5 Stars Review – Love and Decay (Love and Decay 1 #1-12) by Rachel Higginson

18596633Every 19167968once in a while, I’ll read a book based on the Zombie apocalypse.  I can’t help it, I am a fan of The Walking Dead (even still), and I have read Warm Bodies and every zombie book by Carrie Ryan.

Love and Decay is pretty much just as good – maybe even better than every Zombie book I’ve read so far and I’ve read 15 (Goodreads told me so).

Although it is obvious by the title that Love and Decay is a love story – it’s not just that.  It is the story of a courageous young woman, Reagan, who must make it through the Zombie apocalypse alive.  She and a slew of other characters battle some scary zombies and even scarier humans, making us ask the question, “What if this actually happened to me?”  They also find themselves in some hairy situations – and do not escape them un-scarred.

Rachel Higginson is a talented writer, who pretty much had me hooked from the beginning.  She describes awesome fight scenes, complex characters, and a love story unlike any I have read so far.  Her description of Reagan’s varying inner turmoils is fantastic – and help to remind us that we’re imperfect creatures.

If you are looking for a story that mixes humor (there was plenty of that), romance (this season was pretty PG-13, but Reagan’s love-life unraveled organically and was not always the primary focus of the story), action (Reagan and her companions do kick some Zombie and human butt often), psychology (we learn a lot about Reagan’s mind, which makes us think about how we would act and react to certain situations), with Zombies; you should give this series a shot.

Side note:

I purchased the first volume of this book (with 336 pages) for FREE on Amazon and once I was done with it, I purchased the next volume of Season One (with 375 pages) for $3.99.

I enjoyed it so much that I purchased the complete Second Season (with 735 pages) for $6.99.  Completely worth it.

& I am sure I’ll be getting season three as well 🙂

5 Stars Review – Here’s to Falling by Christine Zolendz


So, I love Christine Zolendz.  She could probably write about the theory of Quantum Physics, and I would be captivated.   She’s just that good with words.

Whether it’s writing about Angels, or two people who find each other in the darkest of times – she rocks my socks off with her writing.

Poetic and heart-wrenching, Here’s to Falling made me fall in love with the amazing story being told, and all over again with the author telling this story.

The best advice I can give you regarding this book is to have some tissues handy during a few points in this story – and although the synopsis is vague, believe that this story is worth reading.

We begin our story with a 24 year-old Charlie reminiscing about her childhood.  We learn that she loves her best friend, Joey and, while she does not live in the most nurturing environment, she survives because she has Joey and the love he returns to her.

Then a new boy, Jase, moves in next door and…He. Is. Trouble.  He is also the love of Charlie’s life.

Throughout the story, we are moved back and forth – from the present, to the past.  Ordinarily, this would really annoy me because I tend to enjoy reading about things occurring currently, but the swap back and forth was just so relevant and important to the story, that is was not annoying for me at all.  I loved learning about Charlie’s life as a child, as an adolescent, and eventually into adulthood.

We learn about Charlie’s past, slowly and naturally.  We discover why she is the way she is – what has shaped her into the woman she has to be.  What trials she has faced and how she made it out alive.  You’ll cry because her story is not always a pretty one, and your heart will inevitable break for her circumstances.  But you will continue reading because you are so captivated by her story, you’ll want to know how everything turns out for her.

The realities in this story are harsh, but need to be told nonetheless.  They need to be understood for what they are and recognized as truths.  Harsh and ugly truths.

We live.  We love.  We lose.  Repeat.

I once watched the whole series of Six Feet Under and the last episode gutted me because it reminded me of my own mortality.  This book will do this for you and that’s why you need to read it.

You’ll also smile, too, because the love in this story is pretty epic.  It is truly beautiful.

4 Stars Review – Gus (Bright Side #2) by Kim Holden

23389993This story is a follow-up to Bright Side, which was an amazing read. If you haven’t read that yet, I suggest you stop reading this review, read the review I wrote for Bright Side, and get yourself a copy of Bright Side – because this review is going to have major spoilers.

