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A Collection ARC Reviews

As you know, I am behind in my reading. Which means I am REALLY behind in my reviews. Here are 4 reviews that have been waiting to be written.  These 4 books have something in common: They are all making a stance on some social or political issue relating to Americans. Fair warning: the reviews are short:

The Circle of Thirteen by William Petrocelli

ARC provided by Edelweiss

Review: Set in the future, this book is give us a thrilling look into what the future could be for women’s rights. Overall, I enjoyed the plot. I liked that even while women’s rights had evolved, there were still people who were trying to hold women back. Those very same people were strong enough to create havoc on our world. There were many heartwarming moments, especially Julia’s relationship with her “grandmother”. The book did move slower than I had hoped, but I blame all the jumping around in time for that. It is very distracting. I also got the feeling that most of the women didn’t have very good relationship with men, only with other women. I wish that was more balanced. But overall, it was a delightful book, and gives us a perspective of how damaging misogynistic thinking can be.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

They Kingdom Fall by Austin Dragon

ARC provided by NetGalley

Review: There are very few books I cannot finish, and this was one of them. I tried to finish–but unfortunately the book felt like Tea Party Propaganda. On top of all the time jumping and editorial mistakes, I just couldn’t get through more than 40% of the book. I do think people who enjoy right wing philosophy would love this book, and the author has a lot of Promise in regards to his writing skills. Unfortunately, this book was just not for me.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Little White Lies by Cole Riley

ARC provided by NetGalley

Review: There parts of this book that deserved 5 stars, and others that deserved 2. The premise of the book was equally interesting and portraying a reality felt by many young black men. His dad was a perfect antithesis to his mother. Unfortunately, the book’s pacing was sub par. At points it moved fast, and others moved slow. I especially thought the ending was rushed. I think the author has potential, but his potential was not fully realized in this book. Overall, a good book, but forgettable.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Journey into the Flame by T.R. Williams

ARC provided by NetGalley

Review: Williams brought us a fun adventure. From the beginning the action in this novel was non-stop. There was always something happening. If there were no movement, then we were brought into some spiritual understanding. Overall, really enjoyed this book. At times the book moved into the realm of politics (BAD GMOs!! Down with corporations!) and that got annoying. I am also not so much a fan of time jumps anymore. Past, Present, Future, Present, Future, back to Past, and it all got confusing. Still an enjoyable read nonetheless. I am looking forward to the sequel.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Posted by on January 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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ARC Review: Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

“Thank the Flea!”

Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

**ARC Provided by NetGalley**

Summary: Avery can’t find Kerrick and everyone is telling her he is dead. She refuses to believe it, but the world needs her anyways and she has to pick herself up anyways. She is fed up of betrayals and is done with following the rules. Will she be able to save the world and find Kerrick, hopefully alive?

Review: I planned on reviewing this sooner because I had an ARC, but I have been busy with things. Sorry for the delay.

I didn’t quite enjoy this book as much as the last one, mostly because it was repetitive and predictable. Still, with the book’s funny moments and lively adventure, Taste of Darkness didn’t disappoint.

I was mostly disappointed with the back and forth “is he dead” and the “is she alive”. It takes a lot of guts for an author to kill beloved characters, and the ending of this series would have been perfect if either Avery and/or Kerrick had passed away. They would have left behind a bittersweet legacy. The predictable happy ending left me bored. And how many times can a character supposedly “die” before we actually believe it?

I also found the villain’s downfall a bit boring. Again, it was predictable. I was expecting it to be a lot more dramatic, for him to pull something ridiculous and Avery having to outsmart him yet again. Didn’t happen. It was regular old action.

What I did love was a lot of the other action sequences. Rescuing the girls from Chinksa Mare was excellent. The drama and despair created in their situation and the women rising up was uplifting. We saw Avery at her best. Snyder did a wonderful job creating the torture scene between Avery and the Skeleton King. She was able to create a despairing situation without making it about rape and obvious forms of torture. It was original and creative.

All in all, the world built in the Healer series is intriguing. I thought bringing it all together through the lilies showed real inspiration on Snyder’s part. I am glad they were able to create more healers because their world needed them, even if they are only children now.

Overall, the end of the trilogy satisfied the reader in me. It’s not a series I would read over and over again, but I am glad I read it. I recommend this book for all fantasy and romance readers out there.

Sex: References to sex and kissing
Violence: torture scenes, fighting, death

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Series Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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ARC Review: The Sharpest Blade by Sandy Williams

He closes his eyes in a wince as a wave of pain passes over him. “Should have gone straight to Lena.”
I’m surprised you didn’t,” I say.
If the false-blood killed you, I wouldn’t get revenge.”
“He sounds like he’s worth saving,” Nick mutters, grabbing Lorn’s wrist to lift his hand away from his stomach wound.

The Sharpest Blade by Sandy Williams

**ARC PROVIDED BY NETGALLEY**

Summary: Stuck between the fae she is tied to and the one she loves, McKenzie has enough on her plate. But with Lena’s reign deeply threatened, McKenzie will have to throw all of that aside and do the right thing, even if it means she has to sacrifice her heart.

