Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











12483465From Goodreads: Once upon a time there was a US President who thought he was wise and could stomp out terrorism. Only the ‘terrorists’ did not quite agree with him. Soon paranoia ran rampant among every nation on this earth until all started annihilating one another.

Out of the ashes, mythology tells us the phoenix is supposed to rise. However, it was not the phoenix that arose, it was a new power amongst the people who survived. It was a Rising Power!

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I’m sorry to say that this novel just isn’t for me.  The premise is intriguing, especially with it’s look at what would happen to the world should the very real threat of terrorism and WWIII arise alongside the use of nuclear weapons, but the execution of this story was very difficult for me to follow as a reader.  It begins with very long, dense description of the world in its current state, after extreme war, but the writing is extremely formal and I found it read more like an essay than an actual story, which was a bit jarring.  However, the next two chapters were much more reader friendly, focusing on the lives of Amanda and Sarah Richardson, two young women living a simplistic life with their family in what’s left of devastated America.  It’s a much easier story to follow, and it piqued my interest, but all too soon, I was whisked away to another long, dense chapter filled with pages upon pages of description of the 99th Division Convoy, breaking down every single wagon and troop, with its trailers and container units, which, for someone like me, isn’t appealing at all.  The novel follows this format pretty much throughout the rest of its pages, jumping from story to story, character to character, and interspersing rather long descriptions of inanimate objects and such throughout.  This style made it a very difficult read for me because I wasn’t able to connect with any characters since there was so many and I felt not enough time was given to any one scene or chapter.  Likewise, I found the dialogue shifted quite often between formal, informal, and even archaic wording, following no one specific pattern, which further made it difficult for me to connect with characters as many of the interactions seemed unreal and forced.

Overall, the constant jump from new character to new descriptor really made this novel difficult for me to read, especially as there are so many different mini plots and characters to keep track of, such as Field Marshal Drey, Amanda and Sarah Richardson, their father, Mike Howard, King Jeffrey, Henry, General Humpries, Samuel O’Flynn, and the list goes on and on.  The novel itself is also extremely long and I personally think it wouldn’t hurt to be pared down a bit with a professional edit, removing some of the vast descriptions and stabilizing the dialogue to make it flow, focusing on less characters and moving the plot along.  One star.

1 starI received this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



17596261From Goodreads: Clicks are the sounds the universe makes when it stops to tell you what’s going to happen next. Truths you hear in your heart that you can’t explain.

For sixteen year old Cami, the clicks won’t stop. They’re telling her to fall in love with the wrong twin, that her family is hiding something, and that Pinhold, her pristine Island home, is in danger.

Born and bred to win, Cami’s family expects her to join a secret society called The Guard, marry one of the two identical twin boys next door, and stay on Pinhold Island for the rest of her life. Home to perfect waves, black sand beaches, and the world-famous Surf Carnival, Pinhold seems deceptively perfect. While visitors are jealous of the few hundred people who get to live there, Cami feels stifled. Thanks to the intense link she shares with her own twin, Mica, she can’t even be alone with her thoughts. While Cami’s more than happy to be a lifeguard, a lifelong commitment to the endless summer feels like a trap.

It should have been a fun summer of surf competitions and beach patrol. But dolphins are washing up on shore and the best swimmers are drowning. Then her twin brother Mica goes down too.

The only thing that can save her brother is the truth that only Cami can learn. But can she trust the clicks?

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This is the first YA novel I’ve seen that’s been classified as environmental fiction, and I was so intrigued by that classification that I knew I had to read it, especially because my county is adding an entire unit to the end of 10th grade year in which students study their role in the world and environment.  And, what a great story it is!  Filled with mystery and intrigue, as well as homage to the ocean and dolphins, in particular, Clicks takes a look at the world and what could happen if the environment went out of kilter.  But it’s not just an environmental fiction novel, and it certainly isn’t preachy; it makes you think, and there is romance, adventure, experiments, and cover-ups… all of which Cami must uncover in order to save her friends and family.

This novel takes place on an island off the coast of California where the relationship between mankind and dolphin pods is extremely sacred and revered.  Natives of the island, Cami, her twin, and her group of twin friends understand and acknowledge the rituals and bonds of The Guard, but it isn’t until Cami experiences calling and swimming with the pods that she begins to understand her real connection to them.  But all too soon the bliss of the summer, tourist season, and the Surf Carnival is brought to a halt as people begin drowning and dolphins begin dying.  Shrouded in mystery, Cami must use her wits and her connection to the environment to figure out what is happening to her island, and the secrets Evans weaves into her tale are epic.

I really liked Cami’s character; she’s a self-assured young woman who wants to excel in all, and finding her white dolphin is like a gift come true.  She values and respects the ocean, understanding its power, and her relationship with her dolphin allows her to connect with the environment in a way that she previously was unable to.  Watching her interact with her dolphin was extremely cool to watch, and Evans has a way with writing that puts readers right there with the characters, as if we’re swimming alongside through the pages.  And I loved that the entire novel is cloaked in mystery.  As the plot unfolds, more events happen that send the island off-balance, and healthy young teens lose consciousness without medical reason, spurring the reader on as Cami and her friends attempt to find the reason behind the sudden changes; to find the cure.

While I’ll admit that I figured out the secret behind it all much sooner than the reveal within the novel due to foreshadowing, I still really enjoyed the aspect of the mystery as it lined up and each characters’ involvement was laid bare. As we learn about the island and the plague that tormented the residents of both land and sea in the not so distant past, everything really begins to click (no pun intended), and I really enjoyed Evans’ execution of this entire story.  The sorrow, fear, and resolve was extremely strong throughout the novel, and the added romance made for some swoon-worthy escapades that brought a smile to my face.  Young love can be so beautiful. I highly recommend this to any readers out there curious about dolphins, the ocean, or who are looking for an overall good, clean read.  Four stars.

4 stars

I purchased this novel from Amazon.

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And now for the giveaway!!!

I’m offering up an ebook of Clicks to one reader!!!

To enter this giveaway, you must:

-Be 13 years or older (or have parent/guardian permission)

-Agree to HONESTLY REVIEW the novel via a blog (if you have one), or Goodreads, or any other media format you use for book reviews (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.)

-Fill in the mandatory questions on rafflecopter (extra entries optional)

Click this Rafflecopter Link to Enter!

This contest is open INTERNATIONALLY and will end at 12:01am EST on September 15th at 12:01am. Please only enter once. The winner will be announced later on September 15th, and will receive email notification! Please read my giveaway policy and leave me a comment!



Immortals Tour7

Book Title:  Immortals

Series:  Runes

Author:  Ednah Walters

Release Date:  August 5th 2013

Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance

Length:  342 Pages

Publisher:  Firetrail Publishing

Presented by: Walking on Bookshelves & As You Wish Tours

Immortals Tour Schedule

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BLURB

Nothing can stop Raine Cooper when she wants something…

Raine finally knows that her gorgeous neighbor, Torin St. James, is a legend straight out of Norse mythology, and that her feelings for him are strong. Torin is crazy about Raine too, breaking the one rule he lives by: Never fall for a mortal. The problem is he no longer remembers her, his memories erased by Norns—Norse destiny deities—to punish her for defying them.

