Category Archives: Book Review/ Blog Spot Thursday

Patrick’s story: Brothers of Darkness (New Amaranthine Story by Joleene Naylor)- Plus Review!

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“Not a love story…a dark spiral into blackness.”

“If you’ve read Shades of Gray, you know how this has to end.”

The prequel to Shades of Gray tells the story of Patrick and Michael, how they got tangled into Claudius’ web, and their valiant fight to escape.

When Patrick’s missing brother Michael returns, he brings with him a world of darkness. Turned into a vampire against his will, Michael is the coven’s whipping boy. When Patrick tries to help, he’s claimed as a slave who spends his weekends preparing victims, scooping ashes, and falling prey to the vampire’s twisted desires.

There’s only so much hell he can take, and when vampires from a warring coven offer sanctuary in exchange for cooperation, Patrick quickly agrees. What he expected to be a few months drags out into a long smear of nightmares, and though he fights for hope and freedom, the cost of victory may be more than he bargained for.

 

Excerpt:

The park was eerie in the dark. The hulking jungle gym sat like a crouched monster waiting to spring, and the swing set’s long shadows were tendrils of evil that snaked toward Patrick and Michael as they leaned on the teeter-totter.

The snow slowed, then stopped. Patrick scuffled his feet in the drifts and counted off the seconds. How long would it take a vampire to find them?

And why in the hell do we want him to?

Michael’s shoulders went stiff and Patrick followed his gaze. At first, he saw only darkness, then, like last time, the guy materialized from the shadows.

“You’re looking for me?”

Michael narrowed his eyes. “You’re the mind reader, you tell me.”

Without hesitation, the vampire asked sharply, “Why should I help you?”

Michael grabbed his brother’s arm. “Come on, Pat. I told you this was a fuckin’ waste of time.”

Before they could move, the mysterious man replied, “I didn’t say I wouldn’t help, only asked why I should.”

Patrick nodded hopefully. If the vampires were half as terrifying as this guy, there was no way they could deal with them alone. They needed someone who could help them and, though he couldn’t say why, he was sure this was the guy for the job. Maybe because he scares the shit outta me. “Hang on, Mikey. Let’s give him a chance.”

Michael glared at the vampire. “Why? We don’t even know who he is!”

The man all but rolled his eyes. “My name is Jorick. What do you want from me?”

Patrick answered quickly, “He needs help to get away from Claudius.”

Jorick studied them. The moments stretched thin and taut, heavy with the oppressive winter atmosphere. Finally, he said, “Let me speak to my associate. We might be able to do something. Return here in five days.”

Then he disappeared.

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My review:

Patrick’s story is just that. We finally get to hear all about the boyfriend that started Katelina down the dark and dangerous path into the Amaranthine world. Troubled, drug addicted, and quite frankly fucked up, Patrick is definitely not the man anyone should feel bad for. He is a go nowhere, do nothing loser who can’t hold down a job to save his life… And his brother, Michael, is no better. After Michael is forced to get a day job doing lawn care at a mysterious mansion, he hatches a plan to get rich and leave everything bad behind. The plan, of course, does not go the way Michael planned, and he goes to Patrick for help. Feeling a sense of responsibility for his brother, Patrick is plunged into a world no human should ever be in. Betrayal, violence, and abuse, Patrick’s seemingly tragic story does see one bit of light at the end of a very dark tunnel, but how long will it last?

I went into Patrick completely unsure. Very little was known about him outside of Shades of Gray. He was the loser boyfriend of Katelina’s that met a really grizzly and unfortunate end at the VERY VERY beginning of Shades of Gray (so this is not a spoiler). I was incredibly curious to see how Joleene could make such a deadbeat into a relatable character. And I was not disappointed. I became so attached to Patrick, that there was fan fiction being written in my head. I mean, I knew how it ended, I knew the direction every life in the series takes. I honestly wasn’t sure how many surprises there would be. This book made me feel so much for a character that I didn’t particularly care for, that I cursed Jo. I did, I definitely, definitely did. There was a very strongly written letter and everything. But nevertheless, Patrick was beautifully written and a wonderful story. The pacing, dialog, and all around feel of the story are very true to the rest of the series, so long time Amaranthine readers should be right at home. I enjoy books that make me feel, and this made me feel so many things. I teared up at the end.

If you have not read Shades of Gray yet and want to start with Patrick, I would advise against it. You will gain a much better sense of understanding, and it will just mean a lot more to you if you start with the beginning of the series.

Of course, I have to give Brothers of Darkness 5 out of 5 stars just being it. It was an amazing book and you HAVE to read it… like now… Because it came out today, so… yeah.

5 star

Sweet Sorrow by Tricia Drammeh

Click here to buy the book

Click here to buy the book

“Rowan achieves her greatest desire when she earns the part of Juliet in the school play, but it’s impossible to concentrate on her lines when her secret crush is cast as Romeo. Eddie is a fallen football hero and the subject of widespread gossip. Not only has he lost the respect of his peers, he’s also earned the open animosity of Rowan’s father, the high school’s football coach. Eddie isn’t the only one with a tarnished past—Rowan has secrets of her own. When the truth is revealed, will Rowan replace Eddie as the most hated student in school, or will Rowan and Eddie share the stage together?

Note from the author: This book deals with subject matter that might be upsetting to some readers. Though it is NOT graphic or descriptive, sexual assault is discussed in this book. Please be aware before reading.” (Blurb by Tricia Drammeh)
Sweet Sorrow has been in the works for a while now, and I have to say that I am so glad that Tricia has finished it. Rowan, the main character, is a damaged young woman. Daughter of the head football coach at her school, she hides a dark secret about her ex, who happens to be the former star of the team in her dad’s eyes. After a summer of hiding under her covers as a result of her tragedy, Rowan decides that she has to attempt to go back to some kind of routine in her life. This comes in the form of auditioning for the senior play. She finds out that her new crush is also auditioning, she worries that she’ll not be able to concentrate enough to land the part.

Eddie is a troubled player that gets kicked off of the football team after some property damage at a party lands him and a few other players in jail. With all hopes of his sports scholarship dashed, Eddie turns to his secret talent of acting in an attempt to earn a scholarship that way.

The two form an instant connection after being cast in the roles of Romeo and Juliet. Their love builds quickly, but Rowan continues to hide her secret. It’s only a matter of time before Eddie finds out.

Tricia Drammeh has a knack for contemporary fiction. She understands people on a level that seems to fail so many authors. There is a sort of honesty behind how each character speaks and behaves within her stories, it seems like the cast of her novels are just plucked off of the street. Sweet Sorrow touches on victim mentality in a way that very few have been able to honestly capture. The way that she coveys Rowan is wonderful. I don’t think that I have ever personally that was actively dealing with PTSD, but the way she has written it makes it very believable without being over the top. I wouldn’t say Rowan is my favorite character that she’s ever written, but definitely top 5. The way that Rowan’s growing strength and inner turmoil are presented drew me in. I will say that the subject of rape is covered in this book and if you’re easily offended by it, or are concerned about a “trigger,” this book might not be for you. Otherwise, an absolutely stunning novel by Tricia Drammeh that you have to read.

Thank you, Tricia, for moving forward with this book. You are truly amazing.

 

5 star

Clash of Legends (Amaranthine Book #7) by Joleene Naylor

Click here for buy link

Click here for buy link

“After the battle in Indonesia. Katelina wakes in Samael’s domain. Though her memories are tattered, she knows someone is missing: Jorick.

Her vampire lover gathers an army to save her from the ancient, but his master Malick interferes. For five hundred years Malick has manipulated and ruined Jorick’s life. When he leaves Katelina broken and bleeding in the bowels of his oasis, it’s the final straw.

While Malick sets up his glorious war with a living legend, Jorick plans the ultimate taboo: to kill his master. He’s tried before and failed. Will this be different, or will he and Katelina be crushed in the carnage of a greater battle, between two whose blood goes back millennia?” (Blurb by Joleene Naylor)

 

Everything comes to a head in this action packed 7th novel of the Amaranthine series. After being kidnapped by the ancient vampire Samael, Katelina finds herself unable to remember anyone or anything. Elsewhere, while Jorick searches for his lost love, a battle is brewing. Malick’s determination to take over the world is as strong as ever. Can Jorick save Katelina and end his master’s reign of terror?

