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.

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.

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!

 

Her Stepbrother is a Monster

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Her Stepbrother is a Monster by Trinity Blacio

Rating: 5 stars

This book was provided by Netgalley and Riverdale Avenue Books in exchange for my honest review. 

 

This book offered a bit of a different take on dragon shifters. I liked that it was pretty original in that sense. There were times, like I have indicated in the past, where a better editor is needed as sometimes it gets confusing on what I am reading.

Maven finds out that she is a dragon, her mother is a dragon, and that her father and new stepfather were also dragons at her mother and stepfather’s wedding. She also meets her mate, Azure there. Maven was in a horrible marriage where she was abused. Turns out, this guy was disguising himself and was also the cousin of Azure. She realizes this, also at the wedding, when she can’t figure out why she wants to deck this man she meets. Maven’s dragon is one of the original royal children who have not been seen for many years. Upon the awakening of this royal dragon, Chandrass, towards the end other royals start popping up as well.

I felt the story was way too short and that when things started getting good, it just ended and I was left very WTF-ish and had to check to see if that really was the end. There was not much sex, and to be honest, I forgot that they actually had sex the first time. The rest of the story is really what made this so great that I would give it a 5 star rating.

Beyond the Gloaming

Beyond the Gloaming by Brendan Murphy

Rating: 4 stars

 

I have received this book by the author in exchange for my honest review.

 

I first want to start off saying, I deeply apologize for it taking so long to get this review. Between traveling for Christmas, my internship, homework, work, and the flu, I have lacked any reviews. But! I am done with my internship and now have some free time to do those things I enjoy!

Beyond the Gloaming is about a boy named Sebastian who is a very lucid dreamer, only his dreams are real and he doesn’t often remember them or are able to interact with them, until the day two school bullies nearly kill him. His body puts him into a comatose state in order to protect him, that state is where the story takes place.

Sebastian is Irish currently living in England. Sometimes the words are hard to understand because the author is writing with a strong Irish dialect, which comes across the way it supposed to, but hard to understand (for me anyways). Sebastian’s older brother died, and his mom appears to be bipolar and goes from ignoring him, to beating him. When his mother is in one of her moods, dad usually punishes Sebastian as they blame him for the swings.

During his comatose state, Sebastian is transported to the Gloaming, a shadow world, an in-between, a dreamworld. Here he meets Porrig, a creepy little creature that Sebastian is forced into trusting blindly. Sebastian is special, and he is to be delivered to the King of Hibercadia in hopes to save Hibercadia from Phobitor, one of the gods from another dreamworld. Phobitor sends many to try and destroy young Sebastian before he can reach the item he is searching for.

This is a coming of age tale, in a way. Sebastian, who is weak, and feeble, who has no self confidence, and written to save an entire world he didn’t even know existed. Sebastian learns much about himself throughout his journey, finding smarts he didn’t know he had. This story is filled with excitement, adventure, and betrayal. Murphy is a great world builder, but sometimes I would get lost and have to reread.

One of my issues I had with this book is the terminology. It has a lot of Gaelic, which I am unfamiliar with. I have had to google words such as,  sgian dubhs, which I had no clue what they were. I did discover there is a glossary in the back, however, I found out at the end of the book, and I had a PDF copy, so it would not have helped me. For me, if I do not always understand what is being said, and have to reread portions, I get really lost and start to lose interest. I do recommend this book, however, I would read a physical copy so you can access the glossary in the back. For other words not included, I would have your phone at the ready to google, which is what I had to do often.

Overall, I did enjoy the book and would read more of Murphy’s work. I am however, not certain I will continue with this specific series because of my difficulty with the language used. I still gave the book 4 stars however for it’s originality, and because I still did like the book.

 

Submerging

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Submerging by C.S. Johnson, narrated by Nicholas Sanister

Rating: 4 stars

Narrator Rating: 2 stars

 

I received a copy of Submerging in exchange for my honest review.

 Submerging is the third book in the Starlight Chronicles by C.S. Johnson. This is the story where Dinger a lot of his memories back and is able to see who he was before he fell, and find out why he fell. There is still a lot of mystery around Starry Knight. I still try to sort out who it might be, though I have some suspicions.

