Two Reviews! Slumber Duology ~ Slumber (#1) & Awaken (#2) by Christy Sloat #BookReview

~Jennifer~ | 9:21 PM | Be the first to comment!

May 18, 2018


Title: Slumber
Series: Slumber Duology #1
Author: Christy Sloat
Published: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Anchor Bay 
Source: Purchased 

Purchase: Amazon | B&N


 My Rating:  





Synopsis 


Not all princesses get their happily ever after... 

They tell me I killed my boyfriend Phillip in cold blood. I stabbed him twenty one times. I’m only seventeen years old, and I am serving life in Spindle Ridge Asylum for the Criminally Insane. 

I don’t remember killing him, so it’s really hard to believe I’m capable of murder. In fact I don’t remember anything before I came to Spindle Ridge, not even my boyfriend. 

I can only grasp onto my realistic dreams while the madness of the asylum threatens to pull me under. I dream I’m a beautiful princess and there is an evil faerie named Maleficent who is bent on my destruction. The dreams are the closest thing I have to memories of my life, except they aren’t real. 

I’m crazy. I’m not a princess. 

They’re the mad illusions of an irrational teenage girl, right? 
They’ve assigned me a new doctor, and she says I can trust her, and that she’ll help me see the truth of who I really am. 
When she arrived she brought a new patient, Sawyer, who is everything Spindle Ridge isn’t: exciting, mysterious and beautiful. He promises he’s here to rescue me. Trusting either of them frightens me. 

Could it be possible that my dreams are more than just the imaginings of a delusional girl? Could they be truth?


Not only do I love retellings/re-imaginings of stories, fairytale or otherwise, but I'm also drawn to books that take place in a psychiatric hospital as a reader who's interested in psychology. Slumber, the first book in a duology, hit both points for me with its setting and its retelling of Sleeping BeautyI bought both Slumber and its sequel, Awaken, so I could read them back to back. I can't tell you how glad I am to have done that because the ending of the first book left me wanting more. 

When we're introduced to Rory (Aurora), we find out she's living in the Spindle Ridge Asylum for the Criminally Insane for the murder of her boyfriend. The setting had me stoked with this interesting twist on the tale of Sleeping Beauty. Rory is living in abysmal conditions as many novels set in psychiatric hospitals are portrayed, and she isn't sure what's real and what's not. She doesn't remember murdering anyone but accepts it because this is what she has been told. 

The book earned only three stars from me because there was a bit of repetition with Rory during her time in the hospital. Also the story dragged in a few places though it was a quick read overall. I can understand why it would seem her thoughts were repetitive because she's trying to figure out what's going on, but it took me out of the story.

I don't want to say much more about the plot so I don't give anything away. I will say that there's a huge shift in the story about halfway through that was a bit confusing and rushed. There were plot points that would've worked out better if they had been slowed down and expanded upon. 

I do recommend giving Slumber a whirl! The story is exciting with a touch of romance and lots of action and adventure. It's my first read by Christy Sloat, and I'm looking forward to reading more of her work. 


* * Read on for my spoiler free

review of Book 2! * *



Title: Awaken
Series: Slumber Duology #2
Author: Christy Sloat
Published: February 19, 2018
Publisher: CHBB Publishing  
Source: Purchased 

Purchase: Amazon | B&N



My Rating:        




Synopsis 


“Happily ever after is hers for the taking.”

Once upon a time I found myself locked away in Spindle Ridge Asylum, punished for a murder I didn’t commit. It was all part of Maleficent’s evil plan. I didn’t remember who I was then … now I do. 

My name is Aurora, and I am the rightful queen of this realm. Armed with my memories, I’m ready to take charge of my kingdom once more. Happily ever after evades me, yet I long to claim it with my true love, Sawyer, beside me. That fairy tale ending seems impossible with him locked in the thralls of a sleeping curse. 

As much as I’d love to sit by his bedside and eagerly await a cure, I must first travel into the terrifying Dark Woods to stop Raven from stripping me of all that is rightfully mine. I am not only a queen, but a warrior who will fight for her kingdom. 

Some may die. Blood will be shed. But when this ending comes, I will settle for nothing less than a blissful ever after.


Awaken is even better than Slumber and exceeded my expectations. I was on the edge of my seat anxiously waiting to see what was going to happen next. Picking up from where the first book left off, this sequel starts off strong and ends strong.  

