ARC Review: The Masked Maiden by H.D. Gordon

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HERO OR VILLAIN? YOU DECIDE.

When she decided to become a vigilante, no one told 17-year-old Aria Fae about the possibility of public backlash, or the attention the media would garner by dubbing her The Masked Maiden of Grant City.

On top of this added heat, a rogue supernatural known as The Scarecrow has escaped his prison, and his history with Aria makes her the crazed warlock’s obvious target.

Now, she must face her past and defeat The Scarecrow once and for all, or die trying.
When things reach their worst, will The Masked Maiden be the hero Grant City needs, or the villain they’ve made her out to be?

review

4/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author

I was hesitant to pick this book up because I wasn’t completely sold on the first book in the series. So I put it off for a while and rediscovered it in the process of catching up on back reviews. I’m absolutely floored. I really don’t know where to start because this is such a drastic change from book 1. I am now 100%, completely, and totally invested in this series. 

Aria Fae has always been a badass, but she’s grown so much as the story progressed, not only in maturity, but in heart and understanding. Aria’s past is highlighted. There are flashbacks and agony over her horrible childhood. The cruel way the Brokers rob the Halflings from their homes and the tasks they put them through are truly horrific. Aria as a child is just as feisty as she is now and outspoken. She doesn’t take anything from anyone, she’s a fighter from the get-go. There are moments of fear, and uncertainty, and heartbreak as seen through her young eyes and the emotions are on full chaotic display. 

The story arc is fantastic. A perfect blend of teen angst, superheroes, and serial killers. The suspense is heart stopping, the dangers will keep you on edge. Serious adrenaline rush. There were many moments where I held my breath, hoping that Aria would get there in time or make it out alive. 

The scenes with the Scarecrow are straight out of your deepest fears and worst nightmares. From the way he talks to Aria, the grotesque form of his body, the blunt descriptions of his psychotic murders. Chills. These flashbacks are particularly disturbing and sickening. Every ounce of terror rolls off the pages. 

Romance. Forget triangles. This is definitely a love rhombus. And (un)fortunately they’re all perfect. Dreamy sigh. Aria has the best luck romantically, everything else not so much. The struggle is real. Choosing between a blast from the past childhood love, a super sweet and gentle millionaire heir, and an older ex-military protector, no wonder she’s so spastic and jumps at every opportunity to escape the awkward. The feels are strong. There are many cute, passionate scenes that are both romantic and gasp-out-loud sexy. The way they look at her, happy sigh, the way they make her feel. Break out your Keats poems and put on a romantic comedy post book to recover. 

Secondary characters are as lively as ever. Each has a unique and developed story. It’s not ALL about Aria. She’s there for her friends, she’s kind, she’s awesome and epic and better than before. Her humanity is coming out and it’s glorious. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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

Epic reading, 

Jordan

Haunting Halloween: YA Reads for Everyone

Ghosts/Possession

diviners

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Kami Garcia/Unbreakable

Amity

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Angels/Demons

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Carnival-of-Souls

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rise of the known

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Deadly Disease

Masque

Zombies

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Terrifying Creatures

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Serial Killer

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Aliens

ThroughGlass COVER REVEAL

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Faeries

iron king

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Vampires

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Witches/Warlocks/Necromancers

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cursed

Hexed

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Werewolves

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

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Cult

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Psychological

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Paranormal Creatures Galore:

Those without one main species focus

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13450339 Tithe_A_Modern_Faerie_Tale 400000000000000675028_s4   What are some of your favorite chilling, magical, or downright terrifying YA Halloween reads?  Twisted reading, cooltext1754437870 copy

Promo: The Last Glass-T.M. Lazer

The Last Glass

by T. M. Lazar

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Release Date: October 24, 2014

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

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Tori Knight moves to a small New York town where things aren’t always what they seem. Though reluctant to leave her old life behind, she meets new friends, and falls for a guy.

