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Posts Tagged ‘4 star’

The Unquiet

 

 

by Jeannine Garsee

Published July 17th 2012 by Bloomsbury

 

 

Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Rinn Jacobs has secrets: One, she’s bipolar. Two, she killed her grandmother.

After a suicide attempt, and now her parents’ separation, Rinn and her mom move from California to the rural Ohio town where her mother grew up. Back on her medications and hoping to stay well, Rinn settles into her new home, undaunted by the fact that the previous owner hanged herself in Rinn’s bedroom. At school, her classmates believe the school pool is haunted by Annaliese, a girl who drowned there. But when a reckless séance goes awry, and terrible things start happening to her new friends—yet not to her—Rinn is determined to find out why she can’t be “touched” by Annaliese…or if Annaliese even exists.

With the help of Nate Brenner, the hunky “farmer boy” she’s rapidly falling for, Rinn devises a dangerous plan to uncover the truth. Soon reality and fantasy meld into one, till Rinn finds it nearly impossible to tell the difference. When a malevolent force threatens the lives of everyone she cares about–not to mention her own–she can’t help wondering: who should she really be afraid of?

Annaliese? Or herself?

 

 

Review:

I was apprehensive about reading this book since I knew the main character was bipolar and I know a few people who are bipolar.  I have also read quite a few books over the years written by, about, or to help people who know those with the condition.  So, needless to say, I am familiar with the illness but yet I was intrigued by the supernatural aspect of the story and how the author was going to blend the main character being bipolar with the seeing of ghosts, without making it cheesy.

I was quite impressed.  The representation of Rinn and how she acts without medication is spot on and not overly embellished, well except for the part about seeing ghosts.  The supernatural aspect aside, Miss Garsee portrayed the inner workings of the mind of someone who is bipolar and how they can think and act in a realistic way.

Now for the supernatural aspect; this part was, as was expected, farfetched, but yet had enough “reality” or at least the possibility of the situation being real, to make this part of the story acceptable.  I really loved the whole Annaliese portion of the story.

The third element was relationships.  There was a bit of a “like” triangle, but the whole relationship part got weird, kind of small town- only a few people to choose from kind of thing.  There were secret relationships, people dating friends ex’s, ect…  There was also a lot of secret keeping between so called friends.  This part of the story is very sad and I am not sure I really liked how things turned out for all of Rinn’s new friends, even Nate was affected, though she was able to help him.  Rinn’s mother was also confusing on the relationship front.  It seemed relationships started, but really just kind of stopped, abruptly.  Rinn’s mom definitely had some issues she needed to work through; she was not a good example for Rinn in any way.

Even though this book was geared toward YA’s in high school, there was strong violence and attempted sex- explicitly described.  Basically Rinn was trying to seduce Nate, but he said no.  I would not want my middle school kid to read some of these scenes; I am not sure I would want my high school student to read most of them.  I would recommend this book for 18 and up, no younger, but that decision is up to you.

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy and also to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read.

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by Kristine Grayson

Published March 1st 2001 by Zebra Contemporary Romance (first published February 1st 2001)

 

 

Summary:

 In Utterly Charming, Kristine Grayson took readers on a delightful romp through a modern fairy tale. Now, she picks up where she left off when a thoroughly modern Sleeping Beauty finds the kiss she’s been waiting for all these years.

Emma Lost can still remember the day she woke up in the back of a VW van after her famous thousand years’ snooze — the one that inspired the Sleeping Beauty myth. Emma knows it’s no fairy tale — she’s the real Sleeping Beauty, trying to hide her magical powers and swearing off kissing strange men for the rest of her life. Of course, most men follow her around like lovesick puppies…except for Michael Found, her gorgeous boss. The rational, logical Mr. Found doesn’t believe her theories about such things as Fates and fairies and magic, and he’s determined to expose her as a fraud. But Emma knows for sure the magic truly does exist, and she’s going to give Michael a lesson he’ll never forget — even if it means breaking her vow of not kissing men.

