Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews

Reader of the Books, Drinker of the Coffee, Snuggler of the Cats

Today's Author Spotlight is author Eric Leland! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: February 1st 2021 Goodreads Can you ...

Author Spotlight || Eric Leland

Today's Author Spotlight is author Eric Leland!

Read on for the full interview.

Publication date: February 1st 2021

Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work? 

In 1969, somewhere over South Vietnam, Captain Brandon Doran sits aboard an unmarked aircraft on final approach to a Top-Secret military base. A shadowy government operative offers a deal: in exchange for erasing Brandon's tarnished military record, he must ensure the recon team, to which he is about to be assigned, follows orders. Easy enough. Or so Brandon thinks. 

Sergeant First Class John Nicholas, Captain Brandon, and the elite Recon Team New York venture deep into North Vietnam to rescue Recon Team Florida, which has gone missing near a remote village in the north. John expects heavy resistance, but intercepted radio traffic suggests something near that village has spooked even the hardened North Vietnamese Army. Soon after New York's midnight insertion behind enemy lines, John finds out what. Confronted in the night by a merciless demon, John reacts the way any soldier would: he shoots it. But John discovers, far too late, pulling the trigger is the worst mistake he can make. 

Flung headlong into atrocity and supernatural chaos, New York's surviving members discover an unexpected ally in Jaran, a young novice in the old magic of her ancestors. She is the only defense New York has against this powerful evil, but her magic requires a cruel price. Now, with a ruthless NVA hunter-killer team on New York's trail, and an ancient evil lurking in the shadows, the few remaining survivors learn their escape demands brutal payment. To survive, New York must become as inhuman as their demonic pursuer.

Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?

During a class for my MA I wrote a 25-page short story titled Recon Team: Mercury. That story was shortened to five pages and is now the prologue to Inhuman. For a NaNoWriMo idea I thought it would be interesting to see what happened when the rescuers came looking for the team that disappeared in my original short story. Inhuman is the result.

I want to provide veterans with fiction that entertains, but also lets them know someone else out there knows how they feel when they stare at the ceiling at night..

When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?

The character Jaran is heavily based on my wife’s experiences who was born in Vietnam. At an early age, she and her family fled to a refugee camp after the war. The chaos of displacement during war time seemed terrifying. I can’t really say which character I have the strongest connection to—John’s sense of duty; Chris’s refusal to take anything seriously; and Brandon’s severe depression and self-doubt—they’re all variations of me.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned (about your story, about yourself, etc.) while writing?

Military readers, from Vietnam veterans to Iraq/Afghanistan have told me they have all met guys like John and Brandon during their careers. 

In your opinion what makes a good story?

I’ll never turn down a chance to shout the names of Amy Hempel, Toni Morrison, and Cormac McCarthy. The Bluest Eye (Morrison) and Blood Meridian (McCarthy) are two of the most terrifying books I’ve ever read. And it’s just a joy to watch what Amy Hempel does with language.

What led you to start writing?

After reading the Red Wedding scene from A Storm of Swords, and throwing the book against the wall, I wanted to learn how GRRM played with my emotions so I could do it to others. Inhuman isn’t my first novel, but it’s the first novel I wrote after I figured out how story works.

Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? What are your links?

Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us anything about it?

I have a tragic little transgressive romance begging me to play catch with it, but from the messages I’m receiving it’s fairly obvious my readers want to see what’s next for the survivors of Inhuman. I suppose I can only blame myself. If you write an epilogue like that it’s probably best not to keep people waiting. Oops. So, books two and three of Inhuman are loosely plotted and I’m starting in on those.

Thanks so much for participating in the Author Spotlight! Anything you'd like to add?

"(X) is my favorite character. Kill (them).”—Advice from my editor. 
So when you get there, don’t blame me. Thanks for having me and thanks to anyone who reads and reviews Inhuman.   

Eric Leland grew up in Massena, NY and entered Army basic training upon high school graduation. He was an MP in the Army for six years and reclassified to a Special Agent with the Army Criminal Investigation Division. Eric deployed to Honduras in 2002, and Iraq in 2003 and 2009 where he was awarded an Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for valor. He completed his MA in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University and has happily traded in his gun for a pen. Eric lives in Seattle with his wife. Connect with Eric Leland on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Eric, thank you so much for being a guest on Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews!

Publication Date:  May 18, 2018 Links:  Amazon   |  Goodreads W hen TJ—a musical prodigy—witnesses a traumatic event as a child, his senses...

Guest Post || Shane Wilson, author of The Smoke in His Eyes

Publication Date: May 18, 2018
Links: Amazon Goodreads

When TJ—a musical prodigy—witnesses a traumatic event as a child, his senses are overrun with intense hallucinations. Over the years, his visions increase in frequency and intensity, but he hides them from those he is closest to, including his best friend and musical partner, Lila, who challenges TJ to reject formulaic creation in order to create something beautiful and unique. But when Lila signs a record deal, TJ feels left behind and alone with his art and his visions.