I did enjoy this story, and I am growing more fond of Dinger in all of his assholiness, however, I still have some concerns about him. In general, the series has been good, and Dinger’s personality (though annoying) is essential. As the reader continues through the story, the reasons for his personality start making more sense. If I can be honest, I wish his parents knew he was. It also sucks that he has to literally drop everything (leave a date, leave class, not show up for practice) whenever anything happens and calls him to battle.

This story has many underlying religious elements. Normally I wouldn’t complain so much, but I felt it was too overdone. I am hoping it is not so much in the other stories in my continuation through the series. I am not religious, however, I have read many Christian Fiction books and they are okay and do not overdo certain concepts. Here, it felt like everything was thrown at the reader, and it felt constant, and it was exhausting. (For the record, I respect other people’s beliefs). The first two books, the religious elements were hidden between the lines, which made it more enjoyable.

As with Calling, the narrator is meh. The audio editing is bad. When he makes mistakes, there are silent pauses and you can here him say “oh” and he rereads the section again like he lost where he was. He again did this several times. I usually do not condone the changing of narrators in series, but, I would stand behind a change in this narrator 10000000000%.

I look forward to the ultimate finale of the series. I have a hard time not knowing what is going to happen. With the rate things are going, it is hard as the reader to believe it will end, and the town will have a reprieve. It feels like the town may have to have Wingdinger and Starry Knight to protect them for the rest of eternity at this point. There is a lot of action and there are hardly any points in which the story feels slow.

Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice Lost Fairy Well

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Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice Lost Fairy Well by Keira Gillett, narrated by Michele Carpenter 

Rating: 5 Stars

Narrator Rating: 5 Stars

I was given a copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I was super happy when book 4 in the Zaria Fierce series was released. This book follows Aleks and his journey towards either becoming totally human, or remaining changeling. It threw me off at first, but this book occurs 3 years after book 3 ends.

The day started out odd compared to every other day. First his mom lost her fridge, and then there was a fire in the chem lab at school. After school, on a plane ride with a few of the guys, the plane suddenly crashed. After the police brought the boys home, and Aleks to his house, Aleks went to his room, where Nori began knocking on his window. Nori convinced Aleks to get Zaria and come help find Fritjof, the last dragon, that is trying to escape.

Aleks, Geirr, Filip, Zaria, Christoffer, and Henrick all agree to follow Nori on the adventure to prevent Fritjof from escaping the Under Realm and end the pending throne war in Niffleheim. Aleks is worried as his age of maturity as a changeling is fast approaching. If he is still away from his human home at this time, he will stay that way forever. The group go on a wild adventure together, getting captured by the Wild Hunt all over again, to see that the king had been overthrown, and the first borns had been captured.

This story was just as amazing as the first 3 stories in the series. My biggest, and only, issue I had with the story was that the narrator changed the voice of Henrick in the story. It started out with one specific voice, however, as the story continued he began to sound EXACTLY like Hector, his father. That is really the only issue I had. Like the three before it, this story went fast and now I am saddened I have to wait for book 5 :(. There is so much that I loved about this story. Aleks is one of my favorite characters and I am so excited that he is getting his own stories so that readers can learn more about him and go on this journey of self discovery along with him and his friends.

Strange Lands

Strange Lands by Anderson Atlas 

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

 

I received a copy of Strange Lands in exchange for an honest review.

Allan is in the 8th grade when he is in a terrible car accident that killed both of his parents and left him wheel chair bound. His uncle, Rubic, comes to take care of him, but Allan struggles to get through the loss of not only his parents, but his ability to move. As such, he feels extremely helpless and useless.

One day, Rubic decides to take them camping because he believes fresh air and wilderness will do Allan some good, though Allan is not a fan of the camping idea. They were getting ready to go fishing, and a storm was coming and they were told to clear out by a Ranger. They didn’t, and went fishing anyway when boulders and large amounts of water come crashing through the lake. The water barrels over Rubic, who was trying to carry Allan to safety. Allan builds a small dam around Rubic to keep him safe and begins crawling to search for help, only he sees he is not in what looks like Earth anymore. From there he goes on an adventure through a land called Lan Darr.

It took me a while to finish this book. I won’t say it is slow, but it took a while to really capture my attention, so I would stop for a while and then go back to it. Once my attention was grabbed, though, I finished it rather quickly. The issue was primarily that, while I have an active imagination, I had a hard time visualizing what I was reading.

There are some pictures in the book, however, I find that they didn’t line up in sync with the story. Pictures were occurring prior to the part in the book that explains what is going on in that picture.

In regards to Allan’s disability, I liked that it shows how he starts out depressed and struggling to cope, but by the end, and every trial he faced, he found his worth.

I also liked how, at the end, even as the reader, I questioned if it actually happened or not. I think that is a good way to entice the reader to pick up the next book.

The picture below shows how the book was messed up and the about the author was put into the pages left of the story.

 

Slumbering

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Slumbering by C.S. Johnson

Rating 5 stars

I received a copy of Slumbering in exchange for an honest review.

Slumbering is an uniquely, original, YA epic fantasy about a teenage boy that learns he was once a warrior for a Star Prince and at some point was sent to earth where he became human until his powers unlocked. As such, this story is about his “acceptance ” of responsibility for his role to fight off evil demons and protect his friends and community (the latter more so out of obligation than desire).

Even though I have given the book 5 stars, I absolutely cannot stand Hamilton Dinger. He makes the story hard to get into because he is so narcissistic it makes the story as a whole almost unbearable. Dinger thinks he is God’s gift to humanity (even though he would not agree that he was God’s gift…just a gift to everyone through nature ). So why the 5 stars? Because I couldn’t put it down and I found myself secretly hoping he gets it together and stops being such an asshat.

The book is a fairly quick read and flows well. It is also a completely original epic fantasy YA, which is hard to come by these days. It offers a unique story that is intriguing and will spark curiosity for the rest of the series and intrigue as to how this war will ultimately go down.

As much as I can’t stand Dinger, I am hoping he has a lot of character development that makes him a more likable super hero. It is entirely unfortunate that a jerk like him gets something so awesome and he continues to be arrogant. We all know what happens to arrogant superheroes.

The bulk of this story is to set up the characters in the story line, introduce some of the demons and what their end game is, as well as, portray Dinger as a jerk. Honestly, I don’t feel sorry for anything that happens to Dinger.

If you are curious about this book and would be interested in reading it for yourself (which I recommend) you can check it out: Amazon

Keep posted as I am currently listening to the next installment of the story!

RoseBlood

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RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

Actual Rating: 2.5 stars

 

RoseBlood came to me via one of my OwlCrate boxes. I immediately started to read it because I had enjoyed Howard’s Splintered so much, I just knew RoseBlood had to be just as good. Well, this was sort of a miss for me. I have never read or even watched The Phantom of the Opera so I know some things may be lost on me. I was intrigued by the story and had been looking forward to reading it when I first received it.

I want to end on a positive note with my book review, so I will start with what I didn’t like. The pace was not great. It was so slow starting out that it wasn’t until about halfway through the book, things got exciting. Also, completely pace related, but the climax of the story was kind of anti-climatic for me. The entire culmination of events happened in a few short pages, and then the last 10ish or so pages was how Rune dealt with the aftermath. Also, at the end, all is forgiven…and I can’t seem to wrap my head around it. Finally, the ink is red. This may seem like such a small minute detail, but it often hurt my eyes and I would constantly have to focus harder on the words. I get that it was supposed to enhance the eeriness and nostalgia to the story, but it got to be uncomfortable.

So things that I liked. I really enjoyed the budding relationship between Etalon and Rune. I wish I could have had more Etalon than was given. I am glad for how it ended, and would have been distraught had the ending been different. I would love to read a story about Etalon, but more exciting than RoseBlood. I liked Rune, even though I wished her history was a bit more beefed up. I really liked Aunt Catherine and wished she had a larger role during the story…she had a larger role at the end, but would have been nice to have her around more. I mean, I understand why, without giving any spoilers, but I still would have liked it. I feel she could have added some comic relief when needed :).  As a reader, it is important to feel the connection between Etalon and Rune, because, as the story infers, it is electric and intense. I felt that way reading their interactions. This is the biggest reason I rated up instead of down.