 

 

Review:

When I requested this book to read as an ARC, I did not realize that it was a continuation of a previous book.  That being said, I was able to read this one pretty easily without having read the first book.  Anytime there was something from the previous book alluded to, the author briefly explained what was going on and what happened in the previous book so that you got the gist of what was going on.  I was not confused at all, which is a good thing.  Reading this book made me want to read the first one, but I am not sure there is a point since it seems like all the high points were covered in this one.

I enjoyed the way Ms. Grayson wrote and I would most definitely read another book by her.  She writes in a very fluid manner and draws the reader into her work.  I was sucked in and wanted to know everything that was happening to the characters.  There was not a ton of character development and I still really would have liked to get to know some of the characters better, but not every book is written that way, and that is not a bad thing.  Thoroughly Kissed is just a nice book that allows the reader to get away from the world and enjoy a little romance without any of the heavy plot that can be in some other books.

Since I am moving out west in less than a month, I loved reading about the places that we will probably drive through.  I have one complaint though; Ms. Grayson was quite rude when she mentioned Sheridan, Wyoming.

“The only place I’d feel comfortable stopping in the middle of the night between here and Billings is Sheridan, and it’s not the friendliest city I’ve ever been to.” Pg. 239 of the ebook.

Now most readers probably just skimmed over it and didn’t think much of the sentence, but I take offence to it.  Sheridan, Wyoming is my new home and we chose to move there specifically because of the hospitality that it offers.  It is a beautiful, friendly city centered in the Big Horn Mountains.  Before Ms. Grayson, or any other author, decides to say hurtful things about a city, maybe actually going there and meeting the people would be a good thing, and if Ms. Grayson did go there and had a bad experience, I don’t think knocking a small town that really is friendly and has many neat experiences (Huge rodeo in July) and a strong history (Buffalo Bill and the Wild West show) to offer visitors, is a good thing to do.  There were other ways she could have gotten the point that it was too long a drive across to readers without mentioning Sheridan, Wyoming in a negative way.

Overall, this is a great romance novel that really didn’t have any bodice ripping.  Now it does have a lot of sexual tension and kissing and sex are a big overlapping theme, but it doesn’t happen in the book, you just know it happens after the book ends.  I would recommend this book to adults only because of the sexual tension and overall theme.

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy.

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by Cindy Spencer Pape

Published June 4th 2012 by Carina Press

 

 

Summary:

 There’s a time and a place for romance: any time, any place!

In honor of our second anniversary, Carina Press brings you a trio of amazing novellas by some of the freshest voices in romance today! A highland laird and an unconventional physician fight monsters and fall in love in Cindy Spencer Pape’s Kilts and Kraken. In Adrienne Giordano’s Negotiating Point, two security operatives try—and fail—to keep their professional distance while working a high-stakes case. And a driven career woman takes a detour to enjoy Slow Summer Kisses in a contemporary story by Shannon Stacey. Three very different tales, three very happy endings.

Edited by Angela James, this anthology includes:

Kilts and Kraken by Cindy Spencer Pape

Negotiating Point by Adrienne Giordano

Slow Summer Kisses by Shannon Stacey

Stories also available for purchase separately.

 

 

Review:

Since this is an anthology I will just be brief.  I really liked the first and third stories.  I was sucked into both of them quickly and did not want to stop reading.  The middle story, Negotiating Point, was ok, but was not memorable for me.  It wasn’t bad, just ok.  It just seemed to be a story that had to have sex in it and there really was no connecting with the characters.

I equally enjoyed Kilts and Kraken and Slow Summer Kisses, even though they are totally different stories.  I know that they are short stories, and there really is no getting to know the characters, but with these two stories, you do connect with the characters.  I wanted to know what was going to happen in their lives.  I was invested as a reader.

I love reading anthologies to find authors that I had not heard of, but enjoyed their short story.  In this anthology I found two new authors, and that is awesome!

