Sunday, June 3, 2018

Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins


Hex Hall
by Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall (#1)
Published by: Disney-Hyperion
May 29th, 2010
Genre: Young Adult
Format: eBook
Source: Loan from Library
Rating: 4 Stars

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tag-along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
  
     From the moment I started this book, I was engaged with what was happening in Sophie's life and the mystery of all that followed on Hex Hall. From her absentee father to her powers to Archer and his mysterious change of heart in regards to Elodie.

     I love the teen school fantasy trope and I found that this story had all the elements I look forward to on such stories. The biggest being (since most this types of books are first person POV) that even though you are it the head of just one character there is so much going on around that particular character that you don't have time to get annoyed because you want to know what's going on with other characters.

     I will definitively be reading the other books on the series as I what to know what is going to happened with Archer and I want to know more about Cal (I'm rooting for Cal on this one) since he was such a mysterious character and I like the way Sophie described him. And last I'd like to see how the school is going to deal with the fallout of that ending with Elodie.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Review: Beneath the Scars by Cherise Sinclair


Beneath the Scars
by Cherise Sinclair
Series: Masters of the Shadowlands (#13)
Published by: Self-Published
May 22nd, 2018
Genre: Erotic Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4 Stars

     Master Holt and Josie's story is one of my favorites of this series. No other book has other POV's but that of the main couple but this one had the POV of Carson (Josie's son) and Mistress Anne.

     We are able to follow not just the heartache that Josie goes thru trying to give everything to her child but we also see how Carson feels about another man coming between his mom and himself and his reaction to it.

     I loved, like always, how Sinclair goes about presenting the BDSM aspect of the relationships. Many authors I've read this genre from, make the sex aspect dirty and makes you think of the woman as being a doormat or a nympho. Cherise Sinclair makes you fall in love with the characters and gives you different levels of submission.

     The only thing that irked me about this story is that Josie gave Carson a lot of free reign with the way he expressed himself. If I have done what he did to Holt after the backpack confrontation my mom would have tanned my hide for being so disrespectful. Other than that I loved every minute of this book and I can't wait for the next story, which I hope is Ghost!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Welcome Author! Jamie McGuire

Amazon
Title: All the Little Lights
Author: Jamie McGuire
Pub Date: May 28, 2018
Genre: Young Adult

The first time Elliott Youngblood spots Catherine Calhoun, he’s just a boy with a camera, and he’s never seen a sadder and more beautiful sight. Both Elliott and Catherine feel like outcasts, yet they find an easy friendship with each other. But when Catherine needs him most, Elliott is forced to leave town.

Elliott finally returns, but he and Catherine are now different people. He’s a star high school athlete, and she spends all her free time working at her mother’s mysterious bed-and-breakfast. Catherine hasn’t forgiven Elliott for abandoning her, but he’s determined to win back her friendship…and her heart.

Just when Catherine is ready to fully trust Elliott, he becomes the prime suspect in a local tragedy. Despite the town’s growing suspicions, Catherine clings to her love for Elliott. But a devastating secret that Catherine has buried could destroy whatever chance of happiness they have left.

A message from Elliott

     My name is Elliott. You don’t know my story yet, but you will. I spent my summers with my aunt and uncle just down the street from Catherine. She lives in a looming, rickety bed and breakfast called the Juniper, and spends most of her time outside, away from the memories that live between the Juniper’s walls amidst more tangible dangers that I never knew existed until now.
     It’s not so much that I fell in love or even that I fought for it, but that a war is waging inside Catherine’s home—one I can’t fight for her. It doesn’t matter how strong I am, or how determined I am to stay. I can only get close enough to observe her pain in detail. And, so I stay, and wait, and help her the only way I know how; to do what I couldn’t for her before.
     I hope you’ll understand.

