Just One More Chapter

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light. 

-Vera Nazarian


I'm just trying to light up the world as much as I can one SciFi/paranormal/fantasy/space opera/time travel book at a time. 


A Spark of White Fire

A Spark of White Fire - Sangu Mandanna

I just turned the last e-page of A Spark of White Fire and all I can say is WOW... THAT WAS AWESOME!!!


It was a perfect blend of SciFi and Fantasy. I have been craving Space Opera reads lately and this book was everything I wanted and more. I am not well versed in Indian Folklore so I had no idea what to expect going in BUT I think it was better not knowing ahead of time what the building blocks were and just letting the story unveil itself as Mrs. Mandanna saw fit.


I loved every aspect of this tale! Besides the one time I gently tossed the ereader, not being able to bear witness to another word of what Esmae was scheming (against the wrong person I might add), I fervently tore through the rest of the book with wild abandonment. Hours passed by in what seemed like mere blinks... one minute I'm at 1% and just settling in, the next thing I see when I look down, it says 92% and I'm begging for my ereader to be wrong.


I was extremely impressed with the trifecta of awesomenes...the Writing, the Character development and last but in no way shape or form least, the World building. The writing was gorgeously done, not overly flowery or loquacious. The characters were detailed, complex and downright corporeal. I loved nearly all of them and those that I didn't, I wasn't meant to. I especially liked Esmea and Max. Their burgeoning magnetism was sweet, transcendent yet still seemed fragile and tentative in the way that all new relationships do. Their coupled aura simply oozed the mellow tones of being perfectly matched. Apart they were okay but together they were a force to be reckoned with. I really like them as a team so... fingers crossed. Then there were those charismatic, meddlesome, not quite omnipotent gods. Amba and Kirrin were likeable...for mischievous know-it-alls. Their best attributes were their affection and constant presence in the lives of a(n) (un)lucky few. The gods gave out Boons for the strangest things. For one such recipient, who aquired it by not speaking a single peep for 10 whole years, he was given the formidable Gods made sentient spaceship (who happened to be another favorite character) Titania. The plot could definitely have benefited from more of her/it in the story.... maybe in part 2?




Let me touch on the subject of the world building. The Whit Fire universe was populated with wondrous new planets, galaxies, nebulae as well as the prerequisite for all good SciFi-Space Opera chimeras...futuristic technology. It was beautifully imaginative. I can barely fathom a more enrapturing retelling of this tale of Abandonment, Acceptance, Hope, Love and ultimately Betrayal and Loss. I cried... that's right, I said it... I cried and I'm not ashamed to admit it. The death of a much beloved character tends to do that to me... I'm only human. Give this one a shot and I bet that if you have even just a lentil bean of a soul rattling around in there, you too will be moved if not to tears then definitely to sniffles by the end.


Overall: I LOVED this one!!! It's yet another book going straight to my favorites list. I have been very lucky lately with my reads and this one is definitely near the top of the list. I can not reccomend this highly enough. I wish there were more stars in the rating system to give this story of Hope/Tragedy/budding Love and Rage... so much rage against the backdrop of awe inspiring cosmos.


If you are looking for a seamless SciFi Space Opera, Fantasy mashup... if you are into amazingly imaginative new envisionings of folklore... if you love stories of underdogs prevailing against great odds... of gods meddling with the affairs of mortals... of Royal intrigue, power plays and war... then look no further!! This should be at the tippy top of your TBR tower!


~ Enjoy!

Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym Martineau

This is a well crafted adult Pokeman(like) romp through lush backdrops with characters that you can't help but love... you just can't... go on, read it, you'll love them too. There is sexual tension to the umpteenth degree. An extremely sloooooooooooooow burn that builds to a crescendo. The creatures are beautifully imagined and undeniably unique. The characters are all loveable and relatable, I want to adopt them all...except Noc, he I will greedily keep for my own nefarious purposes.

