Review: The Dead House – The Naida Tapes by Dawn Kurtagich

dead-house-naidaAmazon/Kobo/B&N/iBooks

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There is a box. A box that should never have been discovered. And a warning beneath the lid.

This was for Kaitlyn. It was a mistake. Forget this box and leave the Isle. Don’t look any further.
I’m begging you. N.C.D. 2005

After the inferno that swept through Elmbride High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear, Naida Chounan-Dupre was locked away for the good of society.

But that wasn’t the end of the story.

Because you can’t play with the devil and not pay the price.

The chilling, psychological horror of The Dead House returns with never-before-seen footage of the Naida tapes.

review

4/5 Stars 

What I love about Dawn Kurtagich is her ability to make the uncanny ridiculously terrifying. The mind is a dark and twisted place, and as humans, we have an astounding capacity to become consumed by our thoughts. What Kurtagich excels at is making the reader question the characters, to doubt them, and to sift through the story and fight hard to uncover what’s real before it’s too late. Is it supernatural or are the characters just having a mental break? You decide.

Some scenes are graphic, grotesque and may be triggering for some readers. Kurtagich is never short on description and I eat that stuff up. If you’re one of those horror film lovers who gets ecstatic over Paranormal Activity, Insidious, or Sinister, pick this up. 

The story is lively. There’s absolutely never a dull moment. From the initial intro to the new characters and relearning the old. There’s mystery, terror, intrigue, and such darkness it will consume you. 

If you haven’t read The Dead House in a while, you might want to revisit the ending. I read hundreds of books a year so some mentions of characters really threw me and there wasn’t enough reiteration of the earlier book at the time they were mentioned to make me feel like I had a grip on the back story.

Naida’s dead house. Chills. Her fear, her anxiety, the overwhelming sense of dread that she’s going to let the word out. The way she mutilates herself. EVERYTHING is twisted, and dark, and made of a fantastic combination of desperation and hope. 

For the most part, the characters were well-developed and memorable. Scott felt wishy-washy as a love interest and didn’t have much personality. Apart from one sweet scene, it was a bit of a let down. 

The camera footage. You truly feel like you’re watching. Each bizarre, weird thing becomes doubly disturbing when Naida attempts to explain. Everything you think you know, maybe, just maybe, you know nothing. 🙂 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Suspenseful reading, 

Jordan

Pre-Release Blitz & Giveaway: The Flame Never Dies by Rachel Vincent

I am super excited to be a part of this pre-release blitz to help spread the word that THE FLAME NEVER DIES, the second book in Rachel Vincent’s The Stars Never Rise series, is releasing on August 16th!

For those that are already caught up on this series, the wait is (almost) finally over! For those that haven’t yet met Nina Kane or discovered the dark and dangerous world she lives in, there’s still time to catch up – and a really sweet deal (details below) that will make you want to move this series to the top of your reading pile!

And for even more peeks at the fab content being shared throughout the blitz – shareable quotation graphics, excerpts and an interview – look for other blogger participants now through August 15th on social media #TheFlameNeverDies.

AND…

THE STARS NEVER RISE goes on sale!

In anticipation of the upcoming release of THE FLAME NEVER DIES, the publisher is dropping the price for the eBook version of the first book in the series – THE STARS NEVER RISE! So if you haven’t yet discovered this series, now is the perfect time!

Just head over to your favorite online e-tailer to look for THE STARS NEVER RISE with its newly lowered price or visit one of these online stores – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | GOOGLE PLAY | KOBO.

Please note that at the time of this post some stores may not yet have updated their sites to the promotional pricing. If they haven’t, be sure to check back for this awesome not-to-be-missed deal!

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOOGLE PLAY | KOBO | GOODREADS

Release Date: August 16, 2016

syn For fans of Cassandra Clare and Richelle Mead comes the unputdownable sequel to The Stars Never Rise, a book Rachel Caine, author of the bestselling Morganville Vampires series, called “haunting, unsettling, and eerily beautiful.”