Excerpt

     Elliott began to speak, but a small group of girls approached our table. 
     “Aw,” Presley said, dramatically touching her chest. “Catherine got herself a boyfriend. I feel so bad that all this time we thought you were lying about him being from out of town.” 
     Three carbon copies of Presley—Tara and Tatum Martin and Brie Burns—all giggled and tossed their bleached-blonde tresses. Tara and Tatum were identical twins, but they all strived to look like Presley. 
     “Maybe just outside of town,” Brie said. “Like a reservation, maybe?” 
     “Oklahoma doesn’t have reservations,” I said, appalled by her stupidity. 
     “Yeah, they do,” Brie argued. 
     “You’re thinking of tribal land,” Elliott said, unfazed.
     “I’m Presley,” she said to Elliott, smug. 
     I looked away, not wanting to witness their introduction, but Elliott didn’t move or speak, so I turned to see what was holding up their exchange. Elliott offered me a small grin, ignoring Presley’s outstretched hand. 
     She made a face and crossed her arms. “Is Brie right? Do you live in White Eagle?” 
     Elliott raised an eyebrow. “That’s the headquarters for the Ponca tribe.” 
     “And?” Presley sniped. 
     Elliott sighed, seeming bored. “I’m Cherokee.” 
     “So that’s an Indian, right? Isn’t White Eagle for Indians?” she asked. 
     “Just go away, Presley,” I pleaded, worried she would say something even more offensive. 
     Excitement sparked in Presley’s eyes. “Wow, Kit-Cat. Are we getting a little big for our britches?” 
     I looked up at her, anger blazing in my eyes. “It’s Catherine.” 
     Presley led them to a booth across the room, continuing to tease Elliott and me from afar. 
     “I’m so sorry,” I whispered. “They’re just doing it because you’re with me.” 
     “Because I’m with you?” 
     “They hate me,” I grumbled. 
     He turned his spoon upside down and stuck it in his mouth, seeming unaffected. “It’s not hard to see why.” 
     I wondered what about my outward appearance made it so obvious. Maybe that’s why the town hadn’t stopped blaming Mama and me for my grandparents’ mistakes. Maybe I looked like someone they should hate. 
     “Why do you look embarrassed?” he asked. 
     “I guess I was hoping you didn’t know about my family and the smelter.” 
     “Oh. That. My aunt told me years ago. Is that what you think? That they’re mean to you because of your family history with the town?” 
     “Why else?” 
     “Catherine.” My name sounded like a soft laugh tumbling from his mouth. “They’re jealous of you.” 
     I frowned and shook my head. “What could they possibly be jealous of me for? We barely have two pennies to rub together.” 
     “Have you seen yourself?” he asked. 
     I blushed and looked down. Only Dad had ever complimented my looks. 
     “You’re all the things they’re not.” 
     I crossed my arms on the table and watched the warm hue of the corner streetlight blink between the branches of a tree. It was a strange feeling, wanting to hear more and hoping he’d talk about anything else. “What they said doesn’t bother you?” I asked, surprised. 
     “It use to.” 
     “Now it doesn’t?” 
     “My uncle John says people can only make us angry if we let them, and if we let them, we give them power.” 
     “That’s pretty profound.” 
     “I listen to him sometimes, even though he thinks I don’t.”
     “What else does he say?” He didn’t hesitate. “That you either get good at rising above and meeting ignorance with education, or you get really good at being bitter.” 
     I smiled. Elliott spoke his uncle’s words with respect. 
     “So you just choose not to let what people say get to you?” 
     “Pretty much.” 
     “How?” I said, leaning in. I was genuinely curious, hoping he would unveil some magical secret that would end the misery Presley and her friends loved invoking in me. 
     “Oh, I get angry. It gets old when people feel the need to tell me their great-grandmother was a Cherokee princess, or that stupid joke about if I got my name from the first thing my parents saw after they walked out of a teepee. I can get heated when someone calls me chief, when I see people in headdresses outside of our ceremonies. But my uncle says we should either be compassionate and educate or leave them alone in their ignorance. Besides, there’s too much ignorance in the world to let it all get to me. If I did, all I’d ever feel is anger, and I don’t want to be like my mom.” 
     “Is that why you were punching our tree?” 
     He looked down, either unwilling or unable to answer the question. 
     “A lot bothers me,” I grumbled, sitting back. I glanced at the clones, dressed in cutoff denim shorts and floral blouses, just variations of the same shirt from the same store. 
     Dad tried to make sure I had the right clothes and the right backpack, but year after year Mama watched as more of my childhood friends faded away. She began to wonder what we’d done wrong, and then I began to wonder, too. 
     The truth was, I hated Presley for hating me. I didn’t have the heart to tell Mama that I would never fit in. I wasn’t vile enough for those small-town, small-minded girls. It took me a long time to figure out that I didn’t really want to, but at fifteen, I sometimes wondered if it was better than being alone. Dad couldn’t be my best friend forever. I took a bite of my sherbet. 
     “Stop,” Elliott said. 
     “Stop what?” I asked, the cool orangey-goodness melting on my tongue. 
     “Looking at them like you wish you were sitting over there. You’re better than that.” 
     “We should probably, um . . . we should go.” 
     Elliott stood, waiting for me to slide out of the booth. He followed me out, so I wasn’t sure if he noticed Presley and the clones covering their insults and giggles with their hands. 
     When he stopped next to the trash can behind their booth, I knew he had. “What are you laughing at?” he asked. 
     I tugged on his T-shirt, begging him with my eyes to keep walking. 
     Presley rolled her shoulders and lifted her chin, thrilled to be acknowledged. “Just how cute is Kit-Cat with her new boyfriend? It’s precious how you don’t want to hurt her feelings. I mean . . . I have to assume that’s what”—she gestured to us—“this is.” 
     Elliott walked over to their table, and the girls’ giggles quieted. He knocked on the wood and sighed. “You know why you’ll never outgrow the need to make others feel like shit so you can feel better, Presley?” 
     She narrowed her eyes at him, watching him like a snake ready to strike. 
     Elliott continued, “Because it’s a temporary high. It never lasts, and you’ll never stop because it’s the only happiness you’ll ever have in your sad, pathetic life that revolves around manicures and highlighting your hair. Your friends? They don’t like you. No one ever will because you don’t like yourself. So every time you give Catherine a hard time, she’ll know. She’ll know why you’re doing it, just like your friends will know. Just like you’ll know that you’re overcompensating. Every time you throw insults Catherine’s way, it’s that much less of a secret.” He made eye contact with each clone and then Presley. “Have the day you deserve.” 
     He returned to the door and held it open, gesturing for me to walk through. We navigated the parked cars until we were on the other side of the lot, and headed back toward our neighborhood. The streetlamps were on, the gnats and mosquitoes buzzing beneath the bright bulbs. The quiet made the sounds of our shoes against the pavement more prominent. 
     “That was,” I began, searching for the right word, “legendary. I could never tell someone off like that.” 
     “Well, I don’t live here, so that makes it easier. And that wasn’t entirely mine.” 
     “What do you mean?” “It’s from a scene in Detention Club Musical. Don’t tell me you didn’t watch it when you were little.” 
     I stared at him in disbelief, and then laughter erupted from my throat. “The movie that came out when we were eight?” 
     “I watched it every day for like a year and a half.” 
     I giggled. “Wow. I can’t believe I didn’t catch it.” 
     “I’m just glad Presley didn’t. That would have made my monologue much less intimidating.”

