Bookreview: Firebound #fantasy #FlashbackFriday

This is a special post I do once a month to highlight a book I reviewed some time ago, but never actually featured on my blog. Because this is an author blog and not a book blog, I don’t always feature all the books I read. Like all good and dedicated fans of the written word, I do my part and leave reviews on Goodreads.com, Amazon.com, and sometimes other places, but don’t always bring attention to what I’m reading, unless you follow me on YouTube… hint, hint, wink wink 😉 In any case, please enjoy this review of a book I read at some point in my life.

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Today’s flashback review is a little special but mostly because today is International Authors Day. I’m featuring a review of a book from an author I really like.

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Goodreads

Title:  Firebound

Series: Spellbringers #2

Author: Tricia Drammeh

Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance, Paranormal

Pages: 285

Reading Level: Teen

Content: PG-13 (violence, sensuality, brief mild sexual content, dark and mature themes, adult situations, suspense)

In book one my heart went out to Bryce who seemed to be misunderstood, but in book 2 I really fell in love with Alisa. She’s the only character with no power of her own, yet she seems to be the strongest of them all. Depending on how you look at it, Alisa is the reason the Alexander family is as mighty as they are. In their society of magic and Spellbringers, their connection to this one human keeps them all from becoming monsters… I may be exaggerating a bit, but in any case, I really adore Alisa.

Rachel, on the other hand, is a character that despite her many many flaws, I can’t hate but don’t exactly love her. I feel for her in many ways, but she seems to be a bit self-destructive. Like all self-destructive people, she also hurts others as a result. The one thing she seems to have going for her is the fact that she is apparently the most powerful being on the planet though she hasn’t realized the extent of her powers. As destructive as she is, I still like her more than Jace.

It’s not that I don’t like Jace. I feel a bit indifferent about this character. I can see that he will continue to grow as the story develops, but for now, he’s a pretty face, decent brother, and good son.

The action of this book is much more involved, which I didn’t think was possible. Alisa and Bryce struggle to be close yet so far apart. After he speaks the claiming words to her, they crave each other but can’t share each other or live together. Alisa is forgetting what an independent person she used to be and Bryce is clinging to her affection so he won’t turn to the dark side. Yeah, whoa!

Rachel has the best of intentions trying to protect her brother but she has to know that going on dream dates with a demon isn’t going to end well. Plus, there’s more than one demon after her. When, Alisa, the only human in the bunch has to risk her life to save Rachel, things heat up in more ways than one. What a perfect end to this installment and a grand enticement for the next.

I think I enjoyed this one just as much as the first. Highly recommended again.

Read my review of Spellbound here.

I give this book a 5.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse #Review: Outliers of Speculative Fiction 2016 #specfic #book

The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you’ve finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same. In this way, we’ll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers. Please join us below.

Title: Outliers of Speculative Fiction 2016
Editor: L.A. Little
Author: Tim Jefferys, Various
Genre: Science Fiction, Anthology
Pages: 150
Reading Level: Adult
Content: R (adult situations and content, mature and dark themes, doom, and violence)

I was happy to see that another volume of this series was published. While it’s not as long as the first, it’s still top quality speculative fiction with lots of diversity.

Hell Is Other People: A.I. based on mood. Good.
The Death of Mohenjo Daro: cultural- epic battle of men, greed, and faith. Good
Myra’s Last Tango: end of the world and aliens with humor. Not bad.
Downriver at the End of the World: a sad, post-apocalyptic coming-of-age tale. Excellent.
A Speck in the Sky: dangerous power, sacrifice. Excellent.
The House on No Man’s Land: ghost story with a twist. Good.
Souls in Other Space: humorous, yet scary, space opera. Excellent.
Terrible Weight: sad and scary post-apocalyptic zombie-ish story. Excellent.
Existential Crisis: weird afterlife mingled with the living. Good.
A Packhorse for Your Silly Meme: A.I., evolution, an “infant savior”. Excellent.
Grand Ideas: not sure how to describe this one. Good.

Overall, I enjoyed this anthology and only wish there had been more of it. Recommended to adult (teens with parental approval) fans of science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, and horror.

I give this book a 5.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Please stop by and see what others have read 😀

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse #Review: My Father Didn’t Kill Himself #YA #book

The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you’ve finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same. In this way, we’ll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers. Please join us below.

