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Book Review: Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

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Devil in the Countryside is available for Pre-order, and will be available on February 15, 2017. Please see the links below:

Amazon.com – Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

Goodreads.com – Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

Barnesandnoble.com – Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

Bookdepository.com – Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

Disclaimer: I was sent an ARC copy of this book by the author, Cory Barclay, for an honest review

Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Supernatural

Plot: Devil in the Countryside is a story about the most famous werewolf investigation in history, brimming with intrigue and war, love and betrayal, and long-kept vendettas.

It’s 1588, the height of the Reformation, and a killer is terrorizing the German countryside. There are reports that the legendary Werewolf of Bedburg has returned to a once-peaceful land. Heinrich Franz, a cold and calculating investigator, is tasked with finding whomever — or whatever — the killer might be. He’ll need all the help he can get, including that of a strange hunter who’s recently stumbled into town. Though they’re after the same thing, their reasons are worlds apart. And through it all, a priest tries to keep the peace among his frightened townsfolk, while a young woman threatens his most basic beliefs.

In a time when life is cheap and secrets run rampant, these four divergent souls find themselves entwined in a treacherous mystery, navigating the volatile political and religious landscape of 16th century Germany, fighting to keep their sanity — and their lives.

Opinion: Once again, I am PLEASANTLY surprised with a book that is completely out of the genre that I usually read. This story was AMAZING! I found myself having immense trouble putting it down and doing adult things such as going to work, or sleeping. The writing is perfection. It gives the reader the necessary balance of description and detail, while also eloquently weaving a tale of fantasy and realism.

Based loosely on actual events that took place in Germany over a 20 year span, Devil in the Countryside transports the reader to 1588 as murders in Bedburg start to rise. Fear spreads quickly through the town as gruesome and mangled bodies are found in the countryside, and threats against protestant reform begin to plague the Christian ruled town. As Investigator Heinrich Franz looks into the murders, he enlists the help of a hunter by the name of Georg Stieghart who has a past of being quite vicious. This story also follows Father Nicholas Dieter of the church in Bedburg, and young Sybil Griswold who is the daughter of a wealthy farmer. While the investigator tries to hunt down the Werewolf of Bedburg, the church tries to fight off Protestants from overtaking the town and the minds of their people.

Though I gave you guys a little description up there, I’m going to explain a little bit more about these characters/events so that you really get the idea. Probably the COOLEST thing about this book is the fact that it is based on true events. In 1589 a trial was held for a man that was presumed to be the famous Werewolf of Bedburg, who was accused of murder and cannibalism. Shocked? Me too. The fact that these people actually thought that a man was turning into a werewolf and slashing bodies to pieces is just…beyond me. The again, this was also a time when everyone thought witches were casting spells and dealing in dark magic…and here I thought my generation was cuckoo.

Heinrich Franz is the investigator that is put in charge of finding out who/what the Werewolf of Bedburg is, and he seems to go to any lengths to make someone responsible. I really can’t pinpoint my feelings for this character. He is an evil and emotionally unattached man, but I quite like his ruthlessness and cunning behavior. He is the type of person that will do ANYTHING to close a case, especially if that means framing someone in the process. Georg Stieghart is truly my favorite character in this story. He comes off as a drunken idiot most of the time, but he proves to be a very strong-willed and intelligent person. As Georg seeks revenge for the death of his family, who he assumes is the Werewolf, he assists the investigator and helps him hunt the killer down. The relationship between these two characters is fairly comical. They both act friendly towards one another and share news that they have, but they also don’t trust each other and have their own agendas. I enjoyed how the story turned out for Georg and how his character makes a complete 180. He loses some of his savagery and turns into a truly upstanding person.

Sybil Griswold is the daughter of wealthy farmer Peter Griswold. Sybil goes through a lot of dark events in this story, and I commend her character for taking everything in stride. Not only does a dear friend of hers come up dead, but her father begins to force her into a marriage with a nobleman’s son who proves to be vile and pretentious. Sybil finds solace in her time spent with Father Nicholas Dieter, who is a priest at the church in Bedburg. Father Dieter seems to be the most developed character, and for me, the most interesting. He starts out being a very faithful and dutiful servant to the religion that he preaches for, but soon starts to open his eyes to what is going on in the world around him. The relationship between these two characters brings the romance factor into this story, and gives the reader a little light in this otherwise dark and gritty tale.

