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Reading is my addiction... I read paranormal romance, urban fantasy, science fiction and fantasy, young adult, romance and historical romance. I am part of the blogging team over at Badass Book Reviews: http://badassbookreviews.com 

New Release Review: The Line by J.D. Horn

The Line - J.D. Horn

Witchcraft, hoodoo, and even Jewish lore combine to create an enthralling narrative. The Line kept me on the edge of my seat with its unexpected twists and turns.

 

Savannah's paranormal side is brought to light in The Line. The Line is the first book in J.D. Horn's Witching Savannah series. The book focuses on the Taylor family witches, notably fraternal twin sisters Maisie and Mercy. Maisie is the golden child, the stunningly beautiful sister gifted with all the magical powers. Maisie was groomed to become her Aunt Ginny's replacement as anchor of the line and head of the family. In contrast, Mercy had little or no magic and was shunned by her aunt. Mercy sees herself as plain looking and passes her time working as a walking tour guide in Savannah.

 

Mercy comes under the radar of her aunt when she visits Jilo the root doctor for a love potion. There's some family history between the Taylors and Mother Jilo and any deal with Jilo may not turn out as expected. Mercy is hopelessly attracted to her sister's boyfriend even though her own boyfriend is smitten by her. Upon arriving at her Aunt Ginny's home, Mercy discovers that Ginny has been murdered which sets off a series of events that change Mercy's life.

 

I loved the atmosphere of this book. We're in Savannah, Georgia and it's hot, humid, and sweaty (in contrast to the freezing temperatures outside while I was reading this book). It's a perfect locale for witches and hoodoo. Then, as an added plus, there's some interesting ghosts and even a golem.

 

J.D. Horn is a natural storyteller. I was absolutely glued to this book. The Line is a solid debut and a fantastic start to a new urban fantasy series. I can't wait to see what comes next!

 

Christal and I discuss this book on Badass Book Reviews as part of the Jumble Your Genres challenge. Check it out!

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/jumble-your-genres-reading-challenge-urban-fantasy-the-line-by-j-d-horn

Early Review: Sunrise by Mike Mullin

Sunrise - Mike Mullin

It’s been about 11 months since the eruption of the Yellowstone super volcano. Entire swaths of the United States lie in ruin. The devastation is inconceivable. It’s cold outside; there’s very little sunshine. The US government seems to have collapsed. The Midwest is in complete chaos. The roads are impassible and towns wage war on each other for very limited resources.

 

I’d have to say that reading this book brought about a whole mess of emotions in me. This is such a depressing world – full of anarchy, guns, violence, crazy people with guns, and the like. It literally seems to be a hopeless world. Instead of working together, the majority choose to battle it out. The brutality is alarming. I really had trouble reading this aspect of this world and I did have a moment where I would have flung the physical book across the room had it not been my precious e-reader. You see, I hate gratuitous violence. I’m a pacifist at heart and I believe that I would probably not survive this post-apocalyptic world.

 

After a short break, I dove back into this book. After all, I had invested a lot of time reading this series and I absolutely HAD to know what would happen next. This series will make you think. It will make you think about your own disaster preparedness plans and what items would be must haves and what items you could do without. It will make you think about hope, cooperation, rebuilding a society, and leadership. Despite all of the darkness and gray surroundings, there was a glimmer of hope. That’s what I hung on to, and that’s what kept me reading.

 

This hope was to be found in the youth of this series. Young characters like Alex and Darla, who were barely grown up as the book began but were forced to grow up quickly and improvise. Alex and Darla took on leadership roles despite their youth. They saw the need to rebuild an entire society – and this is the theme that stuck with me: the rebuilding and rebirth. &nbsp I was a little surprised by Alex. At the beginning of Ashfall, he was just a petulant teenager. In this book, adults defer to him for leadership. Surprisingly enough, Alex rises to the task. The amount of responsibility placed on Alex is daunting. Again – why would the adults abdicate their responsibilities to a teenager barely old enough to drive a car? (not that there are any around, but you get the picture).

