BLOG TOUR (REVIEW): Starworld by Audrey Coulthurst and Paula Garner

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Candlewick (April 16, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0763697567
ISBN-13: 978-0763697563

Praise for STARWORLD

An unlikely friendship blossoms between two high school seniors…in the deft hands of co-authors Coulthurst (Inkmistress, 2018, etc.) and Garner (Relative Strangers, 2018, etc.), the well-realized main characters and deeply insightful descriptions of complex emotions combine into an unusually thoughtful novel…Readers seeking characters facing challenges with honesty, bravery, and kindness will appreciate this book with its reminder that our outward lives often don’t reflect who we really are. ―Kirkus Reviews

Sam Jones and Zoe Miller have one thing in common: they both want an escape from reality. Loner Sam flies under the radar at school and walks on eggshells at home to manage her mom’s obsessive-compulsive disorder, wondering how she can ever leave to pursue her dream of studying aerospace engineering. Popular, people-pleasing Zoe puts up walls so no one can see her true self: the girl who was abandoned as an infant, whose adoptive mother has cancer, and whose disabled brother is being sent away to live in a facility. When an unexpected encounter results in the girls’ exchanging phone numbers, they forge a connection through text messages that expands into a private universe they call Starworld. In Starworld, they find hilarious adventures, kindness and understanding, and the magic of being seen for who they really are. But when Sam’s feelings for Zoe turn into something more, will the universe they’ve built survive the inevitable explosion?

In a novel in two voices, a popular teen and an artistic loner forge an unlikely bond — and create an entire universe — via texts. But how long before the real world invades Starworld?

You can purchaseStarworld at the following Retailers:
First, thank you to the publisher and Jean Book Nerd for the copy of Starworld. Second, there was no compensation in the making of this review and everything that follows is my opinion and mine alone.
Oh. My. God. Hardly ever is there a YA contemporary that pulls me in every direction, where I can relate to almost all of the characters. I believe the one last year was Eliza And Her Monsters. This year though has to be Starworld.
Starworld is a book about two girls who hide from the world in their own way and collide to make a world of their own that brings out a deep friendship and personal growth. But, this book has more than that. It deals with anxiety, OCD, the feeling of being alone, disabilities… the whole kit and caboodle.
I was glued to this book. I also had to put it down. I was pulled everywhere. Like Zoe, I had personal pressure to try and be the best person I can. Not for personal growth but because I was afraid people would hate me (technically I still deal with it). I also have a brother who is disabled.
Like Sam, I say the weirdest things and because of it, I tried to keep my mouth shut for a good portion of my teen life and well, I still kind of do it. Her brain was beautiful and it made me giggle because that’s my brain too! Minus the math. I can’t math.
She also had to deal with a mother who has OCD. I don’t have a mother who is OCD, but I have a grandmother who is a hoarder and… with my own anxiety, I am scared I will become that or ritualistic in some way. If anything, reading the progression of this aspect in the book opened my eyes to wonder why my grandmother is so anxious. I’m still scared I will become something akin to it, but I am more open to being compassionate about it instead of the anger and hurt that comes with fear and misunderstanding.
There is so much more to the book than what I’ve said. I could go in depth, but then you wouldn’t want to read the book. I was smiling, I was rooting for both girls, and I was scared because I knew what was going to happen and I didn’t want either of them to get hurt in the fire.
This is a beautiful book. It sticks with you and keeps you going. I hope to god these two work together again and craft another amazing work.
Final Rating: 5/5
Note: May I add that my Whovian self was very giddy through all of Sam’s mentions of the great scifi show and others? Seriously, I love her. I love Zoe. I love them so much.
Note Note: I also love that there are resources available for all the things mentioned. It shows to me that you guys not only want to help spread the compassion to the readers who don’t understand, but you also want to help those who have nowhere to go. It’s awesome.
Photo Credit for Audrey: Evrim Icoz Photography

Paula Garnerspends most of her time writing, reading, or making good things to eat and drink. She is the author of YA contemporary novels Starworld, Relative Strangers, and Phantom Limbs, which was a 2017 Illinois Reads selection for grades 9-12. Follow her on Twitter at @paulajgarner.

