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

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Review: Bound, by J. Elizabeth Hill

J. Elizabeth Hill

Initial Thoughts: Nice, creative, magical read!

Summary (from Goodreads):
Freshly graduated from the Voleno Academy, Faylanna Derrion is trying to find her solitary place in a world where she and her fellow Magicia are expected to find their magical partner as soon as possible. When her mentor and his partner are taken by a terrible darkness before her eyes, her flight to find help brings Tavis into her life. Can she learn to see him as more than a simple farmer or will she accede to her father’s demands to return to her family’s home, following a path others have laid out for her? Can she choose her own course, after a lifetime of refusing to bind herself to anyone?

My Rating: 3.5 Stars...oh, what the hell, let's throw in that extra 1/2 star and make it an even 4. 
My Thoughts:
When I first dove into this book, I had a wee spot of trouble with the writer's style, kind of like run-on thoughts, like someone who talks a lot and doesn't think to take a breath but just keeps going and going and you're almost surprised that you haven't lost your train of thought from the beginning of the thought-train! Slightly out of (mental) breath.

Okay, yes, I jest a little. But once I got into the story, I either didn't notice this any longer, or the author got into a rhythm, or maybe it wasn't as bad as I'd originally imagined it. Whatever. The point is, I stopped caring cuz we have us some nice magic here.

I liked the characters, I liked the plot, I liked the world the author built, I liked the mystery and trying to figure out what the hell was going on and trying (and failing) to guess at the motives and foresee plot twists. It was a fun read, and I enjoyed myself, especially because I just had to keep reading to find out how it all ended, cuz I had no clue.

Did some things annoy me? Well, yeah. Especially with some of the downright stupid choices Faye makes. I mean, *I* could see who the bad guy was, and I wanted to reach into the page and throttle her sometimes. I think some of that was spell-work though, and maybe not entirely her fault. Plus, she's nineteen and new to the world of adults and betrayals and secrets and magic. I liked her independence and strength. I liked how she wanted to be her own woman who makes her own choices and her own mistakes. Good for you, Faye.

Tavis, supposed to be a strong hunk, but I had trouble getting past the country bumpkin image in my head. I like him, truly I do, and I get that he's strong both physically and magically...there was just some magic missing for me.

Maybe it's cuz I like me some bad boys. I found myself more drawn to Marcius. Shame on me. But hoo boy! Was there some heat going on between Marcius and Faye. I think I'm blushing. 

So if you like magical worlds and twisty plots and a bit of mystery and romance, pick up a copy of Bound.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Review: Under the Never Sky, by Veronica Rossi

Under the Never Sky
Veronica Rossi

OK, I was uber-busy this weekend and didn't have time to post my review, but let me just say this was a pretty awesome book. Loved it.

Summary (from Goodreads):
EXILED from her safe home in the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria finds herself in the outer wastelands known as the Death Shop. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent energy storms will. There she meets a savage, an Outsider named Perry – wild, dangerous – who is her only chance of survival.

But Perry needs Aria, too, and they are forced into an unlikely alliance that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

My Rating: 4 1/2 Stars.

My thoughts:
Another YA dystopian novel that really rocks the boat. You have fear, violence, secrets, betrayals and uber sexy guys. A perfect setting for a perfect (energy) storm (yeah, sorry, couldn't quite help myself with that little Never Sky joke).

Anyhoo, the start of this book is creepy. The guys are creepy, and you can just feel the tension under their daring foray into the off-limits dome, you just know something is up with these guys and it ain't gonna be pretty. It wasn't. It was scary. I was scared for Aria.

Then she's booted into the outside and meets Perry. What an angry character. He's originally portrayed as, well, savage, with wild, uncombed hair...but with a tendril of nice-guy-syndrome. And what happens to nice guys? They get nothing but trouble for their efforts. Yup. Perry's got some bad karma coming his way.

The plot moves forward *most* of the time, with enough twists to give you whiplash. I like me some twists. I like to say, "Dude, didn't see that coming!" There's a couple of nice moments just like that in this book.

The world is creative and the author paints some very vivid pictures. I could easily picture the energy storms. Not sure what created them, but liked them all the same.

The only negative thing I could say is that there's just a little something about the characters that kept them a tad remote. Aria doesn't like to be touched, and I'm not sure why. It may be the product of her upbringing in the dome where they spend a lot of time in the realms and not reality. Didn't quite get that. I also didn't quite get Perry's anger toward his brother. And I think I'd like to know a little more about his past that made him the person he is. Maybe that's coming in later books.

Yeah, later books that I will definitely be reading. Highly recommend this one if you're into YA dystopian.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Review: Enclave, by Ann Aguirre

Ann Aguirre

Initial Thoughts:
I was wowed by this YA dystopian. I think I liked everything about it.