Crispin DeMortimer is the most popular boy at Grimmsburg High. He had a summer fling with Natalia, the rich doctor’s daughter, and also heir to a secret society. However, when he sees Tori for the first time, he feels an instant connection with her, one he has never felt before. Lucky for him, Tori feels the same.

It’s the start of a new chapter, for both Tori and Crispin, and Grimmsburg, NY is where untold secrets will be revealed, and challenges beyond anyone’s imagination will be brought forth. Will the secrets of Grimmsburg bring Tori and Crispin together, or will these life changing secrets be too much for them both?

This is book one in the series The Creatures of Grimmsburg by T.M. Lazar.

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This dream was different. I saw Crispin. I actually saw him! I was wearing a red gown.

“You look lovely.” Crispin said, as he held out his hand for me to take.

“Thank you.” I took his hand in mine. I let him lead me out onto a balcony.

I noticed Crispin was wearing a suit that was dark red velvet. My breath caught as saw the view. It was incredible; the moon shined brightly on us, I watched the shadows dance around. Within all the beauty, there was something very wrong about being here. Deep down I knew it was something bad. I just didn’t know what exactly.

I looked up into his beautiful face and asked, “Crispin, why are we here?” I did my best to keep my voice steady as I spoke.

Letting go of my hand he sighed. “This is an amazing view, isn’t it?” I let out a sigh and nodded. He continued, “However, that’s not why I brought you here.”

My voice shook as I spoke, “Crispin?”

He smiled, “I’m terribly sorry that it has to be this way, Tori.” My heart started to race as I caught the sight of his fangs glistening in the moonlight. I covered my mouth and shook my head.

“No!” Crispin laughed at my denial. “No. No.” he stopped laughing as he stared at me. There was no more emotion left in his face, only hunger, in his red eyes.

I screamed, as I ran away from the balcony. I screamed for help, but no one heard me. I glanced over my shoulder to see Crispin was no longer on the balcony. I was startled and fell, as I came face to face with Crispin. I was terrified. I scrambled away from, him but he walked faster. Crispin bent down and picked me up. He held me by the throat. Hot tears rolled down my cheeks. “Please don’t, Crispin.” I whimpered. His grip loosened, he tilted my head to expose my neck even more. “Please, no.” I pleaded. Crispin just smiled. Then he sank his fangs into my throat. I screamed.

“Tori, Tori, Tori wake up!” Sophie shook me. My eyes popped open. I sat up and brought my hands to my throat. Tears stung my eyes. My breathing was rapid. Finally, it slowed. Sophie looked at me, terrified. “Are you okay?” She reached out to touch my arm and I flinched.

I dropped my hands into my lap. I shook my head, “a nightmare, a real bad one.”

#2

What stopped me was her! Beautiful long honey brown hair and those eyes! Man, she was smoking hot. She had on a tight blue top that made her tits look awesome. As I kept running my eyes down her body, I saw the faded skinny jeans that molded to her curves perfectly. And fuck, she had to have on cowboy boots. I have a thing for chicks in cowboy boots! I ran my eyes back up her incredible body and she caught me staring.

A smile came across her face as the blood crept into her cheeks. She looked away slowly, then back to me. I watched as she slowly lifted her head and our eyes met again and my breath caught. I have to know her! As we continue to stare at each other, I could feel my teeth throb from the pain of my fangs wanting to elongate. This feeling felt intense, I never felt like this before, I wanted her to be mine! I wanted to claim her as my own I would to protect her. I wanted to… Where the hell were these thoughts coming from?

“Crispin? Are you okay?” Carly waved her hand in my face. When I snapped out of whatever just happened I looked at Carly, “What?” I asked annoyed. “You were…” Carly trailed off as she looked at the girl, “Oh my God,” Carly whispered. What did Carly know that I didn’t? I looked back at the girl. Who was she, and why am I feeling things for her?

