Monday, April 30, 2012

Review: The Selection

The Selection
The Selection by Kiera Cass

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined

My Thoughts: This is the first book in a planned trilogy that has been described as “The Bachelor” meets “The Hunger Games”. This is not a true representation. It may describe the trilogy overall, but not this story. This is more, “every girl’s fantasy of being a Princess” meets “The Bachelor”

I loved this book, it had such incredibly sweet and tender moments between America and Maxon…like the television interview, and the “bet” about May. I loved that America was honest with just about all things. And the one thing she did hold back, was pretty necessary. I loved that the King and Queen had met through this process, did truly fall in love, and love each other still.

I loved America…I was rooting for America. She made a point going into the “competition” to be herself, and she was true to that. When she goofed, she apologized. She was honest with Maxon from the start. She became his friend…that’s when I knew she was a goner. She was able to show him life from her perspective, which was much closer to the bottom than the top…and she was able to do it in a manner that wasn’t patronizing. She is an “every girl”.

I loved Maxon…I’m rooting for him also! He saw something in America. That spark she has. Maybe it’s the fact that she is a fiery redhead, just like yours truly?? He came back for more even after she’d dressed him down and their first meeting. And came back yet again after a trip around the gardens didn’t turn out quite like planned. He was a goner from that first dressing down.

Not a fan of Aspen…He seemed almost obsessive and stalkerish. He treats America like a possession rather than a person. One thing he did, that I totally agreed with, was the whole getting America to apply for the Selection. I can see where that might have come up down the line in their lives had they still been together. I’m definitely on Team Maxon!

I really did love this little gem. I think I know where the rest of the series will go and may post my predictions at some point. But one thing I am certain of…I will be rereading The Selection many, many times!

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Review: Hemlock

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love

My Thoughts: I must come clean…I picked this one up only for the name. Didn’t read the blurb or any reviews, I just knew with a name like “Hemlock” it would be a book for me. And I’m so glad I didn’t read the blurb or I would have put it back down. I’ve read more Werewolf and Vampire books than you could shake a stake at! And I am bored with them, to say the least.

Thankfully I didn’t know this story was werewolf related. This was different in that everyone is aware werewolves exist…so while there was still the whole hiding you are a werewolf thing but it was for different reasons.

This was primarily a story about 4 best friends and what happens after one of them was murdered by a werewolf. How the three remaining friends dealt with the death, and the one friend who just won’t let it go. And it was the “who dunit” angle that really sucked me into the story. Peacock did a wonderful job of weaving together the mystery…I was able to figure out the who, once that one clue showed up, but never would have guessed the why(s).

Also, I appreciate that this didn’t feel like a typical beginning to a trilogy/series. This was a completely self-contained story. If no other books were to follow I could be satisfied with how this ended. Fortunately, it’s looking like there will be another book and I’m anxious to see where it takes us besides Denver…LOL.

Really enjoyable and hard to put down, this book is for anyone that likes a little paranormal romance and even those who don’t think they do. Enjoy!

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Review: Masque of the Red Death

Masque of the Red Death
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW! This book had it all!

This is a very bleak landscape where those that can, hang out in the Debauchery Club. A place where the elite can find anything and everything to drown their sorrows over the World that is. And the world that is comes from the viewpoint of Araby Worth. Daughter of the man who created the masks everyone must wear to filter the plague from the air. Sister of her dead twin brother. Unwitting prisoner of the Prince. Araby spends her nights with April, her best friend, and complete opposite, at the Debauchery Club, where Araby buries herself in drink and drugs to escape and forget. That is until her world is shaken, her eyes are opened, and she it set on a path to aid those who have nothing.

Author Bethany Griffin did a wonderful job of creating this world that is in utter ruins and where more devastation seems to be just on the horizon. Spellbinding and beautifully written, Griffin launches you into the bleak and hopeless world where some people are still able to hold out hope for a better tomorrow. Very surprising twists and turn propel the story at a fast pace. So much so, I read this in one sitting not wanting to put it down!

