Friday, January 31, 2014

(13) Divergent

Title: Divergent (Divergent Series) by Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
501 Pages
Genre: YA

Synopsis: In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Review: I feel so behind the times, but I'm just getting around to reading this series.  I wanted to get to it before the movie comes out.

I'm not sure I fully understand the world that they live in or even exactly why the world is the way it is but having to choose which faction to live in at the age of 16 seems like a daunting task.  The brutal way of life in dauntless often made me forget how young these initiates were.  My emotions went up and down, routing for one character and then being confused by some of their actions.  It was an emotional roller coaster.

I don't know how anyone could live with only virtue.  To be either brave, or selfless, or peaceful or intelligent.  Its tough to have one of those without needing the others for balance...but maybe thats how Divergent's came to be.  Something to ponder before I dive into the next 2 books.

I'm very happy they finally explained why Divergent's were so dangerous but it is curious why so many come from one specific faction.  I'm not sure it will be explained but it is something to puzzle. The story between Four and Tris was very well done.  Once you remember how old they are, how short a time this story actually takes place in and what initiates have to go through during their stages its amazing they even got a chance to speak.

This book definitely set things up for more.  I guess it could be a stand alone but you would be left trying to figure out what would happen next.

I'm excited for book 2.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

(11 & 12) His to Possess #5&6

Title: His to Possess #5: Entangled by Opal Carew & His to Possess #6: Forever by Opal Carew
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
42, 46 pages
Genre: Romance

Synopsis: #5 Torn between two sinfully sexy men who ignite her fiercest desires, Jessica has to make a choice.

Should she choose Dane, the confident, commanding billionaire who’s awakened her desire to explore her submissive side? Or Storm, the heavily muscled, motorcycle-riding rocker from her past who she’s never gotten over?

While her indecisive heart is waging a painful war, the men are about to make a seductive proposal that could change everything—and send Jessica to dizzying new heights of pleasure.

#6 Both Dane and Storm send Jessica’s body up in flames, but only one man can have her for keeps.
With both men fighting for her heart, Jessica has reached her breaking point.

But beneath the confusion and chaos, there’s one man she truly belongs to, one man who will possess her forever—and the choice is about to become startlingly clear.

Review: #5 What do you do when two of the most eligible gorgeous bachelors are trying to win your affection? When Jessica finds out her ex party boy, rock band boyfriend is actually the billionaire brother of her boss she doesn't know what to do.  Torn between the love she had for "Storm" and the affection she is forming for Dane she doesn't know what to do, so hey why choose when you can have both? Okay this one ended on a major cliff hanger but overall it was good.

#6 I feel like the ending of this was very rushed.  I know this is a romance novel and things never work they way they work in real life the way they do in these books but some serious stuff went down and in one night she discovers her heart and things end happily ever after...even that was a little too quick for a romance novel.

All in all this was an entertaining story I just felt the end was rushed and had there been even one more section to this story I feel it would have felt more complete and less like I was on a speeding train.

Monday, January 27, 2014

(10) Dead Beautiful

Title: Dead Beautiful (Dead Beautiful Novels) by Yvonne Woon
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
465 pages
Genre: YA paranormal romance

I received a free e-copy of this book from the publisher through in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: On the morning of her sixteenth birthday, Rene Winters was still an ordinary girl. She spent her summers at the beach, had the perfect best friend, and had just started dating the cutest guy at school. No one she'd ever known had died. But all that changes when she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest, in what appears to be a strange double murder.

After the funeral Rene's wealthy grandfather sends her to Gottfried Academy, a remote and mysterious boarding school in Maine, where she finds herself studying subjects like Philosophy, Latin, and the "Crude Sciences."

It's there that she meets Dante Berlin, a handsome and elusive boy to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. As they grow closer, unexplainable things begin to happen, but Rene can't stop herself from falling in love. It's only when she discovers a dark tragedy in Gottfried's past that she begins to wonder if the Academy is everything it seems. Little does she know, Dante is the one hiding a dangerous secret, one that has him fearing for her life.

Review: I read this book not knowing it was the first of a series and I have to admit the ending kinda threw me but when I discovered there were at least 2 more books in this series I let out a sigh of relief.

Rene Winters is having a rough year, first she finds her parents dead in the woods on her 16th birthday, then she goes to live with her stodgy Grandfather who seems very set in his ways and sent to the boarding school where her parents met that she didn't even know anything about.  She is shipped from the West Coast to the East Coast and find that life at school is just as complicated - students are dying and weird things are happening.

