Thursday, September 29, 2016

*Review* Crushed by Ginna Moran

Genre: YA Paranormal
Published: September 29, 2016
Pages: 350


After discovering a life-altering secret that brings her closer to Hell than ever, seventeen-year-old Cami Anders must adjust to a new life full of possibilities she never imagined. 

Giving up a life on the run in exchange for protection from the Hunter’s Alliance was an easy decision for Cami to make. Training with the best hunters guarantees that she will soon have the strength to defeat the demon who killed her parents. The only problem? She might not have a chance to reach her full potential as more secrets come to light, threatening to unravel everything she’s fought for. 

Finding her life in more danger than ever, Cami makes an unthinkable deal that sends her life spiraling down a path straight toward evil. One wrong step means she could lose not only her life but also her soul. Is Cami strong enough to resist the darkness or is she destined for Hell?


I was hired to proofread this book. The only aspects of the story that I influenced were the spelling and grammar. If you feel that my connection to the book makes my review untrustworthy, so be it, but this is my honest review.

This book inspired some very strong emotions in me, mostly hate, and I don't use that word lightly. There was a lot of injustice for Cami, based purely on elements of herself from birth; things that are completely out of her control. In addition to that, The Hunter's Alliance seems to be a rather corrupt organization, and that angers me too. Honestly, I drew a few parallels between the story and actual real life current events, which just left me feeling more anger. 

This book added some more intrigue to Cami's life. We learn more about her family life that is kind of sad. That only contributed to my strong emotional response.

In the end, I feel like this book is leading to a major shift in the status quo. I'm sure there will be some big changes on the horizon.

Overall I give Crushed 4.5 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

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About the Author

Ginna Moran is a writer living in Austin, Texas but originally from Southern California. She started writing poetry as a teenager in a spiral notebook that she still has tucked away on her desk today. Her love of writing grew after she graduated high school and she completed her first unpublished manuscript at age eighteen.

When she realized her love of writing was her life's passion, she studied literature at Mira Costa College in Northern San Diego. Besides writing novels, she was senior editor, content manager, and image coordinator for Crescent House Publishing Inc. for four years.

Aside from Ginna's professional life, she enjoys binge watching television shows, playing pretend with her daughter, and cuddling with her dogs. Some of her favorite things include chocolate, anything that glitters, cheesy jokes, and organizing her bookshelf.

Ginna Moran loves to hear from readers so visit her online at You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. If you loved her novels, leave a positive review online for fellow readers. 

Ginna Moran is currently hard at work on her next novel.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

*Review* Californium by R. Dean Johnson

Genre: YA Fiction
Published: July 19, 2016
Pages: 352


A coming-of-age crossover novel about growing up, selling out, and fitting in.
     It's late summer 1982 when the Houghton family uproots from Paterson, New Jersey and moves to Yorba Linda, California—the self-anointed "Land of Gracious Living." Fourteen year-old Reece is trying his best to believe his family has come to California for the opportunities it affords and not to outrun a shared family secret, but he's beginning to realize that even his heroes have flaws, everybody lies, and starting a band may be his only chance at salvation.
      With a bullhorn, a borrowed guitar, and his new best friends—Keith, a know-it-all who knows very little; and Treat, a mohawked kid obsessed with obscure albums—Reece starts a punk group of his own.
      While Reece's relationship with his parents suffers under the strain of new jobs, new friends, new crushes, and old secrets, his confidence soars. Even without a gig or a song they can play the same way twice, the buzz about the band is swirling, and it's not until the night of the band's first gig that Reece will fully understand how much of his new home is authentic, how much is artificial, and how some things, like the chemical element Californium, can be both at the same time.


I received a copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.

For some reason I had it in my head that this book was set 10-15 years before it is, so there was a bit of a social disconnect for me for a while, until I went and read the blurb again. Things started to make a little more sense then. It was a little surreal for me reading something that really qualifies as historical fiction (in my opinion) that is set at a time when I almost existed. Surely I can't be that old right?

I wanted to like this book. I wanted to be sucked into it and not let go. Neither of those things happened for me. I would have been fine letting my loan expire without finishing it, except that I don't like not finishing books. It wasn't bad, but it was just kind of meh for me. Almost like a boring Dazed and Confused.

