Monday, June 27, 2016

Dragonbane by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Maxis was content living in Sanctuary, helping the hunters when needed.   But when his mate arrives with startling news his world turns into chaos. Demons are trying to destroy the world and one element they need is the Dragonbane which happens to be Max.  Max and Sera need to learn to trust one another in order to save their children and the world. 

I have always been a huge fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon and loved every book of hers that I have read.  Unfortunately, I was a little more than disappointed with this one.  There was so much potential with the dragon, and Max being a cause to the We're - Hunter war.  I expected something more than a focus on Max and Sera learning to trust again.  Granted that was important to the story, but it seemed like the depth of the storyline took a backseat.   There were elements from the previous books that seemed to be missing in this one such as the high influence of a pantheon.  I was hoping to see more from either the Morrgan that we seen in Son of No Man or Avalon which was slightly touched on.  It seemed there was a bunch of things being touched on but nothing was followed through with.

I missed seeing the Dark Hunters and Were Hunters teaming up, granted it was stated that they were getting ready to team up and some went to Olympus to help fight, but then Maxis and Sera left the group.  I know a dragon tends to be a solitary creature, especially Max, but that took away from the overall feeling of the series.  I have to say I was saddened by this book and am starting to wonder if Sherrilynn might be losing her touch?  

I hate to say this, but I give this novel....a 3 out of 5.  While the story was good and interesting, there seemed to be lacking a certain Kenyon quality and seemed to start on a bunch of different ideas, but never went with them.  I went into this book with high expectations, and was let down.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Wild Thing by Kim Cormack

Lexy spent most of her life enduring the worst of the worst.  She learned to turn her emotions off and lived her life void of any feelings.  When she is found my Grey, she begins to learn how to feel and turn them off when she needs to become the Dragon.  For this reason, she is a ruthless killing machines all 3 clans want, but clan Ankh rescue her first.  Now she needs to enter the testing with Grey and Arrinna.  If they don't learn how to bring Lexy back from her Dragon, they may fail...The trio needs to become as one in order to survive.

After reading Cormack ' s previous three books in the Children of Ankh series,  I wanted a story on Lexy.  I  admit the beginning parts were difficult for me to read because I have a hard time with children being harmed, but that makes Lexy into the amazing character she is.  Cormack does an amazing job at painting a vivid picture of what happens without going into specific detail.   She can take a horrible act and create an atmosphere with it, without describing the act itself, we know it happened. 

As Lexy plays with kittens, talks about the farmhouse,  and gets closer to Grey and Arrinna, we see her evolving into a new character.  She becomes stronger, more human.  She makes connections and finds her "home."  Grey and Arrinna grow as characters throughout the story as well, Grey appears to become more compassionate and Arrinna becomes more confident in herself.  SO much happens in this book before, during and after the Testing.  We even see Lexy's side of Kayn story which I absolutely loved seeing.  I wondered what Lexy and some of the other member of Ankh thought during Kayn's trial.  Very nice touch!

I am excited for the next book, I am literally bouncing in my seat at the thought of a new book from Kim.  I give Wild Thing a 5 out of 5 even though I had a hard time with the subject matter in the beginning of the book.  Well done Kim! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Night Alive by Heather Graham

Abigail has just finished her training at the FBI academy, and is awaiting her new assignment when she gets an odd message from her grandfather stating he needs her.  Upon her arrival she makes her way into the tunnels under her grandfather's tavern where she finds the body of her grandfather.  With a string of murders in the area, Abby believes someone killed him and asked for help from the FBI.  They sent her a consultant to help investigate the crimes, and then the Krewe Unit.  There is something that makes this unit special, they all have paranormal attributes, Abby herself can see the dead.  She believes it is just her ancestor the pirate Blue Anderson, but there are more.  The investigation begins to hit close to home when they discover all the victims have one thing in common....the tavern.  With tunnels traveling throughout Savannah the killer can slip in and out without being noticed.  Someone is pretending to be a pirate and murdering innocent women, but not any pirate, Blue.  Will the team be able to find the killer before it is too late?

To say I couldn't put this novel down would be an understatement, I honestly had it with me everywhere I went trying to read it any chance I got.  There is something for everyone, mystery, suspense, romance, humor, even a little history.  I think one of my favorite characters is the ghost pirate himself, Blue.  He doesn't say much and he doesn't even appear much in the story, but even as a reader you just know he is there watching.  He is a presence that lingers throughout the novel.  I love it!  Abby is a smart strong woman that learns to trust her instinct and fight for what she believes it.  I found it hard to believe that she didn't piece together one of the most telling clues to the killer (nope won't tell you).  It was almost obvious to me as the reader, it should have been so to her.

Even though there were elements of predictability, it was a great story.  Graham weaves her tale beautifully and paced perfectly.  She tells it in a way that lures readers into the story the way the killer lured his victims into dark places.  I loved the use of tunnels under the city and pirate lore.  There were things I didn't like, people they used as suspects but others they didn't and I had to wonder why.  There is one big telling clue to the killer and no one figures it out until it is too late, as stated I couldn't understand why they couldn't figure it out.

Night Alive is the first book by Heather Graham that I have read, and I must say she gained a fan in me.  Something I did not realize was that it is a part of a series, but you don't need to read the other books to understand what is happening.  The Krewe Hunters are explained in this book, and made me want to read the other books in the series as well as other books by Graham.  I may end up needing a shelf dedicated to her the way I do for Ted Dekker and Sherrilyn Kenyon.  I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5 because there was too much predictability within the story.  I look forward to reading more of Graham's novels.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

As a young girl, Nell was abandoned on a ship destined for Australia and was taken to the dock master once the ship docked. whom takes her in and raises her as his own.  Nell arrived with nothing but a suitcase and a book of fairy tales.  When she turned 21 the dock master and his wife revealed the truth to Nell.  She then travels to England to find out the truth about her past, and who she really is.  Nell's journey leads her to Blackhurst Manor.  After she passes away Nell's granddaughter Cassandra picks up the quest and begins to unlock the secrets of the forgotten garden and the book of fairy tales.

I instantly fell in love with this novel.  This is one of the reasons why I do not limit myself to a genre, if I had I would have miss out on a gem of a book.  I read this as a part of a book club, and as I said, I fell in love with Kate Morton.  Her writing is beautifully elegant.  The story she weaves has mystery, romance, and intrigue, everything I love in a good book.  It was difficult to put it down, and I lent it to my best friend to read.  It is a lengthy read, but you wouldn't know it is a couple hundred pages long until you have finished the book. 

Her characters a finely drawn and reveal elements of sophistication and grace.  The male characters ad whimsy and don't overshadow the female characters as you might find in many novels.  Readers watch as the story intermingles love, life, anger, and betrayal into the women's lives.  The book does which perspective between the years, but the focus is on the years 1913, 1975, 2005.  That can get difficult, but after a while you get used to it.  I think that the changes in perspective gives the story and in depth quality.  It adds to the understanding of how characters get to the points in their lives that they are.  We learn of where Nell has been and how she grew up to be the woman Cassandra loves and bonds with and why the quest becomes so important.

Forgotten Garden is a wonderful book and got me to purchase another on of Kate Morton's books Secret Keeper which is sitting on my to read list.  I would give this novel a 3.5 out of 5 because the changes in perspective does make it a little difficult to get wrapped up into the story.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Books are friends

Sometimes after reading a series I begin to feel like I have developed a friendship with the characters, like the Harry Potter Series or the Dark Hunter Series.  When I end the series it feels like I am leaving life long friends behind...does anyone else feel like this?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Glass Full of Rumors by A.M Marcus

A Glass Full of Rumors by A.M Marcus is a charming children's tale of a young boy with a friend who teaches him the meaning of friendship, how to handle bullies and why spreading rumors is not a good thing to do.  This is a cute little tale of children learning to be respectful of others and learning how to handle those who want to spread rumors and gossip.

I bought this book to use as a tool with the children that I work with, and it has been helpful in numerous different ways.  Those who deal with bullies at school learn how to ignore them and appreciate the friendships they have.  Others learn why it is harmful to spread rumors and things you hear from other people.  The illustrations in this book show the expressions and feelings that kids feel when bullied and spreading rumors.  This helps children visualize how it feels when someone bullies them or spreads mean rumors about them. 

Marcus uses Socrates to help explain how to decide if you should repeat something you heard.  While children in the 5-12 age range may not have heard of the philosopher, they can still relate to and visualize the questions being asked.  It opens the door for them to ask questions and learn more about philosophy.  I think this would be a great addition to child-care professionals and parents alike.  It can be used in many different ways for numerous years.  I give this book a 4.5 out of 5 rating.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova

I was able to receive this book through Reader's Legacy which is an awesome book reader community and place to buy books.  I discovered it accidently one day and love it.  So Vicious Deep is a story about Tristan, a high school student who serves as a life guard for the beach at Coney Island.  When a freak storm sweeps Tristan away, he is discovered alive 3 days later, a completely different person.  He begins have weird nightmares and noticing his senses have gotten stronger.  Then suddenly he grows a new appendage...a tail.  In  a short time he learns his mom was a mermaid princess and the Sea King wants Tristan as his next heir.  But Tristan needs to compete with other members of the royal court in order to find the scattered pieces of the king's Trident.  But the other champions are not the only people hunting Tristan and his friends.  Will Tristan be able to accept his fate as a merman and find the pieces he needs to become king?

I am happy to see a YA fantasy novel focusing on a male lead, lately most of my leads have been strong females.  Not only do we have a male lead in this tale, but also a merman rather than a mermaid.  It begins with Tristan coming off as a douchebag, male slut type of character kissing random girls at parties and breaking hearts.  But as the story progresses he becomes a strong character with his interests and concerns shifting to accepting his new heritage and what decisions he needs to make.  Will he accept being the new king or will he sacrifice his tale to be with the girl he loves?  Only we don't find out the answer, we have to read the next book(s) in the series to find out, and I for one cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in this series.

 Cordova does an excellent job at presenting readers with a tale that is both entralling and unique.  While the idea of mermaids is not new, most stories focus on women, not mermen.  This story adds a new twist to a treasured legend and makes it possible to believe in these creatures again.  I love the addition of mythology with Poseidon, and how the race has dwindled throughout the ages.  I also enjoyed the element that the merfolk have magical powers unique to each one rather than focusing on the lore of mermaid leading humans to their deaths.    I was completely captivated with this story and read it within the night, I refused to go to bed until I finished the story, and  I may have grumbled when I got to the end because I didn't want it to end.

Congratulations to Cordova for a wonderful story and meeting a need in the fantasy/folklore genre.  I anticipate reading more novels in the series as well as any other written.  I would give this a 4 out of 5 simply because there were moments that seemed like they did not fit in with the story, but there are so many other elements that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Friday, June 10, 2016

She Heard

I have gone through a variety of Bible Studies that focus on the women of the Bible.  There are many that strive to help women become the strong woman God intends us to become.  Throughout the Bible there are many women who represent this strength and what it means to be a Godly woman, She Heard is a Bible Study that takes a look at these women and helps relate their lives in Biblical times to our lives in present day.  She Heard discusses how these women heard and allowed God's will for their lives to be present and became what God had intended.  I cannot begin to say how much I love this devotional.

It is perfect for a group or individual study, and presents questions and situations that really make readers think about their lives and whether or not they are allowing themselves to hear God's voice in their lives.  It makes women dig deeper into their lives and see who God wants them to be.  I loved the stories of the various Biblical women such as Abigail and Ester, and how God used them for His glory (I don't have it at my side as I haven't unpacked it yet to give specifics).

It is very evident that the women who wrote the book are strong women and understood the material they were writing about.  I would highly recommend this study for individuals as well as a group study.  I give this a 5 out of 5 rating, and plan on going through the study again next year to see how my answers to some of the questions have changed.  I hope to see more from Deliberate Women.

Monday, June 6, 2016

RedDress Two Wives by RA Winter

RedDress Two Wives By RA Winter is the third book in her Kiowa in love series.  One of the great things about the series is you don't need to read the books in order, but I would recommend doing so because things are referenced in each books that relate to the previous ones.

RedDress follows Sarah who is RedHorse's sister (we meet Redhorse and other characters in previous novels), she travels with Painted Girl to New York to help work on a project.  While there she begins a sorid affair with John, a man she had been flirting with for months over the phone.  She quickly discovers this is not just a fling, but she has some strong feelings towards him, maybe even love.  Once the girls return home, all kinds of mischief breaks out and humorous situations ensue.  Everyone has a plan for each other and most of those plans collide.  Grandfather learns a quick lesson about trying to manipulate his grandchildren, and the girls learn a lesson in life and love.

RA Winter does it again with this book, she really knocks it out of the park.  I had fallen in love with her writing with Little Sparrow, and I continue to love her books.  One of my favorite things is while this is a romance novel, the focus is on the relationship building rather than the sexual aspect.  She shows how each couple builds their relationship and fall in love with one another.  All the while there is humor and comedic situations, the moments with Dingle are amazingly funny.  One gets the feeling that he may be a spirit animal of sorts. 

I enjoyed how she relates this novel with the other novels showing the unity of the tribe and growing the interest in other characters.  I want a book about Grandfather, Redhorse and a few other characters.  The only thing that I missed in this book were the Kiowa traditional elements.  It felt like those elements set the series apart from other novels, it was something unique to RA's writing.  Granted I still love her writing and her books, I crave more.  RA Winter has a writing style all her own and draws her readers into her story.  Her characters are easy to relate to and feel for, everyone can relate to loving someone and overcoming hardships to achieve your relationship dreams.  RedDress Two Wives has so many things that will entertain readers and keep them wanting more.

RA has become an author that I admire and respect.  I look forward to reading each of her books and hope she continues to write more.  I give this novel a 4 out of 5 because I really missed the Kiowa elements that make the series special.

For more of my review please read my review on Online Book Club.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Sunborn Rising by Aaron Safronoff

Sunborn Rising by Aaron Safronoff is an epic tale for young teens.  It follows young Barra as she discovers her father's secret journals which then spurs her own curiosity of the forbidden Middles, and what lies beneath.  After finding a small creature with tar like substance on her wings, the young bups devise a plan to investigate the Middles and see what the Creepervine is doing to their beloved Umberwood.  But the children fall deeper into the Middles and find themselves in an area they have never been, it takes them beneath the Fall.  Will they not only be able to find their way home and save their home from this dangerous creature?

This a great story, very well written.  I love the courage and bravery of Barra.  She is adventurous and shows you can chase your dreams and discover new things, but also shows that sometimes when you leap before thinking, something bad could happen.  She has the loyalty and love of true friends which she returns.  Tory and Plicks are just as amazing characters as Barra.  I like how they each have different personalities and Safronoff shows that each personality has their strength and can accomplish the greatest of feats. Throughout the book there are illustrations depicting different scenes, these help the reader see what the author is visioning.  I love it when I came to one of the illustrations, I think some of my favorites where when the bups were speaking with Lootrinea.  She looked to be a beautiful creature and I could almost feel the same awe that the bups felt towards her.  Even as an adult I felt the suspense and anticipation at what will happen next to the children and whether or not they will make it home.

Safronoff paints a vivid picture and presents his readers with beautiful and unique characters.  This book became an instant favorite for me.  It is something that strays away from the classic fantasy tale.  It is filled with numerous elements that would entice a young reader to delve deeper into the story and eat up the story.  I can see this book encouraging children to read once again. Safronoff draws the readers in with his descriptions and the curiousness of Barra, and holds them captive through the action scenes such as Barra being chased by the Kudmoths or Jerrun attacking Barra.   Safronoff keeps the suspense going throughout the novel and keeps the readers guessing.  I tried to figure out what will happen next and was at every turn.

I am excited to see what Aaron Safronoff has in store of his readers in book two.  It is one of the stories that will bore itself into the memory of readers no matter how old.  I highly recommend this book for readers from ages 12 and up, or even as a story parents can read to their children.  I give this book a 4 out of 5 rating.  Great job Aaron.

** I received a copy of the book from the publisher for an honest review.  **

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Winter By Marissa Meyer

Winter is the fourth book in the Lunar Chronicles, and probably my least favorite.  I was excited to read this and find out what happens and how the story will end.  Cinder sneaks on to Luna, Cress gets seperated from the group Winter escapes death with the help of Scarlet who finds her way back to Wolf. Everything escalates and ends the way we pretty much expect them too. I am not saying the entire book is predictable nor is the process to getting to the end, but every reader has to expect the Cinder becomes to Queen she is meant to become.

The book is slow to start off and begins to pick up pace as you get farther into the story.  I had a hard time with the slowness of the plot-line and how easy it was to predict some things that were happening in the story. The overall story was great and interesting, I enjoyed the adaptation of Snow White mixed with Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Red Riding Hood.  I haven't seen to many books that weave different fairy tales into one story (Jackson Pearce is one who is doing a great job at it as well).  This is a story that makes all the characters strong on their own without the need for a prince to come save them, but still desire love because really who doesn't desire love?  Meyer's descriptions are great and made me want to visit Luna! I wish I could live there it sounded so gorgeous.

I am not sure entirely why I struggled more with this one than I did the other books, maybe I wasn't in the right mindset to read (I am in the midst of moving and starting a new job, lots going on).  There is a lot that is happening in this novel, I think it is longer than the other three, so there is a lot for the reader to take in as they are reading.  Many of the characters get split up so the story jumps from Cinder, to Cress, to Scarlet and Winter that sometimes it is hard to keep up until they find each other once again.  I could easily see this series made into a movie series, and maybe expand on the story a little, maybe a book after on how things are after Cinder takes back her crown.

Despite me having a hard time with this edition to the series, I enjoyed it and would recommend not just this book but the entire series to those who are looking for an interesting book to read.  I would give this novel a 3.5 out of 5 rating.  I will come back to the book after some time when things have calmed down and re-read it, maybe my feelings towards it will change.