Author: Stephon

My name is Stephon and I live in New York state. My biggest passions in life are helping people who are in need and reading as much as I can. Reading is my stress relief and escape from the day to day interactions. Right now I'm just wandering down the path that God is leading me towards to carry out His purpose for me in my life. This blog accepts and respects peoples of all races, nations, faiths, and sexual orientation.

A Cold Day in Hell (SPOILER FREE)

Author: Lissa Marie Redmond (Bio) | Expected Publication:February 8th 2018 by Midnight Ink | Series: Cold Case Investigation #1 | Length: 397 pages | Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Crime| ISBN:N/A |Source: NetGalley

Lauren Riley is an accomplished detective who has always been on the opposite side of the courtroom from her nemesis, slick defense attorney Frank Violanti. But now he’s begging to hire her as a private investigator to help clear his client of murder. At first Lauren refuses, wanting nothing to do with the media circus surrounding that case—until she meets the eighteen-year-old suspect.
To keep an innocent teen from life in prison, Lauren must unravel the conflicting evidence and changing stories to get at the buried facts. But the more she digs, the more she discovers that nothing is what it first appears to be. As Lauren puts her career and life in danger, doubt starts to lurk on every corner . . . and so does her stalker.

This story quickly jumps into the career and life of Lauren Riley, a successful cold case detective who is well known throughout the Buffalo Police Department for her work. She is a approached by a shifty defense attorney who wants to hire her despite his track record of calling her incompetent on multiple past cases. As she tries to balance her professional and personal life, some lines start to blur. As the tale unravels Lauren must decide who she can trust in this cat mouse game that some how ends up with her in the center. In the end Lauren must decide between following her cop mind or her heart to do what she feels is right.

What I find most captivating about this book is how real it is. Lauren is portrayed as a real character that some people, both men and women might be able to identify with. Not only is she a single mom twice divorced, but also battles with feelings of abandonment as her daughters are off to college. Lauren’s life depiction is not some story of a perfect female cop and all is right in her world without any complications. Instead her her strengths and weaknesses are equally laid out there for everyone to see and multiple characters in the book call out these things which makes Lauren seem even more touchable.

It is not often a book in this genre captivates me enough to stay up all night to complete. I find that crime novels are often easy to figure out and for that reason they tend to bore me. Not this one, the reveal at the end somewhat blindsided me because I couldn’t quite make up my mind. One thing to keep in mind as I read was that not everyone in the tale is as they seem. Redmond did a great job with playing to multiple audiences with the way she wrote her novel and for that I applaud her and her work. What is also cool is that the author worked, and lives in my home town of Buffalo, NY. It was completely by luck that I happened upon this book and it was awesome at how she portrayed the city. I could easily place myself at the majority of the locations she described with ease. I hope I run into her one day.

If you are a fan of crime novels or just looking for a new read, this is definitely worth picking up. The chapters are quick and the story transitions quite well from scene to scene. This is basically your most complicated Law and Order episode you can think of except better and in book form.

This book is not yet release. There is a link to the author’s Goodreads account at the top of the page. I humbly thank NetGalley and the publisher Midnight Ink for this ARC copy of the book to review prior to release. I wish the author all the best and hope to see this on shelves early next year.

I rated this book a 3.5/5. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

July Reading Wrap Up

So excited to do my first monthly reading wrap up. It will be a little bit light this month because I am only posting books that I have read since launching my blog. I am still fine tuning some other items on my blog as well as working on my reading schedule. This month did start out as a bit or a reading slump, but  I am happy with with what I’ve crushed out. Well here is my first ever monthly reading wrap up:

1) The Paper Magician by: Charlie N. Holmberg |Rated 3/5|

This book left me wanting for more than it offered on it’s pages. The concept was so original, but unfortunately the execution was not what it could have been. The ending of the book did give me hope that the author learned to little to late the best way to execute on such a topic and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

2) If I Should Die Before I Wake by: Han Nolan |Rated 5/5|

There are no words to describe the range and flux of emotions I felt when reading this book. It challenged me, inspired me, and caused me to do a lot of reflection for both my personal view and world outlook. This chilling tale has such a precise execution that it what it lacks in happiness it makes up for in pure unfiltered honesty. This without a doubt is one of the best books I have ever had the pleasure of reading and touches on a multitude of topics that still are controversial today.

While again this month was light I do hope that this is the last month to feel like this. I have a ton of really good books coming up so keep checking in for fun and entertaining reviews.

If I Should Die Before I Wake (SPOILER FREE)

Author:Han Nolan | Published: May 1st 2003 by HMH Books for Young Readers | Series: N/A | Length: 293 pages | Genre: Historical Fiction| ISBN:9780152046798|Source: Amazon (Book)

Hilary hates Jews. As part of a neo-Nazi gang in her town, she’s finally found a sense of belonging. But when she’s critically injured in an accident, everything changes.
Somehow, in her mind, she has become Chana, a Jewish girl fighting for her own life in the ghettos and concentration camps of World War II.
Han Nolan offers powerful insight into one young woman’s survival through the Holocaust and another’s journey out of hatred and self-loathing.

This chilling tale revolves around two young women and their desire to live beyond their circumstances. Hilary is a young teenager who gets recruited into a neo-Nazi group as an outlet for the hate, anger and rage she feels as a result of how her life has gone up to the point of the accident. Chana is a young Polish Jew who describes the trials her family and friends face at the hands of the Nazi’s during the course of World War II. Hilary ends up living the life of Chana through a series of dreams/visions as she fights for her own life in a hospital bed in her home town. As Chana recounts the evils she had to face over the course of about 5 years Hilary comes to realize that her and Chana have much in common and together these young women battle death itself.

I don’t know where to begin about how this book took me on a roller coaster of emotions. First and foremost I read it twice back to back to make sure I absorbed the pull impact of the story. There are so many topics that are touched on here. From postpartum depression to feelings total abandonment and despair this story really captures the hopeless that could potentially dwell in each one of us. On the other spectrum it also touches on a strength that we all have to not let the circumstances of our life be an excuse to not push on for better. As I read this tale I found myself questioning my own relationship with God and my faith. As I did so I began to think about where I am in life and as a result of any circumstance could easily be in a different place.

I started off stating that this book is about two women who make the choice after gaining understanding and perspective to live beyond the hand that was dealt to them by life. It really is so much more than that. It is a dark tale of two women finding strength to get to their next in life instead of succumbing to the overwhelming odds stacked against them.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of history. While it is geared toward readers 14+ I would say those who have an understanding of World War II and possible some knowledge of Jewish culture will fare much better with this read. As always a link to the book has been added in the book information section at the top of my review.

I rated this book a 5/5. Everyone should take the time to read this.

 

Stowaway Launch

Well after years of telling myself that I couldn’t do this I finally made the leap and started a book blog. Oh yeah, all by myself like a grown up and everything! Like any real stowaway my blog will be stocked full of book reviews, book hauls, random nonsense, and anything else I care to talk about. Are you all ready to set sail?

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Well let me show you around since you’re here. First things first you’ll see all my recent posts when you first arrive on the page. Here I’ll talk about whatever my heart desires at the time.

The next stop is the About Me section where you can find all you need to know about your humble blog host. Any additional questions can be sent through the Contact Me section where I will answer them at my discretion within 48 hours.

Next we move on to the Book Reviews section which at some point will be full of beautiful and articulate reviews for you to all feast your eyes on. Look out because my first review will be posted July 17, 2017 about The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg.

Then we have our Bookish Stuff section which contains information about book haul, reading suggestions, my monthly wrap up, and my random rants which are sure to pop up.

If you are an author or publisher pay special attention, the Review Requests section is all about you. If you would like your book reviewed I have all the information you need to get it done there as well as information about how I rate my reads.

Well there you have it. I look forward to posting and filling my blog with fun book stuff for everyone to enjoy.

The Paper Magician Review (Spoiler Free)

Author:Charlie N. Holmberg | Published: September, 1st 2014 by 47North | Series: The Paper Magician Trilogy #1 | Length: 224 pages | Genre: YA fantasy| ISBN:9781477823835) |Source: Amazon (Book)

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.
Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined — animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.
An Excisioner — a practitioner of dark, flesh magic — invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

The story revolves around Ceony Twill and her absolute distaste for the magic that she is assigned too. The setting of the story begins somewhere on the outskirts of London, England where she is being shown to the door of the man who will be teaching her paper magic. I noticed very quickly in the beginning that the writer choose to harp over and over on the fact that paper magic was not something the protagonist had any resolve to do. In her mind it was just short of a death sentence, but he talked about it so much that even after finishing the book I have very little care for paper magic myself. It also make the first five chapters incredibly hard get through. In saying that the story definitely starts to pick up after Magician Thane is attacked and Ceony goes after the heart thief.

I will say that the wording used throughout the book is definitely easy to follow while still providing a challenge to the more advanced reader. If I had to pick one line that really sums up the book it would be “What about my mistakes? I think about them, too, but where would I be if I thought of nothing else? What sort of person would I be if I drowned in them?” The two major protagonist both carry dark secrets with them and has an affect on how they choose to interact with others and each other.

As I approached the end of this book I was left wanting. There was a lot of filler material that I felt could have been left out and instead replaced with something else. There was a lot of opportunity to develop Ceony which I felt was not done very well. The story was very dry and repetitive at times which really disappointed me because I felt that there was so much potential for this book to really take off. I was happy with how the book ended because it definitely set the sequel up to be very engaging. I hope that it does not disappoint. It is definitely worth a read if you can forge through the dry material and repetition.

I rated this book a 3/5. The ending really saved it.

Mid July Book Haul

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What better way to get over the mid July reading hump then to start it off with a beautiful book haul? There is no better way is the correct answer. While some of these books have been out for quite a while I’ve had such a back log of other things to read that I forgot to pick these books up. Without further delay here they are:

  • The Mermaid’s Mirror by L.K. Madigan
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell
  • Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
  • Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

I’m so excited to finally own these books although knowing me it might be awhile before I get around to reading them.