Tuesday, September 27, 2016

RELEASE DAY CELEBRATION: Sacrifice (Serpentine #2) by Cindy Pon - Excerpt + GIVEAWAY!

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Welcome to the Release Day Celebration for
Sacrifice (Serpentine #2) by Cindy Pon
presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Happy Book Birthday, Cindy!

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Sacrifice, the sequel to Serpentine, plunges Skybright into the terrifying underworld where demons are bred and whisks her up to the magnificent Mountain of Heavenly Peace where the gods dwell.
Stone is stripped of his immortal status and told to close hell's breach, which mysteriously remains open, threatening mortals.
Zhen Ni, Skybright's former mistress and friend, has been wed to the strange and brutish Master Bei, and finds herself trapped in an opulent but empty manor. When she discovers half-eaten corpses beneath the estate, she realizes that Master Bei is not all that he seems.
As Skybright works to free Zhen Ni with the aid of Kai Sen and Stone, they begin to understand that what is at risk is more far-reaching then they could ever have fathomed.
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Sacrifice (Serpentine #2) by Cindy Pon
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books


excerpt
He gripped his dagger tighter as he leaned down to seize a large branch from the forest floor, his eyes never leaving the undead creature. The other six had long since crumpled to the ground, filling the forest with the harsh stench of burned clothes and hair. When the last corpse was near enough, Kai Sen stabbed the long branch into the corpse’s throat, and it halted, skewered like a beetle, yet it still fought to stagger toward him, scrabbling its skeletal fingers in the air. It was strong, but so was Kai Sen. He had the advantage of training and muscle, and this thing was mere rotten flesh.

Forcing the thick branch even deeper, he shoved the corpse back until with a final thrust, the thing toppled onto its back. He was on the creature before it could rise again, stomping on its extended arms with furious kicks, breaking them, before driving the branch into the earth and pinning the corpse. It struggled still, thudding its feet as Kai Sen crouched above it, one hand clutching the branch tight as he hacked at its neck with his dagger. It was exhausting and gruesome work, but the undead could only be killed with fire or decapitation. He needed to train and fight in every capacity, by magic or weapon or with his own hands. As a warrior, he knew it was crucial to his survival.

OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:

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SERPENTINE is a sweeping fantasy set in the ancient Kingdom of Xia and inspired by the rich history of Chinese mythology.
Lush with details from Chinese folklore, SERPENTINE tells the coming of age story of Skybright, a young girl who worries about her growing otherness. As she turns sixteen, Skybright notices troubling changes. By day, she is a companion and handmaid to the youngest daughter of a very wealthy family. But nighttime brings with it a darkness that not even daybreak can quell.
When her plight can no longer be denied, Skybright learns that despite a dark destiny, she must struggle to retain her sense of self – even as she falls in love for the first time.
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About-the-Author2
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Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. Her most recent novel, Serpentine (Month9Books, 2015), is a Junior Library Guild Selection and received starred reviews from School Library Journal and VOYA. The sequel, Sacrifice, releases this September. WANT, a near-future thriller set in Taipei, will be published by Simon Pulse in summer 2017. She is the co-founder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. Cindy is also a Chinese brush painting student of over a decade. Learn more about her books and art at http://cindypon.com.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

COVER REVEAL: My Junior Year of Loathing by Jennifer DiGiovanni + GIVEAWAY!

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Welcome to the Cover Reveal for
My Junior Year of Loathing
by Jennifer DiGiovanni
Be on the look out for this upcoming release from
Swoon Romance!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

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Junior year is supposed to be tough. Exams, term papers, homework, college tours, and participation in extra-curricular activities can all add up to non-stop stress. But Melinda Banner has goals to achieve and dreams to make real. This year, she’ll be unstoppable. But even over achievers need a break.
While walking in the woods to take a break from the stress of it all, Melinda meets a boy named Connor. After a few more run-ins, the two settle into an uneasy friendship, if you can even call it that.
But Connor's closed and mysterious. Whenever Melinda asks too many questions, he suddenly has to go or is no longer interested in talking. When they’re together, she’s torn between wanting him to open up and running away as fast as she can. Still she can't seem to shake her budding interest in him.
Connor has his own way of looking at the world, and his views often conflict with Melinda’s practical nature. Can you like someone and loathe them at the same time? Is he even worth the emotional tug on her heartstrings or distraction from all things Junior year?
And, as if she needs another project right now, Melinda starts to obsess over the abandoned estate she passes on the way to school each day. Between Connor and the old estate, Melinda's beginning to think she's taking on too much.
But Melinda's smart. She finds a way to indulge her interest in the estate and fulfill her obligations. She will uncover the truth behind the aging edifice for an epic article in the school newspaper.
But when her investigation reveals a connection between Connor and a tragedy long-since forgotten, Melinda has a choice: put off her junior year achievements to save a local landmark and a boy who constantly pushes her away or put them both out of her mind for good and focus on making the grade.
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My Junior Year of Loathing
by Jennifer DiGiovanni
Publication Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Available for Pre-order:
Amazon

