Category Archives: Book/Movie Review

Sometimes you just need to get a little WICKED but only if you are an adult, please

Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Audiobook) [Adult Content Warning] I am a big Jennifer L. Armentrout fan, so WICKED has been on my TBR for a while. I know I like her style when she writes under the JLA pen name, 22895264so I didn’t even bother to look at the blurb. Wicked has all that I love about a JLA novel, but it also has a lot that I didn’t love. Jennifer L. Armentrout also writes under the pen name J. Lynn. I read a J. Lynn novel once and quickly realized why she wrote it under another name. (I will not pick up another J. Lynn novel again) Wicked, while not being quite as graphic as the J.Lynn novel, was pretty close to it. The blurb does state that the character is 22, and it does allude to a heat factor, but the sex scenes are not glossed over in any way shape or form as it is in other JLA novels. As a fan of her work, I just wish I was warned in the blurb. I understand writing in different genres, but if you are a YA author, I really think there should be at least a warning so you know what you are getting in to. Okay – rant over. I did, believe it or not, enjoy this book. The hero is not the most likable. He is a playboy who wanted to get in the heroine’s pants the moment he saw her. Not my type of guy, but okay, I went with it. I did enjoy the heroine, and I loved her sidekick, Tink the Brownie. This was an exceptional character.

At its roots, this is an interesting paranormal story– something like Shadow Hunters set in New Orleans. If you enjoyed Shadow Hunters, you’d probably love this. Just be ready for a foul-mouthed hero, and some pretty graphic intimate scenes. And a very predictable twist at the end, but when it comes right down to it, JLA writes so well that sometimes it is fun to read despite knowing what is going to happen.


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Sometimes you just need to go OVER THE EDGE

Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann (Audiobook) [Adult Content Warning]

This is a Navy Seal novel. I picked it up because the last Seal novel I read was exciting enough to hold my interest, and I wanted something with some action. Never in a million years did I expect that this book might be in contention for the best of the year, or that it might be one of the best books I’ve ever read. In this novel, a SEAL team is called in to save the passengers on a hijacked plane. But this is more than an explosive rescue story. We see the SEAL team, and the passengers, and the FBI agents before the hijacking. We see who they are outside of “hero mode”. Then we get to see them as real people through the entire operation, with real, everyday problems that they need to deal with on top of having the lives of a few hundred people in their hands. In an interesting and well-done twist, we also get to see into the lives of a Jewish family escaping German occupation of Denmark, a country you don’t hear too much about when you think of the Holocaust. Interesting, that it is this part of the story that had me in tears at the end. There are several romances running through this novel, and not all of them end well. ROMANCE READER WARNING -NOT EVERYONE GETS A HAPPY ENDING. Showing the true danger Navy SEALS face every day, not everything goes as planned.

This is what will sit with me for a long while. This novel was published in 2001, just 14 days before 911. The themes within are startlingly timeless, as we are facing the same threats today. Five enthusiastic stars for Over the Edge. I can’t even subtract a star for one side-character’s overuse of the F-bomb. Just be ready for it. Ignore it if that bothers you. This book is worth every minute.

 


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Did someone say aliens? A review of INFINITE SEA by Rick Yancey

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey (Audiobook) This is book two of The 5th Wave. This is post-apocalyptic novel dealing with the survivors of an alien apocalypse. I have to admit, I really liked this book a lot. Probably even more than the first book.

We are left with one group of humans at the end of The 5th Wave. In book two, this group gets split up so we experience two different stories. The Cassie/Ben timeline continues, and is very exciting as they question every move they make. Stakes are increased when the aliens start doing the unthinkable to children five years old and younger.

The second half of this book deals with the character Ringer, who splits off from the group in search of a safe refuge before winter comes. Ringer was not a favorite character of mine in book one, but she really came alive in this book. I love the inter-dynamic between her and her captor. And there is a twist in here that… well, yeah. It’s a good one.

It is interesting that the author tries to deal with all the open questions readers had about the aliens from the first book. At times it seemed like Yancey was scooting around issues that really didn’t make sense, and that he had no answers for. But I have to give him credit for at least admitting over and over that a lot of what the aliens were doing made no sense, and that they should have just [spoiler removed]. I’m interested to see if some of these questions are answered in upcoming books.

My only niggle on this book is slight. It has one of those end-in-the-middle-of-a-chapter endings. Nothing at all gets resolved. We get some changes happening for one character, but all the open plotlines at the beginning of the story are still open at the end. I would have liked to have SOMETHING sewn up… but that won’t stop me from buying the next book. I do recommend this one.


