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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Two Minutes to Midnight – Devil at the Crossroads by Cornelia Grey

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Published:  September 23rd 2013 by Riptide Publishing

Pages: 75

Summary: The devil covets more than his soul …

Six years ago, Logan Hart sold his soul to the devil to become the greatest bluesman of all time—and now the devil has come to collect.

The irony is that Logan squandered his gift. High on fame, money, and drugs, he ignored his muse and neglected his music. And despite managing to escape showbiz in a moment of clarity, it’s too late to redeem himself. All that’s left is to try to go out with some dignity. Alas, the prospect of an eternity in Hell isn’t helping much with that goal.

But Farfarello, the devil who bought Logan’s soul, isn’t ready to drag him down to Hell quite yet. He’s just spent six years working his ass off to whip a bluesman into shape, and he refuses to let that—or the opportunity for more sinful pleasures with Logan—go to waste.

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TWO MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT

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Devil at the Crossroads. I didn’t even know that it was a MM book at first. The title itself was enough. Southern gothic as its finest!

Then I realised it’s MM “romance”. No need to explain my interest.

Cornelia Grey reinterpretated, even demithyfied the classic faustic myth of making the pact with the Devil. The main character is so similar to (in)famous Robert Johnson (there’s a legend that he went to Dockery Plantation crossroads, the devil himself tuned his guitar and he sang of his dealings with the Devil until he was six feet deep – yes, there were hellhounds on his trail, of course) – he’s the musican, he wants to play blues, he wants the major changes. He gets it, he makes a deal sealed with the kiss (that’s the Supernatural influence, I bet). Expect, contrary to the legends, the kiss is hot, passionate and erotic, since the Devil appears to be the very, very handsome rockman with the red eyes.

Like I said, Devil at the Crossroads is the deconstrucionist (I dare not to say hermeneutical) story. And I liked the twists.

I liked the split narrative, the naturalistic descriptions – who ever dare to say that the spit of his character gathered at the corner of his mouth?

Sold My Soul - Brunswick, MD - 1991

That’s right.

Rating: 4/5
 
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in reviews

 

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Published: July 12th 2012 by Serpent’s Tail

Pages: 407

Summary: In 1984, 15-year-old Norfolk schoolgirl Corrine Woodrow was sentenced indefinitely for the ritualistic murder of a schoolfriend. With rumours of Satanism surrounding her, Corrine became a notorious hate figure. But 20 years later, re-examination of the forensic evidence suggests that the ‘Wicked Witch of the East’ didn’t commit her crime alone.

Pensioned out of the Met after an altercation with a teenage gunman, Sean Ward finds himself investigating another juvenile delinquent when he agrees to take on Corrine’s case for the QC determined to get her a re-trial. Travelling to the coastal resort where the crime unfolded, outsider Sean enters a world which has always known how to look after its own…

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Read on September 24, 2013


My lately favourite genres are southern gothic and its variant,stripped from any kind of spirituality or paranormal motifs, country noir.

Weirdo is the great example of the second genre (even if there was some hints of paranormal stuff), only with a much different setting – it’s Norfolk, England.

The main character, Sam Ward, reinvestigates a cold case, twenty year old Satanic ritualised murder, supposing miscarriage of justice. The guilty one is Corrine Woodrow, imprisoned for life in the mental institution. As he digs, he sinks deeper in deeper in complicated web of small town connections.

The writing is good, the split narrative doesn’t confuse the reader (it happens a lot), the plot is very interesting. All of this makes Weirdo a real page turner. I’ve read it in one sitting.

Rating: 4/5

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in reviews

 

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ARC Review: Gifts of Honor: Starting from Scratch / Hero’s Homecoming Dualogy

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Expected publication: November 21st 2013 by Carina Press

Summary: I’ll be home for Christmas…

A batch of special Christmas cookies helps a wounded ex-Ranger remember the love of his life. A surprise phone call reunites a woman with the soldier who once broke her heart. There’s no place like home for the holidays, and there’s no better way to spend them than with the one you love.

Edited by Angela James, this anthology includes:

Starting from Scratch by Stacy Gail
Hero’s Homecoming by Rebecca Crowley

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Read from September 26 to 27, 2013


My copy was an ARC I received from the publisher for an honest review.

I have no idea how to rate this book. I’ll explain that later.

Sometimes I’m right in the kind of mood that makes me want to read a simple, angsty book and it has to be a quick read. I decided to give Gifts of Honor a try. There were two reason – the motif of damaged military hero coming back home, and southern setting.

The first story in this dualogy is Starting from Scratch by Stacy Gail and the plot follows the struggling of two protaginsts, Lucy Crabtree and Sullivan Jax, with coming to terms that they belong to each others. I will not provide spoilers, the story is simple and even the one detail would spoil the fun. But it’s very good story and I’ve read it with pleasure. If the book of Stacy Gail was the standalone novel, I would give it 3.5 stars rounded up.

The second book is Hero’s Homecoming by Rebecca Crowley. The main characters, Chris Walker and Beth Tate need to decide if they wanted be together or not after the breakup. I dare to say that the story surely had some potential, but it just seems shallow compared to the story of Stacy Gail. I would give it 2 stars.

So, that’s why I had no idea how to rate it. I just calculated the average.

Rating: 3/5
 
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in reviews

 

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ARC Review: In Retrospect by Ellen Larson

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Expected publication: December 11th 2013 by Five Star a Part of Gale Cengage Learning/Gale Cengage Learning

Summary: Former elite operative Merit Rafi suffered during her imprisonment at the end of a devastating war, but the ultimate torment is being forced to investigate a murder she would gladly have committed herself.

The year is 3324. In the region once known as Turkey, the Rasakans have attacked the technologically superior Oku. The war is a stalemate until the Oku commander, General Zane, abruptly surrenders. Merit, a staunch member of the Oku resistance, fights on, but she and her comrades are soon captured. An uneasy peace ensues, but the Rasakans work secretly to gain control of the prized Oku time-travel technology. When Zane is murdered, the Rasakans exert their control over Merit, the last person on Earth capable of Forensic Retrospection.

Merit, though reinstated to her old job by the despised Rasakans, knows she is only a puppet. If she refuses to travel back in time to identify Zane’s killer, her family and colleagues will pay the price. But giving in to Rasakan coercion means giving them unimaginable power. She has only three days to make this morally wrenching choice; three days to change history.

As the preliminary investigation progresses, Merit uncovers evidence of a wider plot. How did the Rasakans defeat the technologically superior Oku? Why did the Oku surrender prematurely? How did the Rasakans discover her true identity? Merit realizes she will only find the answers by learning who killed the traitor, General Zane.

In Retrospect is a good old-fashioned whodunit set in a compelling post-apocalyptic future.

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My copy was an ARC I received from the publisher for an honest review.

Well, I had some problems with the worldbuilding. Not that it’s all wrong or poorly developed. It’s my imagination – I couldn’t quite force it to cooperate in that matter. But hey, it’s 3324 AD. Way to far..:)

I liked the plot and the main characters, their struggling with making a good choices and coming to terms with the decisions was truly a Greek tragedy-style.

It’s not an easy read – and that’s good.

Rating: 3/5
 
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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in reviews

 

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ARC Review: PostApoc by Liz Worth

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Expected publication: October 15th 2013 by Now or Never Publishing Company

Summary: Sole survivor of a suicide pact, Ang has fallen into an underground music scene obsessed with the idea of the end of the world. But when the end finally does come, Ang and her friends don’t find the liberation they expected. Instead, those still alive are starving, strung out and struggling to survive in a world that no longer makes sense. As Ang navigates the world’s final days, her emotional and physical instability mix with growing uncertainty and she begins to distrust her perception in a place where nothing can ever be trusted for what it seems to be. Bleak and haunting, “PostApoc” blends poetry and punk rock, surrealism and stark imagery to tell the story of a girl wavering at the edge of her sanity.

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My copy was an ARC I received from the publisher for an honest review.

WELCOME TO THE END OF THE WORLD

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Outside, the dogs have all gone wild. Can you hear them? Can you feel them down there, voices shaking through loose skin?

First thing first – the cover is beautiful. The title is perfect. One word and so many meanings..

But that’s not all. The most wonderful thing about this book is the writing. I’ve never read such beautiful, lyrical prose. I kept coming back to many paragraphs, just to contemplate their poetic brillance.

I won’t write about the plot, it’s all in the blurb provided by the publisher. And it’s not about the plot at all.

It’s about the music (that’s why I especially loved PostApoc), it’s about the postapocaliptic world and its twisted beauty.

Be careful what you wish for.

Rating: 4/5
 
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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in reviews

 

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Hurt by Tabitha Suzuma

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Published September 5th 2013 by Definitions

Summary: At seventeen, Mathéo Walsh appears to have it all. He is a champion diver and a hot prospect for the upcoming Olympics. He is a heartthrob, a straight A student and lives in one of the wealthiest areas of London. He has great friends and is the envy of many around him. And most importantly of all, he is deeply in love with his girlfriend, Lola. He has always been a stable, well-adjusted guy . . .

Until one weekend. A weekend he cannot seem to remember. All he knows is that he has come back a changed person. One who no longer knows how to have fun, no longer wants to spend time with his friends, no longer enjoys diving. Something terrible happened that weekend – something violent and bloody and twisted. He no longer knows who he is. He no longer trusts himself around people: he only wants to hurt, wound and destroy. Slowly, he begins to piece back the buried, fragmented memories, and finds himself staring at the reflection of a monster.

Tormented, Mathéo suddenly finds himself faced with the most devastating choice of his life. Keep his secret, and put those closest to him in terrible danger. Or confess, and lose Lola forever . . .

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I was so excited. Tabitha Suzuma! Hurt! I’ve expected the long, angsty journey through the pages and my hands trembling – Forbidden did exactly THAT to me.
Yet I got nothing.

The mysterious reason of main character’s break down was so painfully predictable I wanted to scream: just say it, for Christ sake… And the end of the book? It was farfetched and unfair.

But I found the writing of Tabitha Suzuma as amazing as always.

 

Rating: 2/5
 
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Posted by on September 21, 2013 in reviews

 

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Stained (Carpetbaggers, Rebels, & Yankees, #1) by Elizabeth Marx

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Published August 20th 2013 by Elizabeth Marx Books

Summary: What happens when your darkest truth is revealed to the world?

Scarlett Marbry was just sixteen when her mother, an acclaimed Sacred Harp singer, committed suicide in front of her, sending her running from rural Alabama and the darkness that pushed her mother over the edge. Now, after five years of building a fragile cage around her heart to protect herself, she must return to Crossroads for her grandparents’ funeral. There, she’ll not only be forced to deal with the reality of her deep Southern roots, but she’ll have to face the one she left behind.

Revell Marshall is used to working with fragile objects. He’s built a life and career around reassembling the delicate stained glass windows that have put Crossroads back on the map. He’s also been pining for Scarlett all these years . . . Determined to win her heart, he helps her piece together the facts of her mother’s past. Except these revelations, once exposed, could set Scarlett on the downward spiral she barely escaped the last time. Especially when the truth that stained the past may be the same one that shatters her faith in the one person she thought she could trust . . .

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Seven times I went down
six times I walked back.
And I don’t fear the dark anymore
’cause I’m become all that.

I will be rocks, I will be water.
I will leave this to my daughter:
lift your head up in the wind.
When you feel yourself grow colder
wrap the night around your shoulders
and I will be with you even then
even when I cannot see your face anymore.

Don’t forget the time
I wooed him with red wine.
The devil he wore such a fine, fine shirt
and it stayed so clean while he dragged me through the dirt.
Now, honey, don’t trust anyone who looks you in the eye
don’t take any kindness, it’s a demand in disguise.

I have seen such things child
on this, and the other side.
Words cannot show you
the midnight owl it does not know you.
You will see for your sweet self
by and by.

And I will be rocks, I will be water
I will leave this to my daughter.

This book ought to be read with the Sacred Harp song humming in the background. Here’s my favourite:

What I loved the most in Stained is the southern theme, southern wisdom and southern charm. It’s South – a place where the sweet southern belles are crafty and greedy, chivalrous gentlemen are sneaky and perverse, and righteous preachers are manipulative and evil.
Elizabeth Marx created the beautiful story about suffering, guilt, redemption and forgiveness.

6 stars. Seriously.

 

Rating: 5/5
 
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Posted by on September 19, 2013 in reviews

 

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