About-the-Author2
Jennifer DiGiovanni

Jennifer DiGiovanni is the author of the School Dayz Series. When she’s not writing or reading, she likes to try new sports and activities from archery to ballroom dancing, with varying degrees of success.

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BOOK BLAST: The Carver by Jacob Devlin + GIVEAWAY!

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Hello readers!
Are you looking for your next read?
Well, let us help make things easier for you!
Welcome to the Book Blast for
The Carver by Jacob Devlin
presented by Blaze Publishing!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Looking for more books to read?
Read on and find a book that's waiting for you to devour!

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THE GIRL IN THE RED HOOD has been looking for her mother for six months, searching from the depths of New York’s subways to the heights of its skyscrapers...
THE PRINCE looks like he’s from another time entirely, or maybe he’s just too good at his job at Ye Old Renaissance Faire . . .

THE ACTRESS is lighting up Hollywood Boulevard with her spellbinding and strikingly convincing portrayal of a famous fairy. Her name may be big, but her secrets barely fit in one world . . .

Fifteen-year-old Crescenzo never would have believed his father’s carvings were anything more than “stupid toys.” All he knows is a boring life in an ordinary Virginia suburb, from which his mother and his best friend have been missing for years. When his father disappears next, all Crescenzo has left is his goofy neighbor, Pietro, who believes he’s really Peter Pan and that Crescenzo is the son of Pinocchio. What’s more: Pietro insists that they can find their loved ones by looking to the strange collection of wooden figurines Crescenzo’s father left behind.

With Pietro’s help, Crescenzo sets off on an adventure to unite the real life counterparts to his figurines. It’s enough of a shock that they’re actually real, but the night he meets the Girl in the Red Hood, dark truths burst from the past. Suddenly, Crescenzo is tangled in a nightmare where magic mirrors and evil queens rule, and where everyone he loves is running out of time.
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The Carver by Jacob Devlin
Publication Date: July 19, 2016
Publisher: Blaze Publishing


WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:


"an inspired vision that felt fresh and unique; and something that would be entertaining for all ages" - Silvia's Reading
"The descriptions were vivid and I could easily see it in my head!" - Kindle and Me

"It brings you great laughs, tears and a special twist on all the fairytales we know from our childhood." - Goodreads Reviewer

About-the-Author2
jacobdevlin

When Jacob Devlin was four years old, he would lounge around in Batman pajamas and make semi-autobiographical picture books about an adventurous python named Jake the Snake. Eventually, he traded his favorite blue crayon for a black pen, and he never put it down. When not reading or writing, Jacob loves practicing his Italian, watching stand-up comedy, going deaf at rock concerts, and geeking out at comic book conventions. He does most of these things in southern Arizona.

YOU SHOULD ALSO CHECK OUT...

Asleep EBook (1)

Seventeen-year-old Rose suffers from terrifying, painful nightmares that leave her bruised, exhausted, and questioning her sanity. Desperate to hold on, she makes a choice: Trust her doctor who claims he can cure her, or listen to another patient who swears the asylum will kill them.
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Asleep by Krystal Wade
Publication Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Blaze Publishing




Because I Love You

When Sixteen-year-old Andie Hamilton discovers she’s pregnant, she also learns the truth of her adoption. Overwhelmed, Andie must choose what’s best for the baby, but after hearing the heartbeat for the first time, she doesn’t know how she’ll ever be able let go.
add to goodreads

Because I Love You by Tori Rigby
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Blaze Publishing


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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

BLOG TOUR: Blood of the Prophet (The Fourth Element #2) by Kat Ross - Ashley's Review + GIVEAWAY!