ONE SPARK WILL RISE. Nina Kane was born to be an exorcist. And since uncovering the horrifying truth—that the war against demons is far from over—seventeen-year-old Nina and her pregnant younger sister, Mellie, have been on the run, incinerating the remains of the demon horde as they go.

In the badlands, Nina, Mellie, and Finn, the fugitive and rogue exorcist who saved her life, find allies in a group of freedom fighters. They also face a new threat: Pandemonia, a city full of demons. But this fresh new hell is the least of Nina’s worries. The well of souls ran dry more than a century ago, drained by the demons secretly living among humans, and without a donor soul, Mellie’s child will die within hours of its birth.

Nina isn’t about to let that happen . . . even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.

ExcerptHere’s a sneak peek from chapter two of THE FLAME NEVER DIES…

“What’s your name, sweetheart?” Ana asked the boy, and I realized there would be no teaching her caution where children were concerned. She had spent five years as a grade-school teacher.

“Tobias.” The boy’s voice was soft and hoarse, as if he’d been crying. His gaze slid from Anabelle to me, and I decided the glazed look in his eyes was from shock.

He reminded me of the kindergartners I’d spent my service hour with every day of my senior year, until the Church had declared me a cancerous wart on mankind’s collective hind end. Tobias could have been any kid in my class, terrified and traumatically orphaned.

We couldn’t leave him alone in the badlands. Yet ours was no life for a kid.

The irony in that thought hit home when my sister waddled past me, one hand on her huge belly. “Melanie,” I called, but she waved off my warning. When I glanced at Finn, he nodded to give me the all clear, the rifle still aimed at the ground. He’d inspected the car from the outside and squatted to peer beneath it, and had found no immediate danger.

Still, Mellie was too pregnant to fight or to flee from sudden danger, so I followed her, ready to pull her out of the path of evil should a demon burst from the bloody car.

“Are you okay, Tobias?” my sister asked, kneeling in front of the child with Anabelle’s help.

For a moment he only stared at her, studying her pale skin and even paler hair. Finally he nodded, his gaze fixated on her stomach, while I tried to calculate the mileage his family must have traveled in that doomed blue car. “You got a baby in there?”

Melanie laughed, and I marveled at the fact that she could find joy where the rest of us saw only tragedy and hardship. “Yes. And I like your name, Tobias.” She laid one hand on her stomach. “Maybe I’ll borrow it if this little one’s a boy.”

Assuming it lived.

Melanie was a tireless optimist, not blind to the dangers of the world, exactly, but not quite concerned enough about them. She refused to think about the overwhelming odds against her child’s survival, and neither she nor Ana had even glanced at the carnage inside that blue car.

And I hadn’t heard her mention Adam, the ill-fated father of her child, in weeks.

Reese pulled the SUV to a stop beside our truck, right in the middle of the road, and the other half of our group poured out of the vehicle. “What the hell?” Footsteps crunched in the dirt behind me, and then Reese and Grayson stopped at my side. She carried a plastic jug and he had a hose wrapped around his massive left arm.

“Looks like the parents are dead in the front seat,” I whispered. “Not sure what happened yet, but Finn hasn’t found any immediate threat.”

“Poor thing!” Grayson cried.

Devi rolled her eyes and scuffed her boot in the dirt on the side of the road. “What the hell are we supposed to do with him?”

“We can’t leave him here.” Maddock threaded his arm through hers, frowning as he watched the little boy. “It’s a miracle he’s still alive. He must not have been here long.”

“We’re not even going to think about taking him with us until we know what killed his parents.” Devi circled the car toward the driver’s side and used one hand to shield the sun from her face while she bent to peer through the window. When she stood a second later, she looked sick. “Nothin’ but blood.”

While the rest of us took a closer look at the car, Grayson, Ana, and Mellie lured Tobias toward the cargo truck with promises of water and chocolate from a box of sweets that had been intended for the general store in New Temperance.

As Devi and Finn had said, the front windows were too caked with blood to show anything at all, and through the rear windshield we could see little more than the outlines of two bodies sitting in the front seats. The trunk door stood open a couple of inches, and when I lifted it, I saw that the narrow center seat had been folded down, creating a small path into the trunk from the backseat of the car. A path just wide enough for a six-year-old.

