Review/Giveaway: Susy Asylum by Michael Pierce (5 stars)

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As a huge fan of Provex City from Micheal Pierce, I was ecstatic to sign up for this tour of the sequel, Susy Asylum.  Check out my review of 5 star review of the prequel to Susy Asylum, Provex City!  Feel free to read my review even if you have not read Provex City.  It contains only minor spoilers (no more than the blurb) of the first book.  Thank you to Candace’s Book Blog for organizing this tour.  You can check out the full schedule HERE.

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Susy Asylum (Lorne Family Vault#2) by Michael Pierce

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Publisher: ParousiaSix Publishing

Pages: 424

Published: April 25th, 2013

Links: Amazon |  Goodreads  |  Barnes & Noble

Author Links: Website/Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

In SUSY Asylum, there is no release. There is no escape. No hope.

Oliver and Desiree are introduced to the writings of a mysterious blogger, Commodore Chaos, when they return to Provex City to indulge in what the sublime city has to offer. The blogger claims the Lornes are collecting people venturing between the higher planes of awareness and locking them away in a mythical asylum. But are these legitimate concerns for inter-plane travelers or just the ramblings of an anonymous conspiracy blogger?

Oliver looks to Provex City as his only connection to his father while Desiree looks to the city as an escape from the torment of losing her best friend—again. Provex City is a wonder of beautiful treasures, entrancing them to continue returning. But behind the beauty, wolves have continued hunting Oliver, a boy who is still unaware of his importance in the rebellion.

Oliver’s belief is waning. Desiree will not always be by his side. Mr. Gordon will not always come to his aid. Oliver finds himself alone, forced to confront his biggest fears, fight his inner demons, and face the very cold reality that no one is coming to save him.

Welcome to SUSY Asylum.

Like a bullet to the head, the story of Oliver Grain will bleed into your consciousness long after the last page is read.  SUSY ASYLUM is an story honest to characters and plot, no matter how gritty the tale.  Micheal Pierce has a talent for creating characters that the reader can’t help but invest into and then taunts you with a Russian roulette premonition.  Early in the book, the reader learns that one character close to Oliver won’t make it.  Even with that seed planted in the mind, there is still a feeling of disbelief when the deed happens.

As if turning back the pages would revive this character, I couldn’t help but reread the section and yearn for an alternate end for this character.  My need to discover what happens with Oliver and his quest is what eventually recovered me and allowed me to finish.  Although the first part of the book is focused on expanding the characters and world-building, the second half  is a rampage.  After developing attachments to all the characters, the reader has to witness each one makes stupid decisions that put Oliver and his friends in a suicidal situation.  Oliver is not the only one to blame as the other characters often act independently of his decisions and it is clear that each one of them has their own agenda throughout the story.

It’s difficult to decide which character is my favorite, but I believe I will have to say Oliver.  I can’t help but chuckle when he tries unsuccessfully to understand teenage girls.  His ignorance of them compared to the author’s expert writing of the female sex makes for some much needed comic relief in an otherwise very gritty story.

Due to several culturally taboo situations, Suzy Asylum is recommended only to teens and up.

rating Aplus rating

(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.)

excerpt

(Oliver learns about TJ and Desiree’s relationship through journal entries and several interrogations. The reader is given glimpses into their past with mini-chapters sprinkled throughout the book. This is a piece of one such mini-chapter showing TJ’s downward spiral, eventually leading to his suicide. What TJ writes on the bathroom stall walls—and himself—gives meaning to what was written on Oliver’s wall in the first book.)

TJ looked around the [bathroom] stall—his new room—the only one he still deserved. It was covered in writing and etchings, everything from gang affiliations to phone numbers to apocalyptic prophecy. He had already flushed so many things away. He could sit there forever and just continue flushing until there was nothing left—until he was completely empty.TJ took a pocketknife from his backpack and began adding to the art on the walls. My room. He looked at what he had etched into the metal and it felt so appropriate. So he etched it again into the other wall. My room. It felt good to destroy something. He cut into the walls over and over, in blank spaces and over other writing, until it lost its appeal: the cutting into metal. The rush had faded and TJ fought to get it back.

He skimmed the blade of the knife with his thumb, scratching lightly across his skin. Then he looked down at his bare arm resting atop his backpack.

The first cut into his arm was the worst. It wasn’t deep so it took a moment for the blood to pool. The second was a little deeper and afterward the rush began to return. It felt good to destroy something, especially something so personal. He had carved four letters into his forearm, the “o” looking more like a diamond, when the bathroom door opened. Blood was pouring all around his arm and dripping onto his backpack and clothes. He didn’t care. It didn’t matter. Nothing did.

There were several guys talking.

“Get out!” TJ yelled.

The bathroom became silent.

Then one of the guys shot back. “Who’s gonna make me?”

TJ’s self-induced rush was peaking. He stood up, simply let his backpack fall to the floor, and opened the door. My room. He stepped out of his stall and stood before three upperclassmen. His left arm was covered in bloody letters, dripping down to his hand, and he still held the open pocket knife in his other hand.

The three guys stumbled over each other on their way out the door.

TJ locked himself back in his stall, determined to finish what he’d started.

 

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Check out book one, Provex City!

Fifteen-year-old Oliver Grain begins his school year fighting off bullies, learning about the boy who committed suicide in his room, and trying to understand why his history teacher, Mr. Gordon, has taken such a personal interest in him.

Do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe you can make bullies simply disappear? Do you believe you can walk through walls?

Mr. Gordon tells Oliver: “When you truly believe anything is possible, you will be able to open doors where there were only walls.” And one of those doors leads Oliver to Provex City, which puts him in far greater danger than he can possibly fathom.

Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

 

 

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about author

Michael Pierce

 

I believe in a future where I will be able to write full-time, a picture I already hold vividly in my mind. It all starts with my debut young adult novel, Provex City. I love Harry Potter & The Marbury Lens, Tool & Elliott Smith, Dexter & Donnie Darko, bold coffee & amber ale. I also love dabbling with writing music and recording, with no illusions of ever making it a career. I am ecstatically married and the lucky father to a beautiful baby girl.

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Cover Reveal: Darkness Watching by Emma L. Adams

I’m a little late getting this one up.  I thought I had it scheduled for Saturday, but it apparently was scheduled for tomorrow.

Darkness Watching by Emma L. Adams
(Darkworld #1)

Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Expected Date of Publication: September 30th 2013

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Cover designed and published by Curiosity Quills Press

Cover reveal organized by Xpresso Book Tours

 

book description

Seventeen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she’s losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.

Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere – little knowing that it isn’t coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.

All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life – but demons still stalk Ash, and their interest in her has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she’s looking for. The demons want something from her,  and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is.

In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be..

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My thoughts:

I think the cover is busy as is.  Pretty, but busy.  Eliminate the purple cat eyes and it looks great.  Seriously, it would look incredible without that one purple piece.  The purple and the eyes up top end up creating dual focal points on the image and you want only one.

I’m a huge fan of the frosty covers.  I like the blend of the frost and the white font.  It’s very readable and meshes well with the rest of the cover.

You know what’s even more incredible?  The cover model actually looks cold!  Plus, I love her expression.  She looks like she just discovered Harry Potter is real and she’s not quite sure if that’s a good or bad thing.  (It would be cool since that means that there are wizards and bad because that means that WE really are muggles.  :(  )

 

about author

author
Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing fantasy and paranormal for young adults. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also wrote various novels and short stories. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).Now a reluctant graduate, she can usually be found in front of her writing desk, creating weird and wonderful alternative worlds. Her debut novel The Puppet Spell, published in 2013 by Rowanvale Books, is a fantasy tale for young adults and the young at heart, inspired by her lifelong love of the fantastical, mythology, and video games. Emma also writes supernatural fantasy novels for older teens and adults. Her next book,Darkness Watching, is the first in the upper-YA/New Adult Darkworld series, and will be published in September 2013 by Curiosity Quills Press.

 

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Review: Dancing with the Devil by Keri Arthur (4 1/2 stars)

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Dancing with the Devil by Keri Arthur

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Dell

Pages: 230

Published: July 30th, 2013

Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Author Links:  Goodreads  |  Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook

Private Investigator Nikki James grew up on the tough streets of Lyndhurst and believes there’s nothing left to surprise her. All that changes the night she follows teenager Monica Trevgard into the shadows-and becomes a pawn caught in a war between two very different men. One fills her mind with his madness, the other pushes his way into her life-and her heart. Nikki knows how dangerous love can be, but if she wants to survive, she must place her trust in a man who could easily destroy her.

Michael Kelly has come to Lyndhurst determined to end the war between himself and another brother of the night. For 300 years he has existed in life’s shadows, gradually learning to control the life from death cravings of a vampire. Nikki not only breaches his formidable barriers with her psychic abilities, but makes Michael believe he may finally have found a woman strong enough to walk by his side and ease the loneliness in his heart. But will his love be enough to protect her from a madman hell-bent on revenge? Or will it drive her into his enemy’s deadly trap?

Only together can they overcome the evil threatening to destroy them both. But the secrets they keep from each other might prove to be the greatest threat of all.

DANCING WITH THE DEVIL has a familiar setup to urban fantasy fans.  There’s a detective, a love interest, and a sinister killer on the loose. Think you know how it ends?  Guess again.  You’re driving through the story, learning all about the characters and their motives, and then the author veers off the road.  This isn’t suppose to be what happens.  You can see the main road from your window and you plead and plead with the author to bring you back to that familiar turf.  The author teases you, keeping the road within view.

The possibility of this book turning out the way most urban fantasy books do is there throughout the entire book, but that isn’t what happens.  Michael and Nikki take a much bumpier course through the novel.  The characters in DANCING WITH THE DEVIL are living, breathing, uncooperative little devils.  The decisions these characters are faithful to their personalities and thus extremely tiresome to the other characters.  Nikki, especially, makes choice after choice that forces the rest of the cast to waste more time than needed catching the bad guy.  In fact, if Nikki had listened to Micheal THE FIRST TIME, then this would of been a short story instead of a series. (4/5 stars)

B rating plus rating

(I received a review copy of the book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest critique.)

 

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Cover Reveal: The Shadow’s Son by Nicole R. Taylor

Today, I’m happy to be part of a cover reveal for Nicole R. Taylor’s third book in her Witch Hunter series.  First, check out the gritty covers for the first two books.  Clicking on them will send you to their Goodreads pages.

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And now, introducing the third beauty…

The Shadow’s Son by Nicole R. Taylor

Series: The Witch Hunter Saga #3

Publication date:  June 18th 2013

Genre: NA / 17+ Urban Fantasy

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Cover designed by Mae I Design

Cover reveal organized by Xpresso Book Tours

My thoughts

I adore the grit of this series and I like how each book spotlights a different character.  The “pop” of blue is a nice change from many horror covers, which only have the red/black scheme.  I understand from the description that THE SHADOW’S SON is more of a urban fantasy book than horror, but I can bet from these dark covers that the vampires in this series don’t sparkle.

book description

I am the oldest vampire alive and I am the most feared. Wherever I walk, death follows.

The downtrodden have the fiercest fire inside of them. Those are the vampires I want by my side. The pain they have been through only fuels their thirst for blood. Those I would ask to kill for me, simply because they bask in the glow of their true nature. The nature I created in my own image.

We are each our own devil and this world is our hell.
I was the first of six and now I am the last. My revenge has only just begun.
You better start praying, because I’m coming for you first.

*

When a mysterious stranger from Aya’s past shows up in Ashburton it’s not all good news. Tristan, a man she saved almost a thousand years ago, brings a warning that will affect not just her, but her new family.
Regulus is coming.
To protect Zac, Aya has to destroy the best thing that has ever happened to her. She has to pretend that their love has been a lie. But, is it really the right thing to do?
Aya travels to the other side of the world with Tristan to learn the secret behind Zac’s blood and to hunt down Regulus before he can find them first. Tristan is her way into the Roman’s circle, but she might just find that both her quests are more linked than she ever thought possible.
Heartbroken again, Zac must surrender to the darkest places inside himself if he ever hopes of coming back. Even if that means aligning himself with his greatest enemy. Even if that means turning his back on everything he’s worked for and walking away from his brother, Sam.
Lovers are torn apart, friends are pitted against each other and families are splintered. But, what they find buried under the streets of London will change everything they’ve ever known about their world. Something that should have been left alone.

But, what Regulus does is the most unexpected of all.

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about author

NicoleNicole R. Taylor is an Australian born paranormal, fantasy and contemporary fiction author. She is a graduate of the University of Ballarat Professional Writing and Editing programmer and is a former music memorabilia sales person and grocery merchandiser.

She currently lives in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia with a two year old rescue cat named, Burger. She enjoys reading, writing (of course!), traveling and a little too much chocolate. One day she hopes to sky dive, but has to work up the courage first.

The first in her new paranormal fantasy series, The Witch Hunter Saga is available in e-edition and print from March 20th 2013

 

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Cover Reveal: Kinetic by S.K. Anthony

Introducing a debut author’s brand new cover….

Kinetic by S.K. Anthony

Series: The Luminaries, #1

Publication date:  September 2013

Genre: NA Urban Fantasy

 

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 Cover designed by Mae I Design
Cover Reveal organized by Xpresso Book Tours

 

My thoughts:

Look at those vibrant colors!   I haven’t seen such a bold cover (as far as colors) since Phoebe Pope by Nya Jade or Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson.  For being urban fantasy, it doesn’t have the typical cover.  There’s no pointy weapons or tight leather pants.  This cover focuses more on the fantasy aspect of the story than the kick-ass girl detective angle and I hope the book does too.

tiger lilyNya Jade Cover- Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four -Credit Phatpuppy Art

 

book description
Being strong is one thing. Being an unlimited source of power is quite another.

Genetically altered by the Organization, Annie Fox takes down criminals CIA-style with her luminary strength. With nothing to mend but her broken heart, she is relentlessly pursued by her boss Derek Lake. Just when Annie is about to give him a chance, her ex-husband unexpectedly comes out of hiding.

A wanted man, Nick Logan is a cold-hearted murderer who is considered enemy number one, and orders are clear: kill on contact. He is more powerful than ever and threatens the lives of those she holds most dear. His plan? Get his hands on Annie and use her Kinetic energy to destroy them all. When Annie finds herself with an opportunity to end him, she pauses, horrified by the scars covering the face she once loved. A split second that will cost her everything…

about author

S.K. AnthonyS. K. Anthony is a writer, a reader and a make-stuff-up-er who lives in New York with her husband and toddler twins. She is a wine connoisseur, which just really means she knows she loves it, and a caffeine addict. When she isn’t busy with her family she finds herself being transported into the world of imagination. Well, either that or running away from spiders…she is convinced they are out to get her!
Website  |  Goodreads  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

 

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