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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review: "Children of the Morning" by Shanna Lauffey


The Time Shifters are in danger. Someone wants what they have and are willing to kill if necessary to get it.

Akalya couldn’t hide in the past forever. The time has come to untangle the threads of a conspiracy so sinister that her very life hangs in the balance, as well as the lives of all of her kind.

Compelled by her promise to help Marcus, the half-breed, to learn to control his abilities, Akalya is conflicted by the need to go underground to elude the rich entrepreneur who continues to seek out others of her kind that even Akalya doesn’t know about, and the mysterious researcher working behind the scenes who already came too close to dissecting her best friend.

Akalya cannot leave, but she cannot stay. Most of all she must see that no more of her kind breed mutants like Marcus, who could become a danger to them all.

*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:
Thankfully this book was longer than its predecessor, so we get to see more of the characters and story. The writing is pretty good as well, however I wish there was more dialogue between the characters.
The story progresses very nicely, and we get to see more of the antagonists and their true intentions. I was glad to see more of Marcus and learn a little more about him. The introduction of new characters was well done, and kind of cool. I envy Akalya's ability to time travel.
Speaking of which, the further explanation of this story's time travel is becoming intriguing; I'm looking forward to learning more. The story is seriously demonstrating how people would condemn and defile those who have abilities. On another note, this novella series reminds me of The Tomorrow People and Jumper.
Published July 20th 2014

Rating: 🔔🔔🔔🔔
Recommend?  Yeah, it's a good series

Review: "Time Shifters" by Shanna Lauffey

An ancient people who can move through time or space...

A secret that never should have been revealed...

One day in a Los Angeles restaurant, Akalya of the Harekaiian witnesses the capture of several of her people and is the only one to get away. Now it is up to her to rescue the captives and learn how... and why... they are being apprehended.

The key lies in discovering who is behind the hunt for her people, when no one should have known they existed.

*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:
This novella series was actually really good. I was immediately drawn into the world of time travel. The plot kept me interested and consistently thickened, and the writing was pretty well done; I have no complaints. I also enjoyed that the setting was based in California; specifically Los Angeles. I am a native Californian, by the way.

The lead, Akalya, is pretty selfless and goodhearted. I don't know if I could have been as risky as her. Marcus was also really interesting; every scene with him was like heaven. However I hope to see more scenes and interaction between him and Akalya.
The twist Shanna Lauffey puts on time travel was quite creative yet realistic. Superpowers aren't usually written with limitations or consequences these days, so seeing it in this book was surprising in a good way. My only complaint with this book is the length: it was too short and I wanted more.
Favorite Quote:
"It is difficult to believe in anything spiritual when you have too much science, yet I have seen things that defy explanation by what is known." -Akalya

94 pages
Published March 2014

Rating:🔔🔔🔔🔔 
Recommend?  Most definitely


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review: "The Querulous Effect" by Arkay Jones

Enthusiastic young assistant to help with top secret experiments
Must like animals – and insects
Must be fast worker and team player

When Jay, on holiday in 'boring' Frimpton, sees an advertisement seeking a young assistant to help with 'top secret experiments', he could never have guessed that it will lead him on a quest that will take him from rural England to deep within the Arctic Circle.

Along the way, Jay meets Professor Theobald Ricardo and makes new friends, the studious Tim and Ella with her faithful terrier, Chip. Together, the three children encounter a range of engaging characters and face many exciting and scary experiences. As problems mount from the Professor’s secret experiments they leave the safety of England in an attempt to solve the mystery of the Querulous Effect.

*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:
A cute, children's adventure story demonstrating that not all new discoveries are without danger.  The characters were endearing, and even the antagonist (who later becomes a protagonist) is as well. The adventure was nice, however I don't know how they traveled to Iceland and Greenland without their parents noticing (mine would). The ending was ambiguous which made it all the better. I learned a little more in the science area thanks to this book. The title is peculiar, and upon reading the book I understood the significance of it.

117 pages
Published June 25th 2014 by Matador

Rating:  🔔🔔🔔🔔

Recommend?  For all children

(ARC courtesy of Net Galley and Matador Publishing)

Review: "The Crow: Pestilence" by Drew Moss

Juarez, Mexico. A young boxer, Salvador, refuses to take a fall, but has no problem taking a vicious drug gang's pay-off. When they take their lethal revenge on Salvador and his family, he returns as THE CROW, in search of vengeance... and forgiveness.
*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:
I was wondering if this graphic novel was in relation to the late Brandon Lee's movie The Crow. I did some digging and I was correct.
I have not seen the movie, nor read the original comics, but I did find this one to be decent. The cover art is what attracted my attention as per usual. I'm still trying to understand what Salvador was thinking in the first place, but other than that it is a decent revenge story.

There's a lot of gore in a Kill Bill fashion, not Saw. I am always a fan of "an eye for an eye".
80 pages
Expected publication: September 30th 2014 by IDW Publishing

Rating:  🔔🔔🔔
Recommend?  Some lifelong fans of The Crow may or may not like this

(ARC courtesy of Net Galley and IDW Publishing)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: "Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer" by Van Jensen & Dusty Higgins


This puppet may not be a real boy... but he just might be a real hero! When bloodthirsty monsters invade Pinocchio's hometown and kill his father, Geppetto, Pinocchio discovers a new benefit to his magical nose: telling lies produces a never-ending supply of wooden stakes to combat the vampire hordes! Will Pinocchio be able to defeat these horrors, avenge his father, and save his friends? Now, for the first time, the complete trilogy is collected together in a single deluxe softcover edition. Jensen (Green Lantern Corps) and Higgins (Knights of the Living Dead) present a captivating blend of comedy, horror, romance, and adventure, rooted in the original Italian novel, but brought - as if by magic - to new life.
*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:
This is probably the best graphic novel I have read. It's the perfect blend of humor, action, adventure, paranormal and the classic tale we all know. The premise is quite ingenious; I'm surprised no one thought of it.
I laughed so hard when reading this. The humor is just too good, but not "stupid funny", thankfully. All the characters were great-even the bad ones. I like that all the characters were more realistic. The whole book had a Buffy, Vampire Slayer vibe going on. If they don't put this graphic novel up on the big screen, I will be tremendously disappointed.
528 pages
Published June 24th 2014 by Top Shelf Productions

Rating:  🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔

Recommend?  Great for a laugh or two.

(ARC courtesy of Net Galley and Top Shelf Productions)

Review: "Darkness" by Erin Eveland

One Girl. One Boy. And the Masters of Darkness. See the Shadow Creatures. They are everywhere. But you can't run from the shadows or the Masters who control them.

Catherine has been born with a supernatural power called Darkness. The Masters of Darkness have found her and it's just a matter of time before someone claims her.
An Interactive Novel
A QR Code starts the beginning of each chapter connecting the reader to specific art or music that ties into the mood and setting of the novel. Using the quick response code in print and eBook formatting, Darkness incorporates visual and sound to heighten the reading experience.

*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:

First and foremost, I haven't tried out the QR code thing. Embarrassing enough, I don't know how to activate it, so at a later date I will get back to you all about it.

Anyways, the premise was very interesting. I've actually heard that people can see the "shadow people" in real life. So naturally, I had to read this book. Aside from the characters, Darkness didn't let me down; it was engaging. I shouldn't have read this at night though, because I started feeling like I had the heebie-jeebies. I can officially state that I am now afraid of the shadow creatures.

I would give this book a higher rating, but the characters really drove it down a bit. I just could not understand their logic. Catherine and Nathan are a match made in heaven because both are incredibly naive and foolish. Nathan meets the mysterious man in black, and he immediately tells this guy a bunch of information about EVERYTHING! One would think you would stay away from a guy who's dangerous, talks of weilding darkness and wants you to call him "master". Nope. Not Nathan. Then you have Catherine, after Jorgen put a protection necklace on her, wants him to take it off because the "master" said he'll hurt Nathan if she keeps it on. Obviously the "master" has something to gain from the removal of the necklace. And then when she's safe, she wants to run back to the "master" to save Nathan. What a genius she is. You have to save yourself first before saving another...duh!
Aside from the irrtating writing of the characters, the book is really good. It's a little trippy though- like I went on a bad trip thanks to shrooms or LSD. The end battle was amazingly written, by the way.

