Thriller

The Muses Read: STORM by Danielle Ellison + Giveaway

Posted by on Oct 6, 2014 in Paranormal / Supernatural, Reading, Thriller | 0 comments

The Muses Read: STORM by Danielle Ellison + Giveaway

October’s the perfect time for a paranormal read, right? I certainly think so – October’s the time of the year that I rearrange my reads to include as much paranormal, thriller, and horror as possible. Luckily for me, STORM counts for two out of those three! Storm (Salt #2) by Danielle Ellison Release Date: 09/29/14 Entangled Teen Blurb: Up until recently, Penelope was a witch with no magic. After having it stolen by a demon when she was just a child, Penelope had been forced to rely on sharing others’ powers as she went through the grueling training required to become an elite demon hunter. Now Penelope has more magic than she’s ever known. And when you’re this powerful, who needs salt to keep the demons away? But power has a dark side. Carter Prescott just wants to hunt demons and be with Penelope. But suddenly, witches who formerly had no magic are developing terrible, out-of-control powers. Now the world Carter swore to protect isn’t just endangered by malicious demons―it’s threatened by the same witches who once defended it. And Carter is horrified to see his girlfriend starting to change. Stronger. More powerful. Unrecognizable. It’s just a matter of time before Penelope changes into something far beyond his worst fears…     Find it at: Amazon│Barnes & Noble│Kobo Books Links to Salt (Book One): Goodreads│Amazon│Barnes & Noble│Kobo Books Muse Kristen’s Thoughts STORM is a fun paranormal read for YA fans. It opens with a kick – “Three days ago, I went to hell.” The action doesn’t slow from there. The story is told in both the POVs of Carter and Penelope (something that is different from SALT, and threw me for a moment or two).  I ended up liking the dual-POV, as there were key points where being in Carter’s head told a different story. Penelope is the witch with no powers – before Carter showed up. She’s out for revenge, and now that she has her stripes nothing will be getting in her way – except for the little detail like Static witches everywhere are getting powers, and the world is going crazy. Carter is used to avoiding his family name – except for when it benefits his friends. What happens when a witch with no powers suddenly has major power? If the truth may have been kept from you? Penelope’s supposed to be protecting the world from demons – but who’s going to protect the world from her? The tone of this book is very conversational – it’s as if you’re a bystander watching everything unfold. It’s very easy to get in the head of Carter and Penelope, which pushes the story along pleasantly. I’d highly recommend reading SALT before reading STORM – I’m not as certain that some of the world building details will make sense. STORM picks up right where SALT ends, throwing you into the action immediately.   If you’ve enjoyed SALT, you should definitely continue on to the sequel. About the Author: Danielle Ellison Danielle Ellison is from a small town in West Virginia. She spent her childhood pretending to fly, talking to imaginary friends, and telling stories. She hasn’t changed much since then. You can still find her pretending to work, talking to imaginary characters, and writing stories. When she’s not writing, Danielle is probably drinking coffee, fighting her nomadic urges, watching too much TV, or dreaming of the day when she can be British. She is the author of five upcoming novels and you can find her on twitter @DanielleEWrites. Author Links: Website│Goodreads│Twitter│Facebook   Giveaway a Rafflecopter...

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Review: BRUTAL YOUTH by Anthony Breznican

