Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Feast:: Harvest of Dreams by Merrie Destefano

Title: Feast: Harvest Of Dreams
Author: Merrie Destefano
Published by: Harper Voyager (June 28, 2011-ARC Copy)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 2.5-3 Stars

Goodreads Description:

Madeline MacFadden ("Mad Mac" to fans of her bestselling magical stories) spent blissful childhood summers in Ticonderoga Falls. And this is where she wants to be now that her adult life is falling apart. The dense surrounding forest holds many memories, some joyous, some tantalizingly only half-remembered. And she's always believed there was something living in these wooded hills.

But Maddie doesn't remember the dark parts -- and knows nothing of the mountain legend that holds the area's terrified residents captive. She has no recollection of Ash, the strange and magnificent creature who once saved her life as a child, even though it is the destiny of his kind to prey upon humanity. And soon it will be the Harvest. . . the time to feast.

Once again Maddie's dreams -- and her soul -- are in grave danger. But magic runs deep during Harvest. Even a spinner of enchanted tales has wondrous powers of her own.

My Review:

This book was definitely different. Destefano created a unique world of beast and creatures, fantasy, prey and predators, dreams and nightmares.
This isn't something I normally read and while it was a little disjointed at times I found myself wanting to read on and find out what happened between Maddie and Ash and all the town.
I did like how the chapters varied from character to character so that we got a look inside each of their minds.
I think a little more world building would have been nice but overall this wasn't a bad read and I think people who really like fantasy would appreciate it and enjoy it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

LS: The Beginning by Kelvin O'Ralph

Title: LS: The Beginning
Author: Kelvin O'Ralph
Published by: Indie Author (ARC Copy)
Genre: YA Mystery/Paranormal
My Rating: 3.5-4 Stars


Description from Author:

A handshake between strangers has never held so much promise for discover.

When Stephen Wilson meets Lisa Morgan at his new school in Sloutenville, it is the simple act of extending his hand in greeting that flips both of their worlds upside-down. With the gesture, both discover that in some way they are connected, that they share the ability to manipulate the elements, fire and water. Though their abilities vary, they share the gift of telepathy allowing them to communicate without words, which creates a bond between them stronger than either had expected.

As the two begin to spend more and more time together David, Lisa’s ex, becomes wild with jealousy, lunching multiple attacks on Lisa. In the fight against the dangers that await them around every corner, Stephen and Lisa soon discover that they are up against much greater odds then they had originally known, and that their struggles are far from over.
My Review:
I received an ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) of this book by the author and while the book does have some editing issues and some grammatical errors, it was a pretty easy fast read. 
This was definitely a very unique story line. I loved the main characters uniqueness, their innocence and their love for one another as together they discovered  their powers but also about each other and themselves as well. I like how they seemed to grow together in their journey to discovery and I liked the slight mystery this story had to offer about who they were, where their powers came from and what was in store for them next. While this book does end on a cliffhanger, it is a nice one that leaves you wanting to find out what happens next.
While this is a rather young new author, I could see his writing grow throughout the story and I think we can expect some very great stories and books from him in the future.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The New Plan (Fergyville) by Katina Ferguson

Title: The New Plan (Fergyville)
Author: Katina Ferguson
Published by: Self Published Author (May 3, 2011)
Genre: Mystery
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
Frank and Catherine are parents worn down by three young children, and life. As they try to come up with a new, more efficient, way of managing their lives, they are met with a series of unforeseen obstacles. When Frank gets home from work, things don't seem quite right. He begins to wonder if some of the problems experienced by his family were in fact the work of malicious people from his past.

My Review:
This was a short read, a novella, but it definitely had me wanting more at the end. I loved Ms. Ferguson's description of Catherine and Frank's kids, so so true! I loved how realistic this novella seemed with the look into the lives of every day people, their jobs, their relationship, their kids. I love how this ended too! It completely had me wanting more and on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. Where are Catherine and the kids? What is Frank going to do next? What was in the back yard?
I can't wait to see what Ferguson comes up with in her next installment!

Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride by Sandra D. Bricker

Title: Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride
Author: Sandra D. Bicker
Published by: Abingdon Press ( Oct. 28, 2011-ARC Copy)
Genre: Christian Fiction
My Rating: 3.5-4 Stars 

Net Galley Description:

As a wedding planner, you'd think she would have the perfect wedding experience...

Sherilyn Caine has left Chicago behind to marry Andrew Drummond IV, an Atlanta native with a family name that tops all the social registers. Landing the job as The Tanglewood’s wedding planner is a piece of cake for someone with a Type A personality; she’s the perfect fit for a wedding destination hotel known for its attention to even the tiniest details.

But when everything else is going along swimmingly, why are her own wedding plans drowning right before her eyes? One way or the other, Sherilyn is determined to make this wedding work—until the latest development threatens to call the whole thing off. Is it possible that Sherilyn is allergic to her fiance? 

My Review:
This was my first time reading anything by Bricker. I received an advanced copy of this book by Net Galley to review on my site. But in no way will that alter my review of this book. 

I have to admit, this was a cute easy read. The characters were fun and the story was one about finding true love, holding on to it, learning about self worth and about forgiveness. Forgiving others for their mistakes and learning how to forgive yourself.
A very light, easy read, perfect for summer. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Title: A Discovery of Witches
Author: Deborah Harkness
Published by: Viking Adult (Feb. 8, 2011)
Genre: Paranormal
My Rating: 5 Stars 

Goodreads Description:

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

My Review:

I absolutely loved this book!  I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful this book is. It captured my attention from the first page. I loved everything about it. The characters are all loveable and memorable.
 I had a really hard time putting this book down, my only complaint is that I didn't have enough time to finish it all in one go and that, I didn't want it to end! In fact, I found myself reading more slowly to prolong the rest of the book which is odd for me. I am so glad that this is going to be a series. I can't wait to see what happens to Diana and Matthew, their adventures, their love, their future and the past.
I give this book a solid 5 Star rating. If you haven't read this yet and have thought about it, don't wait. Harkness wraps you up in a world all her own. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Choker by Elizabeth Woods

Title: Choker
Author: Elizabeth Woods
Publisher: Simon and Schuster (Jan. 4, 2011)
Genre: YA Thriller
My Rating: 4.5 Stars 

Goodreads Description:
Sixteen-year-old Cara Lange has been a loner ever since she moved away from her best and only friend, Zoe, years ago. She eats lunch with the other girls from the track team, but they're not really her friends. Mostly she spends her time watching Ethan Gray from a distance, wishing he would finally notice her, and avoiding the popular girls who call her "Choker" after a humiliating incident in the cafeteria.

Then one day Cara comes home to find Zoe waiting for her. Zoe's on the run from problems at home, and Cara agrees to help her hide. With her best friend back, Cara's life changes overnight. Zoe gives her a new look and new confidence, and next thing she knows, she's getting invited to parties and flirting with Ethan. Best of all, she has her BFF there to confide in.

But just as quickly as Cara's life came together, it starts to unravel. A girl goes missing in her town, and everyone is a suspect—including Ethan. Worse still, Zoe starts behaving strangely, and Cara begins to wonder what exactly her friend does all day when she's at school. You're supposed to trust your best friend no matter what, but what if she turns into a total stranger?

My Review:
 Wow, this book was creepy good. Keep you on the edge of your seat wondering what in the world is going on good.
Don't let the pretty pink flowered cover fool you, this book is not sweet and definitely not innocent.
Woods did an amazing job of bringing about Cara and Zoe's demented relationship in a way that keeps you guessing.
This was a great YA thriller! I can't wait to see what else Woods writes in the future.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Love on Assignment by Cara Lynn James

Title: Love on Assignment
Author: Cara Lynn James
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (Jan. 11, 2011)
Genre: Historical Christian Fiction
My Rating: 3 Stars

Goodreads Description:
While Charlotte is focusing on uncovering sordid information on columnist Daniel Wilmot, her heart leads her into uncharted territory.
During the summer of 1900 Charlotte Hale, a native Newporter and secretary for the Rhode Island Reporter, accepts an undercover assignment as temporary governess to Daniel Wilmont's children in order to secretly gather evidence against him. As he helps her rediscover God, Charlotte learns that Daniel is an honorable man.
They unexpectedly fall in love despite their different backgrounds and social positions. Charlotte soon realizes she must defend Daniel against the forces set against him-a willful student with a romantic crush and the newspaper editor determined to destroy his reputation.
My Review:
I was given this book as an ARC copy to review. I love historical fiction so I was excited to read this book and while it was a cute story I found I had a hard time getting into it at first. It seemed to lag a little and it came off as a little preachy at times. It did pick up towards the end and overall it was a nice cute read.
I would give this 3 Stars.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Adults (March 10, 2009)
Genre: YA, Dystopian
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:

In Mary's world there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.
The Guardians will protect and serve.
The Unconsecrated will never relent.
And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future-between the one she loves and the one who loves her.

And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

My Review:

Okay, I will admit I was really curious to see what this book was about. I have read a few dystopian books before, some I have loved and some have just been okay. I have never read anything by Carrie Ryan before so I wasn't sure what to expect from her writing.
This book was......well, actually it is really hard to describe. It was dark, sad, a little strange, beautiful and a little heartbreaking. 
The world Ryan created was a bleak one filled with little hope and almost no escape from what awaits them outside the village fence, outside into the Forest of Hands and Teeth.
Mary, the main character has always believed there is more out there, that they are not the only ones that have survived the infection that runs rampant through their world. When the fences are breached she and the surviving villagers must find salvation. They must go from their village into the unknown world and make a new life. 
There are many tragedies, deaths and heartbreaks throughout this story. While the story is sad it is also a beautiful one about hope and faith.
Ryan created a truly unique world.
I enjoyed this story even if it left me feeling a little sad. Her writing was beautiful and I would be very curious to see what the next book in her series holds for this world that she has created.
Overall, I give this book 4 Stars.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Slayed by Amanda Marrone

Title: Slayed
Author: Amanda Marrone
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing (Oct. 5, 2010)
Genre: YA Paranormal
My Rating: 3 Stars

Goodreads Description:
The Van Helsing family has been hunting vampires for over one hundred years, but sixteen-year-old Daphne wishes her parents would take up an occupation that doesn’t involve decapitating vamps for cash. All Daphne wants is to settle down in one place, attend an actual school, and finally find a BFF to go to the mall with. Instead, Daphne has resigned herself to a life of fast food, cheap motels and buying garlic in bulk.
But when the Van Helsings are called to a coastal town in Maine, Daphne’s world is turned upside down. Not only do the Van Helsings find themselves hunting a terrifying new kind of vampire (one without fangs but with a taste for kindergarten cuisine), Daphne meets her first potential BF! The hitch? Her new crush is none other than Tyler Harker, AKA, the son of the rival slayer family.
What's a teen vampire slayer to do?

My Review:

I actually found this book a little hard to get into. I never really found myself get caught up in the story or becoming attached to the characters. While it wasn't a bad storyline, a young girl thrown into the life of a vampire slayer from parents that she really knew nothing about, it just didn't capture me.
It did have a very satisfying end and didn't leave me hanging or wondering what happened to their world after everything that happened to them. Maybe if I would have read this at a different time I may have enjoyed it more. I will try her other books though so for that I give this book 3 Stars.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn

Title: The Dark Enquiry (Lady Julia #5)
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Genre: Historical Romance/Mystery
Published by:Harlequin
Rating: 5 Stars

Goodreads Description:

The spirits speak of secrets....

Partners now in marriage and in trade, Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane have finally returned from abroad to set up housekeeping in London. But merging their respective collections of gadgets, pets and servants leaves little room for the harried newlyweds themselves, let alone Brisbane’s private enquiry business.

Among the more unlikely clients: Julia’s very proper brother, Lord Bellmont, who swears Brisbane to secrecy about his case. Not about to be left out of anything concerning her beloved—if eccentric—family, spirited Julia soon picks up the trail of the investigation.

It leads to the exclusive Spirit Club, where the alluring Madame Séraphine holds evening séances...and not a few powerful gentlemen in thrall. From this eerie enclave unfolds a lurid tangle of murder, espionage and blackmail, whose tendrils crush reputations and throttle trust.

Shocked to find their investigation spun into salacious newspaper headlines, bristling at the tension it causes between them, the Brisbanes find they must unite or fall. For Bellmont’s sake—and more—they’ll face myriad dangers born of dark secrets: the kind men kill to keep...the kind that can destroy a fledgling marriage.

My Review:
I absolutely adore the Julia Grey series and this latest installment was the best yet. Raybourn did an outstanding job. I loved the interaction between Bisbane and Julia in this book. I loved all the tender moments between them as they finally learned to compromise with one another and learn more about each other and what being married is like.
I love that we got to see Portia and baby Jane and how they are getting along after the tragedy in the last book and of course all of Julia's crazy family members.
It was so much fun seeing into the lives of the Gypsies and meeting more of Bisbane's family and learning more about his mysterious past.
The mystery aspect of this book was amazing, it kept me guessing until the end. All the twist and turns and things that I just did not see coming.
Another fabulous novel by Raybourn and wonderful addition to the Lady Julie Grey series.
This book deserved the 5 Star rating, heck I would give it a 10 if I could, I loved it that much.

Indie Author Spotlight

So I have decided that along with my book reviews of recent books that I have read and enjoyed I would also be posting books from fabulous Indie authors that I have read in the past and feel should get a little love as well because lets face it, a lot of Indie Authors get very little recognition just because they choose to be self published over going the traditional route of having a publisher.
So in thanks to these briliant authors, once a month I will be posting a new book by a new author that I have enjoyed in the past. 

So up first is, Meant to Be by Tiffany King

Title: Meant to Be
Author: Tiffany King
Genre: YA Paranormal
Published March 18, 2011 
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
 Krista Miller feels like she has lived her entire life in a glass box with her every emotion on display. She can’t help feeling like a defect as her sensitivities have made her socially inept and without any real friends; the one exception being the boy that visits her each night in her dreams.

Krista’s emotions are put to the test when a move to California triggers a devastating change to her fantasy world. The nightly comfort that the boy provides has now become a recurring nightmare as he is taken from her by an unseen force.

Struggling to appear normal, Krista enrolls in a new school and finds it to be nothing like she thought. Her new life is sent spiraling out of control from a strange connection with a boy, Mark, who claims to know all her secrets.

As Krista begins to explore the emotions that Mark evokes in her, secrets from their past about their shared connection threatens to separate them just when they have found each other.

My Review:

 I found this story to be very well written with few editing errors (which are common in Indie books). The story was very unique. It had very loveable characters, a great plot, great love interests, mystery, intrigue and a great unexpected villain. I don't want to go to into the plot of the story because I don't want to give it away  but this was an excellent read and well worth the price at only $.99 for Amazon Kindle. 
I highly suggest you give this story and author a try. I think we will be seeing great things come from her in the future and look forward to reading more of her work. 
Overall I would rate this story at a solid 4 Stars.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Falling From Grace by S.L. Naeole

Title: Falling From Grace (Grace #1)
Author: S.L. Naeole
Genre: YA Paranormal
Published by: Crystal Quilt Publishing

My Rating of this book: 5 Stars

Goodreads Description:

When you wake up in the morning and your eyes take in the first hints of light that shine through your window, the dust motes catching and reflecting the sun’s rays like little diamonds, the shimmering hues of yellow and orangey gold breaking through into your room, the first thing you think about usually isn’t how you’re going to make it through the worst day of your life.

Unfortunately for Grace Shelley, that’s exactly what she’s facing as she ponders what to do now that she’s going to be starting out her last year in high school without her best friend. She’s not exactly the most popular girl in school - well, not the most popular girl in school to like, anyway - and everything seems to be hinting at another status quo year for her until she bumps into a stranger who leaves her stumbling for words and chasing after her heart.

The new guy in school is different. Robert doesn’t care about the rumors he’s heard about her or that no one else seems to see her the same way that he does; he only wants to be her friend. That’s when things get complicated. When Grace learns that he’s not your typical high school boy and that he’s actually a wingless angel who’s looking for someone to trust, she’s thrust into his world where not all angels are meant to protect human beings, and where the changes she brings into his life changes everything in hers.

My Review:
This book was amazing! I loved Grace and Robert, Stacy, Lark and even Graham. I got so involved with their characters it was hard to put the book down. I felt every emotion they felt, their joy, their heartbreak, their anger, their jealously. This book had me laughing, it had me on the edge of my seat, it brought tears to my eyes, let's face it, it had it all.
I admit, this was one of those times where I had to stay up until the wee hours of the morning to finish the book because I just had to see how it ended. I can already tell this series will be a favorite.
If you haven't read this book yet by a very talented Indie author I urge you to buy it now, download it to your Kindle, buy it online, borrow it from a friend, just read it! 

My Rating: 5 Stars!!


Latest Read-Spying in High Heels by Gemma Halliday

Title: Spying in High Heels (High Heels #1)
Author: Gemma Halliday
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Making It 

My Rating for this book: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:

L.A. shoe designer Maddie Springer lives her life by three rules: Fashion. Fashion. Fashion. But when she stumbles upon the work of a brutal killer, her life takes an unexpected turn from Manolos to murder. And things only get worse when her boyfriend disappears -- along with $20 million in embezzled funds -- and her every move is suddenly under scrutiny by LAPD s sexiest cop. With the help of her post-menopausal bridezilla of a mother, a 300-pound psychic and one seriously oversexed best friend, Maddie finds herself stepping out of her stilettos and onto the trail of a murderer. But can she catch a killer before the killer catches up to her?

My Review:
I have heard this series be compared to the ever popular Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich and since I love crazy Stephanie and all of her hair brained schemes I had to give this series a try as well. I really did like Maddie's character, and yes, she is a lot like Stephanie, down to her talent of being in the wrong place at the wrong time to her tripping over nothing and attraction to a hot sexy detective ( in this case Jack Ramirez) from the local PD. 
I had some laugh out loud moments and a few awww moments as well. 
Although this wasn't quite as good as Ms. Evanovich's series I still think it holds lots of promise and plan on reading the next ones in the series. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is looking for a good cute cozy mystery with a few good laughs and little (hint) of romance on the side.
 I give this book 4 Stars.