Tag Archive | review

Review: Hiding Cracked Glass

An ominous blackmail letter appears at an inopportune moment. The recipient’s name is accidentally blurred out upon arrival. Which member of the Glass family is the ruthless missive meant for?

In the powerful sequel to Watching Glass Shatter, Olivia is the first to read the nasty threat and assumes it’s meant for her. When the mysterious letter falls into the wrong hands and is read aloud, it throws the entire Glass family into an inescapable trajectory of self-question. Across the span of eight hours, Olivia and her sons contemplate whether to confess their hidden secrets or find a way to bury them forever. Some failed to learn an important lesson last time. Will they determine how to save themselves before it’s too late?

Each chapter’s focus alternates between the various family members and introduces several new and familiar faces with a vested interest in the outcome. As each hour ticks by, the remaining siblings and their mother gradually reveal what’s happened to them in the preceding months, and when the blackmailer makes an appearance at Olivia’s birthday party, the truth brilliantly comes to light.

Although everyone seemed to embrace the healing process at the end of Watching Glass Shatter, there were hidden cracks in the Glass family that couldn’t be mended. Their lives are about to shatter into pieces once again, but this time, the stakes are even higher. Someone wants to teach them a permanent lesson and refuses to stop until success is achieved.

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My Review:

When I heard there was going to be a sequel to Watching Glass Shatter, I was super excited and ready to see what Cudney would bring to the table next! And! He did not disappoint!

As always, the writing was astounding, and it was a page-turner from beginning to end. It was good to be in the Glass members’ heads again! I love that it is multiple POV, like the last book, so we can truly see what’s going on! I’d say it’s very character driven which is right up my alley, but there is also the perfect mystery and atmosphere as well!

I’m a big fan of secret letters too so when that came in to play, I was ready to find out what exactly was going on! And yes, there are twists, but that is expected from Cudney who seems to be a master at those! Overall, this was an excellent sequel and if you enjoyed Watching Glass Shatter, you will definitely be pleased!

About The Author

Background

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote some short stories, poems and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career in technology and business that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I refocused some of my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing and publishing.

Author

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind and my body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels and suspense thrillers. I think of characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.

Reader & Reviewer

Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read 2 books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review and post it on all my sites and platforms.

Blogger & Thinker

I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share reviews, write a blog and publish tons of content: TRUTH. I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have had weekly segments called “Ryder’s Rants” or “Baxter’s Barks” where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me.

Genealogist & Researcher

I love history and research, finding myself often reaching back into the past to understand why someone made the choice he or she did and what were the subsequent consequences. I enjoy studying the activities and culture from hundreds of years ago to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I wish I could watch my ancestors from a secret place to learn how they interacted with others; and maybe I’ll comprehend why I do things the way I do.

Websites & Blog

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Social Media

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What is a sequel you loved just as much as the first book?

Review: Kingdom of the Wicked

Titled: Kingdom of the Wicked

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Date of Publication: October 27th, 2020

Goodreads Summary:

Two sisters.

One brutal murder.

A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…

And an intoxicating romance.


Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…
 

My Review:

I’m a huge Maniscalco fan! Love her writing and the stories she spins! I was super excited to see what type of new book she would bring to the table after I finished the Stalking Jack the Ripper series! And she did not disappoint!

This was a page-turning world that had me glued to the story at page 1! I loved the twin bone between Emilia and Vittoria! And also the food and the family! Emilia was a strong character and when she met Wrath, I just knew things were going to get awesomer!

Wrath was the kind of book guy I like, where you don’t know if he’s hiding secrets or not but you love him regardless! I wanted to pinch Emilia at times and tell her to just go hug and kiss Wrath, but I understand why it would be hard to trust a prince demon of Hell! There chemistry and bickering was just excellent!

But seriously, I highly recommend to read this book! And yes, there is a dreaded cliffhanger, one that will leave you yearning for book 2, which is a great thing! 

What’s your favorite witchy book?

 

Review: Snow, Glass Apples

Title: Snow, Glass, Apples

Author: Neil Gaiman

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Goodreads:

A retelling of the Snow White fairy tale from the point of view of the “wicked stepmother.”

My Review:

First off, the pictures in the book I have were glorious and beautiful and I couldn’t stop looking at them! I also love Snow White retellings because I freaking love Snow White.

This was an original and unique graphic novel on the original story. I will admit, there was some really weird stuff going on that I need some answers to! It was an addicting little tale and I’m glad I found it, but again, what in the world? Anyway, I definitely recommend checking it out!

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What’s your favorite Snow White retelling?

 

 

Review: Teeth in the Mist

Title: Teeth in the Mist

Author: Dawn Kurtagich

Date of Publication: June 11th, 2019

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Goodreads Summary:

Before the birth of time, a monk uncovers the Devil’s Tongue and dares to speak it. The repercussions will be felt for generations…

Sixteen-year-old photography enthusiast Zoey has been fascinated by the haunted, burnt-out ruins of Medwyn Mill House for as long as she can remember–so she and her best friend, Poulton, run away from home to explore them. But are they really alone in the house? And who will know if something goes wrong?

In 1851, seventeen-year-old Roan arrives at the Mill House as a ward–one of three, all with something to hide from their new guardian. When Roan learns that she is connected to an ancient secret, she must escape the house before she is trapped forever.

1583. Hermione, a new young bride, accompanies her husband to the wilds of North Wales where he plans to build the largest water mill and mansion in the area. But rumors of unholy rituals lead to a tragic occurrence and she will need all her strength to defeat it.

Three women, centuries apart, drawn together by one Unholy Pact. A pact made by a man who, more than a thousand years later, may still be watching…

My Review:

I really, really loved And the Trees Crept In, so I had to read this bad boy! It was another very atmospheric read but this time with past and present POVs!

Let me start with Roan! I seriously loved her POV, and that one was a five star read for me! Her story was addicting, and there was all kinds of weird crap going on, and the romance parts were on point! Rapley was so adorable and lovely! Just brilliant!

I didn’t connect with Zoey’s POV chapters as much, only because I’m kind of confused by them and I’m still confused about another character who showed up out of no where. Also, the romance in these chapters felt off for me, but I think it was just because it felt very insta love? I don’t even know! But the story there was still very interesting!

From the ending, I think there is supposed to be another book? Or I hope there will be one! I definitely recommend Teeth in the Mist because the writing is awesome, the story unique, and there were characters that I loved so much!

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What is your favorite horror book or movie?

Review: And The Trees Crept In

Title: And The Trees Crept In

Author: Dawn Kurtachich

Date of Publication: September 6th, 2016

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Goodreads Summary:

Stay away from the woods…

When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt’s home, it’s immediately clear that the manor is cursed. The endless creaking of the house at night and the eerie stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too—questions that Silla can’t ignore: Why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer? Who is the beautiful boy who’s appeared from the woods? And who is the tall man with no eyes who Nori plays with in the basement at night… a man no one else can see?

My Review:

I’ve been going back and forth with being in a book slump lately, but holy moly did I love this story! I loved the weirdness, the dark aspects, the sister bond, the romantic bond, and the atmosphere in general.

Silla was a character that had her struggles, so many struggles, and sometimes she was likable and sometimes she was not, yet I loved her and being inside her head. Nori, her sister, was just sweet as pie, the cutest little thing ever! And Gowan really brought a lot to the story, with his humor, his determination, and his strength.

The idea of the trees creeping in closer was just really cool, because trees are just awesome in general. I pretty much knew the twist early on, but it didn’t take away from the story—it just made me want to know if I was actually right. There were some other cool things I didn’t guess, though. Oh, and it takes a lot for me to cry during books, yet I did shed some tears during this one! I will definitely be reading more from this author!

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What would you do if you noticed the trees surrounding you were shifting closer?

Review: The Nemesis

Title: The Nemesis

Author: S.J. Kincaid

Date of Publication: August 25th, 2020

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Goodreads Summary:

Three years ago, Tyrus Domitrian shocked the galaxy by killing the woman he swore to love forever. The woman for whom he upended the Empire. The woman with whom he wanted to build a new and brighter future.

Now, the once-idealistic heir apparent has become the cruel Emperor Tyrus, wielding his authority with an iron fist, capable of destroying planets with a single word, controlling all technology with a simple thought. He has bent the Grandiloquy to their knees, and none has the power to stand against him.

But there is a muttering among the Excess. They say that Nemesis is not truly gone. They whisper of her shadow spotted in distant star systems. They say that Nemesis lives. That she will rise, and rally the people to topple the man who was once her truest love—and is now her fiercest enemy.

My Review:

I’ve been waiting for this beautiful beast for almost three years and I’m so glad I got an ARC of it because I was slowly going mad. Sort of like Tyrus!

If you’ve read the last book, then you know there is the hugest of cliffhangers ever, and if you haven’t, well, just know that there is! Nemesis was just as awesome as she was in the last two books, and I love how fiercely she loves. The way she loved Donia as a friend, the way she loves Anguish like a brother, the way she loves Tyrus as her beloved! I want her as a best friend!

And Tyrus! My beautiful boy! Every time I envision you, I think of Eddie Redmayne and I’m going to say that’s how you look! You are oh so villainous and oh so mine! You were perfect in this one!

There were twists and there were so much wonderfully written words. The only thing I wish we’d had was alternating POV chapters with Tyrus, but I’ll let that slide. I don’t want to give away too much but the ending was perfect!
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What is a series that you love?

Review: Igniting the Ice

Title: Igniting the Ice

Author: Alexa Whitewolf

Date of Publication: June 20th, 2020

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Goodreads Summary:

The darkest of mind, for the purest of heart…who will succumb to temptation?

Declan
I thought I was smarter – I was wrong. My brother Tytus thwarted my last plan of escape, and now I’m faced with the imminent threat of death.
Until the Romanian immortal who imprisoned me comes to me with a proposition. Save an innocent maiden from the Underworld, return her to the land of the living, and I will be free with a realm all for myself.
Of course, she neglects to mention said maiden is her daughter, and that the journey will place me face to face with the lord of the Underworld himself.
And then none of that seems to matter when I meet Constanza. Because I’ve seen her, before. For the past months, she is all I’ve dreamt about. And I can’t wait to see if the reality matches the fantasy…especially if her pretty, innocent soul can be corrupted.
Unless she gets to mine first, that is.

Constanza
Having two immortal parents can get overbearing, fast. Which is why I love vacationing in the Underworld and hanging out with Hades and Persephone.
Only this time, the safe walls surrounding us are starting to crumble and, before I know it, we’re under attack. No amount of Greek heroes can help save us… until he shows.
And he just happens to be the sexy angel from my dreams. Only he looks like walking temptation, and Mom’s warnings suddenly don’t matter anymore. May the gods help me, because I’m not getting out of this unharmed, one way or another.

My Review:

I’ve been patiently waiting for Declan’s story for a while, and this one did not disappoint! This is my favorite from this spinoff! Constanza was a great MC too! I really liked her! Of course there was swoon, dragons, immortals, and awesome mythology!!!

I really liked seeing the flashbacks as well. You also get to see the brothers before and after, and I loved seeing the bond there. And besides the great romance, there were some action-packed sequences too! Of course more of Hades and Persephone! Can’t wait for the next spinoff!

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Do you prefer fire or ice?

Review: The Shadow Society

Title: The Shadow Society

Author: Marie Rutkoski

Date of Publication: October 16th, 2012

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Goodreads Summary:

Darcy Jones doesn’t remember anything before the day she was abandoned as a child outside a Chicago firehouse. She has never really belonged anywhere—but she couldn’t have guessed that she comes from an alternate world where the Great Chicago Fire didn’t happen and deadly creatures called Shades terrorize the human population.

Memories begin to haunt Darcy when a new boy arrives at her high school, and he makes her feel both desire and desired in a way she hadn’t thought possible. But Conn’s interest in her is confusing. It doesn’t line up with the way he first looked at her.

As if she were his enemy.

When Conn betrays Darcy, she realizes that she can’t rely on anything—not herself, not the laws of nature, and certainly not him. Darcy decides to infiltrate the Shadow Society and uncover the Shades’ latest terrorist plot. What she finds out will change her world forever . . .

In this smart, compulsively readable novel, master storyteller Marie Rutkoski has crafted an utterly original world, characters you won’t soon forget, and a tale full of intrigue and suspense.

My Review:

The Winner’s Trilogy is one of my favorite series of all time, so I finally decided to give this one a shot! This book felt very different from her other fantasy series because it was more of an urban fantasy or paranormal. But I really loved the vibe an uniqueness of the alternate world!

Darcy was easily likable. She has a complicated history that she has yet to discover and I was with her every step of the way as she uncovered more and more about herself. She was super strong and not in the physical way but in the smart sort of way! Conn had an interesting story as well, and I really liked the chemistry between him and Darcy. But at first it was very insta-love, which is fine, but I still wanted more development between them later on.

My favorite part for me was actually the Shades and learning more about them. They were just super cool and I wish I could just go invisible at any time! There were twists and the writing was fabulous. Toward the end things got a little weird but it ended on a great note. I know this is a stand alone but I really wish the Marie would have written a book two because I have unanswered questions!

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If you could visit another dimension, would you?

Review: Among the Beasts & Briars

Title: Among the Beasts & Briars

Author: Ashley Poston

Date of Publication: October 20th, 2020

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Goodreads Summary:

Cerys is safe in the kingdom of Aloriya.

Here there are no droughts, disease, or famine, and peace is everlasting. It has been this way for hundreds of years, since the first king made a bargain with the Lady who ruled the forest that borders the kingdom. But as Aloriya prospered, the woods grew dark, cursed, and forbidden. Cerys knows this all too well: when she was young, she barely escaped as the woods killed her friends and her mother. Now Cerys carries a small bit of the curse—the magic—in her blood, a reminder of the day she lost everything. The most danger she faces now, as a gardener’s daughter, is the annoying fox who stalks the royal gardens and won’t leave her alone.

As a new queen is crowned, however, things long hidden in the woods descend on the kingdom itself. Cerys is forced on the run, her only companions the small fox from the garden, a strange and powerful bear, and the magic in her veins. It’s up to her to find the legendary Lady of the Wilds and beg for a way to save her home. But the road is darker and more dangerous than she knows, and as secrets from the past are uncovered amid the teeth and roots of the forest, it’s going to take everything she has just to survive.

My Review:

Heart of Iron is one of my favorites by Poston, so I was super stoked when I saw she was writing a straight up fantasy book! Her imagination was so on point with this one that I wanted to scream my joy!

I loved Cerys AKA Daisy. You’ll know why she has the nickname when you read it! So adorable! Then there was Fox, my sly and scared yet brave little fox! I loved him so incredibly much, and I also thought the connection between him and Daisy was perfect. My one pitfall, which I have with every Poston book I read, is that I want to see more angst and sexiness between the couples along with the sweet and adorable! More kissing and touches please!

Poston had some pretty cool twists in this one, and I think this is a stand alone but I could definitely see it as a series too! The writing was flawless and the dialogue banter scenes were so entertaining! A page turner to no end! Loved it!

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What’s your favorite fantasy book or movie?

Review: Holding Smoke

Title: Holding Smoke

Author: Elle Cosimano

Date of Publication: May 3rd, 2016

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Goodreads Summary:

John “Smoke” Conlan is serving time for two murders but he wasn’t the one who murdered his English teacher, and he never intended to kill the only other witness to the crime. A dangerous juvenile rehabilitation center in Denver, Colorado, known as the Y, is Smoke’s new home and the only one he believes he deserves.

But, unlike his fellow inmates, Smoke is not in constant imprisonment. After a near death experience leaves him with the ability to shed his physical body at will, Smoke is able to travel freely outside the concrete walls of the Y, gathering information for himself and his fellow inmates while they’re asleep in their beds. Convinced his future is only as bright as the fluorescent lights in his cell, Smoke doesn’t care that the “threads” that bind his soul to his body are wearing thin-that one day he may not make it back in time. That is, until he meets Pink, a tough, resourceful girl who is sees him for who he truly is and wants to help him clear his name.

Now Smoke is on a journey to redemption he never thought possible. With Pink’s help, Smoke may be able to reveal the true killer, but the closer they get to the truth, the more deadly their search becomes. The web of lies, deceit, and corruption that put Smoke behind bars is more tangled than they could have ever imagined. With both of their lives on the line, Smoke will have to decide how much he’s willing to risk, and if he can envision a future worth fighting for.

My Review:

I’ve loved all the books I’ve read by Elle so far and this one was probably my favorite! The grayness aspect of it was so good. Characters that are neither black or white are my favorite.

And John! I was so happy to get a book told entirely from a guy’s perspective. Those seem rather rare in YA. I couldn’t help but feel for him because he’d been through so much in his life. Pink was awesome too. She was tough and sweet and reliable!

The paranormal aspect was super great. It was neat seeing John be able to leave his body and try to solve the mystery of the murder he was framed for. There was just so much coolness and emotion here and I highly recommend it!

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Where would you go if you could leave your body for the night and no one could see you?