Clash of Legends is the seventh installment in the Amaranthine series and this has got to be Joleene’s best work yet. Where most series struggle to remain consistent and attention grabbing, Joleene has continued this series effortlessly. I am having a hard time trying to properly write this review because there were so many amazing things that happened in this book and I don’t want to spoil them for anyone.

I enjoy Katelina’s strength in this book. She has to deal with some very dramatic things very suddenly, and while she initially struggles, she is able to conquer her hesitation with grace and become the most kick ass she’s been thus far.

Another masterpiece and I cannot wait for more. You have simply got to read this book!

 

5 star

A very special Book Review Thursday.

Hello everyone and welcome to a very special Book Review Thursday. I wanted to come out of hiatus for a moment to bring you all an amazing surprise! I am joined by Oren, one of the most interesting, albeit misunderstood, characters from Joleene Naylor’s Amaranthine Series. He agreed to an interview, and I hope that you all are as excited as I am!

 

So Oren, if it’s okay with you, I’d like to get right to it. What have you been up to since we last saw you?

After the climatic events in Indonesia, Jorick has been understandably…insane. The interesting thing is that he’s not the only one, and there’s been a flurry of activity centered on retrieving his human. In fact, there was such an army that it made progress incredibly slow. It’s difficult moving more than four or five vampires at a time unless you have a van. And since we’re cut off from civilization, we don’t.

Since arriving in Indonesia, have you considered just cutting ties and heading back home? I mean, Jorick has asked a lot of you, do you think that he might be asking too much sometimes?

It’s nice that someone has noticed how demanding he is, but when it comes to fighting Malick we are in accord. It was Malick who controlled Senya and Bren, and so ultimately Malick that is to blame for…for what happened.  Killing him is essentially finishing what I began by attacking the Citadel – it’s the completion of a war Jorick refused to participate in. Interesting that he suddenly thinks it’s his idea.

Once that’s finished, though, we are returning to the States, whether Jorick comes with us or not.

Let’s say once the war is over, the council says ‘Hey Oren, we’ve seen your drive and we want you to come work for us.’ Do you think you would ever be able to willingly work at the Citadel or anything like that?

An emphatic no. I can’t believe that Jorick would ever consent to work for the hypocrites. Malick may not be in charge anymore, but I doubt the new regime will be any better. If this war, or quest, if you prefer, has taught me anything it’s that the ancients are insane power-hungry children. Their wisdom is weak and their rule tyrannical. I would no more be a part of their monstrosity than I would become a vampire hunter.

Your after life has definitely been a roller coaster, wouldn’t you say? You went from losing your wife and children in one fell swoop (and I am very sorry for your loss), to traveling across the globe with your maker. What kind of affect do you feel that that’s had on you?

Erm…thank you for the…sympathies. If you don’t mind though we’ll…erm…move along. Globe hopping. It’s tiresome. I was never one for travel, and we were quite content to live most of our afterlives on the plantation in Virginia, until…Ahem. Of course I have traveled before. I had a few makeshift dens near Claudius’ hangouts so that we could keep an eye on him, but we didn’t travel like this. I’m looking forward to going home. Not that we have a den prepared. I suppose that’s something we’ll need to consider.

You have had a very “humans cause trouble” stance when it comes to Katelina. Would you say that you are starting to come around to her and her ability to hold her own, or do you still think that her remaining human is still a hindrance?

Ah yes. Jorick’s…human. My opinion of her is, unfortunately, tied into the reaction she causes in Jorick. Were she not associated with him, perhaps she would have been…fine as a human servant. Despite my reputation I don’t dislike humans on principle, provided they know their place. I had human servants for well over a hundred years. The problem with this particular human, as I said, is what she does to Jorick. He is over protective of her, constantly concerned for her welfare, and determined to leave her on a silk cushion – only then he won’t *leave* her – he drags her with us.  If he wants her as an equal, fine, then make her an equal and stop all the aggravating fretting, and if he wants to play her knight in shining armor and protect her from the demons, then leave her home where she’s safe. He needs to make his mind up once and for all.

Once you have finally defeated Malick, do you think that you’ll return to the quiet life? Find a new home somewhere a settle down for a while?

Yes, that’s my plan. I imagine we’ll need to purchase a house legally, if we want the idiotic humans to leave us in peace. As for who will be settling down with me, I can’t say. I imagine my sister will, and Etsuko, but for the others; Micah, Loren, his new friend Ume…I assume they will go back to whatever they were doing before

 Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like you’ve been warming up to Etsuko. I know that more than a few readers are hoping for a blossoming romance between the two of you. Do you think that there potential for a relationship there, or do you want people to just leave it alone?

Erm…Ahem…Etsuko. Ah. Yes. Well. Etsuko is…She, erm. I-I don’t quite know how to handle her. I’m afraid I’m rather used to more…aggressive women, for lack of a better term. Etsuko is very…She’s…accommodating. Almost subservient. I expected such behavior when she was a human – as I said humans should know their place, and she did that adequately, but now that she’s immortal…On the other hand it’s refreshing to see someone with the proper deference to their master for a change. Yes. It is nice. As for romance I…Erm…Yes…Well…Romance…That’s…That’s another topic.  Ahem.

It looks like we’re just about out of time. Is there anything that you would like to add before you go?

Thank you for having me. It’s nice to converse with someone who understands proper respect rather than pushing horrifying questions in their visitors’ face regarding their undergarments, or other such nonsense. I hope that readers who pick up the newest installment are able to enjoy it, despite our author’s limited capacity for telling an interesting story. Then again, I may be bitter towards her for her poor plot choices.

I hope that she forgives you for saying that. Thank you so much for joining us today, Oren. And thank you to Joleene for letting you come by. I’m looking forward to reading more about you and the others in the upcoming release of Clash of Legends, which will be out March 31st, 2015.

For those of you interested in pre-ordering a copy, please check out the links below. Thank you so much for stopping by the blog!

Amazon Kindle

Smashwords

Kobo

Barnes and Noble Nook

Apple iTunes

Book Review Thursday- What am I reading?

I am in between reviews right now because I am currently reading a couple of really good books right now!

I will let you guys know that I did just finish beta reading “Unbound (Spellbrings Book 3)” by Tricia Drammeh and it is AWESOME!! When it is released, I will be bringing you a review for that.

Currently, I am reading “Tarnished (St. Croix Chronicles Book 1)” by Karina Cooper. It is a Steam-Punk/ Psuedo-Historical/ Dark Romance fiction that is actually much different than my normal read, but it is pretty good thus far.

Up next on my to-review list is “Alexander Death (Paranormals, Book 3) by J.L. Bryan. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that I am absolutely enamored with the Paranormals series and I cannot wait to get started on this next amazing piece!!

I hope you guys stick around to check out these reviews!

Tommy Nightmare (The Paranormals #2)- Book Review Thursday

*SPOILER WARNING!!* If you haven’t ready Jenny Pox yet, then you might want to skip this.

Click here for the buy link

Click here for the buy link

 

Tommy was nothing more than an orphaned boy forced through the foster care system, cursed with the ability to make people feel fear. After a life time of running cons and committing serious crimes with his power, Tommy landed himself in jail. After seeing a television show featuring Fallen Oaks’ own Ashleigh Goodling, Tommy realizes that she is his opposite so he sets out to find her. When he arrives in Fallen Oaks to join forces, he learns about what Jenny did, and decides to make her pay for murdering Ashleigh. When he reconnects with a childhood crush with the ability to listen to the dead, Tommy and Esmeralda set to bring Ashleigh back and bring Jenny down.

After the massacre, Jenny Morton and Seth Barrett are trying to find a sense of normalcy in the nearly empty town. Insecurities and family duties threaten to tear the couple apart. When Darcy Metcalf suddenly starts acting like Jenny’s friend, Jenny beings to wonder if she and Seth will truly be okay.

A serious epidemic sweeps through Fallen Oaks and Dr. Heather Reynard of Center for Disease Control, along with the National Guard are brought in to find the source of the devastation. With no leads and so many people either missing or unidentified, Heather is concerned about  finding the source. After meeting Darcy Metcalf, Heather is persuaded to look deeper in to Jenny Morton. When the evidence begins to pile up, Heather has to decided what to do next.

Tommy Nightmare is a great sequel to Jenny Pox. It was very well developed and mostly a page turner. It lagged a bit for me in certain spots, but the over all story was fantastic. J.L. Bryan has truly built a world and a mythology here that is second to none. My one of my favorite New Adult series thus far. I definitely recommend it!