320 pages
Published July 1st 2014 by Selladore Press

Rating: 🔔🔔🔔🔔

Recommend?  Of course


(ARC courtesy of Net Galley and Selladore Press)


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Review: "The Unforgivable Fix: A Justice Novel" by T.E. Woods

The killer won’t come for you, you fool. He’ll come for me.

Detective Mort Grant of the Seattle PD has finally decided to sell. The home where he and his late wife raised two kids feels too large and too full of old memories. His son is married and raising a family of his own, and despite desperate efforts to find her, Mort has lost touch with his wayward daughter. That is, until the day she walks back into her childhood home and begs for his help.

For the last four years, Allie Grant has been the lover—and confidante, confessor, and counselor—of one of the world’s most powerful and deadly men. But a sudden, rash move has put Allie in the crosshairs of a ruthless Russian crime lord. Mort knows of only one place where Allie will be safe: with The Fixer.

As a hired desperado, The Fixer has killed twenty-three people—and Mort was complicit in her escape from the law. She has built an impregnable house, stocked it with state-of-the-art gear, armed it to the teeth, and locked herself away from the world. But even The Fixer may not be able to get justice for Allie when real evil comes knocking.
*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:
This book blew my expectations out of the water. I figured it would just be one huge "every character has drama" book.  Amazingly, it was like some rated M for mature Superman book. The female lead, Lydia, is successful psychiatrist by day; The Fixer by night (dun dun duunnn).

Story is pretty fast paced- maybe not with action, but the story itself is engrossing.  I had a hard time putting the book down (thankfully) as I was really interested on how "The Fixer" was going to teach the baddies a lesson in who's the MAN..ahem, WOMAN!

This was a good thriller full of unpredictable twists and turns and some serious revelations.  The characters grew on me, especially the ones I had taken an immediate disliking to in the beginning. I liked learning about what makes Lydia "tick" so to speak; and I don't mean the clock in her office at work! (Okay maybe that wasn't that funny).

At first Lydia seems cold and rigid, but you then see she has been hurt badly before psychologically, mentally and emotionally.  I love the cool mask of indifference she often displays; it's so fetch! Detective Mort is a major fool, I concluded.  Not only is he blind to his daughter's trickery and manipulation, he has the nerve to be upset with Lydia- which pissed me off. Detective Bauer is positively sizzling with his charm and rugged looks. Lydia better watch out before she becomes a chocolate chomper (someone who only dates black men). 

P.S: It's a shame about that stepfather allegedly abusing his stepdaughter. It reminds me of a certain wealthy man (cough cough S.C Johnson).

Expected publication: October 14th 2014 by Alibi

Rating: 🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔

Recommend?  Yes.

(ARC courtesy of Net Galley and Alibi Publishing)


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Review: "Blightborn" (The Heartland Trilogy #2) by Chuck Wendig

Cael McAvoy is on the run. He’s heading toward the Empyrean to rescue his sister, Merelda, and to find Gwennie before she’s lost to Cael forever. With his pals, Lane and Rigo, Cael journeys across the Heartland to catch a ride into the sky. But with Boyland and others after them, Cael and his friends won’t make it through unchanged.

Gwennie’s living the life of a Lottery winner, but it’s not what she expected. Separated from her family, Gwennie makes a bold move—one that catches the attention of the Empyrean and changes the course of an Empyrean man’s life.

The crew from Boxelder aren’t the only folks willing to sacrifice everything to see the Empyrean fall. The question is: Can the others be trusted?

They’d all better hurry. Because the Empyrean has plans that could ensure that the Heartland never fights back again.

