Feyre, Rhysand, Lucien, oh my! – my thoughts on A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN


****Spoiler Alert! ****

There may be some spoilers in this review. Please read at your own discretion

I have really mixed feelings on this book, especially since I’ve been waiting on pins and needles since I finished A COURT OF MIST AND FURY. Now THAT book I loved (minus the gratuitous sex scenes).

Don’t get me wrong. I liked this book, but I felt the pacing was off and it was too long. There were some exciting scenes that got me turning the pages, but seeing as it took me about 4 days to read this…

It should have never taken me that long to read this book. ACOMAF was completed in a day and I was left with my mouth open and my heart aching and “No. no no!!” spewing from my lips. I HAD to have the next book. It just couldn’t end that way.

And now that I’ve read ACOWAR…yeah, I could have waited.

I think the book could have used a bit more editing. I felt that some scenes went on far too long and others fizzled before they ever started. I got really annoyed with Rhysand and Feyre. I mean, no one has that perfect of a relationship. There were moments when there should have been angry emotions, where they really should have been totally pissed off with each other, and then it just went poof as if showing true emotion as a couple is a no-no. And let’s not get me into talking about the side characters: Elain, Nesta, Mor. I think Maas underused them. I really wanted to learn more about what happened to Nesta and Elain in the Cauldron, but it was glossed over, with minor mentions here and there. It was so ‘telling’, not ‘showing’, which really irked me. Here was this huge opportunity to share the horrors of what happened to Feyre’s sisters, and it was barely mentioned. And then we learn that Elain and Lucien are connected as mates. (actually, we learn that at the end of ACOMAF, but it’s accented more here.) But Maas never does anything with that. It felt so ho-hum. And then Lucien takes off and he’s gone 1/2 of the way through the book and when we do see him towards the end, it’s brief, glossed over and there is no closure or anything with Elain and him. Does she take off Greyson’s ring? Does she fall for Lucien? Is Lucien really going back to the Spring Court with Tamlin? After everything, he’s just going to leave Elain? He’s mated to her. Up until this part, the ‘mated’ stuff in this series is serious. You can’t just turn it off, and yet, with these two? There is no heat. There’s no trying. This “mated” thing between them is unresolved and bland and monotone. There’s not heat. There’s no try on Lucien’s part. It really irked me. I’d rather have seen Lucien try and Elain shove off his advances. Maybe even use that underdeveloped magic she gained while in the Cauldron to push him away – or bring him closer.

And what’s with Nesta and Cassian? We all know she’s hot for him, but again, it seemed like Maas was too focused on Feyre and Rhysand that she forgot to go all ninja on Nesta and Cassian. Again, an underdeveloped relationship that should have been a case of fireworks going off, but instead, it ended in a dud.

We never do really find out what the creature was under the library. Well, we kind of do, but it’s not scary, at least not what we were lead to believe.

And how does Feyre just become ‘friends’ with all these bad guys. It’s like she just walks in a room and they all will do anything for her. The Attor, the creature in the library, the Bonecarver, they’re just so willing to help her. There is no intensity, no danger. Nothing she has to really work for. I really wanted to see and feel Hybern’s goons coming into the library.  I wanted to see Feyre battle them on her own, but noooo, she was rescued once more, proving she’s not the badass she wants people to think she is.

Even though I was disappointed in this ‘final’ book in the series, it was still a decent read. I also found out at the end that there will be another book coming. I’m not waiting on the edge of my seat.  I hope this new book goes into Lucien’s relationship with Elain, Tamlin and his mother.  I want there to be explorations and resolutions with Nesta, Elain, Cassian and the whole Court of Dreams. I want Tamlin to heal and find peace. I want there to be some sort of ‘forgiveness’ between him and Lucien. I want Lucien and Elain to find their paths to one another. And I want Mor to reveal more of her secret. Yeah, that was another unexplored part that left me hanging.

I give it 4 stars – barely – mainly for the intense scenes that had me turning pages like my fingers were on fire.

This book was bought and given to me as a gift by a friend.  Thank you, TR!!  You’re the best!!

FIRSTS ~ a fantastic novel about breaking the double standards of teen sexuality


Recently, I had the opportunity to read the ARC of FIRSTS by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn.