My stomach twisted at the thought of what Tobias must have witnessed. How could any kid see that much carnage without being psychologically destroyed?

When the child was out of sight behind the cargo truck, Maddock opened the driver’s door while Finn aimed his rifle at the interior just in case. Nothing jumped out at us, but after one glance inside I gasped and stepped back. Finn’s jaw tightened, and even Devi covered her mouth in horror.

The man and woman, still buckled into the front seats of the car, were drenched in blood fresh enough to glisten in the afternoon sunlight. The dashboard, windows, windshield, and floorboard had all been heavily splattered with what could only have been an arterial spray.

Yet even through all the gore, two things were clear.

First, the man and woman in the blue car were not Tobias’s biological parents—their skin was as pale as mine, even accounting for the pallor of recent death. And second, based on the blood and bits of flesh caking their right hands, the couple’s wounds appeared to be self-inflicted.

The man and woman had simply pulled onto the side of the road, then ripped out their own throats.

teaserContent 3 TFND Born for this

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Rachel Vincent is a former English teacher and an eager champion of the Oxford comma. She shares her home in Oklahoma with two cats, two teenagers, and her husband, who’s been her # 1 fan from the start. Rachel is older than she looks and younger than she feels, and she remains convinced that writing about the things that scare her is the cheapest form of therapy—but social media is a close second.
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Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she’s too busy trying to actually survive. Her town’s population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she’ll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie’s sin has put her in serious trouble.

To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?

Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can’t survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.

teaserContent 2 TSNR Nothing's free - exclusiveContent 2 TSNR Not enough souls

giveawayCourtesy of the author, there is a blitz-wide giveaway for…

ONE (1) winner will receive a SIGNED hardback set of THE STARS NEVER RISE + THE FLAME NEVER DIES

Giveaway is US only. Must be 13 or older to enter. Giveaway ends on August 14th at 11:59 PM Pacific.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Epic reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review: Riverkeep by Martin Stewart

9781101998298_Riverkeep_HC_CvLib.inddGoodreads/Amazon/B&N

synThe Danék is a wild, treacherous river, and the Fobisher family has tended it for generations—clearing it of ice and weed, making sure boats can get through, and fishing corpses from its bleak depths. Wulliam’s father, the current Riverkeep, is proud of this work. Wull dreads it. And in one week, when he comes of age, he will have to take over.

Then the unthinkable happens. While recovering a drowned man, Wull’s father is pulled under—and when he emerges, he is no longer himself. A dark spirit possesses him, devouring him from the inside. In an instant, Wull is Riverkeep. And he must care for his father, too.

When he hears that a cure for his father lurks in the belly of a great sea-dwelling beast known as the mormorach, he embarks on an epic journey down the river that his family has so long protected—but never explored. Along the way, he faces death in any number of ways, meets people and creatures touched by magic and madness and alchemy, and finds courage he never knew he possessed.

review

3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift via Penguin’s First to Read 

Riverkeep is a dark and gritty surprise.

Intense, it drags you down into its dark depths and introduces you to unlikely monsters that can be found within ourselves and our surroundings. Full of lore, an unconventional protagonist, and sweeping imagery, it will hold you captive until the last page.

A little slow to start, it takes a bit to get into the story, but once you do, it’s a continuous adventure.

Wull in bumbling, uncertain, and makes mistakes. Despite his intriguing and slightly disturbing profession, he’s surprisingly normal and easy to relate to. Everyone can recognize that primal need to impress their parents and the fierce love you have for them despite their flaws (though in Wull’s case, it’s way more intense and complicated than that). No matter how hard he tries, it seems like he’s destined for failure and can’t live up to his father’s image. It’s funny and a little heartbreaking, but Wull finds his own strengths and takes risks when he needs to.

The self-discovery is poignant.

The Scottish lore creatures. Wow. Crazy violent and oh so interesting. At first, it’s hard to know what they are and what exactly is being referred to. The preludes to each chapter introduce the creatures but initially you’re grasping for straws to figure out just what these beasts are and where they came from.

