What I Read this Week Sept 5

I finished three books and novella, and dnf’d two titles. All of the novels that I finished will have full reviews, since they are the first in a series.

Sins & Shadows (Shadows Inquiries, #1)

Sins and Shadows by Lyn Benedict (2*)

This will have a full review, but it was just okay. I was hoping to like it a lot more than I did. It’s urban fantasy, but nothing really stood out about it. Gods walking the earth and someone has to stand up and protect the innocents. I didn’t really like the main character, or any of the characters really. I didn’t completely understand the magic, and it seemed that the characters didn’t either.

Meg (Meg, #1)

The Meg by Steve Alten (5*)

This is the first in the series, and I picked it up because the movie was coming out. I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to.  It was an adventurous, edge of your seat thrill ride. There is also meat to the story. If you like the animal attack stories than I think you will definitely enjoy this one.

Meg: Origins

The Meg: Origins by Steve Alten (4*)

I wasn’t really sure what to expect since I had just finished the first book. But, while it goes into details with Jonas’ history and the dive that changed his life, it was a bit more than that. It gave a broader perspective and alludes to things that may pop up later in the series.

Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)

Akata Witch By Nnedi Okorafor (5*)

This was the book that was selected from my book haul revisited post, and one that I read aloud to my daughter. This was an amazing story, I knew that I was going to enjoy it but it still blew me away. The only down side to this story was that I couldn’t inhale it since I was reading it to my kid.


2 Books that I DNF’d

Scion of the Fox (The Realms of Ancient, #1)   Children of the Bloodlands (The Realms of Ancient, #2)


First in a Series Review: The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol

The Apprentice Witch

The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol 

The Apprentice Witch #1

July 25, 2017 – The Chicken House

341 Pgs. – Middle Grade, Fiction, Fantasy

Source: Library

Click here for the Goodreads Summary.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to think about this, it kept popping up places so I decided to check it out from my library. In the end, I really did enjoy it. Arianwyn was an interesting character, though I was never sure of her age. (I thought that she have been 13ish, but then she travels and lives alone.) Though she is teased and bullied during school, she never acts like a victim.She is too trusting and always looking to help others- this is both her strength and weakness. In the end, she proves that she is stronger than she knows. The resolution comes as expected, but is paced nicely. While book one wraps up almost completely, there is an openness about it for more stories and adventures. I am curious to see what kind of trouble Arianwyn and friends get into next.

Always Shine!

Review: Fiyah Literary Magazine Vol. 6- Big Mama Nature

FIYAH Literary Magazine, Issue 6: Big Mama Nature

Fiyah Literary Magazine edited by Justina Ireland and Troy L. Wiggins

Volume 6: Big Mama Nature

April 1, 2018

Purpose: Review, #Kindlecleanup

Source: Fiyah Literary Magazine

I was given a digital copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

I can’t believe that I was given a chance to review this magazine again. With all of the short stories that are available, and the literary magazines that are available, it may be a bit overwhelming to find the right fit, or to find the gems. Somehow, Fiyah has done it. They have found gems and have put them together for the readers. This is a great way to get to know a lot of authors that you probably haven’t encountered but wish you had.

This edition was about nature and was another great showcase of talent.  (I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but at the end of each edition is a highlighted indie/ self-published title. Another way to find the jewels in the masses. I think that this is a great feature!)

The Sower by Takim Williams : This appears to be a bit disjointed. Each segment twining around the next into a whole. It’s written in lyrically, acting as a magnet-in some moments it attracts and in others it repells.

Furious Girls  by Juliana Goodman: (This is my favorite!) This story has a lot and definitely makes me want to read more from Goodman. Normally, fury and rage are bad and disastrous feelings, Goodman does a great job of showing this side. But, she doesn’t only use this side to tell he story. She flips it over and shows the usefulness and beauty .

Valley Fieldwork by Stefani Cox: This is one of those stories that’s about one thing but also about something more. While this was a nice glimpse into something much bigger, but I wanted more.

The Other Side of Otto Mountain by Ivy Spadille: This story meandered through the man’s past and alongside his future. It was well written but it left me with an odd feeling that I am struggling to put my finger on.

This edition ended with a poem, A Combustible Illness Clots the Blood by Terrance Brown. Poetry is one of the things that I find hard to review, but I liked this one.


Always Shine!




Blog Tour: Black Goat Blues by Levi Black

I am working with Jean Book Nerd for this blog tour. If you want to check out reviews or read excerpts, please check out the other stops on the tour, here.

Black Goat Blues


In Red Right Hand, Charlie Tristan Moore was thrust into a nightmarish world of lurking Lovecraftian horrors when The Man In Black, a diabolical Elder God, chose her as his unwilling Acolyte. Discovering her own power, Charlie ultimately defied The Man In Black, but at a cost.

