Monday, August 25, 2014

Not Quite Dead by Sela Carsen

Not Quite Dead by Sela Carsen
Mondarbre Press
Publication Date:  July 9, 2014
Date Read:  August 25, 2014

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Mondarbre Press via Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

2.5 Stars

To sum this story up with one word...silly.  To be perfectly honest, I expected it to be silly.  I mean I knew going in that this was a story about someone coming back from the dead.  Notice the title of the story....Not Quite Dead.   I was looking for a fun read with maybe a sexy vampire or sexy zombie....wait can zombies be sexy? 

Ok, scratch the sexy zombie idea
I did not get any zombies in this story but I did get a vampire.  He was not the main character or anything but at least this story is set in a world where vampires exist. 

This story was short at about 70 pages so it can easily be read in a single sitting.  According to Goodreads, this novella was originally published in 2006 so this edition is a re-release.  Sabine is at the graveyard with her cousin and her cousin's friends who are trying to raise the dead at the local graveyard.  Willem, who has been dead about 100 years, finds himself with a chance to avenge his murder.  He goes to his former home where Sabine lives.  Sabine plays hostess to the formally dead Willem, preparing his shower and cooking for him.  This seemed a bit over the top silly to me.  Why would she let a stranger into her home, especially someone that has been dead for the past 100 years?  This setting seems more like the start of a horror film than a paranormal romance to me. 

The pair work together to avenge Willem's death while becoming increasingly attracted to each other.  They even hit the local sonic for a milkshake while they try to figure everything out.
This was another over the top silly moment for me.  Who takes a man who has just risen from his grave to avenge his death to the local Sonic?  The fact that Sabine is a teacher at the local school and her students are hanging out at this Sonic makes it even sillier.

I had a hard time coming up with a rating for this story.  I usually just rate book based on how much I like a story.  I did not hate this story but I did not love it either.  I kept thinking either a 2 or 3 so I am going with a 2.5 rounded up to 3.  It was short so the extreme silliness did not bother me too much.  If this level of silliness was in a novel length story, I do not think I would be so forgiving.

This is not a story that I would actively recommend to anyone.  If you think that this is your cup of tea, then I would say go for it....but do not plan on anything life changing to happen as a result.  I have actually never read any other works by Sela Carsen.  I would be open to trying another story from this author at some point in the future.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Exchange of Fire by P. A. DePaul

Exchange of Fire by P. A. DePaul
Penguin Group
Series:  SBG #1
Publication Date:  August 19, 2014
Date Read:  August 24, 2014

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Penguin Group via Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

4 Stars!

I am really surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this book!  To be honest, I am not sure why I grabbed it off of Net Galley.  I think I was actually on vacation when I did and let's just say I am sometimes a bit impulsive when I am near a beach and leave it at that.  Anyway when I returned home from my vacation, my clicky finger had lined up several new books for me to read and review which is a much better problem to have than when the same finger tried to grab a jellyfish out of the ocean (I told you I can be impulsive near beaches!).

Everything worked out because I really liked this book!  It had just the right blend of mystery, likeable characters, and chemistry between the main characters to really draw me into the story.  This book is the beginning of a new series and I think that the author did a fantastic job of laying the groundwork for future books.  I really liked the supporting characters in this book and can't wait to read their story.

Sandra has a bad experience while working with her mercenary team.  In order to step away from SBG, she becomes a shade when she fakes her own death.  She starts a new life working at an amusement center that is owned by Casper Grady, a former marine.  Soon, others become aware that Sandra may still be among the living and she tries to leave but Grady is determined to help her.  

The pair are soon joined by Sandra's former team and the knowledge of her past may be too much for Grady.  Sandra, Grady, and the rest of her team must eventually work together to keep the little town in the mountains safe.  The supporting characters were phenomenal.  Cappy, Talon, Romeo, and Magician stole the show during parts of the book.

The chemistry between Sandra and Grady was wonderful.  My main problem is that they spent a large chunk of the book apart from each other.  I really did not like the Sandra we saw while they were apart very much....she just sat there and cried constantly it seemed.  I liked the Grady we saw with Sandra better than the one lying on his couch thinking about her.  The fact that Grady was so determined to help Sandra but once he heard her story he storms off seemed a bit contradictory.

I felt that this book was well written despite a few issues and I look forward to reading future works in this series.  This is the first book by P. A. DePaul that I have had a chance to read but I don't think it will be my last.  I would recommend this book to fans of romantic suspense.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lucky Day by Barry Lyga

Lucky Day by Barry Lyga
Hachette Book Group
Series:  Jasper Dent #0.1
Publication Date:  April 1, 2014
Date Read:  August 15, 2014

2.5 Stars

Every once in a while, you read a story that makes you wonder what the point was when it is over.  This story was not bad but it was not good either.  It was in a word....pointless. 

To be honest, I am feeling a little sad about this.  I have read the first two books in this series and was looking forward to reading about how G. William was able to catch Jazz's dad, Billy Dent.  Let me warn you now....there is not a lot of detective work going on in this novella.  This novella instead focuses on G. William's personal struggles more than the mystery. 

This story was not at all what I have come to expect from Barry Lyga.  The psychological aspect was absent in piece.  I have really grown to like the characters in this series but after reading this story, I think I actually like G. William a little less. 

I really can not recommend this novella to anyone except maybe the most die hard Jasper Dent fan.  I do plan to read future works from Barry Lyga, but I think I will most likely skip the novellas and focus on his books. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Crave the Night by Lara Adrian

Crave the Night by Lara Adrian
Random House Publishing Group
Series:  Midnight Breed #12
Publication Date:  August 5, 2014
Date Read:  August 14, 2014

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group via Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

4 Stars

I did it again.  I am one of those people who like to do things in the proper order.  I like to follow the rules and do what I am supposed to be doing.  So why do I keep jumping around instead of reading a series in the proper order?  To be honest, I already know this answer.  The problem is that I tend to overestimate what I am going to accomplish when I request books.  When I requested this book, I remember thinking that I would read the entire series leading up to this book.  Obviously, things did not quite work that way.  

My 4 star rating is based completely on the fact that I enjoyed this book.  It was one of those books that I liked a lot but I did not feel compelled to stay up all night to finish it.  I have read books #1 and #2 in this series and I really liked them so I had a good idea what to expect with this book.  Since I was able to skip books #3 through #11 and follow this story, I do think this book could be read apart from the series.  Of course,  I do realize that I probably missed a few things because I skipped so much of the series so it is probably best to read the series in order if you can. 

The focus of this book is Nathan and Jordana.  Nathan is a Breed Warrior who was trained to be a hunter.  Jordana is a Breedmate who was adopted and raised by her father, a Breed male.  The pair are very aware of each other at the start of the story and have shared a kiss before the events in this book.  The attraction between the pair is intense.  Jordana is promised to marry a prominent Breed male but the spark she should feel is simply not there.  

Nathan finds himself drawn to Jordana and immensely protective of her.  The pair fall into insta-love and have their fair share of steamy scenes.  When Jordana finds herself in danger, Nathan will risk everything to save her.

The plot in this book was somewhat predictable.  Troubled man sees smoking hot woman across the room, man falls in love with woman, they run into trouble because they fail to communicate, woman finds herself in trouble, man saves woman.  We have all read something along those lines at some point.  This book was simply fun for me.  The chemistry between the pair was wonderfully written.  This is a book that most people are going to pick up simply because they are looking for something fun to read and it delivers.  To be honest, I really did not make any attempt to over analyze this book and just had fun with it and I am really glad that I did.  

I would recommend this book to others.  Lara Adrian has written a wonderful, sexy story in this book.  I do still plan to read the whole order at some point.  I seriously wonder how much that may affect my enjoyment of this book. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Game by Barry Lyga

Game by Barry Lyga
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  April 16, 2013
Date Read:  August 9, 2014

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers via Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

4 Stars

I must admit that I am a bit conflicted regarding rating this book.  I ended up deciding on my rating based on these points:

Did I enjoy the process of reading this book?   I did enjoy reading this book.  I liked the characters, the mystery was complex, and there where moments that I could not wait to see what happened next.

Did I enjoy this book as much as the first book in the series?  I liked I Hunt Killers a lot.  I enjoyed this book but not nearly as much.  This book read much more like an adult mystery and lacked the intensity of the psychological aspects of the first book.

Did this book tell a complete story?  NOOO!  And I am really not happy about it!  When I finished this book, I told my family that the book did not end it just stopped.  I am not a fan of cliffhangers.  I do enjoy reading a lot of series and I expect there to be some unresolved issues that will be picked up in the next book but I expect to see some resolution to the basic story in a book.  This is really the reason that I am conflicted in terms of rating this book. 

Will I continue to read this series? Yes.  I feel like I at least need to read the next one simply to find out what happens.  If the next book in the series ends without any resolution, I may not continue beyond

I ended up going with a rating of 4 because while I HATED the cliffhanger ending, I enjoyed reading the book.  The cliffhanger in this book makes me a little upset that I was approved for galley copies of the first and second book in the series but not the third.  What is going on with that? 

