Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Blog Tour: Tortured by @KateGivans

Title: Tortured
Author: Kate Givans
Series: Tortured #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Drama

A contemporary romantic drama about loss, healing, and love's ability to reach beyond scars and secrets, no matter how deep or hidden. 

WARNING: This book is intended for 18+ readers ONLY. Potentially triggering content and concepts in books to follow.

More than a year after the death of his best friend, Josh is still tormented by the past. Everything changes when free-spirited Willow barges into his life. She challenges him, helps him feel something other than the overwhelming pain, sadness, and anger.

There’s just one problem.

Underneath that carefree spirit, Willow is elusive and secretive. Josh believes she may be fighting a few demons of her own, but he harder he tries to uncover the truth, the more she pushes him away.

Can Josh get her to open up before it’s too late? Or will he discover that some secrets are better left untold?
Quirky, clumsy, and always a little off-key, Kate Givans has always loved books and the words contained within. Now that she’s writing the stories, she’s filling them with broken characters, angst, and even a few of those happily-ever-afters that seem to evade us in real life.
When not writing, this gypsy-hearted wife and mother of five can be found guzzling coffee, day-dreaming, dancing for no reason at all, playing with the voices in her head, watching her favorite shows (Originals, Grey’s, OUAT, The Following), listening to music, and reminding herself to “breathe.”

There are certain stories that leave you feeling empty, that touch your soul and rock you to the core in ways that are not always pretty. Tortured is one of those books, its roughness, sadness and broken characters will touch every fiber of your being only to leave you speechless and alone. (In case you are wondering why the three and a half stars, I'll get to that ASAP).

After losing his best friend, a visit to the psyquiatric ward and almost losing himself, Josh is somewhere between life and a dark place when he meets Willow. This carefree, mysterious, crazy girl will help him to heal. With her company he will want to live and love again. So far it doesn't sound so bad, doesn't it?

Ok, the book has a great idea behind it; the rhythm helps to create the right atmosphere and I think the plot is well thought. You can feel the sadness, the depression, the loneliness. What I mean is that the author does an excellent work describing the feelings and making you believe in them. The writing is really good.

However, there were things that felt way out of line. Willow is a character I couldn't figure out and I didn't like at all. I could feel sorry for some of the stuffs she had to go through, but there is a point where crying without giving reasons is annoying. And she is a total mystery for most part of the book and I can’t handle that, I need to know why characters act the way they do.

And the part that almost makes me throw the book away (or my reader) was the END. WHY???? Why such a cliffhanger, there are so many things unsolved and loose ends. I know I'm only going to read the next book to find out what happens but if you hate cliffhangers and waiting... STAY OUT OF THIS BOOK.

Overall, I really like the general story. Josh is a character I can relate with and the passing is quite fast. It has a mature tone, with some sex scenes that are well written. If it wasn’t for the end and Willow I would have enjoyed it more.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Review : Just Ask the Universe

Just Ask the Universe: A No-Nonsense Guide to Manifesting Your Dreams
Title: Just Ask The Universe. A no-nonsense guide to manifesting your dreams
Author: Michael Samuels
Release Date: September 1st 2011  
Format: Paperback & Ebook
Michael Okon 
Source: complimentary copy in exchange of an honest review

Just Ask the Universe is not a book of New Age gobbledygook filled with empty promises. Angels won't fly from above and touch you while you're reading. You will not be asked to practice unusual or tedious rituals. There will be no preaching or sage advice and there will most certainly be no channeling of your inner chakras or dressing like Friar Tuck. Just Ask the Universe is a realistic guide to personal development. By creating a blueprint for self-growth and commanding your subconscious mind, the Universe will manifest all your dreams. For over two decades, Michael Samuels has studied and methodically tested hundreds of books on self-improvement, spirituality, and the metaphysical. Just Ask the Universe accumulates the wisdom from "thought teachers" like: Wallace Wattles, Anthony Robbins, Rhonda Byrne, Joseph Murphy, Robert Collier, and Napoleon Hill, and compiles it under one unified lesson: if your thoughts are clear and in harmony with your mind and the truth of your surroundings, your life can be filled with all the richness the Universe has to offer. As a culmination from these teachings, Michael will show you how to use simple and fun techniques to create a more desirable future. This approach, coupled with real-life stories, will teach you how to achieve personal power to overcome any barrier. Regardless of what your present circumstances might be, by following the principles in this book, you will be able to gain power over your destiny. The Universe is listening. All you have to do is just ask.

With a degree in English, a second degree in Finance and a Masters in Business Administration, Michael Samuels has attracted everything into his life because he followed successful people and their thought processes. He has read and thoroughly tested hundreds of books on spirituality, self-improvement, and the metaphysical. The Universe has helped Michael run a highly successful family-owned business with offices all over the country. He currently lives in New York with his wife, son and daughter.

This non-fiction is a good way to learn a few steps to achieve all your dreams. Simple languages and easy steps are the guide to accomplish everything you ever wanted.

The book has amazing quotes at the beginning of each chapter and the language is really fresh and simple to understand. However, for me it was a simple tale of all the author experience with other books. He takes all the things that worked with other guides and creates one of his own. It's not a bad thing but it wasn't mind blowing.

I like that it doesn't take any religious, political or moral stand, it's just a book with advices to be happy. For moments it seems that happiness only involves material things but the author clarifies that there is more than money when it comes to happiness.

I’m not a fan of this genre (self-help) so maybe that's why I couldn’t enjoy it more but it wasn't that awful either.

Overall, if you are looking for that extra impulse to go after the things you always wanted this could be a good choice.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Hanging Tree: A Novella by @michaelpcash - Review

The Hanging Tree: A Novella
Title: The Hanging Tree
Author: Michael Phillip Cash
Release Date: October 15th 2013
Format: Paperback & E-book
Source: complimentary copy in exchange of an honest review.

Set amid the eerie backdrop of Long Island, an area famously steeped in old legend, two young would-be lovers contemplate their future while visits from those who have come before them reveal the lure of fate...and the power of free will.
At seventeen years old, Arielle's relationship with her parents is slowly deteriorating. Angry and defiant, she is at a loss on how to cope with the tumultuous situation in which she finds herself. Arielle's only comfort is Chad, an eighteen-year-old young man who seems to truly understand her struggles. Arielle and Chad meet beneath the low-hanging branches of what the local community has nick-named the "Hanging Tree".
An ancient and majestic landmark, it has long been rumored that the tree is haunted by ghosts. These ghosts span various centuries and vary wildly in age, but each one of them has one thing in common: their deaths are all somehow connected to the tree itself. As Arielle and Chad commiserate over their current situation and their precarious nature of their future, the spectral inhabitants of the Hanging Tree witness their conversation.
One by one,the ghosts begin reminiscing about their own lives-and deaths- as they examine the inner demons with which their human forms long struggled. An eerie meditation on the oft-overlooked power of choice, Cash's The Hanging Tree will stay with readers long after they turn out the light.

 Born and raised on Long Island, Michael has always had a fascination with horror writing and found footage films. He wanted to incorporate both with his debut novel, Brood X. Earning a degree in English and an MBA, he has worked various jobs before settling into being a full-time author. He currently resides on Long Island with his wife and children.


The Hanging Tree is a fantastic novella. It has mystery, a bit of horror and a good outcome. A young girl, Arielle, finds herself under a haunted tree with a pushing boyfriend. While they discuss the next step in their relationship, we read about the stories of the ghosts living in the tree.

With a changing point of view the story goes by fast. It’s easy to understand each one of the stories and the different characters. Some stories are more intriguing than others but they all are entertaining. At first is hard to see how they all are related and why their stories are connected. It's only at the final chapters that I truly understand why the five ghosts were at the tree and how they were linked to the present.

Goody Bennett is one of the best characters of the book. She has a strong personality, a woman who is not afraid of speaking her mind. Despite living in the seventeen century she is a force to fear and will have a defining role in the lives of many. The rest of the characters have interesting stories and despite being a short book you can differ all of them.

The paperback has around 70 pages so it’s easy to read it in one sitting. With a good writing style, simple dialogues but believable, the story will leave you satisfied.

Overall, it's a really good novella with horror elements, good passing and nice ending.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Portals by @RoanePublishing - Review

Title: Portals
Author: Christy Thomas, Echo Shea, Anna Simpson, Havva Murat, Laurie Treacy, Michael Siciliano
Release Date: June 5th, 2014
Format: Paperback & Ebook
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Source: complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange of an honest review.

No matter what world you call home, and what your station in life, there are just some paths that weren't meant to be tread.
This anthology includes:

Maronda’s Quest
Christy Thomas
Mexmur, the Huntress
Anna Simpson
Entrance of Lost Souls
Echo Shea
Where Once were Hearts
Havva Murat
Ordinary World
Laurie Treacy
The Lunatic Queen
Michael Siciliano
Portals is a great fantasy anthology that takes us to magical, extraordinary, complete and vivid worlds. From lands with dragons, evil and crazy queens to saving the worlds and finding true love, these stories have different styles but are equally remarkable.

It would be boring and really long to review each one of the stories. However, the authors deserve to have some recognition for their work. So, here it comes, a mini review of each work.

In Maronda’s Quest by Christy Thomas we witness how a girl has to move on with the consequences of someone else's choices. Told from a narrator POV, the story moves fast and we can sense the characters emotions. I really like Maronda because she comes as a strong heroin but with a vulnerable side.

Entrance of Lost Souls by Echo Shea has a darker tone. Protector of the portal between worlds, Gladys has to face every fantasy creature you can imagine. A world where banshees, demons, trolls and more are real. The writing has a modern air, fresh and engaging. A lot of action at the end and tension always present.

Mexmur: The Huntress by Anna Simpson presents us a girl who has always heard of fairy tales but doesn’t particularly believe in true love, or at least doesn’t want it for herself. A chain of events send her through the portal with only a poem and the prince by her side. Together they will set right the dragonkeeper betrayal. The secrets are reveal at the perfect moment, it’s fast and short with a good writing style. The fantasy element is always present.

Where Once Were Hearts by Havva Murat was one of my favorites stories. It has a really gothic and dark style. The story is intriguing and the writing submerges you into a story that will give you the creeps. Bartholomew and Miss Evangeline Witherop (with those names you definitely going to read a horror story) are great characters for the story.

Ordinary World by Laurie Treacy is the other story I loved. However, the portal has a minor role in this one. Despite that, the story is an excellent YA paranormal with lovely characters. I can imagine a longer story about Amy and her family. Light writing, sweet romance and bad guys are the basic ingredients.

The Lunatic Queen by Michael Siciliano is the only story told from a male point of view and written by male author. It was a charming story with good doses of action and an outstanding finale.

Each story has a particular writing style and it's easy to differ one story from the other. The only similarity between them is the presence of a portal and in each story it has a defined role.There were stories I enjoy more than others but overall it’s a great anthology.

If you are a fantasy fan you should read it, you won't be disappointed.

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