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turnanotherpage by J. M. Cavender - 6d ago

Three Days Till Dawn (Antiquity’s Gate book #1)
Author: R. F. Hurteau
Published: August 27th 2019
Genre: Sci-fi, Fantasy
Antiquity's Gate forced two realities to collide-what followed tore one of them apart. Now those who remain coexist beneath the shelter of a domed Antarctic city, held together by a tenuous peace and an increasingly dystopian hierarchy. Any hope of one day leaving the confines of Sanctuary is little more than a fading ember. A mid-level systems operator, Ripley does his best to stay out of trouble. His best friend Felix, an irreverent half-breed shunned by society, can't seem to do the same. When Felix's family is targeted by an unjust law, there's nowhere to run. The city of Sanctuary had once been a safe haven-now it has become a cage. Ripley's desperate attempt to help his friends escape tragedy uncovers a conspiracy that envelops the last refuge of mankind in an ever-tightening net. The people of Sanctuary have never seen a sunrise. If Ripley and Felix aren't prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, none of them ever will.
I seriously gobbled this book right up. I fell in love with the characters and their diverse habits and behaviors. From the beginning, it was as though I was watching a movie, it was written so well.
And the award for My Favorite Character goes to… Felix! (I mean, duh, who wouldn’t like Felix?), but certain other characters pulled at my heartstrings, also. For example, Ripley. I see him as someone who takes on trouble with such serenity and grace, as opposed to Felix, who speaks his mind (which is one of his traits I like most). Realistically, however, as much as I love Felix, being the introvert I am, I truly think Ripley and I would be best friends.
Something else I really love about the book is the courage it demonstrates. If we all brought just a sliver of that courage into our lives today, bringing good to the world, we’d live in a healthier place!
Now, there wasn’t quite the dive into a romantic sub-plot, BUT, in this case, I didn’t even need it. There was too much action and surprises waiting around every corner, I didn’t have time to ship a couple (well, I mean there IS Felix and Willow!).
The writing I found to be excellent and snarky at times, and it flowed brilliantly throughout the story.
I’m not gonna say I cried at the end… but I totally did. Were they happy tears? Tears of devastation? Well, now that is something you’ll have to find out for yourself. I’m not one to spoil!
In the end, I give Three Days Till Dawn FIVE stars. Why? Because I didn’t feel like it was missing anything, and it had clear descriptions, especially for sci-fi. The action didn’t stop until there were literally no more words to read, which of course left me eager to read more.
Hats off to you, R. F. Hurteau!
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turnanotherpage by J. M. Benefield - 1M ago

Author: Katherine Arden
Published: January 10th, 2017 by Del Rey Books
Genre: Young adult, Fantasy, Historical fiction, Fairy tale
Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil. Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village. But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed—to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales.
This story is sopping with folklore. I say 'sopping', because it reads like folklore. A dark and mysterious story, filled with adventure.
I'll be honest (I mean, that's what I'm here for, right? To honestly state my opinion...). I was tempted to give up reading it at first. Not much was happening--well, not enough to hold my attention, or make me need to return to it. But I held out, and I am glad I did. There came a turn in the story, one that literally had the hair on the back of my neck standing up. It must've been a little past the halfway point when I knew I had to finish reading this book.
I don't know if anyone else is like this, but when I pick out books to read, I care a lot about the font and spacing. If the words are too small and the lines too close together, my eyes grow tired after some time spent reading. I could be reading an action-packed scene even, but if the size and spacing is off, I will fall asleep.
This was probably one reason it took me a while to finish The Bear and the Nightingale. Ever read those Charles Dickens books with the lettering and space I mentioned? Yeah. Tiny. I LOVE Charles Dickens, but there are things that can be done to make his work easier to read--for me at least.
Enough about that. Moving on to the writing itself, I found it very lyrical, and it flowed somewhat. I guess I just wasn't in the mood for the old-timey feel. Also, there was the hype about how wonderful the book is. And it is good, don't get me wrong. I just expected more, I guess. Something mind-blowing; something that added umph to Russian folklore.
Anyway, I won't drag this on. I'd give it three and a half stars. I took off a half star, because it didn't fulfill my expectations and it had a slow start. Otherwise, it would've been four stars.
Again, my opinion. If you loved this book, don't stone me. Yeesh.
I may read more from Katherine Arden, but I'm afraid it may be some time before I return to any of her work--only because I have other books to read and review!
