Pub Day REVIEW: Dead Flip

What a love letter to the 90’s this book is! From page one we are dripping in TGIF, arcade and Huey Lewis references. We get great 2020s rep though, our main character is Iranian and one of his best friends is queer. Maz, Cori and Sam are pre-teen besties until Sam goes missing one Halloween. They aren’t sure if he is dead or if he has been kidnapped into the pinball machine at the local convenience store. But over the years they drift apart. When Sam suddenly reappears, they must figure out exactly what happened to him and figure out how to prevent it again.

I really loved the atmosphere and vibe of this one – it was nostalgic while being equally creepy and hilarious. The friends were exactly as teens should be both painfully righteous, achingly supportive of one another and overly confident in the face of evil. Think the Goonies, Stranger Things or It kids. They band together nobly and faithfully to right the wrongs of the world and protect one another. This is definitely a quick, fun read. I wish we got a little more time with Sam and his alternate reality, there was so much to dig into there but we only scratched the surface. Sequel, maybe?

Thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for the gifted copy. All opinions above are my own.

Any new books publishing today that you’re excited for?

REVIEW: Wild Seed

I’m a huge fan of Octavia Butler and I have been trying to work my way through her back list. When I saw Wild Seed was on Kindle Unlimited, I thought it was time for me to immerse myself in The Patternist’s story. 

Butler’s dystopian stories always mirror real world issues with a bit of fantastical magic. In this story she imagines a world where magical individuals exist within the African slave population. An ancient demon of sorts, Doro is taking advantage of the ills of the world by forcefully breeding people together who have skills that he wants to propagate. When he comes upon an immortal woman he is intrigued by her and her magic. We get a dance between the two through the centuries as they get to know one another, become lovers, partners and then adversaries.

The first third of this book was intoxicating. I was so drawn into this reimagining of the colonial world. Doro and Anyanwu and their various powers. But somewhere along the line this one really lost the thread and plot. I’m sad because I really wanted to dive into the series but the last half was just talking about hating each other and loving each other and destroying one another’s legacies. But not in a fun revengey way or an empowering way. It was just a bit too meandering for my taste.

Have you read Octavia Butler? If so, what’s your favorite of hers?

REVIEW: Emergency Contact

“I’m happy to know you exist. And even though I feel like I screwed things up, I thought I’d let you know. And also to remind you that I exist also.”

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Oh be still my heart. I am not one to gush over a book, especially romance. But I just loved Penny and Sam. They become unlikely friends with a nice slow burn growing into something more in the most respectful and sweet way. They have fabulous banter and the whole thing was just a joy to read. I really loved that they kept their friendship private and untouched by their nosy friends. The purity and kindness which they showed one another throughout their individual ups and downs without any need for reciprocity was lovely. They challenged each other in the best ways and when they did start to fall, they were cute and age appropriate. 

I also really loved Penny’s story within the story and the insight into a writer’s life. I really resonated with both characters anxiety, quirky way of communicating and parental issues. In a nutshell, this book made teenage me feel seen and adult me felt nostalgic about it. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐

This one I read through the Riveted by Simon Teen Free Reads monthly program. Such a cool way to get backlist books some attention. Have you signed up for their list? All opinions above are my own.

Have you ever just wanted to hug a book? (Anyone who knows me knows I’m anti-hugs in real life, so that’s how much I loved this one!)

REVIEW: What Jonah Knew

Jonah is a child who was born after a local musician goes missing. He is haunted with night terrors and often says strange things a child wouldn’t even so much as claiming his mother is not really his mother. His family crosses paths with the family of the missing man and he recognizes his dog and his “other” mom. How much can they press the young boy to help them find the missing man and what happened to him.

This is one of those books that I’m not sure how to rate and I’m not really sure what I thought about it. This is labelled as a thriller and I don’t think it met that criteria at all. The pacing was unbelievably slow so I’m not sure what part was the thriller part. Also none of the characters were very likable or even interesting. I liked the premise but just didn’t vibe with the way the story was told. 

Just because I didn’t love this one doesn’t mean you won’t, so if you like unusual crime stories, then check this one out.

Thanks to Harper Paperbacks for the gifted copy. All opinions above are my own.

What’s the last book you read but weren’t quite sure how you felt about it when you were finished?

REVIEW: The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

Mercy is an undertaker’s daughter who is more involved in the business than a woman in this world should be. Hart is a marshal who hunts drudges, undead people with no soul. The two regularly interact when Hart drops off bodies and they have always had a contentious relationship. When Hart writes a letter he never means to get sent, it ends up in her hands and she writes back. The two learn they really like the person on the other end of the pen but do not know who that person is. Drama and heartache ensues.

Ok, so this one is just You’ve Got Mail in a fantasy world. It’s the exact same plot of enemies to lovers with a series of anonymous notes where the two fall in love, only one realizes the truth and tries to get the other to fall in love with them for real. Minus 2 stars for originality there. The fantasy world was super unique and fun and I always love stories about death and zombies so I’m giving back half a star for the twisted world of zombies and lost souls. ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

I listened to this one via Libro.FM’s ALC influencer program, so thanks to them for the gifted access. All opinions above are my own.

Do you have an idea of what you want for your funeral? Burial, Cremation? Happy party? Sad wake?

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Pub Day REVIEW: The Witches of Moonshyne Manor

This is such a fun, witchy romp with great representation with characters of all ages, races and LGBTQIA+ categories.  The Witches of Moonshyne Manor are a fabulous found family of senior witches who are about to lose their home. Several spoilery circumstances leave them scrambling for a lost treasure, one that cost them quite a bit to procure in the first place. We flashback in time from the present, where the mayor’s daughter is helping them fight off the bank and into the past on the night of the treasure heist when their lives took a bit of a turn. 

There’s lots of fun magic, whimsical games of fire, reading of tea leaves and potions calling for unique ingredients like unicorn urine and the eyelash of a ruling English monarch. The “sisters” are all women who have had less than stellar circumstances and were drawn to the manor and to one another to form a stronger unit. The “sisters” squabble and certainly make some stumbles along the way as they each interpret the best way forward for the group but in the end they fight fiercely for one another and their home.

I did this one on audio and the narrator was fabulous at pulling me into the story and keeping me on the edge of my seat.

Thanks to Netgalley for advanced access to this novel. All opinions above are my own.

Any books publishing today that you’re excited for?

REVIEW: Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

“No, you’ll never die and if you ever died, I’d just start the game again.”

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“The boredom you speak of… It is what most of us call happiness.”

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“Sometimes, I would be in so much pain. The only thing that kept me from wanting to die was the fact that I could leave my body and be in a body that worked perfectly for a while – better than perfectly, actually- with a set of problems that were not my own.”

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Imperfectly perfect.That’s how I’d describe Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, Sam and Sadie start out as two imperfect teens and live messy lives both just hoping to get it “right.” Their journey through friendship and video games teaches them that there is no “right” path, just the one you took. 

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“Lovers are… common… true collaborators in this life are rare.”

This book will probe your heart deeply. You will feel so many feelings for Sadie and Sam, both dealing with sadness, pain and tragedy – trying to escape their lives in fantasy worlds of their own making. Their games sound so fun and entertaining while their lives sound like exactly what you’d want to escape. And yet, you can see so clearly the ways they could change their path and choose not to. This was one of those books I didn’t want to end. I want a sequel or a TV series or something that lets me live with these characters a little longer. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐

Thanks to Knopf Publishing via Netgalley and Libro.FM for advanced access to this novel. I did go on to purchase a copy. All opinions above are my own.

What’s your favorite game?

REVIEW: Wild is the Witch

Iris is a young witch who has not learned her lesson about the risks of magic. Even though she ran afoul of the witches council before, in a moment of anger and frustration she crafts a curse she never means to cast. Unfortunately for her, an owl becomes the unwitting recipient of the curse. Now she must track down the owl before the annoying, witch-hating, yet handsome boy interning at her family’s animal refuge is hit with said curse. Oh, and the solution is that she go with that boy on an expedition through the woods to find the owl.

This one is an angsty, enemies to lovers (PG-style) witch story where we get a bit of a whiny, entitled girl who is learning the very hard way to be true to herself. I’m not sure if it was how the narrator read it or how it was written how young and immature the MC was. Her choices bothered me a lot. The transition from disliking Pike immensely to drooling over him was too quick for me. That said, the magic, nature and expedition were all fun. The ending was also a bit unexpected based on where I thought the story was going. 

Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley for access to this audiobook. All opinions above are my own.

What’s your favorite book about witches?

REVIEW: Dead Sea Conspiracy

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a Jerry B Jenkins book but I’ve always enjoyed his writing. Dead Sea Conspiracy is no exception. It has rich characters, a fast paced plot and is deeply researched and respectful in its religious and historical references. 

Nicole is an archeologist who has gotten permission for a dig in Saudi Arabia under somewhat false pretenses. She claims to be looking for some local historical sites to rival Petra but in truth she is looking for the history of biblical Abraham with a hope to confirm which Abrahamic religion has the truth at its heart. We get two timelines – one modern where the dig is occurring and Nicole is embroiled in figuring out who is responsible for her mother’s death and one in the Kingdom of Nimrod with Terah, the father of Abraham, who is coming to know the one true God. Here we not only get Abraham’s story but also Noah’s and the Tower of Babel.

Rarely in a dual timeline book am I equally invested in both timelines, but this one was an exception. I really liked the science of the modern dig balanced with the historical fiction of ancient times. The biblical aspects were reminiscent of the Left Behind series, which I loved and the archeology/modern thriller reminded me of Clive Cussler, of which I am a huge fan. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thanks to JustRead Publicity Tours and Worthy Publishing for the gifted digital copy. All opinions above are my own.

There’s a tour-wide giveaway for this book if you’re interested go here to enter: https://justreadtours.com/2022/08/16/welcome-to-the-dead-sea-conspiracy-blog-tour-giveaway/

If you had the chance to go on an archeology dig, would you be interested?

REVIEW: Dark and Shallow Lies

In a small bayou village a group of children was born and they have spent their lives enmeshed. Grey and Elora were born on the same day and have always had an extra special bond so when Elora goes missing, Grey can’t cope until she figures out what happened to her friend. The town is unique in that many of its residents have psychic abilities so our story has some magical overtones. Grey must figure out was Elora a victim of the mystical monster the rougarou or something much more real and sinister?

I really liked Grey and her peers. The setting was so dark and atmospheric. The balance of creepy to mystery was done really well. There are a lot of secrets in the town and they are revealed and come together nicely. I just think this one could have been 100 pages shorter and packed just as much punch. ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Have you ever been to Louisiana? What did you think of it? If you haven’t been, would you like to?