Category Archives: Book/Movie Review

Whoa Nellie, was this a fun ride! A review of Devil and the Deep by @JAWalkerAuthor

Devil and the Deep by Julie Ann Walker (Ebook)

(Adult content warning)

This is a book two in a series. I did not read the first book, but what I needed to know was covered flawlessly so I was not lost at all. This book can stand on its own.

Plot: Maddy, an oil heiress, is snatched for ransom on a tiny island she is camping on. Luckily for her, she told her hot Navy SEAL friend where she was camping, and asked him to meet her there. Boy, are those kidnappers sorry when Bran and his buddy show up!

Whoa Nellie was this a fun ride!

It reminded me of the hey-day of action hero movies (If Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzenegger were turbo-hot Navy SEALS.) There was one small point where I rolled my eyes. It came when the two Navy SEALS and the heroine, Maddy, were trying to save three kidnapped girls. Maddy is very hot for ex-Navy SEAL Bran (after he apparently saved her life in the first book) and while they are in a very precarious situation, she starts making amorous advances on him. For a second, I thought this was going to be one of “those novels”, but that was the only ridiculous “overly romancy” scene. The rest is one fun thrill ride after another.

Note: This IS A ROMANCE so there is a lot of that “lovey dovey” stuff, but this is also an awesome high action thrill ride. I really loved the blend of the two, and I am interested in reading the first book in this series to find out how the characters met. I’d give this 4.5 stars, losing half a star for inserting a romantic scene where (in my opinion) it was unrealistic to have one.

Great fun!
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The dating game in a futuristic Utopian Society – MATCHED by Ally Conde

Matched by Ally Conde (Audiobook) This book takes place in a dystopian/Utopian society where everything is chosen and planned for every citizen to make sure that they have a happy, long, fulfilling life (Until they are 80, when everyone dies). But that’s not the conflict in the story.

In MATCHED, a teenage girl goes to her matching ceremony to find out who the society chose as her perfect husband. She ends up “accidentally” matched to two people, but only she knows about it.

Now she is publicly matched to someone who she sees every day, but she is also matched to another boy, who is forbidden to her.

This is a very interesting story that will leave the reader asking a lot of questions like, “What would I do?”

It would be hard for me, I think, to do anything when so much is deemed illegal. While I did enjoy this book, I was never really completely engaged. I think I had a problem believing that a world like that could actually exist. I mean, there were only 100 songs, 100 history lessons, 100 poems, etc. Everything else was destroyed so people didn’t have to be stressed by too many choices. I had trouble believing this world could exist.

However, if you are able to suspend disbelief in the society, this is a well written and engaging story.

CLIFFHANGER ALERT: A major character’s life is left in jeopardy at the end. Even though I’d like to know what happens to that character, I don’t think I’m worried enough about it to continue with the series. I would, however, pick up another of this author’s books. The world she created was very alive and vivid. I just couldn’t make myself believe in it’s plausibility.

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Survival of the fittest on an alien planet – A review of THESE BROKEN STARS

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman (Ebook) First of all, COVER LOVE! This is one of only a few cover buys I’ve ever made.  Take a moment to soak in the loveliness.  All good? Then let’s continue.

This book starts on a luxury cruise ship in space. Something catastrophic happens, sending all 50,000 passengers running to the escape pods.

We follow the story of two survivors who crash land on an uncharted planet where weird things start to happen (over and above them rooting through other escape pods and ship wreckage).

This is a combination of YA romance and a survival story. The first half disappointed me a bit. It seemed all they were doing is walking forever and thinking about how much they didn’t like each other (While wishing they were not attracted to each other – Typical YA) but there is a ghosty-like theme going on throughout. Is one of them crazy? Hmmmm…

I stuck with this book because we were reading in my book club, and I’m glad I did. There is a very interesting twist at the end, and I did end up liking the book. I think this is a three star for me. It loses one star for non engaging me for the first half of the book, and another one, because the reason the female lead was mean to the male lead was very weak. I mean, seriously… If you dad is going to kill the guy just for talking to her, just TELL THE DUDE THAT. Why keep that a secret?