The atmosphere and mood are immense and consuming. The world building intricate and extensive. The story is a coming of age in a way that honors epic tales like Gilgamesh and Beowulf without the politics.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Epic Reading, 

Jordan

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Between the Bleeding Willows by D.A. Roach

 
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At eighteen years old, Cassidy has suffered more loss than most… 

At the end of her senior year, her boyfriend, Jace Peters, was killed in a car accident, and her grandmother died only weeks later of a heart attack. Emotionally lost, Cassidy desperately searches for an heirloom her boyfriend was wearing in the crash—her mother’s gold ring. But during her search, Cassidy discovers more than her ring. 
 
She finds a gate to the Demon Realm….
 
A battle is brewing, and Killian—head of the Demon hunters—preps his Clan for the approaching conflict. They’ve been working to secure the gate between his realm and the mortal world. But it’s been nearly impossible since Rya—a voracious demon on a quest to expand her power—devoured the soul of his Clan’s necromancer. Now Rya is possessed with the necromancer’s powers and she may break through the gate at any moment with her demon army.

Apparently Rya isn’t the only one Killian has to worry about…

When Cassidy accidentally crosses into the Demon Realm, Killian can’t understand how a human girl survived the transition. Now he has to find a way to return her to her own world, or risk her being caught in the crossfire, which is a complication he definitely doesn’t need.
 
Once back in the Human Realm, Cassidy readies herself for battle. She signs up for Krav Maga classes, where she meets Tyler Romaitis—a handsome, tenacious, humble guy. He seems almost perfect, but nothing is ever that easy.

And as the balance between good and evil shifts, Cassidy finds herself—and her ring—at the heart of the conflict for the survival of mankind.
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D.A. Roach has been telling stories since she was a young girl in the suburbs of Chicago. In college she met the man of her dreams, her happily ever after, and married him 2 weeks after graduating. They have 3 kids together and a pet cockatiel named Gimli. D.A. did not find a love for books until after college. Her parents were immigrants from Lithuania and found tv and radio easier ways to hear stories so they did not do much reading or encourage it. But once she finished college and D.A. had free time, she discovered how amazing it was to get lost in a story.

D.A. is a full time mom and wife. When she is not doing domestic things (laundry, bills, etc) she is writing, reading, creating mixed media art, and helping beautify her kids’ school landscape. Oh, and she is ALWAYS listening to music. Her favorite authors include Rebecca Donovan, Richelle Mead, Larissa Ione, Stephanie Meyer, E.L. James, and Sylvia Day. Reading great works from authors like these has motivated D.A. to write her own stories. She hopes to make positive changes in the world with her art and writing.

giveaway
Enter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card
Read on, 
Jordan

 

Author Spotlight & Giveaway: Stacey Rourke

Meet Stacey Rourke! She is an award winning, best-selling author, yet her quirky writing style and personality has her better known for her irrational fear of garden gnomes and her insistence that pretty shoes actually call out to her as she shops. That said, if you like books with a heap of action, a swirl of suspense, a dash of romance, and a slathering of snappy one-liners, Stacey’s books might be the right recipe for you! Without further ado, let’s explore the works of this twistedly, fun ginger!
 
In the literary world, Stacey is probably best known for her Legends Saga. This suspenseful literary adventure dares to ask the question; what if the best fiction had dark roots of truth? It kicks off with Crane, a modern day spin on the Legends of Sleepy Hollow. Things delve into the macabre in Raven, book 2, where the works of Edgar Allen Poe are weaved together into an intricate tapestry. The third book, Steam, combines the writings of HG Wells and Nathaniel Hawthorne into a backstory filled with witchcraft and time travel.
Spiral into madness with this series today!
Crane: Amazon/Audio/B&N
Raven: Amazon/B&N
Steam: Amazon
 
In between writing the Legends Saga, Stacey admits to needing a “mental health” break from the dark and maniacal.  Her pallet cleanser came in the form of the light-hearted romantic comedy, Adapted for Film.
Set in Hollywood, we travel along with International Best-Selling Author, Aubrey Evans, as her blockbuster book is made into a major motion picture. But when she and the director begin butting heads over how to bring the book to life the studio takes drastic measures to save the flailing film. Will Aubrey find her happy ending in the City of Angels? Or will the credits roll on all she has worked for?
Stacey entered the literary world with this YA fantasy series filled with shapeshifters, dragons, pirates, demons, and the horrifying image of grandma in a leopard print bikini! Yikes. The lives of three siblings are turned upside down when they suddenly find themselves linked to the mystical creature known as the Gryphon; oldest brother, Gabe, takes the form of a lion, the youngest of the trio, Kendall, grows the wings of an eagle, and middle child, Celeste, becomes his Conduit—the Celtic warrior fated to save us all.
Together, they must battle the forces of darkness, all while getting on each other’s last nerve.
 
Conduit #FREE: Amazon/B&N
Embrace: Amazon
Sacrifice: Amazon
Ascension: Amazon
giveaway
Now that you’ve learned about Stacey, Check out this amazing giveaway prize pack that she has put together! Fill out the Rafflecopter for your chance to win!! GIANT PRIZE PACK! One insulated tote, signed copies of The Conduit, Adapted for Film, and Crane, an acrylic “Can’t Do Chores, I’m Reading” tumbler, “Books I like, You Not So Much” notebook, “Just One More Chapter” pen light, Steam keychain, Stacey Rourke pen, and assorted book swag! All for ONE lucky winner!
CHECK OUT MY STACEY ROURKE REVIEWS:
Happy reading, 
Jordan

ARC Review: The Dead House-Dawn Kurtagich

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synOver two decades have passed since the fire at Elmbridge High, an inferno that took the lives of three teenagers. Not much was known about the events leading up to the tragedy – only that one student, Carly Johnson, vanished without a trace…

…until a diary is found hidden in the ruins.

But the diary, badly scorched, does not belong to Carly Johnson. It belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, a girl who shouldn’t exist Who was Kaitlyn? Why did she come out only at night? What is her connection to Carly?

The case has been reopened. Police records are being reexamined: psychiatric reports, video footage, text messages, e-mails. And the diary.

The diary that paints a much more sinister version of events than was ever made publicly known.

review4/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

The Dead House is weird, bizarre, and disturbing in the best way. Full of police reports, diary entries, and interviews, The Dead House is a chilling, mixed media mystery that will leave you guessing until the bitter end. 

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You like crime fiction and horror.
  • You’re obsessed with films like Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and Sinister.
  • You can handle seriously disturbing images.

PROS:

  • There’s a twisted, Scottish form of voodoo mixed with paganism that is totally invented but so detailed it seems real. Creepy beyond measure, filled with ritual and magic, you’ll question whether demons truly exist or insanity is the true culprit. Some sections left me starring, shocked and nauseated, absolutely terrified of the events that occurred. Ouija boards (no matter what variation on them) are ALWAYS a poor choice. 
  • The style is unique. Kaitlyn’s diary entries read like poetry. The beautifully emotional and occasionally detached way she describes her situation is addictive and mesmerizing. Look at this: “We were superior creatures, up there in the darkness while everyone else slept, so when he put his hand on mine, I felt our purposes-our existences-united in that moment. That contact.”
  • Kaitlyn’s desolation and fear is heady. You can feel every bit of her panic and desperation. She wants to fit, tooth and nail for her sister, for herself but the darkness is overwhelming and all consuming. There’s a cloud of evil that hovers over the story, you feel it like a chill, like it’s alive and watching from a shadowed corner. 
  • The Dead House is TERRIFYING. The oozing blood, the decaying bodies, that horrific girl in the dress, holy hellfire and brimstone, get ready for nightmares. 
  • Some scenes are sharp, unexpected explosions of chaos. You won’t see it coming and not everyone makes it out unscathed. 
  • The relationship between Kaitlyn and Carly is not only unhealthy but catastrophic. You have to guess Carly’s feelings, inferring from post it notes and word of mouth. You won’t know whose side she’s on. 
  • Kaitlyn and Ari. They just fit. They’re perfect together. They’re quirky and weird but he gets her and the way she sees them is…SWOON.