I highly encourage those who might be interested to at minimum purchase the two stories I recommended.  They are really good and if you enjoy romances, you will love these.  The third story is worth it if you want a couple hot sex scenes, and don’t really care about the plot, because there really isn’t one at all.

In case you didn’t catch it in my review, there is sex in all three of the stories, they are descriptive scenes, but not overly descriptive.  This book is not appropriate for people under the age of 18, in my opinion.

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy.

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by Krystal Wade
Published May 13th 2012 by Curiosity Quills Press (first published March 12th 2012)

 

 

Summary:

“There is no pain in this death, only peace, knowing I am going to die with the one I love the most.”—Katriona Wilde.

Katriona Wilde has never wondered what it would feel like to have everything she’s ever known and loved ripped away, but she is about to find out. When she inadvertently leads her sister and best friend through a portal into a world she’s dreamed of for six years, she finds herself faced with more than just the frightening creatures in front of her. Kate’s forced to accept a new truth: her entire life has been a lie, and those closest to her have betrayed her. What’s worse, she has no control over her new future, and it’s full of magic and horrors from which nightmares are made. Will Kate discover and learn to control who she really is in time to save the ones she loves, or will all be lost?

 

 

Review:

This is definitely a fantasy novel. The summary of the book explains quite well what the main idea of the story was. I greatly enjoyed this book; it had magic, monsters, a bad guy or bad guys, a prince (sort of), fairy type beings that are good, and a strong female lead.

Wilde’s Fire is a fast paced, action packed novel. I was sucked in and didn’t want to put it down. There is the perfect amount of romance and fighting battles in this book to make me very happy. Though the romance happens much too quickly and I can’t really believe that in 3 weeks two people would be so madly in love with each other, but in the novel Katriona and Arland do.

I thought that this book was going to be another one of those books with the love triangle going on and the flighty girl who can’t make up her mind, but it is not. Now, Katriona does say that she loves her best friend, Brad, but that she does not and never did, love him the way that he loved her. Katriona is and always has been, in love with Arland, even before she met him, because she had had dreams about him for years.

I want to say that there is no actual sex in this book, but there are very close calls and talk of sex. Katriona mentions several times that she and Arland made love in the dreams that she had been having of him for years. Both Katriona and Arland are adults, but not married. It is actually Arland who stops Katriona from seducing him multiple times, even when she strips naked for him, since they are not married yet.

I think the most annoying thing about this book is that there is absolutely no ending, just a major cliff hanger. As you know, if you read my reviews on a regular basis, this is my pet peeve. Anyhow, I would definitely read the next book in this series. I want to see where the author was going and what happens next for everyone.

I would not recommend this book for kids under the age of 18, mostly because of the sex and the fact that Katriona doesn’t care that they are not married, doesn’t even think about marriage really, as a determining factor in her behavior. Obviously, this decision is up to you. The sex is not romance novel descriptive, but the wanton attitude bothers me. I would not put it in a school library or classroom library.

I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy and also to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read.

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Endure (Need #4)

 

 

by Carrie Jones
Published May 8th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books

 

Summary:

It’s all-out war (and no-holds-barred romance) in the climactic conclusion to Carrie Jones’s bestselling series.

Zara is at the center of an impending apocalypse. True, she’s successfully rescued Nick from Valhalla, but it simply isn’t enough. Evil pixies are ravaging Bedford, and they need much more than one great warrior; they need an army. Zara isn’t sure what her role is anymore. She’s not just fighting for her friends; she’s also a pixie queen. And to align her team of pixies with the humans she loves will be one of her greatest battles yet. Especially since she can’t even reconcile her growing feelings for her pixie king . . .

Unexpected turns, surprising revelations, and one utterly satisfying romantic finale make Endure a thrilling end to this series of bestsellers.

 

Review:

I have read this series from the beginning and found this book to be a pretty good ending to the series. Things are tied together and there is closure to the story. As with any series, there is always room to write more if the author so desired, but the Pixie war is over and there is a nice tidy ending. I am not going to tell you what happened in the book, or who Zara ends up with, but I am going to say that Endure kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I was hooked from the beginning.

This final installment is fast paced and if you blink, you will most definitely miss something important. There were parts of this book that made me laugh, and quite a few that made me cry, there were even more that made me sigh like a teenager in love, which I am far from being at my age. (Though I am very much in love, so I love stories with romance in them!) All of the characters in this series are likable, and even though at times the reader is upset with them, everything ends up good in the end, so that should make readers happy.

You DO need to have read the rest of the series to understand this book, as any good author who wants faithful readers of her series, Ms. Jones does not fill in many of the blanks in the story or repeat things from previous books over and over again, which is one of the most annoying things a series author can do. I actually had to brush up on the previous books since it had been a while since I read them and couldn’t exactly remember how the last one ended.

Endure, is a rather quick read, I couldn’t sleep last night and read the whole thing before falling asleep at 2:00 am. I then got up this morning and read the “4 months later” part again because I wanted a few questions answered that were not explained well by the ending. I think I have a good grasp on how Ms. Jones wanted the ending to go. No, I am not writing it here, but it makes me happy that Zara is still a pixie in the end.

This book is appropriate for 7th grade and up (adults included). There is no sex or compromising situations. There is a lot of violence since the characters are fighting a war. This book, as well as the series, would probably appeal to girls more than boys since the main character is a girl and there is quite a bit of romance in it.

I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy and also to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read.

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Hollyweird

 

 

by Terri Clark
Expected publication: May 8th 2012 by Flux Books

 

Summary:

Aly King is about to fall for the fallen

My best friend, Des, and I totally freaked when we won the contest to meet THE Dakota Danvers in Hollywood. But now we’re finding out he’s SO not the angel everyone believes him to be. In fact, Dakota is the son of Satan, wreaking havoc on Hollywood and creating an evil army hellbent on world domination.

Lucky for us, Dakota’s super-cute personal assistant, Jameson, is a fallen angel trying to get his wings back, and he’s working undercover to squash his demon boss’s plan. If Jameson hadn’t taken me under his wing I’d be in serious trouble, because I’m a total newb when it comes to conquering evil. But, truth be told, that sexy angel’s got me all aflutter and may be one temptation I can’t resist.

 

Review:

I enjoyed this book. It is a quick, light read. I read it in less than a day while we were sitting in our hotel room in-between doing things on our vacation. This story takes place in modern times and really does a good job of capturing the way tweens act about their favorite actors. Unfortunately, the author sometimes seems to try too hard to sound “young” using often outdated slang. That aspect is a bit annoying, as is the Des’ propensity for making up slang words that sometimes took me longer to understand than necessary. Note: If you need to explain what the meaning of the “new” word is, it is not effective and also not necessary.

Overall, this is a cute story and I will read the next in the series, if there is one. Though it may seem religious, it is not biblically based at all. The characters do quote the bible, using real passages, but the angel in the story is actually a boy who died, raised “hell” in heaven, and was booted back down to earth to try to get his wings. Not a biblically sound version of angels at all. With all that said, it is a very clean book and does not have any sex or swearing in it, which is great for a YA book.

There is some violence; this is due to some fighting, but nothing gory or disturbing. Basically this is a story about good vs. evil, and not just a bad person but literally the son of Satan himself. The characters are likable, except Dakota, but he is not supposed to be. There is minimal character development in this story. The reader does not get to know much about the character beyond superficial details.

There is a bit of romance mixed in with the evil butt kicking between Aly and Jameson. They make a cute couple and both are trying to follow the rules so that Jameson can get his wings back, even though they have fallen for each other. There is a bit of other paranormals introduced in this story, and the ending is open so you never know what the author might do if she were to write another book, but it really isn’t necessary since you do have closure to this plot and a happy ending.

I highly recommend this book to kids in middle school (6th grade) and up. Adults might find this book a fun, quick read as well, but it is more of a kids book than other YA books I have read. This book would be perfectly fine for a teacher or parent to recommend to their kids, unless someone is anti-angels, but since this really isn’t a Christian book, I wouldn’t see it as a problem.

Again, there is no sex, swearing, and minimal violence. Basically the violence is the good guys fighting the evil bad guy and his minions, trying to save the world.

I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy and also to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read.

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by Michelle Zink

Expected publication: March 20th 2012 by Dial Books for Young Readers

Summary:

 Even angels make mistakes in this page-turning epic romance…

When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world’s past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.

Michelle Zink masterfully weaves historical fantasy with paranormal romance to create a gripping tale of love and betrayal.

Review:

When I was about 75 pages in; the book was moving, but it was a bit confusing.  There were quite a few characters to remember and there had been a few events that didn’t really make sense yet.  I was hoping that the story picked up and that I would enjoy the book in the end and I did.  This is yet another take on Angels and their role in the world.  It is not religious really, not like other Angel books I have read, but the concept of Angels as warriors is biblical.

Though the story was muddled and confusing in the beginning, after a couple more events, things started to make more sense and the book became more enjoyable.  There is both action and romance in this book. Like many other books, the heroine is torn between two guys, one is good and kind, the other has done many bad things, but stopped because he loved her.  At least in this novel, Helen makes a choice.  No, I am not going to tell you who or what happens, that is for you to find out when you read the book.

This book is a paranormal, historical romance.  Yes, sounds confusing, but believe me, it’s not.  Basically the story is set in like the Victorian period, but the rest of the story is a paranormal romance, it just takes place in a different time period.

I enjoyed the character development and would like to see more of these characters, though I have not been able to find if there will be more, or if this is a standalone novel.  There is an ending of sorts to this book, enough that you are left feeling happy and contented, but there is still enough openness that more could be written.  There are not many open questions at the end, which is a good thing in my opinion.  It bugs me when books are totally left hanging, like the author wasn’t sure where the story was going to go and so they stopped at a point, published the book, and decided after sales whether to write more.

Positives:

    • It has an ending. Helen actually makes decisions.
    • The characters are pretty developed, but there is enough left unknown that more novels could be written.
    • After a confusing start, it is fast paced.
    • There is romance.
    • Helen is a good role model; she is strong, independent, caring, understanding, compassionate, and brave.
    • There is no sex.
    • It is a longer book, and a lot happens.
    • There is a pretty tidy ending, but everything bad that happened in the story does not get fixed.  I hate too perfect of endings, kind of annoying.

Negatives:

    • Could have seen more development in the male characters, maybe a book in their POV would be helpful.
    • Stereotypical love triangle, but that is not the worst thing.
    • No development of the “bad” characters, except Raum, at all.  There are quite a few unanswered questions there.
    • Helen puts herself in “damsel in distress” situations throughout the book, doing things that make you want to scream, no!  What are you thinking, stop!
    • The male characters are very typical, one dark, brooding, and moody; the other literally a golden boy.  I am not sure there is a better way to write male characters, so it doesn’t kill the story for me.

Overall, this was an enjoyable, lighthearted read.  About 2/3 of the way in I was so hooked, I had to force myself to go to bed.  I then picked up the book as soon as my husband’s alarm went off and promptly ignored everything, but breakfast, until I finished the book.  In my opinion, that is a good story.  If it makes me want to do nothing else but finish it, I enjoyed it.  I would read a sequel to this story, if the author wrote one.

I received an ARC of this story, but I am not paid to write reviews.  I do so in order for you to have a better understanding of what your children are reading and so that teachers can recommend appropriate books.  I would recommend this story for girls grades 7 through adult, I don’t think a boy would be as engrossed with this story.

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