 

I think that what makes this society work is the incredible teamwork. Alex is surrounded by some very capable people, most of whom are barely older than he is. Ben, who is autistic, made an excellent military tactician which enabled the settlement to be placed in a highly defensible position. Darla, the MacGyver of all things mechanical was able to get some turbines going to power up the settlement. Now that was an amazing accomplishment. Another member of the team assigned work tasks to the newcomers, and so on. Such teamwork enabled this settlement to function very well. &nbsp Of course, this world is far from perfect and our main characters encounter many obstacles. Probably the most annoying was Alex’s mother and how she treated Darla. Outside the settlement, others conspire to steal food and the limited technology on hand.

 

Sunrise was a satisfying conclusion to the Ashfall series. Even though it wasn’t my favorite book in the series, I’d recommend the series to readers in middle school and up.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Tanglewood Books for a review copy of this book. 

 

Review and blog tour giveaway posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/blog-tour-giveaway-and-early-review-sunrise-by-mike-mullin

New Release Review: Donners of the Dead by Karina Halle

Donners of the Dead - Karina Halle

Apparently history class in Canada is lacking. I had never heard about the Donner Party so I went into this book with an open mind. It's probably a good thing. Donners of the Dead is one spooky book.

 

 

Donners of the Dead is loosely based upon the events of the Donner Party who in the mid-19th century ventured through the Sierra Nevada mountains and were never seen again. Rumors about cannibalism persisted. This is a very different book for Ms. Halle, a historical romance western horror story. It starts off a little like the Experiment in Terror series with a creepy dream sequence that sets up the story for the reader.

 

This is a short novel and a fairly quick read. I did like the main character Eve Smith, half-breed Native Indian. Eve lives with her Uncle's family along with her mute mother. It's hard to believe the amount of racism Eve endures, even from her own family. Eve is an accomplished tracker and when some strangers arrive waving large amounts of cash, Eve's uncle allows her to accompany the strangers into the mountains. Eve, along with chaperone Donna and Avery the farmhand join the men for a long and arduous trek into the mountains. It's a difficult trip, made worse by the change in weather and elevation. The men are incredibly racist, threatening Eve. One of the men takes an interest in Eve. At first, he is repulsed by her Indian heritage, however he grows very attached and protective of her as the story progresses. He begins to call her "Pine Nut" which I suppose was a bit of an endearment, though it was a little annoying after a while.

 

Jake and Eve hit it off and their attraction is intense. I guess being chased around the wilderness by scary hungry sharp toothed blue eyed zombie creatures will do that. Nothing like sex on the run.

 

Speaking of monsters, there really were two kinds in this book. First, the members of the search party were some very shady characters. Then, the monsters on the mountain - think land shark zombies. Truly scary. Fans of Karina Halle should enjoy this short novel.

 

Favorite Quote:

"I'm not a savage"

He smiled handsomely and with a shake of his head said, "No, you aren't. And you're not a lady either. I reckon you just might be perfect."

Thanks to Xpresso Tours for a review copy of this book.

 

Check out Badass Book Review's interview with author Karina Halle.

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/karina-halle-interview-donners-of-the-dead-feature-and-giveaway

Early Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen

Stolen Songbird - Danielle L. Jensen

Never in my reading experience have I come across a sexy troll. Never. Ever. Until now.

 

Debut author Danielle Jensen managed to convince me that trolls could be attractive, even sexy. Especially a certain troll named Tristan.

 

Stolen Songbird was a captivating read. Once I got into the book, I really could not put it down. I think that I enjoyed it because it was told from the main characters’ points of view: Cecile de Troyes and Prince Tristan. Most of the first part of the story is told from Cecile’s point of view as she is kidnapped and sold for her weight in gold to the trolls. We learn a lot about her character. Cecile is a talented soprano, destined to join her mother in the big city to sing for large audiences. She’s smart, compassionate, and caring. What I like most about Cecile is her ability to take a horrible situation and see the good. She takes advantage of her captivity in Trollus to learn more about the world and the people around her. In doing so, she forms some very useful friendships.

 

It’s certainly not easy being a prince or a troll, let alone the Prince of the Trolls. Prince Tristan certainly has his work cut out for him. Expected to marry and bond to Cecile to fulfill a prophecy, Tristan is not happy with the situation. It’s not because he is not attracted to Cecile, he most certainly is, and he just doesn’t think that she belongs in his world. Prince Tristan comes off as being aloof and uncaring, when in fact he does care for Cecile a great deal. As a leader, Tristan is quite capable although others in his world vie for leadership roles. Tristan also possesses a very strong magic: it is his magic that keeps his world intact.

 

Tristan and Cecile develop a genuine affection for each other. When Cecile realizes that Tristan is not a threat, she begins to discover the world around her and sees the conditions of the people inhabiting Trollus. Trollus is a pretty brutal society. Trolls cannot leave the world at all. Humans can come and go at their own risk as the tunnels leading to Trollus are full of deadly creatures called Sluags. Trollus is full of full blooded trolls, half trolls, and humans. Full blooded trolls have the most magical power. Those without magic are given menial labor and are eventually fed to the sluags.

 

Stolen Songbird is an awesome debut for Danielle Jensen. I enjoyed her take on trolls, so very different from the childhood fairy tales I was used to. I’m eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.

 

Thank you to Strange Chemistry for a review copy of this book.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/early-review-stolen-songbird-by-danielle-jensen

New Release Review: Some Like it Wild by M. Leighton

Some Like It Wild  - M. Leighton

Take one shy preacher’s daughter who just wants to marry and settle down. Add one hunky bad boy fireman. Watch the sparks fly…

 

New Adult romances are touch and go for me. On one hand, it’s kind of fun to relive that first love, the novelty of all those wonderful firsts. On the other hand, the New Adult genre is full of angst which causes that “been there, done that, got the t-shirt” reaction for me.

 

I did enjoy Some Like it Wild. It was a light, fun, and quick read.

 

I liked the two main characters. Laney led such a sheltered life and I loved watching her grow and mature. Laney’s back in town after breaking off her engagement to longtime boyfriend Shane after she caught him cheating with her best friend. Jake is back in town after the death of his father. All his life, Jake has been treated as the bad boy, though we’re not really told why. Jake believes he is unlovable and therefore avoids any kind of relationship. The two meet when Laney is sent to evaluate the market value of Jake’s father’s estate. The two are attracted to each other.

 

It must be hard to be the preacher’s daughter. So many expectations. Breaking off an engagement is unheard of in Laney’s family and they begin to meddle in her affairs. It doesn’t help that they absolutely love Shane and despise Jake and are unaware of the circumstances of Laney’s breakup. To make matters worse, Shane is a master manipulator. Jake shows Laney a whole new life. He shows her how to be adventurous, how to take chances, and to try new things. They share some wonderful moments together and fall in love. At the same time Laney grows and matures and is able to stand up to her overbearing father.

 

Some Like it Wild was an enjoyable read for me. My review copy also contained Wild Child, which takes place between the first and second book and is the story of Jake’s sister Jenna and her romantic interest Rusty. Note that while Some Like it Wild is the second book in the series it can be read as a stand-alone book. You will want to go back and read the other books in the series.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Berkley for a review copy of this book.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/blog-tour-and-new-release-review-some-like-it-wild-by-m-leighton

New Release Review: Misbehaving by Tiffany Reisz

Misbehaving - Tiffany Reisz

What an amusing little read!

 

If you’re like me, you’re probably eagerly anticipating the next installment of Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners series. May is seriously a long way away. So what to do until the release of The Saint? Grab yourself a copy of Misbehaving. For those who are familiar with Ms. Reisz’s books, Misbehaving is a much lighter read with an emphasis on the comedy and some really hot sexy times.

 

Misbehaving draws its inspiration from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. It’s a comedy. It’s sexy. It’s fun. Expect crazy misunderstandings.

 

Misbehaving focuses on Beatriz who earns a living reviewing sex toys, books, and the like. Bea has to attend her foster sister’s wedding so she stuffs a book she needs to review into her bag: Sex Position Manual for Generation Y. Bea decides that she needs to go through the manual and looks for a willing partner. Enter Ben – the man Bea threw herself at during college. Ben is also attending the wedding. There’s still an attraction between Bea and Ben and Bea convinces Ben to help her review the manual. What follows is some fun sexy times for Ben and Bea as they reconnect.

 

This short novella packs in a lot of stuff in about 100 pages. It’s full of funny lines, misunderstandings, and hilarious moments. I especially loved Keaton, a hotel employee with an understated sense of humor. For Original Sinners fans, there’s a little tiny link to that series. You’ll know it when you get to that part.

 

If you’ve been meaning to try out Ms. Reisz’s book, this is the perfect place to start and a nice introduction to her wonderful writing style.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin for a review copy of this book.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/new-release-review-misbehaving-by-tiffany-reisz

New Release Review: Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

Her Dark Curiosity - Megan Shepherd

Her Dark Curiosity was the much anticipated sequel to The Madman’s Daughter. In the first book, we met the teenage Juliet Moreau, daughter of the infamous Dr. Moreau. I loved the first book and enjoyed that retelling of HG Wells’ classic The Island of Doctor Moreau.

 

In Her Dark Curiosity, Juliet has made it back to London. Much has happened since her voyage to the mysterious island. Juliet now resides with her guardian Professor Von Stein, one of her father’s former colleagues. (One wonders why she didn’t stay with him in the previous book, but I digress). Professor Von Stein’s niece Elizabeth is also staying with them, to provide a mother figure for Juliet.

 

The book begins with a series of murders. All the murders seem to be connected to Juliet in some way. Juliet quickly figures out who the murderer is and can’t believe that it is someone that she thought was long dead. And get this – the murderer is using the name Henry Jekyll – so you probably have an idea that this book is based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

 

I enjoyed this retelling immensely, however there are a few points I must make. Juliet really doesn’t seem to have any sense of self-preservation, putting herself in some pretty dicey situations. Wherever and whenever trouble brews, Juliet seems to be there. Aside from that, I really did like Juliet and how hard she worked to find a cure for her ailment.

 

Fair warning for those who hate love triangles – there is a love triangle in this book. I know, I know, most people run screaming the other way when there is a love triangle, but this one works and is not annoying in the least.

 

There’s a lot of interesting things going on in this book and the plot twists are fascinating. I loved Lucy and how she helped out with some of the sleuthing. And whoa, what an ending! I can’t wait for the next book

 

Thank you to Edelweiss and Balzer & Bray for a review copy of this book.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/new-release-review-her-dark-curiosity-by-megan-shepherd

New Release Review: Dirty Magic

Dirty Magic - Jaye Wells

Dirty Magic is the first book in Jaye Wells' new urban fantasy series Prospero's War. Dirty Magic is a solid, action packed, magic infused thrill ride and a fantastic start to a new and original series. Dirty Magic is the story of Babylon Police Department's Officer Kate Prospero as she investigates some strange goings on in the Cauldron, a very seedy part of her city. This is an urban fantasy that reads like a crime procedural novel.

 

At first, I found the book bogged down with a lot of information. No detail is spared and it does slow down the narrative for a short time. Even though the details are fascinating, this may put off some readers - keep reading - it will be worth your time. This is an incredible world full of different kinds of magic and policing bodies for said magic, as well as some really interesting characters. Once I got through that first third of the book, I had difficulty putting the book down.

 

There's so much to like about this book. The world building is phenomenal, the plot is action packed and full of interesting twists. I loved Kate - what a tough cookie! I can't even begin to imagine how complex law enforcement could be in a world full of magic and corruption. The magic is really neat. Potions are the drug of choice and some of them are quite deadly.

 

Dirty Magic is a strong start to an exciting new urban fantasy series. I can't wait for the next book, Cursed Moon.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Orbit for a review copy of this book

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/556422114

New Release Review: Circle of Death by Keri Arthur

Circle of Death - Keri Arthur
"Death had come calling on a windblown wintry evening. It smashed past the deadbolts lining the front door, and grabbed the living with unparalleled glee, sucking the life from them until there was nothing left but husks. Then it tore the remains apart, as if determined to erase any evidence of humanity."

That certainly caught my attention and I was hooked. Circle of Death is the second book in Keri Arthur's Damask Circle series. If the book sounds familiar, it's because it was previously published in 2002. The series is being re-released with the third book Circle of Desire coming out in April. I'm glad that I had the chance to add a new paranormal romance series to my never-ending list of fun escape reads.

 

Circle of Death is set in present day Australia. It starts off with a horribly brutal murder and features some rather frightening and bloodthirsty shifter creatures called manerei. The manerei are after our heroine Kirby Brown as well as some of her friends from her days at an orphanage. The dapper Doyle Fitzgerald is dispatched by the Damask Circle to find and protect Kirby.

 

In the spirit of paranormal romance, Doyle is attracted quite early on to the lovely Kirby even though they need to stay a step ahead of the manerei and the power-hungry witch that hunts Kirby and the other girls. Doyle is an interesting character: a thief in his previous life, he has been with the Damask Circle for 12 years. Oh, and get this - he's a shifter, too. A black panther shifter - just awesome. Kirby suffers from trust issues and as more of her background is revealed, understandably so.

 

The romance in the story felt a little rushed. I can understand that being chased by things with sharp teeth and claws would heighten emotions, but I still felt that Doyle fell for Kirby a little bit too fast. Once these two finally get a chance to be together, they are hot!

 

I do like the originality of this series. The magic is intriguing and the variety of paranormal creatures keeps the series interesting. I love the idea of the Damask Circle, a group of paranormal creatures who police their own kind.

 

While Circle of Death did not wow me like the previous book, I am still going to continue reading the series. I am looking forward to reading more of Ms. Arthur's books in the future.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Bantam Books for a review copy of this book

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/new-release-review-circle-of-death-by-keri-arthur

Early Review: Tesla's Attic by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman

Tesla's Attic - Neal Shusterman

For those who know me, I am constantly on the lookout for books that would appeal to a young reluctant reader. (I know, hard to believe that someone would not want to read). Tesla's Attic fits the bill nicely. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. While Tesla's Attic is geared towards readers in Grades 3 through 7, I imagine that it would also appeal to older readers and even their parents.

 

Tesla's Attic is full of win. It's funny, amusing, and very entertaining. The kids find themselves in really strange situations surrounded by junky items that do all sorts of wonderfully strange and even crazy deadly things. Things just go awry for the main character who has transferred to a new school. His school records are always just a little bit wonky. Then there are the mysterious men in the vanilla colored suits...

 

The lunch lady at Nick's school is surprisingly astute, coaching Nick through the difficult first day of school. The cultural references will make most adult readers laugh out loud, especially a shout out to The Godfather where Nick finds a picture of the horse nebula in his bed. Ha! There's also a secret society and stuff that belonged to Nikolas Tesla as well.

 

Lots of humor and madcap situations makes Tesla's Attic an enjoyable read for younger readers and up. Tesla's Attic is a solid start to a fun new series.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Disney Hyperion for a review copy of this book.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/early-review-teslas-attic-by-neal-shusterman-and-eric-elfman

Release Day Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising - Pierce Brown

Red Rising is easily my favorite book of 2014 – and we’re only in January. Red Rising is one of those books that sneaks up on you. It starts off slowly and then takes off in a rush of adrenalin. The opening line sets the tone:

”I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war."

And so begins an amazing thrill ride… I think I Red Rising because of many factors. The world building was fascinating and highly detailed. Red Rising is set on Mars in the future. Mars has been colonized by humans who live both above and below the surface. Those who live below the surface are the Reds – the lowest caste, the miners. They’ve been led to believe that their work is to mine the material needed to make Mars habitable. On the opposite end are the most privileged, the Golds, the top of the castes. Other color coded castes populate the planet, each color specializing in a certain specialty such as science, medicine, service, policing, etc.

 

Red Rising has one of the more interesting teenage characters I’ve met in years. Darrow is only 16 years old and a Red, a child of miners and a miner himself since he was 13 years old. He’s a Helldiver, a particularly dangerous type of miner and he’s one of the best in his region. Darrow is happily married to the love of his life Eo and they are literally head over heels in love with each other. Darrow’s happiness is cut short when Eo is executed for inciting rebellion. Darrow’s grief is overwhelming and in an act of compassion, he buries his wife and gets sentenced to death.

 

The story takes off from here. Up to this time, there have been only whispers that all is not well in this world. It is forbidden to even sing a simple song, as it is the song of the rebels. Darrow finds himself resuscitated and whisked away by the members of the rebellion. He is surprised to find that there are cities on the surface of the planet. Darrow agrees to infiltrate the Golds and become one of them which is not an easy feat as he undergoes numerous surgical procedures, pain, coaching, and even learning how to read, all so that he could pass as a Gold and enter their Institute.

 

When we finally see what it is that the Golds do to train their leaders, it is shocking and appalling. This is Game of Thrones meets The Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies on speed. Kill or be killed. Fight or become a slave. It’s not really individuals against individuals – it’s house versus house. Some of the houses have advantages either in location, equipment, food, or soldiers. Several characters stand out in this part, notably Sevro, who at first glance, did not seem like much but his fierce and wolf-like behavior were a real asset for Darrow. Mustang was a good ally as well, and surprisingly tough when necessary. Then there was the fearsome Jackal, the one adversary that all the houses were afraid of.

 

The game has no rules and no time frame. The winner is the person who controls all 12 houses. Darrow has a unique insight into the game. He has nothing to lose. Once he learns that the game is rigged, he “breaks” the rules himself. Darrow is also remarkably civilized. When he hears that a girl has been raped, he punishes the offender with 20 lashes, earning the respect of others.

 

The writing is powerful, evoking the senses, the emotions, and the atmosphere. I loved how Darrow was portrayed. He kind of was 16 going on 30, which may not be a good thing in most young adult books, but his life experiences added to his maturity. Even though Eo only appeared in the first few chapters, her presence was greatly felt throughout the novel as Darrow was constantly living for her and grieving her loss.

 

Red Rising was an amazing read. I want to read the next book now, now, now!

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Del Rey Spectra for a review copy of this book.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/release-day-review-and-giveaway-red-rising-by-pierce-brown

Review: We Will Destroy Your Planet: The Alien's Guide to Conquering the Earth by David McIntee

We Will Destroy Your Planet: An Alien's Guide to Conquering the Earth (Dark) - David McIntee

I must admit that I requested this book because of the title. Come on, aren't you the least bit curious? Just how would an alien army come in and attack Earth? I mean, we've seen it in movies - and somehow the people of Earth prevail. Just what are the aliens doing wrong? Would they be more successful with a little green handbook?

 

A word about the appeal of this book - kid3 is 14 years old and a bit of a reluctant reader. He's a little bit geeky and loves strange facts and figures. This book was right up his alley. I can see exactly why he enjoyed it. The first chapter is a repository of facts and figures about the Earth - its position in space, rotational speed, orbit, mass, etc. Great trivia stuff for geeks, a little info dumpy for me.

 

The book is divided into instructional chapters that go over the ways in which an alien invader might conquer the Earth, use the local inhabitants (or possibly exterminate them), what kind of Earth defenses an alien invader could expect, etc.

 

The book is full of cultural references to Earth's most famous science fiction movies, books, and TV series such as Star Wars and Dr. Who. He even highlights the fictional aliens' mistakes so that future invaders do not try the same thing. There's also some cute illustrations throughout the book so it should keep the attention span of most teenage boys.

 

The Alien's Guide to Conquering the Earth is a fun little green book full of neat and interesting facts. Check out my status updates on Goodreads for some of the more entertaining quotes.

 

Thanks to Angry Robot Books for a review copy of this book.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews as part of our Sci-Fi Saturday feature. Check it out!

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/762590290

New Release Review: Unaccompanied Minor by Hollis Gillespie

Unaccompanied Minor - Hollis Gillespie

Christal and I discuss this book for the Jumble Your Genres Challenge – Young Adult on Badass Book Reviews.

"I'm just an unaccompanied minor. What do I know?"

I’m still chuckling. Unaccompanied Minor brought back memories of a previous life where I worked for an airline and enjoyed non-rev status (cheap flights, squished into the middle seat, running through airports to catch those illegal connections). This book should appeal to young adult readers, their parents, airline enthusiasts, and MacGyver fans.

 

Fifteen year old April Mae Manning is a third generation child of airline employees. Her grandparents worked for the airline (Granny Mae still does), her mother and late father also worked for the airline, and her step-father is a pilot for the same airline. As a result, April gets to travel non-revenue whenever there’s a seat available.

 

Due to the divorce of her mother and stepfather, April is forced to travel coast to coast weekly as an unaccompanied minor. April is not happy with the shared custody. After all, Ash is not her real father, nor does he make her feel welcome at his place. She has no room of her own and sleeps on the laundry room floor. He doesn’t even pick her up from the airport. April decides to take matters in her own hands and “runs away” by hanging out at airports and traveling non-rev.

 

April is a precocious young lady. She is street-smart, extremely resourceful, and has an eclectic repository of knowledge. I loved how April practically memorized all of the airline’s regulations (before iPads and smart phones, these were huge binders that had to be carted around by airline employees). MacGyver is her hero, and in the spirit of MacGyver, April’s skills prove to be very useful.

 

April surrounds herself with some very good friends. There’s Aunt Flo who is an absolute hoot. Flo is a senior flight attendant who loved to drink and smoke on duty. Aunt Flo always took care of April and allowed her to help out on flights. Malcolm was another child of divorce who traveled coast to coast weekly. Malcolm got April into the frequent flyer club lounge where she could shower, sleep, and get free drinks. I loved Officer Ned, who was on to April’s shenanigans.  I think my favorite was the quickie mart clerk LaVonda who was absolutely hilarious and quite helpful to April.

 

I did love April’s voice. April had a unique way of seeing the world and her observations were deadpan and hilarious.

 

This book probably appealed to me because of the nostalgia for those good old days when you could fly without taking a lie detector test. I’m happy that a sequel is planned and I can’t wait to see what is in the future for April.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and F+W/Adam’s Media for a review copy of this book.

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/726885901

New Release Review: Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau

Independent Study: The Testing, Book 2 - Joelle Charbonneau

Book 2 of The Testing series finds our main character Cia attending university having made the cut in the previous book. The tests are not over and as our university students write their examinations for their fields of study, Cia is surprised to find out that she has been assigned to Government, rather than her first choice – Engineering.

 

The exams don’t end there. The first week of classes the new students undergo further examinations with almost impossible tasks to complete. Failure is never an option. Failure is cause for Redirection. Redirection is fatal.

 

I’m having a hard time with this series. I enjoyed the first book and was looking forward to this installment in the series. Is it trying too hard to be a Hunger Games clone? Maybe. I can’t see why a world ravaged by warfare, environmental disasters and the like would sacrifice their best and brightest hopes for the future. Why would you cull any student?

 

The whole rebellion side was a little iffy for me as well. Why bother rebelling when you live in the relative comfort of Tosu city?

 

The writing was OK. I did find the pacing slower than the first book and at times a little boring. This book felt like a filler book, moving our main character from point A to point B in the overall plot.

 

I’m not sure that I will be continuing this series. On the one hand, I am curious to see what happens. On the other hand, I am not sure that I will have patience for it.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.

 

Thank you to Edelweiss and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for a review copy of this book.

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/new-release-review-independent-study-by-joelle-charbonneau

New Release Review: Diamonds & Deceit by Leila Rasheed

Diamonds and Deceit - Leila Rasheed

Blame it on Downton Abbey. I never really wanted to read historical romances. I don’t know, the genre never really appealed to me. Then I started watching Downton Abbey and when the season ended, I felt like something was missing. I needed a fix of early twentieth century historical romance fast.

 

Diamonds & Deceit helped fill in the void until the new season of Downton Abbey began last week. I was able to get in my fix of social teas, garden parties, the beautiful dresses, and the wonderful atmosphere of that time period. I was surprised to see how much I liked this book. I literally did not put the book down. I really can’t explain why – it was just a pleasure to read.

 

Diamonds & Deceit is set during the season of 1913. Lady Templeton is eager to marry off her daughter Ada to help settle some financial debts amassed by her cousin William. Ada is betrothed to Laurence – Lord Fintan, but it is a loveless engagement. Ada’s sister Charlotte is jealous of the match and does whatever she can do to thwart it. Meanwhile, Rose who was previously a servant joins the family. She is the earl’s illegitimate daughter. This is Rose’s first season and she feels awkward and out of place. Enter the handsome and very eligible Alexander Ross, the Duke of Huntley. He is smitten by Rose and her unconventional outlook on life.

 

I loved how the author captured the atmosphere of the period. It never ceased to amaze me just how many people were needed to run one of these large estates. I loved how this book highlighted the class differences and the upstairs/downstairs mentality. It also amazes me just how much work was involved in destroying a reputation back then – letters had to be written, delivered, and then they had to actually wait for a reply.

 

While Diamonds & Deceit was the second book in the series, it can be read as a standalone book as well. I did not feel lost, nor did I feel that I missed anything. I did enjoy the book immensely and I will go back to read the first book in the series – Cinders & Sapphires.

 

I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more books by this author.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Disney Hyperion for a review copy of this book.

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/new-release-review-diamonds-deceit-by-leila-rasheed

New Release Review: The Sharpest Blade

The Sharpest Blade - Sandy Williams

The Sharpest Blade is the final book in Sandy William’s Shadow Reader series. In this installment, McKenzie leaves the relative security of life in Las Vegas and returns to the fae realm which is suffering from upheaval. Lena has declared herself as queen but she is running into opposition from the false blood who also claims the throne. This book is heavy on the court intrigue and maneuvering for power. It seems that a lot of people want to lead the fae, each with their own agenda.

 

The story is told from McKenzie’s point of view. While I like McKenzie as a character, it’s hard to be in her head all the time, especially when she agonizes over the men in her life. Will it be Kyol with whom she shares a bond, or Aren the gorgeous and hunky? McKenzie has gone through a lot of changes since the first book. She is stronger and has faster reflexes. I like how she is more poised and kickass at the same time.

 

I love the magic in this series. The fae realm is full of cool magic, especially how the fae fissure in and out of places. This makes the battle scenes very fast paced and exciting. There are lots of swordfights for fans of swashbuckling, too. The fae magic also makes for quite a colorful love scene as well. The imagery of the chaos lusters sparking across the skin was beautiful.

 

Be sure to check out the author’s website for a glossary of fae to English words. There’s also a map of the fae realm in case you have an ereader that does not do justice to graphics.

 

The Sharpest Blade was a satisfying conclusion to The Shadow Reader series. I can’t wait to see what other books Ms. Williams has planned for the future.

 

Be sure to check out Badass Book Reviews for a chance to win a copy of a book in this series. Also we are treated to a special excerpt from Paige’s point of view.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Berkley NAL for a review copy of this book.

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/new-release-review-the-sharpest-blade-by-sandy-williams-2