October 14, 2017

Unearthed After Sunset by Lauryn April (Review + Excerpt + Giveaway) !

     Today, I have a treat for you. Unearthed After Sunset by Lauryn April will release tomorrow, and to celebrate, Lauryn has given us a little excerpt of the story as well as a giveaway! I have also included my review of the book, but lets be honest, everyone is looking forward to the excerpt and giveaway. If you love vampires and mysterious plots, keep reading and see if Unearthed After Sunset is for you! Stay tuned till the end for the giveaway!


Author: Lauryn April
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: October 15th 2017

     When Greg Erickson is killed by sultry and seductive vampire Lila, he wakes up cold and alone in a wooden box. After clawing his way out he finds himself thrust into a vampire turf war, unsure of exactly what he’s fighting for. Greg discovers that it’s not easy to be human one day and hunting humans the next, and while his new vampire cohorts try to get him to accept his newfound existence there’s one girl from his human life he’s unable to forget.

     Caroline Christensen lived a normal life once. Then her brother was killed by vampires and her family legacy as a vampire hunter was handed down to her. When she meets Greg out at the bar one night they both feel a connection. Then Greg discovers Caroline’s secret and she worries he’ll never talk to her again, but soon she finds out that he has a very different reason for not calling – he’s dead.

     Now Greg has become Caroline's target, but can she bring herself to kill him? Greg, however, isn’t Caroline’s only concern. The vampires are battling one another, and Caroline is determined to find out what they're fighting over.

Review

     This book gave me Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibes right off the bat. Though the book is mainly told from a guy’s POV (Greg’s), the times we get a look into Caroline’s head just scream Buffy to me, but in Lauryn’s own unique way. I enjoyed the moments we got to see Greg and Caroline interact with each other because we got to experience that tension filled air that hovers between them. I really got into the book towards the end when they got to spend a lot more time together because they make sparks fly and we really see their true character.

     I have to say I liked Caroline’s character more than Greg, which was a bummer because we get more of the story from Greg’s POV. Greg definitely gave me Angel vibes too (aka Buffy’s vampire boyfriend). He was a very morally confused character in the beginning, which I liked, but his relationship with Lila threw me off. Anyway, other than that, the story was very interesting. The ending left us with a cliff hanger, but it also felt like a conclusion to me. It was a very unique feeling to still have questions that needed answering, but to have the ending also feel like a closed book. But the story will continue, and it will be interesting to see where it goes because a lot of things happened in the end, which could blow the story wide open in the next book.

     I recommend this book to anyone looking for a vampire/vampire hunter story not focused on romance, but on character development and mysterious plots. It’s also unique because it is mainly told from a guy’s POV, which is hard to find in paranormal genres. I don’t usually read books from a guy’s POV because I can’t place myself in his shoes, but if that is what you are looking for, this book is for you. I give this book three out of five stars.


Unearthed After Sunset is the first novel in the Cereus Vampire Chronicles. This dark tale follows college student Greg on his journey to discover a world he never knew existed where he quickly learns that beauty can be deadly as. Filled with action, adventure and a bit of romance Unearthed After Sunset will keep you on your toes. Continue on to read an exclusive excerpt from Lauryn April’s gripping new Urban Fantasy novel.
Excerpt

     When I got close, however, I found I wasn’t the only one interested in visiting my stone that night. A woman stood before my grave. Dark hair lay loose over her shoulders, and she set a rose atop my stone. Sarah. She wore a navy dress and I remembered there was a bar a few blocks from here she and her friends liked to go to. Sarah kneeled in the grass and wiped a tear away from her cheek. I watched her from a distance. I wanted to go to her, but Santo’s rules played in my mind as if the sight of her had triggered a warning in my head.

     “I know this wasn’t my fault,” she said to the empty casket below. “At least that’s what everyone keeps telling me, but I can’t help but wonder if…if I hadn’t broken up with you, if I had just given you more time, you never would have been out that night and….” She sniffled. “I never wanted this.”
I felt weight on my arm. I turned to see Santo standing beside me, his hand on my shoulder.

     “She’s a pretty one, not your intended recruit I hope.”

     A nervous laugh passed my lips. “No.” I handed Santo Carter’s wallet. He pulled out his ID, looked it over, nodded, then handed it back.

     “Good,” he said. “Turning your ex novia would have been a bad idea.”
“How do you know—”

     “That she’s your ex? She’s leaving roses on your grave, amigo. Is not so hard to figure out.”

     I shook my head. “Right.”

     “Don’ worry about her. She will move on.”

     “Why would it be a bad idea to turn her?”

     Santo stared at me for a long moment. “Is best to leave todos behind when you become a vampire. If you bring someone from your old life into your new one…problemas every time.”

     “I wasn’t going to, I was just—”

     “Do not worry, you are new, you have questions, I get it.”

     Santo started to walk away. I cast Sarah one last glance before following him.

     “I didn’t like you much at first, you know,” he said, then glanced at me over his shoulder.

     “Yeah, I figured that.”

     Santo paused until I caught up to him. “You’ve grown on me since then.”

     A moment of silence passed. “Can I ask you something?”

     Santo nodded.

     “You’ve been around a long time, how do you…differentiate between us and them?”

     Santo smiled. “It gets easier as you get older. When you can walk among them and have no fear of finding a familiar face, it’s easier to see them as they are.”

     “And what are they?”

     Santo was quiet for a moment. “Do you know how I became a vampire, Archer?”

     “No.”

     “It was 1521. I was an officer in the Spanish Army, under Cortez. We were in Tenochtitlan, fighting Aztecs. For eight months, we battled them, slaughtered them, starved them by cutting off their supplies of food and water, but they were relentless. I remember hearing that Cortez ordered the siege to stop, but they would not rest. They would not surrender, and we were forced to continue. That is when I remember first thinking there is no God.

     “A group of my men were captured, but I managed to escape into the jungle. Lost and frightened, I wandered until the heat and exhaustion overcame me. I passed out, knowing I would soon die.”

     “What happened?”

     Santo laughed. “I died. But first I woke; it was night and a woman stood before me. She wore a red dress, and her hair hung loose around her face, muy bonita. Not one of the natives, a Spaniard like me. Later, she told me she’d hidden away on our ship. Her skin was so white and her eyes…I thought she was an angel. She helped me up, and I was lost in her beauty. I remember, she asked me one question.

     “She asked, ’¿Desea ser libre?’ Do you want to be free? And I said yes. Then she pulled me to her, and she killed me. She buried me in the dirt, and I dug my way free nights later. I couldn’t comprehend what any of it meant at first. She would try to explain, but it wasn’t until she showed me that I understood.” Santo got this faraway look in his eyes. “She took me back to Tenochtitlan, and I tried to tell her the Aztecs would kill us. She wouldn’t listen. I tried to stop her, but she pushed on. She walked straight into their city unharmed. The people of Tenochtitlan looked at her and they bowed. They fell to their knees! Cihuateteo, they called her.

     “The next day I slept in one of their temples when I heard a commotion outside. I walked to the edge of the shadows and watched as they gathered. I saw my men, in the crowd. One by one they were brought to the top of the temple, and the Aztecs cut out their hearts. Sixty, seventy some men were murdered and they left their hearts at my feet. And you know what I felt like?”

     I shook my head. “What?”

     “I felt like a god!” Santo laughed. “That is the difference between us and them. They are human, mortal. They exist in the blink of an eye, temporary. We are eternal, we are gods, and as such their lives bend to our will.”

     I laughed. “You don’t really think…I mean, gods?”

     “We have the power to take lives and to make men immortal; what more to being a god is there?”

     I thought that over for a long moment. Santo was quiet. Then he slapped my shoulder again. “Come, amigo. Let’s go home.”

     We walked out of the graveyard. All the while I wondered if maybe he were right. Maybe I wasn’t a demon, like all the movies liked to suggest.

     Maybe I was a god?


Lauryn April has always been fascinated by the paranormal, picking up a healthy Stephen King habit by the age of thirteen. Her favorite TV show growing up was "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", and she's always preferred bands like The Rolling Stones, and The Doors over whatever they're playing on the radio.


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October 9, 2017

5 Tips for Bookish Decor!

 Have you caught the decorating bug? I know I have. Ever since I moved a few months ago, I have been obsessed with creating my perfect space. My color palate changed drastically from my last one so I had to start over. I have been obsessed with cool tones, greys, muted pastels, and the occasional wood texture to complement my room. They fit my aesthetic perfectly. But there is one thing I know I did not and could not get rid of, MY BOOKISH DÉCOR.
    
     I cannot live in a room that shows no sign of my love for books; however, I ran into a big problem when looking for décor…most of it didn’t match my color palate! So, I took to the internet and went hunting for décor that would complement my room and my love for books. If you have trouble finding décor that matches or need ideas on how to spice up your room then check out my list of ideas and places to shop below!

1. Throw Pillows Galore.
Evie Seo
PaperFury

     I love throw pillows, and Society6 is the place I go to get them. Society6 is a platform where artists can sell their art on many different surfaces: canvas print, mugs, blankets, bags, and my personal favorite, THROW PILLOWS. A girl can never have too many throw pillows, especially bookish pillows. They are a great way to add a little something to your room and they come in all different styles. Some of my favorite pillows come from artists Evie Seo and PaperFury , but there are thousands more if their style isn’t for you. Below are a few of my favorite pillows from them and you can find a link to them below the picture as well.
 
 
2. Art Prints Are Always Good, But Not Too Many!

     I love hanging art on my wall because it’s an easy way to make a room your own, but be careful not to overdo it! Putting too much on your wall can make your room look smaller, and my solution to this is to make a small art collage on one wall with very minimalistic designs. My choice of collage is book inspired (obviously), so I like to go out and find minimalist art incorporating books. Society6 is a great place for canvas art, but Redbubble is also a site for all my fangirls and boys out there.

     I would suggest keeping the colors greyscale with very little color to make the collage look cohesive, but that is just my preference. Make the collage a square, circle, or another shape that you like. To get an idea of what I mean, here is my wall collage:


     It has everything from books, dragons, badass quotes, and two of my favorite comic book prints. I love it. I also suggest incorporating images as well as quotes to break things up.

3. Bookish Candles for The Win!

     If you already feel like your wall décor is on point, then add a bookish candle to top off the awesomeness! I love candles that are inspired by some of my favorite books because it brings the book to life for me. I always go to Etsy for things like these!  There are tons of great candle makers out there, all you have to do is search “book candles” and you are set. If you want to see if there is a candle maker out there who tackled your favorite book universe (like Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas in my case) then search that too. Your room will smell like your favorite book and that’s all anyone ever wanted, right?

4. Create A Featured Book Shelf!

     Since my room isn’t big enough to hold all three of my bookshelves, I had to get creative. I thought creating a small floating bookshelf or two displaying my favorite book or series accompanied by art or quotes from that book would be a nice touch to my room. I haven’t found the time to put one up but just imagine it. You pick out your favorite books, find some cute bookends that complement the book or your aesthetic, find little things like a mug, picture, or art piece that reminds you of that book (or even better, is inspired by it), and you have a cute themed shelf dedicated to your love of reading.

5. No Luck? No Worries, Find an Alternative!

     One problem I come across a lot is the lack of specific art or décor inspired by a favorite book of mine. I don’t always want a picture or quote from a book because one, I already have enough pictures, and two, I want something unique. So, I started looking for décor/art/statues that reminded me of a book I love. For example, it is no secret that I love dragons and one of my favorite series is Going Down in Flames by Chris Cannon. Naturally, I went hunting for anything dragon related and found the art print that you can see in my picture collage above. However, your art doesn’t have to be so obvious, it can be abstract. If you love a book about a motorcycle club, like Nowhere but Here by Katie McGarry, then note the symbol described on the riders’ leather cuts and find a print similar to it. If you love a book about pirates then find a small plaque of a pirate’s flag to put on a shelf. I have learned that when it comes to bookish décor, it doesn’t have to be obvious because the art is for you. If you see something that reminds you of a book, pick it up! There are no rule when it comes to bookish décor.


     I hope my list gave you some ideas or at least got you started in the right direction. However, if it did not and you really want to make your space a Pinterest dream, check out Havenly.com ! Havenly is an online interior designer platform that employs professional interior designers to help you find the perfect style unique to you. You can take a style quiz, find out exactly what your style is, and choose which room you want to revamp. They have tons of designers, with expertise in all styles so the options are endless! Check them out if you want to know more.

Let me know how you decorate your space! What is your favorite part of your bookish décor? What tips do you have? Leave your answers down below.
Cheers!

August 28, 2017

Heart of Mist (The Oremere Chronicles #1) by Helen Scheuerer Review!


Author: Helen Scheuerer
Genre: YA High Fantasy
Release Date: August 31st
Publisher: Talem Press
Rating: ★★★★


In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.

Still grieving the death of her guardian and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army, and summoned to the capital.

But the king isn’t the only one interested in Bleak’s powers.

The leader of an infamous society of warriors, the Valia Kindred, lays claim to her as well, and Bleak finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she anticipated.

Heart of Mist is the gripping first book in The Oremere Chronicles, a fantasy series of epic proportions.

Review:

     I did not know what to expect when I started this book, but after reading the prologue, I knew I was in for a crazy journey filled with diverse characters and mysteries galore. First of all, the main character, Bleak, was a character that I immediately connected to. In the beginning, we see her at one of the lowest points in her life and my heart broke for her, but she had a resilience about her that I loved as well. She isn't the type of whiny and incapable main character who waits for things to come to her. Bleak goes after what she wants or needs, which is what I like most about her. I love that quality in a character. Then we get a little back story on how Bleak made it to that point in her life and the back story almost had me in tears. We see Bleak as a child, so full of energy and innocence, and compared to the present Bleak, everything is different.  That made me want to read more, not only to find out where she had been, but where she was going. She was intriguing to say the least. She also has the reckless selflessness and self-deprecating nature about her, which I oldy like in characters because they seem more human to me that way.

     We get to know a few characters through multiple POVs, which at first, I didn’t like. Too many POVs can be confusing and make me lose track of what is happening with the main character and what they are feeling. At first, I wanted this book to only be in Bleak's POV so that I got the chance to really get to know her and who she is at her core before adding in other stories to follow. We see glimpses of who Bleak really is in the beginning, but the different POVs took my mind off what Bleak was feeling and experiencing. However, I can see how multiple POVs were necessary in this case to move the story forward and let readers in on important details Bleak wouldn't know. In the end, I was more than okay with it, and I actually wished I had an inside look into a few other character’s minds as well. You all know how much I dislike multiple POVs so it should tell you how much I liked this book by me wanting MORE POVs.

     As I mentioned before, I had no idea what to expect out of Heart of Mist, and I was shocked at how compelling and captivating this book was. Scheuerer’s power to make her book world come alive amazed me. The descriptions she used and the attention to the littlest details really made my journey into the book so smooth and believable. She described scenery and emotions so beautifully that it was hard NOT to feel as if I was in Bleak's world right alongside her. The high fantasy world Scheuerer has created made me tune out everything around me and live in the story. I felt as if I was in the otherworldly creation, walking through forests and meeting mysterious magical people. One minute after the other something exciting, invigorating, interesting or action packed was happening and it made reading so much fun because I never knew what was going to happen with Bleak next. I loved the anticipation and mystery that hung in the air throughout the book. I was hooked. There were moments where a twist or revelation was discovered, and each time, I never saw it coming. This book had me on my toes the whole time. Literally everything in this book is connected or means something and every time a mystery was uncovered I felt my heart skip a beat. The way Scheuerer wove this story together floored me. I LOVED every second of it. I especially loved the ending although I hated it too. That cliffhanger is going to kill me, and if the second book doesn't start out EXACTLY where it left off, I will be angry. That being said, I NEED THE SECOND BOOK ASAP.

     I think it is safe to say that this book is a four star book for me!

    If you want to know more about this book and the author, Helen Scheuerer, check out the Q&A we did together last month! You will learn all kinds of interesting things about Heart of Mist and the author.

     I hope you all are enjoying your current read and you pick up Heart of Mist when it releases on August 31st!

Cheers.