Book Review: Raven’s Cry

Book Reviews
*** Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own. May contain spoilers.

 

“They’re at the greatest risk… it takes but a nudge to push them over the edge.”

– Dana Fraedrich, Raven’s Cry

raven's cry cover 

Raven’s Cry Review

By: Rae

 

The Raven’s Cry is an ode to a woman cursed by magic and a victim of a greater power told in her narrative that spans centuries. Right from the beginning readers are introduced to Calandra Allen, a noble’s daughter, with the freedom to be an oddity against society standards. The Allen family is charming and quirky, what we see of them through Calandra’s eyes that is. It is her uncle Ducky, not a blood relation but a close family friend, that evidently sends Calandra to her downfall.  At a party she meets traveling mage Nicodemus. He is eccentric himself and not used to the customs of her area. The two strike a friendship that leads to a marriage proposal. Newly married and content with her life, Calandra happens upon a ritual being performed by Nicodemus that changes her life forever. Trapped as Raven during the day and tortured at night, she watches her husband steal bodies and souls to achieve immortality, stuck as an immortal herself. Will she escape? What has become of her world? Only time… will tell.

Let’s start with the set of characters we meet in Raven’s Cry. Aside from Calandra, who I will discuss later, I want to highlight the minor characters that travel through this story. From Ducky to Basira to Thomas and finally Kieran, each had a distinctness to them that separated them as individuals. I adored Ducky. Had a mixed feeling of love and hate with Thomas. As for Kieran, I didn’t get much of him to be totally swayed to his side. His story was too inconclusive. My overall satisfaction of character development can be said for all the support characters throughout. Nicodemous is an entity unto himself, not to be said likely, considered his forte in stealing souls and bodies to inhabit. I found it interesting how he digressed as a character and ultimately unraveled. His story ending was deeply dissatisfying though and I felt a little cheated at how everything went down. Then there was Calandra, for her experience is harrowing from being a quirky bookworm to a rebel spy. I found her narrative confusing at times with how it was worded, the skips in time, and some missing details… but still was able to relate to her. In the end, I just felt sorry for how everything turned out and unsatisfied by her conclusion, open-ended as it was. She never fully grew into the character she seemed aspired to be and that worried me.

The world itself is intriguing but could have been further developed besides the glimpses we see. Now since this was a novella, I understand it’s shortness, yet believe more world building could’ve strengthened the piece. I also didn’t get much of the steampunk vibe, just minor glimpses. The world itself did reflect Calandra, and since she was the narrator and a prisoner for a larger portion of the book, the plot flows with her and left room for reader interpretation and speculation. Thus, the main strength of Raven’s Cry were the characters. They were unique and refreshing and helped ease any lapses in what was going on throughout.

My interest is snared and I will need to read the other Broken Gears novels to see how the world at the end of Raven’s Cry fairs in the new century. Please note though that Raven’s Cry is a standalone.

If you want a faster paced read with quirky, intriguing characters, I recommend Raven’s Cry. The added plus is it’s loose relation to the Swan Lake. I do love a good, dark retelling.

 

My rating: 3.5

 

Visit Dana Fraedrich’s website to learn more about her Broken Gears series.

Guest Review: Escape From Samsara

Book Reviews, Guest reviewer, Misc.
***Disclaimer: I received this book in an exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

escape from samsara

ESCAPE FROM SAMSARA

Guest Reviewer: Adriana

 

While I found this book an interesting read as an American it was a bit confusing to me with the British English terminology. The main male character seems to be in an older age range which was a new twist I have yet to encounter. There is a mystery to solve and he is the character chosen to handle the task. Both his father and sister have gone missing. He still has his mother which in her own right is quite a character as well. During his mission to find his missing family members he encounters even more odd occurrences then I truly expected the story itself had a lot of interesting twists to this, however I did find it a little more than confusing trying to figure out certain aspects of the story line not only due to being an American English reader but there was a number of grammatical errors.

Reviewing the cover of the book it’s nicely done, however I would have chosen a bit of a different cover image. The free copy I received has no influence on my review itself.  The reason I gave the book a 3.5 star review was due to the above for mentioned issues that I personally took into consideration.

I would still recommend this book to other reader’s cause I did find it comical even though I had my issues it is still a great read for those who like comedy and a bizarre fantasy twist added to the mix! I feel in my personal opinion that the author could have more successful endeavors if he focused on making a series out of it where one aspect could have been the  portion of what was supposed to be today’s society.

Then he could have made a second book out of the time traveling portal and branched that into many series of novellas due to the nature of the portals abilities itself.

The  reason why I suggest that as a change for the author to consider is I do see great potential there, however it was hard for me to enjoy the book itself fully due to what I am calling a ping pong effect. The bouncing between this era, and all the odd story twists makes you have to try to figure out what is even happening while you are in the middle of the story or paragraph even. I would also recommend some more editing being performed on the context of the pages since some of the errors I commonly found were simple misspellings. I hope that this review  doesn’t come across to harsh I just would like to read more from

This author and as I stated if the book or books are reworked a little bit adjustment wise I think it would vastly improve the enjoyability factor for all reader’s. This being said I did enjoy the book itself it had some odd comical aspects and the author for me truly put his own unique touch on how a mystery can be told.

 

RATING : 3.5 OUT OF 5 STARS

 

Want more info? Visit Nicky Blue’s website here.

 

Broken Chords Cover Reveal

Cover Reveal
Broken Chords
Genre: YA Horror (novella)
Release date: October 2nd 2017
Leap Books
 
Summary: 
 
They rip, they tear, they FEED, and you never come back again.
Here’s how last year’s Gypsy Cob Music Festival should have gone. Lenora “Lenny” Ragno was supposed to rock her duet with her long-time crush, Jeb, during the open-mic competition. Then, swept up in the glow of success, he’d finally kiss her. Instead, Lenny choked on stage and spent the whole year dodging him online. And avoiding playing her fiddle in public. She thought her worst nightmare was behind her, but she was way wrong.
Now, she’s back at Gypsy Cob where avoiding a public performance is about as impossible as hiding from Jeb. She thinks facing him will be the scariest part of the festival, but when one of their friends talks everyone into trying astral projection, Lenny catches the eye of a demonic entity that marks her as its own.
Now, whenever it wants, the demon can pluck Lenny from her reality and transport her to a hellish between-world, haunted by its countless, gruesome victims. If she doesn’t want to become one of them, she must discover the nature of the demon’s hold on her and remove it. But how can she defeat a literal demon when she can’t even get over her personal ones?

 

About the Author

Jessica Bayliss is a fiction author who loves all things reading and writing. Her genre-bending fiction holds a little something for everyone. A lover of ghost tales and horror since her days scanning VHS rental shelves–admittedly with eyes half-averted from the gory covers–a touch of the mysterious always finds a home in Jessica’s work. Romance with a dash of supernatural. Horror with a bit of humor. You get the gist. Jessica also writes across age groups and is a firm believer in the motto, there is a new reader born every day, whether young or not-so-young. Because one cannot live on writing alone, Jessica also spends a great deal of time with friends and family. She is a lover of all animals especially one very special Havanese and one extremely ornery cockatiel. She also loves to eat, cook, and exercise–in that order–and is a firm believer that coffee makes the world a better place.

Jessica also has stories in several of Leap Books anthologies: Beware the Little White Rabbit and Fright Before Christmas.

Author Links:

 


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Dead Man’s Curve Promo

Blog Tour, Uncategorized
dead mans curve.pngDead Man’s Curve 
By Alex Van Tol
Genre: YA Horror (novella)
Release Date: October 17th 2016
Leap Books’ Shine

Summary from Goodreads:

The road to Hell passes through Dead Man’s Curve.

It’s been two years since Booker broke up with Rachel, and he wants to get her back. Only problem is, he doesn’t realize it until he and his four friends are hip-deep in a deadly nightmare. They’ve run over a wispy figure on the highway on Halloween night and now something is preying on them, one by one, going after their deepest fears.

Lost and scared in the New England wilderness, the group realizes they’re trapped in their own twisted version of The Blair Witch Project. They’re powerless against dark forces. When Rachel’s life is threatened, Booker realizes it’s up to him to figure out a way to stop the unholy madness.

If he’s man enough to face it head on.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
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Dead Man’s Curve
Excerpt

“What’s with the scrubs?” I ask. Rachel’s wearing them, too.
“The clothes are the least of our problems,” she says. There’s fear in her voice. As she speaks, the light above us flickers. She reaches toward me and pulls my mask down, below my chin.
I look around. We’re sitting against the wall in a long, dim hallway. A few old metal chairs sit askew, tipped over on the dirty linoleum floor. Paint peels from the walls, its faded blue-green leaves curling away from the pinkish concrete below. Several doorways lead off the corridor, but no light comes from any of them. Something hisses through the pipes that run along the ceiling. One of them drips somewhere far away.
Plurk.
Plurk.
Plurk.
Rachel shudders.
“Where are we?” I ask. A pile of broken beds hulks darkly at one end of the hallway, their legs a tangled forest of metal tubing. Heavy double doors block the other end of the hall. A reddish light shines through their round windows. They remind me of portholes. Or windows to hell.
I push the thought away. A bedpan, a scale and an old wheelchair form an obstacle course of abandoned equipment, separating us from the double doors.
Fuck. An old hospital. Far away, deep inside some other part of the rotting building’s bowels comes the haunting sound of someone screaming.
Rachel closes her eyes. “Welcome to my nightmare.”
“Then we need to get out of here,” I whisper. “STAT.” I stand and pull Rachel to her feet. My legs feel like rubber. My hand burns, but when I look at it there is no blood. No scab, even. Just a wide, pale scar across my palm where the cable seared through the skin.
An elevator dings in the wall nearby and I jump, my heart slamming. I hadn’t even noticed it. Rachel gasps and turns toward the sound. An old-fashioned curved display lights up above the doors. An arrow arcs across its face, pointing to each floor as the elevator moves. I watch, horrified, as the arrow shows the elevator’s descent.
Ping! 10.
“What the hell?” Rachel’s eyes are huge. “Why is it moving?”
“I don’t know. But I’m not sticking around to find out.”
“Oh, god.” Rachel’s got my hand in a death grip and she’s not letting go. I’m worried that she’s breathing so fast. They don’t teach you about hyperventilation in first aid. All I know about curing it is that it has something to do with breathing into a paper bag, and I’m not sure where I’d find one down here.
“It’s okay. We’re getting out of here,” I say.
“Which way are the stairs?”
“I don’t know.” I’m getting tired of hearing myself say those words. I rub my thumb across the back of her hand in what I hope is a reassuring way as I look up and down the hallway. Even though things are terrible, there’s something so good about having Rachel with me right now. She gives me confidence. Makes me feel stronger than I actually am. Even if she’s losing her shit, she’s still braver than any other chick I know.
Girl. Any other girl I know.
Ping! 9.
My adrenaline spikes. “What about that door at the end?” I ask, pointing to the circles of red light.
Rachel shakes her head. “I don’t want to go down there, Booker.”
I turn and look behind me, to where all the beds are piled up. “Well, this way is blocked. We won’t be able to move all that stuff out of the way in time.”
Ping! 8.
“We could try.” I can hear the desperation in her voice.
I almost take a step in that direction, but then I realize how ridiculous the idea is. There must be a dozen beds down at that end of the hall, all jammed together in a car-crash of a stack job. And they’re heavy hospital-grade beds, metal frames and all. We’d cut ourselves, or worse, crush a bone. “No way,” I say. “And anyway, who’s to say whatever is behind that door is any safer?”
Rachel studies the blocked doorway. She presses her lips together.
Ping! 7. Her hand tightens around mine.

Alex Van Tol.jpgAbout the Author

A born writer, Alex Van Tol cut her teeth on Stephen King novels so terrifying she had to turn them face-down on the floor in order to sleep at night. Alex writes across a broad range of genres for youth and adults, including contemporary, paranormal, historical and, of course, horror and thrillers. She lives between the mists and moody skies of Vancouver Island.

Author Links: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

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