CONS:

  • Carly is boring and it’s hard to feel a connection even close to the one shared with Kaitlyn. Her importance is significant, she functions and plays a huge role in the story and yet, her involvement and any semblance of a personality is barely mentioned or trumped by Kaitlyn.
  • Some secondary relationships were kind of typical, the scorned boy, the unhinged mystery guy, the jealousy. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

We'll Never Be Apart_hres51xvQS37eCL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_blood saltAsylum

 

 

 

 

Creepy reading,

Jordan

ARC Review: Daughters Unto Devils-Amy Lukavics

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synWhen sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly Ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.

When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie. She’s heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.

review3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Harlequin:Teen

+++Contains: Mature themes, gore, graphic imagery, and what may be considered triggers- miscarriage 

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You’re looking for something chilling and unexpected
  • You’re not afraid of disturbing images, gore, and/or devils
  • You like M. Night Shyamalan 

Daughters Unto Devils would make a terrifying horror film. Amy Lukavics has perfected the use of blunt and abrasive images that are just enough to shock and haunt. There’s no need for explanation or excessive description, the brutally detached imagery will give you goosebumps. 

PROS:

  • Amanda has a profound and stunning voice. She voices her dark and twisted thoughts, voicing them, letting herself accept that her deepest desires are not always pure or even remotely nice. Amanda admits to herself that she’s morbid, sinful and a little insane. That she owns it makes it 10x more compelling. Sometimes her thoughts are sickening and startling, that someone could wish harm and death on others if pretty off-putting but Amanda’s candidness with herself (and some self loathing) almost make her more likable. She’s hardly perfect, far from it, but she sees the world for the vile and rotten place it can be, she picks up on darkness when others are oblivious, mainly because she has it tucked so close inside her. 
  • Spine-tingling, hair on edge images that blur the line between paranoia and reality, there’s something sinister in the simple images. The scenery is bleak and haunting. The snippets of ghost stores and memories that may or may not be real add an air of suspicion. You won’t know of they’re insane, paranoid or possessed until the last moment.
  • Twists that will leave you reeling.
  • One scene in particular was Excorist-worthy terror at its finest. 

CONS:

  • Some sections are slow and drag quite a bit when there’s not something sinister on the horizon. 
  • The whole situation with Henry and the Amanda is naïve and sort of grotesque. The descriptions of bulges and writhing were too much for me. Amanda’s wild-eyed wonder at this man was understandable at first but after everything that happens to have her still hoping that he’d accept the situation was crazy.
  • What happened in the cabin, the clues and tidbit scenes were spaced far apart and didn’t go into enough detail to truly capture the hysteria. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Spooky reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review: The Suffering-Rin Chupeco

51aRu-TDgvL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Goodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBooks

synOver the last year I’ve gone against faceless women, disfigured spirits, and grotesque revenants. Some people keep dangerous hobbies; skydiving and driving at monster truck rallies and glacier surfing. Me? I cast my soul into the churning waters of potential damnation and wait for a bite.

It’s been two years since Tark Halloway’s nightmare ended. Free from the evil spirit that haunted him all his life, he now aids the ghostly Okiku and avenges the souls of innocent children by hunting down their murderers. But when Okiku becomes responsible for a death at his high school, Tark begins to wonder if they’re no better than the killers they seek out.

When an old friend disappears in Aokigahara, Japan’s infamous ‘suicide forest’, both must resolve their differences and return to that country of secrets to find her.

Because there is a strange village inside Aokigahara, a village people claim does not exist. A village where strange things lie waiting.

A village with old ghosts and an ancient evil – one that may be stronger than even Okiku…

review3/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Sourcebooks Fire

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You’re a fan of Japanese horror
  • You’re not queasy on blood and gore
  • You want to sleep with the lights on

PROS:

  • Japanese superstition and beliefs in spirits were compelling and even more powerful than the last book. The ritualistic aspect of marriage, afterlife, and power were all coupled in with the great mystery of the hidden village in a forest made famous for suicide. 
  • Okiku and Tark’s relationship is thrown into chaos but through it all, their devotion to each other becomes even more clear. 
  • Okiku’s rebellious side and Tark’s inner darkness rise to the surface, their Supernatural-style hunts for the bad guys are twisted and sickening at times. Some allusions to sexual abuse, violence, etc. may be triggers for some, however brief they are. The violence and grotesque imagery is startling and detailed. 
  • The clues, all seemingly random, come together in a shocking, horrifying way. Mystery and desperation to propel the plot forward when things slow down and the constant capture of spirits feels a little tedious. 