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turnanotherpage by J. M. Benefield - 2M ago

Author: Nick Clausen
Published: Denmark edition 2016, English edition 2019, Indie publishing
Genre: YA Paranormal, Horror/Thriller
Imagine you could visit a world where everything was exactly the way you wanted; where you had it all to yourself and where everything was possible. And imagine if all you had to do to get there was to sleep.
Would you ever want to wake up?
Welcome to Dreamland.
This book caught me off guard, I'm not gonna lie. After finishing it, I couldn't stop thinking about it. It is a ghost story, suspense novel that had me all turned around. At one point, I didn't know who to believe to be the good guy and who to be the bad guy. Now THAT is good writing!
I spent the entire time on the edge of my seat, anxious for young Louie to understand what was going on. I think I was literally muttering to myself, Come on, Louie, don't do this.
When everything seemed lost, there was more to the story. I even got teary eyed at the end.
All I can say is, the book was awesome. It is only 158 pages in print from Amazon, therefore PERFECT for light reading.
There were times I could tell the text was translated, because certain things I would've said differently, but this did NOT take anything away from the essence of the story. In my opinion, it actually added to the story, reminding me that it was taking place in Europe.
The end came together, answering all of my questions and providing closure to the reader.
To rate it... I'd give it 5 stars. Why? Because I can easily read this book again.
It is free on amazon May 4th. If you miss the giveaway, you can still get it free if you are a Kindle Unlimited member. Otherwise, $7.99 in the U.S. And trust me, it's worth the read.
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turnanotherpage by J. M. Benefield - 3M ago

Author: Alison McBain
Published: June 28th, 2018 by Fairfield Scribes
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling
Explain The Rose Queen in one word: immersive!
I was drawn into the story very quickly, and the claws of the beast clung to me all the way through.
What I love most about the story is how it is multi-dimensional. The world and the characters were brought to life on the pages. As a reader, I saw everything clearly as though I were watching a movie.
I think it's quite clear I love Beauty and the Beast retellings, especially after reviewing Hunted by Megan Spooner. The Rose Queen, however, took the retelling to a whole new level! (no spoilers!)
Something else I really loved about reading it, was I thought I knew how it was going to end. I was certainly taken for a loop, and even though my romantic side was disappointed, my logical side applauded how real; how natural the ending felt.
On the writing, it flowed for the most part. There were only a few spots that stuck out to me as something I would've worded differently, but that's just me, and it did not take from the value of the story in the least.
The plot came around, tying everything up neatly, answering the majority of my questions (remember, this is only book 1!)
I was able to finish reading and close the book with satisfaction. You can bet it has a permanent place on my bookshelf for me to see it everyday and remember the wonderful journey on which it took me.
The Rose Queen will get 4.5 stars from me. That's, like, on the re-readable list! I look forward to reading more from Alison McBain, and urge others to read The Rose Queen if you haven't already!
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turnanotherpage by J. M. Benefield - 5M ago

The Last Titan
Author: Craig Wainwright
Published: 2018
Genre: Adult Sci-fi, Superhero
First they came as explorers. Then they came and interfered. Now, one has arrived on Earth with her gift of death.
On the run from the government and a local gangster, Daniel White thought things couldn’t get any worse. But then, he’d not reckoned on meeting a woman who informs him that his whole life has been a lie and he is in fact an alien brought to Earth as part of a surrogacy program…
--Amazon
All right, so I am a little behind on book reviews. Let’s just say, February has been a busy month.
Marching onward into March. Ha. Haha.
To the point!
Immediately, the story pulls you in. I was intrigued by this Daniel White character, and wanted to learn more about his history.
In chapter two, we are transported to Hellas, where chaos breaks out and a war begins. It was blow after blow and I couldn’t stop reading.
The story itself was well written. The plot flowed, coming together flawlessly at the end. All in all, it was a very entertaining read.
If I am totally honest, I do not read a lot of science fiction, so forgive my lack of knowledge on this bit, when I say the science-y stuff was very well written and believable. I enjoyed the creativity inserted into this novel.
While reading The Last Titan I could feel a different read to it, being that originates from the UK. It reminded me of those blissful days when I read Harry Potter for the first time. *le sigh*
I was immediately impressed with Wainwright’s ability to distinguish accents, for example one of the main characters grew up in the States and therefore could express herself as though she lived in America her whole life.
There is only one beef I have with The Last Titan. I don’t really like to put emphasis on my love for romance, because a story needs more than that. Come on. But I really, really do have a soft spot for romance, and while this novel has its share of moments *winks*, what I was really missing was the development of the relationship between the two main characters. They simply jumped right into the relationship after officially meeting.
DON’T MISUNDERSTAND ME. I get they are made for each other, and they basically already acquire their lovey-dovey emotions before meeting… but I get a thrill when it comes to first meeting and learning each other. But it’s not the story’s fault, it’s me. *It’s not you. It’s me.*
All in all, I have to give The Last Titan four out of five stars - and that is a spanking good rating in my books (pun intended). The only thing being my lack of knowledge in this genre. But hey! For someone who doesn’t read much sci-fi, I enjoyed this! Good job, Mr. Craig Wainwright!
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turnanotherpage by J. M. Benefield - 6M ago

Author: Meagan Spooner
Published: March 14th 2017 by Harperteen
Genre: YA fiction, Fantasy, Retelling
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them. So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?
-Goodreads
It's been a long time since I have been able to pick up a book and finish it. You could say I was in a bit of a reading funk over the holidays. It’s not that what I started and failed to finish was bad, I just couldn’t commit myself to reading.
Until Hunted.
I have always been madly in love with Beauty and the Beast, and this retelling was no disappointment.
Our protagonist, Yeva, has a strong character with a soft spot for her family. She has the same love for the forest as I have, only she takes it to different levels—places I could never go, things I could never do. I was able to live it through her.
The writing was beautiful. To me, it had an old, story-telling vibe that I love very much in stories.
Russian folklore can be found scattered throughout the novel in a tasteful, most interesting manner. Having grown up in Hungary, Europe and familiarizing myself with Hungarian folklore, I felt right at home reading references to another country’s folktales.
Throughout the book, we are given insights to the Beasts thoughts, which I found crucial to the story. It really added to the emotional depth.
Hunted deserves nothing less than five bright shining stars. It’s a story I could pick up again (if my TBR list wasn’t so long!) and enjoy a second time. I looked forward to reading more from Meagan Spooner.
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turnanotherpage by J. M. Benefield - 10M ago
The Shape of Rain
Author: Michael B. Koep
Publishing date: October 1st, 2018 by Will Dreamly Arts Publishing
Genre: Adult Fantasy, Paranormal
Discredited mythology professor, Astrid Finnley believes gods and immortals once battled for a place in Creation--for a place of their own on the earth. When she is summoned to a secret archeological dig site in Northern Idaho to translate an ancient script, she uncovers an unthinkable nightmare: a woman buried alive--for over a thousand years.
Psychologist Loche Newirthʼs assassination is ordered to prevent him from rewriting history. But his former mentor, Dr. Marcus Rearden wants him alive to torture, to command, to control. When Loche discovers his son is also a target, he flees, pursuing a lead that promises to end what his writing has started. Instead, the path vaults him back to the prehistory of his story--to a time when a venomous army of gods lay siege to the City of Immortals, and his little boy stands in the balance.
Michael Koep never fails with the element of surprise. You experience it in his previous books, as well as in The Shape of Rain. Koep’s plotting for this story proves ingenious, as it keeps you on edge the entire journey. I was immediately swallowed whole by his writing alone—then the essence of the story blossomed before me as a grand finale. His articulation made it easy to fly through the pages, eager to read more.
Although I found the plot rather complicated, Koep excelled in assisting the reader with his descriptions and explanations, making it possible to follow and enjoy. Let’s not forget to mention the shocking plot twists that left my jaw hanging!
Being so totally engrossed in the story, it was as though I were watching a movie play out in my head, rather than reading word after word, line after line. This happens only a few times for me, so when it does, you can trust the author did his job and he did it well.
I am not one for spoilers, so I will zip it, but The Shape of Rain certainly took me on a ride I will never forget. I look forward to reading more of Michael Koep’s work. If I had to rate it, I would probably give four – four and a half stars. I really cannot decide! But what I know for certain is Michael Koep has been added to my lengthy list of favorite authors.
You can follow author Michael B, Koep on Instagramand Twitter
Also, follow Will Dreamly Arts Publishing on Twitter
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turnanotherpage by J. M. Benefield - 1y ago
The flashback came without forewarning. I was wrenched from the bathroom, visions of a dark street cascading before me.
A car accident. Warped metal around the base of a tree. Emergency vehicles.
James sprinted from my side. He was screaming her name over and over again. Emily, Emily, Emily. Tears spilled from my eyes. Red and blue lights intruded on the darkness, flashing eccentrically. An officer held out a hand to prevent James from approaching the car, but my brother was not to be reasoned with. He nudged past the officer, yelling at the paramedics to wait before they hauled her away on the stretcher.
The blanket was concealing Emily’s face. James didn’t need to see her like this. I took hold of his wrist, swinging him back to me. He stumbled, clinging to me, his body shaking uncontrollably with sobs.
