Tag: Paranormal (page 1 of 46)

BOOK REVIEW: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

BOOK REVIEW: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. CraigHouse of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

Thank you to Netgalley, Delacorte and Erin A. Craig for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I honestly can’t believe this book doesn’t come out until August, because all I want to do is shove it in people’s hands and make them feel all the same magical feelings I felt when reading this phenomenal novel.

It honestly had everything I love in a book: Castles. Royalty. Strong family ties. Unique but not overly complicated world. Strong female lead. Swoon-worthy romance. Creepy atmosphere. Supernatural entities. Heart stopping peril. A book cover to die for.

Once there were twelve of us: the Thaumas Dozen. Now we stood in a small line, my seven sisters and I, and I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a ring of truth to the grim speculations.

From the very opening scene, which was a funeral for one of the Thaumas Dozen sisters, I was immediately taken into this world, where (originally) twelve sisters, their father and their stepmother live in Highmoor, a grand castle near the ocean and rule over the land, but always in touch with the sea.

Unfortunately for Annaleigh, after her mother passes some years ago, her older sisters keep dying in mysterious and unfortunate ways until she is suddenly the second in line to take over the throne after her father’s passing. While several of the deaths could be attributed to accidents or suicide, Annaleigh is certain her most recent sister’s passing has something more sinister beneath it and is determined to figure out what is happening to her family. It is on one of her sleuthing missions does she meet the wonderful Cassius, who Annaleigh comes to befriend and trust.

I couldn’t help but smile, remembering their confrontation at the ball. “You sound jealous!”
“Hardly. And do you know why?” I shook my head. “Because I’m the one whispering in the corner with the prettiest girl in the room.”

Even with a blossoming romance to contend with, Annaleigh is determined to figure out what is causing members of her family to die. And here is where it starts to get creepy: one Annaleigh’s younger sisters starts drawing incredibly disturbing images she shouldn’t know anything about, Annaleigh experiences vivid dreams/moments that she can’t figure out if they are real or not, and all manner of spooky things are occurring around the house. Plus, more death.

I shook my head, as if warding off a buzzing mosquito.
None of this is real, it persisted. No one else sees it because it’s not really here to see. You’ve gone mad, my girl.
No. that wasn’t it. That wasn’t possible.
I wasn’t mad.
There had to be another explanation.
Does there?

The story continues to climb and build until everything comes crashing together at the end. And let me tell you, what an ending it was. Some things I had kind of guessed relatively close, while others I didn’t see coming at all. So many different plot points were so expertly tied up that I felt exhausted when I finally finished the last page. So much happens at the end and I just want to talk about it. I have so many feelings! I need to reread it, honestly, because I’m sure I missed things as I raced to see who made it out alive.

I loved Annaleigh’s dedication to her family, even when it meant putting others’ feelings ahead of hers, but at the end of the day, she had the ultimate say in what what would make her happy. Her relationship with her sisters was complicated, but full of love, and the same can be said of her relationship with her father. I adored Cassius and the wonderful aspects of Annaleigh he highlighted. His arc was super interesting and only added to the awesome world building of the story.

I’m honestly surprised this is the author’s first published novel, as it was so well done. I truly do not have enough good words to say about it and am already looking forward to reading it again, probably closer to the fall when the atmosphere will perfectly lend itself.

In case it wasn’t clear, I adored this book and almost all that it entailed. I will say, there are two scenes that involve an animal (a turtle). They aren’t the worst I’ve ever read, but they are disturbing, albeit short. As this is a major trigger for me, I feel it’s only fair to give others notice as well. So just be warned, but it’s easy to skip. I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did!

“All my years of imagining you,” he murmured, leaving a trail of kisses across my face, “and you are so much more than I ever could have dreamed of…”

This book will be released on August 6, 2019.

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: To Dream Is To Die (Dead Dreamer #1) by Sarah Lampkin

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: To Dream Is To Die (Dead Dreamer #1) by Sarah Lampkin

I was so happy to join this tour because I adore Paranormal stories! So check out my review below and enter a fabulous giveaway. Enjoy!

