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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Land of the Free

Land of the Free

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

Throughout human history, we have always been regaling tales in some fashion or another; mostly by verbal tales until the written word was discovered. Recorded history has come quite a ways since then- radio, films (silent, black and white, and color with sound) and television. One of my favorite ways of communicating these tales are books- the world you are visiting is only limited by the author’s descriptive abilities and the reader’s imagination to see the world. Many of these tales have something that appeals to everyone, whether it be passion, action or even science fiction. We’ve seen tales recently reflect a more dangerous tone to them… post-apocalyptical being the theme that tie them together. It is a subject that terrifies you but thrills you at the same time- begging you to think what would actually happen in that type of situation. What if the end of the world was actually the beginning of a new type of horrible reality? Michael Huard poses these questions in his debut fiction series, Land of the Free.

The United States falls into despair in the year 2016 with advances in technology, robotics and power-crazed corporations taking over all rational thought. The gates are opened to let religious and nuclear wars bring the world to ruins. The rich will consume the world… sounds similar to things happening in the world today. As long as the world still holds on, however, there is hope. Out of this hope, the Mystical Slayers are born- a beautiful sisterhood of patriotic women who are enhanced by superior intelligence and martial arts training. They are here to mark the nation free once again. This time, the battle consists of two organizations: Y-Wood Corporation, our villains who are world leaders of wealth and power ran through greed and corruption, and the Mystical Slayers- out to save humanity from those who seek to ruin the world further. Y-Wood takes the technology advances to bigger and astronomical places that destroys the middle ground leaving only the poor and the rich. The rich continue to pull the strings while the poor praise and worships the mega corporation, leading to the United States being ran by robotics. AI, artificial intelligence, tells the world what to do, how to act and how to live. Many years pass- a century worth- as several women were born, unlike any others. Metaya Valteese gets together with the best and the ultimate mother of a defense is born- the Mystical Slayers. Training them from a young age, like the Spartans, to use fighting and defensive skills and the secret weapon- a super drug named Starigen 6280 to give them increased brainpower, increased adrenaline, stronger bones and high tolerances to pain- these women will become the world’s saving grace. Seven women who will rise above everything to protect what’s left of the human race and their sisterhood in 3016 where Y-Wood has become bigger than ever. Taking down Y-Wood would result in the world turning back to normal with liberty and peace. Welcome to the Land of the Free.

I do not normally read dystopian science fiction, but I am glad I found this. Land of the Free is the most interesting novel I have read since The Maze Runner. Mr. Huard is clever when it comes to action and the realistic martial art moves- which makes sense because he teaches self-defense and martial arts for a living- and tosses in a robotic future. I would recommend this to many science fiction readers, those who love dystopian societies and comic book readers as well. Huard plans for many more books to quench the readers of the Mystical Slayers universe thirst. Honestly, I think Land of the Free would make an excellent film series- possibly even surpass movies such as The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games in looks and expectations- as what you will read in the book you will discover the hotness doesn’t stop at the patriotic wardrobe and flowing hair. Go pick up a copy of Land of the Free and see for yourself.

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.

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.