Monday, September 29, 2014

Turn Up the Heat by Kimberly Kincaid

Turn Up the Heat by Kimberly Kincaid
Series:  Pine Mountain #1
Kensington Books
Publication Date:  March 25, 2014
Date Read:  September 28, 2014

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

4 Stars!

This book had me at 1969 Mustang Mach 1.   I admit it I am a Mustang lover.  I bought my first Mustang almost 10 years ago during what my husband fondly refers to as my midlife crisis years (although I seriously hope that was not the middle of my life....I am nowhere near halfway done yet).   Then a very sad thing happened several years ago and the big nasty hailstorm beat it up so badly that my insurance totaled it - I cried real tears and I am still very sad about the whole thing.  The saddest part was that I was now stuck driving.....the dreaded minivan.  I complained and pitched a fit for a little more than 2 years until I finally wore my husband down until he told me I should get another Mustang (and maybe another midlife crisis - who knows).  This book had its very own Mustang love story!  There was even a little bit of lovin' going on inside of the Mustang if you know what I mean.  How could I not love this book?

This book was a solid 4 star mind candy kind of book perfect for a lazy afternoon.  I found the pages quickly flying by and before I knew it I had read this book in less than 24 hours.   The book was not perfect and did have a couple of problems but it ended up being a nice light read.  I am going to be perfectly honest and admit that this is not a book that I over analyzed.  This is simply the kind of book that one reads simply to enjoy.

Bellamy finds out that her newscaster boyfriend is moving away when he announces it on live TV.  She does not even see the announcement but finds out about it when her two best friends, Holly and Jenna, call her on two different phones.  She decides to go away from everything with her friends in Pine Mountain for the weekend.  Unfortunately, her car decides not to make the entire trip so she ends up at the local garage at Shane's mercy.  

With her car at the garage, she tries to enjoy her weekend with her friends.  Bellamy ends up at the same bar that Shane is at with his friend.  They are drawn to each other and have a few more encounters.  Bellamy is also dealing with the boss from hell, also known as Bosszilla, and is under a lot of stress.  When Shane calls to let her know that her car is going to take longer than expected, she drives straight there to talk to him and ends up snowed in after the roads close.

I liked each of the main characters in the book to a point.  Bellamy was a little quick to judge Shane.  To be honest, I did not think his big secret was so bad.  I think they needed to talk about things not call it quits.  Shane was also too quick to judge and his declaration that he would never set foot in the city was just plain silly.  In many ways, I thought that these two character were too much alike but they did work well together.  I thought the chemistry between the pair was good.  

I would recommend this book to fans of light contemporary romance.  This is the first book by Kimberly Kincaid that I have had the chance to read but I plan to check out others in the future. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I Am the Mission by Allen Zadoff

I Am the Mission by Allen Zadoff
Series:  The Unknown Assassin #2
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  June 17, 2014
Date Read:  September 20, 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 was a little afraid of this book so I waited a long time to read it.  You may be wondering how any sane person could be afraid to read a book but I really was (and my sanity is often questionable).  I was afraid of this book because I have been let down by follow up books in several other series and I did not want this wonderful character to be tainted in my mind.  This book turns out to be a great follow up to  I Am the Weapon, although not quite as good.

The main character goes by Daniel in this book and The Program is no longer sure if they should trust him after the events in the first book.  After proving himself, he is sent on a mission.  Things do not go as plan and Daniel finds himself spending time at a military style camp for teens led by Eugene Moore.  Daniel must figure out what to do with no input from The Program despite his attempts to contact them.  

When Daniel becomes desperate for outside help, he turns to his friend Howard.  It was wonderful to see Howard in this book as his character is so likeable and interesting.  We also learn more about The Program and Daniel's past which I can't wait to watch Allen Zadoff build on in subsequent novels in this series. 

There are so many things that I like about this book.  I like that this is teen book that does not revolve around a romance even though there is a romantic element it is not the center of the book.  I love that this is a smartly written teen book with lots of action that should appeal to a wide range of fans.  Unfortunately, I did not think this book was quite as good as the first one largely because it took a while for the story to build in this book but before long I was completely pulled in and could not wait to see how things would unfold.  

I would recommend this book to others but I would suggest that readers start with the first book if they are new to the series.  I think that the background information about Daniel and the The Program from the first book makes this book much easier to follow and enjoy.  I definitely plan to continue to read works by Allen Zadoff including future books in this series. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Vault of Sins by Sarah Harian

A Vault of Sins by Sarah Harian
Series: Chaos Theory #2
Penguin Group
Publication Date:  September 23, 2014
Date Read:  September 21, 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 have to admit that I am a little torn about this rating.  Overall I liked it and read it in less than 24 hours BUT I think it had a few problems.  This book is the second book in the Chaos Theory series and this is a series that you really need to read in order.  I honestly do not think that anyone would enjoy this book without having first read The Wicked We Have Done.  I really try to rate book simply on my enjoyment without over analyzing anything.  I went with a 4 star rating because I feel that the good in this book outweighs the not so good.