My Rating: 5 STARS!

Summary (from Goodreads):
In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first Deuce thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

My thoughts:
Where to start? How about the beginning. The book starts off with the dramatic living situation of the people living 'down under' (and that's down under the earth...not Australia). It's dark. It's dank. It's crowded. No one lives past 25. There are strict rules. No loving, no learning (except what's absolutely needed), no real living. Just doing your job that you've been assigned, listening to the elders, and not breaking the rules.

It doesn't take Deuce long to break the rules. Breaking the rules tests her friendships, tests her strength, and tests her humanity. In the end, she finds all three.

The characters are terrific. They have depth and layers, you understand what drives them, you even understand the blind (albeit ignorant) following of the elders, even as they fail when they refuse to listen and face facts. The setting is realistic and well-drawn. The plot moves forward and forward and forward. No blind spots. No plot holes.

A gripping and gritty look at humanity both at its best and its worst.

This is a must-read for any dystopian fan.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Book Review: Slow Boat to Purgatory, by Vernon Baker

Slow Boat to Purgatory
Vernon Baker

Summary (from Goodreads):
Gaspar De Rouse, an immortal Knight Templar, a man murdered by his brothers for the secret he possessed, resurrected and given a second chance at redemption.

Dominicus Bureau, a renegade priest, torn between his vows and the secret he pursues, a secret protected by an immortal.

Alex Donovan, a modern day warrior thrust into an ages old war, a war between good and evil, heaven and hell.

All three, passengers on a Slow Boat To Purgatory.

"Alex Donovan was a warrior once. Now he spends his days in a sedate and somewhat bitter existence combing Boston's used bookshops, drinking too much fine wine, and cursing a knee crippled by a terrorist's bullet.

But when Alex's grandfather dies, he discovers the old man has left him not only a vast fortune, but a mystical, ancient book which tells the story of an immortal Templar knight; a man named Gaspar de Rouse, a man who, according to his grandfather, still walks the earth.

Bewitched by the manuscript, written and illustrated by a 16th century Venetian artist who is befriended by the enigmatic Gaspar, Alex takes a journey through history that begins in the war-ravaged city of Acre in the year 1291. It is there that Gaspar is betrayed and loses his life, only to be resurrected by an Archangel and a Demon Prince. Given a choice, to spend an eternity in Purgatory or to serve both Heaven and Hell as a hunter of wayward souls, Gaspar chooses the life of an immortal marching across time doing battle with demons, angels and crushing loneliness.

The secrets of the book consume Alex and he comes to believe that Gaspar still lives. Alex's mundane world is transformed into a race to find the knight. It is a race that takes him from a quiet cove on the coast of Maine to Zurich's hidden banks and the dark waterways of Venice. Eventually helped by a warrior priest whose own secrets and quest to find the knight are shadowed in mystery, Alex struggles to distinguish between those who seek his destruction and those who would ensure his salvation."

My Rating: 4+ Stars!
My Thoughts:
Wow, this is an incredibly well-written fantasy. There is a story within a story within a story, which was quite well crafted. I read the back page, about the author, and it's his first book. The fact that this is his first book is just plain wow-some.

The characters are so real, and well-developed, you spend every moment along for the ride, feeling what they feel, experiencing what they experience, total immersion into the 3 or 4 separate worlds (lives) of the characters that we follow. I have to admit, I liked some of the stories more than others. The story of Gaspar himself took up the bulk of the book, and for that I'm glad. The story of how he came to be was fascinating. I also liked where we went with Alex. He seems a stand-up guy who loved his grandfather and finds himself caught up in a world he never knew existed. He has mad fighting skills, and is a strong, believable, likable kind of guy. I'd definitely want him to have my back in a fight.

The book does start off a little slow, but that is more for the sake of set-up for the reader. Once the story hits the action-packed finale, it's, well, action-packed. Other than the little bit of a slow turn in the beginning, the pacing was pretty good.

The only thing that troubled me was the flipping back and forth between stories. Occasionally I found myself confused, but once I realized that I had to read the chapter heading for my place of reference, the book moved much smoother for me. Also, sometimes we spend so long in one person's story, that when we switched to another's, I almost forgot who some of the players were. Again, I'd catch up to my place in the story relatively quickly.

Amazing read, and if you like fantasy, I strongly suggest reading this one.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Author Feature and Cover Reveal! David Estes

Fire Country by David Estes Cover Reveal

David´s newest book Fire Country will be published on February 1st, that's just two weeks away.

The cover is beautiful.


Title: Fire Country (Country Saga #1)
Author: David Estes
Publisher: ShareAread
Release Date: March 1st, 2013
Formats:  E-book
Cover Artist: Regina Wamba
Here is the Blurb of this Title

Fire Country

In a changed world where the sky bleeds red, winter is hotter than hell and full of sandstorms, and summer's even hotter with raging fires that roam the desert-like country, the Heaters manage to survive, barely. 
Due to toxic air, life expectancies are so low the only way the tribe can survive is by forcing women to procreate when they turn sixteen and every three years thereafter. It is their duty as Bearers.
Fifteen-year-old Siena is a Youngling, soon to be a Bearer, when she starts hearing rumors of another tribe of all women, called the Wild Ones. They are known to kidnap Youngling girls before the Call, the ceremony in which Bearers are given a husband with whom to bear children with. 
As the desert sands run out on her life's hourglass, Siena must uncover the truth about the Wild Ones while untangling the web of lies and deceit her father has masterfully spun.

Wicked, right?
Early praise for the author
“David created a world I was excited to learn about and characters I cared about. I'll remember this story for a very long time!”
Alexandria Nicole ~Goodreads
“Estes delivers a winner with confident writing that truly draws you into the story. “
Think ~ Goodreads
 “The author, David Estes, has forged his name into writers to be watched and read.”
Marni ~Goodreads
 “David is such a fantastic author and he really knows how to pull at the heartstrings.”
Kay ~K-Books
About the Author

David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. He grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010. He´s a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table

You can follow David at:

Friday Funnies!

It's Friday, time to be entertained, my pretties. I have to admit, that donkey picture really made me laugh out loud. Am I mean, or do I just have a sick sense of humor? You be the judge!

Have fun!

I'm sorry, every time I look at that picture, I laugh. :)

 Best con job in the world.

 I'll take the kitty!

 Road kill is not in  my job description.

 Well, duh!

 I wonder what the donkey's thinking?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Book Review: Crux, by Julie Reece

Julie Reece

Summary (from Goodreads):

She should have run. Now, she'll have to fight. Eighteen year old Birdie may be homeless, but she's surviving, that is until a mysterious guy throws money in the air like a crazy game show host and she grabs some with the idea she'll be able to buy dinner that night. In that singular moment, unassuming Birdie becomes the girl in everyone's viewfinder. Thugs want to kill her. Money-guy wants to recruit her. The very hot, very rich and very out of her league Grey Mathews wants to save her. Birdie, though, wants nothing to do with any of them until she realizes fate didn't bring them all together. Her heritage did. Now, with only twenty-one days left, she's got to decide whether to follow in the footsteps of those before her or risk her life for people she's only just met.

My Rating: 4+ Stars 

My Thoughts:

This is an action-packed adventure with a nice twist on some Viking mythology. Here's what I liked:

Characters: I liked Birdie, the tough down-beaten homeless girl who learns to kick ass. Grey, the strong I-want-him-for-a-boyfriend type who has unfailing loyalty. And of course, he has a weakness for family, especially when it comes to pleasing his dad, which face it, most teen boys kinda want to do (to a point). The sub characters are well-developed, and we hate the ones that are bee-achingly (yeah, I just made that word up) annoying (cough Izzy cough).

Voice: Nice and smooth, quality.

Plot: Like I said, some Viking mythology thrown in, which is new and refreshing. Moves forward at a good pace. Couple of sub plots that I'm not sure were needed. Couple loose ends, which I'd like to have seen tied up at the end. Couple of surprises, but some things were predicable (hard to fool us savvy reads *all* the time, ya know).

Overall, really, really enjoyed this book. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Book Review: Dirty Business, by Tracy Sharp

Dirty Business
Tracy Sharp

Pregnant women are disappearing in the capital region. The mother of Alexia Clemmons, one of the missing women, hires private investigator Leah Ryan and partner Jackson Quick to find her daughter.

The list of suspects include Alexia’s philandering husband, who hardly seems broken up about his pregnant wife’s disappearance, a cult leader who purposely impregnates his female followers whose babies suddenly vanish, and a shady network of adoption agencies whose involvement in a black market baby scheme has ruined many lives. Taking this case leads Jack and Leah into a labyrinth of mystery and murder.

Complicating matters is Leah’s intense sexual attraction to Lucas Novak, the married expert in violence and threat assessment whose expertise they’ve enlisted. Turning to Lucas in search of oblivion leads to a series of risky, addictive encounters between them, endangering Leah emotionally and physically as her focus on the case wavers.

Sexual Content, Language - Age 18 and over

                                                                                My Rating: 4 Stars! 

My thoughts:
First, even though this is 3rd in a series, you totally can pick up this book as a stand-alone. I did. You don't need to read the others to take a seat on this fun train.

Second, I love this sassy, cussing, slightly damaged main character, Leah. She's not perfect, has faults, and does things she knows she's not supposed to. But what's redeeming is that she knows she's slightly damaged and does things she's not supposed to and tries to fix herself.

