Book Review, Fairytale, Fantasy, Re-Telling

Of Cinder and Madness by Nicole Zoltack

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Kindle Version. 

Short Summary: A dark Cinderella re-telling. Finding her happily-ever-after and falling in love prove difficult for Angelique when her stepdaughter, Eleanore, threatens her life and the lives of her two daughters with dark magic.

My Review: Exciting dark twist to a normally happy story, this book kept me glued to the page from start to finish. Its fast pace makes it a quick read. There wasn’t one time where the narrative slowed or interrupted me. The backstory, the time jumping from past to present and the dialogue were well written and well executed.

This might be one of my new favorite Cinderella stories. I didn’t want it to end, and look forward to reading more from Nicole Zoltack.

I read this book for my own enjoyment.

Book Review, Fairytale, Re-Telling, Uncategorized, Zombies

Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles

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My Rating: 5/5 Heart

Kindle Verified Purchase

Short Summary: An Alice in Wonderland re-telling. Hoping she isn’t too late, Alice fights her way through deadly momerath territory to find a cure for her sister, who’s infected with the dreaded virus.

My Review: 

I love this cover so much and every page in between. I’m so excited I own the hard copy too. 
♥ A new spin on a classic favorite. Even better, it’s a zombie tale. “Momeraths,” so clever!
 Writing style, pacing, action, and tension kept me entertained and hooked.
♥ Other than the occasional lengthy dialogue from Abbott and Hatta, there were little-to-no interruptions in the pace of the story from start to finish.
 I love Alice, and Chess is my favorite character. He’s flighty, but for good reason. I’m looking forward to seeing how his character’s strengths and weaknesses help or hinder Alice in the next book. Alice is a strong character, who isn’t easily deterred from her mission to find the cure, even when the Red Queen double crosses her. 

Overall, I recommend this to re-telling and zombie lovers alike. It was a fun, fast paced, easy read with some clever references to the classic tale of Alice woven in. Five Red Hearts from me! Looking forward to Sullivan’s re-telling of Peter Pan next!

 

 

 

Abuse, ARC, Book Review, Mental Illness

Get In My Head: Jared’s Story by S.M. Holland

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My Rating: 5/5 stars

Short Summary via Goodreads: Abandoned by his family and made to live in a hellish mental hospital, Jared is forced to face the monster within himself. On the outside, he seems like your average teenage boy, but on the inside, his mind is threatening to tear him apart.

My Review: Quick, yet gripping read. I sat down to start this book yesterday after I was given the ARC by the author, and ended up not being able to put it down until I finished it. I love the book cover, the characters, and the tangible frustration and fear the main character feels throughout the entire story.

I was hesitant when the narrative turned into a journal entry. I’ve read too many stories written in diary or letter form, where the story drags on through telling instead of showing, but this story is well written and switches between the narrative and the Jared’s journal pov. There’s not one lag in the pace at all. The tension keeps you locked into the story, even when there are reflective, down moments.

I wasn’t surprised at the twist in this story. But, even being able to predict what would happen didn’t ruin the emotional reaction I had when the main character came to the same realization of events. Some of these events were a surprise, however, making the situation dark and uncomfortable, which I felt kept true to the realistic aspect of treatment many patients unfortunately face.

This book will make you cringe, maybe cry, and make you angry. It’s emotionally gripping until the end. I love how S.M. Holland includes the suicide helpline and other resources for those who may need them. She’s an understanding and loving author, who clearly cares for many who struggling through similar situations, and wouldn’t hesitate to extend a helping hand to those in need.

Thanks for the opportunity to read your new release. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommended this eye opening story to everyone.

 

 

Apocalyptic, Book Review, Dystopia, Horror, Uncategorized, Zombies

Stage 3 by Ken Stark

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My Rating: 5/5 stars

Short Summary: Mason has lost his faith in humanity after a heart-wrenching breakup with Beck. As he returns from vacation, angry and alone, he confronts a world plagued by blindness, the first stage of zombie transformation. Forced from his home, he encounters a young girl, who gives him hope to fight on, for her sake if not his own.

