My Book Rating System

My book rating system is based on 5 stars. The book must be rated at least 3 stars for a review.

3 Stars: Good story, good plot, good writing.

4 Stars: I was wowed, but something about the story fell short of perfection.

5 Stars: I was either drooling, on the edge of my seat, or falling in love.

If you would like me to review your book, please contact me at 00ibitz@charter.net.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Book Review: Dead Radiance, by T.G. Ayer

Dead Radiance
T.G. Ayer


Initial Thoughts: Got me going!!!

My Rating: 4 Stars!
Summary:
Bryn Halbrook had always seen the glow. But it is only when her best friend dies that she discovers the meaning of those beautiful golden auras — Death. Alone, lost in the foster system, she struggles to understand who she is and why she was cursed with the ability to see the soon-to-be-dead.

The new foster kid, Aidan, isn’t helping any. Mr. Perfect seems to fit in no matter what, making her feel even more pathetic. But when his affections turn to her, Bryn finds him hard to resist. Impossible actually. A mystery himself, Aidan disappears, leaving behind a broken heart and a mysterious book that suggests Bryn might not be entirely human.

Bryn stands at the threshold of a journey of discovery. Will destiny help her find herself, find her purpose and her place in a world in which she’d never belonged?

My Thoughts:
Okay, so I admit, when I first started the book, I didn't think I was going to like it. I was a bit confused with some of the present/past bouncing, and sometimes I didn't know if we were in the present or the past or a flashback or what, and all I could think was, "Oh boy, is the whole book gonna be like this?"

Well, it wasn't. And it was well worth getting through that rocky start.

So you have Bryn, a likeable foster kid robotically moseying through her days, watching her best friend, Josh, glow and then die, and then dealing with the brunt of the other girls who blame her for (a) being Josh's friend and (b) being alive. 

Those bitches! 

Anyhoo, along comes Aiden, sexily dark and mysterious with an obvious Einstein-sized brain and a seeming attraction to Bryn. Gotta love these 2 characters.

Gotta love the plot, too. So Bryn's life becomes inter-woven with Norse mythology. Valkryies. Asgard. Valhalla. King Odin. His wife, Frigga. Freya. And not let's forget that little devil, Loki. I'm not all familiar with Norse mythology, so this as all very interesting to me, and fresh. If there are boo boo's in the interweaving and retelling, I wouldn't know. And I certainly don't care. I was so caught up in the plot and the betrayals and the sniping and the mischievous antics that it was all good fun.

The end is cliff-hanger worthy. Definitely makes you want to pick up the next book and continue the story, which I shall do!

 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Release Day! The Billionaire and the Barfly, by Adrianne James


Purchase on Amazon     Purchase on B&N

Henry Maximus is a super-hero-loving geek and proud of it. He’s also a genius when it comes to business. It’s how he earned the title of CEO of Maximus Gaming … not to mention the billions of dollars in his bank account. Henry’s tried living the life of a bachelor, but a different girl every night has left him wanting more. Needing more.

Aubrey Vincent is in love with her job. She’ll love it even more if she lands the promotion that gets her out of her parent’s attic. She loves it so much that she has no time for relationships, not that she was ever very good at them to begin with. Aubrey is perfectly happy with the random, nameless men she picks up at the bar. After a brief encounter with Aubrey on a business trip, Henry packs his bags and moves back to the small town where he grew up. Aubrey’s town. Aubrey attempts to find her way into Henry’s bed, while he tries everything to get into her heart. Will Henry’s plan to break down the walls Aubrey has built around her heart work or will his unbelievable million dollar offer scare her away?



About Adrianne James
Growing up, Adrianne couldn’t get her hands on enough books to satisfy her need for the make believe. If she finished a novel and didn’t have a new one ready and waiting for her, she began to create her own tales of magic and wonder. Now, as an adult, books still make up majority of her free time, and now her tales get written down to be shared with the world. During the day, Adrianne uses her camera to capture life’s stories for clients of all ages and at night, after her two children are tucked in bed; she devotes herself to her written work. Adrianne is living the life she always wanted, surrounded by art and beauty, the written word and a loving family. As a young adult and new adult author, Adrianne James has plans to bring stories of growing characters, a little romance, and perhaps a little magic and mythology down the line for her readers to enjoy.
              Website   Facebook   Twitter   Goodreads  

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Book Review: Casting Shadows Everywhere, by L.T. Vargus

Casting Shadows Everywhere
L.T. Vargus

Initial Thoughts: Wow.

My Rating: A well-deserved 5 Stars
Summary:
In his own words, 15 year old Jake is a “huge pussy.” He flinches. Always. He's too timid to make a move on Beth, the buxom girl of his dreams, and too busy getting face-slammed into lockers by bullies to do much else. He seeks the guidance of the biggest badass he knows, his cousin Nick.

Nick is a professional burglar and makes Jake his apprentice. They stalk suburban neighborhoods night after night, ransacking houses for jewelry and sweet valuables. Nick teaches Jake the finer points of breaking and entering along with his dark philosophy - that there is no right or wrong in the world, just a series of events that happen without meaning.

At first, adopting Nick's callous worldview helps Jake get over his fears and confront his tormentors, but he also unleashes an aggression in himself he never thought possible. And as he learns more about his cousin, he realizes that Nick's crimes go way beyond burglary.

In the end, Jake must face not only the monster in his cousin but also the one in his own heart.

My Thoughts:
Holy cow, this book was not what I was expecting. So first,don't judge this book by its cover. This book was awesome!

The voice in this book was so strong, so realistic, and so like a 15 year-old boy, that I assumed the author was male. She's not. It was amazing, and I was completely caught up in Jake's story. It's written like a journal, so you have a lot of Jake's internalization about his life and what he's feeling and thinking, but it's also written as though he's currently experiencing these events. You can't help but like and feel for Jake, and when he starts going down that dark path, you're screaming in your head, "What are you doing, Jake? Don't do it, Jake!" 

I swear the kid has ADD. It's totally funny how his thoughts get distracted when he's writing in his journal. 

Nick is a contradiction. You think he has Jake's best interest at heart, but towards the end you realize that Nick is not what he seems. He's a low-brow charmer, and it's easy to see how he can manipulate Jake into believing his dark philosophy. Even as a reader reading how Nick views the world, it's so close to the truth that you think he's onto something profound, until he tips over the edge into unrealistic assumptions and thoughts.

The twist toward the end had my eyes bugging and my mouth dropping open. I almost couldn't believe what I was reading and totally wasn't expecting the book to end the way it did. I loved the way the story veered sharply off the road and took me somewhere I wasn't planning on going.

There's a bit of violence, so if that's not your thing, you might not like it quite as much as I did. But if you can handle it, this is a must-read for young adult contemporary suspense. I've already recommended it to both my kids, and that's saying something.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Book Review: Old Bony Blue Eyes, by Lita Burke

Old Bony Blue Eyes
Lita Burke

 Initial Thoughts: Solid!

My Rating: 4 Stars!
Summary:
Wizard Kadmeion’s magician-for-hire business has improved, plus the harpies and certain fey-folk flourish under his magical care. All is well until a dragon named Lady Betrayal summons him.

Kadmeion owes the dragon a favor. He agrees to fetch the book Dragon Lore and cast its spells for Betrayal. Career-enhancing magic fills the book. If Kadmeion acquires it, then his reputation will bring wealthier customers.

Dragon Lore has a deadly guardian. To help their quest, Kadmeion, Bright, and Furgo first enlist the help of Luck, who they discover is no lady. Then they must convince the bickering egos of War to give them a weapon. The last task is visiting Death’s library, where a wizard may check out the Dragon Lore and keep it until the end of his days.

The problem with visiting Death’s island is coming back alive.

A wizard may roll dice with Sir Death for a safe return passage or fight his way out. Even with Luck and War helping, Kadmeion might not succeed. Despite their cleverness, Death’s blue eyes might be the last thing the wizard and his friends ever see.

My Thoughts:
This was an extremely well-written work of fantasy clockpunk. This is actually the first time I've dipped my toe in this genre, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I liked it! It helped that this was so well-written and very polished.

So we have Kadmeion, who is a wizard. Bright is half elf, and Furgo is a shifter. The characters are all well-drawn. While Kadmeion was a little dry and humor-less, this is a trait that is fairly common among wizards, and a trait that Kadmeion acknowledges and desires to remedy. Bright, though a little less dry, was not as colorful as I'd like to have seen to offset Kadmeion's conservative nature. Furgo was a more animated character.

And the fey? Great! I would have liked to have seen more of them, because they were a lively little bunch of characters that added sparkle to the story. And I could totally picture the dragon, Lady Betrayal. Very colorful descriptions there, and throughout the whole story. Everything was easily pictured in my head as I read.

The plot moved forward, and the world-building creative and vivid. The visiting with the various sorcerers and wizards was intriguing, and I liked watching the interactions between Kadmeion and Bright with these other characters. You really never knew which direction these visits would take. My favorite part of the book was the visit to Sir Death.

I didn't understand how some of the clockwork and demons and the automation work. I'm not sure if this is something you inherently should know regarding this genre, but I wish it had been explained a bit so I could understand.

If you haven't tried fantasy clockpunk, this would be a good book to start with!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Review: The Billionaire and the Barfly, by Adrianne James

The Billionaire and the Barfly
Adrianne James

Initial Thoughts: Took me more than a minute to get engaged. Oh, and love the woman's dress on the cover!

My Rating: I'm going with 4- stars
Summary:
Henry Maximus is a super-hero-loving geek and proud of it. He’s also a genius when it comes to business. It’s how he earned the title of CEO of Maximus Gaming … not to mention the billions of dollars in his bank account. Henry’s tried living the life of a bachelor, but a different girl every night has left him wanting more. Needing more.

Aubrey Vincent is in love with her job. She’ll love it even more if she lands the promotion that gets her out of her parent’s attic. She loves it so much that she has no time for relationships, not that she was ever very good at them to begin with. Aubrey is perfectly happy with the random, nameless men she picks up at the bar.

After a brief encounter with Aubrey on a business trip, Henry packs his bags and moves back to the small town where he grew up. Aubrey’s town. Aubrey attempts to find her way into Henry’s bed, while he tries everything to get into her heart. Will Henry’s plan to break down the walls Aubrey has built around her heart work or will his unbelievable million dollar offer scare her away?
My Thoughts:
So, initially, I wasn't into it. Aubrey, and I believe she even said this about herself, is not an easy person to like. She's shallow, not looking for love, likes the one-night stands with no strings and no attachments, and admits freely to being this way. I get that she's portrayed this way in the beginning because the story follows Aubrey on her growth in character. However, as I got to know the characters, I was more invested in the story and their lives.

Henry. Hmm, what do I say about Henry. I'm not sure I buy the whole geek-turns-god kind of thing. Seriously, if he was that hot in high school, I think the whole geek thing would have been over-looked. Maybe not by all, because we know high school can be cliquish and cruel, so maybe it's not that far of a stretch. Was it the money that made him hot? The confidence that success and money brings? I don't know. I loved Henry's passion and loyalty. I loved the cool billionaire style. I just couldn't picture him as hot. :)

I thought Ben, Aubrey's younger brother, was an awesome character. I loved him. Hated the girlfriend. And if Aubrey's dad was my dad? I would have moved out when I was 16. I found him suffocatingly rigid. And Jenna. Oh, I wanted to jump on her back and pull her hair! What a bee-ach.

So, I think what would have made me like Aubrey better, is to know her better. She sees herself as a failure. Sure, I get that she's still living in her parents' attic, couldn't finish college (why, I ask...it's not explained), couldn't keep a relationship...and again I found myself asking why. I would have liked to have gotten to know Aubrey better, what drove her and motivated her through a little bit of back-story. Maybe it was there, and I've forgotten, but if the examples were there, they passed too quickly for notice.

To me, the ending wasn't totally satisfying because I thought some things should have been wrapped up. A good romance will have the naughty people get their dues, and the nice people get their rewards. Not enough dues were paid, in my opinion. Does that make me a vengeful reader? Of course! It's satisfying to see bad people fail. I admit it.

As for plot, it moved forward and steady, with a nice progression of Aubrey and Henry's relationship. I felt that Aubrey's road in this story was believable, and her growth didn't come too soon or take too long, which is how it should be.

All in all, a nice little romance. But one final word, is that the writing needs some editing.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Seeking the Storyteller, by Jessica Walsh and Briana Lawrence

Seeking the Storyteller
By Jessica Walsh and Briana Lawrence
Initial Thoughts: Neat world-building
My Rating: 3 1/2 stars

Summary:
I know of the Storyteller, it whispers into the man’s ear, I’ve met him. If you promise not to kill me, I’ll take you to him.