There is a fascinating cast of characters. Araby has a case of “survivor’s guilt” that paralyzes her. Will tries to show her that guilt is useless, while Elliot wants her to use it as a force for rebellion. Being a famous scientist’s daughter has everyone wanting to use her for one thing or another and she is oblivious to it because of her guilt. As our heroine, Araby, was kind of tough to like in the beginning. But once is sees how the majority of the populace lives she is spurred to action.

This was a joy to read. The writing was beautiful and absorbing. The despair was palpable. I wouldn’t normally call that joyous, but the fact that I was so engrossed by the story was. While I hated to see the book end, even the ending was perfect. I do so look forward to a second book. I just hope I won’t have to wait too long.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review: Tempted

Tempted by Elisabeth Naughton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads: DEMETRIUS—He’s the hulking, brooding warrior his fellow Guardians avoid. Too dark. Too damaged. And given his heritage, he knows it’s best to keep everyone at arm’s length.

Isadora is missing. The words pounded through his head like a frantic drumbeat. For her own protection, Demetrius had done all he could to avoid the fragile princess, his soul mate. And now she was gone—kidnapped. To get her back, he’ll have to go to the black place in his soul he’s always shunned. As daemons ravage the human realm and his loyalty to the Guardians is put to the ultimate test, Demetrius realizes that Isadora is stronger than anyone thought. And finally letting her into his heart may be the only way to save them both

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this installment. For the previous 2 books, Naughton has been hinting at how dark Demetrius is. And Demetrius makes it clear that me wants NOTHING to do with Isadora. So I was anxious to read this one.

Naughton did not disappoint. We found out the story behind Demetrius which was surprising to say the least. We also found out what was behind some of the mystery of Nick, the half-breed leader on the Earth plane. All the passion was there and it was good, but it was all the mystery that really kept you reading this one.

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Review: Entwined

Entwined by Elisabeth Naughton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads: Forces of daemons are gathering and have broken through the barriers of the Underworld. Now more than ever the Eternal Guardians are needed to protect both their own realm and the human world. Zander can't afford to think about what might have been with the bewitching physician he once regarded as his soul mate. But with eternity stretching out before him, he also can't fathom spending his life without the one woman who makes him feel most alive. Perhaps he's found his weakness, after all . . .

My Thoughts: I’m really enjoying this series! Lots of new mythology, action, adventure, romance, s3x! LOL! It’s definitely up there with the Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward, and Lords of the Underworld by Gena Showalter.

What I like about these series is there is usually a core group of hunky males that run throughout the series. After their story is told, they and their mate continue throughout the story so the reader gets continual updates. That’s one of things I find hard about novels…the reader gets so invested in the characters and story then when it ends…that’s it. At least with these long series the reader gets glimpses into how previously “starring” characters are still doing.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Review: Marked

Marked by Elisabeth Naughton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: THERON—Dark haired, duty bound and deceptively deadly. He’s the leader of the Argonauts, an elite group of guardians that defends the immortal realm from threats of the Underworld.

From the moment he walked into the club, Casey knew this guy was different. Men like that just didn’t exist in real life—silky shoulder-length hair, chest impossibly broad, and a predatory manner that just screamed dark and dangerous. He was looking for something. Her.

She was the one. She had the mark. Casey had to die so his kind could live, and it was Theron’s duty to bring her in. But even as a 200-year-old descendent of Hercules, he wasn’t strong enough to resist the pull in her fathomless eyes, to tear himself away from the heat of her body.

As war with the Underworld nears, someone will have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

My Thoughts: This story is along the same lines as “Black Dagger Brotherhood” by JR Ward and “The Lords of the Underworld” by Gena Showalter. In this case, Naughton mines greek mythology to come up with her group of dashing heroes.

These men are Argonauts…the offspring of Gods and humans. There is one man chosen from each generation that are direct descendants of the original heroes like Hercules and Achillies. The story takes place present day and these gorgeous, hulking men are guards of the portal between Earth and Argolea where the other Argoleans live. Argoleans are the rest of the offspring between Gods and Humans.