The Good

I absolutely loved the sexual tension between Casey and Evalyn in this book.  Heck, I felt frustrated right along with Evalyn.  I think that this section of the book really cemented their relationship and feelings for each at least in my mind.  I felt for Casey during his reunion with Evalyn at the end of the story.  I also liked that we got to see Evalyn struggle through this situation.  She does not handle everything well and we see her turn to alcohol and shut everyone out in order to cope.  The friendship between Valerie and Evalyn seemed very genuine as well.


The Not So Good

Haven't I read this somewhere before?  What book series is it where the final participants escape the test only to be returned during the second book?  Oh yeah, and of course the male lead wants to accompany the female lead.  Many parts of this book are quite different but there is more overlap than I would have liked to have seen.  This really was my main issue with this book.  I did also think that the book sometimes jumped from one section to the next.  I would have liked to see the flow of the book be much smoother. 

I would recommend this book to those that enjoyed the first novel in the series.  I plan to continue reading Sarah Harian's work including the rest of the series. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Never Marry a Viscount by Anne Stuart

Never Marry a Viscount by Anne Stuart
Series:  Scandal at the House of Russell #3
Montlake Romance
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Date Read: September 14, 2014

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

4 Stars!

This book was so much fun to read!  I had a fantastic time reading it and found the dialog to be amusing.   I had a grin planted on my face during much of the book.  This is actually the book that I decided to read during a road trip and I think perfect book to make the miles disappear.

This is the first book that I have had a chance to read by Anne Stuart, although I think I have read at least one of her short stories.  This is the third book in the Scandal of the House of Russell trilogy and I did not feel lost even for a brief moment.  This story reads remarkably well as a stand alone novel even though I am sure that the conclusion of this book ties up a few loose ends from the first two books.  

Sophie finds herself displaced when her former nanny is injured and can no longer provide a place for Sophie to stay.  Rather than looking for her older sisters, she decides to go to her former home and pose as the new cook.  Alexander believes that she is actually the mistress that he has hired.  The conversations between the pair are simply delightful to read with double entendres galore. 
This book had a wonderful cast of characters including the butler and kitchen staff who watch out for Sophie, Alexander's step-mother from hell, and Sophie's sisters and their husbands.  All of these pieces add to this wonderful story.   I really enjoyed the fact that Sophie was not afraid of hard work and she proved that when necessary she could take care of herself. 

I would recommend this book to other readers who enjoy historical romances.  I plan to read other works from this author in the future and simply can't believe that I have missed her work prior to this book. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
Mulholland Books
Publication Date:  September 16, 2014
Date Read:  September 6, 2014

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

2.5 Stars

I really think that this is one of those books that will either click in the readers mind....or not.  I wanted to love this book.  I saw so many good reviews for this book, many that said that this book was scary, before I sat down to read this novel.  I wanted to love this book just as much as all of those readers.  I wanted scary.....a lot.  This book is not scary....not even a little bit scary. 

This story is told from multiple points of view.   Unfortunately, I did not connect with any of the points of view.  I honestly believe that the number of voices in this book took away from the story.  This book also had quite a few sub plots which I felt were distracting and unnecessary.   I kept waiting for everything to pull together which it did for the most part towards the end of the book.  The book took a strange paranormal turn at the end which was never explained and simply fell flat. 

This book does have some positive points.  I was completely drawn into the murder of the boy at the beginning of the book.  I mean a dead boy fused with part of a dead unique is that.  I was ready for more but that was really the peak of the mystery for me.   This was not a hard book for me to read in any way but I just never felt drawn to the story.

I would not recommend this book to others.  There are plenty of people already doing that and I am going to go against the crowd on this one.  This is the first book that I have read by Lauren Beukes and I would be open to trying one of her other novels some time in the future.  Maybe one of her other books will click for me.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Series:  The Legion #1
Publication Date:  October 1, 2013
Date Read:  September 7, 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

Wow!  This book was so much better than I expected it to be.  I am not really sure quite what I expected but I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  The book opened with a bang and the action just never stopped.  This was a quick, easy read that ended up being loads of fun.

Kennedy is an average 17 year old girl.  She finds herself chasing her cat, Elvis, after he escaped from the house.  Her cat leads her into a nearby cemetery where she see a girl.  She quickly realizes that this girl may be a ghost.  She pushes the thought aside and continues on with her normal life.  Unfortunately, her life changes dramatically and she must deal with her new reality.