Posted by on Sep 25, 2014 in Reading, Thriller, Young Adult | 2 comments

Review: BRUTAL YOUTH by Anthony Breznican

When I received Brutal Youth in the mail from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The cover is delightfully sinister, with a prep school jacket going up in flames, and the novel is blurbed by some pretty big names, including Stephen Chbosky, James Dashner, Gillian Flynn, and even Stephen King. I mean, when a book is blurbed by the one and only Stephen King, I obviously go in with really high expectations. The big question going into this reading was- would it stand up to all that hype? Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican    When incoming freshman Peter Davidek arrives for his first day at Saint Michael’s, tensions are already high at the private Catholic school known best for its enrollment of expelled delinquents and overtly religious students. After a cruelly tormented upperclassman snaps and goes on a rampage, violently attacking cruel students and corrupt faculty, everyone is on high alert. But this sense of unrest does nothing to stop the culture of hazing that has gone on for years as a sort of tradition at Saint Michael’s. Peter befriends fellow freshman Noah Stein, who bears the scars of a tough past, as well as the beautiful and desperate Lorelei Paskal, and the three navigate the uneasy halls where upperclassmen senselessly torment freshman and haze them with no respite. It soon becomes clear that nobody can be trusted, with even the closest of friends hiding secrets and turning on one another.   As if the cruel upperclassmen vying for revenge weren’t bad enough, the faculty is corrupt and seems to be out to get the students in increasingly sinister ways. Father Mercedes is blackmailing students and running off with church funds; while the embittered guidance counselor Ms. Bromine is upholding the rampant bullying culture of Saint Michael’s in her own ways. As these students fight to make it through their day-to-day activities, alliances are formed and broken, and they find that it really is every student for himself. Find it at: Amazon  | Barnes and Noble This was one of the most thought-provoking and intense stories I’ve read in a long time. The Catholic school setting is the perfect backdrop for the corruption and terror that befalls these students, and with every page bringing a new agreement or a broken alliance; the plotting captivated me. From page one, this novel is packed with action that never lets up, from the initial rampage of an embittered and tormented student, to the final Hazing Picnic when things start to become very real for many of the students. Tensions are high throughout the book, and it is deliciously unclear whom the main characters can trust. Just when you think they’ve found someone to protect them and their secrets, another lie is told and it becomes clear that absolutely nobody in this book can be trusted.   Brutal Youth has a little bit of something for everyone. There are friendships being tested, romances being forged and then thwarted, and corrupt faculty out for only themselves. The book is listed as Young Adult, but often seems to veer over into Adult Literary Fiction. It will captivate audiences in a wide range of ages. Teens as well as older readers will identify with the spot-on feelings of adolescence, including feeling alone and misunderstood amongst peers, and will be riveted by the complex system of alliances and the underhanded motivations of the adults in this novel.   It’s been a long time since I devoured a 400-page novel in one sitting, but I did it with this book....

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The Muses Read: Psycho Inside Me by Bonnie R. Paulson

Posted by on Jan 14, 2014 in Reading, Thriller, Young Adult | 0 comments

The Muses Read: Psycho Inside Me by Bonnie R. Paulson

Compare a book to DEXTER, and I’m instantly going to pay attention. Maybe I have a soft spot for vigilantes. Maybe I have a soft spot for dark characters with good intentions. Or maybe I just have a soft spot for complexity. Either way, I knew I had to take a look inside PSYCHO INSIDE ME. Psycho Inside Me by Bonnie R. Paulson Release date: November 30th 2013 Publisher: Captiva Publishing Purchase: Amazon Blurb: I killed my first victim at thirteen years old – my age, not his. He was going to rape me, him and a couple of his friends. And so, I killed him. And then… I killed again. And again. At seventeen, I’m killing four to six times a year – maybe more. Don’t stress out. I only go after the pedophiles and rapists. There are more out there than I could cover in a lifetime. Saying I did this on my own would be selfish. Enforcing justice holds a glory all its own. But now, my lifelong friend and backup, Deegan, has been arrested. I have to decide if I want to give myself up and take his place or leave him with all the damning evidence. I don’t want to stop killing. But if I let him take the fall, I can’t kill anymore. And I need to keep doing that. But the worst part of it all? I love him. Muse Kristen’s Thoughts I walked into PSYCHO INSIDE ME expecting a simple thriller. I closed the book with a lot of thoughts in my head, from what society views acceptable, to the difference between right and wrong. This book will be divisive – I can imagine mixed reactions on all sides from love to hate. But isn’t a good book supposed to spark emotions? One moment changes everything for thirteen year old Cassie, the preacher’s daughter, when she is attacked by a group of local thugs. Her first kill. Her first brush with real adrenaline. Her first fall into a dark but sweet relationship. This kill becomes a need, and a reason to continue her twisted relationship of sorts with Deegan. Cassie becomes more and more bold as the story unravels – and more crass. The way the story is told represents this – which may not to be every reader’s likening.  I didn’t agree with all of Cassie’s choices, especially not the way that danger became necessary for her. It’s hard enough to consistently make smart choices at seventeen, much less when there’s constant danger thrown in the mix. I will say I had to suspend belief a little at parts. While I somehow don’t blink at the thought of a teenage serial killer, some of the situations Cassie gets herself into seemed a little over the top. But I’m a small town girl, what do I know? Is this a young adult book? Oh, hell if I know.  I’ve been debating this since I was halfway through the book. The age of the protagonist fits young adult, as the book travels between the ages of thirteen and seventeen. However, I wasn’t entirely sure that the character growth fit the coming-of-age theme that accompanies young adult, despite Cassie’s dabbles in finding herself. I’m not one for book censorship due to age (mind you, I read Stephen King’s IT when I was in seventh grade), but I did find myself questioning if I’d recommend this book to the young. If you want to call this young adult, I’d call it a very mature young adult read. Excerpt I’d have to do some serious praying for all the lying...

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The Muses Read: Pentecost by JF Penn

Posted by on Jan 10, 2014 in Reading, Thriller | 0 comments

The Muses Read: Pentecost by JF Penn

I’ve been in a reading rut lately – not that anything is wrong with what I’ve been reading, but it’s all very similar. I’m used to reading uber eclectically – a campy horror at the beginning of the week, followed by a sappy love story, followed by a quirky YA contemporary. Except lately I’ve mostly been reading the same few genres. Mostly books I’ve really enjoyed, but I’ve still been missing that spark… Know what can get you out of a reading rut? A high paced action thriller. Which is why I was so happy to pick up the ARKANE series by J.F. Penn.   Pentecost (Arkane #1) by J.F. Penn (Joanna Penn) Blurb: A power kept secret for 2000 years. A woman who stands to lose everything. India. When a nun is burned alive on the sacred ghats of Varanasi, and the stone she carried is stolen, an international hunt is triggered for the relics of the early church. Forged in the fire and blood of martyrs, the Pentecost stones have been handed down through generations of Keepers who kept their power and locations secret. Until now. The Keepers are being murdered, the stones stolen by those who would use them for evil in a world transformed by religious fundamentalism. Oxford University psychologist Morgan Sierra is forced into the search when her sister and niece are held hostage. She is helped by Jake Timber from the mysterious ARKANE, a British government agency specializing in paranormal and religious experience. Morgan must risk her own life to save her family, but will she ultimately be betrayed? From ancient Christian sites in Spain, Italy and Israel to the far reaches of Iran and Tunisia, Morgan and Jake must track down the stones through the myths of the early church in a race against time before a new Pentecost is summoned, this time powered by the fires of evil. The first in the ARKANE series, PENTECOST is a fast-paced thriller that explores the edges of faith against a backdrop of early Christian history, archaeology and psychology. Muse Kristen’s Thoughts Secret KJ fact: I am OBSESSED with the Indiana Jones movies. (Not counting the last one, because no.) So the thought of reading a book with a character like Indiana Jones, but female had me bouncing for joy. I didn’t always relate to her, but I did admire her. I’m drawn to novels with strong female protagonists, and found Morgan Sierra  to fit the bill. Morgan Sierra is pretty kick-ass…or at least she used to be before she gave up her Special-Ops life to live a more quiet life in England. Funny thing about living a quiet life is  no one ever expects you to have a past. What I loved most about Morgan is that she’s an intelligent heroine – I didn’t spend the novel yelling at her actions, or cursing her choices. If a female Indiana Jones met THE DA VINCI CODE, you’d get PENTECOST. It’s an exciting opening to a series, but would work well enough as a stand alone as well. (You guys know how I feel about that!) Like The Da Vinci Code, the story is woven through religious history, creating a fictional prophecy that needs to be unraveled so that the heroine can save the day – and her family.  This blend of fact and fiction seems to heighten the feel of adventure in the story for the reader. While being a story involving religion, religion doesn’t become a central theme. There’s no browbeating, preaching, or really any hints of what the author’s personal religious beliefs are....

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New Release Tuesday: September 24th

Posted by on Sep 24, 2013 in Horror, New Release Tuesday, Reading, Science Fiction / Fantasy, Thriller, Young Adult | 2 comments

New Release Tuesday: September 24th

  It’s Tuesday! New Release Tuesday, at that. An extra exciting New Release Tuesday. Why is it so exciting? Because both Muses are ecstatic to rave about one of the books being released today. Are you excited yet? Young Adult   Ultraviolet Catastrophe by Jamie Grey The Muses are really excited to talk about this book. Why? Because we both adore it.  As we’re running the blog tour for Ultraviolet Catastrophe over at Pen and Muse Press, we were able to get our happy grabby hands onto e-ARCs. Our thoughts: You will not be disappointed with this book. Muse KJ has been highlighting, swooning, and texting her BFF frantically with “You’ve read UVC, right? Because omg, I need someone to talk to about this RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND.” Oh, you know, just gushing like crazy over @Jamie_Grey‘s ULTRAVIOLET CATASTROPHE with @KristenJett. Because, you know, AMAZEBALLS. — Andrea Hannah (@andeehannah) September 24, 2013   Quantum Electrodynamics. String Theory. Schrödinger’s cat. For sixteen-year-old Lexie Kepler, they’re just confusing terms in her science textbooks, until she finds out that her parents have been drugging her to suppress her outrageous IQ. Now Branston Academy, a school run by the world’s most powerful scientists, has tracked her down and is dying for her to attend – as a research subject. She takes refuge at Quantum Technologies, a secret scientific community where her father works as a top-notch scientist, and begins her new life as girl genius at Quantum High. But the assignments at her new school make the Manhattan Project look like preschool – and Lexie barely survived freshman algebra. Her first big assignment – creating an Einstein-Rosen bridge – is also her first chance to prove she can hold her own with the rest of QT’s prodigies. But while working with the infuriatingly hot Asher Rosen, QT’s teen wonder, Lexie uncovers a mistake in their master equation. Instead of a wormhole, the machine they’re building would produce deadly ultraviolet rays that could destroy the world. Now Lexie and Asher have to use their combined brainpower to uncover the truth behind the device. Before everyone at Quantum Technologies is caught in the ultraviolet catastrophe.   Find Me by Romily Bernard “Find Me.” These are the words written on Tessa Waye’s diary. The diary that ends up with Wick Tate. But Tessa’s just been found . . . dead. Fans of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy will just love this creepy and alluring teen thriller. Complete with action, techie intrigue, a horrifying mystery, and a blossoming romance full of sparks, Find Me is an exhilarating debut. When teen hacker and foster child Wick Tate finds a dead classmate’s diary on her front step, with a note reading “Find me,” she sets off on a perverse game of hide-and-seek to catch the killer. But things get even more personal as Wick’s deadbeat dad returns and the killer points to Wick’s sister Lily as the next target. With the help of oh-so-cute hacker-boy-next-door Griff, can Wick find her tormenter and save her sister? Because it just got personal. Find Me won a 2012 Golden Heart Award and placed first in the 2011 YA Unpublished Maggie Awards (given by Georgia Romance Writers).     Countdown  by Michelle Rowen 3 seconds left to live. Once the countdown starts, it cannot be stopped. 2 pawns thrown into a brutal underground reality game. Kira Jordan survived her family’s murder and months on plague-devastated city streets with hard-won savvy and a low-level psi ability. She figures she can handle anything. Until she wakes up in a barren room, chained next to the notorious Rogan Ellis. 1...

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The Muses Want To Read: Dark Musicals

Posted by on Jun 6, 2013 in Reading, Thriller, Young Adult | 1 comment

The Muses Want To Read: Dark Musicals

Can you quickly name Muse KJ’s favorite musical? Hint: I am determined to see it live in London, one day. Hint: The hunk is my second favorite brooding Tall Dark and Handsome. Hint: My BFFs often receive text messages that read “And the Phaaaaaaaaaaaaantom of the Opera is there, INSIDE YOUR MIIIIIIIIIINDDD.” This is why people shouldn’t give me their phone numbers. Or grow attached to me. Anyway, whenever I see a PTO book, I’m instantly intrigued. So imagine my Phantom loving face when I discovered the Dark Musicals series! (Also note that I picture Phantom as Gerry Butler’s version, every single time.) I think I’ll apologize in advance for anyone who receives Phantom texts from me as I read these books. May the (or at least my) swooning commence!   Phantom, Dark Musicals Trilogy Book #1 and Demon, Dark Musicals Trilogy Book #2 by Laura DeLuca   Phantom The “Phantom” was a musical phenomenon that Rebecca had always found enchanting. She had no idea that her life was about to mirror the play that was her obsession. When her high school drama club chooses “Phantom” as their annual production, Rebecca finds herself in the middle of an unlikely love triangle and the target of a sadistic stalker who uses the lines from the play as their calling card. Rebecca lands the lead role of Christine, the opera diva, and like her character, she is torn between her two co-stars—Tom the surfer and basketball star who plays the lovable hero, and Justyn, the strangely appealing Goth who is more than realistic in the role of the tortured artist. Almost immediately after casting, strange things start to happen both on and off the stage. Curtains fall. Mirrors are shattered. People are hurt in true phantom style. They all seem like accidents until Rebecca receives notes and phone calls that hint at something more sinister. Is Justyn bringing to life the twisted character of the phantom? Or in real life are the roles of the hero and the villain reversed? Rebecca doesn’t know who to trust, but she knows she’s running out of time as she gets closer and closer to opening night. Only when the mask is stripped away, will the twenty first century phantom finally be revealed. Demon When Justyn and Rebecca set off for the New York School of Performing Arts, they think their dreams are about to come true. To their dismay, they aren’t in high school anymore, and the competition is steep. Rebecca must compete against accomplished singers for a role in the production of Demon Barber, including a stunning Gothic diva with her sights set on Justyn It doesn’t help that things keep disappearing from their apartment or that Rebecca’s father refuses to accept that Justyn is an essential part of her life. Yet, all this seems minimal in comparison to the serial rapist terrorizing the campus. Consumed by fear and obsessed with revenge, Rebecca and Justyn start living the story of Sweeney Todd—both on and off the stage. Excerpt: Phantom The orchestra tuned for its virtuoso, and Justyn stood ready. But no one else was ready for the magical performance he began. Beside her, Carmen was rambling on about something mundane. Rebecca elbowed her to silence so she could listen to the perfectly thrilling tenor. As she listened to the song unfold, the world around her started to slip away. Gone was the high school auditorium. Gone were the rowdy teenagers. The Gothic stranger on the stage had become the embodiment of Erik, and Rebecca watched him in all his dark glory, belting out...

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