Good morning! Today, we're so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Kat Ross' newest release, Blood of the Prophet. Ashley has been waiting all year for this book, and can't wait to share her review with you. We've also got a giveaway, so be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post to enter to win your very own copy of the first book in this fantastic series, The Midnight Sea!

Also don't forget to stop by all of the other wonderful stops on this tour! You can find the full tour schedule by clicking the banner above. 

About the Book

Title: Blood of the Prophet 
Author: Kat Ross 
Publication date: September 12th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis: Visionary. Alchemist. Savior. Saint.

The Prophet Zarathustra has been called many things. Now he spends his time drawing pictures of weird-looking goats. That’s what happens when you’ve been stuck in a prison cell for two hundred years. But the man who might be mad, and is definitely supposed to be dead, has suddenly become very valuable again…

It’s only been a few weeks since Nazafareen escaped the King’s dungeons with her da─ôva, Darius. She hoped never to set foot in the empire again, but the search for the Prophet has led them to the ancient city of Karnopolis. They have to find him before Alexander of Macydon burns Persepolae, and Darius’s mother with it. But they’re not the only ones looking.

The necromancer Balthazar has his own plans for the Prophet, and so does the sinister spymaster of the Numerators. As Nazafareen is drawn in to a dangerous game of cat and mouse, her newfound powers take a decidedly dark turn. Only the Prophet understands the secret of her gift, but the price of that knowledge may turn out to be more than Nazafareen is willing to pay…




Purchase Links: Amazon  | B&N | Kobo

Purchase The Midnight Sea: Amazon

About the Author

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She lives in Westchester with her kid and a few sleepy cats. Kat is also the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day (Skyscape, 2014), about a world where the sea levels have risen sixty meters. She loves magic, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Preferably with mutants.

Author links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads






Ashley's Review

It's no secret that I loved the first book in Kat Ross' Fourth Element series, The Midnight Sea. I quickly fell in love with the characters and the incredible world that Kat built, and I have been so anxious to jump back into the action with Blood of the Prophet. I expected to be taken on a wild journey, but this book was just so much more than I hoped for!

Blood of the Prophet picks up shortly after The Midnight Sea ends. Victor is off trying to retrieve the Fire from Neblis and Nazafareen, Darius, and friends have gone their own way to find the Prophet before Alexander storms Persepolae. Kat does a really great job of putting in bits and pieces of important information from the first book that I didn't necessarily remember without making it seem like a recap. Everything flows nicely from The Midnight Sea to this book, and I really appreciated that.

Even though Nazafareen and Darius spend much of their time in the same city, this book didn't feel like it was dragging. There is a lot of set-up, but it bounces between people and perspectives and keeps things feeling fresh and exciting. I found that I was always looking forward to the next page, the next chapter, just because I needed to know what was going to happen next. Especially in Balthazar's chapters, because he is one scary mofo. I do not ever want to be on his bad side with those crazy necromancer chains and all.

I also didn't think that there could be much world-building since the first book had so much, but I was sadly mistaken! There is just so much in this world that I didn't know about, and I was glad to learn more as Nazafareen learned more. I also really enjoyed seeing things from other peoples' perspectives, because it gave me much more background on the places they traveled to and from. Kat has this incredible way of expanding her worlds without making it overwhelming and actually showing things instead of telling. I could read these sections all day and never get bored!

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a YA fantasy with traces of historical fiction. Some of the names and places will be familiar to readers who know anything about the Persian empire, but everything has been changed and twisted into something different and exciting and completely of Kat's own making. Her beautiful prose just add to the overall effect and make for an incredible book that does not suffer from the typical sophomore slump. I can't wait to read the final book in this part of the trilogy! 5/5 would definitely recommend.

The Giveaway!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

BLOG TOUR: Into the Light (Into the Dark #2) by Caroline T. Patti - Ashley's Review + GIVEAWAY!



Good morning, and welcome to our stop on the blog tour for Caroline Patti's newest release, Into the Light! We have Ashley's review for you as well as a giveaway, so be sure to enter via the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.

Don't forget to stop by all the other amazing tour stops as well! You can find the entire schedule by clicking the banner above.

