They Mostly Come Out at Night by Benedict Patrick

Summary

He locked himself away from the dark, but in the Magpie King’s forest nowhere is safe…

Lonan is an outcast, accused of letting the monsters that stalk the night into the homes of his fellow villagers. Now, he will not rest until he wins back the heart of his childhood love and reclaims the life that was stolen from him. However, locked safely in his cellar at night, in his dreams Lonan finds himself looking through the eyes of a young prince…

Adahy has a destiny, and it terrifies him. How can he hope to live up to the legend of the Magpie King, to become the supernatural protector of the forest and defender of his people? But when the forest is invaded by an inhuman force, Adahy must rise to this challenge or let the Wolves destroy his people.

Watching these events unfold in his sleep, Lonan must do what he can to protect his village from this new threat. He is the only person who can keep his loved ones from being stolen away after dark, and to do so he will have to earn back their trust or watch the monsters kill everyone that he holds dear.

They Mostly Come Out At Night is a Dark Fantasy novel from Benedict Patrick’s Yarnsworld series. If you like Neil Gaiman and Patrick Rothfuss then you will love this captivating, dangerous world in which ordinary people struggle to find their place in a land ruled by stories.

Start reading today to discover this epic tale of dreams, fables and monsters!

Characters

I wasn’t a huge fan of any of the characters, except for maybe Adahy. Lonan is a redeemable character (by the end but I loathed him in the beginning), but this entire colorful spread of characters are not easy to like. However, this gives them all a special charm. It matches them as brooding and gloomy as the setting of the book. The characters feel like they are straight out of a folklore or fairytale – all of them. They are steeped in a world as varied and dark as they are.

I did not love this book for its characters, but they were well rounded and well written. On second thought, I did like Mother Ogma all the way through.

Plot

This is a story within a story within a story and it is amazing! So, I’ll admit it didn’t start out that way. It like putting together a puzzle where you don’t know what the picture is. You do the outside, then you build it in until the picture starts to become clear. Once that happens you go screaming through the rest of the puzzle (or in this case a book) until you put all together. That is what They Mostly Come Out at Night did. It takes about halfway for you to realize that all the pieces the author has been slowly handing you fit together.

It is one of the cleverest plots I’ve read in a long time. It isn’t often that I miss a major plot twist and this book has tons. The setting also has a surreal spookiness to it. Some parts are dark but others make you want to sleep with the light on. I don’t like horror at all, it doesn’t delve that deep but there is for sure a haunting quality to the novel.

Overall

If you love fables/fairytales, the darker Grimm versions, you will love this. I was hooked about half of the way through when an offhanded comment by one of the characters made me realize something more was going on. Good luck figuring it out even knowing a head of time that this author is clever. The chapters are constructed to bounce back and forth between a true fairytale style story and a more fantasy based story. They meld together in an ending one normally doesn’t seek but finds fitting.

Rating

5 Stars

I love it. This is a must read. Don’t read it for the characters, read it for the plot. The author does and amazing job weaving a story that will leave you pondering for days afterward. I will for sure be on the lookout for more books by this author and I can say Benedict Patrick has a lifelong fan out of me!

Advertisements

2017 in Review – Best Reads

2017 Reading Stats

Goal for 2017: 45

Number of books read: 59

Number of books reviewed: 55

Best Books of 2017:

1st place goes to:

Where the Waters turn Black.jpg

Patrick, Benedict – Where the Waters turn Black (Fantasy) (Review) (Amazon)

Here is why: For the second year in a row I’ve been blown away by Benedict’s amazing writing style and unique approach. Where the Water Turns Black is completely different from this first book and I would give this book six stars if I could. Where They Mostly Come Out at Night amazed me, this endeared itself to me from the get go – amazing plot, fantastic characters, and vivid world building. Not to mention the ending was just AMAZING! This is a must read!

FYI the third one is out and I am STOCKED to read it!

2nd place goes to:

Burner (5 Stars).jpg

Lenore, J.S. – Burner (Supernatural) (Review)(Amazon)

Here is why: I love The Dresden series and this was like Dresden’s spunky love child. Burner was a unique and addicting read. It was hard to put this book down once I started reading it! Not to mention the main character was so wonderfully stubborn but lovable. Looking forward to more!

