Tag Archive | 4 Stars

REVIEW: The Wolf Mirror by Caroline Healy

The Wolf Mirror by Caroline Healy           

Read: March 2016

Format: Uncorrected Manuscript

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Publisher: Fire & Ice Young Adult Books

Release Date:

Genre: Time Travel YA

Pages: 217


ABOUT THE BOOK

Changing places doesn’t always help you see things differently.

Cassie throws the first punch in a brawl at Winchester Abbey Girl’s School. Her subsequent suspension is a glitch in Cassie’s master plan; Finish School/Get Job/Leave Home (and never come back). As punishment her mother banishes her to Ludlow Park, their creepy ancestral home. In the dark of a stormy night Cassie finds herself transported to 1714, the beginning of the Georgian period.

With the help of a lady’s maid and an obnoxious gentleman, Mr Charles Stafford, Cassie must unravel the mysterious illness afflicting Lord Miller. If Lord Miller kicks the bucket the house goes to Reginald Huxley, the brainless cousin from London.

Cassie’s task is to figure out who is poisoning the Lord of Ludlow without exposing herself to the ridicule of her peers, getting herself committed to the asylum or worse, married off to the first man who will have her.

Cassie must learn to hold her tongue, keep her pride in check and reign in her rebellious nature – because the fate of her entire family, for generations, rests on her shoulders.

Meanwhile, Lady Cassandra Miller frantically searches for her smelling salts or her trusted governess Miss. Blythe, whose soothing advice she would dearly love. Instead Cassandra finds some woman and a boy squatting in the Ludlow mansion; her father, her lady’s maid and all the servants have magically disappeared.

Tell-a-vision, the In-her-net, horseless carriages and women wearing pantaloons; Cassandra is afraid that she might have inhaled fowl air causing her to temporarily lose her senses.

Only when both girls can get over their pride, societal prejudices and self-importance will they be able to return to their rightful century. Until then, they are free to wreak maximum damage on their respective centuries.


REVIEW

Cassie Miller is not handling her parents divorce well. Her mom is a work-a-holic judge in England, and her dad moved to France.

After she’s kicked out of her boarding school, Her mom takes Cassie and her little brother to her ancestral home, Ludlow Park, for some quality family time. But that first night, after a big fight with her mom, a storm rolls in. While trying to sneak a cigarette, the power goes out, right as she’s standing by the creepy wolf mirror in the East Wing.

Suddenly Cassie finds she’s been sent back in time to 1714. Meanwhile, the Lady Cassandra Miller of 1714 finds herself in 2014.

This is an interesting story because while the main plot is that Lady Cassandra’s father is dying and Cassie has to stop that from happening in order to save her lineage. But more than that, it’s about family. Lady Cassandra’s mother is dead, and Cassie doesn’t get along with hers at all. During her time in 1714 she quickly realizes there are many times she wishes her mom was there for her.

Both girls find an ally/confidant in their new time and it’s quite interesting to watch them try to adapt.

I also praise Ms. Healy for her descriptions of 1714. She wasn’t overly descriptive, but there was enough for me to get a feel for a time long past.

The real gem of this story however, is the characters. From page one, I loved Cassie. I felt for her and I wanted her to find acceptance. Sure I didn’t approve of a lot of her life choices, but at the same time I understood her reasons for acting the way she did. I thought she was very well written.

I’d recommend this book for teen and adult readers alike who are looking for interesting, well-developed characters, a little mystery, and the magic of time travel.

 

Disclaimer: I do work for this publisher, and I designed the covers for this series. My rating and opinions are 100% my own. I love this series!


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REVIEW: My Delicate Destruction by Jillian Ashe

Ahhh! Goodreads somehow flagged this book as READ before I wrote the review! There was a very real possibility this could have gotten lost in my incredibly unorganized Goodreads account and never reviewed. Good thing I realized I never wrote this review and hunted it down today! Whew!

What I love about well-written indie books, like this gem by Jillian Ashe, is that it fuels my own desire to finally finish my novel. Right now I’m working on a novella for a super-secret group project (actually, I’m not really sure how secret it is any more…)

You can learn more about that project herehttps://www.facebook.com/PeaceNovellaSeries

Once I get through this story (which I’m really loving and proud of so far!) I’m planning on getting back to my paranormal YA series which I began during NaNoWriMo 2013. I won that year, but the book is still not where I’d like it to be. So… more edits!

Until I have more news about that, keep reading my book reviews. Let me know if you find a book from my reviews – I love sharing the gift of a good story and I’d love to hear from you!