About the Book

Title: Into the Light (Into the Dark #2)
Author: Caroline T. Patti
Publication Date: August 23, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books

Synopsis: Mercy’s family is back together and the threat of danger appears to have passed. But any relief she feels is short lived as she is ripped from her body and thrown in jail. Gage and Nathaniel’s plans to break Mercy out won’t exactly be easy. Stuffed full of a chemical binding agent, Mercy is trapped inside the body of a convict without the ability to breach and set herself free. Unfortunately for Mercy, being trapped in jail becomes the least of her problems when she meets her evil twin, Justice.






OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES


A girl’s sweet sixteen party is supposed to be among the most memorable events of her life. But on the night of hers, Mercy Clare wakes in the waiting room of a hospital with no memory of how she got there. To make matters worse, she’s wearing something she’d never be caught dead in: her best friend Lyla’s clothes.

Mercy’s nightmare is just beginning. The doctor arrives to tell her that it’s she who lies in the hospital bed waiting to die. A trip to the bathroom confirms Mercy’s fears, as Lyla’s face stares back at her and Lyla’s curvy figure pokes through her tight clothes.

But finding out what’s really going on won’t be easy. Because if Mercy wants her body back, it might just cost her Lyla’s life.








About the Author


Caroline T Patti is the author of The World Spins Madly On and Too Late To Apologize. When she’s not writing, she’s a school librarian, mother of two, wife, avid reader and Green Bay Packer fan. You can chat with her on Twitter: carepatti or find her on Facebook: Author Caroline T Patti. 


Ashley's Review

I was really excited when I found out that Caroline Patti was writing a sequel to Into the Dark. The first book was weird and unique in all the right ways, and I had such high expectations for Into the Light! I really wanted to know more about this incredible world and the characters that I'd come to know and love in Into the Dark, and definitely find out how things would turn out for them in the end.

My favorite thing about this book was the expanded world-building. There was just so much that we didn't know by the end of the first book, and Patti does an excellent job of expanding the world that the Breachers come from. I really enjoyed how "passing over" was explained, and the background as to why things are the way they are now. I do think there could have been a little bit more about Purgatory and the Afterlife, but maybe that's for another book. I still have some questions, but I was content with my knowledge by the end of this book. The world-building feels very natural in this book, especially since Mercy knows just as much (or really, as little) as we do, so we get to learn new things as she does.

There is some romance in this book, but I was really glad that there was a lack of a love triangle. I really thought that Mercy was going to spend the majority of the book trying to choose between Gage and Nathaniel, but she makes her decision fairly quickly and the one she doesn't choose isn't just left out to dry. The solution is a little weird... but it totally makes sense. I was also really glad that the romance didn't take over the plot.

Speaking of which, I was less impressed with the plot in this book than I was in the first one. I don't know if it's that I just didn't like Mercy as much, or that the book was split up into three perspectives and there was just a lot going on, or what. Maybe it was a lack of things happening? Most of the time is spent trying to find Mercy's aunt, but then they do and then things aren't what they seem and it seems like a giant waste of time. Like if people would quit lying to each other, we wouldn't have even had this problem to begin with.

Overall, I think this book just fell a little short for me. It was mostly enjoyable, and  I did finish it quickly because I couldn't put it down, but I think I was just expecting so much more. I would still recommend this book to anyone who read Into the Dark, and the series to anyone who is looking for something completely different. I'd give this one a 3/5!

The Giveaway!


Thursday, August 11, 2016

H2O (The Rain #1) by Virginia Bergin - Ashley's Review

*I received a copy of this book as an eARC from Sourcebooks Fire on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | TBD

Title: H2O (The Rain #1)
Author: Virginia Bergin
Publication Date: October 7th, 2014

Interview with Virginia Bergin

Synopsis: It's in the rain...and just one drop will kill you.

They don't believe it at first. Crowded in Zach's kitchen, Ruby and the rest of the partygoers laugh at Zach's parents' frenzied push to get them all inside as it starts to drizzle. But then the radio comes on with the warning, "It's in the rain! It's fatal, it's contagious, and there's no cure."

Two weeks later, Ruby is alone. Anyone who's been touched by rain or washed their hands with tap water is dead. The only drinkable water is quickly running out. Ruby's only chance for survival is a treacherous hike across the country to find her father-if he's even still alive.

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Review: As soon as I read the synopsis for this book, it had my attention. I love books where natural phenomena all of a sudden turn deadly. Eco-thrillers, I guess? Especially ones that don't seem like they're too far off from something that could actually happen. So when there's something in the rain, I knew I had to read this book to find out more! 