3rd place goes to:

Michael's Passion.jpg

Crofoot, Joel – Michael’s Passion (A Series of Angels #1) (Paranormal Romance) (Review)(Amazon)

Here is why: When I started reading this book I wasn’t expecting much. Perhaps it was the silly cover but after page two I was sucked in. I couldn’t put it down. It was steamy and romantic, yes, but there was an actual plot! A unique take that just grabs you by the shoulders and pulls you on a romantic journey – don’t worry there are more and they are just as good!

 

 

Best Crime (Mystery/Suspense):

Midnight over Moores (5 stars).jpg

Johnson, A.M.H – Midnight Over Moores (Book #1) (YA Paranormal) (Review)(Amazon)

I really surprised by how cute this novel was. The best part was the mystery!

 

 

Best Fantasy:

Where the Waters turn Black.jpg

Patrick, Benedict – Where the Waters turn Black (Fantasy) (Review) (Amazon)

I cannot get over this book! It was that fantastic.

Best Romance:

Michael's Passion.jpgAsael's Nature (5 stars).jpg

A tie for two of Joel’s books.

Crofoot, Joel – Asael’s Nature (A Series of Angels #3) (Paranormal Romance) (Review)(Amazon)

Crofoot, Joel – Michael’s Passion (A Series of Angels #1) (Paranormal Romance) (Review)(Amazon)

Once you start reading these just realize you are kissing a weekend goodbye – they are that amazing!

Best Paranormal/Supernatural:

Burner (5 Stars).jpg

Lenore, J.S. – Burner (Supernatural) (Review)(Amazon)

Loved all the twists and turns of the mystery but the supernatural aspects of this novels really made it one of the best!

 

Best Short Story:

Loved in Hell (4 stars).jpg

Cole, Dia – Lover in Hell (Short Story Paranormal Romance) (Review) (Amazon)

The fact that I don’t like zombie anything and I enjoyed this short story tells you it was good!

Best Urban (anything):

In What Remains (4.5 stars).jpg

Rose, K.B. – In What Remains (Romance) (Review) (Amazon)

I was really floored by the gritty realism of this book. It was a nail bitter that was hard to predict!

Best Young Adult:

The Shadow Girl (5 Stars).jpg

Mount, Misty – Shadow Girl (Young Adult) (Review)(Amazon)

Perfect for ages 10-25. If you are socially awkward and love fantasy this is a must read!

Best Wattpad:

Boring is the new Black.jpg

Boring is the new Black by Megan Bryce (Review) (Amazon)

Once more I love Megan Bryce!

 

If you loved these make sure you check the Best Books of 2016

Unsung Hero of 2016:

This is a book that I loved that didn’t win a placement last year.

Burn - Elemental Hearts Book 1 (5 stars).jpg

This book was hot hot hot! I read it late in 2016 and didn’t realize how much I loved it until later into 2017 when I read the 2nd book in the series. For sure a steamy must read!

Fool Me Twice by Philippa Jane Keyworth

Summary

In the gaming hells of eighteenth century London, orphan Caro Worth is leading a double life. By day she plays a proper gentlewoman on the lookout for a wealthy husband. By night she plays the infamous Angelica, her fictional half-sister with a talent for cards and an ability to finance the life her respectable self has built. An introduction to a rich Marquis brings marriage and security within Caro’s grasp…until the arrival of the unpredictable and totally ineligible Mr. Tobias Felton.

Dismayed by Felton’s persistent appearances, shocking frankness, and enigmatic green eyes, Caro watches helplessly as he comes closer than anyone to guessing her secret, but when complete and utter ruin threatens, she finds that Felton’s suspicions just might become her salvation. As the walls she has built to protect herself crumble down around her, Caro learns that no matter how careful your plans, life and love have a habit of falling quite spectacularly out of control!

Characters

Caro is a feisty but desperate woman. She doesn’t want to abandon all home so instead she assumes the persona of another. Angelica has some freedoms that Caro does not – like speaking her mind. Tobias is a bloody mess. Being the youngest he hasn’t found anything worth while to invest his time or energy in so he just drifts. Rebecca is adorable – I loved her more than Caro most of the time.

Despite the fact that in the end and over all I like Caro, she could be down right wishy washy and irritating. Actually I didn’t like her very much for the second half of the book. Especially after her secret gets out. Instead of rising up – she had to be saved by the men around her. That was the most frustrating thing about this entire book. I thought it would be more about her saving herself but no. So fair warning there.