4 star

Vampire Morsels (Short Story Collection) by Joleene Naylor- Book Review Thursday

I am unfortunately having some technical difficulties, so there will not be a video today, but here is the review I was going to do!

morsels-collection-cover

Click here for the buy link

 

(Joleene did give me a copy for free. I, of course, owe her an honest review)

For those of you that may not know, Vampire Morsels is a collection of short stories set in the Amaranthine Universe. Each story is told from the point of view of some of the lesser characters in the series. In my prior review, I had read up to ‘Kariss,’ which was free (at the time) on Smashwords. It was great to be able to pick up right where I had left off. What I found from having these lesser characters tell their stories really helped show the depth and thought that Joleene has put into this universe. It’s very evident that she wants you, the reader, to be just as big a part of her world. All of the characters were extremely well thought out and very three dimensional. I have spoken with other people that have gotten into the series and they said that they actually started with Vampire Morsels. So, if you’re not sure where to start, this may be the best place.

5 star

 

Firebound (Spellbringers Book Two) by Tricia Drammeh— Book Review Thursday

Click here for the buy link

Click here for the buy link

 

The Claim between Alisa and Bryce is as strong as ever. Their love and desire for each other is overwhelming. Of course, Bryce’s controlling and jealous behavior may put an end of all of that. Alisa tries to maintain her independence but with the bond of the Claiming Words, she’s finding it harder than she had anticipated.

Seemingly free from Re’Vel’s game, Rachel tries to return to normalcy. Her relationship with Jace seems better than ever. However, her pride and her fear for her brother’s safety leads Rachel down a dark path that will not only damage the bond she has with the Alexanders, but puts everyone-including Alisa- in real danger.

An evil blast from the past is trying to shake the Alexander family, and puts Rachel in his sights. When Alisa finds herself as the target of the demon’s game, Bryce will do whatever it takes to keep the woman he loves safe.

All I’ve been saying since I finished Firebound has been “holy crap.” I mean, seriously. The LONG anticipated sequel to Spellbound has been nothing short of amazing. More drama, more romance, and a deeper view of the characters, Firebound is everything I could have hoped for in this series and more. It seems that when the publisher didn’t move forward after TCW, it really was a blessing. Tricia’s passion and commitment to this series shines through on the pages and I feel as though a publisher would have really taken away from the overall story. These characters are deeper than ever, more human. The situations are reminiscent of Joss Whedon, taking a real scenario (moving too quickly with a boyfriend, cheating on your partner) and wrapping it in a monster covered coating.

I cannot wait for Unbound. I am absolutely dying. This series is a must read.

 

5 star

Spellbound, Spellbringers Book One

SpellboundRawdraft

 

Before Jace came to Oaktree, Alisa was friendless and unpopular. After she saves him from a Hunter, everything changes. Jace and his family introduce her to the world of Spellbringers, and change the way she looks at everything, including herself. Of course, Jace’s older brother, Bryce, is very vocal with his opinions about letting a human in on their secret. When Bryce finally opens himself up to her, things change between them in many ways.

Rachel is every bit your average high school student. Popular, athletic, and has an amazing boyfriend. When Jace shows up on her radar, everything begins to change. He helps her unlock a part of herself she didn’t even know existed. When her dreams of Re’Vel, a powerful demon, start taking a turn for the worse, Rachel has to accept her gifts and look towards Jace and his family.

A dark family secret, danger, and magic, Rachel and Alisa have learn how to adjust to life with their new knowledge and be wary of The Claiming Words.

I can honestly say that this rewrite has turned what used to be The Claiming Words into a more driven and intense story that is now Spellbound. Tricia Drammeh has worked her bottom off to make this every bit the novel that she initially wanted. The care and concern for this story as a whole are evident with every turn of the page.

As someone that has read both The Claiming Words and Spellbound, I can tell you that the story is very different. If you think you shouldn’t read it because you already have read TCW then you’re sadly mistaken. This book is phenomenal and I would recommend it to just about any one.

Amazing job, Tricia!

 

5 star

Book Review Thursday

Since I’ve started my new job, I’ve been a bit busier than I was expecting so I haven’t had a chance to finish reading Hidden. I’m sorry that I haven’t had a chance to complete the book, but I will get to it as soon as I can.

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