Book Review: What Kills Me by Wynne Channing

You might notice some special graphics in this review.  All previous reviews will eventually be edited to include them.  They were designed especially for the new blog.  Although I won’t be directing traffic there for another day or two, you can check out the new design HERE.


What Kills Me by Wynne Channing

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Self-published

What Kills Me is available as an ebook from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  More reviews available on Goodreads.  

The fight for survival begins.

An ancient prophecy warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race.

So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive.

How will she convince the empire that she is just an innocent teenager-turned bloodsucker and not a creature of destruction? And if she cannot, can a vampire who is afraid of bugs summon the courage to fight a nation of immortals?


Overview:  I think that I would of liked this book better if I hadn’t read so many in the genre.  I never got the feeling that this story and the characters were special.  The danger felt contrived and the characters safe in a formulated story.  I can understand why people love this book, but I don’t think it was unique enough for my liking.  It did have some humorous scenes and one-liners that were nothing short of awesome.  The excerpt is one of my favorites.

Characters:  Lucas felt short for me.  He was too rough and bitter in the beginning and his transformation by the end was too abrupt to be believable.  I liked Axelia for the majority of the story, although her part in the very beginning was nothing short of stupidity.  There’s no way that a “good” girl would decide to meet a stranger in the dark, after curfew, when everyone warns her not to…just not believable either.  Besides that, I did like her.  She acted like a dumb blonde sometimes, but the way Lucas played off of that trait was so darn funny that I liked it.

Plot:  Girl meets boy.  Girl dies and becomes vampire.  Girl has lots of people that want to kill her because she’s the chosen one.  If this was the first vampire novel I have ever read, I would have loved the plot.  I LOVE reading vampire books (and have read way too many) and so I the plot in this book kept reminding me of what I’ve read in other books.  It wasn’t predictable, however, and I wasn’t quite sure how Axelia and Lucas would escape the people wanting to kill them until it happened.

Ending:  The VERY end felt cheesy to me.  It wasn’t what I expected, but really disappointed me.

(I received a copy of this novel from the author (LibraryThing) in exchange for an honest review.)

This is a great novel for those who haven’t read many paranormal or vampire novels.

“What about guns with silver bullets?  Would that slow them down?”

“Silver bullets?  We’re not werewolves.”

“Werewolves are real too?”

He glaced at me and then did a double take, seeing my bewildered face.

“Yes,” he said, watching my eyes widen. “They hang out with Santa and the Easter Bunny.”

I remained frozen for a moment and then pushed his arm.

“Hey, I’m driving,” he said.  He turned away from me to check the left lane over his shoulder but not before I caught a subtle smile on his face.  It was gone so quickly tha I wasn’t sure if I had seen it at all.

A few minutes passed.  “So, they’re not real, right?”

(Picture and Information borrowed from Goodreads.)

Wynne Channing is an award-winning national newspaper reporter and young adult novelist.
She started writing horror/fantasy tales as a girl. She still has the first novel that she wrote when she was 10. It’s (unintentionally) hilarious.

Wynne loves telling stories and as a journalist, she has interviewed everyone from Daniel Radcliffe and Hugh Jackman to the president of the Maldives and Duchess Sarah Ferguson. The closest she has come to interviewing a vampire is sitting down with True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgard (he didn’t bite).

She briefly considered calling her debut novel “Well” so then everyone would say: “Well written by Wynne Channing.”

Website | Twitter | Facebook |

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Book Review/Giveaway: Halo of the Damned by Dina Rae

Halo of the Damned by Dina Rae

Publisher:  Eternal Press

Genre:  Dark Paranormal

You can purchase Halo of the Damned on ebook or paperback from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  More reviews available on Goodreads.  There is a separate giveaway for a paperback version of this book on Goodreads that you can enter from Oct 1-31st.  You can read my reviews of other books by Dina Rae:  Be Paranoid Be Prepared and Bad Juju.

Giveaway:

Click HERE to enter the giveaway for an ebook version of Halo of the Damned as well as a $10 gift card to Amazon.com.  Giveaway is opened internationally.  There will be one winner.