So, yeah, three stars. Good, but this won’t be a favorite (By the way, I think the people in my book club all liked it more than I did, and it was my month to choose. Ha!)

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I don’t remember what this book is about – but who cares? A review of THE RAVEN BOYS

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stieveter (Audiobook) I’m a little conflicted on this book. The writing was great, and the character development of the side characters as well as the main characters is outstanding. I just wish I loved the story more.

Early in the book our heroine, Blue, daughter of a psychic, sees the death of a boy called Gansy. She soon meets him, and reluctantly joins him on a search for the “layline” which is a magical road powered by spirits.

It took me a very long time to start enjoying this book. I think what kept me going was the great characters. I wanted to know more about them, and to see how things panned out for each. All the characters were very different, and I thought it was great that we got to see their side lives intermingling within the main plotline without it becoming confusing. This is the part that I enjoyed. As far as not enjoying the story as a whole, I think that is a poor match of reader to book. The subject didn’t hook me. But I think that people into paranormal ghost stories with a little bit of mystery investigation would absolutely love this.

***Ha! I forgot I’d reviewed this already, so I wrote another review for this book two weeks later – this is what I said***

– I found this book to be quite a conundrum. I really didn’t enjoy the story. In fact, I couldn’t care less what happened in the plotline… but never once did I consider not finishing the book. And, oddly enough, when I made a few statements on social media noting this, quite a few people agreed that they had the same dilemma. This made me sit and ponder this for a while. I waited about two weeks between finishing the book and writing the review, just to see how I still felt about it after finishing some more novels. I also wanted to figure out WHY I felt this way. As the plot dwindled into a blur, almost forgotten, I realized I remembered a few things about this book. What I remembered was not what happened, and why, but instead, I remembered the characters. I then realized that I was so totally engaged with these characters that I didn’t care what was going on, I still wanted to read about them. For that reason, and that reason only, would I consider picking up the next book. Taylor is a master at creating characters that we will not only remember, but also that sink into our bones and become part of us. Someone told me that her other series what much better plot-wise. I will definitely be looking into this, because it is a rare day when I am totally engaged in both the plot AND the characters. I’d give this book a solid four star, dropping one because I probably won’t remember what this story was about in another few weeks.

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Just be glad you’re not #1! A review of I AM NUMBER FOUR

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (Audiobook) A teenage boy is one of nine aliens, the last of their kind, hidden on Earth. There is another alien race trying to destroy them. The kids wear a charm that makes it so they can only be killed in a certain order. When one dies, a ring burns into the skin of the others.

A third ring just burned into John’s ankle, and he is number four. No pressure. Try to live your life knowing there is an army of alien soldiers looking for you!

I enjoyed this book on many levels, because it is, you know, aliens. But this isn’t anything deep to make you think. In fact, they probably don’t want you to think much at all, because there is a huge plot hole that never got plugged for me (no matter how hard they tried to explain it away.)

The “hole” was this: The bad-guy aliens invaded #4’s planet and killed almost everyone. These 9 kids got away. The bad guys now have the planet, and have almost used up all the recourses. So, my question is: why send soldiers to kill the kids? Yes, they try to explain this away, but the plausibility never cemented for me. I just didn’t buy it. But while that particular hole screamed at me in almost every chapter, I was able, for the most part, to suspend disbelief and just enjoy a nice, fun ride.

Yes, I would recommend this, but don’t expect rocket science. Just enjoy an interesting and fun story.

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Bring on the gowns and tiaras! A review of “The Elite” by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass (Ebook) This is part two of “The Selection” series. I had super high hopes for this book, probably because I was so surprised by how much I loved the first one. I guess when hopes are so high, a book is bound to falter.

I think part of what I liked about the first book was that it was fluff. I mean really, it was total fluff and it fluffed well. It never tried to be more than fluff. But then here in The Elite, it tries to claw out of the world of fluff and become something more.

Problem is, I didn’t want more. I’d read a few heavy novels before this, and I reached for The Elite expecting more fluff. I got some fluff, maybe even more than normal, but it bothered me that it tried to become “something else.”

I pondered this for a while before writing a review, and I think if I had read this book first, I would have been fine with all the extra political turmoil, because I wouldn’t have been expecting something so light. Does that make sense? Anyway, I liked, not loved this book. I will probably continue with the series, but I will not be scrambling for the next book like I was after reading book one.

**That does not mean I didn’t enjoy this** I just liked the first one better.

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Deepening the story in a second book: A Review of Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Paperback) This is book two of the Red Queen series. It chronicles the search for more Red-blooded people with powers, hoping to find them before the new king, Maven, finds them first and kills them. We also see our Main character’s struggle between her feelings for Cal and old feelings for the “nice” Maven she knew.

Unfortunately, I did not like this as much as Red Queen. We are introduced to a TON of new characters, and it is very hard to keep them straight at times. And when these characters started dying, I had trouble feeling Mare’s pain because I didn’t have time to get to know them.

Also, near the end, the author sets us up for the fight of the century, then something else happens instead. What happens is HUGE, but then someone else has the promised epic battle, and we never see it because Mare is wrapped up in what happened to her. For those who read it, yes, I understand why Mare would not have even seen that battle, but it still left me feeling cheated. Also, I was confused when there were two characters lying dead next to each other on the plane: One, who I saw die, and one was a total shock because they were absolutely fine the last time I saw them. I even went back to re-read to make sure I hadn’t missed something.

Despite all these nits, I did enjoy the book. I just wish the ending battle didn’t feel cheated to me. Love the hook at the end as well. This made for great banter at our book club.

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Take me away to a new world! A review of Starflight by @Melissa_Landers

Starflight by Melissa Landers (Audiobook) In this science fiction adventure, Humans have inhabited worlds far beyond our galaxy. A young orphan girl, hoping to erase past mistakes, sells herself as a six-month indentured servant in exchange for passage to the outer realm, where she can work as a mechanic and start a new life. Things go wrong along the way, though, entangling her with a crew of smuggler-types who send her through a race through space from pirates, bounty hunters, and the police. This is a fun story about finding friends, and maybe even love, in the most unexpected places. Lots of action, a fantastic cast of well-rounded, believable characters, and an entertaining plot. (Right down to the sugar glider ship mascot).

I really like how the author had a complete backstory for every character, and each quirky personality stood on their own. Also, we had Solara, Doran (the guy who indentures her) and the crew, each with their own stories/personal/legal issues, and all these wove together to keep complicating each other’s problems, yet the group always bound together to get through it all. I really appreciated the complexity in this one. Tons going on, but it never got confusing. Great for science fiction adventure lovers.

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Fifteen year old reviewer talks about In the Shadow of the Dragon King by @jkellerford

My oldest son reviews In the Shadow of the Dragon King.

I Wish I had a tape recorder on while he was reading over the past few weeks to catch all his comments along the way… Very refreshing as my picky reader has DNF’ed half the books I’ve given him lately. 

Apparently, he’s very into knights and dragons … who knew?


This book is about a realm called Fallhollow in a parallel universe to earth where there is a dragon called Einar that attacks the good kingdom of Hirth.

Meanwhile, on Earth, the Paladin David is summoned, but his good friends Charlotte is accidentally taken also, sending them on their epic journey to fight the dragon.

There is also this “main” character Eric who is not used to his full potential, much to my chagrin. (Because I was team Eric for the first half of the book) He is an honorable, brave young man, squire to the Epic Knight Trog (because Trog was pretty cool).

Trog was the best character in the book by the way… by far. Well, maybe a tie between Trog and Mangus – The larger-than-life mage dude. – Who is also underused. He is only in a few scenes of the book, but manages to stand out as pretty awesome.

Back to Eric – I think he was underused because he seemed to be a main character in the book, but some of his chapters were a page long, where most of David’s chapters were 10-20 pages long. What’s up with that? Definitely wanted more Eric.

Charlotte, I felt for her. [Dude places his hand over his heart] I like how she was strong, and tried to reach for what she wanted, but kept going even when she was unjustly denied.

David at points annoyed me, especially when he was with Charlotte. Ugh. You like her, she likes you. Just get together already! [Dude shakes his chair enough to rattle the springs – I take that as being annoyed in a good way] What was awesome about David is that he can do spells! He can teleport and go invisible, which is everything I’ve ever wanted to do in my whole life, but he underutilized his abilities. I mean … there is a dragon chasing you. Don’t run. Just teleport!!!

