The Spirit Breather – R.J. Harris

I received an advanced/review copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content and honesty of my review.

The Spirit Breather – R.J. Harris

According to the prophecy, only Emily Morrow can destroy the Raven Mockers, the shape-shifting witches who feed on human souls. Now, seventeen years after her birth, Joseph Stomper, a spirit warrior of the Nunnehi immortals, must fulfill the blood vow he made to protect her. Trained to follow orders at any cost, Joseph must prepare Emily for the battle ahead. But the closer he gets to her, the more he questions the laws of his people…

Emily Morrow’s summer goal is to forget the assault that nearly claimed her life. But her plans for a relaxing, post-grad camping trip quickly fall apart. When her best friend, Kadie, is snatched by the dark creatures nesting in the mountains of Cherokee, North Carolina, Emily discovers the dark truth behind her tragic past.

Together, with Joseph Stomper, Emily must embrace her role in a centuries-old prophecy and learn to harness a dangerous gift before she loses everyone she loves. But in a place where rules dictate action, there are consequences for those who follow their hearts.

The Spirit Breather by R.J. Harris
Series: Native Guardians #1
five-stars
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Format: ARC

Ho-lee crap.

This freaking book was so dang good.

I have no idea how I’ve never heard of this book or this author before now because her writing–and this story–is phenomenal. I know I say this a lot in my reviews, but I honestly couldn’t put this book down once I started it.

Ironically enough, this is the second book in a row where the heart of the story is based on Native American folklore and I’m loving it. I’ve always been fascinated by the Native American culture and reading paranormal stories based on this folklore is awesome. I might just be living under a rock, but I haven’t read many paranormal books based on this folklore and reading something other than the stereotypical vampires, werewolves, and witches (oh my!) is pretty neat. Don’t get me wrong; I love pretty much everything paranormal, so I’ll read it all, but taking something unique that you don’t see often and writing about it garners huge points in my book. I mean, this book has raven mockers!! I’m a major Mountain Monsters fan, so I kind of flipped when I read the blurb. There was a nice bit of creep factor added with these things, too. Normally, I’m not big on the creepiness, but I liked that little bit of chill running up my spine while reading this one. It was mild, but enough to make a point.

I don’t want to say a whole lot about this book for fear of spoilers, but I honestly loved everything about this book. The character development was beautifully done; the paranormal creatures featured in this book were so clever and wonderfully well-written; the back story of the heroine and what she went through almost a year prior was compelling and heartwrenching and she was both vulnerable and strong. She wasn’t annoying, either, which was a huge plus. Her love interest is so friggin’ dreamy and I have a huge book crush on him *heart eyes*

Also, this may be neither here nor there for you guys, but this book is written in the third person and normally, I’m not a big fan of that narrative, but I found myself so immersed in this story that it didn’t even matter. I was completely hooked and felt like I could actually visualize everything that was happening.

 

So, at the end of the day, this book is unequivocally one of my favorite reads of the year. I was completely enamored with the story and I’ll recommend it to anyone who likes young adult paranormal because this is like finding a hidden gem. I’m so excited to get my hands on the next book and I’m hoping this author writes some more books because she has an incredible talent–I’m definitely filing her under my new favorite authors.

Please, do yourself a favor and go read this book!!

 

         

five-stars

Rose Petal Graves – Olivia Wildenstein

I received an advanced/review copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content and honesty of my review.

Rose Petal Graves – Olivia Wildenstein

ANCIENT SECRETS CANNOT REMAIN BURIED FOREVER.

Founded two centuries ago by a powerful tribe of Gottwa Indians, Rowan was a quiet town, so quiet that I fled after graduation. Staying away was the plan, but Mom died suddenly.

Dad said she suffered a stroke after she dug up one of the ancient graves in our backyard, which happens to be the town cemetery. Creepy, I know. Creepier still, there was no corpse inside the old coffin, only fresh rose petals.

