Friday, February 28, 2014

Review: Forbidden (The Soulkeepers #1)

When Sophia St. James learns that she’ll be moving from Los Angeles to a podunk town somewhere in Connecticut for her senior year of high school, she isn’t expecting an otherworldly encounter. But there is more to Haven Hurst than meets the eye: it’s home to a family of Guardian Angels, and she is the only one who can see them in spirit form. Sophia soon realizes she wants to see much more of Michael, an irresistible yet volatile Guardian who seems drawn to her too.

As Michael battles his forbidden desire for the beautiful young newcomer, one of Hell’s most notorious Demon Knights arrives. Handsome and charismatic, Dante has come to claim the reincarnated soul of his lost lover trapped in Sophia. Cursed with the demon of Persuasion living inside him, Dante will use his seductive charms to lure Sophia into a dangerous game that ends with the kiss of death—unless Michael, who has captured Sophia’s heart, can now capture her soul.

Rating & Review
I was super excited about this one because one of my best girlfriends really enjoyed this book and we hardly ever have a differing opinion on books. Well, we had a differing opinion on this book. I like the whole angels vs. demons thing ... I've read a few series based on this and it's pretty intriguing. Reading the blurb on this one made me bump it to the top of my To-Read list. A girl moving to a podunk town with her dad where there was a paranormal family living and she's the only one who can sense something is different about them ... hmm ... that sounds VAGUELY familiar ... well even though I hoped that there was no one sparkly in this book, I was really excited to dive into it. 

I just had a really hard time getting into this one. And I shouldn't have. It was a really interesting read right from the beginning. But even though it was interesting ... I just couldn't attach myself to the story. Some of the jokes were super corny ... I really wasn't expecting that in a New Adult novel. It was almost elementary humor. I found myself rolling my eyes instead of doubled over in laughter and that was a bit of a let down. And every time I read the word "eh-hole", I got a little closer to slamming a hammer into my Kindle. I know that this is a book about teenagers so the whole teenage vernacular shouldn't have been surprising and it wasn't ... but combined with the weird spellings, it was just over the top and just ... too much. Way too much.

Now, I HATE it when a reviewer bases their rating of a book on how much a book resembles another one. Like similarities between two series and stuff. Sometimes they just seem similar. Sometimes they just ARE similar. Come on, it happens. Everyone is influenced by something. Anyhow, I try to not base my rating on my thoughts of another book. That being said, I feel totally confident saying this since I haven't read the book that I'm going to mention right now. And don't start shaking your head and wondering how I became a book blogger without reading this series, I just did. To this day, I still don't know why I haven't read it. Derailment. Crap. Okay. In this book there is a scar. It is in a location that is similar to a wildly popular series. Granted, it's not in the shape of a lightning bolt but the placement is eerily close - ESPECIALLY considering that one of the characters last name in this book is Patronus. Hell, I can't hear that word and not think of a damn deer. It didn't make me not like the book, it was just this irritating bug flitting around while I was reading.

I've never really read a book that has as many metaphors and similes in it. You know, when I noted the metaphor thing, I really started to question why seeing so many of them bothered me and I can't give you an honest opinion as to why. It kind of reminded me of long car rides with our two boys. Man, I think that the boys scheme ahead of time and make a bet on how many times they can kick the back of our seats before I have a meltdown. Maybe that's what the metaphors were. Just the 431st kick to the back of my seat.

In any case, my friend loved this book and she has pretty good taste ... look at who her friend is! So you should give it a try and maybe you've just been introduced to your new favorite series!

Find Forbidden here:

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday Review: The Demon Trapper's Daughter (The Demon Trappers #1)

Throwback Thursday is a upcycled weekly feature hosted by Sabrina at I Heart YA Fiction. To participate, read an older release or a book that has been on your shelf for awhile. Post your review, then link back to I Heart YA Fiction using the little linky! (Or repost an old review - there's no reason those books from a couple years ago shouldn't get some love!)

It’s the year 2018, and with human society seriously disrupted by the economic upheavals of the previous decade, Lucifer has increased the number of demons in all major cities. Atlanta is no exception. Fortunately, humans are protected by Demon Trappers, who work to keep homes and streets safe from the things that go bump in the night. Seventeen-year-old Riley, only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing attraction to fellow Trapper apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving citizens from Grade One Hellspawn. Business as usual, really, for a demon-trapping teen. When a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood, she realizes that she’s caught in the middle of a battle between Heaven and Hell.

Rating & Review
I read hundreds of books each year. I have read some amazing books so far this year and I would have to say that The Demon Trapper's Daughter has to have been one of my absolute favorites!

