Friday, January 18, 2013

Author Appreciation Day

It's Author Appreciation Day and Ravenz Reviews is showing appreciation to 18 authors who I have had the pleasure to read and review for.
Please take the time to check out these awesome indie authors, purchase their books, offer to review for them. They've all worked hard, pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into these books, now it's time we give a little back to them. Visit their pages, follow their blogs, "like" them on facebook or follow them on twitter, show them some love, and thank them for writing these wonderful books!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Review of Three Days of Rain by Christine Hughes

Three Days of Rain
Christine Hughes
I have mixed emotions about Three Days of Rain. I loved the book, but I'm filled with so much emotion right now. I want to be mad at Hughes for the ending, but I can't be mad because it was wonderfully written. Hughes really drew me in with the character's emotions. I could feel the saddness, the angry, the joy, the happiness, and the grief at each moment as it emerged in the book. And I'm not ashamed to say that I cried. I've only ever cried during one other book, and for that, I can say that this was a powerful and emotional novel. Hughes captured my attention with her debut novel Torn many months ago and she captured it again. I could relate to the ghosts of the past that the main character lives with and the darkness he has dwelled in for so long. As he emerged from that darkness, Hughes really touched my soul.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review of Wampus Springs by Wade Faubert


I really enjoyed Wampus Springs. The characters were likeable (well, most of them) and easy to identify with. Lori is a 16 year old girl who is tormented by nightmares of a wolf attack 4 years prior that left 3 of her best friends dead and a big ugly scar on her neck. Even 4 years later and hundreds of miles away from the attack, Lori is reminded daily that she didn't do anything to save her friends, including her very best friend Cindy. Although the guilt has never gone away and the bad dreams had tapered off to being tolerable, only recently has the severe nightmares come back, and with a vengeance. She starts to feel like she's going crazy and the taunts from her class mates don't help either. Except for her best friend Jessica, no one really bothers with Lori. Even though she and her mother moved to the other side of the country, she's still known as the wolf girl. With the spring dance coming up, Jessica sets Lori up on a date with Josh. Since Lori has never had a real boyfriend before, she's nervous about the dance and scared that Josh will believe the rumors that she's the one that really killed her friends and then turned the knife on herself to make it look like a wolf attack. Reluctantly, Lori goes with Josh to the dance and actually has a good time. After the dance, a bunch of kids decide to go to the beach and have a bonfire, which turns out to be fun until Lori falls asleep in front of the fire and has a nightmare about one of her classmates being attacked and killed by a wolf. Embarrassed, Lori begs Josh to take her home. She's convinced Josh thinks she's as crazy as everyone says but he surprises her by asking her out on another date.

Each day, the nightmares seems to get more intense and Lori even begins sleepwalking, naked. Her senses seems to be heightened and even for a 16 year old girl, her hormones seem to be raging more than normal. A simple touch from Josh has Lori ready to climb the walls. Her gut instinct tells her that this is all connected to the wolf. She's convinced that the wolf that attacked her and her friends has tracked her all the way from Wampus Springs. The nightmare she had on the beach only furthers her suspicions when the girl she had the vision of goes missing. Thankfully she has Jessica and now Josh to support her and they don't think she's crazy. The upcoming weekend camping trip, however has Lori nervous as hell and tries everything to get out of it, but Jessica begs and pleads with Lori to go with her and she eventually caves despite her intense reservations that something bad is going to happen.

Once Lori and Jessica get up to the camp, Lori's visions literally explode. And soon her visions become a reality. Not only did the wolf find her, but it brings with it its minions to do its bidding. It all comes down to Lori and the Beast and not everyone will make it out alive.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Review of Eternal Island by K.S. Haigwood and Ella Mendler


This is going to be an AMAZING series! I fell in love with the character almost immediately. This is definitely a book you want to start when you know you won't be interupted because once you start, you will not want to stop!

Ariana Lochalan just lost her husband Michael in a freak accident while he was at work. When family and friends break the news to her, she goes into a state of shock, collapses, and does not wake up. She's not dead. She's in a coma. She's admitted to a psychiatric hospital so she can be monitored, but there really isn't anything they can do for her until she wakes up.