My Delicate Destruction by Jillian Ashe

Series: Wolfgang #1

Read: April 16-18, 2017

Format: Kindle

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: October 11, 2013 (originally published)

Genre: Sci-Fi

Pages: 266

Reading Challenge(s): TBR 2017, Beat The Backlist 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

They Promised her Hope…

My name is Katerina Anderson. In 2016, a drug called Hope was created. Administered during suspended animation, the drug was supposed to cure the cancer my twin brother and I had. When an earthquake leveled Los Angeles, we were presumed dead.

Forgotten, we slept.

The day I woke up, I realized everything had changed. My brother was missing, and everyone else I knew was dead. I booked passage on a ship to find Kris. The government thinks I’m a criminal and the cure did more than just cure my cancer. My brother is the only one who might have the answers I need, but that drug and all its false hope set me on a path I’m not sure I can follow.

Will I find my twin and learn exactly what they did to me before it’s too late?


REVIEW

I was a little bit hesitant when I began reading My Delicate Destruction by Jillian Ashe because I just wasn’t sure this was the kind of book I’d like. Not to mention it’s self published, which is always a little scary for me as a reader, because I never know exactly what kind of quality of writing/editing I’m going to get. I had no need to fear with this book though, Ms. Ashe has put out a fine finished product!

Things start off strong with Kris coming out of a pod after having been cryogenically frozen. Though very cool, this seemed like it might possibly be too sci-fi for me. And then we jump back in time and meet his twin sister and the protagonist of this series, Kat, who is totally into racing cars. Which I’m sooo not into. But I stuck with it. And I’m glad I did.

Even though car racing just isn’t my thing, I was able to move past it and it really did end up being important to the story, aside from helping to give this character a personality. I really liked Kat, she was feisty and strong. Despite being thrown into a really scary and horrible situation, knowing her brother was out there somewhere really helped her through it all and forced her to push through it. Gave her a purpose in this new and confusing life.

I loved that the author could have chosen to have Kat, who is now so far in the future that everyone she ever knew or loved is dead, instantly fall in love (or at least in bed) with Captain Chase Wolf, but instead went for a more realistic approach. Kat is a little depressed, and rightfully so, over her situation. The man she was in love with is nothing but dust in the ground somewhere, along with her parents and friends. That’s a lot to wrap your mind around.

Despite that sadness, this book has plenty of lines that made me chuckle. And plenty of characters to fall in love with. (I’m personally a big fan of Ricky. Read the book and I think you’ll quickly find out why!)

The ending came upon me quick, and it was pretty epic, and I wish there was more! But this little segment of the story was clearly done, and I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next for Kat and the gang on the Wolfgang!

 

So should you read it? I think so! This is a fun and fast paced sci-fi space opera – and the story is just starting!


Get the Book here:

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QUOTES

There was nothing like good friends to keep you out of trouble, or to get you into it depending on the situation.


Kris was dying and I needed to feel like I was living enough for the both of us.


Was I afraid to die? Truthfully, there were worse things than death.


I couldn’t help but think about every science fiction movie I’d ever seen and book I’d read. Which one did my life fall into now? Would it be a false utopian society or a war torn galaxy full of freedom fighters working against evil?


They went to all that work to arrest me, but for none of the things I was actually guilty of.


The fear was almost like a friend now. It wanted to keep me alive. It was like a stuffed animal that turned into a golem when I needed it. I read about that once in the Bible. Or was that Grimm?

 

I wanted the time of heroes to return—white knights and dragons. How desperately I used to dream of dragons. Now all I had was this steel ship and the vacuum of space.


I was playing at cowboys and aliens, and I had no idea how I was ever going to find Kris without getting killed.


I didn’t know why I ever thought I could stay out of trouble. It always seemed to come looking for me.


“Not bad,” she said. “For a human.”

 

 

REVIEW: Dead Letters by Caite Donlan-Leach

Dead Letters by Caite Donlan-Leach

Read: December 27, 2016 – January 10, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC / NetGalley

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Publisher: Random house

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Genre: Literary Mystery

Pages: 352

Challenges: none

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

In this sharp and clever debut novel of suspense, a young woman—presumed dead—leaves a series of clues for her twin sister, which leads her on a scavenger-hunt-like quest to solve the mystery of her disappearance.

Ava Antipova has her reasons for running away: a failing family vineyard, a romantic betrayal, a mercurial sister, an absent father, a mother slipping into dementia. In Paris, Ava acquires a French boyfriend and a taste for much better wine, and erases her past. But two years later, she must return to upstate New York. Her twin sister, Zelda, is dead.

