Tag Archives: Book Review

Sometimes a book gets Under The Skin – A Review

Under the Skin by Michel Faber (Audiobook) This is kind of a weird book to get my head around. I picked it up because it was mentioned in a podcast as a book that transcended genre… that the characters were so great that even people 123063who hate science fiction could get into it. Overall, I have to agree with that, with a few caveats.

One, I would not label this science fiction, even though there are aliens in it. Overall, it feels very literary to me. Literary science fiction? Yeah, like I said… it’s hard to get your head around. The main character is, if effect, a serial killer. She picks up hitchhikers and decides which will live and which will die in a horrific manner. Don’t judge her though. She’s just doing her job. That’s the weird thing… you are so centered in this girl’s head that you do feel like you are doing this horrible job with her. The author does a great job of removing empathy and mercy from this character’s psyche (after all, she is not human) and you really bond with her and are along for the ride (not as her hitchhikers, thank goodness.)

What I found a bit odd, though, was the ending. I guess that I expected something fantastic because this is science fiction at heart. But instead… Well, I don’t want to ruin it, but this is one of the reasons this feels literary to me. In some instances, I feel like maybe the author had developed this amazing character, but then didn’t know what to do with her. So instead of developing more of an arc, the story ended. Either that, or the story is literary, thus making the ending absolutely brilliant. Again… tough call. Overall, though, despite the great characterization, this story left me pretty unfulfilled. If you like literary, give this a try and let me know what you think (Don’t worry, it does not read like a scifi AT ALL.)

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Crawling out of the pit of despair. A review of NIGHTINGALE by @JocelynAdams

Nightingale by Jocelyn Adams (Ebook) I am a pretty big Jocelyn Adams fan, and while this is not my favorite book by her, I think it will stand out as an ambitious, thought-provoking effort to those who enjoy deep themes and slow-36359941burn romance.

Micah is a rich former playboy who has been brutally disfigured after being held captive by a Columbian drug lord. Darcy is an ambitious reporter who nails the interview of a lifetime when Micah finally agrees to reveal what happened, and how he and a small group of captives escaped. She finds herself falling for Micah over the week-long interview, and ends up questioning which is more important to her… printing a story that rockets her to fame, or protecting the secrets of a man who used the horror of an unthinkable experience to refocus and devote his resources to saving people’s lives.

I really liked how Darcy didn’t take the easy way out and sleep with him right off the bat to get him to talk. I enjoyed watching them get to know each other, and how their very different lives had so many similarities that I could actually believe they would fall for each other despite the class lines.

There’s not really anything to complain about here. If you enjoy a more realistic romance, where people take the time to fall in love before falling into the sheets, this book should be a winner for you.

There’s one of these Raffle-Copter things associated with this book’s release. Here it is if you are the contest-type. $25 Gift Card up for grabs.

Rafflecopter linky-thing

Catch you later!

Gearing up for a Hot Pursuit – A review of Julie Ann Walker’s latest Black Knights book

Hot Pursuit by Julie Ann Walker (Ebook) This book is part of the Black Knights series, where a team of ex-military guys are undercover in a motorcycle shop, and actually working for the president as independent contractors. The 31676242books are all self-contained, but interwoven with the same characters. Each book centers on not only a special op, but on the romance between one of the operatives, and a girl we’ve either seen in other books, or one that just pops up. For several books, we’ve been watching Ex-UK special OPS Christian Watson spar against Emily, the office manager. (Kind of annoyingly so, IMO) Hot Pursuit is their story.

I had a little trouble with this one, because while Christian has been a favorite character of mine through these books, Emily has always annoyed me. While I knew this matching was inevitable, I guess I hoped he’d find someone else. By the end, I must admit, I’d grown a little fonder of Emily, but I’m wondering if the story being about her is what stopped me from getting completely engrossed.

Also, this special Ops part of the story fell very flat for me. While most of the books made sense, I felt like this one was forced. I completely understand the story, what happened and why (I don’t want to spoil it) but for the first time in a Walker novel, I found myself rolling my eyes at the action-part of the novel. I guess I just didn’t buy the bad guys or their reasons for doing what they did. I suppose when you’re writing a series that is as long as The Black Knights you’re going to throw a ground ball once in a while. I just wish it wasn’t in Christian’s story.

Then again, I’d have to admit that my bar was set pretty high where Christian is concerned, so that might have a lot to do with it as well. We still see the great writing, wonderful flow and super-readability that I expect from Walker. I’m looking forward to the main plotline picking up again in the next book to re-hook me with Black-Knight goodness.

