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.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book Review: Unknown, by Melissa Pearl

Unkown
Melissa Pearl

Initial Thoughts: Solid fantasy story

My Rating: 4 Stars!
Summary:
Darkness is covering the land. As the city of Mezrah grows with power and greed, the rest of the world can only stand by and wait for their inevitable destruction. The only hope against this growing power is an ancient prophecy that people have stopped believing in.

Then a star begins to fall.

Princess Kyla of Taramon stopped believing in the power of light the day her father died. Trapped in a city she does not care for, under the watchful glare of her mother, the queen, she struggles to accept her fate.

Then a star begins to fall.

Jethro has loved Kyla for as long as he can remember. Learning that she was to marry his cousin drove a wedge between him and the feisty princess. Watching her from a distance is a torture he is unable to free himself from.

Then a star begins to fall, sparking an ember of hope and sending two seekers on a treacherous journey into the unknown.

My Thoughts:
This was a solid story with solid characters and motivations. Kyla is definitely scarred, and Jethro is the poor sod who pines after her from a distance, since Kyla has been engaged to his cousin.

So in this story the players have to fulfill the prophecy to save world from utter darkness, and in this prophecy they have to find the 4 elements. The interesting twist is *how* those elements are portrayed, but I won't give that secret away until you read it.

Kyla is strong and feisty, while her mother is suffocating, which makes her blind to what's going on in the kingdom. The bad guys are deliciously bad, and a character I thought for sure was good turned out to be naughty indeed. It's a great twist and setting up the characters for a huge betrayal.

The plot unwound like a chess game, with the players moving across the board like pawns. It was very well done.

I'm not sure of Kyla's feelings toward her fiance, whether she really loves him or just thinks she loves him because he's going to be her husband. For a such a strong character, this aspect seemed a little weak to me. I would think Kyla would know her own mind alot better. And as for Jethro? The girl has to be utterly blind to not see how he feels. But then again, she's only 16 so she could just be naive. Or maybe she's so comfortable in her role as 'friend' it would never occur to her that he feels anything differently.

Overall, really enjoyed this one. A great fantasy read.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Book Review: Onyx, by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Onyx
Jennifer L. Armentrout


 Initial Thoughts: Hot chemistry and a riveting ending!

My Rating: 5 Stars
Summary:
Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we're linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there's this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that's possible. Against all common sense, I'm falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…

My Thoughts:
Okay, even though Katy was dumber than dirt in this novel, I still had to love it. My frustration level with the girl knew no bounds, but rather making me want to throw the book across the room, it made me want to read on to see what Daemon would do.

I will say one thing about Ms. Armentrout: the girl can write chemistry. Holy palapalooza! Katy and Daemon are smokin'! I felt a range of emotions when reading this book: anger, frustration, sadness, heat (yeah, that's code for lust). The book made me feel, and care about the characters.

Did I peg all the villains? Yeah, kind of. I wasn't exactly sure until the end, but everyone who I thought was twisted was. And there is some gray area in there, one of those good people can do bad things. I love good people who do bad things...but not nearly as much as I love bad people who do good things. (wink)

I wondered if the 2nd book in the Lux series would keep the momentum, and it did. It introduced new characters and new plot twists that kept things interesting without getting all weird. And the ending has me jonesing hard for book 3.


Monday, October 27, 2014

E, by Kate Wrath

E
Kate Wrath


Initial Thoughts: Captivating

My Rating: 4 stars!
Summary:
A poignant tale of love and friendship in a world beyond hope…

Outpost Three: a huddle of crumbling buildings choked by a concrete wall. Cracked pavement, rusted metal, splintering boards. Huge robotic Sentries police the streets, but the Ten Laws are broken every time one turns its back.

Eden is determined, smart, and a born survivor. Stripped of her memories and dumped on the streets of the Outpost, slavers and starvation are only the beginning of her problems. A devastating conflict is coming that threatens to consume her world and tear her newfound family apart.

Life is harsh. It makes no exceptions. Not even for the innocent.

My Thoughts:
This is a gritty look at a dystopian future. A story full of strife, grief, poverty, politics, and a glimmer of underlying hope. I guess the message here is no matter what happens to you, true love can't be erased.

The author portrays a world that is specific and detailed. She writes with a flair that has you believing the story and rooting/caring for the characters.

I loved every character in this book. From Kate to her newfound family, the bad guys, the good guys, the innocents...it's a page-turner that has you guessing how things will end, what paths the characters will take, and who will be caught in the cross-fire. The plot weaves and bobs through these people's lives with ease, and just when you think things can't get worse...it does.

So why is this only a 4 rating? I had so many questions that weren't fulfilled. What made the world this way? Why can't people travel off the roads? Where do the sentries come from? Who is controlling them? I think if I had more of a sense of the world and what created this environment, this book would have been perfect.

Definite must-read for dystopian lovers!

Book Review: Fade to Black, by Tim McBain and L.T.Vargus

Fade to Black
Tim McBain and L.T. Vargus



Initial Thoughts: Love the voice!

