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Book Review: Monster Inside, by River Starr

River Starr‘s Monster Inside was featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight and I was lucky enough to win an e-copy of it.
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Sometimes the most enchanting monsters are the ones you can’t see, only feel…

I am a survivor. For the past ten years, I’ve been forced to give every part of me to sinister vampires in a feeding community. But when I touched an ancient book and recited a spell out of sheer desperation and zero arcane knowledge, a dark entity came to me. Rescued me. Mrak helped me escape.

I have no idea what I’ve gotten myself into. But Mrak has been at my side for the last year—well, inside me, anchored to my existence and lovingly tender with his ethereal touches. It’s not quite possession, not quite a haunting. But it’s real, it’s sexy as hell, and he’s mine. Or I’m his. Either way, we’re now in this life together.

Mrak is distracting, seductive, and powerful, but he’s also keeping a secret. One that’s now put me in immense danger despite his claims he’ll do anything to protect me. Because the cops have come calling. Bodies have turned up. And despite his reassurances, I’m starting to wonder if Mrak has a hidden agenda that he’s somehow kept secret from the inside.

My life might be in my monster’s debt. My body might be his for pleasure. But my future is mine no matter how much he wants and uses my body. I’m no longer the weak woman he saved from a vampire lord, and it’s time to take my body—and my life—back.

my review

Soooo, this was readable and had an interesting idea but honestly wasn’t very well executed. The beginning is hella repetitive. Like the author couldn’t figure out how to show us things so they just kept telling us. The heroine ran around and did things. However, it never felt anything but random, because the author didn’t really take the time to anchor the plot. The entirety of the relationship building was skipped in a full year jump in time. (And come on, learning to live with a demon INSIDE YOU should have been pivotal to the story!) So, I held absolutely no investment in it. There wasn’t any world-building to speak of. So, I didn’t really know what the limits of possibilities were, etc. All in all, I was initially interested but not impressed enough to bother continuing the series.monster inside photo

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Blog Tour — Review: Monster Inside by River Starr


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Book Review: Of Blades and Shadows, by Belle Manuel

I won a paperback copy of Of Blades and Shadows, by Belle Manuel, in a giveaway over on Instagram.

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After sixteen years of living under the thumb of a brutal slaver, Arayna Gamon is given the chance to be a part of an elite group of assassins—Soul Stealers. Serving only the Dark Throne, Arayna must learn how to use her burgeoning magic to ferry souls to the Underworld. But when an ancient being demands she pay a price, Arayna must decide where to place her loyalties.

my review

I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand I thought it had interesting characters, doing interesting things, in an interesting world. On the other, nothing even resembling an over-arching plot emergence until about page 350 and then everyone decides to deal with the issue later and it was basically dropped again. So, in essence, this is a book of interesting people in an interesting world, running around doing and reacting to random things that don’t seem to really tie into anything or tie together in any meaningful manner.

Further, as much as I liked a lot of things about the book, not least of which is the way Manuel challenged a lot of fated mates tropes and accepted behaviors. I often couldn’t quite follow what was happening or the leaps that characters took. Plus, Arayna basically emerged from slavery and challenged everyone and everything that crossed her path, even when they were significantly stronger and more experienced. While I was probably supposed to read this as strong and independent, it came off as brutish and all but suicidal—more like she couldn’t control herself than that she had a point to make.

Having said that, I’d read another. I didn’t not enjoy it and I’d be interested in seeing how things turn out for the crew.

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Book Review – The Intra-Earth Chronicles: The Two Sisters, by Kara Jacobson

Last month The Intra-Earth Chronicles: The Two Sisters, by Kara Jacobson was featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. Honestly, being Middle Grade I wouldn’t normally have chosen to feature it, but I just loved the cover so much I made an exception for it. I went through the same thought process when I chose to enter the giveaway to win a copy. And guess what, I did.

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In the year 2444, two noble sisters, Sasha (15) and Adrianne (11), have survived a nuclear fallout, only to be torn apart.

The ground splits open and Adrianne is thrown from her horse, plummeting into the ravine. Spurned on by the hope that Adrianne lives, Sasha embarks on a journey through the desert to face the ravine that claimed her only sister. Meanwhile, deep within the earth, Adrianne is running for her life. She took something that did not belong to her.

In The Intra-Earth Chronicles; Book I: The Two Sisters by Kara Jacobson we experience a fast-paced fantasy adventure woven within the earth, and the unshakeable bond between two sisters.

my review

I have to preface this review by saying that I don’t read a lot of children’s fantasy or middle grade books, now that my own children are a bit older. And I find them hard to review. Because, while I obviously know I can’t judge them by adult standards, it’s difficult to know where the line between ‘this is written age appropriately’ and ‘this is just awkwardly written’ sits.

In the most general terms, I enjoyed this. I liked the strong bond between the sisters, that the world is colorful and diverse, and the story-line. However, I also thought things progressed so quickly that it was often jarring and the dialogue was quite stilted. Also, while, I wasn’t looking for editing mistakes, I did notice a few. Notably a homophone (lay/lei) and an extra ‘a’ in a sentence on page one. But honestly, there weren’t enough to do more than mention it. I can’t imagine children will notice, after all.

All in all, I’d call this a middle of the road read for me, with the caveat that I’m not usually a MG reader/reviewer.

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The Two Sisters