The overall plotline was good, but there were a few forced plot points. But they were miniscule enough (like the teleporting things) to not degrade my reading experience.

And Dragons! Let’s talk about the dragon. I think that Einar was pretty, like, creepy and scary. He was Huge! Like, seriously, building size. You couldn’t even describe him because he was crazy huge. But then you also had this tiny dragon (Mirth) who could fight the big dragon with lightniiiiing! So cool. [Insert several rambling comments about how cool the dragons were – mom couldn’t type fast enough]

Shadow morphs were creepy. They scared me. And they were annoying because they would brush you with a sword and you had to have your flesh cut away. Trog was, like, cut up all over the place. Blahhhhh! That’s nasty.

In conclusion, this book had dragons and knights and parallel universes that made me contemplate my human existence.

I give it a four out of five stars losing one half star for under using some great characters and losing another half a star because freaking teleport already!

But yeah, I really liked it a lot. I mean, dragons and knights, you know?

Next book please!


Rock on! Here’s where you can pick up a copy of

IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING

Purchase Links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks


About the Book:

Seventeen-year-old, Eric, is a kick-butt squire to the most revered knight in Fallhollow. Well he would be if Sir Trogsdill allowed him to do anything even remotely awesome. Determined to prove his worth, Eric sets out to find the mythical paladin summoned to protect the realm from the evil lurking nearby.

Sixteen-year-old, David, spends his days collecting school honors, winning archery tournaments, and trying not to fall in love with his scrappy best friend, Charlotte.

Right when things start to get interesting, he is whisked away to the magical realm of Fallhollow where everyone thinks he’s some sort of paladin destined to fulfill a two-hundred-year-old prophecy. He’s supposed to help kill a dragon with some sort of magic key. The same key that happens to adorn the neck of an annoying squire who’s too wrapped up in proving himself to be much help to anyone.

With egos as big as the dragon they need to destroy, Eric and David must get over themselves, or watch everything they know and love, burn.


About the Author:

J. Keller Ford (known to all as Jenny) is a scribbler of Young Adult and New Adult speculative fiction. As a young Army brat, she traveled the world and wandered the halls of some of Germany’s most extraordinary castles in hopes of finding snarky dragons, chivalrous knights and wondrous magic that permeated her imagination. What she found remains etched in her topsy-turvy mind and oozes out in sweeping tales of courage, sacrifice, honor and everlasting love.

When not torturing her keyboard or trying to silence the voices in her head, Jenny spends time collecting seashells, bowling, swimming, screaming on roller coasters and traveling. Jenny is a mom to four magnificent and noble offspring, and currently lives in paradise on the west coast of Florida with a quirky knight who was silly enough to marry her, and a menagerie of royal pets. Published works include short stories, The Amulet of Ormisez, Dragon Flight, and The Passing of Millie Hudson. IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING is her debut novel and the first installment in the Chronicles of Fallhollow Trilogy.

 Website | Twitter | Facebook | InstagramPinterest |Goodreads


Giveaway Information: Contest ends June 17, 2016

CHICK HERE TO ENTER 

  • One (1) winner will receive a scrabble tile book cover charm (US ONLY)
  • Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of In the Shadow of the Dragon King by J. Keller Ford (INT)

 

 

Holy Epic Fantasy! A Review of Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes – (Audiobook) This book follows several different characters from different kingdoms that are on the cusp of war with each other. I found this to be a very interesting concept, as it was not “This good kingdom” against “That bad kingdom” – You got to see all sides of the story, and the good and the bad within.

Initially, I needed to get used to switching countries and stories as we met all the characters. This was a little hard for me at first, but once I got to know the characters, I really appreciated seeing all the sides to this wonderfully developed world.

Warning that this is one of those books where characters you love will die. I’m not a big fan of this kind of story, because I like to see characters facing odds and beating them… not dying senselessly… but this is war, I guess. Other than that, I really liked this book a lot and would highly recommend it. Oh – cliffhanger warning. You will need the next book because the story will leave you hanging, but in an acceptable place.

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