Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review: The Devil's Contract

The Devil's Contract
The Devil's Contract by Claire Contreras

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

He gave them a choice.
She took it.
He made her promise two years.
She should have known there was a catch.

^^ That is the books full description.

Totally unexpected. The book description (above)was only four lines, so I really had no idea what kind of book I was in for. Luckily Contreras is a fantastic author, and I knew that I would like it regardless. This did prove to be true, because I could not put it down. Unfortunately book two is not due out until the fall, so I'll have a full spoilers section below.

Amara & Colin have been best friends since they were very young. Their friendship led to a relationship, and they're both madly in love with the other. Amara has always refused to put a label on their relationship, or even call it a relationship. Seven years ago, when she was sixteen, her father had gambled away everything they own. Amara's mother was sick with cancer, and their family friend Philip offered them a way out. Amara would agree to work for him for two years in exchange for their debt. Her father initially refused, but Amara agreed knowing it was the only way her mother would be able to continue treatment. She never forgot the agreement, which is why she refused to get in too deep with Colin, but after seven years she didn't think of it as often. Not until Philip's right hand woman, Vivienne LaRue showed up to bring her back to Paris to train for her new job. She's tricked into signing a contract that has different duties than she agreed to, and finds out she'll be working in a high end escort service, as well as for Philip's advertising company. All of the money she makes will go directly to Philip in order to pay off the ten million dollar debt her father owes. One of the requirements of her new job was that she must stop seeing Colin. If her mother wasn't sick again, and needing treatment she would refuse, but she knows her mother won't survive without the best doctors. Of course both she and Colin are heartbroken over leaving each other, but Amara doesn't have a choice. After arriving in Paris she is told to pick a new name to use with clients. She chooses Jasmine Oliver, Jasmine b/c it's what Colin said she always smelled like, and Oliver is Colin's middle name. She also meets Courtney, who like Amara, is the only other exclusive girl working there. She & Courtney will have sex together, for men, but no one touches them. Until Samuel. Sam is an old friend/partner of Philip's who is in love with Courtney. Sam tries to get Amara to find out what Philip has on Courtney so he can get her back, but Courtney isn't saying and refuses to leave. When Amara reports this back to Sam, he books a sex date with Amara so that he can see Courtney. Courtney is only supposed to participate with Amara, but in the end the two of them, Sam and Courtney give in and sleep with each other. Philip is pissed, and after a few threats Sam leaves. Amara is then sent to deliver some kind of classified paperwork to New Orleans, as well as bring back a package. While back in the states she sees Colin who is visiting the city with his fiance. He comes to Amara's hotel room, and tells her that his engagement/marriage to Molly is one of convenience, since he isn't able to inherit his fathers company until he is married. He tells her he'll leave Molly immediately if Amara will agree to marry him. She can't agree, and it kills them both. At this point I'm not sure why she doesn't tell him what's going on, and why she has to stay. She thinks he'll never forgive her, but surely he would understand that choosing him means her mothers death. Amara refuses to speak to her father again, but her mother needs her. Amara goes back to Paris, and continues speaking with a widower client named Nolan by email. He seems nice, and Amara actually enjoys talking with him. She sees Sam again, and he tells her that he and Philip used to work with her grandfather, who disowned her mother when she married her father. He was ruthless, and very wealthy. Over the years he put his trust in the wrong person, and told that person about a bank account he has in Sweden which holds a few invaluable possessions. The catch is that the account is in her name, and there are only three people who know they password. All three of them are looking for her so they can have access. Philip is hoping one of the three will contact her through the company once they realize she is there. He wants her to work with him, and cut Philip out. Nolan finally visits, and she is able to see that he is good looking when the pass each other in Philip's office. He also sends her flowers while she is at the salon, and waves at her from across the street, but during their time together, she is blindfolded and never sees his face. When her mother gets sick and goes into a coma, Amara heads back to the states. Sam is waiting for her in the car (he's paying the driver off) and offers to introduce her to a man that could help her get out of her arrangement with Philip. Philip told her there were two people who could do that for her, Sam, and another unnamed person. Apparently she is about to meet him. After checking in with her mom at the hospital, she finds her awake, but tired. She tells her she will return in the morning after they have both had time to rest. She had planned on going back to her apartment but Philip informed her that her father uses it twice a week to stay with his mistress. She goes on to Philips place, but is picked up by a driver who is to take her to meet the person Sam wanted her to meet. Once she arrives she is shocked to find Colin. Apparently his father owned part of Merchant, (Phillip's company) and Colin inherited it after his death. He said he finding out about the company was shocking enough, but not as bad as finding out his girlfriend, the woman he loves was employed there. He also reveals that he is Nolan. In the end he tells her that he owns her, and she agrees.

