Blog Tour: Summoned by Rainy Kaye

Rainy Kaye has a new release on tour. Today I’ve got an excerpt from Summoned and the history that inspired the story. Last, but not least, there is a giveaway which you can find here.

Summoned Blog Tour

Rainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at RainyoftheDark.com and writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona. When not plotting world domination, she enjoys getting lost around the globe, studying music so she can sing along with symphonic metal bands, and becoming distracted by Twitter (@rainyofthedark). She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA. Continue reading

Book Trailers: The Returned by Jason Mott

Every Saturday I share a book trailer of new releases, books we (other readers and myself) love, want to read, and anything that fits in with BA, in the hopes of helping readers find something new to enjoy.

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If you’d like to share a trailer you think other readers would enjoy (including if it’s your book), send me a link and tell me a bit about the book. If it fits in with BA, than I will be happy to share with everyone with kudos back to you.

Review: Odd is on our Side by Dean Koontz

Odd is on our SideWhen things get scary, it’s nice to know that Odd is on our side.

The one and only Odd Thomas is back—in his second edgy and enthralling graphic-novel adventure from #1 New York Times bestselling suspense master Dean Koontz.

It’s Halloween in Pico Mundo, California, and there’s a whiff of something wicked in the autumn air. While the town prepares for its annual festivities, young fry cook Odd Thomas can’t shake the feeling that make-believe goblins and ghouls aren’t the only things on the prowl. And he should know, since he can see what others cannot: the spirits of the restless dead. But even his frequent visitor, the specter of Elvis Presley, can’t seem to point Odd in the right direction.

With the help of his gun-toting girlfriend, Stormy, Odd is out to uncover the terrible truth. Is something sinister afoot in the remote barn guarded by devilish masked men? Has All Hallows Eve mischief taken a malevolent turn? Or is the pleading ghost of a trick-or-treater a frightening omen of doom?

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Blog Tour Review: Above Ground by A.M. Harte

I am taking part in the the Above Ground blog tour, featuring A.M. Harte’s Above Ground. Following is my review as part of the tour, but before you read on, A.M. Harte is also having a giveaway. You can enter to win a mystery prize right here. Off you go now, I can wait. To check out the array of posts in the tour just click on the above banner and it will take you to the list. Good luck!

The first glimpse of sun may be her last.

When Lilith Gray goes above ground for the first time, she hardly expects to stay there — much less be trapped on the surface with no way home.

Hunted by trackers and threatened by the infected, Lilith is on the run, desperate to return underground. Her only hope for survival lies with a taciturn werewolf with a dark agenda of his own.

Lilith’s old carefree life has been reduced to one choice:

Adapt. Or die trying.

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Review: The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

Once again, unfortunately this review contains spoilers for those who haven’t both read this book and read this far in The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong. I’ve already read and reviewed The Summoning and the The Awakening.

My name is Chloe Saunders. I’m fifteen, and I would love to be normal. But normal is one thing I’m not.

For one thing, I’m having these feelings for a certain antisocial werewolf and his sw eet-tempered brother–who just happens to be a sorcerer–but, between you and me, I’m leaning toward the werewolf. Not normal.

My friends and I are also on the run from an evil corporation that wants to get rid of us…permanently. Definitely not normal.

And finally, I’m a genetically altered necromancer who can raise the dead, rotting corpses and all, without even trying. As far away from normal as it gets.

If I didn’t know that there was another book following this trilogy, The Gathering, then I would say well that didn’t end very well did it? It felt unfinished, but with The Gathering coming out, even though I know it’s not following the same main character, I guess we’ll have to wait and see how unfinished this trilogy was (I’m starting to wonder now if all her books feel unfinished or if it’s just the ones I’ve read).

I guess you could say I’m going backwards with sharing thoughts on the book, but the ending really bugged me because after being completely immersed in this story for two days (that’s how engrossing it was! 3 books in two days. I may need a break) the ending felt rushed and a little unsatisfactory because of it.

It also didn’t help that the story started out particularly frustrating, especially with Simon and the adults that come along. First I feel there are three stages to Simon in the trilogy all the way up to the first 100-150 pages in The Reckoning.

The Three Stages of Simon

  • Book one: Playing the nice guy role. Has some potential to be a full-fledged character, but seems to give the nasty suspicion of a go between.
  • Book Two: Jealous much? Trying to insinuate himself into a situation and get all chummy. Bleurgh. This makes more sense in the tail end of book three, but still when it comes to reading a character who is trying to get in on everything you start to wonder just how desperate that person is. No one likes being around desperation in normal life, why do we want to read it?
  • Book Three: Annoying, just annoying. Interrupting all the time. Something starts to happen and Simon just happens to pop up! Is someone feeling left out is he? What a pain in the arse.

