Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Balance Keepers trilogy by Lindsay Cummings


Synopsis for The Fires of Calderon:
The first book in an epic middle grade fantasy adventure series that takes place in an underground society at the center of the earth. Packed with action, humor, magic, and mystery.

After following a mysterious map into the woods and then under the woods, eleven-year-old Albert Flynn learns he’s a Balance Keeper—someone with special magical skills for fixing problems in three underground Realms at the Core of the earth. His new job is important; if the realms fall out of balance, the world above could be in great danger.

Albert and his Balance Keeper teammates Birdie and Leroy arrive in the Core not a moment too soon. There’s an Imbalance in the Calderon Realm and it’s threatening to bury Albert’s hometown of New York City in a mountain of ash.

The three must train hard completing mental and physical challenges, but above all, they must harness the power of their Tiles—unique superpowers given to each Balance Keeper. So far, Albert’s mastered the art of not mastering his Tile....

With the situation in Calderon growing worse every day, can Albert, Leroy, and Birdie restore balance before New York is destroyed forever? Will Albert master his Tile before it’s too late?

Perfect for fans of Percy Jackson, The Unwanteds, and the classic Journey to the Center of the Earth.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).


Synopsis for The Pillars of Ponderay:
Albert Flynn is psyched to return to the Core, the magical world at the center of the earth where Balance Keepers fix problems in three underground Realms. Last term, Albert and his Balance Keeper teammates Birdie and Leroy saved New York by fixing the Calderon Realm and were crowned First Unit, aka the Coolest Kids in the Core.

Now Albert and his teammates have been called to the Core for an emergency training session…along with their archenemy, Hoyt. There’s a horrible Imbalance in the Ponderay Realm and they have only seven days before California will be swallowed by hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Worse yet, it’s rumored there’s a traitor among them who is causing all this chaos. 

Will Albert, Leroy, and Birdie discover who’s been putting the Core—and the world above—in danger? Can they save Ponderay before California becomes an underwater wasteland forever?

(Synopsis from Goodreads).


Synopsis for The Traitor of Belltroll:
Albert and his Balance Keepers teammates have been called back to the Core for immediate action! There’s a serious Imbalance in the fantastical underground Realm of Belltroll, and without intervention everything from New York to Yellowstone above could be swallowed by earthquakes. It’s clear the mysterious traitor who caused last term’s chaos is at it again, and with a vengeance.

Albert’s super-magical Master Tile helped fix the Ponderay and Calderon Realms in previous terms, but now it seems the Tile may be more trouble than it’s worth. Because if it’s Albert’s Tile the traitor is after, there will have to be a battle sooner or later, and only one of them can win…

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I'd heard great things about Lindsay Cumming's The Murder Complex duology. I hadn't heard many things about her Balance Keepers trilogy, but I had been wanting to read a lot of middle grade fantasy books lately, so I figured I'd try it before The Murder Complex. I ended up loving it. In fact, I loved it so much that I read the entire trilogy in two days, which is no easy feat considering the size of the books.

I loved everything about The Balance Keepers trilogy. I can't think of one thing I disliked about it. It reminded me of Harry Potter, combined with parts of Ender's Game, and brought back a lot of nostalgic feelings for both series. I loved how fast paced the series was. There was never a single moment where I was bored, or wanted to put the book down. It was interesting to see how the main characters used their resources to solve the problems in the realms. There were some that I didn't think they were going to be able to solve, but they did in surprising, and shocking ways.

I loved each and every one of the characters. I don't think i could pick a favorite if I tried. Each one of them had something unique to bring into the trilogy. The three main characters reminded me a bit of Harry, Ron, and Hermione from the Harry Potter series. Even though I didn't like him at first, I even ended up liking Hoyt. He might be a jerk at first, but in the end, he redeemed himself, and became one of my favorite characters.

I was not prepared for this trilogy to end. As I turned the last few pages of The Traitor of Belltroll, it felt like I was losing a home, and a friend. I really hope that Lindsay Cummings writes a spin off series. Maybe she could write one where the main characters are older, and making their decision about whether to live there all the time. However, I'd be happy with any sort of spin off series in this world. I'm not above begging, pleading, and groveling to make this happen. This will definitely be a series I buy physical copies of, read multiple times, and probably read to the children in my life. I'm more than slightly addicted to this trilogy. I really do wish more people would read it.


I give The Balance Keepers trilogy: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://www.lindsaycummingsbooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lindsay.cummings.758/?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorlindsayc
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtQXGpcOtwWF1zHuWnA8wjg
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorlindsaycummings/?hl=en
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5805483.Lindsay_Cummings

I received this trilogy from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Fe-Lines by Norman R. Shapiro


Synopsis:
The French have long had a love affair with the cat, expressed through centuries of poetry portraying the animal's wit and wonder. Norman R. Shapiro lionizes the felines' limitless allure in this one-of-a-kind collection. Spanning centuries and styles, he draws on she-cats and toms, and an honor roll of French poets, well known and lesser known, who have served as their devoted champions. He reveals the remarkable range of French cat poems, with most works presented here for the first time in English translation. Scrupulously devoted to evoking the meaning and music of the originals, Shapiro also respects the works' formal structures. Pairing his translations with Olga Pastuchiv's elegant illustrations, Fe-Lines guides the reader through the marvels and inscrutabilities of the Mystique féline.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
For those of you that have been around since I started book reviewing, you know I love books about cats. I will read any genre, even genres I usually don't like, if I find a book in the genre about cats. Typically, I don't road poetry. In fact, before now, I think the last time I read poetry was when I read the Shel Silverstein books when I was a kid. It's just not one of those genres I enjoy. However, when I saw a book of poems about cats, Fe-Lines, for request on NetGalley, I wanted to read it badly. Unfortunately, I ended up disappointed. 

I was hoping that I would be able to identify with Fe-Lines, and that it would make me laugh. In actuality, I was extremely bored. I found the whole book to be tedious. In fact, towards the end of the book, I found myself skimming through the poems, just to be done with the book. The only reason why I chose to give the book two stars instead of one is that I liked the illustrations. Most of them were adorable, and fit well with the poems. That was the only thing I found enjoyable throughout the whole experience.

Based on my reaction to Fe-Lines, maybe poetry isn't my thing after all. I think it will be quite some time before I pick up a book of poetry, and try it again. The book didn't give me that joyful feeling I usually feel when I read books about cats, and stumble across a quirk that I can identify with, because I've seen my cat do the same thing. If you like poetry, I would recommend at least trying this book. However, don't go into it with high expectations.


I give Fe-Lines: 2/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/233668.Norman_R_Shapiro

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life by P.J. Hoover


Synopsis:
Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life is a funny, fast-paced novel for young readers by P.J. Hoover which chronicles the mischievous adventures of King Tut, now an immortal eighth-grader living in Washington, D.C..

You’d think it would be great being an Egyptian demigod, but if King Tut has to sit through eighth grade one more time, he’ll mummify himself.

Granted the gift of immortality by the gods—or is it a curse?—Tut has been stuck in middle school for ages. Even worse, evil General Horemheb, the man who killed Tut’s father and whom Tut imprisoned in a tomb for three thousand years, is out and after him. The general is in league with the Cult of Set, a bunch of guys who worship one of the scariest gods of the Egyptian pantheon—Set, the god of Chaos.

The General and the Cult of Set have plans for Tut… and if Tut doesn’t find a way to keep out of their clutches, he’ll never make it to the afterworld alive.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
I've read a lot about mythology lately. Greek, Norse, Egyptian, Chinese, it doesn't matter. As long as the book is about mythology, I'll read it. I'm especially loved middle grade, and young adult books about mythology. I blame the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan for this. Therefore, I thought I would love Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life. Unfortunately, after reading the book I found myself feeling very underwhelmed. I didn't hate it, but I definitely didn't love it either. 

There were parts of this book that I did love, such as the snarky sense of humor. I also really enjoyed the shabtis. However, most of this book drove me crazy. There were so many plot holes and inconsistencies. For example, Tut breaks an oath to Horus, for which you would think there would be consequences. In fact, it's strongly implied in the book that there will be consequences. However, nothing happens. The whole situation practically gets ignored. 

Tut, the main character in the book, drove me crazy. He was incredibly irresponsible, and had no common sense whatsoever. He meets this new girl named Tia. From the beginning, she acts very suspicious. Right away you can tell that she's hiding something, and isn't trustworthy. Despite all of that, Tut tells her some very important secrets, and shows her a secret tomb. I just wanted to reach through the book, shake him, and ask him what the heck he was thinking.

Other than a little bit of snarkiness from the shabtis, I didn't like Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life at all. The book was a major letdown. It was disappointing, considering how much I loved P.J. Hoover's other book, Solstice. There is a sequel to Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life, but I don't think I will be picking it up. Even though I didn't enjoy this book, younger readers that are fans of the Percy Jackson series might like this book.


I give Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life: 2/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.pjhoover.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPJHoover
Twitter: https://twitter.com/pj_hoover
Tumblr: http://pjhoover.tumblr.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pj_hoover/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+PJHoover
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/965908.P_J_Hoover

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Ghost and the Belle by Rose Shababy


Synopsis:
Always a loner, Irene Bell prefers to spend her days tending her little bookstore in the sleepy little Virginia town of Saint’s Grove. After all, she tells herself, what other company does a girl need when she has her books?
But when a much anticipated lunar eclipse and planetary alignment bring a meteor that tears a rift between realities, the entire town is thrown into chaos as mythology becomes reality.
A reality that includes a drop-dead gorgeous ghost named Benjamin Churchill, who appears naked and unconscious, smack dab in the middle of her store.
A chance meeting with a witch reveals he’s been cursed, his body and soul bound to his former office, now Irene’s bookstore. The only way to break the curse is to assemble the long-lost pieces of a mystical artifact known as the Star Anthame, a knife created by magic and cursed by the darkest witch Saint’s Grove has ever known. No one knows where the pieces lay, and worse, they aren’t the only ones looking for it.
Racing against a ticking clock, both Irene and Benjamin must fight the irresistible attraction between them.
Breaking the curse means Benjamin can finally cross over. Failing means he’ll be stuck between worlds for another thousand years. And no matter how hard they look, they can’t seem to find a way for him to stay.
What’s a girl to do when the man she loves is a ghost?

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I read the first book in the Saint's Grove series, Immortal Ties, earlier this year. I absolutely fell in love with it. After that, I was determined to read all of the books in the series this year. The series isn't a series that you have to read in order, so I decided to read The Ghost and the Belle next. I thought it was a great book.

The Ghost and the Belle was a cute, romantic read. At times, it reminded me of a Beauty and the Beast re-telling, although I'm not sure it was intended to be. The book was definitely cheesy at times. Sometimes it was so cheesy that it was over the top. However, that is a part of the book's charm and appeal.

I loved all of the characters in The Ghost and the Belle. It was interesting to see the relationship dynamic between everyone. I especially loved the relationship between Professor McGurty, and Flora. It was adorable to watch them together. My favorite character was Irene. I can relate to her on so many different levels. She's a huge bibliophile. Like me, she would rather spend the day curled up somewhere reading instead of having to interact with people.

I loved being able to immerse myself back into the Saint's Grove world while reading The Ghost and the Belle. The book made me even more excited to read the rest of the books in the Saint's Grove series. Also, I really want to try to read more of Rose Shababy's other novels. Based on this book, I really love her writing style. I recommend this book to anyone wanting a fun paranormal romance book to read.


I give The Ghost and the Belle: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://roseshababy.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rose.shababy
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8380112.Rose_Shababy

I received this ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Highmage's Plight by D.H. Aire


Synopsis:
Professor George Bradley, computer staff in hand, "envisions" an archaeological site, which could turn history on its head. Then he falls through a ripple in reality. He enters a world where: trolls think they are human; elves believe humans can't do magic since they don't have souls; a child of prophecy is dying of a curse; a shape-changer is bent on killing him; a seeress keeps too many secrets; and an ogre and a boy struggle to defend a keep against the evil ruling it. This is a world where a starship crash landed, bringing about a war, which led to the laws of magic defeating those of science. Here a demon rages, intent on destroying all life, its minions intent on killing the human mage from another world. If that wasn't bad enough, George's computer is now rather sarcastic.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I've been binge reading a lot of fantasy lately. I can't get enough of it. I've especially been loving to read fantasy by indie authors. Therefore, I was hoping that I would love Highmage's Plight. Unfortunately, I didn't really care for it at all. 

Highmage's Plight reminded me a lot of the Thomas Covenant series, which for me isn't a good thing. The reader is dropped into the story with no world building whatsoever. It made everything so confusing. I spent most of the book trying to figure out what the heck was going on. The different races, traditions, and characters of the world weren't explained well at all. There were times when I thought the story line was starting to make sense and became interesting, only to be confused again a page or two later. 

I had such high hopes for Highmage's Plight, but in the end, I was letdown. It wasn't the epic fantasy that I expected. It was so disappointing. There are several more books in the series, but I will not be picking them up to read. I honestly can't say I recommend this series to anyone.


I give Highmage's Plight: 2/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.dhr2believe.net/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Dare-2-Believe-238893922808198/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dare2Believe1

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Portal by Alan Zendell


Synopsis:
Harry Middleton is born in an America staggered by a century of decline, a time of medical and technological marvels beyond the reach of most people in a shattered economy. Pessimism and despair are more common than optimism and hope, and a desperate government bets the future on space. The lunar and Martian colonies have not provided the hoped-for salvation, so despite an angry, disillusioned public, the first star mission will soon be launched.

Harry is a special child, smart, precocious, his only confidante an embittered grandfather. When the old man dies, Harry is lost, until he meets Lorrie. At thirteen, they bond, certain they’ll spend their lives together, but a year later, she disappears, and Harry is desolate.

With help from his friend Carlos, Harry begins a quest to find her, but he quickly learns how powerless he is. Even the police lack the resources to help. Harry and Carlos can only depend on themselves and each other. An unlikely duo, Harry is an academic prodigy while Carlos is a stud athlete. Realizing that school and baseball are their tickets out of the morass they’re caught in, they inspire each other to greatness in both.

Trying to move on with his life, Harry has a college sweetheart, but as long as Lorrie haunts him, he knows the relationship is doomed. He gains celebrity and wealth, but the thing Harry wants most, finding and saving Lorrie from whatever fate took her from him remains beyond his reach. And always, in the background, are the deteriorating state of the country and the coming star missions.

And of course, there's the Portal.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I've owned The Portal for quite a long time. Even though I really wanted to read it, I put it off for a couple years. It was intimidating to me for some reason. I'm not quite sure why. In 2017, I've made it a goal of mine to catch up on some of my review books. Therefore, I decided to get over the intimidation and read it. I wish I would have read it sooner. I loved it.