Plot

Caro’s double life as Angelica catches up with her. There wasn’t a lot of lead in to the bad guy being a bad guy but it was believable. Entitled and malicious. Surprisingly the romance is as important as the rest of the plot. I believe that even some men would enjoy this book due to its duel plot nature. The romantic aspect was really secondary for most of the book – only the last 25% really felt like a historical romance. Which was the worst part of the book in my opinion.

Overall

Absolutely gripping read. The writing flowed well and was at a fast paced tempo. It did a good job of sticking with the era and its colorful vernacular. At times the author overshadowed that something (mostly bad) was about to happen, which took me out of the book. There were a few POV shifts as well but also minimal. Not to mention that the grammatical errors were almost non-existent.

The characters were alright, Rebecca being my favorite and frankly Caro being my least favorite. At least the ‘bad guy’ (don’t want to give away who it is) is consistent – Caro isn’t throughout the book. She is all over the map. The only consistency is her inconsistency. The setting was well done, although more than once breaking the rules of proper society. Which may or may not be a good thing! The scenes between Caro and Tobias are very sweet though and by the end I went from not really liking to Tobias to loving him.

Rating

4 stars

The duel plot and fluid writing that is gripping and interesting is the reason for this rating. Fantastic read for any vacation!

I received a free copy in exchange of an honest review.

 

Rise by Jayelle Morgan

Summary

He gave her a night she would never forget…And a child too.

A year ago, Emory met the handsome, mysterious Ajax and threw her good-girl nature aside for one night of passion. She was fine accepting the consequences for her actions, and loves her son more than life itself. She never thought she’d see Ajax again, but now she desperately needs to find him. There’s something wrong with their baby…

She’s the only woman who’s ever taken his breath away.

Ajax never forgot Emory after their one night of passion. But he couldn’t keep her, because she is perfectly, completely human. And he’s not. But when she walks back into his life, it’s for the last reason he expects. Emory says the baby is his, but there’s just one problem: He’s sterile. All elite Elemental Warriors are. Which means she’s playing some kind of dangerous game, and he needs to know what it is.

When Chaos rears its ugly head, he’ll have to choose between protecting his new family and protecting his secret. One choice will take away everything that is important to him as a Warrior. The other could take away everything that is important to him as a man. Can Emory find something meaningful with the extraordinary father of her child? Or will he sacrifice them in his mission to save the world?

Characters

Ajax is a jerk. A likable jerk, but a smug womanizer. He is intolerable…until Emory. Emory is a no-nonsense kind of person. She doesn’t do one night stands: Except once. With Ajax. They are disgustingly cute together. Emory is a little wishy washy at times about what she wants but the woman it tough! I love their family dynamic with Jackson, their baby, is adorable.

I was happy to see Levi and Brooke back. Plus Walker and Micah. All great supporting characters. I was surprised that Emory didn’t have some sort of friend to give me some perspective on her though.

Plot

Much like the last book there is a threat from Chaos. They want Jackson because he is a very powerful Erratic. Furthermore he is very out of control, making mini cyclones every time he gets upset. No wonder Emory was half out of her mind with worry about her very special baby!

Ajax realizes what could happen if his commander finds out. Walker would have to take him back, which means no more playing family with Emory and Jackson. So now he is torn between protecting his family and losing them when he is forced to return home. Will he be able to keep them safe or will he decide to sacrifice himself?

Overall

Great writing. There were some errors but most of them were minor and easily overlooked, but some of the flow was off. Also it was a little repetitive at times, mostly Emory’s lamenting and trying to deny her lust, but overall still very enjoyable. The paranormal world and its sexy elementals were as flawless and wonderful as last time. The romance was great and the steamy scenes undeniably sexy. This author always delivers those!

My biggest rub was the ending was anti-climatic. There was all this build up and then it was just over. I felt as though the author took the easy way out. I don’t want to give anything away but after the threat to Emory, it sort of just winds down. The big threat just seemed to be overcome easily.

Rating

4.5 Stars (rounded down)

Fantastic read! If you love paranormal romances this is a must read. A fantastic follow up to Burn!

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Where the Waters Turn Black (Yarnsworld #2) by Benedict Patrick

Summary

When gods and monsters battle, her music will not protect her…

The Crescent Atoll is a remote string of tropical islands, connected by long canoe journeys and a love of stories.

When Kaimana, a young ocarina player, discovers the lair of a taniwha – a legendary monster – she finds herself inspired. The song she is composing about their encounter will be her masterpiece, but her disturbance of the beast attracts the ruining gaze of the god of war. She must convince the taniwha to trust her if they are both to survive.

Where the Waters Turn Black is a standalone novel from Benedict Patrick’s Yarnsworld series. Inspired by the myths and legends of South Pacific island cultures, this book is perfect for those seeking fantasy stories with a hint of the unfamiliar.

Characters

Kaimana is a likable character but more importantly she feels real. Her decisions aren’t always perfect but there is something of a dreamer in her that is to be admired. Rakau is the tanwha and has a big personality. He reminds me of a big intelligent dog. The supporting characters are varied but most seems to be morally reprehensible characters. From her parents that can’t understand to her ‘mentor’ Eloni (who is a real twit).

Plot

This book was such an array of themes. At its core I felt this was about the power of love/friendship. That it doesn’t matter how different  you may be from another person/creature, sometimes there is a connection that only you and the other person/creature can understand. It was a beautifully refreshing novel. There wasn’t any romance, it was just the story of a girl and her monster.

There were Gods, and constant threats from all sides, and awesome scenes. The concept of the Knacks are back in this Yarnsworld novel, which was pleasant. The author took a completely different but enjoyable feel/plot without completely leaving the writing style or world that I loved in They Mostly Come out at Night. A fantastic adventure that not everyone will come out of the same or even survive.

Overall

The world building was breathtaking and the transitions clear. I was a little disappointed that the fairy tale like stories didn’t connect back into the story more, but it did well enough to be fantastic. The Gods were varied and complex in their own right. I cannot give this book enough praise. I don’t want to give anything away, you’ll just need to read it!

Rating

5 stars

If you love Folklore stories even a little this is a must read! I couldn’t put it down and once I started reading it I had to finish. A must read!

I received a copy in exchange of an honest review.

2016 in Review – Best Reads

2016 Reading Stats

Goal for 2016: 25

Number of books read: 45

Number of books reviewed: 44

Best Books of 2016:

1st place goes to:

They Mostly Come Out at Night (5 Stars)

Patrick, Benedict – They Mostly Come Out at Night (Fantasy) (Review) (Amazon)

Here is why: This book absolutely blew me away. It was one of those books that start out completely innocuous and by the time you realize it is amazing, it floors you. It rocked my world – I couldn’t stop talking about it for days and have recommended it countless people. It is a fairytale that the Grimm brothers would be proud of – this is a must read for all adults who like fantasy.

FYI the second one is out (not a sequal just the same world) and I am STOCKED to read it!

2nd place goes to:

Proving

Brosky, Ken – The Proving (YA Sci-Fi) (Review) (Amazon)

Here is why: This book is heads and shoulders above all of the other sci-fi’s I read this year. Some were great, don’t get me wrong, but this one took my socks off. I love the characters, loved the concept, loved the writing, and the overall plot was excellent. It is a little scary for middle schoolers but anyone 14+ who likes Sci-fi needs to read this book. I find myself recommending it all the time.

3rd place goes to:

Jurassic Park

Crichton, Michael – Jurassic Park (Urban Sci-Fi) (Review) (Amazon)

I love Michael Crichton. He is one of my go to authors. I really enjoyed reading Jurassic Park and it really amazed me to read this and compare differences with the movies and the books. I’ve wanted to read this for years and it is really a book everyone should read as adults. If you love the movies, the first book is a must read!

Best Crime (Mystery/Suspense):

Cover

Mayer, Dale – Tuesday’s Child (Mystery) (Review) (Amazon)

Loved this mystery. For sure a darker one but great!

Best Erotica:

Eronica

Vaughn, Scarlett – Eronica Unbound (Erotica) (Review)

There is a plot…silly…but the steamy scenes are impressive!

Best Fantasy:

They Mostly Come Out at Night (5 Stars)

Patrick, Benedict – They Mostly Come Out at Night (Fantasy) (Review) (Amazon)

Just yes.

Best Romance:

hart-broken

Arcane, Annie – Hart Broken (Contemporary Romance) (Review) (Amazon)

Very realistic romance. Hits you in the feels!

Best Sci-Fi:

the-martian

Weir, Andy – The Martian (Sci-fi) (Review) (Amazon)

Hilarious and educational.

 

 

Best Short Story:

Spinnings

Thorpe, Marian L. – Spinnings (Short Story – Fantasy) (Review) (Amazon)

I loved this collection of stories. Very fascinating!

Best Urban (anything):

Jurassic Park

Crichton, Michael – Jurassic Park (Urban Sci-Fi) (Review) (Amazon)

A must read for the dinosaur lover.

