Nine Candles of Deepest Black

Nine Candles of Deepest Black

Reviewed by Jetana Mutter

*This book was provided for an honest review

Paganism dates back to the fourth century from early Christians that originally meant to describe anyone who did not worship the one true God- it is an umbrella for many different classifications and sub-classifications of a huge array of religions. In today’s society it is mostly associated with Wiccan beliefs. Wicca is a lot of times confused with witchcraft but the two aren’t exactly one and the same. Wicca is mainly more spiritual than witchcraft- the latter being more about the magic… and magic is where the true light and dark lies in wait. Nine Candle of Deepest Black by Matthew Cox gives us a look into what can happen if you don’t watch where your heart truly lies.

Nine Candles starts out with our main character, sixteen-year old Paige, having a conversation with her sister, Amber before the first day of school in a new area… there’s just one problem, Amber is dead. One night after her sister had left for college, Paige has a terrible feeling- something is going to happen to Amber. She tries to get her parents and Amber to listen to her, but everyone writes it off as her trying to get Amber back home since it tore Paige up when Amber left- until the accident happened. Now, her mother completely ignores her if she’s not getting on to her about something- choosing instead to dote on the youngest daughter. Her dad is a shell of his former self- withdrawing from everyone once off duty. With nobody to lean on, Amber’s spirit comes back to help pull Paige back from the dark place she’s stuck in. On Paige’s first day at her new school, she meets some new friends- Sofia, Santana, Renee and Kenz (Mackenzie) – who are into more than their peers. They practice real witchcraft… just nothing has worked so far. Once hearing that Paige’s dead sister’s spirit resides in her bedroom, Kenz confirms what she had thought- Paige is their fifth, the key to making their spells work. Using an old book that belonged to Kenz’ grandmother, the five girls set out to cast a spell to make their wishes come true. Only things aren’t what they appear to be and the entity behind the curtain isn’t playing nicely when it comes to making their spell a reality- with everything coming back on them times three. Can Paige find a way to stop the spell from hurting anyone else before it’s too late? Will her new friends help her or just get in the way?

Nine Candles of Deepest Black is the first book I have read from Matthew Cox and I have to say it’s a great way to be introduced to his work. The story is well written, the characters play off each other very well- in fact it kind of reminded me as a harsher storyline than the movie The Craft. The feel of the characters and their backstories make them more relatable to teens than the ones in The Craft, which makes it harsher in my opinion. You connect with Paige on a personal level and literally feel the struggles that she’s going through and you can’t help but cheer her on as the book progresses. I’m sad to say that the journey with Paige is at an end but I look forward to seeing what else Matthew Cox tackles in his other books.

If this book has piqued your interest like it did mine, you can pick up a copy on Amazon here.

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Simple Machines

Simple Machines

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

Are you ready to bring things to the next level? If so, then look no further because if you continue on, you will miss one of the best reads that you will come across- and the mad world of Chrome Valley. Chrome Valley is a fictitious world created by Andrew Mackay where his stories take place in; a place that cranks the clockwork of his imagination while bringing in small nudges to his other books and characters. The more you read Mackay’s work, the more you will see his world fold together in each books’ pages and it makes him stand out from the rest. If you like grotesque extreme horror, comedies, love stories or a great thriller, then the works that come from Mackay’s mind is what you are looking for- he has a little bit of everything for whatever mood you might be in for. If you read Simple Machines– which let’s face it, you probably will- then you should read Mackay’s other book, Versus– it’s a necessity to read after Simple Machines. Why am I such a fan? If you have read Andrew’s work, then you will understand why I call Mackay a “God of character development” because he owns the world of Chrome Valley and punches you in the gut with the madness and excitement that he brings to his readers. I assure you that if you have never read anything by Mackay before, you will bow down to his feet screaming ‘we’re not worthy’-as if you were Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World– after you read Simple Machines.

In this book-, no let me correct myself on that- this glorious masterpiece that shines in gold, lies an alternate world within a world where we continue to see the master work in the form of the most realistic characters. So realistic, in fact, that they could be your neighbors. Our male lead- Xander Manning- is working on the biggest breakthrough of his life by working on his artificial intelligence, Mavis. On one of the most important days of his life, he is challenged when his wife Charlotte breaks the dire news that she wants a divorce. Xander is stronger than most male characters as he strives to continue onwards while his distractions get the best of him. Chloe Armstrong, the ultimate female character of all, is Xander’s biggest distraction after he meets her at a party for the reveal of Mavis. The adventure of a lifetime is presented to Xander, which will make him choose life or choose to fold. Will Xander bring himself to the brink of madness with his world in a complete whirlwind? Mackay keeps you guessing until the answers are finally revealed. Many lives cross through the pages of Simple Machines that you will beg for more in this epic thriller/ love story. We are all simple machines… or do we complicate our lives to hide that we are simple when you strip everything away? Find out for yourself in this groundbreaking masterpiece.

We continue to be readers in Mackay’s world of fiction in one of his best works yet. We have followed him through comedy, horror and even the grotesque and extreme as Andrew guides us in a world of his own making- just as James Cameron did with Avatar. This world is very different though as it is a highly realistic world- drawing inspiration from the daily activity around us- and uses the best character developments with clashes of twists, thrills and the most epic ending that Mackay purposely guts you with. I think of Mackay as sitting on a throne as he molds the characters in his stories, watching and waiting to see the reaction from society as he preys upon your fears, tears and desires. I will say this with 100% honesty, Simple Machines is the best work of fiction that I have read all year. Andrew Mackay ends 2017 with a big bang with this one and deserves a huge round of applause for this masterpiece that outshines all others.

A Shadowed Beginning: Demon Hunter Book 1

A Shadowed Beginning

Reviewed by Jetana Mutter

*This book was provided for an honest review

Change is a scary obstacle to overcome, no matter how old you are. The unknown is always a scary thing to face; there are so many possibilities of outcomes that can be good- or also bad. It’s that fear of not knowing what is going to happen that scares us, but it can also motivate us. What would you do if you were living your life and making the best of your circumstances and suddenly things changed? One day everything was normal then within the span of a single day, everything that you thought you knew was certain became unknown. When there’s something that you aren’t prepared to face but it’s thrown at you anyway, sometimes you just have to accept things as they are… or you can say ‘okay, this is how it is but I can choose where to go from here’. That’s the way that our heroine of A Shadowed Beginning, Ruby, decides to take.

Ruby Dawson is a normal sixteen-year-old girl, with an exception- she’s an orphan. Her father died when she was twelve and her mother isn’t in the picture. She lives at St. Helen’s- a home for young girls, goes to school and works part time as a receptionist at a temp staffing agency. Everything is going good for her until she sees a blast from her past walk into the agency, a man that she remembers being at her father’s funeral; a man with a scar on his face that made him unforgettable to her. Knowing he is the only link to any information she can get about her father, she follows him out of the temp agency and steps blindly into another world. A world that she can’t go back from once she has knowledge it exists- one filled with demons and other supernatural creatures. Can Ruby handle the new reality that is thrown at her, where monsters truly do exist? Can she continue to keep her normal routine knowing that her life is now anything but normal? Pick up a copy of A Shadowed Beginning today to find out, it’s definitely worth the read!

A Shadowed Beginning is the first book by Alice J. Black that I have had the pleasure to read, but it most certainly will not be the last; especially since Black is making the Demon Hunter book into a series. I have to know more about what happens with Ruby and where things go from the end of book one. I don’t read a lot of YA fiction anymore, but I am so glad that I took a chance and read this book- all throughout this book, I was on edge with Ruby and trying to figure things out right along with her. It was such a good surprise to see that though you get an idea of what’s going to happen when you are reading A Shadowed Beginning, you don’t get ahead of the book and know for certain that things are going to go a certain way. Alice has a way with entwining the supernatural with her characters that make it seem like this world can really occur in the real world- with demonic creatures hiding from the unsuspecting population easily in the shadows, waiting for their time to come around without anyone being any wiser about it. I sincerely cannot wait for the second book in this series to see what new situations await Ruby and what challenges she will have to overcome.