From the very first page, Jana Oliver had me hooked. She is a perfect example of a great writer whose books will become the new rage. Her character development was perfect, you came to love and sympathize with them or hate them all together. I think that a great writer will get the reader to have an emotional response to what is going on within the pages, this seems to be Oliver's specialty. Riley was so well written and the back and forth with Simon is great. And while some of them don't make a HUGE appearance, the demons were pretty lifelike ... I came to really enjoy when certain ones would make an appearance because I was excited to see how Riley would react.

Writing about the struggle between good and evil isn't exactly a new endeavor in the literary world. What is unique is the way that Oliver went about weaving the story. The concept that she came up with (demons walking around terrorizing society with trappers hunting them down and catching them) was interesting and gripping. 
The awesome thing is that there are three other books in this series and I've heard that they are all just as good as the first installment! Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to read them yet because I have a reading list longer than the Great Wall but I will get to them soon!

Amazing book, a must read!!!

Find The Demon Trapper's Daughter here:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Review: The Mark of the Dragonfly

Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields.
   The girl doesn't remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she's from the Dragonfly Territories and that she's protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home.
   The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect--everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible.
   Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey.

Rating & Review

Man. This is a tough one for me. I don't know. It just didn't blow my skirt up. I don't even know where to start. Maybe it's too much fantasy. It's based in a landscape and world that aren't anything like what we live in today. There really isn't much for someone to relate to ... people's lives revolve around the meteor shower ... artifacts rain down from the heavens but most are broken by the time they hit and people go out searching for anything valuable to trade for things that they need. The people are nomads, just traveling from one town to the next, never really making any connections ... this part of the story just made the book seem more ... impersonal.

The characters were okay ... I liked Piper a bit. She seemed like a strong female lead for someone who was on her own when her father moved to work at a plant and then subsequently passed away. But she was just not a complete character for me. She lacked ... spice ... heck, I don't know how to explain it. For such a strong lead, I would have though she would have some more of that umph. I did like how she was with Anna, though ... taking her under her wing and everything. And Gee ... his transition ... was interesting and unexpected.

It was just paragraph after paragraph of descriptions and explanations and I found myself skimming more and more. Yes, there was some action, it wasn't totally boring but there just needed to be more dialogue. More something. Once you get about 80 pages in, things start to pick up big-time. But it was a rough 80 pages to trudge through.

After reading the last page, I'm left with more questions than answers. This book isn't logged as part of a series but I don't see how it can just end this way. In any case, I'm okay with it ending like it did. I don't believe that I would read a second book in this series if there was one.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review: One Tiny Lie (Ten Tiny Breaths, #2)

Livie has always been the stable one of the two Cleary sisters, handling her parents' tragic death and Kacey's self-destructive phase with strength and maturity. But underneath that exterior is a little girl hanging onto the last words her father ever spoke to her. “Make me proud,” he had said. She promised she would...and she’s done her best over the past seven years with every choice, with every word, with every action.

Livie walks into Princeton with a solid plan, and she’s dead set on delivering on it: Rock her classes, set herself up for medical school, and meet a good, respectable guy that she’s going to someday marry. What isn’t part of her plan are Jell-O shots, a lovable, party animal roommate she can’t say ‘no’ to, and Ashton, the gorgeous captain of the men’s rowing team. Definitely him. He’s an arrogant ass who makes Livie’s usually non-existent temper flare and everything she doesn’t want in a guy. Worse, he’s best friends and roommates with Connor, who happens to fits Livie’s criteria perfectly. So why does she keep thinking about Ashton?

As Livie finds herself facing mediocre grades, career aspirations she no longer thinks she can handle, and feelings for Ashton that she shouldn’t have, she’s forced to let go of her last promise to her father and, with it, the only identity that she knows.

Rating & Review
I really don't give five stars out willy nilly but it seems like almost every book I read lately has been a five star book!! I'm getting very lucky with the books I've been choosing recently, I guess. There are just so many great authors out there these days and this one is one of my new favorites!! 

Okay ... this is the second book I've read by Tucker and I'm officially a gigantic fan. I can't count on one hand how many series I've read where I actually like the second book as much as the first. Usually, the second one is a bit lackluster for me and then it will pick back up with the next one but not this time. I loved this book as much, if not more than I liked Ten Tiny Breaths!! Such a good series. While this book doesn't actually pick up right where the other one left off ... there is some time in between but it picks up where the other one left off ... does that make sense?!? It's like when life gets busy and you lose touch with a really close friend, then you talk to them for the first time in forever and you pick back up right where you left off. It was like that! That's perfect ... it's like getting reacquainted with a best friend.

When I learned that this book would be about Livie, I knew that it would be amazing. In the first book when you first meet her, she's this shy little thing that is really passionate about her sister and you can tell that under all of that careful caution and quiet strength is this sassy young woman. Let me tell you, she has to be one of my favorite characters ever. I really found her endearing. It was tough (and amazing) watching her grow up in this book. My mom instincts flared up and I just wanted to shelter her during some parts. 

