Book Tour & Review - Succubus by @BrandonBVarnell


Succubus


Series: The Executioner Series, Book 1
Author: Brandon Varnell
Published: December 1st, 2016
Pages: 324
Audience: Adult/ New Adult
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban


Source:  I received this book for free from YA Bound Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.


Blurb:

Christian is the Catholic Church’s best executioner. Dedicated. Devout. Deadly. Ever since the Church saved him from the decimated ruins of his hometown, his commitment to their cause has been unshakable.


Then he’s sent to execute Lilith, who lives in Seal Beach, California. He’s baffled. Lilith is afraid of men. The Church believes she’s a succubus, but he just can’t see it. Yet the way men—both human and monster alike—act as if they’ve been possessed whenever she’s near is disturbing.


With lustful men attacking Lilith and monsters attacking him for being near Lilith, Christian must uncover what’s really going on, and soon, or innocent blood will run through the streets—as will his own.


Love. It can kill a man.


My Thoughts:

If you follow me at all on ANY of my social media platforms you know that I’m a lover of anime & manga. So when I saw the gorgeous cover for Succubus and read the interesting blurb, I became super excited.

Lets take a moment to look at the cover again.

Beautiful.

Now. Back to my thoughts. The world in which we find Christian and Lilith is a unique twist on the age-old story of secret supernatural world hidden/ governed by the mysterious Catholic Church. I found the executioners and the many other branches within the Church that deals with the supernatural, as well as, the various paranormal creatures that were introduced in this first installment intriguing. The world itself was superbly built and it captivated me fully.

I’ll be honest, it was hard for me to get into the book at first. Christian is a dry character – which is not a bad thing, but it took me well past the 15% mark to start connecting with him. Honestly, it wasn’t until he and Lilith began interacting for me to really enjoy his narrative. His stoic, pure, and honorable character is VERY reminiscent of the anime hero architype. It was refreshing to see that in an American novel.

“Math had never been her strongest subject. It would not be inaccurate to say that she royally sucked at math. In fact, she didn’t just suck at math; she was so splendidly horrible that mathematician’s everywhere cringed whenever she attempted to solve a mathematical equation.” – Succubus, Brandon Varnell

Typically, I enjoy characters like Christian, but I tend to connect with them more when their counterparts are more lively or mischievous. Lilith, although a great character in her own right, doesn’t shine next to Christian. Her shyness only exasperates Christians. In an anime or more visual medium like manga – two shy characters falling in love would be more interesting. Honestly, I would have liked it more if Tristian were more involved in the story. His presences would have added that quirkiness that was missing.

Varnell’s writing is engaging and descriptive (for me it was a little too descriptive at times – to where my eyes glazed over – , but that is my own personal quirk). He tends to overuse certain words. Specifically, carnelian. After the third time within a few pages, it stood out like a flashlight in a dark room. My biggest issue is the massive cliffhanger. Typically, I don’t mind them if they’re done right, but this one left me frustrated – and not in the good way. 

“Or was she simply uncomfortable sending a man to do a woman’s job?” – Succubus, Brandon Varnell

If you’re a fan of anime, Japanese light novels, stoic heroes with pure hearts, damaged heroines who are not as weak as they seem, quirky supporting characters, the idea of secret supernatural creatures living among us, and a frustrating cliffhanger then Succubus is the book for you. 


About Brandon Varnell:

Brandon Varnell is a writer. The end.

... Just kidding.

Brandon Varnell is the writer of the American Kitsune series. He has absolutely no skill at anything aside from writing and looking half-baked. He used to play guitar, but due to laziness, he never went anywhere with it. He also used to play a lot of video games, but after suffering this terrible affliction called book addiction, he only plays occasionally these days. Brandon lives mostly within his own imagination, but can occasionally be found in Phoenix, Arizona.

Outside of writing, he likes to read. His general reading preferences are Japanese light novels and manga, but he also enjoys a good sci-fi or fantasy story. If the story can mix both sci-fi and fantasy elements, then all the better. He also likes fanservice. Just don't tell anyone. It's kind of his guilty pleasure.