Abe Cambridge is a 900 year old vampire, the High Vampire of Eternal Island, and convinced that love does not exist, especially for him. His undead life is full of meaningless one night stands, that is until Rainey, his personal psychic tells him that he will fall in love. Of course Abe thinks that Rainey is just pulling his metaphorical chain because, aferall, love doesn't exist. To further prove her point, she shows him an image of a woman that he will love and will spend eternity with through her crystal ball. The moment Abe see's Ariana in the glass ball, he immediately falls in love. He demands that Rainey go and get her and bring her to him immediately. Being a powerful witch with a skill in compulsion, Rainey goes to the psychiatric hospital and awakens Ariana, convinces her to come with, and flies her back on Abe's private jet to Eternal Island.

Eternal Island (I totally want to live there) is an island that I think (based on geographical references) is off the coast of California and has been enchanted so that it is hidden to everyone unless you know the spell to make it appear for you. Although the island is populated primarily with vampires and witches, there are regualar humans that inhabit the island as well. This island is amazing! It is approximately 85 miles wide and the main highway is a straightaway from one end of the island to another. Quite a few of the inhabitants of the island have had a good time driving the length at full speed by the way. Everyone on the island has a job, not because they have expenses but more to keep the island running normally (or as normal as it can being populated with vampires and witches). The island has running water and electricity, it has cell phones (with free service), a shopping mall, restaurants, night clubs. Basically everything you can think of exists on the island. The money everyone makes at their various jobs is basically to pay for food, clothes, entertainment, and things of the like.

Now, back to Ariana and Abe. Ariana has no idea why she's been chosen to live on the island. She's still grieving for the loss of her husband, so personally, I think she believes this is all a dream until she actually gets to the island. No one is held on the island against their will, so Rainey does make it clear to her that if she ever wanted to leave the island, Rainey would wipe her memory, allow her to leave and go back to her life in Arkansas. On the trip back to the island, Rainey has another vision; one of Julia (the first person Abe turned 400 yrs ago, occassionally sleeps with, and who lets everyone believe sh is the High Vampess on the island) and Max (Abe's second in command). In this vision, Rainey see's that Julia and Max are plotting something to take Abe down. Upon arrival back on Eternal Island, Rainey shows Ariana to her living quarters, introducs her to Becky, Araian's new roommate, and excuses herself to "take care of business".

Abe is impatiently waiting for Rainey in her room when she gets back and after much convincing, tells Abe in no uncertain terms that he is not to tell Araiana how he feels about her or why she was brought to the island until Rainey can figure out what Julia and Max are up to. Meanwhile, Becky shows Ariana around and gives her the lay of the land, so to speak. Ariana is so fascinated with the island and the people and she wishes she weren't so ordinary. Rainey tells her that there is a spell that she can do to see if she has any witch blood in her. Of course Rainey tells her this just so she won't feel so out of place, never really thinking the spell will actually work, but it does. It reveals that Ariana is a pure natural witch, something Rainey has never even encountered before. Almost immediately, something is awoken within Ariana and her abilities start coming to life one right after the other. The first to emerge is the ability to read minds, then to heal. Her abilities are absolutely amazing. Now that Ariana can read minds, its going to be very hard to keep Abe's feelings a secret.

When Abe and Ariana meet for the first time, things are a little rocky. It gets to the point where Abe must tell Ariana the truth of why she's really been brought to the island. Ariana isn't sure she feels the same. She did just lose her husband afterall. I think she must feel that in a way, she's cheating on Michael (her husband), even though he is dead.

Can Ariana let Michael go and open her heart to new love? What are Julia and Max really planning? You need to go get this book to find out! You will love this story!

Coming Soon...

Review of Bite of Envy by Kay Glass


Bite of Envy is the 4th and final installment in the Just One Bite series and it was a wonderful end to such an amazing series. I'm kind of sad to see it end and hope that in the future, Glass decided to expand on the series.

In this final installment, Lizbeth is having a difficult time acclimating to her new life as a vampire and the DA, Giles Carson, that Lizbeth has been trying to nail, takes advantage of Lizbeth's weakened mental state to continue his quest for her demise. He starts targeting women that will get Lizbeth's attention and delves into her past to hit her where it hurts. Lizbeth bumps up her quest to take Carson down once and for all. And when all is said and done there will be tears of joy as well as tears of saddness. If you've read the other books in this series, this conclusion is one you don't want to miss! And if you haven't read the other books in the series, then GO, READ THEM NOW!!!!

Review of Ishtar Rising by Natalie Gibson

Ishtar Rising (Book 4) in the Sinnis Series

As I continue to read this series, I fall in love with the characters even more. Each story is amazing in its own right, but I have to say that just as I think that the installment I just finished is my favorite, Gibson releases yet another installment that I seem to love more than the last. Ishtar Rising is definitely my favorite thus far. I really liked the character of Tara Kay from the beginning. She was like the resident bad girl in the first book of the Sinnis series and I really enjoyed the rebel side of her. From the very beginning, she didn't take anyone's shit and she did her own thing, and that worked for her. I was upset when the Daughters kinda shunned her away and Tara Kay tried to find her own way with another coven, albiet an evil coven in comparrison to the Daughters. But the Daughters really didn't leave Tara Kay a choice. Now that Tara Kay is back in Ishtar Rising, we really see into her soul and understand her way of thinking and the choices that she has made in her life. I love that Tara Kay is given the opportunity to rise above the stigma that has been placed upon her. Of course holier than thou Natalia doesn't trust Tara Kay and wants to "eliminate" her. What really bothers me about Natalia is that she holds these prejudices against people and lives by this "what's good for the goose isn't good for the gander" mentality. Now that Tara Kay has been CHOSEN as a Sinnis, she deserves the same respect that Natalia demands and Camille has earned but instead, Natalia is furious that Tara Kay has created her own children and in essence, her own family. Tara Kay isn't out to create evil but rather a new breed of children that the MOTHER has chosen for her. Tara is the vessel for Kiyaweah and should be respected and instead, Natalia wants to destroy Tara Kay, her mate and all of her children. I can't wait to read the next installment of the Sinnis series and I can't wait for Tara Kay to rise further and continue on this beautiful journey that she was born and bred for.

Review of Bonded by Crimson by Zrinka Jelic


Kate has given up on love. Her first go at marriage has failed and she doesn't think another chance will come by again. Trying to rebuild her life, she takes a job as a nanny to 3 small boys (triplets) who are being raised by their eccentric and uninvolved father, Mathias. It doesn't take long for Kate to fall in love with the boys and she tries her hardest to bring them out of their shell. As the weeks go by, Kate and Mathias feel this connection that she can't quite describe and that he understands but doesn't want to scare her with. As per her contract with the nanny agency, Kate will accompany Mathias and the boys on their summer vacation to Croatia and she will have 2 weeks off to do as she pleases. This is perfect because Kate is from Croatia and she will be able to see her family and friends that she hasn't seen in years.

While in Croatia, Kate and Mathias begin spending time together and kate can feel a connection growing between them that is very familiar to her, though she doesn't understand. Before long, Kate falls in love with Mathias and the feeling is mutual. For the first time in a long time, Kate is truly happy. She has a man that she loves and that loves her and she quickly becomes a mother to his 3 boys who she already loves as though they are her own. But someone has other plans for Kate and Mathias. Someone who is greedy and just wants to get their hands on Mathias' money. Kate's world comes crashing down when days before the wedding she and Mathias have been planning, a mysterious fax is sent that makes it look like Kate is still in contact with her ex-husband and that they have hatched a plan to scam Mathias out of his fortune.

With no explaination, Mathias sends Kate packing and she's left wondering what happened. Several months later, nine to be exact, Mathias discovers the truth, that Kate never conspired with her ex to scam Mathias. He immediately starts looking for Kate, but will he be too late? You'll have to read to find out. This is an amazing story you don't want to miss!

Review of Traffic Jam by Melissa Groeling


I wasn't quite sure when I began this book if I would like it or not. By the end of it, I Loved It!!! This book is geared towards the teen/YA genre but I really think that any age group would love this book as much as I did. I really tried to finish it all in one day, but I just couldn't keep my eyes open any longer, but the minute I woke up, I was right back on my Nook because I HAD to know what Sam had gotten herself mixed up in. Wow! Just wow!

Val is a 16yr old ordinary girl whose not popular by any standard, has only one friend, plays softball for her high school, works on the school newspaper and is just trying to survive high school. She and her family move into a 3 bedroom apt after her father lost his job and life is already tense when she discovers that her older sister Sam is hiding something from the rest of the family.

Sam and Val do not get along, but Val becomes concerned when she see's her sister coming home with bruises and looking disheveled. Val questions her sister after she discovers an Ipod that clearly her family cannot afford as well as shopping bags full of new clothes. Sam brushes the questions off with excuses that she borrowed the Ipod and a friend gave her the clothes. But Val knows she's lying. Though she doesn't have any real proof, her observations leave her with more questions than answers. Sam's friends start cornering Val in school, asking questions about where Sam has been and why she's acting so odd, only furthering Val's suspicions that something is not right.

