Rituals by Kelley Armstrong

Rating: 4/5 stars Rituals.jpg

Pages: 471

Series: Cainsville, Book 5

Genres: Adult, Thriller, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery, Fiction, Supernatural, Romance

Publication Date: August 15, 2017

 

“I shot her.”

His lips twitched. “You…”

“She pissed me off.”

He choked on a laugh. “I see.”

“She really pissed me off.” (Ch. 3)

I must admit, this was a satisfying conclusion to a series I’ve grown quite fond of. It doesn’t tie up every loose end which leaves this world feeling just as organic as it did at the beginning. Personally, I’m not a fan of stories that end with a pretty little bow, with everything solved and no thoughts of “what now?”. Instead, these imperfect characters need to find a way to continue on with their lives and the choices they’ve made.

Armstrong also does a great job at introducing just the right amount of “new” into Rituals. Being the fifth and final book in a series, it can sometimes feel like too much is getting thrown at you too fast. Thankfully, Armstrong avoided this feeling altogether. She managed to tie in the new with the rest of the series, expanding on moments that the reader doesn’t necessarily realize were important all along.

As with the rest of this series, my favourite part of this book was how the characters worked together in order to solve the mystery. Olivia, Gabriel, and Ricky have been through a lot in the months that they’ve know each other so it was nice to see them still being able to put their trust in each other. I know it was hard for all three of them at times, but they pushed through and managed to show everyone that they’re better together than apart. 

If you’re looking for a mystery series with a heavy dose of the fantastical, I’d highly recommend giving this series a try – starting with Omens (review here). This series can be highly suspenseful at times and take twists and turns that managed to keep me on the edge of my seat. If Armstrong wasn’t already one of my favourite authors, she’d be well on her way to becoming one after this series.

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Drowning by Steven M Cross

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Rating: 3.75/5 starsDrowning Book Cover.jpg

Pages: 312

Series: N/A

Publication Date: October 29, 2020

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Illness

 

My dad looks up at me, “I’ll catch you.”

I know he probably won’t, but that doesn’t scare me, not today. What scares me is knowing that this day—this perfect day—one of the few my family ever has will end soon, and it will be back to yelling and screaming and being slapped for saying the wrong thing even when I don’t know what is wrong.

I turn to Dee and ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“I don’t ever want to grow up,” she says.

And I realize I don’t want to either. I back away from the cliff.

Dee says, “Finally. Don’t kill yourself.”

“I don’t want to grow up either.”

I run to the edge of the cliff, but this time I don’t jump feet first. I dive. I think as I sail through the air and hit the water that it’s the perfect day to die.

My dad jerks me out of the water. “What the hell are you doing? You could have killed yourself.”

I just look at him and say, “I didn’t.” Then, I swim toward the beach.

Dee yells, “Holy shit, brother! Way to go.”

I found this to be a very impactful read. Most worlds I jump into don’t touch on mental illness or mental health that often. While it might be touched on in passing, the books I pick up rarely focus on these issues. Drowning does not go this route. Instead, this book deals heavily with mental illness straight from the get go.

It deals with heavy topics such as bipolar disorder and suicide. It throws you into the minds of people who are not completely mentally healthy. This book throws a darker shade on the world than most books (I read) do, and it does so in an impactful way.


 

Blog Tour Schedule

January 27th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

I Love Books and Stuff (Spotlight) https://ilovebooksandstuffblog.wordpress.com

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

January 28th

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

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Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

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January 30th

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Spotlight) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

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January 31st

Entertainingly Nerdy (Review) https://www.entertaininglynerdy.com

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Crossroad Reviews (Spotlight) http://www.crossroadreviews.com


 

Continue reading “Drowning by Steven M Cross”

The Die of Death by Kenneth B. Andersen

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Rating: 4/5 stars Die of Death.jpg

Pages: 327

Series: The Great Devil Wars, Book 2

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

 

His old eyes sparkled. “I’m humanity’s greatest fear because there’s no greater fear than that of death. But that’s not the way it should be! The truth is, people don’t realize just how much they should appreciate me. Death isn’t an unfortunate consequence of life; on the contrary, Death is what makes life worth living. Men and women value only that which they might lose. Don’t you see? Without death, life is uninteresting and utterly meaningless.” (ch. 8). 

I have to admit, I went into this book not sure how it would pick up where The Devil’s Apprentice (my review here) left off. After all, Philip was alive again, unable to further meddle in the goings on of the Afterlife. Was this going to be about another youngster who managed to impact the Afterlife? Thankfully, the answer to that question was no. Philip was brought back and the relationships he made during his last visit lead to this visit being even more chock full of adventure. Which really is a good thing, because I can’t imagine that another human would be as effective as Philip at causing trouble in Hell.

We also get to experience more of the Afterlife than we did in the first book. Have you ever wondered where Death lives? Or what exists in the outer reaches of Hell? Have you ever wondered what happens when someone truly repents and no longer deserves to be punished for their sins?

Putting that aside, my favourite part of this read was probably getting an insight into the way different beings view death. As the quote above shows, life isn’t really worth living unless you’re enjoying the ride and in order to enjoy the ride, it needs to come to an end eventually. Mortimer might feel neglected and looked down on as Death, but he really does play the most crucial role of all. Without balance, what do we really have?

If you’re looking for a unique take on the afterlife, with a heavy dose of mayhem thrown in, I’d highly recommend giving this series a try. As the reader, we get to experience everything Philip does – the good and the bad, the beautiful and the monstrously ugly. Just be ready for twists and turns you’re probably not ready for.

 

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January 27th

Books Teacup & Review (Spotlight) https://booksteacupnreviews.wordpress.com/

Turning the Pages (Review) https://turningthepagesonline.wordpress.com/

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January 28th

Didi Oviatt (Review) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

The Bookworm Drinketh (Review) http://thebookwormdrinketh.wordpress.com/ 

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

 January 29th

Books to Get Lost In (Spotlight) https://bookstogetlostin.blogspot.com

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January 30th

Life’s a Novelty (Review) https://lifesanovelty.blogspot.com/

Scarlett Readz & Runz (Spotlight) https://scarlettreadzandrunz.com/

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January 31st

Reads & Reels (Review) http://readsandreels.com

Entertainingly Nerdy (Review) https://www.entertaininglynerdy.com

Misty’s Book Space (Review) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com


 

Continue reading “The Die of Death by Kenneth B. Andersen”

Headliners by Lucy Parker

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Rating: 5/5 stars Headliners.jpg

Pages: 400

Series: London Celebrities, Book 5

Genres: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary, Adult, Fiction, Christmas, Holidays, British Literature, Humour, Adult Fiction

 

She swung around and was greeted with her own smiling face on a full-length poster board. Her printed image had been placed back-to-back with Nick’s, and someone had done some excessive editing, because she’d never leaned on him in her life (Ch. 1).

The story of Sabrina and Nick having to work together as co-hosts on a morning show instead of leading their own late night talk shows was one I wasn’t certain I’d get invested in but I was more than willing to give the book a try. I’d heard nothing but good things about Parker’s writing so I went into this read looking to be impressed. And impressed I was.

Headliners quickly became one of my favourite reads within the last couple of months. Parker did an excellent job at creating a world that I want to read more about – which is just my luck because this is the fifth book in the series. While I’m not usually the kind of person that will read a series out of order, I’m quite glad that I gave Headliners a shot. And now I can say, with absolute certainty, that I look forward to picking up the rest of the books in this series.

On top of having a well developed world, the characters themselves caught and kept my attention quite easily. Sabrina and Nick feel like real people – they both have their fallacies and faults, their shining moments and bright ideas, and are able to put aside their own petty grievances to do what needs to be done. They’re both fiercely loyal to the people they love and aren’t quick to forgive and forget. Having these two dynamic personalities as the main viewpoints of the story made for a gripping read.