This story overall was fantastic! The events that took place were gruesome and unnerving, and I kept picturing a less theatrical Tim Burton setting of gray buildings and woeful expressions. Though I am not a big fan of reading a story with religion being such a central theme, it was obviously necessary to this story but it didn’t overtake the actual plot and events that the author was focusing on. I highly recommend this story to any reader that likes thriller/mystery, or to anyone who wants to dabble in a different type of story. I am REALLY looking forward to see what happens in book 2, hopefully it will come out soon!

5-stars

 

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Book Review: Deny the Father by M. Duda

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, M. Duda, for an honest review.

Genre: Short Story/Fiction/Fantasy/Horror/Paranormal

Plot: The first story in this collection, “A Sarjeta,” follows an impoverished Portuguese with one simple dream. He wants to taste meat. Although Leandro also has larger goals of becoming a famous artist, his hunger and poverty are always at the front of his mind. When he forms a relationship with the wrong person, Leandro will realize that incredible evil exists just across the street.

The middle story, “Good-bye, Sweet Mercury” takes a turn away from the horrific and focuses on a father’s love for his daughter. In this short, simple tale, the father stands at a precipice in his life. He doesn’t want to leave his little girl and will have to make a big decision about his future.

The last story, “Yesterday Never, Tomorrow and Today,” furthers M. Duda’s theme of metamorphosis and introduces an indentured farmer who is trying to make up for his criminal past. In a future civilization, the farmer faces harsh truths about himself.

Through these glimpses into different worlds, M. Duda tells three intricate, compelling tales of transformation.

Opinion: Readers! I bring you yet another collection of short stories by the highly imaginative author M. Duda. This is the third book I have received from this author, and might I just say these stories just keep getting better and better. What I love about this author is that he isn’t afraid to create stories that reflect on the darkness and savagery that exists in the world. I love any story that is able to make me slightly nauseous at the truths that I am seeing, but a story that also excites the ravenous reader that I am.

Deny the Father has a total of three short stories. The first story A Sarjeta (The Gutter) follows a poor young man that has the sole desire to earn enough money to taste meat for the first time. While living with his sister and her children only eating beans day after day, Leandro finds himself caught up in a dangerous game on his path to riches. In the second story, Good-bye, Sweet Mercury, Tim struggles with saying goodbye to his daughter and moving on after his death. The third and final story, Yesterday Never, Tomorrow and Today, is set on another planet called Menhir-X. Jax and his wife, Delna, live on this planet as sugar cane farmers along with other alien life forms called Allohms. This story documents as Jax struggles to keep his farmer, while also confronting his past and present mistakes.

I think my favorite story in this collection would have to be Yesterday Never, Tomorrow and Today. The overall theme focuses on the struggles to provide for oneself and their family, while also putting a spotlight on the mistakes that one makes and how they can cost you dearly in the end. This story shows the wrinkles and imperfections that can scar a person in time, and I think it was an interesting tale of a man seeking redemption. A Sarjeta (The Gutter) is a truly gritty and grimy story. It captures the idea that innocence can be stolen rather than lost, and it gives the reader a sad feeling of hopelessness and despair. It made my heart squirm in my chest and left me feeling uneasy. To me A Sarjeta (The Gutter) and Yesterday Never, Tomorrow and Today are two stories that test the evil inside oneself and others, and it makes the reader question their conscience or morals.

Good-bye, Sweet Mercury is a very VERY short story that lasts only three pages. I have noticed that the author, M. Duda, touches on life after death at least once in each of his books. In this story, like his other paranormal tales, we are greeted with a character who struggles with the idea of moving on and leaving a loved one behind. Good-bye, Sweet Mercury instills a moment of hope for the reader while they read this story. It was a welcome moment that brought me out of the darkness that usually embodies these shadow books and restored my faith in humanity…if only for a moment.

When it comes to reading an M. Duda collection of short stories, I am always very pleased with the imaginative and poetic tales that I read. As much as I adore reading my overly fluffed YA/Fantasy stories, I will always be seeking a story like this that evokes deep thoughts long after I have finished reading. As always, I HIGHLY recommend reading these shadow books! I hope this author NEVER stops writing these eerie stories, they are truly special and amazing.

5-stars

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January 2017 Book Wrap-up

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Here we are my darlings, my January 2017 Book Wrap-up!