Review:

Overview:  Halo of the Damned is the third book I’ve read from Dina Rae and she sure does have a very signature way to her writing.  It’s raw, extremely unpredictable, and compelling from the first page to the last.  The dialogue and writing feel over-dramatic at times, and the way her books are written feels like Dan Brown or Tim LaHaye.  I like how each of her books tackle a different genre – this one is a dark thriller.  I like how this book is about a devil religion unique to this book – which means Catholics are spared from the corrupt priest stereotypes.  It’s dirty, but not gory.  A great Halloween read for those who like their “evil” without too much scare.

Characters:  Like in her other novels, there is a huge cast of characters with distinct personalities.  With such a large amount, there isn’t much character development for many of the characters, but they will leave you guessing from scene to scene.  Joanne is the star of the novel and she is both a recovering drug addict and an ex-con.  I like how her view of the world was more jaded than the typical heroine and how she didn’t fall madly in love instantly with the first male who showed interest in her.  There is a little bit of a love triangle, but honestly, one of the men was way out of his league in trying to get her.  The romance is very underplayed and the plot definitely hog most of the spotlight.  One person I couldn’t stand was Marie – as she in no way resembled a 6-year-old in her mannerisms  behaviors, or vocals.  I think her character would have been more convincing if she was at least 12 or 13.

Plot:  It could be viewed as a good or bad thing, but many of the scenes are revisited by different characters.  Scene A might be told in Joanne’s POV and end in a cliffhanger.  A chapter or two later, Marcus will pick up the same scene either explaining the events leading up to Scene A or the events that happened because of Scene A.  Halo of the Damned is definitely a non-linear story, but surprisingly the pacing of the novel is strong even when the information in the book is familiar to the reader.

Ending:  Thankfully this was not a cliffhanger.  I could see the potential for a series involving many of the characters, but even as a stand alone this book has a satisfying ending.  There’s a few twists that happen during the path of the book and I had a general idea of what would happen at the end – but there was no predictability to the actions of most of the characters.  Overall though, it was a good read.  A “light” read for those who like “dark” books.

Grade:  B+

This is great book for those who wants something different in the paranormal genre.

Book Description:

A chain of advertising agencies, a new breed of humans, and a fallen angel to worship… Andel Talistokov is known for his slick advertising agencies across the globe. He is a fallen angel that uses advertising as a weapon for Satan’s work. His growing power emboldens him to break several of Hell’s Commandments. Furious with his arrogance, Satan commands him to return to Hell after finding his own replacement. Yezidism, an ancient angel worshiping religion, quietly expands throughout the West. Armaros appears as a guest of honor during their ceremonies. He mates with young women to produce nephilim, a mixed race of humans and angels. They are alone and unprepared for their supernatural power. Joanna Easterhouse, a recovering drug addict, steps out of prison shortly after her mother’s fatal accident. She and her sister, Kim, unravel their mother’s secretive past. Intrigued, they learn their bloodline is part of a celestial legacy. Both worlds collide. Halo of the Damned is a horrifying tale that weaves research together with suspenseful twists and turns.

About the Author:

Dina Rae is a new author here to stay.  As a former teacher, she brings an academic element to her work.  Her three novels, Halo of the Damned, The Last Degree, and Bad Juju weave research and suspense throughout the plots.  Her short story, Be Paranoid Be Prepared, is a prequel of sorts to The Last Degree, focusing on the James Martin character.  Dina also freelances for various entertainment blogs.

Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside of Chicago.  She is a Christian, an avid tennis player, movie buff, and self-proclaimed expert on several conspiracy theories.  She has been interviewed numerous times in e-zines, websites, blogs, newspapers, and radio programs.  When she is not writing she is reading novels from her favorite authors Dan Brown, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Brad Thor, George R.R. Martin, and Preston & Childs.

Website | Blog | Twitter: @haloofthedamned Halo of the Damned |

Spooktacular Giveaway: Halo of the Damned by Dina Rae

Check out this guest Post by author Dina Rae and then enter the giveaway to win a copy of Halo of the Damned and a $10 giftcard to Amazon.com.  The Spooktacular Giveaway Hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not a Writer & The Diary of a Bookworm.  You can check out a full list of the participating blogs (OVER 400!!!)  by clicking HERE.  Giveaway is open internationally and winner has 48 hours to respond by email or a new one will be chosen.  You can read my full review of Halo of the Damned, which I rated a B+, or scroll down to the bottom of this post to read a mini review.

Click to enter the giveaway

ebook + giftcard = ONE LUCKY PERSON!


Halo of the Damned

Guest Post by Dina Rae

In my recent novel, Halo of the Damned, I used research about the ancient Yezidi religion (spellings vary).  The Yezidis originated from northern Iraq.  The religion spread throughout the Kurdish community, eventually making its way into Europe.

Yezidis worship angels, especially Malak Tawas (spellings vary).  The peacock symbolizes this angel who many believe to be Satan.  Malak’s story in the Koran matches the same stories in the Bible and Old Testament about a rebellious angel who wages war with a third of all of God’s angels against God and the remainder of angels in Heaven.  Once defeated, God sends all of them to Hell.  Yezidis believe God created Malak first, before all other angels, in His image, therefore he is also God.  They also believe the world was first created as a pearl.  Their holy books are Black Book and Book of Revelation.  Their afterlife ideas are vague, but lean towards reincarnation.  I found the religion fascinating and used it as part of the plot.

Book Description:  A chain of advertising agencies, a new breed of humans, and a fallen angel to worship… Andel Talistokov is known for his slick advertising agencies across the globe. He is a fallen angel that uses advertising as a weapon for Satan’s work. His growing power emboldens him to break several of Hell’s Commandments. Furious with his arrogance, Satan commands him to return to Hell after finding his own replacement. Yezidism, an ancient angel worshiping religion, quietly expands throughout the West. Armaros appears as a guest of honor during their ceremonies. He mates with young women to produce nephilim, a mixed race of humans and angels. They are alone and unprepared for their supernatural power. Joanna Easterhouse, a recovering drug addict, steps out of prison shortly after her mother’s fatal accident. She and her sister, Kim, unravel their mother’s secretive past. Intrigued, they learn their bloodline is part of a celestial legacy. Both worlds collide. Halo of the Damned is a horrifying tale that weaves research together with suspenseful twists and turns.

Quick Review:  Halo of the Damned is the third book I’ve read from Dina Rae and she sure does have a very signature way to her writing.  It’s raw, extremely unpredictable, and compelling from the first page to the last.  The dialogue and writing feels over-dramatic at times, and the way her books are written feels like Dan Brown or Tim LaHaye.  I like how each of her books tackle a different genre – this one is a dark thriller.  I like how this book is about a devil religion unique to this book – which means Catholics are spared from the corrupt priest stereotypes.  It’s dirty, but not gory.  A great Halloween read for those who like their “evil” without too much scare.  (B+ rating)

Website | Blog | Twitter: @haloofthedamned Halo of the Damned |

Cover Reveal: The Last Degree by Dina Rae

I’m not huge on thrillers, but I adore conspiracy novels.  The dirtier the conspiracy, the more I relish it.  The Last Degree promises to be a good read and there’s a bonus!  For two days, it is FREE to download.  Nothing wrong with free, right?  Try out this book and if you like her or love her, check out her other works.  Let me say it again:

The Last Degree will be FREE July 14th & July 15th only!


Title: The Last Degree

Series: Book #1

Author: Dina Rae

Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime, Paranormal, Political, Suspense, Thriller, Christian

Publisher: Dina Rae

Ebook format only

Words: 93000

Purchase for only $1.99:  Amazon

 

Summary:

The Last Degree is a fictionalized account of how Freemasons and other secret societies set up the world for takeover. Ancient writings foretell a ‘Shining One’ who emerges as the world’s prophet. A murder of a Most Worshipful mason resembles a secret oath. A cop gets too close to solving the crime. Paranoid preppers go underground, preparing for war.

Headlines such as the Norway massacre, meltdown of the European Union, unscrupulous media, animal die-offs, Middle Eastern unrest, andU.S.shrinking power make the plot relevant to present day. This book is an ode to Christians, Birthers, 2012ers, Truthers, preppers, and/or other conspiracy junkies who enjoy Dan Brown, Jesse Ventura, Brad Meltzer, Alex Jones, Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye.

Excerpt:

Dwight took off his crown, signifying he was no longer playing King Solomon.

“Sacrifice is expected for ones that you love.  Do you love me?” Dwight shouted.  “Then bow down before me and offer praise!”

Everyone knelt and laid their head down to the floor, chanting ‘Most Worshipful,

Most Worshipful’ several times before Dwight commanded them to get up.

In a manic energetic state, Dwight vociferated, “Et vitam impendere vero!”  All repeated, with the three new pledges joining in.  Minutes later, he began to calm down.  “To sacrifice life for truth – that is what we must always do!  You must trust me as your Most Worshipful and sacrifice at my command!  Are you prepared to do this?”  All three pledges nodded.

Dwight pulled the content baby out of Arthur’s arms and threw it high into the air.  As the baby began to descend, Dwight took his sword and hacked through its neck, decapitating it before it hit the floor.  Only the three pledges shrieked in horror.  He sinisterly smiled as he picked up the head and body, revealing it was only a doll.

“Don’t believe with your eyes, but believe with your knowledge.  We are his chosen and will soon be exalted.”

The three men looked down at their hands and tried not to scream.  They were covered in blood.

“Sacrifice, my brothers, sacrifice.  I will teach you well.  You are all Chiefs of the Tabernacle!  Let us go and celebrate!” Dwight gleamed.

Check out The Last Degree Prequel as well—Be Paranoid Be Prepared!  Currently .99 cents.

 

About the Author:

Dina Rae is a new author here to stay.  As a former teacher, she brings an academic element to her work.  Her two novels, Halo of the Damned and The Last Degree, weave research and suspense throughout the plots.  Her short story, Be Paranoid Be Prepared, is a prequel of sorts to The Last Degree, focusing on the James Martin character.  Dina also freelances for various entertainment blogs.

Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside ofChicago.  She is a Christian, an avid tennis player, movie buff, and self-proclaimed expert on several conspiracy theories.  When she is not writing, she is reading novels from her favorite authors Dan Brown, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Brad Thor, George R.R. Martin, and Preston & Childs.

Find the Author:

Website | Blog |

Book Review: Wilde’s Fire by Krystal Wade

Wilde’s Fire by Krystal Wade

Publisher: Curiousity Quills Press

Available in ebook and paperback.  

Kate, her sister, and her best friend Brad camp in the woods for the first time without parents.  We find out that Kate is plagued by dreams and visions of a lover named Arland.  When she enters the portal hidden in the woods, she discovers that this dream man is real.

My love for Wilde’s Fire increased as the book progressed.  I went from desperately wanted to kill this obnoxiously happy and oblivious trio of character wandering through the woods in the first chapter to eagerly awaiting the sequel by the final chapter.  The book set up a little cliche and the characters seemed too fake, but then Kate ends up transporting through a portal and that fakeness we found out was actually FAKE, so all is forgiven for that bad start.  Hell, yeah…on to this cool new realm.  The cast of characters inside the portal world are colorful, despite the lack of sunlight and well-rounded for side characters.  Flanna is Arland’s sister and takes care of the housekeeping, cooking, and everything non-fighting related for the residents.  Considering that there are about twenty people and her only help is from some of the children, Flanna eagerly takes advantage of Kate’s offers to help with everything.  Flanna is bubbly and nosy.  She’s not above spying on her brother or Kate to find out gossip.  She’s by far my favorite character in the book.

When Kate and her love interest Arland decide to travel back to the world we know, I was like….no, please.  That world is boring and the people remind me of those in Beverly Hills, California – one dimensional.  Kate’s sister and mother weren’t nearly as developed as the rest of the cast.  Her mother especially felt like a “role” in the story rather than a real person with feelings and history.

I did like the creatures and the world created in Wilde’s Fire.  Even Brad, who I hated initially, I grew to love as I learned more about his past and personality.  I’m reluctant to say more because of spoilers.  If you can survive the first couple of boring chapters in the real world, its definitely worth checking out.