Ashton. I could wax poetic about that guy ... I really liked him. A lot. Alotalot. He was such a little shit to Livie and I loved every moment of it. I was cheering for him from the beginning and I really wish that I could elaborate on that but it's something that you need to experience for yourself when you read this because you NEED TO READ THIS!! 

Let's see ... there was also a bit of the Doc ... and I found myself really liking him too this time around. Not that I didn't like him in the last book, I did but this time ... I found him to be more personable and I REALLY hope that he is in all of the rest of the novels. I would be really upset if he isn't. 

That's really about it. There weren't any big issues with the story line, it just scoots along like the first book and it keeps you completely engaged from the very beginning. Sometimes I find myself skimming over boring parts in a book ... long descriptions or just boring dialogue ... but that didn't happen with this one. I wish that I had saved it to read when I'm at the beach next week because it's a perfect poolside read. Well, it is if you don't mind busting out with a few chuckles and having everyone look at you like you're a weirdo. Or getting teary ... yeah ... that happened again with this one. So. Good. I'm sad it's over.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Review: Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood #1)

A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own.

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

Rating & Review
Usually, after I finish a book and it comes time to write up the review, I have a pretty clear idea of what I'll be saying about the book. I'll have looked through my notes and formulated what I see as being the best (and most fair) review for me to share. This time ... I'm having a hard time really grasping what I want points I want to hit on and what views to express. Nothing to say? It's not that ... it's never THAT with me, I always have something to say ... I think that it's just taking a while to fully process this book.

I think what I want to talk about first is how a bunch of people are saying that this book is like The Hunger Games. Come on, people. It's similar only because it has a female heroine (like the majority of YA novels these days), it's also similar because there is a contest but the contests are TOTALLY different, and it's similar because it's also written by a woman and it's similar because it has a hint of dystopia and it's similar because it's groups of words forming sentences that make up pages of book. I'm just a bit annoyed by these comparisons. A bit more than I thought that I was when I first started this paragraph. I think that it's a cop out when a reviewer just states that it's similar to another book and they don't like it because of that. How about you look at this book separately. How about we dissect THIS book on it's own merits and not on how it's vaguely similar to another book. Okay ... I'm gonna hop down off of my soap box and get on with this review.

If there is anything that you take away from this review, it needs to be this ... this book is absolutely amazing. It is THE best YA book that I have ever read. And you may want to sit down for this ... it's better than my favorite book, Divergent (GASP). I know. I. Know. Dude, I thought that the sun and moon set on Divergent. Well, Divergent has been bumped. And it would take a lot for me to say that. This book had me from the first two sentences. Can you imagine being hooked on a book, falling in love with a character, adoring an author and knowing that this book is going to be amazing from the first two sentences?!? It happened. The heroine of the novel, Tella, is just ... captivating. She's sassy and cynical and semi-passive aggressive and funny. She masks her sadness and uncomfortable situations with smart ass remarks. LOVE her smart-ass-ed-ness (yes, it's totally a word). It's nothing short of refreshing. And yes ... part of that could be because Tella seems like me. Reading her dialogue and thoughts was almost like taking a peek inside my head ... it was weird.

Gosh, I don't know where to go next ... the landscape that Tella is thrust into is quite amazing. It's written in a way that it almost becomes tangible. You feel like you are right there next to Tella, trudging through the jungle. It was like this throughout the entire book. And it flowed into the characters as well ... by this I mean that the characters were so realistic that they seemed like someone you know. Each of the characters was so thought out and so ... complete. And the best part is that right when you think that you know these characters like you know yourself, something shifts and you find out that they aren't who you thought that they were. Awe. Some.

Haha ... I write tons and tons of notes when I read a book ... things that I need to remember, quotes I love, that kind of thing. Well, I wrote this one note and I just have to share it. I was almost done with the book, it was a little after midnight and apparently, I was a bit loopy. This is what I wrote:

Just when you think that you know what is going on, the author
twirls you around, smacks your ass and then laughs at you.

And that really sums up the book ... you think you know what's going to happen next and you really don't. This is the first book that I've read by Victoria Scott but it will not be the last. There were tons of plot twists that really took me by surprise. Did I pick out a few of them? Yes. Okay, well ... I actually only figured out one ahead of time. The rest were TOTAL surprises. That kind of thing doesn't happen to me very often these days. It may be because I've read so many books or because after having our two boys, nothing really surprises me anymore. And that's pretty sad, I like being surprised with some twist in a story and this book was the perfect example of twisty-turneys (also, totally a word).
There is only one thing that I regret about this book and it's that it's not out yet. Which means that #2 won't be out for a very long time and THAT is a huge downer. 

I want to say so much more but I don't want to ruin the surprises. But you need to go read this book because it's going to be wildly popular pretty quickly. I just know it.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: Ten Tiny Breaths (Ten Tiny Breaths #1)

Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind—all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D.

Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair.

But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.

Rating & Review

Even as I type this, I'm deciding what rating I will give this book. I can't even remember how many times I've rewritten this review ... twenty or thirty times? ... maybe more. My feelings are just so conflicted. Man. First of all, I have so many books piled up to read that by looking at them, I don't know what they are all about. When that one lucky book gets chosen for reading, I don't read the blurb on the back of the book. If I thought it was good enough to read before, reading the back of the book before I dive in isn't going to change anything ... so why spoil any surprises?!? 

I really didn't have any clue as to what was going to be within the pages of this one. It doesn't help that from the first page, you're thrown into Kacey and Livie's lives like you've been there the whole time. I was confused at first, a confusion that won't happen if you're smarter than me and read the back of the book. That beginning confusion lasted only a few short pages but then a real and gritty confusion lasts for a while but it's not for the book ... it's for the characters. K.A. Tucker really took me for a ride. I became totally immersed in the characters. Anytime the story was focused on Kacey, I WAS Kacey and the same goes with Livie and all of the other characters. It was really the weirdest damn thing that I've ever encountered while reading. I was just invested so fast that it was confusing and quite startling, to be honest. 

This novel is one of those that really pulls you down with it. Now don't take that in a bad way. Authors want you to feel. I think they all strive for you to become one with their book like they have. They want you to be tugged with the ebb and flow of emotions and/or actions within the walls of the world that they have created. And I totally did ... I was feeling depressed when the characters were depressed. I was happy when they were and I was totally prepared to hold this one dude down when Kacey wanted to light his junk on fire. I told you, I was invested. 

The beginning of the story, as heartbreaking as it was, was actually a lot easier for me to read than the last 1/5 of the book. Dude, that last quarter damn near broke me down and I'm not a crier!! It was so hard to feel a wonderfully written character break down ... to watch them get to the worst possible version of themselves and then just become a shell of a person. I held my breath for like 40 pages, just wondering if this character would piece herself back together. It was NOT what I was expecting when I picked up a New Adult novel. Not at all. 

But I'm glad that I did. Tucker will definitely be on my list for authors that I keep up with and possibly Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads stalk. This book is an absolute must read. You have to read it. Put down what you're reading now (unless it's Divergent or The Testing - in which case read that quickly and THEN immediately put it down) and pick this book up. You won't be disappointed. Wait a second, yep. Just changed the rating to a 5 star. Now, if you want to be my friend, you have to read it.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review: The Testing (The Testing #1)

Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Published: June 2013
Pages: 336

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same?

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies--trust no one.

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

Rating & Review

A dear friend recommended this book to me. Now, Lauren and I have swapped book recommendations back and forth for a while and she's never steered me wrong. Well, the Sookie Stackhouse debacle would have been a disaster if those damn books weren't so addictive. So when she said that I had to read The Testing, I knew that it would be awesome. And then I went to go purchase it on Amazon. Holy, Lord. It was $10! I know that makes me sound cheap ... the authors work so hard and should be paid accordingly but I haven't paid that much for a book since pre-e-book times. And that was a long time ago. But I bit the bullet and purchased the book. We may have to live in a van down by the river, but I have the damn book. 

Dude. Best decision I've made in a long time.

When I review a book, I take notes like crazy. If it's on my Kindle, there are tons of highlights and notes everywhere and same goes with an actual book but it's post-its. I keep track of great passages or kick ass quotes and don't forget the critiques that I may have. But while reading The Testing, I only had one and I'll get to that later but the point is that I didn't have time to make notes. I had to force myself to slow down in order to enjoy this book. My mind really wanted to skim page after page just so that I could see how it ended. 

The only note that I had about this book was "Hunger Games meets Divergent meets I Am Legend". And thinking back, I don't know for sure that this combo is correct. It's similar to Hunger Games because it involves our youth and the shaping of a new nation while crippling our country at the same time. And it's like Divergent because of the dystopian landscape ... can you imagine a war and weather ravaged earth? Well, you could if you read this book because the author described it perfectly. And lastly it's like the Will Smith movie, I Am Legend because ... well ... you'll have to find out that one on your own. As much as I want to tell you, you really need to read it for yourself! But I will tell you the similarities are not because of those creepy creatures in the movie ... no creepy creatures in this.

And that's it. That's all I have for you. I won't go on a long diatribe about the character development or descriptions. I don't have things that rubbed me the wrong way. And I don't have any weirdo descriptions for the book that I usually like using. The book is awesome. I actually read this about a month ago and I was waiting for those final feelings to set in about the book before I reviewed it ... but that never happened. I read The Testing then immediately read the next book in the series and I feel like I have one foot hanging off of a cliff and I don't know whether to take that step forward or to back up. I'm just hanging. I'm assuming that it will be that way until the third and final installment comes out this year. 

