Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Spider's Trap by Jennifer Estep

Book Description

The next thrilling book in Jennifer Estep’s New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Elemental Assassin series—“an extraordinary series.…One of the most intriguing heroines in the genre” (Romantic Times Book Reviews).

Keep your friends close but your enemies within stabbing distance.
One important lesson I’ve learned in the assassination business is that to be the best you have to roll with the punches. Now that I’m queen of Ashland’s underworld—by default, not by choice—a lot more punches are being thrown my way. But I suppose that’s the price of victory for taking down some of the underworld’s top dogs. Good thing I have my Ice and Stone magic to help me survive my volatile new position. Just when I think things are finally settling down, someone tries to murder me during a hush-hush underworld meeting. But the real surprise is how strangely familiar my shadowy assailant seems to be.

My job is to maintain order among killers, crooks, and thieves, and soon I’m embroiled in a bloody game where the ability to keep secrets could be the greatest superpower of all. My enemies have all sharpened their knives and laid their traps, waiting for me to fall. But this Spider weaves her own webs of death…

My Thoughts:
I liked this Spider book.  It is a good addition to the series.  Gin is the head of the underworld, though she would much rather life go back to 'normal'.  When her friends are going to be collateral damage in a hit gone wrong, she is unhappy to say the least.  Snippets of memories tease her but it takes a thorough search to see what act from the past is coming to the present.  Now she must do more than just avoid the everyday attempts on her life, but find a killer before he finds her.
I absolutely love the Spider series.  Gin's life is awesome.  Reading the first couple of pages, I wasn't sure it would live up to my expectations but it did.  Her loyalty to her friends and family makes her stronger than most any of her enemies.  All the regular characters are there and in fine form and we meet an underworld boss with her own talents.  I liked how the past messed with the present and love the set up for the next book!
It was a 4/5 for me.  I love this series and this was a great addition.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book (via netgalley).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Road Home by Kathleen Shoop

The Road HomeBook Description:
The Long-Awaited Sequel to Award-Winning, Bestselling Author Kathleen Shoop’s The Last Letter…
1891—Living separately for three years, fourteen-year-old twins, Katherine and Tommy Arthur, have done their best to make each boarding house feel like home. But unrest grows as they are driven to questionable actions just to survive. Meanwhile their desperate mother is confronted with breaking yet another promise to her children. Then a miracle descends. Hope rises on a cold, rainy night and changes everything. If Jeanie could just get word to Katherine and Tommy, she knows she can set their lives right again. Agitators, angels, and dangerous “saviors” illuminate the Arthurs’ unmatched determination and smarts.
1905—Though she tries to forget the awful years that hurt so much, the memories still haunt Katherine. Now, tearful mourners at her mother’s funeral force her to revisit a time in her life that both harmed and saved her in the most unexpected ways. Tommy grieves his mother’s passing as well. He too is thrust backward, compelled to rediscover the events in his life that shaped the man he has become. Will he commit to reconstructing his broken life? The Arthurs come to understand that forgiveness is the only way back to hope, the only way to find all that was good in the misfortune that transformed their lives forever.

My Thoughts:
Good historical fiction!  The family is torn apart.  Their mother must live without them and Tommy and Katherine must learn to survive alone.  Alternating between past and present, the story unfolds of family and their constant struggle to reunite.  
I wasn't certain about how long it would take me to read this book as it looks a bit lengthy when you pick it up.  Once you start reading though, the pages fly by and soon you are at the end and wishing for more.  I felt the heartache as mother had to be separated from her children because as a mother, that is a terrible thing to endure.  Then seeing from alternating times and views how events unfolded was awesome.  I must say that I loved the history throughout and that it felt like I could see the scenes as they were described. 
5/5 for me.  This is the second in a series and can be read alone, but I would still suggest reading them in order. 

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Connected by Kat Stiles

ConnectedBook Description:
High school is hard enough, Em knows. Her freshman year introduced her to all the cliques, annoying teachers, and tough homework assignments. But discovering you have super powers and not knowing how to control them is a whole new level of complicated.

Thankfully, Em isn't alone. Her best friend Roz starts having unusual dreams that come true, and Tommy, Em's secret crush, can hear the softest whispers in class.

A romance blossoms with Tommy. But just as things are looking up, people start dropping like flies. A telepathic serial killer is on the loose and only Em and her friends have a hope of stopping him.