Even in a family of alcoholics, Zelda Antipova was the wild one, notorious for her mind games and destructive behavior. Stuck tending the vineyard and the girls’ increasingly unstable mother, Zelda is allegedly burned alive when she passes out in the barn with a cigarette. But Ava finds the official explanation a little too neat. A little too Zelda. Then she receives a cryptic message—from her sister. Just as Ava suspected, Zelda’s playing one of her games. In fact, she’s outdone herself, leaving a series of clues to her disappearance. Ava follows the trail laid just for her, thinking like her sister, keeping her secrets, immersing herself in Zelda’s drama. Along the way, Zelda forces Ava to confront their twisted history and the boy who broke her heart. But why? Is Zelda trying to punish Ava for leaving? To teach her a lesson? Or is she simply trying to write her own ending?

Caite Dolan-Leach’s debut suspense takes readers on a literary scavenger hunt for clues concealed throughout the seemingly idyllic wine country, hidden in plain sight on social media, and buried at the heart of one tremendously dysfunctional, utterly unforgettable family.


REVIEW

Caution: There may be mild spoilers, but I promise, NOTHING will ruin the ending.

 

Literary fiction isn’t my GO TO genre. In fact, I tend to avoid it. For the most part I don’t like that style of writing. Going into Dead Letters I knew it was a more literary book than I gravitate toward and honestly, up until about 15-20% I seriously considered quitting. By the time I reached THE END (sobbing like a baby) I was so glad I didn’t quit this one.

As the blurb indicates, Ava’s from a family of alcoholics. They’re all pretty terrible people, making all kinds of terrible life choices. It was hard to relate to them because I’m the opposite, I just don’t see the point in alcohol so I usually abstain. It actually bothered me a lot more up until the point when Ava says out loud that she knows she has a problem. Once the cards were on the table, I could respect her more.

One of the problems I have with literary fiction is that they tend to linger on seemingly random tangents. That was very much the case with this book, as present day Ava reminisced about something that happened years ago, usually involving Zelda. And much of the time they seemed unimportant to the story, but off the top of my head, I can’t think of a flashback that didn’t pertain to the clues/ending.

The clues laid out by Zelda were very clever. I found myself wondering how she was doing it. What was going on. Just when I thought I figured it out, I got a slap in the face. My theory was 100% incorrect, and though it would have been cool, this ending was so much butter. (If anyone wants to know my theory, feel free to private message me! I don’t want to spoil the journey for other readers by posting it here!)

Seriously, I can’t express my feelings for this book without spoiling it!

I’ll sum it up this way – for 95% of the book I could have cared less what happened, I just wanted to FINISH. Then the ending happened. And suddenly I was completely and totally invested in the story. Days later and I’m still thinking about it. The book shot from like, a 2.5-3 star book to a 3.75/4 star book.

So should you read the book?

If you’re into literary books – YES.

If you’re not so much into literary but you like a book with a mind lowing ending that leaves you thinking – YES.

 

 I received an advanced release copy of this book from Goodreads First to Read and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Random House and the Author.



Get the Book here:

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QUOTES

I’m an idiot and accidentally deleted all of my quotes from my phone! Yikes!

 

REVIEW: Amp’d by Ken Pisani

Amp’d by Ken Pisani

Read: February 2 – 19, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: May 10, 2016

Genre: Humor

Pages: 288

Reading Challenge(s): TBR 2017, Beat The Backlist 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

“Complete with painfully wry observations and delightfully caustic wit, this novel is a gritty exploration of what it’s like to feel incomplete in the world. All five fingers up for this bitterly satisfying tale.” Kirkus Reviews (starred)

Aaron is not a man on a hero’s journey. In the question of fight or flight, he’ll choose flight every time. So when a car accident leaves him suddenly asymmetrical, his left arm amputated, looking on the bright side just isn’t something he’s equipped to do.

Forced to return to his boyhood home to recuperate, Aaron is confronted with an aging father (a former Olympic biathlete turned hoarder), a mother whose chosen to live in a yurt with a fireman twelve years her junior, and a well-meaning sister whose insufferable husband proves love isn’t just blind, but also painfully stupid.

As Aaron tries to make the world around him disappear in a haze of Vicodin and medical marijuana, the only true joy in his life comes from daily ninety-second radio spots of fun science facts: the speed of falling raindrops, batteries made out of starfish, and sexual responses triggered by ringtones – all told in the lush, disembodied voice of commentator Sunny Lee, with whom he falls helplessly, ridiculously, in love. Aaron’s obsession with Sunny only hastens his downward spiral, like pouring accelerant on a fire. Pressured to do something – anything – to move his life forward, he takes the only job he can get. As a “fish counter” at the nearby dam, he concludes that an act of violent sacrifice to liberate the river might be his best, final option.


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads.

 

Some of the books I win from Goodreads get relegated to the DNF pile so quickly they don’t even get reviews. This is not one of those books.

Amp’d by Ken Pisani is a real treat. Take one 40 year old man, recently sans-one arm, force him to move home to live with his dad (who may have a mild hoarding problem) and his pet alligator (who lives in the bathtub) and you’ve got a recipe for hilarity.

I’ll admit, the beginning of this book felt a little too literary for me, but I chuckled a few times so I kept with it. Soon enough I’d completely fallen in love with this story. I had no clue where the plot was going until the very end, but I was eager to read more about what was going to happen to Aaron next. Everything was so over the top and cartoonish it was hard not to love it. There’s a lot of drug humor, and I’m so not a drug humor kind of person, but these characters are just so charming. Besides, it was just medical Marijuana.

Honestly, this is the kind of book I have a hard time reviewing. A lot of things happen. Most of it was funny. Maybe not fall over crying with tears funny, but consistently garnering chuckles funny. I mean, Aaron befriends a little boy with cancer, who he refers to as Cancer Boy in the narrative. He gets a job counting fish. Yes. Counting fish. I refuse to expand upon this, you need to read the book to find out more. He has a friggen alligator living in his house!

That’s not to say the book doesn’t have any heart. There is quite a bit of emotion at the end. I didn’t cry, but the story literally came full circle and left me with a solid sense of closure that I feared I wouldn’t get from a book like this.

I’m glad I read this book. And I know this review is pretty abysmal, but I highly encourage those who enjoy humorous tales to read this as well. Amp’d is a hidden gem.



Get the Book here:

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QUOTES

 

If this were a book you’d know that the guy you meet on page 1, shattered and mutilated and staring into the abyss, would by the end of the story transcend his terrible circumstances to become a better man. But this isn’t a book, this is just me talking… and I’m not the guy who beats the odds and overcomes adversity; I’m the guy who wakes up in the hospital to find out his arm has been amputated and says, Fuck me.

 

“There’s an alligator in your bathtub.”
“I thought you knew.”
“If I did, I’d forgotten.”

 

“This is why I worry about you, honey. When things are bad, you pour accelerant on them.”

 

That’s how Dad finds us on his return, both picking our noses in his kitchen, his bottle of Fleischmann’s a guilty accomplice.
“Right,” he finally says. “There never was anything to do in this town.”

 

“What are you doing now?”
“Learning Chinese.”
“See? I just learned a sentence: Kway-UR yin-UH chee. Happy baby eat. Or it could be Eat happy baby. Yes, that’s better! The next time I see a happy Chinese baby, I can tell his parents to eat him.”

 

Her glare wilts, no match for my status as object of pity, an awesome power I should probably use for good, not evil, but know I’m going to milk like dairy farmer.

 

“If there was a future in bullshit, Aaron,” she says, “you’d be unstoppable.”

 

“I don’t remember what you wanted to be when you grew up—”
“Pretty sure it was a guy with two arms.”

 

As any hockey player could tell you, it’s harder to score after repeated blows to the head, rendering future offspring unlikely.

REVIEW: Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron

Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron

Series: The Ryogan Chronicles #1

Read: January 17 – 28, 2017

Format: E-ARC (NetGalley)

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 400

Reading Challenge(s): 2017 YA Reading Challenge, Flights of Fantasy 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

In this diverse, gritty survival fantasy, a girl warrior turns against her island clan to find the brother they claim died, uncovering secrets. Perfect for fans of Graceling and Snow Like Ashes.

In Khya’s world, every breath is a battle.

On the isolated desert island of Shiara, dying young is inevitable. The clan comes before self, and protecting her home means Khya is a warrior above all else.

But when following the clan and obeying their leaders could cost her brother his life, Khya’s home becomes a deadly trap. The only person who can help is Tessen, her lifelong rival and the boy who challenges her at every turn. The council she hoped to join has betrayed her, and their secrets, hundreds of years deep, reach around a world she’s never seen.

To save her brother’s life and her island home, her only choice is to trust Tessen, turn against her clan, and go on the run—a betrayal and a death sentence.


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Island of Exiles fits in well with the popular YA titles of current times, but at the same time, it is unique enough to set it apart.

If you look at my reading progress comments on Goodreads you can see that up until halfway through the book I was confused and struggling, but by around 50% I was completely sucked in. This book is worth the struggle in the beginning.

What I had the most trouble with was all of the new vocabulary words in this world that Khya lives in. They have an entire caste system (mostly based on magic) that is easily confusing, plus a few other words that are substitutes for what we would say and honestly, I don’t see the point in the author changing them.

For the longest time while I liked Khya, I didn’t really care about her. I blame this on the above vocabulary issue. It took me a while to really engage. Once I really committed, I discovered I did like her. She is a strong female character and her personal growth throughout the story was wonderful. I loved where her character ended up by the end and I look forward to seeing how she continues to grow and change throughout the series.