I really liked this book, it was full of mystery.  In fact there are several mysterious things going on in this book and you aren't sure what is connected and who is really involved. Right up until the end of the book you were left not having all the answers and at that point you were stuck in the same position as the characters not knowing what they could possibly do next and dreading their choices.  There were some parts that dragged on a bit too long and would have been better had the writer gotten to the conclusion a bit quicker. However the story was unique and entertaining so I could deal with a few slow parts.

Friday, January 24, 2014

(9) The Never List

Title: The Never List by Koethi Zan
Publisher: Viking Adult
321 Pages
Genre: Mystery

Synopsis: For years, best friends Sarah and Jennifer kept what they called the “Never List”: a list of actions to be avoided, for safety’s sake, at all costs. But one night, against their best instincts, they accept a cab ride with grave, everlasting consequences. For the next three years, they are held captive with two other girls in a dungeon-like cellar by a connoisseur of sadism.

Ten years later, at thirty-one, Sarah is still struggling to resume a normal life, living as a virtual recluse under a new name, unable to come to grips with the fact that Jennifer didn’t make it out of that cellar. Now, her abductor is up for parole and Sarah can no longer ignore the twisted letters he sends from jail.

Finally, Sarah decides to confront her phobias and the other survivors—who hold their own deep grudges against her. When she goes on a cross-country chase that takes her into the perverse world of BDSM, secret cults, and the arcane study of torture, she begins unraveling a mystery more horrifying than even she could have imagined.

Review: This is a fast paced thrill ride by a first time author.  The Never List had me holding my breath along with Sarah as she struggles to break through her PTSD in order to help find her friend's body. She figures if she can find the body she can have more evidence against the man who kept them lock up and hopefully keep him from getting paroled. The more she digs though the deeper the rabbit hole seems to go. And what she stumbles on opens a whole new horror that she never expected.  From the downright creepiness of what happens to them to the true horror of it all and finally to the damage that she discovers it did to her is all brilliantly woven together.

The other characters slowly come alive but it isn't really until the end of the book that you start to learn the true story of what happened in that house and how coming to terms with it is going to change Sarah's neatly ordered life.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

(8) Nothing to Lose

Title: Nothing to Lose (Jack Reacher, No. 12) by Lee Child
Publisher: Dell
560 pages
Genre: Thriller/mystery

Synopsis: Two small towns in the middle of nowhere: Hope and Despair. Between them, nothing but twelve miles of empty road. Jack Reacher can’t find a ride, so he walks. All he wants is a cup of coffee. What he gets are four hostile locals, a vagrancy charge, and an order to move on. They’re picking on the wrong guy.

Reacher is a hard man. No job, no address, no baggage. Nothing at all, except hardheaded curiosity. What are the secrets that Despair seems so desperate to hide?

With just one ally—a mysterious woman cop from Hope—and many enemies, Reacher goes up against a whole town, hunting the rich man at its core, cracking open his terrifying agenda, asking the question: Who has the edge—a man with everything to gain, or a man with nothing to lose?

Review: This is only my 2nd or 3rd Jack Reacher book.  I have to say he is a quirky character.  Totally unattached to anything just wanders around the USA but if you mess with him or spark his curiosity then look out.  He is like a dog with the sent of a bone.  He will go after it until he gets his answers.

The town of Despair lives up to its name.  Its a dreary little town where everyone who resides there works for the recycling plant in town and answers to the owner of the plant. They also seem to be hiding a secret. People are disappearing through Despair, young able bodied men, and their wives are all staying in Hope, anxious and alone. If this wasn't enough to stir Reachers interest the fact that all he wanted was a cup of coffee from the local Despair diner but was greeted with hostility and a vagrancy charge surely did.

The plot slowly unwound itself and I really didn't know where it was headed but Reachers character is quirky enough to hold your interest wondering what he is going to do next.

Monday, January 13, 2014

(7) Wanted: A Most Wanted Novel # 1

Title: Wanted: A Most Wanted Novel by J. Kenner
Publisher: Bantam
352 Pages
Genre: Romance

I received this book from the publisher through in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: He is everything I crave, all I desperately want—and he is everything I can’t have.

Evan Black embodies my every fantasy. He is brilliant, fierce, and devastatingly handsome. But he is also headstrong, dangerous, and burdened with secrets.

My family warned me to stay away, that I could never handle Evan’s dark dealings or scarred past. Maybe I should have listened. Maybe I should have run. But our desire is undeniable, and some temptations you just can’t fight.

And from the moment we touch—the passion between us consuming us both—I know that I will never be the same.

Review: If this is only the first in a trilogy I say bring it on.  Hot sexy dangerous men and the story had a plot! It was actually a lot of plot. By the end of the book that I wasn't sure I wanted to end, I felt like the characters were old friends and I was sad to see them go.  The only good part is that since this is supposed to be a series I'm hoping I get to see them again in the next book.

This book started off slow and steady and then built up leaving you wanting to strangle the author into letting these two people get together already.  The build up was worth the wait though.  It helped build the story and even made it a tad more plausible than most romance novels.

Evan and his friends are supposedly dangerous, but danger really can be a relative term when it comes to people.  Sometimes the people you think are safe are actually the most dangerous because they feel righteous in their motives.  Sure makes you think.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

(4-6) His to Possess (#2, #3, #4)

Titles: His to Possess #2: The Morning After by Opal CarewHis to Possess #3: Perfect Storm by Opal CarewHis to Possess #4: True Lies by Opal Carew
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
42, 36 & 44 pages
Genre: Romance

Synopsis: The erotic serial His to Possess, an intoxicating tale of a woman torn between a dominant billionaire and a tattooed, bad boy rock musician.

Part 2: When Jessica and Dane shared a night of explosively hot, no-strings-attached sex, she never expected him to offer the one thing she needed most—a job at his business empire.

 As she embraces her role as his assistant, it becomes impossible to keep things strictly professional. Her body burns for him, and his commanding presence awakens her darkest hungers. She’s never been dominated before, and now she can’t stop yearning to submit to him completely.

But carrying on a secret affair with the head of a powerful business empire puts her at risk of losing her job…and her heart.

Part 3:As Jessica is pulled deeper into Dane’s opulent life of luxury, power and sensual domination, she experiences pure bliss…and an overwhelming fear that it’ll all come crashing down.

The closer she gets to the powerful billionaire, the more she begins to see his carefully concealed vulnerable side, and the struggles of his painful past. Soon she finds herself becoming more than just his assistant and lover. She’s become his most trusted confidante.

But someone from the past—someone she never expected to see again— is about to return. And it could cost her everything.

Part 4: Shocked by Storm’s reappearance in her life, Jessica finds herself struggling to make sense of her feelings for Dane and Storm, the man she once loved who left her behind. Storm is a heavily muscled, motorcycle-riding bad boy who couldn’t be more different from Dane… and the truth is, she’s never gotten over him.

When he reveals the true reason why he left, Jessica finds herself wanting to accept his plea and give their love a second chance. But can she surrender to Storm when Dane already has command of her heart?

Review: I was not a fan of these little serial installments when I read the first one but I now understand the appeal.  Each one gives you a taste and leaves you waiting for the next one to come out. They are quick and easy reads and the waiting builds the anticipation.

I thought part 3 was the weakest of these 3 installments but it still held an "Omg" moment.

Now I have to wait for parts 5 & 6 which are being released 1/14/14 and 1/21/14. After that I believe they are going to release all the parts together in one book in March 2014 with some added material. So I wait with anticipation for Part 5 to see what will happen, will it be Dane or Storm? And what will happen when she finally makes her choice, there is more at stake here than just hearts.

(3) Heart of Stone

Publisher: St. Martin Press
320 pages
Genre: Supernatural Romance

I received an advanced e-copy of this book from the publisher from in return for an honest review.

Synopsis: Ella Harrow is trying to carve out a normal life for herself. Well, as normal as an art geek with psychic abilities can hope for. As museum docent and gift-shop manager, Ella is able to keep her distance from people—and her powers in check—while surrounding herself with the artifacts she loves. But how on earth is she supposed to act normal when a thousand-year-old statue on the museum’s terrace suddenly comes to life?

Not your ordinary gargoyle, Kees has been asleep for eons, waiting for a portent of evil to wake him from his slumber. Kees isn’t a vision; he’s a bat-winged guardian created to protect the world from the seven demons of the Dark. Somehow, Ella triggered his reawakening. Maybe the demons have been unleashed? Maybe his heart is finally ready to be chiseled open? The fate of the world isn’t carved in stone… yet.

Review: I really enjoyed the supernatural aspect of this book.  It was much more than just a romance novel which I appreciate, there was actually a supernatural mystery thriller type feeling to this book. The copy I received was an uncorrected proof and it had many grammatical and spelling issues which I hope were corrected in the final version.

Someone is killing Wardens and members of the Guild of Light.  They are who protect the world from evil rising and taking over but there has been new movement and larger pockets of evil rising. When this happens the Guild usually sends a Warden to wake their secret weapon, the Gargoyles or Guardians who were created to destroy the darkness and keep the evil 7 from rising.  This time there are no Wardens willing or able to step forward and it is a untrained powerful woman who wakens the Guardian. As they try to find out why or how this happened and how to find the other Guardians they have to dodge forces trying to hurt them, and memories that threaten to drown them.

This was a good read.  It really kept my attention and I was really drawn to the whole story line. I look forward to the next book in the series.

Friday, January 10, 2014

New Book Blogger Hop - January

I decided to join the new Blog Hop hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks question asks:

Are you a book blogger purist? Do you only have book related posts or do you review/post on anything/everything that catches your eye?

My Answer:

Yes, I guess I am.  I have 2 other blogs Ramblings on a Crazy Life, and a tumblr Love, Life & Reading. So I reserve this one for books. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

(2) His to Possess #1 The Seduction

Title: His to Possess #1: The Seduction by Opal Carew
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
34 pages
Genre: Romance

Synopsis: The first sizzling segment in the erotic serial His to Possess, an intoxicating tale of a woman torn between a dominant billionaire and a tattooed, bad boy rock musician.

Jessica’s life was in ruins…until she met him.

Standing alone in the rain feeling lost in a new city, with no job and no prospects, she’s about to give up. Until Dane Rainier pulls up in his limo and offers her a ride.

Dane commands a vast business empire, and he can have anything he wants—and he wants Jessica. For one night, at least. Now he’s about to strip her bare and awaken her yearning to submit completely to a dominant billionaire.

But after the most intoxicating night of her life, will she ever be the same?
Don't miss the other installments of His to Possess: The Morning After (Part 2), Perfect Storm (Part 3), True Lies (Part 4), Entangled (Part 5), and Forever (Part 6).

Review: I don't know what it is about me finding books that just end abruptly or if its just a new thing authors are doing now but I'm not a fan.  Just as this was getting good it ended.  Sigh.  At least it held my interest.  Of course the scenario is far from believable but what is a good romance that isn't fantasy? The men all have to be fabulously built and ridiculously wealthy or the opposite.  Its an escape from reality.

Turns out this story is written like an old fashioned serial that would be delivered like a newspaper every week, but this story has new age sex appeal.  It seems that a new chapter comes out about every week and there are 6 in total.  The first 4 are already available on kindle and the next 2 are scheduled to come out in the next two weeks. You're damn right I just downloaded them all and pre-ordered the last 2!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

(1) Pretenders (book1)

Title: Pretenders (book1) by Lisi Harrison
Publisher: Poppy
304 pages
Genre: YA

I received an advanced e-copy of this book from the publisher through in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Three girls, two guys, five secret journals.

The five most popular students at Noble High have secrets to hide; secrets they wrote down in their journals. Now one of their own exposes the private entries...

I am leaking these because I'm tired and I know you are too. The success bar is too high and pretending has become the only way to reach it. Instagrams are filtered, Facebook profiles are embellished, photos are shopped, reality TV is scripted, body parts get upgraded like software, and even professional athletes are cheating. The things we believe in aren't real.
We are pretenders.

Review: Written as journal entries, Pretenders tells the story of the five most popular students at Noble High. Each one has secrets that they don't want anyone to find out, each of them is pretending their lives are something they aren't.  Their english project is to fill a notebook with their personal stories. These journals are supposed to be under lock and key but someone has broken into the safe and is revealing the secrets.  Who is sharing them, why and what they hope to accomplish isn't revealed...yet.

This book ends on a huge cliff hanger.  I'm not sure I like that, I don't mind endings where you know there is more to come, I don't need the story tied up at the end with a nice bow but this literally leaves you hanging! Its like watching a movie and the main characters drive toward the edge of a cliff, then fade to black.  Do they live? Do they swerve? Do they die?

I can see how this story would appeal to middle schoolers, the characters are filled with drama that feels vaguely familiar of middle school. It also speaks to the need to fit in and the lengths people are willing to go to in order to fit in.  For a young pre-teen girl this is probably a page right out of her own diary. Lisi Harrison does a great job of getting into the heads of different types of teens.

I read an advanced e-version of this book and the footnotes didn't appear until the end of the book which was a bit of a drag, it would have been better if they had been at the bottom of the page or something - I'm hoping that the publisher fixes this quirk.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Best of 2013

In no particular order this is a list of the 10 books that I liked or stuck with me for some reason this year.

  1. Joyland by Stephen King
  2. Overcome: Burned, Blinded and Blessed by Carmen Blandin Tarleton
  3. The Twelve by Justin Cronin (sequels aren't always as good but this one held its own)
  4. Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult
  5. The Passage by Justin Cronin 
  6. Love, Water, Memory by Jennie Shortridge
  7. Doc by Mary Doria Russell
  8. A Perfect Romance by Layce Gardner
  9. What We Saw at Night by Jacqueline Mitchard
  10. The Season of Risk by Susan Hubbard
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