CONS:

  • The ending was resolved extremely quickly and without enough conflict. It felt clipped and far too easy after everything else that happened. 
  • The nightmarish, anxious feeling that was like its own entity in The Girl from the Well is muted and scenes that should have been hiding under the covers terrifying fell a little flat.
  • There were some issues with time frame and jumps in years that altered through the story. A big reveal didn’t really make sense.
  • Part of the story, mainly the first half, was like another book entirely. Focus was placed on Tark’s high school misfit status and his ventures in dating. While time with Okiku was obviously there (she never leaves), Tark’s conflicted feelings and Okiku’s jealousy were surprisingly light and not at all as explosive as I would have expected. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Jordan

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Illusion-Lea Nolan

It’s cover reveal day for Illusion by Lea Nolan. This is the third book in The Hoodoo Apprentice Trilogy, and I am so excited because all three books are getting gorgeous new covers! Check it out!

ILLUSION_500Goodreads | Amazon Pre-Order

Release Day: October 5th

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

synNew school. Cross-country move. Broken heart. If only these were Emma Guthrie’s worst problems as the first day of her sophomore year dawns. Instead, she must battle a trio of enemies—human and spectral—who may or may not have joined forces against her. All while pretending to be over Cooper Beaumont, her ex-boyfriend and true love, to shield him from her arch-nemesis’s revenge.

Worse, when the fight escalates, Emma is tempted to use the black magic she’s always fought against, endangering her own soul. As her enemies close in, join forces, and fight with new and dark magic she’s never seen before, Emma must finally harness the power within her to fulfill an ancient prophecy, defeat a centuries-old evil, save her family, and reclaim the only boy she’s ever loved.

Conjure_500Amazon | Barnes and Noble | GoodreadssynBe careful what you search for…

Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry–hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.

When a strange girl appears, bent on revenge; demon dogs become a threat; and Jack turns into a walking skeleton; Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before summer—and her friends–are lost forever.

ALLURE_500Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

synWorst. Summer. Ever.

Emma Guthrie races to learn the hoodoo magic needed to break The Beaumont Curse before her marked boyfriend Cooper’s sixteenth birthday. But deep in the South Carolina Lowcountry, dark, mysterious forces encroach, conspiring to separate Emma and Cooper forever. When Cooper starts to change, turning cold and indifferent, Emma discovers that both his heart and body are marked for possession by competing but equally powerful adversaries.

Desperate to save him, Emma and her twin brother, Jack, risk their lives to uncover the source of the black magic that has allured Cooper and holds him in its grip. Faced with the horror of a soul-eating boohag, Emma and Jack must fight to resist its fiendish power to free Cooper long enough to join their strengths and face it together, before it destroys them all.

ExcerptA screech echoes through the woods. The sound is like a nail scraped against tin and raises the tiny hairs on the back of my neck. It’s the unmistakable caw of a crow. Spinning, I search the dimness for the source. Before my eyes can focus, a glossy black shadow bursts through a sheet of Spanish moss draped on a nearby live oak.

Shrieking, I cover my head with my hands and duck, then dart toward the path that brought me here. The bird pursues, flapping its large wings and gaining ground fast. With a whoosh, it swoops from the sky and slams into me, sinking its talons into my arm. I scream, then thrash around, trying to knock it loose. Its spiky nails clamp deeper into my flesh.

“Get off her!” Cooper’s voice booms.

Tears, the very best kind, surge. I’ve never been so happy to have him near. “Help!” I lamely shake my arm again, but the psychotic bird hangs on.

Cooper’s feet pound against the dirt as he races toward me and my winged assailant. As he draws close, the crow squawks, then jams its beak into my scalp, yanking out a clump of hair.