Best Young Adult:

Proving

Brosky, Ken – The Proving (YA Sci-Fi) (Review) (Amazon)

Really for all ages but amazing. If this could win two categories it would win for sci-fi too.

Best Wattpad:

Some Like it Ruthless (Book Review)

Some Like it Ruthless by Megan Bryce (Review) (Amazon)

I love Megan Bryce. Period.

The Sixth Gate – Chapter 7: Ashlad

The sea of faces floated below her as she walked the short distance across the stage. The large lecture hall had been set up to accommodate fine dining and even finer decorations. There was something beautiful about the old building and its hundreds-of-years-old architecture. A circular mouthpiece the size of a dessert plate sat atop a thin metal stand that was hooked into a sound projection system at the base of the stage.

“Welcome,” Dr. Elisabeth Avery said into the device with a smile, her voice resonating through the room. “It is my distinct pleasure to be invited to open this year’s gathering of the greatest minds in science. We are here to introduce our newest innovations and share our advancements in all fields on the scientific frontier. My focus on ectoplasm research has been very successful, but I believe the best way to highlight this is by showing you rather than telling you.”

A few chuckled in the audience as she tried to hide the nervous shake in her hands. She admonished herself silently. She was a scientist who could perform complex procedures, after all, but she couldn’t handle a room full of people. Life really did have its ironies.

Beside her was a simple suit made of thick fabric and metal—a deflated containment suit. It was airtight with bronze details. The most noticeable part was a clear circular part for the helmet at the top of it that looked like a cage. The metal strips at the seams had rivets to help keep their shape, but the dark blue fabric was mostly bendable and sat on the stage in a pile next to her. Many people strained their necks to get a look at it.

“May I present A.J. Dennett,” Elisabeth said, holding an arm out.

There was an awkward pause, which was quickly filled with whispers. Elisabeth licked her lips nervously, wishing she had thought to bring a glass of water onto stage. She put on a fake smile and glared down at the suit. Any second, A.J.’s neutrino-based mass would fill the space.

“A.J.!” she snapped through clenched teeth.

Like magic, the suit began to fill with a strange white and sparkly substance until it was completely inflated. Elisabeth had always loved the way A.J.’s incorporeal form looked when he moved around. Without something to contain him, he would eventually return to what he was—stardust.

“My apologies, Miss Avery. I dozed off waiting for this to begin,” A.J. said, expressing his sympathies like a well-aged gentleman in the same accent that Elisabeth possessed. As they’d worked together for months on end, his voice had become as familiar to her as any in Ashlad. “I hope I haven’t caused any distress.”

“It is quite all right,” Elisabeth said, finally lowering her arm. “I believe it still had the desired effect.”

Half the audience was slack jawed. Many held their spectacles up to their eyes, but most were leaning forward to get a better look. Her work in ectoplasm research in the field of Fringe Sciences really should have been called “How to Trap Stardust That is Conscious,” but that didn’t sound quite as distinguished. If Elisabeth had learned anything in her career, it was that most of the people in the room simply valued distinguished-sounding titles.

“Good evening,” A.J. said, slapping his arms to his sides as he bowed. “Miss Avery has turned what should have ended a life into a life with which I can give back.”

Elisabeth could still remember the first time she’d heard about the haunted house. Never had she imagined this moment would come to pass—that after searching dozens of haunted houses, she’d find one with a real spirit and build him a body. If it weren’t for Elisabeth’s unique, inherited ability, A.J. might still have been there.

Someone started clapping and then others joined in, their faces filled with wonder. It was difficult not to let her feeling of victory over them appear on her face. For most of her career, her peers had all thought her unworthy of their attention. Now they would pay closer attention.

“Thank you,” Elisabeth said with a little bow of her head. “Please come to my presentation on Fringe Sciences tomorrow and learn about this process. Any questions can be answered then. For tonight, please enjoy the evening.”

When Elisabeth left the stage, A.J. followed her, his steps heavy because she had weighed the suit down to allow for ease of walking. When she sat down, he stood next to her, still waving to the audience. She glanced up at the swirling stardust though the helmet, hoping A.J.’s face would form. It did every once in a while, which always reminded her that he had been a person once and gave her a strange sense of comfort.