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Review: Catch Me

Catch Me
Catch Me by Claire Contreras

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So far Claire Contreras has not disappointed. Catch me has some heavy subjects; loss, drugs, depression, loneliness, and I think we can all relate to at least one of those. Depression itself is not logical, and it doesn't only happen to the weak or poor. There is no rhyme or reason for those who are affected by it, but there are many ways to live with it. The most important of which is understanding that it doesn't make you less of a person, and it doesn't mean you're weak. The chemical imbalance in the brain that causes depression is no different than the chemical imbalance in hypothyroidism, but for some reason depression has a negative stigma.
Brooklyn is the daughter of a wealthy music label owner, and financially has it all. Of course money can't buy everything, and as a teenager missing out on some of those crucial elements such as love, and affection send her searching for it in the wrong places. After years of being, and feeling alone she meets someone that seems to get her. He makes her feel beautiful, loved, and wanted. Hopefully he'll stick around.

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Review: Torn Away

Torn Away
Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Torn Away is a tear-jerker for sure. When you think of natural disasters, you think about everything the people lost. Some of them lose their homes, some of them their security, and others lose their lives. We all remark about how sad it is, maybe donate a few dollars, buy a t-shirt to support the cause. What happens after though? I never thought about those left behind, not only without a house, but now without a family. The people who hear the tornado sirens, or the weather reports and feel the anxiety of experience. Once their homes, and clothes are replaced then what? Then they must redefine who they are, come to terms with their loss, or not and continue on.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review: The Immortal Crown

The Immortal Crown
The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't know why more people aren't reading the Age of X series. It's a bit more in depth than her VA series, but still a great read. This review is super long, but there is a lot of info that we'll need to remember when the third book comes out in a year or so.

After their one night of passion Justin realizes that Mae is the girl the God Odin said was destined for him. When Justin accepted the Gods help years before, he was told that when he took the woman with stars and flowers in her hair, he would then pledge himself to Odin. Justin was able to get away on a technicality because he didn't know who she was when he slept with her. He does know that doing it again will seal his fate. Mae doesn't understand his sudden change in attitude, but is clearly hurt by the excuses she is given.
Lucian wants the two of them to go with him on a goodwill trip into Arcadia. He thinks establishing a positive relationship with the neighboring country will guarantee his win in the election. Justin doesn't want to go, but he finally agrees after Mae pleads with him to accept. He doesn't know what her motives are, but knows she has one. Her illegitimate niece is there, and she finally has a solid lead on where at.
Their entire party is surprised at the way things are done in Arcadia, even though they were forewarned. They have the capabilities for everything RUNA has, but they don't take advantage of those where their women are concerned. The women are second class citizens, serving the men in the household, and doing all of the chores.