I give the author credit for this unique desert world she’s created, as well as the Miriseh people. All very cool, especially once I let go of trying to keep track of the ranks and titles and what it all meant.

A cool thing bout this particular community is that they’re part militia-part hippie commune. Parents don’t raise their kids, they’re all put together and raised together. Blood siblings are rare, and Khya is fortunate enough to have one. Sexuality is also very open and free, everyone is allowed to love whomever they want. Khya has has multiple relationships with her peers, both male and female. In this world, that’s the norm. There are no boundaries on love.

Tessen is my favorite in this book. His undying loyalty to Khya, even when she doesn’t entirely deserve it, is wonderful. I don’t even remember how he was described in the book, but in my head he’s pretty dreamy. Definitely book boyfriend material!

 

SHOULD YOU READ IT? Readers who enjoy unique fantasy worlds that are somewhat similar to our own will probably enjoy this book. The new vocab can be a bit intense, so my advice is to let it all go and just enjoy the story being told, don’t even worry about trying to keep track of the ranks.



Island of Exiles releases February 14, 2017
Get it here!

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QUOTES

Animals can be outsmarted. Enemies can be fought. Storms can only be survived.

…on Shiara, death is the one think that’s inevitable.

Heat, dirt, blood, death. Life is made of these things.

“I don’t want to talk,” I warn him. “About anything.”
“That’s fine.” His grin spreads across his face like the first glint of sunrise. “You know I can talk enough for the both of us.”

“You know me.” Tessen’s smile grows, like he knows he’s won this argument. “I’ve always been too curious for my own good.”

There’s at least an inch of space between us, but I can feel him in a way that makes my skin seem sunburned—warm and prickly to the point of painful.

I’ve never allowed myself to have this. I’ve never let myself trust anyone enough to dare let my guard down enough to have this. No one else has pushed past my walls persistently enough to earn this.

 

 

REVIEW: Mortality by Kellie Sheridan

Mortality by Kellie Sheridan

Series: The Hitchhiker Strain #1

Read: January 28-30, 2017

Format: Kindle (NetGalley)

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Publisher: Patchwork Press

Release Date: March 19, 2013

Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic (Zombie)

Pages: 254

Reading Challenge(s): 2017 YA Reading Challenge, Beat the Backlist 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

After surviving a deadly plague outbreak, sixteen-year-old Savannah thought she had lived through the very worst of human history. There was no way to know that the miracle vaccine would put everyone at risk for a fate worse than un-death.

Now, two very different kinds of infected walk the Earth, intent on nothing but feeding and destroying what little remains of civilization. When the inoculated are bitten, infection means watching on in silent horror as self-control disappears and the idea of feasting on loved ones becomes increasingly hard to ignore.

Starving and forced to live inside of the abandoned high school, all Savannah wants is the chance to fight back. When a strange boy arrives with a plan to set everything right, she gets her chance. Meeting Cole changes everything. Mere survival will never be enough.


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

This poor innocent book was received from NetGalley a little over a year ago. Due to it’s past release date it kept getting set aside in order to read and review books that were not yet released. I’m sorry to the author AND to myself, because this book was great!

This is a dual POV story set in a post-apocalyptic world. The zombie apocalypse is here, and to make matters worse, a “vaccine” was distributed, but all it did was turn those who were vaccinated and then infected into living zombies.

The story switches back and forth between Savannah and Zarah, two girl trying to survive pretty much on their own. Savannah is the character we spend the most time with. She’s 17 and sick of being cooped up in the high school, she wants to prove she’s grown up up enough to be out there fighting with the adults. She can definitely handle herself. Zarah on the other hand is more of a pacifist. After teaming up with Liam, a classmate, when it becomes clear they’re on their own they set off on their own trying to stay safe. She leans on Liam a lot to take care of her.

It was interesting to see how each of these very different girls handle the situation they’ve been forced into. I was also surprised to find that this wasn’t a typical zombie novel, we got to see some insights that I did not expect! When the girls paths cross it’s really hard to know who to root for.

This is actually only like, the fourth dystopian zombie-type novel I’ve ever read and only the second with true classic zombies. It had similarities to The Walking Dead, but it absolutely stands apart from the show.

My only minor qualm was in the sort of insta-love between the two sets of characters. I’m giving it a pass because for Savannah it wasn’t really instant, it just came sort of out of nowhere. For Zarah the build up just wasn’t shown because she didn’t have as much of the story as Savannah did. I don’t think most teen readers will have a problem, and honestly, I didn’t really either.

The ending had a slight cliffhanger, but if there wasn’t a sequel the reader wouldn’t be left completely hanging. There’s some closure, and the mission Savannah set out on does reach a somewhat satisfying end point.

I’ll probably read the second book in this series at some point down the line.