Book Review: Rose Petal Graves by Olivia Wildenstein @OWildWrites

Rose Petal Graves


Series: The Lost Clan Series
Author: Olivia Wildenstein
Published: May 15th, 2016
Pages: 183
Audience: New Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Myths, Faeries


Source:  I received this book for free from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.


Blurb:

I thought losing my mother would be the greatest shock of my life, but the greatest shock came after her death. 

Founded two centuries ago by an aloof and powerful tribe of Gottwa Indians, Rowan was a quiet town, so quiet that I fled after graduation. Staying away was the plan, but Mom died suddenly, so I rushed home. 

Dad said she suffered a stroke after she dug up one of the ancient graves in our backyard, which happens to be the town cemetery. Creepy, I know. Creepier still, there was no corpse inside the old coffin, only fresh rose petals. 

As we made preparations for Mom’s burial, Cruz, the new medical examiner, arrived. I should have felt relieved, but how could I? He was unnervingly handsome, glowed like a human firefly, and knew absolutely nothing about examining dead bodies. 

But, he did know what killed my mother…or rather who. 


My Review:

I have a huge spot in my heart for the paranormal genre – especially if it involves shifters or faeries. Some of the first books that really caught my attention growing up involved faerie stories and although, every single one of my writing idea’s fall firmly in the science fiction genre, I will ALWAYS enjoy a good paranormal.

Rose Petal Graves – I mean that title. Just wow. And then I saw the cover for Rose Petal Graves, I nearly died from its beauty, but when I read the blurb I squealed in joy. I’ve been craving a good faerie story.

The story is a quick read, but that’s to be expected of a novella. Rose Petal Graves is an opening story to Wildenstein’s new series and open it did. The book opens on the main character Catori or Cat, going home to bury her mother where she finds the handsome medical examiner, Cruz, waiting for her. Soon after all the action begins and before you know it you are left with a huge cliffhanger. Usually I’m super okay with cliffhangers, but the one at the end of this novella seemed rushed and unfinished.

Cat is a character that I have severe mixed feelings about. I understand her in most ways because her sassy independence paired with her cynicism reminds me a lot of myself as a teenager. Her reactions to painting the door was exactly something I would have done in my grief in my younger years.

“I was offered condolences and patted so many times on my way out that when I stepped onto pavement, it felt like freedom.” – Olivia Wildenstein, Rose Petal Graves

Other than that, I really didn’t like her very much. She is very selfish to those around her, especially to her closest friends and family. The whole wind chime bit got me right in the feels. I almost despised Cat when she threw her mother’s wind chime in the trash because some sexy guy asked her to. Not cool. There wasn’t much depth of character development in this story and I hope that is redeemed in the next book – I want to like her.

All of the other characters didn’t have the chance for development as well and although on the surface I liked them, I want a little more. Especially from Cruz since they seemed to have a bit of a romance spark going on.

“The sparks that had erupted over my skin the first night he touched me exploded inside my body.” – Olivia Wildenstein, Rose Petal Graves

All that being said, I adored the faerie/ Native American folklore. Mixed with Wildenstein’s elegant writing style made this novella worth it. Although I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I would have hoped, I am intrigued by the morsel that is Rose Petal Graves and will be picking up the first novel in The Lost Clan Series. 


Blog Tour & Excerpt: Endangered by @DaniHootsAuthor + #GIVEAWAY


Endangered


Series: Daughter of Hades #1
Author: Dani Hoots
Published: May 10th, 2016
Pages: 296
Audience: YA
Genre: Paranormal, Urban, Mythology 


Source:  I received this book for free from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.

Available for FREE on Kindle Unlimited


Blurb:

Chrys has been in the Underworld for thousands of years, hidden away by her father, Hades, from all of the other gods. He's afraid that if someone finds out about her, they will destroy her because of the dichotomous power that she holds, the power of life and death. So she has remained in the Palace of Hades all her life, making very few friends and always bored out of her mind.

