originally from the North Sea, and the Robin can only use her powers when she can see where her limbs will be.

I like that all of the cloud islanders have cute little angel wings. They all look so sweet. However, their cuteness hides a terrible secret. The new Kami forcibly took over the country. Now any who disobey the Kami are destroyed horribly.

Kami is Japanese for god. In the case of these volumes, Kami is a title given to the ruler of the island. There are several jokes that revolve around prayer, the fighters actively seeking out the Kami just so they can say they fought a god, and Zoro being a super atheist.

The translation is better than it was in the earlier volumes. Jokes feel more natural and there is more Japanese for times when there is no direct Japanese to English translation. For example using “Kami” instead of “God.” If you can just mentally change “Zolo” into “Zoro” and “gum gum” into “gomu gomu” you will be fine.

I feel like this part of the story is mostly filler. There is no personal reason to enter the conflict for any crew member and there just happens to be a civil war that has been waged for at least 400 years that’s about to come to its climax while the crew is playing tourist. Mostly this story arc is a chance for Robin to integrate herself with the crew and for the crew to finish mourning Vivi.

My rating: 3.5/5 stars.

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

BOOK TOUR Review: “Cubeball” by Michael Leon

Review -

A review by Domoni.

In a far off future, sports are just as competitive as they are now. Though through technology and synthetic enhancements, competition is much different. Michael is a cubeball champion. The future version of snooker is taken very seriously. After spending time as a world champion and becoming a well known celebrity, Michael has had enough of the life. He takes his wealth and moves to the outpost on Mars. Ten years later, his money dwindling, he has decided to return home to Earth.

This is an interesting sci-fi sports story. The book tends to jump back and forth through time. You get to see how Michael grew up and became a champion cubeball player, while also staying with him in real time as he makes his way through the world.  The author has created an interesting world. It is a believable future that is not hard to imagine. The characters are interesting and plausible.

This book does at times fall prey to one of the pitfalls of science fiction writing. There is much time spent on the description of technologies, yet they never fully make sense or capture the attention as much as they could if the specifics were a bit more glossed over so the reader can focus more on the story.  Though this was not as bad as it is in many other novels, I was able to get into the story.

Ludwig was the character that actually captured my interest the most in this story. The way the savant was written intrigued me and I enjoyed his interactions with Michael. He was an easier to like character than the often brash Michael. Overall, the story was good and I would consider reading more in this series.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

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

GIVEAWAY:

Michael will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift catf to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: “Argonauts” by Kevin Kneupper

Review-"Argonauts” by Kevin Kneupper

A review by Vanessa.

Medea and Jason have never met before.  Of course they haven’t met; she is merely a stakeholder in the major corporation turned ecosystem/city that is Argos, while Jason is a shareholder.  The corporation runs everything.  In a world where nearly all of the jobs are run by artificially intelligent robots Madea just happens to have a unique and valuable talent for being able to manipulate genes, known as genomancy, in order to give people special traits.  She works for the corporation’s warriors, known as the Argonauts, giving them whatever attributes they wish.  She can give them a bear’s strength, fur, and claws, or even a fish’s gills and ability to swim.  Where her heart truly lies though, is with the work she is allowed to do for the poor stakeholders of Argos.  She can fix a little girl’s stutter, or remove the genes prone to cancer.  But despite her talent, and her enviable possession of one of the few remaining jobs still done by people, she gets no respect. Especially not from the warriors, who refuse to acknowledge her importance to their accomplishments, and not from Jason when they meet for the first time.

Jason, unlike Medea, is a shareholder; rich, powerful, and most importantly he has a voice in the management vote for the CEO of Argos.  This is of particular significance to Pelias, the current CEO.  When Jason’s father Aeson dies of the overindulgences that are often thrown at shareholders to keep them happy, Jason finds an unexpected opportunity.  He has always wanted to join the Argonauts, but with an unsupportive father his dream never came true.  Now, with a CEO who is salivating over the opportunity to get his hands on Jason’s shares, and most importantly his votes, he is going to get his dream.  Jason though, wants nothing to do with Medea.  He has spent his entire life honing himself into the perfect warrior, and he believes that what she does is nothing more than a way to cheat.  Medea is none too happy about being forced along on Jason’s first mission, either.  But the two of them realize quickly that they have to find a common ground, as one thing after another goes wrong on their mission to Colchis. They have been sent to the competing corporation’s city in search of the golden fleece; a data bank of genetic information that just may change the rules of genomancy forever.

I think it is beneficial that I was not aware of the specific details of Jason and Medea’s story before reading this book.  I knew enough of the basics so that I could understand when the author was pulling in recognizable places and characters from the original story.  But the distinctive twists on those elements made it like a whole new story for me.  Kneupper weaves the classic Greek elements into a fascinating new world in which many of the current world’s fears, and dreams, about the future are essentially realized.  All the jobs have been taken over by robots, nobody works so the government has to give out a basic minimum to each person, while the corporations that run everything constantly compete to convince people to invest their basic minimum with them.  Gene therapy has leapt forwarded to the ability to change people’s genes almost however they want, and extend lives.  This makes for a really interesting setting in which the story takes place. The characters, while recognizable, do lack in growth and tend towards the one dimensional.  The romance between the two characters was bit hurried, and the secondary characters were underutilized.  Overall, though, I liked this book.  Despite my choice to rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars I would recommend it for an interesting and entertaining read.

My rating: 3.5/5 stars.

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