“Thank you, Dr. Avery, for that astounding introduction to our convention,” the moderator said. He continued to introduce additional distinguished members, but Elisabeth stopped listening. She glanced up at A.J. again and wondered if her choice to put him on display had been a mistake. He was a sentient being who had accidently become what he was. Elisabeth was still new to the field of ectoplasm and had primarily focused on building a vessel for him to live in. Yet the laws of their world were specific about what had rights. They did not extend to spirits.

“Elisabeth?” said her protector and friend, Milo, leaning over to touch her arm, “You look troubled. It was an excellent introduction.”

“Thank you, Milo,” Elisabeth said softly with a forced smile. Her conscience was suddenly at war over her hurried decision to show her success with A.J., but the damage had been already done. It was kind of Milo to reassure her, even if he was wrong about what was troubling her.

When the moderator finished, Elisabeth stood, and she and Milo headed for the door with A.J. bringing up the tail. She’d nearly made it when Dr. Nive Harrid and Professor Jacob Greenly cut her off by standing in her path, wearing smug looks. They were older men with outspoken beliefs about anyone who wasn’t like them—which constantly extended to Elisabeth.

“It is a miracle what you’ve done with the Fringe Science field,” Dr. Harrid said with a half-smile. “And it only took you a few years.”

“Despite your disadvantages, you have overcome everyone’s expectations,” Professor Greenly said with an equally coy half-smile.

“Disadvantage?” Elisabeth said before she could catch herself.

“Why, being half demon, of course,” Professor Greenly clarified.

Milo took a step forward. Being a lesser demon, he could do damage, but that wasn’t how Elisabeth solved things. Elisabeth’s jaw clenched as she raised a hand to stop Milo, and she put on a smile that could melt facial tissue from bones. “I could not have advanced the technology I presented today without my gifts. By that token, it is an advantage. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an early morning planned.”

She swept around them before they could reply. On this day, she would not let their words dissuade her. It didn’t matter that it was early and that her leaving would be seen as cowardice—there were too many people too close to her. Elisabeth could remember when other children were afraid of her growing up, some even to the point of throwing rocks. Private tutors had kept her well enough away from them. But it hadn’t kept them from hurling curses at her on the streets. She sometimes thought that children were the cruelest beings because the words they spoke were embedded deeply in truth. In some cases, this carried into adulthood.

“Elisabeth,” Milo called, getting her attention. “You’re walking too quickly.”

Elisabeth stopped and turned back to find A.J. struggling to keep up and Milo bridging the gap between them. She blinked, realizing she had far outpaced them, like she always did when she was alone. She glanced down at her fingers and found they had been madly drumming against her leg. Her thoughts had consumed her, and she had forgotten about her companions.

“I’m sorry, A.J.,” Elisabeth said unsteadily as she straightened her back. “I forget myself.” She sighed.

“That is quite all right, Miss Avery.” His voice rang clear as he drew closer.

“Don’t let words bother you,” Milo said softly.

“Thanks,” she replied, but his words gave her little comfort. “Can you get my father on the line?”

He nodded as A.J caught up to them and they resumed at A.J.’s pace. The hallways were mostly empty because everyone was at the reception dinner. When they reached the base of the large staircase that led up to the guest rooms, Milo handed her the telecommunication disk.

“Elsa! How is my brilliant daughter?” His voice boomed his pet name for her over the communication piece.

“Papa,” she said as she felt the tension go out of her shoulders, “I am well. I just wanted to let you know that I’m done for the night and that A.J. is doing well.”

“And the presentation?”

She smiled, but when she glanced up as they rounded the corner on the landing of the stairs, the smile turned into a scream. A man dressed all in black suddenly slammed both knees into Milo’s chest, sending him crashing back against the stone banister. She dropped the communication device, and it skidded across the floor.

“Elsa? Elisabeth?” Malthael called out frantically. “Are you all right?”

She looked toward the device and opened her mouth to answer, but saw a long thin blade leveled at her. Her eyes went wide as she looked up at the man holding it. She could hear her papa yelling her name and demanding to know what was going on. Her hands started to shake—partly from fear and partly from her loss of control.

“Unhand her!” A.J. said, lifting his arms to attack.

The man turned and punctured the suit in one swift jab, causing it to deflate. A.J. gasped and tried to stop the leak with his ill-equipped hands. Elisabeth made it to two steps away from him before the blade was pointed back at her. She froze. Her hands were out by her sides, twisting in slightly circular motions. The man in black brought a boot down and crushed the communication device, silencing her papa.

“Miss Avery!” A.J. said as he filtered out of the suit.