As we made preparations for Mom’s burial, new people began arriving in Rowan, unnervingly handsome and odd people. I begged them to leave, but they stayed, because their enemies—my ancestors—were beginning to awaken.

Rose Petal Graves by Olivia Wildenstein
Series: The Lost Clan #1
three-half-stars
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Format: Review Copy

This was an interesting read. I enjoyed it, but it was also extremely difficult for me to get through. The heartache is real in this book, man. It was bad enough reading about the main character dealing with her mom’s death, but when View Spoiler »I almost had to walk away. In fact, I set the book aside for the rest of the day and didn’t get back to reading it until later that evening. That absolutely broke my heart and almost destroyed the whole book for me. View Spoiler »

Somebody on GoodReads made the comparison to Twilight, and I have to say I can kind of see the parallels. There’s the somewhat reckless girl who makes some questionable choices and the two supernatural beings who are pining for her. Cat–short for Catori, which means “spirit” in Hopi–is torn between Cruz and Kajika, which becomes more apparent later on in the story. She’s impeccably drawn to Cruz–which causes a whole mess of problems with a dear friendship she has as well as with Cruz’s fiancee (whom he’s supposed to marry for political fae reasons)–and later on, she’s drawn to Kajika, who is pretty much Cruz’s opposite in every way. Honestly, I won’t lie; I was kind of hoping this would go in the RH direction because I loved these guys and couldn’t tell you who my favorite is. However, I know this isn’t an RH story, lol, so I know it’s going to be both interesting and devastating to follow the love story as she has to make a choice between the two.

Okay, so now that that’s out of the way …

The story was a good one. I quite enjoyed how the author mixed Native American folklore with fae mythology. It was a fascinating mix and one I wouldn’t have necessarily put together prior to reading this book, so I liked the bit of surprise in that. Now, I will say, the particular Native American tribe that the heroine is from was made up by the author. In the back of the book, she states that she didn’t want to offend the culture in any way by getting something wrong, so she made up a separate one instead. While a part of me thinks it would have been neat to build off the culture of an actual Native American culture, I enjoyed the made up one and thought it was clever.

Also, I just want to say, as a Michigan native, it was suuuper cool to read a story that takes place in Michigan. I loved having a general idea of the locations referenced and there’s also a solid Native American history in Michigan, so it was neat that that was brought to life in a new and different way. That was just a fun addition to an already well-written novel that I truly enjoyed 🙂

At the end of the day, I did enjoy this book, and I won’t lie–I’m dying to get my hands on the next one. I’m just hoping my poor little heart will be able to take it because if the first book was any indication, the next one is going to be just as heartwrenching. Agh.

I definitely recommend this book if you were a fan of the Twilight series or if you like the paranormal/fantasy genre–especially pertaining to faes.

 

 

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three-half-stars

The Connelly Boys – Lily Velez

I received an advanced/review copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content and honesty of my review.

The Connelly Boys – Lily Velez

The Connelly boys are practically royalty at St. Andrew’s Prep. Popular, wealthy, and devastatingly beautiful, the four brothers have long cast a spell over their classmates and over the sleepy seaport town of Rosalyn Bay, Ireland.

There’s just one problem: they’re also cursed.

...Or so the rumors say.

Seventeen-year-old newcomer Scarlet Monroe has never been one for rumors, but when she inadvertently banishes a demon while trying to help eldest brother Jack Connelly, the most breathtaking of the boys and the one to whom she feels inexplicably drawn, she quickly discovers there may be more to the local superstitions and folklore than she originally thought.

Before long, the Connellys pull her into a dark and mysterious world filled with ancient magic, powerful spells, kidnapped souls, and deadly enemies. But none of it compares to Scarlet discovering the truth of who she really is...or what she’ll have to become to defeat a rising evil older than humankind itself before she loses everyone she loves—that is, of course, if she can survive the world of the Connellys long enough.

Don’t miss this first installment in the new dark fantasy series by Lily Velez, which features Irish folklore, Celtic mythology, mystery and light romance, and an engrossing world of witches and magic that will keep you reading long into the night!

