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Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz

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Book Description:

At twenty-two, Bibi Blair’s doctors tell her that she’s dying. Two days later, she’s impossibly cured. Fierce, funny, dauntless, she becomes obsessed with the idea that she was spared because she is meant to save someone else. Someone named Ashley Bell. This proves to be a dangerous idea. Searching for Ashley Bell, ricocheting through a southern California landscape that proves strange and malevolent in the extreme, Bibi is plunged into a world of crime and conspiracy, following a trail of mysteries that become more sinister and tangled with every twisting turn.

My Rating:  3.5/5

**I would like to start off by saying that I received Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz for free via Random House Publishing in exchange for a review.  Although I am super grateful and excited for any opportunity at receiving a book for free, I am also very strict with being honest.  That being said, giveaways do not impact my reviews.**

I would like to start this review by pointing out that this is my first Dean Koontz book – ever.  Being a first time reader of his, I was not left disappointed.  This book was fun to read and I love the use of vocabulary.  I was given plenty of new words without it taking away from the story.  I can’t stand when author’s try to get to fancy with their words.  This book starts off with the first 100 or so pages basically reiterating the jacket description.  This is what makes this book so interesting because from there on in, you’re taken for a ride of dark turns and crazy loop-de-loops!

That being said, I’m kind of happy that I can’t quote this book being the copy I have is an ARC, otherwise half of what I’ve read would be quoted already!  There were lots of clever/relatable moments that I think many people will agree with.

This book has short chapters – THANK YOU!!  Sometimes when I read, I get interrupted – a lot.  Sometimes I can’t read as much as I was planning.  This makes for an easy put down and an even easier picker backer upper (? this makes sense in my brain lol) this allows me to always know where I leave off and remember what happened.  I really can’t stand when I’m forced to stop in the middle of the chapter because the chapter is 40+ pages long.  I usually have trouble finding where exactly I left off so I end up rereading several sentences and then once I find my place, it takes me a minute to remember why I’m reading what I’m reading as opposed to starting from the beginning of a new chapter and having it start anew or recap for me.

Not only did I love the chapter break downs, this book was written from multiple POVs jumping from adult Bibi to young Bibi to her husband Paxton…. which was done so well.  It’s by no means confusing.  It’s clear who you’re reading, whose perspective and you remember what happened the last time you read as them.  Very well done as this can get confusing real fast and make for an unenjoyable read.

And not that this is relevant to the story but I enjoy the size of the book.  It felt good holding it and added to my experience overall.

This book comes out tomorrow, 12/8/2015 and I HIGHLY suggest you grab it!  Even if you’ve never read Dean Koontz like myself, get it.  I will definitely be looking in to more of his work after this.

Happy Reading! xo

**FUN FACT:  This picture was purposefully taken next to a Navy Ship (my husband’s in the Navy) – Bibi’s husband Pax is a Navy SEAL so it was only appropriate 🙂

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Waking The Dead by L. Sydney Fisher

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Book Description:

In the Spring of 1867, Henry Lynch was tormented by something so evil it killed him. Now over one hundred years later, Natalie Bradford finds herself battling the very same demon that haunted Henry Lynch on the property that she now calls home. Terror awaits as Natalie discovers the property’s tragic past. The 150-year old cabin holds the truth behind the hauntings, and as Natalie uncovers the past she exposes a terrifying family secret that has been guarded for over a century. Natalie struggles against forces greater than herself until she summons the help of Clara Adams, a natural healer and medium who performs a cleansing ritual to clear the land. Natalie has become a conduit for paranormal activity. During a final showdown with the demon, the truth behind the hauntings is revealed. Inspired by true events, Waking the Dead is the second part in the series, The Haunting of Natalie Bradford. Remember, denial can be deadly. What is haunting you?

My Rating:  1/5 (heck, it’s my blog – 0/5)

Before I get to my review, I would like to start off by saying that I received this book for free as a giveaway winner via Goodreads.com (sponsored by the author/publisher/other individual or entity) and by no means does this impact my review.  Although I am super grateful and excited for any opportunity at receiving a book for free, I am also very strict with being honest.  And with that, I thank you!

