Friday, October 24, 2014

Review: Do or Die (Reluctant Heroes #1) by Suzanne Brockmann

Navy SEAL Ian Dunn went rogue in a big way when he turned his talents to a lawless life of jewel heists and con jobs. Or so the world has been led to believe. In reality, the former Special Ops warrior is still fighting for good, leading a small band of freelance covert operatives who take care of high-stakes business in highly unofficial ways. That makes Ian the hands-down choice when the U.S. government must breach a heavily guarded embassy and rescue a pair of children kidnapped by their own father, a sinister foreign national willing to turn his kids into casualties. Shockingly, Ian passes on the mission for reasons he will not--or cannot--reveal.
But saying no is not an option. Especially not for Phoebe Kruger, Ian's beautiful and unexpectedly brash new attorney. Determined to see the abducted children set free, Phoebe not only gets Ian on board but insists on riding shotgun on his Mission: Impossible-style operation, whether he likes it or not.
Though Phoebe has a valuable knack for getting out of tight spots, there's no denying the intensely intimate feelings growing between Ian and Phoebe as the team gears up for combat. But these are feelings they both must fight to control as they face an array of cold-blooded adversaries, including a vindictive mob boss who's got Ian at the top of his hit list and a wealthy psychopath who loves murder as much as he loves money. As they dodge death squads and play lethal games of deception, Ian and Phoebe will do whatever it takes to save the innocent and vanquish the guilty--or die trying.

Suzanne Brockmann is one of my favorite authors, so when Do or Die came up in a giveaway on Goodreads, I jumped on it. With embarrassing quickness. She is just an amazing author. I love how she is so incredibly technical with her spy/military ops and let me tell you, she knows what she's talking about. There has been more than one instance when I asked a Marine friend a question and each time, it turned out that Brockmann was on point. Her novels just have this ... realness ... to them. She is one of those authors who writes novels that become movies in your mind as you read them. 

Anyway ... let's get on with the review of this one. There isn't much to say. It was pretty much perfection. I don't know that I would change anything about it, actually. I know, I know. If that's the case, then why did I give it 4 stars instead of 5, right? Well ... the missing star isn't for anything huge. But since I noted that it was one thing that I would do differently, I thought it warranted a missing star. Guess I should tell you what it is ... I just personally thought that there should have been more Ian and Phoebe. Oh, there was a crap-ton of Ian and Phoebe but after I put down this behemoth of a novel, it was my one regret. The back and forth between these two characters was so amazing that I was just left wanting more. I wanted more of everything, actually. That's a pretty tall order on a novel that is over 600 pages but it's true. 

The story was so fast paced, you didn't realize that you were blowing through page after page. If this novel had been even one page shorter, I would have been pissed!! There wasn't one time that I put this book down and thought, "Dear Lord, stick a fork in it already!!". I found myself getting more and more exciting the further I dove into this thing. 

All in all, amazing novel. It is one that I know I'll find myself reading again at a later date and I know that I'll be picking up the next novel in this new series. So great. Oh ... and if you've already read some of the Troubleshooters series by Brockmann ... you'll enjoy this one. This is intended to be a spin-off but I think that it's making its own mark and shouldn't be compared. It's a different series with a different feel but that's good!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Review: The Death Cure (The Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner

It’s the end of the line.
WICKED has taken everything from Thomas: his life, his memories, and now his only friends—the Gladers. But it’s finally over. The trials are complete, after one final test.
Will anyone survive?

What WICKED doesn’t know is that Thomas remembers far more than they think. And it’s enough to prove that he can’t believe a word of what they say.

The truth will be terrifying.

Thomas beat the Maze. He survived the Scorch. He’ll risk anything to save his friends. But the truth might be what ends it all.

The time for lies is over.


Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. This is what I get for being so excited about reading a book. I guess I had put this whole series up on a pedestal. The first book was pretty good as was the subsequent one and then I get to this one and it was just ... meh. It fizzled for me. I'm not totally for sure what I expected but for some reason, it wasn't how it went. 

No, that's not the truth. I know what I expected. I expected The Death Cure to really just knock my socks off. I know that the first novel in the series got off to a slow start but I had hoped for more with this one. It's the ending. It should be amazing, right? Instead, you know what it reminded me of? A couple of things. First ... it reminded me of Thanksgiving dinner. I know that sounds weird, but just stay with me for a second. When you're cooking that big gluttonous meal, you spend hours. HOURS. Long hours preparing and long hours actually over the stove. Then it's ready. And then your kids Cookie Monster that shit and it's gone in 5 minutes. All that work for 5 minutes of eating. That's kind of what it was like!! Oh, and it also reminded me of the 4th of July but I won't get into my fireworks analogy. (You're welcome). But that's what this book was like. I plowed through the first two novels with the hope (and understanding because the author insinuated this would be an epic ending) that this series would end spectacularly. It wasn't, it was just okay. 

