Review of “Strange Luck” & “The Nightmare Birds” by Amie Irene Winters PLUS Early Look at “A Darling Secret”

25418989First, beautiful cover.  I feel like it fits the playful, whimsical, slightly mysterious tone of the story.

Second, I loved the complex and unique use of memories.  It was a great way to shape the fantastical world Daisy finds herself in, and it was a neat way to bring so many fantastical elements together – in a world of happy memories and dreams, anything goes!  The danger of Daisy losing memories added a great sense of tension. Her romantic partnership with her best friend Roger was also believable and made me care about the characters.  And, how she gradually learns how to save the day was creative and pulled it all together.

I have to admit that Daisy’s character bugged me a bit.  At times she’s loving and confident and brave.  At other times she flies off the handle and is snippy and doesn’t think before saying or doing something stupid.  This would sometimes all happen in the same scene, and it felt a little unnatural.  Also, towards the middle of the book, the maturity level of the writing shifted weirdly.  The book was plugging away and feeling very YA, and then suddenly it was like the dialogue and action were more fitting for a far younger audience.  I still liked the story during this part, but it was a bit jolting to read.

BUT, I really enjoyed the last half of the book.  I felt like the plot finally had solid direction, and I loved how everything I’d been wondering about came together.  The twist towards the end was pretty cool too – although you worry for a second.  And I really liked the time jump at the end that further showed how everything turned out.

Overall, I’d recommend this for anyone who likes YA fantasies that give you a mystery to figure out.

4 Stars

See it on Amazon!

 


29806696A bit of time goes by between the first book and this one, and the maturity level definitely goes up as well.  It’s nice to see Daisy has moved out of her teens but is still young enough to struggle with questions about life and who she is.  For that reason the book still feels YA, but it’s definitely not as light as the first.  This story is a lot darker.  There’s dark magic, many skeletons, murder, etc., and the Theater of Secrets is definitely a dramatic place full of dangerous characters.

I liked how this plot felt much more straightforward than the first book. While there are still plenty of magical surprises, this world also feels more familiar.  I think that makes the danger to Daisy that much more suspenseful.  She again made decisions that annoyed me, but considering her emotional state, it kind of makes sense.

I loved how the plot thickened and you were never really sure what to believe – and Daisy wasn’t either.  Is her own mind tricking her? Is Mr. Black telling the truth after all and there’s going to be a huge twist on everything we thought we knew as a reader so far?  This story definitely kept me turning the pages as I tried to sort it all out.   I liked how certain things from the first book tied in here, but it’s definitely a new story.  And the end certainly suggests Daisy has more to learn.

5 Stars

 

See it on Amazon!

 


A DARLING SECRET_AMIEIRENEWINTERS_FRONTCOVER

A Darling Secret
Strange Luck series, Book 3
Coming September 22, 2017

 

Learn the fate of your favorite heroes and love-to-hate foes in the thrilling conclusion to Amie Irene Winters’ bestselling Strange Luck series.

Before the Theater of Secrets was formed, before the Nameless was built, before Daisy Darling learned of her magical bloodline, there was the Realm of the Shadow Gods—ruled by the most powerful and wicked creatures known.

For nearly two decades, Daisy’s twin sister, Rose, was held captive by the Shadow Gods and survived. Now Rose has come to find Daisy to stop their impending evil from spreading into the human world. But Rose bears a terrible secret that has the power to destroy everything.

In the devastating Realm of the Shadow Gods, dark magic holds no bounds. Daisy will risk everything to save those she loves, but will the truth finally break her?


Unlock the final book in the Strange Luck series with A Darling Secret.

Pre-order today, read it September 22, 2017.


 

A Darling Secret excerpt:

A slow, creeping fear wound its way around me.

Tiptoeing around the mysterious plain, too afraid to call out, a surprising wisp of music came floating through the air. It was a jingly little melody—like a music box—followed by soft voices.

I paused. Through the violet-stained sky and swirling rainbow mist I saw something moving. My eyes narrowed as I stealthily approached an illuminated cave.

Shadows were gathering there.