I did love this book ... dare I say ... better than Divergent?!? I don't know. Some days I think that I liked it more than The Hunger Games and some days I don't ... same goes with Divergent. While they are so similar, they are vastly different. If you enjoyed The Hunger Games and Divergent, you'll enjoy this series. Hell, I think that just about everyone will enjoy this series. Even if it is $10 a book. It's worth it. I promise. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review: The Twisted Window

Author: Lois Duncan
Published: 1987
Pages: 194

Tracy, a high school junior, becomes embroiled in the problems of a strange boy, who asks her assistance in "snatching" his half-sister from her father who has allegedly kidnapped her.

Rating & Review
Man, was this a blast from the past! I grew up in the 80's and Lois Duncan was a regular on the library shelves. Seemed like every where you looked, there was a new Lois Duncan mystery novel just waiting to be checked out. 

Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I did when I was younger. The first time I read it, it opened my eyes to what reading could be. It could be suspenseful, mysterious, surprising and you could fall in love with characters ... you could bond with them. But as an adult, the book just fell short for me. I didn't feel that same connection with the main character that I did all those many, many, MANY years ago. Maybe I'm just jaded now from the hundreds ... dare I say more like close to 1,000 or over?!? ... of books that I have read since first picking up The Twisted Window. Either way, I just couldn't connect this time. 

It's a well written book, no huge grammatical errors or lulls in the story. Everything ran smoothly, it just was a bit boring to me. That's it ... no shock and awe. I wanted the shock and awe. I wanted to be taken by surprise or gasp in horror as I flipped the pages. Now, before you say it's because I remembered the book, I didn't. Heck, I didn't remember anything about this book but that I blew through 3 copies when I was younger. 

Not much else to say ... the ending was a bit ... anticlimactic for me. It felt like things were just coming to a head and then fizzled out for me. Probably would be a good read for the young kids - around 11 or 12 ... they probably wouldn't be able to predict what was going to happen next and get a little more out of the book than I did. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Review: To Seduce a Scoundrel

Author: Darcy Burke
Published: July 2012
Pages: 351

A lady on the brink of disaster

Lady Philippa Latham is determined to avoid scandal at all costs. When her mother's outrageous behavior threatens their entire family's reputation, Philippa attempts to curtail her activities. Unwittingly, she follows her to a party no unmarried Society girl would risk attending. As if that wasn't bad enough, Philippa is "rescued" by England’s most notorious scoundrel, which sets them both on a path to public and personal ruin…

A scoundrel in need of seduction

Lord Ambrose Sevrin is famous for having ruined his brother's fiancĂ© and refusing to marry her. Dangerously attractive, he is an intriguing enigma to London's elite. Only, Philippa thinks she's met the true Ambrose — a gentleman who would fight to defend her and help her secure a husband before it’s too late. But he can't fall victim to Philippa's charms. He won’t tolerate redemption — or love — for his crimes are far worse than anyone can imagine.

Rating & Review

I'm a little ashamed to say how long I stayed up finishing this one last night. I went to bed and I had about half of the book left and before I knew it, it was super late and I realized that I would only get a couple of hours sleep before I had to get our boys out of bed for school. Let's just say that I'm definitely dragging ass this morning. After I finish writing this bad boy, I'm heading to bed.

Okay, okay, okay ... sooo ... historical romance. LOVE this genre. I love how they talk, the dresses, the balls, the dance cards ... I just adore everything about these books. I've never read a Burke book but this will not be the last. Ha ha ... Burke book ... that reminds me of that Vine ... the one where the dude says, "Don't drop that durka durk, heeeeeyyy". You could always change it to "Don't drop that Burke book, heeeeeyyy".

Anyway ... moving on ... this book was filled with more drama and intrigue than most historical romances. It was really a nice change! Most of the time, the author will focus on the horizontal mambo and while that is still in To Seduce a Scoundrel, it really wasn't the heart of the book. I mean come on, what would a historical romance be without all of the bedroom action?!? 

Anyhow, you could really tell that Burke knows these characters. All of her characters have this full and amazing back-stories that add a lot of depth to the novel. It really seemed like I had read a few books in the series - I was that acquainted with the characters. There wasn't really any fluff in this one either ... anything that is written on the page is important to the heart of the story. And man ... the bad guys were skeevy as hell! They really gave me the creeps ... amazing writing job.

I really don't have anything else to say about the book. I know ... shocking, right? Usually, I pick a book apart and just demolish anything I may have liked about it but not this time. Good read, super entertaining, it made me stay up all night and I'll definitely be picking up another book by this author and it will be sometime soon.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review: Deeper

Author: Blue Ashcroft
Published: August 2013
Pages: 172

Rain Wilson isn’t ever going to love again.

It’s a promise she made the day her boyfriend died in a water park accident, one she still blames herself for. Now she’s a senior lifeguard in a new town with a new pool and she’s just going to keep her head down and everyone safe.

Until a mysterious guy follows her into the waves at the pre-season bonfire and kisses her senseless. It’s just one mistake, and Rain is determined to put it behind her, until the dark haired, blue eyed hottie turns out to be her new co-supervisor Knight Mcallister.

Knight is hot, tatted, and carrying baggage of his own. He’s not happy about having Rain for a co-supervisor, and he’s even less happy about his attraction to her.

But between lifeguard drama, hot underwater kisses, and a growing attraction between them that can’t be stopped, Knight and Rain are being pulled deeper into their pasts, and realizing that sometimes too much broken can make a relationship impossible.

Then again sometimes it’s the broken parts of us that fit together best.

Rating & Review

Man, oh man. Whew. I don't really know where to start. First, I do hate giving these types of reviews. I don't enjoy it at all. But I was given this book in exchange for an honest review and that's what you're going to get. 

For me, this book was just all over the place. I never really got attached to the characters. This is going to sound crazy ... it was like when I was a kid, my dad was a gigantic Star Trek fan. He had all of these collectible toys and I never understood why I couldn't rip those bad boys out of their packaging and play with them. That's what the characters in this book were like for me. I just wanted to get to know them better but they were all locked away in a closet like a dirty little secret. 

Let's see ... the teenage vernacular was a little unrealistic for me in this novel as well. Not that there aren't teenagers who talk about the low visibility in the water ... I'm sure that there are but it wasn't just a once in a while thing, it was all the time with these weirdly academic phrases and words. It felt really forced and not like actual phrasing that anyone would use. It was just another contributing factor in not being able to grasp these characters.

The two main characters, Rain and Knight, both had traumatic experiences in their past. Instead of making me sympathetic to their situations or endearing them to me, the stuff in their past just kinda ticked me off. Especially when you find out what is in Rain's past. I literally rolled my eyes when I found out why she was celibate. And this is a tiny spoiler, so you need to skip to the next paragraph immediately unless you want to know about the "boyfriend". Okay ... the term boyfriend must mean something different to me than it does to the author because the blurb on the back of the book states that Rain's boyfriend dies ... yet when you find out what happened to him, it turns out that they weren't really dating! Rain's ... dude ... made one comment moments before his death about how he liked her and now all of the sudden they're dating? And she's totally devoted to a guy who flirted with her? I'm sorry but throwing yourself onto the proverbial sword for a dude that you basically just started talking to? Becoming a hermit/outcast/loner for a guy you barely knew? Le sigh. 

After I read that part of the book, I basically checked out. Come on. Talk about dramatics. There were other things that I didn't really like in Deeper but why rehash all of that at this point. I won't lie to you. I probably won't read another book by this author. I'm kinda done.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Review: Enticing the Earl

 Title: Enticing the Earl  (Wise Woman #2)
Author: Christie Kelley
Published: October 2013

Only His Passion. . .

With his estate near bankruptcy, Simon Blakesworth, Earl of Hartsfield already has a perilous secret to keep. Still, when he finds Mia Featherstone badly beaten, he doesn't hesitate to shelter her in his home. . .and offer marriage to protect the lovely healer from her attacker. But Mia is concealing a danger this honorable earl never imagined--and can't resist. . .

Can Save Her Love. . .

Mia's valuable discovery on Simon's land saved her patients' lives. Now the only way she can help the man she's always loved save his home is to secretly find the rest of a cache of hidden artifacts. But their passion is making it impossible for Mia to ever walk away--even from a love that may not survive the truth. . .

Rating & Review

It's been a while since I have read a historical romance. Man, they are one of my favorite genres. Here's the deal, was it an earth shattering, life changing book? No. But it was really good. I will definitely pick up another book by Kelley. 

I'm one of those people that LOVES a flawed character. The more messed up, the better. I think I just like to see how people can overcome their inner demons. I love an underdog. I think someone being at the lowest of the low will fight harder in life. They're hungry. They just want it more. The flawed character in this novel is Simon Blakesworth, the hero of the story. Was he flawed? Yes. Was it huge? No. I think that the author could have taken it a few steps further. I would have loved to see her really rake this lead hero over the coals. It was just so close to being that, it almost felt like Kelley wanted to make Simon Blakesworth more tortured but then she pulled back. Here's my thoughts on writing a flawed character and this is coming from someone who doesn't write ... so I more than likely don't have any clue as to what I'm talking about but I am a reader and I know what I like. And you get to hear that! Lucky you! 

Brace yourselves ... this explanation and description is going to be pretty rocky. Okay ... I think that creating a character is like making a wreath (hey, I'm a crafty lady and this is what came to mind) ... you add so much crap to a wreath that you look at it and think, "Dear, Lord. That is ugly as hell." and then you add more to it. Then lo and behold, it's perfect! So take the character to the point where they are repulsive and you can barely stand them ... then just one more step further is the perfectly flawed character that you get to spend 300-some pages fixing. I think that Simon Blakesworth was almost a perfect hero. Sooo close. 

Now, Mia ... our heroine ... was pretty awesome. I liked how she was a wise woman (a medicine lady, healer, nurse). I think that brought a lot of tenderness to her but on the same note, she wasn't overly caring about people. This is another time when I think that the character Mia could have withstood a little more umph ... no ... it's not a word ... but it is a sound so it must count as a word.

The story was great, lots of suspense and intrigue ... I really liked that part of the story. Some twists in there that were pretty unexpected. I enjoyed how some of the surprises just crept up on you. I'll be picking up another book by this author, definitely. 

OH ... almost forgot ... this is the second book in a series. While it's not a BIG deal, I did find it a bit of a deal when I didn't know what was going on in some sections ... it wasn't that much of the book but I did get a little confused a couple of times.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Review: Betrayals of the Heart

Title: Betrayals of the Heart 
Author: Melissa Ohnoutka

Makayla thought she'd fallen in love with the man of her dreams. But after the honeymoon, a horrifying reality sets in. She is a prisoner, a slave, a pawn for a malicious man's games. When her precious son is born, the need to escape intensifies. Little does she know that the man who helps her escape is working undercover with orders from the FBI to bring her in--a sure method to end not only her life, but her young son's as well.

Ryan Carter (AKA Robert Shaw from Target of Betrayal) knows way too much about lies
and betrayal. His entire life is now a lie. The minute he discovers his target is a victim and not the cruel criminal the FBI's profiler has made her out to be, his agenda changes. Against the wishes of the FBI, he disappears with their star witness, vowing to keep her and her young son safe from the satanic monster she calls her husband. What he doesn't plan on is falling in love--or having a son of his own.

Fate deals them a cruel hand in the form of a simple high school history project. The madman has found them and he's taken Ryan's son in exchange for Makayla. Can Ryan save them both? Or will history repeat itself and once again steal all he holds dear?

Rating & Review

This one started out really strong for me. The author just throws you into the middle of Makayla's story and while some might find that confusing, I LOVE IT when author's start off their adventure that way. Right off the bat, you hate Makayla's husband. He seems to be a sadistic bastard that everyone's nightmares revolve around. This Steven character is the monster under your bed, the bad guy in the closet. As scary as it is, I'm sure there is more than one actual person like this in the world. Man. He just gave me the creeps. Ohnoutka can sure write a good bad guy. 

Once Ryan enters the story, that's when I'm officially hooked. I love his character. I like how his character develops as the story and the connection with Makayla feels genuine and heartfelt. 

Now ... all of that being said ... after about halfway through the book ... I just totally lost interest. I don't know why. The ending was great, I was a bit surprised how everything came to a head and I really enjoyed how all of the events and characters finished things off but the meat of the story was a little ... meh. It really bothers me to say that because I did get really invested in what was going on between Makayla and her husband and then with Ryan. I felt almost robbed. I think that I kinda wanted the beginning part with Ryan to take more pages. A lot more. I really enjoyed the give and take between Makayla, Ryan and Michael during that time period. 

Anyhow ... pretty good book till about half way ... I would definitely give this author another shot since I liked the beginning of the book so much.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Review: The Goddess Test (Goddess Test #1)

Title: The Goddess Test (Goddess Test #1)
Author: Aimee Carter 
Date Published: April 2011
ISBN: 9780373210268 
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 293
Every girl who had taken the test has died. Now it's Kate's turn.

It's always been just Kate and her mom - and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld - and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy - until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess.
If she fails...  

Rating & Review

I've always been interested in Greek mythology. It's nothing that I've obsessed about and read everything that I can get my hands on, but I know most of the gods and goddesses so this book was pretty interesting for me. By no means to you need to have this huge amount of background info on Greek mythology in order to enjoy this book but I think that a bit of knowledge might come in handy. It will just give you a sense of a back story to The Goddess Test.

Jumping right in, this book was pretty good. I enjoyed how the author really stuck pretty true to the actual mythology and then wove her story in between those firmly established tales. Each of the characters that she created for this novel were pretty in line with how I would imagine that particular god or goddess to be in the modern day. Except for Hades. Hades is the god of the underworld, in case you didn't know. I just think someone who is in charge of world damnation would have been ... mean or have a gruff undercurrent to his character. I never really expected him to be almost timid or shy. Sure, I get that he's tortured by things in his very long past but still, something seemed off about him to me. I would think that Persephone leaving him would have made him more aggressive or dominating with his dark side but it really just turned him into a pansy in this book. I think I was waiting for him to come out of that shell and just take control or do something, I guess. I don't know. Like I said, something was off about him.