Chuck Wendig’s riveting sequel to Under the Empyrean Sky plunges readers into an unsettling world of inequality and destruction, and fleshes out a cast of ragtag characters all fighting for survival and, ultimately, change.
*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:

Another brilliant cover art piece this one is. I must admit that I have not read the first book of the series, so ultimately I was lost at first. Thankfully it didn't take away from the story too much, and I was able to catch up with all the different storylines and subplots. I would consider this book high fantasy and a dystopian, that is filled with action, adventure and a little humor. The world Chuck Wendig is mind-blowing.
Blightborn definitely has a cast of characters within the story, and that is putting it lightly. From the tyrant to the courageous rebel leader to the homosexual sidekick; it was pretty entertaining. Each of their storylines pulled at my heart strings; I really felt empathetic to their predicament. There are also a whole lot of love triangles, which were kind of...weird. But then again, books reflect reality.
The writing was amazing and the story grabbed my attention from the first page. The length of the book is on the long side though, so beware. That ending left me in awe.  While I am impatiently awaiting the next book in the series, I might read the first book.
Published July 29th 2014 by Skyscape

Rating:  🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔

Recommend?  For anyone who enjoys dystopian novels

(ARC courtesy of Net Galley and Skyscape Publishing)


Friday, July 25, 2014

Review: "The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter" (The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire #1) by Rod Duncan

Elizabeth Barnabus lives a double life—as herself and as her brother, the private detective. She is trying to solve the mystery of a disappearing aristocrat and a hoard of arcane machines. In her way stand the rogues, freaks and self-proclaimed alchemists of a travelling circus. But when she comes up against an agent of the all-powerful Patent Office, her life and the course of history will begin to change. And not necessarily for the better…*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:

The cover art of this book is as creative as the actual story. It gave me the feeling that I was reading a combination of The Master of Disguise and She's the Man, except this was more of a detective mystery with a steampunk element to it. I was definitely on the edge of my seat while reading. Also, the characters were likable for the most part.
Elizabeth is a pretty street-smart and cunning character. How she manages to lead a double life as her "twin brother Edwin, the detective" with none the wiser, is a mystery to me. There wasn't a lot of her past shown in the book, but what the reader does learn about her past is shocking indeed. Her strength of character is admirable, and I enjoyed her scenes with the illustrious John Farthing. The reader certainly doesn't know anything about Agent John
Farthing except that he's American; we do, however, see his attraction to Elizabeth. Tinker and Julia might be my favorite characters thus far. Julia's loyalty to Elizabeth is quite refreshing, and Tinker's cuteness is endearing. There are some sketchy characters as well..you'll see.
As for the story, "woah" is all I can say. I liked the "dancing bear trick" that was pulled on a certain character; it surprised me since I usually can guess the outcome of a story. The tie-in with the book's title was very clever as well. I am definitely tuning in for the next book. On a side note: I am still questioning if there was ever a brother? I have no idea.

384 pages
Expected publication: August 26th 2014 by Angry Robot

Rating:  🔔🔔🔔🔔

Recommend?    Oh Yeah!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: "Facing the Music" by Andrea Laurence

In this sizzling and hilarious contemporary e-book romance, pop sensation Ivy Hudson returns to her small town to face her ex. Only trouble is, she made her Taylor-Swift-like career with the hit song “Size Matters”—and the football hero has had to live it down ever since.

Five years ago, high school sweethearts Ivy and Blake’s relationship imploded and both their lives were changed forever. Ivy became a rock star and Blake lost not only his dreams of a successful NFL career, but his reputation. Ivy’s angry song about their breakup, called “Size Matters,” hit the top of the charts and Blake became a national laughingstock. He’s salvaged his career and returned to Rosewood to be the high school football coach, regaining his status as town hero and leading the boys to the state championships.

When a tornado whips through town and destroys the high school gymnasium and stadium, a committee is formed to help rebuild and plan some charity fundraisers. Blake’s grandmother requests that Ivy return to Rosewood for the events. Forced back together for the good of their hometown and their careers, Ivy and Blake have no choice but to put aside their differences, stop running from their pasts, and finally face the music.

For fans of Kristen Proby and Colette Auclair, Facing the Music hits a perfect balance between small-town romance and big-time success. Follow Ivy and Blake as they fall back in love and figure out what does matter in the end…
*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:

I had my reservations about this book, but I am glad to say that I really enjoyed this book.  The chemistry! Oh my, it was like....wow.  This may e just a book, but I could see the fireworks go off every time Blake and Ivy were in a scene together. 
Romance? Check.
Sexy and sultry guy?  Most definitely check.
Drama? I could do without it, but yes..check?
And everything else in-between the sheets?  Check and check.
The plot was very captivating.  I have never read a book where the woman humiliates her love interest, but it was amazing!...in some ways.  I wish Ivy's character wasn't the fictionalized equivalent to Taylor Swift.  I'm not really a fan of hers, and I feel that she plays the victim way too often for a woman in her mid 20s.  Yeah I said it! 
Anyways, it's a little hard for me to believe that Ivy "didn't know" the public would think her song "Size Matters" was referring to Blake's size, if you know what I mean.  What did Ivy expect the song's title to allude to? Height? Countries? T-Rex?
Blake is probably my favorite part of the entire book.  He's so swoon worthy, with the exception of his past transgression.  It's a bummer the Ivy's song acted as a catalyst for all things to go wrong in his life.  His brothers are totally awesome as well.
Lydia was just a conniving little wretch.  She's like a raccoon, she get's into everyone's business and just won't leave.  The Grandma was like all nosy grandmothers: they think they know best, and probably do.  I didn't like how she kept chastising Blake for some of the things Ivy was at fault for.  Then again, maybe she was trying to get him to man-up.  Towards the end, I felt like Ivy should have done some of the chasing.  She was the one who fled without hearing reason.  You don't run away and hide from your lover; you fight for him.  At least that's my opinion.  There aren't many love scenes in this book, but it doesn't take away from the story at all.
250 pages
Expected publication: September 15th 2014 by Pocket Star

Rating:  🔔🔔🔔🔔
Recommend?  Yes.

Review: "The Girl from the Well" by Rin Chupeco


You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret - one that would just kill to get out.

The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as "Dexter" meets "The Grudge", based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.
*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:
How apt the description of Dexter meets The Grudge really is.  Horror is not really my thing unless I'm in a room full of people, with the lights on.  Yet this story was positively entertaining.
The ghost element of the story was perfectly executed (no pun intended).  The story of Okiku is actually a real one.  I had known movies were based off of the concept, but truly didn't know that it was a real Japanese folklore story.  How Okiku came to be in the book was sad to read.
How the story unfolded was pretty great.  The concept of possession and exorcism was fascinating to read in another culture's POV.  The exorcism scared me though.  I could picture it perfectly, but I would prefer to never have to witness one.  The Smiling Man was absolutely revolting to me; he made my skin crawl. 
The characters were irritating at times, though.  Sometimes Tarquin was a brat, but maybe it's understandable with all he's been through.  The cousin, Callie, irritated me to no end!  Every two seconds she's second guessing Okiku's intentions; if it wasn't for Okiku, who knows what would have happened to Callie. Still, it wasn't enough, and she was always ungrateful in every scene she was in.
Not that I would want a ghost following me around, but Okiku seems pretty legit; she's totally awesome. On another note: why does Tarquin's mother have the name Yoko?  And her husband is Caucasian as well; it's like an overt hint.  All in All, this book proves a captivating read.
304 pages
Expected publication: August 5th 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire

Rating:  🔔🔔🔔
Recommend?  Yes


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review: "Evidence of Things Not Seen" by Lindsey Lane

When high school junior Tommy Smythe goes missing, everyone has a theory about what happened to him. Tommy was adopted, so maybe he ran away to find his birth parents. He was an odd kid, often deeply involved in his own thoughts about particle physics, so maybe he just got distracted and wandered off. He was last seen at a pull-out off the highway, so maybe someone drove up and snatched him. Or maybe he slipped into a parallel universe. Tommy believes that everything is possible, and that until something can be proven false, it is possibly true. So as long as Tommy’s whereabouts are undetermined, he could literally be anywhere.

Told in a series of first-person narratives from people who knew Tommy and third-person chapters about people who find the things Tommy left behind—his red motorbike, his driving goggles, pages from his notebook—Particles explores themes of loneliness, connectedness, and the role we play in creating our own realities.