My Warning: Don’t read this before bed, unless you plan on being up all night huddled under the covers in fear. 

I did just that. I don’t regret it at all, but still…I was terrified until the end.

I love zombies, and Ken Stark did a fantastic job of spinning his own horror story. He made Mason, an ultimately dis-likable character, likable. I’m so use to reading and watching zombie stories where the main pov character struggles to cope with the horror in front of them by cowering for the majority of the story before jumping into action and facing it head on. Mason did the opposite, and he’s smart. While he coped with loss and fear in his own way, he’s a strong character, who reacts realistically while also making quick decisions without hesitation. His redeeming qualities shine through as he protects a young blind girl, which makes him a sympathetic, caring character beneath his rough external personality and the internal conflicts he faces.

Spoiler ahead…

My only criticism: The overall point of the story is to show the ongoing struggle they face and the hope slowly slipping away from them, which is evident from how the book ends, but I was still disappointed that the characters didn’t succeed or fail in their main goal. Not meeting the goal is obviously part of the underlying theme of hope here, but still…I was left hanging, and I didn’t like it. It felt incomplete. Minus this disappointment, there were only a few places where the point of view switches in scene, which, for once, I didn’t mind so much. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was emotionally gripping with it’s fast pace. You won’t want to put it down. 

I read this for my own enjoyment, and highly recommend it.

ARC, Beta Read, Book Review, Fantasy, Magic, Paranormal Romance

Water Spell by Lizzy Ford

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My Rating: 5/5 Stars 

ARC: Kindle Unlimited Version

My Short Summary: 

Sela, a powerful water mage, wants to be free. Free of the overwhelming pull of her magic, demanding she submit to the depths of an ancient ocean. Free of her savage protector, Tieran, who she’s bonded to. And, free of the kingdoms and those who would abuse her powers. If she is to survive, to be free, she and Tieran must learn to trust each other, or risk drowning in her magic and the rage of war.

My Review:

Lizzy Ford’s excitement over this book is palpable, and now I know why. Water Spell is an exciting fantasy adventure full of well-rounded characters. I didn’t want this book to end, and I was giddy to read the titles of the next books to come in this series. You’re going to want to add the beautiful hard-copy to your fantasy collection. Lizzy Ford is one of my favorite authors, and her characters are so memorable

I wasn’t sure I’d like Sela or Tieran, but I anticipated a deeper connection between them from the start. Their external display of tension masks their individual internal desires. Both have a clear goal, which becomes harder to reach as magic bonds them together. By the end, I was on the edge of my seat, wondering if their relationship would come together or break apart.
Sela’s need for freedom, to reach the water, made me thirsty. I ached to be in her world, reaching for the seas, the wells, the streams, etc. It made me want to go to the beach! I want to be her, controlling water with magic. This part of the book reminded me so much of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and I loved it.
 
For Lizzy ♥ 
My only critique of this book is on the first chapter. As much as Sela’s previous mage-warrior influences her, I wasn’t captivated by his pov as much as hers. For me, the story didn’t start until Tieran took his oath and Karav left. I liked the tension caused when Tieran finds out his new ward is a woman. But, I didn’t feel Karav’s thoughts and worries over Sela aided me in feeling the bond between mage and warrior.
There is a lot of redundant thoughts from Karav on the Inlanders being barbarians. These descriptions and examples through his pov didn’t help develop Tieran. Tieran’s reactions and behavior toward Sela is enough, as well as her reaction to the people in his land. Experiencing this through Sela is more gripping without Karav’s scene set-up.
The world-building and back-story was overwhelming in chapter one, almost info-dumped. This flows well enough throughout the rest of the book through Sela’s pov, though, and I loved the map!
Thanks for letting me review the ARC of Water Spell! I enjoy reading, reviewing and promoting all of your books.