I love Noc & Leena... big fan, BUT I especially love Noc. He is incredibly tormented yet compassionate. He shoulders the weight of a powerfully evil curse that makes life torturous when it comes to loving someone...in any capacity. He is unable to express amorous emotions for anyone... ever... or his loved ones, if the feelings are reciprocated, pay the ultimate price.

Leena, on the other hand, is a kick ass heroine and one of the commanding voices of the dueling 2 MCs. She is strong, yet tender towards her beasts and her "family" (which is all sorts of endearing), she is beautiful, deadly and unabashedly, unappologetic when it comes to her lustful appetite.

The writing is solid. I may or may not have shed a few tears (the torment is positively dripping off the pages)...ok, just between us, there was some serious sniffling going on but that's it. The crying is in no way a reflection of the caliber of writing. The world development and character development are both extremely well done. The variety of creatures is exemplary. The characters are so robust (and loveable) you can't help but root for them, cheering for them to succeed and to find their happiness.

There were a slew of blush worthy sexy- time passages which is something I usually shy away from in my choice of reads BUT it was tactful and not overly protracted which made me enjoy the book even more.

Overall: If you're into an adult Pokemon(like) fantasy world with heart racing explicit scenes and damn good World and Character development... then this page turner should be on your radar!!


*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

Truly Devious

Truly Devious - Maureen Johnson

I am a well...no, scratch that... I am an ocean of adoration, confusion, and affectionate Feels for this book!!


I have to admit that I am quite behind on my ARC reviews BUT I felt like I needed to take some time to read some of the other lovelies on my radar that are not on my early review pile. Note: I'm about to fangirl all over this review so brace yourself.


Do you love brilliant, eccentric, expertly crafted characters? Check!


Do you love enigmatic "Who Done It"s starring quirky teenage virtuosos that are dealing with untimely deaths and also learning to navigate the terrain of their newly budding hormones? Check!


Do you love confusing cliffy endings? Double Check!!


Ok, now that we've established that you're in the right place, let's move along.


I feel the need to shout from the rafters...I LOVED this book and its writing! The writing was smooth and paced perfectly! The humor was slight, alluring and hysterical (in a subtle way). It held me firmly with rapt attention and I was incapable of dragging myself away. It was amazing how the pages, and hours, just melted away leaving behind a bewildered person shaped puddle.


I also LOVED the entire cast! I especially fell for the present day MC, Stevie! She was quietly, nimbly, unapologetically brilliant! She was observant, tenacious and felt like a female Sherlock Holmes... or a CSI- Crime Scene Investigator...or even more aptly a Criminal Minds behavioral analyst... MAN I used to watch too much criminal TV. Anywho, Stevies' best friend, Janelle, was a much appreciated POC representative that happened to be gay and also into the Sciences. GO STEM Ladies!! Nate was a subdued wet blanket but a really good friend in a pinch who put aside his own fears in order to help out a friend. Then there was David... ohhhh David. He was rude and fickle, offputting and angsty but about half way in I fell for his backhanded allure. He was devilishly charming, disarming, a flat out ass AND then back to an exquisitely delicious love interest.


Be warned: there were dueling time periods, which normally irks me to no end BUT it worked here and was even remarkably satisfying. The duality felt like there were two mysteries unfolding simultaneously, which there was, and it was pulled off seamlessly.

Now on to that ending...That ending... holy hell in a handbasket!!! I am a mess right now with theories swirling around my head. I am Sooooo confused. I NEED the next book Toot Sweet! I am exclamation point crazy over this!! I know this whole book was carefully crafted to set up for more books to come but come on... that ending was too cliffy for my brain-heart-Feels to take!! I loved David by the end BUT what the hey hey?? Just be prepared to be abruptly confused, annoyed and in love all at the same time.