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Facebook/Goodreads/Twitter/Website

T.M. Lazar lives in upstate NY. She started writing her debut novel, The Last Glass, at the age of 16. At the age of 19, she made her dream a reality. She was signed by Entertwine Publishing. Along with writing, she is an avid reader, and loves to spend time with her family and friends, camping, swimming, drawing, dancing, and just hanging out! She will also be starting college soon, and majoring in Liberal Arts and Literature.

Sounds amazing, right? Already added to my TBR. 

Happy reading,

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ARC Review: Dark World-Cara Lynn Shultz

The-Dark-World-Cara-Lynn-Shultz_FEATGoodreads/Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks

4.5/5 Stars

***I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and Harlequin Teen.

“Maybe he was merely a legitimately nice person, nonjudgemental and kind. I’d read about those mythical figures in books, although I sure as hell hadn’t met any. I’d figured they’d gone extinct with the dodo bird.”

***

“Our eyes locked for a lengthy moment-too lengthy-in a gaze fraught with the kind of delicious tension and chest-warming rush of adrenaline that sets your heart pounding and your lips turning up into a smile of their own volition. The kind of gaze that inspires trite songs that usually piss me off, because songwriters always rhyme ‘eyes’ with ‘surprise,’ and I always considered it lazy songwriting. Until now.”

***

Logan stared at the ground as he collected his thoughts. “You, Paige Dawn Kelly, are the wrecking ball to my routine, colorless life,” he said, finally meeting my eyes, “and I couldn’t be happier or more terrified about it.”

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Paige Kelly never thought that the simple act of being a good Samaritan would destroy her life. After saving the life of a toddler who wandered out into incoming traffic, Paige is hit by a car in the process, dies for a minute, and wakes up with a creepy new talent, the ability to see dead people. At first, Paige couldn’t tell the difference between ghosts and humans, she often found herself the mockery of her peers and earning wide-eyed glances from people on the street. When it looks like you’re having a full-blown conversation with the air or worse, yourself, it’s easy to question your sanity. Paige is placed on a cocktail of meds to combat her “episodes” but the ghosts aren’t going away and her parents shelter and look down on her as someone with a fragile mind, in need of constant surveillance and protection. What Paige wants is to be normal again, to have friends, and to not be known as the resident crazy. In high school, unfortunately, this is impossible. 

Forced to repeat her sophomore year at a prep school, Paige was eager to start over but from the second she steps foot into the girls bathroom, all chance at normalcy goes down the drain. Paige decides to talk to a girl that everyone seemed to be ignoring. That was her first mistake. The second was confronting the other girls in the bathroom. The beautiful blonde girl with scars on her wrists only existed in Paige’s vision. Freak became her permanent label, everyone steered clear of the weirdo who spent her time conversing with nobody.

Paige has just gotten used to her awkward life as a social pariah when she spots 3 students touring the school. They’re gorgeous, ethereal creatures and Paige can’t help admire them but something within her tells her these students are not at all what they appear. When Paige is cornered by a fiery redheaded beauty in detention, her world is turned upside down for the second time, as te girl’s hallowed gaze consumes her and she threatens Paige’s life.

When the sweet transfer boy, Logan, comes to her rescue, magical sword blazing, Paige is shocked and terrified. An epic battle of superhuman feats and scorching fire ensues. Paige, teaming up with Logan, learns of another world, one just on the other side of this reality, where warlocks and demons are bitter enemies and Hell is just around the corner. Paige’s ability is a coveted commodity on both sides and it doesn’t take her long to learn that the demons are coming for her. With her trusty protector at her side, Paige must learn to fight to survive or become slave to demonic whims. 

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Paige Kelly is used to weird–in fact, she probably corners the market on weird, considering that her best friend, Dottie, has been dead since the 1950s. But when a fire demon attacks Paige in detention, she has to admit that things have gotten out of her league. Luckily, the cute new boy in school, Logan Bradley, is a practiced demon slayer-and he isn’t fazed by Paige’s propensity to chat with the dead. Suddenly, Paige is smack in the middle of a centuries-old battle between warlocks and demons, learning to fight with a magic sword so that she can defend herself. And if she makes one wrong move, she’ll be pulled into the Dark World, an alternate version of our world that’s overrun by demons-and she might never make it home.

