Tuesday, February 28, 2017

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Synopsis via Amazon:

Everyone has a reason to fear the boy with the gun.

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

The auditorium doors won't open.

Someone starts shooting.

Told from four perspectives over the span of 54 harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

The synopsis of this story really intrigued me. It is a story right out of our most horrifying headlines.
When I first started reading the story, I got very confused over who was telling the story. The perspective jumped from person to person. During each time period the story is told from multiple viewpoints. It got so confusing that I almost quit reading, but just as it is hard to stop looking at a train wreck happening in real time, I just had to keep reading. Eventually most of it unraveled and became easier to follow.
Miss Nijkamp did a very good job of telling the story from the teenagers' voices. The reader is carried along in real time as all these teenagers lose the last vestige of innocence, as they are brought into harsh reality in the worst way imaginable, and as they experience the truth that you can hate someone for what they do, yet love them for who they are.
This is a good story for young adults to read. This book can get a number of conversations going between teens and their friends, between teens and their parents, and between all parents. The discussion that, yes, this can happen to us. What can we do to prepare and possibly prevent this from happening? That even though someone thinks they need to be brave in the face of tragedy, they need others to gather around them and help them find help and healing. That just because someone is different from you does not mean they are wrong to BE and FEEL the way they do. But mostly that family is everything and blood is not the only thing that defines family.
After a rough start, I really respected the message and story that I feel Miss Nijkamp was trying to get across.

I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Last Necromancer ((Ministry of Curiosities, Book One)

The Last Necromancer (The Ministry Of Curiosities Book 1) by [Archer, C.J.]

Synopsis via C.J.Archer.com:

Victorian England

For five years, Charlotte (Charlie) Holloway has lived as a boy in the slums. But when one theft too many gets her arrested, her only means of escape lies with a dead man. Charlie hasn’t raised a spirit since she first discovered she could do so five years ago. That time, her father banished her. This time, she brings even more trouble upon herself.

People are now hunting Charlie all over London, but only one man succeeds in capturing her.

Lincoln Fitzroy is the mysterious head of a secret organization on the trail of a madman who needs a necromancer to control his newly “made” creatures. There was only one known necromancer in the world – Charlotte – but now there appears to be two. Lincoln captures the willful Charlie in the hopes the boy will lead him to Charlotte. But what happens when he discovers the boy is in fact the young woman he’s been searching for all along? And will she agree to work for the man who held her against her will, and for an organization she doesn’t trust?

Because Lincoln and his ministry might be just as dangerous as the madman they’re hunting.

I really liked this book. So, let's start with the obvious: I liked the heroine of the story, Charlotte (Charlie). I like that Miss Archer created her to be a strong-willed, intelligent, feisty woman. I also like that Lincoln is an enigma.
There is nothing simple and boring about this story. I mean, who would think about a necromancer and Frankenstein in 1800's England? In my opinion, it is brilliant!
Charlotte has had to learn to survive on the streets in a time when women are considered less than second class citizens and who are expected to be pretty much half-wits. She finds herself pursued by two different men, but not in a romantic way. They want her for powers that scare the hell out of her.
The freshness of the story line and the character development is off the charts.
I actually became invested in each of the characters. I fell in love with Charlie and her new family and liked to dislike those against her.
Check this out for a fresh new take on paranormal suspense.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Fire in Frost (Crystal Frost Book 1) by Alicia Rades

Fire in Frost (Crystal Frost Book 1) by [Rades, Alicia]

Synopsis via Amazon:

CRYSTAL FROST tells herself she isn't crazy, but sane people don't see ghosts. As her psychic abilities manifest, Crystal discovers she can see into the future, witness the past, and speak with the dead. Add blackmail to the list of things she never thought would happen to her, and you basically have her sophomore year covered. After spotting her first ghost, secrets from her family, friends, and classmates begin to surface. Uncovering secrets can be dangerous, but giving up means someone will get hurt. Again.