Overall: I am a fanatic for this book!! It's going straight into my favorites list. It will not pass GO or collect any cash but it will live on in my pile of literary loves, which I happen to adore more than cash... well.... maybe not but I still loved this book. It happened to be Mysterious and Unconventional and so well paced that I tore through it like it was my personal letter from Hogwarts!! It caused me to (over)use the exclamation point like I have never before... like I invented the damn thing. Not so unlike my punctuation craze, I was also infatuated with the writing, world development and character development. They were all spot on. The character development was my favorite by far. I loved-loathed & felt deeply for each and every character. I can't gush enough about my affections for this book! I highly reccomend it!!


~ Enjoy!


Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones by Micah Dean Hicks

This voracious bibliophile is all about scene staging. It is an absolute necessity in a good/great/satisfying read. This gruesome story had that in spades!


The premise was unique, which scores major points with me. Taking one look at the book's title, I obviously expected some dark material but I was not prepared for some of the head tripy-ness this book dishes out. Just thinking about being harrassed by a needy ghost that can cause you to black out... whose actions you are not privy to, essentially causing you to be an unwilling passenger in your own body, now THAT'S creepy.


The writing was stark, succinct and unapologetically laid bare for the reader to take it or leave it. BUT let's forget for the moment the whole "ghosts being able to hop inside a person's body and take it for a spin" aspect... asking us to suspend reality enough to allow for ghosts that swarm inanimate objects like cars, music boxes and drains, causing them to fail and clog stretches my frivolity tolerance a bit too thin. The world building, on the other hand, was evocative and sinister as all hell. There were loads of ghosts that don't understand personal boundaries that can overload things as well as people... there were people not haunted with ghosts who were psycho, agro killers anyway... and then there were people just trying to survive this crazy town. My favorite characters were side characters though. I really liked Bethany, Henry and his father. They each brought a fragile yet resilient dimension to the plot. I loved how broken they were not only because it was interesting to see how they dealt with it but to also see how they "fixed" themselves and their situations in the end. I liked Henry, his tinkering brain, and his brilliant, mad scientist ghost interloper who tried and tried but couldn't seem to get anything right. I loved how strong Bethany was and how determined she remained. Henry's father helped out in the weirdest times but for someone so out of touch with reality, he was somehow there for his kids in a pinch.


One thing I hate to say is that I could only get through this in spurts. The plot was sufficiently ghoulish but it just didn't grab ahold of my attention and keep it there. There was an unfortunate case of insta-love, which annoys me to no end but at least it wasn't drawn out with deep, protracted declarations. Also, the ending was a tad confusing. I totally love anything and everything about alternate dimensions BUT it wasn't described with enough detail and therefore, it wasn't wrapped up as neatly as I think it was going for. I am definitely not one who needs a story to be wrapped up with a sparkly bow but it did feel like that was where it was going and if so, it failed.

Overall: This nightmarish read was solid. The writing was good and the world building even better. The character development was not as stellar but was still decent. If I could have read it straight through, no stopping and starting and stopping again, I would have rated it higher but as it is, it's a good, macabre story.

*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

The Devouring Gray

The Devouring Gray - Christine Lynn Herman

Sometimes a book niggles at you at every turn, causing you to do the Pick me Up Put me Down game- begging to be read in spurts...


Sometimes it snags and scratches at your patience- repeatedly begging to be thrown across the room at high velocity...


Sometimes it firmly grasps your attention with lyrically verbose writing and promises of better things yet to come...




Sometimes it sticks to you like an industrial strength glue that seems impossible to break free from until the very last word is read and the spell is broken...

This book definitely falls squarely within the latter group. It was a creepy, mysterious ride. It wasn't elegant prose, gut-punches in the feels, high octane action or epic battles (although the faceoff at the end was pretty cool) that had me hooked. What had me happily stuck was the ever pressing need to know more... constantly asking "what the heck is going on?" and "What will happen next?".

