Blog Tour Book Review: Escaping Lucidity by Ty Schwamberger

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Title: Escaping Lucidity by Ty Schwamberger
Genre:  Horror – Anthology
Publisher: Ravenswood Publishing
Page count: 448 pages
Format: Ebook ARC
Publication Date: August 1, 2015
Rating – 4/5

Escaping Lucidity is the complete short works of Ty Schwamberger. Within this tome you’ll be taken on a terror-filled ride through dark woods, the desert, a graveyard and dark streets, where monsters and strange creatures run amok. The other half of this collection is filled with characters driven to the brink of insanity, coping with the loss of loved ones, spousal abuse and fighting crime on the mean city streets. You’ll also find “Author Notes” after each story written by Schwamberger himself giving insight on why he wrote each particular story, interesting facts about characters, the story’s setting and where the work first appeared.

Are you ready for a mind-bending ride?

If not, don’t say you weren’t warned… ‘cause bad things tend to happen when you’re trying to escape lucidity.

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Escaping Lucidity! Thank you to both Ravenswood Publishing and Ty Schwamberger for the opportunity to read and review this book for an honest review!

Escaping Lucidity is a collection of short stories in the horror genre. I don’t read too many short story collections so I was excited to pick this one up. I thought all the stories were really interesting and entertaining. There were definitely some that had me a little freaked out because I, of course, read the majority of this book at night in my dark bedroom while everyone else in my house was asleep!

I really love the title of this book and really think it jives well with the collection of stories that comprise this book. It’s a pretty light read as far as length goes and reads pretty fast which I find a lot with the short story collections that I do read although I would say it even more with this one because I couldn’t put it down since I was so entertained by each one of these stories. As with each short story collection, I felt the stories were too short I wanted more! I’d love to read more horror from this author.

I don’t want to go into too much detail on what the stories are about because I think you should read the collection, but I did want to share that I enjoyed them and found them to be unique and interesting. Some of them were gory and some were weird and creepy.  They feature a cast of characters that comprise the horror genre like murderers, psychos, paranormal creatures and the undead. It was super interesting and a good book to stay up at night with. Four stars and a recommend to horror fans looking for a quick read of diverse stories in the genre!

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About the Author

TySchwambergerTy Schwamberger is an award-winning author & editor in the horror genre. He is the author of a novel, multiple novellas, collections and editor on several anthologies. In addition, he’s had many short stories published online and in print. Three stories, “Cake Batter” (released in 2010), “House Call” (released in June 2013) and DININ’ (optioned in July 2013), have been optioned for film adaptation. He is an Active Member of the International Thriller Writers. Learn more at http://tyschwamberger or follow along at @SchwambergerTy.

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Book Review: Black Spring by Alison Croggon

Black SpringTitle: Black Spring by Alison Croggon
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Page count: 281 pages
Format: Ebook ARC
Rating – 4/5

In a savage land sustained by wizardry and ruled by vendetta, Lina is the enchanting but willful daughter of a village lord. She and her childhood companion, Damek, have grown up privileged and spoiled, and they’re devoted to each other to the point of obsession. But Lina’s violet eyes betray her for a witch, and witches are not tolerated in a brutally patriarchal society. Her rank protects her from persecution, but it cannot protect her from tragedy and heartbreak. An innocent visitor stands witness to the devastation that ensues as destructive longing unleashes Lina’s wrath, and with it her forbidden power. Whether drawn by the romantic, the magical, or the gothic, readers will be irresistibly compelled by the passion of this tragic tale.

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I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I am a big fan of Wuthering Heights and never tire of reading it so when I read that this book was inspired by it I had to request it.

Black Spring is about a small country village named Elbasa where life runs a little differently…the landscape is dark and craggy and the villagers still adhere to centuries old traditions. Lina, Damek and Anna grow up together and are swept up up in the tragic twists of fate where innocence is lost and love is as passionate as it is ruinous.

I ended up giving this book four stars because I really really liked it. I loved the darkness of it’s setting and it definitely was evocative of the feeling I had when reading Wuthering Heights. There is a strong romance here, as crazy as it ends up at the end. It is the kind of romance though that is dark and twisting, tragic in it’s end. I have seen some blurbs that liken the writing to that of Tolkien and heartily agree that the writing style is similar – elegant, gorgeous and dense. The story is split up into sections according to the perspective through which we are receiving it. We are given the story through two perspectives: Hammel who is somewhat vacationing in Elbasa and through Anna whom is a resident of the village and most importantly the one who recounts the vast majority of this book. I really think that this story could have been told solely through Anna’s perspective rather than also having Hammel’s perspective which didn’t really make much sense to me. I didn’t really care for his narrative but really liked the rest of the story as given through Anna.