The characters were great, as they had been in previous novels but it felt almost disjointed for me. I didn't feel the same passion from the characters as I had in the past and that was a little sad because I thought that was a strong suit of this author. It was exciting in places and everything but ... just not enough, I guess. I found myself skipping paragraphs and pages because it was just ... boring a lot of the time. The action sequences were good but not good enough to make me forget about the boring parts. I wanted this awesome finish and instead of sliding into a warm bath with the satisfaction of a trilogy well completed, someone threw ice water in my face, called me a sissy and then punched me in the boob. 

In case you haven't picked this up ... it just wasn't my favorite ending. The series as a whole averaged out to ... average. It was nothing earth-shattering. Nothing that I'm dying to read again start to finish right this very moment. I might someday but not until I get over being angry at the injustice of such an ending to a series. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Review: The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end.

Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch.

There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die.

The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off.

There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive.

I don't really know where to start with this one ... I picked it up immediately after finishing the first novel and I'm glad that they went together completely seamlessly. It was if the book had just continued and there wasn't a different title. This is great for a reader who picks up the whole series after it's complete and doesn't have to wait for each installment. If I had read this when it first came out and then had to wait for the third book, I would be nothing short of pissed. Once again, this one stopped at this massive crossroads and I had to pick up the 3rd book before I even wrote the review for this one because I just had to know what had happened. 

All in all, a good book. I wavered between 3 and 4 stars on this one. It was super exciting and so much stuff going on, so I wasn't bored but I did find myself skipping sentences and paragraphs just because the info wasn't REALLY important and I wanted to get on with the story. I guess you could say it lagged a little for me. Now, this may not be the case with a younger reader. Compared to the age that this book is targeted at, I'm old and I can imagine that younger generations might have more patience for this style of writing. 

I really don't have much else to say ... I can see why this book's rating is lower than the first ... the excitement does taper off a bit but it's still something that will keep your attention and you'll feel the need to pick up the next installment right after you finish it. The characters were great, the author really kept the same feel throughout both novels. The book magic was still the same ... nothing about the characters were changed, the feel of the novel was identical to the first. I think that is hard sometimes with authors. They get the first novel published and then who knows how long of a break there is in between the first and the second and before you know it, the characters just don't read the same between the two. I'm glad that didn't happen this time. 

I don't have any more time for dissecting this one ... I gotta get back to reading the final novel in the series ...The Death Cure!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Review: The Maze Runner (The Maze Runner #1) by James Dashner

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

I had been interested in getting my hands on this book for quite a while and finally, I was able to. I have really enjoyed this whole young adult, dystopia thing that has been going on for the past 5 years. I haven't liked all of the entrants into this little sub-genre but I've enjoyed most. After looking at the ratings that everyone had given this one, I was super excited. 

And then I started reading. Man. It was rough for the the first 50 or so pages. I just couldn't get into it. I was so close to putting this down and just not picking it back up because it was a bit ... disconnected for me at first. But instead of going with that first instinct, I just kept at it and it payed off. It REALLY paid off. I became immersed in this world that Dashner had created and I just couldn't get enough. I didn't read it as quickly as I have some others but it was right up there with them. 

The setting is something that takes a little while to kind of get a grip on. It's completely different from our society and while it seems a little extreme at times, I think that it was warranted in order to set the story up correctly. The characters were a bit difficult to connect to at first because of their different vernacular but it was easy to fall into and get the hang of after a few chapters. I really like how Dashner has written Thomas and a few of the others. It actually reads like it's young kids talking and not an author trying to get in touch with that generation ... it felt authentic. And that seems to be something that quite a few authors have issues with. There was no talking down or making these kids seem too young or stupid, it was just perfect. 

I did immediately pick up the next book in the series and while that would normally urge me to give a book 5 stars, since I had such a hard time getting into everything, I decided to bump it down to a 4. But all in all, this is a good novel and I'm pretty excited to see it in movie form to see how it stands up. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Spotlight Feature - Night Sky by Suzanne & Melanie Brockmann

Today we are going to do something a little different ... Little Miss Bookmark is hosting a spotlight feature of the book Night Sky by Suzanne & Melanie Brockmann! Now, I really enjoyed this book and I hope that after you read the excerpt, you'll go pick it up ... or click it and buy it on Amazon ... no matter how you do it, this is definitely a book to check out!! 

 Don't forget to check out the giveaway at the bottom!

Sixteen-year-old Skylar Reid is thrown into a strange world when she discovers that she has unique telekinetic and telepathic powers.  After Sasha, the child she babysits, is kidnapped and believed to be murdered, Sky and her best friend Calvin are approached by Dana, a mysterious girl who has super-abilities similar to Sky’s.  With the help of Dana and her sidekick Milo, the four teens embark on a quest to discover who killed Sasha, and to bring the killers to justice.
With Dana as Skylar’s surly and life-toughened mentor, Sky attempts to harness her powers to aid them in their quest. Complicating an already complex relationship with the older girl, Skystarts to fall for the dangerously handsome and enigmatic Milo – and begins to suspect that the attraction is mutual. But then Sky realizes that Sasha might still be alive, and the unlikely foursome’s mission becomes one of search and rescue, pitting the heroic teens against a very deadly enemy.

"Look what I can do look what I can do," the woman, who I nicknamed Little Miss Sunshine because of her fancy clothes, yanked a massive-looking gun out of her bag.

