Tag Archives: urban paranormal

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl


Beautiful Creatures
by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything

Caster Chronicles #1

Rated: ★½
Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company
Publication: December 1, 2009
Genre: YA, Southern Gothic, Urban Paranormal
Personally purchased title.

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Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Either I hyped myself up far too much, or I just didn’t get it for being out of intended target age range, but I could not fall for Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Though the premise was an interesting one, and the setting built it up to be part of one of my favorite genres — Southern Gothic — it just fell flat at the end.

Before it all fell away, things were pretty decent! I could get behind narrator Ethan, just a regular ole kid desperate to leave his small town behind. I mean, I grew up on the whole “I hate my parents and this whole town” genre of pop punk bands. So, I got it. I related. I was rooting for him to escape. Then, we get Lena, desperate to fit in outcast that lives moves in with her uncle, the town recluse/eccentric. She’s mysterious and stand-offish, and oh yeah, just so happens to be the girl that Ethan has been having dreams about for the longest time. So, obviously, they fall quickly in love, to the disappointment of the parent figures in their lives, as well as society. Sound familiar? It should because it’s so painfully overdone and by the book, and while there was nothing new about it, it wasn’t terrible! It was familiar and sometimes, that’s okay!

But, if it was all following a tried and true method of writing a YA urban paranormal/fantasy book, how did it fumble? Why was I let down? The answer is simple. The entire book continually set the message of trying to escape your fate, your destiny, your town. It almost beat us over the head with the message that you didn’t have to get swept away by everyone else’s expectations and could forge your own way. And then suddenly, by the end, the message dissipates. Your own path you thought you could take? Sike, you’re stuck reliving the same roads you’ve always been on because there is no escape! It was SO FRUSTRATING! And I think, that is a major departure from most of the books in this same genre.

I go more in depth on the theme of the book and the ending being such a huge disservice to what was a decent story in the Pages and Pause Screen podcast, so if you want to know more specifics about why I had issues with it, give it a listen! Otherwise, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl simply fell flat for me. Will not be picking up the second book in the series and honestly, probably wouldn’t recommend this to readers.


High TIde at Harvest Moon by Taryn Blackthorne

High Tide at Harvest Moon by Taryn Blackthorne

 High Tide at Harvest Moon
by Taryn Blackthorne

She’s haunted. He’s lethal. Trust issues, anyone?

Finally, Lexi Coolen has a home. Or so she thinks. Bouncing around for over 10 years, she’s discovered she’s safest on her own. Shaking off the shadow of being a teen amongst werewolves has been tough, but she’s always managed. Until she met Kerr.

Kerr MacDonald messed up. Letting a rival pack’s pet human move into town without permission is bad for business. Fixing things should be easy, except he’s torn. Force her out or claim her as his own?

sbook 1

Rated: ★★½
Publication: March 15, 2016
Genre: Urban Paranormal, Romance, Shifters
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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High Tide at Harvest Moon by Taryn Blackthorne

I’m a sucker for shifters and shifter romance. So when I was approached to review High Tide at Harvest Moon by Taryn Blackthorne, I was excited! Fictional romance between characters that seem to hate each other really is a favorite trope of mine, so to see Lexi fight her attraction to Kerr was fantastic!

The build-up to the inevitable romance was great! You see Kerr trying to do everything right and being so damn dreamy, while Lexi remains prickly. With good reason we find out, but even she can’t keep him out for long. The writing is hot and sexy. The major complaint I had, however, was how jarring the start was. It definitely doesn’t fit in with the rest of the story and immediately throws you off of Kerr, and a bit off of Lexi too.

Once you get past the start of the story, you really begin to feel for everyone involved. For Lexi and all she’s been through, for Kerr and what he’s been through (even though we don’t really know it all because a man with mysteries is always fairly sexy), and for pack policies. High Tide at Harvest Moon by Taryn Blackthorne is definitely a good start to a new werewolf romance series that I definitely want more of!


Feast of the Epiphany by Kathryn M Hearst

Feast of the Epiphany by Kathryn M Hearst

 Feast of the Epiphany
by Kathryn M Hearst

Immortal and a member of the Sinistra Dei, a secret order designed to eliminate threats to the Vatican, Giovanna was created to do the dirty work of the Church. This requires creative thinking and the ability to tap dance on the line between right and wrong.

As the commander she loves slowly sinks into insanity, she learns that dark immortals–the Execrati dedicated to destroying her kind– have snuck into New Orleans’ legendary French Quarter to hunt her friends. With the further discovery that one of Rome’s own has faked his death, and the unexpected evolution of her supernatural powers, Gia is no longer able to play by the rules.

How can she defy the man she loves, break the trust of a close friend, and explain the new set of wings on her back?

The answer is simple… she can’t.