Guys, I have to tell you, I had doubts about this one as it’s about this promiscuous girl in high school who wants to teach male virgins how to ‘do it right’ with their girlfriends for the first time.

I’m not one to read books about sex, and I’m certainly not one who wants to promote sex among high school students, but it was written by this lovely girl in my Sixteen to Read blog group: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, and we are all reading each other’s ARCs, so I set my preferences aside and dug in.

Let me tell you. I started this early in the afternoon, like around 1:30, and I finished it by 5:30. I couldn’t put this book down. It was nothing like what I thought it would be. The characters are fresh, they’re well thought out, and I felt something for every single one of them. And let me tell you, the main character has some amazing friends, and we find out how awesome they are when the story takes its downward spiral.

I don’t want to give too much away on this one, but I will tell you, it totally deals with stereotypes and the way girls are judged for their sexual behavior. I wish there had been a bit more addressing of the double-standard and that guys should be held as responsible as girls for their sexual “mistakes”, but honestly, the story holds a very important lesson. I was overwhelmed by how much I really loved this book, and I highly recommend it.  I give it 4.5 stars out of 5.

RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard – a review


Some books grip readers from the beginning, packing them on a wild roller coaster ride from the first sentence. Others have a slow unfolding, giving the readers time to savor the characters, submerse themselves in the world-building before the proverbial *^$* hits the fan. For me, RED QUEEN was the latter, and it was a beautiful way to unfold this story.

The story opens with us learning a bit about our main hero, Mare Barrow. Mare is a Red and she lives in the impoverished Stilts with her mother, disabled father and her younger sister, who sews for the wealthy Silvers. We also learn a bit about her brothers and Kilorn Warren, perhaps Mare’s only real friend.  As the chapter progresses we begin to unravel the theme behind this book:  Silvers vs Reds, and the struggle that wars on between them. We learn from a distance what Silvers are and what Reds are expected to do at the Silver’s command, and neither side is pretty.

I think that is one thing I liked about this book – Aveyard doesn’t ‘glorify’ wealth and success, or being poor and gracious. She shows the ugly side of both and, unlike other dystopians, I didn’t want to be either Silver or Red if I had a choice.  I wanted to be like Mare, a girl trying to find her way between both ‘worlds’ and survive.

I couldn’t help draw upon some similarities between the Hunger Games and The Selection series, but I didn’t find those things put-offish. I mean, let’s face it – it’s dystopian. These sorts of books are all going to have similar themes and similar character types.  What I loved about RED QUEEN was the twist at the end.  I’m usually good about foreseeing plot twists, but this one made me scream out loud  “Noooooo!!!” I was impressed. Truly. It made me want to climb inside the book and slap some people silly.  Some of the scenes had me on the edge of my seat and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Aveyard is a true storyteller, and I understand why everyone is going ga ga over this book.

I’m giving the book 4 stars because, while I loved it, it didn’t blow my mind. It’s not one of those books that left me numb or left me thinking about what I’d just read for days on end, like the Hunger Games.  That series knocked the wind out of me.  I am, however, eagerly waiting for the second book in this series. In fact, I wish I had it in my hands right now. I am desperate to know what happens to Mare and what she chooses to do with what she’s learned and become in RED QUEEN.  I can’t wait to see a certain someone get everything (s)he deserves. That will be positively sweet.

If you’re into YA dystopians, you should really check this one out. It’s well worth the price of the hardback.

EXTRA TIDBITS ABOUT THE BOOK AND THE AUTHOR

What’s RED QUEEN about?

From Goodreads:

The poverty-stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Victoria is a member of the #FreshmanFifteen. Everyone should check out that awesome group of writers debuting in 2015. I’m sure you’ll see some books on there you recognize.

She is repped by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. and she holds a BFA in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California.  Her debut novel, RED QUEEN, came out this year, and the second novel in the series is slated for 2016. You can find out more on her website at http://victoriaaveyard.com/

 

 

THE ARTISANS, by Julie Reece – a review


5c392-the2bartisans

Author, Julie Reece, has done it again. What an incredible journey she has taken me in her latest masterpiece, THE ARTISANS.

The writing is mature, intoxicating, the storyline haunting, and let’s not forget the unforgettable characters. After reading Ms. Reece’s previous novel, CRUX, I didn’t think her writing could get any better. I was wrong. THE ARTISANS blew me away.