I really liked the mythology and storyline behind these men. I also enjoyed Naughton’s writing style. She isn’t overly descriptive and her story flows smoothly. There was the main story which focused on a romance between the leader of the Argonauts and a young woman, but there were several other minor storylines that carried through and will be the uniting thread amongst the rest that will be a series.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review: What A Boy Wants

What A Boy Wants by Nyrae Dawn

published April 2012

Sebastian Hawkins is The Hook-up Doctor. Yes, you read that right! He has a great track record too, all his clients have been 100% hooked-up! He has lots of real world experience as he is a boy who likes to hook-up and he has seen first hand relationships and how they start and ultimately fail. He doesn't claim to find you a lasting relationship, but he can guarantee a hook-up :) So as we start What A Boy Wants, Sebastian is taking on a new client who is looking for a hook-up and since Sebastian is looking for some extra cash for his car fund, he takes on the client. Little does he know that this client will be like no other and his world is about to turn upside-down!

Let me just say Sebastian is a guy you will love to love! He is easy going, a true-blue friend. He is the guy who makes you laugh yet can be emotional and serious and very caring. He is a guys guys but also can take time to give his mama a hug. I think Sebastian is the boy we all would love to have as boyfriend or husband and later in life as a son. For all his great qualities, one thing Sebastian is that really defines him is his friends and his family. It is that strong loyalty that really is his downfall. He cannot see fault in his mom or his friends. He can only see their struggles and wants to be there to pick-up the pieces and make them happy and whole again. Sebastian is one of the best male protagonists I have read in a LONG time!

I love that all the secondary characters in this book are strong and relatable. The story itself moves along quickly and is resolved without dragging things out to torture the reader! I would love to go into the story and totally spoil this read for you but instead I will say it is a unique story told by a boy who has a first time experience that is not easy but learns something along the way and manages to find meaning and happiness in his life. Buy this eBook and support a great independent author today!! 4.5 eyebrow piercing STARS!

SIDE NOTE: I just want to comment on the cover. I think this cover brings Sebastian to life! Right down to the eyebrow piercing, IT IS SEBASTIAN! I love it when a character comes alive on the cover and when you are reading you look at it and just sigh because it is HIM! Great job on the cover!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Review: Predestined

Predestined by Abbi Glines

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis You would think after helping save her boyfriend from an eternity in Hell that things would go back to normal. Well, as normal as life can be when you can see souls and your boyfriend is Death. But for Pagan Moore, things are just getting weirder.

The high school quarterback and reigning heartthrob, Leif Montgomery, is missing. While the town is in a frenzy of worry, Pagan is a nervous wreck for other reasons. Apparently good ‘ol Leif isn’t your average teenage boy. He isn’t even human. According to Death, Leif doesn’t have a soul. The quarterback may have skipped town but he’s still showing up in Pagan’s dreams... uninvited.

Dank has known from the beginning Leif wasn’t human. But he hadn’t worried about a simple soulless creature. Now, he realizes he made a grave mistake. Pagan’s soul has been marked since birth as a restitution, to a spirit so dark not even Death walks near it. Dank knows saving Pagan’s soul won’t be easy but Pagan is his. And he’s already proven he’ll defy Heaven to keep her. If Hell wants a piece of him too, then bring it on

My Thoughts: I have to say that Abbi Glines blows me away. While “Predestined” is the middle book of a trilogy…it was not a typical middle book. This story, while a continuation of “Existence”, stands on it’s own. It was a complete story, and a fascinating one at that. And true to form, Abbi leaves us with a killer last sentence, setting up the next book.

“Predestined” explores the realm of other, lesser, deities. We learn what the deal is with Leif, and while he may be soulless, he certainly isn’t heartless. Abbi continues to be Abbi…willing to do anything and everything to keep those she loves safe and sound. There is some huge heartbreak, and some huge rejoicing. There is mystery and lots of romance, and thanks to Gee, lots of comic relief. “Predestined” is a great follow-up to “Existence”, and I dare say I liked it better! Can’t wait to see what she brings us with “Ceaseless”! I will be really sorry to see this trilogy end...but I’m sure Glines will come up with some other story I can’t put down and more characters for me to fall in love with…althought Dank Walker will be a hard act to follow.

