All the Wrong Chords

34773854Summary: Scarlett Stiles is desperate for a change of scenery after her older brother, Liam, dies of a drug overdose. But spending the summer with her grandfather wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. Luckily, Scarlett finds something to keep her busy–a local rock band looking for a guitarist. Even though playing guitar has been hard since Liam died, Scarlett can’t pass on an opportunity like this, and she can’t take her eyes off the band’s hot lead singer either. Is real happiness just around the corner? Or will she always be haunted by her brother’s death?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Review: 3 stars

I received an Advanced Review Copy from Flux publishing and Netgalley. 

I picked this book up based on the description. I have lost many loved ones due to addiction, so I was able to relate to Scarlett rather easily. At times this book helped me see things from a different light, from the perspectives of those who don’t really understand addiction. I was glad to be able to see that point of view as sometimes it is really hard to understand the thinking of those who don’t truly understand.

This was a quick, fluffy YA romance. All the Wrong Chords captured the essence of young adult love. Making mistakes, over thinking and questioning your actions and also not yet being completely comfortable in your own skin. But it isn’t all light hearted as it does show how pain can help bring people together to comfort one another and try to heal.

One of the other things that I really loved was the lyrics written for the band. I felt as if this book was serenading me. Not only do you get a cute YA romance, but you also get some cool lyrics. All the Wrong Chords is the complete package of a fluffy teen romance. It is a novel full of love, loss, heartache and healing. I would recommend this book to almost anyone, especially since it doesn’t paint the addict as a villain.

 

 

 

Confessions of a Queen B*

 

25124193Summary: Alexis Wyndham is the other type of Queen B—the Queen Bitch.

After years of being the subject of ridicule, she revels in her ability to make the in-crowd cower via the exposés on her blog, The Eastline Spy. Now that she’s carved out her place in the high school hierarchy, she uses her position to help the unpopular kids walking the hallways.

Saving a freshman from bullies? Check.
Swapping insults with the head cheerleader? Check.
Falling for the star quarterback? So not a part of her plan.

But when Brett offers to help her solve the mystery of who’s posting X-rated videos from the girls’ locker room, she’ll have to swallow her pride and learn to see past the high school stereotypes she’s never questioned—until now

My Review: 4 stars

I picked this one up because I was a super bitchy, angst filled teenager and I loved Mean Girls back in the day. It was much easier for me to relate to the bitchy characters than the head cheerleader type.

It was pretty good. Alexis was moderately bitchy, but throughout the story her ice queen exterior definitely started to melt. Brett is a little too perfect for my tastes. I am a person who appreciates flaws in romantic interests. The romance had some hot, yet YA appropriate moments, yet I still don’t find myself falling over Brett. He’s way too vanilla, but if that’s your thing, then who am I to judge?

There was a decent plot to this book though, which I didn’t entirely expect. When reading about teen heart throbs sometimes you lose that. It felt more like Gossip Girl than Veronica Mars, but I’m not going to lie, I’ve seen every episode of both TV series. But the novel ended rather abruptly. Not exactly a cliffhanger, but definitely left the story feeling unfinished.

It was a fast paced fluff read that I finished in a matter of hours. I am pleased to say that it wasn’t as cliche as I thought it would be. The characters aren’t all your cookie cutter stereotypes. I am interested to see where the story goes if I come across a copy of the sequel, but I don’t see myself seeking it out. Recommended if you need a quick fluff read to clean your pallet after something deeper.

The Fifth Petal

 29741905Summary: The New York Times bestselling author of The Lace Reader returns to Salem with this spellbinding new thriller, a complex brew of suspense, seduction and murder.

When a teenage boy dies suspiciously on Halloween night, Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty wonders if there is a connection between his death and Salem’s most notorious cold case, a triple homicide dubbed “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed on Halloween night in 1989. He finds unexpected help in Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims newly returned to town. Neither believes that the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian, is guilty of murder or witchcraft.

But exonerating Rose might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if they cannot discover what truly happened, will evil rise again?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Review: 4 stars

I was drawn to The Fifth Petal because it was about Salem witches. I have always found myself drawn to this subject because I love witches. I would really love to visit Salem. I recently watched the television series on Netflix called Salem. The Fifth Petal is a story that intertwined the historical witch trials with present day characters who live in present day Salem.

I would probably classify this as a work of literature. It is a work of art willed with symbols, yet written in a way that is reader friendly, unlike a lot of classic literature. It is a mix of genres that seamlessly blends mythology, fantasy and a good mystery with its well woven plot. This is more of a story driven, rather than plot driven story though.

I found myself liking the characters, yet I didn’t overly love them. Rose was probably my favorite character. The relationships were all very complex. I loved that they related the characters in present day to their ancestors who were alive during the time of the witch trials.

Every aspect of this book was well researched and it was clear throughout the story that the author knew her subject. But at times it felt as if the story could go on forever and I found myself quite bored during the first half of part three. I felt as if the pacing was a little drawn out.

This was a beautifully crafted piece of fiction. Overall I really did enjoy it. I wish it was filled with a bit more witchcraft though. I would recommend this to those interested in Salem or those who like a touch of literature in their fiction reading. This was a story that came together beautifully that I am proud to have on my book shelf.

Artemis by Andy Weir

34928122Synopsis: Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review: 5 stars 

I initially requested a copy of this book because Andy Weir also wrote The Martian. Now I never read the book, but I did see the movie and thought it was great. Well once again Andy Weir created what I would refer to as a science fiction masterpiece. Seriously, keep your eyes peeled because this would make for a fantastic movie and Andy Weir has already written a book that made it in Hollywood.

With science fiction there are some things that I look for. I like things to be believable, and also well researched. Science heavy books need to be explained well. I have read plenty of books that aren’t and it leads to confusion and irritation. But there must be a balance, so the book can’t be overwhelming science heavy, as then the story will get bogged down with details and the result is boredom. Andy Weir walked this tight rope act as skillfully as Michael Crichton once did.

The characters were also developed exceptionally well, which is not always true or entirely necessary for science fiction, but is an added bonus here. Jazz was an incredibly fun character to read about, she was snarky, sarcastic and down right diabolical. Svoboda was also one of my favorites. He was a character that embodied a dorky scientist, yet with plenty of adorable quirks. I found myself wishing for more of a romance between these two.

The world of Artemis, the city on the moon, was built well. The writing was descriptive, but the map of the city was also helpful. I could picture most everything, but I also found myself referring to the map at times while reading for a more complete visualization.

I was reminded of Six of Crows while reading this. They might be completely different genres, but they both pulled off incredible schemes in imaginary worlds with casts full of very interesting characters. They both had masterminded main characters who make you feel like at times you may be rooting for the villain.

The plot was very well planned. The pacing kept me flipping pages, yet the writing never lost details necessary to understand the science. There were many twists along the way that kept you on your toes guessing what would come next. Andy Weir is a genius to have come up with this plot.

The cover kind of sucks though. It is kind of dull and doesn’t convey that this story will be exciting. I nearly passed this book up because of that. I would recommend this to fans of Michael Crichton, Six of Crows and all science fiction lovers. Andy Weir is a  Science fiction genius and I really hope this becomes a movie.

Monsterland

 

 

51jmr5vunvl

Buy link: Amazon

Synopsis:

Welcome to Monsterland, the scariest place on earth.

When world markets are decimated by a crippling plague, philanthropist, and billionaire businessman, Vincent Konrad decides to place monsters in a theme park setting to promote education and tolerance. Copper Valley is chosen as the primary site for the park in the United States.

Wyatt Baldwin, a high school senior is dying to go to the opening and when he lands special passes to the park, he and his friends are expecting the experience of a lifetime.
After all, in a theme park where real zombies, werewolves, and vampires are the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?

My Review: 5 stars

I received an Advanced Reading Copy from the author.

Werewolves, vampires and zombies, oh my! But don’t be misled, this is no Wizard of Oz. Monsterland is a far cry from the land of dreams that is Disneyland, and is much more comparable to the freak show of Ripley’s Believe it or Not filled with horrors like Jurrasic ParkMonsterland is a theme park filled with the creatures that plague your nightmares. The horror movie buff in me would absolutely love to have an all access pass to the theme park, so I was filled with delight when I was given the opportunity to read and review this novel.