She will make Torin forget his one rule a second time and fall in love with her all over again.

But she quickly learns that well-laid plans do not work when dealing with deities and supernatural beings. Desperate, Raine makes choices that could not only tear her and Torin further apart, but lead to the destruction of everything and everyone she loves.

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EXCERPT

 “The Norns said you were in danger.”

A snicker escaped him. “From what?”

“They didn’t say.”

“Screw them. They’re messing with your head again, Raine.” He twisted the lid off his water bottle and chugged. “I wish they’d spoken to me. I would’ve told them to eff off.” He put his water on the table, his grip tightening around the plastic bottle.

Wishing I could reach out and touch him, maybe reassure him, I studied his angry expression and chewed on a piece of limp lettuce. “What’s happening to us, Eirik?”

He scowled. “What do you mean?”

“We never used to keep secrets from each other. Why didn’t you tell me what your parents said that night?”

“They said I couldn’t because, you know, you’re Mortal and I’m… whatever I am.” He took another bite as though the pizza was his enemy and chewed, his eyes staring into space though he was having an internal argument with himself.

“Did they at least tell you who your real parents are?”

“No.” He glowered. “But Mom said I’m special. Yeah, whatever that means. I told her I wasn’t going anywhere until I got some answers. Guess what? It’s been six weeks since we talked and I’m still here.” He demolished the rest of the slice in two bites, guzzled his drink, and started on his second slice. “I should not have listened to them. If I’d told you everything, you would’ve told me about the Norns when they first appeared. They almost killed you.”

 

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REVIEW

From Goodreads: Nothing can stop Raine Cooper when she wants something…
Raine finally knows that her gorgeous neighbor, Torin St. James, is a legend straight out of Norse mythology, and that her feelings for him are strong. Torin is crazy about Raine too, breaking the one rule he lives by: Never fall for a mortal. The problem is he no longer remembers her, his memories erased by Norns—Norse destiny deities—to punish her for defying them.

So Raine comes up with a plan…
She will make Torin forget his one rule a second time and fall in love with her all over again.
But she quickly learns that well-laid plans do not work when dealing with deities and supernatural beings. Desperate, Raine makes choices that could not only tear her and Torin further apart, but lead to the destruction of everything and everyone she love.

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This second novel in the series was even better than the first, as Raine knows the truth about her heritage and that of her beloved Torin.  The stage has already been set by events in the prequel, allowing readers to be dropped right in on the action as Raine desperately tries to make Torin remember their love.  And my, how the tables have turned… no longer is Torin the pursuer like he was in Runes, but now he’s the perused, and as infuriating as he could be in the first novel, he’s even more so in this sequel with his bad boy charm, quick retorts, and shrugging off of Raine’s desperate attempts to make him remember her.  When telling him the truth doesn’t work, she resorts to trickier methods: jealousy, and in the mad dash to bring Torin up to speed, she uncovers the truth about her best friend Eirik and her power when it comes to the Norns, making everything that much more complicated as the novel unfolds.

I really liked Raine’s character in this novel.  She’s even more sure of herself, and while she still questions her choices and worries, she’s no longer in the dark, making her able to fend for herself and do what she believes to be right in order to save those she loves.  With the new revelation of Eirik’s heritage and the darkness coming to take him away, Raine must step up even more and fight against an evil she can’t see or understand, but knows will cost Eirik his life if she’s not there to stop it.

Eirik is fleshed out even more so in this novel, and I really liked him. He’s going through some extreme changes, and the mystery behind his Runes was extremely intriguing.  And, between Torin and Eirik, this novel adds a lot of spice and fun, though much of it comes in the form of danger.

Beautifully told, this novel fleshes out Norse myth and presents a story unlike any other, and with its many twists and turns, and an intense betrayal I never saw coming, it’s a hard one to put down; I can’t wait for even more from Walters as this series is turning out to be quite promising.  It’s a great read, and I highly suggest picking up the series if you haven’t already done so.  Four stars.

4 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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AUTHOR BIO

EDNAH WALTERS grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and dreaming of one day writing her own stories. She is a stay-at-home mother of five humans and two American short-hair cats (one of which has ADHD) and a husband. When she is not writing, she’s at the gym doing Zumba or doing things with her family, reading, traveling or online chatting with fans.

Ednah is the author of The Guardian Legacy series, a YA fantasy series about children of the fallen angels, who fight demons and protect mankind. AWAKENED, the prequel was released by Pill Hill Press in September 2010 with rave reviews. BETRAYED, book one in the series was released by her new publisher Spencer Hill Press in June 2012 and HUNTED, the third installment, will be released April 2013. She’s working on the next book in the series, FORGOTTEN. Visit her at www.ednahwalters.com

Ednah also writes YA paranormal romance. RUNES is the first book in her new series. IMMORTALS is book 2. She is presently working on book 3, GRIMNIRS (Release date TBA). Read more about this series and the world she’s created here www.runestheseries.com

Under the pseudonym E. B. Walters, Ednah writes contemporary romance. SLOW BURN, the first contemporary romance with suspense, was released in April 2011. It is the first book in the Fitzgerald family series. Since then she has published four more books in this series. She’s presently working on book six. You can visit her online at or www.ebwalters.com.

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Enter the Tour Wide Giveaway



12427087From Goodreads: It is 1988 and teenager Whitney Forbes thought her biggest problem was surviving high school and determining if there was more to handsome Reid Wallace than just his looks and popularity. She was wrong. Her problems were about to get a lot more complicated.

Whitney always knew she was special. But when she discovers she is more “special” than she ever imagined, surviving another school day outside her posh D.C. suburb takes on a whole new meaning. Caught in the middle of a CIA plot and her undeniable magnetic attraction to Reid, she will need to decide who she can trust and what it means to become the Sundial…before she risks her heart and an alarming plan goes into motion.

Will she have what it takes to not only survive but also prevail? The clock is ticking and the suspense builds as time brings the truth to light in this epic adventure about love, trust and the process of turning adversity into advantage.

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Complete with romance, special ops, nuclear energy, and the paranormal, this novel has a little bit of everything for everyone.  Whitney Forbes, our strong female lead, is a great character, taking care of herself and not falling for the cute boy in school based on looks alone.  She’s got a good head on her shoulders, and she double checks anything suspicious, which, in this case, is Reid Wallace.  Whitney has ESP, and with her abilities to sense, along with the ability to absorb and learn powers, she’s got her hands full trying to understand why Reid knows so much about her when she’s told him very little… Trust must be earned in this novel, and it is.  As the plot unfolds, we learn why Whitney and Reid are so drawn to one another, and the revelations are very intriguing.

