Book Review: Contamination (Feast of Weeds #2) by Jamie Thornton

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Sequels can be hit or miss, however Jamie Thornton nailed it with her second book in the Feast of Weeds series, Contamination.

Although the story picks up roughly where the first left off when it comes to timeline, Contamination follows a brand new set of characters in their journey to survive the outbreak that is quickly turning the population into rabid zombie-like beings.

I really enjoy how Thornton ties in the past characters to the new ones, and I appreciate that the author gives some explanations as to how the virus began and the scope of the spread.

Another aspect of the novel that I like is Corinna’s backstory. The glimpses into her past make it easier to understand her decision making throughout her stuggles. As for Dylan and her “friend” Jane, well… I didn’t like them much however I don’t suspect that the reader is supposed to.

Honestly, I preferred Contamination over the first book of the series. It’s just as action packed as Germination however since Contamination is a full-length novel instead of a novella, I feel that Thornton was able to offer so much more to her readers.

All in all, Contamination is a can’t-put-down zombie thriller that will have you reading into the wee hours of the night.

NOTE: I received a free copy from the author in exchange with an honest review.

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Book Review: The “She” Stands Alone by Nadine Keels

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The “She” Stands Alone by Nadine Keels is a cute novella about bibliophile Sheridan Jones; a woman who has been scorned by love and decides instead to date herself.

I really liked the message of this story; you need to be cool with who you are before you can fully invest in a relationship with someone else. In short, it’s ok to be single. Its advice so few people follow and yet it makes perfect sense.

Also, the awkward interactions between Sheridan and mailman/neighbor Eugene were funny. He may have been a tad too short for Sheridan’s liking but I was rooting for Eugene!

What didn’t I like? Honestly, I wasn’t crazy about the cover art. If I had been scrolling through the Kindle store, I would have likely passed on buying this book and that would have been a shame.

If you like a clean romantic comedy, I recommend giving The “She” Stands Alone a try.

Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange with an honest review.

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Book Review: Pretty Dancer by Cora Graham

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Pretty Dancer is a contemporary YA romance novel by first time author Cora Graham. The story revolves around Lilly, an aspiring dancer who hasn’t had the easiest home life so far. As she fights to overcome her past, she must also learn to trust and open herself to the possibility of loving again.

Yes, it was a little long and dragged on in some places. Yes, there were some minor typos. And yes, the dance choreography descriptions weren’t my favorite aspects of the story (I blame this on being a dance instructor myself – occupational hazard).  But honestly, those minor issues didn’t take away from how much I loved this book. Let me say it again; I. Loved. This. Book. It had so much heart. Lilly’s relationship with her twin brother Luke was my favorite depiction of sibling dynamics in a book so far. As the story progresses, you begin to understand why Luke’s overprotectiveness is so appropriate regarding Lilly. The intrigue surrounding their father and what happened between them keep you guessing until the very end and for once, I didn’t see the truth coming from a mile away. And Carter? SA-WOOON! Holy hell. Seriously, the build is so slow it felt like the biggest literary tease ever. However readers don’t despair; it is so worth the wait. The car scene between Carter and Lilly? HOT, HOT, HOT.

The only things I would change about this book are some minor editing and the removal of the prologue. Honestly, the book would do nicely without it. It seemed unnecessary and actually had me thinking that I wouldn’t like the book (which, thankfully, I totally did).

If you’re a fan of YA, teen angst and romance then pick up Pretty Dancer. You will not be disappointed!

(Also, enter to win a free ecopy of Pretty Dancer here -> Pretty Dancer Giveaway, contest ends November 20th at 9pm Atlantic time)

Note: I received this novel by the author in exchange with an honest review.

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GIVEAWAY! Pretty Dancer by Cora Graham

Do you know what’s better than books? FREE books, that’s what.

Enter your name and email in the comments section below for a shot at winning an ecopy of Cora Graham’s novel Pretty Dancer. Contest ends November 20th at 9pm Atlantic time.

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Meet Lilly – talented dancer, quick mouthed, take no shit tough girl who’s also good at hiding the fact that she’s scared. She doesn’t believe in true love or happily ever afters. Unless you count the unbreakable love she has for her overprotective, bullheaded twin brother, who also happens to be her knight in shining armor – which she doesn’t. Kind of hard to love when you can’t trust, and trust was something that got shattered along with the rest of her years ago. A lot was taken from her at a young age. She’s never gotten over it as much as she’s just refused to deal with it.

Her twin brother and quirky best friend are the only ones she lets see her true self. Her only dream is to get accepted into The Elite Academy of Dance and spend the rest of her life dancing on a stage, away from all that haunts her. To her, that’s easier than dealing with the demons from her past and the scars they left on the person she has become today. She’s more than willing to tuck all those dark and nasty things away, and go on pretending. Never hoping for anything more. Never allowing herself to feel.

That is, until a certain guy walks into her life like he was always meant to be there and refuses to go away. He turns her world upside down and confuses her to no end. He makes her wonder if there really is something more worth fighting her demons for. But then a secret comes to light that has her questioning if her shattered heart could have been saved all its hurt so many years ago.

A story about a girl who fights to overcome her past and dances her way into the future she wants. And maybe, just maybe, along the way finds a way to trust again, to love again.

Love, Humor, Passion, Artistry, a story of acceptance.

Book Review: A Fist Full of Evil by Rebecca Chastain

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A Fist Full of Evil is the first book in the Madison Fox, Illuminant Enforcer series by Rebecca Chastain. The story revolves around a Madison, a woman who is behind on bills and doesn’t have her life quite in order, who lands a job as an illuminant enforcer. What’s an illuminant enforcer? Madison has no idea and yet somehow she is left with the daunting task of figuring it out in order to rid evil from her region.

I’ll say this; the first half of the book really had me. It was fresh, playful and funny. On a few occasions, it even had me laughing out loud. I applaud the author on her creativity since the world she has created in an overly saturated market of YA fantasy is refreshingly unique. Madison is an interesting character with a temper and her decision making isn’t always the smartest, but I liked her better for it. Her somewhat serial man-crushing and raging hormones were also pretty entertaining. I enjoyed following Madison as she discovered who she really is and what it means to have “soul-sight”. My only complaint though is that somewhere around the middle the novel seems to fall into a slump of sorts. It was also a little long for my liking and I believe that if it had been shorter the lull I experienced wouldn’t have been so noticeable. It did keep me engaged enough to want to finish the story though and happily, by the end, I did feel like I would be interested in picking up the second book and seeing where it goes.

Overall, it’s a good start to a new series. There’s potential here and I look forward to reading more work from Chastain.

Note: I received this novel for free from the author in exchange with an honest review.

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Book Trailer: Capering On Glass Bridges by Jessica Hernandez

The Utdrendans have spoken. Sixteen-year-old Kaia Stone is amongst the two whom they have named. If she accepts the task presented to her and succeeds, it will be made possible for the accursed Kingdom of Mar to be freed. Although the assignment itself is simple, the path to success is sure to be anything but; not all is as it seems, and forces determined to work against Kaia are gathering—for many will stop at nothing to ensure that Mar remains forever cursed.

Will Kaia choose to abandon the only life she’s ever known—perhaps indefinitely—in pursuit of the greater good…in pursuit of her purpose?

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Book Review: The Quantum Door by Jonathan Ballagh

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There’s something almost Spielbergian about Jonathan Ballagh’s sci-fi novel The Quantum Door that brings me back to the glory days of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Set in the not-too-distant future, two young brothers, Brady and Felix, get more than they bargain for when they decide to ignore a No Trespassing sign and hop a fence into the unknown. They soon find themselves thrown into a dark technological world filled with secrets and danger around every corner.

Ballagh’s writing is solid and readers are quickly transported inside his imaginary scientific alternate world. Thankfully, even the techy stuff is easily understood. I feel this important considering the novel falls under the “tween” age group so super complex storyline and scientific terms could have lost young readers (and likely me as well). Although it’s aimed at readers between the ages of 10-14, The Quantum Door is fun for fans of sci-fi of any age. The characters were intriguing and I especially enjoyed the bond that forms between the two brothers.

I’d like to highlight the cover and inside art work done by Ben J. Adams. I loved the illustrations and felt they related beautifully with the story.

The Quantum Door is an impressive debut by author Jonathan Ballagh and I would recommend to fans of adventure and sci-fi.

Note: I received this book from the author in exchange with an honest review.

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Book Review: Frostfire (The Kanin Chronicles, Book #1) by Amanda Hockings

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“Remember my name. Because I’m going to be the one that kills you.”

Frostfire is the first book of The Kanin Chronicles which takes place in the same world as Hocking’s Trylle trilogy. Much like her previous work, Frostfire made for a fun and easy read. Although it is a stand-alone book and focuses on a different kingdom, I’d still recommend reading the Trylle trilogy first. By doing so, you’ll have a more in-depth understanding of the background and inner workings of the trolls.

Did I just say trolls? Yup, that’s right; no vampires here. And don’t worry, I’m not spoiling anything by telling you that the story revolves around trolls (I mean, it’s on the back of the book after all). That being said, these trolls look nothing like the 90s dolls we had growing up. They are smart, powerful and for the most part, pretty freakin’ hot.

Hockings sweeps you away with the snowy landscape set in an undisclosed northern area of Canada. Her characters are well developed and the main character, Bryn, isn’t the typical angsty teenager normally found in the YA genre. She is a strong and goal-driven young woman, determined to climb the rankings in her dangerous career. Because I always appreciate a kick-ass female character, Bryn had my vote of confidence from the get-go.

The romance felt a little slow but since it’s a three book series, I suspect that we’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Bryn’s love-life. The story also ends on somewhat of a cliff-hanger which can sometimes be aggravating. Thankfully, all three novels are out and can be read back to back (which is likely what I will do).

Overall, Frostfire offers an adventurous story filled with just enough action and mystery to keep you wanting more. If you’re a fan of the fantasy genre, I recommend picking up this book!

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Book Review: Germination – Feast of Weeds by Jamie Thornton

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I received this book as a free download from the author’s webpage and with Halloween just around the corner, this zombie thriller could not have come at a better time!

The story revolves around Mary, a homeless runaway, who quickly runs into problems when faced with an unknown viral outbreak spreading across the city. The book is enjoyably fast-paced and seldom allows its reader to come up for air before hitting them with another wave of groaning zombies. The plot is strong, while the narrative and characters hook you instantly. Moreover, I liked its perspective and how Mary fits into the story. It’s a unique spin on a genre that has grown significantly over the last few years.

Another aspect I enjoyed about Thornton’s story was that it didn’t only revolve around zombies. The author offers a pretty graphic idea of how difficult life must be for a street kid and doesn’t spare us from the harsh realities that come along with it. That being said, if you’re looking for suspense then you’ve come to the right place; zombies are here, they’re awesome and they are totally taking over.

My only complaint would be that the book felt far too short. At 92 pages (it’s a novella after all), it leaves you absolutely reeling and begging for more. Mercifully, there is more; Germination is the first of four in the Feast of Weeds series.

If you’re a fan of the YA genre and apocalyptic tales of the Walking Dead variety then read Germination – Feast of Weeds.

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