What did I love the most? So hard to say. I adored Raven. Her story is not an easy one. She’s seen her share of bad times. I felt so bad for her. I was so emotionally attached. I wanted her to find her piece of happiness so much I wanted to jump in the book and give it to her. It turns out I didn’t have to, which is a good thing, but still, I would have if I could have. I mean, if any book character deserved a happy ending, it’s Rae.

About Gideon Maddox , well, that boy had to grow on me, but he was/is the perfect, sexy counterpart for Raven.

Then there was Mags and Dane, true friends to the end. They have so got Raven’s back.

The setting in the book is eerie and creepy, ghastly spooky and dark. There’s romance, mystery, suspense. There are just so many wonderful elements about this story that it would take pages to write them all. I think the best thing I can say is BUY THIS BOOK!! 🙂 You will be completely blown away by this fairytale retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It is definitely one of my fave reads. And even though I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, I am soo buying a paperback version of this right now, today. That’s how much I love this book.

Ms. Reece, if you’re reading this, I love you!! Keep on writing novels like this and you’re going to bump the popular authors off the charts. I’m hooked on your writing. You’re one of my favorites for sure.

Five stars for this one, folks.

Link to the Tour Schedule:

http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/tour-schedule-the-artisans-by-julie-reece-presented-by-month9books/

(Please do not post the actual tour list as it may change throughout the tour)

 Link to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21944665-the-artisans

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | kobo | TBD

 Giveaway Information:  Winner will be drawn June 19, 2015

Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of The Artisans by Julie Reece (INT)

Direct Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c08c9e8e346/?

ABOUT THE ARTISANS:

Title: The Artisans

Publication date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Julie Reece

They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad’s drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven’s stepdad’s drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she’s ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries’ clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can’t imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?

ABOUT JULIE REECE:

3e195-julie_reece_image_3-253x300Born in Ohio, I lived next to my grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all.

I struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school. I spent much of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) I fought dyslexia for my right to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in a tower, and I won.

Afterwards, I read like a fiend. I invented stories where I could be the princess… or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Later, I moved to Florida where I continued to fantasize about superpowers and monsters, fabricating stories (my mother called it lying) and sharing them with my friends.

Then I thought I’d write one down…

Hooked, I’ve been writing ever since. I write historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, adventure, and young adult romances. I love strong heroines, sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. My writing is proof you can work hard to overcome any obstacle. Don’t give up. I say, if you write, write on!

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

YA Steampunk at its best! – A review of THE PERILOUS JOURNEY OF THE NOT-SO-INNOCUOUS GIRL


Today, I’m reviewing THE PERILOUS JOURNEY OF THE NOT SO INNOCUOUS GIRL.

Guys, I’ve got to tell you. I’ve had my eye on this book ever since I saw the cover last year. Look at this sweet cover art!

Innoculous Girl

I knew when I saw it I had to read it, so I signed up with Month9Books to get an ARC when they sent them out. I read it in less than two days. This book is everything I would want in a steampunk fantasy.

I rarely ever post the back cover blurbs in my reviews, but if you want to read it, you can find it at the bottom of this post.

Okay, so here are my thoughts.

This is a tried and true love story about two people from different worlds, different walks of life, who are in love with each other. Think Romeo and Juliette. Heathcliff and Catherine. Augustus and Hazel. Gatsby and Daisy. The theme has been done over and over before and this story is really no different as far as that goes. It’s sweet, and let’s face it – girls love romance, especially when there is a cute stable boy, or in this case, a smithie, and a wealthy girl who is full of spunk and determination.

But I don’t think this book would have had any draw for me if it weren’t for the steampunk aspect.

First, let me say I had my hesitations about this book. I’m not one for historical fiction and I really thought I would be bored by the 17th century French culture, but Statham makes it irresistible with her unique steampunk twist and all the gizmos and gadgets. I tell you, there were several times I wanted to jump in the book to see these things up close and personal. It was as if they were really real. I wanted see them, hold them, especially Marguerite’s cricket toy. I could go on for pages over the detail, the imagery. It was completely mind-blowing. I was drawn in right away by Statham’s imagination and her ability to make the reader feel like they were right in the thick of it. I was enthralled. Captivated, and all I kept hoping for was for this book to be made into a movie so I could see how the CGI artists would bring this world to life.