*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:

I feel like I have been conned; a part of some bait-and-switch tactic by the author.  I'll admit that I was initially intrigued by the cover (I've always been a sucker for an amazing book cover).  Then I read the synopsis, and
I was instantly a "easy mark" for Ms Lane, the author.  Actually reading the book left me with one thought: what?
I'm all for the unknown, and I  generally appreciate books that explore and take that direction.  Nevertheless, the author seemed to be trying to achieve this element of mystery and illusion, without really grasping it; kind of like scratching the surface of a massive iceberg with a butter knife.
The story is comprised of a series of events told in either: first person, third person or third person omniscient.  In between each event is a note the victim, Tommy, wrote. Granted, some of these stories are somehow interconnected; some are from left field figuratively.  Almost all of them are ended abruptly like a door quickly slamming in your face.  It left me confused about how it all tied together in the big picture. 
The ending was anticlimactic and left me feeling a little miffed; I don't really like this book.  While Tommy prattles on and on about multiple dimensions and possibilities...I wonder, can I get my 4 hours I wasted reading this book back?
224 pages
Expected publication: September 16th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Rating: 🔔
Recommend?   No way

Review: "Queen of Hearts" (Queen of Hearts Saga #1) by Colleen Oakes

Not every fairytale has a happy ending.
This is the story of a princess who became a villain.
A Father’s Betrayal. A Kingdom with a Black Secret. A Princess Slowly Unraveling.

As Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts — and the love of her life.

When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe.

Part epic fantasy, part twisted fairy tale, this dazzling saga will have readers shivering as Dinahs furious nature sweeps Wonderland up in the maelstrom of her wrath.

Familiar characters such as Cheshire, the White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter make their appearance, enchanting readers with this new, dark take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:
First off, is it just me or have a lot of recent books been based on fairytales?  This isn't the first book I have read of late that was reimagining of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  What should have been a picturesque book with flawless writing,  turned out to be the complete opposite.  I originally thought it had everything it needed to be a fan-freaking-tastic series:
Wonderland?  Check.
Characters we love?  Check.
Characters we love to hate? Check
Beheadings?  Check. Check.
Alice?  I looked high and low and saw no Alice.
Action? Check.
Romance? Check mate.
Sadly no.  I wanted to throw this book at the wall more than once.  Trust me, I was tempted.  The lead, Dinah, is supposed to be 17 years old, but she behaves like a toddler.  I know she's supposed to have a blind fury, but she just took it to astronomical levels!  I was questioning motives during the entire book.  So many things were unclear but the story almost acted like it told you twenty pages ago!  I had questions like: Why does the Chesire hate her to begin with?  Did the King of Hearts kill Dinah's mother, Davianna?  Is Vittiore his lover?  Things I NEEDED to know. 
And what is up with the way the King treats Dinah?  He treats and loathes her like she's the bastard child that pissed in his cheerios that morning.  The King just "conveniently" happens to have a bastard who he crowned "Duchess Vittiore", and she's TOO perfect.  I can tell.  No one is without some flaw: crooked teeth, body odor, horrible personality, speech impediment. 
I did feel a little empathy for Dinah, though.  I know what it's like to have a father who wishes he had a more "favorable" daughter. Or even son, perhaps.  I feel like the King must be intimidated of Dinah (she will be a ruler to behold).  For Pete's sake, and the guards and servants! I don't know why they are as stupid and/or comfortable enough to constantly insult her.  I have no worries though, because it will be "OFF WITH THEIR HEAD!".
The Black Tower description was like a rip off of Game of Thrones, to be honest.  The supposed romance was forced, and Wardley felt more like a companion in a strictly platonic way.  The characters and plot were a little dry;  Mad Hatter was my favorite of all of them.  I wish Dinah would listen to the signs as said in the book, and stop play dumb with her finger up her butt.  This book was just okay, but I might tune in for the next just to see if it suddenly becomes a masterpiece.
222 pages
Published February 14th 2014 by SparkPress

Rating: 🔔🔔🔔
Recommend?   Worth a read if you have patience


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review: "The Fire Wish" (The Jinni Wars #1) by Amber Lough

A jinni. A princess. And the wish that changes everything. . . .