When a creepy guy that Val doesn't know is waiting outside the apartment as Val and her little brother arrive home from school, Val's instincts kick in and send her suspicions into overdrive. The guy, Ed, is looking for Sam and making comments that leave Val very uncomfortable.

One day, while shopping at the mall, Val is approached by Ed and a few of his cronies wanting to know where Sam is again and this time threatening Val and the rest of her family. Val has no intention of letting Ed treat her or any member of her family like this and stands up to him. She thinks that being in the mall is safe enough since there are people and security around. So when the girl with Ed jumps her, she never see's it coming. And she ends up unconcious and in the hospital. When she come's to, she discovers that Sam has told their parents and the cops a modified version of the truth, enough for the cops to go after Ed, but not enough that anyone knows just what it is that Sam has been doing for Ed. Val begs Sam to tell the cops and their parents everything, but Sam is too scared that Ed will come after her and kill her and she refuses to tell anyone the full truth. She's already scared out of her mind that the cops are looking for Ed for harrassment.

Rumors begin milling around at school about the fight at the mall and as if things weren't bad enough, Sam and Val are being walked to school by their dad and being walked home by him as well. No one in the family can go anywhere by themselves until Ed is caught and Sam's friends are harrassing Val even more at school with questions that Sam obviosuly isn't answering. At this point, Val just wants to crawl inside a hole and hide for eternity.

A few days after the mall incident, as Val and a family friend (John) are leaving the bakery where Val's mom works, Ed approaches them yet again. He jumps John and John screams for Val to run. And she does. Ed is chasing her and Val is running faster than she's ever run in her life. As she approaches the apartment, she see's her Dad, Sam and little brother ouside, getting ready to leave. She starts screaming to them and as her Dad runs toward her, he's screaming for all his kids to get inside and call the police. Their dad gets into an altercation with Ed, but that doesn't stop Ed from continuing his quest to get to Sam and Val and make them "pay" for the cops being on his tail.

If you want to know what Sam really got herself involved in and what had her and Val so scared, you need to read this book! I had my suspicions of what Sam was caught up in, but when it is revealed at the end, it leaves you saying OMG! And although this is fiction, I have to wonder if this was based on a true event that either the author was involved in or someone close to her was involved in. This book really brings this serious issue into the light and makes aware something that I'm sure we've all heard about but maybe never thought could happen right in our own back yard.

Kudos to Groeling for writing such a powerful book!

Review of Sirocco by Diane M Haynes


Sirocco is a short novella that ties in nicely to the first book in this new series by Diane Haynes. In Rift Healer, we are introduced to Haley and Lacey (twins), Taylor (Lacey's boyfriend), Micah (Haley's boyfriend) and Gisele (the elder herbalist that teaches the teens of the enchanted forest in which she has been entructed to protect). Sirocco comes 18 months after that wild summer in which we meet these characters. It's right after Christmas and the twins are back visiting their grandmother Clare for the holidays. During their brief holiday vacation, Gisele tells Haley that she will be teaching her how to gaze in the crystal ball and develop her skill. While crystal gazing, Haley has a vision of Gisele in grave health and that the only way to heal her is for Gisele to ride the back of the Sirocco, a half horse half dragon creature that heals anything that rides upon its back. Reluctantly and after much disagreement, Lacey and Taylor agree to help Haley open the slipstream to allow the Sirocco into their realm. Everything goes wrong from the moment the slipstream is opened and a more sinister creature, the Scintilla enters the realm with the Sirocco. The Scintilla carries Haley off and Lacey and Taylor are left alone in the forest wondering where the heck everyone went. Lacey runs back to Gisele's cabin for help and the three trench through the 3 feet of snow looking for Haley and fighting off the other nasty creatures that wormed their way through the slipstream that no one thought to close during the chaos. Although this is a short story to bridge Rift Healer with the upcoming new book Haynes has coming out, Necromancer, it is action packed and a great read. I loved Rift Healer and was so excited when Diane contacted me that she had written Sirocco and a sequel to Rift Healer. I'm anxiously awaiting Necromancer so I can see what the kids are up to next and if Gisele makes it. If you haven't read Rift Healer yet, grab it now then snag Sirocco and read all the fun and wild adventures Haley, Lacey, Taylor, Micah and Gisele go on.