Review: Deadly Curiosities (Deadly Curiosities #1) by Gail Z. Martin

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Goodreads Summary:

Cassidy Kincaide owns Trifles & Folly, an antique/curio store and high-end pawn shop in Charleston, South Carolina that is more than what it seems. Dangerous magical and supernatural items sometimes find their way into mortal hands or onto the market, and Cassidy is part of a shadowy Alliance of mortals and mages whose job it is to take those deadly curiosities out of circulation.

Welcome to Trifles & Folly, an antique and curio shop with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670—acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500 year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. When mundane antiques suddenly become magically malicious, it’s time for Cassidy and Sorren to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.

My Review

I was so excited to read Deadly Curiosities! I found this book when the author was sitting outside a book shop at my state’s Renaissance Festival signing her books! (See how nerdy I am?) The author was really cool and nice and her book sounded like it was right up my alley! Unfortunately, my enthusiasm soon waned.

When I first began the story, I got super into it! I felt like I was reading an episode of Supernatural and at any moment Sam and Dean were gonna bust down the door and take out all the ghosts with their shot guns filled with rock salt shells! The characters were varied and had depth and the premise was intriguing and engaging. This lasted for maybe the first 100 pages until it slowly died down so much that I could barely follow the content.

The plot was there, but it was like it was on repeat as far as what actions the characters took to defeat the antagonist. I really liked where the story was initially headed, but once I realized how much the events were being dragged on unnecessarily, I became bored with what I was reading and actually struggled to finish it. I also felt like there was an eventually implied romance between Sorren and Cassidy, but I never got to see anything develop. Which is unfortunate because Sorren was probably one of the most intriguing characters in the book and he didn’t receive nearly as much attention as he should have! I noticed that book two does surround him so there is potential there. However, I doubt I’ll pick up book two, especially since it doesn’t release until December.

Deadly Curiosities was an acceptable supernatural read, but it was more disappointing and much longer than I expected it to be.

You can buy Deadly Curiosities on Amazon here.

Release Day Blitz: Finding Sam (A Reliant Love #2) by Taylor Lavati

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Title: Finding Sam (A Reliant Love #2)
Author: Taylor Lavati
Release Day Blitz: September 1, 2015
Genre: New Adult Dark Romance
Hosted by: S.B.B. Promotions

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Sometimes, the past isn’t supposed to be forgotten.

Sam is convinced he’s cursed. Everything he touches dies. He leaves his past behind and travels across the country, hoping the distance will save the loved ones he’s left. When his car breaks down, he becomes stranded, finding comfort in a stray dog.

Despite the fact that he refuses to build any relationships, the people of Sterling, Colorado wiggle their way into his heart. His adopted dog, Lucky, shows him he can handle responsibility. His new boss, Lenny, shows him he has purpose. His neighbor, Izzy, shows him he’s capable of love again. But can Sam find happiness after he’s lost it all?

Finding Sam, the sequel to the bestselling novel of addiction and attraction, A Reliant Love, is a tale of redemption, acceptance, and finding yourself.

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~ Chapter 1 ~

Sam

Ten days without Nathalie. Ten days in a dark world with no purpose. It’s been ten days too long staying in this empty town, but I don’t have much of a choice. I had to get my shit together before I up and left. I think if I would have driven out of town right after the funeral, they’d have called the cops on me. I have to act normal, pretend I’m okay, to convince them I’ve moved on.

My black bag sits in the middle of the empty room, regurgitating piles of dark clothing. It’s the only bag I’ve allowed myself to pack. Secretly, I’ve been emptying the house. My parents know it’s on the market, I’ve left it up to them to finish the sale and deal with it. It’s about the only thing they’ve ever been supportive of—my leaving for good.

After the funeral, everyone refused to leave me at home alone. Despite the fact that this is my home, the one place that still has signs of Nat in it, they infiltrated it with their presence and hovered.

Today’s the first day I’ve woken up alone. Oddly enough it’s also the last day I’ll be here. I get up off the bed I used to share with Nat and shove the clothes into my bag and zip it up. This little duffle bag is going to be my one possession until I get wherever I’m heading.

I still haven’t figured that out. The downstairs kitchen smells like burnt chicken and lemon-scented candles. Nathalie had been making dinner before she came to pick me up. I refuse to remove the food or change anything in the house. The movers or my parents can do it. I don’t need to.

On the kitchen counter sits a brown paper bag that the hospital gave me. Well, they didn’t give it to me. I hadn’t been allowed to leave my room yet, the night it all went to shit. They wanted to make sure that I didn’t have bleeding on my brain so they were forcing me to spend the night.

Even after my rehab stint, I’d never felt so helpless, so confined. Petey and Sarah refused to leave my side despite the fact that I kept lashing out at them. I had just fixed my relationship with Petey after our falling out from high school. He was able to move past the tragedy with his sister, Sarah and let me back in his life. Sarah always forgave me for the accident, but things were looking up. All my relationships were moving in a positive manner. I remember in the hospital telling Petey what a terrible person he was, and jabbing Sarah with my words of how she’d be settling with her fiancé.

Like me pushing them away would make things better. I hate that I felt the need to assault them with my words. I hate that I made the already tragic situation worse. But at that moment, I was in shock and hated everything around me, mostly myself.

But it kept getting worse and worse. Her parents showed up in about an hour flat. I wasn’t allowed to leave my room, but I recognized her mom’s voice from what I had heard through the phone numerous times. The second I heard it, I almost thought it was Nat; my brain playing tricks on me, teasing me, torturing me. I’d never hear Nat’s voice again.

The orderly’s packed Nat’s belongings in a small Ziploc bag. I pick it up off the ground, knowing there’s only one small item inside. I won’t part ways with it. The last chip of my soul refuses to let it go. I shove it into the side compartment of my bag and zip it up tight, double checking to make sure there’s no way it could fall out.

After deciding to leave the East Coast and place as much mileage between me, and my friends, and family, as possible, I knew I couldn’t ditch the truck. Despite needing the fucking thing gone from my life forever, I can’t afford to get a new car and have enough left over from what I’ve saved to live off of.

But first chance I get, it’s gone. It smells like her. Sugar and flowers.

I’ve been meeting with Karen every day since the night Nat was stolen from me. I’m not supposed to call it anything other than an accident, but in my eyes, it could have been prevented. This was no accident. This was a life-changing moment that will forever affect me.

I pull my truck into the office parking lot and cut the ignition. Karen doesn’t work in town—I met her while in rehab two hours away—but she’s been using one of her colleague’s offices to meet with me. She said it was important that I had support. She’d met my parents numerous times and deemed them not responsible to care for me. I can’t blame her. I’d been in recovery twice and both times, they weren’t around.

There’s always this nagging pulling in my stomach before I meet with Karen. I know it’s nerves like she’s going to uncover a deeply-rooted, hidden secret I’m not ready to hear. Not that I think I have secrets because I don’t. I’m a recovering drug addict who’s followed by a curse where I hurt those I love. That’s pretty much the bottom line, although if I said any of that out loud, Karen would scold me for days. Maybe I will say it today since it’s my last day to meet with her before I leave.

I don’t bother knocking or ringing the bell. Ten days of the same thing over and over, I’ve become used to the routine. I walk past the staircase and knock on the door of the office. Karen yells for me to come in, so I do.

“Hi, Sam!” She smiles at me, flashing her teeth as she stands behind the desk and reaches over. I take her hand and shake it. She picks up her green-rimmed glasses and crumbled note pad and walks around the desk. She sits in an identical chair to mine beside me.

“How are you?” I ask her, crossing my arms over my chest.

“Fine, how are you today?”

“I’m good.”

“Is that because you’re leaving or because you genuinely feel good?” She narrows her eyes. That’s the problem with meeting someone frequently and having them know you; you can’t trick them.

I shrug in response.

“Instead of talking about you today, I wanted to leave you with some knowledge to help you in the future. I know hashing out your insecurities is good, and I love seeing you have a break through. But since you’re leaving, I’m worried you won’t understand the feelings you are going to experience. So, I’ll give you some information to help along the steps today. Sound good?” She flips the page of her notebook, making a crinkling sound as it flies over.

“Whatever you want to do,” I tell her, because honestly, I couldn’t care less. An hour or two more and I’ll be out of here. And an hour or two more after that, and I’ll be free from all of this pressure to be okay.

“I know we touched on the stages of grief before and I had you guess where you were, so I want to start there. Have you given it anymore thought?”

“Yeah, I still think it’s stupid. That chart, those seven feelings don’t really define what I’m feeling. I’ve accepted that she’s gone, but that doesn’t mean I’m over it. I’m not in shock…I know she’s gone. I feel her absence on a daily basis. So, I don’t fucking know where I am.”

“The stages are just a guideline, Sam. I’ve told you this.”

“I know…and it still doesn’t make it any easier.”

“Well, I want to go over them again so you relate to what you’re feeling. I agree that you’re not in the first stage anymore. The first stage you experienced in the hospital. You refused to see people, wouldn’t admit she was gone.” I squeeze my fist so tight my knuckles bloom white. Don’t remember her, I chant to myself, stop thinking of the hospital. No more memories today.

“The second stage is pain, sometimes guilt. Your life is going to be chaotic, a little crazy. You’ll feel guilty, kind of like your curse belief. But it hurts, a lot. The third stage is bargaining. Here is when you’re going to ask questions like, ‘Why me? Why her?’. You’ll probably lash out at people, get frustrated. If you begin to feel this way, try to tamp it down, find something that will calm you down. You don’t want to push away those around you.

“Let’s see…” She flips another page in her notebook and shoves the end of the pen in her mouth, chewing the plastic part. “The next is depression. With your added history of substance abuse, this is definitely a pronounced concern. It is not a question of if you will experience depression from this life-changing event, it’s a question of when. And honestly, Sam, you will need to seek help. Wherever you end up, find a therapist, give them my number, and have them call me. Depression is a legitimate disease and you, nobody, should have to live through the loneliness, despair, emptiness, and unworthiness alone. You understand? You find someone to help you.” I nod. “Say it.”

“I understand. I’ll get help.”

“Swear it to me. When you end up where you think you’ll stay, if you feel the signs of depression, you’ll talk to someone. Please, Sam. You know I care about you. I would hate to see you in the condition we met in. Okay?”

“Okay, Karen.” I widen my eyes at her pushiness. “I get it. I can’t do it alone.”

“It’s not that you can’t, Sam. You shouldn’t have to. You deserve better.” She shakes her head, blinking away tears. “Okay, after that…you’ll hit the upward spiral. You’ll start feeling just a little better every day. Then you’ll start to reconstruct your life, fix things, change things, and move forward. The last stage is acceptance. It’s pretty self-explanatory. But once you’re here, you’ll see hope in the future, understanding, and crave the normal.”

“And what? Nathalie’ll just be a distant memory?”

“Of course not. You’re stages of grief have nothing to do with her memory. And just because you accept that she’s gone doesn’t mean you forget her. In fact, I urge you to remember her, remember the good things. In a healthy way of course.”

“Of course.” I nod, mocking her.

“I also want to mention something. The chances of you relapsing at a time like this are astronomical. I think the rates are at about fifty percent during times of stress and within the first year of sobriety. However, I need to explain what will happen if you were to relapse and go back to cocaine.

“Because your body has no cocaine systemically any longer, your chances of dying during a relapse skyrocket. I’m sure you were used to injesting large amounts at a time. If you were to take what you were taking at your peak using time, you’d most likely die, right?”

I nod. My heart spikes and my palms sweat. It’s too real. But even talking about it makes me want to try it just to remember the feels. I miss the high. I’ve been low for so long now.

“Odds are, someone you will meet uses cocaine. It’s the second most used drug in the country. But you’re a strong man, Sam. I believe you won’t go back to using. And I hope you’ll find what you’re looking for.” Heavy tears slide down her reddened cheeks.

“Why are you crying?” I ask her in a voice that can only be described as emotionless. I clear my throat, holding it in.

“I’m going to miss you,” she blurts out. “I know you’ve been through hell and back. But I’ve enjoyed getting to know you, Sam. I hope I’ve helped you in even the slightest way possible.” She places her notepad beside her and leans forward. Her arms circle my neck and she tugs me against her. She squeezes and then pushes me back.

“You’ve helped me,” I say. “You’ve helped me a lot, Karen.”

“You have my number, right? You have everything? Money?”

“I don’t need your money, Karen. I have enough to get me across the country and be fine. Don’t worry about me, okay?”

“Of course I’ll worry about you!” She slaps my knee. “You’re a great man, Sam. You’ll make someone happy. First, you have to find your own way. And stop worrying about this curse. You aren’t cursed, I swear. You have your new therapist, so call. That’s an order.”

“Got it.” My throat swells a little bit, tastes salty. Truth is, I’ll miss Karen. I’ll miss all of them. But this is for the best. I have to separate myself. This is for their own good. Damn, I’m doing this for them!

I slam my lips together, blink once to stop my emotions, stand, and leave the office for good. I won’t be coming back here. And I won’t see these people again.

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~ A Reliant Love ~

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Nathalie Carter wants one thing: independence. She has paid her dues by living at home under her parents’ watchful eyes, earning grades to give her a ticket out and joining clubs she had no interest in to get into college.

She plans to experience things she believes every new adult should—from falling in love to playing beer pong and pulling an all-nighter to skipping class because she’s too hungover. But nothing ever seems to go as planned, and she gets pulled into a world she never imagined existed.

Samuel Torrington’s past refuses to release him from its vise-like grip; but he has a plan, and once his senior year of college is over, he can finally move away and start anew. His addictions help him get through day-to-day life, but he’s constantly battling darker demons.

Fate brings the two together, and chance takes them on a roller coaster ride that neither would dare hop off. Within destiny’s grasp, they realize there are two things impossible to fight—addiction and attraction.

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Taylor Lavati is a twenty-something year old author residing in a small town in Connecticut with her husband and dog. She writes both Young Adult and New Adult with ranging genres from fantasy, A Curse Books trilogy, to dark romance, A Reliant Love. Romance with a bit of CHAOS. Find out more at taylorlavati.com

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Musical Mondays 8/31/15

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Musical Mondays time!

How to Participate In Musical Mondays:

  1. Link your Musical Mondays post back to Escape Inside the Pages

  2. Include the instructions in your post

  3. Share anywhere from 1-3 songs that either:

    • remind you of a book you’ve read or are currently reading
    • you’ve been listening to or have discovered in the past week
    • you feel you must absolutely share with the world
  4. Link your shared songs to their Youtube video (even if it’s a lyrics video)

  5.  Paste the link to your Musical Mondays post in the Comments of my Musical Mondays post each week

  6. Have the greatest time discovering new music and artists!

AND IF YOU DON’T HAVE A BLOG, FEEL FREE TO SHARE YOUR MUSIC IN THE COMMENTS SECTION ANYWAY!

 

My Song Picks this week are:

 

SOng that reminds me of a book:

 

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Mockingjay (Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins vs. You’re the Mocking Jay by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus: Ronnie Winters literally wrote this song specifically based on this book! The lyrics fit it perfectly, I just can’t understand why they couldn’t get this song more publicized for the movie! It references Snow, Haymitch, a revolution and obviously someone who will “be your Mockingjay.” I can only assume that they titled it with Mockingjay as two separate words for legal reasons… either way this song is absolutely fantastic, regardless of if you’re a fan of this book (which I’m not).

Song I DIscovered in the past week

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The Bomb by Pigeon JohnThis song is just one of those fun get-pumped-car-jams that I found through my friends RA video for her hall at my university, lol! Just goes to show you really never know where you’ll discover new music!

Review: Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver

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Goodreads Summary:

Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It’s hard to be patient. It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.

My Review

Delirium was just like any other dystopian novel, besides the fact that love aka the “Delirium” is considered a disease that the government has developed a cure for and makes mandatory for every U.S. citizen when they turn 18 to receive. Sympathizing with lovers or “invalids” is strictly forbidden, but a rebellion still lurks in the shadows nonetheless. Pretty interesting premise right? That’s what I had always thought. I guess I was just looking for a little more out of the story in general.

Lena begins as a star citizen, looking forward to the day she receives the cure, that is until she meets Alex. She then discovers who the true enemy is and what it means to actually truly love. Secrets are revealed and she soon  realizes she will go to great lengths to keep her love, even if it means leaving everything she knows behind.

I enjoyed Lena and Alex’s characters for sure! It was intriguing to see love develop out of such hesitation. It was even more bizarre to read about characters and a society that didn’t know how to love. However, it felt like most of the story was all set up and slow plot filler in between a few really good moments. Quite honestly, not a whole lot happened in this book. I mean clearly it’s leading up to a great anarchy of some sort which brings me to the point of the predictability of the story. Although I will say that the ending was super shocking and had my jaw dropping. It was heart wrenching and baffling. Now I have no idea if this series is worth continuing. I’ve heard some pretty negative things actually.

I suppose I liked Delirium well enough, but after that ending I don’t think I’ll continue with it. You can buy Delirium on Amazon here.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus If I Taught Paranormal Romance 101

This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. 

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is: Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus If I Taught _____ 101. So naturally I chose Paranormal Romance! It’s one of my most read genres! Here they are in no particular order! All of these books have classic elements of a typical paranormal romance yet they each bring their own unique story and twists to the table. Some of these could also be considered science fiction/fantasy but to me they’re primarily paranormal.

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1. Poison Princess (Arcana Chronicles #1) by Kresley Cole

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2. Inescapable (Premonition Series #1) by Amy Bartol

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3. Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter

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4. White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements #1) by Jennifer Armentrout

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5. Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days #1) by Susan Ee

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6. Prince of Wolves (Grey Wolves #1) by Quinn Loftis

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7. Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls #1) by C.C. Hunter

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8. Angelfire (Angelfire #1) by Courtney Allison Moulton

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9. Captured (Captive #1) by Erica Stevens

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10. Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1) by Kiersten White

Musical Mondays 8/24/15

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It’s that time of the week again….

Musical Mondays time that is!

How to Participate In Musical Mondays:

  1. Link your Musical Mondays post back to Escape Inside the Pages

  2. Include the instructions in your post

  3. Share anywhere from 1-3 songs that either:

    • remind you of a book you’ve read or are currently reading
    • you’ve been listening to or have discovered in the past week
    • you feel you must absolutely share with the world
  4. Link your shared songs to their Youtube video (even if it’s a lyrics video)

  5.  Paste the link to your Musical Mondays post in the Comments of my Musical Mondays post each week

  6. Have the greatest time discovering new music and artists!

AND IF YOU DON’T HAVE A BLOG, FEEL FREE TO SHARE YOUR MUSIC IN THE COMMENTS SECTION ANYWAY!

My song picks for this week are: 

 

SONG THAT REMINDS ME OF A BOOK:

 

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Splintered by A.G. Howard vs. White Rabbit by Egypt Centralthe lyrics of this song easily compares to Splintered especially since the song consistently alludes to Alice in Wonderland but it also confronts the struggle between madness and reality which is very apparent in this book as well!

 

SONG I MUST SHARE WITH THE WORLD:

 

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Be My Escape by Relient K: this is one of my all time favorite songs! Relient K works wonders with their lyrics and this song is beautifully crafted in a way that speaks volumes!

Review: Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland

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Goodreads Summary:

On a snowy Friday night in 1979, just hours after making love for the first time, Richard’s girlfriend, high school senior Karen Ann McNeil, falls into a coma. Nine months later she gives birth to their daughter, Megan. As Karen sleeps through the next seventeen years, Richard and their circle of friends reside in an emotional purgatory, passing through a variety of careers—modeling, film special effects, medicine, demolition—before finally reuniting on a conspiracy-driven super-natural television series. But real life grows as surreal as their TV show as Richard and his friends await Karen’s reawakening . . . and the subsequent apocalypse. 

My Review

Oh how do I begin to explain the depths to which this book disappointed me? Girlfriend in a Coma took what was a beautifully unique premise and pummeled it into smithereens. The beginning of the novel grabbed my attention immediately. The first chapter is literally told by a ghost overlooking an apocalyptic world! Awesome right? NO.

The story primarily focuses around the lives of 6 friends who grew up in the 70s and do much less with their lives than they intended for themselves. The story changes perspectives as time goes on. Actually the first 100 pages (which was almost half the book) felt like a timeline was being given rather than a story being told. I never got to appreciate any one character because I never felt a connection to one. None of them were very developed and all of them had distasteful attributes.

Obviously the book is titled Girlfriend in a Coma for a reason, but honestly, Karen’s (the girlfriend) coma was never truly explained and was altogether pointless to the novel. In fact the plot was entirely recycled by the end of the book. Here we have the main characters who are the center of the story, they survive this huge pandemic and then poof, some crazy half-ass “higher purpose” gets thrown in to somehow represent a theme for the novel, and suddenly the plot throws the characters right back to where they started, only now they have new meaning to their lives somehow. So many questions were never answered and I was left utterly baffled by what I had just read. It was like reading two separate genres of stories in one. On the one hand we have these modern day characters in a realistic fiction setting and on the other we have randomly thrown in supernatural elements that really don’t seem to fit into the content easily and are never properly explained.

I understand that Coupland was trying to give the message of making the world a better place by taking a stand and making a change, but I just feel that he could have reached that overall conclusion in a more simple and much less confusing way. I finished this book with more questions than I began with. Girlfriend in a Coma had a lot of potential to be something extraordinary but it just fell short of being an enjoyable story.

Maybe you read it and made more sense of it then I could…