Thursday, June 23, 2016

ARC Review: Last Call at the Night Shade Lounge by Paul Krueger


Release Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Quirk Books
Format: Kindle
Pages: 288 pages
Genre: Sci Fi/ Fantasy
Buy: Kindle | Paperback

Synopsis:

Bailey Chen is fresh out of college with all the usual new-adult demons: no cash, no job offers, and an awkward relationship with Zane, the old friend she kinda-sorta hooked up with during high school. But when Zane introduces Bailey to his monster-fighting bartender friends, her demons become a lot more literal. It turns out evil creatures stalk the city streets after hours, and they can only be hunted with the help of magically-mixed cocktails: vodka grants super-strength, whiskey offers the power of telekinesis, and tequila lets its drinker fire blasts of elemental energy. But will all of these powers be enough for Bailey to halt a mysterious rash of gruesome deaths? And what will she do when the safety of a “real world” job beckons?

Review


Quirky and interesting, this story twists the modern day bartender into a supernatural bounty hunter here to protect the humans.  Through their mixology they create different drinks in exactly the right combination to give them superpowers (don't we all think we have superpowers when we drink?) to fight off demons who prey on unsuspecting humans.  A lot of the mixology has been lost along the ages but through trial and error they have rebuilt an impressive dictionary of drinks.  The only one no one has perfected is the Long Island ice tea.  This drink will pretty much make you invincible but it also draws the demons.  As more and more demons flock into Chicago Bailey and her friends find themselves discovering old rivalries and trying to stop something that could destroy the city.

This is a fun read - great for the beach or light reading...more like mind candy.



Disclaimer: Book was received from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Book Review: Mother by Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross


Release Date: April 9, 2016
Publisher: Glass Apple Press
Format: Kindle
Pages: 538 pages
Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Thriller
Buy: Kindle | 

Synopsis:

A Girl’s Worst Nightmare is Her Mother ...
Priscilla Martin. She’s the diva of Morning Glory Circle and a driving force in the quaint California town of Snapdragon. Overseer of garage sales and neighborhood Christmas decorations, she is widely admired. But few people know the real woman behind the perfectly coiffed hair and Opium perfume.

Family is Forever. And Ever and Ever ...
No one escapes Prissy’s watchful eye. No one that is, except her son, who committed suicide many years ago, and her daughter, Claire, who left home more than a decade past and hasn’t spoken to her since. But now, Priscilla’s daughter and son-in-law have fallen on hard times. Expecting their first child, the couple is forced to move back … And Prissy is there to welcome them home with open arms … and to reclaim her broken family.

The Past Isn’t Always as Bad as You Remember.
Sometimes it’s Worse ...
Claire has terrible memories of her mother, but now it seems Priscilla has mended her ways. When a cache of vile family secrets is uncovered, Claire struggles to determine fact from fiction, and her husband, Jason, begins to wonder who the monster really is. Lives are in danger - and Claire and Jason must face a horrifying truth … a truth that may destroy them … and will forever change their definition of “Mother.” 

Review:


I have never loathed a character more than I did Prissy Martin.  She is creepy, invasive, mentally unstable and a bully.  The authors in their guest post wrote that the story has elements of Misery by Stephen King and I can totally see that.

I was on the edge of my seat through this book wanting to throttle Prissy Martin and wanting to scream at some of the other characters.  How one woman could wield so much control over so many is baffling but when you take a step back is actually very possible.

Mother is a fast paced thrill ride that makes you believe that Claire may be taking her mothers intentions in the wrong context but as the story progresses you see that it is much worse than you could possibly believe.  I caution those of you who are sensitive there are some graphic scenes of murder and child abuse but they fit the story and don't seem to just be thrown in there for shock value.

Great creepy read. You will want to call your mother afterwards and let her know you appreciate all she has done for you because very few are as bad as Prissy Martin and if they are they should be behind bars.


Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.  

Thursday, June 16, 2016

ARC Review: Before the Fall by Noah Hawley


Release Date: May 31, 2016
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Format: Kindle
Pages: 592 pages
Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Thriller
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover | Audio

Synopsis: 

On a foggy summer night, eleven people--ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter--depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs--the painter--and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.

 With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members--including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot--the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

Review:


I wasn't drawn in by the cover of this book but the description peaked my interest enough for me to request it from netgalley before it was published, boy am I glad I did.  This book was great.  With chapters that alternate between the present and the backstories of the passengers and crew members you are taken on a harrowing adventure.  I found myself immersed in the lives of the passengers learning more about what made each of the tick and ultimately what led to Scott and JJ surviving.

While the government is trying to figure out what happened, one of the most popular talk show hosts goes on the air turning the grief of families and the tragedy experience by a young boy into entertainment.  He says that he is trying to get to the truth but the reality is that he is just trying to stir higher ratings.  What a sad but true commentary on US television.

Scott is an interesting character, he doesn't own a cell phone and knows how to avoid the press, is he hiding something or does he just want to stay out of the limelight? As information and events unfold and we try to piece together for ourselves what happened you start to form different scenarios that could have happened but the reality rings shockingly sad and true.  Wonderfully written, complex characters, fabulous plot. I loved this book.




Disclaimer: Book was received from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Guest Post by Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross Authors of Mother

10 MORE Things You Might Not Know About MOTHER
Mother is a psychological thriller with notes of Psycho, Gaslight, and Misery in its theme. It concerns a young couple, Claire and Jason Holbrooke, who are forced by circumstance to temporarily return to Claire’s estranged mother’s home. And what happens there is more terrifying than either can comprehend. We loved every minute of writing this novel, and here, we will reveal some more of the little-known facts within the story, as well as behind-the-scenes trivia.

#1 A small part of Mother takes place in modern-day Brimstone, Arizona, the fictional town in Tamara’s upcoming solo novel, code name ‘BB,’ a spooky coming-of-age novel set in 1968.

#2 We never explained who kept moving the little GI Joe figures around the house and are leaving it up to readers to decide whether their travels are a human-created conspiracy or a ghostly one.

#3 The existence of Timothy Martin’s secret hiding place was the first of Claire’s memories to return, and this set the stage for our idea that many of her repressed memories would come back to haunt her throughout the novel.

#4 As a child, Tamara knew someone who kept a shrine to her long-deceased baby daughter. The shrine included a lock of hair tied with a pink ribbon. Tamara found this spectacularly creepy. This played into Mother’s hair obsession.

#5 Stephanie Banks is the name of a character Alistair created in the early 2000s, long before his dream of becoming a writer came true.

#6 Dr. Hopper’s name is a play on the term doctor-hopping, usually used to describe someone who hops from doctor to doctor to obtain illegal amounts of prescription drugs.

#7 The sex of Claire and Jason’s baby was originally a girl. We changed this when Priscilla began revealing her motives to us.  

#8 The character Ace Etheridge appears, under a pseudonym, in several other Thorne & Cross novels, and in Mother, his hidden identity is exposed.

#9 Gladiola Gelding, a friend of Phyllis Stine’s, is a character in Alistair’s novel The Crimson Corset.

#10 DJ Coastal Eddie Fortune, who makes several appearances on the radio in Mother shows up in many of our books. He first appeared in Tamara’s vampire novel, Candle Bay.

#11 The character of Candy Sachs is a play on Sach’s candy. And Candy’s breathtaking breasts, of course.

#12 The initials “C.J.,” which Roddy Crocker spots on a handkerchief, are a nod to people who are very, very close to us...

#13 Mother is dedicated to our own mothers because they inspired us to write - however, they did not, in any way, inspire the character, Prissy Martin.

#14 We named Duane Pruitt’s dog, Waldo, just so we could have characters ask, “Where’s Waldo?”

#15 EZ Cheese, our fictional brand of aerosol cheese spray that Claire craves one night, has a starring role in our novel, The Ghosts of Ravencrest.

#16 The fictional evangelical show The God Club with Reverend Bobby Felcher, which is referenced by Priscilla Martin, is also beloved by Belinda Moorland’s mother in The Ghosts of Ravencrest. The God Club appears in some of our other novels as well.

#17 The characters Johnnie V. and Tracey Weathers are named for people we know (and love) personally.

#18 We chose Opium Perfume as Mother’s signature fragrance because it gives us both migraines.

#19 Neither of us have ever tried LSD, so we relied on reports from our more adventurous friends.

#20 Mother was originally intended to be a short, hard-hitter of about 80,000 words, but when the neighbors of Morning Glory Circle introduced themselves to us and began telling us their secrets, the novel grew. And grew.


Disclaimer: This guest post was received by the author or publisher - the opinions expressed within this post are the authors and do not always match those of the blog owner.  This post is not an endorsement of the book or product but to provide others information. 