That’s when TJ meets an artist named Muna. In his eyes and visions, Muna is made of smoke, and as this magical woman helps him learn how to manage his visions and how to translate what he sees and hears into music and lyrics, she begins to disappear. His journey into Muna’s past is a journey to discover where inspiration originates and what happens to an artist when that inspiration is gone.

Read Now

What I've Learned about My Creativity This Year
by shane wilson

It’s really been a year, hasn’t it? We’ve all spent significant time thinking about how we never saw it coming—how we could never dream of a world that would almost simultaneously shut down or how the economy would never hit pause or how we would never keep kids home from school or how we wouldn’t all start working in sweatpants from out sofas. But these things happened, and what a trip it’s been. I won’t rehash all of the specifics. You were there. For once, we’ve had a near universal experience.

This past year has taught me two important things about my own creativity.

1. I need space to work.

Here, “space” should be read as an abstract concept more akin to “time” probably. In those first weeks, when we were all locked up inside and I wasn’t busy with the hectic day-to-day of driving to work and driving to the gym and running around and doing everything we all have to do every week, I was incredibly productive. I think I poured myself into my creative work to keep myself from thinking about the world. I finished an album. I revised a novel. I would finish up my job for the day, and I would plunge head-first into the projects I had been putting off because, well, what else did I have to do?

2. I need a change of scenery to rejuvenate creative energy.

As valuable as those early days of shut-down were to finishing projects, once those projects were completed, I was left looking for something new. But, as I’m sure we all can attest to, there is not much inspiration to be found in looking at the same four walls for months at a time. This is when I started to miss travel and human connection. Just this weekend, after receiving both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, I disappeared into a cabin in the mountains with my girlfriend (who was also completely vaccinated). We were safe, but we were someplace else. We played music and talked about songs and stories. It was the recharge that I absolutely needed. Now, I’m ready to work again—even after such a short time away.

What have you learned from the last year about yourself and your creative process?

About the Author

Shane Wilson is a storyteller. No matter the medium, the emphasis of his work is on the magical act of the story, and how the stories we tell immortalize us and give voice to the abstractions of human experience. His first two contemporary fantasy novels as well as a stage play, set in his World of Muses universe, are currently available.

Born in Alabama and raised in Georgia, Shane is a child of the southeastern United States where he feels simultaneously at-home and out-of-place. He graduated from Valdosta State University in South Georgia with a Masters in English. He taught college English in Georgia for four years before moving to North Carolina in 2013.

Shane plays guitar and writes songs with his two-man-band, Sequoia Rising. He writes songs as he writes stories--with an emphasis on the magic of human experience. He tends to chase the day with a whiskey (Wild Turkey 101) and a re-run of The Office.

Shane's novels are A Year Since the Rain (Snow Leopard Publishing, 2016) and The Smoke in His Eyes (GenZ Publishing, 2018). Shane's short story, "The Boy Who Kissed the Rain" was the 2017 Rilla Askew Short Fiction Prize winner and was nominated for a 2018 Pushcart Prize. An adaptation of that story for the stage was selected for the Independence Theater Reading Series in Fayetteville, NC. More information about Shane can be found at: Shane Wilson Author

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Website 

Coming Soon: New Music from Shane Wilson

Of All the Things I’ve Ever Said, I Mean This the Most is the new album from Shane Wilson’s music side project, Sequoia Rising. Recorded almost entirely during quarantine during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in a small room in Shane’s apartment, the album is an artifact of a particular brand of isolation and self-reflection.

On Of All the Things, lyrical storytelling takes the lead. The album’s ten tracks tell stories of young love gone sideways and the ways our lives can be haunted by our pasts.

Available Now on all Streaming Platforms!!

Today's Author Spotlight is author Peter Topside! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: April 13th 2021 Links:  Amazon  | ...

Author Spotlight || Peter Topside

Today's Author Spotlight is author Peter Topside!

Read on for the full interview.

Publication date: April 13th 2021

It's been fifteen years since the vampire Blackheart was defeated, leaving Meadowsville desolate and broken.

Alexandra has returned to take over her father's church but is struggling to find her true purpose. Torn by her shaky loyalty to Christian Reed-the unstable town antihero who vanquished Blackheart years ago-and increasing efforts at seduction and manipulation from Blackheart himself, she is forced to face all her deepest traumas and insecurities.

As the town's only hope, Alexandra must gather her strength and transcend her terror in order to battle these adversities-or risk losing the very soul of Meadowsville.

Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work? 

In the first book of the Preternatural trilogy, readers are introduced to the town of Meadowsville, the home of the most popular urban myth, Mr. Smith. This vicious, vampire-like entity rules over this booming town by any means necessary, slaughtering its citizens, and upholding a long-standing tradition. Several residents form an unlikely alliance to combat the common threat of this dangerous monster and embark on an undertaking that will change each of them and their town forever.

Set fifteen years after the vampire Blackheart was defeated, Meadowsville is left desolate and broken. Alexandra has returned to take over her father’s church but is struggling to find her true purpose. Torn by her shaky loyalty to Christian Reed—the unstable town antihero who vanquished Blackheart years ago—and increasing efforts at seduction and manipulation from Blackheart himself, she is forced to face her deepest traumas and insecurities. As the town’s only hope, Alexandra must gather her strength to transcend her terror. Will she defeat adversity or will her failure lose the very soul of Meadowsville?

Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?

I have always had a passion for writing and publishing my stories has been a lifelong goal. I spent my entire life being a fan of horror, and through my own personal experiences, developed characters and a story that were a really unique blend.

When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?

I have a strong connection with all of my characters. I originally started off with the basic premise, and then wrote down emotions and developed characters based off those feelings. I wanted to be genuine in how these people would react under the, sometimes very difficult and extreme, circumstances of the story. And the only way that I could do that, is to experience it all myself and/or watch others around me closely over long periods. Once I got my characters established and put in the same story together, the books practically wrote themselves. I worked very hard to make sure they felt organic and not forced.

What is something about the genre that annoys you?

I have never read a book like Preternatural. Each book, while strongly linked to one another, has its own specific tone and story. I’ve read many horror books and felt that they sometimes become too complicated and overdetailed, and you lose track of the characters and plot. That was something I worked hard to avoid. So my books are easy reads, and can either be read ‘surface-level’ for the basic story and be purely entertainment, or they can be analyzed and picked apart to see the deeper themes, patterns, and other dynamics happening on each page.

Thanks so much for participating in the Author Spotlight! Anything you'd like to add?

I hope that my readers walk away thinking to themselves, “Wow, that was an interesting experience.”  And honestly, I am just thrilled to have people read something that I’ve worked so long and hard to achieve. The trilogy is very much a definitive horror story, but I hope it inspires people to combat their fears, insecurities, and traumas, and ultimately, never losing hope in themselves.   

My pen name is Peter Topside. I am an accomplished chef and baker, movie fanatic, a proud father and husband, and a Clinical Exercise Physiologist by trade.

I had a rough upbringing, which bestowed many traumas on me, that remained in place for a long time. I spent years struggling with crippling anxiety and depression, but once I got to my lowest point, I made the difficult decision to fight for better mental health. I traveled to a lot of dark corners of my mind, confronting the deepest and scariest aspects of my PTSD, over many years, but I was able to make it through successfully. Throughout my recovery process, I was able to funnel all of the energy, thoughts and feelings into my writing. My books are the culmination of my own personal, life-changing journey.

Peter, thank you so much for being a guest on Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews and Happy Book Birthday to Preternatural:Evolution!

Publication date: April 13th 2021

This fast-paced adventure is a must-read for horror aficionados and lovers of all things that are scary, gruesome and thought-provoking.

Welcome to Meadowsville, the home of the most popular urban myth, Mr. Smith. This viscous, vampire-like entity rules over this booming town by any means necessary, slaughtering its citizens, and upholding a long-standing tradition. Follow several residents as they form an unlikely alliance to combat the common threat of this dangerous monster and embark on an undertaking that will change each of them and their town forever.

No pranks for April Fools in this list!  Here is this month's roundup of anticipated horror releases! 

April Horror Releases

No pranks for April Fools in this list! 

Here is this month's roundup of anticipated horror releases! 

Publication date: February 11th 2021 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodre ads A rash of strange and horrifying births sweeps through London in the new...

Review || The Children God Forgot by Graham Masterton

Publication date: February 11th 2021

A rash of strange and horrifying births sweeps through London in the new horror thriller from master of the genre Graham Masterton.

A young woman is rushed to the hospital with stabbing pains. The chief surgeon performs a C-section, and delivers a catastrophically malformed foetus that is somehow alive...

Sewage engineer Gemma is plunged into a ghostly darkness in the tunnel where she works. She escapes, but her boss goes missing in the chaos. He is later found alive... but his legs have been severed and his eyes pulled out.

DC Jerry Pardoe and DS Jamila Patel of the supernatural squad must team up once more to solve the mystery and save the city. But, if they are to succeed, first they must delve into the dark arts of witchcraft...

Read now

It's been a long time since a book has gotten under my skin but reading The Children God Forgot, I truly had a moment where I thought "This book is going to give me nightmares." This was a very strange book: deformed fetuses roaming for new wombs to call home, a fatberg blocking the sewer with glowing malformed children taking replacement body parts, and last, but certainly not least, a reanimated witch formed of smoke and vengeance. All of those things individually would be enough of a plotline to carry any horror novel, but together are the things that nightmares are made of. 

Told in varying points of view, the plot on this one jumps around. You get just enough action to draw you in and wonder exactly what the hell is going on when it switches to another POV to pick up where it left off before. Typically, I hate this style of writing, but I will say in spite of that it kept my interest, especially when you have the scenes set as they are. There are occult vibes, police procedural, heavy body horror, and of course, the paranormal. 

I do have to wonder though, as a woman, if this book weighs as heavily on male readers. I would imagine it doesn't. There's a particular horror in simply being a woman and having fears that are unique to the female persuasion alone. The fear of reproduction, of growing a life that is abominable instead of the perfect being it should be, and the fear of being violated. I struggle with that last word because what truly happens here, under other descriptions is rape. Not in the usual sense, but by one of the aborted creatures crawling or attempting to crawl inside another woman's uterus to continue to incubate. See what I mean by horrifying?  

There are also some sociopolitical themes here that are played a bit heavy-handed. The entire novel could be a statement on abortion. Not only do you have the many-limbed but cherub-faced fetus being terminated before term, but there's the woman showing up to punish those who participated in the terminations stating that all life is sacred. I feel like this book should have been written decades ago when racism and homophobia were casual and women were written based on the size of their breasts.

I ended up very conflicted about this novel. In the beginning, it was extremely effective horror. It's definitely a horror that relies on the reader's revulsion over  Somewhere in the middle, the momentum of the plot starting lagging. From that point on, it was a rush to the ending, curt and to the point, without a lot of explanation. This is one of those novels that is either going to leave you checking the sheets before getting in the bed or leave you apathetic but one thing is for certain, some of these scenes will continue to play in your head long after you've closed the book.

Publication date: October 28th 2020 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads Ever wondered what it would be like if hunted animals were able to fight ba...

Review || The Lodge by Chris Coppel

Publication date: October 28th 2020

Ever wondered what it would be like if hunted animals were able to fight back?

The Lodge unveils the mystery of a hunting lodge in the remote hills of the Scottish Highlands during the Christmas holidays. After the report of an accidental death at the lodge, Andrew, a young constable from the nearest town, drives up through a growing blizzard.

Snowbound, Andrew and the guests take cover at the lodge as the terrifying ordeal unfolds. These animals have souls. Souls that won’t rest until they’ve had revenge...

But will the hunters become the hunted?


I love "when animals attack" eco-horror. It's one of those genres that I do tend to get a bit giddy about simply because I enjoy the concept of animals taking their revenge. The Lodge essentially follows that pattern. A guest at a hunting lodge in the remote Scottish Highlands experiences a harsh end, choking during dinner. Andrew, the constable sent to make sure there was no foul play at hand, then gets snowed in at the lodge with its owners and guests. 
There's no wait to get into the action as the guest dies in the first few pages. It's not long after that the weird stuff starts happening and there is plenty of weird. Eco-horror either plays itself completely straight or on the campy side. The Lodge is a strange mix of the two. On one hand, you have a horde of intelligent rats dismantling the vehicles so there is no escape and on the other, you have some Evil Dead taxidermy waling on the wall. There's absolutely some great imagery here though. 

The Lodge has a lot of flashback-style, character backstories, which honestly, didn't really further the book for me and distracted me from the here and now.  Taking the reader out of the story to a backstory blocked the flow of the novel as the flashbacks didn't always feel organic. While show vs. tell has always been a debated writing tool, the info dump chosen often here instead made them feel flat. 

I grew up in a hunting family and my husband hunts. None of my family, even the most enthusiastic of hunters, were ever like the ridiculous caricatures of hunters that are in the book. There are probably hunters out there like this, but I've not met them. On top of that, the actions of the characters just didn't make sense. They all seemed to be stereotypical ideals of what they should be, even the vegans. 

The Lodge seemed to have the perfect formula for a great read. There were multiple storylines that converged in the end, but there really weren't any surprises. It was intriguing enough to be a fast read but the plot seemed to get more convoluted as it went. I liked the idea but found the execution bland. 

Publication date: February 10th 2021 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads F ed up with playing by the rules, recent university graduat...

Book Blitz || How to be a Badass Vigilante by Michael Anderle

Publication date: February 10th 2021
Links: Amazon Goodreads

Fed up with playing by the rules, recent university graduate/ex-cum laude/ex-soccer star Kera MacDonagh changed her life forever when she read How To Be A Badass Witch. Much to her surprise, the spells actually worked. 

Within the first few weeks of on-the-job training, Kera’s new powers attracted all sorts of trouble. Now hunted as a magical vigilante, Kera stalks criminals in the darkness of Los Angeles while attempting to hide the signature of her supernatural powers. Kept safe by the trusting and kind Kim family, Kera decides to “come clean” to her boyfriend regardless of the consequences. 

With her world turned upside down, Kera struggles to balance her sanity. Will magic be enough to help her come out on top? She hopes so because the other way lies madness. 

About the Author 

MICHAEL ANDERLE has sold over 4,000,000 sci-fi/fantasy books worldwide either under his name or as a collaborator with other well-known authors. Anderle is the founder of LMBPN® (London, Milan, Barcelona, Paris, New York) Publishing, which publishes sci-fi/fantasy fiction by authors from USA, Australia, England, Canada, and various countries around the world. An “Amazon Top 100” ranked author, Anderle is popularly known as the creator of 20Booksto50K® on Facebook. He launched the group with the goal of sharing industry knowledge that helps independent authors to achieve their publishing goals. As a child growing up in Houston, Texas, USA, Anderle read books in the high fantasy and sword-and-sorcery genres and eventually developed a love of urban fantasy and sci-fi. At the age of 47, Anderle began writing full time and has since become a well-known author in the community. Michael Anderle resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. To learn more about Michael Anderle and LMBPN®, visit

March is for leprechauns, pots of gold, and lucky charms.  Maybe you'll be lucky enough to find your next read in this roundup of the mo...

This Month in Horror: March 2021

March is for leprechauns, pots of gold, and lucky charms. 

Maybe you'll be lucky enough to find your next read in this roundup of the month's anticipated horror releases!

Publication date: February 11th 2021 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads There are few things worse than being on the Arcane Bureau of Investigat...

Book Blitz || Dead & Gone by Annie Anderson

Publication date: February 11th 2021

There are few things worse than being on the Arcane Bureau of Investigation’s naughty list.

To keep myself out of hot water, I’ve made a deal with the devil—using my skills as a grave talker to help the ABI solve some very cold cases.

But there is something mighty amiss in this task—especially when quite a few of these cases lead me right back to my home town of Haunted Peak and the secrets buried there.


“Out less than a minute and already talking to spirits and punching ghosts. Way to
go, Adler.”
That smooth voice did not belong to my best friend, J. Oh, no. I wasn’t that lucky.
The big hunk of man-meat Siobhan had been talking about was not my partner, but the
death mage ABI agent who’d simultaneously saved my bacon and torched it.
I swung my head to face Bishop La Roux, straightening my shoulders like I was
going to have to punch him, too.
Dressed in a criminally hot pair of jeans and a T-shirt that should be illegal in at
least five states, Bishop held out a bag with a very familiar logo on it like he was
warding off a lion. Ignoring his messy hair and scruffy beard, I met his coal-dark eyes
with suspicion. But instead of punching him like I had Hildy, I snatched the Si Señor bag
from his hands, opened it, and dug in. The prison fare was a step above cat food, in my
opinion, and just the thought of that yummy bit of heaven made my mouth water.
“Good to see tacos still work,” he said, chuckling. “You need a ride home?”
The last time he’d needed to bribe me, he’d done it with these tacos. Good god in
heaven, I was a pushover. I ignored the ridiculously hot man in favor of unwrapping a
taco one-handed and shoving an end in my mouth. My teeth crunched into the blissfully
crispy half-steak, half-pork taco, and my eyes rolled back in my head.
“Maybe,” I said around a mouthful of food. If he were any other man, I might have
felt weird about my rudeness, but just like Hildy, Bishop was on thin ice. Though, tacos
were an excellent way to strengthen his footing.
That taco was gone in another two bites, and I swallowed the yumminess before
continuing, “How’d you hear about me getting out? Even I didn’t know until today.”
Bishop gave me a sly smile. “A little birdy told me.”
“I suppose you could give me a ride if you don’t have anything better to do,” I
conceded, my tone only mildly petulant.
“No, Adler,” Bishop said, his voice a hell of a lot closer than it had been a few
seconds ago. I whipped my head back to find him solidly in my space. “I don’t have
anywhere else I want to be.”
Well, okay then.

About the Author

Annie Anderson is a military wife and United States Air Force veteran. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she is a southern girl at heart, but has lived all over the US and abroad. As soon as the military stops moving her family around, she'll settle on a state, but for now she enjoys being a nomad with her husband, two daughters, an old man of a dog, and a young pup that makes life... interesting.

Publication date: July 20 2021 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads F or as long as sixteen-year-old Adele can remember the village of Oakvale has b...

Review || Red Wolf by Rachel Vincent

Publication date: July 20 2021

For as long as sixteen-year-old Adele can remember the village of Oakvale has been surrounding by the dark woods—a forest filled with terrible monsters that light cannot penetrate. Like every person who grows up in Oakvale she has been told to steer clear of the woods unless absolutely necessary.

But unlike her neighbors in Oakvale, Adele has a very good reason for going into the woods. Adele is one of a long line of guardians, women who are able to change into wolves and who are tasked with the job of protecting their village while never letting any of the villagers know of their existence.

But when following her calling means abandoning the person she loves, the future she imagined for herself, and her values she must decide how far she is willing to go to keep her neighbors safe.

Read now
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who walked through the dark woods to grandmother's house. Oh, you've heard this story before? I guarantee you haven't heard this version of the story, for you see—in this story, the little girl is the wolf.

This was such a lush and spellbinding version of Little Red Riding Hood. A dark, deep wood encompasses the village, barely kept at bay by those who live there. Only the careful eye of the watch who stand guard with torches keep the threatening woods from encroaching further, or so they believe. There's another watcher in the woods, however. Adele thought she has her life all planned out until she discovers her true fate and everything she thought she knew changes overnight. Thrilling, pulse-pounding danger awaits Adele in the woods and she is uniquely equipped to meet it. Risks and uncertainly await Adele every day and she's forced to make decisions that change her destiny and those of the villagers. 

Blood and savagery are about and it's not only the wood's monsters who are fearfully made.  Rachel Vincent has crafted an environment where deviating from the norm is dangerous, and where secrets must be kept to survive. This is witch-burning territory and it only takes a word to incite the villagers viciously into action. Like the dark woods, Vincent's world is perilous and full of wonder. This is a tale of fur and teeth, haunting and harrowing. 

Publication date: Feb 2nd 2020 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN MEETS THE ADDAMS FAMILY IN TH...

Review || What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo

Publication date: Feb 2nd 2020
Links: Amazon Goodreads


Eleanor has not seen or spoken with her family in years, not since they sent her away to Saint Brigid's boarding school. She knows them only as vague memories: her grandfather's tremendous fanged snout, the barrel full of water her mother always soaked in, and strange hunting trips in a dark wood with her sister and cousins. And she remembers the way they looked at her, like she was the freak.

When Eleanor finally finds the courage to confront her family and return to their ancestral home on the rainy coast of Maine, she finds them already gathered in wait, seemingly ready to welcome her back with open arms. "I read this in the cards," her grandmother tells her. However, Grandma Persephone doesn't see all, for just as Eleanor is beginning to readjust to the life she always longed for, a strange and sudden death rocks the family, leaving Eleanor to manage this difficult new dynamic without help.

In order to keep the family that abandoned her from falling apart, Eleanor calls upon her mysterious other grandmother, Grandmere, from across the sea. Grandmere brings order to the chaotic household, but that order soon turns to tyranny. If any of them are to survive, Eleanor must embrace her strange family and join forces with the ghost of Grandma Persephone to confront the monstrousness lurking deep within her Grandmere-and herself.

Boy, that's a tagline for high expectations, isn't it? This just sounded too unusual to pass by. 

From the start, Eleanor seems to be the most normal of the bunch. After being sent away to boarding school for years and running away from said school, she's looking for love and acceptance. Now that she's home, she's trying to scrape out a place to belong, but like as it was at school, she's on the outskirts again. It's no surprise after not attaining a huge warm welcome from her immediate family and the unexpected death of her grandmother, she reaches out to the only other family she has. Eleanor is ignorant of the world and somewhat bossy in the name of responsibility. While I didn't actively dislike her, I found myself extremely apathetic towards her. Again, this is YA so she fits the naive typecasting that I expected going in. 

Her family, on the other hand, would fit well in with the Adams' family. Her mother is covered in barnacles and spends her time sitting in a washtub full of water. Her grandfather is a shifter who has trouble keeping it reeled in as are her sister and cousin. Her grandmother is a witch. Everyone is very odd, yet seems normal to each other. The characters are definitely one of the best parts of the story. The family dynamics are strange and unusual yet interesting. The gothic atmosphere is incredibly well done here. The run-down house in the woods with the kooky uninviting family; Everything is dark and dreary. 

What Big Teeth is a veritable overload of bizarre, weird, and eccentric people and happenings. Things just happen without explanation and are never touched on again. It's all very vague and initially, the mystery of it all kept me turning the pages, but the novelty of it soon wore off. Just when you think you are finally going to get some answers, there's a very weird romantic arc with Arthur, who we know nothing about other than multiple family members seem to be in love with him. It's a new level of creepy, but an uncomfortable one this time. In the end, it did come together, but I had to push through to get there. 


Today's Author Spotlight is horror author Gaby Triana! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: February 17th 2021 Links:  Am...