As for the characters, I found Marguerite very difficult to like in the beginning. She’s wild, reckless. Very defiant, but I couldn’t stop reading her adventure. She certainly plays with all of your emotions, but by the end of the story, I loved her. She developed and grew into this amazing individual, and discovering how her relationship with Claude grew and developed was a beautiful journey. Yes, it was clichéd on so many levels, but it was one thing I loved about the story. Statham not only did a wonderful job on Marguerite and Claude, but her secondary characters were well developed as well, with their own arcs, their own growth to achieve. It was quite refreshing.

I give this book a solid 4 stars for its steampunk originality and superb world-building. It added just the right spark to turn this otherwise mediocre, tried-and-true love story into something positively wonderful and delightfully different. I will definitely keep my eyes open for more books from Leigh Statham and I hope she keeps writing about her wonderful gadgets, toys and gizmos. She really is, my opinion, the Steampunk Queen of YA fiction.

A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review 

Link to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18308621-the-perilous-journey-of-the-not-so-innocuous-girl

Purchase Links:

Chapters Indigo | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | TBD |

ABOUT THE PERILOUS JOURNEY OF THE NOT-SO-INNOCUOUS GIRL

 Title: THE PERILOUS JOURNEY OF THE NOT-SO-INNOCUOUS GIRL

Publication date: March 17, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Leigh Statham

Lady Marguerite lives a life most 17th century French girls can only dream of: Money, designer dresses, suitors and a secure future. Except, she suspects her heart may be falling for her best friend Claude, a common smithie in the family’s steam forge. When Claude leaves for New France in search of a better life, Marguerite decides to follow him and test her suspicions of love. Only the trip proves to be more harrowing than she anticipated. Love, adventure and restitution await her, if she can survive the voyage.

ABOUT LEIGH STATHAM:

Leigh Statham was raised in the wilds of rural Idaho, but found her heart in New York City. She worked as a waitress, maid, artist, math teacher, nurse, web designer, art director, thirty-foot inflatable pig and mule wrangler before she settled down in the semi-quiet role of wife, mother and writer. She resides in North Carolina with her husband, four children, five chickens and two suspected serial killer cats. If the air is cool and the sun is just coming up over the horizon, you can find her running the streets of her small town, plotting her next novel with the sort of intensity that will one day get her hit by a car.

Connect with the Author: 

Website |Twitter Facebook | Goodreads

FAIREST by Marissa Meyer – can we say awesome?


OMGosh, I finished it!  This! This beauty of a book! This way too short explanation of why Queen Levana is such a nasty, nasty person.

I started the book on the February 1 and finished it last night only because work got in the way and I couldn’t read straight thr0ugh. Ugh.  Anyway, I loved this book, though I have to say I was hoping for a bit more intensity, but I wasn’t disappointed in what I got.

I like that we get to see why Queen Levana is the way she is. We all know that no one is all bad or all good. We all have our flaws and life events that make us who we are.

I felt sympathy and sorrow for her. She endured so much at the hands of other people, all the things that break a soul, a spirit. Like all humans, all she ever wanted was to be loved. What she got was anything but.

I would have liked to have seen a bit deeper POV in Levana, I mean, really, really dig into her heart. Meyer touched on it a couple of times, and I have to admit, there was one part of the book where I actually felt a tear welling in the corner of my eye. Still, I didn’t get the gut-wrenching heart-ache I was expecting.

There are two characters I would have liked to have seen developed more as a pair – Evret and Sol. I would have liked to have seen Levana torn a bit more between her feelings for the two of them. I think Levana was capable of so much more compassion and love, but her desperation overshadowed it. I wish Meyer had made Levana a bit more sensitive so we could really see an internal battle within. There were times when Meyer brought me right to the edge, where I could see Levana about to be kind and caring … and then she yanked me back before it could happen.  I really wanted more internal struggle.

And poor Evret. I would have loved to have seen his character a bit more in the story. What a good, kind soul. And for someone who had such a huge part in Levana’s life, it felt more like he was a walk-on character.

I give Fairest 4 stars. Despite this being a filler novel, (actually more like a novella), I’m still a HUGE fan, and I’m really, really looking forward to the final story in the series, WINTER. I read the first 3 chapters that are at the end of Fairest. OMGosh!! Totally awesome!!!