I really liked the character of Kate. Man, the author wrote a great history for Kate and her mother. I really liked the mother as well - especially the further that you get into the story. But Kate ... she started to get whiny. I haven't heard anyone else say that after they have read this, I could have just been irritated and looking for something to be wrong ... but I wrote whiny on a post-it, so if it was important enough to waste a post-it on, I figured that I would bring it up. Sounds silly but you have NO IDEA how many post-its disappear at our house. Our boys take them to write "tickets" or stick on the cats or their own faces. We blow through a lot of them. I don't take post-it usage lightly. Lol.

Anyhow, pretty good book ... there are quite a few characters, so make sure that you read this with a clear mind at first until you can get everyone straight. Worth looking into if you love Greek mythology or you're just looking for a change of pace from your other books.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review: Introductions (The Academy #1)

Title: Introductions (The Academy #1)
Author: C.L. Stone
Date Published: December 2012
ISBN: 9781481814911
Publisher: Arcato Publishing
Pages: 280

With an agoraphobic mother and a barely-there father, Sang abhors the isolation keeping her in the shadows. The only thing Sang craves is a fresh start and to be accepted as ordinary by her peers, because for her being different meant being cast out alone.

When her family moves to a new school district, Sang infiltrates a group of boys nearly perfect in every way. Grateful for an influence outside of her parents’ negativity, she quickly bonds with the boys, hoping to blend in and learn from them what it means to have a natural relationship with friends.

Only the boys have secrets of their own and they’ll do anything to keep her safe from the knowledge of the mysterious Academy that they've sworn allegiance to. Bit by bit, Sang discovers that her friends are far from the normalcy she expected. Will her loyalty change when she's forced to remain in the dark, or will she accept that she's traded one house of secrets for another?

Meet Kota, Victor, Silas, Nathan, Gabriel, Luke and North in a story about differences and loyalty, truth and mystery, friendships and heart-throbbing intimacy.

The Academy, ever vigilant.
Rating & Review

Okay, so you've read the blurb for the book. You know that it's about this girl named Sang who has this mom with this issue, her dad is never there, she's alone - almost completely isolated and then she meets these dudes. 

I know, I know. You already know all of that ... I'm just trying to waste a little time before I jump into this because I really have no idea where I'm going to start or where this will end up, for that matter. I have such mixed feelings about this one and I just can't quite put my finger on why. 

I'm going to try to not give anything away about the book but there are some things that I have to discuss because they really bother me and it's not like it's some secret. But at the same time, I can't really give that much away because I really ... have NO FREAKING CLUE as to what in the world is going on in this book. Hopefully I can put some of that into words today. Fingers crossed. Cross yours too ... I'll probably need it. 

So right off the bat, there is this really weird child abuse going on in Sang's home. I'm talking ... WEIRD. SHIT. I had to actually put the book down because it really bothered me. That and I had to do a little checking up on the author to see if they looked and sounded like they were just bat-shit crazy because this abuse is just ... messed up. So horrible. And it seemed like a lot to take in for a young adult novel. Now that could be because I'm a mom and I just couldn't imagine that kind of thing happening to our boys, let alone by my hands or maybe it's because I want our kiddos to stay innocent and free from these types of horrors. Who knows, but there it is.

Moving on ... then the boys in the novel come into play. And there are quite a few. I mean, it started off as one dude hanging around her and then it was three and before you know it ... Holy Lord ... there are nine dudes climbing out of this hot guy clown car. Well, there wasn't really a clown car ... I'm trying to give you a visual ... these hot guys just kept coming out of no where. Now, I have no problem with that. If I were a single, high school girl and all of these amazingly built, sweet, smart, hot guys kept wanting to hang out with me ... AWESOME. But it felt like it was a bit much. Especially with the hair brushing, cuddling and clothes.

I really had no idea where the story was going to go from one chapter to the next. It had some surprisingly awesome twists and turns that I loved. But. And this is a big ol' badonkadonk: I had no clue as to what the motivation behind the story was. Why was this story being told? Why did all of this matter? I mean, the abuse mattered ... that needed to stop ... but why were the guys fawning all over her? Why is this girl so damn important?!?!? 

I'll leave you to answer those questions after you've finished this one. I must admit ... I finished this book and immediately bought the second in the series. Then the third. And the fourth. I was pretty ashamed of myself ... I had absolutely no self control when it came to reading this series. I just had to have the next one. Dude, I would have sold a kid on ebay to read the next in the series. Thank goodness it didn't come to that! As it stands, I have to wait for the next book in the series because I read all of them. You know how when you eat your favorite dessert and you gobble it up so fast that you don't know where it went and you wish that you could have that first bite back again? Yeah. This book is one of those.