The only character that I felt I really connected to (and this is quite possibly due to the bulk of the book being told through her perspective) was Anna. I didn’t like Lina’s character and I found myself intrigued by Damek in the first half of the book but once he leaves the village and comes back I just didn’t care for him anymore.

This book falls under the fantasy genre but it is pretty light on the fantasy. It does involve a witch, a little magic and a tiny amount of the paranormal. The feel is very gothic and classic. I recommend to fans of this style as well as fans of Wuthering Heights. It can be read without having read Wuthering Heights but I think having read it enabled me to get the full effect of the book and I definitely enjoyed it.

Book Review: Scrap (The Grimmic Chronicles #1) by Emory Sharplin

17790521Title: Scrap (The Grimmic Chronicles #1) by Emory Sharplin
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Publisher: River Grove Books
Page count: 343 pages
Format: Ebook ARC
Rating – 5/5!!

On the brutal streets of Hellip, a village in the vast empire of the cruel King Ibis, you either become good at running from the king’s Blackcoats or you die. This is the lesson that twelve-year-old Tucker Scrap, abandoned as an infant among the orphans of Hellip, learned early. Along with her friends Ash and Kally, Tucker spends her time keeping one step ahead of the unjust laws, stealing what she needs to survive, and pondering her own unknown origins—and those of the enchanted bracelet with which she was found.

Now, both Ash and Kally have vanished from the orphanage, perhaps headed for the faraway city where Ibis still rules. When a mysterious girl named Vivian arrives in Hellip with a strange invitation to Tucker, the leader of the orphans decides that this may be her opportunity to find her missing friends. But more than this: it may become an opportunity to recover her hidden inheritance, and to change the fate of an entire kingdom.

The introduction to a fantasy world rich with ancient magic, enigmatic gypsies, palace labyrinths, and deep woods haunted by strange and forbidding creatures, Emory Sharplin’s debut novel tells the story of Tucker Scrap: a bold, memorable heroine at the center of a centuries-old mystery, stepping into her destiny at last.

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Full disclosure, I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am really happy that I decided to request this galley because it was awesome, I loved it. It has been awhile since I stayed up with a book as late as I did with this one. I’m talking 4 am guys. I did not want to put this book down and I just had to see where the story was going and what was going to happen with the characters. This is book one of a series so after having read this book, I’m itching to read the next one. When, when when are we getting another book?!

There was a very interesting cast of characters that I can’t wait to learn more about and I am mostly looking forward to just seeing their interactions with each other. Especially with Napier, Colt, Kally and Tucker. I feel like there is going to be alot of drama there in book two, not to mention the drama with Tucker, Vivian, the rebellion and the King. When I started the book I thought it was going to be a much darker story than it turned out to be and I think I would have liked that but I still really loved the story and enjoyed it so much. It was very entertaining and fun to read. I definitely lost myself in this story and loved the writing style. I loved Tucker as our main character, she’s definitely tough and scrappy but also surprisingly feminine, I loved that balance. One of my most favorite aspects of the story are the gypsies and I am hoping that they play a larger role in book two, which I’m assuming they will because of what happened at end.

This was a great YA fantasy read and I cannot wait to continue this story. I give this story five stars and a recommend!

Blog Tour Book Review: The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera

The Festival of Insignificance (429x648)About The Festival of Insignificance

• Hardcover: 128 pages
• Publisher: Harper (June 23, 2015)

Casting light on the most serious of problems and at the same time saying not one serious sentence; being fascinated by the reality of the contemporary world and at the same time completely avoiding realism—that’s The Festival of Insignificance. Readers who know Kundera’s earlier books know that the wish to incorporate an element of the “unserious” in a novel is not at all unexpected of him. In Immortality, Goethe and Hemingway stroll through several chapters together, talking and laughing. And in Slowness, Vera, the author’s wife, says to her husband, “You’ve often told me you meant to write a book one day that would have not a single serious word in it . . . I warn you: watch out. Your enemies are lying in wait.”

Now, far from watching out, Kundera is finally and fully realizing his old aesthetic dream in this novel, which we may easily view as a summation of his whole work. A strange sort of summation. Strange sort of epilogue. Strange sort of laughter, inspired by our time, which is comical because it has lost all sense of humor. What more can we say? Nothing. Just read.

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera. Thank you to Milan Kundera and TLC Book Tours for giving me the chance to read and honestly review this book for this tour!

This was my very first Kundera novel and I really wish that I had read more of his work before reading this one. The description does say that it is akin to a summation of his work so I probably may have had a different understanding and appreciation of the novel had I been familiar with his past works. Diving into my first Kundera novel, I didn’t really get that so I will need to read more novels from him.

Even without having read his past works, I did enjoy reading this book. It was definitely a writing style that I had to get used to but I rather enjoyed it. I loved the way book was broken up into parts which were also broken up into sections. Each little section seemed to have a theme or an idea in it that tied into the overall theme of realizing our insignificance and the insignificance of our problems, things, etc. That is what I REALLY loved about this book, the meaning behind it.

This is a super tiny book but I think it packs a punch because it really does a number on you. It made me think and wonder. It was one of those books where I really had to pay attention and dissect to find meanings. It pleasantly surprised me and I’m looking forward to learning more about this author. I gave this book a four star rating because I really liked it and enjoyed reading it. It is a super light read and can definitely be finished in one sitting.

About the AuthorMilan Kundera

The Franco-Czech novelist Milan Kundera was born in Brno and has lived in France, his second homeland, since 1975. He is the author of the novels The Joke, Farewell Waltz, Life Is Elsewhere, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Immortality, and the short-story collection Laughable Loves—all originally written in Czech. His most recent novels Slowness, Identity, and Ignorance, as well as his nonfiction works The Art of the Novel, Testaments Betrayed, The Curtain, and Encounter, were originally written in French.

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Book Review: Southern Solstice by Sarah Sadler

25263608Title: Southern Solstice by Sarah Sadler
Genre:  Fiction – Romance
Publisher: Blue French Press
Page count: 404 pages
Format: EPUB
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
Rating – 5/5!!

As rich and distinctive as the Lowcountry itself, Southern Solstice presents a clever and charismatic journey of love, heartache, adaptation and emotional fortitude as told through a patina of family heritage.

When twenty-four-year-old Larken Devereaux is left brokenhearted by her fiancé on the West Coast, she reluctantly returns to her charmed aristocratic roots in Charleston, South Carolina to rebuild her life and gain self-determination in a prominent southern family that offers everything and requires nothing.

As her impetuous mother orchestrates a reunion with a first love, Larken becomes entangled in a dilemma where she must choose between an intriguing, passionate plastic surgeon who is anything but superficial and the annoyingly irresistible man who has silently loved her forever, but selfishly deceived her.

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I received an ARC copy of Southern Solstice from the publisher for my honest review! I have literally been DYING to share this book with everyone!

Southern Solstice was just what I needed to read this summer. It is a contemporary romance novel about a girl from Charleston named Larken who has recently been left by her fiancee mere months away from walking down the aisle. It’s about her journey to find herself and love again. That’s really all I will tell you about the plot because this is a book that you are going to want to read for yourself!! Trust me. This is the PERFECT summer read, take it to the beach with you and just lose yourself in it…it is really so easy to just lose yourself in this world.

I ended up absolutely loving this book, it’s definitely one of my top reads of this year. At a little over 400 pages it wasn’t a light read but it actually had the feeling of being a light read. In part because of the fact that once I started it I didn’t want to put it down but also because of the way it was written. And it was beautifully written…the writing was light, melodic and romantic.

I literally loved everything about this book. I loved the setting and the descriptions we are given of the setting, Larken’s hometown and Miles’ home seem so real to me. I felt like this about the setting since page one, it was so absorbing. I also fell in love with Larken as our main character. It was so easy to lose myself in her character and her emotions. I just loved all of the women in this book!! The idea of the southern woman and southern hospitality was just so intriguing and intoxicating to me throughout the book, much like the setting was. The romance(s) in this book were just so intriguing and I felt torn most of the time and it was just perfect. This book also has the most perfectly romantic line in it ever that references one of my most favorite works of literature, Great Expectations.

I think this book is well deserving of a full five star rating. I could not have enjoyed it more and after reading this book I am so wanting to read more books with strong romances and even stronger female leads. I had alot of fun getting to know Larken, her family and her love interests. Thank you to Sarah Sadler for writing a beautiful story that was just heartwarming and just lovely! Do yourself a favor this summer and buy this book! I’m excited that it has been released because I am definitely going to be buying a physical copy for my bookshelf because this is a book that I will want to return to again and again. If you read this book and want to come back and fangirl with me in the comments, please do!

P.S. If this book doesn’t become a movie, I am going to be so disappointed.

Review: Mind the Gap (Volume 1): Intimate Strangers by Jim McCann, Rodin Esquejo, and Sonia Oback

Mind the GapTitle: Mind the Gap (Volume 1): Intimate Strangers by Jim McCann, Rodin Esquejo (Illustrator) and Sonia Oback (Illustrator)
Genre:  Fiction
Publisher: Image Comics
Page count: 168 pages
Format: Graphic Novel
Publication Date: October 17, 2012
Rating: 4/5

Elle Peterssen is young, wealthy, and beautiful – and there is a reason someone tried to kill her. Only, Elle doesn’t remember any of this.

Mind the Gap, the new series by the Eisner Award-winning writer JIM McCANN (Return of the Dapper Men), is a mystery with a paranormal twist.

Elle, in a spirit form detached from her comatose body, must not only unravel the mystery of her attacker’s identity and motive but her entire life as well.

Who can she trust, in both this word and in the gap she exists in that lies between life and death? Filled with twists and turns, Elle’s life isn’t the only one turned upside down by the attack on her life.

Deceit, secrets, and hidden agendas are everywhere in a story where everyone is a suspect, and no one is innocent.

Collects Mind the Gap #1-5.

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I discovered this graphic novel while I was browsing through Listopia on Goodreads one day, something I can do for hours on end. When I came across this and read the description I was instantly intrigued. Most of my experience with comics and graphic novels has been in the form of the superhero genre. The only non-superhero comics I had read to date so far were Fables, Maus, Elfquest and other miscellaenous comics throughout the years. I decided to take part in the graphic novel challenge this year because I wanted to challenge myself to, not only read more comics like I did when I was a kid, but to branch out into the different genre’s that make up the comic and graphic novel formats. I haven’t been wildly successful at it so far this year but for this second half of the year I hope to hit this format with a vengeance.

Mind the Gap definitely caught my eye and when I received it in the mail I was super excited to dig into it. It’s about a young girl, Elle Peterssen who is attacked and ends up in a coma. The story is about her trying to remember what happened to her and really trying to even remember who she is. It’s interesting because it is also about unraveling the mystery of who hurt her by exploring her relationships and the various dramas begin to unfold casting suspicion upon pretty much everyone in the story.

Mind the Gap so far definitely has my interest piqued. This graphic novel only collects comics 1-5 so there is a large chunk of the story that I still have yet to read and I will definitely be doing that in the future. I liked being suspicious of everyone I have met so far in the story. At times I felt l was sure who could have done this to her but a page later my opinion on that would take a hit and I’d second guess someone else in the story. That is a truly fun aspect of reading this graphic novel. I gave it a four out of five because it was confusing at some parts and a little hard to follow but super interesting and wholly unique. I love the illustrations and the colors that are used. I think this is definitely a beautiful work both in the storytelling but also in the illustrative aspect. It’s literally just so beautiful and pleasing to the eye.  I definitely recommend giving Mind the Gap a read. I can’t wait to see how the story unfolds, it really could go in many different directions at this point! If you have read further into this series or if you have any recommendations on graphic novels please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you!

Book Review: Eternal Craving (Gods of the Night #2) by Nina Bangs

5961342Title: Eternal Craving (Gods of the Night #2) by Nina Bangs
Genre:  Romance – Paranormal
Publisher: Leisure Books
Page count: 308 pages
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
Rating – 4/5

He’s been promised a new life as the hunter he once was. But Al soon learns that all the rules have changed. Now he must control his most basic urges: the need to kill, to feed, to mate. And the woman he wants looks at him with both heat and fear in her eyes. Jenna Maloy doesn’t buy this story that he’s come to Philadelphia to save souls. She seems to see through the layers of deception to the primitive heart of him. With her beside him, Al stalks the dark forces that crouch in the city’s night shadows. But the real battle rages in his heart. Love is a formidable opponent. How can he ask her to stay with him after she’s seen the savagery of his beast? He only knows that if she turns from him he’ll be cursed with an eternal craving.

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Eternal Craving is the main pick of this month for Vaginal Fantasy Book Club over on Goodreads. I hadn’t read a Vag Fan pick in awhile and decided to get back into reading the picks and watching the hangouts. This month’s theme was dinosaur fiction!

Eternal Craving is about a pack of immortals trying to save humanity from the events of the Mayan doomsday prophecy. Immortals along with demons, werewolves and vampires are planning to bring about humanity’s fall but the eleven have vowed to wipe out the troublemakers one by one. The eleven, although they appear human, have the souls of dinosaurs trapped within them and they are able to release their dinosaur souls to get their jobs done. They are rage filled and primal with all of their primal instincts to lead them. One in particular, Al, finds himself in turmoil over a beautiful woman named Jenna whom is also a key to humanity’s survival. Little does he know how much she is going to impact his soul.

I am really surprised at how much I ended up enjoying this book. I really went into it not expecting it to be great but I thought it was really entertaining and fun to read. I thought that some parts of the story and specific lines were really cheesy and made me chuckle to myself but that just made it even more fun to read. I thought that the story itself was pretty interesting and really different from anything I’ve read to date. The pacing was really good as well. I’ve definitely never read, nor thought I would ever read a romance novel that featured a dinosaur as a main love interest. Interesting right? It sounds outlandish but it was rather interesting and fun. This happens to be book two in the series and I can say for sure that I would definitely be willing to read the other books in this series. It was pleasantly steamy in some parts and the steamy scenes weren’t cheesy so I was happy about that. It wasn’t a complex book but it was a good little read…light, entertaining and unique. Definitely a guilty pleasure read and I’m one hundred percent sure it can be read in one sitting. I do recommend it to paranormal romance fans looking for an entertaining book to read!