Friday, February 10, 2017

Review ~ Till Death and Beyond by Lyn C. Johanson

Till Death and Beyond (Witch World #1)
by Lyn C. Johanson
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance
Print length: 374 pages
Release Date: September 21st 2016

 Till Death and Beyond is a sizzling tale of two souls bound by destiny in a cruel plot to separate them forever...

Amira is the strongest witch on the face of the earth, with psychic abilities no others possess. And yet, she is but a slave to the whims of the gods. Forced to be born anew every time she fails in fulfilling an ancient prophecy, Amira is desperate to break the vicious cycle.

Plagued by the memories and guilt over his family’s demise, Raven lives for the sole reason of restoring his younger brother. And kidnapping a witch is only the beginning—for he intends to right the wrongs of his past by any means necessary.

While the gods might have planned for her to be captured, surrender is not something that comes easy to Amira. Yet one glance into her captor’s eyes, and she is swept away by emotions long ago denied to her. She decides to play along. For a while.

Despite the hatred Raven harbors for their kind, he is intrigued by the witch. One taste of her lips, and she becomes his obsession. Soon, he discovers that fighting against the passion they ignite in one another is futile. But as they strip each other’s secrets, a powerful force threatens to destroy them both.

For in this game of gods nothing is simple—the whole universe seems to conspire against them. And no matter how fiercely they fight, or what they are willing to endure to save each other ... the path they travel is paved with loss.

Will they survive the ultimate test, if even their determination—to fight till death—might not be enough?



I really liked it. I enjoyed Amira's journey and her character development... and her magic and abilities! I LOVE witch stories! I really liked her and Raven's relationship progression and the soul mate-ness of it all. I even enjoyed many of the side characters... though, they seemed a bit one dimensional, though that's par for the course for side characters. And although it was a bit confusing, I did like how the battle ended and how everything wrapped up... especially since it opened the door for sequels in an intriguing way. BUT, I would have liked to have more world building, more explanation into certain things... like the different factions of peoples and the motivations behind their actions, the hierarchy in place, the order, the witch hunters... I spent a great deal of time rather confused about this world and the people within it. I felt like it was missing a bit of exposition into it all. I hope the sequels fix this.

Another thing I found quite confusing was the blend of language... most of the time, it's written classically, almost medieval-ish which is the type of time period I picture this world in, but other times, the language is very modern, especially in the colloquialisms used by the characters. It took me out of the story at times.

However, despite what I felt were few flaws, I do plan to continue this series if and/or when the next book comes out. It certainly has the potential to be a really good fantasy romance series.

A computer science major, Lyn C. Johanson discovered her passion for writing romance stories
during the long and stressful months spent finishing her master‘s thesis. It encouraged Lyn to open a new blank page and let her imagination take flight. Several years later, her first romance novel was born.
Her stories transport the reader into the darkly sensual world where the magic of romance meets fantasy. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and sons.

Visit her website at

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Intergalactic Book Tag! ~ Lisa

1. Space: Name a book that is out of this world - takes place in a world other than our own.

Eon & Eona Duology
by Alison Goodman
Eon/Eona takes place in a fantasy world inspired by Asian culture. It's a GREAT read... Eona is one of my most re-read books... I find myself picking it back up all the time! I HIGHLY recommend!

2. Black Hole: Name a book that completely sucked you in.

The Mediator Series
by Meg Cabot
A badass 16-year-old who can see ghosts... and falls in love with one! Another I HIGHLY recommend! If you've ever read anything by Meg Cabot, you know that she has the ability to write YA in a realistic and comedic way... despite some terrible themes and events, this series always gets me giggling!

3. Light Speed: Name a book that you are anticipating so much you wish you could travel at light-speed to get to it.

The upcoming Tamora Pierce books... specifically, the next Tris book in the Emelan Universe! 

AND the Numair prequel series!... Numair being one of the main characters in the Immortals series set in the Tortall Universe books...

*covers not yet available. :( :( :( 

If you haven't read Tamora Pierce, and you like YA high fantasy with knights, magic, mages, and magical creatures, I HIGHLY recommend reading Tamora Pierce!

If you prefer more mature YA, I recommend starting with the Tortall Universe:

If you prefer YA that's slightly more middle grade (but not really, there are very mature and adult subjects in this series as well, it just centers around slightly younger characters, at least in the beginning... it does get more mature as they age), then I'd recommend the Emelan Universe:

4. Nebula: Name a book with a beautiful cover.

Shadows of the Forest
by Emma Michaels
I mean... LOOK at this GORGEOUS cover!

5. Multiverse: Name a companion/spinoff you love.

The Infernal Devices series
by Cassandra Clare
The ID series is both a prequel and a spinoff series of the more commonly known series, Mortal Instruments. This is a tad controversial, but I actually enjoy the ID series more. It's shorter and more to the point... it doesn't feel repetitive, and I connected with Tess, Will, and Jem more than I did with Clary, Jace, and Simon. Not that I don't love them and the MI books, I just enjoyed ID more. :)

6. Gravity: Name a romantic pairing who seem to have a gravitational pull to one another.

Bella & Edward from the Twilight Saga
by Stephenie Meyer
Not only do they have a gravitational pull towards one another, I have a pull towards them... I love reading Twilight fanfiction with this pairing... in fact, it's pretty much all I read for a good 3 or 4 years. lol

7. The Big Bang: Name a book that sparked your love to read.

Ballet for Drina (Drina #1)
by Jean Estoril
I read Ballet for Drina for a book report in Jr High and it was the first time that I found that I could actually ENJOY the reading experience. It was a small spark that quickly grew when I started reading for pleasure.

8. Asteroid: Name a short story or novella that you love.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard
by J.K. Rowling
This small collection of short stories is a MUST for any Harry Potter lover!
My personal favorite was The Tale of the Three Brothers, which is used in Deathly Hallows... but all five stories are fantastic!

9. Galaxy: Name a book with multiple POVs.

Firebirds Rising: An Anthology of Original Science Fiction and Fantasy (Firebirds #2)
This anthology is amazing... full of wonderful scifi and fantasy short stories!

10. Spaceship: Name a title that would be a great spaceship name.

Hawksong (The Kiesha'ra #1)
by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes 
There's something about "Hawksong" that just... sounds amazing. I think it would make a really pretty and memorable spaceship name!


Welp, there's my picks for this tag! I didn't mean for all of them to be YA... but that generally is what I read most. Maybe I'll do an adult edition next week.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Review ~ Shadows of the Forest by Emma Michaels

Shadows of the Forest
by Emma Michaels
Genre: YA Fantasy

Everyone is dying to live in the Shadows of the Forest.

They gave me three rules to follow in exchange for my brother’s life:

1. Do not enter the West Wing;
2. Do not go outside after darkness falls; and
3. There is only one exit; The Gates.

This is what happened when I broke them…

Rating: 3.5*

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the fantasy and the folklore of it all... and I quite enjoyed the journey Lily took to save the life of her brother... however, it did fall a little flat for me, it fell short of it's potential. The first pitfall was the need for another editorial lookover. Overall, the prose was nice, lovely even in many parts, but there were sections with fragmented sentences and incorrect word placement... which took me out of the story a few times because I had to go back and reread it to understand what the author was saying or describing.

Another pitfall - and I'm kinda torn on this in some ways - was that there could have been MORE... more character development, more world building. I would have liked to see more of both the spirit world and the hospital Lily found herself in. I would have liked to see more detail about the culture within these places. You know, Lily is told many times that not everything is as it seems, that she needs to be careful about how she responds to the spirits... giving on this idea that perhaps Lily is in danger... but I never actually saw that. Other than a couple dirty looks and some secrets being kept from her, I never got the feeling that Lily was in any kind of danger. And this goes double for Arro. Many of the characters warned Lily about Arro, that he was a trickster fox and she had to look out for his tricks... but I never got the feeling that he was particularly mischievous... perhaps a bit wary of her, but never cruel. I also would have liked to see more development into their relationship. I know all of this takes place within a short time span because Cole's life is hanging by a thread, but a couple conversations between Lily and Arro would have been helpful in believing their relationship and the depth of their feelings for one another.

I also would have liked to see more of Lily and Cole's life before the accident. Their life is pretty vague, probably purposefully so, but I would have still liked to know more of who they were before all this... and it would have helped out in character development. 

And this is where I'm torn... It really could have been twice the size it turned out to be... and in many ways, I do wish there had been more to the story and definitely to the world building, but I do kinda like that in keeping it mysterious, in keeping it vague, Emma left much of it up to the reader's imagination. It's always kind of cool when authors do this and do it well.

Overall, although I'm torn on the purposefully vague and mysterious aspects of it all, I still really enjoyed reading this and I look forward to checking out more of Emma's books. 


Also, what IS Usagi/Sachiko, Willow and now Lily?? I've been trying to find out what kind of spirit/creature they are but I haven't been able to. I find it FASCINATING... especially Lily with her cosmos/galaxy markings!

Emma Michaels is the award winning author of the Society of Feathers series. With over 15 written publications and hundreds of book covers under her belt she plans on taking over the literary world one cup of coffee at a time.



I just HAD to include some of her art... they're gorgeous! Check out her website for all her cover art!