Ahhh! Paranormal. My favorite genre. I am fascinated by non-traditional paranormal stories. This is a YA Paranormal. There is a bit of teenage romance, but definitely not the romance I generally read. I do have to say it is a nice change of pace for once.
So, instead of vampires and werewolves, this story is about a teenage girl who discovers she can see and talk to ghosts, see the past, see the future. . . well ,you get the idea.  Miss Rades's development of the characters and plot is fresh and inviting. 
Miss Rades's talent draws the reader into the story, to become a part of the story looking through the eyes of each character. The reader is able to feel Crystal's confusion, fear, and excitement every step of her journey into the unknown, as well as her drive to make things right. 
I really enjoyed this book. It was constantly moving, always interesting, and full of fun and a bit of mystery. I seriously didn't want to put it down. I wanted to know what happened next and to find out the answer to the mystery. 
I really can't wait to read the next book!

The Number of Man by J.T. Ellison

The Number of Man: (a short story) by [Ellison, J.T.]

Synopsis via Amazon:
Unrequited love. Sounds romantic, doesn't it? But what happens when a stalker falls in love? 

I was first introduced to Miss Ellison when I read her book No One Knows. I was very impressed.
I signed up for her newsletter and was gifted with The Number of Man. 
This is one of Miss Ellison's short stories. A thriller that keeps you on your toes and hits you with a twist when you least expect it.
The story is intriguing, captivating, and (dare I say it?) thrilling. Miss Ellison knows exactly how to lead you in one direction only to take a 90 degree turn and then another 90 degree turn, She knows how to keep her readers engaged. 
This is not an easy review to write. Not because the story lacks, but because it is short. Saying too much about it could ruin the thrill of discovering the plot.
If you have never read any of Miss Ellison's stories, this is a great one to get acquainted with her. If you have read Miss Ellison, you will NOT be disappointed!

Taking Instruction by Cheyenne McCray

Taking Instruction by [Holland, Jaymie, McCray, Cheyenne]

Synopsis via Amazon:

Jessica Carter is a college sophomore who’s had the hots for her university professor all semester long. He’s sexy and unobtainable—and she’s determined to get into his bed.

Dating one of his own students is taboo and Craig Robinson Bennett intends to never break that school rule… Until he finds an end of the semester present in his office: a the gorgeous student co-ed he hasn’t been able to keep his mind off of. And she’s naked, sitting on his desk.

It isn’t long before Jessica discovers she’s gotten more than she bargained for. She finds out exactly who’s in control as she learns how the professor likes to play. A whole new world is opened to her and being a bad girl never felt so good.

This is a book about BDSM. It is simply a story of a sexual relationship between a man and a woman, both consenting adults, who find what "floats their boat" together.
I have to admit, "simple" is not what this story is about. Bondage and Dominance is a very intricate practice. In my opinion, Miss McCray does a very good job of explaining the intricacies by demonstration throughout the story. Now, I have read reviews about BDSM stories that talk about the story not being anything like real life. Some say they are into this lifestyle and feel the story is "unrealistic". In my opinion, each relationship is different, whether it's "vanilla sex", bondage, or something else. It is the way the couple interacts and finds satisfaction together. And Taking Instruction is 69 pages of just that. Craig introduces a willing Jessica to bondage and domination, Jessica finds fulfillment in his instruction and sexual desires.
Cheyenne has written a tasteful read full of heat and satisfaction. As it is only 69 pages, the story does not get bogged down by every character' back story. It is action from the first word. It focuses on the sexual relationship between Craig and Jessica. On a hot scale from 1-5, it is a blazing 5! 
While erotica is not for everyone, this is a definite read for those who are interested!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Advocates Betrayal (The Advocate Series book 2) by Teresa Burrell

The Advocate's Betrayal (The Advocate Series Book 2) by [Burrell, Teresa]

Synopsis via Amazon:
The Killer left nothing behind but a rosary, a kitchen knife, and a dead man. but the dead man is a friend of Sabre Orin Brown. When his unsuspecting wife is accused of the murder, Sabre will stop at nothing to uncover the truth, even if it means unearthing chilling secrets. 
From a San Diego jail to the shady Chicago nightlife, Sabre's search for the true killer forces her to face the question: What do you do when the ones you trust the most are the ones with the most to hide?

