Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book Review: Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires, #1)

Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires, #1)Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Claire has always been smart and this got her into college at the age of sixteen. With overprotective parents her only choice is a small town college in Morganville. Little did she know the secrets the ancient town possesses and she finds out more than she bargains for when she is unexpectedly thrust into the lives of Michael, Shane, and Eve.

The author did a great job setting the scene and making Claire's bullying out to be something just about monstrous. I felt the concept and execution of the story was well done and the vampire town was explained well.

Claire was a great character. She was spunky without being overconfident in herself and her abilities yet she was able to stand up for what she wanted. I really liked Shane even though he had a standoffish personality at first there was nothing getting past his sweater side. Michael was more of an issue for me, overall I liked him but his standoffish character went beyond my acceptable limits although he did redeem himself in my mind. Eve was just spunky and cool; she seemed like someone I would want to hang out with.

I would recommend this book to vampire lovers.




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Friday, September 20, 2013

Book Review: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


2.5 stars

In the first book of the Mortal Instrument series Clary is astounded to find she can see things other people can’t. With the help of Jace and the rest of the Shadow hunters Clary has to discover her past to protect everyone’s future.

From first reading the Internal Devices prequel series I really expected more from this one. It might be that the Victorian era was more sophisticated than the modern era but I found the writing style in City of Bones to be immature and weak. I was completely surprised by the characters that I found lacking in well-roundedness and knowledge, unlike I found from Internal Devices. I will strive to continue on with the series just to see what happens and I am interested in watching the movie but I was seriously expecting a lot more out of this series that what I am getting.

MOVIE:
I thought the movie was a lot better than reading the actual book. I would recommend skipping the reading and just watch the movies.



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Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Review: A Beastly Scandal by Shereen Vedam


3 stars
Genres: Romance, Fairy Tale, Fantasy
Format: ebook
216 pages
Published by ImaJinn Books
Published on March 22nd 2013
ISBN13: 9781610261241
Where to Buy: Amazon
View on Goodreads

Synopsis:
A BELLE OF THE BALL…
Lady Annabelle Marchant was a belle of the ball in London until she used her psychical senses to save a man’s life. She failed miserably, leaving him dead and her disgraced. All she wants now is a chance to comfort his widow by cleansing the woman’s home of her husband’s restless spirit. But the widow’s son, the beastly Lord of the Manor, accuses her of coming to the wilds of Cheshire to snag him as a husband. Thoroughly disgusted, she is bent on proving him wrong.

…BECOMES PERSONA NON-GRATA…
Lord Rufus Marlesbury, the Earl of Terrance, is suspected of murdering his father. He has come home to clear his name by finding the real killer before the new year or the king has promised that Rufus will be called in front of the House of Lords to answer for the crime. He does not have time to waste fending off a marriage-minded miss who has inveigled an invitation to his home by playing on his grief-stricken mother’s worst fears.

…WHEN A MURDERER IS ON THE RAMPAGE
With an unruly manor ghost terrorizing the occupants and corpses piling up in the village, Belle must find a way to see the man beneath the beast and Rufus must learn to believe in the love of a woman who has no reason to trust him. Only by working together can they stop a vengeful ghost before it torments the guests or before the killer strikes again.

My Review:
This book is a nice short read.  Annabelle brings out the passion and ability to get ahead and make it on her own.  Despite the original plan Rufus, the magnetic hero, denies what he thinks and teams up with Annabelle to solve a murder.  I would have liked to see a little bit more out of the characters, some more personality and complexity. 

Note: I received this book via Netgalley.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Book Review: The Convict's Bounty Bride by Lena Dowling

2 stars
Genres: Historical, Romance
Format: ebook
59 pages
Published by Harlequin Enterprises Australia
Published March 1st 2013
ISBN13: 9780857990327
Where to Buy: Amazon
View on Goodreads

Synopsis:
Life as a convict in an Australian penal colony was brutal, but James Hunter had the advantages of raw physical strength and courage on his side. He survived, and now he is back; a selfmade man of means, determined to take the bride he was promised.
Lady Thea Willers knows nothing of the bargain her father made to save her brother, nor does she have any interest in marriage. It might be a radical idea, but what Thea wants is a career.