Or do they? If they don't figure out the killer's identity soon, one of them could be next.​

My Thoughts:
I completely enjoyed this book.  Em hates going to school because she is different and kids are mean.  Her best friend Roz is hot and every guy wants to date her.  Em has never had that problem and is totally crushing on the new guy in class, Tommy.  Trauma causes Em's gift to come to light and then Roz's.  When Roz dreams of murder, they must figure out who the murderer is and what is going on before one of the three of them wind up dead!
Honestly, I liked all the characters in this book.  They were all written well and those I was supposed to dislike, I disliked and the 'hero' was likable.  Em not being the 'it' girl was great for me.  She had issues, kids were nasty and made fun of her.  She loves her best friend to death, but has a bit of a jealous feeling because all of the guys want her.  Tommy brought in a nice male element, though I gotta admit to wanting to know a lot more about his big brother! There is a lot going on in this book and it will leave you wanting to read the next in the series immediately!
Solid 4/5 for me.  I can't wait to see what happens next with these characters.
Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book (via YA Bound Book Tours).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

**mild language and adult situations**

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Angles, Angels, Everywhere by Michelle Beber

Angels, Angels, EverywhereBook Description:
This spiritual yet non-denominational book is written in rhythm and rhyme and reflects diversity by illustrating children and angels of different races. The themes of the book are constant support and unconditional love.

My Thoughts:
This was a cute book.  It is an easy kid-level read that is inspirational in nature.  It talks about angels and how they are everywhere, to help you when in need.  I love the idea of teaching kids about angels and how they are everywhere.  The point I didn't like was the 'praying' to them aspect, but still, overall the book was good.  The angels in the pictures are each different and unique, my kids enjoyed that and that the angels are there to help.4/5 for my household!  The kids really liked the pictures.
Thank you to the author for the review copy of this book (via PUYB).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Taming the Viking's Dragon by Shawntelle Madison

Taming the Viking's DragonBook Description:
Only two riders can command an ice dragon... 

That was all too apparent for Steinn, a Viking warrior who must find his true love, the woman meant to conquer both his heart and his ice dragon. Drifa wants nothing more than to complete her training as a Woman of Frost, but she is called to join a band of warriors to the evil force that has fallen from the stars. 

To fight this new foe, they must forget their differences and reunite as man and woman. But for two Viking warriors, waging war is easier than forging peace.

My Thoughts:
This was a good romance.  Steinn is a warrior who must defend his land.  When he is called along with the other leaders to defend the whole of the land, he is forced into interactions with the woman who broke his heart.  Drifa had to leave Steinn, it was the only way to save her family.  Now she has to face the fact that she broke his heart and that neither has ever moved on from the other.  
I enjoyed the start where Steinn cannot control his dragon in the least.  The interaction between Steinn and Drifa was difficult at first, which fits the story.  After that, with the fighting and race against time to save the land, they worked better together.  Overall, the story was good and entertaining.  It was great how even though she wasn't supposed to still want him, Drifa couldn't deny him either.  Oh and all the dragons were awesome, and the descriptions of them were entertaining.
This was a 4/5 for me.  I really liked the dragon!Thank you to the author for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Seal My Home by Sharon Hamilton Audio Book

SEAL My Home: SEAL Brotherhood Series | [Sharon Hamilton]Publisher's Summary

Bad boy Rory Kennedy was raised in foster care, bouncing in and out of trouble along the way. He finds his true family and real brothers as a Navy SEAL, one of the navy's elite warriors. When his BUD/S instructor barked the SEAL's motto - "only easy day was yesterday" - he knew he had found home.
Megan Palmer works in a bookstore and finds her passion in life through reading steamy romance novels. Her brief affair with a man she later found out was married has left her damaged. Then she meets the handsome SEAL who stands ready to open her world and give her things she's only dreamed.
On a skiing trip, Rory suffers a possible career-ending injury. He also comes face to face with a past he never knew of and a family who had abandoned him. His relationship with Megan is tested to the breaking point as Rory wades through the dark waters of recovery and ponders whether or not he can live without the life he loves. A homegrown terrorist cell forces his hand, and he discovers his true purpose.