I have given myself a goal of 100 books to read for 2017 (via my Goodreads challenge). If I keep this pace up then I will have no problem completing this. I have been devouring every book I have been getting my hands on, and reading everything so much quicker than I normally do. Though this means that I am reading more, it also means that I don’t get to enjoy and savor some of these stories as much as I would like. Oh…the curses of being a fast reader.

Throne of Glass

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The Throne of Glass series…*sigh*. I demolished all five of the books in a week, and let me tell you…I WISH I would have slowed down.  This series is INSANELY amazing! Our main character is a lethal and sharp-edged female assassin, and we follow her as she is hired by her kingdoms enemy to slaughter her own people. As the books go on, the story only gets better and the reader becomes overly invested in the lives of each of these badass characters. I am patiently waiting for the next book in the series, and you can be sure that I will be reading this series over at least once this year.  

Flicker and Mist

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Flicker and Mist involves invisibility and a large amount of segregation between different races. Myra is half Plat and half Leftie and has the ability to flicker, or become invisible. As flickering is outlawed in New Heart City, which predominantly consists of Plats, this story follows Myra and other Flickerkin as they fight against being killed for their abilities.  Though I wish this story dove deeper into the creative writing and the story was more drawn out, I found it to be very entertaining and a unique story.

Otherworld

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I just LOVED this book…talk about nostalgia overload! Otherworld plays with the idea of turning our imaginations and daydreams into worlds that we can actually walk through and experience. The author did a wonderful job of combining something from everyone’s childhood into this story. Though it follows a very young main character, this highly imaginative story can target every audience. I can’t recommend this story enough! It is a heart-string puller.

Lodging

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Lodging is a short story that is sure to make you really REALLY sad. This story takes the reader back to WWII and gives them a taste of some very real experiences that young adults faced during the war. This story touches on the young men that went away to war, as well as the effects that it had on many young women in that time. Call me crazy, but I have been trying my hardest lately to find a book that will bring me to tears and crush my soul a little. This story is probably what kick started it.

The Other Inheritance

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…*sigh*…this book.

If you guys read my review for this story, you already know my feelings. I might have completely ripped this book apart, but trust me it was necessary. I tried my hardest to stay optimistic while reading this fantasy story, but it was just flat and executed poorly. The characters made me cringe and the descriptions of the worlds and magic didn’t feel at all complete. Not my cup of tea AT ALL.

Butterfly Bones

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Butterfly Bones is yet another fantasy book that I was gifted from Netgalley. Once again for this month, I came across another book that is truly unique and veering off the yellow brick road to take their own path. Our main character Bethany suffers from a rare bone disease that makes her look like a child, when she is in fact fifteen. As Bethany struggles with her vicious high school peers, she also deal with being injected daily with butterfly hormones from her father…in the hopes that he can find a cure for her. This is a very bitter-sweet coming-of-age story that falls into the science-fiction/fantasy realm as the story progresses. I thought this book was GREAT and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Chat Love

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Last but not least, Chat Love. This is a quirky story that touches on the struggles of finding love and the awkwardness of online dating. We follow a young woman as she goes on dates that range from unmemorable to completely insane. This book was packed with comedy and snarky comments, and I loved the main characters. If you guys are looking for a relatable story, look no further. You are sure to find a moment in this story that resembles an embarrassing experience in your life. You’re welcome.

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Book Review: Chat Love by Justine Faeth

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Amazon.com – Chat Love by Justine Faeth

Barnesandnoble.com – Chat Love by Justine Faeth

Goodreads.com – Chat Love by Justine Faeth

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, Justine Faeth, for an honest review.

Genre: Romance/Comedy/Adult

Plot: City girl Lucia is having trouble finding a man. With a few nudges from her friends, she decides to try out Chat Love, an online dating service for New Yorkers. Hilarity ensues with one disastrous date after another…where do these men come from? Mars? Certainly not Manhattan! She finally meets someone from work who is almost perfect, but decides to move on as he’s still seeing other women. She keeps in contact with a man named Jack on the Chat Love site. Could he be the one? What about her love interest at work? Just like the lovable cast of characters from Sex and the City, Lucia is Carrie, a stylish woman who has found her “Mr. Big” but can’t seem to get him to commit. Danni is Samantha, who loves to have fun and is wild and promiscuous. Autumn is Charlotte, desperate to meet the right man and settle down. Skyler is Miranda, level-headed and quick to offer advice. Will these ladies ever find love? Will Lucia find her man? Chat Love will give you something to talk about!