My Rating: 4.5 Stars!
Summary:
Live. Die. Repeat.

Dying violent deaths over and over again totally blows. Loner Jeff Grobnagger has learned this the hard way. Every time he has a seizure, he dreams that a hooded man strangles and kills him. He runs. He fights. He hides. No matter what he does, his efforts end in a pretty bad case of death.

But when someone tries to kill him in real life, he realizes that what happens with the hooded man isn't just a dream.

Who is the hooded man? And who tried to kill Grobnagger in real life? His quest for answers leads to a missing girl, cults obsessed with astral projection, an arcane puzzle sphere, an evil book, a buxom private detective named Louise and a mustached man named Glenn that makes 'the best martini you've ever tasted.'

Yep. If it weren't for all of the horrific deaths, Jeff Grobnagger would be having the time of his life.


My Thoughts:
OK, I've read McBain/Vargus's books before, and I have to tell you...one of my favorite writing styles *ever*. I was captivated by the voice from page 1. The style has a witty, clever, funny edge to it that completely draws me in. This book did not disappoint in that area.

Now that the gushing is over, let's get on with it, shall we? So you have this dude, Jeff, who's dying over and over again in what appears to be dreams. Or nightmares. I guess if some hooded mystery man is killing you, it ain't no dream. :) But this doesn't happen when Jeff goes to sleep; his world literally fades to black and launches him into this death sequence with increasing frequency.

Yeah, not good.

He meets this older gent, Glenn, with whom he develops a friendship. Glenn is the kind of guy that seems to know a little something about everything. He's the kind of guy who takes a stranger into his home. He's the kind of guy who "knows things". He's the kind of guy who raises red flags all over this sistah's brain!

I liked the characters. I liked Jeff with his self-depreciating humor. He's obviously broken, keeps away from people, wants to be alone, and you find yourself rooting that the guy is going to be fixed somehow. I also liked Glenn, with his nurturing nature and his happy attitude. And apparently the guy's a genius in the kitchen. I'd like to invite him over for dinner!

I liked the plot, which moves forward at an easy pace, and never loses it's witty charm, even when things go black. I think the humor is more evident when things go black, which is a nice contrast. There are mysteries upon mysteries in this little book; lots of suspicious characters and missing daughters and secret groups and oh my, who is Jeff to trust?

You know, read the whole book, and still can't answer that question. As the first book in a series, I guess we'll get answers in future books.

Which brings me to my only complaint. The book ends with more questions than it started with. To me, I like to have some closure when I read a book. Even books in a series should have some amount of closure at the end...the book should have a beginning, middle and end and I felt this one really only had a beginning and a middle. Yes, some questions were answered at the end, but not the bigger issues. Throw a girl a bone here! I don't mind cliff-hangers in series; that's the draw to get you to read the next book, and to me this ending was a cliff-jumper!

However, that doesn't detract from my over-all enjoyment of this story, characters and writing, and I will read on when the next books are released. A definite recommend for paranormal and urban fantasy fans!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Book Review: The Prophecy of Arcadia, by M.H. Soars

The Prophecy of Arcadia
M.H. Soars

Initial Thoughts: Great ensemble characters. Loved 'em all.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars!
Summary:
Being a teenager is tough, especially when you have to pretend to be something you’re not, and you’re in love with someone you shouldn’t. 115 years ago, a small planet called Arcadia was invaded by a vicious alien race and nearly destroyed. Cut off from their resources, the Arcadians turned to Earth for help. A group of Arcadian explorers discovered a Prophecy that claimed their salvation lay in the hands of two children from Earth. To ensure their safety, the Arcadian Council sent their most gifted youngsters to Earth to act as protectors. Samantha is one of them.

To succeed in her mission she must learn to control her Arcadian powers and keep her true identity from her best friend, and the girl she swore to protect, Alexia. But Samantha will soon realize that nothing is as it seems. Someone is trying to prevent the Prophecy from taking place and the prophecy boy hasn't been found yet. There is also a new drug circulating at school that is turning students into freakishly strong menaces.

To make matters worse, distractions keep getting in her way. Such as her love/hate relationship with her “cousin” Matthew. Or her confused feelings toward popular and mysterious Julian. She wants nothing more than to be free to live her life. But the survival of Arcadia depends on her and her friends. Free will is not an option.

My Thoughts:
This is definitely a YA read with all the angst and drama attached to it. What is simply great about this, though, is that the author so effectively captured the emotions rioting through the characters. It has a very real feel to it, even though there are aliens jazzing up the drama-works. Basically, these guys are going through alien puberty, trying to manage their developing powers while dealing with raging hormones. Fun stuff. heh heh

Told in 3 POVs,which I adored, you get an in-depth view to what is driving the characters. It's funny, because the summary focuses mainly on Samantha, and I would have said that Alexia is the main character in this story. 

The POVs are from Alexia, Samantha, and Matt. But there are other "cousins" in this ensemble cast that simply can't be ignored. I'm almost hoping to see some other POVs in future books, cuz I would most definitely want to get into the heads of some of them.