Review: The Sharpest Blade is the end to Shadow Reader trilogy, tying off the most valuable threads. Yet as final as the story was, it wasn’t as satisfying of a conclusion as I hoped.

Williams has created a fantastic world between humans and fae. It isn’t overly complicated as it only spans 3 books. However, that is a strength. Many author’s over complicate their world with minute details that only confuse the reader. Williams kept her details consistent and neat. Finishing the trilogy, I understood where her characters stood.

I was annoyed frequently with the characters in this trilogy. First there is McKenzie. She is an every girl. I hate every girl’s. They have no personality and no depth. What are her likes? Dislikes? Is she athletic? Is she fearful? She reminds me so much of Bella from Twilight, it’s nauseating. Williams’s strong characters, Aren and Lena also fell flat in the final book. Aren had so much potential in this book, especially considering the plot. Yet he seemed like a brat in the first half who just managed to win the girl’s heart by a “oops, I screwed up.”

I will say Williams did a fantastic job with Kyol’s character. In the first book he was boring, second book got more interesting. But he was downright complex in this book. His feelings, his thoughts and his love for McKenzie shined through. This love triangle was resolved from the beginning and I never thought of them two as happily ever after, but Kyol is definitely the winning character in this story. If Williams is writing a spin off, I would be fascinated to see stories about him.

The plot was tied perfectly well at the end. I was pleased that there were losses that were sad and not everyone ended up in a happy couple. Those always annoy me. But the main plot and love stories were resolved, and the realm became a peaceful place to live. It wasn’t an explosive ending, very predictable, but at least it wasn’t gag worthy. The love triangle could have been annoying, but she was resolved from the end of book one, so I was not to bothered by it.

Overall, I’m glad I read this book and the whole trilogy, but I doubt it’ll ever reach the reread stage. For Urban Fantasy fans, this is a good read in between favorites. If fae and romance aren’t your thing, this book probably isn’t for you either.

Sex: Kissing and low key sex scene
Violence: Death and blood, some of our favorites

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Series Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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ARC Review: The Spider by Jennifer Estep

“Get comfortable,” I said. Because it’s a long story. Funny enough, it all begins with a girl–a stupid, arrogant girl who thought that she could do no wrong . . .”

The Spider by Jennifer Estep

**ARC PROVIDED BY EDELWEISS**

Summary: Gin Blanco has received some black roses with a note that simply said, “Happy Anniversary.” Owen is curious about her story, so Gin starts to tell a story about a girl who thought she could do no wrong…

Review: A prequel to the whole series, this book felt like much of the same. It had all the good from the previous novels, yet now it just seems to be the same story over and over again. I wanted to rate this book 4 stars, but I couldn’t. It was that boring.

Overall, when a series gets to the point of book 10, prequel or not, we are hoping for something fresh to keep the old story going. Unfortunately, this story doesn’t provide much of that. We have the same Gin and Finn relationship, her admiration and respect for Fletcher who is alive, bad guys and people to save.

The books are a fun read as usual, but I am tired of the same formula. Stalk bad guy, find out if he’s really bad, attempt to kill him, fail, try again. At some point, Gin gets grievously injured and someone she cares about is hurt. Blah blah blah.

Sure Finn’s fun lines are there, but where is his character lately? He does nothing, and even from a funny sidekick, I want more depth from Finn. Fletcher was alive in this book, but even he didn’t add much depth to his character. Yay, he is alive, but what more is there? We should have learned more about Fletcher.

A prequel is supposed to add depth to a character’s background. This didn’t, and instead just felt like a huge step back for Gin. Yes, the story is set before all the character development of books 1 through 9. But, why did we need this story? How does it add to the overall arc?

I thought the book’s saving grace was Sebastian. He was suave, debonair, and oh so “perfect”. SPOILER AHEAD, HIGHLIGHT TO READ: That he turned out to be the bad guy, after a hot and steamy sex scene, was a cherry to his character. It’s rare in urban fantasy to give us a hot steamy sex scene with a character who turns out to be the bad guy.

Honestly, if Estep can’t find a way to make this series original and fresh, the series already done. The series felt finished when Mab died. Now what? How can Gin grow? I can’t seem to quit this series, because I love Gin and her strength of character. But I wonder how long I can keep going.

Sex: Steamy sex scene
Violence: Murder and mayhem typical of Ashland

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Series Rating: 4.5 out 5 stars

Release date: December 24th, 2013

Next Book: Poison Promise out July 29th, 2014

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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ARC Review: The Boleyn Deceit by Laura Anderson

Unexpectedly, Dr. Dee took her right hand, letting her fingertips rest in his palm. “This is the hand of a woman, Your Highness. But it is also the hand of a ruler. The king, your father, spent much effort and pain to secure a worthy heir for England. If he had been able to see beyond your woman’s body, he would have found the heart of the heir he sought.”