It was an unfortunate casualty, the officer told us. They suspected she had been texting, for she still had her phone in hand when they found her.
James held me in a rib-cracking embrace. I squeezed him back, my tears soaking into the fabric of his shirt. It was all too surreal. She had so much to look forward to—like my brother’s wedding. But what was a wedding without the bride?
I opened my eyes, filing this new memory away to analyze at a later time. Matters at present were too overwhelming as they were.
The light of the bathroom didn’t help my splitting headache. Steadying my breath, I found myself face down on the floor next to Hutch, curled against his form. I pushed back, propping onto my forearms. Real tears streaked my face, but I ignored them.
“Hutch.” I rolled him to his back. “Please.” I sniffed, choking on the words I wanted to say, but couldn’t. This was partially my fault. If I hadn’t run off, Hutch wouldn’t have come after me, ill prepared to face Felix. But if I hadn’t run off, the Sullens would all be dead by now. I had no other choice but to act.
“Life can’t be this unfair.” But it was, and I knew it. My life was proof of that—Hutch’s life was proof of that.
The tips of my fingers brushed his cheek. He didn’t stir.
“I’m so sorry,” I whispered, resisting the urge to crumble beside him.
He’d promised to get me home. Now there was no one I could trust to help me. Except perhaps Red. But how was I supposed to talk to him without Randolph finding out? Worst of all, Randolph was going to learn about what happened tonight. Would he come looking for me next?
Gaze trained on Hutch’s face, I realized I didn’t even care. Something in me was mourning, broken far beyond anything I’d expected. As my thumb traced the curve of his bruised eyebrow—as I beheld the young man before me, I saw him differently. He wasn’t the entitled douche with a callous attitude I first thought he was. After being forced to spend the past week with him, I’d come to learn him. I understood him.
“Please.” More tears pushed out. “I need you.”
How would Randolph react to losing his nephew? Judging by what I knew of him and his despicable behavior, he’d probably be all too relieved to have Hutch off his hands. Would anyone other than Red care?
Fingers falling resignedly to Hutch’s throat, a sob shuddered from deep within my chest. I pressed a hand to my lips, lost; hopeless. I was worse for wear now than ever before. Not only had I lost my family and my memories, but now I was losing Hutch, too. He’d become more to me than an acquaintance; more than an ally. Although I knew him so little, I still trusted him so much.
“Please,” I choked a third time. It was all I knew to say. The word alone embraced my feelings for him, feelings of which I wasn’t fully aware until this moment of loss.
Foreheads touching, I closed my eyes for a moment. Beneath the smell of blood and rain, I still caught the faint scent of his fabric softener. I stifled another sob, holding my breath. Despair bled from my soul. He was unresponsive, countenance relaxed as if asleep. I’d never seen him like this. When he passed out drunk in my room at Randolph’s, he bore a drawn expression as if prepared for battle in his sleep.
I tried to focus on something else—anything else. I squeezed my eyes shut, breath held inside myself. Then I heard it, faint as it was.
Eyes wide open now, I repositioned my fingers on his throat. A pulse.
Drawing a ragged breath, my lips stretched into an uncertain smile. He was alive. Unwell, but not yet dead. I had to trust the anti-venom would pull through, but until then, I could not leave him caked in mud and blood on the bathroom floor.
Not knowing the first thing about dressing wounds, I fished Hutch’s cellphone from his pocket, praying the rain hadn’t gotten to it. When the internet pulled up, I allowed a sigh of relief, tapping hastily on the keypad.
Thank goodness for Google.
I read through the steps three times before I scavenged for equipment, not that much was required. When I’d collected the scissors and clean wash rags, I returned to the floor next to Hutch.
“Hang in there,” I murmured, knowing he couldn’t hear me. “Let’s hope you don’t need stitches. I doubt I was any good at Home Ec.”
Using the scissors, I removed Hutch’s shirt, tossing it into the tub. My gaze returned to his solid build, hearting sinking. Thin lines of old scars dispersed his skin, similar to the fresh cuts centering his torso. Scar tissue encircled the brawn of his shoulders, embellishing his chest and abdomen with lines that reminded me of casual strokes of a paintbrush. This obviously wasn’t his first rodeo.
Tearing my eyes from the old scars, I began my work of clearing the crimson stains from around the wounds. The bleeding had subsided, scars not appearing deep enough to require stitches, thank heavens. With another damp wash rag, I cleaned the mud from the cuts and bruises located on his face and hands.
I took my time, putting off what came next. In all honesty, I was hoping Hutch would wake up, even if he only remained conscious long enough to stagger to bed. I could not leave him in the bathroom, but at the same time I had no desire to drag him across the floor to his bed. At this point my muscles felt too inadequate to perform such a task.
“Now would be a good time as any to wake up.” I held his hand in my lap, fingers knitted as I fought the mounting loneliness of the condo.
Hutch, of course, did not respond to my words, nor did he make any inclination that informed he was alive. I had to rely on the rhythm of his pulse to assure myself he was still breathing, seeing as the rise and fall of his chest was minimal.
I sighed, climbing to my feet. My fingers I laced across his chest in my attempt to haul him out of the bathroom. Ribcage on fire and legs trembling, I didn’t stop to rest until I managed to pull him to the bed.
“You’re heavier than you look,” I grunted.
Stripping the bed of the comforter, I turned back to Hutch’s slapdash form on the downy carpet. My body ached too much to get him up, but I gritted my teeth and bent down to do it anyway.
Many grunts later, I managed to roll us onto the bed without breaking any limbs in the process—mine or his. The task left me breathless. I shifted to my back, exhaustion wearing on my bones. But there was no time for rest.
I removed the sodden Timberlands from Hutch’s feet, followed by his socks, dropping them to the floor beside the bed. Once a pillow was secured beneath his head, I crawled from the comfort of the bed and headed for the bathroom in the hall. I had myself to take care of now.
I was filth-free, and so was Hutch’s bathroom. Finally. I threw the last of the wash rags into the tub. Those could be dealt with later. For the time being, I needed something for my head that hadn’t stopped throbbing since the flashback.
Pushing aside the Epsom salt, I determined there was no Tylenol under the bathroom sink. I then moved to the mirror, but after sifting through the medicine cabinet, it was evident there was no Tylenol there either. Instead I found a handful of orange pill bottles. I glimpsed at the names, but they might as well have been Chinese for all the good that did. I couldn’t pronounce half of them.
Meddlesome curiosity overruling my better judgement, I collected the bottles. Hutch’s phone I’d left on the nightstand. Maybe Google could shed some light on the purpose of the pills.
My heart froze as soon as I reached for the phone. Seven missed calls from two separate numbers. Five from someone listed as BR, the other two calls from JT.
Who was calling at this hour? And why couldn’t Hutch have entered names into his contact list instead of initials?
Paranoia kicked in. Dumping the pill bottles onto the mattress, I darted down the hall to make sure the security system was active. Randolph wouldn’t have discovered what happened so soon, would he? He shouldn’t be awake for another few hours—unless he was waiting for Felix to update him on the progress of his work at the Sullens’.
Wrapping my hands around my middle, I returned to the bedroom, taking in the starkness of it. The walls were bare of pictures. A lumpy pile of clothes occupied the striped armchair in one corner. A wide-screen TV was perched on an oak dresser across from the bed, a matching nightstand balancing a lamp. There was but one window near the closet door to the left. Darkness pushed on the glass from the outside, barely marking the start of a new day.
Slinking to the bed, I curled up, arms enwrapping my knees. I kept envisioning the worst-case scenario possible: Randolph sending his thugs to the condo to—what? Kill us? That didn’t seem likely. Even a brute like Randolph would have sense enough to question us. Right?
In hopes of distracting myself, I grabbed the nearest pill bottle and searched it on the internet. I then repeated the process with the other four bottles, growing more and more tired as the minutes ticked by.
Two pills were the same, one being the generic version of the other. Sleeping pills. And by the looks of the refill date, Hutch hadn’t been taking them as prescribed.
The other pills were used to treat a variety of cases, anxiety and depression among them.
Stifling a yawn, I strained my ears. Hutch’s pulse was thumping—stronger now? Perhaps that was merely my imagination.
I tugged at the navy-blue shirt I’d snatched from the dresser earlier as I coiled onto my side. The mental dam I’d built to block the ever-growing enervation was on the brink of combusting. I felt it in every muscle, every aching joint. Humming a soft moan, I blinked, my eyes sticking shut as I tried to focus on Hutch’s breathing. Sleeping was out of the question until I knew for sure he would make it through the night. If his condition spiraled, I was the only one here to do something about it.
Naturally, I fell asleep. Insomnia was not my thing, but apparently an empty stomach was. Eyes refusing to open, I rolled stiffly to check on Hutch. Hunger clawed its way up my insides, and I willed my eyelids open into slits.
The scene dawned on me slowly, brain struggling to function: the other side of the bed was vacant. I was alone in the dark room.
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