With such a great concept my expectations were high as I jumped into this novel. Michael Okon does not disappoint, fulfilling my fantasies with great writing and multiple points of view. I found that aspect in particular to be great with this novel, because there are so many interesting perspectives to be seen within Monsterland.

The characters are each unique and entertaining. They have more dimension than most characters in horror movies, but not too much that the story gets bogged down with backgrounds. They make for the perfect cast to attend the disastrous opening night of Monsterland.

I found myself trying very hard to pace myself with reading this one. Honestly, my only real complaint is that it wasn’t long enough! I loved this story and would have appreciated another hundred or two hundred pages. This is exactly the type of ride I like to be taken on, and I didn’t want to get off.

Michael Okon crafts a fabulous novel with unique, unforgettable characters. I have a novella by him, A History Major, that I can’t wait to dive into. He really has a gift for storytelling.

The world building was done fabulously. There were believable backgrounds that explain how it could be possible for there to be a world that had not only vampires, but also werewolves and zombies, excuse me, the vitality-challenged. It all comes together seamlessly as the plot lines converge to make for an explosive ending. As the first novel I have read by Michael Okon, I am impressed.

Premonition

 

35187787Synopsis:When Riley heads off to boarding school for a summer work-study program, she knows it’ll be demanding. What she doesn’t expect? To be thrust into an intense physical training program described as special, exclusive and worst of all–top-secret. She signed up for tuition assistance, not to be held in a secret government facility for boot camp…

Welcome to The Division, the government agency that’s so classified, most United States senators have never heard of it. 

The Division wants Riley bad, but she can’t figure out why. Skeptical of what she’s being told, Riley’s determined to uncover the truth. Boot camp is intense, physically and mentally draining. The upside? One of her new teammates is the cutest boy ever. Watching Finn hit the gym wearing a tank top doesn’t suck–although sometimes his brooding attitude does. But when training forces Riley to confront her tragic past, even Finn’s big biceps aren’t enough to make her want to stay…

Beware: The Division isn’t something you just walk away from. You better run. 

Riley realizes her capabilities and strengths are greater than she’d ever imagined. But she also learns she wasn’t just chosen for this special program…

She was made for it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review: 3 Stars

Premonition was a cool read, but once again, I can’t say that it’s original. It kind of borrows ideas from a bunch of different places like X-Men and Divergent. This isn’t to say it’s bad, I liked those books and I enjoyed this story, but it kind of feels like it has all been done before.

I the major flaw in this book is that it feels as if it is missing a climax. There were events that happen, sure, but when it ended I found myself surprised that it was over already. Obviously this is going to be a series, but they probably should have combined this book and the next so that there is a big climax. It just feels as if I got an introduction to this world and the characters that will be contained in the series.

As for the characters, they were alright. Riley kind of annoyed me at times, as she wouldn’t believe things that were happening right in front of her face and she needed everything spelled out for her. Plus the constant babble on how hot she found Finn. Biceps, biceps, biceps. Okay, I get the picture. You like his freaking biceps. That doesn’t really make me feel the romance. Do you notice anything else about the guy? Jeez. At times I found myself more drawn to Josh as a love interest with his actions over Finn and his stupid biceps.

I do have to say that I am a total sucker for all things about superpowers, so it really isn’t the complete fault of this book that it didn’t feel fresh to me. But I feel as if the books are always about the person who is telekinetic. Why can’t I get to read a book from the telepath’s point of view? Now that would be really cool. Basically I feel like it’s been done before and this premise needs a better angle.

(Small spoiler alert.)

Now I am kind of jealous because I would give anything to have a hallucination where I got to see my dead loved one’s just one last time. Thinking about that and one of the scenes in this book nearly made me cry.  The writing was great in order to invoke such a raw emotion from me.

Summoner

35678061

Synopsis:

When Allie’s best friend dares their group to play a game in a cemetery—something she calls “witching”—Allie never expects what it might mean for her. When she plays, she doesn’t just find bodies, she summons their souls. But one soul wants more than Allie is willing to give.

And the boy next door could be the key to saving her.

Cody Burkhart. Straight from Montana, cowboy hat wearing, and smoking hot, he’s just the thing to help Allie become “normal” again after the death of her mother. And as her newly appointed Guardian, he’s also just the thing to help Allie ward off the vengeful spirit who’s after her soul. Except Cody has his own demons to slay that keep him closed off. But as the full moon approaches, so does their only chance to break the curse, and Cody will have to make the biggest sacrifice of all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review: 4 stars

I received an Advanced Review Copy of this book from Entangled Teen Publishing and Netgalley.

Let me start off by saying that I nearly passed this one up because of the title. I have read far too many books with some variation of the same title, and honestly, they are all pretty similar. The main character is able to summon or communicate with the dead and then there are a few variations from one book to another. This story won’t get points from me for being original, but I did happen to enjoy it a lot, so whatever.

I found that I basically tore through this novel in one sitting. There were times where I could set it down, but then the pacing would pick right back up. For a novel of this type, I feel that fast pacing is pretty important. It kind of falls under paranormal thriller, with a romance in there. Honestly though, it really isn’t too often that I read a book without a touch of romance.

The thing I found myself enjoying the most out of this novel, was in fact, the romance. I love when grief and the shared understanding of loss brings two people together. There were some very raw moments in this book where I found myself close to tears. But in my opinion Cody held his walls up just a bit too long.

I enjoyed the writing quite a lot actually. This book had many redeeming qualities even though I found the overall premise very unoriginal. Which is why the rating is a four out of five stars. The romance was really cute and idealistic. I really loved all the dates they went on and the heartfelt gifts that they bought one another.

I would read something else by S.D. Grimm, but I’m glad that there wasn’t an attempt to try and turn this one into a series. It is a good book, but I will continue on my search for the next great fantasy novel.

The West Woods

35897858

Synopsis:

Courtney Wallis wants nothing more than to escape St. Augustus boarding school. After uncovering a well-kept secret about the school’s founder, Isaac Young, Courtney turns to the school’s magic to convince her dad to let her leave. Things take a turn when she meets Cole, who lives in the nearby town of Evergreen. He gives her hope that things might not be so bad. However, the school’s fountain has other ideas, and binds Courtney to her ambition, no matter the cost.

As Courtney struggles to keep the magic from taking over, she and her friends get drawn into the mystery woven into the school’s fabric. Everything seems to lead back to the forbidden West Woods. Together, she and her friends seek out the spirits of the past to ask for help, and find themselves in much deeper than they’d bargained for. If they succeed, Courtney could be free of the magic. If they fail, she may never be the same.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review: 3 stars

I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy to read and review from Weapenry Co-Op and Netgalley.

If you could have one wish, what would you wish for? This book has you asking yourself that question as the students find a magic wishing well. It certainly puts a lot of pressure on your wish. You want it to be worth it, you don’t want to waste your one wish. Well sorry to disappoint you, but that’s exactly what these girls do, they waste their wishes. Absolutely no one make a worthwhile wish, making you angry that they have the opportunity.

I didn’t have extremely high expectations for this book, and honestly it was about as good as I expected it to be. The first two-thirds of this book were pretty good and then it started going downhill, and it just kept going.

The characters were all crafted nicely and made a nice group of girlfriends for a boarding school. Courtney was an alright character in the beginning and then she just became more and more selfish and rude. I found myself wondering why the other girls would even want to hang out with her. She treated her friends like dirt, or rather, more like pawns. People who she could manipulate to her will in order to achieve everything she wanted. I like my main characters to have flaws, but damn, Courtney tips the scales overboard in The West Woods.

As for the writing, for the first part of the book I was thinking that this would be a four, potentially a five star read. The author filled some chapters with the feeling of anxiety and excitement as the girls snuck around. Some of the scenes were written so well that I found myself on the edge of my seat, covering my mouth and hoping that the characters could get away with whatever they were attempting at the moment. The writing is what saved this novel from being a two star read. It captivated me and it is clear that the author has the ability to create a five star read.

As for the plot… there was no climax! I feel as if this has happened far too frequently in some books I have been reading as of lately. I finished the book feeling like “that’s it?”. There were so many loose ends, absolutely no real resolution and not even a cliffhanger that left you feeling as if these problems could be solved later.

Oh and the romance? You mean the romance that wasn’t? It was basically non existent because Courtney decided to be terrible. Good for Cole though, at least he didn’t wind up subjected to her terrible treatment as well. The synopsis made it sound like there would be so much more to this romance.

Basically I feel as if this was a novel with a good idea and great writing, but lacked adequate structure. A book needs to have a climax and a resolution, this one had neither. Courtney was also an incredibly unlikable main character. I definitely would not count out the author, but I would not suggest reading this book.

The Brede Chronicles

22327290

Buy link: Amazon

Synopsis:

Half-human Alekzander Brede is a law unto himself…or so he thinks. Elektra Tate, the street orphan who loves him has other ideas. When she betrays him for no apparent reason, he vows to punish her one way or another. Taking the one thing she treasures most—their son—begins a cat and mouse relationship spanning two planets and costing possibly his life. Elektra will stop at nothing to save her son but can she overcome Brede’s twisted idea of vengeance?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:  4 stars

I received a copy from the author. All opinions are my own.


“Besides, that’s what adventure is Zander. It’s fear of the unknown, of danger, of success that makes the adventure worth the time and effort. And do not forget that we control our own adventures and destiny and do no not follow or depend upon anyone for any reason” 

I found this book to be incredibly more interesting than expected. They say “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but let’s not lie, we all do it. I love finding debut or indie authors because often the case is that the book is good, yet undiscovered. Typically I would not have been intrigued by the cover and the title and I would have passed this one up, and that would have been a shame.

Let me just say, this is not typically my genre. I don’t typically read about alien cross breeds and spaceship firefights, but I do love a good sci-fi, so I thought I’d give it a shot. This book was so much more than that. It was about greed, ego, protecting loved ones and fighting natural instincts to preserve ones humanity. I would say this was less of a romance and more of a love story in the end.

I started off this book feeling a little confused, as if I jumped into the middle of Star Wars and didn’t know what was going on. I also felt this way when I read Six of Crows, which is one of my all time favorite fantasy novels, so I told myself to keep reading. By about 20 pages in I found myself feeling more at ease with the story, and glad I hadn’t set it down.

I absolutely both loved AND hated the main characters, Elektra and Brede. They were both quite far from perfect, but they each had enough redeeming qualities, which made them lovable. At times I found myself angry or disgusted with each character, but they felt real, real people have flaws and make bad decisions. If you know me you know that I hate a hero with no flaws– can you say BORING? Luckily this pair had plenty, Brede in particular. Being half Amphidian he was prone to more violence and less emotion than humans. This made him quite ruthless and cruel at times.  It was interesting to watch as he fought against his Amphidian nature to try to retain his humanity. Sometimes I felt like Elektra was overly slutty for no reason.

“He found it so easy to hurt her. He also found that he liked to do it; so much it grew into amusement to him and it didn’t help her that she could not lie to him either. He always called her out on it.” 

Romance between these two was complex to say the least. It was emotionally abusive and a game of hot and cold. Yet it is done artfully, so that you still seem to understand why they want each other. When Brede starts fighting against his Amphidian nature he becomes more likable, but at that point Elektra is not used to him being emotionally available.

The world building could use a little work, but it was still pretty great. There were a couple of times that I noticed paragraphs that went on for a page and a half. The different alien races and different planets sounded pretty cool, but certain things could have used more description because there were spots that I found myself confused, but for the most part I think it was edited well. The plot and pacing were both good, I read this book in a day. It kept me captivated. The climax was built up and executed very well. Which is something I see a lot of debut and indie authors struggle with, but in this book it was crafted beautifully.

The ending left me hungry for more. I have no doubt that these characters could continue having incredibly interesting adventures and I hope to be along for the ride in the next book.

Welcome to my book review blog.

I am very excited to join the blogging world, as I have been reviewing books for about three years now. I hope to be able to connect with other bloggers and authors so we can share the love of books. I love discovering new and indie authors, and I am always in search of the next great book. Please feel free to follow me as I’m excited to get to know other bloggers in the book reviewing community.
Professional Reader