This was my introduction to the Advocate Series by Miss Burrell. While it is the second book in the series, it was an effortless read. These books, in my opinion, are stand alone reads. Miss Burrell does bring in elements of the previous book, but it in no way confuses the story.
Sabre is a lawyer for the juvenile court as an advocate for the children. But in this story she finds herself thrust into the position as a trial lawyer for a friend accused of murder. Outside of her comfort zone, Sabre along with her new boyfriend and colleagues does her best to help her friend and catch a killer.
This is a true whodunnit thriller that will keep you guessing. The twists and turns will keep you engaged and involved. The side story of one of Sabre's court cases is one that will make you think hard about what really goes on in this world.
 Miss Burrell's character development is honest and realistic. Her characters are real and believable, human and fallible, and relevant to today's world.  One thing I really like about this story is that her characters are not unrealistically perfect. I fell in love with the characters. flaws and all. I loved to hate the villains and felt compassion for the victims. and found myself pulling for the underdog.
I find that a lot of the mystery/thrillers are predictable when it comes to who the guilty party is.  Well, Miss Burrell kept me guessing. While I figured out early who the murderer was, it wasn't dropped in my lap. I had to really think and navigate through the clues. It was a book that really made me use my brain. I loved it!

Accidental Ashes & Broken Beasts By Sara C. Roethle

Accidental Ashes (Xoe Meyers Young Adult Fantasy/Horror Series Book 2) by [Roethle, Sara C.]   Broken Beasts (Xoe Meyers Young Adult Fantasy/Horror Series Book 3) by [Roethle, Sara C.]

Synopsis via Amazon:
Accidental Ashes:
Last year Xoe's life was turned upside-down. Things haven't improved much. With the lives of her friends at risk, Xoe forgets to worry about another life...her own. With the reappearance of a face from her very distant past, and a random string of abductions to deal with, Xoe has to fight to keep things together. Even if 'together' is a far cry, ahem...howl, from the norm.
Broken Beasts:
Xoe had hoped that after the events of the last few months, things would finally slow down. No such luck. The werewolves are out for blood, and so are the vampires apparently. Let's not even get started on the problems her own friends are causing. Regardless of the danger, Xoe and her rag-tag entourage are in Moab, facing the werewolf coalition. Their final ruling will change Xoe's fate, and the fate of her friends forever. Here's hoping that's a good thing

Why, you ask, do I have two books in one review? Well, as I read them one right after the other, this just seemed the right thing to do to do them justice.
These are books two and three in the Xoe Meyers series. Miss Roethle continues the excitement and sass that hooked me in the first book.
Xoe's life continues to get more and more complicated and in true Xoe fashion, she attacks it head on with the stubbornness, tenacity, and grit that only a teenager can muster. She is loyal to her friends and family to a fault. That fault? Well, she doesn't hesitate to put herself in harm's way, much to her boyfriend's frustration.
In Accidental Ashes & Broken Beasts we find that Xoe is no longer the only one in her group of girlfriends that is part of the supernatural world and one girlfriend who is doing everything she can to become part of that world. Is it because her friend wants superhuman strength? Does she feel left out? Has she glamorized the life of a supernatural being? Well, the only way you can judge her reasons is by reading the series.
Xoe continues to be strong willed and hard headed, but then again, she is only a teenager. The fact that she was thrown into a situation that would daunt even the average adult, only makes her stronger nd more determined to protect those she loves. Not only that, but she must contend with the new knowledge that she is a demon, her father has "popped" back into her life, and protecting her friends and mother. Oh, and the restraints of being a teenager. After all, she still has rules she has to follow.
The progression of the stories is seamless and effortless. If you didn't have to open a new book, you would never realize you were reading the next book in the series.
You will get entangled in the trials and tribulations that Xoe and her friends are dragged through. You will find yourself asking "What more can happen to the group? How much more can Xoe carry on her shoulders?" And "Where can I get the next book so I can keep reading?".
This is definitely a series you want to read. 

Foreshadowed (Near Death Series #1) by Holly M. Campbell

Synopsis via Amazon:

Hope Murdoch was born dead. She took a breath two minutes later and now is an almost-normal sixteen-year-old. Normal: a hopeless crush on the boy next door, a negative body image, and a (mis)diagnosis of ADHD. Not-so-normal: an exhausting and distracting ability to read minds. High school is hard enough without hearing what everyone really thinks of you. Lance Hampton used to be normal until a car accident killed him and his parents. Paramedics brought him back to a life he doesn’t want: orphaned, uprooted, living with his uncle, and suddenly able to see how people die. At his new school, he tries to keep to himself. Seeing how complete strangers die is torture enough, let alone friends. At first glance, Hope doesn’t think much of Lance (though a lot of the other girls do). He looks like the typical bad boy. No thank-you…but then she meets his eyes and everything goes dark. She hears labored breathing. Rapid footsteps. And then a thud as someone falls to the ground. Inside Lance’s head, Hope just witnessed a vision of murder…her own. Together, Hope and Lance try to catch a killer before he’s red-handed. A killer who could be anywhere. Anyone. Sure Hope can read minds and Lance can see death, but they still can’t see in the dark.

This was the first book I have read by Miss Campbell. And it will most surely NOT be the last.
Miss Campbell writes with heart, soul, and lots of imagination!
It is very hard for me to put into words why I really liked this book. Some books defy written emotion and this is one of them. You see, as I read the story I actually became part of the story.  I felt the hope, the frustration, the anger, and the fear of all of the characters. Her character development is off the chart. She made me feel like Hope and Lance were my friends.To evoke these feelings from a reader takes a writer with true talent.
The story line is fresh and intriguing. I can honestly say I have personally never come across this type of story in my lifetime of reading. And believe me, I have been reading for a very long time. 💖📚
This is a definite must-read in my opinion.

The Harvesting (Book One) by Melanie Karsak

The Harvesting: The Harvesting Series Book 1 by [Karsak, Melanie]

Synopsis via Amazon:
It's all fun and games until someone ends up undead.

Layla Petrovich has spent her whole life running away from her hometown of Hamletville. Raised by the town's medium, and dubbed the "weird" girl for her fascination with swords, the last thing Layla wants is to go home. 

But when she receives a desperate call to return just as a mysterious outbreak sweeps the country, Layla's instincts urge her to go. Good thing, because the dead are rising.

Layla, however, isn't entirely on her own. With her psychic powers growing, surely everything will turn out okay, right? 

Not so fast. Just when Layla believes she might survive the apocalypse, a sinister and ancient force rises from the shadows to finish mankind for good.

Because the truth is, we were never alone in this world.

I happened upon this book on BookBub.com. The synopsis sounded so intriguing that I jumped it to the top of my TBR list. Well, the synopsis did it justice! I finished it in two days. I would have finished it in one day, but frustratingly I had to work. I really hate when work gets in the way of my reading 😉.
I really liked the fact that her background portion of the story did not last three or four chapters. It was pretty much covered in half a chapter.
Miss Karsak got right into the nitty gritty action. She didn't create a lot of "fluff" just to increase her word count. Everything in the story is relevant, interesting, and designed to keep you reading. Each character is well developed. She knows just how to describe them to elicit the exact emotion she wants out of you.
I really enjoyed that she developed Layla as a badass, strong female. She steps into the leadership role as easily as a greased pig slips through a child's arms. Not only that, she is accepted as the leader without question by the majority of the survivors in her hometown.
Layla's grandmother is a character that you can't help but love, admire, and get tickled by. She is a strong, straight forward, no nonsense, well loved woman, Then there is Ian. How do I describe Ian without adding spoilers? He will take you through a number of emotions, some driven by Layla, some driven by Grandma, and some driven by your own opinion of him. Then there is Jamie, Ian's brother. He is lovable from his first introduction. While these four are not the sum total of the characters, they are what I consider the lead characters.
The action is well thought out and added to the story as a natural progression of the story. It isn't used to add chapters, fill awkward pauses, or bridge story lines that don't mesh.
This is not a typical zombie story. It isn't like reading "the Walking Dead". It is fresh and thought provoking, exciting and emotional, sweet and sassy, intelligent and groundbreaking, And the plot twist, well let me just say you will never see it coming!!
I can't wait to read the rest of the series. I want to know what happens to Layla and her "family".
If you like horror, paranormal, or apocalyptic reads, you will definitely want to read this series.