“Go back to your other suit, A.J.,” Elisabeth said as she continued the motions. “I’ll be fine.”

The man made of stardust and gelatinous goo spilled over the side of the banister and down through the floor to his other containment suit. A glob of ectoplasm was all that remained. She knew he could make it to the suit, which wasn’t far off in storage, before he started to dissipate. She glanced at Milo and realized that the man threatening her life wasn’t there for him or A.J. He was there for her.

“What do you want? My father is rich,” Elisabeth said, narrowing her eyes.

She had to buy time—the demon dogs would come for her. She kept moving her hands in small circular motions, reaching into the spirit lines and calling them to her. He stayed silent and continued to stare at her with his impossibly dark grey eyes. Moments passed, and her chest rose and fell; she felt grateful that it still could.

He put the double thin blades away. Reaching behind him, he pulled a long sword from his back. She glanced hopefully at Milo, but he gave no indication of consciousness. Elisabeth calmed herself when she felt the demon dogs near. She took a step back. The man tipped his head to the side and took a few measured and lithe steps forward, bringing the blade down.

Like slivers of white, her guardians rose from the ground. An instant before the man’s weapon struck home, the Netherhounds appeared. The deadly bladed tips of their ribbon-like elastic tails shot out and blocked the man’s attack. He stumbled back, caught unawares by their sudden appearance. Unlike A.J., who was something everyone could see, her guardians were half spirits that only she and those like her could see until they materialized. They stood on two hind legs with their heads down, so she could see their strange curly ears and sets of ram-like horns on each side of their heads.

Her attacker reacted to their second strike and narrowly dodged away from the lethal blades. Nathan, the guardian on her right, took hold of the sword with his tail and yanked it free, while Duke, the guardian with the chipped horn, attacked again with his deadly tail. The man flipped backwards, out of harm’s reach, and pulled out his twin blades from a sheath strapped to his lower back. He landed on his feet in a crouch and immediately lunged toward them again, but his blades went right through her body and slammed into the banister behind her without doing any harm.

Touching the dog demons had allowed her to transform into her spirit form. Since Elisabeth was only half Soul Collector, she needed help to travel the spirit lines, which her guardians did with ease. She watched the man in black, with his piercing dark eyes, as she faded into the floor, and then she was quickly far away from him.

Sunset Reads: William & Cristina by D.C. Triana

Summary

Within the doors of Sunset Reads William Jameson has come home to take over his mother’s New York publishing house after her death. He’s ready to turn things around when an electrifying encounter with the company’s sexy bestselling author makes him change his priorities to more sensual plans. While his cruel stepfather has decided he wants control of the company, William tries to remain focused as images of soft brown eyes and sensual lips continue to keep him up at night.

Cristina Cruz suddenly finds herself with part ownership of Sunset Reads. Not only has the previous owner left her with part of the publishing house, but also at the mercy of her son William, the company’s handsome new CEO, who seems to be determined to drive her crazy. Not only is he annoyingly attractive, but his alluring blue eyes continue to send shivers down her spine. Working side by side with him becomes all the more torturous as his enticing looks and their heated encounters send her senses reeling.

Characters

I really, really, really wanted to like these characters. Half the time Christina was running around throwing things and acting like a toddler in the middle of a tantrum and it just drove me nuts. I won’t even get into her super dumb moments. William was worse. He acted all over the place that he didn’t really have a personality because the moment I thought I knew who William was he would do something else. It was like the author wanted him to be too many things at once, many of which were contradictory, and it created an all over the place character that didn’t feel very believable. Christina was at least consistently crazy. Also I felt like Alyssa was more of Christina’s best friend based on what happened throughout the book, but apparently Layla was. The bad guy was the most consistent character in the entire book…and that says something in it of itself, but he too was a little over the top. Adele is great, the best character in the entire book.

Plot

Super cute idea, very romance vibe, but very contrived. The entire plot, sometimes unbelievable, forced the two characters together, again and again. For a debut novel it really wasn’t bad but the characters just ruined the plot for me. I love novels about writers, but it is a risky territory. The author did decent but there were times that my belief that Christina was a ‘bestselling author’ fell through.

That being said excellent sex scenes. Some of the banter between William and Christina were excellent. Some of the interactions of characters that weren’t between William and Christina were heartening. This book had some really good parts, which I could see all the potential of what this novel could have been.

Overall

The authors overuse of exclamation points and ‘…’ is what finally did me over. The writing was mostly sound but this book needs work. Perhaps it was the non-stop high emotions that really did me in. If you need lots of emotions in your books, this is a great book for you. For me it was just awful. If you want non-stop romance, argumentative banter, and over the top plot line, this is the romance for you! And I don’t mean that sarcastically, I know a few people who would love this book, it was just not for me. The author’s ability to put emotions onto the page to such an extreme really is a talent.

Rating

2 Stars

I didn’t like it. I didn’t hate it, but there wasn’t enough to like and this book needs too much work. I left this book feeling disappointed and annoyed. However, if you like highly emotional romances with over the top plots, this book is for you.

I received a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson

Summary

Erik Larson—author of #1 bestseller In the Garden of Beasts—intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World’s Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.

Characters (Real people)

Although the focus of this book was split into two pieces the real focus of the books was on the serial killer H. H. Holmes and the primary architect  Daniel Burnham. Two men couldn’t be more opposite, while Burnham is full of wonder and hope, Holmes is full of a desire to exploit people and then possibly kill them. The difficult piece to keep track of was the slew of of people that the author threw at you, and the way in which they were presented at times (gives all the information and then drops the name at the end).

Plot

Just like the people are split, most of the chapters jump between a very historical telling, with a few personal touches, of the Worlds Fair in Chicago. The other story writes of H. H. Holmes plans, his rise to money and questionable wealth, and his ‘evil.’ One gives you the facts of the fair, bringing in well known figures that have impacted other historical stories, and all of it all tying back to the fair and mostly Burnham. The other is also written in a way of a textbook but there are stronger dramatic lines as you learn where Holmes comes from, that Holmes isn’t even his first name but is the one he uses the most. You follow him on a journey that is both fascinating and ugly. I know it was so well written that anyone who fell into Holmes’s path I would grimace – it rarely ended well for them. The fact that this was a non-fiction book only made it worse!

Overall

It was a book that stayed true to form. It was historically fascinating, a crime drama with touches of personal information to keep you invested. Although at times I struggled with the almost textbook like writing, it was inner mingled with a beautiful narrative that was difficult to put down at times.

Overall

4 stars

The writing was excellent, the plot well presented, and the choices in main focuses created a wonderful balance. The hard part for me was trying to read this at night, after a long day, and getting bombarded with facts. Sometimes I had to set it down and just walk away. Despite those moments, I did like it a lot and would recommend it to anyone who wants a mentally stimulating read that is non-fiction.

Must Read List (5 Stars)

As I review books some books deserve 5 stars and are must reads in my opinion! You’ll find them here by the year I read them in (in alphabetical order).

2018

Lenore, J.S. – Reader (Affinity Series, #2) (Supernatural) (Review)(Amazon)

McIvor, M. Ocampo – Ugly Things We Hide (Fiction) (Review)(Amazon)

Powell, Lolli – Whiskey Kills (Mystery) (Review)(Amazon)

Saman, J. – Beautiful Potential (Romance) (Review) (Amazon)

2017

Crofoot, Joel – Michael’s Passion (A Series of Angels #1) (Paranormal Romance) (Review)(Amazon)

Crofoot, Joel – Asael’s Nature (A Series of Angels #3) (Paranormal Romance) (Review)(Amazon)

Johnson, A.M.H – Midnight Over Moores (Book #1) (YA Paranormal) (Review)(Amazon)

Lenore, J.S. – Burner (Supernatural) (Review)(Amazon)

Mount, Misty – Shadow Girl (Young Adult) (Review)(Amazon)

Patrick, Benedict – Where the Waters turn Black (Fantasy) (Review) (Amazon)

2016

Arcane, Annie – Hart Broken (Contemporary Romance) (Review) (Amazon)

Brosky, Ken – The Proving (YA Sci-Fi) (Review) (Amazon)

Crichton, Michael – Jurassic Park (Urban Sci-Fi) (Review) (Amazon)

Morgan, Jayelle – Burn (Elemental Hearts #1) (Paranormal Romance) (Review) (Amazon)

Patrick, Benedict – They Mostly Come Out at Night (Fantasy) (Review) (Amazon)

Snicket, Lemony – The Wide Window (Series of Unfortunate Events #3) (Review) (Amazon)

Swenson, Daniel – The Farthest City (Sci-Fi) (Review)(Amazon)

Thorpe, Marian L. – Spinnings (Short Story – Fantasy) (Review) (Amazon)