Nineveh’s Child

Nineveh's Child

Reviewed by Jetana Mutter

*This book was provided for an honest review

What is it about the end-of-the-world scenarios that grab our attention? For me, I think it’s to see that even under the direst of circumstances, life goes on; but it’s how life goes on that makes it interesting. There’s all different kinds of ways that you can imagine the world ending: an asteroid hits Earth, major disasters change the face of the world and human kind has no other option but to flow along with it, and my favorite- nuclear war. Ever since the Cold War in the 1960s, nuclear war has always been in the back of everyone’s minds and what would happen if there was another World War that involved nukes. How would that change the course of human history? Could the human race survive and if we could, what would life be like? Nineveh’s Child gives us a unique perspective on those questions.

Nineveh’s Child follows Dinah, a young girl who lives on the surface helping tend to a farm with Karl, Uma and Rosalyn. Dinah didn’t always live on the surface though- she comes from Nineveh, an underground development that was originally established when nuclear war was waged on the surface, making survival difficult. She always planned to go back to Nineveh for her brother, Ruben. When the village Dinah lives in is attacked and farms are set on fire, she is the only one in the house to escape and must survive on her own as she tries to make her way back to find Ruben. Along her travels, she meets some companions who inadvertently bring the very people she’s looking to avoid, who in turn take her prisoner. Dinah escapes with some help, and she decides that she’s going to go looking for these people to see if what she thought she saw is true- Ruben is now their ringleader. Will Dinah make it to Nineveh and be able to save her brother? Does Nineveh hold a more sinister plan than she remembers? Pick up a copy of Nineveh’s Child today and find out!

Gerhard Gehrke brings a different approach to the dystopian genre with the first book in his series, complete with monsters, giant man-eating birds, and mad scientists. This book is a great read if you like dystopian worlds. The sequel, The Tin Bride, is sure to continue the strange but brilliant world that Gehrke has given us and I look forward to reading it!

Girl Departs Three (Part 2)

 

Girl Departs Three Part 2Reviewed by Jetana Mutter

*This book was provided for an honest review

When it comes to matters of the heart, things can be tough to navigate- especially when you are young. The heart wants what it wants, but what if your heart was pulling you into two different directions; how would you choose? What if you’ve been hurt by both of those that your heart holds so dear? Do you go with the safer and more sensible route and go with a guy who loves and cares for you? Do you choose the bad boy who is certainly dangerous but absolutely in love with you? What happens when you add a pregnancy, jealousy and psycho exes into the mix? There’s so many logical ways to work out where to go and when you add a baby in, it becomes about what is the best for the baby and not about your wants anymore.

Tatum is a young woman who is eighteen and pregnant. Her boyfriend, Zach, is absolutely thrilled when he finds out and life seems to be working out for the two youngsters. Things change at a doctor’s visit that throws life at them in a very harsh way. Reluctantly agreeing to work for his uncle in Italy, Zach prepares to leave Tatum and the baby behind for two months to do the best for their budding family. When he lands, he gets some very surprising news that he must figure out how to tell Tatum. Meanwhile, Tatum runs into her ex while Zach is away and to say he is puzzled to see that she is pregnant is an understatement since it hasn’t been entirely too long since they split ways. When Zach comes home, he decides to tell her his news but will their love survive this? What is she to do when she has a baby to think about and it’s no longer about her? Pick up Girl Departs Three (Part 2) today and find out for yourself!

This is the first book I read by Suzie T. Roos and I am already looking forward to reading more in the saga that surrounds Tatum and find out how she navigates life as Roos takes this series and moves from young adult to new adult. This may be the fourth installment in the Spoken For series, but you really don’t have to read the previous books to follow along. I thought in the first few pages, I may want to reconsider starting with this book as there definitely was back story that I was missing but as I pressed on, I realized that this book is written in such a way that though the backstory would be nice to know, it’s not needed as anything major that you encounter is explained without it so you’re still in the loop. I was so engrossed in the story, I finished this book within fourteen hours (factoring in the time I slept too). Suzie T. Roos is very great at writing something that you can fully submerse yourself in and feel like you are right in the middle of the drama that is Girl Departs Three. There were times I wanted to slap a couple of characters, I cried with them, and I cheered for them. I cannot wait until the next book in this saga comes out so that I know more about what happens; I have suspicions but I want to know. But, until then, I will have to go back and read from the first book to get the full backstory that led up to Girl Departs Three as I patiently wait for Roos to finish the next chapter in Tatum, Zach and Nigel’s lives.