Now armed with a magic coat made from the skin of a flayed angel, Charlie is out to destroy The Man In Black and save her boyfriend Daniel–and she doesn’t care how many bloodthirsty gods and monsters get in her way…


Red Right Hand is a perfect blend of old-school horror and modern storytelling sorcery. Levi Black is absolutely riveting! ―Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Predator One and Deadlands: Ghostwalkers.

Visceral and creepy, Red Right Hand is a sincerely twisted tale that’s every bit as thrilling as it is macabre. ―Cherie Priest, bestselling author of Boneshaker and Maplecroft

A merge of horror and dark fantasy that will grab you by the throat! ―Faith Hunter, New York Times bestselling author of the Jane Yellowrock series.

Red Right Hand is a beautiful, terrifying nightmare of a book. Stylish and nerve-wracking, it held me constantly in an iron grip as I read it…and has yet to let me go. More, Levi Black! ―Nancy Holder, New York Times bestselling author of The Rules

Levi Black writes with bare knuckle confidence and a champion prizefighter’s skill. Red Right Hand is his first round combination that leaves you flat on the canvass, dazed and impressed. Get in the ring and be ready for battle. ―Nate Southard, author of Pale Horses and Will the Sun Ever Come Out Again?

Levi Black‘s Red Right Hand is visceral, violent, and sexy. This book has jaggedly-sharp humor, snappy patter and tight pacing that can literately leave you breathless at some points. It’s crazy fun with unspeakable horrors! ―R.S. Belcher, author of Nightwise and The Six-Gun Tarot

Imagine that one of Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones showed up at your door and said, ‘You work for me now.’ That’s the premise of Red Right Hand, Levi Black’s grim and gory tale that takes urban fantasy into the darkest places of both the universe and the human heart. Riveting in both senses of the word: it grips your attention, and it feels like bolts punching through your flesh. ―Alex Bledsoe, author of Long Black Curl

Levi Black mixes deft characterization, vivid description, and H. P. Lovecraft’s cosmic horrors to create a thoroughly engaging urban fantasy. ―Richard Lee Byers, author of The Reaver and Blind Man’s Bluff

With Red Right Hand, Levi Black gives us an exciting, pulse-inducing mashup of Urban Fantasy and Lovecraftian Horror. Charlie Moore is a great entry into the pantheon of urban fantasy heroines, and The Man in Black is a Mythos character made even more terrifyingly real. I can’t wait for the sequel. ―Gini Koch, author of the Alien/Katherine”Kitty” Katt series

Levi Black’s Red Right Hand is a perfect fusion of noir, action and horror. Urban decay, Lovecraftian madness and emotional desperation are only a few of the ingredients in the mix that powers this breakout novel. The engine on this beast is burning high-octane fuel and running hot. Highly recommended! ―James A. Moore, author of the Seven Forges Series and Alien: Sea of Sorrows

Sleek, savage and brutally well-written, Black‘s story hurtles you into a world where the elder gods view humans as expendable playthings or tasty snacks. Even as you obsessively turn the pages, you’ll be rooting for good to triumph over endless evil. A brilliant blend of horror and urban fantasy, Red Right Hand proves that truth is chaos, and hell is only a tentacle away. ―Jana Oliver, award-winning author of the Demon Trappers series

If Mickey Spillane had delved into the Cthulhu Mythos, he might have turned out something like this. Hard-hitting and truly scary, Red Right Hand is a postmodern Lovecraftian nightmare of a tale. Dark and bloody and bad to the bone. ―Charles R. Rutledge, co-author of Congregations of the Dead

Levi Black
Levi Black lives in Metro Atlanta with his wife and an array of toys, books, records, and comics. He’s been weird his whole life and is almost as scary as he looks. Red Right Hand is his first novel.

Photo Content from Levi Black

Giveaway Banner (1)
You also have a chance to win a copy of Black Goat Blues!!!
Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

– 10 Winners will receive a Copy of Black Goat Blues by Levi Black

If you want to enter for a chance to win, click here 
ENDS: December 1, 2017
Good Luck!!
Always Shine!

Blog Tour: Steal the Stars by Nat Cassidy

Steal the Stars Blog Tour Banner

I was offered the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour, thanks to Jean Book Nerd. Since I was enjoying the podcast, I jumped at the chance. And I am so glad that I did.

If you want to check other tour stops and other reviews, check out the tour schedule here.

Steal the Stars


Dakota “Dak” Prentiss guards the biggest secret in the world.

They call it “Moss.” It’s your standard grey alien from innumerable abduction stories. Moss still sits at what looks like the controls of the spaceship it crash-landed twenty-five years ago. A secret military base was built around the crash site to study both Moss and the dangerous technology it brought to Earth.

