Book Tour: The Hollow Gods- A.J. Vrana


  • Author: A.J. Vrana
  • Genre: Dark Fantasy/Horror
  • Page Count: 409
  • Date Started: July 19th
  • Date Finished: July 26th

A Brief Description

Black Hollow is a town with a dark secret. For centuries, residents have foretold the return of the Dreamwalker—an ominous figure from local folklore said to lure young women into the woods and possess them. Yet the boundary between fact and fable is blurred by a troubling statistic: occasionally, women do go missing. And after they return, they almost always end up dead.

When Kai wakes up next to the lifeless body of a recently missing girl, his memory blank, he struggles to clear his already threadbare conscience.

Miya, a floundering university student, experiences signs that she may be the Dreamwalker’s next victim. Can she trust Kai as their paths collide, or does he herald her demise?

And after losing a young patient, crestfallen oncologist, Mason, embarks on a quest to debunk the town’s superstitions, only to find his sanity tested.

A maelstrom of ancient grudges, forgotten traumas, and deadly secrets loom in the foggy forests of Black Hollow. Can three unlikely heroes put aside their fears and unite to confront a centuries-old evil? Will they uncover the truth behind the fable, or will the cycle repeat?

Goodreads || Amazon


Note: I received this book from the author through Storytellers on Tour. I wanted to thank them for this opportunity! If you click the link below, you can see the full schedule.

Storytellers on Tour: Tour Schedule


MY REVIEW

Hollow Gods by A.J. Vrana takes place in a small town in Canada called Black Hollow. The town is surrounded by woods and shrouded in secrets and folklore. This town is plagued by the Dreamwalker, a mythical figure that takes women into the forest. When they women finally emerge, they are always changed, and they always end up dead.

Miya, a struggling college student is… well struggling. She is struggling with college while also dealing with her own mental health issues, depression and anxiety. When she begins to experience signs that she might be the Dreamwalker’s next victim, she embarks on a journey to try to find exactly what is taking the girls of Black Hollow, and how to stop it.

Kai, is a lone wolf. He lives away from the confines of Black Hollow and tries to scrape his living together in the woods of Black Hollow. He is hunted by the towns people as a messenger of the Dreamwalker and he is haunted by a dark entity. He was… an interesting character to read a perspective from. I am not usually a fan of the “alpha” male kind of personality, and Kai definitely has one. You can see a very distinct change come over him as he gets to know Miya and as he allows himself to get close to others.

Mason, a resident doctor, who is escaping his everyday life due to the loss of a patient. He is learning that his arrogance is a hindrance in his career. He escapes to Black Hollow on a vacation to get away from the trauma and pain that he is feeling. When he learns about the myths and folklore that is so embedded in the everyday lives of the townsfolk of Black Hollow he seeks to find the logical explanation for these occurrences.

These three characters come together in a snarky, arrogant and different mix. There is an underlying romantic aspect here that slowly builds up as the novel goes on. I’ll be honest here, like I said before, I’m not a huge fan of the “alpha male” personality, so I didn’t really care for the romance all that much, but as it went on I found myself enjoying it more.

Something I really liked about this is the folklore and myth surrounding the town and the Dreamwalker. I really liked the story behind it and finding out what exactly was going on in this town.

I would recommend this book for anyone who loves urban fantasy, thriller and spooky books!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A.J. Vrana is a Serbian-Canadian academic and writer from Toronto, Canada. She lives with her two rescue cats, Moonstone and Peanut Butter, who nests in her window-side bookshelf and casts judgmental stares at nearby pigeons. Her doctoral research examines the supernatural in modern Japanese and former- Yugoslavian literature and its relationship to violence. When not toiling away at caffeine fueled, scholarly pursuits, she enjoys jewelry making, cupcakes, and concocting dark tales to unleash upon the world.

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Giveaway!

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This has been my stop on the Hollow Gods Book Tour! Check out the schedule posted at the beginning of this post to check out more posts by other content creators on this tour!

~Cam

Book Tour: Voice of War- Zack Argyle


Rating: 3 out of 5.

  • Author: Zack Argyle
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy
  • Page Count: 370
  • Date Started: July 8th
  • Date Finished: July 15th

A Brief Description

While preparing for the birth of his first child, Chrys Valerian is tasked with uncovering the group responsible for a series of missing threadweavers—those able to see and manipulate threadlight. With each failure, the dark voice in his head that began during the war grows louder, begging to be released.

Laurel lives in Zedalum, a secret city in the center of the Fairenwild. During her most recent messenger run, Laurel veered off course to explore the streets of Alchea. She never expected that her journey would end in chains. When Chrys learns who is responsible for the missing threadweavers, they come for him and his family. He must do everything in his power to protect those he loves, even if it means trusting a strange girl or the dark voice in his mind.

Goodreads || Amazon


Note: I received this book from the author through Storytellers on Tour. I wanted to thank them for this opportunity! If you click the link below, you can see the full schedule.

Storytellers on Tour: Tour Schedule


MY REVIEW

I want to start by thanking Storytellers on Tour and the author Zack Argyle for giving me the opportunity to review this book!

This story follows Chrys, a threadweaver and a high general. He is expecting his first child with his wife. After making himself infamous in war, he has won himself the nickname the Apogee and fear and the respect from the people around him. He is just trying to settle down in his life and happily start a family. But threadweavers are going missing and Chrys as high general needs to find them. Meanwhile, Laurel, dweller of a secret hidden forest city is captured by those same men who are capturing threadweavers. When Chrys and her meet and he frees her, we start on a bloody course of secrets, revenge and betrayals.

This book was super readable. I’ll be honest, it took me a longer time to read it than usual, but that’s because shortly after I started it I started my first ever full time job, so I have been exhausted by the end of the day. All that being said, while at work I wanted to get off the clock just so I could read this. It was enjoyable, the characters relatable and real. These characters are flawed and have secrets that they hide from others, and they make some pretty…. dodgy choices. But that is what makes a character complex and real to me. Each character has their own personality, their own voice. Some are quiet and shy, others brash and still others are defensive and protective of the ones they love. They were all well-developed and had their own complexities. That being said, I wish I knew more about the villians. There were certain aspects of Chrys’s character, such as the dark voice mentioned, that were not as explored as I wanted it to be. I wanted to know more about that, but I’m sure it will be elaborated more in the second book in the series. Also, I want to make a note of this because I’ve seen others refer to this, but there were some heavy mentions of fatphobia here. There was a villain who also happened to be fat and you were reminded of it very consistently He was referred to as “gelatinous” and the character mentions the characters fatness every single time the villain is brought up. I feel like the character could have just been called fat and his corruption and evil could have stood alone. The two did not need to be tied together. This honestly brought my enjoyment of the book down. It didn’t sit right with me. I want to bring this up to my readers who may want to have a heads up about that.

That being said, this book has some pretty fantastic world building. The realm was described in every detail, without being overly info dumpy (although there was some info dumpiness in the story, it wasn’t used too much and it didn’t distract me too much). The world was built in such a way that every single city was fleshed out and perfect. I would love to live in Zedalum, living in the treetops sounds like such an amazing time. Each city had their own culture and their own cultures surrounding threadweaving. Speaking of threadweaving, the magic system was top tier. It was reminiscint of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series, which I loved. It was enmeshed in the world perfectly.

The plot was good. It was high stakes, but the villians felt a little caricature-y until the end. I mentioned it earlier in my review, but I wish that they had been delved into a little more, development wise. That being said this didn’t detract from my enjoyment. The plot felt a little slow in the beginning, it took me until halfway through to really be into the story, but that could also be because my life has been so hectic recently. The pacing was off until the halway point and then it evened out. Again, this could totally be on me.

I would recommend this to anyone who loves complex characters, high stakes plots, political intrigue and bangin’ magic systems.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zack Argyle was raised with a wonderful family motto: don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story. What better way than to write fiction? He spends his days writing code and his nights writing epic stories about family, love, loss, friendship, and pain all intermixed with a heavy dose of the fantastical.

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This has been my stop on the Voice of War Book Tour! Check out the schedule posted at the beginning of this post to check out more posts by other content creators on this tour!

~Cam

Book Tour: Guild of Tokens-Jon Auerbach


Rating: 4 out of 5.

  • Author: Jon Auerbach
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy
  • Page Count: 410
  • Date Started: June 11th
  • Date Finished: June 15th

A Brief Description

SHE WANTS TO LEVEL UP HER HUMDRUM EXISTENCE. BUT HER NEXT QUEST COULD SPELL LIFE OR DEATH.
Jen Jacobs’s nights are spent traversing a strange city finding hidden objects, slaying dragons, and tangling with a host of fellow adventurers. And her days are spent counting down the seconds until she can return to the grind and continue racking up tokens and leveling up.

Except Jen isn’t playing a video game.

It’s all real and happening right in New York City.

After a particularly harrowing quest pairs her up with Beatrice Taylor, a no nonsense and ambitious mentor, Jen hopes she’s on the path to becoming a big time player. But as she dives deeper into the game’s hidden agenda, she realizes Beatrice has her sights set on the Guild, the centuries-old organization that runs the Questing game. And the quests Jen loves are about to put both of them in grave danger.

Will Jen survive the game before powerful forces cut her real life short?

Guild of Tokens is a thrilling new twist on conventional urban fantasy. If you like determined heroines, gritty cityscapes, and vampire-free adventures, then you’ll love Jon Auerbach’s roller coaster tale.

Book Links
Goodreads || Amazon ||Barnes and Noble|| IndieBound|| Book Depository ||

Audibooks
Audible||Apple Books || Google Play || Nook || Kobo


Note: I received this book from the author through Storytellers on Tour. I wanted to thank them for this opportunity! If you click the link below, you can see the full schedule.

Storytellers on Tour: Tour Schedule


MY REVIEW

This book had me interested from the start. The premise is interesting and something that I have never seen before. The idea is that Jen Jacobs gets an email to start doing quests in real life. She completes the quest and in return gets tokens. The quests range from easy and mundane, such as getting blueberries and popsicles and leaving them at a certain location, to difficult and seemingly impossible, such as stealing a certain kind of pocket watch. Think your average RPG game, but in real-life. Jen embarks on a journey into the unknown, a world of magic, Councils and Guilds that have been hiding in plain sight the whole time.

The world built in Guild of Tokens felt real and well built. It was a solid and realistic world with a believable magic system built in. The magic had stakes. There aren’t overpowered villains or heros here. Each use of the magic takes a toll on the user, which is something that I greatly appreciate when we are talking about a magic system.

The RPG elements were interesting to someone who loves to play video games. The fact that it features a female coder is cool too. As a woman in the tech field, I felt some of the issues that Jen faced in her workplace.

The characters felt very varied and so did their relationships. They were flawed as well as morally gray at times. All of the characters who are introduced here play a vital role in the plot and move the story forward in a cohesive and important way. Their interactions are organic and there aren’t any “cop-out” moments where a character is just used as a device to forward the plot, as each character is important in their own way. They are all fleshed out and are easy to connect with. Sometimes I felt bad for Jen as I felt like nothing was really working in her favor.

That being said, the middle felt like it could have used a little bit of tightening up, as the plot felt like it jumped around a little too much and I couldn’t catch the direction of it until later in the book. There were also some small typos and grammatical errors that the aforementioned tightening up could fix, but none of those detracted from my enjoyment of the book.

The end was very fast paced and interesting and I had to read the last 100 pages very quickly, as I needed to know exactly what happened in the end. I still have some questions about things that were not answered in this book, but I plan on reading the second book when it comes out later in 2020!

Overall, I would HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who loves Urban Fantasy or loves MMORPG games.

Again, my many thanks to the author, Jon Auerbach and Storytellers on Tour for providing me with a copy of Guild of Tokens in exchange for an honest review!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jon Auerbach’s love of fantasy began at the tender age of six, when his parents bought him the classic 1977 animated version of The Hobbit (the less said about the recent trilogy, the better). His passion for sci-fi developed from nights watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and from his dad’s old paperback copies of Foundation and I, Robot. Jon writes in both genres and hopes to pass on his stories to the next generation, including his kids, who have their own copy of The Hobbit that they lovingly call “the Bilbo book.”

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Win A Copy of Guild of Tokens!

This has been my stop on the Guild of Tokens Book Tour! Check out the schedule posted at the beginning of this post to check out more posts by other content creators on this tour!

~Cam