Gus is a twenty-something rocker dude who is trying to get over the loss of his best friend, Bright Side. Some people seek therapy to cope with loss, while Gus self-medicates with a lot of alcohol, cigarettes, and briefly uses cocaine. On tour with very little else to calm him, these three things, combined with meaningless sex, seems to do the trick…or at least masks the pain for a while. Unbeknownst to Gus, his behavior has made it possible for Scout to obtain much-needed employment…as Gus’ babysitter. Scout, or as he refers to her, “Impatient”, is getting over something also – and in this darkness, they come to find the light in each other.

Why didn’t I give this five stars?

Although I absolutely loved Bright Side, I found that there were a few things in this story that bothered me:

1. Although Gus has an addictive personality (he uses alcohol & cigarettes heavily), Gus begins using cocaine…but surprisingly, stops almost instantly. It is really hard to believe that someone with an addictive personality would be able to give such an addictive drug up so quickly. It seemed as though he had a harder time giving up nicotine than he did cocaine.

2. We are introduced to someone who has caused Scout pain in the past – but it didn’t seem like there was closure to this negative relationship. Yes, restraining orders were filed – but that isn’t a “magic fix-all” and the accused usually comes back for more. This guy didn’t at all, which seemed unrealistic to me, especially with how he pursued the relationship initially.

3. At one point in the book, it was mentioned that Scout doesn’t like making eye-contact. But then in another, it is mentioned that she communicates non-verbally with Gus through eye-contact. I found this inconsistent because when someone is hesitant to make eye-contact, they won’t suddenly make it part of their communication pattern. Maybe every once in a while, but not constantly, and not with someone they clearly don’t like very much.

What did I like about it?

1. I enjoyed the organic development of the relationship between Gus and Scout. I don’t like when characters develop relationships instantly – and Gus and Scout seemed to realistically fall in love.

2. I liked the re-introduction of characters from Bright Side. It has been a while since I read the first book and reminding me of the characters and who they are was helpful.

3. The writing was beautiful and the editing was well-done.

4. The way Holden describes the relationship between Gus and Bright Side – and Gus’ feelings about his loss was really beautiful and heartbreaking.

5. I loved the relationship between Gus and his mother. It was really lovely.

I know there is more to what I loved about this story and I am sure there is more that you’ll love, too!

Take care & happy reading!

5 Stars Review – Rumpelstiltskin (Timeless Fairy Tales Book 4) by K.M. Shea

23761088I really do love the way K.M. Shea writes, especially her take on the classic fairy tales we all grew up listening to, or watching on television.

This specific book is about a girl named Gemma who is an exceptionally talented seamstress. Others in the village of Verglas are skeptical of her talent however, and one night her father, the town drunk, brags to those skeptics that Gemma can turn straw into gold. The crazy King Torgen is informed of this and requests that she do just that, or else forfeit her life and the life of her father. A craftmage, Rumpelstiltskin (Stil), learns of this and begins to help Gemma turn flax into gold in exchange for various objects.

Throughout the book, Stil begins to fall in love with Gemma, and will do whatever he can to protect her from the fate that awaits her.

My most favorite part of this story was the romantic element. I am definitely a sucker for romance, and this book delivered in such a way that was believable and clean. You won’t read about that instantaneous love, which is really nice, nor will you read about anything happening in the bedroom.

Although I like books with romantic elements, this book had more than just a romance between Gemma and Stil. We really learn a lot about the type of person Gemma is throughout this book, and we can’t really help but like her. She is smart, kind, and a whole lot of other positive traits.

It is also nice that K.M. Shea weaves the mention of other fairytale characters into this story, as a way to show the connection to each story in her little universe.

There is no cliffhanger in this book, and it is most definitely a HEA. Suitable for Young Adults, as well as Adults who are in the mood for a whimsical story with a kick-ass main character.

3 Stars Review – Clear: A Death Trippers Novel by Jessica Park

24393633I began this book not really knowing what to expect.  I have really mixed emotions about what I discovered on my journey through the pages.  I really did like it at first because Stella seemed to be a victim and no matter how she acted, I can not dislike a victim.  She went through a lot and had a mother who did not treat her like a mother should, and she just sort of wanted her mother’s love.  After her sister, who has some issues herself, tells her to run away; Stella runs away.  She meets a man (Sam), who does not seem to be a nice man at first, and they eventually fall in love with each other.  He has a secret, which is really, really unusual and she accepts him in spite of it.  (I was still okay with the book, even after learning about this really weird secret).  I actually thought this was really unique.

