Friday, February 24, 2017

As You Lay Dying Tour

As You Lay Sleeping
Katlyn Duncan
Published by: HQ Digital
Publication date: February 22nd 2017
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

I did it all for you…

Cara’s boyfriend is dead.

When fingers start pointing at her, she knows she’s in more trouble than she originally thought. Because Cara can see that something isn’t right.

As her carefully constructed life begins to crumble, Cara isn’t sure who she is anymore.

But maybe that’s exactly what someone wants her to think…

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo


Author Bio:

Katlyn Duncan was born and raised in a small town in western Massachusetts. Her overactive imagination involved invisible friends, wanting to be a Disney Princess and making up her own stories. Her bibliophile mom always encouraged her love of reading and that stayed with her ever since. Even though she works full time in the medical field Katlyn has always made time for books, whether she is reading or writing them.

Katlyn now lives in southern Connecticut with her husband and adorable Wheaten Terrier and she is thrilled to finally share her stories with the world.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Excerpt: “For the last time, tell me what family she was assigned to and I will untie you.” The portly, balding man in the chair had nearly sweated through his shirt. My request had been simple enough. Yes, the adoption had been closed. The caseworker wanted to protect the girl from knowing about her past and the lowlifes who’d created her. Calling them parents would have been too kind. But that was fourteen years ago and it was about time I found her. “I’m being reasonable here,” I said, lifting the knife from inside my jacket. It had the sheath on, but the threat achieved the desired effect. He mumbled something. “What was that?” “All of the files from that year were scanned into our server.” He indicated the computer on the desk next to him. “I assume it is password-protected?” “Yes.” I placed the knife on the desk, but his eyes never left my face. “Benjamin, was it? Make this easier on yourself and give me the information I need and I will leave you unharmed.” My patience was waning, and I didn’t want to be in the presence of his rank body odor for an extended period. He rattled off his username and password, and I entered them into the prompts. I searched the database for her birth name. There were two girls with that name, but only one of them was born in Tennessee. There was little information about the girl. The fire that killed the mother would have destroyed any important documents, but I knew they didn’t hold onto anything of importance regardless. “There’s a reason these cases are closed,” Benjamin said. “They are to protect the child.” I glanced at him over my shoulder. “That is your job, isn’t it? To protect children. What about those who needed protection and were denied?” He blinked rapidly, tracks of sweat dripping from his brow and into his eyes. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Please let me go.” “Once I get what I need I will.” I looked away. His relief would accompany him in death. I printed the information I needed and closed out of the file and signed out. If the system was monitored, I didn’t want anyone finding him before I was long gone. I crossed the room to the water bubbler and took the powder-filled packet from my pocket and dumped the contents into the paper cup. I filled the cup with water; the powder dissolving quickly. I went to Benjamin, placed the cup on the desk and untied him. “You’re sweating like a pig. Here.” “Thank you,” he said staring at me. I was used to the stares; they didn’t bother me as much as they used to. I handed him the cup. He chugged the liquid greedily. It wasn’t his fault he was going to die. It was an unfortunate circumstance that he had been working late when I arrived. I couldn’t risk his identifying me to anyone. His death would be swift, merciful. I picked up the rope and coiled it around my arm, then shoved it in my bag and lifted the strap over my shoulder. “Goodbye, Benjamin.” He opened his mouth to say something but, instead of words, a wet gurgle filled his throat. I watched him clutch his chest and seize for a few moments before he went still. I pushed his rolling chair so he was situated under his desk. They would say he had a heart attack. No one would be the wiser. I slid the papers from the printer into a large envelope, giving them the care they needed for my travel to Chester Bay, Connecticut.


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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Ignite (Midnight Fire #1) by Kaitlyn Davis

Age: YA
Pages: 194
Publisher:
Publication Date: 9 October 2011
Price: FREE


When Kira Dawson moves to South Carolina, she meets Luke, a blond goofball who quickly becomes her best friend, and Tristan, a mysterious bad boy who sends shivers down her spine. Kira knows they're keeping secrets, but when she discovers Tristan's lust for blood and her own dormant mystical powers, Kira is forced to fight for her life and make the heartbreaking decision between the familiar comfort of friendship and the fiery passion of love.

From bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis comes a paranormal romance perfect for fans of Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Ignite is the first book in the Midnight Fire series and it is approximately 65,000 words.

*warning a very small spoiler in the review. *

This novel is just too similar to so many others in the young adult genre.  From the moment I started reading, the novel reminded me of a sad rehashing of twilight. Young angsty teen moves to new school, check; she befriends the “odd” group, check; she develops an infatuation with a young brooding man in school, check, brooding man is not what he appears to be, check; and finally, a book full of clichés, check.  What sets this apart from twilight, is that the romance seemed not only cliché but very forced.  The entire time she was brooding over her love for Tristian, I was trying not to bang my head against the wall.
If it were just the romance and the cliché of the novel I could have read it as light and easy read, but I could not get past some of the obvious inaccuracies this book contained. In the novel, the main character miraculously remembers her parent’s death at an opportune time, even though she was only an infant at the time.  This just struck me as very far-fetched. Some might argue that she is technically a magical being, therefore might be able to retain memories earlier, however, the author never made mention of any other abilities than to channel the sun.  The girl seems to be an average human other than this one ability, and I just found it impossible that she would suddenly regain this memory, and have such clarity about said memory.  My other gripe was toward the end of the novel she is coming out of a coma and seems physically fine.  She seems completely normal, and the coma does not seem to have affected her in any way. I asked some of my family members who work in the medical field if this was usually accurate.  After three months in a coma, she would more than likely need to have some form of physical therapy.  However, I will give her that the coma was induced by her powers, so maybe that is why she came out fine. For me, however, it was just a little too perfect. 
All this aside, the book is free.  So, while I was hard on the book, and it was not my cup of tea, that does not mean that it might not be a fun read for someone else, and it will not set anyone back if they decide to try it.  I still hold out hope that I will like the next book, and will try it out in the near future.  

Time of the Witches by Anna Myers

Age Group: Pre-Teen to YA
Pages: 199
Publisher: Walker and Company
Publication Date: 15 September 2009

Orphaned at the age of four, Drucilla finally has a place she can call home with her new family, the Putnams, of Salem Village. But when a new reverend and his family move into town with their servant Tituba, life takes a strange and dangerous turn as accusations of witchcraft swirl. Dru is overwhelmed by the fervor of lies and the power of groupthink among the other girls in town; reluctant to turn her back on the Putnams, she utters her own accusations. Only her best friend Gabe sees through the deceit, but it may be too late for Dru to protect the truth, and innocent people will pay the ultimate price. Guiding readers through the confusion of this frightening historical event, Anna Myers weaves a compelling story that will captivate teen readers.

I’ll start by saying this; this is not the novel for everyone.  Many young teens and even older teens are likely to find this book slow and rather dull. There is not much that really captivates the average young reader, however, there are certain young people who might be interested in this novel. These people would be those who have an interest in history.  I, personally, am one who loves history, this is why I picked up this novel to begin with.  The first thing I noticed was that the author had done a lot of research when writing this novel. She used not only a true historical event, but also used the actual people of Salem as characters in her novel.  In this aspect, I was reminded a lot of the play the Crucible while reading this story. I often would reference that play while reading this story, and would note the differences and similarities between the novel and the play. 
I did feel that this novel had a slow start, I really just wanted to get into the witch trials.  I found the back story to drag a bit.  However, I do think that while this section is slow, it was important to the storyline.  Without the author telling us of Dru’s upbringing and back story of Salem the reader would not fully understand the how and why the witch trials were taking place. 

In total, I did really enjoy this story.  I was blown away by the amount of research and historical accuracy that the author used in creating this story.  The author also does a good job of humanizing the accusers of the trial. Which is not something that most historical novels about Salem do.  It was a unique take on the Salem Witch trials that I truly did enjoy.  

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Dead House:Naida: A Companion Novella by Dawn Kurtagich

Age Group: YA
Pages: 80
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Publication Date: October 11 2016
Price: $1.99  

A digital short story from The Dead House author Dawn Kurtagich
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.

                This novella takes place after the events of the Dead House, and now is centered around Naida rather than Kaitlyn.  In particular, the story line comes from Naida’s diaries and video transcripts; it is through Naida’s eyes that both stories truly come to fruition.
               The Dead House, was a novel that was part psychological thriller part supernatural suspense. It was the kind of story that keeps people on their toes, but what it didn’t have was a concrete ending. For a reader like me, that is beyond irritating.  I want an ending that does not leave me guessing.  The Dead House did not give me that, and that is where this novella comes in.  It gives the reader that solid ending that many readers crave. 
 The story, though short, is very captivating, and well-paced.  The author managed to create a full plot in less than one hundred pages.  That, itself is no easy feat, but then add the unique and suspenseful writing style of the author, and you get a one of a kind novella.  

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Age Group: YA
Pages: 448
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Publication Date:  September 15 2015

Welcome to the Dead House.


Three students: dead.

Carly Johnson: vanished without a trace.

Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, "the girl of nowhere."

Kaitlyn's diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn't exist, and in a way, she doesn't - because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson.

Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It's during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it.

Debut author Dawn Kurtagich masterfully weaves together a thrilling and terrifying story using psychiatric reports, witness testimonials, video footage, and the discovered diary - and as the mystery grows, the horrifying truth about what happened that night unfolds.