Jazz is asked to go to New York to offer some insight into the Dog Hat killer by Detective Hughes.  After looking over all of the files and visiting the crime scenes, Jazz does have a few ideas.  It turns out that Detective Hughes acted alone in bringing Jazz to New York and he is quickly sent back to Lobo's Nod.  Everything changes when the Hat Dog killer leaves a message directly for Jazz.  Jazz soon begins to wonder if his father, who escaped from prison in the last book, may be involved in the murders.  Meanwhile, Connie is receiving some strange messages that may put her in danger.

All of the characters that I liked from the first book were back for this second book in the series.  While Howie plays an important part in this book,  I miss the interactions between Jazz in Howie in this book because they are apart for much of the story.  Jazz still worries that he may not be exactly normal but his internal dialog did not shine quite as much for me in this book as it did in the first.

I would recommend this book to others but only with a warning that it ends without any resolution.  The next book in the series is being released soon so at least I will not have to wait to long to find out what happens to everyone.  I think this book would be best suited for adults and older teen audiences.  There is a lot of description of the crimes that may be too much for some younger teens.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Flight From Hell by Yasmine Galenorn

Flight From Hell by Yasmine Galenorn
Penguin Group
Publication Date:  August 19, 2014
Date Read:  August 3, 2014

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Penguin Group and Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

3.5 Stars

I should know better by now.  I mean seriously I am not dumb but I can not tell you why I keep grabbing books and novellas that are deep in series without reading any other books in the series.  I am not sure that I will ever learn.  I am positive that readers who know this series will like this novella quite a lot.  I, on the other hand, knowing nothing of the world and nothing of the characters found myself having a hard time keeping up at the beginning.  To be fair to myself though, I did think that since this is the start of a spin off series I would be OK to jump in here.  

Once I had the characters and the world figured out, I liked the story and the writing quite a lot actually.  This story is the starting part of the Fly By Night Investigations Series.  Once the characters from the Fly by Night Investigations Agency were introduced and became a part of the story things started to click for me.  Menolly and the rest of the D'Artigo sisters are working to find Shimmer, a blue dragon.  After talking to Alex, the owner of Fly By Night Investigations, the group realizes that more may be going on than they had first thought.  Alex has a long standing enemy who is using Shimmer to seek his revenge.  

I really enjoyed this story after the new characters were introduced and the rescue mission was in full force.  I wanted to read this story because this is my kind of story....dragons, demons, vampires and I am all over it.  I also like to sample an author's writing in a novella.  My only real issue was being a bit confused at the beginning but that was completely my fault for jumping in at book #15.5 in the series.  I like how this story was written and would like to read other works by Yasmine Galenorn. 

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  April 3, 2012
Date Read:  August 7, 2014

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

4.5 Stars

Every once in awhile, I am surprised by a book.  This book was a happy surprise for me.  A Young Adult novel that turns out to be a psychological thriller?  Who would have thought it was possible?  I found this book to be darker than any book I have read in a long time.  I guess Barry Lyga did not get the memo about Young Adult novels needing to be focused on a silly love triangle.   Thank you, Barry Lyga, for missing that memo!

Jazz is the son of Billy Dent, a serial killer that has killed over 100 people.  Jazz grew up with his father sharing his "work" with him until he was caught 4 years ago by the local sheriff, G. William Tanner.  Jazz lives as normal of a life as you would expect for the son of a serial killer who watched his father "work" for 13 years and now must live with his crazy grandmother.  His grandmother is not crazy in a fun way either.  He is best friends with Howie, who happens to suffer from Hemophilia, and has a girlfriend named Connie.

Jazz knows how the mind of a serial killer works and when a murder occurs in Lobo's Nod, Jazz is certain that it is the work of a serial killer.  Since the sheriff will not listen to him, he enlists Howie's help to do a little detective work on his own.  Unfortunately, Jazz is right and the sheriff lets Jazz help with the investigation.  Before long, they discover that this killer is following the same pattern that Jazz's father used. 

I had hoped for a good mystery when I started reading this book and I got one.  I did not expect to be so intrigued by the inner thought of Jazz.  It seems he remembers many of the things his father taught him but he has also blocked out quite a few.  The psychological aspect of this book was phenomenal.  Aren't we all a little afraid of turning out to be just like our parents as teens?  What if your parent was a serial killer?  Jazz struggles with his thoughts as he wonders if he is like his father.  The memories and nightmares that Jazz has are truly frightening.   I seriously wonder what I will be thinking the next time I need to cut up a chicken.

 I would highly recommend this book to others.  Adults and older teens who enjoy a story beyond the basic love triangle will enjoy this book.  It may a bit dark for some younger teens depending on the individual.  I plan to read future works by Barry Lyga and plan to continue with this series.  I hope that the next book in the series is as good as this first installment.

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