Meet the Author


     Jamie McGuire is the #1 New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Walking Disaster, the Maddox Brothers series, the Providence trilogy, and the international bestseller Beautiful Disaster, which paved the way for the new-adult genre. She was the first independent author in history to strike a print deal with retail giant Walmart, and her work has been translated into fifty languages. She lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, with her husband, Jeff, and their three children.

Find Jamie Online:

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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Review: Stolen by Shiloh Walker


Stolen
by Shiloh Walker
Published by: Ballantine Books
October 30th, 2012
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3 Stars

     The beginning of this book was really interesting but as the story progressed I got more and more annoyed by the repetitiveness of what was going on and how much of a wimp Shay sounded.

     Shay wants to find the person trying to steal her identity and after so many discovered clues she's still looking for more evidence.

     I liked the mystery behind her situation and her background story. It touched me and in my opinion, shed some light on what victims of abuse might feel and in part I understand why she was the way she was but it made it hard for me to connect with her as a character and made it hard also to see the connection to Elliot.

This is my first Shiloh Walker novel and I have to say it might be a while before I pick another of her books (if ever).

Friday, May 25, 2018

Audio Review: Death Overdue by Allison Brook


Death Overdue
by Allison Brook
Series: The Hunted Library Mysteries (#1)
Published by: Blackstone Audio
October 10th, 2017
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Loan from Library
Rating: 4 Stars

     From beginning to end this book was a masterpiece in the mystery who the killer was and it had me guessing at every turn who it might have been. I really liked Carrie and her aunt and uncle. I really felt the family bond and even when her uncle Bosco might have pulled some strings she was an excellent choice for the library position.

     It was really funny every time Evelyn (if I'm not confusing the ghost name here (which I think I am)) popped in to say hi. I also found myself wanting to know more about Dylan, the gracious landlord. That sure was a very mysterious character.

     I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I can't wait to read more of this genre. This is just the second Cozy Mystery book I've read and I can say that I like it better than the plain ol' mystery books. Plus I really liked the narrator which is good since I have trouble finding narrators I like.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Audio Review: Intensity by Sherrilyn Kenyon


Intensity
by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Chronicles of Nick (#8)
Published by: Tantor Media Inc.
February 20th, 2018
Genre: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Source: Loan from Library
Rating: 4 Stars

     After two days of deliberating what to write I still don't know what to say other than wow, I did not see that coming.

