The Snake Den (#2) by Nikki Rae

Published: 31st May 2016Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Self Published
Pages: 163
Format: ebook
Genre: New Adult/ Paranormal
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

The box has opened a door to the dark place where the voice Corbin hears dwells. Not only that, but she’s brought it forth in human form, into her world, into the light. But others have been alerted to her existence, and Six is only the beginning of the imaginary becoming real. Torn between her love for Six and wanting a normal life, Corbin must decide if she should live in the light or hide in the dark.

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book by the author for review.

After the cliff hanger Rae left us with at the end of The Crow Box, and with a title like The Snake Den for the sequel, it was easy to imagine all kinds of things and imagine what Corbin had gotten involved with. But in true Nikki Rae style there are revelations and developments in this book that surprise you, making you realise things aren’t always as they seem.

Corbin’s own misunderstandings and attempt to rationalise things means she draw her own conclusions and in the process influences ours, but as each of these are broken down or altered it changes completely where you thought the story was heading. Rae’s writing is lyrical, beautifully descriptive, and sometimes the perfect word conveys the perfect meaning, one word really can make a lot of difference.

While some answers are given, some are not, and some not right away, the cryptic answers and non-answers from Six means you’re always filled with intrigue about what has or will happen, but it also doesn’t crowd the novel and take focus away from other elements. Rae is always advancing the plot and not stalling for the sake of mystery but she is also very clever at weaving it and connecting it together, adding little bits at a time like adding a new square to a quilt. The pace is wonderful and the exploration and expression of Corbin’s uncertainty, her fear but comfort, and familiar attachment that she’d established in book one remains.

The main focus is on Corbin and Six, exploring their connection, relationship, however you’d describe it. But there are also other bits of life and detail scattered throughout; Corbin’s life without Six remains, her mother, her friends, and her schooling, but there is a strong focus on the two of them. This wasn’t a problem, I liked that we needed to take the time to address their situation, Rae doesn’t try to satisfy us with instant acceptance or understanding, nor does she gloss over it leaving the reader unsatisfied, especially after the intense and slow build up that worked so well in the first book.

Six is less of a mystery this time around but he isn’t entirely laid out with a back story, he has a personality beyond a whisper, more of a character now than a presence in Corbin’s ear and he’s a little cheeky and proud of himself which is fun. At times he is like a kid or a proud parent as Rae describes him and it’s cute watching him interact with Corbin and try to please and impress her, helping her understand. But he also isn’t an entirely lovely and placid figure either, there is always a sense that there is an intense power beneath the surface that could rise at any moment if there ever was a need.

There are surprises when you think it’s just going to be one type of story and Rae in true fashion sneaks a twist or two to throw you and taunt you for book three. She has a devious way of lulling you into a false sense of security and pulling you along with a vague tease that you’re uncertain will ever be addressed, before bringing it to a head in the final pages and you’re left once again, with a to be continued… when all you want to do is keep turning pages. This is an excellent next stage in the series and after the surprises in The Snake Den I cannot wait to find out what Rae has in store for Corbin and for Six.

You can purchase The Snake Den via the following

Amazon

Amazon Aust

 

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The Crow Box (#1) by Nikki Rae

Published: 15th January 2016Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Self Published
Pages: 164
Format: ebook
Genre: New Adult/Paranormal/Mystery
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

The small wooden box is dirty, the size of a human fist, and sealed with wax. When Corbin takes it upon herself to clean it and break the seal, a voice she has tried to ignore gathers strength. Shadows play on the walls at night, and with a family history of mental illness, Corbin fears the worst. But the voice tells her it is real. That its name is Six and it will prove it in time. 

Drawn to this mysterious entity, Corbin isn’t sure what to believe and the line between reality and her imagination blurs more every day.

Some doors should not be opened; can this one be closed?

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.

I think I say this for every one of Nikki Rae’s books, but she is a master at telling a story. Not only are the themes and the plots intricate and unique, but her words and descriptions and vivid and evoke images and feelings, and she places you inside the mind of her characters so well, it’s almost like you are experiencing things alongside them, even minor things like understanding the mind of an artist.

The Crow Box was nothing like I thought it would be, and I am not even disappointed by that. I was not entirely sure what I expected but Rae didn’t let me down. Corbin’s story is filled with mystery and a slow but dangerous decent and watching her struggle against it is enthralling.

When Corbin starts to hear a voice she thinks she is going mad like her mother, and seeing the way Rae introduces Six, and the way it interacts with Corbin, it’s clear why Corbin thinks she is losing her mind. But the wonder of the story is how she functions alongside it, what she does to deal with it, how she reasons with it, embraces it, fears it. Rae’s writing brings you into Corbin’s experience and makes you understand unreservedly what she is going through. Her confusion and attempt to explain what is happening is expressed and explored beautifully.

What makes Corbin so wonderful is that she is practical, she’s had years of stress and worry because of her mother’s condition but she manages to cope and enjoy her art and things around her. Her approach to the strange occurrences around her are reasoned and as Rae brings us deeper into Corbin’s mind you can see this reasoning adjust, but remain.

Rae gradually pulling you into Corbin’s mind is eerie and unsettling. The journey from being an outsider to her inner thoughts is amazing, and it unsettles you in all the right ways. Not knowing what Six is or where it comes from is also part of the experience. The unanswered questions and the non answers given by Six add to the secrets. The gradual development and the mystery is intriguing, and Rae balances the pace and story flow with the not knowing and slow burn mystery very well. There is a balance between the surreal and the real which only enhances the overall feeling because it brings in the idea that the strange and unexplained could come so easily into the every day.

Wherever you think the story is going it isn’t and where Rae takes you is incredible. Theories and assumptions get tossed aside as another thing unravels your thoughts, and tiny twists make you realise you are in much deeper than you thought. The writing is melodic and creative, but not overly poetic or dramatic, the right balance to convey meaning and portray a scene. Rae uses her words wisely and her descriptions are perfect for capturing just the right explanation for a sensation or a feeling. The writing teases you and taunts you, offering hope and answers like dangling a string for a cat.

After the experience Rae takes you on and after those final few chapters, the ending is one of the most frustrating things you’ll endure. The ‘to be continued’ makes you want to pick up the next book immediately and keep reading. From the very first line until the final full stop Rae holds your attention and once you’ve started down this rabbit hole you won’t want to stop.

You can purchase The Crow Box via the following

Amazon

Amazon Aust

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Animal by Nikki Rae

Published: 28th February 2015Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Self-published
Pages: 281
Format: ebook
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Suspense
★   ★   ★  ★  ★  – 5 Stars

Ava has spent her life running from the monsters that lurk in the shadows, always the prey. She finally thinks she can settle down, have a normal life, and work on not being so scared of the world around her. That is until she runs into her worst fear.

He has finally found the potential family he has always wanted. All he has to do is make his little bird sing. Will Ava escape with her humanity intact?

Note: I was provided a copy of this book for review.

From the very beginning I adored this book and when I was still up at 3am that night finishing it I continued to adore it. I loved being able to get back into the world I knew so well from The Sunshine Series, but this time be able to see it from a whole new side and a completely new perspective.

Even though Animal features characters from The Sunshine Series, this story is not really a prequel and it is not presented as being one. While it does deal with events before those in the series, it is more a completely new story about one of the minor characters.

Animal tells the story of Ava, a girl who has been running almost her whole life until what has been chasing her finally catches up with her. What I knew about Ava was only partially explained previously, so it was fascinating and exciting to explore her past and discover where she came from and how she came to be the person you see in The Sunshine Series.

Rae tells Ava’s story with style and skill as well as multiple character perspectives which add a beautiful element to the storytelling. There is also a wonderful balance with the characters, each action and thought seems measured and calculated but there is no absence of worry or fear either. Emotions and reactions are not over exaggerated one way or the other and Rae is clever at demonstrating how each character is trying to remain in control in their own way and in their own circumstances.

This believability brings the characters to life on the page and makes you invest in them, no matter who they are. Multiple points of view allow multiple justifications to be made which also means that many times sympathies can be misplaced, though often only temporarily. With her words Rae captures you and draws you into the story and you feel like you are there alongside each character, feeling what they feel and understanding who they are. The thrill and exhilaration that I love in Rae’s writing is there as well, not to mention the unexpected and unknown, even with these familiar characters.

While Ava does not initially seem to be, she is strong and determined and brave, though she never tries to be more than who she is. She follows the rules her parents taught her and she makes sure she knows the risks of her surroundings, choosing her moves carefully, always thinking of ways out and how to survive, even manipulating her situation to her advantage and discovering where cracks can be tested.

The benefit of this story is that Ava is shown in a different light than how she is known in the series. Her story is able to be told and her character is given a greater exploration and representation than the role she has played before. As a result it makes me want to revisit the series and pay closer attention to her, now with a greater understanding of who she is and of the life she led before.

Animal is a story that is fascinating, eerie, and extremely captivating. I never once put the book down after I had begun and I was glued to each page that I read; always wondering what would happen, intrigued by what I had just read, and intense curiosity motivating me to keep going no matter what. Rae’s writing grabs you and holds your attention from the start, even with the simplest of scenes, and while you do not know where the story will go, you still try and guess what will happen. Something I should know better than to do with one of Rae’s stories.

 

Nikki is running a giveaway to win signed paperbacks and ecopies of Animal!

You can get all the details on how to enter here.

Giveaway

 

 You can purchase Animal via the following:

Amazon

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Cover Reveal: Animal by Nikki Rae

Reveal

Today I am very pleased to reveal the cover of Nikki Rae’s latest novel, Animal. Animal is a New Adult Paranormal Suspense (with dark romance elements) and is located in the same world and involves many of the same characters from her other books in The Sunshine Series.

There are links galore below ranging from the book trailer and a giveaway to numerous links to check out Nikki and her other works in all the places possible. There is also a sneaky teaser to give you a taste.

I am  participating in the blog tour for this release and my review is going up next week so be sure to check that out as well, but in the meantime check out some of Nikki’s other works, and enjoy and explore all the goodies below!

Animal is released 28th February 2015

animal ecover

 

Synopsis:
Ava has spent her life running from the monsters that lurk in the shadows, always the prey. She finally thinks she can settle down, have a normal life, and work on not being so scared of the world around her. That is until she runs into her worst fear. 
He has finally found the potential family he has always wanted. All he has to do is make his little bird sing. Will Ava escape with her humanity intact?

 

Animal teaser

 

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Book Trailer

 

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The Liar Charms by Lorain O’Neil

Published: 12th December 2013 Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Self-published
Pages: 226
Format: ebook
Genre: New Adult Suspense
★   ★   ★  ★  – 4 Stars

Remy’s been kidnapped. Sent to auction! And she doesn’t have the vaguest idea why.

But intractable businessman Isaiah Grommet knows, knows what he’s purchased, knows what Remy was bred for, knows what she is: a Liar Charm. Some training from Pakken, Inc., and Remy will be invaluable to his billionaire’s empire. Voluntary or not.

But hipster Remy has her own snarkily colorful ideas about enslaved servitude and she’s NOT seeking corporate approval. So as long as Pakken doesn’t find out what Remy REALLY is, what Isaiah accidentally did that regrettably requires her immediate execution, Remy might just land it all smack in the Hudson! Either way, get ready for Charmocalypse, Isaiah!

Note: I was provided a copy of this book for review

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started reading but by the end I was fascinated and wanted more.  The story is humorous and there is a wonderful level of sarcasm and defiance that makes it an entertaining read.

 The concept is intriguing and well thought out, and the characters are unique. O’Neil uses the dialogue and narrative well to establish who characters are and what kinds of people they are, and while not every character is explored as much as others it doesn’t really matter because an understanding of who they are is evident without needing more detail.

The narrative is written with three points of view and while it can be briefly confusing working out who is narrating when it switches, it doesn’t take long to work out. This is a great approach as various perspectives of the same issue can be expressed and there is not just a “victim” or a “villain” point of view.

The writing is clever and O’Neil is very good at making sure the reader’s sympathies are in the right place. The goal is always to root for the underdog but the writing is so well constructed that there are a lot of times when you almost have sympathy for Isaiah and find yourself coming around to his way of thinking. But what I loved is that every time I found myself almost understanding Isaiah, Remy would say or do something that sling shotted my support back to her.

Remy is a wonderful character, she is smart and resourceful, but she is also clever, calculating, and extremely patient. She is determined to do what she has to do in order to improve her current situation no matter what the cost. Remy’s intellect is evident throughout as well and she is aware of how Isaiah and others try to manipulate her and her emotions in order to gain sympathy or lull her into compliance. This is where Isaiah’s words become quite convincing and you realise how easy it would be for Remy to accept her fate.

In terms of the Charms and their abilities, their purpose and capabilities are explored seamlessly through the narrative. Any explanation that is required is worked into the dialogue and narrative eliminating any awkward paragraphs in order to explain things to the reader. From the start it is hinted at that Remy is more special than most, and when this reason is finally revealed we are given insight into what this means but I would have loved to have seen this explored further. There is enough to make it interesting and it is quite clearly explained but the story is so intriguing that there is always a desire to have more information and see more of Remy’s abilities demonstrated and see her wreak some havoc.

This was the case towards the end as well; while the conclusion was done well, I would have loved to have had the story drawn out further and expanded on. Having said that, the way O’Neil concludes the story is wonderful and I finished it wanting to never finish it which is never a bad thing.

You can purchase Liar Charms via the following

Amazon

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