Most people that have read The Portal and talk about it on Goodreads classify it as a romance. It is a beautiful, heart breaking romance. However, it is so much more than a romance. I want to touch on an aspect of the book that most people don't talk about, the science fiction. I loved the science fiction aspects of this book. It was fascinating to see how the portal technology worked. I read primarily science fiction book, and this was definitely one of my favorite ones that I've read this year. 

There was one thing about The Portal that I didn't like. The timing wasn't explained very well, which made for some confusing moments. For example, four years pass after the attack that happens, and while reading it, it was like no time had passed at all. The only reason why I knew the time had passed was because the author had pointed it out halfway through telling that part of the story. It also took me a little bit to figure out that it had been a year after one of the characters had died (trying to be vague so I don't spoil it for anyone). If the author went back into the book, and fleshed out the time line a little better, the book would be perfect.

The ending of The Portal was absolutely beautiful. It made me bawl. I hope Alan Zendell writes a sequel, or at least a novella, about what happened after the ending. I loved this book so much. I regret that it took me so long to read it because I kept putting it off. I will definitely be reading Alan Zendell's other books very soon. I recommend this book for anyone who loves sci-fi, and enjoys a little romance intertwined.

I give The Portal: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

DNF Review: Dr. Lane Bravo's Lectures on Bervin "The Blue" by Chris Sweigard

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Synopsis:
This is the history of Bervin "The Blue" as recorded by Dr. Lane Bravo. Young Bervin of the planet Kelner was picked to unite the Common Sense Stones of Sight, Sound, Taste, Hearing, and Touch. As his journey progresses, and he recovers the stones from there protectors, Bervin experiences dramatic changes in his own senses and abilities. His actions are also responsible for dramatic changes on his small planet. Bervin's actions are credited for raising the wondrous Brietta Mount up above the existing atmosphere, allowing the sun's rays to ricochet around in it and shoot blue into the sky all over Kelner. It is Dr. Bravo's job to record this history. He does this by compiling first person accounts of the events, and presenting those as interviews. He also presents legends and lore. The final piece of information he presents is Bervin's own journal from the journey. Although few, the accounts offer the closest to first person history that we have to this historical event.
(Synopsis from Goodreads.)

My Thoughts:
When I first read the synopsis for Dr. Lane Bravo's Lectures on Bervin "The Blue", I knew I had to read it. It sounded like it was unlike anything I had ever read before. The perfect mix of fantasy with a unique story telling method. Unfortunately, I disliked this book quite a bit. I ended up DNF'ing it at just twenty-two pages because I couldn't read anymore. 

Most of the first twenty-two pages of this book was a complete info-dump. It was way too much information to try to take in at once. It made everything confusing, and hard to pay attention to. I felt my eyes glaze over several times while trying to read this. I wasn't absorbing any of the information. Doctor Lane Bravo would also go off, and randomly get sidetracked throughout the book, and go on random tangents. That didn't help my attention span at all. By the time I DNF'd the book at twenty-two pages, I had a terrible headache from trying to figure out what was going on. At that point, Bervin "The Blue" was barely mentioned at all. Therefore, I decided to give up, and DNF the book. 

At this point in time, I will not be going back to try to read the book again. Days later, even the thought of this book still gives me a headache. However, I can't say that I don't recommend Dr. Lane Bravo's Lectures on Bervin "The Blue" to anyone. My husband read the book, and he enjoyed it. Therefore, it might be more of a personal preference thing. However, if you do start it, be prepared for a lot of info-dumping.


I give Dr. Lane Bravo's Lectures on Bervin "The Blue": 1/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.chrissweigard.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChrisSweigardauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chrissweigard
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chris-sweigard-598a8328
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5292955.Chris_Sweigard

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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Synopsis:
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

(Synopsis from Goodreads.)

My Thoughts:
Typically I'm not a big fan of books that have a lot of hype surrounding them. Most of the time I find myself disappointed because the book just doesn't live up to my expectations. However, in almost every Booktube video that I watch, I see We Were Liars mentioned. Therefore, I decided to cave in to the peer pressure and read it. Personally I thought that the book was overhyped. It was just an okay read for me.

For most of We Were Liars, I was completely bored. I had to focus to keep reading it because it wasn't holding my attention. Typically a book of this size only takes me a couple of hours to read. However, this one took me a couple of days to read because I kept putting it down. I was interested in the big mystery everyone kept talking about, but not interested enough to fly through the book. 

Then the big plot twist happened. I was completely blindsided. I remember reading it at three in the morning, and waking my husband up by yelling "What the fuck?!". I won't go into details because I don't want to ruin it for anyone that hasn't read the book, but it might be the most shocking reveal I've ever read in a book. It definitely made up for the rest of the book being boring.

While I didn't like all of We Were Liars, I did find myself enjoying it at the end. I hope E. Lockhart writes more suspenseful/thriller books like this. If you do choose to read this book, I highly recommend you go into it blind (without reading the synopsis, or spoiling it in any way for yourself). I recommend this book to anyone looking for something that is completely mind meddling, and makes you think.


I give We Were Liars: 3.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.emilylockhart.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elockhartbooks?pnref=story
Twitter: https://twitter.com/elockhart
Tumblr: http://elockhartbooks.tumblr.com/
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/elockhartbooks/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elockhartbooks/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/173491.E_Lockhart

I received this ebook from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Making the Best of the Zombie Apocalypse by Alisha Adkins


Synopsis:
Extreme circumstances dictate extreme behaviors. In a post-apocalyptic world infested by the undead, cannibalism is not only acceptable, but a necessity. In order to get by, people do whatever they feel they must.
Unwilling to let go, Nathan nostalgically preserves the one remaining relationship that he cherishes by caring for his restrained zombie mother. 
An enigmatic young woman, Tempest takes dangerous jobs with the black market while trying to keep ahead of her past. 
Meeting at a support group for apocalypse survivors, they discover that each may have what the other needs.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I've read Flesh Eaters, and Zombie Gras by Alisha Adkins, and loved them both. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite horror/zombie apocalypse survival writers. Therefore I was excited when she gave her approval for me to read a review copy of Making the Best of the Zombie Apocalypse. Unfortunately, I found the book very underwhelming, at least compared to the other books that I've read by her.

Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy most of this book. As much as it was a stupid decision on his part, it was interesting to see how Nathan dealt with the situation with his mother. It was also cool to see the dynamics of the group, and how everyone bonded together, even though they were completely different. 

That being said, there was nothing in this book to set it apart from Alisha Adkins' other books. The book had the same scenario as the other zombie apocalypse books I've read by her, rehashed with a couple of different variables. The first time I read one of her books, the cannibalism aspect was new, and intriguing. It was something that I had never seen in a zombie apocalypse book before. However, by this point it's kind of boring. It no longer holds the shock value that it once did. I'm over it. Also, the ending of Making the Best of the Zombie Apocalypse was a letdown. I was expecting something so much better, and shocking.

This is the first one of Alisha Adkins' books that I've read that I didn't love. It completely missed the mark for me. However, I will continue to read her backlog because I've loved most of the books I've read by her. I can see how someone would love this if it was the first book by her that they've read.


I give Making the Best of the Zombie Apocalypse: 2.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://alishaadkins.com/index.html
Blog: http://rhapsodyinlime.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alisha.adkins.90
Twitter: https://twitter.com/alisha_adkins
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/rhapsodii/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rhapsodiii/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/rhapsodii
Polyvore: http://alishaadkins.polyvore.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5831214.Alisha_Adkins

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Wererat by Jonathan P. Brazee


Synopsis:
Rafe comes from a long line of shifters. His father is a werewolf, and his mother is a weretiger. As he reaches puberty, he eagerly awaits his First Shift and finding out just what is his animal form. What powerful animal will complete him? 

Much to his disappointment, after going through the agony of his First Shift, Rafe discovers that he is not a wolf, tiger, or bear. He is not even a coyote or raptor, forms considered perhaps less prestigious in the tribe, but still acceptable. No, Rafe is a wererat, the only wererat in anyone’s memory. 

Events work out to drive Rafe away from the tribe, to live out in the world at large. When he finally comes back for a visit, the tribe comes under attack from a group dedicated to eradicate all shifters from the face of the earth. The question is whether there is anything Rafe can do to help his tribe survive. Does he have value in a tribe of powerful shifters, or is exile the proper place for a genetic regression such as him?

(Synopsis from Goodreads.)

My Thoughts:
Every now and then, I like to step out of my comfort zone, and read books that aren't in my usual genre. I don't typically read books about shifters. It's just not my genre. I typically find them filled with a ridiculous plot, and very awkward sex scenes. However, I found myself drawn to Wererat by Johathan P. Brazee. I'm glad I read it. I ended up loving it. 

Wererat was the complete opposite of your typical shifter book. It had an intense plot that kept me intrigued from being to end. The plot was very fast paced. There was so much going on in just under two hundred pages. However, the plot didn't feel rushed at all, which I enjoyed. It felt like the reader got a full story, with no loose ends. I loved seeing how Rafe dealt with being a wererat. He took something that most people would think of as a disadvantage, and used it to help, more than anyone else did. Also, for being a shifter book, there was no sex, which was a nice change of pace. In fact, I think I would consider this book a young adult book.

There were a couple of minor things that did bother me about the book. I wasn't a huge fan of the way it ended. I mean, I understand why Rafe made the decision he did. I wanted him to make the opposite decision though because of the time he spent with his family. Part of that might be because I wanted to read more of the characters though. I would love to see more of his sister. Also, I found it kind of weird that MJ let Rafe borrow her car for that long. Most typical girlfriends wouldn't do that. If I was her, I would have flipped.

Wererat is probably one of my favorite indie books that I've read recently. Even though it's not in my favorite genres, I loved most of the book. I don't know that it will happen, but I really hope that Jonathan P. Brazee writes books about the side characters in this book, especially Tabitha or Trevor. In the meantime, I plan on reading some of his other books. I recommend Wererat to anyone looking for a good book that's outside the realm of normal.


I give Wererat: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.jonathanbrazee.com/index.html
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jonathanbrazeeauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6468805.Jonathan_P_Brazee

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Little Orphan Anvil: The Shades of Fate by Joseph Beekman


Synopsis:
With the discovery of a "legendary" pumpkin patch in the dark of the deadwoods, the witch returns in this second installment to the tale of magic and metal. The Land of Iron and Anvil is once again threatened with the dark magic of the witch, and the little robot, Anvil, along with some new and old friends, must venture into the shadowy lands of the realm to stop her wicked ways...and seal her fate.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
For some reason, I've been on a middle grade binge reading session lately. It's all I've been wanting to read. It's unusual for me. Usually I prefer young adult books, or adult fantasy. I read the first book in the Little Orphan Anvil trilogy a couple of years ago, and loved it. Recently, I decided to pick up the sequel, The Shades of Fate. I loved it just as much as the original, if not more so.

There's just something magical about Joseph Beekman's writing style. While reading Shades of Fate, I found myself completely immersed in the story line.  The Shades of Fate had a fast paced plot that kept me interested from beginning to end. It was intriguing to see how the kids solved their problems, even when a solution to the problem seemed impossible. At one point, the book even had me biting my nails, worried about how the kids were going to get out of their situation.


I loved Little Orphan Anvil: The Shades of Fate. I've read quite a few of Joseph Beekman's books, and I think this might just be my favorite one so far. He has a way of writing that make the reader feel like he or she is in the story, going on adventures with the main characters. I can't wait to read the final book in the trilogy, The Gravelands of Fate, and see how everything is wrapped up. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a good fantasy story with a twist, kids and adults alike.

I give Little Orphan Anvil: The Shades of Fate: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joseph.beekman
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mesopawtamia
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6452232.Joseph_Beekman

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Catology by Adrian Searle and Oliver Ninnis


Synopsis:
Just what is your cat thinking? As it gazes up at you, are those eyes filled with love and admiration or spite and scorn? From the author of the award-winning 101 Uses of a Dead Kindle and If Dogs Could Swear comes a hilarious insight into the twisted, venal, self-serving psychology of our cutest four-legged sociopaths.

Catology is a psychiatrist's view of your moggy; a brilliant, unforgettable and twisted look at the many bizarre, ridiculous and instantly recognisable scenarios in which cat owners find their beloved pets every day.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
For those that have been following the blog for a while, you know that I'm slightly obsessed with cats. I will read anything about cats. I also love comics. When I saw Catology on NetGalley, I had to request it. It's a book of comics about how cats think. i think it would be hilarious. Unfortunately, i didn't care for it at all. 

Catology seemed almost like it was trying too hard to be funny. It completely missed the mark. I was bored throughout most of the book. Also, the synopsis of the book makes it seem like there will be a more educational look at the psychosis of cats. There wasn't at all. It was just a bunch of comics that poked fun at cats particular habits. 

The only reason why I am giving this book two stars instead of one is that a couple of the comics made me chuckle. All in all, I was very disappointed with Catology. I think the synopsis is incredibly misleading. I would not recommend this book to anyone. There are books that are a lot better if you wish to read something about cats.


I give Catology: 2/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://www.theguardian.com/profile/adriansearle
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SearleAdrian?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The White Rose of Nightfall by Carla Peele


Synopsis:
What Rose Hennessy had longed for her entire existence was unattainable freedom, first from her oppressive father, then her vampire husband, Vickram; but Rose would not find that freedom until she fell into Connor’s arms…

In 1800s Ireland, Rose Hennessy was on her way to a convent when her human life was ended—and her true life began: as a vampire… Vickram, head of the Clan of Kandor, sired her as a vampire, and she thought herself free of all societal conventions and her father’s stern rule. However, she soon learned that her “freedom” came with a price, and that Vickram’s God complex was stifling, almost as stifling as being forced to endure his icy, dead touch… However, she soon established herself formidable, and rebelled, choosing for herself a mate, Connor Kelly… In his anger, Vickram forces the young lovers to do something drastic— and in so doing unearth one of Vickram’s best-kept secrets, the daughters of Caine himself who sired him, that he had locked away in his greed and lust for power. They become Connor and Rose’s greatest protectors and allies, who always return when truly needed… 

Through them they learn that the supernatural world is on the constant lookout for the seven “artifacts of Caine”, items made with his magical staff and given to seven people throughout history, including Vlad the Impaler, Elizabeth Bathory and Sun Tzu, all of whom left their marks upon them. Though they have no desire to search for them, the items continually show up around them, including one that has made a vampire “mortal” again! When they help Mark, the re-mortalized vampire, save his wife Miranda, a wiccan, she is so grateful she gives them a potion that allows them to conceive two children: Violet and Aaron, who later develop powers of their own…

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
When I was a teenager, I was obsessed with vampire books, as I think a lot of us were. They were everywhere, and I tried to get my hands on every single one I could, and read them all. I probably read at least one hundred of them. I have to admit, as an adult, books about vampires are still a guilty pleasure from time to time, even though I'm not as obsessed with them anymore. When I read the synopsis of The White Rose of Nightfall, I knew I had to read it. It sounded fascinating. After I finished the book, I thought it was okay. 

