Book Review: The Purple Haze by Andrew Einspruch

Please note that these are affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage if you click through and make a purchase – at no additional cost to you!

The Purple Haze is a fantastic, family-friendly fantasy adventure.

It’s appropriate for both upper Middle Grade and YA readers and is just good ol‘ clean fun.

The worldbuilding is impressive. And I realize this sounds like an odd thing to say, but one of my favorite parts of the book was the names of the various villages. You’ll see what I mean once you read it. 🙂

You can tell Einspruch put a lot of love and care into writing this adventure, and you’ll fall in love with Princess Eloise, Jerome and her other companions. The action really ramped up in the last quarter of the book, and while there is a cliffhanger, it’s a good one.

Click here to grab your copy today.

Note: I was provided with a copy of The Purple Haze by the author, but I am voluntarily writing this review and the opinions expressed are my own.

You can get a free copy of the prequel, The Wombanditos, by joining the author’s newsletter. Just CLICK HERE.

Missed my review of The Wombanditos? You can read the original post here.

2018: A Year in Fiction Book Reviews

Here's a look back at some of the best books I read in 2018 (mostly YA fantasy and YA paranormal romance), plus one that I simply couldn't finish. Click to check out the full list of books and my reviews of them.

As much as I love to read, I’m actually a pretty slow reader. So I went into the year with the goal of reading one book a month.

Luckily, I discovered so many wonderful books that I read far more than that.

(And if I count the children’s books I’ve read to my kids, I could probably add 100+ to this list!)

So, without further ado, here is the round-up of the fiction books I read in 2018.

(These reviews first appeared on BookBub – be sure to follow me there for my latest recommendations and reviews!).

Plus, keep reading for the one book I just couldn’t bring myself to finish.

Books Worth Reading

Please note that these are affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage if you click through and make a purchase – at no additional cost to you!

Elementals by Michelle Madow

This was a really enjoyable read. I thought the concept of the elemental powers was clever and intertwining that with mythology made for an interesting storyline. I’m planning to read the whole series. 🙂

The Blood of the Hydra by Michelle Madow

I loved the second book in this series. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the introduction to the characters and elemental powers in the first book, now that the characters are well established the reader is immediately pulled in to a wild adventure. I love Madows‘ writing style. Her books are fast-paced and easy to read — the perfect little escape from reality!

The Head of Medusa by Michelle Madow

This book was action-packed, easy to read and thoroughly entertaining.

The Portal to Kerberos by Michelle Madow

The Portal to Kerberos continues Madow’s style of great world-building and is a real page-turner.

The Hands of Time by Michelle Madow

The conclusion of this series was action-packed, original and thoroughly entertaining.

Gods and Demons by BR Kingsolver

This book was very well written, it just didn’t capture my interest as much as I would have hoped. I don’t fault the author for that, though, as I knew I was trying a new genre. The main characters were original and believable (although I did have a hard time remembering who the more minor characters were). The storyline was unique and very creative. I think readers who enjoy UF books about elves and shifters will find this to be a fun read.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Why did I wait so long to read this?!?! It’s like The Bachelor meets dystopian YA fiction, but in the absolute best way possible. There’s jealousy, competition and friendship among the girls vying for Prince Maxon’s heart. And the blossoming relationship between America and Maxon feels so genuine and sweet. I liked this book WAY more than I thought I would. This is a series I definitely plan on finishing.

The Vampire Wish by Michelle Madow

I never got into the whole Twilight thing as a teen. But I’m on a The Vampire Diaries kick right now, so I wanted to read a book about vampires. I loved Madow’s Elementals series, so I knew this series would probably be good, too. And it is! The book is written from multiple points of view, and the chapters are relatively short and keep you wanting more (in a good way). It was a really fun read and not too graphic. I think this is a book both teens and adults will enjoy.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

I don’t know why I waited so long to read the second book in The Lunar Chronicles. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed Cinder, and Scarlet did not disappoint. Scarlet is definitely a strong female lead and will do anything to save her beloved grandmother, even if that means putting herself in grave danger. Marissa Meyer’s beautiful descriptions and thoughtful character development make this book one you can lose yourself in. I’m looking forward to continuing the series.

The Elite by Kiera Cass

I have mixed feelings about the second book in the series. I didn’t love it as much as the first. But every time I thought I might be about to lose interest, a new twist pulled me back in. I’m still enjoying the relationship blossoming between America and Maxon and hope America can use her position for good. I’m still liking this series enough to read the next book. 🙂

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

I’m (seemingly) one of the few people in the world who didn’t read the Twilight series when it first came out. I think I would have absolutely loved it as a teen. As an adult, I can see the argument for Edward coming across as a bit creepy and controlling. But if I turn off the logical part of my brain and just enjoy this story for what it is, it’s hard to deny that it’s a fascinating premise and keeps your attention. It’s easy to see how this book started a phenomenon.