Huntley would have never guessed that after he died he would wake up with a beautiful girl standing over him. And that she would be the Dark Lord of the Underworld's daughter. Yet, for some reason, she keeps him around as her tutor, as if he knows anything about the world. But Huntley knows that all she really wants is a friend; being trapped in the Underworld can get pretty lonely. 

That is, until Chrys decides she wants to run away to the human world after a big fight with her mother Persephone. Chrys claims her father is just over reacting and that nothing bad will come of it. There's no way that the gods will notice she's there for only a couple of days...right?


Excerpt:

CHAPTER 7

Chrys

 

                The River Styx is really intimidating. Like, seriously.

                I honestly never really realized it until now, being without someone who knew how to guide the boat for me. I had only taken a boat out a couple of times, but never this far, and never with this much risk. Now that I stood there, waiting for the others, I found myself questioning my decision a little bit. Not enough to turn back, but enough to realize that Father was going to be really pissed if he found out I had hijacked a boat and left the Underworld with two of my friends. I guess I knew that already but it was hitting me hard now.

                I had left a note for him, telling him we were going to visit Maka and not to worry, that we would be back in a few days. He knew I needed to let off a little steam and that leaving me alone was the best choice. At least, I hoped.

                I was already wearing my ring and waiting to give A.J. and Huntley theirs. I was almost past the point of no return, making a decision that could get me in the worst of trouble.

                And it felt exhilarating.

                I was surprised that Huntley wasn’t fully on board with this, but more cautious than A.J. and I were. He was only coming because he wanted to make sure I was safe. But if A.J. thought it would be fine, I really doubted it was going to end badly.

                At least I hoped that it wouldn’t.

                A.J. was the cautious one out of the three of us, so if Huntley thought it was fine, it was probably going to be fine. I trusted him, especially after all this time. He cared enough to stay in the Palace for me, so he had to be speaking the truth.

                A.J. and Huntley showed up, checking behind them to make sure there wasn’t anyone following them. I nodded to both of them and handed them the rings. They slipped them on their fingers, and we quickly climbed in the boat to travel around the River Styx into the sky that was Oceanus.

                The boat was like an old gondola that might simply crumble if we were going over actual water.  It was beyond old, probably the same age as the Underworld itself. It creaked and cracked as we stood on it, rocking slightly back and forth. The three of us each grabbed a stick and pushed off the peer of the palace and into the river we went.

                “How does this actually work?” Huntley asked. “I mean, it looks like we are traveling on clouds.”

                “You really going to ask questions of how things work in the Underworld? Not just accept that things work differently here?” A.J. replied. We had barely been gone for a couple of moments and they were already arguing.

                “The rivers here are more like air currents, trapping things that have been lost in the mortal realm,” I explained. “The river we are on now is the River Styx, the River of Hatred. It is but one of five rivers. Most of the dead come to this world via Acheron, the River of Pain. It is where Charon runs his service. The other rivers flow through the Underworld and serve as transportation to places throughout. But without a boat, all of the rivers will curse those who try to escape, so make sure the water doesn’t touch you.”

                Huntley glanced over the water, his eyes wide. I probably should have mentioned that earlier, but it had completely slipped my mind. When you knew something for such a long time, it was hard to remember to tell others who might not know.

                “Don’t worry, you’re fine. But because of this, no god from the other realms can get through Oceanus, which is why Father has hidden me away for so long. That is, except Hermes, he can travel between realms. Why that is, no one really knows. He kinda just appears some days and Father can’t figure out how he’s doing it. As for my mother, well, it’s really rare for anyone to come to the Underworld and be able to go back to Earth. In some legends the hero can, or antagonist, depending on your point of view. The River Styx was their greatest obstacle.”

                “But she sneaks men in here,” Huntley countered.

                I nodded. “Yeah, but they don’t come by themselves. She pays Charon to escort them. He will escort anything as long as he gets paid.”

                “Oh. So which one is the River Styx?” Huntley asked.

                I gestured in front of us. “This one. We will be going around the Underworld seven times and then be dumped into Oceanus.”

                “Seven times? Won’t that take forever?”

                I shrugged. “Space is weird here. Doesn’t take too long actually and the farther we get, the faster it starts to go.”

                “Oh, I guess that makes sense,” Huntley said. “Then where is Oceanus?”

                I nodded up. “You see the blue clouds that covers the entire realm? That’s Oceanus.”

                He looked up at the sky. The molten blue shimmered in the light of the morning. Where the morning light really came from, I still wasn’t sure. This world was weird, I had to agree.

                “Shit. How are we supposed to get through that?” he asked.

                “Hence the boat, moron,” A.J. commented.

                Huntley pointed up. “Yeah, but that doesn’t have a surface that we can travel on.”

                I shook my head. “That’s because we don’t travel on it. We travel through it. Oceanus is like a shell between this world and Earth.”

                “Oh yeah, that’s going to be fun. Do you even know where we are going to end up?”

                I was silent. I actually didn’t. I figured, probably wherever my mother was last, but I couldn’t be sure. It wasn’t like I had a preference. Anywhere was better than here. Finally, I shrugged.

                “We don’t even know where we are going?” Huntley exclaimed. “Chrys, seriously, get some sense in your head. This is a bad idea.”

                He was right, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I should turn back now, I had let my emotions get the better of me. I was turning into my mother.

                And I didn’t want that.



About Dani Hoots:

Dani Hoots is a science fiction, fantasy, romance, and young adult author who loves anything with a story. She has a B.S. in Anthropology, a Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning, and is currently in the Your Novel Year Program through Arizona State University.


Book Tour & Review: Daughter of the Sun by @zoekalowriter + #GIVEAWAY


Daughter of the Sun

Author: Zoe Kalo
Publisher: Zoe Kalo
Published: April 1st, 2016
Pages: 330
Audience: YA
Genre: Mythology, Paranormal & Urban

Source: I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew. 
But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities. 
Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self—and a horrifying destiny.


My Review:

Daughter of the Sun brings Egyptian mythology to the modern world. If you read my previous reviews, you’d know that I’m a bit of a fan when it comes to modern mythology re-imaginings. So when I had the chance to pick up a book offering me not only that, but also a promise of a mystery – I was SOLD!

“I happen to share DaVinci’s opinion that cats are the masterpieces of nature.” – Daughter of the Sun, Zoe Kalo

The story started off interesting. We are introduced to Trinity who is an orphan in London. The circumstances behind Trinity’s abandonment and the whole mystery grandmother to come out of nowhere was extremely interesting, but then the book began to stall for me. It was like that for a while until the mystery really picked back up.

There were some smaller “mysteries” that were a bit obvious to me, but that didn’t negate from the excitement of the story. At times Kalo had be fully engaged in the plot. A plot that was basically this in a nutshell:

“Why couldn’t I shake the feeling that there was something darker at work, that, unknown to me, I was taking part in someone else’s play?” – Daughter of the Sun, Zoe Kalo

Trinity wasn’t a character I connected with. I didn’t really care about her, but I cared for her story. I wanted to know everything. Why she was abandoned? Why were mysterious things happening to her body? What did this all have to do with the Cult of the Cat? WHAT WAS WRITTEN ON THAT PAPYRUS? (as you can tell that didn’t bug me – at all)

Seth and Ara were characters I truly enjoyed. Both had more depth to me and seemed more of an actual character than Trinity. The dynamics between all the characters were spot on and Kalo’s descriptions of a girl who’s completely infatuated were hilariously spot-on:

 “But my eyes were listening to me. They kept straying like naughty, disobedient street urchins.” – Daughter of the Sun, Zoe Kalo

I especially liked this simple quote about young love. It really rung true with my own strict upbringing:

“No wonder the nuns had been so admonishing about what could happen between boys and girls. This was powerful stuff.” – Daughter of the Sun, Zoe Kalo

If you are a fan of Egyptian mythology, crazy cat ladies, mysteries galore, old family curses, breaking & entering, and an ancient papyrus with a hard-to-translate script – all of this on a mysterious island right off the coast of Istanbul (not Constantinople) – than Daughter of the Sun is the book for you.



About Zoe Kalo:

A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery… 

A daughter of adventurous expats, she’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. Currently, she’s working on a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, which she balances between writing, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir.


Book Tour & Review: The Little Flame Series (1-5) by @melissalummis + #Giveaway


The Little Flame Series

Author: Melissa Lummis
Publisher: PeacePipe Productions
Published: September 30th, 2014
Pages: 495
Audience: New Adult, Adult, 18+
Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy

Source: I received a copy of this book from Bewitching Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb:

Fiamette Jurato is on a mission: to fix her broken past. She’s teamed up with the world famous DJ, Maximillian, to search for the ex lover who can help her put all the pieces back together. There’s only one problem: he’s been dead for over two hundred years.

As a healer to the supernatural, she’s no stranger to navigating the impossible maze of magical complications. But getting lost in the magic isn’t the problem; finding her way back home is. 


My Review:

This book series is for 18+ due to graphic sexual scenes. If that is not your scene then you should probably move on.

Every now and then I run across a book (or in this case a series) that is a great mix of storytelling and character development that is neatly wrapped in a lighthearted package. The Little Flame Series, books 1-5 are exactly that.

In the Little Flame world, paranormals live side-by-side with humans in what I gathered was modern America in relative peace. The series is centered on Fiamette or Fia. She is a healer - a supe with preternatural abilities allowing her to see the Qi, the physical life force, of the universe and be able to channel it - or so she thinks. Her healing abilities are different and much stronger than other healers and then there is how she has to “feed” – not to mention who she has to feed from - in order to refuel her energy reserves.

“Sometimes, the best way – the safe way – to hunt was allow oneself to be hunted.” – Little Flame Series Box Set, Melissa Lummis

This world is fantastic. From the way the supes are organized to how Lummis integrated them into our human world – everything blended and worked within this universe. Over the five books in this box set, you discover a little more with each story that adds to the overall plot. Within there are subplots that not only add depth to characters, but give you more perspective on the world Fia lives in and the emotional and physical conflicts between all the characters.

“She sounded like the young, insecure girl she was – a lovely girl who didn’t know if she was enough. My stomach felt an old, familiar pang.” – Little Flame Series Box Set, Melissa Lummis

Fia is a great main character. Lummis did an amazing job making her relatable and complex. I felt like she was every bit her “age” with her inner musings like the quote above. I adored that Fia’s strength came from her intense devotion to those around her – especially those she loves. Her inner monologue is both hilarious and endearing – particularly there were a few times I laughed when she was being intimate.

“I felt like a safe being unlocked on click of the tumblers at a time. Five to the left. Twenty-three to the right. Nine to the left. Oh – I came undone in a bright wave of pleasure.” – Little Flame Series Box Set, Melissa Lummis

Although I love how she described the sensation above, it made me chuckle. Not sure why – it’s probably just me.

Speaking of the writing, I enjoyed how Lummis weaves lighthearted humor throughout each story and when she introduces complex situations and heavy emotional scenes, Lummis can turn on the depth.

 “I didn’t want to be without his skin that smelled like ancient forests warmed in the summer sun.” – Little Flame Series Box Set, Melissa Lummis

The Little Flame series is one of the few books that I read where the main character breaks the fourth wall. Sometimes it works and other’s it seems out of place. In this series it was the latter. Every time Fia would address the reader it seemed a bit sudden and rude - which isn’t Fia’s personality at all. I’m sure Lummis was going for sassy – which is exactly Fia’s character, but it didn’t come off that way to me.

“Most healers sensed it through intuition, thus the third eye association. Chakra theory. Look it up.” – Little Flame Series Box Set, Melissa Lummis

Max is an interesting love interest. He’s a DJ and surrounds himself with interesting supes. Fia and Max run into each other while she was working as a dancer for one of his shows. They hit it off, but Fia struggles with her succubus nature and her feelings for Max. Their relationship is natural and progresses in a way that is believable regarding the subplots and background that is uncovered throughout the series. Although, I feel that – at times – Max is a little bland compared to the sassy Fia, they are a good fit.

“In that simple act of comfort, I discovered that unconditional acceptant and, dare I say, love were real. I squeezed him tighter, and he chuckled.” – Little Flame Series Box Set, Melissa Lummis

There is a pseudo-love triangle. It’s not your typical “who do I pick” type of situation, instead it’s brings more complications and brings plenty of realistic drama to Fia’s life. It doesn’t truly develop until later in the series when Fia’s emotions for Max become actualized.

There are so many other characters in this series that are equally amazing in their own right. Each side character is just as developed as the main ones with intricate backstories and their own plot lines that do add to the overall plot. There isn’t a single character that I didn’t like and that’s including the antagonists. Not that I liked their antagonizing, but their characters were spot on.

“How did he do this to me? How did he steal the sulk and self-pity right out of me and replace it with this lightness?” – Little Flame Series Box Set, Melissa Lummis

Overall, if you’re looking for a series that is fun, full of magical vengeance, steamy love scenes, supernaturals around every turn, antics galore, and a female lead who finds herself in hilarious situations – The Little Flame Series is for you.



Melissa Lummis writes new age suspense in a fantasy setting, but her stories are also straight up, steamy adult romance. The Love and Light Series is currently available at Amazon exclusively, as well as the Little Flame Series, a spin off focusing on the character Fiamette from the Love and Light world.

 

mellissa lummis.jpg

Melissa considers herself a truth seeker and a peaceful warrior, in addition to a paranormal and fantasy author. With too many interests for her own good, she has rarely been content with one vocation. Her first professional life was as a high school English teacher, which led to another incarnation as a wife and an instructional designer /technical writer. After starting a family, she found herself reincarnated yet again as a mother, yoga instructor, and personal trainer.

While all her past lives have contributed to who she is today, yoga has become a part of how she gives back, maintaining her Registered Yoga Teacher status with Yoga Alliance so she can help people one-on-one to overcome physical limitations and heal themselves. But she has always been and always will be a writer. She’s authored dozens of wellness articles for various publications, as well as maintains a blog focusing on wellness, healing, and living a life on purpose.

A Yankee by birth and a Penn State graduate, she lives in rural Virginia with her husband, two children, an Alaskan Malamute, and a myriad of forest creatures. Melissa believes the universe conspires to help an adventurer, and if we live our lives as if it is a daring escapade (and it is!), then everything we need will find its way to us. 


Book Review: Repulsion by @JSteenbeeke

Repulsion


Series: The Unbound Series, Book 1
Author: Jeroen Steenbeeke
Published: December 28th, 2015
Pages: 76
Audience: YA
Genre: Paranormal, Science Fiction 

Source: NetGalley provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.

FREE TO DOWNLOAD


Blurb:

I used to think I was a pretty normal teenager: I got up in the morning, went to school, did my homework, played video games, and dreamed about Karen—one of the girls in my class. When I found out she liked me, too, I thought I was the luckiest guy alive. But everything changed when we kissed. Something awakened inside of us, and now we know that we're not normal teenagers after all.

For a while I thought these powers were pretty amazing—I mean, who wouldn't want superpowers? But it stopped being fun when Karen started hearing a voice in her head. A voice that told her I was her enemy. A voice that could take control of her. A voice that was only the first glimpse of a world we never knew existed.


My Review:

This review has been hard to write. Not because I didn’t think it was a good story – it was. It just didn’t leave an impression on me as much as I hoped.

First of all, the cover is gorgeous, it immediately caught my eye. Then the blurb drew me in. Teenagers with mysterious superpowers – yes, please. I even loved how the story was paced and even though the writing was geared more toward the younger end of YA, I still enjoyed it.

Yet as I was reading there was just something that bugged me and I couldn’t put a finger on it until after I had finished. There was a lack of description that, for me, left the book a little bland. This is 100% a “me thing”, but when I read, I look for that descriptive sweet spot. Too much and I spend most of my time skimming through unnecessary details. Too little and I finish feeling a little cheated. Repulsion fell on the latter.

Another small thing that I’m not quite sure if it bugged me or not was that there were multiple 80’s references spread throughout a novel geared toward modern teenagers. Some were clever and didn’t make me feel as if the author were trying to force some of their favorite nostalgia in the story:

“My mom always told me that if he ever were to put on “normal clothes” and get a shorter haircut, he’d look just like a young Matthew Broderick. If she hadn’t made me watch Wargames I wouldn’t have known what she was talking about.” - Repulsion, Jeroen Steenbeeke

And then there were other’s that made me think otherwise…

“watching Freddy Krueger turn a very young Johnny Depp into a geyser of blood was a worthy substitute.” – Repulsion, Jeroen Steenbeeke

One of my favorite aspects of Repulsion is how the characters felt like they were exactly their age - sixteen. The boys in the story reminded me of how my brother and his friends would act at that age, a little immaturity mixed with crazy hormones. And speaking of hormones, the romance between Thymen and Karen was sweet, but rushed, in my opinion. I’m sure the quickness the two become close is because of the story’s length. Quickness aside, I did feel that the progression was natural enough.

The side characters, Rob and Sarah, are well developed. I enjoyed their presence in the story as much as the main characters. Kudos to Steenbeeke for making Sarah a math wiz! There isn’t enough female STEM representation in YA literature.

The other aspect I enjoyed was the setting. As an American who has never set foot in the Netherlands, I felt as if I understood the culture well enough. For what was lacking in description of feelings and surroundings, the author didn’t skip on explaining certain cultural aspects – such as Queens Day.

What I take away from Repulsion is that I just wanted more. More description. More character development. More information. Because there was just so little for me to connect with, I chose to give it three stars – that and a rushed, cliffhanger ending. I literally closed my Kindle and looked to my husband and said, “Well that was abrupt.” 

Book Review: The Killer Contract Agency


Title: The Killer Contract Agency

Author: Jessica Samuels

Published Date: November 30th, 2015

Audience: Young Adult

Genre: Science Fiction/ Fantasy/ Paranormal


Blurb from Good Reads:

Salina Sinclair hunts Malians, an alien species that preys on weak teenagers, making them crazy enough to kill themselves. But after being nearly burned alive by one, Salina is contacted by The Killer Contract Agency. Wielding the powers of The Bracelet and with her mentor, Carter, by her side, she exacts her revenge by taking out the Malians responsible for her near death.

But something big is happening with the Agency and operatives are dying. Will she find out what it is before it's too late, or will the Agency be destroyed?


My Review:

This review is going to be short and sweet because it really hurts me to write it. Truly, I’ve been fretting over it for days now. I didn’t want to be the first person to leave a review on this books Good Reads or Amazon links because I wanted the author to have that elated feeling of getting a good review. I remember how it felt with my first book and it is an amazing feeling. I also remember the gut wrenching hurt of getting a one-star review as well.

Just like Jessica Samuels, I am an independent author and like her my success thrives on getting good reviews. However, in order to get them you have to have a quality product and The Killer Contract Agency just wasn’t it.

There wasn’t a thing I liked about this book and that’s saying something because I ALWAYS try to find something positive. The plot was all over the place. The characters were flat and were childish – even the adult characters. The writing was juvenile – full of grammar and spelling mistakes.

“I knew that Laurice was behind it, since she was jealous of me for stupid reason. It was always her, and no one else. No one could hurt me this badly and get away with it, especially not her. I hated her for a reason, and I really wanted her to pay. How could she do this to me?” – The Killer Contract Agency, Jessica Samuels.

That was one of the good examples. When I chose to review this book, nothing about the cover art or blurb really drew me in. I honestly chose it because Jessica Samuels is an indie author who didn’t have any reviews for her book and I wanted to give her a chance. Now, I really wish I hadn’t.

A huge part of me wants to give her two stars, but honestly the second one would really be a pity-star.

I chose to read this book as a part of review tour through YA Bound Book Tours.

YA Bound Book Tours