Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Why I'm not going to "buy" another book for the rest of 2018

Yea, you read that right... but it's also a bit misleading. I've been doing some soul searching lately now that I'm getting closer to closing out my 20s and there have been some major changes in my life. 

  1. I bought my first home, and all the challenges that comes with it, about a year ago.
  2. I got a big eye opener career-wise when my company was sold and for 6 months I wasn't sure if I'd have a job the next day. (Don't worry, I'm safe for now)
  3. I quit my second, part time job after all but one of my student loans was paid off. (Yay, me!)
  4. I've been looking for ways to simplify my life, get outside more and learn how to live with less waste. 

My reading buddy 
It's number 4 that leads me to my decision on books. In the past, I have literally spent hours looking for my next book to read. Going through my different shelves on Goodreads, seeing what Amazon recommends to me, looking at what other bloggers are reading. Time wasted when I could have been reading.

It finally occurred to me that I have hundreds of books lying around my house, and sitting on my Kindle, waiting to be read. Even after cleaning up my Goodreads shelves I still have 65 books on my TBR list and another 40 books that I'm "currently reading," which doesn't even mean that I've actually started them. They're books that I currently own either in print or digital. Some of those have been on my list for six years! Then, there's the books I bought on impulse because they were on sale or in an email blast, and another 30 or so I've saved on my Amazon Kindle Unlimited list. That's just so many damn books. 

So here's what I decided to do in 2018 to be less wasteful in my reading habits:

  1. All my books will be chosen from either a book on my "currently reading" list or a book from my TBR list that can be borrowed through my library. 
  2. No more books will be added to my Goodreads TBR shelf. *Gasp* I know. Right now I only have one book that hasn't been released yet, when I used to have dozens. 
  3. I will review as many of those books as I can so that authors will still get as much support as I can give them. 

Here's one thing I've found already: Decluttering those enormous lists has been a great stress reliever for me. It's keeping me more organized and my mind less fractured by trying to keep track of so many things. I have a calendar on my phone that tells me where I have to be every night of the week; it's hard to concentrate on all my life has to offer at the moment. I like to read when I don't have anywhere to be and reducing the number of books for me to sort through has been very cleansing.

Your thoughts: Let me know in the comments if you have the same problem of too many books to sort through and how you handle it. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

[Review & Giveaway] Krait's Redemption

Krait's Redemption (Cat's Eye Chronicles #5)

by T.L. Shreffler

Publish date: September 12, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 5/5

Goodreads summary

With winter solstice fast approaching, Sora and her companions are running out of time. She must stop The Shade from awakening the Dark God, yet a powerful force has overtaken her Cat’s-Eye necklace, rendering the stone almost useless. To use the stone, Sora must learn to trust her instincts and embrace her own inner strength. She joins forces with unexpected allies, Lord Gracen Seabourne among them, to protect the City of Crowns. As the city dissolves into chaos, she finds herself barreling toward an epic battle that will decide the fate of mankind.

At risk to his own life, Crash returns to the Hive seeking aid against Cerastes. However, the events that led him into exile have not been forgotten. Will the Hive offer him redemption, or will they demand he pay the ultimate price for his transgressions? 

Join Sora and Crash in their epic battle to save the City of Crowns!

My thoughts

I've been anxiously (and not so patiently) waiting for the release of Krait's Redemption for over two years now. As soon as I saw the official release date announced, I crossed my fingers hoping that I'd be asked to read and review the newest book by T.L. Shreffler. Just a few days later I got said email and my answer was something along the lines of, "YES! GIMME GIMME!" 

Krait's Redemption picks up right where the previous book left off. So if it's been a while since you've read Ferran's Map, I'd recommend going back and giving yourself a refresher. Sora is still fighting off the effects of the poison she was infected with by one of the Shade assassins, Ferran and Caprion are trying to figure out how to read The Book of the Named, and everyone else is trying to do their part to figure out how to stop the Cerastes before it's too late. 

The fifth book in the Cat's Eye Chronicles starts right off with a bang and doesn't stop. It's fast paced and has a quickly developing plot. There is so much going on and each of the many characters have their own part to play in the story. The point of view changes a lot, but in a good way. There are so many strings to the spider web that is the plot that's it's necessary to see what each spider is doing and thinking. 

For those of you who are wondering about Sora and Crash, don't worry, their relationship continues to develop. Although, I was a tad disappointed I had to wait so long in the book for them to finally interact after everything that had happened in the previous book. Overall, I think Sora and Crash will be my favorite relationship of all time. It's just done so beautifully. After reading Krait's Redemption I'm definitely going to go back to the beginning so I can watch it happen all over again. 