For me he has gone from a go between character, to a one dimensional character, to a jealous character, and then the whole vying for Chloe’s attention drove me nuts. I wasn’t even past the 50 page mark before I decided I’d had absolutely enough of Simon and I wanted him to piss off. I don’t know about this ploy if it is a ploy and it must be a ploy. An unnecessary ploy that is grating.

And the adults are so frustrating and annoying, especially Margaret (Chloe’s Instructor) who just won’t listen. It really bugs me in YA lit when adults come along and won’t listen. It happens too much and it drives me up the bloody wall. Why, does it feel as if the majority of adults in YA lit in particular have to be so oblivious (even if there’s a reason for it)? It does not make for interesting reading. It makes for frustrating reading! My annoyance and frustration meter was ramped up so much in the first 70 pages I was starting to question if I would enjoy any of this book at all. Bleurgh. Again.

You know what I dislike about love stories? There’s always a pity party in there somewhere. At some point the character fucks up, even just a little, and then it’s all why me? Oh why me? Oh why am I such a screw up? No one loves me! Boo hoo, blah blah blah… and so on and so forth. So far it had been avoided for the most part in this story, but here it was in the last one. Hmm maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. Finishing the story with a bit if self-deprecation is never attractive because self-deprecation just isn’t attractive most of the time (unless you have a sense of humour and the right attitude to pull it off without people wanting to sock you one).

That’s enough of my bitching though because even though I had a crazy level of frustration and it sounds like the book made me angry, well it didn’t really. Those problems just stuck out like sore thumbs and unfortunately lasted afterwards when it comes to thoughts of the book, but as a whole I did enjoy it. Not as much as the first two, but Simon’s one dimensionality isn’t really a big issue and he stops being so annoying further on, Tori even stops being a pain in the arse with the constant bickering (I like banter in stories, but bickering can be pretty painful), and I did have a major problem putting the book down. I read it in 6 hours. I usually try not to do that, but this time I couldn’t help myself.

The ending, Simon, adult vs. adolescent interaction stereotypes, and a misleading title (The Reckoning? Really? Where was this reckoning? Death isn’t reckoning), just left a bad taste in my mouth, but on a whole, with the other two, it’s still engrossing.

  • Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
  • Demographic: YA
  • Reminds Me Of: Dark Angel and sections of Bitten by the same author
  • Rating Out of Five: 4
  • Challenges: Off The Shelf!

Review: The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

Unfortunately this review will have spoilers thanks to it being the second book (here’s my review of the first) in The Darkest Powers trilogy and so making them a tad unavoidable. Sorry about that, but they’re more or less just spoilers for those who haven’t read the first book, if you’ve read it you can relax and read on.

If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl—someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I’m as far away from normal as it gets. I’m a living science experiment—not only can I see ghosts, but I can raise the dead without even trying.

Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever. I’m running for my life with three of my supernatural friends and we have to find someone who can help us gain our freedom back before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying

This is one of those stories where your opinion can be completely decided by how you feel about the characters instead of being a food for thought piece. I really liked Derek. I liked him as a character in the first one because he had a level of intrigue, but I like him more in this one because he is just a likeable character. Or at least to me he is. Simon is the one I can’t figure out; he is slightly confusing. I try to figure out what his game plan is from all sorts of different angles, but it’s a little difficult. I guess maybe I should stop trying to figure him out and just see where the story goes.

I should also probably stop going, ‘awww’ every time Derek does something nice with Chloe or interacts with her in a nicer way, even if it’s small. I know that might sound like this, ‘awww they should be together,’ but it’s not. It’s more ‘awww aren’t they adorable youngins.’ I know, that’s terrible, I should be ashamed of myself. If it’s any consolation I’m feeling kind of old now. Yes, I’m going to stop it.

The Awakening was interesting reading for me because Simon is a type 1 diabetic. I don’t come across that often in movies or books to read of one that actually has their medication plan explained appropriately rather than some of the things I’ve heard or read in stories before where it’s completely off or close to. It is refreshing and kind of exciting. I’m a type 1 diabetic (if you haven’t already figured it out) and I appreciate that even though it’s not a big thing in the story, not really, that the proper detail is there and the proper information. So I sympathised with Simon because of it, and because he was diagnosed at an age that is the same as mine, but other than that I still like Derek more out of the two boys. Simon is one of those characters I can take or leave and really just feels like a filler or a bridge between two characters. Poor Simon, I think you might be a little flat.

