Saturday, April 30, 2016

Review: Cold-Blooded Beautiful

Cold-Blooded Beautiful Cold-Blooded Beautiful by Christine Zolendz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Poor Samantha, she just can't catch a break! We're finally given her whole story, and it's tragically heartbreaking. There is a reason she and Kade are so perfect for each other. They have both lived through such horrific events early on in life, both of them changed forever. I do have to point out that the characters talking to the reader are extremely annoying. I want to get lost in a book, and I can't do that if I am constantly reminded I am reading it.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Review: Lost to You

Lost to You Lost to You by A.L. Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Take this regret is such a good book, so I enjoyed getting glimpse of where Elizabeth & Christian started. Elizabeth is so sweet, and so naive, but I think that's exactly what draws Christian to her. She is completely unlike the girls he normally dates. Though Elizabeth refuses to fall to his charm, and they are both leery of ruining their friendship, it's inevitable. I was hoping for a little more on what happened when she found out she was pregnant. Though we already know since we've read Take This Regret.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Review: Red Rising

Red Rising Red Rising by Pierce Brown
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The war begins...

Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars. Generations of Helldivers have spent their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that one day people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.

Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. Mars is habitable - and indeed has been inhabited for generations by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. The Golds regard Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

With the help of a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.

But the command school is a battlefield. And Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda..

The Golds make each of the initiates go through the passage, basically, each of them is put in a room with one other initiate and the one who lives moves on. Darrow is forced to kill Julian in order to survive. The remaining Golds are split into groups and are each given a home they must protect with the task of conquering the other groups, and making them their slaves. Darrow rises in his group, but he has a tenuous grasp on his power. When his friend Cassius finds out that it was Darrow that killed his brother, he tries to kill Darrow. He only lives because after he was left for dead, the girl called Mustang saved him and nursed him back to health. Darrow learns from his mistakes and knows he will never gain favor by making slaves of the people he captures, that he can only succeed if his army chooses to fight for him. He gains the nickname The Reaper because of the curved blade he favors. The Jackal is head of the Pluto house, and the one Darrow will have to beat in order to win the game. He is also the ArchGovernor's son, and the Gods watching over the games are all cheating to help him win. When Darrow starts to hurt their chances of winning, they plot against him. It eventually turns into a full-blown battle at Olympus, but Darrow succeeds. Mustang turns out to be the Jackals twin sister but throws her loyalty in with Darrow. He takes a position in the ArchGovernor's house, knowing in order to start the revolution that will free his people, being as close to his enemy as possible gives him the best chance.

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Review: Five Down

Five Down Five Down by Stacia Kane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unfortunately, it's been a while since the last book was released in the Downside Ghosts series (2012). I thought I would get my fix by reading Five Down, which is five novellas/ short stories. The first story is titled Rick the Brave and it follows an electrician who takes a job in Downside against his better judgment because the pay is really good. While there he meets Chess and Terrible and a few murderous ghosts. Seeing Chess and Terrible from an outsiders perspective was a fun change. The second story is titled Home and it involves a neighbor reporting another neighbor for suspected ghost activity which the homeowner vehemently denies. Seeing as that would be enough for the Church to cut a big check, Chess knows something is up in suburbia. The third story, Close to You involves a seemingly senile old woman who's celebrating the return of her husband, and Christmas which has been banned since Haunted Week when the Church of Truth took over. Keeping it Close is the fourth story in Five Down which was also a new one for me. The Randell's report suspicious activity to the church and Chess is sent out to investigate. The last few months have been difficult for Chess, especially losing Elder Griffith even though the outcome could have been much worse. This case seems open and shut until she finds out what's really going on at the Randell house. Last but not least is Playing With Fire and it's also a new one for me. This was probably my favorite of the five because I just love that Chess and Terrible are finally so happy. Without many lucrative cases of her own since the fallout with Elder Griffith, Chess starts investigating the mysterious death of a woman she and Blue witnessed. Since she hasn't been assigned the case she doesn't get all of the information but she does pretty well with what she has. Will was someone she went to the Church's training program with, and he is assigned to the case. Luckily he has the hots for Blue and Chess is able to convince her to get the info she needs. Unfortunately for Chess she agrees but only on the stipulation that Chess stops avoiding Lex. Poor Terrible, everytime Lex's name comes up it's so awkward. Chess didn't see or speak to Lex in Playing With Fire, but that moment is coming and I hope she and Terrible are able to withstand it.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Review: Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10

Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am in absolute awe of our military, and the things they endure on our behalf. The atrocities they see and experience can never be adequately put into words. I had to give Lone Survivor four stars because it was written, and because it is a true account of the bravery of our armed forces. The rating does not, however, reflect the writing of the book itself. The author who wrote this book did a very poor job of presenting the battle between the Taliban, and the US Navy Seals. The movie, which I did watch before reading the book, is a gripping narrative of the heroics that took place in the Hindu Kush. Unfortunately, the book is not nearly as mesmerizing and is a little painful at times. There was information in the book that you don't get in the movie, which is why I continued reading until the end. I also love that Marcus Luttrell is a Texan! <3

Favorite quote from the book:
"That rifle had so far fought three separate battles in three different places, been ripped out of my grasp twice, been blown over a cliff by a powerful grenade, fallen almost nine hundred feet down a mountain, and was STILL somehow right next to my outstretched hand. Fluke? Believe what you will. My own faith will remain forever unshaken."
Marcus Luttrell- The Lone Survivor

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Review: The Brave Tale of Maddie Carver

The Brave Tale of Maddie Carver The Brave Tale of Maddie Carver by Stacia Kane
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am such a big fan of the Downside Ghosts series, but not really sure what the point of that short story was.. The Brave Tale of Maddie Carver was about 8 pages and told us absolutely nothing we didn't already know, except the name of one more person who died during Haunted Week. I was hoping to get a glimpse of Chess or Trouble from before, but nope that didn't happen. It's free and there is a link from Stacia Kane's blog, but not sure it's worth the time.

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Review: The Fixer

The Fixer The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've had this book sitting around for a while but started reading it just recently. I'm not sure why I decided to buy it as it isn't my typical read. It may be that I recognized the author, even though I rated this book higher on my list than the others I've read. Although it was a little different I still enjoyed it, and I think that has more to do with the protagonist Tess than the subject. Tess was an extremely likable character. She made sure to stand up for those who needed her, and the loyalty she has for her grandfather is heartwarming. Another plus was that all of the characters, including Tess, are portrayed accurately with realistic behaviors and reactions. I also enjoyed that The Fixer had me guessing right up until the very end.

Tess has lived on a farm in Montana with her grandfather as long as she can remember. Taking care of the animals comes second to caring for the man who has always cared for her. When her sister shows up out of the blue with the announcement that she's bringing Tess back with her to D.C., Tess is not happy with the change. She is forced into a private school that caters to the children of the political elite. Somehow all of these people know exactly who her sister is and what she does. The name Ivy Kendrick is spoken with a mix of respect, intrigue, and a little bit of fear. When Tess asks her school guide and new friend Vivie what exactly it is that Ivy does, Vivie explains that Ivy is a Fixer. She is the person the politicians call when they need a scandal hidden, or a problem fixed. Somehow her new classmates think she's the junior version of Ivy and almost immediately she is called upon to sort out their problems. At first, it may seem like ordinary teenage problems but it's evident pretty quickly that the situation she's found herself in is way above her skill level.

When Ivy shows up unannounced after a three-year hiatus, we learn what it is that Tess has been hiding. Her grandfather has Alzheimer's and she's done her best to keep that a secret so she could stay with him and care for him. He has given his life to take care of and raise her after her parents died and she wants to do the same for him. Unfortunately, as a minor, she doesn't get to make that decision, and Ivy decides she needs to come live with her. Her new friend Vivie reveals a huge secret, that she thinks her father is responsible for the death of one of their classmates, Henry's grandfather. Vivie's dad Major Bharani is the White House doctor, and Henry's grandfather Chief Justice Marquette was a Supreme Court judge. When he has a heart attack no one thinks anything of him dying during surgery (performed by Vivie's dad). Then we learn there are at least three players in this scandal to open up a seat on the supreme court. Through a lot of investigating, luck, and help from Ivy they learn the identity of the three major players. Judge Pierce from Arizona who wanted Marquette's position, Bharani was involved for the money, and Kostas the secret service agent that needed Judge Pierce to pardon his son's crime. In the end, Kosta's killed them both after Pierce reneged on their deal and Bharani became a liability. He kidnapped Tess to make Ivy fix his son's problem, but it was Tess who solved it by going to William Keyes who pulled some strings to get the governor of Arizona to issue a pardon. Kostas releases Ivy but is killed when he tried to come out unarmed behind her and turn himself in. Ivy thinks there is another unmentioned player who realized Kostas was now a liability. Another huge surprise was learning that Tess is actually Ivy's daughter, not her sister. Ivy was only 16 when she had Tess, and her parents thought it would be best if they raised Tess. Her father Tommy was Pierce's son and Adam's brother. Tess agreed to be a part of his life in exchange for saving Ivy's.
Other Characters:
Bodie- Driver/Bodyguard/Friend of Ivy's. He is funny and intriguing, so hopefully we will learn his story soon.
Adam- Friend to Ivy, son of William Keyes, and uncle to Tess.
Asher- Brother to Emilia, best friend of Henry and hilarious.

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