Ummm, why am I holding a gun? A review of Project Pandora by @AdenPolydoros

Project Pandora by Aden Polydoros (Ebook) Wow- what an opening chapter! This book immediately drew me in. 31450642Our main characters are all about 17 years old. They are normal kids attending school, but every once in a while a phone rings, someone speaks some keywords, and these kids are hypnotized into triggering skills they don’t know they had, and they are forced to assassinate people. Once the job is done, they forget and return to their everyday lives. Such a creepy premise!

As we move on, one of the characters starts to lose his programming, and begins to remember his other life when he shouldn’t remember.

I loved this book all the way through, with a slight falling at the end. This is obviously a book one. However, we aren’t given closure to any part of the story in this first installment. I feel like with just an extra chapter the characters could have come full circle and completed something, even if it was an emotional part of the journey.

31450642One character was left up in the air as to their survival. I think this might be the missing element that left me feeling unsatisfied…Not hanging like a cliffhanger, this is different. I think if maybe we either saw that character’s funeral, or experienced their emotions once they woke up… Yeah, I think that is the problem for me… If that one character got closure (and sorry, I felt like there was not closure) I think this book would have rocked it until the end.

So, all this to say, this was a super fun, exciting read. I would suggest, however, waiting until the next book comes out and counting on reading both books back to back if you don’t want to be frustrated with a too-open ending. Otherwise, this feels like you are reading the first half of a book, and then being forced to wait before you can read the second half… if that makes sense. But that is NOT enough reason to miss out on this one. I really enjoyed it a lot and will be looking for the next book.

Four stars, subtracting one only for the almost-an-ending [She twiddles her thumbs, wondering when she can get a copy of the next book]

Rapunzel with a modern day twist. A Review of The Distance Between Stars by Nicole Conway

The Distance Between Stars by Nicole Conway (Ebook) This was a nice, sweet read reminiscent of Rapunzel.

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In this story, a dancer suffering from a severe allergy to the sun is locked away in the top floor of a large home (complete with a tower to be saved from) in order to keep her safe.

The new groundskeeper is an ex-soldier suffering from a form of PTSD that leaves him unable to talk. He can only communicate through gestures and writing on a pad that he keeps with him.

I really enjoyed how the relationship develops between these two characters. The dancer sneaks downstairs and steals his notebook, writes a note to him, and then he responds the next day. They become good friends without even seeing each other, and eventually, once they meet, they become something more.

Again, this is a nice sweet romantic tale with a HFN ending. My only quibble is I wish there were one or two more chapters.

[Extremely minor spoiler ahead] The whole vibe of the story is how these two characters will save each other. While we see one saved, I think we could have spent a little more time seeing the HEA for the other character as well.

But other than that, this left me feeling all warm, cuddly and gooey inside.

It was one of the best, Until… A review of Consolation by Corinne Michaels

Consolation by Corinne Michaels (Audiobook) I have extremely mixed emotions about this book. From the first page to the last page, I was about to

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place this book on the top of by “Best Contemporary Romances” list. But then I read the last few lines.

This book is about a pregnant woman whose Navy SEAL husband dies overseas. We feel her heartache through the first chapters, and then we begin on a very realistic journey of healing. Her husband’s best friend stays local after the funeral, and tries to help her get her life back together (While she raises a newborn). And yes, this is a romance, so a relationship develops between the two of them.

I loved pretty much everything about this story. I found it perfect, haunting, and believable.

HOWEVER my bubble burst in the last few lines of the book. There is the MOTHER of cliffhangers. There is absolutely no closure, and you have to get another book to fish the story. I should have been prepared, because I knew there was another book, but I expected SOME sort of closure. So, my suggestions would be to definitely read this book, but don’t read the last chapter. Give yourself the wonderful, happy ending that you are supposed to get in a romance novel by NOT reading all the way to the end. Take out that last chapter, and this is a five star book.

I’ll have my super powers, and I’ll use them, too. A review of Anomaly by Tonya Kuper **** Four Stars!

Anomaly by Tonya Kuper (Ebook)

This book is about a girl who suddenly 20696040can make almost anything appear. Anomaly takes place in present day, but there is a secret society of Pushers (those who can make anything inorganic appear) and Pullers (Those that can retract, or make things disappear). Occasionally among these people is born an Anomaly that can both Push and Pull. (Yup, our heroine is an Anomaly) She may be the most powerful anomaly the world has ever known, and they need to train her fast, because they need to get a top secret serum to the Vice President quickly, but there is another secret society that wants to stop them. (Okay, it’s a little more complicated than that, but this is the jist of it.)

I really enjoyed this book. The writing flows nicely and I felt completely engaged with the characters. My only nitpick might be that the big, scary job that they are 23014836training her to do didn’t really seem all that big and scary to me. And when they got there, there was this epic battle, but I wasn’t really sure why the main character HAD to be the one. (Especially since there were so many others there.)

Pushing that aside, this was a really fun read, and there is a double-edged twist in the end that really caught me off guard. Never saw either one coming.

So, yes, a thumbs up on this one. I will be reading and reviewing the next book, Enigma, shortly.

Book two just released, so no worries about having to wait to continue the series. And according to the author on Goodreads, this s only a two book series. So… ready, set, go! (She reaches for her Kindle and opens up the next book)

Ex Navy SEALs Turned Bike Repairmen? A Review of Wile Ride by Julie Ann Walker

Format: Audiobook **Adult Content Warning**

This is the second Julie Ann Walker book I’ve read, but the first in this Black Knights series. I really loved Devil and the Deep, and was expecting the same 30166725non-stop action in this new book.

Wild Ride was not as Wild as I expected. It was a little, no, it was a lot more general contemporary than I expected. I expected a little more excitement for an ex-navy SEAL novel, but the first 3/4 of this book was just really about bikers, which I found to be a bit of a turnoff. Walker’s writing and readability are just as awesome as ever, and I am wondering if the other books in this series have more action in them. The last, say 25% of this book was a heck of a lot of fun… exactly what I expected… it just took me a long time to get there. If you don’t mind bikers in your story, and a slower pace at the beginning of a novel, you’d probably rate this four or five stars. It’s a great book, just not quite what I was expecting.

When a book brings you on a grand adventure: A Review of Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake

Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake (Ebook) It’s kinda hard to explain what this book is about. Most large libraries hold magic books that are actually portals. 17669243There are people guarding these portals from things that go bump in the night that might try to use the portals to move into our world. Our heroine accidentally falls through one of these books because she is actually one of these wardens because her mother was one. – Okay, that is really oversimplifying it, but that’s the best I can do.

This book is really rich with world building, and the world created is pretty cool, with a life all its own. There is a whole lot of story going on here, and at times I felt a little overwhelmed. This book also seemed really long. But again, a lot was going on.

Our heroine is falling for another warden, and he is very interested in her, but they are forbidden from being together because of a curse. There is also another guy in the picture, creating a love triangle (To be honest, I kinda like the other guy better) This is definitely a book one, because most of the story is left open at the end. If you are into rich, fantastical worlds, are okay with a long (not boring, just long) read, and like a series, this it totally the book for you. Four Stars.


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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound | Google Play


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in a great while, A Movie is Actually Better Than The Book – THE IRON MAN vs. THE IRON GIANT

The Iron Man / The Iron Giant by Ted Hughes (Paperback) 

Now, This is just an opinion, please don’t start freaking out because this is a classic book… Hear me out!

The well-known USA animated movie, THE IRON GIANT was based off of a 1968 kids book called THE IRON MAN. It was renamed for the movie because “Iron Man” was already a superhero franchise in the USA. I saw the movie first, and it was one of those stories that stuck with me, and probably helped spur my love of contemporary science fiction today.

The original book by Ted Hughes was a cute story about a big robot that shows up and starts eating tractors. 119502The townspeople, sick of losing their tractors trap him in a big hole. After he escapes, they lead him to a junkyard where the Iron Man is more than happy to sit around eating cars and other metal junk all day, every day. Then a space dragon the size of Australia shows up and the Iron Man needs to save earth (with an odd contest, not a fight). (Note: the book is only about 70 pages long with REALLY BIG type and pictures. I finished it in under half an hour)

While I do applaud Ted Hughes’s vision of a simple, non-violent story for kids, I have to admit that the adaption for film was a lot more fun. The introduction of the psycho FBI Agent and the government wanting to find and destroy the Iron Man added what I consider a much more realistic element. And while the relationship between Hogarth and the Iron Man is hinted at in the book, their friendship really comes alive in the movie. And that ending… wow, sooooo much more satisfying that a non-aggressive “who is stronger that who” contest at the end.

119502Hughes’s original book was about peaceful existence and tolerance for all. The move delved deeper. While still having a profound theme of tolerance for those who are not like you, it also really pushed friendship, and believing that you can overcome all odds to be who you want to be, rather than who everyone thinks you are.

For me, the movie touched on what I deal with as a person every day, where the original book seemed more of a political statement. Again, yes, I applaud the original author’s intent for peaceful existence for all; but in the end, I’d rather show a little realistic violence and learn a message that people of all ages can apply to everyday life.


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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound | Google Play


Catch up with me on social media!

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