“You have more power than you know, Samantha. You just have to be brave enough to realize it.” – How to Hang a Witch, Adriana Mather
Spooky, engaging and intense. I love how the story juxtaposed the Salem witch trials to modern day bullying and vilification. The author herself is a descendant of Witch prosecutor Cotton Mather which also added extra dimension to the story. This story is filled with witchcraft, ghost and strong underlying moral themes of kindness and compassion. Although I felt the ending was somewhat rushed and the love story was moderately interesting, it is the snippets of clues about the witch trial mystery and history that kept me reading. It was an interesting and fast-paced read which I would recommend to readers that enjoys thrillers with a side of supernatural.
It’s the Salem Witch Trials meets Mean Girls in a debut novel from one of the descendants of Cotton Mather, where the trials of high school start to feel like a modern day witch hunt for a teen with all the wrong connections to Salem’s past.
Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?
If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.
Thank you to Walker Books for the opportunity to review this book.
The Selection Series by Kiera Cass is one that was really enjoyed by us!!! From beginning to end, it was a series we were so captivated by. Here are our thoughts on the series…
I was given these books as a birthday gift from my friend Amanda who highly recommended the series to me and told me to “embrace the cheese”.. Embrace the cheese I did!!! I have to say I really enjoyed this series from beginning to end – the storyline was so addictive and it was one of those series where I fell in love or absolutely loathed characters which is not usually a reaction I have to books!! When I have an emotional reaction to a book, I know it’s an epic story. The writing style is very easy to read and it’s so easy to get engrossed into the series so quickly. I called this a Dystopian Cinderella meets The Bachelor. With plot twists and gasping revelations, I highly recommend this series to fans of YA Fantasy Fiction and Dystopia.
I enjoyed ‘The Selection’ more than I thought I would. It was one of the books I was told over over again to read. When I finally did pick it up, went straight to the bottom of my TBR piles… I wasn’t planning on getting sucked into the story or even falling in love with some of the characters. But I did. Oh, I did. I’m off to find book two, which is in one of my many TBR piles.
Seriously. What’s with the cliffhanger? Couldn’t this book gone on longer? I really need a voodoo doll for the king. The king gives me the creeps. With how the book ended I’m going straight into the third book. Looks like I’m not going to get any sleep tonight.
I was not expecting to cry in this book. But I did a couple of times. After I cried the first time, I had to put the book down for a few days. Because I couldn’t (or did not l) believe what had just happened. The second time was happy tears. Well worth the time to read this book. I’m really looking forward to book 4 now.
The Selection series is just so addictively good. It’s The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games! When I first started reading I was thinking who would name their child America Singer? But after I finished the series, America Singer was not just a name but an icon (wait until you read The Heir and The Crown). Reading this book is like watching an addictive reality TV and with each chapter, you get closer to the fairytale ending. This series is so much fun to read, I was so sad when it ended! I feel that it’s one of those fun series that you won’t regret reading. I also want to take a moment to say the cover art is just amazing. The dresses are so beautiful that it inspired me to craft these miniature dress magnets/brooches (see below). Feel free to check out my Insta (@TheCurioBoutique) for more bookish crafts!
“I took a deep breath as my eyes lowered to the scars on her chest. “They are the battle wounds of a warrior who went to hell and kicked its ass. They are proof of how strong you are, and a reminder that you are alive!” – Losing Lola by Kirsty Dallas
Intense, captivating and romantic.