Much of the plotline in this novel is spent building up the relationship between Whitney and Reid, with boat rides, kisses, long drives, and parties, the perfect way to flesh out their relationship and build their characters in this first book of the series.   However, it causes the story to unfold rather slowly as the CIA plot involving nuclear reactions and genocide isn’t really touched upon until near the end of the novel.  But then again, without the attention to the budding relationship, the novel wouldn’t have so expertly captured the world of the rich in D.C. And, for those of us around in the 80s, a lot of the name brands and places mentioned in this novel really hit home, especially if you live(d) in the D.C. area, which, in my opinion, makes the slower pace worth it.

The one aspect that I had a little difficulty with as I read was that the overall story tended to jump ahead a lot, almost rushing the reader, cutting out details right when the going gets good.  Many chapters end with a sort of cliffhanger, jumping ahead to another segment of the story, or bypassing weeks or months in the span of a paragraph or two, and while I do enjoy cliffhanger chapters as they pique my interest, I also like my story to follow a more linear fashion… to be less rushed.  But this isn’t bad story-telling by any means, and I believe some readers will really enjoy this writing style, though I personally found it a little bit jarring.

Overall, this is an intriguing read with some great, strong main characters, and I think the second novel is going to be even better than the first now that all the character building and introductions are out of the way.  Three stars.

3 stars

I received this novel from the authors in exchange for an honest review.

This title is CURRENTLY FREE on AMAZON.

**Upon completion of review, it has come to my attention that a new edition of SUNDIAL was released in Spring 2012–an edition that addresses the continuity issue I found a bit jarring in the older edition I read.  The follow-up book in the series, THE LIGHT BRINGER’S WAY, was released Summer 2012, and I am excited to read it.**



18054394From Goodreads: Space is not as endless as Humans thought. In fact, for our kind it all ends at Pluto where the elements of the Greater Drahgosian Empire keep watch to ensure no one leaves the reservation. We are free to explore our own system, to expand and colonize, but to look out beyond our system is forbidden.

Iago has a plan, and if it works he just might be the first human to walk under an alien star. All he needs is a hairless dog, a vindictive Commander, and a Drahgosian starship capable of breaching the vast distance between star systems. Picking up a beautiful alien female like Eema would just be bonus points.

But there is more going on with the reservation than Iago realizes, and his dream may very well be the death of all humanity.

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Those who really like Star Trek and other space intense movies/novels should definitely pick up The Starrunner.  Set in the distant future, this novel begins with the revelation that extraterrestrials have indeed made contact with earth, only to set a rule in place: do not explore outside earth’s solar system.  But why?  Iago, our main character, has spent many years wondering what exists beyond the solar boarders, and in his attempt to see more of the universe,  our story takes off.

Iago is somewhat of a trickster, intent on sticking it to the higher ups from the very beginning of this novel.  And, as the commanders and higher ups don’t take jokes and such very well, Iago soon finds himself in a predicament that could end with his death.  Always resourceful, though, he is able to use his circumstances to his advantage, breaking out of the confines and, indeed, seeing more of the universe, but at what cost?

As this novel unfolds, readers are introduced to many different alien species, many of which have very human characteristics in either looks or actions.  One in particular, Eema, a beautiful alien woman, is not what she seems upon first meeting, and I loved her kick-butt presence, illegal antics and all.  Although she is far from what Iago expected in his cross-universal search, they become companions more out of desperation than true friendship, and watching them banter and learn to work together was a lot of fun, as was learning the reason for the Drahgosian rule against human exploration of the universe.

Overall, I really liked the characterization, especially of Eema and Iago, and the story itself was very good, but it seemed to jump from scene to scene a little less fluidly that I would have liked.  There were times that I would have loved more intricate information about an alien people, or a circumstance Iago and Eema found themselves in, only to be whisked ahead a few months instead, which left me with a few questions here and there, but nothing too vast.  This is a very intriguing novel, and though I’m not really a space or scifi fan myself, as I said before, those who really enjoy Star Trek and other space movies and novels should definitely pick this up, because I think they’ll love it.  Three stars.

3 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 



Fro18043874m Goodreads: Based on the life of Alessandro di Cagliostro, the Child of Egypt follows a young boy called Acharat on a life long journey of self discovery as he takes on the guises of Joseph Balsamo and Cagliostro and sparks a bloody revolution that will tear down the Bourbon monarchy in France before setting his sights on the heart of the Christian world, the Pope in Rome.

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This novel had a great premise and I really enjoyed the beginning portion that chronicles Acharat’s mother’s woes prior to his conception.  It was highly intriguing and I loved this in-depth look into his mother’s life as a concubine, her whirlwind affair with a Frenchman, her betrayal, and ultimately her death, all of which leads up to Acharat’s birth.  Stolen out of his world-be assassin’s grasp, Archarat survives, and the novel then jumps ahead to his teen years where he learns the truth about the man who saved him, the man to whom his life is indebted.  Learning about the magic his benefactor wields, and learning it himself, the novel then jumps again to his time in France and Rome, ultimately, showing his extreme changes and what the power he wields has done to him.

Overall, this was a great concept, but it ended up being much too long for me.  Like I said, I really enjoyed the beginning, and I liked the middle, but once Acharat/Joseph marries and begins plotting the downfall of the monarchy, condemning innocents and using his wife for ill, well, I lost all respect for the man and the novel began to drag.  The novel takes place over a span of many decades, and to the author’s credit, reading the text feels like it takes place over a span of decades—there is no sugarcoating or quickness about it at all, but I think I needed a much faster pace to keep my attention.  I don’t necessarily enjoy histories all that much unless there is something intriguing happening all the time, and there was just a little too much downtime for me once Archarat/Joseph comes of age to release his evil.

He becomes almost demonic, in a sense, which made reading the novel difficult for me as I lost my respect for him.  Yes, he had a hard life and yes, he was given the gift of magic through mysticism, but I believe he used it in the wrong way.  Watching all the sacrifices that were made for him in order for Archarat/Joseph to live, only to note that he turned out to be evil in the end, left me feeling a bit sour towards him, and, in truth, I felt no sympathy when his actions caught up to him.  He is truly evil, and if I don’t like my characters, I tend to have a hard time finishing a novel, and that was the case with this one, length aside.  I think lovers of histories, historical fiction, and attention to detail will really enjoy this novel, though—after all, it is very well written and, characterization aside, the plot is intriguing.  I, however, found myself liking it less and less as it progressed based on the actions of the main character, which, in truth, is no fault of the authors, but rather a personal preference.  Two and a half stars.

2 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.



18043896From Goodreads: Nidad Reik, the last mundane king of Verneece has fallen to the treachery of the sorcerers who once served him. Now the usurpers have gathered from the four corners of the kingdom to divide the spoils of victory. Among those in attendance are the Puppeteer and his ward, the Fortune Teller; the Sword Prince and his latest trollop; the Lady of Perfumes and her guards and lovers; finally, there is the fearsome Stonegrinder, master of earth and stone. The night is filled with feasting, entertainment .and gaming. In the wee hours of a long, winter night there is also murder.

The survivors look upon each other with suspicion of treachery. Who committed the murders and why? Or is there an outside agency moving against them to lay claim to their victory?

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“Set in the Blackstone universe, the history of Verneece before the coming of Queen Spiral is revealed” in this novella by Jason Beineke, a prequel to the Blackstone series.  This imaginative fantasy series expounds on sorcery and world dominance, but for those of you who haven’t yet read the masterful Blackstone novels, then I highly suggest you begin with this novella, especially if you’re intrigued by world building, sorcery, and fantasy—this series is not one to be missed!

Complete with engaging characters able to bend the elements and wills of others, readers are introduced to a band of strong and able sorcerers come to divide the spoils of the conquered Verneece.  Although a tad vulgar and disturbing in places—drinking wine from a skull makes me shudder—this novella truly sets the scene for the murders and betrayal that takes place between the pages, and continues throughout the series, as the gifted magicians begin to suspect and fight amongst themselves.  Showing the vast corruption that pervaded the land prior to the seizing of power by Queen Spiral, a vicious queen readers will get to know in more depth in Drawing the Circle, this novella gives readers a taste of what is to come with its imaginative world, deceptive characters, and jarring situations.  It’s a great read that I enjoyed very much, though I do wish it was longer.  However, a longer read would defeat the purpose, as this novella is meant to whet the appetite for more, and that is exactly what it does.  Had the characters been a little more pleasant, I do believe their plight and overall fate would have left me feeling bereft.  As it is, however, these vile characters gain no sympathy from me.  Three stars.

3 stars



12551396From Goodreads: Madison is an ex-con artist who has now lived by the rules for eight years following the tragic death of her fiancé. She has made a new life for herself in Chicago despite the challenges of honest work. Her world flips upside-down once again when she runs into her best friend that she left behind in a desperate attempt to escape the dangerous lifestyle they were leading, only to find out he is in deeper than she could have ever imagined. They are forced to team up with the hope to shield one another while still dealing with the abrupt separation that left them both secretly heartbroken. When not only her way of life, but also the life of her dearest friend is threatened by an old associate, will it be enough for her to continue as a law abiding citizen, or will she be forced back into the line of work that claimed the love of her life?

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Madison is now straight-lace, using a pseudonym to work security for a private treasury after the death of her fiancé, Morgan, and her long stint in jail.  She’s content in life, contemplating dating again—Bradley, a single father has caught her eye, and vice versa.  But, the planet has something different in store for Madison, and she soon finds herself face-to-face with her estranged friend, Skyler, a man she used to call her best friend.  Of course, things take a turn for the worse, and Madison finds herself once again living on the other side of the law, aiding Skyler as she learns the truth about the accident that claimed her fiancé so long ago.

Told in both the present and past, Madison and Skyler’s relationship is fleshed out in such a way that it’s impossible not to fall in love with them.  They’re great characters, and they truly love one another, though it takes them far too long to realize it. Caught up in a web of deceit, both must find a way to break free from the underbelly of crime and the lord that dictates their every move, and the tale is fast-paced and highly interesting, if not completely plausible.  I really enjoyed this story, but some aspects left me scratching my head—one such is the amount of time it takes for a car to sink in a large body of water.  It’s far faster than one would think, and so there is a scene that left me a little unbelieving, but that’s few and far between in terms of the integrity of the story. It’s one of love, and I truly enjoyed it.

However, there are a number of glaring editing errors in the Kindle version I read, enough to make the read a little haggard and less enjoyable had it flowed seamlessly together.  But to be fair, this novel was queried for review nearly two years ago, so it is possible a newer edition with a more thorough editing is already available.  I do hope so—and if not, it’s an easy enough fix should Smith choose to do so.  That being said, the version I read contained a very compelling story, but the typos did take away from some of my personal the enjoyment overall.  Three stars.

3 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.



17910658From Goodreads: When two enemies push back together!

“…Most of them just sit as if waiting for someone to join them on their impending journey. Others are rushing for their train as if late for some important meeting. They can’t wait to board one of those trains below ground. When I first discovered this place, I don’t know how long I sat here watching the dead hustle and bustle about, queue at the ticket office and take drinks from the vending machines. Like any new place you visit, like your first day at a new school or in a new job, you soon figure out how things work. I knew I was dead…”

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Tim O’Rourke’s pushed world in the Kiera Hudson Series Two novels just got even cooler with the revelation that turning back time is possible.  Similar to the concept of Hermoine Granger’s Time-Turner in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the characters in O’Rourke’s novel discover that, in this pushed world, they can turn back time and review events, a task Potter and Jack Seth must complete in order to help push the world back into its right alignment.

Think about it.  How cool would it be to turn back time and witness events as they happen as an outsider?  I’d love that, though the pull of wanting to change events and to interfere would be unbearable, as Potter and Jack Seth soon find out.  Together, these two enemies must overcome their hatred for one another in order to save a common love: Kiera.

This time, readers get to see both sides of the story, viewing the events leading up to Isidor, Melody, and Kiera’s deaths in the pushed world, and new information has come to light; information that will floor you.  As always, O’Rourke surprised me at every turn, and as events came to their climax, I was bowled over by the revelations thrown at me concerning Kiera, Isidor, and Jack Seth.

Jack Seth’s inner monologue is absolutely hilarious in this novel.  As he works through his sinister feelings, leaping into the past and watching for the photographer, his musings about Isidor and Melody Rose had me snickering to myself as I read.  His pet names and thoughts about their actions were quite funny, especially as readers of this series have heard this story before, from a much more serious standpoint in Dead Angels.  However, seeing it through an observer’s eyes, obtaining both sides of the picture added a new twist to the story and it is beautifully done, especially as it forces Jack Seth to take a long hard look at his inner soul.  And what he finds and chooses to do will surprise you.

Potter, ever the snarky mouth-off, finds himself leaping into the past to watch for the photographer at Kiera’s house, however, he soon finds himself battling against his feelings for Kiera—not his Kiera, might I add, but the pushed version; the version destined to die in a robbery shootout.  Potter’s thoughts and feelings, and ultimately his actions reveal much about himself and the pushed world, and it is through him that we learn even more concerning the Wolf Man and his seemingly “all-knowing” intentions.

So much is revealed in this novel about the pushed world, the elders, and even the wolves—it’s an intense read told from alternating perspectives of Potter and Jack Seth, and I absolutely adored it.  Of course, there is a major cliffhanger at the end, but, with Tim O’Rourke’s writing expertise, it won’t be long before we have the next installment, Dead Lost.  Five stars.

5 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

For MORE books by Tim O’Rourke:

Kiera Hudson Series 1

Vampire Shift (#1)

Vampire Wake (#2)

Vampire Hunt (#3)

Vampire Breed (#4)

Wolf House (#4.5)

Vampire Hollows (#5)

 

Kiera Hudson Series 2

Dead Flesh (#1)

Dead Night: Potter’s Secrets (#1.5)

Dead Angels (#2)

Dead Statues (#3)

Dead Seth (#4)

Dead Wolf (#5)

Dead Water (#6)

Dead Push  (#7)

 

Vampire Shift Graphic Novels

Vampire Shift Volume 1

 

Black Hill Farm Series

Black Hill Farm (#1)

Black Hill Farm Andy’s Diary (#2)

 

The Moon Trilogy

Moonlight (#1)

Moonbeam (#2)

Samantha Carter Series

Vampire Seeker (#1)

(Formerly known as Cowgirls and Vampires)

 

Doorways Series

Doorways (#1)

The League of Doorways (#2)

 

Flashes Series

Flashes (#1)–Coming 2013

Pick Series

Pick (#1)–Coming Soon

Tim_O'Rourke_Fan_Club



13576713From Goodreads: “Be careful what you wish for.” That’s a warning Dylan Johnson should have listened to. When his mobile tech company is bought out by Mantric Technology, a red-hot firm about to go public, it seems like a dream come true for the young entrepreneur and his partners. But the closer they get to payout, the more uncertain Dylan becomes. Something doesn’t feel right. When his colleague is found dead on what should have been their night of triumph, Dylan is determined to find out what happened. But asking questions plunges him into a digital web of deceit and betrayal that will shake everything he thought he knew…

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If you’re into corporate espionage, murder mysteries, and mayhem, then this novel is for you. What was supposed to be the merger of a lifetime for Dylan Johnson, complete with a huge payout, ends in murder, deceit, and lie after lie, leaving Mantric Technology in the hot-seat and losing money faster than it ever gained.  Filled with many intricate characters, Waite rolls out his story focusing on the upside of mergers and buyouts, eventually turning the coin and showing the downside, as we’ve all seen in recent years as large robust companies crumble from the inside out.  Though I’m not really a technology guru, I was able to mostly follow the high tech world in which our characters reside, and I enjoyed much of the story, however, certain points were a bit unbelievable for me, such as the lack of police presence and investigation into the murder of Dylan’s friend and colleague.  I also have to wonder exactly how much one duo would be able to uncover on their own in a huge company like Mantric, but then again, I’m not in a huge corporate business and, having never worked with a corporation like Mantric, I’m also not worthy of making a call concerning validity.  In my personal world, it seemed a bit strange, but certainly not too farfetched, and I enjoyed the story overall, but think those with more knowledge of the inner workings of corporations, buyouts, and technology would enjoy this more than I.  Three stars.

3 stars

Marlborough Press has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read this novel, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.



15825690From Goodreads: Natalie’s one of Frankenstein’s creations and works in a New York City morgue. So of course she needs therapy. She and her friends—er, fellow monsters—have formed the world’s most exclusive, most dysfunctional support group. What could go wrong?

Undetected in the modern world and under pressure to stay that way, Natalie Grey, Dracula, Bob the Blob, and others (including the fetching wolfman Alec) meet regularly to talk about the pressures of being infamous in the Big Apple. Topics include how long it’s been since their last sighting, how their “story” creates stereotypes they can’t fulfill, and—gasp—sometimes even their feelings. But when their pervy Invisible Man, Ellis, is killed in a manner reminiscent of the H.G. Wells novel, it’s clear someone’s discovered their existence and is down for some monster busting.

Led by Natalie—and definitely not helped by Hyde’s bloodthirsty tendencies—the members of Monstofelldosis Anonymous band together for security and a little sleuthing. And maybe—maybe—if they don’t end up dead, they’ll end up friends somewhere along the way.

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This novel had great potential, but it didn’t deliver as I had hoped. Perhaps it’s my preconceived notions of the monsters that are represented in this novel, but I expected them to be… different.  Stronger, more assertive, and sure of themselves.  But, in truth, they’re just the opposite.  Full of hatred and malice towards one another, the lot was more skittish and scared to move forward and act, content to hide away for the rest of their lives.  Their constant bickering, while I believe an attempt at humor, didn’t adhere them to my heart any, either.  Instead, I found myself annoyed by their antics and lack of confidence.  I understand that they’ve been in hiding for a very long time, but these character’s inability to stand up for themselves throughout a majority of the novel made it hard for me to enjoy, especially as some whined constantly, which is not how I expect a monster to act in the least.

Overall, this novel was the opposite of what I was expecting, though the premise was great.  I think those going in without any preconceived notions will enjoy this novel, if they know that the monsters we’ve learned about him English class aren’t necessarily the ones portrayed in this novel.  Two stars.

2 stars

Originally, I was given access to this title by Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books Publishers via Netgalley, but as they did not supply a Kindle friendly version, I ended up purchasing this novel from Amazon.



14655292

From Goodreads: What if genetic science presented a way to end the worldwide cocaine trade with the snap of your fingers? Jake MacQuilkin, the top DEA agent in Latin America, resigns after a cocaine bust leaves his fiancé dead. Jake is called back to the DEA where it’s disclosed that renegades in his agency have hatched a plot to deploy this science and end cocaine trafficking forever. If he allows to plot continue to its end he could avenge the loss of his love. But politics overrides his instincts. Instead he is instructed by his superiors to do just the opposite. Stop those who would stop cocaine and the global criminal enterprises that profit from the trade. The Eradication Dilemma is the story of a man faced with the difficult choice of seeking revenge and finding redemption or following his orders and allowing the cocaine trade to flourish..

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This was a very interesting look at the cocaine trade, a topic that I honestly don’t think about very often.  What was perhaps the most interesting was the revelation that some economies in the world actually thrive and stabilize based on this trade, presenting Jake MacQuilkin with an extreme moral dilemma as he has the opportunity to take down cocaine forever, but also doom entire populations that thrive off cocaine farming.  While this novel certainly doesn’t condone cocain trade by any means, it does present its growth in a way that I’m sure many have never thought of before—aside from being an addictive deadly drug, it is also the livelihood of many, many people in a completely legal way.

When I began this novel, I was certainly all for the destruction of cocaine plants as I only had one side of the story: preconceived notions of what my personal economy and cultural stereotypes say about the plant.  But, this novel presents the philosophical question of killing one for many, or killing many so even more may thrive, and it is a very interesting moral dilemma that our main character, Jake, is faced with; I do not envy him at all.

This is a novel that makes you think, a mixture of science, mystery, and intrigue as it all unfolds, and I enjoyed this aspect of it very much.  I would have liked to connect a little bit more with the many characters within the novel, though.  Jake and Rhonda were extremely interesting and great together, but I never truly felt like I knew them—possibly because they’re so very different from anyone I know!

This story takes place over the course of 60 days, and I really enjoyed knowing the date, time, and place each time there was a transition, however, the execution of the story was also a little difficult to follow here and there because the reader is whisked away to so many places within the text.  Luckily for me, most of the time I has no issues keeping up with Wilkerson.  It also helped immensely that he bolded the text when a change in time and location took place, though I think these transitions might have been a little more fluid and easier to understand had they been chapter breaks and not just paragraph breaks.  However, that’d make for a ton of chapters, so I do understand why Wilkerson chose this format.  Overall, this is a well-written, thought provoking book.  Three stars.

3 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.



17859733From Goodreads: My lips are white. Sixteen-year-old Sep stares into the bathroom mirror. It’s not some weird lipstick (she never wears lipstick). Her lips are just ? white. In a panic, she digs up an old lipstick and smears it on her colorless lips. But soon, more and more white spots begin to bloom, spreading their chalky tendrils across her olive brown skin. Does she have a disease? Is she turning into some kind of freak? Sep is usually the one who knows all the answers. With a quicksilver mind and a supple body, she’s happiest when she’s delving into the mysteries of animal biology or giving herself over to sweet, hot moves in Jazz Dance Club. Unlike her best friend, Devin, she’s never been in a rush to get a boyfriend. But as the white blotches spread, her dating days ? like the endangered species she studies ? seem numbered. So when Joshua, a boy she’s always liked, makes a flirty advance, she wonders: why not grab pleasure while she can? Frank, funny, and full of passion, this is the empowering story of a strong gifted teen who, as her life spins out of control, desperately tries to prove to the world ? and herself ? that she is deeper than skin.

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This novel’s social commentary on the world’s current perception of beauty is one I think many need to read about, but especially teens. In our day and age, the toned “model body” is sought after and idolized, and anyone who doesn’t measure up, be it in weight, height, or even facial symmetry is left feeling less attractive by default, whether people tell them so or not. I see this a lot with the students I teach, and I think with all the technology and social media available today, the issue of beauty takes over tenfold because the “model body” is plastered everywhere, and one bad make-up day or hair day can be snapped by any phone and tweeted to the whole world–how mortifying. It wasn’t like this when I was growing-up, and truthfully, it never bothered me because I wasn’t exposed to the perceived conception of beauty as much as our teens are now, and for me, different was always better, which is probably one of the reason’s that I don’t fully connect with Sep’s issue with her skin.

Sep has vitaligo, a condition that depigmentizes the skin. On the first day of school, she wakes up with white lips, only to lose color quite quickly in splotches all across her body as the novel progresses. Of course, I’ve never been on the receiving end of vitaligo, so I can’t say I wouldn’t feel as mortified as Sep does, but in my old age, I do have to say that I find it quite beautiful on those I’ve met with this type of skin condition, be it from vitaligo or some other condition. But that’s me. I’m not a teenager in my prime who has to deal with how others perceive her, and I imagine it’d feel quite differently had I been in Sep’s shoes.

While I can appreciate Sep’s feelings, I feel like she sort of went off the deep end, though. Afraid she’ll never experience true love based on her looks, she goes from never been kissed to full on sex (everywhere) with her new boyfriend (who also is her first boyfriend). And I get that our teens jump into sex very quickly in today’s society, because really, that sacred act isn’t viewed as sacred anymore, but the one aspect of the story that threw me was the undertone that sex sets teens free. Sep is also a dancer, and on a few occasions she states that, since sex, she’s been more in-tuned with her body. But I disagree. I believe that she’s more in-tune with her body because she inspects is multiple times daily to see if she’s lost any more pigment, and she now knows every inch of her body. While it is true that she’s been awakened to sexual feelings, I don’t necessarily agree that it will make someone a better dancer. And, while Sep says something along the lines of not wanting to say that sex was the cause for her great dancing, it’s still pretty much what she says near the end, and for me, well, that’s not the underlying message I want teens to take away from this novel. What I want them to get is that beauty is only skin deep and, as Sep learns, there is much more to life and love than our appearance. Three stars.

3 starsAmazon Children’s Publishing has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on August 6, 2013.



11228432From Goodreads: “In the new decade, the world gathers in Stockholm for a controversial climate forum. The stakes are high, as violent and unpredictable storms increasingly plague the earth and sea levels encroach on coastal shorelines. Nicole Hunter, head of the richly endowed Everson Foundation, leads the charge to invest in promising research that will hopefully impede environmental devastation. But her contentious stance has been questioned by others, and now her career and her life are both in jeopardy.

Meanwhile, unseen forces assemble to sabotage any breakthrough that could challenge existing global energy markets. Oliver Odin, a mysterious international agent, is sent by the Security Alliance to investigate ominous threats intercepted by intelligence sources. The evidence leads him to the beautiful, strong-willed Nicole and the brainy scientists attending the forum. But when scientists on the verge of a promising discovery are gunned down at a reception held by a United States senator, it becomes apparent that powerful forces will stop at nothing to prevent the world from being saved.

As a few brave souls attempt to rescue the planet from environmental calamity, they soon realize that their mission comes with a price—and some will pay with their lives.”

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This was an extremely fun thriller, full of mystery and intrigue.  Beginning with an introduction to our characters and environment, setting the stage for the events to come, the novel really starts to take off as Nicole’s life is threatened at a party where the two scientists she is talking to are shot in cold blood.  Together with Oliver, an intense international agent, Nicole must figure out who is out to stop the green fuel initiative, and it is here that the fast-paced nature of the story begins.

Though a little more scientific than my brain is capable of processing, Hilleren does a great job keeping the reader up to speed with the scientist and environmental jargon as events progress.  And, with its high speed chases, gun battles, and explosions, this novel unfolds quite cleverly as Hilleren intertwines terrorism, espionage, and the very real threat of climactic devastation to create her intense novel.

The characterization was great, and while I wouldn’t necessarily be friends with either Nicole or Oliver in real life, we’re just much too different, I felt like I really got to know them as the novel developed.  Hilleren fleshed them out well and kept the romance to a minimum, which I was extremely happy about because I was much more wrapped up in the thrill of it all than the romantic aspects of the story.  Likewise, I just don’t think the chapter layout would have allowed it.

The chapters are set up to show as many different sides as possible using the third-person narrative, with extremely short chapters that quickly jump from person to persona and event to event to spur the novel on.  Each chapter has its own title, allowing the reader to easily focus on the new segment, which might be about Nicole, a senator, a terrorist, etc., and I really enjoyed this sporadic nature once I began to wrap my head around it.  Though there were many small side stories, Hilleren does bring them all to a point as the story unfolds, which was really fun as I began to piece things together.  Overall, this is a fun and engaging read that I think a majority of adult readers will enjoy.  Four stars.

4 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.



12185711From Goodreads: When former baseball phenom Enzo Prinziatta is recruited into a powerful, shady-business fraternity, he thinks he’s found the solution to all of his campus-life problems.

But when he discovers the truth behind the frat’s prosperity, can he untangle himself from it before it’s too late for him to resurrect his career?

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This novel has an interesting concept centering around Enzo Prinziatta and Barry Budiski, two college students that cross paths when Enzo falls for Barry’s girlfriend at a Halloween party.  Swept up in lust as he chases Jenny, Enzo stumbles upon the death of a stripper in the fraternity house, unleashing a set of events that put Enzo and Barry into close contact throughout the rest of the novel.  Readers feel the tension between the two males from the very first violent outbreak, and the tension remains high throughout the novel as it unfolds, crossing back and forth between the narration of Enzo and Barry, which gives readers a direct link to each as the plot thickens.  I love this narration style as it generally allows me to connect even more with the characters, however, in this instance it had the opposite effect for me.  The more I learned about the inner workings of the characters’ minds, the less I liked them—though no fault of the authors.  Enzo seems extremely immature, constantly drinking, fighting, and trying to score with Barry’s girlfriend, and I just wasn’t impressed or attracted to him at all.  From the sounds of his character descriptions, it seems he has a rather large beer belly, as well, and since he’s the star baseball player, well, that was difficult for me to envision, and his sloppy attitude didn’t endear him to my heart any further.