A Darling Secret Amazon link:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074JVRWH4?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660


MEET AMIE IRENE WINTERS

Amie Irene Winters Headshot Cropped.jpgAmie Irene Winters was born and raised in California but now lives and writes in western Pennsylvania. She is the author of the bestselling Strange Luck series.

When not writing, she can be found hiking with her dog, baking desserts, or breaking a sweat in kickboxing class.

To learn more about Amie and her books, visit amieirenewinters.com.

 

Sign up for my mailing list here! You’ll only get emails when I have a new release coming up, a sale, or a giveaway.

Social media links:

Website: http://www.amieirenewinters.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00XZ88V5A

Blog: https://golden-cricket.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aiwinters

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13851542.Amie_Irene_Winters

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/amieiwinters/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmieIWinters

 

 

Posted in author, book review, creativity, entertainment, Fantasy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dystopian IF Giveaway

Quick note today:

For anyone looking to snatch up some free books, here’s a giveaway I’m participating in on Instafreebie.  I’m definitely going to check out some of these myself!

DYSTOPIAN INSTAFREEBIE GIVEAWAY JULY 24-30.jpg

Click Here to see a list of books and how to get ’em!

Posted in book, books, entertainment, giveaway, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cover Reveal – Locke and Keye

I really enjoyed Anatomy of a Darkened Heart by Christie Stratos, and I’m definitely looking forward to her new book, Locke and Keye.  Christie was kind enough to let me be a part of her cover reveal for this, her second book, and I’m excited to share it here along with the blurb (and a link so I could go pre-order my copy right away – I encourage you to do the same).


As a standalone novel, Locke and Keye’s distinct characters and tense atmosphere create a dark Victorian experience that will stay with you after you turn the final page. As the book immediately following Anatomy of a Darkened Heart, Locke and Keye leads the Dark Victoriana Collection in a whole new psychological direction while expanding familiar characters and scenes to continue the Whitestone legacy.

LOCKE AND KEYE 003

BLURB:

“Brothers in the art of keeping secrets.” This is the mantra Mr. Locke’s carefully chosen five employees must repeat together every day before starting work.

If you won’t tell them your name for Locke and Keye’s ledger, they’ll find out. They have their ways—and many of them. Yes, these talented locksmiths can make a new lock and key set for you. They can even make a special padlock for a diary you never want to share with anyone. But just remember: when they make the lock, they keep a key—and it’s only a matter of time until they use it.

Day by day, each of these young, single, alone-in-the-world workers is being molded into the family they crave. A family in which each member has his use toward an end he doesn’t even know exists.

How do the brotherhood and the town’s secrets interlock? Only Mr. Locke holds the key.

EXCERPT:

Matthew looked down at his interwoven fingers. “I wonder what Jude knows that we don’t,” he said.

John put the journal down and looked at Matthew. “I don’t want to know,” he said. “Being asked to follow someone? It seems a little…” John shook his head once and looked down at the journal again.

“Well it must be for a reason,” Matthew said. “Mr. Locke wouldn’t be part of anything underhanded, I’m sure.”

The corners of John’s mouth tightened. “I’m sure.”

Locke and Keye
(Dark Victoriana Collection Book 2)
Coming September 7, 2017

Preorder your copy on Amazon HERE


Christie Stratos headshot_outdoors.jpg

Christie Stratos is an award-winning writer who holds a degree in English Literature. She is the author of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart and Locke and Keye, the first two books in the Dark Victoriana Collection. Christie has had short stories and poetry published in Ginosko Literary Journal, Andromedae Review, 99Fiction, and various anthologies. An avid reader of all genres and world literature, Christie reads everything from bestsellers to classics to indies.

 

 

 

 


FIND CHRISTIE ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website: http://christiestratos.com

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/2thw6Pn

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Christie-Stratos/e/B015L5FMTM/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/christiestratos

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christie_stratos/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/christiestratos

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christiestratosauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/christiestratos

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/cstratoswrites

Posted in Art, author, book release, fiction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Review of “The Road to Grandeur” by Brandt Trebor

27155940First of all, the blurb for this book doesn’t do it justice.  The story is a full-out adventure in a magical world populated by every fantasy creature you’d hope to find, and there’s plenty of heart and comedy thrown in. I loved all the twists the plot took in bringing together the main characters, and it was wonderfully not predictable.

Jayde is the main character, but Sarah is just as important and  must get close to equal “screen time.” There wasn’t a single character that I found lacking, which is great considering how many minor characters there are. Of course, with this being a “book 1,” I’m sure more will be revealed about some important characters in the future, and that helped to make the story feel even bigger.  Cameron in particular (without being too spoiler-y) seems to have a past I’d like to read more about.  But the pixies John and Lucy and lovable troll Marl are just as interesting.

The writing itself isn’t stuffy or grandiose, and I felt like the writing set the feel for the story – fun and light but serious where it mattered.  The middle of the book wandered a bit, but that tends to happen in long stories.  At no point was I bored, largely because the author does a good job of hinting throughout that something bigger is going on with these two girls.

I highly recommend this as a fun summer read, full of magic and quirky characters.

4 Stars

See it on Amazon!

 

Posted in book, book review, books, entertainment, Fantasy, fiction, indie, review | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#TopTenTuesday

I forgot I did this one already and was about to do it again! Glad I checked. But after a YouTube booktag I started thinking about my favorite black and white movies again, so it’s good to see my top 10 picks here are still the same. 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Book Giveaway!

Hey, everyone! I have a Goodreads Giveaway running for “The Prophet” if you’d like to enter to win a free paperback copy!  I’m giving away a total of 5.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Prophet by Sunshine Somerville

The Prophet

by Sunshine Somerville

Giveaway ends June 30, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

Also, you can grab the eBook for free at http://bit.ly/Amazon_TheProphet  or on Smashwords or pretty much anywhere else.  🙂

Posted in book, book release, Sci-Fi | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review of “Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith” by Shaun Hume

35422555

It’s impossible to write a review of this and not mention the similarities to Harry Potter.  A parentless boy is whisked away from the ordinary world and taken to a fantastical school.  He ends up with really only two friends, one of whom has constantly unruly hair.  Each class focuses on a different discipline and has a quirky and/or mean teacher.  The kids will all eventually be sorted into different houses…er cliques.  The boy’s past and parentage obviously are important, with more to the story than we’re told right away.  There are creatures.  There are hovering deathly beings.  There’s an unseen dark-lord-type with evil followers.  Etc.  Etc.

In a lot of ways, this feels like an obvious attempt to appeal to a certain crowd of readers, almost like a kind of fan fiction.  BUT, I soon forgave all that and just went with it because the author does a lot of unique things too.  For example, one of Ewan’s two friends (both girls) is a pirate.   It’s also refreshing that the world-building is not *entirely* based in magic.   There is magic, yes, but we’re told pretty quickly that most people aren’t good at it and instead focus on other talents.  And I really enjoyed what the author did with the true Queen of England.

It’s easy to fall in love with Ewan as a character.  The poor kid just can’t win, and he’s a very believable 11 to 12-year-old boy thrown into new and overwhelming circumstances.  Enid and her pirate family added a much-needed feeling of newness to this story, and I loved that her character was rough around the edges.  Mathilde is great too, with her confidence and loyalty and almost-ever-present smile.  I even enjoyed the adult characters, who are a little flat because the focus is more on the kids.  As the plot thickens, you aren’t supposed to know which adults and older kids to trust, so their elusiveness adds to the suspense.  It usually drives me nuts when there’s some huge danger and kids don’t bother to tell the adults about it, but here it completely makes sense that they try to stop the danger themselves.

As for the author’s writing, there is a LOT of description.  It really is a bit too much, slowing the dialogue especially.  And sometimes a word is used incorrectly so that a sentence might sound flowery but really doesn’t make sense.

Still, I stayed in this book for the three main characters because their friendship dynamic was so lovely and fun.  And, yeah, if you miss Harry Potter in your life, give this a go.

3.5 Stars

See it on Amazon!

Posted in book, book review, books, entertainment, Fantasy, Reading, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment