Thursday, March 22, 2018

Review: Black and Green by C.L. Stone

Black and Green (Ghost Bird #11) by C. L. Stone
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Publisher: Arcato Publishing
Genre: YA Contemporary Reverse Harem

Sang Sorenson’s father abandoned her and her sister, leaving them to fend for themselves for months. He’s returned, and finds Sang is missing. He demands she return. Right now. Will he call the police if she doesn’t?  Her Academy team doesn’t want to risk losing her ghost status and she doesn’t want to put them in danger, so she reluctantly returns home, but is comforted that she will still be monitored by them. But the second she opens the door, she discovers her father has made changes that will affect her entire future. His decisions will make them a normal family.

Normal is no longer what Sang wants. It would kill her Academy career before it ever started. Not to mention it would end the special, new, and still-fragile relationships with the guys. Sang struggles with her family, her identity, and where she truly belongs. Now that the entire team knows about their romantic relationships with her, tensions are mounting, tearing the team apart from the inside. Only, Dr. Green isn't going to lie down and roll over by playing by the rules. Not anymore. Not while Sang is at risk.  His heart can’t take leaving her in that house one more minute. He needs her. They all do. The Academy: Worth Risking All.

Finally!!  I have been waiting so very IMpatiently for one of these book to be all about either Dr. Green or Mr. Blackmore.  I can so happily say that this one features Dr. Green.  I am a happy camper indeed, and these books, again, just keep getting better and better.

What makes them so good are the characters, how well-drawn and thoroughly depicted they are.  I could imagine meeting these guys in person, so are so real to me.  I love them all. All, I tell you!!  But I was so thoroughly excited that this one featured Dr. Green, because he's one of my favorites.  And it did not disappoint, even amidst the turmoil and angst that is a direct result of Sang's father returning and turning her life and the status quo completely upset down.

I know some reviewers were disappointed that when Sang had to return home, she regressed a bit back to her previous personality prior to meeting the boys, but this actually didn't bother me in the slightest because it made sense.  You can't go through the sort of traumas that this girl has gone through and then be magically cured, despite the passage of time that has taken place.  Yes, she was removed from that home, hasn't lived there and been reminded of it, hasn't had to "return to the scene of the crimes" so to speak.  Anyone whose been through what she has can indeed find themselves repeating old behaviors once placed back into the environment where it occurred.  I felt it was a natural progression that was pretty realistic.  The whole question is whether she can fight through it and emerge once again to her new self.

I loved all of the Dr. Green interaction, as well as her interactions with the boys.  This is one of my favorite of the series so far, and I am eagerly anticipating the next one, again!!  Can't wait.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. WoW posts are about books that you can’t wait to get your hands on.

This is one of my favorite posts to read on the blogs that I follow because other bloggers have found so many wonderful books that I had no idea about! I get most of those from reading Waiting on Wednesday posts. :-) I urge you to visit other blogs and read theirs to find these great lists!

In the south, everyone has a secret--and murder is served with sweet tea. The word's out: Ethan Wilder’s coming back to town, and the people of Bowie, Georgia are in a southern tizzy. Everyone knows the story. He shot and killed his sister four years ago, and people say his father, Jim Wilder, the biggest holy roller this side of the Mississippi, sent him packing for just that reason. Even if her death was unofficially ruled a suicide, Ethan’s return has everybody talking.

Seventeen-year-old Delilah Doherty can’t go anywhere without hearing his name. Born and raised in Bowie, Delilah knows firsthand about the gossipmongers and how they love a good scandal. The daughter of a wild child and niece of the local psychic, she’s also the only one who doubts Ethan’s guilt. After Ethan saves her life, the two start a slow and steady burn neither can deny. But when Bowie's spiritual leader is nearly murdered, it rocks the small southern town to its core. Delilah and Ethan are caught in the crossfire, their relationship threatened before it's even begun. Someone has it out for Ethan's family. With everyone convinced of Ethan's guilt, it's up to Delilah to unravel the mystery before someone else gets hurt or worse...dead.

Release Date: April 5, 2018

Why I'm excited about it:
Bad boy that everyone thinks is
a murderer except for one girl.
Sounds sooo good!!

Have you heard of this one?  Leave a comment and let me know what your WoWs are this week!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Review: Sketchy by Olivia Samms

Sketchy by Olivia Samms
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Skyscape

Bea's life has been a mess ever since she got kicked out of private school and sent to rehab. Now clean, Bea is starting over at Packard High School, in a city shaken from two assaults on young women. The latest victim, Willa Pressman-the one who survived-doesn't remember a thing. But Bea has a disturbing new "skill": she can see-and then draw-images from other people's minds. And when she looks at Willa, Bea is shocked by what she sketches. Bea might be the only one who knows Willa's secrets-and who can take down the killer before he strikes again.

With a summary like that, let me tell you, I really wanted to love this book.  Unfortunately, it just wasn't my cup of tea.  First, I just had a really hard time with the characterization.  Bea.  My biggest hurdle is that I had a very difficult time liking her.  She was very wishy-washy and at times very off-putting.  I found myself wondering why I cared what she was going through. It was tough.  Chris was an enjoyable character, but I found that he and all the other characters were just very stereotypical...almost like the author had a check list that had to be checked off... "gay best friend...check; mean jock...check."  I felt as if we were looking at a high school atmosphere that just isn't the norm anymore.  This is a day and age where being gay is a lot more acceptable than it once was, and someone fresh out of rehab would not have been ostracized the way Bea was.  Would there be a few mean people who might snicker at, make fun of, or avoid Bea and Chris...of course.  But not like this, not in this day and age.  I felt these characters weren't done justice because of it.  I did, however, like that Bea had some spunk to her.

I loved the entire concept of being able to draw images from other peoples minds. That was super cool and interesting, but due to the other issues I had with the story, this wasn't enough to make this a great read for me.  There seemed to be a lot of "where'd that come from?" moments, and when I say that, I don't mean those great, shocking moments of discovery that books can have... I mean the kind where parents seem like they're going to split up the entire book and then bam, when the book ends, everyone is happy.

I just felt like there were a lot inconsistencies in the story and that characterization needed some help.  So much felt cliche and I had a hard time getting past those things. Unfortunately not a winner for me.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Review: Silent Echo by Elisa Freilich

Silent Echo by Elisa Freilich
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Diversion Books
Genre: YA

Haunted by silence, a mute teenage girl is mysteriously given back her voice ... and it is divine.  Rendered mute at birth, Portia Griffin has been silent for 16 years. Music is her constant companion, along with Felix, her deaf best friend who couldn't care less whether or not she can speak. If only he were as nonchalant about her newfound interest in the musically gifted Max Hunter. 

But Portia's silence is about to be broken with the abrupt discovery of her voice, unparalleled in its purity and the power it affords to control those around her. Able to persuade, seduce and destroy using only her voice, Portia embarks on a search for answers about who she really is, and what she is destined to do. Inspired by Homer's Odyssey, Silent Echo: A Siren's Tale is an epic story filled with fantasy, romance and original music.

This was one of those books where I loved the summary and really wanted to also love the book.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't dislike the book.  It just wasn't quite what I was expecting, and there were a few things that bothered me about it.

I love the whole Greek god thing, as I love Greek mythology in any book.  However, it does need to meet a certain standard, and at times, I just didn't feel like these gods were believable, only because they didn't seem to have changed with the times at all.  I don't care how old you are, your manner and your speech are bound to change, at least a little bit, over the course of centuries.  But I found that the gods here came across very much as they always would have been at the beginning of time.  So it just didn't ring true for me.  

Additionally, I just had a really difficult time liking Portia.  This was a very complex character, so I do admire the author's writing chops to create such a character, but at the same time, through most of the book, I just didn't like who she was at all.  The two love interests were interesting, and I definitely liked one more than the other, but time will tell just which one Portia will end up with, as this appears to be a series in the making.

All in all, I liked the author's writing style and storytelling, but when it was all said and done, this just wasn't the book for me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. WoW posts are about books that you can’t wait to get your hands on.

This is one of my favorite posts to read on the blogs that I follow because other bloggers have found so many wonderful books that I had no idea about! I get most of those from reading Waiting on Wednesday posts. :-) I urge you to visit other blogs and read theirs to find these great lists!

While she sleeps, the whole universe changes.

Princess Talia Starchaser has it all. Wealth. Status. Adoring citizens. But on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, she’s forced to publicly betray her best friend, a companion mock she’s had since birth, setting events into motion that lead to the destruction of the humans, and the princess floating through space, a remnant of a time when humans ruled over droids.

One hundred years later, half-mock captain Will Perrault and his ragtag crew discover a device floating in space. When a very human Talia emerges from its depths, Will suspects she’s the key to buying his way back into the regiment he once commanded against the last remaining rebel humans—and the ruling mock queen’s good graces.

Both Talia and Will would rather get space-tossed than trust one another, but with the queen’s forces chasing them across the galaxy and the fate of both worlds hanging in the balance, they’ll forge the unlikeliest of alliances to survive.

Release Date: March 6, 2018

Why I'm excited about it:
A sleeping beauty-type story
set in space with an alpha male
that finds her?  Where do I sign up?

Have you heard of this one?  Leave a comment and let me know what your WoWs are this week!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Review: Sacrifice by Cayla Kluver

Sacrifice (Legacy #3) by Cayla Kluver
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Fantasy

This is not the time for the fight to end. Now is when the fight will begin. This is the time to regain what has been lost.  Alera.  Queen of a fallen kingdom, secretly in love with the enemy. Shaselle. Daughter of a murdered father, rebel with a cause.

One lives behind the former Hytanican palace walls and walks the razor's edge to keep the fragile peace in her beloved homeland. The other slips through the war-torn streets, seeking retribution for her family's tragedy, following whispers of insurgency.

Both face choices that will separate them from those they cannot help but love. As their stories intertwine, a conspiracy ignites that may end in slavery or death—or lead to freedom anew, if only each can face what must be sacrificed.

What a fitting and perfect conclusion to a great series.  Legacy began the world-building, the characterization, and the setup.  Allegiance set the pace of action of what type of story this was going to be as a series, as well as to move the story along and sink us into the action of it all, Sacrifice took us on a fast-pace ride to the conclusion in an exciting and thrilling way.

I loved the fact that the author chose the dualing Points of View between Alera and Shaselle.  It gave a certain new depth to the story and really allowed the reader a chance to see what the world was long beyond the bounds of the castle and Alera's world.  Both points of view were interesting, although a found Shaselle's a little more so, probably due to the more freedom of movement she had outside in the world. I enjoyed both though, as Alera's POV showed some wonderful growth from book one to now, and Shaselle's showed her free-spirited adventure-like persona so well.

Again I loved the characterization, world-building and storytelling in this series.  In this last story of the series, the author did an amazing job with all elements, and with keeping this a fast-paced ride of discovery.  Great ending a great series.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Review: The Lost Savior by Siobhan Davis

The Lost Savior (Alinthia #1) by Siobhan Davis
Release Date: February 1, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Reverse-Harem

They came from another world to protect her. Now it’s her destiny to save them … Tori King is a normal senior in high school. Head over heels in love with her childhood sweetheart, she is busy making plans for college when a chance encounter with an alien bounty hunter turns her world upside down. Now, she’s experiencing terrifying changes and developing supernatural abilities that leave her questioning her entire existence.

Then the arrival of four hot new guys at school has everyone talking—especially when they become fixated on Tori, following her wherever she goes. She can’t shake them off, and as they grow closer, she finds herself drawn to all four of them in ways she cannot explain. When they finally reveal their true identity, and why they’re here for her, she discovers everything she thought she knew about herself is a lie. Because there is nothing normal about Tori King. And she’s about to discover exactly how underrated normal is.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.**

...And I'm so glad that I did.  I had not previously heard of this author or any of her books prior to reading this one, and all I can say is, where has she been hiding and where has this book been hiding?!

Let me start off by saying that this story is more appropriate for those 18 and over in age, as it is a reverse-harem book.  C.L. Stone's Ghost Bird series turned me into a fan of that little genre niche, so when the opportunity came around for me to try out Siobhan's Alinthia series, I jumped at the chance.  This series did not disappoint.  Fans of C.L. Stone's books will probably enjoy it, although it is not a straight contemporary, but has a lot of fantasy elements in it that lend it a unique quality.  While it is a reverse-harem story, that's where any and all similarities end.

Siobhan Davis takes you on a thrill ride of unique and interesting proportions, full of adventure, twists, turns, excitement and romance.  It had it all.  As you know, I'm a huge "characters first" proponent with any book I read, and Siobhan definitely showed her ability to flesh out a character, make them three dimensional, and to make me care about them.  Even the secondary characters were so fully drawn that I found myself loving them all, even those that didn't exactly act nice. There was also no stereotypical archetypes in the story. There could have been, but the author handled them so well, that they came across so unique and interesting in their own right.

The adventure and mystery of the book was intriguing, captivating, and kept me glued to the book until I finished it.  The pacing was perfect, with all the right clues and bits of appropriate information dropped for the reader at just the right time.  Nothing felt rushed.  The pacing was spot-on to where I literally flew through the book.

The author did a wonderful job handling sensitive situations, world-building, and crafting an incredibly unique backstory for these characters with a promise for even greater things to come.  I finished the book feeling as if a storyteller had just woven a tale of all my favorite book elements for me into one amazing and exciting tale.  I want more!!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Discussion Post: What do you do when you feel the blogging burn out?

My Discussion Topic This Week - What do you do when you feel the blogging burn out?

I don't think anyone can doubt that I'm not stranger to this issue.  I've had this happen to me three times now in the past, most recently in the last year and a half where I disappeared.  My husband and I lost our dog, who was really like a little child to us, and it was extremely painful.  We had spent a year caring for him as he was unable to walk, although our vet told us he wasn't in any pain.  As long as that was the case, we were willing to do everything for him, and did for about 9 months before he finally left us.  We were both devastated and I just couldn't myself into blogging at that time.

I started a new job around then as well, which was very challenging, and it just kept getting easier and easier to come home and not even look at my computer.

Prior to that, I've had a couple other times where I stopped blogging for a while, and those were from just pure burnout.  I got tired.  I even reached a point where I was burned out on reading and couldn't find anything that really did it for me.  I tried multiple genres and just couldn't drum up much enthusiasm.  Blogging began to feel like a chore to me.  So once again, it became easier just to "forget" to do it until so much time had gone by that I had to admit I was on sabbatical.

So have you felt this? Has this happened to you before?  What do you do to get yourself out of such a funk?

Let's discuss...

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Tempting New Tales

Tempting New Tales is my weekly post where I share what new books I managed to acquire this week. Credit goes back to the Stacking the Shelves weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  

Below is my breakdown of what was posted last week, and what I'll be posting in the coming week. 

  • Review: Halflings by Heather Burch.  Post here.
  • Review: Live and Let Psi by D.R. Rosensteel.  Post here.
  • Review: Quarantine by James Phelan.  Post here.
  • Review: Sketchy by Olivia Samms

Here's what to look forward to next week:

  • Discussion Post: What do you do when you feel the blogging burn out?
  • Review: The Lost Savior by Siobhan Davis. Post here.
  • Review: Sacrifice by Cayla Kluver. Post here.
  • Review: Silent Echo by Elisa Freilich
  • Review: First Kiss by C.L Stone

Now, on to the new bookshelf items.  Here's what I got this week!

Have you read any of these yet?  What did you get this week?  Leave a comment!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Review: First Kiss by C.L. Stone

First Kiss (Ghost Bird #10) by C.L. Stone
Release Date: April 24, 5016
Publisher: Arcato Publishing
Genre: YA Contemporary Reverse-Harem

The time has finally come for Sang Sorenson to be formally introduced to the Academy. Protocol dictates the boys keep the details of Sang’s official introduction to the Academy a secret from her. The only thing they can advise her to do is to work on what will become her mantra: She is determined to stay with her team, no matter what. Despite her wishes, however, the boys are second-guessing her place with them, concerned for her safety. With dangers all around and threats closing in, some of the boys are questioning if this is the right time to bring her to meet the Academy at all.

Sang is challenged with being the brave face among them and instilling the confidence needed to keep her with them. However, in order to appear compliant with the Academy’s rules, she has to be willing to listen and try their suggestions. As the boys have suspected and feared, the council wants to see how she’ll work with a different team. An all-girl team. She has no choice but to go along with the proposal or risk losing a shot at the Academy. But when the Academy’s inner world is revealed to her, Sang knows that she’s finally found her place—somewhere she belongs—and she sees a future with them. The deeper she gets, the more she sees how she can make a difference. Learning what she is capable of and the impact she can have, she feels obligated to help. There’s so few girls, and they need her.

The guys try to stick to their plan, but every team must pay their debts, and the cost of keeping her might be more than any of them can afford. It’s up to Sang alone to prove to the Academy where she truly belongs—but can she resist the call of a new team that needs her? The Academy, Inside.

One would think that after ten books that this story would have begun to wear thin or that the story would just start to resemble a long, drawn out, never-ending series that puts out new books just for the sake of having more books.  I have seen this happen with other series and it's a shame to watch a good story suffer in that way.  This is SO not the case with C.L. Stone's Ghost Bird series.  I love each and every one of these books more with every new one I read.  Here are just a few reasons:

The characters continue to grow, change and evolve.  What Sang was when we first met her is nothing like the Sang we see in this installment.  Granted, she's still dragging along a few little throwbacks to her roots.  Who wouldn't after suffering the way she did.  However, she has been through so much growth, and in this book, we get to see an entirely new side of her, independent of the boys she's grown to love.  I loved watching her inter-mingle with others.  Even though it is still quite clear to me where she belongs, I think this foray into working with others gave her some much needed time to shine, show her own ingenuity, and even display 100% that where she wants to be is indeed the right place for her without a doubt.

I also thought it was great to see the boys having to squirm a little at the idea of Sang working with another group and potentially wanting to stay with them. What if she wants to?  I think it works to push them a little in the right direction, including the ones who had been holding out a bit.  There were a lot of firsts in this book and I loved every minute of it.

The author knows how to create sexual tension and even with everything that was going on in the book, there was definitely that in abundance.

With each book we get closer and closer to the one event I want to see.  Those of you who are as invested in this story as much as I am will have no trouble guessing what event I'm waiting impatiently for.  :-)

Another great installment to this series.  Look for a review of the next installment in about a week or so.  Great book!!

Review: Quarantine by James Phelan

Quarantine (Alone #3) by James Phelan
Release Date: 2011
Publisher: Atom

Jesse has survived the chasers. He's survived the roving bands of humans. And he might even have started to make some new friends. But the quarantine period is up. The army is coming in. And Jesse's about to learn that the real test of survival has only just begun.

The author of the Alone series provided us with a very good ending to the trilogy and I was very satisfied.  First, may I say how much I enjoyed the characters in this book, especially Jesse.  His bravery makes him admirable and memorable for me, a true standout from other books of this type.

I enjoy a good zombie story, but this one had some additional elements that made it even more interesting. If you've not read the first two books in the story, it would be easy to pick up with this one and figure out exactly what's going on since the author does summarize here and there.  This story was fast-paced to the point of being breathless for me, which was amazing.  I just felt that I looked up and it was over, and I was left wanting more.

As some other reviewers did, I found some small issues with the ending and the fact that there were questions left unanswered that might have been nice to have had some closure on, but otherwise, the book raced to the end in a wonderful, exciting way. Great ending to a great series.  Highly enjoyable!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Review: Live and Let Psi by D.R. Rosensteel

Live and Let Psi (Psi Fighter Academy #2) by D. R. Rosensteel
Release Date: 7/11/2016
Publisher: Entangled

Rinnie Noelle would rather kick some creepy villain butt than go on a date. As a Psi Fighter trained in the Mental Arts, she can’t be distracted by emotion. Her nemesis, Nicolaitan, is manipulating students from her school, using them as puppets to carry out his new plan to find the infamous Morgan Girl, and he doesn’t care who becomes collateral damage in the process. People’s lives are depending on Rinnie’s ultimate focus.

But Mason Draudimon keeps slicing into her soul sharper than a Thought Saber, and her feelings for him knock her off her game with the strength of a psionic War Hammer. Mason insists on helping Rinnie take down Nicolaitan for his own reasons—to avenge his mother—and the closer they get to the truth, the more dangerous the dance between mind and heart, life and death, logic and love.

This sequel in the Psi Fighter Academy series was an adventure!  This story is exciting and mysterious, and includes the added benefit of grand villains, masked teen fighters with special abilities like a comic book, and some romance thrown in for good measure.

The danger has been upped in this installment, and the fast pace of the story pulls you right along without you knowing it until you find yourself at the end wanting more.  I love the fact that this story has intrigue, laughs, romance, and danger all wrapped into one.  The author definitely has a way of engaging you, and her story is one that is so unique.  The main character remains likeable, brave and interesting.  You can't help but root for Rinnie and her friends.

I look forward to seeing how this story develops, and to see what happens next.  Great job by this author in keeping the momentum of her series carries on in this newest installment.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Review: Halflings by Heather Burch

Halflings (Halflings #1) by Heather Burch
Release Date: 2/1/2012
Publisher: Zondervan
Genre: Fantasy, Angels, Contemporary

After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in their earthly mission, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

Halflings was definitely an interesting read.  I love angel-related stories, so I really did want to fall in love with this one, but alas, it just didn't manage to grab me 100%.  I liked it, don't get me wrong, but there were just a few things about it that made it (I don't want to say ordinary) but just rather unremarkable.

I love the story concept itself. It was intriguing and interesting.  I like the backstory for each of the characters, but I just had a hard time at first getting into the book.  Additionally, since characterization is one of my main draws in a book, I think this might be where I was a bit left behind.  Although I liked the characters, I almost felt that they were a little bit too cookie cutter for my taste. It's like there were a handful of stereotypical archetypes they each fit into.  You've got a "good guy", a "bad boy" and a "cutey."  I liked them all, but it just seemed too much like they were selected off an assembly line, if you know what I mean.  The heroine didn't stand out to me either.

The pacing was a bit off for me as well, as there were times I had a hard time pushing my way through the story.  All in all, the story was good and I did like it, but it wasn't going to make it into my favorites pile.  I definitely recommend others give it a try if you like this type of book, but it just wasn't a fave for me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Tempting New Tales

Tempting New Tales is my weekly post where I share what new books I managed to acquire this week. Credit goes back to the Stacking the Shelves weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  

Below is my breakdown of what I'll be posting in the coming week. 

  • Review: Halflings by Heather Burch
  • Review: Live and Let Psi by D.R. Rosensteel
  • Review: Quarantine by James Phelan
  • Review: Sketchy by Olivia Samms

Now, on to the new bookshelf items.  Here's what I got this week!

Have you read any of these yet?  What did you get this week?  Leave a comment!
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