 

SHOULD YOU READ IT? If you’re into zombies and teen fiction yes. It’s a fast paced enjoyable read.



Get the Mortality here:

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QUOTES

We were prepared for this, but my heartbeat still quickened. This was everything I had been waiting for, but suddenly I was less enthusiastic. My hand shook and I fumbled loading my weapon.

 

He wasn’t dead, and that was a very, very good thing. Then it hit me—this situation was still far from a good one. Letting out a strangled gasp, I clasped my hand over my mouth. He was probably still alive, but I might never see him again.

 

I would never be given the chance to bury my parents or my brother. I’ll never even know if there is anything left of them to bury. But I’m trying not to think about that.

 

Cole had come up with this entire plan in less than ten minutes.
And people say I’m impulsive.
No. I was just the idiot who agreed to this insanity.

 

“Come out with your hands over your head.” Apparently I wasn’t the only one reliving every action movie ever made.

REVIEW: Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti

Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti

Series: Scorpius Syndrome #1

Read: December 29, 2016 – January 7, 2017

Format: ARC Ebook (NetGalley)

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Publisher: Kensington

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Pages: 384

READING CHALLENGE: #TBRChallenge

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynn Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynn is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury…

Danger has never looked quite so delicious…


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

While being entirely way too smutty for my tastes, Mercury Striking is a well thought out page turner.

With the Scorpius bacteria on the loose, more deadly than the plague, Jax Mercury has created his own community in Los Angeles where the people are protected and everyone does their part. Meanwhile, Lynn Harmony aka “Blue Heart” is fugitive #1. Said to be carrying a mutated strain of the Scorpius bacteria, she is supposed to be turned into what’s left of the government if she’s found. As the former head of the CDC, she’s too valuable to let go.

So obviously this is a romance. And it’s a steamy alpha male romance at that. Personally, I don’t get the whole alpha male attraction. They’re mostly just jerks. Jax isn’t too bad, as far as Alpha’s go. He’s got a lot of backstory and reasons for acting the way he does. He’s got a past and demons to conquer.

Lynne is far from the damsel in distress herself. She’s got a brain and knows how to use it. She’s got her own demons to vanquish and together with Jax, they may just be able to take on the world.

I was surprised by how much I liked about this book. The action was good and kept the story moving. The explanations for the Scorpius bacteria was well thought out and interesting, it wasn’t a last minute cop out thrown together by the author in order to get the characters in bed together. It was legit. And I liked it. The side characters were also very interesting and I have a feeling there is plenty to find out about each of them in the future.

As far as what I didn’t like, as I said before, I’m not one for books with lots of sex. It’s just not my reading preference. If you like a lot of sex scenes, this is the book for you! For me, it was too much. Especially a particular scene in the book which was WAY too rapey for my liking. The author knows each partner wanted it, but there was no way that Jax knew she really wanted it. She said no, and he did it anyway. It left a really bad taste in my mouth and if I were the kind of reader who quit partway through a book, I would have quit. Aside from that scene, I had no other major issues with the book.

 

So, should you read it? If you like LOTS of sex scenes and romance novels that have more substance than just the romance aspect, YES. If you don’t like sex scenes, you may have a harder time. You could always skip over them, but you’ll miss some of the relationship development.



Get the Mercury Striking here:

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QUOTES

 

Her shoulders went back, and she rested her head, staring up at the roof. “I’d love to be useless.”

 

Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed. – G. K. Chesterton

 

“I have an IQ well into the triple digits, Mercury. Killing you right now surrounded by your people would be incredibly stupid. I’m not stupid.”

 

The world either wants her dead because they blame her for not stopping the illness, or they think somehow there’s a cure in her blood since she’s the only one with a blue heart.

 

The guy was quoting Nietzsche? What kind of an ex-gang member turned army special ops turned leader of a vigilante group knew philosophy?

 

“A gentleman would give me the bed.”
He scratched the stubble next to his scar. “All the gentlemen are dead, baby. Soldiers and survivors are what we have now.”

 

For a badass, dangerous killer of a soldier who had no problem wielding a belt, Jax Mercury sure liked to cuddle.

 

“This doesn’t mean I need to get your name tattooed to my ass, does it? With the former gang affiliation, with military and the new group, I’m unaware of the protocol.”

 

“You need a woman.”
“A woman is the last thing on earth I need,” Raze countered.
Jax raised an eyebrow. “A guy, then?”

 

REVIEW: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Series: Me Before You #1

Read: November 17 – December 16, 2016

Format: Paperback

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Publisher: Penguin

Release Date: January 5, 2012

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.


REVIEW

Warning – if you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what this book is about, there will be spoilers. You’ve been warned.