     After years following Nick Gautier's life, I was always asking myself how this series was going to tie up with the DH timeline. Like always I am lost as to who is who's dad, mom, uncle, grandma, sister, cousin, etc. but it was still an enjoyable read since I learned to ignore the characters connections with one another early on.

     This is the last book of the CoN series and Nick is looking for a way to stop Cyprian and change once and for all the destiny that he'll bring about with his legacy. And as with the previous books, the kid is lost as to what went wrong and how to go about fixing it.

     We get a lot less interaction with other "main" characters like Kody and Caleb but I think that's why it all worked in the end to start the transition from CoN to DH. That being said Kenyon has now transition this series into the next spinoff which is a series of books telling Cyprian's story.

     I am looking forward to reading more of this world and can't wait to read the next installment in the DH series.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Review: The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn


The Lost Duke of Wyndham
by Julia Quinn
Series: The Two Dukes of Wyndham (#1)
Published by: Avon Books
May 27th, 2008
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Mass-Market Paperback
Source: Gift from Friend
Rating: 5 Stars

     For the past five years, Grace has been the companion to the dower dutchess of Wyndham and she is apparently the only one that can deal with the old lady and not run for the hills. When coming back from a ball they are stopped by highwaymen to be robbed and the old dutchess starts acting a bit crazy since one of the men looks like her dead son (or at least what she can see of him since he's wearing a half mask).

     Jack is a carefree man that has many secrets but always has a smile on his face no matter the problems he faces. He is charming and a rogue and he wastes no time in trying to seduce Grace at every turn.

     I love Grace and Jack. Both of them have tragedy in their pasts that puts them in the circumstances they find their selves in but at the same time they have a childhood full of love and caring family. Jack is a terrible flirt and I like that he has a warped sense of humor.

     From beginning to end this book is a fun, enchanting read that left me glued to the pages even when the ending was so glaringly obvious. I can't wait to read Thoma's book since there where a couple of scenes I'm curious about that I hope are told in his book (since both books are kind of on the same timeline).

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Audio Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater


The Raven Boys
by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle (#1)
Published by: Scholastic Press
September 18th, 2012
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Source: Loan from Library
Rating: 4 Stars

     Another exciting find from the library audiobook section. I find day by day that I am able to ignore (up to a point) the narrators that I don't like and enjoying the stories behind the voice. Will Patton was my first male narrator so it was quite a while before I got used to that fact but I still love this book.

     Blue is the daughter of a psychic and, although she has no power of her own, she is able to amplify the power of others. Gansey is an Aglionby student (a local private school for rich children whose logo is a raven) who is obsessed with magic and ley lines and has traveled all over the world in search of someone.

     A couple other Aglionby boys have helped Gansey on his search and when something strange happens to Gansey on St. Patricks day(?) one of them suggests he goes see a local psychic to see what it all means.

     From the moment that Blue and Gansey meet it is a rollercoaster of discoveries and shocks that left me wanting more every time I had to stop listening. I liked all the characters from Gansey to Ronan to Adam to Blue, Persephone, Mora, and Calla. All that happens in this book is intricate and connected and I feel transported to this fantasy world that the author has created.

     That ending has me intrigued as to how Ronan was able to get Chainsaw and I can't wait to read the next book in this series.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

ARC Review: Burning Up by Jennifer Blackwood


Burning Up
by Jennifer Blackwood
Series: Flirting With Fire (#1)
Published by: Montlake Romance
May 8th, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (NetGalley)
Rating: 4 Stars

Disclaimer:

This copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of it or the content of my review.

     I've read just a few books where one of the main characters is a firefighter and I have to say that it is slowly becoming one of my favorite occupations for characters to have. This story to me is kind of like a friends to lovers mixed in with a second chances romance.

     We have Erin, who is home for the summer to help with her mom after a surgery and who is looking for work back in California. She "ran away" ten years ago and her family and friends are plotting to make her want to stay in Portland.

     Enter Jake, a single father of a 12-year-old. He has been burned one too many times and he is not willing to risk again having his daughter get attached to a woman that will eventually leave. When he and Erin meet again it is awkward and funny and from then on you get a story packed with funny, sexy and heartbreaking moments.

     I really liked this book. It was heartwarming to see Jake put his daughter above all and very emotional to see him suffer so much when getting calls involving children and him thinking (or trying not to) that said child could very well be his princess.

     There are some other characters that got my attention and I cannot wait to read their books, especially Erin's brother and one of her best friends. I do hope they are the next book.