Barry was exceptionally sinister, and his arrogance and flippant nature was an instant turn-off for me from the beginning, but I feel like this was more or less intended.  While the pressure from Barry’s father helped shed light on his antics and lies, I never did feel sorry for him or even begin to like his character; he too seemed immature and sloppy to me, just as Enzo did, which made for a tricky read as disliking the two main characters doesn’t bode well for a novel I’m reading.  However, the writing was extremely well done, and the story carried through quite nicely from start to finish.  And though it’s slated as a sports novel, it’s really much more than that, with relatively little baseball, which was great for me because I really don’t care for sports all that much.  Honestly, I think many readers might find the events in this novel quite comical and enjoyable should they not mind the main characters’ immaturity.  I, personally, can only give it two stars, though.

2 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.



17571742From Goodreads: 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.

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It’s been four years since the accident that irrevocably changed Kasey Cleary’s life, sending her on a downward spiral, unable to connect with others, let alone shake their hands. Insistent on doing right for her younger sister, the novel really begins with Kasey and Livie arriving in Miami via bus, side-stepping the catastrophic event that sends them on the run, their uncle’s attempt to sleep with Livie. This was a godsend; I am always nervous when a synopsis hints at sexual abuse being a part of the story, and it was this that actually stopped me from picking up the novel for such a long time. But there is no sex abuse in this story. Uncle Raymond laid down and Livie took flight to Kasey’s room directly, as Tucker tells her readers fairly early on, which was an extreme relief for me. So, if that’s what’s keeping you on the fence about reading this story, don’t let it stop you. In fact, the entire first paragraph and a half of the synopsis has already happened when the story begins, and readers learn very limited things about Kasey’s aunt and uncle as the main focus is on the now, on the arrival in Miami and the girls’ attempt to create a normal existence.

I have to admire Kasey. She works hard to protect her sister and keep her own emotions in check, however, she is extremely damaged inside, pushing everyone away, exuding extreme hatred for the drunk driver and the boys in the car that crashed into her and her family that fatal night. Consumed by her fear of touch and her hatred of for the boy who livid, she runs the gauntlet of emotions, never realizing just how much she is hurting the one she loves most: Livie.

Of course, Trent was a very swoon-worthy character and I loved the interactions and angst between him and Kasey. They are great for each other, and watching him wear down her barrier was amazing. I was thankful, as well, that Tucker utilizes the “fade to black” style when dealing with most of the sexual interactions, and that she didn’t linger on the ones that provided more details. Less is more, and I’m more interested in the plotline in my stories than in the sexual deviances. Tucker totes this line very well, and I give her kudos for keeping the focus on the emotional upheaval of Kasey.

Tucker sets up the story so that readers will very quickly realize what Trent’s secret is, and though I would have liked to be more surprised, I enjoyed the focus on healing from past wounds of the soul. This book is really about healing and less about the secret and sexual angst between the characters, and I enjoyed how well Tucker fleshed out all her characters throughout the novel.

While the ending of the novel was very tidy and quite nice, I was sort of hoping it would end differently as, for me, it would have seemed a little more realistic. However, I think that’s my jaded sense of life coming through, pessimism, really, so don’t mind me. Three stars.

3 stars

Atria Books has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read this novel via Netgalley.



13494086From Goodreads: Two months after dying, seventeen-year-old witch Graylee Perez wakes up in her twin sister Charlene’s body.

Until Gray finds a way back inside her own body, she’s stuck being Charlene every twenty-hour hours. Her sister has left precise instructions on how Gray should dress and behave. Looking like a prep isn’t half as bad as hanging out with Charlene’s snotty friends and gropey boyfriend.

The “normals” of McKinley High might be quick to write her behavior off as post-traumatic stress, but warlock Raj McKenna is the only person who suspects Gray has returned from the dead.

Now Gray has to solve the mystery of her death and resurrection and disentangle herself from Charlene’s body before she disappears for good.

***Entangled is a young adult paranormal fantasy romance suitable for ages 15 and up.**

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The idea of witches and warlocks has always been fascinating to me, so I jumped at the chance to read this one when I saw it on Netgalley. The fact that it deals with a resurrection spell that doesn’t go as planned, mashing twins Gray and Charlene together in one body, alternating between 24 hour shifts, was an added bonus and I read through this novel fairly quickly. The novel speeds by, giving readers insight into the major differences between the twins prior to Grays death, an event that is heavily foreshadowed, and all fingers point in one direction. Yet, Gray is unawares, and her plight upon resurrection, pared with the angst and sleuthing done on each end by the girls, was fascinating as they each tried to piece together what the other was doing on their “on” days. I liked how they fought, writing in notebooks to each other and destroying each other’s things, and it really made me think about who was at fault. Technically, it’s Charlene’s body, so Gray needs to adhere to Char’s rules about food, boys, and social interactions. However, Gray died and lost two months, now only glimpsing every other day, and it’s not fair to ask her to run around as the school harlot and not be able to eat her fill of food… and then there’s the whole fact that Charlene has never truly been nice to Gray, so. It’s mind-boggling, really, and it would be a great discussion for book club.

Discussion topics aside, though, I would have liked to have more fleshing out of the plotline and side-characters. The novel moves very quickly once Gray dies, and at times I felt like I was missing things because it goes from 0 to 60 so quickly. For instance, Raj and Gray’s attraction was non-existent and then the next minute she began making out with him, which makes sense in a way, but I would have liked the romance aspect to slow way down. I would have also enjoyed more information about Ryan, Nolan, and even Raj for that matter, to slow it all down and give me time to process it all with the choppy nature of switching between twins (which I actually really liked). And as I said earlier, the foreshadowing pointed fingers to clue readers in concerning what really happened, giving it away a little too early for my liking, but it was good nonetheless.

I also would have liked a stronger parental presence. Gray’s and Charlene’s mother is a pushover, giving in to Charlene’s every whim and not acting when Charlene does things that are obviously wrong. Instead, she tells Gray that she needs to be patient, to forgive Charlene repeatedly, when I’d scratch the girls eye’s out, sister or not. And Charlene seems to have everyone wrapped around her finger, but I don’t really understand why because she’s such a horrible person–thus some insight into her friendships and the side-characters would have been nice. However, this is just the first novel in the series, and though we’re left with a cliffhanger in which we don’t know what happened to Adrien, Ryan, or Charlene, I’m hoping for more answers in the next installment.  Three stars.

3 stars

Nikki Jefford has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read this novel via Netgalley.



11385485From Goodreads: It takes more than a school trip to Washington, D.C. to change fifteen-year-old Christy’s life. It takes murder.

A witness to the brutal slaying of a Senator’s aide, Christy finds herself watched not only by the killers and the FBI, but also by two hot boys.

She discovers that if she can’t help the FBI, who want to protect her, it will cost her and her new friends their lives.