In Krait's Redemption we also get a few answers that I know some people have had since book one. Such as, who hired Crash to kill Lord Fallcrest, Sora's stepfather? And so the plot thickens. 

As always, 5 stars of awesome for Ms. Shreffler and Krait's Redemption. The writing is superb, and I don't use that word often. The characters are well developed and complex and the story line is intense and moves quickly. This is definitely a book you'll need to clear your whole afternoon for because you won't be able to put it down. 

If you have yet to get into the Cat's Eye Chronicles, I highly recommend it. You can read my review of the first four books here: Sora's Quest, Viper's Creed, Volcrian's Hunt, and Ferran's Map. Check out the except below for a sneak peek!

** I was provided a copy of this book in return for an honest review

Get it here

About T.L Shreffler

T. L. Shreffler is a noblewoman living in the sunny acres of San Fernando Valley, California. She enjoys frolicking through meadows, sipping iced tea, exploring the unknown reaches of her homeland and unearthing rare artifacts in thrift stores. She holds a Bachelors in Eloquence (English) and writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and poetry. She has previously been published in Eclipse: A Literary Anthology and The Northridge Review.

Connect online



Crash watched the bonfires in the distance.

Each day, more devotees swelled the Shade’s ranks. Shadow portals transported them from cities, from fields and mountains—from anywhere—to this forsaken desert. Nameless warriors pooled beneath a red plateau that towered in the twilight, blocking the moon.

An army of the lost, Crash thought. Their burning pyres beckoned to him like lighthouses on a foreign shore. But he had left those fires behind, walking miles into the flat desert to sit among the sand.

The Shade’s encampment might be in the Desert of Ester, but he wasn’t sure. His sense of certainty had fled long ago. He wondered at this unprecedented gathering. He wondered at the royal city’s evacuation, so close to winter solstice night.

He watched the fires glint against the darkness. He watched, and sat, and pondered. At first, Cerastes’ army had puzzled him. He didn’t know why a Grandmaster, typically a solitary figure concerned with martial discipline and meditation, would want to gather so many numbers. But now, as Crash became more firmly entrenched in the Shade’s activities, he knew what they were about. He had thought Cerastes meant to wage war against the human kingdom, but he was wrong.

Cerastes wanted the Hive.

Crash had realized the Grandmaster’s ambition when the assassin Cobra had issued his last dying words. It had all become suddenly, perfectly clear. Stop him. Cobra’s death had returned the arrow to Crash’s compass, and perhaps for the first time, he knew true north. He knew what he had to do.

He stood and walked away from the crimson fires on the horizon, behind an outcropping of rocks. There, he emptied a bag onto the ground. Ingredients for his spell, including a sheaf of yellowed parchment and fresh salamander ink, fell to the sand. He wrote the spell, then built a small fire out of venomgrass and willow bark. He drew symbols in the sand, and the flames turned indigo blue. Then he burned the paper with its written message. A wandering wind brushed the top of the dunes, carrying wafts of sand and smoke up to the stars.

He doused the fire when he was finished. Then, his black hood pulled low over his face, he sat on his heels to wait.

Redemption. A returning, a renewal. Would the Hive help him now, or would they hold him to his trespasses? Someone must answer, he thought. Someone must answer his call, his message burned on the wind, and someone must answer for his Grandmaster’s mistakes.

He thought back to Sora and the rest of his companions in the City of Crowns, and he felt ashamed. Under the influence of Cerastes’ power, he had wavered. His demon had sensed his Grandmaster’s dark aura, had sensed a home, and for a while, he had lost himself. But Sora’s touch—more than that, her words, her spirit—had brought him back.

He couldn’t fight Cerastes alone. He couldn’t trust his darker half to resist the Shade’s pull, because he, too, was a discarded outcast of the Hive. His Grandmaster’s demonic presence was irresistible, drawing close all those scattered savants with nowhere to belong. Crash had felt his own will tremble. Even now, he couldn’t quite steady his hands. He couldn’t show Sora his weakness. More importantly, he couldn’t show it to his own kind.

Someone had to do the right thing. The right thing, he thought ironically. Someone had to warn the Hive. Anyone who can read the Wind can read this message, he thought. He only hoped Cerastes was too distracted to see it.