Eventually, however, things became even weirder and  I couldn’t really finish it.  I can’t really give much information because that would tell the story…and I don’t want to do that.

I will say that some things happened that annoyed me and I just couldn’t continue.  I tried.

If you don’t mind weird love triangles and unusual sex situations, along with a confusing at times plot, then you have found your book.

It really wasn’t all bad.  Just a little.

5 Stars Review – The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

81L3hugGchL._SL1500_Have you ever read a book that just “sticks with you?”  No matter how much you really try, it stays in your head.  You read other books, but they aren’t enough to get this other book out of your mind.

This is what The Sea of Tranquility was like for me, even years after reading it for the first time.

It’s my go-to book for when I am stuck in a book slump and I need something to remind me of why exactly I love reading so much.

It is because of books like this that I continue reading.

My prince amongst a pond full of toads.

Nastya Kashnikov has been through something traumatic.  Something that has done damage to not only her body, but her life.  A once gifted piano player, Nastya is forced to give up this part of herself because she can no longer use her left hand to play.  But more than her hand was damaged by this trauma; her once comfortable and predictable life is taken from her by an event that she can not seem to make peace with.  When she begins to remember, she makes a conscious decision to stop speaking.  When she moves away from her former life and her family, to live with her Aunt, she also changes her appearance, with the goal: to make her as unapproachable as possible.

Josh Bennett has also been through some tough events in his life, losing too many people in too short of a time.  He is a loner, who would rather spend time building furniture than building relationships.  He does this to protect himself, fearing another inevitable loss.

In Josh, Nastya finds a hesitant friend.

As the story continues, Josh and Nastya become closer and their relationship grows.

Why do I keep coming back for more?

  • This story was so completely and utterly unique.
  • The story-building wasn’t rushed and things seemed to happen at a realistic pace.
  • The characters were believable and different from one another in a way that helped me become more attached to their individual stories.
  • The relationships that occurred between each character added depth/value to the story and did not seem fake.
  • The individual struggles Nastya and Josh go through were realistic and heartbreaking, making me empathize with the pain they felt during their prospective problems.
  • It’s a beautiful story.

You need this book in your life!

3 Stars Review – Under The Trees by Ashley Maker

23000308Under the Tree was a nice, short, young adult read. Even though it is fairly short, it took me about two weeks to finish it – I just couldn’t get emotionally invested, or care enough about the characters to read it quickly. Not completely the author’s fault; I guess I just need to be in the mood to read a Young Adult book such as this and I really did want to feel something while reading this.

Araya is a nice girl, who only wishes to escape from a kingdom that she does not wish to stay in, sparked by unwelcome advances from an untrustworthy Duke. She finds herself in Thor’s father’s kingdom, where Thor hides her away, so she may be safe.

For me, I would have enjoyed this book more if the characters were a little more built. I just felt like the characters were somewhat predictable and transparent, and I didn’t really see much of a difference between the two main characters: Araya and Thor. I suppose this was done to show how “right” they are for one another, which is completely fine.

Overall, I see the value in this story: very simple, straight-to-the-point and perfect for YA readers.

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Additional Book Cover Designs

I’ve been trying to spend some time building my book cover portfolio.  This is what I have so far!

Book Cover 3

Paperback 3

Book Cover 4

Book 4 paperback



5 Stars Review – Cold-Blooded Beautiful (Beautiful #2) by Christine Zolendz

20272153If you read Brutally Beautiful and loved it like I did, you most certainly must read this book. Christine is such a vivid writer, painting pictures with her daring and emotional words. She is not just a writer, but a realistic describer of pleasure and pain, which are both a part of life.

Through her words, she describes heartache and emotion, difficult for most people to process, and even more difficult for them to accept. Samantha is fierce, loving, and tough – a realistic main character, who any female can look up to. Kade is misunderstood, protective, and passionate – a man who has been through hell and back and lived to tell his tale. Both wrapped in a love so absolutely moving, my heart leaped for them in the most perfect way.

I think Christine could write the script for a cereal commercial and I would sit, enraptured by the story, absorbing every word she writes.

Her writing is just that lovely.

5 Stars Review – Ten Tiny Breaths (Ten Tiny Breaths #1) by K.A. Tucker

15990969It’s 4am and I just finished reading this. I read a lot of books and some are barely memorable. This is one of those books that I will remember. I was hesitant when I read the description because it seemed too dramatic and loaded with conflict, but don’t let that deter you. It was very well written and I never found myself rolling my eyes at the characters or how the characters spoke. I never skimmed through words to find just dialogue, but read with interest at descriptions of the scenes. It had mild sexual situations, but they were tastefully done and did not take away from the emotional integrity of the book. It had some funny parts, but it was also emotionally heavy at times (a nice balance). That is fine because it was incredibly realistic. The characters felt real and the situations were realistic (to a point). The truth is, a story doesn’t have to be based on possible events, sure it is great if it is, because it allows us to relate, but a story (especially Fiction), is supposed to take you beyond the life you are living, exposing you to other worlds. It’s pretty amazing when a story can transport you away from your life and into someone else’s. Life isn’t always easy, but authors know that and allow their audiences to escape life for a while. This book was a good solid escape. Read it, you most likely won’t regret it. Well worth $3.99 to at least give it a chance.

5 Stars Review – Brutally Beautiful (Beautiful #1) by Christine Zolendz

20271650I just finished reading Brutally Beautiful and I just have to stand up and clap my hands for Christine. I can see she has a lot of people doing that exact thing, by the amount of people who absolutely loved this read and I’m not surprised by this.

I am a 25 year old, who is studying to be a school psychologist. I am very particular about what I read, and can be hard to please. I can be critical, but always honest, when it comes to my thought/feelings about books I’ve read.

I have read a lot of books, by a lot of authors. Some of those authors, like Christine, show the reader their commitment to providing readers with an experience, worthy of the reader’s precious time.

Authors do this by spending time writing; perfecting the story-grammatical errors are minimal, thus; there are minimal distractions from the story.

Authors also do this by bringing to life, a unique story. A story filled with human emotion and human experiences. At times, sad; at times, bitterly heartbreaking. All human emotion is worthy of expression-even the ones we would rather not have occasion to express. But love is the most precious emotion; most necessary and most worthy of expression. It can come in many forms – a most basic, and most difficult to share in writing; sex. We shy away from it in writing, and are embarrassed to share it with others; but it is essential to expressing love. While some other authors rush through these scenes, which is shown in their writing; Christine expresses these scenes beautifully (a hard feat).

I loved the Mad World series, but there was just something so realistic about this book, which makes me love it more. Gun violence is all too real, especially now, and its role in regards to this book, is one of the many things that makes this read so beautiful. Abusive relationships are also far too real, but her depiction of the struggle of Samantha’s past was executed beautifully. Those are both topics not everyone has the guts to write about, but Christine Zolendz seem to possess those guts – in spades.

I am glad I downloaded this book, as it will be an addition to an unfortunately short list of other books, that touched my heart and left me with more knowledge of the human condition.

It’s hard to find a gem like Christine.

5 Stars Review – Under Different Stars (Kricket #1) by Amy A. Bartol

19504931I am a pretty big fan of Amy Bartol, and absolutely love the Premonition series. I have to admit, I was hesitant to give the Kricket series a try; not because of Amy’s writing (because she is quite good), but because of the story premise involving Aliens.

I am glad I ignored my hesitancy. Because I pretty much fell in love with the characters. Kricket is wonderfully smart, brave and funny. I actually wish I was more like her. I liked the fact that every other main character in this story had unique personalities that never wavered from how they were depicted throughout the story. None of them were dull, which was nice.

I suppose the only negative thing about this story, was that you really have to keep up with the language used. Since it takes part on another planet (Ethar), they use peculiar words for certain things. At times, this made me pause and try to adapt to the meanings of these words. I got through it, though.

Since I am a sucker for romance, I love that this book involves a bit of that. Tasteful dialogue (very PG-13), which is perfectly fine for this style of book.

Give this book a try; especially if you like Amy’s other stuff; you will not be disappointed. Eagerly anticipating the next book in this series. Oh, and this book didn’t have a cliffhanger. It wrapped up nicely, which was something I was hoping for.