Friday, March 27, 2015

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard
This is a young adult fantasy novel (Rated PG-13)
(Three Red Hearts)
Book Summary
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?
My Review

I must say with all the hype, I picked this book up. This isn’t my M.O. lately because generally hype up’d books don’t interest me. However, I must say I was swayed by the cover and I love all things king and queens.
I won’t lie. The book was entertaining. If not for that I would have rated it lower. I’ve changed my ratings in 2015, and 5 star books must be home runs. And because this story lacked originality and all the plot twist were predictable, I couldn’t give it 4.
Here is my problem with originality. Unlike contemporary romance where everything under the sun has been done, each book’s worth is on how an author strings events together and more emphasis is then on the writing itself. In fantasy, you can dream up anything.
So why did this feel like Hunger Games, Divergent, the TV Show Reign, the reverse of Maria Snyder’s Poison Study series, etc. I could go on, all twisted together. There is another fantasy series with a girl that goes to the castle and she is different. I can’t for the life of me remember the title. But it was written a couple of so years ago. This book reads like it. For all those reasons, I can’t give it more hearts.
What saddened me more is every twist was like a red car a mile away on a flat road, even the one at the very end. I knew and predicted everything that was going to happen. And there were so many ways to try and fool the reader and she failed, at least with me.
And the writing wasn’t just okay. Half the time, I didn’t get a picture painted in my head of what was happening. But I’m not big on over details. I prefer less than too much.
However, with that said, I’ve read other books that mirror others. And this one intrigued me enough to see if book two can stand on its own and surprise me somehow. After reading over a 1000 books, not much does.
So should you read? I can’t say it’s the worst book ever. And like I said before, I was entertained. I imagine you will be too. So if you like fantasy novels, you might read this one. I hear that it’s a lot like a previously published book Red Rising. I’ll have to check that one out. It’s only fair to that author, if their idea came first. However, I see so much of this book in others, I’m not sure anyone can claim originally for this idea.
One other burning question, does it end on a cliffy? I happen to be one of those people who enjoys a good cliffy. And I will say that as with any series, it ends in a place where you want to know more. However, it doesn't end on a question that will make you rant at not having the next book. So you are safe in reading and not waiting to the next book.
Audio Review
Amanda Dolan did a good job with narration. For the most part she kept the characters distinguishable.
My book boyfriend Cal.


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Monday, March 16, 2015

Fall with Me (Wait for You #4) by J. Lynn, Jennifer L. Armentrout

Fall with Me (Wait for You #4) by J. Lynn, Jennifer L. Armentrout
This is a new adult romance novel (Rated NC-17)
(Four and a Half Gooey Gumdrop Hearts)
Book Summary
Eleven months ago, bartender and weird-shirt-wearing extraordinaire Roxy and Officer Reece Anders had a one night stand. Well, kind of. She’s been in love with him since she was fifteen, and he wishes that night they shared never happened. She’s sworn him off forever, but the past and future collide, forcing her to rely on the one man who broke her heart not once, but twice.

Her best friend since birth has been in a long-term care facility since he became a victim of a hate crime years ago, and the person who put him in there is out of prison and wanting to make amends with him and Roxy. She’s not sure she has room for forgiveness in her and when she begins to receive frightening messages and is on the receiving end of escalating violence, she thinks she knows who is to blame. The man who already destroyed one life already.

But Reece isn’t convinced. The threats are too personal, and even if Roxy doesn’t believe him, he’s not willing to let anyone hurt her. Including himself. He’s already messed up more than once when it comes to Roxy and he’s not going to let history repeat itself.
My Review
I’ve read many books by this author, but mostly of the young adult and paranormal variety. I have read the Gamble brothers series, but outside of that I haven’t dived into any other new adult or adult books by this author (or penned under  J. Lynn).
I was super pleased with this book. It wasn’t a fluffy contemporary romance with no substance. In fact, it’s more like a bowl full of warm romance with dashes of suspense, mystery and intrigue. I was totally full and satisfied when I finished it. In fact, I woke up in the morning with about half way to finish. And I didn’t stop reading choosing to skip breakfast in favor of reading the whole morning away.  I hardly noticed I missed a meal  I was so caught up in the story. Well, until I finished at lunch. Then I headed to get food.
As a mystery (who done it) kind of reader, I knew who “done it” from the first meeting and my guess never wavered from that individual and was confirmed at the reveal moment in the story. Even thought I knew, it didn’t take away my enjoyment of the story.
I can tell you that the story is multilayered. I was disarmed by the beginning of the story. I was also intrigued with the ‘what and why’ of Reece and Roxy, and was a little pissed at her for different reasons. But Roxy was a sparkler with fire in her gut. She was no whinny female.
And Reece won my heart from the start. Book boyfriends with a kind heart and a hard exterior tend to be my top book boyfriends, like Aiden from JLA’s Covenant series. While I can appreciate the bad boys with snarky attitudes like Daemon from the JLA’s Lux series, I tend not to like the guy that’s an ass all in the name of “saving the girl.” Reece was the former and I fell hard for him. Read and you will too.
I can’t really say more other than this was my first book in the Fall Away series. And it was easily read as a standalone. However, my only compliant, which is my fault really, is I suspect that the first few chapters which were a bit slow for me, dealt with other characters from the previous books in the series. For me, those chapters really didn’t add to the meat of this story. However, I suspect had I read the other books I would have been grateful to catch up with those previous staring couples and would have enjoyed those few chapters more.
And a big thanks to JLA for my paperback ARC. You are the best!
My book boyfriend Reece.
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Friday, March 13, 2015

Simple Beginnings by Janelle Stalder

Simple Beginnings by Janelle Stalder
This is a new adult novel (Rated NC-17)
(Four Smexy Hearts)
*note new rating system
four means love and one to pick up
Book Summary
Ella Page planned to spend her summer before college like most girls her age - shopping, tanning, swimming, repeat. Instead she finds herself helping out on her grandma's farm, where she is forced to work side by side with her ex-best friend, Gage Hunter. Despite her attempt to stay cool around the boy she no longer feels like she knows, the heat in the summer air just won't stop rising. And with it, old feelings she's not so sure were forgotten after all.