Losing Lola is an intense story of mental strength, healing and love overcoming the aftermath of sexual assault. The story has a lot of soul and romance which makes it a captivating read – did I mention that it’s also very sexy? It’s not for the faint-hearted and parts of Lola’s assault experience can be quite confronting. What I liked about this book is that even though Drew was a tough, quiet, military hottie who rescues Lola physically, it’s Lola who pulls herself from her own internal demons and fears. Also in a way, her femininity and vulnerability saved Drew from his past and his shadows. It’s realistic that Lola had a great support network called Mercy’s Angels (women’s shelter) to help her overcome her experience. I liked that the chapters alternate from Lola and Drew’s perspectives, their voices in the story are very different which I felt was well done. The story progresses at a fast pace, there’s a good portion of the story dedicated to Drew and Lola’s relationship development. The message at the end of the book which I thought is highly relevant says “Sexual assault is something you experience. It does not define you.” I recommend this for romance adult readers and those who enjoys a sexy read. This book can be read as a stand-alone!
EXCLUSIVE AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR KIRSTY DALLAS
So how does author Kirsty Dallas write such a compelling romance novel and how does she “stay classy, sassy, and a little bad assy”?
I continued the series as simply a way to highlight and bring attention to these sensitive and important topics.
1. As this is one of the first books I have read in the Mercy’s Angel’s series, could you tell us a bit more about the series and what inspired you to write them?
[KIRSTY] The entire Mercy’s Angels series revolves around violence against women, whether it be child abuse, domestic abuse, or sexual assault, each book follows the heartache, fear and healing a woman goes through when she’s been the victim of such an assault. Mercy’s Angels is a women’s shelter that plays an important role in the healing of each character. The first book in the series, Saving Ella, was written as a healing tool for myself. As a domestic abuse survivor, this was my way of expressing my own fears, healing and dreams. I continued the series as simply a way to highlight and bring attention to these sensitive and important topics. (The next book in this series will actually tackle the subject of the emotional and physical abuse of a man in a relationship, because it’s not just women who are victims of these crimes and I really want to explore and acknowledge that).
2. What are your top 3 tips on writing compelling characters?
[KIRSTY] Plausibility – your character needs to be three dimensional, with real flaws, fears and emotions. Write about characters who display human virtues, characters that readers can look up to and admire. Writing can be very much like acting, in the sense you need to beyour character, you need to think like they would, you need to put yourself outside your comfort zone and explore different emotions, and situations you may not have been in before.
3. Sexual assault can be a very difficult subject matter to explore, what was some of your challenges in writing this novel?
[KIRSTY] I spent a lot of time watching documentaries, and reading biography’s about survivors of sexual assault. This obviously took an emotional toll, spending so much time in the lives of women who had been so deeply scarred by their assault. I just wanted to reach out and hug each of these women, I wanted to make sure they knew their worth, their strength and their ability to overcome such an invasive trauma. Being made to feel so powerless, having something so personal taken from you by force, it’s terrifying, and eventually I had to try and put myself mentally in that situation to create Lola. Needless to say, it was a long and difficult six months of writing.
4. Can you tell us a little bit about your other works?
My current work in progress, Stupid Love (a comedy romance about Cameron Cupid, the child of Eros (God of Love), who in actual fact, hates love).
[KIRSTY] Outside of the Mercy’s Series, I have three standalone novels, Breeze Of Life (which is a road-trip adventure about a girl recovering from cancer), Violet Addiction (which is best friends to lovers romance and tackles drug addiction), and When Nothing Is All You’ve Got (A dystopian romance based in an underground prison). Decker’s Wood is my International Best Seller (a comedy romance about a porn star whose main attraction – his wood – stops performing), Bradley’s Whistle is a spin-off from Decker’s Wood (about a female porn star who escapes some bad press by fleeing to the UK) and my current work in progress, Stupid Love (a comedy romance about Cameron Cupid, the child of Eros (God of Love), who in actual fact, hates love).
5. If there is one message readers can take away from your debut novel, what are you hoping it would be?
[KIRSTY] Strength and survival, you can and therefore you will!
6. How did you come up with the characters for your story?
[KIRSTY] The characters for Losing Lola were developed over three of the Mercy’s books, playing minor roles until it was their time to shine. In Lola I wanted a woman who was flawed. She is socially awkward and has for a long time tackled OCD, but she’s also strong, and independent, and prior to her assault she was completely content with the woman she was. Drew is a man who has made more than his fair share of mistakes, he’s the big, silent and intimidating type. Drew and Lola were two characters who were so unlike, and yet it was these differences that made them work.