There was quite a bit I really liked about this book. I think Bergin's writing is really great, and there's enough information about things going on so that you can follow along without having to go into too much back story. You learn about the rain and what's happening with Ruby with a few flashbacks just for clarification. I think the plot moves along pretty well most of the time, although there are several parts where things seem to slow to a crawl and I found it difficult to continue reading. 

I liked that Ruby was forced to grow up pretty quickly because I really, really hated her in the beginning. It took me a long time to warm up to her enough so that I could actually finish this book, and I still think she has a lot of growing up to do. She's whiny, annoying, selfish, and just everything about her made me want to punch her in the throat to get her to shut up. When she's left alone, she has to figure out how to survive, and she stops whining about petty things (like losing her cell phone) as much and starts worrying about more important things... like not dying. I still kind of hated her at the end of the book, but definitely not as much as I did to begin with.

Before they die, Ruby's friends are awful too. They're superficial and pretty flat, and I really didn't care that almost all of them die right up front. Like maybe if you weren't such an idiot you could have lived a little bit longer. There are some characters, likes Ruby's stepdad, that I actually ended up actually being able to connect with, but they were really few and far between. I'm really hoping the next book has some better characters so I can spend more time enjoying the plot and less time wishing all of these people would just kick the bucket already.

Even though the premise sounded fantastic and thrilling, I think my enjoyment of this book was really hampered by how much I hated Ruby. I had to put the book down for a while because she made me so angry and then it took me a while to get back into it. It's hard for me to recommend this to anyone since it was difficult for me to connect with the characters. If characters aren't as important to you as the plot and you enjoy books where nature turns dangerous, you might enjoy H2O. I think I'll still read the next book, but it might be a while before I can get back into Ruby's head. 2.5/5. 


--Ashley

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Shutter by Courtney Alameda - Ashley's Review

*I received a copy of this book as an eARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group/Feiwel & Friends on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Shutter
Author: Courtney Alameda
Publication Date: February 3rd, 2015

Synopsis: Horror has a new name: introducing Courtney Alameda.

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

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Review: I am always on the hunt for a good horror book. Paranormal books are usually either hit or miss for me, but if it's a horror book and not a romance, I'll definitely give it a try. Courtney Alameda's Shutter is actually some of both, although definitely more horror than romance, and I loved pretty much every minute of it! 

One of my favorite things in any sort of book is when there's a little bit of history or mythology tucked in around the main story. In this case, we have the Van Helsing lineage. The Helsings have built an empire on hunting ghosts, ghouls, and other sorts of undead creatures, and are known far and wide. I loved that little bit of a connection to the real world, because it made everything that happens in Shutter seem like something that could possibly actually happen. I mean, I know there aren't ghosts and undead monsters roaming around (at least I hope not...), but Alameda did such a good job constructing a world where all of that felt so real that it seemed like they've always been real in our world too. 

And speaking of those monsters, Alameda's descriptions of them are just absolutely terrifying. I made the mistake of reading this book at night, and spent the next week wishing I had read it in the middle of the day. I could never go into something like Micheline and her crew, hunting the monsters they do. Corporeal or spiritual, those are things I would never want to run across. The deaths and corpses are all described in gruesome detail, and even though it was kind of gross, I think it added so much to my understanding of the world Micheline lives in and the monsters she deals with. 

Micheline is a really fantastic heroine. She is strong-willed and independant, a natural leader, but she still relies heavily on her friends. She makes some poor choices, but Jude, Ryder, and Oliver all have her back and help to protect her. Even dealing with the soulchain, they never really give up on finding a way out of it or on each other. Jude was probably my favorite - he's hilarious and you could pretty much always count on him to break up a serious moment with some ridiculous or sarcastic comment. But I also really loved Ryder and his relationship with Micheline. There's definitely a romance brewing there, but it's not overwhelming and doesn't take over the main story. It's just nice to see things play out the way they do. 

There's also quite a bit of science in this book - ghosts and the tech Micheline uses are explained using energies and the like, and how the quartz-lens even works, and so many other things that add a whole extra dimension to the whole paranormal aspect. Overall, this was just a really fantastic, well-written book that has likeable characters, terrifying monsters, and some of the best world-building I've ever seen in a horror book. I would definitely recommend this one to fans of the Anna Dressed in Blood series. 5/5!


--Ashley