* 17+ Mature YA / New Adult. This book contains some strong language and sexual situations. For mature audiences.

My Review 

My review is based on an unfinished copy of the story.
If you love angst tension filled new adult stories, this book is for you. It has it all from the cocky boy next door to the take no prisoners girl.
The story is set the summer after graduating high school. So we have that slight young adult feel with the exploration that comes in a new adult novel including a little smexy time.
What I love about this story is the Ella is not some wishy washy girl. She has standards but she also has a vulnerable heart. She isn’t going to be walked over but she’s also not immune to the charms of our hero.
Gage is just perfect. He’s hard working and knows what he wants. He’s had all the girls he’s ever wanted but doesn’t bulk at settling down with the right one.
This is the kind of story that will make your heart melt and your book boyfriend list grow to add one more. This story is a realistic one and one worth a read.
Overall, this is one to pick up.
My book boyfriend Gage.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Beautiful Ashes (Broken Destiny #1) by Jeaniene Frost

The Beautiful Ashes (Broken Destiny #1) by Jeaniene Frost
This is a new adult paranormal romance novel (Rated PG-13)
(Two I'm sad to say Hearts)
Book Summary
In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate.

Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who's bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.

Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn't mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn't: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between…
My Review

It’s hard for author’s when they write something new. Often times they are judged simply because they aren’t writing a carbon copy of what they successfully done in the past. Not me. I didn’t come into this looking for Cat & Bones with different names. I also didn’t read the blurb to hard. I like to be surprised.
Unfortunately, there was nothing beautiful about this story. It lacked everything from a cohesive storyline, memorable characters and a plot that stood the test of time.
WARNING Minor Spoilers ahead.
At the start of the gate, I was excited. What’s not to love about Demon’s and Angels. And the world building in this story was probably the only thing that kept me from DNF (did not finish) and sticking to the end. However, I found the descriptions of the “demon world” to be lacking. Most of the times, I couldn’t picture where I was. Then we were told that no sun existed in these realms. Yet sometimes things were described as if light existed. And then others, we were reminded of the darkness.
As confusing as that was, there were the inconsistencies. For example, in the start of the story when Ivy meets Adrian (and I won’t say how, why, or what happened) he makes a statement. “If they (demons) have her, then she’s dead.” Several chapters later, Adrian says to Ivy about this same her, “If they have her, she’s probably the best treated human in the demon realm.” Fine, he contradicted himself. There could be reasons. Yet, Ivy doesn’t call him on it. She doesn’t ask why he changed his story. Therefore, I’m left to believe the author has made a plot mistake that wasn’t caught by beta readers or an editor. There are other instances of this which lead me to believe the later.
Then there is Ivy herself. Besides being a carbon cut out of the author’s other heroines, this one is looney. Or at least she comes off as one. I’ll just say this, at some point in the story, Adrian has made his intentions towards Ivy clear. Basically, they aren’t together. They haven’t even kissed or come close to it. So when Ivy finds Adrian with someone else, she gives him the third degree about him being with someone else and not choosing her. Trust me when I say, that it isn’t a cute jealousy as no chemistry between the two has come through the pages as of yet. We know she finds him attractive. So her jealous rant comes off as crazy.
I could go on and on as the plot kinds of muddles through weakly. And without memorable characters you care about and rooting for, it all just fizzles.
Although I can’t recommend this series at this time, I will read the next book. Like I said, the world building is interesting and I love this author. She deserves a second chance. But if book two sucks, I will give up on this series. I gave up on Richelle Mead’s spin off from VA for being ultra-boring as much as I loved all her other series and books adult and YA alike.
Audio Review
Tavia Gilbert is an excellent narrator. Unfortunately, because she narrated all the books and series by this author, Ivy comes off as a carbon copy of Cat/Lelia/etc (all the other female character’s this author has written.) It’s possible a fresh voice might have helped this book. Though I fear nothing could except if it was rewritten.
My book boyfriend is Adrian and only because I had to choose.

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*Disclaimer - I am not the owner of this picture. I found it on the web for causal fun use on my blog for which I receive no compensation. If this picture belongs to you (you are the copyright owner) please let me know and I will remove it.

Monday, March 2, 2015

My Big Fat Giveaway

I haven't done one of these in a while. And I have books on my shelves to give away.

What are the prizes?
Signed copy of Burned by Karen Marie Moning (Adult PNR)
Signed copy of Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout (NA PNR)
Signed copy of Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins (YA PNR)
Signed copy of Cherry Girl by Raine Miller (NA Contemporary Romance)
Eden by Janelle Stalder (Fantasy)
Fire Country by David Estes (YA Dystopian)
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (Contemporary Romance/Erotica)

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