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.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Book Review: Yakimali's Gift, by Linda Covella

Yakimali's Gift
Linda Covella


Initial Thoughts: Entrancing historical romance!
My Rating: 5 Stars!
Summary:
It’s 1775 in Mexico, New Spain, and 15-year-old Fernanda Marquina, half Pima Indian and half Spanish, can’t seem to live up to her mother’s expectations or fit into the limited female roles of her culture. While she tends her garden, matches wits with buyers and sellers at the weekly market, and avoids Mama’s lectures and the demands of Nicolas, the handsome soldier pursuing her, Fernanda grabs any opportunity to ride the horses she loves, racing across the desert, dreaming of adventure in faraway lands.

But when a tragic accident presents her with the adventure she longed for, it’s at a greater cost than she could have ever imagined. With her family, Fernanda joins Juan Bautista de Anza’s historic colonization expedition to California.

On the arduous four-month journey, Fernanda makes friends with Feliciana, the young widow Fernanda can entrust with her deepest thoughts; Gloria, who becomes the sister Fernanda always wished for; and Gloria’s handsome brother Miguel, gentle one moment, angry the next and, like Fernanda, a mestizo–half Indian and half Spanish. As Fernanda penetrates Miguel’s layers of hidden feelings, she’s torn between him and Nicolas, who has joined the journey in the ranks of Anza’s soldiers and whose plans include marrying Fernanda when they reach California.

But propelling Fernanda along the journey is her search for Mama’s Pima Indian past, a past Mama refused to talk about, a past with secrets that Fernanda is determined to learn. The truths she discovers will change the way she sees her ancestry, her family, and herself.

My Thoughts:
What a ride! This is a YA historical romance with the unique setting of Mexico, California, Spaniards, and Indians. It's an interesting tale of the trek from Mexico to colonize California, and this novel depicts the very real hardships endured during the expedition.

And sprinkled throughout this subtle history lesson, are very real characters whom it would be difficult not to believe were actually part of the expedition. You immediately feel a connection to Fernanda, her inability to accept the stifling constraints of her time (marriage, children, and inferior heritage), and her longing for freedom and adventure and romance. You feel her struggle between wanting to do what's right to please her mother, and longing for something more. And then there's her struggle between a safe marriage, and adventuring into the unknown.

All of the characters are so well drawn and believable. Though Nicolas is more than nice to Fernanda, there's always that hint of superiority and, um, *maleness* which was common for the time when men were truly the boss and law. I loved Miguel, his anger and mystery and the many layers of his character.

The plot moved well, a very visual read and beautiful descriptions that allowed me to picture the scenery. I was rooting for the romantic pair, and was not disappointed in the end!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Book Review: Zeus, Inc., by Robin Burks

Zeus, Inc.
Robin Burks


Initial Thoughts: Interesting concept
My Rating: 3 Stars
Summary:

50 years ago, Zeus, Inc., and its CEO, the mysterious Joseph Brentwood, saved the world from a major energy crisis by discovering a new unlimited energy resource. Now, in 2069, Mr. Brentwood has gone missing and private eye Alex Grosjean has been hired to find him by his daughter (and Alex's best friend), Aleisha.

My Thoughts:
OK, where to start with this one. Let's do characters.

Alex, our main squeeze, is I think about 40 years old or so. She was an OK character, not necessarily someone I was necessarily rooting for, which can be problematic for a main squeeze. She's impatient with her mom, and come to find out they have issues from their past, but we never really learn why. She seems prone to anger, and getting angry at times when I was like, really? That just pissed you off? So despite being 40 or so, she's a bit immature.

Could care less about Mr. Brentwood, and nothing in the novel drew me to Aleisha either. 

Now Pip, I liked. He's tall, dark, mysterious, my kind of guy. He's strong, he cares, he's Alex's knight in shining armor, though I don't think she appreciated him as much as she should. Now *that's* a point against Alex! Take the beefcake, adore the beefcake, love the beefcake.

The plot is slow, and quite often repetitive. Many times Alex's internalization interrupts the flow of the story. Often times, I think it was supposed to be witty, but for me typically fell flat. I really got into the story when the greek mythology became strongly evident. Loved the way it was inter-woven in the story, with a surprising take. However, I didn't quite believe the ending, when Alex was supposed to be smarter than the Greed gods and take over and save the day. Didn't buy it, and then didn't really see her come up with any plan other than what the gods had originally planned on doing. So yeah, call me perplexed.

Over all, this story was a little flat with enough interesting parts for me to keep reading to the end.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Book Review: Untethered, byKatie Hayoz

Untethered
Katie Hayoz

Initial Thoughts: Pretty cool premise.

