Review: Dead Rockstar

Dead Rockstar
By Lillah Lawson

Finished: 10/2/2020

When Stormy decides to do a spell on a record album in a drunken haze,s he has no idea what she’s doing. She never expected the enigmatic rock star heartthrob, Phillip Deville, who had been dead for 20 years, to show up at her door.

What starts as a fun and sexy romp with an amateur necromancer and her hot undead rocker boyfriend turns into a much darker game as they delve deeper into the magic behind the spell. The plot is smart, twisty, fast-paced, and beautifully unpredictable. Stormy and Phillip’s chemistry is undeniable and things definitely heat up.

What I love the most about this book is how fresh and modern the writing is. Stormy is a vegan librarian who drinks on weekends with her BFF. She and her friend talk like real people and it doesn’t feel forced. Author Lilah Lawson has a quick and admirable style with witty dialogue and a pair of heroes who are to die for.

I’m excitedly anticipating the sequel!

My rating: 5/5 stars!

Review: Birthing the Beast

Finished: 4/24/2020

I first heard from Lewis through Instagram where we connected over our mutual love of werewolves and shapeshifters. When his book came out, I was so thrilled to read it!

Lewis has an incredible way of describing characters and setting the mood for a scene. From a brawl that has to be broken up by the local authorities, to a teenage girl running away from her father’s angry outburst, to a stormy night with a werewolf escaping from a castle-like prison. This is an incredible author whose work needs to be appreciated more.

Of course with a werewolf book, it’s important to see if they’re done well. I can happily attest that I absolutely loved the scenes with them! The action is intense and the atmosphere is incredible. The werewolf of this world are powerful, verging on unstoppable, and I absolutely loved it!

If you love werewolves, action, and a sympathetic protagonist, then you’ll love this book!

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Review: Veiled by Desire

Finished: 1/16/2020

Tavarra is a beautiful sea dweller cursed for life, forced to be a beast when the moon is bright. Rhona is a girl with the ability to control water, and her friend, Perin, is a warrior who bears a dark secret. Quil is boy with an easy laugh and a penchant for music. Finally Eza rounds out the main cast of characters as a bat-like creature with a sharp wit and a bit heart.

Together they must seek out the dark pyramid to rescue their village and find the mercurial Stone of Desire who may or may not grant a wish. This tale is filled with action, love, heartache, and mystery with a flair for the surreal and fantastic that I’ve come to love in Robinson’s work. The characters in this story are so lovable and flawed that I couldn’t help but fall in love with them.

But first, I have a confession to make.

I have a weak spot for werewolves. They show up a LOT in my books, even when I try not to let them appear. Tavarra is one of the most original werewolves I’ve read about. Her desire to go on land and leave behind the sea, staying out too long and bearing a horrible curse, and forced to roam the land with only her friend, Eza, at her side. Even her description with her bright orange hair and orange fur down her arms makes her unique.

The magic in this story is really fascinating too, mixing science with the fantastic in a way that had me very intrigued. I loved the dark forest, and how even when everything seemed safe, nothing really was.

I really loved this one because it felt so horrific, and it was refreshing to be in a completely fantastic world. Robinson knows how to keep you reading too, and at the end I had trouble putting it down! I honestly can’t wait to read Book 3 in her Laith series!

My Overall Rating: 5/5

Review: To Dream Is To Die

Sarah Lampkin is another one of my incredible Parliament House Press sisters, and we’ve been fortunate enough to work alongside each other at not one, but two events this year!

(Check out our interview on YA Fantasy and Science Fiction at the Alabama Book Festival below!)

I look like a Batman villain in that preview pic!

Sarah is awesome to work with. She’s also a gym rat and is a big inspiration to hit the gym if you follow her on social media! So I was thrilled to get a chance to review her book, To Dream Is To Die.

Brenna is clearly ready to kick some ghost butt!

Finished: June 5, 2019

First of all, the concept behind The Dead Dreamer series (this is book 1 of that series) is so fascinating! I love the mixture of dreamers, spirits, and portals for demons and fairies. Brenna is a tough-as-nails protagonist and although her pessimistic personality took a bit to win me over, her friends and experiences soften her hard exterior throughout the story.

I also loved the mystery that takes place on a haunted college campus! I mean, technically anywhere Brenna goes is ultimately haunted, but you know what I mean. As someone who works on a campus, this especially appealed to me. I really enjoyed the fast pace and the way each of the characters change and evolve over time. For fans of ghost hunters, conspiracy theories, administrators hiding the truth, and characters with big secrets to hide, this is a novel for you!

I’m really excited to read book two in The Dead Dreamer series, To Wake The Dead, coming in October!

What I consider a 5-star book:

  • Is it a fun read? Although it took a little longer for Brenna to grow on me due to her pessimistic outlook on life, once the story got going I had a hard time putting this down!
  • Would you recommend it to others? If you love ghosts, people who turn into ghosts, or ghosts co-existing with demons and the fae, then this is definitely a book to check out!
  • Does it stick with you? This book has some scenes that will absolutely stick with you for a long time to come!

My overall rating: 5/5

Note: This book follows Brenna in her first year of college and she’s surrounded by party people who drink a LOT, with all the detail of having to puke into trash cans and whatnot. For me, this was triggering, but I’m a little squeamish about that sort of thing. For others, it may not be a problem at all. So just a warning if you’re squeamish like me to tread cautiously!

For the Love of Tigers

Today is International Tiger Day, so I thought I needed to give a shout-out to some of my favorite animals. First and foremost, let’s get the adorable pictures out of the way.

Adorable doesn’t even begin to describe this cub.

Not enough cuteness for you? Then I recommend you head over to Mother Jones and check out their whole page dedicated to the beautiful creatures. Don’t worry, I’ll wait until you get back. Got to get the Aww! out of your system after all.

Now if you want to read more about Siberian tigers, I recommend checking out The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant. I listened to this book on audio last year, checked out for free from my library, and I have to say it was an intense listen. For me at least, the audio book helped because listening to how the names were pronounced helped me to have more of a distinction for the characters. Check out a snippet of my review of the book:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tiger is revered, feared, compartmentalized, and idealized. There is a main story, but mixed throughout are backgrounds for the various people whose lives were affected, as well as fascinating tales of the various tigers that our main forest ranger has encountered.

I learned a lot about Russian history and its economy in this book, as well as all the temperamental relations that have existed in the past with her neighbors. The book is also peppered with adventurous tiger stories (besides the primary tale), even from a few survivors, and you learn how intelligent, territorial, and vengeful these animals are. These sections were by far my favorite parts of the book, and made for some entertaining discussions around the dinner table.

[…]

As frustrating as the structure was at times, listening to it in audiobook format made the Russian names, terms, and locales easier to understand and I didn’t feel daunted by the language as much as I think I would have been had I read this in paper/ebook format.

Overall a fascinating book about a beautiful but dangerous predator.

Another good source for information on not only the Siberian tiger but also the people of the Taiga is the documentary titled Happy People (available on Netflix), which walks you through a regular working day for people who live among the largest land man-eaters on the planet. You really get a good taste for the environment in Vaillant’s The Tiger, but it really hits home to see the reality of it. Not only do you see how they have to create makeshift traps in the woods but you also watch them make their own boats, all using the simple but reliable tools at their disposal.

Finally I’d like to leave you with some excellent places that work with tigers on a regular basis.

  • Big Cat Rescue in Florida. A wildlife conservatory for big cats that are rescued and given a happy home. The video and pictures they post on a regular basis will make your heart melt.
  • Noah’s Ark in Georgia. I have a special fondness for this non-profit located right around the corner from where I live. They take in all sorts of animals, not just tigers. Recently they took in a bunch of dogs that were removed from a puppy mill, got them cleaned up, gave them medical exams, and will soon be adopting them out. One of their biggest attractions though is their BLT trio – a bear, lion, and tiger who live in the same enclosure and are incidentally best friends.

Happy World Tiger Day everybody!