 

With the movie based on this book, I heard about Me Before You everywhere. Everyone absolutely loved it and I had to read it. I put myself on the list at the library – I was something like 685 on the wait list. I ended up removing myself from the list when my mom bought the book for herself, then let me have it when she was done.

I wasn’t so sure at first that I would like the book. I mean, I love romantic comedies when it comes to movies, but but I have yet to find a contemporary romance or women’s fiction that really drew me in. Until now.

Louisa Clark is such an easy to like character. She’s naive and happy to live her simple existence in her tiny town living with her parents, sister, and nephew. But after she loses her job, she realizes she’s not really qualified to do much of anything. On a whim she interviews and is offered a job as a caretaker for a paraplegic. Enter Will Traynor.

Will is an arrogant, depressive, asshole. But I couldn’t really hate him for that. He went from an extremely active and independent life, to being a slave to a wheelchair. The common cold could easily turn to pneumonia and kill him. His existence since his accident has been nothing short of hell for him. Will is not the type of man to rely on others. Yet that is now his reality.

The main issue of this book, the right to end ones own life, is heavy and depressing. I really think Moyes did an excellent job of remaining neutral on the subject. Will is hard set on ending his misery. Louisa, ever the optimist, is convinced she can change his mind and give him something to live for.

The romance in this book is a slow build, but easy to see coming. There were little moments where Will would show just a glimmer of happiness, even if it was just a slight smile, and my hopes would rise.

If you have been living under a rock, I won’t tell you how this ends. I’ll just leave you with my final Goodreads update upon reading THE END: “I’m not crying, you’re crying! *Sniffles* What a beautiful story.”

There you have it.

Bring tissues.


Get the Me Before You here:

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QUOTES

 

“Um. . . Have you ever considered joining the entertainment industry?”

“What, as a mime artist? Opera singer?”

“Actually, no. But there is an opening for a pole dancer. Several, in fact.”

 

 “Believe me, when you’ve done shifts at a chicken processing factory, working in Guantanamo Bay for six months looks attractive.”

 

“What the hell else have you been sneaking into my food? You’ll be telling me to open the tunnel so that Mr. Train can deliver some mushy Brussel sprouts to the red bloody station next.”

I considered this for a minute. “No,” I said, straight-faced. “I deal only with Mr. Fork. Mr. Fork does not look like a train.”

 

 Dear Clark,

This is to show you that I am not an entirely selfish are. And I do appreciate your efforts.

Thank you. Will.

 

 “… I cannot for the life of me see how you can be so content to live this tiny life. This life that will take place almost entirely within a five-mile radius and contain nobody who will ever surprise you or push you or show you things that will leave your head spinning and unable to sleep at night.”

 

 “There have been times when I’ve stayed over and he’s woken up screaming because in his dreams he’s still walking and skiing and doing stuff and just for those few minutes, when his defenses are down and it’s all a bit raw, he literally can’t bear the thought of never doing it again. He can’t bear it….”

 

REVIEW: Truthsong by Elisabeth Hamill

Truthsong by Elisabeth Hamill

Series: Songmaker #2

Read: 2015

Format: Uncorrected Draft

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Genre: YA Fantasy

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Telyn’s song magic freed ancient spirits of the Wood, it also awakened a long-slumbering evil. Now she and her beloved Mithrais must battle a spreading shadow that ignites crippling fear, and deal with the unexpected consequences of magic’s return.

More danger arrives with a royal delegation to the forest realm, sweeping Telyn back into court intrigue and the sights of a murderous lord. Mithrais may be forced to choose between his service to the Wood or the obligations of his royal blood.

As Telyn’s bond with Mithrais grows, she is torn between her love for him and the freedom of a wandering bard’s life. But when dark magic plunges the Wood into chaos, she must balance the two halves of her heart—or the Fates may take Mithrais from her forever.


REVIEW


Truthsong
brings us back to the world of Telyn and Mithrais; music and magic.

Telyn is a bard, exiled from court. Mithrais is her lifemate, a ranger of an ancient order. Together they helped bring magic back to the world, awakening the tree spirits who were dormant and dying for so long. But with good comes evil. A dark presence has taken hold deep in the woods. Together the pair must work to discover what this evil is, and try to stop it.

While I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as Song Magick, it is absolutely worth reading. Especially for fans of high fantasy. There is magic, romance, court intrigue, assassination attempts, and dragons. Yep, dragons.

Telyn loves Mithrais, there’s no doubt. But she’s conflicted. She longs for the life of a traveling bard, but being tied to Mithrais would mean putting down roots. Meanwhile Mithrais has his own conundrum, he is a ranger by birth and choice, but now he must face the possibility of having to give that life up for reasons I won’t give away.