Monday, June 13, 2016

Book Review: The ABA Consumer Guide to Adopting a Child by Robert & Jeffrey Kasky

Release Date: May 7, 2016
Publisher: American Bar Association
Format: Paperback
Pages: 224 pages
Genre: Adoption
Buy: Paperback | Kindle


Synopsis:

Adopting a child is an extraordinarily important decision. In this authoritative guide, adoption experts Robert and Jeffrey Kasky provide all the information needed to navigate the adoption process and to successfully adopt a child. The book discusses the various types of adoptions; alerts readers to adoption scams; and guides readers in selecting a reputable attorney or adoption agency. Highlights include:
  • The rights of the birth mother, birth father, and the issues involved in an open versus a closed adoption.
  • The costs associated with adoption
  • Stories of actual adoptions that exemplify key points 

Review: 

Aside from the hideous title this is actually a very informative book.  There were a few things that I found incorrect in the book regarding private adoptions in all states when not all states allow private adoptions (like Delaware). However there is a disclaimer at the beginning about the authors basing the book on Florida law.  But other than a few things I thought this book was really useful in regard to describing the process of adoption.

The stories throughout the book of real situations were really good and found them to be very true to what I have experienced while working in the adoption field for so long. I also really appreciated that the authors really seemed to endorse prospective adoptive parents to keep their word and not promise something to a pregnant woman that they have no intention on following through with just to obtain a child.  

However I did have a hard time with the fact that the ABA is endorsing this book that has a grotesque title that almost seems to be promoting the image of baby selling. I also found that while the authors kept saying they didn't want you to contact them for help it was almost another way of plugging their business.  Overall though this book has a lot of good information despite its flaws. 




Friday, June 10, 2016

ARC Review: A House for Happy Mothers: A novel by Amulya Malladi

Release Date: June 1, 2016
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Format: Kindle
Pages: 316 pages
Genre: Womens Fiction
Buy: Kindle | Paperback

Synopsis: 

In trendy Silicon Valley, Priya has everything she needs—a loving husband, a career, and a home—but the one thing she wants most is the child she’s unable to have. In a Southern Indian village, Asha doesn’t have much—raising two children in a tiny hut, she and her husband can barely keep a tin roof over their heads—but she wants a better education for her gifted son. Pressured by her family, Asha reluctantly checks into the Happy Mothers House: a baby farm where she can rent her only asset—her womb—to a childless couple overseas. To the dismay of friends and family, Priya places her faith in a woman she’s never met to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Together, the two women discover the best and the worst that India’s rising surrogacy industry has to offer, bridging continents and cultures to bring a new life into the world—and renewed hope to each other.


Review: 


This is a powerful and timely book.  As surrogacy becomes more popular, and less expensive overseas, this book looks at the emotions involved.  Priya is very believable as a woman who has undergone tremendous grief in her attempt to have a child.  Now desperate she turns to her native country, convincing herself that she is helping a family out of poverty.  Asha, is a mother who is desperate to provide for her young son.  She feels trapped in a situation that really has no good alternative, so she turns to surrogacy.  Her emotions are a rollercoaster of desperation, love, hate, and acceptance.  Through this process both women must face difficult truths and also start to really appreciate what they have.

This book reminds me very much of Jodi Picoult books in that it gives you a scenario showing both sides and a lot of hard choices.  Malladi's peak inside the Home for Happy Mothers really puts surrogacy overseas into perspective.  For good or bad is up to you to decide but it really makes you think.

I really loved this book, the writing was beautiful and the story captivating.  A great read, definitely a good choice for a book club or a discussion group.



Disclaimer: Book was received from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Audio Book Review: Magician's Lie by Greer MacAllister

Release Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Format: Audio
Narrator: Julie Whelan, Nick Podehl
Length: 10 hours 8 minutes
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Fiction
Buy: Audio | Paperback | Kindle


Synopsis:

The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. One night in Waterloo, Iowa, with young policeman Virgil Holt watching from the audience, she swaps her trademark saw for a fire ax. Is it a new version of the illusion, or an all-too-real murder? When Arden's husband is found lifeless beneath the stage later that night, the answer seems clear.
But when Virgil happens upon the fleeing magician and takes her into custody, she has a very different story to tell. Even handcuffed and alone, Arden is far from powerless-and what she reveals is as unbelievable as it is spellbinding. Over the course of one eerie night, Virgil must decide whether to turn Arden in or set her free... and it will take all he has to see through the smoke and mirrors.

Review:


Arden is sought in her husbands death when she happens upon Virgil, a policeman who detains her thinking if he can solve this case he can make a name for himself. In trying to get a confession Virgil finds himself entranced by Arden's telling of her life story.  Swearing that he needs to know the whole story of her life in order to understand her.

This book was riveting, spellbinding and pulls you into the story.  I was just as entranced as Virgil in Arden's telling of her story. Arden's life is full of fear, narrow escapes, and missed opportunities.  Its a difficult life but Arden survives.  There are some dark and shocking scenes of abuse in the book that may leave you sucking in your breath and gasping.  Yet they tell the story of survival as well. Brilliant debut from this new historical fiction writer.

So what is the Magician's lie? Is it lies she tells herself, lies that are told to her, lies about who killed her husband? There are so many ways you could answer this question but I leave it to you to decide.


Monday, June 6, 2016

ARC Review: The City of Mirrors: A Novel (book 3 of the Passage) by Justin Cronin

Release Date: May 24 2016
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Format: Kindle
Pages: 624 pages
Genre: fiction, scifi, fantasy, horror
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover


Synopsis:

The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?

The Twelve have been destroyed and the terrifying hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew—and daring to dream of a hopeful future.

But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy—humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.

One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.

Review:

I was so excited when I saw that the finale to this trilogy was out. Although there was so much time between the last book and this one that I found myself a bit lost in the beginning and thankful for the summary of what had happened so far at the beginning of the book.

Once I delved into the actual book I found that I was still a bit lost.  It skipped around a lot and then there was a long detailed history of Zero.  The man who started the virus that almost destroyed the human race. This part while interesting could have been shortened and while parts of it were important and very helpful to the story other parts of it I felt just droned on.

By about 1/2 way through the book and after Zero's story the pace picked up and I was reminded of the previous books and why I loved them so much.  While there was still a lot of skipping around to different characters I found it a little easier to follow and was riveted until the end.  There was a lot of action a lot of chess like moves and times when I was on the edge of my seat wanted to scream at the characters.  As I turned the last page I found tears on my cheeks. Brilliant ending to this series.



Disclaimer: Book was received from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Audio Book Review: Cress (Lunar Chronicles book 3) by Marissa Meyers

Release Date: February 4, 2014
Publisher: MacMillan Audio
Format: Audible
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Length: 15 hours 40 minutes
Buy: Audio | Paperback | Kindle


Synopsis:

Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they're plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth. Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she's being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she's just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she'd ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

Review:

This series just gets better and better.  I love the way Marissa Meyers reinvents these fairy tales. Cress takes on the tale of Rapunzel, with Cress being trapped in a satellite instead of a tower. I am also impressed with how all of these fairy tales come together to form a very cohesive and interesting new story.  Weaving throughout these fairy tales is a tale of politics, mystery, and intrigue.  I love the characters and the whole premise of this war between Earth and the Lunars.  Incredibly imaginative and refreshing.

Rebecca Soler as the narrator really captures each of these characters as their own person really involving you so much in the story that I started to forget I was just listening to it.  I was watching the action play across my eyes as if I had a netscreen implanted in my brain.  This book is as entertaining to listen to as the Harry Potter series. It would be great for a long car ride with kids, because it is not just entertaining for them it is just a well done series all together.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Book Review: Pain Slut (Subs Club book 2) by JA Rock

Release Date: September 14, 2015
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Format: Kindle
Pages: 282 pages
Genre: LGBT, BDSM
Buy: Kindle | Paperback

Synopsis: 

Honestly, I’m ready to take a step back from the Subs Club. Making the kink world a safer place for subs is the sort of bandwagon I’d have boarded as an idealist in my early twenties, but now I’m a pragmatist in my late twenties. I prefer to focus on adopting and raising a child.

But unexpected factors inevitably derail my plans. Like Drix Seger—attractive and the first genuine sadist I’ve encountered. If I were not in the process of renouncing my masochistic ways and becoming the normal, responsible potential father the adoption agency wants to see, Drix and I might do well together.

But he has a foolish name and belongs to a cult of vampyres, and I am quitting kink. So why does Drix’s infatuation with blood and biting make me so hot I can’t think straight? And why, when he looks at me, does he seem to see something beyond a basket case with a stick up my ass?
Can I start a new phase in my life without leaving part of myself behind? Please send help.

—Miles


Review: 


Miles is conflicted.  He doesn't want to be Vanilla but is worried that his kink will negatively effect his desire to adopt a child.  He is struggling and then he meets Drix.  Drix teaches Miles that everything doesn't have to follow a specific plan, that you can release control and not be a total mess. That sometimes you have to just go with the flow.

I really love the characters in these books, they are funny, yet serious, and the friendships are strong and supportive.  I struggled with the whole adoption process part of the book since I'm very familiar with it and this strayed monumentally from what I know, so it was hard for me to set it aside and just flow with the story (guess I have some control issues myself! ). Aside from that I thought this book was very well done and the story line just got stronger as the book progressed.  This is a well done bdsm series but warning the scenes are graphic and hardcore.


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