The Connelly Boys by Lily Velez
Series: Celtic Witches #1
five-stars
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Format: ARC, eBook
Goodreads

There are some books you read the ARC of that you enjoy but aren’t immersed in the story or the “world” or the characters enough to warrant the subsequent book hangover.

Then there are books like The Connelly Boys. Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t stop. From the first chapter, I was hooked. It helps tremendously that it’s based on Irish mythology and folklore; I have strong Irish roots, so any time I see anything with Ireland or Irish topics as the subject matter, I jump on it. I’m beyond thankful I had the opportunity to read this one!

As you all know, I’m a huge romance junkie, so usually, any book I enjoy has to have at least some sort of romantic aspect to it. This book fits in the young adult range and there’s just a small hint of romance–which I loved and am sort of hoping the author expounds on that a bit in the next book(s)–and there was a perfect amount of mystery and action that kept the story rolling. There were also so many twists in this book that I honestly gasped out loud several times while reading. The secrets are vast and the reveals are shocking, to say the least.

I felt like the heroine, Scarlet, was relatable and fun to get to know throughout the story. She didn’t annoy me and I thought her grief over her mother’s death was written so beautifully (while simultaneously being heartbreaking). She’s a sweet character, but she’s also sassy and multidimensional. I truly enjoyed reading from her perspective 🙂

Then there’re the Connelly boys themselves …

Each Connelly has a unique personality and quality that makes them lovable. Even grumpy, pessimistic Connor is lovable in his own way–especially by the book’s end. They’re each so fascinating and while Jack is probably my favorite, it’s hard to pick between the others. There wasn’t anything I really disliked about them except for Connor being a jerk at first–but, like I said, he kind of redeems himself by the end.

And the paranormal aspect … Aaaggghhhhh. So. Good. I loved the incorporation of the folklore. While I had heard of them, I had never read a book with these certain kinds of supernaturals (I don’t want to say what they are so as not to spoil finding that out for yourself) and it was so, so good to read about unique paranormal creatures.

 

In short, I loveloveloved this book. I loved it so much that despite having the ARC already, I bought it and pre-ordered the next one. It’s just that good. I highly recommend this one; especially if you like young adult and/or paranormal!

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five-stars

Wolf Bound – Holly Hook

I received an advanced/review copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content and honesty of my review.

Wolf Bound – Holly Hook

Loner, misfit, wild. Everything about the new guy at school, Cayden, should push me away. And when the wolves appear in the woods around town, one of them shares Cayden's dark hair, red highlights, and his wild, noble eyes. Deep down, I know the explanation for his amazing hearing, graceful walk, and his ability to fight off guys twice his size.

I should fear him, but he draws me in. I'm alone, too, having lost parents at a young age. Only Cayden understands what it's like to be different. But Cayden warns me off as his eyes yearn for me.

Turns out he's right to. Other werewolves exist, savage ones who hate human life and noble Wolves like Cayden. They'll attack anyone who dares enter his life. And now they're settling in my hometown. It won't be long before they destroy my home.

Staying away from Cayden is the safe thing to do. But without me, he'll go up against the savage werewolves alone.

And I can't let him do that.

Wolf Bound by Holly Hook
Series: The Alpha Legacy #1
three-stars
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Format: ARC

This was a quick, fun read. In some ways, it was your stereotypical teen drama (albeit with a paranormal twist) with unrequited crushes, mean girls, and your usual cattiness involved in high school. In other ways, it was an entertaining read that kept my interest.

Cayden is dark and mysterious and instantly draws Brie’s–and everyone else’s–eye. While Cayden is aloof at best and cold at worst, Brie can’t help but feel drawn to him, despite his less than stellar personality. Once they get to know each other, Cayden sends Brie reeling with his hot and cold mood swings and she never knows what to expect from him. While he argues the logical–and right–thing to do would be to stay away from her, he can’t seem to leave her alone.

What follows is Brie’s journey into an unknown world where she has more than the drama club’s resident mean girl as an enemy. She finds herself right in the middle of a supernatural battle for territory where the loser pays in blood and you can’t always be too sure who your true enemy is. Secrets are kept and then revealed, and suddenly, Brie realizes the problems she was facing in school are nothing compared to what she has to deal with now.

Honestly, I felt like this book was kind of like a Blood and Chocolate/The Vampire Diaries/Teen Wolf/Twilight hybridIt also ends on a cliffhanger and it’s kind of a toss-up whether I’ll read the next book or not. I enjoyed reading it and I got through it fast, but I’m not sure if I feel invested enough in the story to continue reading. This could also just be my current mood and I’ll decide I want to read the next book ASAP when it comes out, who knows. In the end, I would rate this one a solid 3 stars.

In any event, if this book sounds interesting or like something you would enjoy reading, I definitely encourage you to check it out and decide for yourself 🙂 It releases on October 15th.

 

 

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three-stars

Ravenite – Alicia Rades

I received an advanced/review copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content and honesty of my review.

Ravenite – Alicia Rades

Eight years ago, the first vampire escaped from his supernatural prison, unleashing magic into the world.

I'm Rachel Collins, low witch and raven shifter in hiding. At age eighteen, I spend my days tending the cash register at a local magic shop and my nights patrolling the streets for vampires with a death wish. Until the night I spot the mark of the Soulless on some lowly vampire's wrist.

The Soulless answer to Valkas, the original vampire and the most ruthless of them all. They’re the same bastards who murdered my parents and kidnapped my sister. I want answers—and maybe a little revenge.

Along comes Venn, a sweet, handsome wolf shifter who takes my breath away. We're both after the same guy, and as much as it kills me to ask for help, I kind of need it.

Heaven help me. I've just started down a dark, dangerous road that will either free my sister or get me killed.

Ravenite by Alicia Rades
Series: Vengeance and Vampires #1
four-stars
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Format: ARC

This was such an engrossing read for me. It had just enough depth that made it interesting, and the heroine was quippy and sardonic, which is just how I like them 😉

Rachel Collins is a low-level witch on a mission to find and save her sister from the vampires who murdered her parents. While she’s interrogating a vampire one day, her path crosses that of a very handsome and surprisingly kind wolf shifter named Venn. It turns out he and his friends are also looking for someone connected to the vampires and Venn agrees to help Rachel–nicknamed Rae–find her sister, but to get to the point where they can go looking for Rae’s sister, they first have to retrieve something in relation to Venn’s missing friend.

As they work together, Venn and Rae can’t deny their growing attraction to each other or the way they feel pulled to be together. Rae is also finding an unlikely home amidst these ragtag bunch of misfits, and for someone who has depended solely on herself for a long time, the idea of having a family to rely on is not only intimidating but can also feel quite terrifying.

Ravenite was a fun read. Once I started reading, I felt like I couldn’t stop, and I absolutely loved the chemistry and tension between Rae and Venn. They were like two magnets drawn to each other by an unseen force. Rae fought against it out of fear of getting hurt and/or hurting him by being involved in such dangerous territories, but no matter how hard either one resisted, they just kept coming back to the other.

There was a nice flow to the story and plenty of action to keep me glued to the pages. I also enjoyed each character individually, which is somewhat of a feat in itself considering I almost always have that one character that drives me nuts–but I felt like each character was an interesting contribution to the group’s dynamic. All the different shifters were fun to read about, too. It isn’t the first time I’ve read about them, but it’s still nice to get something a little different here and there.

All in all, I enjoyed this one. It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, so I’m anxious and excited to sink my teeth into the next one (see what I did there?). If you’re a fan of the young adult and paranormal genres, give this one a shot! Coming out on the 25th of this month 🙂

 

 

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four-stars

The Confectioner’s Guild – Claire Luana

I received an advanced/review copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content and honesty of my review.

The Confectioner’s Guild – Claire Luana

A magic cupcake. A culinary killer. The perfect recipe for murder.
Wren knew her sweet treats could work wonders, but she never knew they could work magic. She barely has time to wrap her head around the stunning revelation when the head of the prestigious Confectioner’s Guild falls down dead before her. Poisoned by her cupcake.

Now facing murder charges in a magical world she doesn’t understand, Wren must discover who framed her or face the headsman’s axe. With the help of a handsome inspector and several new friends, Wren just might manage to learn the ropes, master her new powers, and find out who framed her. But when their search for clues leads to a deep-rooted conspiracy that goes all the way to the top, she realizes that the guild master isn’t the only one at risk of death by chocolate.

If Wren can’t bring the powerful culprit to justice, she and her friends will meet a bittersweet end.

The Confectioner’s Guild is a delicious YA fantasy mystery. If you like spunky chefs and twisty mysteries with a drizzle of romance, then you’ll love Claire Luana’s scrumptious tale that’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Buy The Confectioner’s Guild to conquer your cravings with a magical mystery today!

The Confectioner's Guild by Claire Luana
Series: The Confectioner Chronicles #1
five-stars
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 395
Format: ARC
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

Let me just preface this by saying, as a teenager, young adult fantasy was my jam. J. K. Rowling, Holly Black, Stephenie Meyer, Cornelia Funke, Libba Bray (and so on and so forth) … if the book said it was fantasy, I snatched it up and read it–usually in one sitting.

Thing is, though; I never grew out of my love of young adult fantasy. Add a bit of romance in there, and that’s just a bonus. So when the opportunity to review this book by an author I hadn’t read before, I knew I wanted to expand my horizons, so to speak, and take a chance on her. The things I noticed first were the cover and the title–I mean, seriously, The Confectioner’s Guild? If you’re a fan of fantasy and that title doesn’t intrigue you, either you’re lying to yourself or just don’t want to take a chance on a unique story–and then there’s that blurb. My little inner fifteen-year-old self jumped for joy.

The last young adult fantasy I read a review copy for didn’t work out so well (for me), so I had slight trepidation, but I just couldn’t pass up a story that sounded so unlike anything I had ever read before.

So, without further adieu …

This book starts right out with the action. I think it’s just the second chapter when Wren is accused of murdering the guild master–whom she just met mere minutes prior–or maybe it was the third. In any event, Wren is working in a bakery at the book’s opening when in walks the surly right-hand man to the guild master, taking her away to the guild where she learns that magic is not only real, but she has a powerful form of it that manifests in her baking.

Wren is left reeling in a state of shock. She explores her new living quarters, then decides to go back to the guild master to try to talk a little more about her abilities and everything that’s entailed, only to find him foaming at the mouth and choking. Several men surround him, attempting to help him, but it’s of no use; he dies with Wren watching in horror. Immediately, fingers are pointed at her as the killer–after all, it was her cupcake he had last eaten before he died–and until proven innocent, she is viewed as 100% guilty. This makes her life at the guild hall absolutely miserable and she’s filled with a renewed sense of urgency to prove her innocence.

So enter a few new friends who believe her plight and vow to help her, along with the handsome inquisitor who vouches for her innocence, and they begin their own investigation.

I tell you what–this book had me guessing right up to the very end. Right when you think you know without a doubt who the killer is, the evidence points in another direction. There was a nice balance of mystery and romance, as well as just being a wholesome coming of age story where you’re rooting for the heroine every step of the way. Wren is strong and clever and watching her character grow throughout the book was so fun.

Those authors I mentioned at the beginning of my post? Ms. Luana has fully cemented herself in that group, as far as I’m concerned. I was glued to this book in a way I haven’t been with any other young adult fantasy in a very long time. I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in this series!

If you’re a fan of young adult and fantasy, do yourself a favor and read this book when it comes out in October. You won’t regret it. 🙂

 

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five-stars

Rock F*ck Club 2 – Michelle Mankin

I received an advanced/review copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content and honesty of my review.

This book is suitable for 18+ due to mature content.
Rock F*ck Club 2 – Michelle Mankin

A Postseason One Novella 10 cities. 10 famous rock stars f*cked. Raven Winters has chosen the one rock star she wants to keep. She has completed filming for the Rock F*ck Club. Her season of the reality show is about to debut on the World Media Organization channel. Her once very private sex life is about to become public. Can her life ever return to normal? Does she want it to? And what about the next season of RFC? Who will be the next star? Who will be f*cking whom?

Rock F*ck Club 2 by Michelle Mankin
Series: Rock F*ck Club #2
four-half-stars
Genres: Romance, New Adult

*happy sigh*

Lucky and Raven are one of my favorite book couples I’ve ever read about. If you recall my review for the first book, you’ll know that I struggled with the concept of this story.

HOWEVER.

Lucky made it all worth it for me. Again, if you read my review for the first book you’ll know I absolutely adore Lucky. He’s so dang sweet to Raven, albeit a bit overprotective.

The main issue I had in this novella was that Lucky completely took away Raven’s choice for continuing to accompany his band on the tour. It was a decision that should have been made between the couple, rather than just decided by one half. This is something he comes to terms with on his own, but in what I’m discovering is true Michelle Mankin fashion, there’s gotta be a little bit of that angst first. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the angst as long as I end up getting my happy ending, and I felt like this was a nice conclusion to the epic love of Raven and Lucky. <3

I’m so happy Michelle included this little epilogue story. In many ways, I preferred it to the first book–but of course, you can’t read this one without having read the first.

Anyway, I was quite pleased with the way this novella ended up. It also had a nice way of segueing into the next book, which I found clever. I definitely recommend 🙂

 

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four-half-stars

The Torment of Rachel Ames – A Novella by Jeff Gunhus

I received an advanced/review copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content and honesty of my review.

Suffering from writer’s block, novelist Rachel Ames escapes to a lake cabin to calm her mind and regain a sense of herself. The location is perfect. Isolated. Beautiful. Inspiring. It even comes with a good-looking landlord who shows an interest in her. But she can’t shake the sense that something terrible has followed her to the lake, something just beyond her consciousness, something out on the edge where the sounds of a raging fire and sirens linger whenever she slows down to listen. Determined to make the cabin work, she tries to settle in and give her new life a chance. But when strange things begin to happen around her, she wonders if she’s made a terrible mistake. As the darkness that’s followed her manifests itself in inexplicable ways, her concept of reality is stretched thin and she realizes nothing at the lake is what it seems. As she fights to survive with her sanity intact, she understands too late that the location she’s chosen for herself is far from perfect.

The Torment of Rachel Ames by Jeff Gunhus
five-stars
Genres: Horror, Thriller, Romance, Dark
Format: ARC, Paperback

I should begin by being completely frank: the genre this book falls under is not my preferred genre in the least. While I love thrillers in the movie genre, I tend to gravitate more toward romances in the book genre. Yes, there is an underline of romance in this novella (and yes, I am woman enough to admit that it thrilled me), the actual story is what kept me reading. In fact, once I started reading, I could not put it down.

Rachel is a tormented soul (hence the title), and the journey she begins at the lake is not only enticing and shocking, but it’s completely unnerving–and at times, downright frightening. Throughout the entire story, I was wondering right along with Rachel what secrets the cabin at the lake were hiding, and whether or not she could trust anyone. Honestly, I didn’t want to trust anyone in this story because I had no idea if I could or not! And the thing is, I absolutely loved the suspense! The whole thing played out like a movie in my mind. Gunhus has an incredible way of writing; he knows exactly how to describe each scene with an imaginative amount of detail and understanding.

This is a psychological thriller that will appeal to lovers of books of all genres–take it from the romance junkie! I cannot get this story out of my head (trust me, I mean that in a good way) and I’m dying to read the rest of his works now. I am so glad I found this novella!

Get your copy here!

five-stars