Star Maps

Star Maps

Reviewed by Jetana Mutter

*This book was provided for an honest review

Are we alone in the universe?  It’s a question that has been asked countless times, and yet there’s no definite answer.  Conspiracy theories are abundant around this- from the crash in Roswell in the 1940’s to people speaking out about being abducted today.  Honestly, it’s a pretty big universe out there and Earth just a tiny speck in the grand scheme of things so it’s entirely possible (how could only one planet sustain life out of multiple galaxies is beyond me.)  Also, how do we know for sure that other life forms can’t exist on other planets without oxygen?  Every organism is able to adapt to their environment, evolution is proof of that- but what if there were extra-terrestrial beings walking among us that had adapted to our atmosphere?  In Star Maps J.S. Frankel gives us an interesting take on life outside our planet and what it would mean to be in contact with one of those life forms.  This young adult sci-fi book is an outstanding look at the possibilities that exist until we finally get that proof- even then, who’s to say that all alien forms look the same?

Star Maps follows Carl Thornton, a seventeen year old kid who loves the sky and mapping out the stars in the night with his trusty telescope.  Through a series of events, Carl finds himself living with his Uncle in a little town called Alamo in Nevada- where the desert sky gives him plenty to look at during the night.  He’s not the most popular kid in school, and he’s okay with that for the most part- at least he has his stargazing and that’s plenty for him… until the new girl starts.  Grace just moved to the Alamo area with her father, looking to have a fresh start.  All the guys are lining up to ask her out but none catch her attention the way that the lonely stargazer does.  Things are going well for Carl and Grace, until she lets him in on her secret- she’s not exactly from here, and she doesn’t mean Kansas, either.  Living near the hotbed of alien secrecy that is Area 51 doesn’t exactly help the budding relationship out.  Can Carl help Grace and her family get out of Nevada without the US Government catching wind?  What will happen to Grace and her family if the secret does come out?  Pick up a copy of Star Maps today and find out!

This was my first time reading anything from J.S. Frankel but it certainly won’t be the last.  J.S. took a classic theory and gave it a very unique twist in just who these visitors to our planet are and how they blend in around us.  I have always operated under the assumption that aliens must exist- as I’ve said, the universe is pretty massive so it’s a little unnerving to me to think that Earth is the only planet that life can be found on; whether it’s the little gray guys that everyone ‘knows’ about or even just single celled organisms, there has to be life somewhere else- otherwise, we’re a pretty lonely planet.  To take sci-fi and blend it with young adult fiction is not an easy task to undertake but Frankel did very well in blending the typical with the unexpected in Star Maps and makes me look forward to seeing just what else he has up his sleeve.

Shattered: The Awakening

Shattered

*This book was provided for an honest review

Reviewed by: Jetana Mutter

High school, we all remember it or maybe going through it right now; it can be an awesome experience for some while for others… maybe not so much. That’s the way the protagonist, Emmy, feels; she’s not in the popular circles of school and is looked at like a social pariah by the populars- which is fine with her, most of the time. Her twin half-sisters are part of the popular groups and give her hell both in school and out. The only thing that makes it worth it to her is the fact that she gets to see her crush, Carter, since he’s on the football team and part of the populars. The day Emmy turns seventeen, she finds out a secret from her dead mother in the form of a letter- she’s no ordinary seventeen year old, she comes from a very powerful line of witches. The changes in Emmy’s life is just the prelude of what is to come; from finding love in a most unexpected place to finding out everything she has ever known is not what it seems. Can she piece her life back together or will she be Shattered forever?

Birdy Rivers takes a coming of age story and gives it a twist in the first book of the Shattered series, The Awakening. It fits the typical drama from a seventeen year old girl’s perspective, from low self-esteem to finding that she’s worth more than what she thinks she is. This book does contain a couple of mature content scenes, so readers that may not feel comfortable reading about that may have to skip a couple of pages but the scenes aren’t too long. I think that the story line has a great potential though in the first book you’re struggling with Emmy to figure everything out- the secret of who she really is, the betrayals, finding love and trying to figure out where you fit in with the world when everything seems so out of balance; the ending of book one leaves us on a cliffhanger so you don’t know where she stands within herself but I think that book 2- The Rising– might answer some of those questions that Awakening leaves us with.