Also the way Chloe is interacting with both of them or more so how they are interacting with her (the two boys) leads me to believe there may be some sort of love triangle developing. I really hope not because I can’t handle another love triangle (three in a row without planning on reading them? What are the odds? If this keeps up I’ll have to swear off YA Urban Fantasy for awhile).

Even with my developing fear of love triangles and the sneaking suspicion one is creeping up on me, I still am reading the next one. Pretty much straight away and judging by how fast I’m reading these books (less than 24 hours each, I’m really enjoying the start of the year so far), by the time this review is posted I’ll probably already be finished.

One last thing, if you’re not sure about reading Kelley Armstrong, but are curious, or if you’ve read one of her books besides these ones and wasn’t too impressed, then this trilogy might be a better option. I read her book Bitten and I think Armstrong is a good writer, but that book pissed me off (I hate how female characters can be written by men sometimes, it’s worse when it’s a woman writing them in a certain way and that ending… Best not to ever mention that book to me), so when I first read The Summoning quite some time ago I was very surprised. I guess my point is not to write off a novel just because of a previous experience with an author.

I also realised I didn’t say much about the book, writing style, or the other characters. I’m quite sick of Tori’s bitching so maybe that’s why I don’t pay much attention to her. Apart from that it’s a pretty good read and I like the way the story has gone. It’s mixing it up a little.

  • Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
  • Demographic: YA, but enjoyable for adults too if you’re into Paranormal reads
  • Reminds Me Of: Dark Angel in a sense, but more Dark Angel back story and less sci fi.
  • Rating Out of Five: 4 1/2
  • Challenges: Off The Shelf

Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Chloe Saunders sees dead people. Yes, like in the films. The problem is, in real life saying you see ghosts gets you a one-way ticket to the psych ward. And at 15, all Chloe wants to do is fit in at school and maybe get a boy to notice her. But when a particularly violent ghost haunts her, she gets noticed for all the wrong reasons. Her seemingly crazed behaviour earns her a trip to Lyle House, a centre for disturbed teens.

At first Chloe is determined to keep her head down. But then her room mate disappears after confessing she has a poltergeist, and some of the other patients also seem to be manifesting paranormal behaviour. Could that be a coincidence? Or is Lyle House not quite what it seems…? Chloe realizes that if she doesn’t uncover the truth, she could be destined for a lifetime in a psychiatric hospital. Or could her fate be even worse…? Can she trust her fellow students, and does she dare reveal her dark secret?

This is the second time I have read The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong, the first in her Darkest Powers trilogy, as a re-read in preparation for the next two that I hadn’t read till now, making it hard to review with the same amount of enthusiasm as someone who had read this without knowledge of it. Yet maybe it’s a good thing because I enjoyed it thoroughly the next time round, haven’t changed my rating or opinion on it either, and surely that must tell you it is a readable story?

It’s one of those books, at least to me, where it is such an easy read. It goes so fast, it’s like you’re sucking the words up akin to a vacuum cleaner. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is a light read, albeit it is lighter than most (such as classic lit for instance), but it still delves into a few darker and heavier issues such as ostracism. Granted that is almost in every young adult novel, or at least the pressure of feeling outcast when they are not, and yes it is in a lot of books that aren’t young adult, but I think I appreciate the delivery more compared to a lot of other novels.

However, I think when it comes to the use of ostracism in a novel, it’s a ploy that is so worn out that it can be too overly done in a story and ruin it. I like how Armstrong takes it and uses it in this scenario though without a major emphasis on it. The emphasis feels more like an internal struggle of acceptance, and when it involves acceptance, it doesn’t take that long before the characters start getting there. Of course there’s always something going on, but it’s nice when a novel has some intrigue and you don’t learn everything about the characters – personality or otherwise – before the end of the book. I probably wouldn’t keep reading otherwise.

Basically it’s a pretty good read. It’s entertaining, easy to absorb and be taken in by, has enough intrigue to keep you reading, and I think it has just the right amount of supernatural without being saturated (sometimes that’s better).

  • Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
  • Demographic: Mid-Late teens, but good for Adults as well.
  • Reminds Me Of: I’m sure there’s something Urban Fantasy-esque out there that involves an institution of some kind.
  • Rating Out of Five: 4 1/2
  • Challenges: N/A