Audrey Coulthurst writes YA books that tend to involve magic, horses, and kissing the wrong people. When she’s not dreaming up new stories, she can usually be found painting, singing, or on the back of a horse.

Audrey has a Master’s in Writing from Portland State University and studied with Malinda Lo as a 2013 Lambda Literary Foundation Fellow. She lives in Santa Monica, California.



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BLOG TOUR (REVIEW): Off the Grid by Kay Marie

One part Pride and Prejudice.

One part Romancing the Stone.

All the feels.

 Don’t miss this laugh-out-loud, action-packed romantic comedy, new from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis, writing as Kay Marie.

Agent Leo Alvarez is on his way to Hawaii when his partner calls in a favor–the mob is after a pastry chef in NYC, and he’s the only one who can get to her in time. With his dreams of Mai Tais and sandy shores ruined, Leo rushes to her rescue. But when he arrives at her apartment, he’s greeted by an upturned nose and an icy blue stare. This damsel in distress doesn’t need saving. Good thing he’s a retired marine who never backs down without a fight.

After a childhood racked by scandal, McKenzie Harper has learned to loathe surprises. So when a strange man knocks on her door, interrupting her morning routine, she has no choice but to politely shut it in his face–no matter how deeply his hazel eyes might pierce. She has places to go, pastries to bake, and promotions to secure. Or she did, until three masked men kidnap her and throw her into the back of a van… Suddenly, that white knight doesn’t seem so scary.

He’s a cocky Fed with a killer smile. She’s an uptown beauty with a biting tongue. If they want to survive, they’ll have to learn to work together–assuming they don’t kill each other first.

**To Catch a Thief is a romantic comedy series that’s one part humorous and one part heartfelt, with a dash of adventure, a hint of criminal activity, and a whole heap of fun! Each book is a stand-alone romance with a HEA.


I want to first thank the author, Kay Marie, for asking me if I wanted to participate in the blog tour. Thank you and I will love to be in any future ones.

I received a copy from the author for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. The was no compensation for this review.

Off the Grid is the third book in the To Catch a Thief trilogy. It centers on the couple, Leo Alvarez (Nate’s, from book one, partner) and McKenzie Harper (Jo’s second baking buddy). It is a battle of the wits meets a woodsy expedition. And it’s filled with laughs.

I had always liked Leo even in book one so when I found out his book was the third, I had to jump in. From reading it, I fell for him even more. The playful teasing exterior is only made more interesting with the strong and troubled interior. Here is a guy who struggles hard to give the shirt off his back, protect, and provide without asking for anything in return. It’s the kind of personality that had me falling for my husband, so clearly, Leo and I are meant to be.

McKenzie starts off seeming like this closed individual with OCD tendencies and a very New Yorker attitude. They are… at least in media… a more jaded group of people. Stern. In control. Not in the mood to deal with BS and has no problem dishing out the sarcasm. And though I am not New Yorker, I can get behind that with McKenzie. I understand her. I can be like her at times.

I too, McKenzie, think that squirrels are the assholes of nature (I absolutely loved that moment).

I think you can see where I’m getting at. This book, though completely different from my own love life, resonates well with me.

All in all, this is the perfect ending to a fun trilogy. I am definitely a fan of Kay Marie and plan on reading more in the future.

Final Rating: 4/5



The door to the kitchen swung open.

“You’re early,” McKenzie groaned, trying and failing to stifle her sigh. How many times had she asked the line chefs to give her a few hours alone to prep? “I’m supposed to have the kitchen to myself until— Oh. It’s you.”

The federal agent she’d ditched in the subway leaned against the wall with his arms folded and a single dark eyebrow raised. “It’s me.”

McKenzie frowned. “What are you doing here? Who let you in?”

“Someone who respects authority.”

Must’ve been one of the waiters. McKenzie shrugged and returned her gaze to her papers. “I thought I made myself abundantly clear before. Thank you, but no thank you.”

“So did I,” he said. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him use his foot to push off the wall. When he reached the prep area, he put his palms against the table and leaned forward, gaze so piercing McKenzie couldn’t help but look up. “When I make a promise to protect someone, I honor it. So, I’m here. And I’ll be here. Whether you want me to be or not.”

