Friday, December 22, 2017

Never Again by Lily Luchesi

36543599This review was written by: B
Received: Ebook from Author
Publication Date of Book: Dec. 2, 2017
Pages: 272
Stars: 5/5


A standalone spin-off of the Paranormal Detective Series, we discover the true horrors during Hitler's reign. 

In World War Two, not all monsters were human.

Male siren Sean Wireman was ostracized from his small village in Israel in the sixteenth century, forced to wander the world until he settled in America in the 1920s.  Since he doesn't age like a normal person, he was fit to fight in World War Two, to defend the heritage he spent his whole life running from.

Seventy years later, after he has lived a whole other life since Hitler was defeated, from attending law school to becoming a bona fide rock star, the monsters the Nazis released upon the Jews in concentration camps have returned, and he is the only one who can destroy them.

But can he save his people once again, or will this fight take a deadly toll?

My Thoughts:

No great hero ever worked alone.
~Devon, Never Again

In grade school, I became obsessed with reading about World War II, especially the Holocaust.  I would take book upon book out of the library every week and pour over the narratives written by those who made it out of concentration camps.  Survivor stories had a way of breaking my heart but also inspiring me.  The endurance they showed, the Hell they trekked through, and the fact that they had the strength to share their accounts opened my eyes to a whole new world and influenced me in the way that I looked at the world.  However, I hadn't thought about those narratives for years now, until this book.  Luchesi reminded me of the heartache so many people suffered and approached the subject with honesty and true horror, refusing to sugarcoat or lessen the blow of the wrenching tragedies that innocents upon innocents faced in concentration camps due to racism and bigoted anger.  I would not have asked for anything less than the truth.  Luchesi approached the war and its consequences with honesty and also sincerity.  The compassion she had for the subject was more than palpable, surely leaving future readers with a sense of earnestness and empathy for those they never even knew.  The additional paranormal horror elements only added to the shock factor of the true historical time period of WWII.  I loved the demonic elements she added, creating an even more sinister history that I couldn't stop devouring.  

I can only begin to imagine the amount of research Luchesi put into this book, and her hard work shone through.  The truthful elements woven into the fantastical produced an unstoppable read that will surely please current fans and those looking for a historical ride filled with both legitimacy and the dark paranormal.  The rich historical elements were expertly dropped in context instead of sounding like a lesson, serving to add a realistic twist to Sean's life and anchoring the reader to his story. 

I loved getting to know more about Sean the siren introduced in previous Paranormal Detective books.  I've rarely read or encountered stories about alluring sirens who were male; strangely, they've only been female!  I love the thought of an irresistible siren who can sway minds with his voice alone.  One element that surprised me, but I loved nonetheless, was that I didn't expect to travel with Sean through so many different time periods and to so many locations!  I assumed that I would only be getting a perspective from WWII and present day, but little did I know Luchesi had so much more in store!  She created a heartfelt story across time through one man alone beginning in the 1000s and running through to the 2000s.  Sean's flaws and troubles made him an irresistible character despite the fact that he said time and time again that he could be slightly unlikable.  I think it was his invisible scars that got to me and made him human even though he wasn't.  Of course, one would imagine that a person wouldn't be able to live through so much without being left with trauma, and the war and entrapment in a concentration camp left its mark on Sean.  I believe Luchesi handled his PTSD honestly, demonstrating the toll it can take on a person mentally, physically, and emotionally, serving to make Sean even more of a realistic character.  I've never encountered a person with PTSD and cannot speak about the representation personally, but I felt a reliable pull to his pain and any reader's heart will surely ache for him.

In all honesty, I love spin-offs!  I know that so many readers have issues with them and think that an author should end a series and put a world to rest, enough is enough.  I, on the other hand, find spin-offs to be a guilty pleasure of mine.  Who doesn't love seeing an author explore their world further, peeling back layers you could never imagine were even there in the first place?  Luchesi explored so much more, and I can only imagine what else she could produce with this world.  On a similar note, while this book certainly stands on its own, a loyal reader of this series will squeal when they see familiar faces intertwined in Sean's narrative.  Without spoiling, a person will surely meet familiar faces, witches, vampires, and humans alike because not only did we get to see a bit of Sean's backstory but also a little bit of backstory tidbits of other characters thanks to him.  I was so darn ecstatic when I encountered familiar faces to gush over.  Luchesi certainly played her cards well when connecting Sean's dots with other creatures!  Sneaky, sneaky!

Lastly, it wouldn't be a Lily Luchesi book without an appreciation for music!  Not only is there a playlist provided in Never Again, but Sean also demonstrates a huge fondness for music himself.  I personally connected with this side of him as I have the tendency to naturally designate a song to be the anthem for my life at the moment or associate songs with book/anime/television characters (like whenever I hear Monster by Imagine Dragons I immediately think of Kyo from Fruits Basket, and whenever I hear In the Name of Love, I think about Yuri and Victor from Yuri on Ice).  I strongly relate to Sean's passion for music and is just another reason that I fell in love him.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Topic of the Month: C's Favorite Books of 2016

Well, another year has come and gone, and this means that a whole year's worth of reading has come to an end! To celebrate the new year, I thought I'd share some of my favorite books and series that I read in 2016. Enjoy!

1) The Child Thief by Brom


Amazon Summary: 

Peter is quick, daring, and full of mischief—and like all boys, he loves to play, though his games often end in blood. His eyes are sparkling gold, and when he graces you with his smile you are his friend for life, but his promised land is not Neverland.

Fourteen-year-old Nick would have been murdered by the drug dealers preying on his family had Peter not saved him. Now the irresistibly charismatic wild boy wants Nick to follow him to a secret place of great adventure, where magic is alive and you never grow old. Even though he is wary of Peter's crazy talk of faeries and monsters, Nick agrees. After all, New York City is no longer safe for him, and what more could he possibly lose?

There is always more to lose.

Accompanying Peter to a gray and ravished island that was once a lush, enchanted paradise, Nick finds himself unwittingly recruited for a war that has raged for centuries—one where he must learn to fight or die among the "Devils," Peter's savage tribe of lost and stolen children.

There, Peter's dark past is revealed: left to wolves as an infant, despised and hunted, Peter moves restlessly between the worlds of faerie and man. The Child Thief is a leader of bloodthirsty children, a brave friend, and a creature driven to do whatever he must to stop the "Flesh-eaters" and save the last, wild magic in this dying land.

Why I Loved It:

This is the first literary work of Brom that I have read, and it was a freaking masterpiece! Forget Disney's lighthearted take on Peter Pan, Brom's adaptation has become my favorite. Brom drew from Peter's much darker and sadistic side in order to craft a thrilling and dark retelling of the classic Peter Pan tale, and I loved every second of it! The book is extremely twisted and the world building is superb. I have never read anything like it, and I was hooked from the first page. You can't miss out on this!

2) Tokyo Ghoul Volumes 1 - 9


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GoodReads Summary of Volume 1:

Shy Ken Kaneki is thrilled to go on a date with the beautiful Rize. But it turns out that she’s only interested in his body—eating it, that is. When a morally questionable rescue transforms him into the first half-human half-Ghoul hybrid, Ken is drawn into the dark and violent world of Ghouls, which exists alongside our own.

Why I Loved It:

I have to admit that I originally watched the first season of the Tokyo Ghoul anime and fell in love with it. The animation is spectacular, Kaneki was automatically a character that drew me in, and the storyline was intriguing. Consequently, I had to pick up the manga as well. I guess I'm a sucker for a conflicted main character and the classic question of whether what you've become truly erases your humanity and makes you a monster. 

3) The Violent Century: A Novel by Lavie Tidhar


GoodReads Summary:

They never meant to be heroes.

For seventy years they guarded the British Empire. Oblivion and Fogg, inseparable friends, bound together by a shared fate. Until one night in Berlin, in the aftermath of the Second World War, and a secret that tore them apart.

But there must always be an account...and the past has a habit of catching up to the present.

Now, recalled to the Retirement Bureau from which no one can retire, Fogg and Oblivion must face up to a past of terrible war and unacknowledged heroism, - a life of dusty corridors and secret rooms, of furtive meetings and blood-stained fields - to answer one last, impossible question:

What makes a hero?

Why I Loved It:

Due to my love of X-men, I constantly read YA and adult novels involving superheroes or individuals with strange powers. This Violent Century is perhaps one of the first adult novels that I have come across that includes individuals with strange gifts and a touching story that draws you in. The characters' powers were not over the top and the people seemed so real. Tidhar did a spectacular job of crafting a believable world filled with characters that you feel for. The story unfolds by following immortal individuals with special powers through present events and their pasts. Tidhar created a masterpiece, and it's a definite must read!

4) Wildenstern Saga by Oisin McGann


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GoodReads Summary of Ancient Appetites (Book 1):

Murder, betrayal, and power . . . Welcome to the Wildenstern empire

The slow collapse of the British Empire in the nineteenth century meant opportunity for anyone with ammunition and wit. Now the Wildensterns are by far the most powerful family and the most ruthless. Trained from childhood in the arts of assassination and conspiracy and endowed with the supernatural ability to live for more than a century, the clan has grown rich, vicious, and seemingly invincible.

After nearly two years away, eighteen-year-old Nate has returned. But his homecoming is shattered when his eldest brother, Marcus, is mysteriously killed. Following the Rules of Ascension, which allow one male family member to murder another, Nate is being blamed. Nate knows he isn t the murderer, but who is? With the help of his sister-in-law, Daisy, and his cousin Gerald, Nate intends to find out. Their investigation brings them into the underbelly of the Wildenstern empire, where living machines, conspiring relatives, and undercover mercenaries do their dirty work. But when a disaster uncovers the ancient remains of Wildenstern ancestors, the lives of the family members and their struggle for power will take a bizarre and gruesome turn."

Why I Loved It:

There aren't many steampunk novels that contain worlds and plots that are done extremely well, and I finally found my happy medium in McGann's epic Wildenstern Saga! So many books that are labeled as being part of the steampunk genre take place in a Victorian era London that's been depicted far too many times. This mold is fabulously broken with McGann's Ireland-based family feud. Some readers may complain that the story doesn't contain enough features of the steampunk genre, but I'm satisfied with the engimals and the odd, "supernatural" qualities of the Wildenstern bloodline. Plus, many steampunk stories are way too complicated with their politics and technology, and I love the fact that the Wildenstern Saga wasn't over-complicated in these aspects. McGann did a superb job in creating an awesome, unique, and interesting family whose problems only escalate in countless fashions as the story progresses.

5) An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel

GoodReads Summary:

"Jim McDoniel's first novel is quirky, wild, and weird, and definitely for those who hate those sexy vampire stereotypes who like their monsters nice and gross." -Geeks of Doom 

Jim McDoniel's debut novel, "An Unattractive Vampire," is a darkly comic urban fantasy of ancient horrors in suburban cities. After three centuries trapped underground, thousand-year-old Yulric Bile, also known as The Cursed One, The Devil's Apprentice, He Who Worships the Slumbering Horrors, awakens only to find that no one believes he is a vampire. Apparently he's just too ugly. Modern vampires, he soon discovers, are pretty, weak, and, most disturbing of all, good. Determined to reestablish his bloodstained reign, Yulric sets out to correct this disgusting turn of events or, at the very least, murder the person responsible. 

With the help of part vampire-wannabe Amanda; Simon, the eight-year-old reincarnation of his greatest foe; and a cadre of ancient and ugly horrors, Yulric prepares to battle the glamorous undead. But who will win the right to determine, once and for all, what it truly means to be a vampire?

Why I Loved It:

McDoniel is a fresh new voice in horror and has completely redefined the vampire genre! I was pleasantly surprised when I came across this book and discovered how unique and incredibly freaking awesome it was. The humor was spectacular, the characters had great chemistry, and the world finally has a new vampire that doesn't sparkle. Yes, I went there.

6) This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee


GoodReads Summary:

In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.

His brother, Oliver—dead.

His sweetheart, Mary—gone.

His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.

Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.

But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…

Why I Loved It:

I have a slight obsession with reading recreations of older tales. From Brom's The Child Thief (a re-imagining of Peter Pan) to Jim McDoniel's An Unattractive Vampire (a reboot of the vampire genre that brings back the frightening vampires of old), I absolutely love it when authors take a well-established idea or story and alter it so that it becomes something unique, original, and utterly fantastic. This Monstrous Thing is one of these tales.

For some reason, I have always found deep relationships between brothers to be fascinating. In fact, This Monstrous Thing slightly reminded me of Fullmetal Alchemist, which was a huge plus. And I believe that Lee explored one of the most important aspects of Frankenstein -- what it truly means to be human.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Release Blitz: Never Again by Lily Luchesi

In this standalone spin-off of the Paranormal Detectives Series, we discover the true horrors during Hitler's reign.
In World War Two, not all monsters were human.
Male siren Sean Wireman was ostracized from his small village in Israel in the sixteenth century, forced to wander the world until he settled in America in the 1920's. Since he doesn't age like a normal person, he was fit to fight in World War Two, to defend the heritage he spent his whole life running from.
Seventy years later, after he has lived a whole other life since Hitler was defeated, from attending law school to becoming a bona fide rock star, the monsters the Nazis released upon the Jews in concentration camps have returned, and he is the only one who can destroy them.
But can he save his people once again, or will this fight take a deadly toll?

I was freezing. As in limbs numb cold. I woke up in a bed, and dread filled me at the sight around me. I was back in Theresienstadt, and all around me were the frozen corpses of the other inmates. Ice and frost formed on their eyeballs and eyelashes. Their hair was frozen stiff, what they had of it, anyway. Lips blue, skin white as the snow the fell outside.
I got up, and had nowhere to walk. Unless I tread in my bare feet over frozen cadavers, I was stuck, trapped there to freeze to death. Taking a breath that burned my lungs from the cold, I took a step, feeling unmoving, frozen stiff limbs beneath my skin. Brittle, frozen bones cracked under my weight and I felt sicker than ever when I reached the end of the room.
The boy, the one I had given my coat to, was standing in the doorway, still wearing my coat. He was dead, but moving nonetheless. His sightless, frozen eyes stared at me and through me. “You didn’t try hard enough to save me,” he said, his voice naught but a whisper.
Fear made me move, and I shoved the ice-covered zombie aside, only to watch his body shatter like glass when it hit the floor. Blood exploded everywhere from the force of impact, so warm it began to melt the ice that was once a poor little Jewish boy, too young to even shave yet.
I let out a cry and ran out the door, not wanting to see anymore. Outside the door was the old man who had had his skull cracked in by the Nazi that night of the inspection. He was also made of ice, but his head was steadily pumping blood, slowly melting his cold exterior.
“You just watched me die,” he said, his voice sounding just like the boy’s.
“There was nothing I could do!” I protested.
The man lunged at me, but he was too slow and he slammed himself into the wall after I moved out of the way. I didn’t stick around to see if he was still moving or not. I needed to find a way out.
Without any more interruptions, I reached the main hall and opened the door to escape. Standing in the way was my old friend Jakob Edelstein. He was emaciated, but not frozen. His bare arm showed the tattoo that was unique to Auschwitz. His eyes were sunken and blackened, his teeth had mostly fallen out. Oh yes, and one side of his head was blown in, just a large crater like a cracked three-minute egg. Instead of yolk and butter and salt leaking from the crater, though, there was splattered gray matter and blood. Off to one side were three people I didn’t know, but I still knew who they were: Jakob’s wife, mother, and son. All three had identical holes in their heads.
“You escaped, Sean. I didn’t,” Jakob said, his voice low and dark, nothing like the man I knew. “Why did you deserve to live and not me?”
“I didn’t!” I said, tears coming to my eyes. “I didn’t deserve it, but I’m not the one who gets to choose who lives and who dies! Don’t you think I would have traded my life for yours in a second if I could have?”
“Not good enough!” Jakob lunged for me, and I grappled with him. He was stronger than our frozen brethren inside the camp walls. I pushed him down to the ground and watched in mute horror as his head shattered like porcelain, splattering his brains all over the pure white snow.

Lily Luchesi is the award-winning author of the bestselling Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula. She is also the editor and curator of the bestselling Damsels of Distress anthology, which puts emphasis on strong female characters in horror and paranormal fiction.
She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things "dark". At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she's not writing, she's going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Blaze Publishing Giveaway!

To celebrate the upcoming release of Shadow Rise, Blaze Publishing is giving away 2 paperback copies of another sci-fi favorite, Replica by Lauren Oliver! Enter to win here!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Blood Promise Release Blitz

Genre: NA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: OfTomes Publishing
Cover Art by Gwenn Danae
Cover Text by Eight Little Pages
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR

The Blood Books trilogy is Underworld meets The Craft that fans of Harry Potter, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and Twilight will enjoy! Readers are praising this "must read" trilogy as "unputdownable" and "purely addicting."
Careful what you witch for.
Avah Taylor never wanted to be a vampire, and now, her immortal life is at stake. When tragedy strikes, Avah is cast out of her vampire coven and embarks on a mission to expose the danger of the witchcraft that took her mortal life from her. Her journey takes her around the world, from Washington State to London to Russia, but Avah can't run from a past deadly mistake that has come seeking revenge.
In this epic conclusion to the Blood Books trilogy, Avah's questions will finally be answered, but only at a terrible price.

Danielle Rose holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine. Currently residing in the Midwest, where she spends her days dreaming of warmer temperatures, when she’s not writing, she enjoys pretending she lives in California, spending an embarrassing amount of time at Hobby Lobby, and binge-watching Netflix. Visit Danielle on the Web:
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Blood Magic:
Blood Promise:

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Damsels of Distress Release Day

16 authors. 1 anthology. Just $1.

Forget helpless princesses and ingenues with stars in their eyes. CHBB Publishing, the leader in small press fiction, brings you an anthology that is all about the strong women who bring the world to its knees. Rulers, villains, heroes: women of all walks of life bringing or fighting horrors unimaginable. Compiled and edited by award-winning and bestselling author Lily Luchesi.
Featuring these 16 authors:
Kathy-Lynn Cross
USA Today bestselling author Deliaria Davis
Sara Dobie Bauer
Poetry from A. Giacomi
SK Gregory
Mirren Hogan
Lily Luchesi
Poetry from Xtina Marie
P. Mattern
SL Perrine
Tianna Scott
TL Travis
EM Whittaker
Jay Michael Wright II
Simone Young
A novella from USA Today bestselling author SJ Davis

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