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Review: Starters

Starters by Lissa Price

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined

My Thoughts: I still chuckle about my reactions to the whole “body rental” thing…my first thought was “ewwww!” and my second thought was “holy hell – I know how I treat a rental car, I hope those Seniors treat the rental body better!”…Guess what, they didn’t.

This was a really interesting and thought provoking read. The story had all the elements…mystery, survival, teen angst, drama, lots of secrets and lies. Price created an interesting world where the population is at one end or the other of the age spectrum…add to that the fact that seniors are living well into late 100s and even 200s. So they are the majority and have had no qualms about putting their needs first and foremost. That leaves everyone under the age of 20 with no basic rights.

Callie was easy to like, she was responsible in caring for her sick brother and doing anything she could to provide him with a stable environment in a very unstable world. Callie is also forced to trust people she would normally hide from. There was a pretty big cliffhanger and hints as to who the “Old Man” might really be…so I will definitely be on the lookout for the next installment.

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Review: Kill Me Softly

Kill Me Softly
Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Mirabelle's past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents' tragic deaths to her guardians' half-truths about why she can't return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who's a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.

But fairy tales aren't pretty things, and they don't always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she'll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.

My Thoughts: I thought this was an incredibly clever book. Cross was able to create a world where fairy tales are played out in each generation…and we aren’t talking the Disney sanitized version of the fairy tales, and they are grim. As these tales are played out in each generation they are tweaked enough to accommodate the fact that it’s the 21st century. For example, Mira is walking through Beau Rivage with her friends when she notices two girls and as something catches her eye she sees both these girls have bandaged feet. She deduces that these are Cinderella’s step-sisters because in the original version of the story the sisters cut toes off their feet to try and fit into the glass slipper. I’ve never read the original Grimm’s tales, and this book, more than any other I have read, makes me want to do just that.

There was the usual bit of “instant love”…but in this case, I think it helped the storyline with Felix. Felix’s curse is as a romantic, in other words women are supposed to fall head over heels in love with him. Maybe Mirabelle did it a little faster than most, but it helped the story along. And let’s be honest…the fairy tales is where I think the whole “instant love” thing originates from.

The other characters are just fun. Did you ever wonder what Beast was like before he was cursed and became Beast? What about Prince Charming? I loved Cross’s interpretation of these characters before their curses kick in. As much as I complain about stories becoming series…I would love to see more from Cross along this line or with these characters. This book, “Kill Me Softly”, easily ranks as a new favorite of mine!

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Review: Immortal City

Immortal City
Immortal City by Scott Speer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Jackson Godspeed is the hottest young Angel in a city filled with them. He's days away from becoming a full Guardian, and people around the world are already competing for the chance to be watched over by him. Everyone's obsessed with the Angels and the lucky people they protect--everyone except for Madison Montgomery.

Maddy's the one girl in Angel City who doesn't breathlessly follow the Angels on TV and gossip blogs. When she meets Jackson, she doesn't recognize him. But Jackson is instantly captivated by her, and against all odds the two fall in love.

Maddy is swiftly caught up in Jackson's scene, a world of glamour, paparazzi - and murder. A serial killer is on the loose, leaving dead Angels' wings for the police to find on the Walk of Fame. Even the Guardians are powerless to protect themselves in the face of this threat … and this time it's up to Maddy to save Jackson

My Thoughts: Scott Speer envisioned and delivered a completely different take on Angels…these are Celebrity Angels for hire. It was a completely bizarre concept that was laid out in the first chapter where someone was saved by an angel, or rather “their” angel. Yes folks, you can buy a guardian angel, the problem is that very few people can afford them! There is the “Angel Lottery” where you might be able to win a guardian angel, but your chances are about 1 in 6 Billion. But yet the public at large is fascinated by the Angels and there are whole networks that devote their airtime to covering what they wear, who and how they saved someone, etc. Yep, the Guardian Angels business is BIG BUSINESS in the Immortal City.

Maddy kind of irritated me throughout the book. For the same reasons she irritated Jackson. She was melting into tepid pools one minute then pushing him away the next. It got to be a bit much. Then Jackson was so utterly clueless about his life in relation to the lives of real people and he just couldn’t seem to wrap his mind around it…or maybe didn’t want to even try.