Some of the plot twists were evident, but I don't think red herrings were the author's intent. Some of the characters you really didn't know whether they turn out friend or foe. The author draws mysterious characters with such finesse, you kinda want to get in the story and break the code yourself. If you're drawn to those bad-boy types. Which I am. 

So, what brings the rating down a 1/2 star, is some plot points that didn't make sense. Maybe it was addressed in the story and I missed it, but for one, if these 'cousins' are supposed to be protecting Alexia,why did they send Alexia to live so far away from all of the cousins? Since she only lived with her cousins during the summer, who was protecting her when they were separated during the school year? Why did Mel take so long in Arcadia for training when others only went for a few days, and why was she so angry when she returned?

Maybe these are minor complaints, but I think are worth mentioning. Really, those are not enough to ever stop reading the series, or to stop me from recommending this book (which I have)!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Funnies!

Yay! It's Friday! So sit back and relax with a grin.


These are from a book called “Disorder in the Courts” and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and published by court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while the exchanges were taking place.


ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning? 
WITNESS: He said, 'Where am I, Cathy?' 
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you? 
WITNESS: My name is Susan! 
____________________________

 ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact? 
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks. 
____________________________________________ 

ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active? 
WITNESS: No, I just lie there. 
____________________________________________ 

ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 18th. 
ATTORNEY: What year? 
WITNESS: Every year. 
_____________________________________

ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you? 
WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which. 
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you? 
WITNESS: Forty-five years. 
________________________________ 

ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all? 
WITNESS: Yes. 
TTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory? 
WITNESS: I forget.. 
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot? ___________________________________________ 

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning? 
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam? 
____________________________________ 

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he? 
WITNESS: He's 20, much like your IQ.
 ___________________________________________ 

ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken? 
WITNESS: Are you shitting me?
_________________________________________ 

ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th? 
WITNESS: Yes. 
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time? 
WITNESS: Getting laid 
____________________________________________ 

ATTORNEY: She had three children , right? 
WITNESS: Yes. 
ATTORNEY: How many were boys? 
WITNESS: None. 
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls? 
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney? ____________________________________________ 

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated? 
WITNESS: By death.. 
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated? 
WITNESS: Take a guess. 
___________________________________________ 

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual? 
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard 
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female? 
WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I'm going with male. _____________________________________ 

ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney? 
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work. ______________________________________ 

ATTORNEY: Doctor , how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
 WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight. _________________________________________ 

ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to? 
WITNESS: Oral...
 _________________________________________ 

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body? 
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM 
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time? 
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.
 ____________________________________________ 

ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample? 
WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question? 
______________________________________ 

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse? 
WITNESS: No. 
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure? 
WITNESS: No. 
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing? 
WITNESS: No.. 
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy? WITNESS: No. 
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor? 
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar. 
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless? 
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book Review: Hyde, by Lauren Stewart

Hyde
Lauren Stewart

Initial Thoughts: Intriguing!

My Rating: 5 Stars
Summary:
This novel is intended for adults only. It includes lots of cursing, descriptive sex, biting sarcasm, and dark themes.

Honesty is impossible when you don't know the truth to begin with.

Mitchell Turner is everything women want most in a man--he's charismatic, successful, and undeniably gorgeous. But he's not a man--he's a monster. By venting his rage 24/7, Mitch keeps people out of the danger zone that surrounds him. But, after the most incredible night of his life, he realizes that might not be possible. Except the woman he wakes up with claims she doesn't remember any of it. And that kind of thing can make a guy insecure.

Eden Colfax is kind, loyal, honest to a fault, and cavity-inducing sweet. To rid herself of the monsters that haunted her broken childhood, Eden doesn't lie, doesn't curse, and definitely never wakes up naked in strangers' beds...until the day she does. Then the flashbacks start--places she's never been, people she's never met, blood she's never spilled. And the only person with any answers is a man she never wants to see again.

What they don't know is that someone is manipulating them, determined to find out exactly what they're capable of. And when the truth leaves them nothing to hold onto, they will be forced into a partnership neither expected. Or wanted.

But in life, who you trust is as important as who you are. And when you can't even trust yourself, sometimes the only person you can rely on is the last person on earth you should be falling for.

My Thoughts:
OK, first I really dug this concept of Jekyll and Hyde in the modern world. From the very first chapter, I loved the writing style, and I loved the characters. It was impossibly sexy and funny at the same time, and I was hooked.

There's mystery and suspense woven in with this incredibly sexy story. You can't help but root for Mitchell, he's so alarmingly bad but in a good way, that you pretty much want to take him to bed. :)

While Eden is, as the author says, cavity-inducing sweet, I don't want to kill her (which I normally would, because really, no one's *that* good, and if they are, well, they're boring). I think it's because of this darker side that comes out that has me rooting for her.

Damn, but you root for them both! You want to strangle a few other characters in the novel, and I was pretty glad to see one particular bitch bite it in the end.

The ending has you craving more. Read on!