Author Spotlight || Gaby Triana

Today's Author Spotlight is horror author Gaby Triana!

Read on for the full interview.

Publication date: February 17th 2021

The Craft meets The Shining in this slow-burn Florida gothic horror.

As the only daughter in her Cuban-American home, 18-year-old Valentina Callejas has been raised to do what her Catholic grandmother and mother say to do. But Valentina feels a different pull--an affinity with nature, a desire to read tarot cards and study the occult. After ditching her church's retreat and fighting with her family, Valentina flees her Miami home and ends up five hours away at Macy's house, a sister she's never met until now.

When a mysterious wolf leads Valentina to nearby abandoned Sunlake Springs Resort, she meets the "clairs," young psychics drawn to the hotel's haunted history. They've been waiting for her, they say, to open a magical entryway to the spirit world. But Valentina's sensitive hands tell a different story--of anguished spirits, menacing cracks, and hooded ghosts of Florida's hateful past. Even the local legend, the beautiful Lady of the Lake, all hint to the hotel's sinister history. To protect her new friends from the horrors awaiting them on the other side, Valentina must use her growing powers and decide, once and for all, if she's the witch she was always meant to be.

Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?

I'd always wanted to write a story set in a haunted hotel. In fact, my first ever completed novel is a middle-grade story called FREDDIE AND THE BILTMORE GHOST, set in the famous Biltmore Hotel of Coral Gables, FL. It was never published, but it's the book that got me started in fiction writing. The hotel in MOON CHILD, The Sunlake Springs, is loosely based on the Biltmore. Also, for three years, I kept having visions of an opening scene of a book where a Catholic girl would hide her witchcraft away from her strict grandmother and decided last summer that I had to write it next.

When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?

Valentina presented herself to me long before I wrote the book, as I said. She was always a witch in the broom closet, and I always knew that would be the basis for her character. Aspects of her personality and story developed later, of course, and some, like her suppressed rage, ended up becoming an important theme of the novel.

Which of your characters was your favorite to write and why?

Besides Valentina, I loved her older sister, Macy. I felt it was really important for Vale to have one person in her life that she could trust, who wouldn't lie to her and would always be there for her, even if she was new in her life. At times, we're not sure if to trust Macy, but that's not because of anything she did. It's because we're experiencing life through Vale's eyes, and Vale doesn't know who to trust.

What was more important to you when you were writing: character development or plot?

In my Haunted Florida series, it's plot a little more than character. In MOON CHILD, I decided early on, it was going to be character all the way. If the plot ended up weak as a result, I'd be okay with that, because this story had always been, since the beginning, about a Catholic Latina's struggle with her hidden identity, and that's what the focus needed to be.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned (about your story, about yourself, etc.) while writing?

I was shocked to discover how much of this book was about me in many ways. Valentina are not copies of each other, but aspects of her personality are, such as all the anger she was holding back. That was like therapy for me.

What books or authors influenced your own writing?

I've always been a fan of Stephen King, Anne Rice, Shirley Jackson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Lois Duncan. Nowadays I don't try and write like anyone else, but these folks definitely influenced my writing.

Do you read your book reviews? What do you consider "good" /"bad"?

I do read them, because I'm curious to see what people liked or didn't like. Also, because I like to see when people are happy with what I've given them. It's the reason I write--to entertain. Bad reviews don't affect me, though. I just shrug and move on.

What led you to start writing?

I've been writing my entire life. My ENTIRE life. :)

What attracted you to the genre(s) you write in?

I love gothic horror because of its moodiness and atmospheric quality. I love old Hollywood black and white 30s movies, I love the notion of abandoned castles, and violins playing in the middle of the night from somewhere behind a hidden passageway. I'm intrigued by secrets and by veneers covering something dark and rotten underneath."

What are you currently reading?

Right now I'm reading Christina Henry's The Mermaid, part of her series of dark retellings of classic fairy tales, although this one isn't about The Little Mermaid, as it sounds. It's about PT Barnum's famous Feejee Mermaid scandal. I just finished reading her other book, The Lost Boy, her take on the origin story of Captain Hook in Peter Pan.

A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there are songs you had on repeat?

I actually can't listen to any music while writing. I have a lyrical brain as well as a musical one after years of playing violin, and I can't listen to any kind of phrasing without wanting to hum or sing along when I'm supposed to be crafting a novel. It just doesn't work.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? 

One day, you're going to be co-writing YouTubers Sam and Colby's book PARADISE ISLAND based on their creepy trip to Kauai, and it's going to be fun as hell.

What are a couple of your favorite movies to kick back with to relax?

Young Frankenstein is one of my October classic favorites. I also love Dirty Dancing as a guilty pleasure. It's feminist, sexy, the dancing is great, and the soundtrack is the sound of my high school years. Moana is another favorite. The characters, the music, the grandmother's spirit as a stingray, omg I can't. It's a perfect movie.

Which animal would you say is your spirit animal and why?

A cat. They're cool and aloof, warm and loving to a few select people, loyal if you're loyal to them, and they give silent, deadly looks. When nobody is looking, they're total goofballs.

Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or a cottage surrounded by fairytale creatures?

Oh, haunted mansion without even question. My husband proposed to me at the Haunted Mansion in Disney World, I convert my house to a haunted mansion every October, and I throw badass Halloween parties.

What advice would you like to pass on to aspiring writers that is unconventional but true?

Everyone tells you "write from your heart." I'm going to give you a little bit of weird advice here: Yes, write from your heart, but to a certain extent. If you want to make it as a commercial writer and live off your writing, you also have to learn what readers want. You'll be writing for them more than for yourself. Learn everything about the genre you're writing in, listen to what the readers want, read reviews for other authors, and create a product that only YOU can give. Writing for ONLY yourself yields books that no one but you want to read. There has to be a balance. :)

GABY TRIANA is the bestselling author of 17 novels for teens and adults, including the Haunted Florida series (Island of Bones, River of Ghosts, City of Spells), Wake the Hollow, Cakespell, Summer of Yesterday (a tribute novel to Walt Disney World's River Country), and Paradise Island: A Sam and Colby Story. She's a short story contributor in Don't Turn Out the Lights: A Tribute Anthology to Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, a flash fiction contributor in Weird Tales Magazine, and the host of a horror-based YouTube channel called The Witch Haunt. Published with HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Permuted Press, & Entangled, Gaby writes about witchy powers, ghosts, haunted places, and abandoned locations and has ghostwritten over 50 novels for bestselling authors. Her books have won IRA Teen Choice, ALA Best Paperback, and Hispanic Magazine's Good Reads Awards. She lives in Miami with her family and is at work on her next novel.

Visit her at
Twitter: @GabyTriana
IG: @GabyTriana
YT: The Witch Haunt

Gaby, thank you so much for being a guest on Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews!

Be sure to check out Moon Child on February 17th!

Publication date: October 12th 2020 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads 1865 Hanau, Germany S ixteen-year-old Elva has a secret. She has visions...

Review || Broken Wish (The Mirror #1) by Julie C. Dao

Publication date: October 12th 2020
Links: Amazon Goodreads

Hanau, Germany

Sixteen-year-old Elva has a secret. She has visions and strange powers that she will do anything to hide.
She knows the warnings about what happens to witches in their small village of Hanau. She’s heard the terrible things people say about the Witch of the North Woods, and the malicious hunts that follow. But when Elva accidentally witnesses a devastating vision of the future, she decides she has to do everything she can to prevent it. Tapping into her powers for the first time, Elva discovers a magical mirror and its owner—none other than the Witch of the North Woods herself. As Elva learns more about her burgeoning magic, and the lines between hero and villain start to blur, she must find a way to right past wrongs before it’s too late.

Broken Wish is the first in a series called The Mirror, written by different authors, spanning generations and the curse that afflicts them. Julie C. Dao kicks off the series with Broken Wish, a story of friendship and broken promises. Fractured fairytales one of my favorite things—if it's done right—and I will even read YA if the premise sounds promising. I know, I'm a YA snob. Most of the time it's the angsty romance that I can't do in YA. In fairytale retellings, I'm expecting it to be angsty so it's okay, I guess? (Don't judge me.)

Beginning in Hanau, Germany (the birthplace of the Brothers Grimm, btw), a young woman named Agnes Heinrich befriends Mathilda, and their friendship is sweet and true. Unfortunately, they live in a time where different is to be feared and Mathilda is "different". Agnes and her husband can't have children and Mathilda agrees to help them in exchange for Agnes' friendship. Agnes agrees but breaks her promise to Mathilda, breaking her heart in the process. Years later, Agnes' daughter Elva discovers that she might be able to stop a vision of danger surrounding the village and her parents. She sets off on a journey to discover more about herself and the curse that befell her family all those years ago. That means hunting down the witch who set the curse in the first place. 

I loved this story.  The characters are fleshed out and the writing is beautifully stylized. All the components for a perfect fairytale are here: the witch, the woods, and a mirror. True to Disney style, there is so much to download from this. It's darker, somewhere between Disney and the original Brothers Grimm. There are a lot of Easter Eggs if you are a fairytale fan like me. While there's a bit of romance, there's definitely skew towards friendships and other forms of love like that of family. While it's technically YA, the focus on friendship is almost MG. 

Overall, it's a story that feels true to Disney, about finding out who you are, staying true to your word, and forging ahead even if you don't know how the story will end.