Speer’s concept was fascinating and well thought out. I think he fell a little flat in the character department. I feel they could have been a little more fleshed out and well rounded. The mystery portion of the story was really interesting and I just didn’t see the bad guy, hindsight being 20/20, I should have figured it out. Speer gave us a hint at where the story may go from here and I will definitely check out the next installment.

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Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow

The Book of Blood and Shadow
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 Stars!
GoodReads Synopsis: It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

My Thoughts: This was my first Robin Wasserman book. I’ve had a few of her others on my “to read” list for quite a while, but just never had the time. Now that I’ve read “Blood and Shadow” I’ve moved some of her other books higher up on the list and am on the lookout for those that I don’t have!

Wasserman created an incredible renaissance world where men tried to create a bridge between God and Man. The amount of research that she had to do to create this world and make it as credible as it was had to be staggering…and has blown my mind! I hesitate to use other books to describe this, but am going to anyway. This felt like a YA “Da Vinci Code”…and I can hope Dan Brown lovers will give this wonderful story a try.

We have Nora, a high school senior, who is fluent in Latin, thanks to her Latin Professor father. Nora is incredibly smart if a little na├»ve. She’s not had much experience with boys even though her best friend is one. She has a tendency to hide behind the death of her older brother…sometimes she uses it as an excuse to try something new, and other times as an excuse to not try something. She is tasked with translating some letters from the daughter of the man the rest of the team is researching. It’s through these letters that she feels a kinship with the author and is able to start picking up on nuances that lead the team in the right direction.

The story is incredibly complex, and I must say I was confused a bit in the beginning. I read the first 4 chapters about 3 times to makes sure I understood who the characters were. Maybe I was having a “bad brain” day. My only other real complaint is that some of the letters from Elisabeth got a little long. There is so much mystery and intrigue in this story, and the pace is fast. Get on and hold on!

This is the second book I’ve read that has a lot of the story taking place in Prague, the other being “Daughter of Smoke and Bone”, by Laini Taylor…and both these authors have done such a wonderful job of describing the beauty therein that I’ve added it to my bucket list. It sounds like such a wonderful and beautiful city!

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Review: Ripper

Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s 1888 in London. Arabella Sharp, having recently lost her Mother and only parent, has moved in with her Grandmother and only living relative. Abbey’s grandmother is concerned about her impulsive nature so she sends her to work at Whitechapel Hospital, which is run by an old family friend. While working at Whitechapel Hospital, Abbey discovers a love and aptitude for medicine…she also loves working with the patients. But when patients start dying shortly after their release from the hospital, everyone starts to wonder if Jack The Ripper maybe an employee. Abbey’s impulsive and curious nature lands her right in the middle of the investigation…but will she just be another victim of the Ripper?

GREAT story! I love books that take historical events and create stories around them. And this one is a thrill-a-minute. Abbey tends to rush headlong into the fray first and ask questions later. This is how she ends up being “punished” by being sent to Whitechapel Hospital. It’s Grandmother’s hope that if Abbey sees how the women (poor, indigent, prostitutes) at Whitechapel are, maybe Abbey won’t be quite so impetuous. Well frankly I think it would have been easier for Grandmother to change a leopard’s spots!

Abbey is so bright and inquisitive…she is immediately treated as though she belongs and is given full access to all parts of the hospital. It is her nature to nurture and help out where ever possible, and that is why everyone seems to fall for her…including very handsome doctors! One comes off as gruff and arrogant…the other comes from a family like Abbey’s and is the epitome of propriety. The two doctors are like gasoline and a match and Abbey is just the friction needed to set off the explosion.

Then a third guys comes on the scene…a nephew to Dr. Bartlett…this is when life gets interesting. Max is mysterious and there is something wild about him. He appears, sometimes seemingly out of thin air to taunt Abbey and disappears just as mysteriously.

The writing is fast paced, this was a roller coaster ride…Abbey grabs hold and goes at break-neck speed all the way to the end and it’s a ride you need a little time to recover from…my favorite kind of read! I thought, going into chapter 5 that I could predict what was going to happen…I wasn’t even in the same ballpark! The identity of the Ripper didn’t surprise me as much as other things. Great twists and turns that I really didn’t see coming until it was too late! I can’t wait to get a copy to a friend who loves anything “Jack the Ripper” related…she’ll love this!