So, there you have it. If you’re a Lunar Chronicles fan, you should really read Fairest. It will help you to understand Levana’s character so much more and will shed some light on how life, jealousy, rejection, pain, death and yes, even love, can change and mold us in profound ways and not always for the best.  We may not agree with or like the person she turned out to be, but at least now, we can understand it and hope that Winter, Cinder and Scarlet and their amazing male counterparts, can save the day…and the world in the end. I’m looking forward to finding out.

The Actuator 1.5: Borderlands Anthology – A delightful Fantasy/Sci-Fi Read


borderlands cover I was approached recently by Curiosity Quills Press to see if I would like to review a copy of The Actuator 1.5: Borderlands Anthology in exchange for an honest review.

I’m not a huge fan of science fiction, but I do love fantasy and this anthology promised to deliver a little bit of both, so I thought, what the heck and asked for them to send it on.   I’m glad I did as all the stories are really good and there is something between these covers for all sci-fi/fantasy fans.  Here’s a bit about the book:

The Actuator 1.5: Borderlands Anthology

Genre(s): Anthology, Action & Adventure, Alternative History, Cyberpunk, Dark Fantasy, Fairy Tales & Myths, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Steampunk

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Publication: September 11, 2014

Cover Artist: Michelle Johnson at Blue Sky Design

Description: When the Actuator breaks the earth into a patchwork of altered realities, the remaining Machine Monks begin looking for the Keys to put it back. In the meantime, everyone in the world has been transformed without knowing why. This collection tells about some of the people struggling to deal with the change.  Read more here.

MY REVIEW

It is difficult for me to pinpoint which story I liked the most. Each one was written very well and were quite entertaining, and I enjoyed them all.

There is a common theme that runs through this anthology, and each one of the authors tweaked their characters and their settings around that theme.  It actually seems like each of the stories play off of each other in an odd way, almost as if one can’t exist without the other. I do think some of the stories could have been expanded. Some felt flat. Some ended abruptly. A few left me thinking “huh?”, but overall, it was a good anthology.

Some of my favorite stories were:

Remembering Emily by Sarah Wolf.  I love the author’s voice and descriptions. Beautiful imagery here and the story is vibrant.

Stolen Orchid by Matthew Cox is one of the coolest cyberpunk stories I’ve ever read and it also played with my emotions.

The Austenation by Mara Valdarran was pure brilliance though I do think there could have been a bit more conflict. Jane Austen fans…you’re going to LOVE this one.

Escape by Patrick Burdine gave me the creepy willies.  Seriously, don’t read this right before you go to bed.   Not a good idea.

Halfway by Jay Wilburn. Ok, so this story freaked me out. There are clowns and peculiar lighting and odd people. There’s an Edward Scissorhands feel to the story, and it left me feeling numb. Well-written and freaky creepy.

Fifteen Seconds of Fame by Jason A. Anderson. A great story of one woman’s decision to defy the mob and help a little girl find her mom. Fast moving with an enjoyable, satisfying ending.

These are only 6 out of 20 amazing and unique stories.  While I liked some better than others, I am sure everyone who loves these genres will find something to enjoy.

I give four stars to this anthology.  Thank you Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with a free copy of this anthology in exchange for an honest review.

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Find Online: Goodreads | Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

FIFTEEN by Jen Estes – a review


Curiosity Quills recently offered me the opportunity to read FIFTEEN by Jen Estes in exchange for an honest review.  After reading the back cover blurb, I decided to take a chance on it as the premise really captured my attention.

Fiftee - Jen Estes cover

Fifteen, by Jen Estes

Genre:Contemporary Fantasy, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Publisher:Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Release­­:January 15, 2015

Cover Artist:Conzpiracy Digital Arts

Goodreads

Description:

Legend has it if you die in your dreams, you die in real life. Fifteen-year-old Ashling Campbell knows that’s not true because when she closes her eyes each night, she doesn’t dream about public nudity or Prom dates. Instead, she’s catapulted to the front row of her future self’s execution – fifteen years from now – where monsters have taken control of her hometown and she, or rather, her 30-year-old counterpart, is their public enemy number one.

For three months and counting, it’s been the same dream… until an encounter with an antique dreamcatcher. Ash falls asleep to discover she’s no longer a mere spectator in these dreams – now she’s astral-projecting into the body of her future self. Each night, she goes on the run with a ragtag group of rebels – who have no idea she’s really a high school sophomore and not their noble warrior. She has to make it through each night so that she can wake up and find a way to change the future. For every action she does in the present day, she falls asleep to discover it had an equal impact fifteen years later. It’s up to her to manage her two worlds and make sure she’s still got a place in both.

My Review

I’m really torn over this book.  Part of me really, really loved it and the other part of me only liked it.

I thought the beginning started out kind of slow and I was wondering when the story would pick up. It didn’t take long before the first ‘dream’ sequence, and boy, did it catch my attention.  The monster in Ash’s dreams is wicked beyond wicked, and what happens to her during the dream is just too freaking weird and unsettling.

I’m really trying hard not to give spoilers away here but it’s difficult to talk about this book without giving something away.  Hmm, let’s talk characters.

There is this doctor in the book that is an oddly placed character.  Ash and her friend, Nadette’s, reaction to him seemed  too quick. They just went with him unknowing, unthinking, and it’s not like he was a young college kid, either. He’s an old guy, well, old to a couple of teen girls.  I thought this entire scene just unfolded way to easy. They were too trusting. Personally, I was kind of creeped out by the guy, the way he stood under a tree staring at the two girls, and yet they’re like “hey, baby.” It felt ‘off’ to me. It through my creep groove off.  However, I liked the character and I really enjoyed watching the way he helped Ash come to terms with her dreams.

Anyway, Ash’s relationships with Tate, Nadette and Skylar are all very typical teenager, and there is a strong YA voice when the three of them get together. I would have liked to have seen deeper characters, a little bit deeper POV with Ash and her feelings toward Tate. Don’t get me wrong. We know her relationship with him. We know how she feels about him. I just would have liked to have seen a bit deeper connection.

The settings are pretty typical – high school and college campuses. The scenes are easy to picture in my mind. The prose is fairly quick overall and engaging. The storyline and plot are easy to follow, but there are some twists and turns that are really quite nice.

There is a scene where Ash falls asleep in class that I would have liked to have seen developed a bit more. I think there would have been more reaction among the students. I really liked this first introduction into carrying things over from sleep to reality – one dimension to another. Very nicely done.

Bad thing is, I found myself wanting to get to the dreams instead of reading the story. At one point I found myself skimming because I thought it was taking too long to get to the dream scenes, which were becoming more and more intense and vivid. Ms. Estes knows how to write these villains and monsters, and even better, she knows how to weave them into reality. I can’t really say it’s the author’s fault I wanted to jump ahead. Then again, a slow enticement is much better than a WHAM! Know what I mean?

As for the end of the novel, Jen Estes knows how to end a book. I loved the twists and turns in the end and the last line was most excellent. It made me go “ooooo”. All I could think of is if I were Fifteen, everything she’d just been through would completely freak me out.

Overall, I wish there had been a tad more deep character development. Sometimes they felt flat to me and then in other spots, they were bopping all over the page. I didn’t like the ending with Tate and Nadette.  That really sucked and I would have liked to have seen a different ‘ending’ for them and Ash. Again, my preference and nothing the author did wrong.

Try as I might, it is really difficult to peg down score for this one.  It would be between a 3.75 and a 4.0. I think I’ll give a 4.0 because the creepy, wraithy kind of villain was just written so damn well. I could see him in all his ghoulishness.  At times, it was if he were standing right in front of me. *Shiver* And then to find out he’s really …

Nope, not going to tell you. You’re going to have to read the book to find out.

I give FIFTEEN 4 stars. It really does have a menacing, hair-raising storyline and I think most people who like edgy YA horror without going overboard, will love this novel. It is pretty intense for the most part, with a very interesting plot line.  I am happy to say this is the first book I’ve read in 2015.  Thank you Curiosity Quills Press and Jen Estes with starting out my year with a really enjoyable read.

About the Author

Jen

Jen Estes is the author of the Cat McDaniel Mystery Series and the forthcoming FIFTEEN (The Dreamwalker Diaries).

Born and raised in the Midwest, Jen had to choose between staring at corn or reading books. Corn husks just didn’t have the appeal of the Baby-Sitters Club, and so a bookworm was born. Reading later turned into writing and in 2011, Jen published her first novel. After releasing four books in the mystery genre, Jen finally gave in to the literary demands of her inner teenager with her YA debut, FIFTEEN (The Dreamwalker Diaries) with Curiosity Quills.  Jen lives in Illinois with her husband Nathan under the tyranny of their three cats: Wrigley, Ivy and Captain Moo.

She is an active member of the National Writers Union. When she isn’t writing, Jen enjoys sci-fi in all its mediums, attempting yoga, using her passport, watching baseball, and reading a good book. You can find Jen on the web at http://www.jenestes.com, on Tumblr as AuthorJenEstes and tweeting under @jenestesdotcom

Find Jen Estes Online:

Website | Facebook |Twitter| Goodreads

No inflamatory, defaming remarks allowed here.


it's okay to be angryA few days ago WordPress notified me that I had a comment from a new commenter that needed to be approved. I have my settings like this so I can make sure the person is real, and I can see what sort of website/blog, etc. they have to know if I can trust them to comment on my blog. While WordPress does a good job catching a lot of spam, sometimes they do get through.

In this particular case, this commenter wrote her comments about a book I reviewed. No biggie, right? Except it was. The few short sentences she wrote were rude, defaming, and inflammatory, and I’m glad I have the power to ‘not approve’ the comment.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with allowing comments on my blog that don’t agree with mine. It certainly allows for conversation and debate, which is always good. But when the comments are nasty, are not focused on particulars of a topic, but more of an attack on someone, that’s where I draw the line. I simply will not allow such hurtful comments on my blog.

I’m wondering who else out there feels the same way I do. I mean, I’m the first to stand up for free speech and allowing people to speak their minds and express themselves and their opinions, but I have a problem with direct insults, bullying, and rudeness, especially on a public forum.

thumper-cant-say-something-nice

I wish I understood why there is so much bullying and hateful words floating around out there. What and whom does it serve? I was a ‘victim’ of bullying when I was young, the receiver of hurtful words. Even my own family members have said terribly hurtful things about my weight or my looks in general.  Folks, these words cut, and let me tell you, the verbal wounds last much longer than any physical wound, especially when they are repeated over and over again. I simple can’t and won’t allow my blog to be a vehicle for those with hurtful comments.

I beg everyone to please think before you speak or write, otherwise Karma has a way to come back around a bite you in the butt. No one deserves this sort of stress in their lives. We already have enough to deal with that life dishes out. If you must disagree, please be respectful. Treat others the way you want to be treated.  You’ll go a lot further in life with love and sincerity than anger and hate.

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Book Review – Fire in the Woods by Jennifer M. Eaton


I rarely give a five-star rating to a book, but I couldn’t bring myself to give Fire in the Woods by Jennifer M. Eaton anything less. Before I give you my review, here’s a little bit about the book.

cover

Title: Fire in the Woods

Publication date: September 2014

Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

Author: Jennifer M. Eaton

When a plane crashes in the woods near Jess’s home, the boy of her dreams falls out of the sky—literally. But David’s not here to find a girlfriend. He’s from another planet, and if Jess can’t help him get back to his ship, he’ll be stuck on Earth with nothing to look forward to but the pointy end of a dissection scalpel.

But her father runs their house like an army barracks, and with an alien on the loose, Major Dad isn’t too keen on the idea of Jess going anywhere. Ever. So how the heck is she supposed to help the sweetest, strangest, and cutest guy she’s ever met?

Hiding him in her room probably isn’t the best idea. Especially since her Dad is in charge of the squadron searching for David. That doesn’t mean she won’t do it. It just means she can’t get caught.

Helping David get home while protecting her heart—that’s gonna be the hard part. After all, she can’t really fall for a guy who’s not exactly from here.

As they race through the woods with Major Dad and most of the U.S. military one breath behind them, Jess and David grow closer than either of them anticipated. But all is not what it seems. David has a genocide-sized secret, and one betrayal later, they are both in handcuffs as alien warships are positioning themselves around the globe. Time is ticking down to Armageddon, and Jess must think fast if she’s to save the boy she cares about without sacrificing Earth—and everyone on it.

Now, onto my Review. Make sure you read all the way to the end to enter a Giveaway and earn a chance to win a very special present.

My Review

Let me start out by saying I don’t read a lot of Science Fiction. in fact, I don’t read any science fiction, but I LOVE Sci Fi movies and t.v. shows like Star Trek, Star Wars, Independence Day and most recently on t.v., Extant. Why do I like them? Because there are these little guys running through the plots

So, I suppose it’s no wonder I really enjoyed Fire in the Woods because it also has aliens, but they don’t look like this little guy.

No, the one in particular in Fire in the Woods is a hottie. You know. Tall, dark hair, turquoise eyes and to top it off, he’s incredibly innocent which just makes him as charming as an alien can get.  It’s no wonder our heroine, Jess, falls head over heals for the dude, especially since he takes on the form of a teen idol heart-throb actor that is burned in her recent memories.

What did I love about this book?

First of all, the pacing.  It’s quick. I barely had time to recuperate from one scene before a new one started.  For a YA read, this is very important because teens tend to like quick-paced books. There is no let up from the beginning to the end. What a roller coaster ride.

Next, I really enjoyed the voice of the main character. Jess is a typical teen. One moment she’s strong and knows what she wants, the next she’s scared, unsure, but determined. Once she gets something in her head, she doesn’t let it go. She has to see it through no matter what the consequences, even if it ticks off her military-tough dad. All that is important is that she stands by her principles and does what she thinks is right.

Our alien, David, is scared. All he wanted to do was earn points in his own father’s eyes, and as the story progresses, the reader falls deeply in love with his character, his faults, and more importantly to do what is right by his people and Jess’.

Too bad there are grown ups involved – both alien and human – who think they know better than the kids, and get in the way, and almost destroy everything Jess and David have built.

The book touches on so many issues like parent/child relationships, interspecies relationships and following your conscience and what you know is right no matter what anyone else says, does or believes.

Beneath all the running and explosions and fire and possible world annihilation, there is a sweet little romance theme that will keep girls turning the pages.

What I didn’t like?

At times I wanted the book to slow down a bit so I could catch my breath. Sometimes I felt rushed to get to the end, but not enough to make me stop reading.

I wish there had been a bit more time to develop the relationship between David and Jess. It seemed too quick and easy that Jess fell in love with someone she didn’t know. She also seemed too accepting of the whole alien thing, but not enough that I couldn’t suspend belief.

I would have liked a bit more of a tease at the end, creating a desire to HAVE to read book 2. As it was, the storyline wrapped up quite well, but I didn’t get a sense of urgency that I HAD to return to find out what happened next. Of course, the snippet in the back of the book for Book 2 – Ashes in the Sky – solved that issue and has me salivating like Pavlov’s dog for more.

So, to sum it up, if you like YA, science fiction, action-packed adventure, and romance, you’re going to love Fire in the Woods. It’s an un-put-downable book that will have you thinking about its many messages for several days after you read it.

I was given an ARC of the book from Month9Books in exchange for an honest review. I also read this as a beta reader and thoroughly enjoyed watching this novel grow from infancy into the fantastic novel that it is.

And now for the:

GIVEAWAYS!!!

Winner will be drawn October 25, 2014

Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Fire in the Woods by Jennifer M. Eaton (INT).

One lucky winner will win One (1) custom-made necklace (used as inspiration for the necklace in Fire in the Woods).  Adjustable chain from 10 to 12 inches. T (US ONLY)

Necklace

All you have to do is go to the Rafflecopter link below and enter.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c08c9e8e229/

Book info

Anything and everything you want to know about Fire in the Woods is below, including links to where you can purchase.

Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

jennifer eatonCorporate Team Leader by day, and Ranting Writer by night. Jennifer M. Eaton calls the East Coast of the USA home, where she lives with her husband, three energetic boys, and a pepped up poodle.

Jennifer hosts an informational blog “A Reference of Writing Rants for Writers (or Learn from My Mistakes)” aimed at helping all writers be the best they can be.

Beyond writing and motivating others, she also enjoys teaching her dog to jump through hoops—literally.

Jennifer’s perfect day includes long hikes in the woods, bicycling, swimming, snorkeling, and snuggling up by the fire with a great book; but her greatest joy is using her over-active imagination constructively… creating new worlds for everyone to enjoy.

Author Links:  Website  | Twitter Facebook | Goodreads