The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Michael Vey #1) by Richard Paul Evans #bookreview #YA #fantasy

My name is Michael Vey, and the story I’m about to tell you is strange. Very strange. It’s my story.

To everyone at Meridian High School, Michael Vey is an ordinary fourteen-year-old. In fact, the only thing that seems to set him apart is the fact that he has Tourette’s syndrome. But Michael is anything but ordinary. Michael has special powers. Electric powers.

Michael thinks he’s unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor also has special powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up this way, but their investigation brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric children – and through them the world. Michael will have to rely on his wits, powers, and friends if he’s to survive.

I’ve had this title in my TBR for longer than I can remember, and when the assignment for my book club was to read a novel set in school, I decided it was time pull this one out of the pile.

I loved Michael right away.  He has a lot on his plate – he’s dealing with the loss of his father, his mom is miserable in a job for which she’s overqualified, money is tight, he’s bullied nearly everyday at school, and he has Tourette’s syndrome.  He also has the ability to shock people – not the minor type of shock you’d receive from an electrical outlet – it’s the fatal kind, and he has to hide it.

Michael and his best friend, Ostin (who is smarter than all the characters put together), have unique voices and bring a big dose of humor to the table – especially Ostin.  Even when put in extreme situations and forced to make impossible choices, Michael keeps his wits about him and is a pretty cool customer.  He has the makings of a natural leader – and from the hints at the end, I’m pretty sure book two heads in that direction.

Although an interesting read with enjoyable characters and a bad guy you love to hate, it’s similar to many other superhero origin stories and doesn’t offer anything new or unique.  But I’m still a sucker for this kind of book, and I’ll probably continue with the series at some point.

Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle #1) by Rosaria Munda #bookreview #YA #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

Game of Thrones meets Red Rising in a debut young adult fantasy that’s full of rivalry, romance… and dragons.

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.

From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you’ve chosen.

With comp titles like Red Rising and Game of Thrones, how could you not want to read this book?  I didn’t even care about the rest of the description once I saw those comps.  And let me tell you – they’re spot on.

Conflict always makes for an exciting reading experience, and this book is loaded with it.  The tension is nearly palpable.  My emotions were torn in every direction, and I’m not sure how I’ll last until the next book to find out what happens.  Magnificent world-building with brewing war, clashing views, political intrigue, and dragons psychically bonded to their riders.  Right and wrong aren’t clearly outlined in this world – something I always enjoy.

Lee and Annie are fascinating characters with complicated backgrounds, secrets, and a strong bond forged at a young age when they meet at an orphanage.  Their backstories are devastating and, as dragonriders, they shoulder an enormous amount of responsibility and are required to make incredibly hard decisions that hurt not only themselves, but those they care about.

This book doesn’t underestimate the intelligence of its readers, and is easily a crossover to an adult audience.  Harsh, brutal, thrilling, heartwarming, compelling – all are apt descriptions for Fireborne.  Add this to your TBR today.  You won’t regret it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.



Calendar Girls: Eleven (Strangest Book You’ve Ever Read)

Calendar Girl is a monthly meme now hosted by Katie@nevernotreading and Adrienne @darquedreamer

The Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event that was created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile. It was inspired by the 1961 classic song by Neil Sedaka and created to ignite fun bookish discussions among readers and bloggers.

Each month we get a new theme and choose our favorite book for the theme. The participants get to vote for their favorite.

With Bad Moon Rising and other life stuff, it’s been months since I’ve participated in Calendar Girls, and I’ve missed it.  But I’m back – yay!

This category nearly stumped me.  I read mainly sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, so I’ve come across all kinds of strange things, but considering the genres, that kind of goes with the territory.  So they’re not really that strange.  To me, anyway.  Nothing immediately came to mind, so I had to go back to my Goodreads lists for the past few years.  When I finally came across it, I knew.  My choice is Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.

Dark Matter wasn’t strange in a bad way, but it’s a book I gobbled up in less than a day.  Over three years later, it’s stuck with me.  It was mind-blowing, intense, and a stunning blend of of sci-fi, suspense, thriller and, believe it or not – romance.  I can’t say much more about it without spoilers, but for sci-fi fans, it’s absolutely a must read.  It’s been optioned for a movie by Sony, but who knows if it will ever get made.  Below is the book description – but if you’re participating in NaNo, don’t even try reading it this month.  You’ll never meet your goal!

Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.

It starts with a man in a mask kidnapping him at gunpoint, for reasons Jason can’t begin to fathom—what would anyone want with an ordinary physics professor?—and grows even more terrifying from there, as Jason’s abductor injects him with some unknown drug and watches while he loses consciousness.

When Jason awakes, he’s in a lab, strapped to a gurney—and a man he’s never seen before is cheerily telling him “welcome back!”

Jason soon learns that in this world he’s woken up to, his house is not his house. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born.

And someone is hunting him.



#BadMoonRising Thanks You!

Bad Moon Rising had over 4K views as of yesterday, and most of the credit goes to everyone who shared on social media, spread the word to friends, mumbled in their sleep about it, grabbed random strangers on the street and forced them to listen – you get the picture.  So many of you dropped by to read, comment, and support the authors who participated, and your efforts are deeply appreciated.  I love hosting Bad Moon every year, but couldn’t do it alone, so big thank you hugs go out to all of you.  We’ll do it again next year!

I’m diving into the NaNoWriMo pool today, so lots of luck to everyone participating!

#BadMoonRising: Lost on the Water – A Ghost Story by D.G. Driver #YA #ghoststory #supernatural

Happy Halloween!  We come to the final day of Bad Moon Rising where we’ve debated the pros and cons of vampires versus werewolves, Jack versus Carrie, aliens versus serial killers, and many other harrowing situations, while also discovering new authors and books.

Today’s author has already spent the night in a haunted hotel and says while it was spooky, she’d go for it again.  I’ve read her featured book (how awesomely eerie is that cover?), and it’s likely to raise the hairs on the back of your neck.  Even better, it’s also on sale until until November 8th – so what’s stopping you from curling up with this supernatural tale tonight?  Welcome D.G. Driver!

Would you rather walk through a haunted graveyard at midnight or spend the night in a haunted, abandoned house? 

I have spent the night in a haunted hotel before on a ghost hunt. While thrilling, it was definitely spooky. So, I think I’ll go for the haunted house, hoping that it has fewer ghosts to hide from and outrun than the haunted graveyard.

Would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf? 

Oh, I definitely choose vampire. Werewolves are messy and never remember what they’ve done. Plus, it seems like it hurts a lot turning into a werewolf. Vampires can be classy, if they choose to, and they can pick their victims and whether or not they’re going to drink them to death or not.

Would you rather boogie down to Monster Mash or get your groove on to Thriller?

Well, I was a teen in the 80s, so this isn’t a real question. Ha ha! I remember rushing home from school to see Thriller the first time on MTV. My theater friends and I danced to it around the track in the Homecoming parade one year. It will always be the best Halloween song.

If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in the same setting, where would you choose?

When I was a teenager, I started writing a very Indiana Jones inspired story set in Hawaii, dealing with Hawaiian mythology. The story was probably awful, but I could get into living in Hawaii for a year and coming up with something interesting. Maybe another mermaid book.

What is your favorite cover of all your books?  Why?

The cover for Lost on the Water – A Ghost Story is my favorite. I think my designer, Caroline Andrus, who does all the covers of my books with Fire and Ice YA Books, really captured the tone and feel of the story. I like the greenish/gray tone of it, too. We went back and forth a few times until she nailed it.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Ooh, let me think about this. I wrote 3 full-length novels (1 horror, 2 fantasy) back in the 90s that I abandoned. I have 2 middle grade historical novels that were published in 1999/2001 by a tiny press that quickly went out of business. I have 3 more middle grade novels that are complete. I have some hope for one of them, but the others will probably never be published. I have a play that was produced but hasn’t been published. I also wrote a couple screenplays, and I’m considering turning at least one of them into a novel at some point.

One girl’s daring adventure turns into a long frightful night lost on the water.

Forced to leave the California beach behind to spend the summer with her grandma in rural Tennessee, Dannie is certain this will be the most boring summer of her life. Things start looking up when a group of local kids, mistaking her short hair and boyish figure, invite her on their ‘no girls allowed’ overnight kayaking trip. Obviously, her grandma refuses to let her go. But Dannie suspects the real reason is that the woman is afraid of the lake, only she won’t tell Dannie why.

Longing for freedom and adventure, Dannie finds an old rowboat hidden behind the shed and sneaks off on her own to catch up to her new friends. It seems like a simple solution … until everything goes wrong.

Dannie soon discovers this lake is more than just vast. It’s full of danger, family secrets, and ghosts.

Purchase Link

Lost on the Water – A Ghost Story is discounted to $2.99 through November 8th for Halloween season. (I believe by the time this post comes out it will have been transferred to Kindle Unlimited.)

in print


D.G. Driver is an optimist at heart, and that’s why she likes to write about young people making an impact on the world. You’ll find among her books a teen environmental activist, a young girl teaching people about autism acceptance and to stop bullying people with special needs, a princess who wants to be more than a prize for a prince, a boy who wins a girl’s heart by being genuine and chivalrous, and a girl who bravely searches for a friend lost along the shore of a dark lake. She is an award-winning author of books for teens and tweens, but you’ll find some romance and horror stories published in anthologies, too. When Driver isn’t writing, she’s a teacher at an inclusive child development program in Nashville, TN. She might also take a break from writing once in a while to strut the stage in a local theater production. You’re guaranteed to find her belting out Broadway show tunes anytime she’s driving. Learn more about her books at

Social Media
Twitter: @DGDriverAuthor
Instagram: @d_g_driver

#BadMoonRising: Ritual by Steve Stred #horror #occult #novella

Today’s author is petrified of the woods in the middle of the night – so naturally, that’s the setting of many of his books.  Maybe that’s one way to conquer your fears?  Welcome Steve Stred!

Would you rather be part of the X-Files team or Ghostbusters?

X-Files 100%. I absolutely love the show and I’d want to know all of the cool conspiracy theory stuff. I love watching alien related stuff or reading about it. I really hope we someday can answer the question – “Are we alone?” I personally think the answer is no, and I’d love to see that be correct. Unless of course we only find out because they’ve come to destroy our planet!

Would you rather be locked in a haunted insane asylum or lost in the woods with a killer on the loose?

This question actually made the rounds on Twitter recently. I’ll take a haunted insane asylum any day of the week over the woods. If you’ve read any of my stuff, you’ll know my connection to the woods. I’d rather do some urban exploration with some ghosts or ghouls than dealing with a killer, bears, wolves, cougars, werewolves or Bigfoot any day of the week.

Would you rather be abducted by aliens or a serial killer?

Another easy one. Abducted by aliens. Chances are you’re going to live and it’s highly likely that you’ll not remember much of it until a bright light gets flashed in your eyes or something triggers your experience. A serial killer, at the least, the very least, is going to remove a bunch of your body. So you’ll be scarred, maimed and in pain for the rest of your life. More likely though, they’ll kill you.

What is your favorite cover of all your books?  Why?

I chose this question because of how difficult it is. I’ve been blessed to have some really, really awesome covers. But I think I need to go with my latest collection release ‘The Night Crawls In.’ Aesthetically, it’s pretty much me as a writer. I’ve worked with Mason McDonald on a dozen covers now. We have this connection that is just outstanding. We met through Twitter and hit it off and have become great friends, so I think that helps. We’re both Canadian, like the same bands, books etc. So I can send him an idea and he’ll get something back that’s spot on. With ‘The Night Crawls In’ it has this amazing forest scene, but if you look closer you’ll see that the cover is made out of boards, almost like an old cabin in the woods has been torn down and repurposed and painted on. Just love it.

If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in the same setting, where would you choose?

I have so many releases out that are set in the woods, and I’m petrified of the woods in the middle of the night, but I’d have to suggest somewhere wooded that had a staggering amount of Bigfoot sightings/reports. I’ve been intrigued about Sasquatches since I was a small child, so I’d love to take the time and hike into the wilderness in the Pacific North West and live there as one with nature.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Too many! The ones I can talk about – unpublished; Piece of Me (coming Dec 2019), Scott, The One That Knows No Fear, The Window in the Ground (all coming 2020). Then I have four other works on the go that I’d like to try and get out next year but we’ll see. I typically have between 5 and 10 in some form at any given time!

Meet Brad.

A quiet, hardworking man who goes about his daily routine with joy.
He works as a telemarketer, trying this best to sell poorly made, over-priced products to the unsuspecting people on the other end of the phone.

Brad doesn’t mind though, its a means to an end.

Life’s about to change for Brad. Now that Father has anointed him the Chosen one, the one to open the gates and allow them to flock into the Black Heavens.

Eternity awaits.

But is Brad ready to perform on the big day?

“’Ritual’ is a fast and thrilling dive into the depraved mind of a man and his dogma. It draws you into the horrors of a mysterious cult, and doesn’t let go until the very last page. I loved this story.” -Sonora Taylor, author of “Without Condition” and “Little Paranoias: Stories”

Purchase Link



Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.

Steve is the author of the novels Invisible & The Stranger, the novellas The Girl Who Hid in the Trees, Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, and the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun.

On September 1st, 2019 his second collection of dark poetry and drabbles called The Night Crawls In will arrive. This release was specifically created to help fund the 1st Annual LOHF Writers Grant.

Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.

Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.

Social Media

Instagram: /stevestred

#BadMoonRising: Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind #childrensbooks #ghosts

Today’s author brings a book (a whole series!) for the younger crowd.  I think her spirit animal describes her perfectly, and these questions may have sparked ideas for two more books.  Welcome Darlene Foster!

Would you rather boogie down to Monster Mash or get your groove on to Thriller?

Although Thriller is a great song, I prefer dancing to Monster Mash. It’s from my youth and makes me think of high school dances and all the fun we had. Whenever I hear it, especially around Halloween, I always bop around the house, much to hubby’s embarrassment. I love the line, “Tell them Boris sent you.”

Would you rather be abducted by aliens or a serial killer?

Aliens for sure. They wouldn’t be quite as scary, at least I don’t think so. I imagine they would be friendly and not want to do me harm. They would probably just want to get to know me and how I functioned. I love making new friends from other parts of the world, or in this case, the universe.

Would you rather be part of the X-Files team or Ghostbusters?

Now that’s a hard question. I guess I would rather be part of the Ghostbuster’s team as they would be fun. Any team that includes Bill Murray would be a great team to be part of.

If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in the same setting, where would you choose?

What a great question. After thinking long and hard, I have decided I would pick Australia. Amanda would love it there and I would so enjoy doing research in that fascinating country. I might also take a trip over to New Zealand since I’m already in that part of the world. Gosh, then I would have material for two books! I’m so excited just thinking about it.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I would chose the hummingbird as it symbolizes enjoyment of life and lightness of being. Things I have learned about the hummingbird as a spirit animal fit with me. Things like, adaptability and resiliency while keeping a playful and optimistic outlook, independence, resiliency and being able to travel great distances tirelessly. A hummingbird is small in size but capable of amazing feats. A hummingbird is a perfect spirit animal for me.

What are you working on now?

I just released Amanda in Holland – Missing in Action, book seven of the series. In the delightful country of Holland, Amanda searches for a missing gardener, rare tulip bulbs, a home for an abandoned puppy, and clues as to why her great-uncle didn’t return from the Second World War. Is she capable of finding these missing things without putting herself in danger?

I also have just completed the first draft of Amanda in Malta – The Sleeping Lady. Leah is in trouble so Amanda flies to Malta with Caleb and his family to help her. The island country is steeped in ancient history, unique buildings and even a fascinating movie set. Amanda is determined to find out who is shooting protected birds and to solve the mystery of the sleeping lady. Next project is to edit this book.

Amanda might be off to France next, but that’s a secret.

Thank you so much for having me participate in Bad Moon Rising once again. It is always so much fun. Happy Halloween everybody! I guess I better get out my Ghostbusters costume and bogey to the Monster Mash as I prepare for my trip down under.

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several fellow creative students. She shares a room with Cleo, an anxious classmate who insists she sees ghosts. Determined to prove there is no such thing, Amanda can’t seem to shake the feeling that something or someone is watching her.

Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit a rugged and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past.

Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere she goes?

Purchase Links



Darlene Foster, a long-time dreamer and tale spinner, created the exciting Amanda Travels series featuring spunky Amanda Ross, a twelve-year-old Canadian girl who loves to travel. All ages enjoy following Amanda as she encounters the unknown and unravels one mystery after another in unique destinations. Darlene, an avid traveller herself, divides her time between Canada’s west coast and the Spanish Costa Blanca with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot. She believes that dreams do come true.

Social Media

Twitter:  @supermegawoman
Instagram: @darlene6490
Amazon author page: