Tuesday, June 30, 2015

5-Star-This-Book-Just-Blew-My-Brains-Talk-About-A-Book-Hangover Review for Storm Siren by Mary Weber

Storm Siren (Storm Siren Trilogy, #1)
by: Mary Weber

Published: August 19, 2014 by Thomas Nelson / HarperCollins 
Genres: Suspense, Thriller, Action, Paranormal, High Fantasy, World Building, Supernatural Abilities, Court Intrigue, Kingdoms, Non-Human Creatures, Romance, Swordplay, Magic, Adventure, Dystopian, Slight Steampunk

“I raise my chin as the buyers stare. Yes. Look. You don’t want me. Because, eventually, accidentally, I will destroy you.”

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.



This.... you see me. OK, maybe you don't actually see me... but imagine this MAMA sitting at her desk doing her "holla" happy dance.....

Here is this fierce chick. I mean FIERCE. Like... the ONLY other character I wanted to ever be other than her was Firestorm from Spider-Man and Friends. And.. OK... Anne of Green Gables because...GILBERT BLYTHE. Nym is authentic. She is not one of those MC that you see that has it all together. Polished... not her. In control... uh, no way. Capable of a wide range of emotions... GIVE-A-GREAT-SUBSTANTIAL-YELL Yes. You mess with someone she cares about or some innocent person.... watch out.

And Colin. I loved him. Loooooooved him. He is the best friend that every girl wants to have. He completely had her back when no one else did and went to bat for her every time.

The writing. Oh Lord. Can we have a moment of silence.....

It was PHENOMENAL. I mean breathtaking. Richness, corporeal, monumental, and textural all mixed together and merged onto a cohesive and lavish storyline canvas that should be framed and put up at the MET in NYC. The writing was dimensional, incredibly descriptive and decadent. If you are a fan of High Fantasy, you will be blown away.

Honestly... I feel the need to pause for a standing ovation here....

I am a spoiler free zone as you know, but what I can tell you is this. The floor will drop from under you. Over... and over... and over again. You will scream.

My jaw came unhinged probably eight times. That is a reading record. My daughter had to slide over and push my chin up. My kids laughed at me. However, I am a strong reader and would not be daunted by their lack of concern for my reading mental state. (Any serious readers out there have my back on this...)

Imagine those new roller coaster rides where it looks like you are dropping off the face of the earth? Yeah... the pressure and suspense in this book was worse. My husband actually rubbed my back at one point and "suggested" I put the book down for a while. AS. IF.... 

Any good book with thrills will also creep you out. Some readers like full on gore while others like subtlety. I found this about 75% disturbing so there were scenes where I was seriously spooked out.

Just when I thought I knew who was who and where the plot was going, Mary would through a major monkey wrench into the mix. That alone was a delectable source of tension.

Endings can make or break a book. This ending broke me. My daughter heard me whimper and found me rocking back and forth. Yes... I will admit I was brain fried at the end.

Emotional responses are crucial to excellent writing, and this book sucked mine like a pack of football players tucking into an all-you-can-eat buffet after beating their main rival in overtime. Be prepared with your favorite plush and a carton of ice cream.

The secondary characters were just as thought out and executed brilliantly as the main. Scenery was lushly described. Pacing was perfection. Can you tell I'm seriously giddy about this book?

I hadn't had such a visceral response in a while from a book. The pretzel twisting plot had me in a tizzy.

When I realized I could get the next installment since it is already on shelves, I wanted to write this now because I will be riding like De Ville out for revenge to the bookstore and tucking in till I've finished. You NEED this book. I NEED this book.

So I am dragging the kids into the car with promises of ice cream cones so I can get my hands on Siren's Fury. Oh... and did I mention how gorgeous the cover designs are? Well... see you when I pull my nose out of the next book!

Monday, June 29, 2015

4.3 Star Review: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain

The Shadow Prince 
(Into the Dark, book #1)
By: Bree Despain

Published: March 11, 2014 by Egmont USA
Genres: YA, Action, Greek Mythology, Modern Day, Music, Romance, Mystery, Social Issues

Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.

Though the first few chapters were slow, the book did pick up pace and by the end I was hanging from tender hooks watching events unfold. Bree's abilty to inject a character into a foreign world and retell items and language from their knowledge base is fantastic. I would sit there and ponder what they were talking about and then cry out, "oh its (fill in the blank)!" 

Though this is a Greek Mythology based book, it focuses entirely on Hades, a slight addition of Zeus and a footnote on Apollo. The rest of the gang (Athena, Aphrodite, etc) aren't mentioned.... yet. Based on what happened at the end of the book, we may yet see the entire family enter the scene. 

Haden is a character that I want to pick up and take home with me. OK... that sounded bad. Let me rephrase... I just want to take him under my wing. The poor guy just can't catch a break. Talk about a horrendous childhood. I hope we get flashbacks of his Mom in the next book, because she was such a wonderful influence. 

Daphne needed  a little more clarifying for me. She seemed somewhat nondescript until the last few chapters. I actually found Dax, Lexie and Garrett to be of significant interest and I hope to see more of them in the next installment. It just goes to show you once again that every person has a past and hidden hurts, and the people who act out the most are usually the ones in the most pain.

Bree had a significant amount of plot threads interweaving throughout the book and left a nice ending to  get me grabbing my wallet to go get The Eternity Key, book two, which is out now. 

