Review: Heart of Ash by Kim Liggett

35920788Goodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBooks

“I carved out my heart and threw it into the deepest ocean. And I’d do it again and again. I will never be sorry for loving you.”

“We’re like the dissonant chord in the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, begging for resolution. As long as we’re apart, there will never be peace in the world.”

All that remained were our bodies—vessels for each other’s hearts.”

“But if I gave in to him, gave in to the darkness, I knew it would be my ruin.”

synvia Goodreads

Ash may have escaped the immortal-worshipping cult that killed her mother, but the love of her life is still under its thrall. Dane has been possessed by his diabolical ancestor Coronado, a man who’s fabulously wealthy, dripping with fame, and the leader of Europe’s most dangerous immortal network. Dane begs Ash to join him at Coronado’s castle in Spain, and swears that his blood bond with Ash is stronger than Coronado’s hold over him. Ash is desperate to help Dane vanquish Coronado without having to sacrifice herself to the darkness. But when you’re all in, blood and salt, the only way to hold on to the light might just be by setting everything on fire.

review5 Stars 

Heart of Ash is exactly the book I needed at the right time. As many of you know, my reading record this year has been staggered and less than stellar. In the past week, I have read 3 horrible ARCs and I was questioning what happened to YA. For every 20 books there may be 1 truly great one. When did this become the norm? It could be me. It could be that over the past year, I have changed and become too busy, but I think that it’s because of that I’m okay with passing over books that are not for me and more than fine with slapping a DNF on a book that consumes my time with no heart. I don’t know if you have felt it to, but it feels like a turning point in YA. How has your reading been going?

That being said, Heart of Ash restored my faith in YA and my love of reading. The twists, the angst, the lust, the suspense, everything about this book sucks you in like a sweet and sometimes bloody addiction. When I read Blood and Salt, I was impressed with the story, but Heart of Ash blew the first book out of the water. 

The writing is beautiful, with profound and emotion-laced introspection at every turn.

The twists and turns keep you guessing to the point that nothing is what it seems.

I love this book. From the lush setting, to the deep, pulsating romance. What I appreciated was that while the book was essentially a romance, it felt like more. I was invested in every character, hoping for the HEA when everything seemed destined to end in total destruction. I hoped for more for these cursed lovers.

Great plotting. Better pacing. 

The blood and evil pours off the pages. When the truth is out…it’s astounding and powerful that Ash can withstand and overcome so much. Ash flirts with darkness and makes the choice to sacrifice herself and chance at happiness for the happiness of others.

The chemistry is straight fire. Slow burning sometimes, simmering others, and a blaze the next. There are some scenes that I would mark as mature YA, but they fade to black, not before all that angst and tension builds. Their love is explosive, volatile, and eternal. 

There are so many things I could say about this book, but the most important is: read this. 

If you like dark and twisted with a greater chance at utter devastation than happily ever after, try the Blood and Salt series.

If you like any of the following, enjoy this:

Read your heart out, 
Jordan
Advertisements

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

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

syn

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

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

 
syn
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.
teaser
auth

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

 

ARC Review: Daughters Unto Devils-Amy Lukavics

51xvQS37eCL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Goodreads/Amazon/B&N

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:

23897947._SX200_SY200_51aRu-TDgvL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_blood salt20728920

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:

blood saltdivinersINK_cover_Amanda Sun13595639

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.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Newsletter

giveawayCover Reveal Giveaway-Grand Prize REVISED a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pleasant reading, 

Jordan