Opinion: Well here we are my darlings, a book that we can all relate to: meeting countless idiots on the way to find your ONE TWU WUV. Is it a Prince Charming or a Prince Toad?!? *Sigh*…cue the cringing and face palming ladies, because the relatable embarrassment and horrible memories are about to ensue.

With the pressures from her family to get married and start having children, Lucia finds that she is almost twenty-eight with no future for a decent relationship on the horizon. With so many failed relationships in her past, Lucia finds it more and more difficult to meet a great guy outside of a bar or club. So with much persuading from her friends, she decides to join an online dating site called Chat Love. As Lucia starts going on dates, she finds herself being on more disastrous dates than positive ones. As Lucia yearns to find love, it doesn’t help that her younger sister is newly married and has just announced that she is pregnant with her first child. Now her parents are pushing Lucia more than ever to find love, but she just can’t seem to find her perfect man. To make matters even more complicated, her arrogant and promiscuous co-worker Jackson starts acting flirty towards her.

This was a very welcome and nice change from the books I normally read. This story was something truly relatable and amusing, and I think most women will find one or two things that mirror their own experiences with men. Lucia is a career driven young woman, who like most of us, have just had bad luck with men.  As she starts to near turning thirty, she starts to worry more and more about finding someone to settle down with. Lucia is from a very large and loud Italian family, so of course her parents are constantly questioning her about who she is dating and when she is going to pop out some children. Thankfully for me, I have never had to go through that with my family. I can’t even IMAGINE how irritating that would be!

The main characters that surround Lucia are fun and definitely have their own big personalities. I loved Lucias male friends that were the epitome of what most guys around me are like. They are crude but hilarious, and constantly finding a new woman to take home with them. I enjoyed Lucia and Jackson the most. I think their characters were the most relatable and down-to-earth, even though Jackson was a COMPLETE pig at the beginning of this story. I think it is fairly obvious how this story is going to end, so we might as well draw attention to it yes? Yes. Jackson and Lucia have that typical relationship where there is an obvious physical attraction, but Jackson is a player and is known for getting with A LOT of women. We follow Lucia as she dates different men, while also figuring out what is happening between her and Jackson. It’s the typical “good girl wants to fix the bad boy” story. Look, I’ve been there. I wish that was actually possible…but whatever 😉

Overall, I really liked this read. It took me a few chapters to get into it, but once I did I just wanted to keep reading and reading. It’s a quick and easy read and it’s exciting to see what kind of crazy encounter Lucia will have next. Since I have never seen Sex and the City, I unfortunately can’t really compare this book to the show. I am thinking of shooting this story over to one of my girlfriends who I know is OBSESSED with the show and have been looking for something good to read. I bet she will just love it!

4-stars

 

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Book Review: Butterfly Bones (Metamorphosis Book 1) by Rebecca Carpenter

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Amazon.com – Butterfly Bones (Metamorphosis Book 1) by Rebecca Carpenter

Barnesandnoble.com – Butterfly Bones (Metamorphosis Book 1) by Rebecca Carpenter

Goodreads.com – Butterfly Bones (Metamorphosis Book 1) by Rebecca Carpenter

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Lakewater Press, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Sci-fi

Plot: At birth, Bethany Keatley was diagnosed with a rare bone disease and sent home from the hospital to die. Despite losing her mother to cancer before she turned two, Bethany defeated her prognosis and now, at fifteen, with hindered growth making her appear ten years old, she is alive and well thanks to the hormone injections which her scientist father developed.

But if growing up isn’t hard enough already, being small makes her a target and a social outcast. The only way she’s been able to escape her high school tormenters so far is by working hard, achieving good grades, and through her unusual friendship with star football player Jeremiah Wright. That is until a misunderstanding with new girl Zoey Margold. Beautiful and brazen, Zoey and her followers make it their focus to break Bethany.

Yet dealing with the bullies becomes the least of Bethany’s worries. The mice on which her dad tests the butterfly hormone are showing side effects no one saw coming and now her plan to leave the small minded town of Springs, Georgia and become a scientist has all but shattered. Her world becomes a prison and her existence a life sentence.

But nature has her own plans for Bethany.

Opinion: This story is truly like the crème de la crème of the audible Aws and small smiles that we only give to books. It’s an adorable coming-of-age/young adult story, but tiptoes into the realm of fantasy and science fiction as it progresses. This story was the epitome of bitter-sweet. It tickles your heart with giggles and the hopes for a positive outcome, while also feeling sorrowful and useless as Bethany’s story unfolds.

Though Bethany Keatley is a fifteen year-old high school student, she is constantly being mistaken for a little girl because of a rare bone disease that she has had since birth. With a frail, tiny and childish frame that guarantees Bethany daily ridicule from her peers and a slim chance in catching the eye of any boys in her class, Bethany does all that she can to stay invisible. To make matters worse, having an eccentric and highly distracted scientist for a father doesn’t seem to help Bethany’s situation…especially when her father is giving her daily shots of hormone in the hopes that her disease may one day be cured. Though Bethany is on the outskirts with most of her peers, the only constant support she has found in her life is through Jeremiah Wright. Jeremiah, who is popular and gorgeous, has an unlikely friendship with Bethany and does all that he can to protect her. But as Bethany’s father comes closer and closer to finding a cure for her bone disease, she finds that the universe has much bigger plans for her.

It is fairly hard to give this story a description without giving away what happens at the end, because honestly the ending is pretty unbelievable and imaginative. Butterfly Bones is a unique coming-of-age/young-adult tale that touches on physical abnormalities, bullying and the hardships of loneliness and isolation. I found Bethany to be a likeable character. She is extremely intelligent and witty, but finds it hard to converse with her peers and make friends. Due to Bethany’s mother dying from cancer when she was very young and her father being a scientist who barely has time for Bethany, our main character finds herself to be on her own in a world where she is fairly misunderstood. My heart went out for her as she dealt with constant acts of bullying every day, this characters puts up with A LOT and does so in a strong way. She always keeps her head up and keeps moving forward, vowing to never let them see her cry. Though Bethany acts mature in these cases, I was constantly finding the things she said to be SUPER immature. Look, I remember being fifteen and laughing at stupid things…but come on. This girl and Jeremiah are literally singing the “diarrhea song”. REALLY? Are we 5? I would have thought that Bethany would have shown a little more maturity, for the sole fact that she is constantly being mistaken for a child and because she has had to take care of herself for so many years.

Though this is labeled as a YA story, it ventures into the science-fiction and fantasy genre halfway through the story. As Bethany’s father starts coming closer to a cure for Bethany, they find an interesting breakthrough that involves butterflies and metamorphosis. I know that some of you don’t like fantasy or a book turning out to be too fantastical, so thankfully the author has executed this change in genre quite well. The author has given the reader a somewhat BELIEVABLE turn of events for Bethany, and one that tries to be backed by science rather than magic.

The relationship between Jeremiah and Bethany is confusing and sad, yet endearing and hopeful. Here we have a popular football star who befriends the school outcast at a young age, and acts as a protector to her while they go through high school. I found the dynamic between these characters to be very interesting, especially in regards to Bethany and her bone disease. Due to Bethany psychically looking like a child, I kept wondering how the author was going to bring these two characters together romantically…if at all. The author successfully makes this relationship feel innocent and natural, while also keeping the idea in the readers head that someone like Jeremiah would never think about Bethany in that way. The turmoil between these two is heartbreaking, and part of me was just wishing it would end all together so that Bethany could have SOME kind of peace in her life.

I truly have a soft spot in my soul for this story, purely for the character of Bethany and all the things this young girl had to go through. I loved the ending immensely, it leaves the reader feeling satisfied while also giving them a moment to reflect on what her character could have done next and what could happen with the rest of her life. While reading I loved that I would be smiling at one moment, and then feeling hurt and angry the next. The author has given a wonderful and unique twist on a story about living with physical abnormalities, and I highly recommend giving this a try. I am really looking forward to see what this author comes up with in book two, because I honestly have NO idea where she is going to take this next.

4-stars

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Book Review: The other Inheritance by rebecca Jaycox

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Amazon.com – The Other Inheritance by Rebecca Jaycox

Goodreads.com – The Other Inheritance by Rebecca Jaycox

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Aelurus Publishing, Via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: One girl. Two worlds. Hunted in both.

Seventeen-year-old Reggie Lang is used to dealing with her alcoholic mother and fighting school bullies, but fate has thrown her a curve ball.