7. How did you complete your writing? Did you structure your day a certain way with a word target?
[KIRSTY] I have NEVER written with structure or word targets. For me, I can only write when the feeling is there. If the feeling isn’t there, I listen to music, meditate and read until inspiration hits me. I have found over the years that my writing can’t be forced. Since I’m an author who really enters my characters head space, if I’m not in the right frame of mind to do that, I don’t push it. My readers probably hate me for it because they wait longer for my books, but I will always be true to who I am as a writer. Forcing something that isn’t there will put the wrong words to paper.
8. When you’re not writing or reading, what would you be doing?
[KIRSTY] When I’m not writing, or reading, or plotting, I’m being the best mum I can be to my nine-year-old daughter. Guiding her through life, helping her become the incredible woman I know she will one day be is my number one priority.
9. As an author, what was the best piece of advice you were ever given?
[KIRSTY] The best advice I have been given, is “show it, don’t tell it”. This is something that sits in the back of my mind every time I sit down to write. I always try to make sure I’m showing the reader the world I see in my head. I want the movie real I see in my mind to be conveyed on paper in such a way that it gives the reader an incredible journey.
Thank you Kirsty for sharing your insights and for the opportunity to review your book. Please keep writing and we’re excited about your current work Stupid Love.
Inspired by Losing Lola, our BFF and creative partner The Curio Boutique has made a little thank you gift based off your book! We hope you will like it.
Book review by NJ and Author Exclusive Interview by NJ and Annie.
In Australia, Sunday 14 May 2017 is Mother’s Day.
For a day that should be celebrated everyday, Read3r’z Re-Vu wanted to take this time to wish our beautiful mothers and all the beautiful mothers out there a wonderful day!!!
This special is a selection of recommendations for all of the mothers who love to read and the mothers who are looking for their next book to read to their children…
-featured photo of Tulip brooch handmade by Curio Boutique, a Read3r’z Re-Vu major sponsor-
An oldie but a goldie.. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen This was my introduction to the classics and the regency period in books. I love how it teaches you that first impressions are not always accurate. I am recommending this for Mother’s Day as I find there are a few (or a lot of) reasons to recommend Pride and Prejudice to the mothers who love reading and are looking for a story that can apply to different people. The characters are multi layered and have their own faults. -Meredith
The Wave in the Mind: Talks & Essays on the Writer, the Reader & the Imagination (About Writing)
by Ursula K. Le Guin
Overview: Ursula K. Le Guin explores a broad array of subjects, ranging from Tolstoy, Twain, and Tolkien to women’s shoes, beauty, and family life. With her customary wit, intelligence, and literary craftsmanship, she offers a diverse and highly engaging set of readings.