Book 1 of the Sinistra Dei series

Rated: ★★★½
Publisher: Wyndham House Inc
Publication: November 7, 2016
Genre: Urban Paranormal, Vampires
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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Feast of the Epiphany by Kathryn M Hearst

The thought of supernatural creatures working on behalf of the Catholic Church, instead of the Church looking to condemn and execute them, is such an interesting twist and breath of fresh air, that I had to pick up Feast of the Epiphany by Kathryn M Hearst. I needed to see how this would work, and boy was I pleased. This was such a great read that really hit a spot I hadn’t known needed to be filled. The writing and style really reminded me of both old school Vampire Chronicles, which is a given considering both take place in New Orleans, and of the first few Anita Blake novels.

Now, I wouldn’t say this is a slow-burn type book. But, it’s pacing isn’t the fastest. It isn’t slow, but steady and builds up with the action. Hearst starts by letting us ease into the situation, the location, the world. She finds a good rhythm between giving us action, sexual tension, and background information all at once while still keeping steady, never overwhelming. The location descriptions are fantastic, really making me feel like I’m back in New Orleans, which is a great thing to feel as it definitely plays a role in the story, almost feeling like an extra character.

Like New Orleans, all of the characters come with a heavy background already in place. Complex and full of history, they feel set in their ways and very real. Don’t expect sudden spurts of character growth as they all feel very matured, perhaps save the younger two characters of the group, for obvious reasons. Gia is a likable protagonist, though there was a point that had me rage quitting my kindle because I thought please, don’t be this stupid. Lochlan played his role well, and I kinda wish we could get more of him, but past him to see how he became who he is. While Torben, woo, I loved Torben. Loved him too too much. And boy, the sex in the book was delicious. Yes, there’s sex. If you didn’t pick that up from my comparison to Anita Blake, then you are sheltered when it comes to the vampire fiction world of adults.

By the end, new elements are introduced that really start adding in the actual mystery part of the novel. Unfortunately, all of these new questions are left unanswered, likely to entice readers into picking up the sequel (which I will probably do). But it does leave you feeling a bit confused as to what is happening and why it’s happening all of a sudden. You want to know what’s happening and aren’t completely sure the author knows just yet where to lead you. That’s the slightest complaint, but as I said, it’s likely just to entice readers to the sequel.

Feast of the Epiphany by Kathryn M Hearst is an enjoyable and sexy vampire novel with a new twist, great defined characters, and gorgeous descriptions. If you’re a fan of the original few Vampire Chronicles or first sixish Anita Blake books, this is definitely something you’d enjoy!

Chemistry by CL Lynch

Chemistry by CL Lynch

by CL Lynch

Stella Blunt’s world is ending. Her parents have dragged her across the country, and she has to start over in a new school. This is a big problem, because she doesn’t make friends easily: she’s large, she’s loud, and she doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Within days, Stella has alienated half the school.

Only one person seems to like her: Howard Mullins, the shy geek in her Chemistry class. He’s the biggest loser in school, but he’s a great listener, he’s smart at science, and he loves her for her mind. Then again, he drinks brains from a thermos and walks with a lurch.

Now undead hordes are showing up at her door, and Howard Mullins might be to blame.

Can Stella manage the bullies, figure out her complicated love life, AND handle a chainsaw?

Readers who are tired of traditional tropes and purple prose will enjoy this girl-power twist on Twilight from C. L. Lynch, who thinks big girls and zombies deserve love too.

Book 1 of the Stella Blunt series

Rated: ★★★★
Publisher: One Tall Tree
Publication: November 23, 2016
Genre: Zombies, YA, Urban Paranormal
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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Chemistry by CL Lynch

This was an AMAZING book! I could not put it down. Chemistry by CL Lynch is everything Twilight should have been. It is funny, empowering, and still romantic. It is extremely telling how quickly I devoured it considering I absolutely hate anything zombies.

Lynch does a tremendous job keeping true to Twilight and keeping opposite. We have new student Stella Blunt who is large and in charge. This was so freaking great, to finally have a protagonist that can be good looking and large at the same time. Not curvy, large. She even makes jokes about it which endears her even more. Then, we have the actual realistic new student scenario where instead of being worshiped as Bella was, she is ostracized because really, who moves to a new school in the middle of the year just to be warmly welcomed by the student body when they never were at their old school?

The dynamic between Howard and Stella is fantastic. They joke about him being creepy and her warning him he better not watch her sleep, another great nod to Twilight. Howard is old fashioned, but apologizes for it and is awkward. He isn’t the suave brooder Edward was, which really, would someone that refuses to talk to the rest of the population actually be Mr Popularity?

Chemistry by CL Lynch reads much more true to life than Twilight. It’s funny and quirky with great pacing and an engaging storyline. Please, if you’ve read Twilight, do yourself a favor and pick this up. It is amazing!

Midnight's Edge

Secrets of Sleepy Meadows by David Chappuis and Michael Klinger

Secrets of Sleepy Meadows 
by David Chappuis and Michael Klinger

The title, Midnight’s Edge, comes from the time of night where the veil between the living and the dead disappears and, for a brief moment in time, the dead can return to the mortal world and live again. It is a story of a vile, evil man named Jeremy Wickcliff, whose wife, Lucy, arranged his death years ago to save the town from his wrath of destruction. In present time, he has been plotting from the spirit realm, a place of purgatory, to return to the mortal realm to seek revenge on those who wronged him and reclaim the life ripped away from him.

Book 1 of the Midnight’s Edge series

Rated: ★★
Publisher: Melange Books
Publication: October 31, 2015
Genre: Urban Paranormal, Witchy, LGBTQIA*
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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Secrets of Sleepy Meadows by David Chappuis and Michael Klinger

Secrets of Sleepy Meadows by David Chappuis and Michael Klinger is an interesting book but wouldn’t have held my attention as much as it did were it not for the inclusion of a gay romance. Outside of that, it felt like a decent paranormal book but just didn’t hold me like other witchy books have. Pacing was okay, character development could have been better. I also felt the use of Shelly’s ghost could have been better. That’s right, we’re seeing the events of the book from a ghost’s point of view. I know it’s just the first book of a series, and therefore most of what the authors are doing is setting up future books and trying to put enough questions to make readers vested in future novels, but it just didn’t work for me. A lot of the questions that were raised I had already predicted and answered. The questions I did want answered seemed to be the character development questions. In all, it’s an okay book to read if you have time and want to read something witchy, but if you’re not interested in the genre or are really vested in character/world development, then maybe you might have to look elsewhere.
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About the Authors

David Chappuis was born in Waterloo, Iowa, the fifth child of six, and grew up on a farm outside of Madrid, New York. He received a bachelor’s degree in English/Writing and Art/Studio from Potsdam College and later took professional development courses in Interactive Multimedia at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
He has made a living as a professional web designer, designing Radio Station websites across the U.S. He designs, develops, and hosts his own websites and blogs for his writing endeavors.
As well as web design, he co-writes fan fiction blogs for the defunct daytime serials, Another World and Dark Shadows, and runs Facebook groups for readers to actively participate in the stories. He also interviews the real-life actors from the shows as well as other talented people.
He is the co-author of “Midnight’s Edge: The Secrets of Sleepy Meadows”, a supernatural book series, that will be published by Melange Books, LLC in September 2015. He also pens his self-published mystery series called “Jenny’s Not Dead” which is currently available in all popular ebook formats.
He works from home as a full-time writer and graphic artist in southern Virginia.

Michael Klinger – Co-Author of Midnight’s Edge, Jenny’s Not Dead
Michael Klinger was born in Niagara Falls, New York. He received an associate’s degree in human services from Niagara County Community College and a bachelor’s degree in human services management from the University of Phoenix. He has made a living as a professional benefits specialist.
He co-writes fan fiction blogs for the defunct daytime serials, Another World and Dark Shadows, and runs Facebook groups for readers to actively participate in the stories.
He is the co-author of “Midnight’s Edge: The Secrets of Sleepy Meadows”, a supernatural book series, that will be published by Melange Books, LLC in September 2015. He also pens his self-published mystery series called “Jenny’s Not Dead” which is currently available in all popular ebook formats.
He currently resides in southern Virginia.

Rise by Luis Almonte

Rise by Luis Almonte

by Luis Almonte

Fifteen-year-old high school sophomore Alexia Wick is an ordinary girl, with extraordinary abilities. She attends the prestigious South Haven Academy for the Gifted and Talented, but unknown to the other students, she is an Alerium witch. The daughter of a High Priest and Priestess, Alexia must learn to navigate the pressures of high school, all while preparing for one of the biggest competitions of her life- the Annual Trials.

Skill, stamina, and loyalty will all be tested in Rise, the first installment of the Trifecta Series. In this debut contemporary fantasy novel, magic gets real as Alexia trains for the Annual Trials, which pits teen against teen, by focusing on her craft and pushing her magic and spell casting abilities to their absolute limit. When the handsome and confident Kaleb moves into town, he offers Alexia a welcome distraction from the Trials, but a dark secret could soon tear them apart.

In the trials arena, friendships will be put to the test, fears will be confronted head-on, and powerful spells will be unleashed. When Alexia is confronted with the ultimate game of chance, and is torn between her first real love and the allegiance that binds her to her coven, will she buckle under the weight of the pressure … or will she rise to the challenge?

Book 1 in the Trifecta series

Rated: ★★
Publisher: Theorem
Publication: August 27, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Paranormal, Witchy, Romance
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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Rise by Luis Almonte

OMG WHAT A STORY! So, I was beyond confused at the start, not really caring for prologues that start at the end of the book. I was really worried that I had made a mistake picking up Rise by Luis Almonte. Then, the story switched to what happened before the prologue and just yessss! Read this in one sitting because it was that much fun!

Now, before you pick this up, do be aware that this is very much a young adult book. I don’t just mean it’s a book for young adults, I mean it reads like a book for teenagers, not like the other “young adult” books we might be used to that can sometimes pass for adult fiction (not the erotic kind). It’s cute and intense all at once.

Alexia is daughter to two of the most powerful witches in her coven and approaching her pre-trial, a time where young witches are given the chance to prove their prowess and finesse with the craft before moving onto Trials and then being recognized as an actual apprentice/student with potential. Of course, while this is all going on, she has school going on where her one-time bff no longer seems to be her friend, being from rival covens after all. Yet, there’s still the boy best friend from the rival coven, there for her. Almonte is great at side-stepping the potential one-sided romance here, shutting it down right after its implied to the reader. I loved that because we got the “angst” but without having it drawn out like it is in most YA books.

And the reason it gets shut down? Kaleb, yummm, the fantastic new student that’s also mysterious with his mysterious sister. I love him SO MUCH. Yes, the romance between him and Alexia is seemingly quick and sudden, but I didn’t care because I wanted it so badly. Then, we find out his secret (which I had already predicted woohoo) and it’s even better!

So, why three stars? I think mainly because it was fun, but it wasn’t the pinnacle of YA fiction. While it was fun, some parts were predictable and the writing was okay but not amazing. Still, Rise by Luis Almonte was extremely enjoyable and I would definitely pick up the second book in the series.

About the Author

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Author Luis Almonte is a writer and poet who resides in New York with his spouse, along with CJ, a Boston Bull Terrier, and Ralfy, a Siberian husky. Luis is an avid poker player, and enjoys traveling, cooking, reading, and spending quality time with family and friends.

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

 Iron Cast
by Destiny Soria

It’s Boston, 1919, and the Cast Iron club is packed. On stage, hemopaths—whose “afflicted” blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art—captivate their audience. Corinne and Ada have been best friends ever since infamous gangster Johnny Dervish recruited them into his circle. By night they perform for Johnny’s crowds, and by day they con Boston’s elite. When a job goes wrong and Ada is imprisoned, they realize how precarious their position is. After she escapes, two of the Cast Iron’s hires are shot, and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in, Corinne and Ada are forced to hunt for answers, even as betrayal faces them at every turn.

Rated: ★★★★
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication: October 11, 2016
Genre: YA, Historical, Urban Paranormal

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

Seeing a person of colour on the cover really inspired me to pick Iron Cast by Destiny Soria up. I feel like it’s so rare to find a YA/paranormal book that dares to feature someone who isn’t milky white, that I knew I had to figure out what this book was about and give it a shot. I’m glad I did because this story was absolutely fantastic. Not only did it include bits reminding that Ada, one of the main characters, is a person of color and therefore treated differently, it also featured a great plot that surprised even me at the end!

The start, I must say, was a bit confusing simply because I didn’t know what a hemopath was. I had forgotten the description of it from the synopsis and was just like okay something with the blood, but what? It did get explained, but not until a bit later on. I mean, in one sense, it did keep the story flowing realistically since the characters would all obviously know what a hemopath was and therefore didn’t need to explain it, but on the other, I was lost for a bit wondering what their magical powers were.

The characters are fun. Ada especially, I loved. She tries to move around this world as though she doesn’t have multiple strikes against her (I mean, this is prohibition era). And yet, she perseveres and tries to remain true to herself. Her romance with Charlie, I died. It was so great and natural and I just loved that pairing. I worried that perhaps opening with them together would mean Soria would do something to tear them apart later on, but, well, you’ll see. Corinne is interesting in that she is white and privileged and yet, because of her “affliction,” she has to slum it, ending up becoming friends with Ada. Best friends, actually. What I loved about Corinne, apart from her unending loyalty, is how she deals with Gabriel. Most YA heroines would just swoon, but she remained firm at the end and I thought yes, I need more characters like this in other YA books!

When it comes to the plot, however, Iron Cast truly excels. It held so many different layers that the ending came as such a surprise for me. Soria really, truly did her research in that time period and used all of it to layer a plot and story that felt credible. The pacing was a steady crescendo towards the climax and the resolution was a bit heartbreaking. I wonder if there might be a part two so we can follow what becomes of all the outcasts.

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria is perfect for readers that are interested in reading more historical novels, but with a slight paranormal twist. The author does a fantastic job weaving together all of the political and societal undertones happening during the time period into a plot that takes twists and turns.


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