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: To Dream Is To Die (Dead Dreamer #1) by Sarah LampkinTo Dream Is To Die (Dead Dreamer #1)
by Sarah Lampkin
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Eighteen-year-old Brenna Whit is entering college as a freshman and starting to meet new people, but she hides a dark secret. Because of an accident that happened three years ago, her spirit wanders the Fade whenever she falls asleep. It's something she wants to keep hidden from the world, but when she sees someone watching her in spirit form, she fears the secret's out. With new friends, possibly new enemies, school, and a new crush, Brenna has too much to worry about for just her freshman year of college.

Review:

To Dream Is To Die was a story that kept me turning the pages.  It all unfolded so effortlessly and each time we were given a piece of the puzzle, there was still so much I couldn’t wait to learn more about.  There was a few different mysteries along with some twists and turns that kept me guessing. So if you adore paranormal stories, set in college, then definitely check this one out.

Brenna Whit was a dark, snarky college student who ended up dying three years ago. She came back from the dead and her life had been different ever since.  Now, when she was supposed to be dreaming, she wandered the fade instead. Brenna moved into the college dorms for the first time and I loved watching her friendship unfold with Aeria.  They were kindred souls and friendship definitely played a central theme in this story.  And while each character was unique, I wasn’t able to connect with any of them.  I tried my hardest, because the story line was a ton of fun, but sadly I couldn’t ever make that connection.  Regardless, I still enjoyed reading about Brenna and her journey.

As the story unfolded, we learned more and more about the world that Brenna wandered while her body slept.  I was beyond fascinated, especially since some of it seeped into the times when Brenna was awake. It was entertaining watching how it even affected those around her.  So when I reached that final page, I was so happy that some of my questions were answered. Yes there is still so much for us to learn, but we stopped at the perfect waiting spot until the next book in this series releases.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

 

About Sarah Lampkin:

Sarah Lampkin is a New Adult/Young Adult fiction author from Southern Virginia. She currently resides in Northern Virginia with her cat, Fox (who is practically a dog). When she’s not writing, she’s playing video games, rock climbing, or getting ready for hunting season. Sarah began writing over a decade ago with her first novella called Angels: Moon and Sun, which is now being rewritten as Tainted Wings on Wattpad. She draws inspiration from Celtic mythology in her stories and aims to create unique worlds following strong female protagonist. In 2015, Sarah was able to utilize her Dead Dreamer series in her graduate program and graduate with an MA in English.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

Giveaway:

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BOOK REVIEW: Soul in Darkness by Wendy Higgins

BOOK REVIEW: Soul in Darkness by Wendy HigginsSoul in Darkness by Wendy Higgins
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

People travel from afar to the small isle in the Aegean Sea hoping for a single glimpse of Princess Psyche. Their adoration for the mortal woman is so all-consuming that citizens begin to shower her with the very gifts and offerings they once left at the alter of Venus, goddess of love and beauty.

But gods are known for their jealousy.

Cupid, the god of love, takes pleasure in causing strife and mischief in the lives of humans. He uses love as a weapon, humoring in the weakness of people at the whims of their feelings. When his mother Venus approaches him about punishing the human girl who dares to steal her offerings and affections from the people, Cupid gladly accepts.

Psyche's punishment is to be given to a mysterious creature who only comes to her in the dark of night under the pact that she will never lay eyes on him. She is terrified of this stranger, who the oracle described as a serpent. Her mate, however, is masterful in his dealings with his bride. He takes his time, morphing her fears into different sensations completely.

Based on the Roman/Greek mythology of Cupid and Psyche from Lucius Apuleius, New York Times bestseller Wendy Higgins brings the tale to life, weaving layers that show exactly how a sacrificial lamb can be enchanted by an unseen monster.

Review:

Soul in Darkness was enchanting, seductive and smile inducing.  This story was everything I love about Wendy Higgins.  It had the most delicious sexual tension, characters that I quickly loved and a story that made me fly through this book way too fast.  If you’re a fan of Greek mythology, retellings, or Wendy Higgins then definitely pick this one up. I absolutely loved this story and can’t recommend it enough!  

“Bright soul, why must you make this difficult?”
In his nearness, I felt his words on my cheek. A scream immobilized in my throat as I was suddenly overcome by the surprising scent of rain and honeysuckle. That was not what a monster should smell like.

