Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Teeny Tiny Reviews - Netgalley Edition

It is no surprise to some of you that I am stuck in this place of catching up on Netgalley reviews. For the hardcore reader, is there ever such a thing as too many books? And that is why some of us then need this Netgalley Challenge. Some need it multiple years in a row.

I am making a serious effort to improve on reviewing these novels as soon as possible, but I am definitely backlogged. This post is dedicated to three novels that I read quite some time ago but didn't have the opportunity to post reviews yet. These may be tiny reviews, but hope they have impact, because each of these three books were memorable in their own, unique way.

Robin used to be a party girl… until she got black out drunk and woke up in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend. Now she’s faced with being THAT girl, and couldn’t be more disgusted with herself. She can’t even tell her friends the reason for her sudden sobriety and she avoids everyone until she meets Phoenix—quiet, tattooed, and different in every way that’s good and oh, so bad…

Phoenix is two days out of jail when he meets Robin at his cousin’s house, and he knows that he has no business talking to her, but he’s drawn to her quiet demeanor, sweet smile, and artistic talent. She doesn’t care that he’s done time, or that he only has five bucks to his name, and she supports his goal to be a tattoo artist.

But Phoenix knows Robin has a secret, and that it’s a na├»ve dream to believe that his record won’t catch up with them at some point. Though neither is prepared for the explosive result when the past collides with the present… 

 Purchase Links: Amazon/BookDepository/Kobo

I love this series and Erin McCarthy's writing. And this installment of the True Believers series is no exception. Another 'broken' boy and girl finding each other, finding love and starting the difficult process of healing. Ya I am a sucker for sweet, tender bad boys. And though in real life, someone losing their shit over me would probably set off a lot of red flags and sirens in my brain... in the pages of a book it's romantic folks! I allow myself to regress from this independent, strong woman that I am to someone more prehistoric who is ok with being dragged through a cave by the hair, while my mate beats his hairy chest. It also helps that McCarthy's writing is pretty great, and she builds her characters so well that I can emotionally invest in these fictional characters and their stories. I can't help it... I will continue to be a sucker for her books and very likely will continue reading on.

The stars move still, time runs, the clock will strike,
The Devil will come, and Faustus must be damned.

These enigmatic lines from Christopher Marlowe’s play Doctor Faustus may hold the key to a shocking, centuries-old truth in the thrilling new novel by internationally best-selling author Glenn Cooper.
Elisabetta Celestino, a brilliant young archaeologist at work in Rome’s ancient catacombs, has discovered a unique pattern of astrological symbols on an underground wall. She feels sure that evidence of a previously unknown pre-Christian sect lies in an adjacent chamber where the untombed skeletons bear a strange anomaly, and is devastated when the Vatican refuses to support her excavation project.
Ten years later, a cave-in damages the vault, and a shocking discovery is made. Following a violent and traumatic event, Elisabetta has left has left archaeology behind for the serenity of prayer and teaching, but the young nun unexpectedly finds herself in a race to solve the secret of the catacomb and prevent an apocalyptic event that threatens not only the Vatican but the future of mankind.
Moving between present-day Europe, 1st-century Rome, and Elizabethan England, The Devil Will Come is an exhilarating tale of a battle between good and evil that has been fought in the shadows through the centuries and across continents—and that both sides are willing to kill to keep secret.

 Purchase Links: Amazon/BookDepository/Kobo

If you love Dan Brown, this author ranks up there for me. This novel was cinematic and action packed from beginning to end. Glenn Cooper is very talented at bringing characters and the plot to life in my mind, which made reading this very entertaining for the most part. The one thing about novels in this genre is that usually, the adrenaline filled scenes are so high action, that when it's time for info dumps, I tend to skim. I know that they are necessary to make these adventures and quests more plausible and believable, but I just want to get to the next action scene, close call, etc!  But I did enjoy this story, and its main characters. Cooper certainly has grabbed my attention and his books are finding their place in my to read list.