Her best friend and business partner, Jack, is strong, sexy, and smart. He's every girl's fantasy for a best guy friend. He's a  loyal friend who'd do anything for Leah, with no pressure for being good or perfect or putting out. And while he doesn't approve of the naughty things Leah has a tendency to do, he doesn't judge her. I want a Jack! Give me a Jack. Please.

The characters are well-developed and three-dimensional. Even the sub-characters have, well, character. 

The plot, however, seemed to go in too many different directions at times. And while these little veins in the story did eventually lead to the heart, I thought it would be a little more cohesive than it was. Some things seemed just a little coincidental, to me.

Some scene conclusions didn't seem quite realistic...characters buying explanations that didn't seem legit. But those were few and far between, so I'll let that one go.

I usually don't comment on editing errors, but this book had quite a few typos. Oops. But ya know, it didn't detract from the story for me, because the writing was otherwise excellent. I found myself being very forgiving.

And one thing that bugged me. It seemed like Jack did all the leg-work in investigating. Leah would either be sleeping or having sex, and come back to the office and Jack would be ready to go with new information and Leah would jump in and do the physical side (with Jack, of course). Didn't seem like an equal partnership, but maybe that's just how this team rolls. Maybe those dynamics are set up more fully in the earlier books. And granted, the 2nd half of the book Leah was quite sick, so maybe we can make some excuses here.

Anyhoo, if you like sexy crime drama, this is a very good read.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Book Review: Touch, by Jus Accardo

Jus Accardo

Summary (from Goodreads):
When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet, seventeen-year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity to piss off her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue eyes home.

Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy—and her father’s “law firm”—than she realized.

Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation—an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons—his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. The two team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe.

A secret Kale will kill to protect.

My Rating: 4 Stars
My Thoughts:
I really liked this book on a number of levels. 

Characters: Believable, real, larger than life. What's refreshing about our MC Dez is that she's not the perfect student with the perfect attitude. She's got the looks, and she knows it (let's face it, most teen age girls who got the looks know they got the false modesty here). She lives for her next adrenaline high, doesn't dig school, and really doesn't dig her dad. Not a good relationship. She is your typical teenager.

Kale is dark and dangerous yet vulnerable. He's sexy. He's strong. And he's loyal. Gotta like the dude, ya know?

Writing: Nice. Very nice. Excellent voice. The author pulls you in right from the first page, and you don't look back. You don't really want to look back...know what I mean?

Plot: No holes that I can think of. Perhaps a little predictable, though there is a twist or 2 with some unexpected betrayals thrown in for good measure.

At the risk of repeating myself, I really liked this book. If you like YA paranormal, I'm betting you will, too.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Book Review: Reaper of Sorrows, by James A. West

Reaper of Sorrows
James A. West

In an age between the beginning of all creation and the end of all things, humanity knew the truths of sorcery and gods, steel and blood, courage and cowardice. During this forgotten age rises an evil that threatens to sunder the laws governing life and death….

Known as the Scorpion, Rathe Lahkurin is the greatest and most beloved warrior in the kingdom of Cerrikoth, but a jealous rival is plotting his fall from grace….

Deep within a lightless catacomb an aged mystic is entombed behind a wall of flowing blood, and in another tomb an undying maiden burns, all so that an embittered conspirator can gain black powers and take his revenge….

At a remote fortress reserved for the kingdom’s vilest outcasts, buried deep within a sinister forest rife with foul creatures, villagers are vanishing. Others are turning up dead….

Soon the threads of fate will entangle the Scorpion in a plot darker than any nightmare, a trap that threatens not only his life, but his eternal soul.…

My Rating: 4 very solid stars, more like 4 1/2 

My Thoughts:
If you're ready for non-stop action with hardly room to take a breath, you're ready for this book.

Okay, you have our warrior guy, Rathe, who doesn't just like killing, maiming, raping and pillaging, even though, good warrior dude that he is, it's expected and as a captain, he's expected to tolerate and allow it. But Rathe wants more in life, he wants purpose, he wants to do right, he wants deeper meaning to life.

Good, right? Not in this story. Oh no. There are jealous wankers, and evil little monkeys (no, not literal monkeys, you dweeb) who throw monkey-wrench (yeah, see how I did that) after monkey-wrench at  poor Rathe's feet, ankles, knees, head, you name it.

The poor guy just can't cut a break in this story. But you like the guy. You want him to succeed. You want him to kick evil-jealous-plotting-morons right in the ass.

This is non-stop action, full of men, and fighting, and evil, and magic, and betrayal, and lust, and twists...good golly, this book has everything but the kitchen sink.

The writing is spot on, solid. Characters are well-drawn with depth. Plot is hole-less. Very well done book.