The golden highlights in his eyes flared with unspoken challenge. McKenzie was more than happy to oblige. This was her kitchen, her safe place, and she wouldn’t be intimidated here. He didn’t seem more than an inch or two taller than her, so she put her hands on the table and leaned in, meeting him at eye level. “Some people might call that harassment.”

The muscles in his arms flexed, drawing her attention. His bronze skin was contoured and hard in all the right places. “Some people might call it admirable.”

“Some people understand how to take a hint.”

“Some people understand how to show some gratitude.”

“For what?” She scoffed. “Barging into my place of work and promising to stalk me?”

“No,” he clapped back, shaking his head. “For sacrificing my time and energy in order to keep you safe.”

“I’m not in danger!”

“Yes. You are.”

Somehow, their faces had moved closer, a little too close. McKenzie could feel the warm brush of his breath on her skin. The muscles in his square jaw were clenched. A layer of scruff covered his cheeks. His hair swept over his eyes, steeping them in shadow, so only the barest hint of glittering green was visible. She felt that stare in every part of her, as though it were a physical caress. The heat in the kitchen spiked, even though she hadn’t had a chance to turn the ovens on yet.

The ovens!


McKenzie tore her gaze away, finding the clock on the wall. She was ten minutes behind. She needed to preheat all the ovens, and she needed to start baking, dammit! With a sigh, she slumped her shoulders and relented, if only for the sake of her rapidly disintegrating schedule.

“Fine,” she murmured, using her palms to push back off the table and break away from this Fed who had seemingly made it his life mission to babysit her. “Fine, if you’re so hell-bent on protecting me, do it. I don’t care. But I am not leaving this kitchen and there’s nothing you can do to make me. So, go stand in the corner or something, and don’t under any circumstances get in my way. Got it?”

“Got it.”


Off the Grid (To Catch a Thief Book 3) by Kay Marie


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King & Kenzie Week: Writing like Stephen King and Reading like a friend

A while back, a friend had shown me a YouTube video of her following the process of Stephen King for a day. It got me thinking, what if I do it for a week?

So… I did. And failed.

And then another friend suggested I read like her that same week. Again, I failed. That was an epic one.

What does King Week entail?

I first looked through the internet for a quick reference to see what he did on a daily basis for writing. Note, his website is a great resource.

This is what I figured out:

  • Walk for 3 miles a day (3 is too much for me right now, I opted to 1.5)
  • Have a clean workspace free from clutter.
  • Water on hand.
  • Tea on hand.
  • No phone. No internet. No distractions.
  • Begin working between 0800 and 0830 (I had to change this to 0900 to 0930 because I am still getting Bug ready for school and he’s gone by then)
  • Write 6 to 10 pages (Roughly 2k to 3k words for me)

And so, my journey began.

Day One was my best day of the week. I was going in strong and didn’t have a problem without the coffee (I’m a big coffee drinker. About a large pot worth just for me).

Day Two was a win too, but it took a while to get there. It ended up taking me longer to reach the point of 6 pages. I rewarded myself with a venti cappucino (I allowed myself coffee after the King Process).

Day Three was horrible. I got only a few paragraphs done and decided to use the day to clean instead. I hate an dirty house and needed to get it done. This is why King says to have a clutter free space. Unfortunately, the rest of my house needed it too.

Day Four I… I just stopped. I think I got a few lines done. But really, I took the time doing other writerly things. I had an interview to do with Terri A. Wilson (will post that tomorrow) and I decided to prep up some book reviews.

Day Five never happened.

I could say I was upset about it. In a way I was. However, I learned that I do better writing every day but maybe not pay attention to the page count. And coffee… never say no to coffee.

What about reading like Kenzie?

Well, she had a great list to help me figure out how to read like her.

From what I’ve found… I suck at remembering to turn on my audiobook when on my phone and having a set reading time is just as hard. I see now how she can read so competitively and be wow about it. And yes, she reads competitively. If you don’t know what that is like, check out the reading challenge groups on Facebook.