Najwa is a jinni, training to be a spy in the war against the humans. Zayele is a human on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad—which she’ll do anything to avoid. So she captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart and re-form—as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered—enemies including the young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might love.
*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:
When I first heard of this book, I thought it would be amazing!  I mean, how often do you get to read about jinn?  It's so Aladdin; so chic.  When actually reading the book made my excitement die down a bit. 
It's the first in the series, and an okay read.  I really like the setting in today's Middle East; you don't see much of it in the book because the characters aren't roaming the lands, but what you do read is very descriptive.  The pacing dragged here and there, and led me to skim pages in certain parts sometimes.  There was this Freaky Friday swap-thing that was a little unexpected, not necessarily bad however. 
The Najwa storyline was probably my favorite though.  The dynamic between her and the prince was what I was most eager to read.  It's a little sad in certain parts, and left me shaking my head on how often humans let power and greed corrupt them.  Not bad, but it could've been better.
320 pages
Published July 22nd 2014 by Random House Children's

Rating:  🔔🔔🔔
Recommend?   If you like your nights Arabian, it's worth a read (see what I
                         did there?)

Review: "The Fourteenth Goldfish" by Jennifer L. Holm

Galileo. Newton. Salk. Oppenheimer.
Science can change the world . . . but can it go too far?

Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He’s bossy. He’s cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie’s grandfather, a scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?
*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:
A very cute read about a child learning about life and death, and what it embodies: change.  It is set in the Bay Area, California, with mentions of UC Berkeley.  On a person note: my mother worked with postdocs at UCB, so the information about the science there, including the creation of the atomic bomb, hit close to home (no pun intended).  There's a little history and information for children to learn without it feeling to much like a history textbook.  The life lesson it teaches at the end illustrates just how wise her years, Ellie was.  The story had a nice wrap up that wasn't forced and left me feeling content.  The tie-in with the book's title was pretty clever, I might add.
224 pages
Expected publication: August 26th 2014

Rating:  🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔 
Recommend?  Great read for children and adults

(ARC courtesy of Net Galley and Random House Books)


Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: "Unwept" (The Nightbirds #1) by Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman

Gamin, Maine, is a remote seaside town where everyone seems to know Ellis Harkington better than she knows herself—but she doesn’t remember any of them.

Unknown events have robbed Ellis of her memory. Concerned individuals, who purport to be her friends and loved ones, insist that she simply needs to recuperate, that her memories may return in time, but refuse to divulge what has brought her to this state. For her own sake, so they say.

Ellis finds herself adrift in a town of ominous mysteries, cryptic hints, and disturbingly familiar strangers. The Nightbirds, a clique of fashionable young men and women, claim her as one of their own, but who among them can she truly trust? And what of the phantom suitor who visits her in her dreams? Is he a memory, a figment of her imagination, or a living nightmare beyond rational explanation?

Only her lost past hold the answers she seeks—if she can uncover its secrets before she fall prey to an unearthly killer.
*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:
I really thought this might be good, but unfortunately it wasn't.  I feel like I was bamboozled.  I almost don't know where to start with this book.
The pacing was way too slow.  I was bored to tears at first, and very nearly put the book down.  The characters were lackluster and unremarkable.  It felt like a chore just finishing the book.  The twist near the end of the book was kind of random, honestly.  The whole book left me feeling crazy myself.
Ellis was just too passive aggressive, which infuriates me.  I get that she is supposed to be suffering from some sort of amnesia, but dont act like you remember something and then backtrack later.  Merrick needs to calm his butt down and quit acting like the smug, psycho dentist creeping around with ether.  Jenny needs to take a hint and quit acting like a dog in heat.  And every other character should just get a life. Oh right, easier said than done in this book. 
I kept asking myself what was going every couple of pages.  This story was hard to follow and not well written if I might add.  The flow wasn't smooth at all.  Too bland for my tastes.

272 pages
Published July 1st 2014 by Tor Books

Rating:  🔔🔔
Recommend?    Not really.

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