Thoughtful, profound and inspiring. I found Le Guin’s voice to be refreshing, present and ever so relevant in today’s society for authors and readers alike. Topics explored include (but not limited to): imagination, life, society, oppression, feminism, reading and writing. Le Guin’s progressive and well thought-out perspectives and critiques are insightful, honest, delightful and empowering to read. Highly recommended for those who is after an interesting, inspiring and provocative read. -NJ
Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton This recommendation is for all the mothers who love Young Adult, Fantasy Fiction – especially stories with an Arabian Nights Inspiration!!! This is the sequel to the epic debut: Rebel of the Sands, where the story isn’t about blood or love now it’s about treason and takes place approximately 1 year after the first book. Like the debut, this sequel was amazing! And I’m not just saying that because I love Arabian nights inspired stories. From start to finish the story really kept me turning the page as there was always something happening, always some action and plot twists, especially on the very last chapter – left me gaping and yearning to know what happens next! The plot and the setting really grabbed me, I found the plot progresses really well it’s not an info dump you follow the story as it progresses, you have insight into Arabian nights stories that form as part of the main plot, insightful backstories that paint a clear picture of the current plot and I felt this time I got to know the characters better than the first book and really want to continue with their story. If you haven’t yet read Rebel of the Sands, read it so you can read Traitor to the Throne! Many thanks to Allen & Unwin Publishers for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
Her Mother’s Secret by Natasha Lester This is a story about a brave young woman who is chasing her dream in the face of society’s disapproval. Recommended to mothers who enjoy Historical Fiction, this story is set in 3 different eras: 1918 England, 1920’s and takes you through to the 1930’s. At a time of celebration, tragedy strikes and this story takes you through a woman’s struggle and strength that leaves you asking.. can you guess her mother’s secret? Beautifully and elegantly written, you can also see the work and effort that was put into this book for historical accuracy that is intertwined with the fictional plot. Beautiful read. Many thanks to Hachette Publishers for providing me with an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
Blackwater Moon by B. Michael Radburn Andy Walker knows tragedy is only ever a heartbeat away. When an inmate escapes from the prison farm upriver and abducts Nathan, a child Andy has vowed to protect after losing his own son years before, Andy discovers that the escapee is a dark figure from his past, the devil who changed his life and the man who introduced him to ‘The Game’
I really enjoyed this book and it really wasn’t what I was expecting. At first I was expecting the story to be similar to a domestic violence scenario where the woman is the victim but I was wrong. I really felt the emotion of the main character, Andy, to the point I cried and I even had to put the book down for a few hours but to have that sort of emotional reaction to the book just proves the author did a top job in conveying such a powerful story. The story does take you to a dark place which hits you to the core, it is heavy reading but I am a mother and I recommend this to mothers who love reading books that set your heart pounding but can handle heavy content. It really is worth the read.
Many thanks to Pantera Press who provided me with this book at the Read3r’z Re-Vu Mini Conference: 2016. Many thanks to Read3r’z Re-Vu for having me on here as a special guest reviewer.
Play by Jez Alborough This is a recommended read for young mummies who love reading to their young kiddies or babies. What can I say? This book was just TOO CUTE!!! Beautifully illustrated that tells such a cute and funny story in very few words. Play is about a little monkey who just wants to play.. play, play, play – even when Mummy says stay, he wants to play – and of course he wanders off like little kids do – so it’s an adventure to try and get home to his Mummy. The ending was adorable. Highly recommend this as a great kids picture book. Many thanks to Walker Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
My Mum is Fantastic by Nick Butterworth Regardless of age – this is the perfect Mother’s Day Gift!!! A picture book that is suitable to toddlers reading their first books, it’s a beautiful way that explores all the wonderful things our mothers do for us and we take for granted. My mum is fantastic is that one book that captures how great our mothers are and giving this to your mother will tell her how much you love her!!
Wonderfully illustrated and large print – very suitable for the little tikes. Many thanks to Walker Publishers for providing me with a Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
Read3r’z Re-Vu wishes our beautiful mothers and all the beautiful mothers a wonderful and Happy Mother’s Day!!!
“You think good people can’t hate?” she asked. “You think good people don’t kill?”…”Good people do all the things bad people do, Lazlo. It’s just that when they do them, they call it justice.” – Quote from Strange the Dreamer.
Strange The Dreamer has to be one of my favourite reads this year. As I’m writing this, I don’t even know where to begin worshipping this original, wondrous fantasy/sci-fi novel. My review will not do it justice. To start off, I loved our protagonist Lazlo – he is definitely more relatable than Karou, the main character from Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. To top it off, Lazlo is a bookworm librarian! What is there not to love about that right? The world building is impeccable and has the same gothic fairytale quality that Laini Taylor does so well, be prepared to hang on her every word about the city of Weep and detailed accounts of its past. The world building is descriptive without being gratuitous, it’s imaginative and transports you to this mythical land and dreamscape! Another element that I loved about the book is the grayness and the blurring of the lines between good and evil characters – their misgivings, their heartbreaks and redeeming moments as the story unfolds. There are so many layers to the characters, it’s just sublime. There are moments when you feel so damn sorry for the characters because of all the pain, suffering and guilt experienced by them, and at other times infuriated by how ungrateful they are or surprised by the choices they’ve made. The themes of diversity, acceptance, forgiveness, power, morality, courage, hope and love are what you can expect from this novel. The themes also go so much deeper. When you read this book, you will marvel at Laini Taylor’s ability to weave a great story, after all, great novels are all about exceptional storytelling. The mysteries of Weep also unfolds organically so you’re somewhat prepared for the twist but it somehow still surprises and leaves you bewildered after reading it. I highly recommend this imaginative, electrifying and delightful read. The story is mysterious, original and dynamic. There is, of course, a love story in the novel but it does not overwhelm or overshadow the actual story. I am now waiting eagerly for the highly anticipated book two! If there’s a book you must read this year, make it Strange The Dreamer.
Lyrical writing, incredible characters, intricate world-building and diverse themes!
As NJ and Annie embark on international travels, they embraced an international read along – special thanks to Netgalley for approving our Advanced Reader Copy request. This was one interesting read along from different parts of the world!!!
“The Lord of Wealth and Treasures Cordially Invites you to The Tournament of Wishes”… reading this novel is like being invited to a fairyland; it guarantees to be a magical, magnificent and awe-inspiring experience with lyrical writing that sparks your imagination. A Crown of Wishes follows the adventures of warrior princess Gauri and the cunning fox prince Vikram in the Tournament of Wishes to win their deepest hearts’ desires. This story is about so many things from self-discovery to the pursuit of power; vengeance and fear; choices and identity, desires and control, as well as love and sacrifice. It’s an exciting premise for a YA fantasy novel and pays tributes to Chokshi’s previous novel The Star-Touched Queen. This book can be read as a stand-alone irrespective of whether you have or have not read The Star-Touched Queen. A Crown of Wishes has an otherworldliness feel to it and almost anything can happen in the magical, intriguing world of Alaka – at times, the story can be a little disorientating because of all the intricate stories interwoven into the larger story. The magical world of Alaka also follows a different set of rules than traditional fantasy worlds but adds new dimensions to the story. There’s just so much going on and so much to discover! In terms of characters, I enjoyed the hilarious banter between Gauri and Vikram, and Aasha’s story, they’re all characters that you can fall in love with. Overall it’s a great story worth reading. I recommend this book for readers who loves books like Daughter of Smoke and Bones, Caraval and The Crown’s Game.
Other interesting quotes:
“Here’s how you kill: You stay silent, you make bargains that peel the layers off your soul one by one, you build a scaffolding of flimsy excuses and live your life on them. I may have killed to save, but I killed all the same.” – Roshani Chokshi, A Crown of Wishes
“The quest for power and treasure is a solitary one. Who else is the true enemy in such a quest but ourselves?” – Roshani Chokshi, A Crown of Wishes
“Humanity has nothing to do with what runs withough your veins or shows up on your skin.” – Roshani Chokshi, A Crown of Wishes
NJ really sums this up nicely, to be honest I am not a fan of iBooks however I enjoyed this story during my plane ride and during extensive road travels. “A Crown of Wishes” is an intricately written, magnificent story that follows the journey of the heroine, Gauri who is in a world full of magical wonders and creatures of the deep. Lush world building and very imaginative, I was excited to read this after reading this author’s debut novel “The Star Touched Queen”. I found you can still read this as a stand alone regardless of some of the referencing to the first book. This book takes you into a whole new world with a very unique story line.. This is a really enjoyable and intriguing read that I recommend to all fans of YA Fantasy Fiction.