Everyone in the store hit the deck at the sight of the gun—everyone except Calvin and me.

She pointed the barrel at my face.

A wave of deja vu washed over me. It was mixed with a hefty dose of panic and combined with at least a small degree of consolation that Calvin, as always, had my back.

"Oh, hell no!" he barked. All the fear had vanished from his tone, and now he just sounded pissed. "You wanna mess with someone? You wanna put your gun in her face? You're gonna have to shoot me first!"

And then, things got really weird.

"Hey!" someone called form behind Little Miss Sunshine. It was a girl, older than me but probably only by a year or two. She'd appeared as if out of nowhere, but she must've come in through the front doors while my attention was on that gun. Dressed in full motorcycle garb—a red leather jacket and black steel-toed boots—she hollered again. "Hey, you!"

Little Miss Sunshine whirled around.

Motorcycle Girl charged froward and flicked the pistol out of crazy lady's hands as easily as if she was removing a piece of lint from a buddy's jacket.

The gun spun a couple times before landing on the floor. Motorcycle Girl kicked it back into the air with her foot and caught it with one hand. She tucked it deftly into the back waistband of her pants and then slammed the crazy woman down onto the ground using the palm of one hand. I could have sworn Little Miss Sunshine took a nosedive before Motorcycle Chick even touched her, but then again, I'd been seeing all kinds of crazy things this week.

"Whoa," Calvin said, while the crowd gasped again.

Little Miss Sunshine landed, hard, and made a gurgling sound. She looked up once at me and pointed, still smiling that awful smile, before her face dropped to the ground.

The room once again was silent. 

Motorcycle Chick turned, running a hand gruffly through her platinum-blond pixie cut as she looked at me and frowned, her eyes the color of icicles.

Around us, the crowd began to move almost as one, with everyone rushing for the door.

I was about to turn too—getting out of there seemed like a brilliant idea—when Motorcycle Girl spoke again. Her words stopped me. "Way to protect everyone here, Sky. What were you waiting for? A sign from God?"

I looked at Cal—Cal looked at me. And I knew we were both thinking the same thing.

How the hell does this girl know my name?

Suzanne Brockman, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author, has won 2 RITA awards, numerous RT Reviewers’ Choice, and RWA’s #1 Favorite Book of the Year three years running. She has written over 50 books, and is widely recognized as a “superstar of romantic suspense” (USA Today). Suzanne and her daughter, Melanie Brockmann, have been creative partners, on and off, for many years. Their first project was an impromptu musical duet, when then-six-month-old Melanie surprised and delighted Suz by matching her pitch and singing back to her. Suzanne splits her time between Florida and Massachusetts while Mel lives in Sarasota, Florida. NIGHT SKY is Mel’s debut and Suzanne’s 55th book.
Contact the Author

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Review: Elect (Eagle Elite #2) by Rachel Van Dyken

Nixon Abandonato made his choice. And now he has to pay the price. Tracey is the love of his life, but being with him has made her a target of his family's enemies. The only way to keep Trace alive is convince the world she means nothing to him.

Trace Rooks has fallen irrevocably in love with the son of her family's sworn rival, and she knows in her bones nothing can tear them apart. Until Nix suddenly pushes her away and into the arms of his best friend... But Trace isn't ready to give up on a future with Nix--and if he won't fight for them, she will.

In the end, a sacrifice must be made. A life for a life. For what better way to cover a multitude of sins than with the blood of a sinner . . .

The moment I finished Eagle Elite #1, I clicked over to Amazon and ordered this one. I just HAD to know what was going to happen. And then I blew through this novel all too fast and I'm having fast-reader-remorse. I'm kind of ashamed of how quickly I read this one. I can't even TELL you how badly I want to get the third book in this series ... so bad. But alas, it is not to be. I have other books that I've got to get through and then I can come back to this series. Actually, I'll probably just read one book that I need to and then another Eagle Elite. I'll just swap back and forth. I tried telling myself that I would wait until my pile of books was depleted before I would pick up another one of these but I know that my self control with reading is ... well, it's nonexistent.

Anyhow, enough of my babbling. Let's get this show on the road. I'm going to warn you, this review will be filled with my singing the praises of this series, the author and anyone else associated with this whole thing. In case you can't tell, I have a bit of a spoiler for you ... I loved this book.

There were tons and tons of surprises this time, same as with the last book. I was just shocked during the majority of the novel. So many things happened that I just didn't foresee and usually, I can kind of pick up on where a book is going but not with this author. Never with this author. Well, there was one thing that I kind of picked up on but I think that the author wanted you to know what was coming. I was like a deer in headlights ... I knew it was coming and I couldn't enjoy my knowing because I was getting ready to be taken out by a big rig.

Let's see ... the characters are still amazing ... as usual. There isn't any fluff ... everything that you read on each page is really necessary and pertinent to the story. Don't skip over one sentence because it's something that is super important. This is one author that I know I won't skim with. Well ... I want to skim just so that I can see what is going to happen but I'm not skimming because it's boring.

All in all ... great book. You have to read it or at least the first book in the series or I can't talk to you. And we can't be friends. And you'll be dead to me.