There were some questions that I did kind of want to know the answers to, and I am glad I finished the book and got those answers, or at least started on the path towards them, but it wasn't anything that I wanted to know so badly that I stayed up all night just to keep reading.

Overall I give Californium 3 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

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About the Author

I haven't been R Dean Johnson my whole life. My parents named me Robert Dean Johnson, Jr. They called me Bobby. Everyone did until high school when I graduated to Bob. It felt mature, so I went with it. Who doesn't like a guy named Bob Johnson? It's a fine name up until the point you think you might want to be a writer.

I didn't know I'd want to become a writer. In fact, I started college at Cal Poly Pomona as an engineering major who wrote stories rather than doing his physics homework, graduated as a business major who wrote really plot-heavy stories about people who didn't like their jobs as business people, and left an ad agency job in Irvine, CA after four years to go back to school and learn more about writing stories. Good ones. 

It wasn't until a brief stint in the MFA program at the University of Alabama that I discovered my namesake, The Robert Johnson. The guy whose name is synonymous with the Delta Blues. The guy who may or may not have sold his soul to the Devil at the crossroads and suddenly started doing things with a guitar unlike anyone else. The guy who died young and mysteriously. How can some kid from Anaheim (yes, home to Disneyland) compete with a guy that dangerous? A guy that cool? Well, I can't. And frankly. publishing anything as Bob Johnson sounds about as real to me as John Doe or Anonymous. So, I have two early publications as Robert Johnson, Jr., and the bulk of my work appears under the name, R. Dean Johnson. 

I hold an MA in English from Kansas State University (Wildcats, not Jayhawks). After that brief stint at Alabama, I went on to earn an MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University (Sun Devils, not Wildcats).  

After teaching stops at Prescott College (AZ), Yavapai College (AZ), Cameron University (OK), and Gotham Writers Workshop (NY), I am now an Associate Professor at Eastern Kentucky University where I teach fiction and creative nonfiction in our low res MFA program, Bluegrass Writers Studio. 

All that, but I'm still just Bob. The guys on my softball team call me Bob. My undergrad and graduate students call me Bob. My wife, the writer Julie Hensley, calls me Bob. Even my kids (7 and 3) sometimes call me Bob. Pleased to meet you, I'm Bob.

*Review* Crossroads by Mary Ting

Genre: YA Paranormal
Published: April 6, 2011
Pages: 295


Can two worlds collide in dreams? 

Protecting her from the fallen was his duty.
Falling in love was never part of his plan.
Loving her was forbidden.
Being with her was all that mattered, even if it meant he would be exiled for all eternity. 

Claudia Emerson's life is about to change when her good friend, who coincidentally shares the same first and last name, dies in a tragic accident. Distraught at the loss of her friend, Claudia's dreams become tumultuous, and through them she mysteriously travels to another world called Crossroads. There, she unexpectedly meets Michael, a nephilim--half angel, half human. Now that she's been there, fallen and demons are after her, suspecting she must be special, and it is up to Michael and the other nephilim to protect her. Her dream becomes a nightmare as more secrets are revealed about who she really is, and the true identities of the people she loves most.


I was hired to proofread this book. The only aspects of the story that I influenced were spelling and grammar. If you feel that my connection to the book makes my review untrustworthy, so be it, but this is my honest review.

This is the first book in the series and should have been the first one I read, but it wasn't. In spite of knowing ultimately how things would end, I was still intrigued by the story. It really helped to build the depth of character for many of the characters that I already feel intimately familiar with. And although future books in the series do a pretty good job of explaining the basic rules that apply to angels in this world, Crossroads does it in more depth so that it makes a little more sense. While I can say that it's not absolutely necessary to read the books in order, I would definitely recommend it.

This book had a little bit of everything; action, romance, mystery, but mostly action and romance. I did find myself sort of wishing that Claudia would consider another love interest (and that's with knowing how things turn out down the road!) 

Overall I give Crossroads 4 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

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About the Author

International Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children's chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

Ways to keep in touch with the author:

Newsletter Updates:

Twitter: @maryting

*Review* Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Genre: Contemporary YA
Published: September 1, 2015
Pages: 310


My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.