 

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What is going on out there? A Review of THE LYING PLANET by Carol Riggs

The Lying Planet by Carol Riggs (Ebook) This is going to sound like a bad review, but stick with me… it’s not. The Lying Planet is Science Fiction/dystopian story. It takes place on a world that has been colonized, but years ago the colonies started fighting and destroying each other, leaving a poisonous dust in the air so everyone needs to take pills so they don’t die. There is more to the story, but I can’t go into much more detail without a huge spoiler.

Now, I am kind of a weird reader. When I go to the movies, I LOVE a good hard-sci-fi story. I eat it up. But when I read sci-fi, I like it a little tamer. There is one particular sci-fi troupe that always makes me roll my eyes. Unfortunately, that Trope is in this book, and it is an essential element of the Lie in the Lying Planet. I had a little trouble getting past that, which made some of the other elements, that I might have been willing to suspend my disbelief about, even harder to swallow. But I trudged on anyway, because the author has a nice, smooth writing style that is easy to read. I was genuinely interested in how the main character was going to get out of his predicament.

This is an easy read, with no intense feels that will leave you haunted at night. Even though the characters are older, this might be a decent read for a middle grader who is a little more mature and doesn’t want to read about little kids anymore. (I think I might give it to my 13 year old and see what he thinks)

Anyway, despite having that trope that I don’t care for, I did end up enjoying this book. And also – a big plus in this world of series – this reads like a standalone. That is really a nice change. If you are open to all types of sci-fi and not looking for deep emotional impact, this story is a great match for you. This is a nice, light read about saving a world that only a week ago, you didn’t know needed saving.


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Living under the domes – A review of Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (eBook) This novel takes place in a dystopian future where mankind lives in domes because the sky is filled with ether, a cloudy gas that rains fire down on the planet intermittently, destroying everything below.

When Aria witnesses a crime committed by the leader’s son, she is thrown out into the outside world and left to die. But there are people out here, and she teams up with an outsider. He needs to get information on a child that was taken by the inside dwellers, and she needs to get home. They work together to make this happen.

I enjoyed this book overall. There was a long time in the middle where the two characters just seemed to be walking. And walking. And walking. I wished a little more happened here, but once the characters got to know each other, and more characters were introduced, the story got more interesting.

The main story does tie up nicely at the end, but the MC is sent out on another adventure, which is okay since this is a book one. I appreciate a book where there actually is an ending, and you don’t have to get the next book to find out what happens. I guess I’d give this book three stars. It was good, but I am not scrambling to get my hands on book two like I have for many books I’ve read this year.


 

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Do NOT look lout the window! A review of GIRL ON A TRAIN by Paula Hawkins

Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins (Audiobook) This is a contemporary missing person mystery with an unreliable narrator. Rebecca is a drunk, but she thinks she has seen a crime while riding on a train. The book deals with her personal issues and her own quest to find out the truth, which leads her to getting involved in the lives of people she’s watched every day from the train.

This book is a little creepy and stalker-ish at times. I had trouble connecting to the main character because of the drinking problem, but I guess her issues are real and timely. I love the way the author wove little bits and pieces of the stories of three women involved… letting us in on just enough information to make us THINK we know what’s going on, while sometimes leading us in the totally wrong direction.

This book is one of those crazy breakout best-sellers. I can see why. It is really well written. Still, there was a part in the middle, and it is a very BIG part, when I was getting bored with this drunk woman and her meddling in other people’s lives. It got slow for me, and while all those scenes we leading up to something great, I really wish that the author could have condensed it a bit.

HOWEVER- I am willing to admit that this is a mystery, and the typical reader of this genre is looking for a slower pace to figure out all the clues. So I don’t really think this is a problem with the book. Rather, it is a problem with a poorly matched book and reader. Anyway, the ending was worth the wait, but I would suggest NOT WATCHING the movie trailer while reading this book, because the trailer, believe it or not, gave the ending away for me.


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Let’s Get Wrecked! (Or Maybe Not) A Review of Wrecked by Sherilee Gray

Wrecked by Sherilee Gray (Ebook) I need to give this book three stars and I feel really bad about it. The author is a very talented writer. The words stream freely and are easy to read, and everything about the story “flows”. However, I think this book was a poor match of reader to novel.

I try to read a couple contemporaries a year to keep up with trends in Romance. Once in a while I grab one and shake my head in wonder.

There are some great tortured characters in this book. A wonderful alpha male with issues over a past mistake, and tons of scars to remind himself about it every day. We also have the heroine, the hero’s best friend’s baby sister, who has been in love with our hero since she was a kid, and we find out the feeling has been mutual. The characters were great, but the hero constantly pushing the heroine away because “she deserves better” got annoying after a while. Seriously, I wanted to smack him. Even when they do get together, he is still whining about it won’t ever work, because she deserves better. (And this is probably half the book.)

Also, there was this creepy factor where he watches the girl from out the window, and does inappropriate things to himself. And when he admits it, she is okay with it.

Huh

I also had a problem with the way he talked to her. I mean, I guess I’m a prude, but I found just about everything about this guy offensive and I would have drop kicked him out my front door. Now, that being said, I understand that there might be women out there that want to be reduced to a piece of meat and spoken to like trash… so I am trying very hard not to judge…

Also, there was this added tension of a real estate guy trying to buy her house that was never resolved. We also have a on-line-date she goes on to try to make the hero mad, but it backfires… this leads to what I had hoped would be an epic confrontation at the end. But just when the excitement started, it was over as easily as locking a door.

WAAAAY too easy, and a big disappointment.

It is a shame. This author’s writing was pretty good. I might have been inclined to pick up more of her books, but I would be afraid to find more of the same.

HOWEVER-if you are rolling your eyes at me and thinking that you like stuff like this, then please pick it up! This author is talented… just not a good match for me.

This is me, reaching for some nice, safe, well-developed, not-foul-mouthed YA for my next few reads.

Sorry. I feel bad on this one. [Big sad face]


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Because sometimes you just want a nice, light read… A review of Beastly by Alex Flinn

Beastly by Alex Flinn (Ebook) A handsome, but arrogant son of an television news anchor is cursed by a witch and turned into a hideous beast. Terrified anyone will find out (thus ruining his career) the news anchor father sets him up in a lavish home with servants to wait on him, but he can never go outside (for fear someone might see him). The only way to break the curse is for the boy to fall in love, and have her love him back (and kiss his hideous face)

 

I really loved this contemporary retelling. I think what drew me forward was the interesting way the author wove in the scenes from the classic Beauty and the Beast tale into the present-day setting. Yes, I knew what would happen, but that didn’t mean the ride was not enjoyable. I’d definitely recommend this book for a light, fun read that will keep you smiling.

Add this one to your TBR!


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What’s you’re sign? I hope it’s not Cancer. A Review of Zodiac by Romina Russell

Zodiac by Romina Russell (Audiobook) This is a space opera with a complicated, interesting world (or WORLDS to be more accurate) People are living inside different constellations, called the Zodiac. There is a planet Virgo, planet Gemini… you get the picture. They all live in peace, until a horrible accident explodes one of planet Cancer’s moons, propelling it into the two other moons. Parts of the moons tumble into the atmosphere, wreaking planet-wide havoc. In the aftermath, we find out it was not an accident, and the person responsible plans on destroying one world at a time, unless a 16-year-old-girl (made leader because everyone else qualified died) can convince all the other planets that the cosmic fairytale Boogey-Man exists.

I found this book wildly entertaining. It is the first in the series, and you do not get complete closure at the end, but you do get a feeling that you finished a book.

This is an awesome high-paced thrill ride that will keep you guessing with a few gasps and surprises along the way. I would give this book 4 stars, subtracting one star because the beginning seemed to drone on before anything interesting happened. I almost considered moving on to something else, and all of the sudden chaos ensued. I’d definitely recommend, just be aware that when you start reading, it will get much more exciting and engaging.

Add this one to your TBR!


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When you are rooting for the bad guy… a review of CITY OF ASHES

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (Audiobook) This is book two of THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series. This is a really interesting world with a wide cast of characters having to do with a secret group that fights bad paranormals (like werewolves and vampires).

I think I liked this more that the first book because we get to see more of the bad guy, Valentine. While yes, Daddy is a jerk, I have to give the guy credit for standing up for what’s right. Shadow hunters are supposed to protect humans (mundanes) from vampires and werewolves and the like. That’s their job. This guy wants to take it to the next level and wipe them all out.

Part of me – the part that has watched monster movies and read horror novels, is on his side. “Protect the innocent!” The only reason I’m not 100% rooting for him is because the monsters in this book aren’t all monstrous. (It’s kind of like hating everyone in one country because a few of them are bad apples) Okay, yes, Valentine’s methods are not the best, but I do UNDERSTAND why he does what he does. And maybe a little part of me is rooting for him. I actually find him a little more interesting than the male lead, to be honest. I will be continuing this series (maybe next year). I’m brushing off my pom poms for Valentine.

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