Mackenzie heads the group Fiction Feud Society and was a player for Book Battle (the game that was a brainchild of mine and is now run by others). Or even check out Reading Rivalry, LitWits, or The Booket List. There are more out there and if you are a booknerd trying to find reading friends and being immersed in the reading community, any of those groups are winners.

Will I try this again?

Absolutely. I’m already planning on doing it later this year and for other authors. This includes reading like Mack. It’s a personal challenge and it’s fun. It is actually fun in a challenging way. I want to challenge myself more and this includes my writing and reading.

What authors would you like to see me try? It can be any author. I’d love to try them out.

RELEASE DAY!! Devious Ingenues by various authors

Today is the release day for Devious Ingenues! If you don’t know what that is, it is an anthology I’m in about Hollywood corruption and the lengths a person would go to win a competition and become the next star.

My story is called “Daddy’s Girl”. My character is Anna Ricci, a young woman who would do anything to fix the reputation her father destroyed.



In 1947, Montgomery Studios is one of the biggest and most successful movie studios in Hollywood, churning out hit after hit and taking normal, everyday young men and women and turning them into stars.
Once a year, Montgomery Studios hosts a contest through The Next Ingenue Magazine to find a new Hollywood starlet. The finalists are brought to Hollywood for a screen test, and a contract is awarded to one lucky girl who Montgomery Studios will turn into a movie star.
The previous year’s winner, Myrna Moran, already the studio’s most popular actress, will be hosting the finalists in her Hollywood Hills home.
These girls will do anything to be the next Hollywood ‘It’ girl. Some are hiding racy pasts, others are fresh from the farm, a few are beauty contest winners. But nothing will stop their quest to win the Hollywood crown and unseat Myrna Moran (who has a few tricks up her sleeve).

Natalie-Nicole Bates – K.L. Bone – Casia Courtier
Krystle Able – Mila Waters
Marie Sterling – J. V. Stanley

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Book #23: Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: when the prince-who-will-be-king comes of age, he must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been.

When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, however, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon, or what horrors she has faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court.

However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her.

Oh. My. God.

Seriously, this book is a literary theorist’s wet dream. A theorist in the school of feminist theory’s wet dream. No joke.

For anyone who instantly thinks Young Adult is a good category for this book, you are sadly mistaken. This book deals with hard issues that teens should know about but I feel the way the book is written is too advanced for a younger teen. Older teens would understand the language better.

The book is written with an introspective narrative style. Which is very similar to the short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper” (another favorite of mine). You are seeing the abuse and control through the eyes of the victim and you aren’t given a very strong victim at first. I could go into it more and I am thinking I actually will in my own literary essay of Damsel. But, suffice to say, this book is more about the cycle of abuse and how you could easily be taken in.

You will dislike the characters and what they stand for. You will be wondering why this book was ever made. You will probably toss it to the side if there is nothing moving towards something.

But then you will be giving up to the abuser.

That’s right. I said it. By setting aside this book (and I am a big supporter of DNF-ing), you are pushing aside the uncomfortable feelings the book gives you without finishing and seeing that this book is more about inspiring people to talk, to listen, and support. DO NOT STOP READING THIS BOOK. FINISH IT.

I can’t even begin to describe everything about this book. Arnold purposely uses the color scheme, the animals, the way the characters are. Everything has a meaning, a symbol, a reason for being in this book. This is not a story that was made to entertain. This is an onion with many layers and each layer is shown piece by piece.

I’ve made a decision. I will be writing an essay about this book. And, Elana K. Arnold, if you are reading this, I am in awe at the intricate crafting of this piece of art. This is art.

Final Rating: 5/5

Book #22 (REVIEW): Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

From New York Times bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward comes an unexpected love story of secondhand hearts and second chances…

It all started with a mysterious blue note sewn into a wedding dress. 

Something blue. 

I’d gone to sell my own unworn bridal gown at a vintage clothing store. That’s when I found another bride’s “something old.” 

Stitched into the lining of a fabulously feathered design was the loveliest message I’d ever read: Thank you for making all of my dreams come true. 

The name embossed on the blue stationery: Reed Eastwood, obviously the most romantic man who ever lived. I also discovered he’s the most gorgeous. If only my true-love fantasies had stopped there. Because I’ve since found out something else about Mr. Starry-Eyed. 