Characters 4/5

Concept 5/5

Pacing 3/5

Grammar 5/5

Ending 5/5

Summary:

“There is no pain in this death, only peace, knowing I am going to die with the one I love the most.”—Katriona Wilde.

Katriona Wilde has never wondered what it would feel like to have everything she’s ever known and loved ripped away, but she is about to find out. When she inadvertently leads her sister and best friend through a portal into a world she’s dreamed of for six years, she finds herself faced with more than just the frightening creatures in front of her.

Kate’s forced to accept a new truth: her entire life has been a lie, and those closest to her have betrayed her. What’s worse, she has no control over her new future, and it’s full of magic and horrors from which nightmares are made.

Will Kate discover and learn to control who she really is in time to save the ones she loves, or will all be lost?

Grade: B

This book will appeal to YA and Fantasy fans.

If you’re interested in purchasing this book, you can buy it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  More reviews are available at Goodreads.  Book two in the series released July 4, 2012.  Expect a review of Wilde’s Army soon.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Twenty by Claudia Carozza

The Twenty by Claudia Carozza

Publisher: Self Published

Available in ebook format (Amazon only) and paperback (Barnes & Noble only).

Between finishing a book and posting a review, I typically research what other people thought about the book.  I like to point out things that aren’t mentioned in most of the reviews, so that readers can make a more rounded decision before buying.  This time, not one of the reviews seemed to reflect at all what I read.  What I did read wasn’t at all what I expected.  I thought this would be a dystopian novel about a nurse caring for a woman who is one of few pregnant after years of national infertility.  It kind of is, but the focus isn’t on the pregnant woman or the infertility.  It’s about Hazel and her life and she just happens to be assigned to one of the pregnant women, named Elise.  The story is focused on Hazel’s innocence.  She acts like a child in a dangerous world, untouched by years of poverty and living with an alcoholic father.

I didn’t care about Hazel or her romance, because frankly I don’t like romance novels.  I like dsytopian novels and novels with conspiracies.  That’s what attracted me to this novel initially.  Between the writing level and Hazel’s attitude, I felt that this had a PG rating.  Hazel isn’t a virgin, but she doesn’t do anymore than kiss.  There is no cussing.  There’s minor violence and the bare minimum of gore (all pregnancy related).  Basically, there’s no “adult” in this adult novel.  Also, although Hazel is narrating and a nurse, there is zero medical jargon.  It cuts down on the realism factor.

And worse, the author pulled a Twilight!  Remember book two where Stephanie Meyer skips over half of Bella’s year cause she’s lost in depression?  All you get is September, October, November…Well…

July

August

September

Blank chapters that skip over most of Hazel’s interaction with Elise so that the details of pregnancy and nursing duties could be overlooked.  Instead of learning about the miracles blossoming in these women’s wombs, we get page after page of Hazel doing mundane things like eating in the cafeteria with her coworkers.  I’m really frustrated as a reader, because this book had so much potential but it felt like the author skirted around things that she wasn’t familiar with instead of researching nursing, pregnancy, and the like and producing an awesome novel.

And don’t get me started on the ending.  Cliffhanger.  Nothing is resolved.  Have to wait for part two, but I don’t think I will.

Characters 3/5

Concept 4/5

Pacing 1/5

Grammar 4/5

Ending 1/5

Summary:

Imagine living in a time when infertility runs rampant and babies are no longer being born. The world is crumbling around you as people start talking about the end. This is the world Hazel DeSales grew up in. After her mother dies from a mysterious cancer, Hazel finds herself taking care of her younger sister Netty and alcoholic father.

It’s not until twenty women, known as the Elect, become pregnant all across the Barronlands when things start looking up. Hazel and Netty apply for jobs working as domestics in the Antioch Center where the Elect will be taken care of and protected. Hazel feels change in the air and her outlook for the future starts to improve.

But she soon learns that change is not without consequence. Rumors are brewing about a government cover up and Hazel finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. So begins the unraveling of secrets that uncover things from her past and, threatening her future. Hazel is determined to seek the truth and promises herself to do whatever it takes to succeed.

Grade: D

This book will appeal to Dystopian Romance fans.

If you’re interested in purchasing this book, you can buy it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  More reviews are available at Goodreads.

I won a signed copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.