So, the end of April came way faster than I was prepared for. Today, I’m prepping for the RavenCon and am feeling a bit jittery. I feel bad about not putting forth my best effort with this review so let me be clear now, this is not the full and complete review. I will be more thorough at a later time and post my complete review on Goodreads and Amazon (if they let me). Since I’m pretty much a member of the author’s, Russell Nohelty, unofficial fan club, I get a lot of his content in bulk and at discounted prices. I support almost all his Kickstarters and thus, that’s how I acquire his content whether digital or print. In any case, I’ll provide a brief review of this ebook below.

Title: My Father Didn’t Kill Himself
Author: Russell Nohelty
Genre: YA, Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 305
Reading Level: Adult
Content: R (adult content and situations, mature themes, drug and alcohol use, language, sexuality)

So first, I have issues reading YA in general so that’s not a reflection of the author’s ability to tell a story. I had trouble relating to teens with I was one, so reading about them is always a little difficult for me. With that said, this is a very hard book to read. Some of the subject matter is just painful, in an emotional way, but it’s good. Sometimes you have to be uncomfortable to really experience something that sticks with you. Overall, this is a good book I’d recommend to a select few I feel would really connect with it and benefit from it.

I give this book a 4.

If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Please stop by and see what others have read 😀

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse #Review: Monsters In Our Wake #horror #ebook

The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you’ve finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same. In this way, we’ll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers. Please join us below.

Title: Monsters In Our Wake: A Deep Sea Thriller
Author: J.H. Moncrieff
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction Thriller
Pages: 190
Reading Level: Adult
Content: R (language, gore, suspense, dark theme, mature and adult situations, violence)

This book caught me off guard and I’m glad. I was expecting a great monster story but got something else entirely. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the classic monster elements are there, but the differences make all the difference.

The story is about a strange connection between an ancient sea creature and a marine geologist. As a single mother, Flora takes a job on an oil rig purely for the money, but between her anxiety and the machismo on the ship, it doesn’t take long to wonder if it’s worth it.

Then there’s Nokken and his dysfunctional (sea creature) family. A bit of sport with an oil rig, something that looks like a toy to him, starts the drama that unfolds. Nokken is somehow torn between sticking to his nature and having compassion for the creatures that could destroy his home.

Being familiar with the reputation of Moncrieff, I was expecting an intense horror story to boggle the mind. That’s what I got, but I felt like the story was more of a science fiction thriller, which make sense because thriller is in the title. Because the story is told from the perspective of both the humans and the sea creatures, there’s an element of terror missing, but it’s still scary.

Right from the start, the creatures are humanized to the reader and the story plays out like a crime drama or thriller from then on. The story becomes a mental battle for the sea creature (Nokken), who has the upper hand in all aspects, to decide what is the right thing to do. All the while, back on the ship, the real monsters begin to show themselves as survival takes a back seat to individual self-preservation. And none of the humans come off looking very good, even Flora.

While she’s the best of humanity on the ship, some of her actions or lack there of, don’t make her the fittest in terms of survival. I wanted to like her more, but I didn’t. There were other characters with likable traits and some who did heroic things, but I didn’t really ‘like’ any of them. Of course, I sympathized with Flora and wanted her to make it out alive more than anyone else; I just don’t know why I didn’t like her more. I can relate to her, though, in one respect. Anxiety is crippling in a way no one can understand unless they’ve experienced it.

Overall, I’d recommend this to horror and sci-fi fans, and to anyone who appreciates a good monster story or one with a twist. Not suitable for pre-teens and young children.

I give this book a 4.

If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Please stop by and see what others have read 😀

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#Review: The Legends Saga #paranormal #ya

Sorry for the late post. Life happens its own way no matter how much you plan.

Goodreads

Title:  Crane

Series: The Legends Saga #1

Author: Stacey Rourke

Genre: Paranormal, Retelling

Pages: 298

Reading Level: Adult

Content: PG-13 (violence, adult situations and content, some gore)

This is two stories in one with a dark comical twist… Well, actually two twists.

Ireland Crane just moved to Sleepy Hollow because she couldn’t pass on the opportunity to be associated with the legend of Ichabod… No, not really. I just thought that was a silly coincidence that was going to ruin this book, but it didn’t. Actually, Ireland just broke up with her boyfriend and needed a change so when a job in Sleepy Hollow opened up, it was a chance to escape. Of course, once she gets there, people start dying and old men start waking up in her basement. Enter, Rip Van Winkle.

One thing I’ll say about this story is that it is refreshingly dark and funny. I fell in love with the humor of Stacey Rourke in her Gryphon Series, but this was an entirely different experience. This story is more New Adult than YA, but not filled with a lot of steam. That may be a deterrent for some who feel that New Adult exists only to add more steam to stories.

While I didn’t fall as hard for the first installment of the Legends Saga as I did the Gryphon Series, the story still won my heart. The paranormal elements of this story are right up my alley, and the comedy is just a bonus. The strong female lead, Ireland, is not what I expected which is always a plus for me. She doesn’t start off as a kick-butt character but develops a duality that lets her be the quintessential girly-girl and feme fatal all at once. Kudos to Rourke on the character.

Ireland isn’t the only likable character in this book, but I don’t want to give too much away. A sleepy Rip does steal the show a few times, and have I mentioned the dreamy Noah. Of course, there’s a love interest, but I like that the romance is not the major focus of this story. In fact, as twists go, romance and damsels get mashed up pretty good and I like it. The way the whole curse comes together was original and exciting. The rest of this series is a must read for me.

Recommended to fans of paranormal, myth and fairytale retellings, and dark humor.

I give this book a 4.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Goodreads

Title:  Raven

Series: The Legends Saga #2

Author: Stacey Rourke

Genre: Paranormal, Retelling

Pages: 211

Reading Level: Adult

Content: PG-13 (violence, adult situations and content, gore, mature and dark themes)

I don’t think it’s fair to compare the tale of Ichabod to the fictionalized story of Edgar Allan Poe, but that’s what we’re faced with comparing books 1 and 2 of The Legends Saga. Considering I am rating both books the same, it seems silly to say that I liked the second book more, but I did. However, I think that is mostly the fault of my enthusiasm for Poe. In any case, Rourke has thoroughly entertained me again with Raven, to which I will doubt her nevermore.

I honestly didn’t know where else this story could possibly go, and knowing who’s showing up for the third book, it’s all I can do not to speculate. I can’t wait to be surprised. To say that matters turned darker in this second book is an understatement, but there’s no denying that Ireland is still Ireland. She’s silly, and sweet, and a bit slow at times, but that’s just part of her charm.

As the Hessian, unfortunately, she gets put in her place when the scorned love of Poe turns out to be much more powerful. Let’s face it; while revenge and rage are powerful forces, love is the ruler of all. As if being the Hessian wasn’t enough to put a strain on Ireland and Noah’s relationship, the handsome Ridley shows up just having to be the missing key to resolving Poe’s century-old relationship issues.  Just as in the first book, life and death are a delicate balance held together or torn apart by love.

This story is much darker than the first, but it didn’t turn me away. Even through all the darkness and death in this book, there was room for quite a few laughs. An addition to the second book, not experience in the first, at least for me, was also a sense of sorrow. Rourke really dug deep and offered a gambit of emotions and experiences for her readers.

Recommended to teen and adult readers; fans of paranormal, Poe, and other twisted retellings.

I give this book a 4.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Goodreads

 Title: Steam

Series: The Legends Saga #3

Author: Stacey Rourke

Genre: Paranormal, Retelling

Pages: 228

Reading Level: Adult

Content: PG-13 (violence, adult situations and content, gore, mature and dark themes)

I’ll go ahead and admit that I enjoyed this story, but I didn’t like the way this series ended. I probably would have given this final installment of the Legends Saga a 5 rating, had the ending been more resolute. For me, having so many questions at the end leaves me wondering if these characters will pop up again down the road, just as other Rourke characters have. The uncertainty is agonizing… but still; you gotta read this for yourself. It’s totally worth it.

Aside from my issues with the ending, Rourke has managed to awe and amaze me yet again, adding extended depth to her characters and twisting ageless tales in unexpected ways. Steam takes everything to another level. If you snickered in the first two books, you’ll LOL in this one. If you whimpered a bit with the first two books, your heart will ache with this one. There is one scene in particular that actually made me feel a bit of terror, bordering this tale on the edge of horror, but it’s so much more than that.

Book one seemed to focus on conquering demons and finding purpose. Book two seemed to focus on the power and, even danger, of love. Book three is all about the choice to live with hope and the sacrifices one makes to keep hope, and perhaps even love, alive.

In this installment, Ireland and Ripley are joined with a new character who has ties to witchcraft and the story of “The Scarlet Letter”.  This oddball assortment of humans and their supernatural gifts have been gathered together by HG Wells to defeat the greatest evil any of them have ever seen. Even with Well’s ability to travel through time, he knows that even if they win, there will be a price to pay, he just doesn’t know what it is.

If you read the first two, you should definitely read the third and decide for yourself if the ending is or isn’t totally satisfying.

Recommended to teen and adult readers; fans of paranormal, and other twisted retellings.

I give this book a 4.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like a Kindle copy of this book, try this link: Amazon.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords