Blog Tour Book Review: The Urban Boys: The Discovery of the Five Senses by K. N. Smith

Oooh, guess who’s back to bring you her first post in a long time!
Today is my stop on TheWriteReads blog tour for The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith and I’ll be sharing my thoughts and a review of the book!

Book Description

Title: The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses
Author: K.N. Smith
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy/Thriller
Length: 292 Pages
Publishing: 29th September 2015
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0989474755/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26850355-the-urban-boys

Book Blurb

Welcome or unwelcome. Fate has arrived.

“A captivating and poetic tale of mystery, fantasy, and reality tied together by action!” 5-stars, Lars Jackson, Amazon Customer

A suspenseful incident in a forbidden preserve heightens the senses of five friends. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell become super-gifts that forever change the world. But furious battles confront the boys as they try to understand their sensory super powers in a race to save mankind. With light beings and mysterious strangers complicating their plight, can the boys defeat the evil Druth before it’s too late? Get prepared for the twisting and grinding of this award-winning, action-adventure story — an edge-of-your-seat narrative for young and mature readers alike.


Disclaimer: A physical copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. A huge thank you to TheWriteReads and the author for this copy! All opinions are my own.


Book Review

The story begins with a pretty good hook. Nothing’s more gripping and grabs your attention like two teenagers happening across a murder happening right in front of them. It almost seems like the act comes from nowhere and many years later, the very villain reappears to wreck havoc; destruction ensues and heroes are needed to stop him. The original team failed, but can these boys successed in what the original gang could not do?

The writing is an odd mix; It was the only thing I really couldn’t get over. It’s very poetic and flowery on the edge of purple, but only sometimes. The main characters of this book are teenagers, but there are times that it felt like they were a bit younger, like middle school superheroes, the kind that are 10 and mom waves you off to take on the world (*squints in Pokemon*). So it was a strange mix between YA-aged characters with the occasional middle-grade feel but with literary proses that felt like what I’d read in English class in college. There ARE times when it’s fantastic though. There were a few moments where nothing but purple could be used to describe a scene, lest you do it and the emotions injustice. I’ve seen some people describe the prose as lyrical and I can’t agree more. I swear I shed at least a few tears myself.

Like large almonds, captivating in their shape and color, Jordan and Mason’s eyes beautifully expressed their mixed heritage, showcasing a mash of brown, green, and blue. Reminiscent of a seascape, their dark eyelids and thick eyebrows perfectly framed their bluehazel features.

The parts that were really hard to read were the awkward pacing and descriptions. Sometimes things are overly descriptive and sometimes you lose chunks of time because of the utter lack of descriptions. Things that don’t need any more description have it in abundance. Things that do need more text don’t have it. The writing can be kind of tell-y vs showy.

It is a fast read though. The writing, despite all the flowers, is actually very easy to read. I’ve never had a book so “lyrical” and still so easy to digest. Gone are the days where I reread the same page 10 times because one paragraph lost me completely. Turns out, it really is possible to have fancy sentences that are still readable by my very slow-to-digest brain. I can’t tell you how refreshing that is. Combined with relatively short chapters, this was one of the easier-to-read books I’ve gone through all year! I practically inhaled it and it’s very easy to read in a single sitting. 

Magic and worldbuilding-wise, working around a plot related to the heightened five senses was a neat concept. I know super vision, super hearing, and maybe super smelling abilities are part of the widely used superpowers out there, but super taste and super touch are new and creative. The five senses are important and strong when together and that was a major theme in the book; being together. Alone, the boys were weak. What good is super-smelling abilities without the others backing you up? But when the boys work together, that very power can help the group track the villain down and the others can still back him up in terms of manpower and senses. Further in the story, this sense of sticking together becomes even more important.

The characters are interesting. We have a group of teenage boys all with interesting families. There’s a character where his mother had passed after an accident, another whose parents are together, and another who is being looked after by his very hard working older sister. All of their families are very supportive of the boys and are constantly doing their best to look after the boys. In turn, the boys do their best not to stress them out, even if this means hiding their powers and abilities (and the fact that they’re kids trying to save the world; but also let’s face it, tell your pops you have superpowers and see if he believes you).

As for the boys themselves, they’re pretty fleshed-out characters. The five boys claim a sense each and it was interesting getting to see how each of them adjusts to their powers, how they use them to both fight and support each other. They have individual lives outside of kicking butt, they have their own problems at home or with girlfriends, and all of them come from different circumstances. Despite the differences, they still do their best to mold their newfound powers to be inclusive of the others in the group and come to the aid when it’s needed.

Overall, this was a good book that I would recommend to YA readers. The writing is flowery and lyrical, is heavy on metaphors sometimes and quite poetic, but it’s also very easy to read, easy to digest, and with shortish chapters, I was able to fly through this book. The pacing and occasional awkward time skips made things feel a little off when reading, but that’s my only gripe with the book. The cast of characters are some pretty good and decent kids with their families just as good of people. All in all, a good book with a neat concept. 

About the Author

K.N. Smith is an award-winning author. She is a passionate advocate of arts and literacy programs throughout the world. Her lyrical flair sweeps across pages that twist and grind through action-adventure and urban fantasy in edge-of-your-seat narratives. K.N. has over twenty-five years’ experience in communications and creative design as an award-winning consultant. Reading is still her foremost hobby. She is also the founder of Mental Health California™, and creator and director of Brother Be Well, her signature nonprofit community initiative. Discovery of the Five Senses was awarded “Best of” in the category “Outstanding Young Adult Novel” at the Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Awards at the 10th Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair. The event, voted one of LA’s best annual book festivals, attracts over 200 authors, poets, spoken word artists, storytellers, performers, and literary/ educational exhibitor participants, and boasts an audience of over 5,000. She is also a Readers’ Favorite “Gold Medal” honoree for “Young Adult – Mystery”.

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Blog Tour Spotlight: Where David Threw Stones by Elyse Hoffman

Happy Friday, my lovely peeps🐥! I’m actually at the office today rather than working from home and actively planning my lunch break shopping plans already.

Today starts the blog tour for Where David Threw Stones by Elyse Hoffman and I’m happy to share a spotlight for my stop! A huge shout-out and a big thank you to TheWriteReads for hosting this blog tour.

Book Description

Title: Where David Threw Stones
Author: Elyse Hoffman
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 442 Pages
Publishing: 27th September 2022
Links: [AMAZON LINK] [GOODREADS LINK]

Blurb

“Welcome to the Brennenbach of Midnight! The Curse Hours have begun.”

West Germany, 1968


When ten-year-old David Saidel’s parents are murdered by Neo-Nazis, he is sent to live with his grandfather in the anti-Semitic village of Brennenbach. David, miserable and lonely, finds solace in his kindly Grandpa Ernst, who has one strict rule: never go out after midnight.

One night, when David breaks curfew to search for his missing dog, he discovers why Ernst is so serious about his curfew: Brennenbach is cursed. When midnight strikes, the town is thrown back to 1943, the height of Hitler’s reign.

During the Curse Hours, the Nazi ghosts that infest Brennebach are just as dangerous as they were in life. They’re hunting for David because they think David is the last remaining member of the Kogan family. Whatever happened to the Kogan’s caused the Curse, and David and his grandfather won’t be safe until he finds a way to end it.

Through the help of a little girl named Maria Rahm, the daughter of a vicious Nazi Lieutenant, he sets out to uncover the truth behind the Kogan’s. Can he end the Curse that plagues the town of Brennenbach before it claims another victim?

This spellbinding Historical WW2 Fantasy Novel is a story of a ten-year-old boy’s loss, redemption, and ultimate courage. Award-winning author Elyse Hoffman has crafted an expertly woven tale of World War II’s horrors. This thrilling story is perfect for readers of Marcus Zusak’s “The Book Thief,” John Boyne’s “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” or Michael Reit’s “Beyond the Tracks.”

About the Author

Elyse Hoffman is an award-winning author who strives to tell historical tales with new twists. She loves to meld WWII and Jewish history with fantasy, folklore, and the paranormal. She has written six works of Holocaust historical fiction: The Barracks of the Holocaust five-book series and The Book of Uriel. Elyse’s books are the way to go if you love history and want to read some unique stories.

Blog Tour Book Review: Odreil’s Heirs by Hayley Reese Chow

Happy Saturday my lovely peeps🐥!

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Odriel’s Heirs by Hailey Reese Chow. One of the final round books I got to read as a panelist for BBNYA, back in December, I really enjoyed this one! Shout out and a major thank you to both The Write Reads and BBNYA for giving me a chance to read this. Odriel’s Heirs came in 5th place in the 2021 BBNYA and I’m excited to share the review with you all!

Book Description

Title: Odriel’s Heirs
Series: Odriel’s Heirs Book # 1
Author: Hayley Reese Chow
Publisher: Self Published
Length: 178 Pages
Date Published: March 1, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Magic, Romance, Young Adult, Adventure
Rating: 4 Golden Eggs
Links: AMAZON CANADA | AMAZON USA | AMAZON UK | GOODREADS | AUTHOR WEBSITE

Blurb

The brave, burning with fire, harnessed the Dragon’s Rage….

As the Dragon Heir, seventeen-year-old Kaia inherited the power of flame to protect her homeland from a godlike necromancer’s undead army. But after centuries of peace, the necromancer has faded to myth, and the Dragon Heir is feared by the people. Persecuted and cast out, Kaia struggles to embrace and control her seemingly useless gift while confined to her family’s farm.

But when the necromancer’s undead terrorize the land once again, Kaia runs away to join the battle.

With the help of her childhood rival, the handsome Shadow Heir, and a snarky, cursed cat, Kaia must figure out how to control both her fire and her confidence in time to save Okarria. If she fails, she will sacrifice her family, her new friends, and the enchanting world she has only just begun to see.

And time is running out.

Review

This book follows the main characters, Kaia, a young woman who struggles to control her fire powers and Klaus, who seems to already have his fully under his control. The two of them are heirs, having inherited their powers to protect those around them, even if they in turn shun them out of fear and unfortunately Kaia’s inability to fully control her fires, doesn’t really help either.

The powers that the heirs have were meant to protect the people from the necromancer’s army, though he’d not been seen in a long time, long enough that he became nothing but a story. That is…until myth becomes reality and the undead army suddenly attacks during a festival. Instead of hiding, Kaia joins the fight. This is, after all, what she’s been training so long and hard for!

I really enjoyed this book, especially given to the fact that it reminds me of some of my favorite storyline styles (and tropes) where there’s an evil god and a band of adventurers rallying against it’s reign to bring peace back to the lands. It reminds me a bit of Fire Emblem and maybe I’m just biased towards any book plot that reminds me of the game.

Things are pretty violent in this book, especially towards the beginning with slit throats, death by burning alive, and the aftermath of some grotesques tortures.

A very quick and fast read, this book was zooming by and before I knew it, it was sadly over. The characters and world were good and I would love to see more of this world in the future books. There’s so much to love and the characters, especially, were among my favorite aspects of the story. There’s Kaia who goes through so much hell through this book and her growth in attitude and powers was one of the best parts. I thought the bickering and interactions between Kaia and Klaus was adorable and I loved how protective Klaus was of Kaia.

There’s also Kaia’s dog and partner, a ragehound, who is in charge of snapping her back to reality, whenever she loses control of her powers and succumbs to dragon rage. There’s a talking cat that I fell in love with, bear people with wolf ears and long snouts who shape-shift back into humans once a moon (like a reverse were-wolfbear?), a grumpy hermit who lives in the woods, and a cast of other very interesting people.

Don’t forget the nightmare fuel of “essentially the entire enemy’s army is comprised of the dead.”

All in all, a great book with some of my favorite tropes. Extra points for the cute animals and adored the writing and prose here as well.

4 Shiny Shiny Eggs!

About the Author

Hayley Reese Chow is the author of Odriel’s Heirs, the 2020 winner of the Florida Author Project. She also has short and flash fiction featured in Lite Lit One, The Drabble, Bewildering Stories, Teleport Magazine, and Rogue Blades Entertainment’s anthology, As You Wish.

Until recently though, she’s mostly done a lot of things that have nothing at all to do with writing. Her hat collection includes mother, wife, engineer, USAF veteran, reservist, four-time All American fencer, 100 mile ultramarathoner, triathlete, world traveler, book inhaler, and super nerd.

Hayley currently lives in Florida with two small wild boys, her long-suffering husband, and her miniature ragehound.

But at night, when the house is still, she writes.

To find Hayley’s other stories and see what she’s working on next, check out hayleyreesechow.com. You can also find her on Twitter or Instagram @HayleyReeseChow.

About BBNYA

This year, the Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year Award (BBNYA) is celebrating the 65 books that made it into Round Two with a mini spotlight blitz tour for each title. BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors, ending with 10 finalists and one overall winner.

If you want some more information about BBNYA, check out the BBNYA Website https://www.bbnya.com/ or take a peek over on Twitter @BBNYA_Official. BBNYA is brought to you in association with the @Foliosociety (if you love beautiful books, you NEED to check out their website!) and the book blogger support group @The_WriteReads.

The Lore of Prometheus [Blog Tour] [Review]

I received a copy of this book as part of a blog tour. A huge shout out and a major thank you to the BBNYA 2020 tours organized by the @The_WriteReads tours team as well as to the author for letting me participate in this tour. All opinions are my own. 

BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. 
If you are an author and wish to learn more about the 2021 BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website (https://www.bbnya.com/) or our Twitter account, @BBNYA_Official.

If you would like to sign-up and enter your book, you can find the BBNYA 2021 AUTHOR SIGN UP FORM HERE. Please make sure to carefully read our terms and conditions before entering. 

If you are a book blogger or reviewer, you can apply to be part of BBNYA 2021 by filling out this form (also remember to read the terms and conditions before signing up)! 

BBNYA is brought to you in association with the Folio Society (If you love beautiful books you NEED to check out their website!) And the book blogger support group TheWriteReads.


Book Name: The Lore of Prometheus
Author: Graham Austin-King
Pages: 287
Book Type: Ebook > Kindle Genre: Fantasy > Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Fiction > Military Fiction, Thriller
Rating: 4.5 (Goodreads: 5)

TW/CW: PTSD, Gore, Violence, Kidnapping, Torture, Drugging, Held Prisoner, Death, Burned Alive/To Death, Murder, Medical Experimentation, Gunshot wounds, War and War Scenes 

Blurb

John Carver has three rules: Don’t drink in the daytime, don’t gamble when the luck has gone, and don’t talk to the dead people who come to visit.

It has been almost five years since the incident in Kabul. Since the magic stirred within him and the stories began. Fleeing the army, running from the whispers, the guilt, and the fear he was losing his mind, Carver fell into addiction, dragging himself through life one day at a time.

Desperation has pulled him back to Afghanistan, back to the heat, the dust, and the truth he worked so hard to avoid. But there are others, obsessed with power and forbidden magics, who will stop at nothing to learn the truth of his gifts. Abducted and chained, Carver must break more than his own rules if he is to harness this power and survive.

Thoughts & Opinons

Straight into the book, I took noticed of the writing style and thought, “I’m going to like it here.” I wasn’t here to participate in judging last year’s competition, but if I had to choose any random piece, it didn’t matter where in the book I landed, I probably would’ve agreed that this book was very well written so I think it’s a well earned crown that sits atop this book and author.

A short read that’s just shy of 300 pages, I went into this book already late and still managed to finish right about on time. Saying I inhaled the book was probably an understatement.

A very dark book the starts with addiction, gambling, trauma and hallucinations and dives deep into kidnapping, experimentations and brutal psychological and physical torture. Trauma is a major theme of this book and is the root and source of many of the prisoners’ powers. Horrific trauma, watching your loved ones die, and knowing there’s no other possible way out for yourself is the fuel to the bonfire.

This is the second military fiction I’ve read, and to date, both books had protagonists that suffered from various degrees of survivors guilt. John Carver, is a broken man, even before the kidnappers got a hold of him. Suffering from deep trauma, severe PTSD and survivors guilt, he is down on his luck and very nearly down to his last pennies. With a loan shark breathing down his next promising his own next breathes to maybe be his last, unless he coughs up the dough, Carver is doomed and very very desperate. He’s got no more choices left and he needs to get a job and he’s desperate enough to go back to where it all started.

With most of his skills stemming from his military experience, his only chance is a glorified babysitting job back Kabul, back to where the dust and nightmares began.

Being the only one in his squad who had survived during his time in Kabul, he blames himself for the loss of his teammates, especially so as hallucinations. For the last five years, Pearson, Wilson, and Turner have plagued him and not just in his memories. Ghosts of his past follow him daily, so real they bleed on the floors in front of him, reminding him that he, Carver, could have and did not save them.

Mackenzie is the other main protagonist with her own traumas and just as Carver’s trauma woke his “miracle” so did hers. Both she and Carver were well written characters and you really got to know them. Mackenzie displayed absolute strength in the toughest of times and the two of them made for an amazing read and as much as I enjoyed how well done Carver’s character is, I think that Mackenzie is the character I loved the most. My heart broke for her, stopped for her, bled and cried for her trauma; both in the past and what she goes through in the book, especially the latter.

Action packed, this book was phenomenally put together and thought-out. There was plenty of research going into this and those, like me, with no background in the military won’t need to fear getting lost. Any jargon of any sorts is easily and simply explained; a quick breeze over without interrupting the story telling and flow.

The book switches between two characters POVs (Mackenzie and Carver) as well as two types of POVs, third and first respectively. I didn’t really mind the switch in POV types though it did take me perhaps 6 chapters to noticed that it was being switched around at all (I’m not the most attentive). I actually quite liked it because it helped separate the two situations and if there were any deeper analysis to this; I’d say the first person really helped me get into Carver’s head because only Carver could see what he sees and that’s people that are no longer amongst the living. I don’t think third person would have worked as well.

Fast paced and with great dialogues that helped break and ease the tension in this extremely dark, gorey and very unforgiving situation, this book was very well executed. It had me hooked from the start and flying through the book was no hard task. Paired with wonderfully written characters, real or not, I had a great time. I was a WEEE bit confused towards the end but that might just be me.

A little sad to see this book come to a close as it’s a standalone but it’s been the rainbow to my newly discovered pot of gold as I look forward to more from Graham Austin-King and I will definitely be following and checking out some of his other works.

I heavily recommend this book because it’s executed so well with the writing being one of my favorite aspects of this read. I’m one to love characters more than the writing and plot itself, but this time, despite how well the characters are already written, it was the writing style and writing that I truly fell in love it. However, please keep in mind that this is a pretty dark book with a lot of triggers. It gets very intense and heavy at times and even I needed a breather here and there.

4 ½ Cups 🥰

Author

Graham Austin-King was born in the south of England and weaned on broken swords and half-forgotten spells.

A shortage of these forced him to consume fantasy novels at an ever-increasing rate, turning to computers and tabletop gaming between meals.

He experimented with writing at the beginning of an education that meandered through journalism, international relations, and law. To this day he is committed to never allowing those first efforts to reach public eyes.

After spending a decade in Canada learning what ‘cold’ really means, and being horrified by poutine, he settled once again in the UK with a seemingly endless horde of children.

To date he is the author of five novels, drawing on a foundation of literary
influences ranging from David Eddings to Clive Barker.

Website: https://grahamaustin-king.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GrayAustin