Mae does find her niece with the help of the Goddess Freya, who is an ally of Justin's God Odin. Justin learns while in Arcadia that their Grand Disciple (sort of like a pope) to their God Nehitimar has plans to get approval to send in missionaries to the RUNA. Once they're there they will destroy their power, and during the few days it's down preach to the masses to win people to their side. Justin also learns that some of the Arcadians aren't pleased with their God, and a he finds a few willing to help set up the terrorist in exchange for refugee status in RUNA. One of Carl's wives (Carl is the home that is hosting their party) is beaten severely while they're there. Mae uses this to her advantage by having her pretend to be Mae, so that Mae can slip away and rescue the girls in the Salon, including her niece. Women are more or less property, and the salons will raise them until they can be bought at age 13. The one her niece is at is made up mostly of stolen girls from the RUNA. She does get them all out, but they must make the journey on foot after they run out of gas. She makes a stop along the way to break into the Grand Disciples home and steals his staff, that turns to something else when she touches it. While the girls are all trekking through the woods of Arcadia, Justin is living in fear that they will be caught with Carl's wife, whom they now all think ran away. Since they are returning home with the same number of women as they left with, they are able to make it back across the border. Lucian does have to sweet talk one of the guards, since the Arcadian wife doesn't have a chip. Meanwhile Tessa is back in RUNA, and has hooked up with a journalist as an intern. What she doesn't know though, is the journalist, Daphne is using Tessa for her connection to Lucian. During their investigation, Daphne is hoping to find something that will incriminate Lucian as some kind of religious zealot. Tessa does get that proof, but once she realizes it will also incriminate Justin she destroys the recording before giving the recorder back, and tells Daphne she is done working with her. Justin and Mae are so relieved to see each other, but Justin tells her even though she is the only woman for him he can't be with her. She ends up crying at home that night when Justin shows up, admits he was wrong, and they do the deed. While in bed a few things start clicking that seem off to Mae. As soon as she realizes the guy in her bed is only pretending to be Justin, and not the real thing he takes off. She calls the real Justin and he insists she go to the hospital for a rape kit. They don't have a match in their system, even though every citizen in their country should be listed. At the end of the book we learn that the guy pretending to be Justin, also pretended to be Rufus Tessa's bodyguard, because he is really Mae's ex Porfirio Aldaya who is supposed to be dead. Porfirio is an elect like Mae, and Justin but he's working for Tezcatlipoca. Lucian is also an elect, but I don't think we were ever told the name of his God. Mae ends up leaving Justin to take a mission on the border, hoping to keep him from making the decision to sign on with Odin for her. What she doesn't realize is he is already bound to him. Odin never specified that he must claim her physically. When he said she was the only woman for him, he staked a claim therefore binding himself to Odin. She swears she is done with all of the Gods, and all of their business, because Freya didn't help her at all when the man pretending to be Justin tricked her. While she is gone, another God named Loki asks her to serve him only until they find out who tricked her, at that point she would be free to choose him on her own, or not. He said he would have protected her unlike Freya, and wouldn't have made her choose between her lover and God as Odin did with Justin. It seems she might accept, but doesn't say for sure when the book ends.

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Review: Breakable

Breakable by Tammara Webber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Breakable is actually Easy, but from Landon/Lucas point of view. I don't usually read those type of books, because you already know how everything plays out. I'm not sure why I started this one, when I never read others. You do however get a much clearer picture of Lucas's background, and his life leading up to the beginning of the events that took place in Easy. While Easy is still one of my favorites, I think I'll stick to reading the originals, and not the alternate POV of the same story.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Review: The Wedding Contract

The Wedding Contract
The Wedding Contract by H.M. Ward

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Wedding Contract was more of a novella, only about 100 pages or so. Nick Ferro is intentionally ruining Skylar's self made studio. Not only does his studio look exactly like hers, but he's stealing her clients as well. At this rate she's lost her home, and is about to lose her shop. She has one more wedding to shoot, which also happens to be the wedding of a very good friend. When she shows up to find Nick is shooting the wedding also, she flips out, understandably but still.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Review: Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Throne of Glass has been on my to-read shelf for 3 1/2 years.. I thought it was about time I either read it, or delete it from the shelf. Several friends had read, and rated it highly, and I understand their love of this book. Throne of Glass is a difficult book for me to rate. I really enjoyed it, as the plot, characters, and setting were all captivating. With all of these positive things, why then did it drag on forever? I honestly cannot answer that, other than the fact that I kept losing focus, and falling asleep. If a book is really good, you don't fall asleep. You stay up all night just to read one more chapter, and in the end finish up leaving yourself only two hours of sleep before work. When that happens, when one more chapter turns into finishing the book, regardless of the time, and what you have going on the next day, that is a five star book. So even though Throne of Glass was a good book, and an enjoyable one at that, it is no where near a five star, or even a four star book.

Celaena is still a young women at only eighteen, but her life as an assassin, and the last year spent at the hard labor camp Endovier are enough to break even the strongest man. Most prisoners of Endovier, working the salt mines last only a few months, but Celaena has endured a year of her sentence when Prince Dorian retrieves her, and offers her a deal. He wants her to represent him in a competition in which the winner will be the Kings Champion. If she does this, and wins she must serve as the champion for four years, before gaining her freedom. Obviously she doesn't refuse, as staying in the salt mines will mean a sure death. While competing with fellow criminals for the position of the Kings Champion, something sinister is stalking the castle and killing the competition. Celaena knows that the evil could come for her at any time, and hopes to defeat it before it finds her.

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Review: The Mighty Storm

The Mighty Storm
The Mighty Storm by Samantha Towle

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read The Mighty Storm because of all the great reviews, and because I have had it sitting on my nightstand for months. The hottie on the cover has no tattoo's, and I'm not sure why that bothered me. I also don't know exactly why I can't rate TMS four or five. I kept finding myself putting it down to do other stuff, which to me says it all. It took me several days to finish, and I only felt relief once I was done. So needless to say I won't be reading on in this series.

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