If you aren’t familiar with the mythology surrounding Cupid and Psyche, their story is an exhilarating ride.  Princess Psyche was said to be so beautiful that the villagers brought her gifts, instead of the Gods.  With Venus angered, she asked her son, Cupid, to punish Psyche.  Psyche’s punishment ended up being married to a creature that was described as a dark-deeded winged serpent.  Oh how I loved Wendy Higgins’ approach to this classic tale.  What unfolded was a story woven with betrayal, love, twists, friendship, trust and sacrifice that completely enraptured me .

“Sometimes,” he said, “we fear that which we should embrace because we do not know better.”
I swallowed, shaking my head, closing my eyes.
“When I touch you,” he breathed, “your fear disappears. You enjoy my touch.”
No, I don’t,” I blurted.
“Your lies are useless.”

Psyche was filled with such loneliness, beauty was truly her curse.  She had no friends, she was terrified to make her sisters jealous and men saw her for nothing more than her beauty.  My heart hurt for her. Especially when she showed us time and again what a kind heart she had.  So when her fate of marrying a monster was laid out to her, her bravery was remarkable.  Psyche proved herself in that moment that she was born to be a queen.  She was spirited, determined, smart and I absolutely loved her!

“Trust yourself, Psyche. Trust your soul.”

Upon arriving on her husband’s land, Psyche discovered there were rules.  She wasn’t able to see her husband, yet he could touch her.  And while she had free reign of his lands during the day, she had to spend her nights with him.  Psyche’s fears leaped off of the pages.  Her thoughts were consuming and I truly understood her horror of being a prisoner, married to a monster.  Yet her husband wasn’t anything like she expected.

“I cannot say all the things I wish to say.” His voice was deeper and huskier than ever, sending a ripple through me. “But if you listen, Psyche, listen to my touch…perhaps you will hear.”

Psyche’s husband showed her kindness.  He was compassionate, heartfelt, listened and tried to make her happy.  Yet creatures, especially those shrouded in mystery, can be deceiving.  So Psyche was waiting for the moment that he would cause her physical and mental anguish.  Now here’s the thing. I don’t care what others think, but I absolutely loved her husband.  While it seemed like he could give her the world, I only wanted what Psyche desperately needed the most.  To be able to see him.

All I knew for a fact was that if he was an enemy, he was the most dangerous enemy possible, because when I was with him, my heart, my body, and my soul wanted him.

I loved how Psyche’s husband made me laugh, he had such a funny way with words.  And it warmed my heart that he called her bright soul. His words could be mesmerizing.  But what I loved the most, was when he touched her.  Soul in Darkness was extremely seductive, sensual and the tension between them was electrifying.  Even with fear looming in the back of Psyche’s mind, she couldn’t deny that her husband made her body come alive.

When I got to his earlobe, my teeth grazed the skin there as I took it into my mouth and dragged my lips away. He whispered my name and shuddered. Everything in me felt animalistic and proud that such a small gesture could bring about a reaction from an immortal.

While I guessed some of the secrets in this book, I still found my heart beating hard in my chest.  I could taste Psyche’s terror and I was even filled with dread over her fate.  As the story unfolded, it took turns I wasn’t prepared for.  I cried my heart out and I was ecstatic when I reached the end of the book and found an epilogue.  It left the hugest smile on my face.  So yes, I definitely recommend Soul in Darkness, this story was completely enchanting.

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

BOOK REVIEW: Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3) by Cassandra Clare

BOOK REVIEW: Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3) by Cassandra ClareQueen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices)
by Cassandra Clare
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Dark secrets and forbidden love threaten the very survival of the Shadowhunters in Cassandra Clare’s Queen of Air and Darkness, the final novel in the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling The Dark Artifices trilogy.

What if damnation is the price of true love?

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the blight that is destroying the race of warlocks.

Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love.

“When I was at my worst, you were at your best for me. I can only do the same for you.”
“All right,”
 she said. “All right, I’ll wait one day.”
As if it heard her voice, the color closed up at her feet, hiding the parabatai tablet beneath the protecting marble. She wanted to reach out to Julian, to touch his hands, to tell him she was grateful. She wanted to say more, say the words they were forbidden to say, but she didn’t—just looked at him silently and thought them, wondering if anyone had thought these words in the Silent City. If they had thought them like this: with equal hope and despair.
I love you. I love you. I love you.