He’s arrogant, cynical, and demanding. I should know. Thanks to a twist of fate, he’s my new boss. But that’s not going to stop me from discovering the story behind his last love letter. A love letter that did not result in a happily ever after. 

But that story is nothing compared to the one unfolding between us. It’s getting hotter, sweeter, and more surprising than anything I could have imagined. 

Something new. 

But I have no idea how this one is going to end…

So, I want to start and say I feel the cover and title do not fit the story so much. There aren’t that many notes as the blurb may imply and the story itself isn’t so much about a relationship of “anger/frustration” turned sexual/romance. It’s more about two lost and hurt souls learning to work together and lift each other up instead of one being Alpha and the other subservient. That said, I loved this book.

I didn’t realize I needed a fluff like this book until I started listening to the audio. It has the qualities of a fun rom/com while still pulling at the strings of something everyone could relate to. It has exactly what I was whining to my friends about at one point.

I was chatting saying how I wanted a romance book where there is the witty and snarky banter but none of the controlling nature or lean like in Alpha male romances. I wanted a romance where the characters are independent and can be but choose to be together and help strengthen one another in their own independence.

Hate Notes has that.

I didn’t find myself getting upset with any of the characters. I didn’t yell or make comments about how I hated what was happening. I didn’t feel like either character was unsafe with the other.

What was crossing my mind was how much my mom would love to read this book. She would love the human interaction to the story. There was no drama among characters so much as two people trying to figure themselves and each other out. It was fresh. It was fun. And I highly recommend.

Final Rating: 5/5

Book #21 (REVIEW): Inescapable by Amy A. Bartol

My name is Evie Claremont and this was to be the making of me–my freshman year of college. I’d been hoping that once I’d arrived on Crestwood’s campus, the nightmare that I’ve been having would go away. It hasn’t.
I may be an inexperienced seventeen-year-old, but I’m grounded…sane. I look for rational explanations to even the strangest circumstances. Since meeting sophomore Reed Wellington, however, nothing makes any sense. Whenever he’s near, I feel an attraction to him–a magnetic kind of force pulling me towards him. I know what you’re thinking…that sounds fairly awesome. Yeah, it would be…if he liked me, but Reed acts as if I’m the worst thing that has ever happened to Crestwood…or him. But get this, for some reason every time I turn around he’s there, barging into my life.
What is the secret that he’s keeping from me? I’m hoping that it’s anything but what I suspect: that he’s not exactly normal…and neither am I. So, maybe Crestwood won’t be the making of me, but it could be the breaking of me. I’ve been left to wonder if the dark future my dream is foretelling is…inescapable.

I was in the mood to listen to a random audiobook in my Audible library and this was one of the books. I had tried this book once before but was turned off by how Reed interacted with Evie. This time, I was a little more prepared for Reed and was able to listen to the book to the end.

That does not mean I like Reed. In fact, I really don’t care for him. I don’t think he is a bad character, I just don’t care for him as a love interest.

My favorite boy in the book is Russell. Give me a Southern gentleman soulmate any day.

The story itself isn’t anything too special to the YA PNR love triangle storyline. It has pretty much the same format. And, to be honest, you can figure out real quick who Evie chooses. There are more to the series but I don’t see myself going for the second book. Not anytime soon, that is.

Final Rating: 3/5

BLOG TOUR (Review): Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

Hardcover: 368 pages
Tor Teen (February 12, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765399687
ISBN-13: 978-0765399687

Praise for SPECTACLE
“Clever and full of murder, Jodie Lynn Zdrok’s Spectacle had my eyes glued to the pages as the body count rose, and mystery stacked upon mystery as our heroine closed in on a killer who seemed miles ahead of the Parisian authorities. Fans of serial killers and criminal investigations will find much to love, and fascinating passages about morgue tours will appeal to the morbid rubbernecker in us all.” ―Kendare Blake, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series
“With a fierce heroine, grisly 19th-century murders, and a mystery that left me on the edge of my seat, Spectacle is an immersive, Parisian, YA From Hell that I absolutely devoured!” ―Gretchen McNeil, author of Ten and #MurderTrending
“Zdrok explores the universal fascination with death, set among the darker corners of 1887 Paris, and the very idea of the morgue viewings (to which parents brought their children) is chilling…Grisly, plot driven―and very creepy. Fans of historical thrillers that invoke the enduring spirit of Jack the Ripper will have fun.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Hints of the murderer’s identity are subtly and intriguingly folded into the story, and unresolved plot threads pave the way for future cases, during which Nathalie can discover more about her powers. The blend of history, mystery, and fantasy makes this debut novel a good pick for fans of Libba Bray’s Diviners series or William Ritter’s Jackaby books.” ―Booklist
“The book seamlessly brings several threads together: the mystery of the murder and the horrors of the killings themselves; the beauty, bustle, and darkness of nineteenth-century Paris (the killer’s pursuit of Nathalie through the catacombs is thrillingly described); the bizarre but historically based practices of morgue viewing and blood transfusions for magic; and the destructive nature of family secrets and their generational effects. …the tension amps up to a gasp-worthy climax.” ―Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Zdrok has concocted an ambitious Victorian-era story. …Intricately plotted, the story’s pace burns slow before racing ahead to set up and topple assumptions about the true identity of the Dark Artist.” ―School Library Journal

A YA murder mystery in which a young reporter must use her supernatural visions to help track down a killer targeting the young women of Paris.

Paris, 1887.

Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day’s new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered–from the perspective of the murderer himself.

When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie’s search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie’s strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer’s identity–and she’ll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.

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I received a copy of Spectacle from the publisher via Jean Book Nerd for an honest review. This is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

The quickest way to my reader desires is to set a book in the 1800s and have a serial killer. It’s safe to say that I jumped at reading this book. As soon as I heard about Spectacle I was anticipating a good read.

I was not disappointed.

Spectacle follows the footsteps of a teenaged girl who is breaking the glass ceiling and working in the “man’s world” of journalism. On top of that, Nathalie Baudin is reporting the unidentified dead inside the morgue. She’s going against the grain and in the process learns something about herself, her family, and the serial killer who finds her interesting.

Historical fiction is not one of my top fave genres but I felt this book had a good balance of historical detail while still holding the attention of a modern reader. It was interesting seeing how the process of body identification was, like a macabre art gallery of the dead, both a process for the police and a form of entertainment for the public.

There is also a hint of something supernatural that only strengthens the story and suspense. You will not know who The Dark Artist is right away. You will not know the full truth. And like Nathalie, you will be questioning everything. This is a definite read for the thriller lover both for young adult and adult readers.

Final Rating: 4/5

Photo Content from Jodie Lynn Zdrok

Jodie Lynn Zdrok holds two MAs in European History (Providence College, Brown University) and an MBA (Clark University). In addition to being an author, she’s a marketing professional, a freelancer, and an unapologetic Boston sports fan. She enjoys traveling, being a foodie, doing sprint triathlons, and enabling cats. She is represented by Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

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BOOK #19 (REVIEW): Guild by Terry W. Ervin II

You can’t hide in an RPG forever.
Eighteen years ago Tom, a barber college student, got trapped in the Monsters, Maces and Magic game world as Josiah the thief.
The first two adventures saw all of Tom’s party members, also trapped within the game world, perish within the fetid depths of the Dark Heart Swamp. His subsequent stint adventuring with NPCs proved short lived. He preferred survival.
Over time, Tom became Josiah, adopting a life blending in with the game world’s NPCs. He gave up advancing as a thief, trained as a lay healer, and works as a barber, cutting hair, pulling teeth, lancing boils and functioning as a low-level operative within the local thieves’ guild.
But life, even one lived as a faux NPC, can get interesting. Such happens when a young half-goblin thief named Gurk shows up in Josiah’s shop, looking for information.
Little did the pair know that the unobtrusive barber shop would become a focal point in a brewing guild war.

Praise for Monsters, Maces, and Magic
“Exciting and hilarious! It feels like a true game with friends.” Dueling Ogres Podcast

I received an Audible code via Audiobook Boom for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation made for this review.