The Vampire Prince by Michelle Madow

This book was romantic, had great world-building and is filled with wonderful characters.

The Vampire Trick by Michelle Madow

The third book in this series was easy to read, entertaining and totally original.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

While A Study in Charlotte is a little outside of the realm of what I normally read, I decided to give it a shot. And I’m so glad that I did. I thought this was an insanely clever idea. The descendents of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson ending up at the same boarding school and teaming up to solve a mystery that they’re being framed for? Um, yes please! I wavered between giving this 4 or 5 stars. The biggest negative aspect of the book, in my opinion, is how casually Holmes’ drug use is treated. I mean, the girl has a SERIOUS drug problem, but it’s treated as if that is perfectly normal and just what teens do. That really rubbed me the wrong way. But the story was entertaining enough that I could look past it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am glad I decided to branch out and try something new.

The Wombanditos by Andrew Einspruch

The Wombanditos is unlike anything I’ve read – in the best way possible. In a novelette, author Andrew Einspruch has managed to create a whimsical yet believeable world inhabited by an OCD princess and her talking chipmunk companion Jerome (who was my favorite character!). Together, they set off on an adventure – and run into trouble along the way. Princess Eloise is kidnapped, and it’s up to her and Jerome to outsmart her captors – the Wombanditos. I actually found myself smiling as I read this story. There have been plenty of books lately that have made me teary-eyed, but I can’t remember the last time I SMILED while reading. It’s one of those books that’s a great little escape. Though this story can stand alone, it is the perfect teaser for the series. While it’s technically a YA book, it can certainly be enjoyed by a younger audience as there is no violence or graphic language. As a parent, it’s always nice to come across a fun story that can be enjoyed by all ages. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

The One by Kiera Cass

The third book in The Selection series did not disappoint. If you enjoyed The Selection and The Elite, you’ll find The One to be a great conclusion to America and Maxon’s story. While I expected the dystopian element to play a larger part in things, this series is definitely more of a romance than anything else. I thought I had the ending figured out, but while there is an HEA, the way it played out was shocking. The action really ramped up, which made for a page-turning ending. This series is a great little mindless read. It’s fun and entertaining and a fun escape.

A Game of Vampires by Caroline Peckham

I think I just found a new favorite vampire series. I can’t wait to read the rest! The quality of writing was superb and the descriptions were so vivid without being over the top. For a relatively short story, it was full of action and romance. I loved everything about this book! I highly recommend it.

The Vampire Fate by Michelle Madow

If you enjoyed the rest of The Vampire Wish series, Book 4 will not disappoint! Can’t wait to see what happens next. 🙂

V Games by Caroline Peckham

I absolutely LOVED this book. Like most readers, when I see something being compared to The Hunger Games, I’m a bit skeptical. But y’all… after reading it, I’m telling you it’s a totally fair comparison. It’s like The Hunger Games on steroids… with vampires. But in it’s own totally unique way. The whole premise was fascinating, the characters were well developed, the quality of writing is phenomenal. I can’t recommend it enough. If you’re into reading books about vampires, you do NOT want to miss this one.

The Book I Just Couldn’t Finish

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I realize that I’m in the vast minority hear, but I did not enjoy this book. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I really don’t get the hype. The idea was interesting enough, but I think there was just SO much description that, for me, it got in the way of the story. Before reading it, I remember seeing reviewers complaining about the excessive descriptions of dresses and thinking that was an odd complaint. But seriously. There are so many long-winded descriptions of dresses and colors that it started grating on my nerves. It’s not a terrible book by any means, but I was nearly finished with it when I realized I wasn’t enjoying it at all.

The YA Paranormal Romance You Need To Read Immediately

V Games is the first book in Caroline Peckham’s exciting YA paranormal romance series The Vampire Games. And let me tell you – I absolutely loved it.

Like most readers, when I see something being compared to The Hunger Games, I’m a bit skeptical.

But y’all

After reading it, I’m telling you it’s a totally fair comparison.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I get a small amount of money if you click through and make a purchase (at no extra cost to you).

It’s like The Hunger Games on steroids… with vampires. But in its own totally unique way.

The whole premise was fascinating, the characters were well developed, the quality of writing is phenomenal. I can’t recommend it enough.

If you’re into reading books about vampires, you do NOT want to miss this one.

Enjoy this review? Check out my other book reviews here.

New Release Roundup: YA Paranormal Romance

Please note that these are affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage if you click through and make a purchase – at no additional cost to you!

Here’s a selection of some of the latest new releases in YA paranormal romance.

She didn’t want an Alpha,
but Destiny had other plans…

Click here to read His Mate by Anna Santos.

Everything is quiet in the magnificent halls of the Sapphire Palace but Eira is not deluded into thinking her struggles are over.

Click here to read On Wings of Doom by Ginny Clyde.

Four supposed soulmates. One persistent Light Angel. A power she can’t control.

Click here to read Hunted by the Fallen by Samantha Britt.

Nighttide has come and with it demons who prowl the darkened streets, killing those who stray from safety.

Click here to read Song of Nighttide by Megan O’Russell.

 

And don’t forget, my YA-friendly PNR book Curses and Crowns is on pre-order now for only $0.99!  You can snag the deal here.

New Release Roundup: YA Paranormal Romance

Love all things paranormal? Then I have a treat for you. This week, there are two new releases in young adult paranormal romance/urban fantasy books that I’d love to share with you.

Please note that these are affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage if you click through and make a purchase – at no additional cost to you!

First up is When Waves Collide by S. McPherson. It’s the fifth book in The Last Elentrice series and looks totally epic!

Next, there’s Enchantress by Anna Santos. A sorceress, a huntress and a vampire all wrapped up in one person? Um, yes please! Be advised, though, that this one is geared toward more mature audiences.

And if those new releases aren’t enough to quell your appetite, you might enjoy sinking your teeth into my book Blood Heirs, which you can grab for free here.

New Release Roundup: YA Fantasy

In this week’s YA Fantasy book roundup, we have two fascinating tales – one featuring pirates and the other featuring thieves. If you’re looking for a captivating escape, check out Through Fathoms Dark and Deep and Blade of Memories!

Please note that these are affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage if you click through and make a purchase – at no additional cost to you!

And if you’re still on the hunt for an addicting fantasy book, you might enjoy Fate Abandoned by yours truly.

New Release Roundup: YA Sci-Fi

Sunscorched, this week’s new release in YA Sci-Fi, is the winner of the Rosemary Award for excellence in YA fiction. And if the cover is any hint of what the book is like, I’m betting readers are in for one wild ride!

Please note that this is an affiliate link, which means I get a small percentage if you click through and make a purchase – at no additional cost to you!

And if you’re searching for more YA-friendly sci-fi books, you might enjoy my book Conspiracy Unleashed.

New Release Roundup: YA Paranormal Romance

There’s just one PNR book to share with you today, but it’s an exciting one!

Book 3 in the series The Raven and the Witch Hunter releases November 5th.

It’s available for pre-order now.

Please note that this is an affiliate link, which means I get a small percentage if you click through and make a purchase – at no additional cost to you!

 

 

 

 

 

And don’t forget you can still download my book Blood Heirs for FREE here.

New Release Roundup: YA Fantasy

There are a couple of exciting new releases in YA fantasy this week.

Both of these are the latest books in their respective series.  🙂

Please note that these are affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage if you click through and make a purchase – at no additional cost to you!

And while you’re looking for your next fantasy read, take a look at my series Fate Abandoned.

The Ultimate Teen Reading Wish-List This Christmas

YA BOOKS | GIFTS FOR TEENS | CHRISTMAS PRESENTS FOR TEENS | BEST BOOKS FOR TEENAGERS

Please note that these are affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage if you click through and make a purchase – at no additional cost to you!

1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Paperback Collection by Jenny Han

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard the buzz about the hit Netflix rom-com To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.  And if you’re looking for just the right gift, you can’t go wrong this New York Times bestseller. (P.S. – If you haven’t watched the movie yet, I *highly* recommend it. It’s an instant classic!)

2. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I have been seeing this book EVERYWHERE. Fellow authors are recommending it to me constantly and it is all over Instagram! As of writing this post, this instant New York Times bestseller has more than 1200 5-star reviews on Amazon alone. And you’d better believe it’s on my TBR list!

3. A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Another favorite on Instagram, Reaper at the Gates is the third book in the An Ember in the Ashes series. This third installment just came out this summer, so if you’re shopping for someone who’s a bit behind on their TBR list, this would make an epic Christmas gift.


4. Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas

After much anticipation, this book finally released in August. Sarah J. Maas knows how to write one heck of a story, and the latest book in the DC Icons series (which can be read in any order) is no exception.

5. Legendary: A Caraval Novel by Stephanie Garber

I really debated whether to include this book on the list because I seem to be the only person on the planet who isn’t in love with this series. But honestly, the Caraval series is such a sensation that I felt it would be wrong not to include it. Fans of the first novel are raving about the latest installment in the series, and it’s a must-read before the finale (rightly titled Finale) releases in the Spring.

And that, my friends, rounds out the list of the ultimate gifts for teen readers. I hope you’ve found it helpful.

If you’re still searching for more gifts, you might be interested in my YA fantasy series Fate AbandonedAll of my stories are fast-paced and filled with memorable characters. And, most importantly, they’re all teen-friendly (though adults love them, too!).

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:
YA Book Gift Guide for the (Kick-Butt) Princess in Your Life