I think what I love the most about this book is the tree spirits. They really are a character in and of themselves. They’re so much fun to read about. The dark presence is really cool too, and I can’t wait to read what happens next in book 3.

Ultimately, this is a book for fans of fantasy. If you don’t like fantasy novels, you’ll hate this book. If you expect a lot of lovey dovey romance, you’ll probably not enjoy this book as much as you’d like. BUT, if you like fantasy novels with magic and mystery and good and evil, then you should give this book a try. (But read Song Magick first! You’ll probably be lost if you don’t.)

P.S. There’s a Goodreads giveaway going on for this book HERE!

 

NOTE: I work for the publisher and designed the cover of this book. This in no way affects my rating and review. All thoughts are mine and do not reflect those of the publisher.


Get the Truthsong here:

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Catch up with book 1, Song Magick, here:

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QUOTES

Once trapped by an ancient spell, her magic and life force bought their freedom.

“All magic is dangerous.”

The dragon opened a maw full of deathly white teeth – and yawned.

“I’ve never been afraid of the dark. I am now. Something besides dragons woke here.”

He smiled at her with pride. “Be yourself, as always.”

He turned toward her and rose up on one elbow, pale eyes gleaming in the starlight.
“Another story of darkness defeated by love.”

His forehead touched hers, voice husky with emotion. “You led me out of the darkness. I am yours, body and soul.”

 

REVIEW: Outlaw Cowboy by Nicole Helm

Outlaw Cowboy by Nicole Helm

Series: Big Sky Cowboys #2

Read: July 10 – 26, 2016

Format: Print Book (Goodreads Win)

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

I received a copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads. This in no way affects my review or rating.


Now, I’m not a big reader of contemporary romance. Especially adult contemporary romance. However, I ended up really enjoying Outlaw Cowboy.

Caleb and Delia are both a little rough around the edges. She comes from an abusive home and has spent the last ten years finding ways to get her four younger sisters the hell away from their abusive father. Meanwhile Caleb is haunted by something his mother said, just before she walked out on the family forever. Both spent their teens getting into trouble, and both are trying to find their way as adults.

Caleb wants his family ranch. His older sister, Mel, is married now and no longer a Shaw, so he wants Shaw in his name, to be his legacy. In order to prove to Mel that he can handle running Shaw and bring the finances out of the red, he agrees to a land rental deal with the contingency that he must NOT have any dealings with any unsavory characters. And that’s exactly what Delia is.

Delia meanwhile is running from the law, and trying to find a way to get her youngest sister away from their father. After taking shelter in Caleb’s old cabin on his property, things get hot.

Now, the first almost half of this book is each of these characters internal monologues repeating over and over again what they need to do: “I need to get my sister out” or “I need to prove to Mel that I can run Shaw” etc. Had this not been a buddy read with Katie @ Just Another Girl and Her Blog, I probably would have quit. I’m glad I didn’t though, because about halfway through, things pick up. The story starts to move. It almost feels like the author needed to add to her word count, so she just repeated the same internal dialogue over and over again for the first half. But after that first half, it’s so worth it!

I actually really did like both of the characters. They were tough on the outside, but gooey on the inside, though they didn’t even realize it at first. I loved the history they had together, there were sweet moments and not so savory ones as well. In the end, they just fit. All of the problems were resolved in realistic ways. Toward the end I thought there was no way the author could wrap this up, but… she did. And well.

I’m not sure I’d go back and read the first book, about Caleb’s older sister Mel, but I’d certainly read one about younger sister Summer, she was a breath of fresh air amidst all the angst in this book!

This book also contains the longest sex scene I’ve ever read. It wasn’t super smutty, but I think it was hot enough to make romance fans happy. It was also very humorous. Yep, sexy and humorous. That’s a win!

I think fans of contemporary romance will eat this one up.

 


Get the book here:

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~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES

“You can’t go in there alone.”
“Why not? I’m a man with a gun.”
“You’re the one who said she could be dangerous!”
“I repeat, I am a man with a gun.”

(Re: a banging noise coming from outside)
A shadow lingered, but without any kind of light he couldn’t make it what it was.
Tree? Raccoon? Bloodthirsty thief?
He rolled his eyes at himself. Because bloodthirsty thieves were known for knocking on doors.

“But if you had something that was yours, that made you who you are, that gave you a reason to get up in the morning, wouldn’t you do everything to keep it? Wouldn’t you fight to keep the thing that made you feel like you weren’t a complete waste of space?”

“I know you don’t think of yourself as much of a knight in shining armor, and you’re kind of a dip shit, but you did save my life…”

But last night Caleb had fussed over her and put her in one of his T-shirts, and had not copped one feel.
Asshole.

…Time and time again, life had given her Caleb in her darkest moments.
Now  she was going to make sure he was there in the lightest ones too.