The Waking Land by Callie Bates

3.5 Stars

First of all, The Waking Land by Callie Bates has one of my favorite covers EVER. I’m a vintage romantic, and the green scene within the silhouette reminds me of vintage wallpaper and I. AM. OBSESSED. Seriously such a pretty cover that actually seems to fit the book. I haven’t seen it in real life yet, but I want it on my bookshelf – just so I can stare at it.

This book has some interesting magic and I’m really intrigued by it. I loved the magic coming from the land and actually wielding the land as a weapon was cool too. I really wanted to see more of her experimenting with her magic and actually seeing what she could do. I’m one of those readers that isn’t really into battle scenes…. so once the book started getting battle heavy, I started to get bored. But again, I think that was more about my taste than anything to do with the writing.

I think the book did get a bit bogged down with kingdoms, names and politics that didn’t have much bearing on the book. I wanted more to do with her magic, and Jahan… and less to do with the other stuff. Especially the other kingdoms that we never actually see during the course of the book. That being said, I would completely be in for another book. It seemed to get set up well for a sequel/series and I will be reading it if it does.

Buy THE WAKING LAND Here – (Hardcover)

Buy THE WAKING LAND Here – (Kindle)

I received an advance reader copy of this book that I have chosen to review.

Hex on the Beach by Gina LaManna (The Magic and Mixology Mystery Series #1)

4 Stars!

I LOVED this book. It just made me happy and giddy, and put me in a good mood. It is a fantasy, but a humorous type of fantasy set in a contemporary world. This book is currently part of the “Prime Reading membership”, so I was able to read it for free through my Amazon Prime membership. It was well worth the time spent reading it, and I’m considering picking up a copy to own.

I picked up this book on the recommendation of two different bloggers I follow. I’ve heard it described as Stephanie Plum meets Harry Potter, but I think you will be disappointed if you go in expecting Harry Potter. This is definitely a light book, and  a “chick lit” version of magic. BUT if you go in expecting a light, silly, magic-ish romance then you will be happy.

Buy HEX ON THE BEACH Here – (Kindle) <– also available through Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading

Buy HEX ON THE BEACH Here – (Paperback)

I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a funny PG-13 romance with a touch of magic.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova SPOTLIGHT

Labyrinth Lost
By Zoraida Córdova
September 6, 2016; Hardcover, ISBN 9781492620945

Praise for Labyrinth Lost

“This work is a magical journey from start to finish… A compelling must-have for teens”
School Library Journal, STARRED review

“Córdova’s (the Vicious Deep series) magic-infused, delightfully dark story introduces readers to an engrossing, Latin American–inspired fantasy setting and an irresistible heroine”
Publishers Weekly

“A brilliant brown-girl-in-Brooklyn update on Alice in Wonderland and Dante’s Inferno. Very creepy, very magical, very necessary.”
Daniel José Older, New York Times bestselling author of Shadowshaper

“Labyrinth Lost is more like reading Paradise Found. Zoraida Córdova brings us a new generation of witches, enchanting and complex. And every page is filled with magic.”
Danielle Page, New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die

Córdova’s world will leave you breathless, and her magic will ignite an envy so green you’ll wish you were born a bruja. Delightfully dark and enchanting. An un-putdownable book.”
Dhonielle Clayton, author of The Belles and Shiny Broken Pieces

“Córdova’s rich exploration of Latin American culture, her healthy portrayal of bisexuality and her unique voice allow this novel to stand out among its many peers.”
RT Book Reviews

“Cordova draws inspiration from Ecuadorian, Spanish, African, Mexican, and Caribbean folklore and mythology to craft a page-turning tale about a young bruja unsure of her place in the world.”
Bustle.com
“Córdova pulls elements from Greek mythology and Spanish and Latin American legends to craft a memorable world in Los Lagos, a supernatural realm that is as fascinating as it is threatening. The history and customs of Alex’s family’s type of witchery are also carefully constructed, giving readers a complete world to sink into with satisfaction and wonder.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“This succeeds with its lush use of Latin American mythologies, an unexpected love story, and, above all, in Alex’s complicated relationship with her family. Alex is a necessary heroine, and this dark fantasy nicely”
Booklist
Summary:

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

Goodreads Link:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27969081-labyrinth-lost?from_search=true
Buy Links:
http://books.sourcebooks.com/labyrinth-lost/

Book Trailer Link:

Labyrinth Lost Coloring Page:
http://www.sourcebooks.com/images/LabyrinthLost-ColoringPage.pdf

About the Author:
Zoraida Córdova was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. She is the author of the Vicious Deep trilogy, the On the Verge series, and the Brooklyn Brujas series. She loves black coffee, snark, and still believes in magic. Send her a tweet @Zlikeinzorro or visit her at zoraidacordova.com.
Social Media Links:

Author Website: http://www.zoraidacordova.com/
Labyrinth Lost Website: http://books.sourcebooks.com/labyrinth-lost/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CordovaBooks
Twitter: @zlikeinzorro
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wanderwheel/
Author Tumblr: http://wanderlands.tumblr.com/
Labyrinth Lost Tumblr: http://labyrinthlostbooks.tumblr.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ZoraidaLand

1
Follow our voices, sister.
Tell us the secret of your death.
—-Resurrection Canto,
Book of Cantos
The second time I saw my dead aunt Rosaria, she was dancing.
Earlier that day, my mom had warned me, pressing a long, red fingernail on the tip of my nose, “Alejandra, don’t go downstairs when the Circle arrives.”
But I was seven and asked too many questions. Every Sunday, cars piled up in our driveway, down the street, and around the corner of our old, narrow house in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Mom’s Circle usually brought cellophane–wrapped dishes and jars of dirt and tubs of brackish water that made the Hudson River look clean. This time, they carried something more.
When my sisters started snoring, I threw off my covers and crept down the stairs. The floorboards were uneven and creaky, but I was good at not being seen. Fuzzy, yellow streetlight shone through our attic window and followed me down every flight until I reached the basement.
A soft hum made its way through the thin walls. I remember thinking I should listen to my mom’s warning and go back upstairs. But our house had been restless all week, and Lula, Rose, and I were shoved into the attic, out of the way while the grown–ups prepared the funeral. I wanted out. I wanted to see.
The night was moonless and cold one week after the Witch’s New Year, when Aunt Rosaria died of a sickness that made her skin yellow like hundred–year–old paper and her nails turn black as coal. We tried to make her beautiful again. My sisters and I spent all day weaving good luck charms from peonies, corn husks, and string—-one loop over, under, two loops over, under. Not even the morticians, the Magos de Muerte, could fix her once–lovely face.
Aunt Rosaria was dead. I was there when we mourned her. I was there when we buried her. Then, I watched my father and two others shoulder a dirty cloth bundle into the house, and I knew I couldn’t stay in bed, no matter what my mother said.
So I opened the basement door.
Red light bathed the steep stairs. I leaned my head toward the light, toward the beating sound of drums and sharp plucks of fat, nylon guitar strings.
A soft mew followed by whiskers against my arm made my heart jump to the back of my rib cage. I bit my tongue to stop the scream. It was just my cat, Miluna. She stared at me with her white, glowing eyes and hissed a warning, as if telling me to turn back. But Aunt Rosaria was my godmother, my family, my friend. And I wanted to see her again.
“Sh!” I brushed the cat’s head back.
Miluna nudged my leg, then ran away as the singing started.
I took my first step down, into the warm, red light. Raspy voices called out to our gods, the Deos, asking for blessings beyond the veil of our worlds. Their melody pulled me step by step until I was crouched at the bottom of the landing.
They were dancing.
Brujas and brujos were dressed in mourning white, their faces painted in the aspects of the dead, white clay and black coal to trace the bones. They danced in two circles—-the outer ring going clockwise, the inner counterclockwise—hands clasped tight, voices vibrating to the pulsing drums.
And in the middle was Aunt Rosaria.
Her body jerked upward. Her black hair pooled in the air like she was suspended in water. There was still dirt on her skin. The white skirt we buried her in billowed around her slender legs. Black smoke slithered out of her open mouth. It weaved in and out of the circle—-one loop over, under, two loops over, under. It tugged Aunt Rosaria higher and higher, matching the rhythm of the canto.
Then, the black smoke perked up and changed its target. It could smell me. I tried to backpedal, but the tiles were slick, and I slid toward the circle. My head smacked the tiles. Pain splintered my skull, and a broken scream lodged in my throat.
The music stopped. Heavy, tired breaths filled the silence of the pulsing red dark. The enchantment was broken. Aunt Rosaria’s reanimated corpse turned to me. Her body purged black smoke, lowering her back to the ground. Her ankles cracked where the bone was brittle, but still she took a step. Her dead eyes gaped at me. Her wrinkled mouth growled my name: Alejandra.
She took another step. Her ankle turned and broke at the joint, sending her flying forward. She landed on top of me. The rot of her skin filled my nose, and grave dirt fell into my eyes.
Tongues clucked against crooked teeth. The voices of the circle hissed, “What’s the girl doing out of bed?”
There was the scent of extinguished candles and melting wax. Decay and perfume oil smothered me until they pulled the body away.
My mother jerked me up by the ear, pulling me up two flights of stairs until I was back in my bed, the scream stuck in my throat like a stone.
“Never,” she said. “You hear me, Alejandra? Never break a Circle.”
I lay still. So still that after a while, she brushed my hair, thinking I had fallen asleep.
I wasn’t. How could I ever sleep again? Blood and rot and smoke and whispers filled my head.
“One day you’ll learn,” she whispered.
Then she went back down the street–lit stairs, down into the warm red light and to Aunt Rosaria’s body. My mother clapped her hands, drums beat, strings plucked, and she said, “Again.”

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link for 2 Copies of Labyrinth Lost with Signed Labyrinth Lost Bookmarks

Runs September 6-September 19 (US & Canada only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova Release Day!

THE BLURB

“Enchanting and complex. Every page is filled with magic.” —Danielle Paige, New York Times best-selling author of Dorothy Must Die

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

Praise for Labyrinth Lost:

“Zoraida Córdova’s prose enchants from start to finish. Labyrinth Lost is pure magic.”Melissa Grey, author of The Girl at Midnight

“Magical and empowering, Labyrinth Lost is an incredible heroine’s journey filled with mythos come to life; but at its heart, honors the importance of love and family.” Cindy Pon, author of Serpentine and Silver Phoenix

“A brilliant brown-girl-in-Brooklyn update on Alice in Wonderland and Dante’s Inferno. Very creepy, very magical, very necessary.”Daniel Jose Older, author ofShadowshaper

“Labyrinth Lost is a magical story of love, family, and finding yourself. Enchanting from start to finish.” Amy Tintera, author of Ruined.

Today is release day for Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova. This is the 1st book in her new Brooklyn Brujas series and I am in love. I rated it a 4.5 and can’t wait to read the future releases. You can read my original review here.

Buy LABYRINTH LOST Here – (Kindle)

Buy LABYRINTH LOST Here – (Hardcover)

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova (Brooklyn Brujas #1)

4.5 STARS

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova is the first book in her new Brooklyn Brujas series. It is a badly needed book, and one I support 100%. It is so refreshing to read about a bisexual bruja, and then the fact that there was no angst about the bisexuality was just perfect. I loved that she just was. There was no big announcement, and you weren’t being beat over the head with it. There was subtlety and nuance and magic.

This book is at its forefront a magical fantasy adventure surrounded by rich culture and tradition. This culture and tradition are things Alex takes for granted, and wishes would go away. She just wants to be a regular girl that goes to school and plays sports and doesn’t worry about magic. Instead, she is a powerful bruja in denial, and it’s up to her to save her family and Los Lagos from the Devourer.

I am in awe of Zoraida Cordova’s way with words. I think my favorite passage was a description of Rishi.

I look at Rishi again. Her hands are decorated with the burnt-amber swirls of henna from her cousin’s wedding this past weekend. She smiles like there’s sunshine inside her and walks like she’s ready to fly. I wish I had a fraction of that. Sometimes when I’m with her long enough, I forget about all the things I can’t tell her – the fear, the cantos, the ghosts. I forget and let myself just be.

The right corner of her lips tug upward, revealing a tiny dimple. The crystal of her nose ring twinkles with the same brightness in her rich-brown eyes. When she looks at me, I feel like she’s seeing right through me. Like she knows I’m hiding a big part of myself.

The romance aspect of this book left a bit to be desired, just because I wanted more of it. I’m a romantic at heart, and really wanted to see more sparks fly with either Rishi or Nova. Even though the next book is supposed to feature one of her sisters, I hope there is a little bit of followup on Alex’s love life. I am so excited to see what’s next in the lives of these Brooklyn brujas. Really, I want to know now.

This book is being released September 6, 2016.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, but I loved it so much that I pre-ordered a copy for my bookshelf.

Pre-Order LABYRINTH LOST Here – (Kindle)

Pre-Order LABYRINTH LOST Here – (Hardcover)

 

Wicked Deeds On A Winter’s Night by Kresley Cole

5 STARS! I am completely loving this series! I’m savoring each one and making myself take a break between books so I can take my time and enjoy them. Each one features a couple varying from Vampires to Valkyrie to Witches (and more!).

Mari is a very young witch that is not yet immortal, but predicted to be the most powerful to have ever existed. She is young and modern; Powerful but inexperienced. 99 times out of 100 her spells end in explosions so she is reluctant to cast them, but when they work, they really work.

Bowen is over 1000 years old and still mourning the loss of his mate 200 years ago. He is trying to win the Hie so he can bring his long dead mate back to life. He isn’t looking for a new love, and is angry when Mari starts awakening feelings in him that he hasn’t felt in centuries. They bump heads during this epic challenge and neither is the same after.

“A vampire beat you? And a witch cursed you? Damn, Scot, seems you’re having a fuck-all month.”

That quote perfectly fits the attitude of the book. Funny, steamy, and full of twists that I never saw coming.

Buy WICKED DEEDS ON A WINTER’S NIGHT here – (Kindle)

Buy WICKED DEEDS ON A WINTER’S NIGHT here – (Paperback)

Bowen MacRieve of the Lykae clan was nearly destroyed when he lost the one woman meant for him. The ruthless warrior grew even colder, never taking another to his bed—until a smoldering encounter with his enemy, Mariketa the Awaited, reawakens his darkest desires. When sinister forces unite against her, the Highlander finds himself using all his strength and skill to keep her alive. Temporarily stripped of her powers, Mari is forced to take refuge with her sworn adversary. It’s rumored that no one can tempt Bowen’s hardened heart, but soon passion burns between them. Though a future together is impossible, she fears he has no intention of letting her go. If they defeat the evil that surrounds them, can Mari deny Bowen when he demands her body and soul—or will she risk everything for her fierce protector?

Wicked Ride (Realm Enforcers Book 1) by Rebecca Zanetti

If you love the Dark Protectors, these wicked hot Realm Enforcers are for you!

Alexandra Monzelle is a hard-fighting, heat-packing Seattle vice cop, and she’s not much interested in being protected. Her short skirt and sex-kitten heels are tools to lure her suspects into talking about the deadly new drug hitting the streets. She can take care of herself and then some. Unfortunately, she can’t seem to get that through to Kellach Dunne.

Kellach is a fresh import from Dublin, and he’s landed at the heart of a vicious motorcycle club that deals in guns, narcotics, and mayhem. He’s all male, all rough power—and all interference in her damn investigation. Maybe he’s one of the good guys. Maybe not. Lex knows an affair with an immortal like him would risk everything. No matter how delicious he looks…

4 STARS! 

I just finished reading the Dark Protectors series last week and LOVED it! This 1st novel in this spinoff series promises to be full of love and excitement as well.

Kellach wasn’t one of the characters I was really intrigued with while reading the Dark Protectors series, but I ended up falling for him anyway. That Irish brogue completely won me over. Alexandra was a tough cookie, but he won her over too…. eventually. As I was reading I kept getting more and more excited for the rest of the books, because so many of the characters sound like they have stories to tell. I can’t wait for Daire or Tori to find love.

Daire focused on Kell once again and lifted an eyebrow. For Daire, that amounted to a full  blown conversation.

See. Sounds like my kind of man. But back to Kellach. They accidently mate… and in the rain.

He stood in the rain, a powerful man, one she couldn’t figure out. “With the bite and the burn? I’ve mated you, baby. Welcome to immortality.”

Then, because it rains A LOT in Seattle

The merest of threads held Kell’s control in check, and a low growl rumbled up from his chest upon seeing his mate. He’d hoped the chilled, pouring rain would dampen the temper roaring through him, yet each sharp prick had escalated the emotions boiling in his blood.

You don’t have to read the first series to enjoy this book, but I do think it would make it more enjoyable. It would also help to introduce you to the ways of their immortal world, like the aforementioned mating. But really, if you like Alpha male love stories with a paranormal twist, I don’t think you can go wrong with this book.