A biker dude shows up in her dreams, babbling about magic and a world called the Other. As the incidents keep piling up—like bringing a frog back to life in class—Reggie has to confront the mounting evidence that she’s not the normal girl she craves to be.

Reggie’s life is changing, and she has no idea why. Or whether she should believe the man in her dreams, who claims she’s in danger and that only he can keep her safe. But if there’s one thing Reggie will learn, nowhere is safe.

Opinion: I haven’t posted in a review in a little over a week, and this book is purely the cause of why. It takes me a day (sometimes two) to read a book, but this book took me over a week to finish. When I was actually reading it, I was skimming through paragraphs whilst doing my best not to constantly roll my eyes at the unattached characters and over-dramatized dialogue. Usually I can say that the plot is what kept me reading, but I honestly can’t even say that in regards to this book.

I’m not even going to bother writing a proper description for this book like I usually do, that’s how uninterested I am in it. Here’s my brief explanation: this story is basically about a girl named Reggie that has a few incidents at school where she accidentally brings dead creatures back to life. She starts getting pulled into these elaborate dreams where she speaks to a man who knew her father, who eventually explains to her that she has magic and that she needs to be brought back to another world called “the Other” in order to keep her safe. While all this is taking place, a bad guy from “the Other” sends his servant, Asher, to fetch Reggie from “the Real” (which is basically our world) so that he may steal her magical powers. So ensues an adventure in which Reggie falls for some “badass” servant guy while she learns how to use her magic…blah blah blah.

With that said let’s get to the point, this is the first work by the author Rebecca Jaycox. Though I commend her for her efforts, I just didn’t like much of anything in regards to this book. I’m overly curious if I was reading the same book as many other readers on Goodreads and Amazon, because this story has gotten a lot of reviews deeming it to be wonderful. I didn’t find this story to be wonderful at all, I found it to be simplistic and full of holes. I felt like an uncared for reader being drug through the mud and muck of a land that wasn’t even finished being constructed.

This story clips along at a fast pace, but so many things are only touched on and never explained again as the reader tries to catch up to where the author is going. Our main character Reggie suddenly realizes that she can wield magic, which is a pretty incredible concept to grasp if you’re an ordinary person (or Muggle) such as myself. This character is shocked for about three seconds, but then she starts acting as if a man/wolf creature is normal or that her gift to make roots from the earth move towards her is just OH SO CASUAL. Not only does she learn to almost completely control her powers in just one or two dreamscapes with her deceased father (realistic? I think not!), but she starts making out with the indentured named Asher (slave from “the Other”) after only knowing him for a few days! If you guys like a story with a rushed and highly awkward romance, you should definitely read this. I could have went along with this rushed romance that was forcefully shoved upon me, but it was nearly impossible to connect with any of these characters.

The CHARACTERSUGH! They had no depth, no personality! I didn’t connect to one, NOT ONE! The author didn’t put the time in to carefully construct these characters, and it showed immensely. This could have been salvaged through dialogue, but that only made it worse for me. When Reggie and her alcoholic mother conversed, it felt so fluffed up and unrealistic. The conversations between Reggie and Asher literally made me groan in frustration because everything they said felt one-dimensional and were filled with too many exclamations. To me, the repetitiveness of multiple exclamation points looks like the writer took the easy way out when it came to describing a characters emotions in that moment. Asher saying “Reggie!” doesn’t tell me how angry he is, but Reggie! “ he spit through gritted teeth with eyes raging like the depths of Hell itself…that does.

I’m usually not this brutal in a review, and I always try to showcase SOME sort of positivity…but I just can’t when it comes to this book. The plot was lacking and nothing set it apart from any other fantasy story that I have read. The characters were like wallpaper and the entire read was predictable and blasé. I was hoping that this story would improve as I kept reading, because that has happened in so many first-time books by authors that I have read. I kept hoping and hoping for it to get better, but it didn’t. Not even a little bit. I really don’t recommend reading this…

1-star

 

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Book Review: OtherWorld by Evan Ronan

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Amazon.com – OtherWorld by Evan Ronan

Goodreads.com – OtherWorld by Evan Ronan

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, Evan Ronan, for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Teen/Fantasy

Plot: Aoife Finley is bursting at the seams with creativity. No one daydreams better than her and her imagination knows no bounds.

