Tag: 4.5 stars

Author Spotlight: Taylor Saville

Today we are bringing you an Author Spotlight for Taylor Saville!  We have all kinds of goodies for you today: Information on Taylor and her novel Jagged Mind, which also includes Kim’s review. As a bonus, Taylor is being awesome enough to do a giveaway of not one, but THREE novels and more (US Only).  Come on and get to know Taylor and her work:

Taylor Saville is the author of Jagged Mind, and while it is not her first novel, it is the first novel she chose to publish. Her husband, Jeffrey Smith, or Ascending Storm, is a professional artist and designs all of her book covers. She has a new title planned to be released this Fall, and a fantasy trilogy that is well under way. She is also currently writing three new novels simultaneously, so expect many more titles in the future! She will be an author to look out for! 

“Jagged Mind took years to bring to life. I’m elated for people to experience the story that took so much out of me to create. This novel is also complete with eleven full-page, interior illustrations.”

Jagged Mind:

Is there any true deliverance for the depraved? Does love change people? These questions surround the life of Harper Nolan. The foul-mouthed, chain-smoking, self-destructive lead singer of the metal band known as Jagged Mind. Locked in a cycle of self-mutilation, violence, and alcohol abuse, the threads of his life slowly begin to unravel, much to the unease of his more levelheaded bandmates. Though right when his world is ready to collapse entirely from beneath his feet, he falls harder than he ever could have imagined for the naive, sheltered girl who changes everything. He believes her love can save him, when in reality, she is merely the flame which detonates the bomb, sending their lives spiraling into a nightmare too intense to fathom. A nightmare which leaves him convinced he must end his own life. Though to his horror… life refuses to let him go.

Buy Jagged Mind Now!
Amazon US
**You can also download Jagged Mind for free via Taylor’s website! **The free, digital version does not include the artwork.** Her website is here.

Publication Date: April 10, 2017
522 pages

Reviewed by: Kim
Kim’s rating: 4.5 stars

Kim’s Review:

So, add another book to the list of “books that made Kim ugly cry.” Taylor was so kind in giving me a free e-book copy and I’m gonna give the most glowing endorsement a booknerd can possibly give: I bought a physical copy off of Amazon. That’s right! On top of the free e-book copy, I ordered a physical copy because I want it tangibly sitting on my shelf. Before I even start talking about the story, I want to mention the brilliant illustrations that are included in this book. Taylor’s husband, Jeff, is a professional artist and he created several gorgeous pictures to go along with the story. Once my copy arrived, first thing I did was flip through the book looking for all the artwork. They are amazing and enhanced my reading.

Now, the story . . . fair warning, Taylor is a soul torturer. To be honest, when I first started reading, I was expecting to hate Harper and sludge through another cliché love story of good girl falls for bad boy and she helps him discover the teddy bear within. Nope! The story is a roller coaster of emotions and feelings and tragedy and happiness and love and hate and disgust and stomach-churning and hope and I didn’t think my heart could take anymore, and that was barely half way through! I do not remember the last time I connected so emotionally to a character like I did with Harper. Every single thing that he went through, that happened to him, that he did, I took personally. There were times when I was literally sick to my stomach because of the things Harper did and participated in. As the darkness inside him got darker and bleaker and deeper, I wanted to jump into the story and beat him and hug him all at the same time. Hope and despair go hand in hand throughout the entire book! I’m pretty sure I developed an anxiety disorder while reading Jagged Mind, in all the best and worst ways! I wish I could accurately describe just how much this book made me feel. And y’all know that I’m a relatively shallow person so that’s a pretty big deal! When I finished the last page, I just sat and cried. My heart broke so completely and it felt so good and so bad simultaneously.

I identified with Emmaline. She and I are the sheltered chicks thrown into a crazy world and I appreciated her realism. There were times that she frustrated me because she was so cautious and reserved with Harper, when my “happily ever after” brain just wanted them to fall in love and everything to work out perfectly, and sometimes it just felt like she was leading him on and it really bugs me when girls do that. The other members of the band were just as turbulent in my mind. Gray, Harper’s best friend and the band’s bassist, alternated between love and hate for me. But I absolutely loved the banter between all the guys. It cracked me up! Indeed, I did laugh out loud several times when the band got together and joked and mocked together. I just became so invested in the characters and I find myself missing them, now that I’ve finished the book. Even the secondary characters that have very small parts in the plot were so real and so genuine that I’ve already asked Taylor to write another book to tell the story of one of them. Ok, two of them! 😊

The reason I gave Jagged Mind 4.5 stars instead of a full 5 stars is relatively minor, once I got used to it. Taylor gets so deep into the minds of all the characters that sometimes the distinction between everyone gets a little murky. One minute, you’re in Harper’s head, contemplating his deep-seated self-hate, then the next sentence, you’re in Rence’s head, pondering the future of the band. And the easiest way to fix it would be the pronouns, but even those got confusing. Once I figured it out, I was able to easily think my way through it, but it did get a bit distracting at times. However, I definitely wouldn’t trade the window into everyone’s thoughts for all the clear pronouns in the world, so overall, it worked out well.

I’m going to include the message I sent to Taylor as soon as I finished the book so hopefully I can convey just how much this book meant to me:

“I’m not sure what to say …

Thank you for sharing your book with me. I usually rate books by the emotions they illicit and I gauge my emotions by their physical manifestations. I’m in tears, Taylor. I had to blink to clear my eyes so I could even finish the last 2 pages. Once I closed the book, I sobbed. Very few books have brought out that kind of reaction, and your book is one of them. I don’t want to say that Jagged Mind is “awesome” or “amazing” because they’re too shallow and they don’t do it justice. I don’t know what word to use yet … you’re a writer, give me a word! All I can say is that I love your book and I plan on keeping it on my shelf for the rest of my life and I plan on rereading many times.”

I hope that, in some way, channels a few of the feelings that I had to endure while reading Jagged Mind. I absolutely recommend this book, definitely not to teens, but to anyone looking for a deep, poignant, disturbing, moving read.


Contact Taylor:
Website
Instagram @taylorsavilleauthor
Goodreads

 

Contact Ascending Storm:
Website
Instagram@ascendingstorm
Inprnt

**US Giveaway**

There will be three winners: You will receive a signed copy of Jagged Mind and a limited art print signed by the artist! Thank you for this awesome giveaway Taylor!Giveaway runs from today through 9/26 at midnight.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

The Fifth to Die #4MK

Author: J.D. Barker
Published: July 10, 2018
416 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 2- 15, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 4.5 stars

Book Description:

In the thrilling sequel to The Fourth Monkey, a new serial killer stalks the streets of Chicago, while Detective Porter delves deeper into the dark past of the Four Monkey Killer.

Detective Porter and the team have been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath the frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, she is quickly identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days. While the detectives of Chicago Metro try to make sense of the quickly developing case, Porter secretly continues his pursuit of 4MK, knowing the best way to find Bishop is to track down his mother. When the captain finds out about Porter’s activities, he’s suspended, leaving his partners Clair and Nash to continue the search for the new killer alone.

Obsessed with catching Bishop, Porter follows a single grainy photograph from Chicago to the streets of New Orleans and stumbles into a world darker than he could have possibly imagined, where he quickly realizes that the only place more frightening than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

Jessica’s Review:

My review of The Fourth Monkey, the first in the series is here.

J.D. Barker is back with The Fifth to Die, sequel to The Fourth Monkey (4MK). This is another brilliant novel in the series.  Be warned in advance:  there is a cliffhanger to this one…. I need the third (and possibly final??? ) book now!   I really like Detective Porter and Bishop is just frightening and now we see where he gets it from: His mother!

I would say you could read The Fifth to Die before 4MK, but I would not recommend it at all!  You would see what’s going on as this novel goes into the past some, BUT you would miss so many of the details and you NEED to know 4MK’s gruesome background!  You will not understand the brutality or how extreme of a sociopath Bishop is without reading 4MK

There is quite the punch of activities that occur in a short amount of time in Fifth. We have multiple POVs and more than one bad guy. The mystery with what is going on with the girls keeps you reading wondering what will happen next.  And thank you J.D. Barker for totally freaking me out by the overdose one character dies of: I am currently taking that medication!! 

Bishop is fast becoming a favorite serial killer of mine and I look forward to see what Barker brings us next in this series. I just hope it isn’t too long!

The reason I rated The Fifth to Die 4.5 stars (rounded up to five for Goodreads, Amazon, etc) was that I personally wanted more of Bishop in the novel.  His presence wasn’t as high in this one as I wanted.  BUT we do get another frightening serial killer!  J.D. Barker, how do you come up with these characters in your mind?????

Special thanks to the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and J.D. Barker for my arc copies!

The Fifth to Die is highly recommended!

Giveaway Alert!!!:

**Be sure to go to Jessica’s Reading Room on Facebook for a chance to win a SIGNED arc copy of The Fifth to Die sent to me by J.D. Barker!! It runs through Saturday morning!!!!

[Top]

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

Author: Stephanie Oakes
Published: June 9, 2015

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4.5 stars

Book Description:

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself.

Kim’s Review:

This is the second time I’ve read Minnow Bly and I loved it just as much the second time as I did the first. Stephanie Oakes has a way of drawing the reader into the story and immersing them in the lives of the characters. I identified with Minnow since I also grew up in a cult-like environment. Thankfully my parents had brains and used them to think for themselves and there was no violence, so I wasn’t affected at all like Minnow was. I’ll admit that there is a huge difference between the school I went to and a cult. 😊

I also love how Oakes manages to draw the mystery out to the very end. She kept the scope relatively small and intimate; everything stayed believable and realistic. Minnow was a likable character that I had no problem rooting for even when the possibility of wrongdoing came into play. The idea of her missing hands made her more fascinating. And that brings me to the missing .5 star. I don’t like how the cover has a girl with hands holding a book . . . Minnow doesn’t have hands, why would you put a girl with hands on the cover??? Petty and picky, I know, but I can’t help it! Y’all know that covers mean a lot to me, so you can’t expect me to not analyze the cover! But overall, I really loved this book! Between this book and The Arsonist, I’m at the point that I will pick up anything written by Stephanie Oakes without question. I would definitely reserve this book for older teens, because there is some language. But I think anyone who enjoys brainy, psychological reads will enjoy this book!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

 

 

[Top]