-via Goodreads

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PROS:

  • The cover is absolutely breathtaking, completely creative, and one of my all time favorites. It’s so pretty you just want to pet it and prominently display it for view on your bookshelf. I love the dual worlds and that Paige is the connection between them.
  • The dialogue is fun, fluid, and incredibly realistic. It’s full of wonderful humor and raw, emotional confessions. 
  • A twist so unexpected and surprising that when it’s revealed, it’s as devastating as it is unsettling. Everything you thought you knew is tossed aside and you’ll be forced to question motives.
  • The dark world is a sinister, terrifying place filled with grotesque creatures, spine-tingling descriptions, and grave danger. The violence and gore are meticulously detailed, you’ll have no problem bringing these images to life in your mind.
  • Every character, even down to the smallest is vibrant and unique, they all have distinct, full personalities that add some flair and laughter to this already quirky story. The characters are alive, bursting with life and vive that you don’t often find. Amazingly real.
  • Paige is a sarcastic, blunt and somewhat confrontational girl. She’s been hurt by her past. Sometimes she’s lonely and insecure but she doesn’t let the poor treatment from others get to her. The way her parents view her is heartbreaking, their lack of trust and fear that she’ll crumble into dust at the smallest touch allows the reader to understand Paige on a deep, emotional level. Sometimes it’s as if no matter what Paige says it doesn’t get through to them but she always pushes forward, she’s resilient and strong. Paige loves Dottie, their friendship is built on mutual understanding and heart, they’re the best of girlfriends, well as best as you can be with a ghost.Paige’s confusion about boys is really relatable, the fear of misinterpreting flirty remarks or opening your heart to someone who might not reciprocate your feelings is authentic and written well.
  • Dottie is a peach. She’s boy crazy, flirtatious, always trying to help Paige with catching a man, and her colloquialisms easily bring you back to the 50s. From her shellacked hair to her mannerisms, Dottie is a delightful time trip back to past. 
  • Logan will make your heart melt. He’s swoonworthy to the extreme. From the way he looks at Paige to his hopelessly romantic professions of love-the boy has some lines, yes he does-Logan is a compassionate, loyal, and protective warrior. The juxtaposition from his wicked sword-fighting skills to the tender way he caresses and speaks to Paige, “Logan was a study in dichotomy: fierce and brutal, an efficient killer saddled with so much self-doubt.” Logan is driven by a thirst for revenge that makes him a vicious warrior but he’s very merciful. His heart is his best feature and his confidence makes for some of the best flirty, playful lines.
  • Logan and Paige are perfect for one another. The scenes with them just hanging out as friends are light and casual sometimes, and others they’re filled with that marvelous tension of mutual attraction. 
  • Ajax is a cocky, coy, deliriously impish demon. He’s like a ravenous teenage boy, always ready with a clever quip or his hands in a bag of potato chips. 
  • Mr. Kelly, Paige’s father, is a silly, over-protective, and a bit wacky character. His obsession with free stuff is so ridiculous you can’t help but sympathize with Paige and laugh along. 
  • Aiden is evil. His tortuous antics are selfish and sadistic, one particular seen is so twisted and vile that it’s borderline horror film. His taunts, the malicious way he uses people like pawns, and his relentless attacks make him a huge threat, one that is deserving of the villain title.

CONS:

  • Rego’s role in the overall plot was a little cloudy. While this did add to the mystery of his character and upped suspicion, it felt like something was missing.
  • Paige’s powers are crucial to the story but exactly how they’re used and why they want her specifically is vague. Paige can’t be the only person with this ability.

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

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Pleasant reading,

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Review: The Dark Rising-Lacey Weatherford

3/5 Stars

The Dark Rising (Of Witches and Warlocks, #4)-Lacey Weatherford

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“Well, then something is going wrong with our little experiment because I just served myself up to him like a rare steak on a demon dinner platter!”

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He pulled our bodies tighter together, and I felt myself turning to molten liquid in his embrace, my emotions coursing through me while our mouths moved in perfect unison.

WARNING: DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS if you haven’t read books 1-3.

Plot: After the devastating death of her soul mate, Vance, Portia is hardly able to function. They’d faced the darkest evils and their own demons to be together and a tragic battle left Portia husbandless and alone. Portia feels as though her life has ended, she doesn’t know how to survive in a Vance-less world even with the love and support of her coven, she feels shell-shocked. Inconsolable after looking at their wedding pictures, Portia speeds off into the night to visit Vance’s resting place only to discover a dark figure lurking near his grave. Vance is alive, in perfect health, and sexier than ever, the only problem is, he’s got a serious case of amnesia. As Portia fights to gain her Vance back, something dark and sinister is happening out in the witching world, a horrible vengeance plot designed to destroy Portia’s and Vance’s love once and for all. Will Portia’s love be enough to bring Vance out of the depths of his demonic blood lust and back to the light?

Additonally. here is the Goodreads summary:

When Portia Mullins discovers the love of her life is still alive her heart soars. But reality sets in immediately causing it to plummet when she realizes he doesn’t remember his past life with her. Unwilling to give up, she embarks on a loving quest to restore his life to him.
Vance Mangum sees the beautiful girl claiming to be his wife, and while he can’t remember her, he can’t deny the intense pull he feels between them. Not knowing where else to turn, he agrees to give her the time she’s asked for and to assist her in the effort to recover his memories.
The two quickly reconnect, but dark surprises are lurking in the wings when Vance discovers a desperate longing for something he feels he can’t withstand. Will he be able to resist? Or will evil raise its head in a new form, leaving Portia as the prey of the very man her heart desires?
Darkness reigns supreme in this haunting tale of love and desperation, Of Witches and Warlocks, The Dark Rising.

PROS:

  • Portia is a remarkably brave and hopeful as she is infuriatingly naïve. She sacrifices herself, risks her life and her future to be with Vance when he doesn’t even remember her. It’s heartbreaking and transcending, their love is worth fighting for but a tad abusive and reckless. Portia gives in to temptation, embraces her inner vixen and finally decides to get a handle on her powers not connected to Vance. Portia empowers herself and becomes a stronger, solid character because of it. Despite Vance’s neglect, his hurtful vicious temper and blood lust Portia allows her heart to rule her actions and doesn’t really learn from her mistakes but continues to put herself into dire situations.
  •  The torture scene, the violence, and general wicked actions were boldly described and really captured the emotional turmoil that Portia suffered throughout the book.
  • Mayla. As a wicked, temptress of a Hoodoo coven she is fantastically evil. Her threats, her creepy presence and her vicious planning make her really terrifying.
  • New Vance is a bit of a mystery. He has some of old Vance’s personality but is really torn between the demonic and the light. It’s hard to grasp if he’s really in love with Portia or using her emotions as a tool. The uncertainty about Vance’s character is wonderfully written. You will be guessing his next move from one page to the next. His emotions and actions are so up and down that it’s impossible to know when he’ll transform from a loving, caring husband into a ravenous, blood-craving demon.

CONS:

  • The plot was a little slow and kind of random, things didn’t really link up well and felt forced.
  • The introduction of the jinn was just so out there. The fact that the guy just happens to randomly live out in the woods as an outcast is also another one of those things that felt like a plot filler.
  • The Hoodoo coven wasn’t emphasized and there wasn’t enough of them to fully picture them as the evil antagonist or as a truly serious threat.
  • Chemistry between Vance and Portia was fleeting and nowhere near as strong as in the previous book. This is somewhat understandable because Vance lost his memories but the connection, the fire was muted.

If you liked any of the following, you’d probably enjoy this:

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Pleasant reading,

-BB