Rory's character grows into a confident young woman with courage, strength and a taste for revenge against those who have harmed the people she loves. Not only is she concerned about saving her loved ones, she also has an entire kingdom on her shoulders as she takes on her rightful role as Queen. I had to remind myself she's only eighteen, yet she is more mature than many eighteen-year-olds. 

While she is fighting for the man she loves, he isn't her sole focus. She knows how important it is to be a reliable and fair leader to the people in her kingdom. They need her, and I love reading about her! With the fate of so many different characters up in the air, I wasn't sure who would survive and who wouldn't. Like I said earlier, I was on the edge of my seat.     

Awaken is a satisfying conclusion to Rory's story, and I love how everything wraps up. I look forward to reading more of Christy Sloat's work.    

Thanks for visiting Donnie Darko Girl!

  

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Living Out Loud by Staci Hart ~ Release Day Blast

~Jennifer~ | 4:19 PM | 2 Comments

February 3, 2018



LIVING OUT LOUD, the next in Staci Hart's Austen Series, is LIVE! This modern love story is inspired by Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility  This book will have you smiling and swooning! Hart takes us back to the world of Wasted Words and gives us a love story you will not soon forget!





Title: Living Out Loud 
Author: Staci Hart 
Publication Date: February 1, 2018 
Cover Photo: Perrywinkle Photography 
Cover Design: QuirkyBird Designs 




Synopsis 


When Annie Daschle arrives in New York City, the only thing she can control is her list. 

Not her father’s death or the loss of her home. Not the hole in her heart or the defective valve that’s dictated so much of her life. But she can put pen to paper to make a list of all the ways she can live out loud, just like her dad would have wanted.

See the city from the top of the Empire State Building: Check. Eat hot dogs on the steps of The Met: Check. Stand in the middle of Times Square: Check. Get a job at Wasted Words: Check. 

Two things not on her list: Greg Brandon and Will Bailey. And just like that, she finds herself caught in the middle of something she can’t find her way out of, with no clear answers and no rules. 

List or no list, she realizes she can’t control anything at all, not even her heart. 

Not the decisions it makes, and not the moment it stops. 

*Standalone contemporary romance Inspired by Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.*



Like what you see? Grab your own copy of this beautiful new release today on Amazon in eBook or paperback!





About the Author 



Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.


Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Website | Newsletter 





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The Steamborn Trilogy by Eric R. Asher ~ #audiobook #bookreview

~Jennifer~ | 2:19 PM | | 1 Comments

January 19, 2018



Title: The Steamborn Trilogy
Series: Steamborn, Books 1-3  
Author: Eric R. Asher
Release Date: October 4, 2017
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld 
Length: 27 hrs and 27 mins

Source: Audiobook copy for review  

Purchase: Audible | Amazon | B&N 

My Rating: 








Steamborn (Book 1)


Jacob, a tinker's apprentice, has never backed down from an adventure, but when a swarm of Deadlands creatures shatters the peace of Ancora, he'll face trials the likes of which he has never imagined. Forced out of the Lowlands, Jacob and his friends seek shelter behind the towering walls of the Highlands, only to uncover a terrible darkness at the heart of their city.

Steamforged (Book 2)


There are old wounds in the forgotten places of the world, and some are soaked in blood.

Jacob and his allies flee into the Deadlands after the fall of Ancora. Charles, the enigmatic smith, hopes to find answers in the desert city of Bollwerk that could prevent a war.

Their enemies are many, and here Jacob will learn the cost of life in the Deadlands.

Steamsworn (Book 3)


The world dies in war only to be reborn. It is the way of things, and always will be.

Forged in the Deadlands crucible, and armed with the knowledge of their true enemy, Jacob, Alice, and their allies bring the fight back to Ancora. The wounds cut deep in their darkest hour, but in the end, vengeance will light their path.



NOTE: For my review, I'll first discuss the narration of the entire trilogy, then go into more detail with each novel. 

Narration for the Steamborn Trilogy

The narrator, Saskia Maarleveld, did an amazing job voicing all of the different characters. She has a lovely and pleasant voice to listen to, and her accent is fab! I was impressed with her ability to differentiate the characters so cleanly to where I never had to wonder who was speaking. I'm interested in hearing her also narrate other novels.    

Steamborn (Book 1)


In Steamborn, we're introduced to Jacob, a teenage boy and resident of the city of Ancora who often finds himself in trouble. He's brilliant with gadgets and inventions as an apprentice to his mentor, Charles. While Jacob does have both of his parents, Charles is still like a father figure to him, and I loved their interactions. He is impressed by Jacob's devotion to their inventions and encourages his thoughts and ideas. 

Jacob's friend, Alice, is straight-laced and a rule follower but extremely caring and loyal. I loved their close friendship and the way it blossomed over the course of the story. 

While Steamborn does start a bit slowly, it soon picks up its pace and has a lot going for it. There's giant bugs, steampunk gadgets that are easy to imagine and understand, the struggle between the rich and the poor, and a mystery Jacob discovers about the city he's lived in for his entire life. An excellent start to an excellent trilogy!


Steamforged (Book 2)


Steamforged gives us a look into the world outside of the city of Ancora and into the Deadlands and the city of Bollwerk. Jacob, Alice, Charles and Samuel (a spider knight) travel across the Deadlands to Bollwerk, and new characters are introduced. My favorite new character was Mary, who's not only a strong and independent woman but also an airship captain (go Mary!). I loved her!   

While Steamborn was more introductory, Steamforged brings much needed action and suspense to the trilogy. I looked forward to experiencing the places and people which were talked about in the first book.   

There's tension and I love delving into the differences between the poor and the rich because a lot of those parts of the story seem to parallel what's going on in the real world. I think there's a message in this story about the lengths the rich will go to in order to protect themselves no matter the heavy cost the poor ends up paying. Steamforged gave me a lot to think about with terrific characters and stellar writing. I loved it!  

Steamsworn (Book 3)


Man, Steamsworn hit me hard right in the feels! Asher upped the ante with for his characters with this last installment in the Steamborn trilogy. The book was action packed from beginning to end, and there were moments where I think my heart stopped from being kept in suspense. My emotions were all over the place, and I couldn't believe how much was happening. It wasn't overwhelming at all, so don't worry about that. 

Steamsworn means so much to me because I love the characters fiercely. I feel their feelings and know their thoughts. They've become like real people to me with their hopes and fears. 

This last installment in the trilogy was satisfying, and while I'll miss the characters and their passion to fight for what's right, I'm happy with the way it ended.   


Thanks for visiting Donnie Darko Girl!  



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The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker ~ #bookreview

~Jennifer~ | 3:47 PM | Please comment!

January 18, 2018 



Title: The End of the World Running Club
Author: Adrian J. Walker
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark 
Release date: September 5, 2017
Source: Borrowed from the library 

Purchase: Amazon | B&N 


My Rating: 




Synopsis


Perfect for fans of The Martian, this powerful post-apocalyptic thriller pits reluctant father Edgar Hill in a race against time to get back to his wife and children. When the sky begins to fall and he finds himself alone, his best hope is to run – or risk losing what he loves forever.


When the world ends and you find yourself forsaken, every second counts. No one knows this more than Edgar Hill. Stranded on the other side of the country from his wife and children, Ed must push himself across a devastated wasteland to get back to them. With the clock ticking and hundreds of miles between them, his best hope is to run -- or risk losing what he loves forever.



The premise of The End of the World Running Club intrigued me, but the characters annoyed me, especially the main character, Edgar (Ed). 

Ed is married with two young children, and he has to be the whiniest character I've ever encountered, and I've read a ton of books over my lifetime so far so that's saying something. I'm a wife and mom, and I totally get that sometimes it can be a monotonous life with the routine of going to work everyday and coming home. HOWEVER, Ed was disgusting with his pathetic worldview, and I genuinely hope he's the exception and not the rule. 

Once the action began with Ed hurrying his family into the cellar with some supplies he threw together at the last minute, I was horrified. I felt every ounce of anxiety, tension and panic that Ed felt when he knew shit was about to hit the fan. It took my breath away. 

But once that was done, I ended up slogging my way through the rest of the book. It was long, and there were many details that were unnecessary in my opinion. 

As you can tell, I hated Ed and never warmed up to him, not even when he makes a transition from a complete douche to  slightly becoming a better person. I just didn't care for him or about him at all. 

The group of people with whom Ed finds himself consisted of vastly different personalities coming together to survive and get to Ed's family and the hope of a better place with food, water and medicine. I loved Harvey, and Bryce grew on me quite a bit. I never liked Richard and didn't care if anything happened to him. Grimes was the only female, and she was okay but kind of bland. 

Ed and his group meet various people on their journey with some who were helpful and others who were downright cruel and dangerous. That's one of the themes of The End of the World Running Club - if you manage to survive the cataclysmic event that triggered the apocalypse, then you not only have to worry about basic human needs but also running into violent survivors who would do anything to stay alive, include killing you for your supplies. You don't know who you can trust. 

Overall I thought the quality of writing was good with the exception of needless tiny details where no action took place. I don't think Ed was meant to be a likable character, so I wasn't upset about hating him. The running included in this story made it a bit more interesting. All in all, I wouldn't highly recommend this book, but if you are interested in a post-apocalyptic story with adult characters, you might want to give this one a try.  


Quotes I Liked  

In the end, I thought, this is how we all end up: running alone through our own wilderness, the landscape of disjointed events that form our lives, with nobody to make sense of it but ourselves. The road is ours, and ours alone. 
You don't run thirty miles; you run a single step many times over. That's all running is; that's all anything is. If there's somewhere you need to be, somewhere you need to get to, or if you need to change or move away from where or what you are, then that's all it takes. A hundred thousand simple decisions, each one made correctly. You don't have to think about the distance or the destination or about how far you've come or how far you have to go. You just have to think about what's in front of you and how you're going to move it behind you.

Thanks for visiting me here at Donnie Darko Girl! 


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Living Out Loud by Staci Hart ~ #coverreveal

~Jennifer~ | 12:00 PM | Please comment!

January 18, 2018

The wait is over! We have our first stunning Staci Hart cover for 2018. It is beautiful! I cannot wait to get my hands on LIVING OUT LOUD! Check out more about this upcoming release below!






Title: Living Out Loud
Author: Staci Hart
Publication Date: February 1, 2018
Cover Design: QukiryBird Design 




Synopsis 


When Annie Daschle arrives in New York City, the only thing she can control is her list.

Not her father’s death or the loss of her home. Not the hole in her heart or the defective valve that’s dictated so much of her life. But she can put pen to paper to make a list of all the ways she can live out loud, just like her dad would have wanted.

See the city from the top of the Empire State Building: Check.
Eat hot dogs on the steps of The Met: Check.
Stand in the middle of Times Square: Check.
Get a job at Wasted Words: Check.

Two things not on her list: Greg Brandon and Will Bailey. And just like that, she finds herself caught in the middle of something she can’t find her way out of, with no clear answers and no rules.

List or no list, she realizes she can’t control anything at all, not even her heart.

Not the decisions it makes, and not the moment it stops.

*Standalone contemporary romance Inspired by Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.*


About the Author


Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

Author Links





Thanks for visiting me here at Donnie Darko Girl! 

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Sins of the Heart (Otherkin #1) by Eve Silver ~ #bookreview @NetGalley @Eve_Silver

~Jennifer~ | 12:30 AM | | 4 Comments

December 12, 2017



Title: Sins of the Heart
Series: Otherkin #1
Author: Eve Silver
Publication Date: March 4, 2017
Publisher: Romance Beckons  
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Purchase: Amazon | B&N



My Rating:  







Synopsis


Dagan Krayl, the Underworld's most powerful soul reaper, is the demigod son of the evil god Sutekh. He's on a mission to find his murdered brother's remains and resurrect him, but resurrection means that the secrets carried into death would be released and, with them, a war that could end gods and mankind alike.

Roxy Tam is searching for the same thing, but for completely different reasons. She means to make certain that the remains don’t fall into Sutekh’s hands, and that the soul reapers do not reanimate their fallen comrade. As a Daughter of Aset, Roxy is tasked with the protection of the human race, and if that means thwarting an all powerful soul reaper and making certain his dead brother stays dead, so be it. But when Roxy sees Dagan face-to-face, she realizes that she has met him once before—a meeting that changed her life forever.

Neither Dagan nor Roxy expects to join forces for the sake of mankind. Or to have their loyalties tested as they struggle against treachery, betrayal and the potent desire that threatens to consume them both.




Sins of the Heart kicks off an awesome series about soul reapers, demigods, and gods. Roxy and Dagan had a back-and-forth thing that had me reeling and rooting for them at the same time.    

While I wasn't drawn into the story immediately, I eventually did get into it and think I might have been preoccupied. I'm not sure why I wasn't into it immediately - the beginning might have moved a little slowly for me. Some scenes were a bit lengthy.  

As it went on, I ended up liking it more. The characters are interesting, especially Roxy and Dagan. They are HOT together! Their love is forbidden, which just makes them even hotter and fun to read about. They also have opposite goals which was what brought them into orbit in the first place, and that makes their situation even more complicated. I thought it was genius to have their goals pitted against one another to up the ante.  

After finishing Sins of the Heart, I immediately bought Sins of the Daughter and am looking forward to reading the rest of this series! Plus, Eve Silver has written other series I'm ready to dive into.   

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