Looking forward to the UPS man knocking on my door in 1-3 days! ;)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Scorched by Jennifer L. Armentrout - 5 star snack size review

Scorched (Frigid, #2)
By: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Published: June 16, 2015 by Spencer Hill Press
Genres: NA/New Adult, College Life, Abuse, Recovery, Mental Issues, Contemporary Romance, Gritty, 

Sometimes life leaves a mark…

Most days, Andrea doesn’t know whether she wants to kiss Tanner or punch him in the gut. He is seriously hot, with legit bedroom eyes and that firefighter body of his, but he’s a major player, and they can’t get along for more than a handful of minutes. Until now.

Tanner knows he and Andrea have had an epic love/hate relationship for as long as he can remember, but he wants more love than hate from her. He wants her. Now. Tomorrow. But the more he gets to know her, the more it becomes obvious that Andrea has a problem. She’s teetering on the edge and every time he tries to catch her, she slips through his fingers.

Andrea’s life is spiraling out of control, and it doesn’t matter that Tanner wants to save her, because when everything falls apart and she’s speeding toward rock bottom, only she can save herself.

Sometimes life makes you work for that happily ever after…

JLA delved into dark and troubling waters in Scorched. There are a lot of issues at play, and the characters are trying to puzzle together what the specific issues are and how to deal with them. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but this is a rich and gritty nose dive deep into the hearts of people suffering from things they think is way beyond their control, but could manage if they faced truths and took the first step. 

The relationships are complicated, the dialogue dense and authentic, the pace is realistic and the tone is natural. Jennifer uses her unique brand of wit, quips and internal musings to genuinely envelope the reader into each character's inner thoughts. 

This story is about as real as it gets without it actually happening to you.

Excellent and moving. Longer Review Coming.

One Bite Quicky Review: #Selfie by Cambria Hebert

#Selfie (The Hashtag Series, book 4)
By: Cambria Hebert


Published: March 9, 2015
Genres: NA, College, Recovery, Dating, Drinking, Abuse, Sports, Humor, Contemporary Romance, Family Issues, Sexual & Other Abuse, Social Issues, Texting

It’s all about the #Selfie.

She was the one girl I never wanted.

Until I had her.

One night.

One mistake.

Something we both wanted to forget.

I got rid of the proof. The one piece of evidence that could remind us both.

At least, I thought I did.

When it shows up on the school Buzzfeed, rumors fly. Friendships are tested and the feels get real.

I don’t do relationships. I don’t open my heart.

Especially for a girl everyone knows I hate.

What happens during spring break, stays in spring break.

Until it follows you home.

This series just keeps getting better and better. That simple statement is not one that I use all that often as many series go soft after the first installment. Hebert keeps it fresh, while tying it all to the previous books. She has a finesse about her writing, an innate ability to know when to inject humor and balance incredibly deep and troubling subjects. It made me grateful that she touches on the harsh and sometimes evil side of social media and the severe bullying that it causes. There are other topics I don't want to really spoil for you, so I'll just say she handles it truthfully and skillfully. 

I am beyond excited for book five.

Longer review coming.

5 Stars Quick Bite Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

The Fill-In Boyfriend
By: Kasie West
Published by: Harper Teen
Released: May 5, 2015

Genres: YA, High School, Social Issues, Relationships, Contemporary Romance, Humor

When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.
I have fallen completely in love with Kasie West and her novels. No matter what the genre, the storyline, the plot, West captivates and engages her readers. In a nutshell, when I pick up one of her books, I sit down, get comfy and hear Jean-Luc Picard's luscious voice say, "Engage" in my head. Everytime. Yes, I am a sci-fy geek but I digress. 

This book lived up to her high writing standards. Complex characters written in a digestible format. Don't get me wrong, it's not fluff but conversational. My favorite kind of style. 

You will love this tale. I wanted to beat the MC over the head with their own book early on, but do not fret, for West develops and matures her characters like the finest wines. Gia irritated me like a tub of sand where the sun doesn't shine but she grew on me and blossomed. There are some real life lessons to be learned from the situations she gets herself into. Everybody will get dumped. Everyone will feel insecure. And everyone will learn one way or the other who their real friends are and what is most important in their relationships. 

Real. Organic. Witty. Interesting. Surprisingly deep.


A Court of Thorns and Roses 5 star snack size review

A Court of Thorns and Roses 
by: Sarah J. Maas

Published: May 5, 2015 by Bloomsbury Children's

Genres: Fairy Tale Retellings, YA, Suspense, Fae, Paranormal, Good vs Evil, Magic, Fantasy, Action

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Snack Size Review:
Break out the minions for this one...

An incredible, fantastic retelling of a tale stuffed with determination, discovery and growth. This was beyond excellent. Gripping, deliciously taunting and undeniably deep, this book will make you hug your blanket, grab your tissues and pump fist the air. I need a sequel.

Friday, June 26, 2015

5 star snack size review of Suspicion by Alexandra Monir

5 stars for Suspicion by Alexandra Monir
Published 2014

Great pace with a twisted roller coaster of a plot. Kept me entrenched until the last word. A fast paced read that has me hooked for a sequel!

Genres: YA, Suspense, Mystery, Paranormal, International Theme/England, Aristocracy, Death and Grief, Romance

"There's something hidden in the maze." Seventeen-year-old Imogene has never forgotten the last words her father said to her seven years ago, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family's English country manor.

Haunted by her parents' deaths, Imogen moves to New York City with her new guardians. But when a letter arrives telling her that she's now the only heir left to run the estate, she returns to England and warily excepts her role as duchess.

All is not as it seems at Rockford, and Imogen quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind the mansion's aristocratic exterior, hinting that the inferno that killed her parents was no accident. And at the center of the mystery is Imogen herself- and Sebastian, the English boy she has never stopped loving. Just what has Imogen walked into?

Combining spine-tingling mystery, powerful romance, and unforgettable characters, Suspicion is an action-packed thrill ride.