My Rating: 4 stars!
Summary:
Sylvie isn’t comfortable in her own skin. In fact, there are times she can’t even manage to stay inside it. But if there is one thing she’s sure of, it’s her love for Kevin Phillips. She’s willing to stake everything on it –her family, her friends, and possibly her soul.

Sixteen-year-old Sylvie has been best friends with Cassie forever. But everything is turned around when the boy Sylvie’s loved since fifth grade falls for Cassie. Devastated, Sylvie intends to get Kevin by any means possible, even if it involves treachery, deceit, and the dark side of astral projection. She is positive her plans will give her what she wants, but she doesn’t count on it all spiraling out of control.

My Thoughts:
So you have this girl, Sylvie, who doesn't see herself as others see her, nor does she see others as they should be seen. She's blinded by her infatuation with Kevin, and then later blinded by her jealousy of her best friend. It's pretty typical teen drama.

I liked Sylvie, though I did get frustrated with her. I'm like, wake up, and see what's going on! I understood her though, felt her frustration when talking to some condescending adults, but I can see their point too. I mean, who would ever believe the girl was lifting outside her body? I'd probably think she was nuts too!

There are other characters that I really love, especially Nelson. He seems like such a cool guy, and if I were in high school, I'd probably think he'd be the perfect boyfriend! Maybe it's the blue hair. Maybe it's the artist thing.

What I liked most about this novel is how real and life-like the characters progressed, all of them. Everything was so typical and believable. You watch Sylvie spiral into darkness, and then you watch her try to climb her way out. You understand Cassie's development, because every nobody in high school always wants to sit at the cool table. You also understand that the heart wants what it wants...how many people would give up their love for a friend? Not many. You see Cassie's struggles with that.

There were some cool twists, but overall, it was a bit predictable, which pulled off that 5th star in my rating. But extremely well written.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Book Review: Katie's Hellion, by Lizzy Ford

Katie's Hellion
Lizzy Ford


Initial Thoughts: Even amidst confusion, I want Rhyn!

My Rating: 4 Stars!
Summary:
Katie didn't send her boyfriend to Hell, but she's going there to bust him out!

Katie thinks she’s going crazy when a baby angel and death’s personal assistant appear on her doorstep. Both claim she’s destined for something great. If she can survive, that is. She’s drawn into a world filled with immortals like Rhyn, an outcast who claims her as his mate in a show of defiance to his brothers. Katie rescues Rhyn from Hell, and he discovers fast just how special his little human is. With Death counting his days on one hand, Rhyn must learn to love, before his own time is up and Katie becomes the first human casualty in the brewing war between immortals.

Will the love between a gifted young woman and an immortal outcast save the world-- or destroy it?

My Thoughts:
This started out slow and confusing for me. I never quite got the feel of all the relationships between some of the characters...history between individuals that never quite had the dots fully connected. But as the story continues, boy does it pick up speed.

Katie is one of those great heroine characters. Spunky and sassy and ready to punch out any demon's lights. The slow path to hell...or insanity...is so clear, and you easily believe her struggles in dealing and comprehending this whole 'nother world unfolding at her feet.

And Rhyn? What can I say other than one of those bad-misunderstood-boys who's broken and defiant and you just can't help rooting for. You literally want to save this guy...or take him to bed. (wink)

All hell's broken loose...and you do not want to miss watching this show close up! This is on my series-to-keep reading list!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Book Review: The Ice Goddess, by Hannelore Moore

The Ice Goddess
Hannelore Moore
Initial Thoughts: Epic Read!
My Rating: 4 Stars!
Summary:

In the bitter winter of 1752, Evangeline Grey is determined to return to London, claim her inheritance, and lead a solitary, uneventful existence. York holds too many sad memories for her now, and she's ready to leave it behind. When she finds out that her guardian has designs on her -- and her pending fortune -- Evangeline manages to escape, but her journey south is fraught with uncertainty and danger. Mourning the murder of her brother, still reeling from her aunt's recent death, and close to penniless until she finds her way back to London, she's never been more alone. And then, on a desolate Northern English moor, she meets a benevolent stranger who changes everything. Kendall Beaumont is a man running from a few demons of his own. On his way to his home in remote Almsborough, he stops to help the pretty, young runaway. The future seems fairly bleak for the both of them -- until he decides to make her an offer she can't refuse...

My Thoughts:
First and foremost, this is an epic, historical romance spanning many pages. So if you like to cozy down for a nice, long historical romance, this book is for you!

If there is one word to describe every character in this book, it's 'growth'.

The fate of Evangeline is typical for the time period, where women for the most part are considered property, except for the few lucky ones who meet a man of honor. Evangeline is serious and shy, and like the characters in the book, I found myself taking a while to warm up to her. But that's true in the real world; shy people are considered by the masses aloof, or uncaring, when in reality they're just, well, shy. They find it difficult to talk to people or show their feelings. That's our Evangeline! I did feel for her, and her plight in life, but I loved her spunk and her unwillingness to give up no matter what shit was hitting the proverbial fan.

Kendall is much more likeable as a character (not that I didn't like Evangaline!), but that is the contrast between the two. Kendall, despite his high position in society, is so down to earth that he gets along with all classes. His staff sticks with him even when he's low on money, a testament to his character. And while I do prefer my leading men in romance stories to be a little more in control, there's something about the broken Kendall that I ended enjoying his scenes immensely! He, em, 'grew' on me. :)

So, you're probably wondering how this story could possibly be so long? Well, there's another character, Emmett, whose story runs parallel to Evangeline's. Emmett, quite frankly, is a fop. And while he showed quite a bit of growth, in the end I still found him a tad selfish and immature. I much preferred Kendall. I also feel that this book would have been a great launch to tell Emmett's story in another book.

For me, the plot was solid, and I found no fault in the writing. It has all the elements of a historical romance that those readers are looking for. Highly recommended!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Book Review: The Guardian's Wildchild, by Feather Stone

The Guardian's Wildchild 
Feather Stone


Initial Thoughts: Slow Start
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Summary:
Sidney Davenport is known as Wildchild to her Guardian mentor, Greystone. She rebels against rules. Wildchild is gifted in the paranormal, but carefully conceals her powers from the world. Even in the crises that threaten her life, she refuses to use her powers of telepathy, telekinesis, space/time travel. If her enemies discovered the truth of who she is, her Guardian people would be destroyed. She calls upon her spirit guides, Seamus and Celeste, to guide her through a mine field of the insane - Madame and Captain Butchart.

Sidney leaves her home on Hawk's Island to help the underground stop two people who are about to cause worldwide madness. Unskilled in esponage, she is arrested and sentanced to death. But, God help Sidney, she can't deny her attraction to the man who has orders to perform her execution - the tall, dark eyed Captain Waterhouse. He's meticulous, disciplined and lives by the strict rules expected of an officer of the American navy.

Captain Waterhouse is about to scrap his higher morals to bust out of his hell. When a female prisoner is delivered to his ship, he has no idea she is capable of turning his disciplined life into a storm of unimaginable experiences. His prisoner's enemies, he discovers, are also the ones who hold his life in the palm of their hands.

Through stunning imagery, an intricate and adventurous plot, and a strong cast of characters, Feather Stone gives readers a fast paced story woven with murder and magic.

My Thoughts:
OK, so this really did start off slow. I was intrigued by the description and thought it was a unique paranormal read, so was excited in picking it up.

There's a lot of intrigue, with military muckety-mucks who have personal agendas, blackmail, and of course the Guardians throw in that supernatural twist.

As far as the characters, I didn't care for Sidney all that much, to be honest. She's supposed to be carefree and wild, but to me her character was serious and philosophical. And when she giggles or whatever (she does a lot of giggling, which screams immature to me, not wild) it seems out of character for her. She is a good girl, always doing things for the higher good as is the Guardian way, so this whole description of being a wild child didn't ring true.

Loved Sam, however. He's a great tortured soul, and I loved watching  his development over the course of the story.

The plot was for the most part well-crafted, with a lot of moving pieces and players, but it did leave some confusion in parts, and a number of loose ends, in my opinion, at the end.

Oh, and the ending is quite good for me, one of those twisty ones where the story doesn't necessarily evolve the way you think it will.



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Giveaway! Kiss Me Dead

Kiss Me Dead
Dale Ibitz


Summary:
One curse . . .
Christian, a nineteen-year-old reaper-human hybrid enslaved to the Other World to harvest souls, earns his freedom by making a bargain with the Goddess of Death. As part of the bargain, he’s been cursed with the kiss of death.

One kiss . . .

The only way Christian can break his curse is for an angel to kiss him. Willingly. He finds Brooke, a nineteen-year-old descendant of a Naphil whose destiny is to hunt rogue reapers, suffocating in a semi-agoraphobic cocoon since witnessing a reaper steal her brother’s soul.

Two destinies . . .

Christian has found the angel who can break his curse, and the seduction begins. To break her phobia’s hold, Brooke embraces her angelic role and makes it her mission to kill rogue reapers to avenge her brother’s murder. Christian can break his curse by kissing Brooke dead . . . but will she figure out his game and kill him first?



Rafflecopter Giveaway: Click below and ENTER to win one of 5 PDF copies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway