Posted in YA Book Reviews

Scythe

Scythe by Neal Shusterman, Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Rating: 5 stars

I started listening to this book in 2018, however, it took me a while to get into. But! I have finished it, and it was well worth it.

This story is post apocalyptic where people, called Scythes, similar to grim reapers, “glean” individuals randomly to help with population control, disease, and crime. Two teens are selected by a Scythe to become his apprentices. When the conclave found out he took on two, without permission, they decided at the final test for the scythedom, only one would be chosen and their first task would be to glean the other. This made their apprenticeship even more difficult knowing that at the end one would have to end the other’s life. During the course of their apprenticeship, their mentor committed suicide and they were split up to continue their apprenticeship with other scythes, separately.  Further, it was indicated, that the edict of one gleaning the other would still stand.

For the sake of spoiling, I won’t go any further in the synopsis. The rest of the story followed them individually with their new mentors. I really appreciated how the book ended and I was not expecting it. It makes me very excited to listen to the next book because I need to know what happens next.

I enjoyed Greg Tremblay as the narrator. I thought he did well for the voices and giving the story life. I am happy he is the narrator for Thunderhead (book 2 in the series). In fact, now that I am finished, I went ahead and got Thunderhead from Audible so I can give it a start soon!

If you read this book and get stuck, please keep going, because it is worth it! Normally a book that is slow for me and takes me a while to get into, gets a lower rating, even if the ending is great, but this book is different. I really enjoy Shusterman’s books, and when I started this book, I had a lot going on and I take that into account of why it took me a while to connect with the story.

Posted in Middle Grade

Charmed

Charmed by Jen Calonita, Narrated by Kristin Condon

Rating: 5 stars

I finally found the second audiobook for Fairy Tale Reform School. It has been a while since I listened to the first book….for a refresh check out the review here. The second installment follows the aftermath of Gilly’s new found fame. After having stopped evil in the first installment, her father is getting more orders for shoes, the scrolls discuss how she is a hero, and many of her classmates feel it is going to her head…which it kind of is.

Gilly is still hell bent that Jocelyn is trying to help her sister Harlowe to help Alva. Gilly discovers a mole in the school is providing information to Alva to help Alva in her grand scheme. Gilly decides, alone, to go undercover with the club Royal Ladies in Waiting to see if she can find the mole. After joining RLW, Gilly turned into a sort of monster and alienated her group of friends. After a long chat with her father during family visitation day, she realized she cant do things on her own, and that it is dangerous to think she can. If Gilly feels she has to stop Alva, she needs her friends. So everyone makes up and proceed forward together.

There are a lot of unexpected twists and turns in the book that keeps the listener on their toes. I really enjoyed it. It is a quick listen/read. I am very happy that I found the sequel. I had looked for it at the library several times with no luck. I am looking forward to the next installment and catching up in time for book 5 to come out. I was also happy to learn that there is a spin off series for the Royal Academy Rebels.

The age group the book is geared towards would enjoy the story. I think adults could also enjoy listening if they give it a go. I really like it. The narrator is really good and I enjoy listening to her. I firmly believe Narrators make or break a story, and Condon really elevates the delivery of the story. I do not know if I would enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoy listening, that is how good she is.

Posted in YA Book Reviews

Bite Me

Bite Me by Louise Cypress. Narrated by Reba Buhr and Alexander Cendese

Rating: 5 Stars

 

I received a copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Bite Me is about a high school senior named Morgan. Her mother is dating a classmate’s father and one night while she was at their home for a family dinner together, she was bitten by a young child who was being tended to by a nun. Turns out, this young child was a vampire and passed on vampiritis to Morgan. The classmate, whose name is Esma, and her father, Lucas, are called Puritans, meaning they do not feast on human blood and therefore age like a normal human and do not have the same kind of powers as vampires.

Van Xander is a descendant of Van Helsing. His family works for a council that slays vampires. His family was sent to the community where Morgan lived, but to monitor the local puritan coven when he discovers that Morgan is a vampire and she does not know it. As time goes on, he really begins to care for Morgan.

I really enjoyed listening to this book. I had been eyeballing reading it for a while, but with last year being so hectic for me, I just never picked it up to do so. When the opportunity to listen to it came about, I was very excited and jumped on it very quickly. I listened to this book in one day. That is right. I finished all 8 hours of it. I listened all day in every activity….working on the computer, doing chores around the house, feeding my son…I could not stop. The narrators really brought this story to life. I always feel narrators can make or break a story, and these narrators were fantastic.

I like the interesting twist to vampire lore that is out there. Cypress introduces that vampirism is like an illness and if you get treatment, you can live a normal life. In this case, if the infected person feasted on human blood, the disease took over and the person stopped aging and began having other vampiric superpowers. If a person did not feast on human blood, and stuck to a more paleo diet, then they lived a pretty normal, healthy, and happy life (they are known as Puritans). Having said that, they would still have the urge to feast on human blood. Morgan had a jump start to this though. Her stop mom, who is also one of these Puritan vampires, learned that something may happen to Morgan one day and began putting drops of medicine sort of like methadone, only it tones down the vampiric desires to feast on humans.

Overall, the story line was enjoyable. I am looking forward to the next book and am patiently waiting for its release on Audible. I have high hopes for the continuation of the series. If you want to listen to something with a fresh take on the same old vampire/human love story, this is a good one to go with!

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to review this audiobook for her! It was my pleasure and I greatly enjoyed listening!

Posted in Children Books

Christmas Chimney Challenge

Christmas Chimney Challenge: A Wild Imagination of Willy Nilly book by Chris Stead

Rating: 5 Stars

 

I was provided a copy of Christmas Chimney Challenge by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

In this 4th book on Willy Nilly’s adventures, Willy is writing a Christmas list for Santa along with his sister, Suzie.  After a trip to town to see all the lights, Willy becomes upset that he does not have a chimney and fears Santa will not be able to get to them and give them their gifts. Suzie tells him that Santa would use the back door, but this is not good enough for Willy. While in town, an elf had given Willy a satchel of magic glitter. The next day, Willy decides he is going to make a chimney for his house, only he made several chimneys with a bunch of rubbish from the junkyard. Willy felt that if he made several chimneys then they would get MORE presents. After the chimneys were built, Willy dumped the magic glitter into the chimneys. On Christmas Eve, Willy checked on the chimneys and noticed they were glowing. Him and his dog were sucked into the chimneys and landed in a cold, snowy area. Willy and his dog ended up rolling down the mountain in the North Pole as a giant snowball and landing next to a toy factory where he found a very sad elf. Willy couldn’t believe why the elf was so sad when he got to work with toys all day, but he learned that it is because suddenly a bunch of chimneys popped up and the elves would have to make even more toys and may not be done in time for Christmas. Willy felt very bad and indicated he could take them down. In order to get home in time to do so, the elf had a reindeer fly Willy and his dog back home. Once he got home, he noticed that the storm they flew through had knocked down all the chimneys. Though Willy was happy to have helped the elves, he was still sad that he may not get any gifts from Santa because he did not have a chimney. He learned Christmas morning that this was not the case and went into the living room and found many presents under the tree.

As always, this story was really cute, well written, and wonderfully illustrated. This is the 3rd Willy Nilly book I have had the opportunity to review. I am looking forward to purchasing paperback copies to go into my son’s library so we can read them together. I like that Willy goes on adventures but that he always learns something in the process. The illustrations marry the story perfectly and it is easy to see how any child would love it.  I look forward to reading more of Willy Nilly’s adventures and sharing them with my son! As always, Chris Stead has delivered another wonderful adventure.

I always enjoy reviewing for Old Mate Media, I am happy they reached out. Christmas is my favorite holiday and I love Christmas stories very much.

Posted in Romance

A Girl Walks Into a Bar

A Girl Walks Into a Bar by Helena S. Paige

Rating: 3 Stars

 

A Girl Walks Into a Bar is a choose your own adventure for adults. I found this book when searching for something for the prompt “choose your own adventure” in the 2019 PopSugar Reading Challenge.

My only real experience with choose your own adventure books was when I was younger with some of the Goosebumps books. I never was really into them, because what if I chose wrong? This book kind of felt like that. You can select what the character does. Sometimes when you select, the book basically tells you no and sends you back to select something else. I would skim through some of the different scenarios, but ended up seeing one fully through, and it was weird.

The book itself wasn’t horrible, it just didn’t blow me away either. I could go back and see through some of the other scenarios the rest of the way, but they seemed to lead to a disappointing night, at least in the one I went with, my character got laid by a rock star with drawn on fake tattoos who wanted her to pee on him (don’t worry, the book basically makes the character ghost the rocker after that). It could be worse. One scenario had her teaching a hot, young bartender all about the birds and the bees with his own private lesson and him failing miserably. There was also a scenario where she was invited to a photo exhibit that was vaginas that looked like flowers. So…up to you really and what you are in the mood for.

This book has adult content, so if that is not what you want, I wouldn’t suggest it. But if you are looking to rekindle your childhood nostalgia and give a choose your own adventure a try as an adult, this one isn’t horrible, depending on which adventure you want to go on.

Posted in Erotica

Wolves Love Red

Wolves Love Red: An Erotic Bedtime Story by C.C. Genovese

Rating: 5 stars

This is my first book I have read by this author. It is a quick read, but very intriguing. It follows a werewolf, named Valan, who catches the scent of Red, a rather ravishing woman. On the night the werewolf first gets a whiff of Red, he can hardly contain himself. He begins pleasuring himself in a nearby alley, however, he has to immediately run to the woods because when he orgasms, he howls, and he did not want to alert the town of his presence. He goes off into the woods where he has a wild romp with another wolf, named Fiona. Fiona asks about the woman who had him fired up like that, but he is reluctant to really give away anything.

The next day he goes looking for Red again, because he really wants her. He discovers she is bringing some sex toys to grandma’s house, who happens to be the town bicycle. He comes up with the idea to go to Grandma’s house to wait for Red to get there. Instead, he comes across Fiona. Fiona again is curious about the woman who has Valan so wound up. Fiona suggests taking Grandma off his hands, because Fiona heard she likes blonde bombshells, so that Valan can have his woman. Fiona takes Grandma and her current client off into another room, so when Red comes in and sees a very naked, human Valan, she becomes entranced. Valan is very well endowed, which is mentioned several times. So there is a lot of foreplay to help Red take him.

I will not give away the ending, because it was so amazingly unexpected. I really enjoyed this story overall. My issue I often have with short stories/novellas, is that many authors try to rush everything together. Some stories do not have a beginning, middle, and end. Wolves Love Red did have all parts to make a good story. It was easy to follow along with, it had the right amount of background information to set the scene, it had enough character development, and it didn’t feel like everything was rushed together. The sex scenes that were in the book were well written and very descriptive, so it was easy to imagine while you were reading it. Even though the story as a whole is good, the ending makes it all worth it. The ending is what takes this story out of the normal cookie cutter short story/erotic/paranormal/twisted retelling mold and makes it something completely unique.

Posted in Middle Grade

Aleks Mickelsen and the Call of the White Raven

Aleks Mickelsen and the Call of the White Raven by Keira Gillett, Narrated by Michele Carpenter

Rating: 5 stars

 

I was given a copy of this audiobook in exchange for my honest review.

First, let me apologize for how long it has taken me to write this review. I recently gave birth in an emergency Csection after having a really horrible pregnancy, which resulted in a few hospitalizations. But! I am giving it now, and hopefully will continue on with my book reviews now that things are somewhat normal, for me anyways.

This is book 5 in the Zaria Fierce series, though it follows my favorite, Aleks Mickelsen. It is a continuation of book 4, in which Aleks and friends join Nori to stop Fritjof from escaping the Under World and reaching land to wreak havoc on both the Fae and humans.

In this story, Aleks obtains a white raven, which are rare, who takes a shine to Aleks. It is not always a fun relationship, though it is entertaining for readers and listeners. Aleks learns how to work with the Raven throughout the story and eventually starts liking the Raven. Ultimately, Aleks ends up in the Fae Realm where he is sent on multiple tests where he has to save his friends in various trials. These trials are set up for Aleks to fail, but does he? Not to spoil anything, but the ending of this story is by far my favorite ending. I still get goosebumps just thinking about it.

I really enjoyed this story. I loved the Zaria Fierce aspect of the series, but I love Aleks so much. He is my favorite character and I love that his life is being explored more. I cannot wait until the next book. Again, Carpenter brings this story to life in her wonderfully brilliant narration. I really strongly encourage anyone and everyone to read these books. I can’t wait to obtain the paperback versions so I can read them to my son when he is a little older and marvel at the illustrations with him. That is the only downside to the audiobooks, I miss out on all the beautiful artwork!

This series is definitely worth it, whether you read or listen. The narrator brings the story to life in a vibrant way. I love the Norwegian fairy-tale aspect of the series. It is full of adventure and action packed. I feel sorry for this group of friends because they can’t seem to ever catch a break. I also love all the other smaller story lines that are happening between the characters, especially since they are all getting older since their first adventure. You will not be disappointed for investing time into this series, I can promise you that!