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This is an interesting novel that deals with real life drama, politics, terrorist attacks, and love triangles. It’s an easy read, though I can’t attest how accurate it is as I’ve, thankfully, never been in any situation quite like Christy’s, with witnessing a murder, being tailed by terrorists, and dealing with the FBI. Part of me thinks that as a minor her parents would have needed to be contacted at some point during all of this, but then again, this is the FBI we’re talking about, so those rules for minors probably don’t apply.

Regardless, though, this was a good read that had just enough romance for those of us looking for that triangle, and just enough pacing to keep reader interest. Parts of it sped up, parts slowed down, but the pacing worked very well and I enjoyed it, especially the paranoia of it all because neither Christy nor her seven mates on the D.C. trip ever really knew who to trust or who was after them. While some of the events were foreshadowed enough that I knew they were coming, other portions were a complete surprise, and I liked it.

I did feel some type of way about the fact that the terrorists in this novel are middle-eastern. I understand the USA has dealt with terrorist threats and attacks from the middle-east a lot in the past 15 years, and that this is a “real-life” drama, but part of me really wanted the terrorist group to be from a made-up part of the world or something because the text deals in politics and I felt a little like there was an underlying commentary here, but perhaps that just me.

While this novel doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, per say, it does leave readers wondering what will happen next because there isn’t a real conclusion. The novel just sort of stops, and it’s a great place to stop, but I would have liked to be either on the edge of my seat in anticipation, or peaceful about the ending, but I didn’t feel either.

I think this would be a great MG or YA books. It’s clean and insightful into the teenage mind, and I love that Christy is so smart, and in this case, it isn’t really looked down upon by others. While her peers back home don’t like her, Christy is able to make friends and be herself in D.C. despite her “geekyness,” and I liked this. However, she seems to get a complete make-over in regards to her appearance, which was a tiny turnoff as I’m an advocate of inner beauty, not the outer beauty mantra, but… it’s really no biggie in the grand scheme of things.  Three stars.

3 stars

All Night Reads has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read this novel via Netgalley.



9780698137141_p0_v2_s260x420From Barnes and Noble: When twenty-three-year-old dot-com millionaire Owen Sparks walked away from his charmed life, he had one goal in mind: get as far away as possible from the people who resented his success, or had their hand out for a piece of it. A remote uncharted island halfway around the world seemed like a perfectly logical place to get away from it all.

Calia Reed wasn’t part of Owen’s plans. The beautiful British girl—on holiday in the Maldives with her brother, James—made Owen wonder if getting away from it all might be a lot more enjoyable with a carefree girl who didn’t know anything about the life he left behind.

But Owen had no idea how much his carefully detailed plans would go awry. Nor did he realize that a decision he made would have such a catastrophic effect on two passengers who boarded a plane in Chicago.

And when Owen shows up at Anna and T.J.’s door with an incredible story to tell, everyone involved will learn just how much their lives are intertwined.

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If you haven’t yet read On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves, then you’re truly missing out.  It is the most stunning, captivating story; one of those that keeps you up all night because it’s impossible to put down.  And just earlier this month, Garvis-Graves released her companion novella, Uncharted, taking readers back to the island in the Maldives that started it all.

If you’ve read On the Island, then you’ve wondered right alongside Anna and T.J. about the skeleton in the cave and the cabin on the beach, and Uncharted, following the life of Owen Sparks, finally gives readers exactly what they’ve been waiting for, the truth behind the mystery.

In this short novella, we again meet up with Anna and T.J. and their children, and we learn just how many “what ifs” occurred that left Anna and T.J. stranded for so long. I was immediately wrapped up in Owen’s story, and while I really wanted more Anna and T.J., this was exactly what readers needed to understand all the events surrounding their time on the island. It’s impossible not to connect with Owen, Calia, and James, and though heartbreaking, it’s a beautiful story that brings hope to the reader, just as On The Island does.  Four stars.

4 stars

I purchased this novella from Amazon.com



17900459From Goodreads: Vampire Shift: The Graphic Novel (Volume One) is based on the Number 1 Bestselling Novel by Tim O’Rourke and full of dark illustrations by artist Craig Twyman.

When 20-year-old police recruit Kiera Hudson is posted to the remote town of The Ragged Cove, her life is changed forever. Investigating a series of horrific murders, grave desecrations, and missing persons, Kiera uses her unique ability of seeing, and soon realizes her own life is in danger.

When Kiera falls for police officer Luke Bishop, not only are her mind and heart opened to a terrifyingly new world, she comes to suspect that Luke might be involved in the killings.

In a race against time to unearth the truth, Kiera must discover the identity of who – or what – is behind the gruesome deaths on her Vampire Shift.

This is Volume 1 in 4 Volumes of Vampire Shift. This book is approximately 62 pages long. Volume 2 Coming Soon!

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Tim O’Rourke’s latest release, Vampire Shift: The Graphic Novel (Volume One) isn’t just a beautiful graphic novel, but a collector’s item, and if you’ve fallen in love with the Kiera Hudson series as I have, then it’s a must have addition to your bookshelves.  Released in a series of four volumes, this graphic novel portrays events within the full novel, but leaves readers with a cliffhanger as they wait for the next installment.  And honestly, this aspect makes it the perfect read to whet your appetite if you haven’t already read the first full book in the Kiera Hudson series, Vampire Shift, especially if you’re a more visual person.

Usually my reviews focus on the story—I have rarely reviewed a graphic novel, so aside from a cover, I don’t talk about art, but let me tell you, the artwork in this graphic novel really brings the beautiful and enchanting story of Kiera Hudson to life.  Twyman’s art is amazing and I love the black and white drawings with the splash of red that pervades the pages as the story progresses, creating an ominous feel as it all unfolds.  I read this on both of my Kindles (Keyboard and Fire to view the differences) and while it’s better on the Kindle Fire version that shows it’s detailed color, the paperback version is, indeed, the best, as you can see from the photo of one of the pages below. I highly, highly recommend this graphic novel.  It’s gorgeous. Five stars.

5 stars

VSGN

I received this graphic novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

For MORE books by Tim O’Rourke:

Kiera Hudson Series 1

Vampire Shift (#1)

Vampire Wake (#2)

Vampire Hunt (#3)

Vampire Breed (#4)

Wolf House (#4.5)

Vampire Hollows (#5)

Kiera Hudson Series 2

Dead Flesh (#1)

Dead Night: Potter’s Secrets (#1.5)

Dead Angels (#2)

Dead Statues (#3)

Dead Seth (#4)

Dead Wolf (#5)

Dead Water (#6)

Vampire Shift Graphic Novels

Vampire Shift Volume 1

Black Hill Farm Series

Black Hill Farm (#1)

Black Hill Farm Andy’s Diary (#2)

The Moon Trilogy

Moonlight (#1)

Moonbeam (#2)

Samantha Carter Series

Vampire Seeker (#1)

(Formerly known as Cowgirls and Vampires)

Doorways Series

Doorways (#1)

The League of Doorways (#2)

Flashes Series

Flashes (#1)–Coming 2013

Tim_O'Rourke_Fan_Club



et cetera
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