I love fantasy. Give me a five man band, a quest, and an elaborate world any day. Give me intrigue. Give me action. Give me D&D. Yeah, I play D&D, so what? (if you care, I prefer my fighters and barbarians. Usually humans and male. One day I’ll get to play a half-orc).

Anyways, when I see a fantasy audiobook about a person stuck in a RPG, I was won.

Guild is a short action packed story that feels like a single campaign day. It isn’t the first in the series but it can be used as a standalone. I was pulled into the world and could see the rules of the world unfold. Like the comment about this book just under the blurb, this really does feel like a game. A fun game that I am going to have to continue.

If you love fantasy and action, this is a fun quick read that keeps your attention. I was able to listen to it while working and it made the work day very enjoyable. I did have a few weird looks with my random giggling though. So, beware on that.

All in all, I’m going to be listening to the other two one day.

Final Rating: 4/5

BLOG TOUR W/ GIVEAWAY: Damned by Alexandrea Weis with Lucas Astor

Print Length: 427 pages
Publisher: Vesuvian Books (October 3, 2017)
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Language: English

Praise for DAMNED

“… seamlessly blends mystery, magic and matters of the heart to create and enthralling read.” ―RT Book Reviews

“Damned is absolutely riveting, an absolute page turner. Just when you think the carnival ride is over you discover it’s barley begun… If you only read one book, this should be it.” ―Tracy Riva, Midwest Book Review

“Damned is full of intricate characters, voodoo, and a luxurious setting that will steal your breath away. You’ll want to follow Magnus and Lexie to Hell and back, and that’s stunningly likely.” ―Mercedes B. Yardley, Bram Stoker Award-Winning Author of Little Dead Red

Over a hundred years after the death of Magnus Blackwell, Altmover Manor sits abandoned.

Lexie Arden and her fiancé, Will Bennett, are determined to rescue the neglected Mount Desert Island landmark. They want to make Altmover Manor their home. But Magnus has other plans.

A spirit bound to his former residence, Magnus finds himself inexplicably drawn to the young woman. She has a supernatural gift; a gift Magnus wants to exploit.

As Lexie and Will settle in, secrets from Magnus’s past begin to surface. Compelled to learn all she can about the former owner, Lexie becomes immersed in a world of voodoo, curses, and the whereabouts of a mysterious dragon cane.

Magnus’s crimes won’t be so easily forgotten, and what Lexie unearths is going to change the future … for everyone.



I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Jean Book Nerd for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

Damned is the second book I’ve read from Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor. The first one is a YA thriller. Damned is a horror/thriller that centers on a couple and them moving to a house that has more than just a bit of faulty wiring.

I am a sucker for a ghost story. I love the ambiance of a haunted house and the twisted tales that are within the walls. The creepier and more interesting, the better. Damned has both of those qualities. Altmover Manor is a mansion on a cliff and begs to be in a ghost story. Add in the spirits of a previous owner and another person, you get a juicy start.

The book itself is well written and does keep you entertained as you are reading. However, I felt it may have been better separated into two separate entities. There is a lot of information and there is a change of tone in the mid-way mark. That said, the second half doesn’t pull away from the story. It just expands on the world. Like a sequel would.

The book can be a bit slow moving but I feel this was designed to add to the suspense. There is a lot of interesting detail and though I did dislike Will in the beginning, the characters were believable. No worries, by the way, Will gets better personality wise and there’s a reason why he was the way he was.

All in all, I did enjoy the book and wouldn’t say no to reading the second or even the prequel. I actually have a feeling that if I read the prequel first, this book would lose the slow-moving feel.

Final Rating: 3/5


You can purchase Damned at the following Retailers:
Photo Content from Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, PhD, is a multi-award-winning author of over twenty-seven novels, a screenwriter, ICU Nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable. A member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers Association, Weis writes mystery, suspense, thrillers, horror, crime fiction, and romance. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans where she is a permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and rescues orphaned and injured animals.

Lucas Astor is a multi-award-winning author from New York. He has resided in Central America, the Middle East, and traveled throughout Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight. He is a writer and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.

Weis and Astor’s first collaboration was the multi-award-winning Magnus Blackwell Series.



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