Pain, brilliant yellow and blinding, flashes across my vision. I wail, overcome.

“Emma, duck.”

I drop to my knees. Something hard thumps against the bird, launching it into the air like a golf ball from a tee. Its piercing caw bounces across the clearing. As the bird soars into the moonlit sky, it attempts to beat its wings, but something’s wrong. Only one of its feathered sides extends. Midair the shiny black crow stalls then careens back toward the earth. Just as I’m sure it’s headed straight for us, the lame wing unfolds then beats furiously to avoid what is sure to be a deadly collision. Veering off, it follows a wobbly flight path toward the shadowy forest.

Cooper tosses a long, heavy stick onto the ground, then reaches for my hand and pulls me to my feet. “Are you okay?” His wide hands clutch my arms as his eyes search mine.

“I—I think so.” My voice shakes as I work to process all that’s happened in the last few minutes. My temperature drops as shock sets in. Was it real, or just an immensely screwed-up dream? One glance at the slick streak of blood dripping down my skin confirms my new wound, though I can’t tell how bad it is until I see it in the light.

Grabbing me close, he wraps his strong arms around my back. The heady scent of his Cooperness swirls around me, filling me with familiar warmth that heads off my shock. My thoughts zoom to the red stain that has likely already smeared his polo. “I’m bleeding.” I try to pull away.

“I know.” He grips me close, like he’s fallen from a ship and I’m the only life preserver.

“But it’ll get it on your shirt.” A tear streams down the side of my face.

He pulls away, just enough to meet my gaze. “Who cares about my shirt? I thought I lost you, Emmaline.” Brushing his thumb against my cheek, he wipes away the salty liquid.

“But you didn’t. You saved me.”

“I was almost too late.” His voice is breathy and so full of despair it nearly breaks my heart.authLea Nolan Bio Pic 6-2012Lea Nolan is a USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance and YA. Her books for young adults feature bright heroines, crazy-hot heroes, diabolical plot twists, plus a dose of magic, a draft of romance, and a sprinkle of history. She also pens smart, witty contemporary stories for adults filled with head-swooning, heart-throbbing, sweep-you-off your feet romance.

Born and raised on Long Island, New York, she loves the water far too much to live inland. With her heroically supportive husband and three clever children, she resides in Maryland where she scarfs down crab cakes whenever she gets the chance.

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Pleasant reading, 

Jordan

Cover Reveal: The Burning-D.E.L. Conner

Cover-5Goodreads/Amazon

Title: The Burning (Book 3)
Series: Spirit Warriors
Author: D.E.L. Connor
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
Publication Date: August 2015
Genre: Young Adult

cooltext1889161239 copy“Do you want to spend your life like Golden Flower pining away for the love you lost? Can you imagine how hard it is to be left behind when everything you loved has left?”

–Emmeline Rima Belrose, The Burning (Book 3)

In the third book of D.E.L. Connor’s magical coming of age Spirit Warriors series, Emmeline and her friends find themselves still reeling from the loss and pain caused by the evil spirit, machayiwiw – but the danger is far from over. As Emme, Charlie, Bets, Ollie, Jack and their beloved Spirit Animals prepare for the final battle against the machayiwiw, Emme struggles with a battle within her own heart. She longs for the beauty and softness she feels around Charlie, but she can’t deny the burning passion that consumes her with Jack. Will she finally let Charlie go and give her heart to Jack?

Enthralling and passionate, Spirit Warriors brings the vibrant American West to life once again and whispers its ancient secrets of love and friendship.

cooltext1889178114 copyDella was born in South Dakota and raised in the vastness and beauty of Montana on a farm. When she longed for the big city life, she moved to Texas, where she attended college and received a PhD in nursing. When not nursing people back to health you can find Della huddled over her Mac writing the stories that have occupied her mind for so many years, or traveling with her best friends, the NOLA’s, riding bikes across the Golden Gate bridge or exploring botanical gardens. She is the proud mother of a champion triathlete, two aging dogs and one grand-cat. Della has admittedly confessed to her coffee addiction and swears that her two hour coffee crawl while on vacation in Seattle was the best two hours of her life!

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Keep reading, 

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