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Review: Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy
Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart

My Thoughts: Where to begin?? Typically I say that I don’t care for Historical Fiction and yet I read it and enjoy it! What is up with that? This one seems to take place around the 16th Century, in an area that is now France.

The story sucks you in on Ismae’s wedding night and you are hooked by the time she is done training as an assassin. From there the story is an adventure, mystery, thriller, romance…what more could you want? A few tears were even shed (Nocturne). LaFever renders a beautiful country, a vivid Court, and very intriguing characters, (love ya Beast!). I couldn’t put the book down, and may have even been caught reading when I should have been doing laundry and making dinner (sorry guys!).

Ismae was a cool chick! Her first 17 years of life were HELL! Because of that hell she excels at her assassin training. But during her final test before taking her vows she learns and grows a great deal. She learns not everything is black and white as the convent has taught her. She starts to think for herself rather than blindly obey. And it’s in her need to question and understand that she is able to discover who the true “bad guy” is.

I loved Duval’s sense of family. He was a man of principles and morals. His beloved father tasked him with a job to protect his younger sisters and he did it without question. He, alone, is the only person intent on getting what is right for Anne rather than what is right for the Kingdom. That’s a man of worth in my book.

The story sucks you in on Ismae’s wedding night and you are hooked by the time she is done training as an assassin. From there the story is an adventure, mystery, thriller, romance…what more could you want? LaFever renders a beautiful country, a vivid Court, and very intriguing characters. Beast was a favorite!

Apparently this will be the start of a series, but the galley I read indicated that rather than the Ismae/Duval story continuing, that the next book would be about one of Ismae’s co-initiate from the convent of St. Mortaine. Like I said, this type of book, historical fiction, is something I would normally shy away from, I will be definitely be looking for the next one in this series!

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Monday, April 2, 2012

March Round-Up

I think March was my busiest reading month ever...But KristyZ outdid me! Shhhh....don't tell her I said this, but I I need to go examine her GoodReads and see how many pages her books are. I think she may be sneaking in a bunch of short novels! I will report back with my findings! (Gee, Pam, competitive much?)

So is what I managed to get read during the month of March...My New Years Resolution was to read less and write more, thinking that would be something I could actually accomplish...Wrong again! Oh well.

Review: Gift

Gift by Andrea J. Buchanan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: High school sophomore Daisy Jones is just trying to get by unnoticed. It doesn’t help that she’s the new girl at school, lives in a trailer park, and doesn’t even own a cell phone. But there’s a good reason for all that: Daisy has a secret, unpredictable power—one only her best friend, Danielle, knows about.

Despite her “gift” (or is it a curse?), Daisy’s doing a good job of fitting in—and a cute senior named Kevin even seems interested in her! But when Daisy tries to help Vivi, a mysterious classmate in a crisis, she soon discovers that her new friend has a secret of her own. Now Daisy and her friends must deal with chilling dreams and messages from the beyond. Can Daisy channel the power she’s always tried to hide—before it’s too late?

My Thoughts: I totally got sucked into this when Daisy goes to check on a classmate in the restroom and finds what looks like a suicide attempt. Who could close the book on that? I had to find out what the deal was! What I found so interesting was that there were a few different supernatural elements at work.

The characters were vivid and fully fleshed out as was the storyline. While the main story was about the 3 girls, it was Patrick that brings them all together to figure out who and what he is. The story moved at a steady pace and touched on a lot of different issues which added depth. There is plenty of suspense as well as a few twists that surprised me. Overall, it was an enjoyable read. I’d be inclined to read more from Buchanan!

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Review: The Marked

The Marked
The Marked by Inara Scott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Marked picks up a very short time after “The Candidates” finished. Danica is being initiated into “The Program” and will be starting her training. It’s during the initiation that she finds out there is a group of people who are out to cause damage to The Program.

As Dancia continues her training she learns more about the “The Program” and the group they are fighting against. With that knowledge things become shades of gray rather than the “black and white” rules that those who head The Program would have her think. This really throws a wrench into Dancia’s relationship with Cam! While on the Freshman Campout, catastrophic events take place that no one may recover from.

The Marked was so much better than The Candidates. Now that Dancia was in the program and training the story moved along at a much faster rate and there was so much more action and adventure. Dancia gets drug through the wringer in her training which makes for interesting moments of self-doubt and feelings of betrayal. I would have been disappointed if Dancia suddenly became “superhero” and had magically and totally come to terms with her abilities. She is still her insecure self, but is becoming more secure.

I loved the integration of the “Seattle Gang” and that Jack has not totally disappeared from the story. He provides the much needed “jiminy cricket” voice for Dancia who really does want to go along blindly, unquestioningly, with Cam. Ignorance can be bliss…and Jack just refuses to let Dancia go there. Cam also really does need that voice of reason as much, if not more than Dancia.

Really a fantastic follow up to “The Candidates”, actually, a better follow-up! Can’t wait to see what happens following that cliffhanger!

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Review: Lover Reborn

Lover Reborn
Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: In the darkest corners of the night in Caldwell, New York, a conflict like no other rages. The city is home to a band of brothers born to defend their race: the warrior vampires of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Now back in the Brotherhood - and unrecognisable as the vampire leader he once was - Tohrment is physically emaciated and heartbroken beyond despair. When he begins to see his beloved in his dreams - trapped in a cold, isolating netherworld - Tohr turns to a self-serving fallen angel in hopes of saving the one he has lost. When he's told he must learn to love another to free his former mate, Tohr knows they are all doomed . . .

Except then a female with a shadowed history begins to get through to him. Against the backdrop of the raging war with the lessers, and with a new clan of vampires vying for the Blind King's throne, Tohr struggles between the buried past, and a very hot, passion-filled future . . . but can his heart let go and set all of them free?

My Thoughts: WOW! I think this one is my new favorite BDB book! And it was a gut wrencher! I cried more with this book than I can ever remember.

For those who’ve read the series from the beginning, we all remember what happened to pregnant Wellesandra…and subsequently what happened to her mate Tohrrent. We spend most of the book in Tohr’s head and it wasn’t pleasant! I can’t imagine what it would be like to be married to someone to the love of your life and lose them…but JR Ward could and just thinking about it makes my gut start to roil. An incredibly emotional roller coaster ride…one with an ending I didn’t expect and it was a doozy!

Additionally we learn more about the Band of Bastards and what their agenda is. Very little focus on the war with the Lessers, which was a plus in my book. Because this was primarily about Tohr, John Matthew and Xhex are centerstage and their relationship goes through some major ups and downs. There was really a ton going on in this book and I’ve only mentioned the Major plot points. But that’s what I love about Ward books…she’s like reading a soap opera with all the little tangents and sub-plots that suddenly become major storylines. Never quite sure which path she is going to take. Although it’s rumored that BDB#11 will be about Qhuinn and Blaylock…which I would LOVE to read! In the meantime I still have the newest Fallen Angels, “Envy”, to read to tide me over until the Brothers return.

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Review: Lover Unleashed

Lover Unleashed
Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars!

GoodReads Synopsis: Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother: A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side… and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.

When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can- and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night- like vampires- he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.

As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide … just as a centuries old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy.

My Thoughts: This installment was definitely more along the lines of the books that started the series…this return to her roots is a good thing for the series. I would have liked to get to know Payne better. We really didn’t learn much of anything about her. I feel like I know the “Brothers” very well, but she feels like just a means to bring Manny into the circle.

While the focus of this story was more about the Payne/Manny romance…we learned a ton about the Vishious/Jane dynamic. I guess I didn’t remember that they, Vishious and Jane, were never mated. I had just assumed they were and I guess I read his installment quite a while ago. Those were some tough scenes to read! But I do love the way Ward handled it.

Less of the lessers here and the introduction of the “Band of Bastards”…which was a nice change. Frankly I was tired of the lessers…and the BoB takes the story into interesting territory!

This books reads much faster than previous installments. It didn’t seem like a 500+ page book. It was a hard one to put down. Can’t wait to see what happens in Lover Reborn.

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