I listened to the audiobook version of this book. Like most audiobooks I've listened to, I felt like the opposite gendered voices seemed like caricatures. They didn't see a lot of use though, so my annoyance was minimal. Additionally, about half the time Olly was "talking" it was through emails and voiced by a male narrator.

This story hooked me, but also made me feel a little bit like I was listening to Me Before You as told through the eyes of Will (if he had wanted to live). The stories are completely different, with completely different medical issues, but the feelings of the stories were similar to me.

I wanted to know what would happen between Madeline and Olly, or if anything would happen. While it's easy to accept her falling for him, it's not quite so easy to accept him falling for her. Under the circumstances in the story, I was able to accept it, but I had to do a fair bit of rationalizing in my head for it.

I was pretty surprised by the ending, although I probably should have seen it coming (and I think a small part of me did, maybe). It did piss me off though.

Overall I give Everything, Everything 4 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

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About the Author

Nicola Yoon grew up in Jamaica (the island) and Brooklyn (part of Long Island). She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and daughter, both of whom she loves beyond all reason. You can find her at and on twitter and tumblr @NicolaYoon

*Review* A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published: August 27, 2012
Pages: 337


A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.


I read this book for my September book club meeting. I read it early so that I could loan my copy to another member. That is really the only reason I have finished it already. 

This book got off to a slow start for me and I really don't like Ove. He has apparently been a bitter old man since the day he was born. That's rather hard for me to relate to. There were times when I felt sorry for him though.

About halfway through the book I finally started to get interested in the story. i wanted to see if Ove would succeed in his mission, or if he would continue to be foiled by others. At about the same time, we started to really see more of Ove's depth, getting underneath his bitter old man exterior which made it so that I wanted him to succeed less and less.

In the end the book managed to yank a few tears straight from my eyes, so you may want to have some tissues handy.

Overall I give A Man Called Ove 4 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

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*Review* The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn

Genre: YA/Thriller
Published: August 2, 2016
Pages: 248


Sometimes the greater good requires the smaller evil.
17-year-old Arman Dukoff is struggling with severe anxiety and a history of self-loathing when he arrives at an expensive self-help retreat in the remote hills of Big Sur. He’s taken a huge risk—and two-thousand dollars from his meth-head stepfather—for a chance to "evolve," as Beau, the retreat leader, says. 

Beau is complicated. A father figure? A cult leader? A con man? Arman's not sure, but more than anyone he's ever met, Beau makes Arman feel something other than what he usually feels—worthless.

The retreat compound is secluded in coastal California mountains among towering redwoods, and when the iron gates close behind him, Arman believes for a moment that he can get better. But the program is a blur of jargon, bizarre rituals, and incomprehensible encounters with a beautiful girl. Arman is certain he's failing everything. But Beau disagrees; he thinks Arman has a bright future—though he never says at what.

And then, in an instant Arman can't believe or totally recall, Beau is gone. Suicide? Or murder? Arman was the only witness and now the compound is getting tense. And maybe dangerous.

As the mysteries and paradoxes multiply and the hints become accusations, Arman must rely on the person he's always trusted the least: himself.


I received a copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.

This book was confusing, but it's supposed to be, I think. We see basically the whole story from Arman's perspective, and he is kept in the dark for a reason. That reason may or may not be revealed in the end (honestly, I still have some questions which makes this a bit of a choose your own ending kind of story, except the choices are endless because they're all in your head.) 

This book took me straight into the heart of a cult, and it's very clear that's what it's about (the only thing that is absolutely clear about this book is that it's about a cult in fact.) As a fairly self-assured thirty-two year old woman, I have a hard time understanding how people could get sucked into a cult, but through the eyes of Arman, it makes a lot of sense. I found myself kind of wanting to be part of it all too.

I felt connected to Arman and really feel like I understand as much about him as any teenager trying to figure out who they are understands about themselves. 

Overall I give The Smaller Evil 4 out of 5 stars because it kept me intrigued until the end. - Katie 

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About the Author

Stephanie Kuehn holds degrees in linguistics and sport psychology, as well as a doctorate in clinical psychology. Her debut young adult novel, CHARM & STRANGE, was the winner of the 2014 William C. Morris Debut YA Award, and her second novel for teens, COMPLICIT, was named to YALSA's 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults list. Stephanie was also awarded the 2015 PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship for her forthcoming novel, THE PRAGMATIST, and her most recent book, DELICATE MONSTERS, has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Stephanie lives in Northern California with her husband, their three children, and a joyful abundance of pets.

*Review* The Scrapyard Man by S.H. Richardson

Genre: Romance
Published: September 4, 2016
Pages: 182


Dramatic. Hyper sensitive. Emotional. I know what they say about me. But I don’t give a shit. Buck taught me to never be ashamed of who I am, to never hide my true nature, and I will be respected for it. My kindness is often mistaken for weakness. I use that to my advantage. Mother and Aunt Enid rely on me to take care of them, even though they don’t see me as a capable man, one who can take care of himself. They are wrong. Buck was the one person who saw my true nature and harnessed it in order to maximize my strengths and hone my skills. He knew the real me, what I’m capable of. But he’s gone now, and I’m left searching for someone to believe in me. 

What a difference a few months can make. My sister Clover found the love of her life in Range. I couldn’t be happier for them. The men who live at Buck’s Junkyard have become my second family, my brothers. But I want more from one of them. He’s sweet and kind, maybe too kind to give me what I need, but our bond of friendship is solid. I long for a savage beast that can take my body to heights unknown and never let me fall, not a shy worrywart that’s afraid to take what he wants. I want my hero to be more than just a sandwich, even if I have to force him to make the move we both want.

While helping Sebastian grieve the loss of the only father figure he’s ever known, Ashley catches the eye of a dangerous deviant hell-bent on having her for himself. With the lives of their women at stake, Sebastian and the other Junkyard Boys set aside their differences and fight together to save the women they love.

My husband looks like a creep in this photo.


I was hired to proofread this book. The only aspects of the story that I influenced were the spelling and grammar. If you feel that my connection with the book makes my review untrustworthy, so be it, but this is my honest review.

This is the second book in a series, but the first one that I've read. While it's very possible that I would have had a better understanding of some of the characters actions if I had read The Junkyard Boys first, I don't think doing so is absolutely necessary. I didn't feel completely lost at any point, or like there were inside jokes going over my head because I hadn't been introduced to them. So while it's probably advisable to read the series in order, I don't think it's necessary to enjoy this book. 

I do not really care for motorcycle club romances, and while the junkyard boys are not a motorcycle club, they act a lot like one, so I had a difficult time really enjoying this book because of that aspect.

I did enjoy the interactions between the characters. It was really obvious that they all care for each other and have each others backs. I particularly liked seeing Ashley ribbing Sebastian all the time. Their flirtation was cute. 

What I didn't enjoy in the story was the dominant alpha male attitudes, but that is what typically turns me off of MC romances too, so it's not surprising that I wouldn't enjoy it here. If you like dominant alpha males, you will very likely like these men. I just don't. 

Overall I give The Scrapyard Man 3 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

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*Review* Entwined Souls by Michele Gantz

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Published: September 6, 2016
Pages: 100


Amia Grace has always escaped into the abandoned graveyard to write, no clue why she’s drawn here of all places. Lately, it’s the only place that the feeling of being watched doesn’t overwhelm her. Everything in her life on track, until she meets Gage McGavin. 

There’s something about him that creates a riot of emotions that Amia can’t quite place her finger on.  One moment she wants him, the next she wants to run scared. 

Gage only wants Amia for one reason. Her power. He knows that she’s more than just a writer. More than just a girl. She’s the future, and he plans on controlling that. 

Until his brother enters the picture. Hunter has a goal of his own.  Amia will be his. 

What do you do when your soul isn't completely your own?


I was hired to proofread this book. The only aspects of the book that I influenced were spelling and grammar. If you feel that my connection with the book makes my review untrustworthy, so be it, but this is my honest review.

I felt like this book was a fresh take on the vampire romance sub-genre, although it was also reminiscent of The Vampire Diaries in a way. Gantt's vampire lore includes elements I've never encountered before, but they definitely make a certain amount of sense. 

I was intrigued by the story and wanted to keep reading, even after it was over. The story was gripping with just enough mystery to keep me guessing. The characters were well rounded and sufficiently flawed to seem real.

There were a couple aspects of the story that just did not make sense to me though, but they were fairly minor details and not really a big deal in the whole scheme of things.

Overall I give Entwined Souls 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was a very solid debut. - Katie 

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About the Author

In my time on this Earth, I have always been intrigued by the written word. As a child, I was always a strong reader. As I grew older, I found other hobbies, that was until I was introduced to Edward Cullen, yes, I was a Twihard! I loved the Twilight Saga very much and opened my eyes back to the Young Adult book world. I was ravenous again, reading any YA book I could get my hands on.

This eventually lead to the inevitable right? Fifty Shades of Grey entered my world, and while I, like many, enjoyed it. But I was left thinking, wow, the romance genre really has changed, and I like it!! I began paging through Amazon desperately searching for books. Then I discovered book blogs and my world was done.

I eventually became a reviewer for a blog, and couldn’t have been more thrilled. I discovered a love within myself for dark, dangerous antiheroes that could be found within the pages of books. This amazing indie book world introduced me to some of my now best friends, opened my eyes to amazing authors, and has turned into a career that I know love.

After reviewing for another blog and helping with blogging duties, I craved running my own blog, and with the help of some of the most amazing women, we created #Minxes Love Books. Silly name as it may seem, we had fallen in love with Jaimie Roberts writing, and we were known for creating funny hashtags in her street team. She began calling us her #Minxes, so we KNEW when we started a blog, that it just had to be that! We have grown a following and love what we do!!

Now, join me as I enter into the world of authorship. I honestly cannot wait to share this story as these characters have been screaming in my head for years for me to tell their story.

*Review* You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

Genre: Memoir
Published: August 11, 2015
Pages: 260


From online entertainment mogul, actress, and “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, a funny, quirky, and inspiring memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to Internet-stardom, and embracing her individuality to find success in Hollywood.

The Internet isn’t all cat videos. There’s also Felicia Day—violinist, filmmaker, Internet entrepreneur, compulsive gamer, hoagie specialist, and former lonely homeschooled girl who overcame her isolated childhood to become the ruler of a new world... or at least semi-influential in the world of Internet Geeks and Goodreads book clubs.

After growing up in the south where she was "home-schooled for hippie reasons", Felicia moved to Hollywood to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and was immediately typecast as a crazy cat-lady secretary. But Felicia’s misadventures in Hollywood led her to produce her own web series, own her own production company, and become an Internet star.

Felicia’s short-ish life and her rags-to-riches rise to Internet fame launched her career as one of the most influential creators in new media. Now, Felicia’s strange world is filled with thoughts on creativity, video games, and a dash of mild feminist activism—just like her memoir.

Hilarious and inspirational, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is proof that everyone should embrace what makes them different and be brave enough to share it with the world, because anything is possible now—even for a digital misfit.


I listened to the audiobook version of this book, it is narrated by the author, which was a major selling point for it for me.

So I don't really know who Felicia Day is, but became intrigued by the book when I wrote my Joood's Review on it, for Joood. I'm not normally interested in memoirs written by people I've never heard of, but the blurb for this book intrigued me. I was not disappointed, and actually want to watch The Guild now after listening to the memoir.

My amusement with the story started early on, and was due in large part to my Joood's Review. There's a section where Felicia Day talks about being bestie with a guy because they stood almost next to each other once, which is very similar to "Joood's" claim that she and Felicia are BFF's because they met once. (Joood even thought that I had read the book before writing her review because of that line.) 

Then there was the part of the book where I realized that I am Felicia's mom (not really because she's older than I am). However, my approach to homeschooling my children, up to this point, has been much like her mother's approach to homeschooling her. That shamed me, and I will be doing better (although Felicia turned out pretty awesome, it seems, so maybe it wasn't so bad after all.) 

I could honestly recommend this book to anyone who is mildly interested in gaming culture, particularly RPG's, or who are maybe just a bit on the introverted and awkward side. I laughed, a lot, and familiarity with Actress Felicia Day was not necessary for my amusement. Also, you should really spring for the audiobook. It's worth it. 

Overall I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

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About the Author

Felicia Day is a professional actress who has appeared in numerous mainstream television shows and films, including a two-season arc on the SyFy series Eureka. She is currently recurring on The CW show Supernatural. However, Day is best known for her work in the web video world, behind and in front of the camera. She co-starred in Joss Whedon’s Emmy Award-winning Internet musical, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. She also created and starred in the hit web series The Guild, which ran for six seasons and is currently available for viewing on every major digital outlet, including Netflix.

In 2012, she launched a YouTube channel called Geek & Sundry. The network has garnered more than 1.3 million subscribers to date and more than 200 million views. In 2014, the company was purchased by Legendary Entertainment. Day continues to act as CCO and develop web content and television projects with Legendary as a producer, writer, and performer. She is also extremely active on social media, has over 2.3 million Twitter followers, and is the eighth most followed person on Goodreads, where she is also the founder of Vaginal Fantasy, a romance and fantasy book club with more than 13,000 members.

*Review* Locke & Key by Joe Hill

Genre: Horror (Audiobook)
Published: October 5, 2015
Length: 13 hours, 26 minutes


Based on the best-selling, award-winning graphic novel series Locke & Key - written by acclaimed suspense novelist Joe Hill (NOS4A2Horns) and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez - this multi-cast, fully dramatized audio production brings the images and words to life. 

A brutal and tragic event drives the Locke family from their home in California to the relative safety of their ancestral estate in Lovecraft, Massachusetts, an old house with powerful keys and fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. As siblings Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode Locke discover the secrets of the old house, they also find that it's home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all.... 

Featuring performances by Haley Joel Osment (EntourageThe Sixth Sense), Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Kate Mulgrew (Orange Is the New BlackStar Trek: Voyager), Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez, and Stephen King (The Stand11-22-63), as well as a cast of more than 50 voice actors, this audio production preserves the heart-stopping impact of the graphic novel's astounding artwork through the use of richly imagined sound design and a powerful original score.


I listened to the audiobook version of this book (because it was either that or read graphic novels, and I'm not fond of graphic novels.) 

As a proclaimed fan of Stephen King, I've had several people recommend Joe Hill to me as an author I need to read. I've been meaning to try him out for a while now because of that, so when I got the promotion to download this audiobook for free, I jumped on it.

Locke & Key does not have much narration, and most of the narration it does have is more like stage directions. So I really only got descriptions of things from the characters dialogue, and those descriptions were minimal. Based on reviews that I skimmed after I finished listening, the audiobook is better if you're already familiar with the graphic novels, because you will have seen the people and places that way. I didn't really feel like I was missing out on much though, and I haven't read the graphic novels, I just had a lot more leeway for the pictures in my head. It's possible that what I imagined is nothing like the graphic novels, but I had clear pictures in my head nonetheless. 

This book has a full cast for the voices, so they are all different and there are no caricatures (like I often complain about for single narrator audiobooks). There were two secondary characters that I had trouble keeping straight, but their roles in the story were fairly minor in the whole scheme of things (although I likely wouldn't have had that issue if I were familiar with the graphic novels). 

Overall I give Locke & Key 5 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

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*Review* Riverkeep by Martin Stewart

Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: July 26, 2016
Pages: 408


The Danék is a wild, treacherous river, and the Fobisher family has tended it for generations—clearing it of ice and weed, making sure boats can get through, and fishing corpses from its bleak depths. Wulliam’s father, the current Riverkeep, is proud of this work. Wull dreads it. And in one week, when he comes of age, he will have to take over.

Then the unthinkable happens. While recovering a drowned man, Wull’s father is pulled under—and when he emerges, he is no longer himself. A dark spirit possesses him, devouring him from the inside. In an instant, Wull is Riverkeep. And he must care for his father, too.

When he hears that a cure for his father lurks in the belly of a great sea-dwelling beast known as the mormorach, he embarks on an epic journey down the river that his family has so long protected—but never explored. Along the way, he faces death in any number of ways, meets people and creatures touched by magic and madness and alchemy, and finds courage he never knew he possessed.

I told my daughter this pic was being posted on my blog. She said, "Don't hashtag it." She's 5 y'all. 


I received a copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.

This book was a bit weird and took a little while for me to get into. I'm still not sure I fully understand the job of the Riverkeep, although he wasn't really doing it for most of the book, so that is part of my lack of understanding. And yet, I feel like what he did do could be considered part of his job in the end, because he was ultimately protecting the river, I think.

I had a hard time relating to Wulliam, but that's partially because I can't see myself doing all the brave things he did for complete strangers. I'm just not that noble.

There was a lot of crazy stuff that happened, things almost beyond imagining, but it's fantasy so that is to be expected. I would definitely be interested in reading more books set in this world. I think Tillinghast could definitely be an interesting character to follow more closely.

Overall I give Riverkeep 4.5 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

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*Review* His Dark Canvas by Alexandrea Weis

Genre: Erotica
Published: August 29, 2016
Pages: 252


Ella Winston is a talented chef with a problem--the slightest touch can reveal anyone’s darkest secrets. 

Hired to cook for the artist, Ren Plancharde, she struggles to keep her ability under wraps. 

After accidently uncovering Ren’s underground activities, the eccentric painter offers Ella a glimpse into his world of pleasure and pain. Intrigued, he decides to make Ella a part of his sinister Corde Noire Society, but his chef isn’t quite ready to commit. 

Absolute submission isn’t all Ren wants from the stubborn woman. He has big plans for her gift, too. The only question is … will Ella be willing to give in to his desires when the time comes?

The darkness within can hide a lifetime of secrets.


I was hired to proofread this book. The only aspects of the story that I influenced were the spelling and grammar. If you feel that my connection to it makes my review untrustworthy, so be it, but this is my honest review.

I have been with this series since the beginning and this was the story I was most interested in reading. Ren Planchard absolutely intrigued me in Dark Perception and Dark Attraction, and I wanted to know more about him. 

His Dark Canvas actually ended up disappointing me though, in a way, because it made me almost hate Ren, and I didn't think that was possible. He certainly turned out not to be the man I thought he was from our previous encounters. 

I think Ella may be my favorite Weis character to date though. She's a bit of a firecracker, but also a little timid under certain circumstances. 

Overall I give His Dark Canvas 4 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

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About the Author

Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans. 

*Review* Outlaw Cowboy by Nicole Helm

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: May 3, 2016
Pages: 320


Ever since his father’s accident, Caleb Shaw vowed he’d mend his wild ways, and he means to keep his word. He’s a changed man. A better man. And he knows he should want absolutely nothing to do with his crazy old life…or the maddening temptation that is Delia Rogers.

Because Delia? Is nothing but trouble.

Delia’s been stealing her sisters away from their violent father ever since she was old enough to fight back. But now with the police on her trail and all her bridges burned, there’s nowhere left to run but back into the arms of the one cowboy she knows she shouldn’t need. Caleb has always been too good for her, no matter how bad he claimed to be. Yet when close quarters turn into something more, Delia and Caleb are forced to decide what really matters: mending their reputations or healing their wary hearts…


I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program in the hopes that I would leave an honest review. 

I don't read a lot of contemporary romance, I'm not a huge fan of the standard formula for romance in general, and when it doesn't come paired with either historical or paranormal elements, I find it a bit tedious. That was absolutely the case for me with Outlaw Cowboy in the beginning. There was a whole lot of "just tell each other what's going on and everything will be fine" going on and it annoyed me, a lot. 

Once one of the pair spilled their beans and laid their cards on the table (hello mixed metaphors!), things became a lot more intriguing and a lot less annoying. That was the point where I found myself finally enjoying the story and actually wanting to keep reading. There were a few times toward the end where I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation even, waiting and hoping for the ending I think we all expect from romance.

Overall I give Outlaw Cowboy 3.5 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

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About the Author

Nicole Helm grew up with her nose in a book and a dream of becoming a writer. Luckily, after a few failed career choices, a husband, and two kids, she gets to pursue that dream. She writes down-to-earth contemporary romance.

Nicole lives in Missouri with her husband and two sons. She's slightly (okay, totally) addicted to Twitter (@nicolethelm), the St. Louis Cardinals, and someday owning a barn.

You can contact her via email: or visit her website:

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