All right, can I just say that this took me like TWO TOO MANY WEEKS TO FINISH?! That is entirely my bad though and I am so annoyed at myself for it. I feel like I have been disconnected from my previous obsession with all things Cassandra Clare and because of that, I wasn’t fully prepared for this. In the past with her other series, I would have taken the time to reread all of the previous books before the new ones came out. Guys…I literally did NOT have the time to do that/ maybe I did but I was being greedy with wanting to finish the last book and was too impatient to read the previous two first. Also, I was kind of annoyed that all of the Ghosts of the Shadow Market novellas were recently released and I was worrying about missing out on information from those but also too busy to read through those as well. Long story short I have become slightly overwhelmed with how expansive the Shadowhunter world has become.

Reading this book has immediately sucked me back into this world. It hit me like a ton of bricks how much I used to live and breathe in the world of Shadowhunters and I cannot believe I have been absent from it for what seems like forever. When I finished up with Lord of Shadows last year I was left in awe of what Clare had done with Julian’s character and with this particular set of main character’s story lines but I was also straight up annoyed with how we were still getting strung along with the problems of Clary and Jace. I did not care to hear about them because their story, in my eyes, had been over. After reading this book I can obviously see that that isn’t the case. They were an integral part of this last chapter of this series and honestly, I didn’t mind it as much. Now that I know that she plans to end the Shadowhunter Chronicles in the distant future series, The Wicked Powers, I feel a sense of relief. I mean, they were the heroes of the very first series in this world, obviously they are still going to be important. I hope that Clare is able to give all of her characters the sendoff that they deserve in that series because after being with them and their families for the last decade, they have become like family to me.

Enough about that, though. Let’s get into the real reason I came to this review. This G-d book. Um…yeah, wow. I just finished rereading City of Bones and it is literally INSANE how much Clare’s writing has grown in the last decade. I am stunned. The Blackthorns’ grief, and Julian’s cunning and wit, and Emma’s strength and their love for each other and EVERYTHING ELSE. My heart was just this throbbing, beating mess for most of the book that I literally don’t know how I put it down as much as I did. Clare creates these UNFORGETTABLE romantic and even familial ties that I would lay down my life to protect.

I also loved seeing more of both the Seelie and the Unseelie courts. Books on the Fae have really been on the up and up lately so getting to see more of how their courts were set up and learning more about the Queen and King and the heirs was very interesting… During this final installment we met more Shadowhunters from around the world. We got to see things go to shit and then be reborn with the Clave. We got to see a NEW, and possibly equally horrible other dimension…..just…it was a lot. I am so intrigued with what will happen with so many different things and people and I refuse to say more on the matter lest I spoil ANYTHING.

The ONLY complaint that I have with this book (that isn’t really anything to do with the actual book) is that there were aspects of it that I just felt like I possibly should have known more about…? Again, it goes back to me not being able to reread the previous books and not being able to read the last set of novellas though. As much as I CRAVE series that are long and drawn out and that interconnect, sometimes it can be a pain in the ass. I can see how it would be daunting if you were a newcomer to try to figure out which to pick up first and in what order, etc. Each series makes mention to events in other series and other characters and their families in other series so as you can probably guess, if you don’t have it all straight or haven’t read it all, you are going to miss out on a LOT.

That being said, I would recommend this series (& all of her series) to literally anyone who likes fantasy. These books have something for everyone and are diverse in a way that a lot of YA isn’t. I will be reading her books until the day I die, mark my words, lol.

BOOK REVIEW: Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3) by Libba Bray

BOOK REVIEW: Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3) by Libba BrayBefore the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3)
by Libba Bray
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

New York City.
1927.
Lights are bright.
Jazz is king.
Parties are wild.
And the dead are coming...

After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that early claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough of lies. They're more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward's Island, far from the city's bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten--ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over, and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them fact-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they've ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation--a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves.

Review:

In this history, someone wins and someone loses. There are patriots and enemies. Folk heroes who save the day. Vanquished foes who had it coming. It’s all in the telling. The conquered have no voice.