Alix Andre DeBenit and Randall Fagan are Hunters, part of a hidden network of humans who track and kill the monsters lurking in our world so everyone else can pretend they don’t exist. But when a living shadow mentions someone called the Storyteller, Alix hesitantly decides to learn more.


They say the Storyteller lives in a massive library full of books that tell every being’s life story. He can read
these books, rewrite them and change anything he wants, even if
it’s already happened. That’s the power Alix wants, the power to bring his murdered family back and he’s determined to make the Storyteller do it.

He just has to decide if working with the very creatures he’s supposed to kill is worth it.

My Thoughts:
This book has great premise, with some very nice world-building. I have to admit, I did struggle with the omniscient point of view in the beginning. Once I got used to it, I was fine. Alix's motivation is clear and he doesn't stray from that. He's a very consistent character, and one that you're not sure if you like or hate, or maybe just want to slap up side the head and yell, "get over it, man!".

Even though Fagan was hard-ass and gruff, you got to know him enough to know there's a heart in there. Of the major sub-characters, Dox is the most memorable. I constantly kept trying to picture him, and wasn't sure whether I'd be jeebed or not if I met him. I probably would! I really liked Haven. Probably one of my favorite characters.

And speaking of characters. Yes, there's one doozy of a surprise. And I like my surprises. :)

The demons were different, and I liked reading about the various...what do you call them? Breeds? I dunno. I liked the dragon-folks quite a bit. They seemed the most mature and steady. The fox people made me feel kinda awkward with all that touchy-feely stuff going on, but they were nicely drawn. Anything that gets a reaction from me is good, in my opinion. 

The plot, at least when it came to Mira, a fox-girl, and Alix, moved forward. There were a lot of characters introduced that I'm not quite sure what they brought to the story. Some seemed to have a story to tell, but we didn't hear the end. I also got lost a bit with the names of certain demons, and I think those are the ones that we weren't dealing with but had a lot of history. I had trouble connecting some dots there, though I eventually figured it all out. I think. :)

At times, the dialogue strayed, and didn't hit the mark. For example, there was a lot of stuttering when people were nervous...especially at the end. For me that detracts. I'd rather see that nervousness portrayed through actions or description. Most times it was good, but it strayed enough for me to take note of it.

All in all, I found myself gripped in the story as it progressed, and looked forward to those moments where I could pick it up and read. When that happens, you know you have a gem in the making.

Giveaway Time!

Now for the Giveaway deets!
2 lucky winners will receive an ebook copy of Seeking the Storyteller. Easy entries for your chance to win. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 28, 2014

Cover Reveal! The Billionaire & the Barfly, by Adrianne James



Henry Maximus is a super-hero-loving geek and proud of it. He’s also a genius when it comes to business. It’s how he earned the title of CEO of Maximus Gaming … not to mention the billions of dollars in his bank account. Henry’s tried living the life of a bachelor, but a different girl every night has left him wanting more. Needing more.
Aubrey Vincent is in love with her job. She’ll love it even more if she lands the promotion that gets her out of her parent’s attic. She loves it so much that she has no time for relationships, not that she was ever very good at them to begin with. Aubrey is perfectly happy with the random, nameless men she picks up at the bar.
After a brief encounter with Aubrey on a business trip, Henry packs his bags and moves back to the small town where he grew up. Aubrey’s town. Aubrey attempts to find her way into Henry’s bed, while he tries everything to get into her heart. Will Henry’s plan to break down the walls Aubrey has built around her heart work or will his unbelievable million dollar offer scare her away?



Giveaway 



*Enter to win a I Heart New Adult Bag and Mug!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Adrianne James

Growing up, Adrianne couldn’t get her hands on enough books to satisfy her need for the make believe. If she finished a novel and didn’t have a new one ready and waiting for her, she began to create her own tales of magic and wonder. Now, as an adult, books still make up majority of her free time, and now her tales get written down to be shared with the world.
During the day, Adrianne uses her camera to capture life’s stories for clients of all ages and at night, after her two children are tucked in bed; she devotes herself to her written work. Adrianne is living the life she always wanted, surrounded by art and beauty, the written word and a loving family.
As a young adult and new adult author, Adrianne James has plans to bring stories of growing characters, a little romance, and perhaps a little magic and mythology down the line for her readers to enjoy.



* Giveaway is for US only