When I received this book, I was surprised to find out that it was the 2nd book in a series.  Usually I won’t enter giveaways if they don’t include the 1st book nor if I have no intentions of reading it.  I think I see where I got confused, because the book description doesn’t make it sound like a series, so I took a leap of faith and assumed I could read this book without having to read the first one (because although I was interested in reading this, I am not drawn in enough to want to read a book prior to this one unless I have to).  The beginning of the book was a little confusing.  It jumped around a bit from one person’s encounter to another.  When it introduced Anna and Timmy, it didn’t specify their age group.  I think by the 3rd (?) chapter in, they finally mentioned Anna being 9 yrs old and being younger than Timmy (never found out how old Timmy actually was).  I was definitely confused at who was older so for a wee bit, I pictured Anna as being the older one. Either way, WHY DOES TIMMY HAVE A MACHETE?!  I don’t care how tall the grass is, if I had kids, they would not be carrying around machetes!  Also, I feel like this book jumped WAY too fast into random sounds and shadows in the night.  I get they just left Lindenwood but any self respecting ghost/entity story still has a build up moving into a new home.  Assuming Lindenwood was from the first book, why are they all still skeptical about “ghosts” and what not if they have already encountered this sort of thing in the first house?  I’m so confused…… and this was only 30 pages in.  I really don’t like when the story is being told from the children’s POV, that 90% of the time, when they are referencing their mother, they use her name Natalie.  They don’t call their mother Natalie, so it does get confusing.  Also, there’s a lack of time definition.  There’s mention of it being night and day so one can assume a couple days have passed but then a few pages later, it mentioned something about a few weeks time span.  But when did that happen?  I’m not sure how to describe it but one second I’m reading about a few days and then I felt like it time traveled to the future (without my knowledge) and now they’re talking about the weeks past to when they first moved in to this house.  What what?!  Where did the time go??  And why did Natalie freak out when Timmy mentioned playing with the Ouija board?  The “spirit(s)” were there prior to him playing, so why did she act like it was his fault?  This lady doesn’t sound like a very good mother.

I feel like there was no passion or even a thought put in to this book.  I feel like this was written for the sake of saying, “Hey look, I wrote a book!”  There was no story telling.  I was left confused.  It’s a puzzle with missing pieces.  I need more pieces!!  The beginning was confusing (actually the whole book was because of the poor writing), the ending was so dull; boring.  I read this as quickly as possible just to be done with it.  Thank goodness it was only 152 pages (154 since they counted a “Don’t Miss This” page and a picture of the author), which also makes me question why on Goodreads it’s listed as 254.  Either it’s a typo or book 1 was only 100 pages.

All in all, I won’t be picking this book up again or picking up any other part in the series… or anything from this author.  Ever.

**SIDE NOTE:  This was one of the first reviews I ever put up on Goodreads and was immediately attacked by the author.  The problem was resolved, GR had my back and it did end.  I was completely appalled by the lack of professionalism from this “author.”  Not every person is going to read your work and like it.  Harsh or not, I will always be honest and feel that no one should ever have that right taken away from them.  If you can’t take criticism on BOTH good and bad ends, then I suggest not going in to a profession where you put yourself out there for just that.  This happened several months ago so I won’t drag this out, I would just like it to be aware.  I would not recommend this book to ANYONE at this point cause god forbid you dislike any of her work and say you do, you might get called “rude” and a “liar” among some other things.  This book is going to the garbage or I’m turning it in to a craft, but I’m not even sure it’s worthy of that.

Have any of you reviewers been victim of an attack based on a negative review?  I’d love to hear about it!

Happy Reading!  xo

2015 November Bookhaul

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I literally bought 0 books this month and somehow I still acquired a decent amount.  Unfortunately, most of them were ebooks which sucks because I really dislike reading ebooks (although I’m still grateful) so it’s gonna be hard getting through some of them and I might end up pushing them to the side for a bit for that reason alone 😦

On to the books! I’ll have a list below of each book pictured, where I got them, paperback or hardcover, special editions and how much my total purchase at each place was! If you have any more questions – or comments – about this months haul, please feel free to leave/ask them below 😀 Happy reading!

Total Books: 10
Total Spent: $0

Thanks to LibraryThing & The People Hosting The Giveaways FREE
1.)  The Witch’s Kiss Ep. 1 & 2 by Antara Mann; ebook
2.)  The Brazen Blade by Billy Wong; ebook
3.)  Flames of Auriel (Not Shown) by Erin Bedford; ebook
4.)  World of Shawn by Jordan M Ehrlich; ebook
5.)  The Wish Thief by CD Verhoff; ebook

Thanks to the author FREE
1.)  Mystical by Michael Weekly; ebook

Physical BooksFREE
1.)  Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz; paperback; thanks to Random House
2.)  After Alice by Gregory Maguire; signed hardcover; thanks to Shelf Awareness
3.)  Happy Cooking by Giada De Laurentiis; hardcover; thanks to Crown Publishing
4.)  The Truth by Jeffery W. Johnston; paperback; thanks to Sourcebooks

+5 Romance Novels – these won’t be included in the total. I get these from work but I do not keep them, instead, I pass them on to my momma to read because she loves romance novels – and I do not… *shudder*

The Witch’s Kiss Ep. 1&2 By Antara Mann

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*I’m combining my reviews for Episodes 1 & 2 because Episode 1 was so short, it would be silly to make it stand on it’s own*

Book Description Ep. 1:

A genie’s life is full of wishes – the wishes of those who own him, that is.

When his owner, the powerful yet ugly witch Ezemelda, is called to celebrate the coming-of-age of King Nruk’s daughter, her prophesy of the princess’ future goes against everything Nruk desires. Promising a special spell to reverse the curse on the princess and change her future, but won’t cost him a cent, Ezemelda has more than the future of the kingdom in mind.

What’s the cost of signing a contract with a witch?
And, what does it mean for the genie of the lamp?

Book Description Ep. 2:

Ever since the witch Ezemalda and the Genie escaped him, the Dark Prince has plotted his revenge. Now it comes in the guise of the mortal countess Sybil van Dyk. After selling her soul to the the Dark Prince, she seeks to reverse her enchantment at the magic workshop of the Genie and the witch. As they work to set the countess free, the Genie and Ezemalda embark on a new adventure in their battle with the Dark Side, not suspecting what signing a contract with the Dark Prince on new moon portends.

**I would like to start off by saying I received both copies of The Witch’s Kiss Ep. 1&2 for free via a LibraryThing member giveaway in exchange for a review.  Although I am super grateful and excited for any opportunity at receiving a book for free, I am also very strict with being honest.  That being said, giveaways do not impact my reviews.**

My Rating Ep. 1:  5/5

This novella was crazy fun and fast read (only 25 pages)!  It reminded me so much of old fairy tales having involved creatures from witches, dwarves, goblins, genies and more to involving concepts such as dark and light – so many ingredients make for a fantastic recipe!

But with that being said, it had a nuisance that I can’t ignore: the main character’s name –  Ezemalda.  This reminds me way too much of Ezmerelda so every time I read Ezemalda, I had to correct myself because I always read it as Ezmerelda.  Ezemalda sticks to the tongue.  Too much work for a main character’s name.

Other than that, very entertaining – was excited to read the next episode!

My Rating Ep. 2:  3/5

This book started with promise and completely lost it’s way which really bummed me out.  I will not be continuing on to the third episode at all.

Let’s start off on a good note, as always:

I adored the repository!  I wish I could find books in a bookstore by calling out keywords and having books just fly to me.. that would be glooorious ❤

The little drunk owl, I’m dying  – so funny

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This episode had a nice twist to it though, involving the moon clause.  Nooooo!  I felt so bad haha but I won’t ruin it for any one who’s interested in reading this.

And that’s about it for the pleasantries.  Here’s where we start the decline to the depths of book hell:

The details – they weren’t much.  I really wish there were more as far as drawing out the environments for the readers!  I totally bet this author could construct gorgeous landscapes and creatures if she just took a little more time to describe things instead of throwing us from one room to the next without any transition or mere description such as “cellar” or “bedroom.”  The reader’s aren’t given much to envision so good luck and start getting creative guys!

Another HUGE irk in mah birk is the Harry Potter like reference.  If you’ve read this you KNOW what I’m talking about.  The “You-Know-Who” that people are too afraid to say and the one person who sees that as giving him power so refuses to use “You-Know-Who…”  come on now…

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But we’re still not at the point where I’m ready to throw in the towel.  At this point, I was still very interested in continuing on to the 3rd episode.  The thing that completely made me throw in the towel and make me feel like I wasted my time on yet another poorly written ARC/Giveaway was the sexual ending.  DAFUQ DID THAT COME FROM?!  Now, I’m no prude by any means but 1.) this came out of absolutely frickin no where and 2.) rape is just crossing the line for me.

But gaiz, the 3rd book doesn’t redeem itself by any means.  I read the synopsis, because up until this weird turn of events, I thoroughly enjoyed this story, but the 3rd book is all about some passionate love making and the genie becoming a hardcore rapist… that’s where I end this train.  It’s one thing to be sexual but I picked a fantasy book not a fetish romance… I don’t want anything to do with rape, thanks.

And just so you don’t think I’ve completely lost it, here’s the synopsis from Goodreads for Episode 3:

NEVER BEFORE HAS PASSION BEEN MORE DANGEROUS.

Furious that once again the Genie and the witch Ezemalda escaped his clutches, the Dark Prince enlists the help of Lilith, the dark queen of sexual magic in his quest for revenge. Tricking them with a drink, Lilith bewitches Ezemalda and the Genie with obsessive sexual dreams. The Dark Queen’s plan backfires when Ezemalda comes up with an antidote, but she will not be stopped and implants a dangerous idea in all the kingdom’s subjects. With everyone around them now convinced that the Genie commits terrible acts against women, even rapes them, he and Ezemalda have to find a new way to stand against the dark forces and clear their names.

**DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THESE NOVELLAS/STORIES/BOOKS**

Divergent Series Wrap Up

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Series Description:

Divergent: One choice can transform you. This debut is a gripping dystopian tale of electrifying choices, powerful consequences, unexpected romance, and a deeply flawed “perfect society.”

Insurgent: One choice can destroy you. This story continues the dystopian thrill ride. As war surges in the factions all around her, Tris attempts to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Allegiant: The explosive conclusion to the Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers.

Four: A Divergent Collection: A companion volume to the Divergent series, told from the perspective of Tobias. The four pieces included—”The Transfer,” “The Initiate,” “The Son,” and “The Traitor”—plus three additional exclusive scenes, give readers a fascinating glimpse into the history and heart of Tobias, and set the stage for the epic saga of the Divergent trilogy.

My Rating: 5/5

Some might argue that Four: A Divergent Collection should not be included in the series. Do you need to read it? Absolutely not. But if you’re a fan of Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant than I must urge you to grab this companion novel. To me, it IS apart of the series – it gives you insight on some scenes throughout the trilogy that will may you go, “ahhh – that’s why he did that!”

This series is a series that will stay on my bookshelf probably forever. If you’re a fan of The Hunger Games or The Maze Runner series, there’s no doubt in my mind that you won’t enjoy what Veronica Roth has to offer. And it’s set in Chicago gaiz, greatest city everrr 😛 (Yes, I’m biased). You will be taken on an emotional roller coaster, you will experience heart pounding action, you get romance, you get breathtaking scenery. Everything you could want in a YA/Dystopian novel, you get that and more. I personally hope we get to read more of Veronica Roth in the future :] Thank you for taking me on an incredible adventure, Mrs. Roth!

Here are my links to each separate review:

Thanks for reading! :]

2015 October Bookhaul

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Welcome to my October 2015 Bookhaul! Wooo! I think I have to put on the brakes after this one though cause in the last 2 months I’ve acquired 52 books that I gotta get through… eash. Plus with Thanksgiving around the corner (which my husband and I host for our military family) and then Christmasssss, oye!

On to the books! I’ll have a list below of each book pictured, where I got them, paperback or hardcover, special editions and how much my total purchase at each place was! If you have any more questions – or comments – about this months haul, please feel free to leave/ask them below 😀 Happy reading!

Total Books: 24
Total Amount Spent: $72

Barnes & Noble – $14
1.) The Host by Stephenie Meyer; paperback
2.) Fiend by Peter Stenson; hardcover
3.) Beautiful Chaos, Bk. 3 (Caster Chronicles/Beautiful Creatures Series) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl; paperback

The Book Exchange$22
1.) The Sea of Monsters, Bk. 2 (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) by Rick Riordan; paperback
2.) Reckless, Bk. 1 (Mirrorworld) by Cornelia Funke; hardcover
3.) Redwall, Bk. 1 (Redwall) by Brian Jacques; paperback
4.) The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling; hardcover
5.) Deep Blue Bk. 1 (Waterfire Saga) by Jennifer Donnelly; hardcover
6.) Asylum, Bk. 1 (Asylum) by Madeleine Roux; paperback

Half Price Book Store$7
1.) The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates; paperback
2.) Stoneheart, Bk. 1 (Stoneheart Trilogy) by Charlie Fletcher; paperback
3.) The Awakening, Bk. 2 (Darkest Powers) by Kelley Armstrong; hardcover
4.) The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, Bk. 3.5 (Twilight) by Stephenie Meyer; hardcover

BookOutlet$30
1.) Dreamspinner, Bk. 7 (Nine Kingdoms) by Lynn Kurland; paperback
2.) House of Secrets, Bk. 1 (House of Secrets) by Chris Columbus & Ned Vizzini; hardcover
3.) Battle of the Beasts, Bk. 2 (House of Secrets) by Chris Columbus & Ned Vizzini; hardcover
4.) Eve & Adam, Bk. 1 (Eve & Adam) by Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate; paperback
5.) The Calling, Bk. 1 (Endgame) by James Frey & Nils Johnson-Shelton; hardcover
6.) Storybound, Bk. 1 (Storybound) by Marissa Burt; paperback
7.) Dream A Little Dream, Bk. 1 (The Silver Trilogy) by Kerstin Gier; hardcover
8.) Crank, Bk. 1 (Crank) by Ellen Hopkins, paperback
9.) Glass, Bk. 2 (Crank) by Ellen Hopkins, paperback
10.) Quintessence by David Walton; paperback

Giveaway Books FREE
1.) Haze, Bk. 2 (The Rephaim) by Paula Weston; paperback

ARCsFREE (I get these from work)
6 Romance Novels – these won’t be included in the total. I get these from work but I do not keep them, instead, I pass them on to my momma to read because she loves romance novels – and I do not… *shudder*