Verb Vixen

I read. I listen. I watch. I write.
Monday, June 27

The Hambledown Dream

I know I normally don’t do the whole synopsis thing, but since the author asked me if I would review it, I felt like it deserved a full on traditional book review. But I am relegating the synopsis stuff to the bottom so if you don’t want to read it, then don’t.

The Hambledown Dream- Dean Mayes

I found the Hambledown Dream to be a sweet and moving story. When you pick up this book be aware that you’re in for an emotional rollercoaster ride.  The plot moves from sad to dark and troubled only to end in hope.  While it does have a very happy ever after ending, I will let it slide, mainly because I think Andy deserves a happy ending.  Once you invest in him as a character, it’s hard to not want that happiness for him.  There is a great focus on classical guitar and the guitar descriptions are almost better than the single love scene. I enjoyed the dual setting of seedy Chicago and quaint Australia as well.  Frankly, Hambledown does sound like a dream. Vacation anyone? All in all, Hambledown Dream is perfect for those who like romance with a hint of paranormal.

Sidenote: The second digital release cover art gets more to the heart of the story, but I kind of like the original paperback cover as well. 

Overall: A-

You can find the paperback version here and the digital version here. Happy reading!

Follow Dean Mayes on Twitter @Dean_Mayes

The Skinny on the book and story:

Title: The Hambledown Dream.

 Author: Dean Mayes.

Publisher: ireadiwrite Publishing
ISBN eBook: 978-1-926760-27-8
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Paranormal Romance
Word Count: 81,000
Publish Date: (print) March 2010 (digital) March 2011.
Content Warning: Sex Scene, Drug Use.
Review Copy Version: PDF.

Synopsis: Australian, Denny Banister had the world at his feet; a successful career, a passion for the guitar and he is in love with Sonya – his best friend and soul mate. Tragically, Denny is struck down with inoperable cancer & he is destined to die.
Meanwhile, Andy DeVries has almost nothing; he is alienated from his family, he moves through a dangerous Chicago underworld dealing in drugs, battling addiction & now he’s gone and overdosed - jeopardizing the only thing that matters to him; a place at a prestigious Conservatory for classical guitar.
Having been snatched from the abyss Andy recovers, but he is plagued by dreams - memories of a love he has never felt, and a life he’s never lived. Driven by the need for redemption and by the love for a woman he’s never met, Andy begins a quest to find her, knowing her only by the memories of a stranger and the dreams of a place called Hambledown…

A digital version of this book was provided free by the author in exchange for a fair review.

Tags:   #paranormal, #dean mayes, #i read #romance #hambledown dream

Wednesday, June 15

A Story to Leave You Spellbound

 Spellbound- Cara Lynn Shultz

Spellbound (Harlequin Teen)

This is my warning that I’m about to fangirl all over this post, so you’ve been warned.  

Spellbound is an apt title because from page 1 I was entranced.

Where do I even begin with how much I loved this book? I loved the New York setting from the MET to the UES to Central Park; NYC is a living breathing entity in this book, a character itself. I even had a nerd girl freak out moment when she referenced Fordham’s Medieval Studies program (the program that I got my Masters degree from). I loved loved loved the characters—Emma and Brendan are my ideal protagonists. They are smart, courageous and strong: mentally, emotionally and physically.  Maybe most of all, I loved their story. I squealed, I swooned, and I laughed out loud at lines so clever and witty that I’d re-read this book a hundred times over just for them. Shultz’ dialogue is realistic too. In fact, I’d say it is spot on. It made me think, “OMG YES that’s exactly what I’d say!” And so I say this, pre-order Spellbound because it’s sure to be a summer read that everyone is talking about.  Even better, if the end is any signifier then it’s just the start to what will end up being a riveting paranormal series.

Overall: A

Spellbound is due out June 28th! (only 13 days!).  You can pre-order your copy here.

You can follow Cara Lynn Shultz on twitter at @caralynnshultz or her website at  You can follow Brendan Salinger on twitter too at @BrendanSalinger.  

eGalley provided by Harlequin via Netgalley.

Tags:   #ya, #young adult fiction, #paranormal, #i read #ya lit #cara lynn shultz #spellbound #harlequin teen #romance

Thursday, June 9

Beware of Changing Tides

Undercurrent- Tricia Rayburn

Undercurrent: A Siren Novel

I found Undercurrent, the sequel to Siren, to be somehow darker, scarier than the first book. I found Vanessa’s growing confliction as she lies to hide what she is from the ones she loves is the core of the plot.  Even more details about what being a Siren requires unfold within this story; the new boy Parker isn’t Simon but he’s endearing nonetheless. As a reader, we know that evil is coming for her, but not what they plan.  I reveled in this sense of foreboding.  Some of the plot twists were predictable, while the ending was maybe the most realistic of any book I’ve read: sad yet not without hope. Rayburn has left us asking, Now What?

Overall: A

The book is due out July 12th and you can preorder your copy here.

Arc provided gratis by Edgmont at BEA. 

Tags:   #paranormal, #i read #ya #young adult fiction #ya lit #undercurrent #tricia rayburn #siren #mythology #edgmont

2 notes
Tuesday, May 24

The Book of Lost Souls

The Book of Lost Souls- Michele Muto

Hands down The Book of Lost Souls is the best independently published e-book I have ever had the pleasure of reading.  Often readers think that indie books mean they weren’t good enough for a publishing house, but The Book of Lost Souls destroys that theory.  With interesting characters, a formidable plot, and good writing, Muto’s book is sure to win a strong following in the YA community. In the end, it reminded me a bit of Heather Brewer’s Chronicle of Vladamir Tod, an enviable comparison to be sure.  In addition, it’s low price point makes this e-book a STEAL!

Overall: A-

Tags:   #young adult fiction, #paranormal, #i read #ya lit #witches #the book of lost souls #michele muto

4 notes
Thursday, January 13

Coming Undone

Unraveled- Gena Showalter

The sequel to yesterday’s post, Unraveled picks up where Intertwined left off.  Continuing in the clever story-telling, Unraveled is in some ways better than its predecessor.  There’s even more action, more danger, more emotion, the threat of immediate deaths, and some interesting revelations about the ties that bind Aden and Mary Ann.  The ending, well the ending is definitely a cliff-hanger and not for those too impatient to wait for the next book.

Overall: A-

Tags:   #i read, #gena showalter, #ya lit, #paranormal, #young adult fiction #unraveled #intertwined

Thursday, November 18

On Literary Mash Ups

Romeo and Juliets and Vampires- Claudia Gabel

I love music mash ups.  I still do not love literary mash ups, but I thought if anything could convert me it might be Shakespeare.  Nope, still not into it.  Romeo and Juliet and Vampires resetof the story in Transylvania; the famous feud became between vampire Capulets and vampire hunter Montagues.  The writing was fine but not Shakespeare; the story followed the basic plot of the original with the ending being the only dramatic difference.  In the end, I can’t get behind a book that turns a classic tragedy into a comedy.

Overall: B

Tags:   #romeo and juliet and vampires, #claudia gabel, #paranormal, #i read #mashups

Wednesday, November 17

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

The Candidates- Inara Scott

I liked the premise of this book.  I liked the intriguing questions of morality.  Do good intentions make it ok to commit what is otherwise an immoral action?  Delacroix Academy definitely walks a fine line on the ethics front. 

However, I was disappointed in the boy that Dancia ends up with and feel strongly that she should be with Jack, not Cam.  Cam just rings false for me.  For this reason, I had a hard time relating to her swooning love for him and their “heavenly” kiss.  I can only hope that in The Watchers there is more with Jack, less with Cam and Dancia comes to her senses. 

Overall: A-

Tags:   #i read, #young adult fiction, y #the candidates, #paranormal, #ya lit #inara scott #romance #prep school

Wednesday, November 3

At Least She’s Not Screaming Bloody Murder

My Soul to Save- Rachel Vincent

Kaylee is a banshee (bean sidhe) so she screams bloody murder when someone dies.  In this, the second book of the Soul Screamers series, Kaylee learns more about controlling her wail while trying to save a soul from eternal torture.  No big deal. Apart from the suspense of the plot, Vincent is also unafraid to make difficult choices in support of realism rather than happily ever after. But where Vincent shines is in the relationship between Kaylee and Nash, who could ignite a fire their chemistry is so intense. Aside from making your blood boil, Vincent gives her characters some backbone, grit, and touchingly fragile humanity. 

Overall: A-

Tags:   #my soul to save, #young adult fiction, #ya lit, #rachel vincent, #paranormal, #i read

1 note
Tuesday, October 26

Tags:   #dracula, #bram stoker, #paranormal, #classics, #i read #vampires #comic strips

Wednesday, July 21

Linger a while

Linger- Maggie Stiefvater

I wondered where Sam and Grace’s story could go after Shiver which was such a brilliant read, but Stiefvater did an excellent job of continuing their story in a clever way.  I appreciated the alterating narrative voices between Sam, Grace and Cole.  Nothing could have prepared me for how sad and heart-breaking the ending is, but because there is a book 3, I will cling to hope.  BTW: the parents are morons.

Overall: A

Tags:   #mercy falls, #young adult fiction, #i read, #paranormal, #romance, #linger #maggie stiefvater #wolves

Tuesday, July 13

Radiant Shadows

Radiant Shadows- Melissa Marr

The fourth book of the series is my favorite thus far.  Ani and Devlin’s story has the most convincing love story, intriguing plot, and resounding consequences of them all.  The ending was complete enough for me to be satisfied, yet unresolved enough for me to anticipate the next book where I can only hope for some sort of resolution to the Aislinn/Seth thing.  While I had thought I was moving past Marr’s faieries, this book brought me faithfully back to the fold.

Overall: A-

Tags:   #paranormal, #radiant shadows #melissa marr #young adult fiction #i read #romance #faeries

Thursday, June 3

Cause Normal is overrated

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

By the time I had finished the first chapter, I was in love: head over heels in love with Evie.  She’s sassy, sarcastic, smart, decisive and brave—literally all the things I love in a heroine!  As Evie navigates her way through this paranormal adventure, my love for her grew.  And Lend, where do I even begin with that darling boy.  They’re perfect for each other.

White’s novel wins the award for the “most terrifying portrayal of faeries” hands down.  It also touches on deep issues: isolation, family, the soul, happiness, sacrafice, selfishness, intentions and the sometimes fine line between good and evil.  This book provided great food for thought, great adventure, and great characters.  A must read for YA fans.

Overall: A+

Free Ebook arc via Book Expo America

Tags:   #romance, #paranormal, #faeries, #i read, #kiersten white #paranormalcy #young adult fiction #evie #lend

Monday, May 31

I kissed a zombie and I liked it

I Kissed A Zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer

Selzer’s female protagonist Alley is spunky, witty and maybe just a little bit mean.  In a world where supernatural creatures have come out of the closet, Alley may be the only person who is unimpressed by them.  Until she meets Doug.

The book is a short quick read.  While I am still not into zombies, I appreciated the social implications of the book where zombies were once slaves and certainly second class citizens, where vampires were snobby, racist jerks, and humans foolishly fawn at the feet of the supernatural.  If it’s a happy ending you’re looking for, look elsewhere because this book takes a realistic approach with a nothing is perfect stance.

Overall: B+  cause zombies still aren’t my thing

Tags:   #paranormal, #zombies #adam selzer #i kissed a zombie and i liked it #young adult fiction #i read #romance

Monday, March 29

Never Cry Werewolf

Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis was average at best.  I felt like the story could have been good; I wanted it to be good. Frankly, story was so short that it made the characters more superficial and the plot simplistic.  I wanted more story if only to probe the really interesting background and emotion depth that was hinted at but never fully achieved and of which the characters were more than capable. 

This book totally cried wolf on me.

Tags:   #young adult fiction, #i read, #never cry werewolf, #heather davis, #paranormal, #werewolves,