Christine Lynn Herman sprinkled breadcrumb clues throughout, feeding my greed...my need to know ever more. It was suspenseful, slightly disturbing and the pacing was great. The world building and character development were solid. There were juicy town secrets and Power Plays by both Suped up Humans and Creature alike. Speaking of the dastardly creature... it actually made me second guess who I thought the true monster was at one point BUT in the end it was VERY apparent. There was a modicum of melodrama and the ever popular who did what to whom Blame Game. There was also a lot of "It wasn't me, I'm too righteous for such actions" and finger pointing all around. Reading this little town's deep dark secrets felt illicit. This is definitely how I picture town life in a tiny, non diverse, exceedingly eccentric, homogeneous, Tradition-centric town.

Overall: Was this book Epic? No. Was it deep and poetic?? Also no BUT it was satisfying through and through and I liked it, I really did!

*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

The Night House

The Night House - J. C. McKenzie

Talk about addictive!! I picked this up and couldn't put it down until the very last tantalizing word. I inhaled this book in one sitting. I'm here, eyes burning from lack of sleep, throat sore from hours of disuse and poor hydration, wishing for more. There was Magic, court intrigue and Action. There was a swoon worthy slow burn. There were minor sexy time moments but mostly there was a need to read on, to live inside this world a moment longer. The world building was great and the character development even better. The pacing was intense and the action fierce. There was a butt kicking, wise ass heroine that you can really get behind and then there's Thane..... oh man is there Thane!! He was Yummmmy with a capital Y! He might have come off as too perfect though because no man can know the most elegantly perfect thing to say at the exact right moment... or at least no man I've met on this side of the pages. I was given a copy of this book but I honestly would have happily bought it. The only things that could have improved the experience were to have it be longer and to have more Thane... MUCH more Thane!!


Over all: I loved it!! I loved every second of this book and wished/craved/needed more! I'm sorry it ended and enjoyed every glorious moment in seclusion, immersed in this world.


*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

Descendant of the Crane.... SOOO good!!

Descendant of the Crane - Joan He

This book exceeded any and all expectations I had before, during and after reading it!! I am absolutely floored by how quickly and completely it drew me in and ensnared me. If you're looking for a wild emotional rollercoaster ride with courtly intrigue and a gut punching plot? read on...


There were a slew of things going on simultaneously and almost nothing was as it seemed on the surface. It wasn't until the epilogue that I got the full breadth and scope of the book. There was a regicide trial. There was a war brewing. There was a budding/highly unlikely romance slowly percolating. There were magical people being persecuted and there were rampant duplicitous actions abound.


Our MC, Hesina, ascends the throne early on but who can she trust? Can she trust anyone? Can she even trust her fallible memories? She is young, malleable, impetuous, head strong, stubborn and a bit naive SO is she ready to rule? Is she ready to rule a country on the brink of war? With nefarious people and deeds amiss, can she navigate court and ferret out her father's murderer? I was swiftly swept up in the beauty of the writing, the plot, the world building and most of all the complex loveable/loatheable characters. There were twists and turns... even the turns had turns. I got to a point where I found myself saying (to myself) "I've read enough books in my life to see where this is going" I sat with a sneer on my face and then BAM!!! our MC was sitting in the dirt and the game totally changed. Not only didn't I see major plot twists ahead of time, I apparently had no idea what game was being played altogether. As you can imagine this left me wanting.. nay, needing more. I couldn't stop reading. I made excuses to hide away and read just a bit more. I waited in my daughter's car rider line, at school, an hour early just so I could continue reading. I read while the rest of the family watched t.v. together. I skipped meals and read through the dead of the night. I was addicted... in the best possible sense. I was a puppet on Joan He's strings and reacted just as she commanded. I loved then loathed then loved then felt conflicted right on cue... AND that ending... it slayed me!! I might have cried. Okay, I did cry but I dare you not to shed some (completely understandable) tears. I was swept up in all of the emotions. I am still reeling days after finishing the book. I let it sit and ruminate in my mind to see if the endorphin high would wear off but I am still just as touched and obsessed as when I read the very last word. I desperately wish I could start over again, naive to what lay ahead...experience this book anew. BUT alas...it will have to live on in my memories and of course in my favorites list.


Over all: I LOVED this book!! It deftly elicited all the Feels. It ran me through the gamut of emotions and surprised me at almost every turn. I did guess one twist but that seems paltry compared to how many there were that I failed to foresee. This is going straight to my favorites list and I will wait until the end of time for book #2!! If you're still reading this... what are you waiting for?? Go and pick this one up toot sweet!

~ Enjoy

*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

Magician's Secret by Zachary Hyman

When we first begin the story we are told that the Magician's Secret is the wonderous and unknown factor of Magic. Even though magic plays a role in grandpa's life (he was a magician), what Charlie really treasures most is his time with grandpa in the attic telling tales about grandpa's life and adventures with the items inside the Magic Story Chest. Stories of grandpa in a dogfight with the Red Baron...Rat-A-Tat-Tat...stories of how grandpa outwitted a T-Rex... Zing! Zing! Zing!...and more. It tells how sadly, most grownups have lost their ability to imagine great big daydreams of possibilities. To this grandpa tells Charlie that they don't have faith in make-believe anymore and that using your imagination can do amazing things like turning a dream into something real. Grandpa teaches Charlie that magic is not only all around us, it's in us too and there's tremendous power in Belief. This book not only has beautiful pictures but a beautiful message to boot. I think we all could stand to remind ourselves to stop and take some time out of our very important/serious/responsible day and just think incredible thoughts and dream miraculous dreams. The power of imagination and belief are not only crucial to the development and wellbeing of our kids but we as adults could stand to be reminded every now and again as well. The Magician's Secret does just that. It is written very well and flows nicely. Sure to be treasured by your little believer.


*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

Simone: Even More Monstrous!... another belated review for the rug rats

Who is the real monster here? Well it's all relative isn't it? In this lovely comic book Simone is the Monster in monster world. Each page is easy to read and a story in and of itself. Also, did I mention that the main character is a girl? As the mother of a precocious young lady, it pleases me immeasurably when girls are represented in books, especially when they are featured in roles with more substance than that of a sidekick.


The format is perfect for entry level chapter book readers or those preparing to level up to graphic novels. The pages pop with vibrant color, witty dialogue, short sentences, monsters that are not too scary and there is even topic resolution on each page. My 7 year old daughter and I devoured this book, repeatedly.



NetGalley was kind enough to gift my daughter and I with a copy of this gem

Fox and Raccoon- by Lesley-Anne Green--found this while I was tidying up the ole Mental Cabinet... better late than never


With this book my 7 year old daughter and I agree, it has some excellent messages and stunning pictures but we found out quickly that we weren't the target ausience. There were poignant messages within like how to be a helpful, loving friend and how doing good deeds reaps it's own rewards and some unexpected ones too. The morals were not lost on my 7 year old though it was a bit rudimentary for her and early on it was easy for her to suss out what the end reveal would be. She is an intermediate level reader so maybe a slightly younger demographic would be preferable.


NetGalley was kind enough to gift my daughter and I a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Still Life with Tornado

Still Life with Tornado - A.S. King

This book was good. It was deep, it dealt with some heavy topics and I may have shed some tears along the way. The ending was a bit...preachy?? but it definitely gave it a satisfying feeling of closure. I'm still a little confused as to how certain things were possible BUT it was fun suspending Reality a bit in order to fully take in the story. I LOVED some of the characters and I really enjoyed the second POV. Helen didn't have too many chapters in her own voice but I enjoyed her contribution, it worked. I think the less you hear about this one the more you'll enjoy the ride so I'll leave it here.... BUT...


Over all: This was a quick, sweet, touching read.


~ Enjoy

Gutter Prayer by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

"God's shit," says Aleena. "That's your idea of a F'ing short cut? Let's save time by getting sodomised by magic worms?"


And it only gets weirder!!


Threat of excruciatingly painful apocalyptic event? Check!


Malevelant gods hell bent on world domination? Check!


Hasty alliances, political subterfuge and guild coups? Check all around!!


Vividly gross, creepy crawly, stabby stabby, creatures that nonchalantly eviscerate any and all freely? HECK YEAH!


Swift deaths of beloved MCs without preamble or ceremony? (Un)fortunately check.

This was a seriously franetic read with LOADS of varying creepy crawlies joined by alchemically modified creatures that littered the pages with thrilling chaos. There were multiple POVs that didn't necessarily segue nicely into each other which was unfortunate because it made it difficult to quickly recognize whose head we were chucked into at any given moment.


The writing, on the other hand, was great! The world building was gruesome at times but nicely built up. The characters were crafted beautifully and were as relateable as can be with this kind of story. It was an undeniably addictive, unique entity that grabbed ahold of my life for a few days and made me wish I had more time to read each day BUT c'est la vie.


It was a "WHAT the Hell's Bells (tee hee) is Going On Here??" that turned into an "Ohhhhhhh, THAT Makes More Sense" to a "Do I REALLY Understand What the Heck is Going On??!?" type of mind screwing event. I enjoyed this immensely, I mean that, BUT it was slightly confusing and brutally savage! There were annoying smatterings of grammatical errors which could definitely benefit from an editor's loving touch but thankfully, they didn't detract from the flow too much.


My favorite character was Saint Aleena! I love love LOVED her devil may care attitude and her brash nature and especially her sharp tongue. It seems that receiving, utilizing and staying alive while being chosen for sainthood can be severely hazardous to ones' health. Sainthood is a fickle mistress and definitely not worth the ensuing trouble.

"Aunt Silva always told her not to question the blessings of the gods, but Cari feels that if the gods send her a gift horse, then the gods are probably running a horse-trading scam."

Cari was a tough MC to get behind. She was fickle, a tad annoying, and a major flight risk. BUT what about the other MCs you might wonder? Welllll... let me just say that you shouldn't get too attached... to any of them, just to be safe.

Overall: Do I reccomend it?? YES, it was high octane good! YET, that ending... well that ending was a whining whimpering letdown. Talk about Anticlimax with a capital A! SO, when it's all said and done will I be on the lookout for book #2?? It's questionable. We'll have to see how long it takes to release vs how many exciting new Lovies I have on Mt. TBR at that moment BUT if you're into fast paced romps through fabulously weird scenarios and don't care if your favorite character suddenly and uncerimoniously gives up the ghost then this is for you!!! Just don't expect to fully understand, or love, that ending!!


Here and Now and Then-- Solid Time Travel story

Here and Now and Then - Mike Chen

Now THIS Time Travel book is solid with a Capital "S"! As you may or may not know, I'm a love love LOVER of Time Travel books!!! Give me a plausible story about traipsing through Time and Space and I am SO there. This book did not disappoint. There were some tricky love situations but it definitely won't be found in the "Romance" section because there were no smoochy kissy face bits. Not a big loss imo but just an fyi if you're into that. What it DID have was a cleverly handled Grandfather Paradox that was dreamed up and executed magnificently. The end was my favorite part...great ending! I won't spoil things by telling you too much, or even if it wrapped up neatly, BUT I will say that the turn of events were as plausible as possible. The characters were developed beautifully and the world building was good. The Future wasn't described in THAT much detail but it was enough to picture how much we as humans and our technology advanced. Sorry if this review is too brief or nondescript in any way, I'm trying to preserve the intrigue and the way everything unfolds so you have the best reading experience possible.


Overall: If you like books about Time Travel, and/or thrilling races against time, then I definitely recommend this one!! I really enjoyed it.


~ Enjoy!