The Boleyn Deceit by Laura Anderson

**ARC provided by NetGalley**

Summary: In The Boleyn King, we were posed with the story of, “what would have happened if Ann Boleyn’s baby boy didn’t die and he became king?” Now, King William is in love, and is about to do to his country what his dad did by marrying Minuette for “love”. The problem is she doesn’t love him back. She loves his best friend, Dom. And, Elizabeth is trying to keep everyone together, possibly like a queen? Love triangles, political intrigue, and betrayal, the tale continues on the “What if”.

Review: The alternate history genre is still new to me, so I was intrigued by the premise that King Henry actually didn’t kill most of his wives cause he had a son. I liked the first book a lot. This one was good, but it fell flat for me.

I think the problem with this book was that nothing really happened to move the plot forward until the very end. Especially through the middle, the story really dragged, with 3 out of the 4 characters busy mooning and moping. The end made up for boring bits. Without giving out spoilers, the end was equally warming and heart stopping.

The most exciting parts of this book were the political drama and Elizabeth’s realization that maybe her role is more important than the king’s sister. She is also my favorite character, controlled, caring, and truly meant to rule a new world. I like Robert Dudley also, he is beloved ambiguous. I am looking forward to Lord Rochford getting what he is due. He’s a great villain.

For Romance lovers, I think this book will be loved by them. The romance is sweet and believable, with passion without racy erotica. Forbidden loves of all kinds are explored, and who doesn’t love forbidden love? Robert and Elizabeth’s doomed love is my favorite. Elizabeth maturely handles her emotions, and I never know whether to applaud Robert for his love for Elizabeth or smack him for being a douchebag.

I think historians, especially those familiar with Tudors, will have trouble reconciling the fact with the fiction. But, I am no historian buff, and I enjoy intentional alternatives. If you like historical romance and political drama in an alternate reality, then I would suggest picking up this series. I am looking forward to reading the conclusion of this trilogy.

Sex: Kissing and references to sex
Violence: War scenes and regal crime

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Series Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Next Book: The Boleyn Reckoning, the final installment, will be out July 15th, 2014

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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ARC Review: Black Heart by Christina Henry

“It’s better if I don’t make grand gestures,” Puck said. “It tends to draw unwanted attention.”
“And it doesn’t draw unwanted attention when I do it?” I asked.
“Well, yes, it might,” Puck admitted. “But when you do it, ancient beings don’t construe your actions as an act of war. They just think you’re flying off the handle— again.”

Black Heart by Christina Henry

**Copy provided by NetGalley**

Summary: The Retrievers are coming to get Maddy, so Nathaniel sends her through a portal to… Well, Maddy has no idea where. She is lost in an unknown land, and there is not another human in sight. When water demons attack her, and she spies her first real life Dragon, Maddy realizes that she truly is all alone…

Review: The Black Wings novels are short, but the latest installment was an enjoyable start to my day.

The world buildings at times can be convoluted. I am not sure where the supernaturals are from all the time, and what their motivations are. But I believe that is how Henry is trying to make us feel. Maddy can’t really trust anyone offering her favors, Especially not the four brothers, Lucifer, Puck, Alerian, and Daharan. Daharan is the 4th brother we just met, the most powerful, and the only one Maddy trusts. The question for us then is: who are the four brothers? What does it mean? Sometimes I feel that more questions come up than the number of answers we get.

Maddy’s story shines through the complexity of her characters. Maddy herself is very complex, walking the fine line between good and evil. Has she gone too dark? Is she taking too many risks? Some characters think so while other characters relish in her dark side. Maddy’s two sides I think are parallel to her remaining love interests. Nathaniel represents her going dark, J.B. represents her humanity.

Another strength of Henry’s is the pace of her overall plot. Through most of the book, the story moves at her normal fast place. Not so fast that it’s confusing but just enough to keep the excitement up. The only part where it felt slow was the beginning, when Maddy was off by herself. The characters really make the plot move in these books, and Maddy being on her own was a tad bit boring.

All in all, I enjoy Maddy’s adventures immensely. I am looking forward to all the questions being answered. Urban Fantasy fans will enjoy the books along with me. Just make sure you start from the beginning, or else you’ll be confused.

Sex: sex scene, kissing
Violence: Supernatural destruction and death

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Series Rating 4 out of 5 stars

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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A Few Reviews: ARC Edition

I know I promised this last week, but here it is a few days late.

Jaran

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/671987909
Quote:  “When you have a full and eager heart in you, you must not go to a man whose heart is empty and weak.”

No Wonder You Feel Like Crap!: The Hidden, Deadly Connection Between Stress, Diet, and Disease

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/726911367

Faeries, Elves and Goblins: The Old Stories

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/710546508
Quote: “You may call them Good People, Strangers, The Gentry, Honest Folk, People of Peace, Tiddy Ones, Mother’s Blessings, Them That’s In or simply Themselves; but never speak their true names.”

ALL ARCS RECEIVED FROM NETGALLEY FOR AN HONEST REVIEW

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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