Mr. Peterson is old, his best days long behind him. He yearns for the past, mistrusts the present, and fears the future. But he’s just figured out how to recapture his past:

By stealing other people’s imaginations.

Armed with only her creativity, imaginary friends, and a few bickering classmates, Aoife embarks on an amazing, but dangerous journey into the OtherWorld that she created, a place that is slipping more and more out of her control and into Mr. Peterson’s, before the real world as she knows it—and as it could be—disappears forever.

OtherWorld is a YA fantasy adventure about the power of the imagination and how anything is possible. It is 80,000 words long and Evan Ronan’s first (but hopefully not last) YA novel.

Opinion: Seeing as how Evan Ronan was the first author to ever request a review from me (thanks Evan), and after reading five of his books and becoming obsessed with them, I naturally assumed that writing paranormal thrillers was a genre he would stay in because I felt he absolutely shined in it. Well THANKFULLY this author doesn’t stick to just paranormal thrillers, because WOW…I am once again super impressed with the stories that this guy comes up with. This is his first attempt at a YA story and he absolutely NAILED it!

Ten-year-old Aoife (pronounced Eef-uh) Finley has been pushing her imagination to the limits since as long as she can remember. Prone to constant daydreaming, Aoife often travels in her mind to a world she created called Paxsum (which is a re-creation of the actual town she lives in called Paxson). In Paxsum Aoife has the ability to imagine and create anything she desires, like a talking recycling bin named Al or “Leg Giants” which are literally giant legs with arms. Usually Aoife and her imagined friends are the only ones that can enter her made-up world, but one day that suddenly changes. Someone starts to steal the imaginations of Aoife’s classmates and neighbors, and suddenly Paxsum has turned into a place that is dangerous and almost impossible to escape from. With suspicions that old Mr. Peterson from town is behind it, Aoife and a few of her unruly classmates enter Paxsum together in the hopes of putting her world back together and restoring the imaginations of everyone in Paxson.

Let’s first start off with addressing how truly creative and different the premise for this story is. Hopefully we can all recall a time in our childhoods when our imaginations truly had no limit. Where we created other worlds and friends, and we fed off the imaginations of other kids as we traveled through those places together. Evan Ronan has literally taken a small piece of all our childhoods and expanded it into a story that shows the reader the endless possibilities to one’s imagination. Aoife Finley is a spunky 10-year-old girl who has a vast and wild imagination. I enjoyed the endless limit to her creaivity that the author gifted her, and I liked that her imagination is what expands and keeps Paxsum intact.

The characters that the reader is introduced to in this story are TRULY something else. Not only is there a BBQ named B that sounds like she has smoked for forty years, there are kids in Aoife’s class with nicknames such as Slob, Killer and Binky. The author has ensured to give us a nice potluck of kids to get to know and become invested in; as well as a feisty yet endearing young girl named Erica whose personality is prickly. As Aoife puts it: “Nobody clicked their gum as sharply as her”. Apart from amazing characters, this book is PACKED to the brim with countless turmoil and adventures. The characters find themselves running from larger-than-life Venus flytraps who try to eat them, ginormous rouge possums, and falling skyscrapers that they can only be avoided by yelling to the heavens “I am Steel Sunday!” With so many moments that the reader can relate to having imagined in their youth, I was able to be completely enthralled and entertained throughout this story.

One thing that I did have trouble connecting with was how many times our main character said “cool” at the beginning of this story. Understandably, a ten-year-old might not have a vast library of adjectives at her disposal when describing things…but a ten-year-old like this? She should be EXPLODING with adjectives. Though this is obviously not a huge problem for me in the story, the reader in me couldn’t stop focusing on the overuse of this word. Apart from this, I think the author did a fine job of putting the reader in the head of a young pre-teen. As Aoife was telling the reader countless moments when she couldn’t understand “adult talk” I found myself smirking at knowing that feeling all too well when I was her age.

Even though I think that target age for this book would be children or pre-teens, it is a story that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. Considering how many adults have reviewed this book on Amazon or Goodreads, I think you can trust me when I say that. With that said, this story is really something SPECIAL. It filled me with nostalgia for the wonderful times that I had as a little girl, while also putting a small smile on my face as I relived my childhood. I HIGHLY recommend this story to any age group, and it is a book that can be enjoyed with your entire family.

4-5-stars

 

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