The day Matt Salem joins her security team, Dak’s whole world changes.

It’s love at first sight—which is a problem, since they both signed ironclad contracts before joining the base security team, vowing not to fraternize with other military personnel. If they run away, they’ll be hunted for the secret they know. So Dak and Matt decide to escape to a better life on the wings of an incredibly dangerous plan: They’re going to steal the alien body they’ve been guarding and sell the secret of its existence.

And they can’t afford a single mistake.

Giveaway Banner

Nat Cassidy is an actor, director, musician, and playwright. He has appeared on shows such as The Following (Fox), The Affair (Showtime), Red Oaks (Amazon), High Maintenance (HBO), Law & Order: SVU (NBC), as well as on stage in numerous productions and workshops both Off- and Off-Off-Broadway. Nat’s plays have been nominated for a combined total of 17 New York Innovative Theatre Awards, including 3 times for Outstanding Full-Length Script (which he won in 2009, and in 2011 for Outstanding Solo Performance for his one man show about H.P. Lovecraft). In 2012 Nat was commissioned by The Kennedy Center to write the libretto for a world-premiere opera, and in 2014 his play Any Day Now was chosen to be part of Primary Stages’ ESPADrills (The Duke Theatre, directed by Tony-nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel). He is also thrilled to be writing the novelization of Steal the Stars, which will be published by Tor Books in November 2017.


Mac Rogers is an award-winning audio dramatist and playwright. His audio/podcasts dramas The Message and LifeAfter have been downloaded over eight million times. His stageplays include The Honeycomb Trilogy (winner of the New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Premiere Production), Frankenstein Upstairs, God of Obsidian, Ligature Marks, Asymmetric, Viral, Universal Robots, Hail Satan (Outstanding Playwriting Winner at FringeNYC 2007), and Fleet Week: The Musical (co-written with Sean Williams and Jordana Williams; winner of Outstanding Musical at FringeNYC 2005). He has earned acclaim from The New York Times, The Guardian, Backstage, The Wall Street Journal, Time Out New York, New York Post, Flavorpill, io9, Fangoria, Tor.com, Show Business Weekly, New York Press, and many others.


Photo Content from TOR Labs

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

– 5 Winners will receive an Audio Copy of Steal the Stars by Mac Rogers.

– 5 Winners will receive Book Passages of Steal the Stars by Mac Rogers.
Click here to enter the giveaway! Ends December 1, 2017
If you  have not listened to the podcast, here is your chance!

Episode Fourteen: As Fierce, As Colossal, As All-Consuming
In an epic final showdown in the Texas desert – as Sierra closes in from all sides – Dak and Matt finally learn the truth about Moss.

Always Shine!

Book Chat: Scion of the Fox by S.M. Beiko

Scion of the Fox (The Realms of Ancient, #1)

Scion of the Fox by S.M.Beiko 

Realms of the Ancient #1

October 17, 2017 – ECW Press

Source: Publisher

I was given a copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest review. 

Rating: Unrated

If you would like to know what this book is about, you can click here for a Goodreads Summary.

I was contacted by the publisher to be a part of the blog tour, and I happily accepted expecting to love this book. I didn’t finish the book in time to post my full review, so I thought that I would take the time to talk about the book.

I have to admit that it’s not a completely original story. A girl discovers that she is part of  a secret world that she didn’t know anything about. She is miraculously healed and she is the key to saving the world.

I didn’t finish it, but I can say that it was well written, and interesting (even if it was a bit cliche). Since I didn’t finish it in time, this is a book that I will come back and read at a normal pace instead of trying to rush through it. I liked Roan, she didn’t just blindly jump into the savior of earth role, she was realistic about the expectation and the daily reality that she would have to face. Granted, she accepted things a bit too easily.

Will I come back to this? Yes

Would I recommend it for other people to check out? Yes

Always Shine!

Book Chat: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow (The Evaporation of Sofi Snow #1)

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber 

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow #1

June 6, 2017 – Thomas Nelson

Source: BookLook Bloggers

I was given a copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Rating: DNF 

If you want to know what this book is about, you can click here for the Goodreads Summary.

To be completely honest, I cannot say that this was a bad book. I can say that I was hoping and expecting something a little bit more. The idea was a great idea, it was just poorly executed. I really wanted to like this book, and I made it halfway through before I decided to put it aside. There were things happening, and the story was moving forward. But, I still didn’t know very much about the characters, what was happening or even why it was happening.

I really wanted to like this book, at least enough to finish it. But, that was not the case.  If I had finished, I know that the rating wouldn’t have been higher than 3 stars, but it was currently sitting at a 2. Would I consider coming back to this book? Possibly, but not anytime soon.


Always Shine!