My Thoughts:
Interesting story.  Rory is set on having Megan.  He doesn't want another woman and no matter what she is wearing, he is going to have her.  Megan is used to having her romance in he form of books.  Having Rory show interest in her is flattering, but with her past heartbreak, she will just take what she wants and walk away.  Things don't go as Rory or Megan expect, but somewhere much better.  Then the cross-hairs are put on their relationship...and them!
I really liked Rory and Megan as a couple.  Both were damaged and neither were good with relationships but it just clicked.  They were hot and like every SEAL, Rory is possessive.  The back story really wasn't done great, but there was plenty of 'now' story to get lost in.  The narrator did a good job giving each character a voice and a new dimension.
It was a 3/5 for me.
Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this audio book.  I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

**Contains adult content and language**

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Gone Without a Trace by Patricia Bradley

Gone Without a Trace (Logan Point, #3)Book Description:
It's been more than two years since homicide detective Livy Reynolds's cousin disappeared from Logan Point. Unlike most people in her hometown, Livy has never believed that Robyn left voluntarily. When Dallas private investigator Alex Jennings contacts Livy concerning a missing senator's daughter who was last seen in Logan Point, she notices eerie similarities between the two disappearances. But with self-doubt plaguing her and an almost instant dislike of Jennings, Livy is finding this investigation an uphill battle. With her future in law enforcement on the line, can she find a way to work with a man who is her polar opposite?

My Thoughts:
Completely loved this book.  Livy is having issues because of a shoot on the job.  She doesn't like it when she has to take leave but maybe it is for the best.  Alex is hired to find Samantha Jo who has disappeared from Livy's home town.  The case sounds eerily similar to Livy's cousin Robyn's disappearance and the two team up to figure out exactly what is going on in the sleepy little town.
I absolutely loved Livy.  She is a strong woman.  Fiercely protective of her family and friends, loyal and takes on entirely too much.  Her family's interaction was interesting and I liked how they were woven into each other's lives.  I both loved and hated Robyn's story because it was so realistic!  Alex has his own issues he has to deal with but he was tenacious and strong.  Faith is everywhere in this book.  When they don't have it, they are questioning it, if they have it, they are relying on it.  That was such a refreshing thing to read that people do question their faith and that reassurance that God is there.
This was a 5/5 for me.  It is staying on my keeper shelf along with the other 2 from this series!

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Brave Queen Esther

Book Description

Brave Queen Esther tells the story of a brave and beautiful hero of the Old Testament. Written in the I Can Read level two standards, with age-appropriate vocabulary and concepts, young readers read about a young Jewish woman who is chosen to be a queen by a powerful king. When she hears of a plan to hurt all of the Jewish people in the kingdom, she calls on her faith and steps forward, facing certain danger to save God’s people from the evil plan.
This I Can Read! series of Bible stories makes use of the unique features found in the NIV Adventure Bible such as “People in Bible Times” and “Words to Treasure”.

My Thoughts:
I had my children read this to me and we quite enjoyed it.  This is a good book for younger children to read to get the condensed story of Esther and how God used her.  I love how they don't make it as a fairy tale but the author used words the kids could comprehend and follow easily.  The story unfolds nicely and shows bravery, God and faith.  I would recommend this book for any young child wanting an interesting Bible story!
This was a 5/5 for us.  Very good book that will stay on our shelves.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book (via booklook).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Nemesis by Catherine Coulter

Nemesis (FBI Thriller, #19)Book Description:
The next high-octane thriller in the FBI series featuring Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock from # 1 New York Times–bestselling author Catherine Coulter.

When Special Agent Lacey Sherlock foils a terrorist attack at JFK airport, she thinks her job is done and turns the reins over to the New York FBI. But stopping the grenade-carrying crazy was only the beginning. Another plot unfolds nearly simultaneously with a bomb at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The terrorist at JFK refuses to speak to anyone but Sherlock. She heads back with counterterrorist Special Agent Cal McLain to try to get him to talk. 

Meanwhile, Savich—with the help of Agent Griffin Hammersmith—has his hands full trying to track an elusive murderer who looks like a Hollywood Dracula. When Dracula’s attempts to kill Savich collide with Sherlock’s terrorist case, very strange things happen.

Who is really behind the bombing attack at St. Patrick’s? How does Savich’s mysterious killer fit into Sherlock’s terrorism investigation? Savich and Sherlock race against the clock, as more lives are in danger with every passing minute.

My Thoughts:
I love Catherine Coulter's books.  Sherlock is on her way back from a job and stops an attack.  Stopping the man with the grenade earns her respect and a lot of paperwork.  At the same time, there is another attack at St. Patrick's Cathedral.  Sherlock is brought back in because the man she stopped will only talk to her and they need to find answers fast!  Savich is having his own issues to deal with in tracking down a killer.  The two cases combine and both Sherlock and Savich are in grave danger.
If you've read Coulter's earlier books, you've likely been introduced to Sherlock and Savich.  This one had plenty of action and suspense.  I got a little creeped out by Savich's dreams but it was awesome at the same time.  I loved how kick butt Sherlock was throughout.  The secondary characters are wonderfully written and I want to know more about the 'top dog' that Sherlock worked with!
Absolutely a 5/5  for me.  
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book (via netgalley).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Two Renegade Realms by Donita K. Paul

Book Description

From bestselling author, Donita K Paul, the second installment in a fantasy series that follows Cantor, a Realm Walker, chosen to battle the corrupt Guild.
In Two Renegade Realms, the second installment in Donita K. Paul's Realm Walkers Series, Cantor, Bixby, and Dukmee must band together to find the storied realm walker Chomountain after a devastating attack by the corrupt Realm Walkers Guild. But what they discover while traveling turns their mission upside down: the great wizard is not as he once was, and they must now find a way to restore Chomountain before they and he can restore the Guild once more.

My Thoughts:
Good book.  This is the second in the Realm Walkers series.  Several years have passed and things haven't gone exactly as Cantor has wanted.  Now he, Bixby and Dukmee have to solve a probblem, only to figure out the problem is much more extensive than they originally believed it to be! 
I was excited about this book.  It started out a bit slower than I expected but it picked up quickly.  I liked watching the characters grow and Cantor is still my favorite.  As I read the story, I could see the whole thing unfolding.  The story was good and I cannot wait for more!
It was a 4/5 for me.  I love this author's work.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book (via BookLook).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Blades of Magic by Terah Edun Audio Book

Blades of Magic: Crown Service, Book 1 | [Terah Edun]Book Summary

Blades of Magic by Terah Edun is a rich epic fantasy perfect for fans of The Girl of Fire and Thorns and Mistborn.
It is not a peaceful time in the Algardis Empire. War is raging between the mages and seventeen-year-old Sara Fairchild will be right in the middle of it. She just doesn't know it yet.
Sara is the daughter of a disgraced imperial commander, executed for desertion. Sara is also the best duelist and hand-to-hand combatant in Sandrin. She lives quietly with her family's shame but when challenged about her family's honor, her opponent inevitably loses. On the night she finds out her father's true last actions, she takes the Mercenary Guilds' vows to serve in the emperor's army. Using her quick wits and fierce fighting skills, she earns a spot in the first division. There she discovers secrets the mages on both sides would prefer stay hidden. Dark enemies hunt her and soon it's not just Sara questioning the motivation behind this war.
While fighting mages, blackmailing merchants and discovering new friends, Sara comes across something she's never had before - passion. The question is - can she fight for her empress against a mage who might unwittingly claim her heart?
This is year one of the Initiate Wars. Sara is hoping it doesn't become the year she dies. On the night she finds out her father's true last actions, she takes the Mercenary Guilds' vows to serve in the emperor's army. Using her quick wits and fierce fighting skills, she earns a spot in the first division. There she discovers secrets the mages on both sides would prefer stay hidden. Dark enemies hunt her and soon it's not just Sara questioning the motivation behind this war.

My Thoughts:
I completely enjoyed this story.  Sara is absolutely sure of herself, and doesn't understand just how important she is.  Her combat skills and control are amazing.  While she lives with the knowledge of her father's, she is still devoted to him.  As her life twists out of her control, she comes more into herself than she's ever been before.  From what she discovers, she questions motives and has to find her answers.
Honestly, I wasn't sure I was going to like this book when I heard the first few sentences.  Still, it picked up quickly and I really enjoyed it.  Sara was by far my favorite character.  It was great to watch her grow and change.  I loved how devoted she was to her father, no matter what.  Ezekiel was probably my second favorite.  Their friendship blossoming was great to watch.  There is always something going on to pull you along through the story at a wonderful pace.  The narrator does a great job giving the characters a voice!
This is a 4/5 all the way.  I look forward to the next in this series.
Thank you to the author for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Interview of Author Dennis Meredith

Displaying Small The Cerulean's Secret cover.jpgDisplaying MeredithAuthorimagecloseup.jpgAW: Tell us about yourself…
I’m a science writer who’s worked at research universities including Caltech, MIT, Cornell, Duke, and the University of Wisconsin. I’ve written nonfiction books about the importance of fathering (Father Power, 1975), the search for the Loch Ness monster (Search at Loch Ness, 1977), and how scientists can communicate their work (Explaining Research, 2010). I’m now writing speculative fiction novels, including The Rainbow Virus, Wormholes, Solomon’s Freedom, and my latest, The Cerulean's Secret.

AW: What genera do you write and why?
I write what I call speculative fiction, but what has also been called science thrillers. That is, my novels draw on real science, both current and future, to tell stories that make people think about the impact of science and technology.

AW: Tell us about your book….
The Cerulean's Secret is set in the year 2050, when a very lucrative industry has developed to create and sell exotic genetically engineered pets—including crosses like cogs, dats, snurtles, alliphants, hamakeets, and feather boas. Its ultra-rich clients, however, clamor for the really spectacular specimens—dragons, unicorns. . . and now the Cerulean. The stunning cat had promised to bring billions of dollars from a corporation, private collector or exhibitor.

But somebody steals the cat, and swept up in the mystery is na├»ve young Timothy Boatright, a wanna-be writer who's driving a cab in New York. He inadvertently picks up the thief and the nabbed Cerulean. The cops suspect him of complicity in the crime, and to prove his innocence and save the cat, he tracks it down and steals it back. He realizes that the Cerulean was stolen and marked for death because its genes hold some explosive mystery he must solve to survive. He must also save his friends held for ransom—the middle-aged, cat-loving former spy Callie Lawrence and her headstrong daughter Lulu, with whom Tim has fallen madly in love.

AW: What was your inspiration for this book?
The Cerulean's Secret, had its origins thirty years ago, when an oddball question popped into my head: What if there were a blue cat? I suspect that notion arose because, at the time, as head of the Caltech news bureau, I was witnessing the beginning of the genomic engineering revolution. Caltech biologists were building the first “gene machines” to sequence and construct DNA and protein molecules. I believed that these machines would ultimately spawn an extraordinary technology for manipulating life. As the technology evolved, so did the story of my imaginary blue cat. I began crafting the novel some two decades ago, as genomic science fiction became science fact. And as I wrote it over the years, many of the devices I envisioned for 2050—from robot snakes, to virtual-reality glasses, to quantum computers—began showing up as real-life technology. And, although I wanted to tell an exciting story, I also wanted to explore the critical moral and ethical issues raised by our growing ability to genetically engineer life.

AW: Do you have a favorite character and why that one?
I really like them all, but differently, just like you like all your friends for their different qualities. In The Cerulean's Secret, I like Tim Boatright for his unerring optimism and determination; Lulu Lawrence for her wit and feistiness; and Callie Lawrence for her loyalty to her friends and loved ones, and utter courage.

AW: What project(s) are you currently working on?
My next novel is The Happy Chip [www.TheHappyChip.com], about a company called NeoHappy, Inc., which markets a sophisticated nanoelectronic chip that, when implanted, enables people to monitor the hormones that measure their own happiness with the people and products in their lives. At first, millions of people find the Happy Chip a pathway to more pleasurable choices. But the company begins to disseminate control chips that manipulate people’s emotions, and can even assassinate them by remote control.

The protagonist is science writer Andy Davis, who is hired to co-author the biography of the company’s genius founder, Marty Fallon. What starts out as a dream assignment for him transforms into a nightmare that threatens to subjugate not just Andy and his family, but the world.

AW: Do you have any interesting writing quirks you want to tell us about?
I guess my most unusual writing "quirk"is where I write. My wife and I live in a log cabin deep in the North Carolina mountains, a mile from the nearest neighbor. We live in the middle of nature, encountering deer, raccoons, hummingbirds, and even an occasional bear. It’s a great place to write, without the intrusion of the distractions of civilization.

AW: Do you have any advice for writers out there?
Write for the love of writing. And keep writing and trying to improve your writing, no matter what. And play the long game. That is, don’t assume that your first book will make your reputation, or even the fifth. You might have to write a dozen books to establish your brand, and even then you might not make it big. But if you write books that you are proud of, and that your readers enjoy—no matter how small the audience—you’ve fulfilled yourself as a writer. Finally, explore both traditional and self-publishing, and learn marketing skills. You’ll need them regardless of how your works are produced.
AW: Where can we find you? (facebook, twitter, blog, website, etc)

AW: And of course we have to know, where can we find your book?
Website: www.DennisMeredith.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DennisMeredithAuthor
The Cerulean's Secret: www.CeruleansSecret.com