I…..I am left without knowing quite what to say. I stayed up until around 1 a.m. last night to finish this because I couldn’t bear to stop. The story would not let me stop. I know that isn’t really even that late compared to how late I’ve stayed up in the past for a book but I can guarantee you it’s the latest I’ve stayed up reading since having my daughter. This series has had be on an emotional roller coaster the past few weeks. I have not read Bray’s writing in years so I had forgotten how consuming it can be. I’ve been terrified, I’ve been hurt, I’ve been worried, I’ve been in love. Even as I sit typing this, when I think about everything that happened in the last half of the book, my heart starts beating faster. Honestly, this has been the most visceral reading experience I’ve had in a LONG time.

“Aw, Sheba. I didn’t mean anything by that. Look, I know I’m no egghead and I’m no saint. I can’t heal like Memphis or play the piano like Henry. And I sure don’t look like Freddy the Giant,” he said, exposing his own soft wound. “But I got my own kind of smarts, from the streets, and when I go after something, well, just try’n shake me off. I’m an odd fella, but I know I’m an odd fella. What I can’t figure out is why you gotta make yourself crackers trying to be somebody you can’t ever be instead of just letting yourself be the one and only Evie O’Neill.”

I want to do my best to give away as little as possible. I’m always one for reading ahead or looking at spoilers and other than looking to see what happened at the end of Lair of Dreams I was good. I had NO idea what to expect for this one other than having certain gut feelings throughout the book. I want to warn you all, this book—this entire series—is dark. There are horrible ghosts, there is death, there is racism and bigotry. While I abso-posi-tutely loved reading about this era, it was so hard reading about the racism. Like seriously when everything goes to shit at the end with the King of Crows and certain deaths, etc., all I could think about was “yeah sure, they’ll probably defeat him in the next book but Memphis and Theta will still never be able to live peacefully in love. Henry will never be able to get married. Ling will always be judged for both the color of her skin and because of her braces.” GAHHH I hate that that’s the way things used to be…that that’s the way it still sometimes is now. It’s unfair and it sucks and I will never understand why people can’t just let other people be happy. It’s a load of B.S. if you ask me.

“I suppose it’s all in how you define patriotism. Some say that’s only saying good things about your country. Others say that it’s speaking against what you feel is wrong with your country and trying to make a change.” 

BUT, I don’t want to make it seem like everything is just a huge suckfest. No. This book has love and joy and hope as well. Just because Theta and Memphis’s relationship is looked down upon, doesn’t mean it affects their love for one another in any way. Nothing stops Henry or Ling from being exactly who they are as well. And as for Evie and the kinda-love triangle….oh baby. My lips are sealed muahahaha. 

Seriously though, the second half of this book was my favorite. It’s all like BAM BAM BAM in your face. Here’s a tad of information you might want, but then boom, here’s a little more mystery to add to your ??? files. You learn so much about Project Buffalo that is so messed up but still I have more questions about James and Sam’s mom and the weird blue serum that Marlowe gives to Jericho. It’s just so crazy think about how “simple” things were in the first book –lolol yeah right, but you’ll see what I mean if you read these. Then they were just dealing with one murderous ghost, not an endless supply. One thing that held the test of time, though, is the friendships. In fact, the motley group of characters have become a family, they become the reader’s family. I care so much for each of them that I will be so sad to see them go after the next book…fingers crossed they all live.

He was beautiful to her. She reached her hand toward him, and if she lived for a hundred years more, she would never forget his expression, as if he had been lost in a dark wood for a very long time and she had just opened the door to him, light spilling out to let him know he was home at last.

I am so deeply in need of the fourth book it’s not even funny. After everything that happened in the last half of the book I am left empty and with little hope. There is going to be a great reckoning and I am so nervous to see how everything comes to an end.

LIBBA PLZ GIVE US EVEN A ROUGH RELEASE DATE.

In our shrouds, we look up and watch you. . . You, who ask, “Am I enough?” You, who pray to leave a mark. You, so full of life. You, capable of such moments of transcendent beauty that it shifts the atoms of history into an ecstatic sigh. You, who erect the monuments so that you’ll remember, for a time. You, who will also wither and die. We marvel at your endless capacity to dream and create and, yes, even to love. To keep inventing yourselves. To ignore history’s lessons. To rewrite the story again and again. We wish you love. And dreams. And hope.

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