I did love the plot of The White Rose of Nightfall. I thought it was intriguing, and it kept me turning pages wondering what was going to happen to Rose and Connor. They got into some nasty situations that I wasn't sure they were going to survive. I liked seeing how they fought their way out of it, and how they adapted throughout the years. I especially liked the point in the plot where they were in Baton Rogue, Louisiana. Not only was it a turning point in the book, but Mark and Miranda quickly became my favorite characters.

That being said, I did have a couple of problems with the book, even though I did enjoy it. The author's writing needs a bit of a maturing. At times, I felt like there was things that didn't exactly make sense due to plot holes. The book did drag at times as well. Also, I don't know if it's because the book was short, but the ending felt rushed. It seems like everything wrapped up nice and quick within a couple pages, when there was more that could have been added.

On Goodreads, it says this book is the first book in a series. However, the book ended in a way where it could be a standalone. The book was published in 2011, and as of May 2017 there is no sequel. However, I really hope that the author does write a sequel. It would be interesting to see if her writing has matured since then, which I'm sure it has. I would love to hear more about the kids, and what's been happening in their lives since the ending of The White Rose of Nightfall.


I give The White Rose of Nightfall: 3/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Twitter: https://twitter.com/carlapeele
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6431664.Carla_Peele

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

DNF Review: iFeel by Marissa Carmel


Synopsis:
Lust. Anger. Hate. Desire. Love. Happiness. Joy. iFeel. 

What happens when an unknowing empath meets a pixie who wears leather, a snitch who is repulsive and a fiery angel who can literally set your soul on fire? A whole lot of emotional turmoil and one love story ignited. 

Liv Christianni is isolated, alone, tortured and withdrawn, saddled with the torrential downpour of the world’s emotions. Accepting of her providence Liv has lost all hope, until one day fate steps in and spins the course of her life like a spiraling top. Hunted by a Spirit Stalker, Liv is forced to gain control of herself and her surroundings, threatened by the touch of her immortal love; she must find a way to survive both physically and emotionally. Can she find the courage to accept her true self? Can she love unconditionally cognizant of the condemning consequences? Can she rise from the ashes to become the person she was always meant to be? 

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Back when it first released, I read Stripped from You and really enjoyed it. After that, I decided I wanted to try more of Marissa Carmel's books. I recently read iFeel, and unfortunately, it was a DNF (did not finish) for me at 12%. It was upsetting to me because the book has such a gorgeous cover that I wanted to love it.

I usually try to give it 50 pages, or 25% (whichever comes first) when I DNF a book. However, I just couldn't force myself to read more of the book. I read it on my Kindle Paperwhite, via Kindle Unlimited, and the formatting of the book was really messed up. There were random numbers everywhere. I think it was supposed to be page numbers, but it made no sense. Sometimes they would be in the middle of the page, sometimes on the top, and sometimes just randomly thrown in. They would repeat a lot too, which is why I said I think they were supposed to be page numbers. I couldn't really tell. Also, there would be random lines in the middle of the page, which made concentrating on the book to read almost impossible. It was distracting, and confusing to read. The pages would also stop in the middle of a sentence, which was also distracting.

I would definitely be willing to give this book another try if the formatting issues were fixed. When I DNF'd the book at 12%, the story was starting to intrigue me, but all of the formatting issues made it so it was hard to concentrate on the plot. I just kind of gave up caring about the plot. As of now, I have so many more books to read that I won't be trying this again, unless I know for certain that everything got fixed.


I give iFeel: 1/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormarissacarmel/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/marissacarmel
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5211765.Marissa_Carmel

I was in no way compensated for this review.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Series Review: Rose by Holly Webb


Synopsis for Rose:
The grand residence of the famous alchemist, Mr Fountain, is a world away from the dark orphanage Rose has left behind. For the house is positively overflowing with sparkling magic—she can feel it. And it’s not long before Rose realises that maybe, just maybe, she has a little bit of magic in her, too. . . .

The first book in an exciting, get-lost-in-the-world series about orphans, alchemy, magical powers and sinister child-catchers.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).


Synopsis for Rose and the Lost Princess:
The second spellbinding adventure with Rose… Turning the worn pages of her spell book, Rose can’t believe how much her life has changed. Once a poor orphan, and now an apprentice to the King’s chief magician! But when the country’s beloved Princess vanishes, everything changes. As rumours of dark magic fly through the city, the King asks Rose for help. She must find the missing Princess – before all is lost.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).


Synopsis for Rose and the Magician's Mask:
A precious mask of unimaginable power has been stolen from the royal palace. Rose suspects that dark magicians are at work – and that danger looms...

The race to stop the evil thieves will take Rose to the mysterious city of Venice, where nothing is quite what it seems... Can Rose use her magic to find the terrible mask, before its true powers are revealed?

(Synopsis from Goodreads).


Synopsis for Rose and the Silver Ghost:
Time has flown since Rose left the orphanage behind, and she loves her new family at Mr Fountain's magical house. But she still can't help wondering - what happened to her real family? Were they full of magic too, like her? Then Rose discovers a clue to the mystery: a silver mirror which once belonged to her mother. A mirror with a ghost...
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Typically, I don't read a lot of middle grade novels. I used to love them when I was younger. As an adult, I feel that I am so beyond the intended audience that the magic and wonder is lost on me. However, I've been on this kick lately where all I want to read is middle grade. I'm glad that I am. I read all of the Rose series by Holly Webb in one day, and I loved it. It brought all of the magic and wonder back into reading middle grade novels.

Holly Webb has a way of writing books that make you believe you are there right beside Rose, in Victorian London, experiencing the same thing that Rose is experiencing. For a middle grade novel, the author created a complex, intricate world that was absolutely beautiful. I love the magic system that she created. It was great to see how Rose, Mr. Fountain, and Freddie explored their talents, and became stronger magic users throughout each book. I loved seeing their progression from the beginning of Rose, to the end of Rose and Silver Ghost. My only problem with the series as a whole was that it was very predictable. By the first few chapters of Rose and the Magician's Mask, the third book in the series, I had already guessed most of the plot twists in the book, and was correct.

The Rose series was full of a fantastic cast of characters. I can't think of a single character that I disliked. Even Gossamer, the main villain in the series, was charming in his own way. Even though I liked all of the characters, my favorite was Gus. This should be no surprise for those of you that have followed my blog for a while, and know how much I love cats. I didn't just love him because he was a cat though. I also loved how protective he was of Rose. He might have seemed harsh, and pushed her to her limits sometimes, but that was because he wanted her to evolve her magic, and grow stronger. I also loved his snarky sense of humor.

I loved the Rose series. Even though it was predictable at times, it provided me with a lot of enjoyment. I noticed on Goodreads that Holly Webb has books with names of some of the minor characters in the Rose series, such as Maisie, and Lily. I'm not sure if the books are related to the Rose series, but I plan on reading them to find out because I want more of this world. I recommend this series for kids looking for a quick, fun fantasy read.


I give the Rose series: 3.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.holly-webb.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HollyWebbOfficial
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HollyKateSkeet

I received this series from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Away from the Dark by Aleatha Romig


Synopsis:
Nine months ago, Sara Adams awoke with no memory. The man holding her hand told her she’s a member of The Light, a tight-knit religious group led by the terrifying and charismatic Father Gabriel. As a woman in the community of The Light, her duty is to be unquestionably obedient and to submit to the will of her husband.

But as Sara’s memory starts to return and she remembers her past, she sees that everything she’s been told is a lie. The Light is an insidious and dangerous organization, and its corrupting influence reaches well beyond the confines of the remote campus where Sara is being held.

With everything at stake, Sara struggles to sort out her true memories from her indoctrination. The desire to escape consumes her, but who can she trust? And which other followers of The Light were forced into this life, brainwashed to believe they belonged? The more she remembers, the more it becomes clear that Jacob, the man who calls himself her husband, is keeping shattering secrets of his own.

But Sara cannot flee alone, leaving innocents behind. She must fight to extinguish The Light.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Away from the Dark was one of my most anticipated books of 2016. I read the first book, Into the Light, earlier in the year and it left off on a crazy cliffhanger. The wait for Away from the Dark was grueling, but I made it through. It was well worth the wait. The book was everything I wanted in a sequel, and more. 

Away from the Dark gave me all the answers I was looking for from the questions I had after reading Into the Light, but it also left me with completely new questions that I now need answered. The book was everything that usually makes Aleatha Romig's books great reads. It had a lot of suspense, combined with dark romance. While reading the book, I felt like I couldn't trust any of the characters. I wasn't even sure that the main characters were telling the truth ninety percent of the time. Just when the reader would think they knew what was going on, Aleatha Romig would throw another plot twist out there that makes you question everything you thought you knew.

I loved the characters even more in this sequel. They were the same characters, but they went through a lot of character development and growth. Sara went from being this meek little woman that did whatever her husband ordered her to, to a kickass heroine that didn't take any shit from anyone. She really grew into her own. I think part of that was her situation (trying to be vague so I don't give spoilers), but it was still refreshing to see.

I'm not sure if Aleatha Romig is going to write a sequel. She left the ending open to where the main character's major conflicts are resolved, but there's still some minor questions that need answered. I really hope that she does write a sequel. I desperately want more of this world in the future.


I give Away from the Dark: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://www.aleatharomig.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aleatha.romig.7
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AleathaRomig
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aleatharomig/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5131072.Aleatha_Romig

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.