Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Inferno By Sherrilyn Kenyon

Oh my do I love Sherrilyn Kenyon's novels.  She is one of my top favorite authors, right beside Kim Cormack.  Inferno is the fourth book in the Chronicles of Nick series and boy is it a great book!  Nick is still learning to deal with his Malachi powers and how to deal with Kody being sent to kill him when another entity begins entering his head calling itself the "Harvester." Through everything happening to him, Nick must learn how to not allow hatred to enter his heart or else that will be the end of him, and possibly the world as we know it.  Soon Nick finds himself in yet another battle, but with an ally he never expects to have.  Continue the epic series and see what happens to Nick next and where his journey takes him.

While reading the Dark Hunter series, Nick was one of my favorite side characters, and with his series he is quickly becoming one of my favorite main characters.  There is some much being through at this poor kid that it is a wonder he still has the strength to wake up every day.  As the novel progresses Kenyon lets out little tidbits of information about Nick, his father, and his friends that keep the readers entertained, surprised and eager for more.  Nick is probably one of the strongest teenaged leads I have read about in a long time.  He does complain a bit about things, but who wouldn't?  At the same time he takes his responsibilities and changes seriously.  He does what he can to protect the ones he loves and learn how to remain the man he is and not become the man he was designed to become.

As with most of her books, Kenyon has a strong balance between action, history, backstory, and romance.  We see a lot of character develop, not only individually but also as friends.  I appreciated seeing more of Caleb and Acheron in this novel.  Knowing what I know about Ash's and Nick's relationship in the future, it breaks my heart to see their friendship developing and cultivating (I almost dread the novel in this series that portrays their future).  Inferno gives us a little more backstory on Caleb and Kody both and how they came to be involved in Nick's life.  I enjoy when authors add backstories to their supporting characters because then we get insight into them and how they interact with the main character.  Kenyon does a wonderful job at this in all her books.

There is a lot of action and information thrown at the reader at once.  One may think this is a bad thing, but it isn't.  It works for the story line to have thrown at you as your read the way things are thrown at Nick as he progresses through his change.  I cannot wait to pick up the fifth book and find out what Kenyon has in store for Nick next.  I give this book a 3.5 out of 5, it didn't seem to stack up to the other books by Kenyon that I have read.  There seemed to be something lacking, but I am not sure what it is.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Doorknob Society by MJ Fletcher

The Doorknob Society by MJ Fletcher is the first book in his Doorknob Society series.  It is the story of Chloe Master's as her life is turned completely upside down by simply touching a doorknob.  Chloe grew up traveling with her father's magic act after her mother had vanishes.  Almost out of no where a mysterious man in black makes an attempt on Chloe's father's life, while fleeing from this man Chloe touches a doorknob which activates dormant powers.  She is thrust into a world filled with secret societies.  Chloe's fear of losing what is left of family comes true when her father mysteriously disappears like her mother.  Now Chloe must race against time to find him and bring him home.  Is there anyone in this new world whom she could trust? 

This book was fairly well written, there were several moments that were predictable including the ending.  There didn't seem to be anything unique in the story, sure the plot development and plot line are unique, but the elements involved are typical of most modern young adult books.  In most YA novels we see a love triangle got that here, or an inept secret society got that too. The romance in this story got to be confusing, one moment Chloe is complaining about how she is not ready for a relationship, then the next she is thinking she is so broken and needs someone to help put her back together.  Couldn't she make up her mind?  I understand this character is a teenager and they don't know fully what they want, but after a few chapters this theme got to be a little too overpowering and annoying.  It begins to take away from the overall feel of the story.

I found the doorknob society interesting and think there was a lot of potential in the idea that was not explored as much as it could have been.  Maybe that will come in future novels in the series.  The system of magic contained in this novel is intriguing and makes me look forward to future novels in this series. While there were things that seemed a bit cliche and predictable there was enough in the novel to make it flow well and keep me captivated as I read.  There were moments when I did not want to put the novel down.  I would recommend this novel for young adults, but I think avid readers past the young adult age may not enjoy this novel as much.  As for a rating I would give this novel a 3.5 out of 5.  I do look forward to seeing where Fletcher will take this story.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce is the second book in her Fairytale Retelling series.  This book takes a look at the classic fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel.  As young children Ansel and Gretchen mysteriously lose their sister, Gretchen's twin sister.  Their step-mother basically kicks them out when they turn 18, and the siblings take a trip across the country hoping to find a place where they fit in.  To their dismay, their car breaks down in a small little town, and in order to earn money to fix the car they take odd jobs at a chocolate maker.  One night, Gretchen decides to face her fears of the witch and comes face to face with the thing of her nightmare, only it is not a witch, but a werewolf.  Samuel helps her learn the things she needs to fight these monsters.  All the while she begins to learn that Sophia has been keeping secrets from her and Ansel.  What they discover could change the course of all four of their futures and cause them to face something they never imagined existed.

Sweetly was a good second novel to the series, it played on elements from Sister's Red with things like the wolves picking girls who wear red.  The plot build-up was well done with Gretchen finding different things showing that Sophia was hiding something.  Elements of Hansel and Gretel still remain such as the lore of the chocolate shop and the townspeople being weary of her, as well as the siblings' fear of a witch.  The twist of the witch actually being wolves was well presented and somewhat unpredictable.  I honestly wasn't aware that the two novels would be related, which makes me wonder if the rest of the series will be related as well.  I hope so.

Throughout the book readers don't know what Sophia's secret is and can only speculate.  When it is actually revealed readers are almost caught off guard.  The build-up to this reveal can be a little slow, but at the same time Pearce needed to develop a kinship with the characters and develop their personalities so that it would be a jarring ending.  Through this build-up we see Gretchen growing into her own strength, Ansel being torn between sister and the woman he loves, Sophia being torn apart by her love for the siblings and her secrets.  Pearce does a fantastic job engrossing his readers into a story that will keep them captivated.

I was weary about reading this book, but found it to be a great novel.  I would give it a rating of 4 out of 5 because it does take a while to get to the climax of the story, but when it does the rest of the story flies by.  I am anticipating reading Fathonless next, wonder what Pearce has in store for us now.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Mind Thief by David Nelson

Mind Thief by Darrell B. Nelson is a sci-fi, mystery, historical fiction novel all rolled into one. The story follows Howie Brown, an 18 year old college student participating in a psych study at school. What he doesn’t know is that the study is affecting his memories. Howie struggles to discover the reason behind these new-found memories.

Howie recently started having vivid dreams where he is someone else interacting with various historical figures, but not as himself. While waiting for an appointment with a therapist he meets “the hottest girl he ever met:" Vivian. Over the course of a few weeks, his world is turn upside down and inside out. His life becomes a whirlwind of emotions, a lot of sex, unexplainable dreams, betrayal, and revelations. Howie quickly goes from being a shy freshman to having two gorgeous women vying for his attention, never mind the fact that when he dreams, he becomes Joe Harriman. Howie and Vivian become determined to unearth the truth behind his vision, as well as what it is that Harriman is planning. Together they work to stop the man who is invading Howie’s memories and battle to keep each other sane.

There are elements in this novel that remind me a lot of Land Of The Living by James Pinard.  Both have someone who seem to travel into someone else, but Pinard's novel has the main character traveling to himself.  Both novels have someone who is out to manipulate each character's powers and use them for their own purposes.   What is interesting is how the two novels are very similar, they have their own unique elements and special qualities that make them stand apart.  I found both novel very interesting and compelling to read.  Mind Thief is a novel that challenges the idea of someone else being able to manipulate your memories, how scary is that??

Mind Thief is a mixture of unpredictability and predictability. Readers can predict how the characters are going act and react to a situation. This is because Nelson develops them so well it becomes easy to guess how they would respond to something. Some things seemed to be far-fetched such as Howie being able to use the skills Joe has through memories. It isn’t so far-fetched that Howie can perform martial arts because of those memories, but to be able to fly a Learjet without problems seems too unreal. Other things seemed to be taking the element overboard such as Howie and Vivian having sex on top of Debbie. That takes things too far even in this novel.

While I enjoyed reading this book, it is not one that I would normally gravitate to, it does not fit my typically reading. The use of sex, innuendos, and things of that nature went to the extreme, and I especially have a hard time reading books that over use these things. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys stories dealing with mind control, mystery, history, and don’t mind reading a lot of sex scenes to get to the end goal.  As for a rating I will give Mind Thief a 4 out of 5.  Check it out, it will definitely challenge your ideas on mind control.

**  This review was originally written for Onlinebookclub.org and can be found by following the link.  Enjoy my other review as well as the reviews for many other book written by talented reviewers.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown takes a deep look at vulnerability and shame; how the two emotional experiences are related and how they effect the way we live, love, work, learn, and parent.  Brene Brown takes her extensive research and everything she has learned from it to present to her readers.  She discusses the things in our lives that cause vulnerability and shame as well as how those things can hinder us from achieving our greatest potential.   While she talks about how vulnerability inhibits our success rate, she talks about how we can turn that around and use our vulnerabilities to achieve the success we desire in various aspects of our lives.

I picked this book up on the recommendation from one of my mom's friends.  I normally do not find myself in the self help aisle of book stores or amazon, but for some reason something told me that this was a book I needed to read and I am very happy that I decided to pick this book up.  I found myself underlining and making notes on many of the things Brene Brown mentioned throughout the book, it was almost like she was speaking directly to me.  She backed up all her theories with her research and her own experiences.  I found it interesting that she included her own personal experiences with vulnerability, shame, and failure.   Having those stories help put the theories into perspective in away that is easy to understand and relate to.

Throughout the book, Brene uses a conversational tone and style like she is sitting beside the reader talking to them alone.  I can understand why her seminars and speeches are wildly popular.  When she introduces a complex idea, she gets to her readers level and understanding rather than assuming we would understand what she is talking about simply because we bought her book.  There was a lot of information in this book that makes me want to read it a second time and then pick up her other books.  I would highly recommend this book, though there were some things I couldn't relate to at this point in my life such as parenting, but I can see why that section is helpful.  I would give this book a 4.5 out of 5.  Very good, pick it up today and watch as it changes how you view vulnerability.