The One Man She Can't Have
Matt Dean was born to fight . . . and kill. A member of a secret black-ops military unit, he and his brothers were genetically engineered by the government to be the perfect soldiers with an expiration date. Now, with time running out, he's gone rogue in a relentless quest for the one person who can save them. His mission leads him to Charmed, Idaho . . . and to a beautiful woman with eyes like emeralds and a body made for pleasure.

The One Woman He Can't Resist

Laney Jacobs knows the mysterious, handsome stranger is trouble from the moment he walks into her bar, looking for a job. She's spent years running from her own past-the last thing she needs is a romantic entanglement. But Matt's strong arms offer her protection and his gentle touch promises passion unlike anything she's ever known. As lethal forces surround them, revealing explosive secrets about Matt's past and putting everything-and everyone-he holds dear in danger, can he save them all before time runs out?

 Purchase Links: Amazon/BookDepository/Kobo 
Genetically modified sexy soldiers.
Ya, you read that right.
Sounds panty wetting amazing... except that unfortunately for these swoon-worthy specimens their lives have a serious expiry date. Tick tock! It's a race for survival, and love definitely gives you a reason to want to live!
Man, I think I ate this up pretty quick. High on the sexy meter. Supreme Alpha male hero, and the heroine is no wilting flower, which I like. A plot that is hard to resist - our hero on a quest to save his and his brothers' lives, finding love in the process. Gimme Gimme. Another bonus: not as predictable as I thought it would be which gets a big thumbs up for me.
Will definitely make time to continue the series. Highly recommend if you are looking for some great action with a swoon worthy romance.
Happy reading!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Review - Incanta Soul-Catcher, by Avie Adams

Darkness rules her life. A pitiless man wants her body. A Daemon craves her heart.

Cytriah is a talented soul-catcher – her songs can enslave souls in dead bodies.
It’s not a gift, or a curse. It’s what’s expected of girls born on Daemon-controlled Malvaar Island, where failure is punishable with the worst any woman can fear. Whilst Cytriah strives to join the elite of soul-catchers, a chilling secret from her past rips her life apart. Trapped between dangerous men and thrust into a struggle to survive, she’s left with one choice: to pact with a Daemon.

It is forbidden.

And it may bring her something far worse than death…

I have to admit that when I first started this novel, I became skeptical that I would get into it. The scenery is strange, the terminology alien, and what was happening in the first scene odd. I struggled a little with the imagery, but because there was immediate conflict, I was intrigued to continue on into this alien landscape and odd cast of characters. 

It did not take long to become completely invested in Cytriah's story. 

Malvaar island is a harsh place, and it was clear that most of the people living in this place had fairly harsh, dog-eat-dog lives.  'Friends' betray each other without a blink of an eye if it is to their advantage, lives destroyed if there is disobedience, questioning or if you so much as breathe a thought that things are not as they seem. Extreme risks are taken to save their skin from abusive, horrible fates, exactly the kind of scary place Cytriah finds herself very early on in the story.

Surprisingly, my most favorite part of this novel was Cytriah and Amond's relationship. In starting this story, never did I think that I would actually come to really like Amond, nevermind the turn their relationship took. The build up in sexual tension between the two was flawless, and perfectly executed. I found myself holding my breath a few times during scenes between these two, the tension and emotion was so tangible, the consequences of discovery so harsh.

I was itching for a great fantasy novel this year, and I got it with Incanta. This dark novel quickly became one of my favorite novels of the year, and I can honestly say that I am still surprised by that! I am very much looking forward to continuing this series. 

As of the date of this review, this novel is FREE on Amazon. If you are looking for something original, dark and intriguing, do give this series a try. 

Happy Reading!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Review - The Rules, by Stacey Kade

1. Never trust anyone.
2. Remember they are always searching.
3. Don’t get involved.
4. Keep your head down.
5. Don’t fall in love.

Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”

But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules…


I liked it.
I mean... I liked it...
But as I sit here and try to write a review on this novel... I am a little blank... Because I am struggling to remember details about this novel. 
Probably why this one only got 3 stars from me. Which is not a bad rating.. but also doesn't indicate that this one was a home run either.
It was enjoyable. I looked forward to picking it up to read the next few chapters. But it is already getting lost in the memory banks of my memory reserved for the stories I have read over the few decades that I have been alive and reading. I am getting details confused with other books that I have read.  It is taking me a while to recall scenes and characters from this book.
So as cool as this story sounds, and as cool as it was while reading it... well... it's also a little forgettable.  I can't explain it. I even feel a little sorry about the fact that I can't quite put my finger on it either... Except to say that I do recall that I wished there was more depth to Ariane's (the alien/human hybrid) story and the program that created her. Or even something more original to her powers than some "Carrie" like outbursts. Instead it just felt like your usual YA forbidden girl/boy romance, with a twist that the girl in this case, wasn't completely human. It was a little predictable, and too focused on high school drama than I wished - I thought it had potential to go a different route completely. Overall, I think the plot lacked the level of depth I had envisioned this would have.

Despite all of this, it was a fast summer read, and it had a good pace. There was enough to invest in the characters and plot to keep me interested enough to keep reading, and even looking forward to picking up the book. But I should probably add it to my list now or I will likely forget.

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Let's Chat - Why are my 5 Star Reviews Rare?

5 Star Reviews.

For some reviewers, they may seem to come easy.

For me... not so much.

Before exploring as to why I am a University Professor when grading 5 stars - meaning.... I generally don't - let me lay out for you my definition of a 5 star review as per Lily.


My mind is, basically, imploding while and after I read your book.

Your story is so mindblowing, that I have a hard time going to sleep because I want to keep reading it.

 I am having an ugly cry when it ends because I wish it hadn't ended. 

I can't stop thinking about it for days, weeks... sometimes months and even YEARS. My friends threaten to block me if I don't stop raving about your book and practically want to force your book upon them.  I may even buy it and gift it to them whether they want it or not!

Now some people may say that maybe I need to choose my books better. Don't I know what I like?? Well, I really enjoy a wide diverse range of books... picking one up that I think I will like is never a challenge. Trust me when I say, I have too many books on my list to purposely choose any that I know I would NOT enjoy.  I am just not that kind of reader or reviewer.  But not that many have totally wowed me.

Another challenge is that in this age of explosive self publishing (which I think is also great, don't get me wrong. I have come across some amazing novels from self published authors), poor editing will automatically annoy me. Unfortunately, there are many self publishing authors that don't put their books through a good editor and maybe that is a cost thing, but it will make your ratings suffer. I have dropped a few books over poor editing unfortunately.

Here are some of my 5 star reviews - new and oldies, but trust me, these blew me away:

Angelfall, by Susan Ee

Prime example of a novel that flew under the radar for a while and just blew up on Goodreads. It was so amazing, I gifted a copy to one lucky winner.

The Walled City, by Ryan Graudin

A Netgalley novel that I took too long to read. Man, what a trip this one was. I was in a drought of amazing reading material too, and getting frustrated that I was not scoring any truly amazing novels when I picked this one up. I think I missed a couple of meals while getting through this novel.

Mine to Take, by Cynthia Eden

Hey, I am guilty of picking up some steamy novels once in a while. Another Netgalley jewel that was waiting for me patiently. This short novel was eaten up in one sitting. No fillers necessary, this was the perfect length because the author was amazing at building character and plot.

I have a few months left in the year and am hopeful I will discover another novel worthy of that elusive 5 star rating. 

Do you find it easy to find those 5 star reads? What are some of your 5 star worthy novels? What about them made them 5 stars for you? Let us know in the comments. Always looking for recommendations!

Happy Reading!

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