She finds herself joining a group, the Legion, which consists of Lukas, Jared, Priest, and Alana.  Each member of the Legion is new to their position being appointed after a family member died.  Each of the preceding members died on the same night as Kennedy's mother.  Kennedy's mother has never mentioned anything about the Legion and she lacks the training that the other members have had years to acquire.  The group works together to solve a puzzle battling ghosts along the way.  Kennedy quickly proves to be an asset to the group despite her lack of training. 

This book was not any kind of great literature, but it was fun.  For the most part I liked the characters,  although I must admit I wanted to smack Kennedy every once in a while.  There was  a small bit of romance which I really wish had just been left out.  Nobody needs another teen love triangle, especially one involving hot twins.

The pacing of the book was wonderful with lots of action.  The writing flowed throughout the book.  I found that I was completely engaged in this book while reading.  I actually read the book completely within a single day and I did not spend the entire day reading.

I would recommend this book to others.  This is a young adult novel and I would feel completely comfortable with my 14 reading this story.  This is the first book by Kami Garcia that I have had a chance to read.  I do plan to continue with this series and to read other works by this author. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
Penguin Group
Series:  Kate Daniels #7
Publication Date:  July 29, 2014
Date Read:  August 30, 2014

4.5 Stars!

I should start this review by saying that I love Ilona Andrews.  I love the world that she has created in this series of books.  I love the way that she writes her characters with just the right blend of toughness, humor, loyalty, and compassion.  I simply love Kate.  In fact,  I may want to be Kate just a little bit.  Part of the reason that I wish I were Kate is Curran.  I love love love Curran.  Curran is one of my favorite characters that I have met within the pages of a book.

While I try to give every book I read an unbiased review,  I think that it is only fair to fully explain that I start every Ilona Andrews book with the assumption that it is going to be completely awesome.  Every minute that I get to spend in this world is something that I look forward to every year. 

This book was really good but not perfect.  There were some things that I loved, some that I liked, and some that made me wish they were a little bit different.  I really missed Curran during the first part of the book.  After the initial interaction between Kate and Curran in the beginning of the book, Curran is gone during a large chunk of the action.  Did I mention how much I love Curran?  I wanted Curran to be present for the action in the book because he is one of my favorite action heroes.  I am not sure that I like all of the changes that Kate has had to her personality.  The section of the book where she is waiting for Curran to save her seemed a bit unlike Kate.  The Kate I used to know would have tried to figure our a way to save herself. 

Photo from Ilona Andrew's website

I actually really liked some of the pack politics played out in this book.  One of the great things about this series is that the characters actually talk to each other and tell each other what they are feeling.  Doolittle talked to Kate.  Kate talked to Jennifer and Robert talked to Kate.  They told each other things that needed to be said even if it was not what the other person wanted to hear.  I applaud Ilona for making Kate and Curran a couple that is exciting to watch even in the books since they became a couple.  The spark between the pair is still evident. 

I would definitely recommend this and any book book written by Ilona Andrews.  This book is part of a series that really needs to be read in order so I would recommend that readers start with book one Magic Bites

Monday, September 1, 2014

Right Kind of Wrong by Chelsea Fine

Right Kind of Wrong by Chelsea Fine
Forever Grand Central Publishing
Series:  Finding Fate #3
Publication Date:  September 2, 2014
Date Read:  August 31, 2014

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Forever Grand Central Publishing and Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

4.5 Stars 

I guess it is official....I love Chelsea Fine's writing.  I have had the chance to read exactly 3 books written by Chelsea Fine and have enjoyed each and everyone of them.  I literally consumed this book.  I ended up reading the whole book in a single day.  I had a lot of fun with this quick, easy read.

This book is the third book in the Finding Fate series but it could very easily be read as a stand alone novel.  This book focuses on Jenna and Jack.  We first met Jenna in Best Kind of Broken.  She became best friends with Pixie in college, where they are roommates.  Jenna and Jack are friends who met through working at the local bar.  They are both drawn to each other and have acted on that one time but have never talked about it.  Jenna is determined to not get herself involved in any kind of relationship.  

When Jenna's mom calls to tell her that her grandmother thinks that the end may be coming (which she apparently does every year or two), she decides a road trip home to New Orleans is in order.  It just so happens that Jack is from a small town near New Orleans and his family is in the middle of a crisis.  One thing leads to another, and the pair are off on a road trip together.  During the road trip, they learn quite a bit about each other and their feeling for one another.  

Without question, Jack made this story.  His character was loving, funny, and fierce when needed.  He was not afraid to say what he felt and he was willing to risk everything for his family.  I found that I liked Jenna but wanted to smack her a few times.  She was so hung up on her master plan that she refused to see what was right in front of her.  The chemistry between the characters was amazing.  I actually felt that they needed to be together.  

I would definitely recommend this book to others.  Chelsea Fine's writing is well thought out with a plot that keeps the reader engaged in the story.  I plan to continue reading this series and hope to read other works by this author.
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