Hours passed as he waited. The silence of the desert stretched, as spacious and echoing as a tomb. The stars and moon circled overhead, trailing across the heavens. He found the constellation of Kaelyn the Wanderer and asked, begrudgingly, for luck. Then his eyes picked out other celestial formations known to his race. He recounted their stories in his head: Sibilant, the assassin so stealthy and quiet, she could walk between this realm and the world of ghosts; Dartmouth, who replaced his teeth with knives; Marrow, so cunning he outsmarted the gods and stole the Dark God’s weapons in eons past. Crash found it ironic that, despite all that had transpired, a story could still lend him courage. And each star was a story, a light in the dark, a dream in the abyss.

The wind picked up without warning. A whirl of sand twisted up from the ground, building, growing. Then a figure stepped from the dust.

Crash stood up. He didn’t know what to expect.

The sand settled. A woman dressed in black stood before him. She was insidiously tall. Her hair fell in plaited rows down her back. He noted the chakrams at her belt: circular blades that could remove a man’s head with a single powerful throw. Her eyes glowed the shocking green of aloe.

Memory stirred, and he recognized her. He searched for her name. It came to him.

“Grandmaster Natrix,” he bowed.

“Viper,” she returned, and waited for him to straighten. “I have listened long for word of my brother. Tell me, what has Cerastes done?”


Win 1 signed copy of Krait’s Redemption, 1 Cat’s Eye Necklace or 1 free eBook copy of the book during our giveaway!

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

[Review & Giveaway] True Born


True Born (True Born Trilogy #1)

by L.E. Sterling

Publish date: May 3, 2016
Genre:  YA Fantasy/Science Fiction
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads summary

Welcome to Dominion City. 

After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated…and their genetics damaged beyond repair.

The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plague-resistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared… 

And then there’s Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are. 

When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, led by the charismatic Nolan Storm and the beautiful but deadly Jared Price. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters? 

As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood.

My thoughts

My first thought about True Born was that it's hard to classify. Is it a fantasy? It is a dystopian? Is it science fiction? In truth, it's all of these things. 

I was pleasantly surprised to find most of my favorite elements rolled up together in the book. Like a beautifully baked cake with buttercream frosting. It was a delicious treat. 

True Born is written mostly from Lucy's perspective. Lucy and her twin, Margot, have that  special connection you hear twins talk about sometimes. But theirs is ramped up on steroids. Lucy can physically feel what is happening to Margot. So, when Margot disappears it doesn't take long for Lucy to feel it, and she takes off trying to find her. 

That's where Jared and Storm enter into Lucy's life and things start to change. Lucy has more questions than answers throughout the entire book, and we learn some things right along with her but there's still a lot left in the dark to keep me coming back for more. What exactly are Lucy and Margot? That's the question of the hour. 

Overall, this book was a very nice read. I enjoyed Lucy's character a lot and Storm and his crew are pretty bad ass. I found Lucy to be very relatable. She's been kept in the dark and she's finally seeking some answers. But the entire time she's scared of letting down her family and what this whole things means for her and Margot.

I would have like to have seen a clearer explanation of True Borns in the books though. After I finished reading, I found myself still confused about what exactly True Borns are and how they come to be about. There's some explanation but I still wasn't clear on the historical origins of True Borns.

True Born was nicely written and I didn't find myself stumbling over any grammatical errors. It get 4 stars and a thumbs up from me, so make sure you check it out. 

** I was provided a copy of this book in return for an honest review

Get it here

About L.E. Sterling

I was a voracious devotee of sci-fi and fantasy novels all through my childhood, so I suppose it doesn’t come as much of a shock that I’ve returned to the genre with a vengeance.

For a while I turned my back on the genre in favour of ‘high-brow’ literary texts. Ironically, it was my doctoral degree that saw me circling back. There’s something about the way postmodern literature plays with the arcane that had me utterly fascinated, and it wasn’t long until I fell headlong back into my old ways and haven’t looked back since.

My first novel, which isn’t in the Urban Fantasy or Fantasy genres, isn’t high literature, mind you, even if it tangles with some serious statements about politics and the way our western world runs. My editor described it as something between Charles Dickens and The Catcher in the Rye: Serious Fun, in other words.

My second novel, Pluto’s Gate, is where I’ve come home to myself: it’s a contemporary retelling of the Demeter-Persephone-Pluto story from Greek mythology. Folded into the mix is a Shaman-in-training, a magical book, Underworld Gods, a world covered in ice, a three-headed dog, and one lousy ex-boyfriend.

But I’ll tell you this much: I believe in the power of words and stories to transform our inner worlds. Whether the characters be vampires or vagabonds, a good narrative sucker punches so-called reality anyhow.