If you’re looking for a fun romance read, I’d highly recommend giving this book a try. Parker has done an excellent job at making this typically lighthearted read heavy when it needs to be, injecting the tone of the story with severity when it calls for it. I found myself smiling profusely while I was reading and part of me was sad when the book was over because I wished there was more to devour.

 


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January 20th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

Just 4 My Books (Spotlight) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com

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January 21st

Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://www.tsarinapress.com

January 22nd

The Genre Minx Book Reviews (Spotlight) http://www.thegenreminx.com/

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

The Bookworm Drinketh (Review) http://thebookwormdrinketh.wordpress.com/

January 23rd

Wordy & Whimsical (Review) https://wordyandwhimsical.wordpress.com/

January 24th

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My Bookish Bliss (Review) http://www.mybookishbliss.com

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Tales of a Natural Spoonie (Review) https://talesofanaturalspoonie.com/

January 29th

Where Dragons Reside (Review) https://kernerangelina.live/

Phantom of the Library (Review) https://phantomofthelibrary.com/

January 30th

Magical Reads (Review) https://magicalreads7.wordpress.com/

January 31st

Jessica Belmont (Spotlight) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/


Continue reading “Headliners by Lucy Parker”

The Devil’s Apprentice by Kenneth B. Andersen

Rating: 4.5/5 stars The Devil's Apprentice.jpg

Pages: 311

Series: The Great Devil Wars, Book 1

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

 

Lucifer stared at him for some time. Then he leaned forward and hissed. “You’re evil, Philip. You’re no angel. On the contrary. You are so thoroughly, disgustingly evil that it’s way beyond my ability to comprehend! Do you hear me?” He pointed at Philip with a finger trembling with rage. “You’re evil and mean. To me.” (Ch. 26)

A friend introduced me to this series, and boy am I happy she did. I went into this read thinking it was going to be a fun story about Philip, a really good boy, being accidentally taken in as the Devil’s heir. I expected to get a look into how this world’s Underworld looked like and how the devils interacted with each other. I even expected there to be a budding friendship between the Devil and Philip. While that’s certainly an apt description of this read, it doesn’t encompass how truly entertaining of a read this was.

Anderson managed to create a complex, multi-layered Afterlife in which an exceptionally good boy lives up to his potential and all but saves the Underworld. He introduced to me characters that I both loved and loved to hate – two sides of the same (under)world that I can’t wait to continue on with. He even introduced a rather unique take on the whole life after death thing that I’m excited to read more about.

While the book has a satisfying conclusion and could be read as a standalone, I’m glad that it’s actually a series. To me, one of the defining features of a great first novel in a series is giving it the power to stand on its own while also creating openings for the story to continue. Anderson did this amazingly.

On top of that, Anderson’s writing style is one that I find myself sinking into naturally. It had a really nice flow to it and had me laughing out loud at times. In public. I’m sure there was someone on the bus with me that thought I was strange for staring at my phone and laughing… but it was worth it. And yet the serious moments had my smile slipping from my face, reading intently to see where things would go. Yup, Anderson’s writing did a wonderful job of pulling my (and my emotions) along for a very enjoyable ride.

If you’re looking for a fun read that deals with the Underworld, I highly recommend giving The Devil’s Apprentice a try. While reading about a thirteen year old boy experiencing the Afterlife might not be your ideal of a fantastic read, I can only say that you need to give this book a try. Philip’s youth and naiveté gives this story a fresh take that a lot of stories I’ve read about the Afterlife/Underworld don’t have. Reading about the afterlife from a younger perspective truly makes this read a unique one and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Continue reading “The Devil’s Apprentice by Kenneth B. Andersen”

Betrayals by Kelley Armstrong

Rating: 5/5 stars Betrayals.jpg

Pages: 416

Series: Cainsville, Book 4

Genres: Adult, Thriller, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery, Fiction, Supernatural, Romance

 

She pointed at the dead girl. “Is that not clear enough? You stall and you play and you tell yourself this sin’t your business, and so we die.” Those strange eyes met mine. “Pick a side” (Ch. 1).

If I wasn’t already in love with this story, I certainly am now. The characters are compelling, the plot is gripping, and the world is awe inspiring. Armstrong has created a world filled with mythos that most books I’ve read haven’t even thought to touch on and has done so in a way that leaves me wanting to know more. Getting an insight into Welsh mythos – and a touch of Irish mythos thrown in for good measure – makes me realize just how little I know about the mythos from different parts of the world. The anthropologist in me is loving this.

Within the pages of Betrayals, Armstrong has made me feel both joy and sorrow – as well as everything in between. If you can think of an emotion, I’ve probably felt it while reading the Cainsville series. I can officially say I’m obsessed with Olivia and the world she’s found herself living in.

The problems in this world continue to get more and more complex, dragging Olivia, Gabriel, and Ricky further into a side of their world that they hadn’t even know existed a few short months ago. Now that Olivia has gotten her PI license she’s able to help Gabriel on a more professional level while still being able to hold her own independence. Sure she keeps finding herself in precarious situations, but she’s finally surrounded herself with people she trusts with her life and knows she can call on them for anything. Ricky is starting to come into his own as a person, pulling out of the shadow that the club and his father have cast over his life up until this point. He’s constantly being the mature one in the situation, making the tough choices for the people he loves and so that they don’t have to. And then we have Gabriel, still struggling to be honest with himself and being fiercely protective of the ones he loves.

If you’re looking for a series full of mystery and intrigue, with more than a touch of the fantastical, I highly recommend giving the series a try, beginning with Omens. You won’t be disappointed in the ways that these characters find themselves despite that hardships constantly being thrown their way.

Continue reading “Betrayals by Kelley Armstrong”

Deceptions by Kelley Armstrong

Rating: 5/5 stars

Deceptions.jpg

Pages: 458

Series: Cainsville, Book 3

Genres: Adult, Thriller, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery, Fiction, Supernatural, Romance

 

The ride had ultimately landed me here, sleeping in the apartment of one of Chicago’s most notorious defense attorneys. My lawyer. My boss. And, though I’d never dare say it in front of him, my friend (Ch. 1, p. 1-2).

I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to read the Cainsville series because I’m loving every second of it. I find myself sitting on the edge of my seat just waiting to see what happens next. This is the first time I’ve ever read Deceptions, though I’d assumed I’d read it years ago, and Armstrong pulled me into so many different directions that I was shocked throughout the whole read. That’s one of the reasons I love Armstrong’s writing – she’s able to write mystery in a way that always leaves me guessing, always hungering for more. Even with the clues sprinkled throughout the story, the way in which everything comes together just took my breath away.

This book focuses more heavily on the mystery of the Valentines Killers than Visions did, which, in my opinion, brought the focus of the story back to the forefront. While a related mystery has popped up as the series progressed, it was nice to see everything tie back into the original mystery that Olivia was trying to solve.

The complex relationships within this novel are another reason that I find myself unwilling to hop into another world, instead focusing on finishing this series that has my complete, undivided attention. Instead of things getting easier for the cast, relationships continue to be muddled and complex giving the whole book a sense of reality, It was almost as if the situations in this book were happening to real people. Armstrong is fantastic at showcasing this in her writing and Deceptions is a wonderful example.

I’ve got my favourite relationships, though they’re flawed, and I couldn’t ask for anything better. Armstrong has created a world that feels real, filled with silent communication between people showing just how close they are and how deep their trust goes. While I don’t want to actually live in this twisted world, I’ve enjoyed every second that I’ve gotten to visit it.

If you’re looking for a fun mystery with a supernatural twist, you should check this series out. It ties together Welsh mythology and American serial killers in a beautifully wicked way. The romance part of the book doesn’t take center stage which I enjoyed. Instead, Armstrong made it a beautiful secondary plot line to the main events of the story.

Continue reading “Deceptions by Kelley Armstrong”