               I just happened to pick up this novel on a whim during a visit to my local Barnes and Nobel, and I have to say it is probably one of my better picks.  I originally pick the book because of its unconventional formatting.  That is, that this story is told completely from diary entries, doctors transcripts, and video transcripts.  This type of layout was not something I had really seen before; I was intrigued by how such a novel would read: would there be gaps in the story, how would it flow between each section, how would the video transcripts translate into the story, etcetera. 
I was pleased to find that the book transitions very well from section to section, it never felt choppy or disjointed, and when there was a gap in the story it was purposefully placed to add to the aura of suspense. This layout also lends to a very well-paced read, and one that would be suitable novel for those who may not be avid readers. I say this because the constant changes from diary entries to doctor’s transcripts, to interrogation transcripts, and then to video transcripts keep the reader from feeling like they are reading a traditional book. 
The formatting is not the only strong point this book has.  In fact, the strongest point would have to be the story its self.  This novel has an amazing plot line. The diary entry and transcripts format allows the reader to vividly see the heroine’s descent into madness in a way that would have been difficult to achieve in any other way.  This is perfect for the person who likes the book that will keep you guessing.  It has the best of both worlds, part psychological thriller, part supernatural mystery. 

Over all this book is great for those who may not be the biggest fans of reading, it would also be good for those who love suspenseful novels. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Slayed by Amanda Marrone

Age Group Tween/YA 
Pages: 240 
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
Publication Date: 05 October 2016 

The Van Helsing family has been hunting vampires for over one hundred years, but sixteen-year-old Daphne wishes her parents would take up an occupation that doesn’t involve decapitating vamps for cash. All Daphne wants is to settle down in one place, attend an actual school, and finally find a BFF to go to the mall with. Instead, Daphne has resigned herself to a life of fast food, cheap motels and buying garlic in bulk. 
But when the Van Helsings are called to a coastal town in Maine, Daphne’s world is turned upside down. Not only do the Van Helsings find themselves hunting a terrifying new kind of vampire (one without fangs but with a taste for kindergarten cuisine), Daphne meets her first potential BF! The hitch? Her new crush is none other than Tyler Harker, AKA, the son of the rival slayer family. 
What's a teen vampire slayer to do?


This is one of those novels have I have had sat on my bookshelf for god only knows how long.  It was one of those novels that never really called to me, so I when I reached for a new book I would just pass over it.  Having been very busy with College classes recently, I have been turning more toward standalone novels.   This book just happened to fit the bill.  I did not find it a particularly amazing book, but nor was it a complete bore. 
This book would be good for someone, like myself, who is looking for a quick and easy read.  It is not the type of book that requires critical thinking nor does it require much forethought. The vampires are pretty standard, and the characters are the descendants from pretty commonly known characters from Dracula.  This, the fact that it is a stand-alone novel, and its short length make it the perfect read if someone wants a one or two sitting book. 
The other person that I think this book would be well suited for would be a tween or newly young adult reader.  The book was not too sexual in nature.  There was references to sex and hookups, but they were never too graphic; deeming this book appropriate for most young teens.  This book also works well for young teens because of the narration style of the book.  The main character is only seventeen, however, I often felt like the narration would have been that of someone even younger. The character and tone of the novel feel very youthful and slightly melodramatic.  Which would probably appeal to a younger crowd. 

In total, this novel isn’t no hidden gem, but it is a fun and rather lighthearted read considering it is a paranormal novel.  It would be great for those who are looking for a quick one-sit-down read, or those who are younger and want to read an age appropriate paranormal novel.  This is no best-seller but it a cute age appropriate novel.  

Monday, December 19, 2016

Nelumbo Nucifera
Cristina Slough
Publication date: January 24th 2017
Genres: Adult, Psychological Thriller

On the surface, Gaby Parker has it all; however, behind closed doors, is a woman who lives in constant fear of the man who was supposed to love her: her husband, Kyle. Beaten, desperate, and broken, Gaby realizes the only way to escape from her violent husband is to kill herself — on paper. Gaby is dead, and Riley Locklin is born, residing in the tranquil coastal town of Chesswick Bay Montauk where she hopes to start over and meets a man who shows her bruises aren’t kisses.

Meanwhile, back home, Kyle is doing everything in his power to prove Gaby isn’t dead.

But…police find her burnt-out car and remains?

Kyle isn’t buying it; he knows she’s still alive. He launches his own full investigation to find his wife — and he’ll stop at nothing to claim her back. A female Detective assigned to his wife’s case doesn’t like him very much after discovering a domestic violence report – scorned by the history of her mother’s domestic abuse, she’s determined to send Kyle down for his wife’s murder.

And then he finds her. Will Gaby finally take a stand?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks


Author Bio:

Novelist, movie addict, and animal lover, Cristina Slough is the author of:

Nelumbo Nucifera and Till Death Us Do Part.

Cristina has always been a bookworm, rarely seen without a pen and paper in her hand, she loves delving into a literacy fictional world of her own.

Although Cristina loves pink and fluffy, her writing isn’t. She loves to focus on raw human emotion and gritty story lines; she’s very fond of messing with her readers heads by weaving twists into her books.

Cristina is married to Adam, who runs a successful business; together they share their Bedfordshire home with their son, and several spoiled pets. As a family, they love to travel frequently, the United States being a firm favorite.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


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