The revelation that her brother’s liberty depends on her marrying James Hunter is devastating. But nothing, it seems, has the power to shake Thea’s world upside down like James himself, or the way he makes her feel.

My Review:
The highlight of this book was definitely the characters.  They had their own time of personalities, although they also appeared flat at times.  Being a novella I think a whole book as a whole would have made the characters pop.  Everything about this story was rushed.  I didn't feel like I had time to really get into the story at all and everything just flew on by.  There was no build up to the romance it kind of just happened.  I was left feeling like I had a lot of questions with no answers

Note: I received this book via Netgalley.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Book Review: Noir[ish] by Evan Guilford-Blake


4 stars
Format: Kindle Edition
159 pages
Published by Dutton Guilt Edged Mysteries
Published on September 18th 2012
ISBN13: B0095ZP0ZG
Where to Buy: Amazon
View on Goodreads

Synopsis:
It’s Los Angeles. June, 1947. In the wake of mobster Bugsy Siegel’s violent murder, Private Investigator Robert Grahame is confronted with a case unlike anything he’s ever faced before. Lizabeth Duryea, a stunning yet peculiar young woman, hires Grahame to find her brother, Dan Scott, and leaves him with a small, mysterious package for safekeeping. But Grahame’s investigation becomes much more complicated when another mob big shot gets an anonymous tip that Grahame killed Siegel and hid the evidence in his office.

With the help of LAPD’s only female detective, Lauren Stanwyck, Grahame tries to discern the truth behind his mysterious client’s improbable story and find out who really killed Bugsy Siegel—haunted by his lost love at every step. As he stares into the face of his own cloudy past and the face of the fantastic, Grahame--in the classic noir tradition--is tempted by a femme fatale, followed by a shadowy figure, beaten up, accused of murder, and threatened. Ultimately, he uncovers a most unexpected plot, one which jeopardizes his way of life and puts him in mortal danger.

My Review:
This is a fresh and upcoming take on a classic murder novel.  I loved how the characters interacted with each other and the suspense and mystery kept me entertained throughout the whole novel.  The storyline was compelling and interesting especially for someone who didn't grow up in the era of the time.  This was a great read and an enjoyable story.

Note: I received this book via Netgalley.

Book Review: Fractured Soul (Fractured Light #2) by Rachel McClellan


4 stars

Genres: fantasy, romance, young adult
Format: ebook
336 pages

Published by Cedar Fort
Published on February 12th 2013 (first published February 2013)
ISBN: 1462111807
ISBN13: 9781462111800
Where to Buy: Amazon
View on Goodreads

Synopsis:
Llona will do whatever it takes to protect her new found friends and home, but the dark plot that is threatening Lucent Academy, a school that’s supposed to be a safe place for Auras, may be too powerful for even Llona to defeat. This fast-paced tale of love, loyalty, and overcoming the darkness will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page!

My Review:
This is the second book in the Fractured Light series. What I found to be most delightful about this book was the fact that the reader did not actually have to read the first book in the series to be able to understand this one. The descriptions of Auras and Furies were enough to be able to affectively follow what was going on. Although I would like to go back and read the first book just for the story, I do not find that to be necessary. This is an extremely enjoyable and fast paced read with interesting characters and action packed events.

The ending was simply amazing and I cannot wait to get my hand on the third book!

Note: I received this book via Netgalley. All thoughts are my honest opinion!

Book Review: How Beauty Met the Beast (Tales of the Underlight #1) by Jax Garren


3 stars
Format: ebook
152 pages
Published by Carina Press
Published on November 19th 2012
ISBN: 1356194360
ISBN13: 9781426894664
Where to Buy: Amazon (audio book)
View on Goodreads

Synopsis:
The Beast

Scarred. Damaged. Living with a terrible secret. Agent of the Underlight Wesley "Hauk" Haukon has nothing left but the fight for liberty against the oppressive Order of Ananke. He's starting to lose hope…and then he sees her.

The Beauty

Despite her night job as a burlesque dancer, grad student Jolie Benoit has always played the mostly good girl. That all changes following a scorching sexual encounter with a stranger whose face she doesn't see. After she's kidnapped by thugs and rescued by a man with a very familiar voice, Jolie becomes a pawn in a struggle she never knew existed.

Hauk knows he cannot have her, and resolves to protect his heart and his secrets. But as they work together and grow closer, he finds new reason to keep fighting. Dare he risk hope in a new life, one where Jolie can see past his ravaged face and where their friendship can grow into something more?

My Review:
One of my favorite things to read is a good retelling about a fairytale, this book did not entirely disappoint. The premise of the story was intriguing. I have to say I found the single sex scene seriously lacking, it just did not seem plausible. The book lacks a creative world building that would strive to develop the plot and characters more; it seemed to be presented in the middle instead of acting like the first book in a series.

Note: I received this book from Carina Press via Netgalley.



Friday, January 11, 2013

Book Review: The Dreamer by May Nicole Abbey


3 stars

Series: The Fall
Book: One
Genres: Romance, Time travel
Format: Kindle Edition
Published by River Valley Publishing
Published November 26th 2012
Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble
View on Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
A dream in the night. A leap of faith. A quest for truth and treasure.

From term papers and instant coffee to blood-thirsty pirates and buried treasure, Rachel Madera, a gifted university professor, finds herself travelling through time on a journey of discovery and danger, all because of a simple dream. Despite the threat, Rachel is undaunted, certain she holds the keys to unlock the mystery of a Pharaoh’s treasure … and alter the course of history.

The only thing that stands between her and peril is Captain Mallory Tucker, a man with a tragic past and intractable moral code. Born of the sea, he is among the leading mariners of 18th century Europe. But the derelicts who make up his crew and the capriciousness of the ocean have taken their toll, and Captain Tucker is tired and jaded. The last thing he needs is a precocious young woman dropping onto his ship and creating havoc. But he’ll fight to the death for her honor, her beliefs…and her love.

My Review:
The story overall was intriguing and an interesting fast paced read.  The relationships between the different characters was sparked with romance.  I loved the Captain; he was my favorite character in the book.  The Captain protected Rachel and was just a lovable hard ass outward but sweet inward guy character. 

I found the start of the book to be confusing; I did not understand Rachel’s reasoning or characterization in why she was doing what she was.  It just kind of started and there was no build up to the beginning; I felt more explanation would have been appreciated.  The character of Rachel as a whole was confusing.  She had done so much research on everything yet when it came to life experience she was making the stupidest mistakes that anyone would know not to do. 

Overall, I would recommend this book.  Getting through the beginning onto the real story created a great read. 

Note: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Caroline Gregory and Shawnette Nielson are a sister writing team who, despite the incongruity of their very different characters, always seem to be on the same page when it comes to their passion for reading and writing. The difference in their personalities create a well rounded vision of what life should be; stable yet chaotic. College, construction, motherhood, wrestling, management experience, or traveling the world as a nanny, all fall under the experiences of this pair.

Author’s website: http://www.maynicoleabbey.com

Instinct by J.A. Garland

4 stars
Genres: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance
Format: ebook
Published by Burst
Published on September 4th 2012 (first published September 1st 2012)
more details...ISBN13: 9781927454442
Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble
View on Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Lone wolf, Rory Archer, never failed a single mission. Now the hunted instead of the hunter, Rory unwinds a twisted trail leading back to Amber Arlington, a spirited Halfling tied to a world of Shadows. Bound to vows initially forged out of necessity, Rory and Amber's relationship surges into more than either of them bargained for, tangling them in a web of passion. Scrambling to identify their attacker before joining the casualty list, Rory is faced with doing the unthinkable, or watching Amber turned into a slave for his species.

In the battle against Shadows, demons and all variety of monsters come out to fight. Can one wolf learn to trust in time to save them all?


My Review:
In this fast paced story readers will immediately enjoy the mystery that surrounds Rory Archer and his tragic past. A likeable character, he has just the right touch of moodiness to ignite a flame. His interactions with Amber are entertaining and believable with mistrust and pure lust stirring just beneath the surface. She arrives with a spunky, tough-girl attitude that integrates flawlessly with her sexy appearance. This entertaining plot will keep you interested to the end as you discover the real intentions behind the Organization’s betrayal of Rory to the Shadows.

I was provided a copy of the book by BTS eMag for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review – all conclusions are my own responsibility.

J.A. is a full time firefighter in the state of California, an addicted trail runner, a connoisseur of all things cheese puff, and an author for BURST Books. When she isn't slogging through the obstacles at a mud run, you can find her hunched over her computer unleashing demons, vampires, and werewolves upon the world.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review: When the Siren Calls by Tom Barry


2 stars
Genres: Romance
Format: ebook
 338 pages
Published by Troubador Publishing Ltd
Published November 2012 (first published February 26th 2012)
ISBN: 1780883102
ISBN13: 9781780883106
Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble
View on Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Restless and neglected, Isobel is suffocating in a stagnant marriage. Suave and charismatic Jay is fighting for survival. An invitation to visit Jay's resort in the hills of Tuscany sparks Isobel to imagine a life of freedom and excitement.
Dismissing her husband’s objections, Isobel pursues Jay to Tuscany on the pretext of searching for a holiday home. After fighting anguished guilt, she abandons herself in a passionate affair, with her controlling lover encouraging Isobel to push beyond her sexual boundaries.

But all is not as it seems in the idyllic Tuscan retreat, and Isobel finds herself trapped in a web of intrigue, deception, and betrayal. She is one player in a dangerous love triangle, unsure whether Jay is her saviour, or her nemesis. As her world falls apart, she must choose between the woman she thought she was, and the woman she has become.

My Review:
I was first intrigue by this book solely because of the cover and then I read the description and thought why not. Well, it was 50 Shades of Grey gone wrong.

The characters were overly annoying. There was nothing redeeming about Isobel, she was purely spoiled and naïve. She does everything in her power to act stupid and get into dumb situations. Jay is just a jerk, and NOT in a good way. Basically everything he says is just to get into her pants and his choice of career is less than honorable. There was just nothing to the characters making nothing come out of their relationships. This should not be described as romance either, its just something else entirely.

Note: won through LibraryThing Member giveaways.

Tom’s first novel, “When the Siren Calls”, is published in two parts. The first, a “Prequel” is a stand alone short story which introduces the headstrong heroine, the rich and beautiful but neglected Isobel, and the moment her slumbering sexuality is awakened by the mysterious Jay. The second book, follows Isobel’s search for emotional fulfillment as she pursues Jay to Tuscany on the pretext of buying a holiday home, and abandons all her sexual inhibitions in the cinematic love affair of her dreams. But all is not as it seems, and Isobel finds herself trapped in a nightmare of deception and betrayal.

A published writer at University, Tom Barry spent 20 years in management consultancy with Accenture, Deloitte, and PwC, advising the Boards of leading global brands such as Apple, Disney, Toyota and Vodafone. His career prompted a specific interest in the art of persuasive communication. He is passionate about nurturing young talent and has supported a number of UK and overseas schools, including the Nordoff Robbins Centre for Music Therapy. He lives near London and is currently working with the Brit Writers’ Awards, a charitable initiative to promote creative writing in our schools. His debut novel, When the Siren Calls, is set in Tuscany and is both a sensual emotional drama and a page turning thriller.

Author’s Website: http://www.tombarrywrites.com

Monday, January 7, 2013

Author Interview: By Blood or By Bond (By Blood or By Bond) by Hazel B. West

Genres: historical fiction
Format: ebook
452 pages
Published by Createspace
Published December 12th 2012
ISBN: 148111042X
ISBN13: 9781481110426
Where to Buy: Amazon
View on Goodreads
I am grateful to be part of the author’s blog tour, for more stops please visit the author’s blog here.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Which ties are stronger—those of Blood or those of Bond.

Caolán, the son of a Celtic chieftain, awaits his first pitched battle against the Roman invaders, knowing that this is the moment in which he will truly become a warrior, of the tribe.

Viggo Callias is a seasoned centurion in the Roman army on his first deployment to Britain with his newly enlisted son, Aulus. Serving under an incompetent commander, he wonders whether victory will be theirs.

But fate takes a hand in both Caolán and Viggo’s lives when Viggo’s son is killed by a spear meant for him. Enraged at the loss of his son, Viggo seeks vengeance on the man responsible: Caolán’s father. As the chieftain breathes his last, Viggo vows to take Caolán as a slave to avenge Aulus’ untimely death.

Torn from his country and people, Caolán’s only comfort is the hope that one day he will be able to avenge his father. But can the greatest wrongs be righted? Brotherly bonds, gladiators, old enemies, corrupt politicians and a young woman who captures Caolán’s heart, take a role in the physical and emotional journey that binds Caolán’s and Viggo’s fates together. Can the two wounded parties work past their hatred of each other and find what they have lost: a father and a son?

This new novel by Hazel West, explores the familial ties that bind us all, whether by blood or by bond.
Hazel West lives in Florida where she spend a good bit of time writing historical fiction about brave men and women who have graced the pages of history, trying to bring more light to their legacies so readers of all ages will enjoy them.
 
 
Author Interview
 
 
Where did you get the idea to write this book or what inspired you?

 
Funny enough, the original idea came to me several years ago when I was watching my little brother play a gladiator game on the Playmobile website. I’ve gotten ideas from strange things before, but I think this one was the most. Ever since then, I wanted to write a story about a gladiator character, preferably a Celtic one since I love the Celtic culture and know a lot about it. Thus Caolán was born, though I didn’t know who he was, or even his name until much mater.
The idea for the actual novel By Blood or By Bond came after I read Rosemary Sutcliff’s amazing book Outcast. Such a lovely story, and the main character, Beric, gave me ideas of the kind of character I wanted Caolán to be. So Rosemary Sutcliff really inspired me to write the book over all.

 
As a historical fiction writer, what tricks have you found to help keep modern day ideas, and modern day dialogue from sneaking into your work?

 
Well, I can’t say I don’t always, haha. Some characters refuse to talk in the laguange of the time period. One of my gladiator characters, Fionn, an Irishman, is like that. I think the trick is to mainly just keep modern slang out. Very few people are going to want to actually sit and read a novel with all the ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ and ‘methinks’in the dialogue but that doesn’t mean your Roman centurion can get away with saying ‘Yo, dude” either. I usually write in a ‘common language’ that every reader will be able to understand but yet is not modern either. I personally think that people talked to each other back in the Roman times, much the same as we speak today. In fact, reading letters and even graphiti from the Roman era gives spedid insight into that. Of course it’s translated, but still, it’s the same idea.
Modern ideas are sometimes harder to keep from a historical story. Stuff we take for granted might not have even been considered back then. Keeping authentic mind sets is the product of much research, but even then, an author must sometimes take liberties. I might have taken a few liberties with my character Viggo. He’s definitely not a ‘perfect Roman’ but I believe he had ideals and morals that were upheld by men back then, despite common conception. I don’t think the Romans were all blood thirsty murderers and I do think that some soldiers had morals. Sometimes, you just have to give or take to make a likable character.

 
Of your characters, which one would you say is most like you and why?

 
Viggo, definitely. In fact, he’s probably the most like me out of all the characters I have ever written. He has a –sometimes overbearing—sense of justice, and lamentably tries to fix all the world’s wrongs despite the fact that he knows he can never accomplish that. He will always fight for the lesser man and despises bullies above all else.

 
Who was your favorite character to write, and your least favorite?

 
I rarely have a least favorite character to write. If I didn’t like them, I would get rid of them, or whip them into shape if they were giving me trouble, haha. I truly loved all the characters in By Blood or By Bond. Viggo was easy to write because he’s so much like myself I knew what he would do in any situation. Caolán was also a character I felt for and was easy to write. And though Amatus was terribly nasty, I loved writing him because I just couldn’t believe how disgusting he could be on occasion. He sickened me, but I was proud to have made such a detestable character. If anyone could have given me any problems, it would have been Viggo’s niece, Lorena, but thankfully she didn’t. Sometimes I have problems with female characters, but I ended up liking her a lot and she turned into just the kind of character I needed for her role.

 
Plans for a next book?

 
Always! I’m hoping to get the sequel to one of my other books, Ballad of the Highwayman (newly on ebook, by the way) out by spring. It’s a classic swashbuckling adventure, so check it out, if that’s your thing. I also have a Victorian steampunk mystery in the works with my awesome private detective, Anthony Maxwell, and a prequel to By Blood or By Bond planned about the time when Viggo and his foster brother, Hector, were in the Roman legions. It’s going to be an awesome military adventure, and I’m excited to get back to writing them.

 
Advice for other authors?

 
Write what you love! Don’t worry about what other people say. Listen to good advice and constructive criticism, but ignore people who are just being mean. Research well into your topic, no matter what kind of book you’re writing. You don’t have to write what you know, but you should know what you write!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

ARC Review: The Seventh Victim by Mary Burton


3 stars
Format: ebook
336 pages
Published by Kensington Books
Expected publication: February 5th 2013
ISBN: 1420125052
ISBN13: 9781420125054
Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble
View on Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED
It’s been seven years since the Seattle Strangler terrorized the city. His victims were all young, pretty, their lifeless bodies found wrapped in a home-sewn white dress. But there was one who miraculously escaped death, just before the Strangler disappeared…

KILL
Lara Church has only hazy memories of her long-ago attack. What she does have is a home in Austin, a job, and a chance at a normal life at last. Then Texas Ranger James Beck arrives on her doorstep with shattering news: The Strangler is back. And this time, he’s in Austin…

AND KILL AGAIN…
He’s always craved her, even as he killed the others. For so long he’s been waiting to unleash the beast within. And this time, he’ll prove he holds her life in his hands—right before he ends it forever…

My Review:
This dramatic thriller had nicely developed characters and exciting plot twists. The content was disturbing but that was basically specified via the plot description. Some parts were a bit slow but most of the time it was an action packed page turner with interesting characters. Lara is finding it hard to get over her past trauma haunted by memories she is at the same time trying to remember as well as forget. While the character of the Texas Ranger, James Beck has a bad ass attitude but a strong sense of compassion and duty.

Note: I received this book from Kensington Publishing via Netgalley.

MARY BURTON’s southern family has always enjoyed tall tales and a good yarns. Early on, MB realized that Story had tremendous power to inspire strong responses such fear, laughter, love and even sorrow. It didn’t matter if the tale was found in the pages of a book, spoken in hushed tones around a Girl Scout campfire, or spouted at an old fashioned southern family reunion. This appreciation of story motivated MB to earn an English degree from Virginia’s Hollins University.

After decade of working in marketing and sales, MB became convinced she could write and sell one of the many stories buzzing around her brain. Fingers crossed, MB left the marketing profession and devoted all her spare time to writing a novel. Soon after, she sold her first manuscript to Harlequin Historicals. Since that initial sale, MB had written twelve historical romances for Harlequin Historicals, four short romantic suspenses for Silhouette Romantic Suspense and a non-fiction book The Insider’s Guide to Direct Marketing. Her first single title romantic suspense for Zebra I’m Watching You is a December 2007 release.

In 2005, The Unexpected Wife was a finalist Romance Writers of America’s RITA contest and Wise Moves was 2006 nominee for the Romantic Times’ Critics Choice Award. I’m Watching You received critical acclaim from New York Times Best Selling author Carla Neggers who said, “Taut, compelling and emotional, I’m Watching You is romantic suspense at its most riveting. Mary Burton delivers a page-turner.”

MB resides in Virginia where she enjoys yoga, cooking, hiking and the occasional triathlon.

Author’s website: http://www.maryburton.com/