Get in touch

Read the first 6 chapters of True North (True Born #2) here




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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

[Blitz & Giveaway] Dominion Rising

Dominion Rising Collection
Publication date: August 8th 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Dominion Rising: 22 books. 99 cents. #DominionRising
Find the Science Fiction and Fantasy reads you’ve been craving! Whether it’s alien invasion or dark fairy tales, heart-pounding galactic adventures or cyberpunk romance, Dominion Rising will satisfy with a thrilling mix of 22 BRAND NEW FULL LENGTH novels set in fantastical realms.
Sword and sorcery, far-flung galactic empires, alternative history, epic magic, slipstream futures: this collection of carefully selected, exclusive novels is sure to please and delight readers of speculative fiction.

Over five thousand pages packed with aliens, faeries, vampires, gargoyles, warriors, telepaths, space pirates, starship captains, hapless mercenaries, street urchins, robots, cyber-enhanced humans, badass heroines, and lost princesses. These award-winning, New York Times, USA Today and International bestselling authors have left no stone in the science fiction and epic fantasy universe unturned to bring you the very best escape from planet Earth.

All the novels are only available in the Dominion Rising collection.
The Dominion Rising collection includes new novels from New York Times bestselling authors Gwynn White, Erin St. Pierre, Margo Bond Collins, D.K. Holmberg, Felix R. Savage, Tom Shutt, Melanie Karsak, and Erin Hayes; and USA Today bestselling authors P.K. Tyler, Anthea Sharp, Lisa Blackwood, S.M. Schmitz, and K.J. Colt.
The set also includes new work from award-winning and international bestselling authors S.M. Blooding, D.S. Murphy, Timothy C. Ward, Daniel Arthur Smith, Tony Bertauski, Rebecca Rode, Cheri Lasota, Ann Christy, Becca Andre, Logan Thomas Snyder, Dean F. Wilson, and Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy notable author Samuel Peralta.

Pre-Order for only 99 Cents!

Q&A With the Dominion Rising authors:

We asked some of the authors of Dominion Rising to share a little about their upcoming releases. In this interview, we asked the authors to tell us about the protagonists of their Dominion Rising Novels:

Tell us about the protagonist of your Dominion Rising novel:

Author: Rebecca Rode
Dominion Rising Title: Flicker
Ember is a gypsy on planet Earth. All she wants is to pay off her father’s medical bills and avoiding a forced marriage. Getting kidnapped and sold to the empire wasn’t exactly the plan.

Author: Melanie Karsak
Title: Curiouser and Curiouser
My novel is a steampunk retelling of Alice in Wonderland. In my novel, Alice is an ex-thief who is trying to escape her former life in London’s seedy criminal underbelly. Unfortunately, when the Hatter gets himself in trouble, Alice is pulled back exactly where she doesn’t want to be—working a job for the Queen of Hearts with a man she despises so much that she might still love him.

Author: Tom Shutt
Title: Iron Tamer
Mal is a young, cursed boy who grows up in the isolated mountain town of Pointe, which has been disconnected from the rest of the Empire for at least a generation. When he accidentally gets the local “police” force, the Brigade, nearly killed by a raging forest spirit, Mal is forced to take the Walk—a one-way ticket to death in the caved-in mine shaft that once connected Pointe to civilization. He makes it out alive, though, and soon discovers that he has an incredible gift—the ability to manipulate metals. And at the behest of an unlikely new friend, he starts on a journey to become an iron tamer. Mal is a spirited, kind, and sometimes overly trusting young man who wears his heart on his sleeve and more than once gets the wool pulled over his eyes, but his dedication to his friends and belief in himself sees him through many dangers.

Authors: Erin St Pierre and Gwynn White
Title: Reign of Bones and Embers
A young woman with something to prove, freedom to fight for, and a whole lot of sass.

Author: Daniel Arthur Smith
Abernathy “Abby” Squire is an Indiana Jones turned detective. He’s forever young, due to anti-aging technology common in the future. But his youth is only aesthetic. Over the centuries he’s been a university professor, an agent for the Homeland, and most recently a proprietor. He’s uncomfortable with his role in the Plane Wars and is reluctant when called back to help with a case because many aspects remind him of his past.

Author: Tony Bertauski
Title: The Waking of Grey Grimm
There are three protagonists in The Waking of Grey Grimm. Figuring out who they are and where they are is the story arc. Each of them is in search of something deeper in life and the relationships that bind them together. In the end, they discover that reality is not confined by our five senses.

Author: Samuel Peralta
Title: “Labyrinth of Steel”
The protagonist of any of my stories is you.

Author: Erin Hayes
Title: Touching Infinity
Clementine is a cyborg, more machine than human, but she’s dealing with an identity crisis of where she fits in. She’s a master hacker, the leader of her space pirate crew. She doesn’t have many scruples, but she’ll put her life on the line to save her crew.

Author: Anthea Sharp
Title: Star Compass
Diana Smythe is an orphan, a pickpocket… and a mathematical genius. My novel, Star Compass, follows her journey from the gutter to the stars and is set in a Victorian Spacepunk universe, where an eternally cloned Queen Victoria has ruled for centuries and the British Empire spans the galaxy.


Monday, April 3, 2017

[Review] Justice Calling

Justice Calling (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress Book 1)

By Annie Bellet

Publish Date: July 23, 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: 3/5

Goodreads Summary

Gamer. Nerd. Sorceress.

Jade Crow lives a quiet life running her comic book and game store in Wylde, Idaho. After twenty-five years fleeing from a powerful sorcerer who wants to eat her heart and take her powers, quiet suits her just fine. Surrounded by friends who are even less human than she is, Jade figures she’s finally safe.

As long as she doesn’t use her magic.

When dark powers threaten her friends’ lives, a sexy shape-shifter enforcer shows up. He’s the shifter world’s judge, jury, and executioner rolled into one, and he thinks Jade is to blame. To clear her name, save her friends, and stop the villain, she’ll have to use her wits… and her sorceress powers.

My Thoughts

Justice Calling is a fast-paced read with an episodic feel that I hope continues into the rest of the series. There’s an overarching story line that appears as though it will carry on in the following books, but there was also a satisfying conclusion to book one.

The story gets straight to the action, introducing us to Jade Crow, a more-than-she-appears supernatural being trying to blend in with the animal shifters and other supernatural beings who live in the small town where she runs a comic and gaming store. Jade is strong, independent and keeping a secret. At least, she is until a shifter named Alek comes to town and figures out who and what she really is. The dynamic between Jade and Alek is immediate and I enjoyed their interactions, though I would have liked their relationship to spend more time in the ‘getting to know you’ phase.

The world building is subtle, but effective. The explanations of the shifter hierarchy and the supernatural groups is done through casual conversation rather than lengthy explanations. I got the impression that I knew enough for the current story, but that there would be more revealed as time went on.

A particularly interesting aspect of this series is the role played by gaming culture. These references made throughout the story add an extra element of interest that also gives the secondary characters a common starting point for coming together. There’s also something about outsiders like shifters finding solace in gaming that resonates.

Though classified as urban fantasy, Justice Calling will also appeal to readers of paranormal mystery. The use of profanity, while generally employed to lighten the mood, makes this a series for readers of NA rather than YA fiction. This isn’t a lengthy read, making it ideal for quick reading in one or two sittings. It’s the perfect story to get you through a long commute or a quiet weekend afternoon.

Get it here

*Reviewed by Amanda, Book Nerd Paradise Contributor*

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

[Blog Hop & Giveaway] Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop

While I'm not the least bit Irish, there's always been something about St. Patrick's day that I love. It's a fun holiday where people just set out to have a good time, and the Irish pride is something to behold. You get to meet so many new people and corn beef and hash is the best. 

Without further ado, here are two series with Irish theme's and settings that I highly recommend. 

Also, a special thanks to Bookhounds for always hosting. Happy reading! 

The Falconer Series by Elizabeth May 

One girl's nightmare is this girl's faery tale 

She's a stunner.

Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty. 

She's a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she's leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them. 

She's a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother. 

She's a Falconer. 
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother's murder—but she'll have to save the world first.

Find it here

The Fianna Trilogy by Megan Chance 

Grace Knox has grown up hearing the folktales of her Irish ancestors, especially about the warriors who fought for control of Ireland. In 19th-century New York City, however, these legends are far from Grace's mind. She's much more concerned with how to protect her family from debt collectors, and whether her childhood friend Patrick Devlin will propose. Patrick is a member of the Fenian Brotherhood, a group of young Irish American men intent on fighting for the independence of their homeland, whatever the cost. Patrick and the Brotherhood use ancient magic to summon mythical warriors to join their fight to protect Ireland. One of them, Diarmid, finds himself drawn to Grace, and she to him. When Diarmid discovers that, in their desperation, the Brotherhood has also summoned a rival group of ancient warriors, he warns Patrick that there will be bloodshed. Grace is caught in the middle of two men she loves, and discovers she alone holds the power to save Ireland?but at a dangerous price.

Find it here
Amazon | Goodreads

Rules: This giveaway is open internationally to anyone who is able to receive their prize as an Amazon gift. One lucky winner will win a $5 Amazon e-gift card.
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See the rest of the hop