Sunday, January 26, 2014

Review - Allegiant by Veronica Roth

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Well, I was sad to get to the last book in the series. Allegiant by Veronica Roth did not disappoint me. Well, at least not in a "Well, that book sucked" kind of way.

In this last installment, Tris, Tobias and Co. have ventured outside of the fence line in search of the truth behind the truth they'd been slapped in the face with. They come face to face with the fact that everything they thought they knew has been more or less a lie. They've been pawns in some kind of experiment in realizing genetic purity.

They think they've broken out of the prison of the war between the factions and the factionless yet they've ended up in a situation far too similar to what they'd been trying to leave behind. Tobias is losing himself in his attempt to gain control of himself, and Tris - the ever skeptical of ANY situation - is just trying to find out the nuts and bolts of it all.

The story is told from two different perspectives. Which is fantastic, I love being able to see in to the mind of both Tris AND Tobias... but sometimes I forgot who I was reading and had to flip back to the beginning of the chapter to see who it was. Minor snafus, that's all.

I miss Tobias. The Tobias that I met back in book one when he was Four. The strong, somewhat silent but definitely strong Dauntless instructor. I can definitely understand why he has unraveled and become what he has, but it's just so sad. He's a shell of the person he used to be. But he has the small hope that after everything is over, he finally gets to be with Tris. No wars... no government take-overs...

Tris has gone from being unsure of herself, to being completely suicidal, to being steadfast and sure of herself, no matter what the outcome of any given situation. She doesn't define herself by the labels placed on her by anyone and doesn't pay any attention to them when they concern anyone else either. I really liked her this book. After her Katniss-meltdown in book two she really pulled herself back together.

Allegiant is still a relatively new book, so I can't say much (I know, I've said that in all three reviews, but I don't want to spoil anything for anyone). But this book just completely crushed me. Like in the movie Titanic when Jack and Rose make it through being handcuffed, shot at, stuck on steerage deck, going down with the ship... just for Jack to freeze to death waiting for rescue in the water. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel... but the light ends up being a train.

Yeah, that's kind of how it felt. Like a giant train comes out of nowhere and just completely ran me down.

I don't know if this is the type of book that you can LIKE, per se... It was definitely a good book. But it just broke my heart. For days after I finished it I couldn't pick up another book because I just didn't know what I could possibly read after that.

If you've read Divergent and Insurgent, then you have to read Allegiant. You just have to. But be prepared for the kick in the gut that it's going to give you.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Cover Reveal - Burn Me by Shelley Watters

Burn Me
By Shelley Watters
An Adult Contemporary Romance
Releasing April 29, 2014
Published by Swoon Romance

After her twin brother dies in a house fire, firefighter Katrina Hale is determined to prove she’s stronger than the flames. But while her focus on her career leaves little room in her life for romance and her current relationship fizzles, she soon discovers fighting fires is nothing compared to the scorching desire she feels in fellow firefighter Greyson Neal's arms. Firefighter Greyson Neal is the type of guy girls dream about when they want their knight in shining armor to wear bunker gear. But he’s not interested in fulfilling every girl’s fantasies. Now he wants the one woman he can never have, and she seems hell-bent on getting herself killed to prove that she’s worthy of her job. Kat must choose between her career and her heart, and fight to keep them both when an arsonist threatens to take it all away.

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About the Author

Shelley Watters writes romance for young adults and adults. She lives in Arizona with her husband, two kids and two dogs. She loves listening to music, reading good books and letting her imagination go wild as she creates new worlds and torments her characters in delicious ways.

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter

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Review - The Cloud Seeders by James Zerndt

Serve Your Country, Conserve Your Water, Observe Your Neighbor.

This is the slogan of the Sustainability Unit and of a country gone eco-hysterical. After nearly twelve months without rain and the hinges of the world barely still oiled, Thomas and his younger brother, Dustin, set out across a drought-ridden landscape in search of answers. What they discover along the way will change their lives, and their country, forever.

The Cloud Seeders by James Zerndt is a different kind of Dystopian novel.The whole of the United States is a dust bowl. There's been no rain and there doesn't seem to be any hope of rain in the near future. Water usage is rationed and monitored. If you see someone using water in a way they shouldn't, or when they shouldn't, you can turn them in and get.... points.

Thomas and Dustin work for the people who monitor water and electricity usage. They write people up for "abusing" the system and get rewarded for the number of people they report. Dustin also happens to be Thomas's younger brother. And virtually all he has in the world. His parents are gone. His only friend is Jerusha, a girl who doesn't mind bending the rules a bit.

Her rule bending sets the trio off on a road trip to find Thomas's and Dustin's parents. They find so much more than that, though. A map and an address left by their father leads them to an auto garage with more answers than they ever thought they'd find.

This was unlike any other dystopian book I've read before. And hits the closest to home because, while far fetched, is not necessarily impossible to imagine as a potential fate for humanity. What if our resources run out? What if we could get ticketed just for drinking water when we're thirsty? What if we're expected to just follow blindly and anything other than blind obedience results in severe punishment?

It's a scary thing to think of... but with the way things are these days... not hard to imagine.


I liked that this book was from a male point of view. I don't read many of those. Thomas is playing parent and brother to Dustin. Trying to do what's best for him while keeping a horrible secret from him at the same time. Dustin is young, and acts that way. I dare say he'd be a typical child under normal circumstances. Under the circumstances in this story, he's as normal as he can get. Jerusha is anti-government. She's the kind of girl my husband would definitely be friends with. She's suspicious and a rebel and ends up being one of the best allies the brothers have. Thomas is in love with her and Dustin looks to her for comfort, since his mother is nowhere to be found.

They come across an old family friend that they've never heard of, and a community of people intent on preserving their self-sustaining way of life and their freedom. Since marrying Jerry, I've been super in to being self reliant and living off-grid and that sort of thing, so this was the perfect book for me to read.

The world of The Cloud Seeders is a scary one, for reasons I've already mentioned. But can you imagine, I mean REALLY imagine, living in a place where you don't even have the freedom to do something like was your hands or drink a glass of iced water.

There's so much I want to say about this story, but I can't figure out how to do it in a way that wouldn't completely spoil it for everyone else.The ending was definitely not expected. Well, really the last quarter of the book, not just the very end. But it offers an amazing explanation for the story and will really get your blood boiling.

I'd recommend this as a read for an older-ish crowd. Not necessarily child friendly. But definitely a book you want to pick up and get in to.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review - Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Fighting for survival in a shattered world… the truth is her only hope.

The thrillingly dark sequel to No. 1 New York Times bestseller, DIVERGENT.

I have done bad things. I can’t take them back, and they are part of who I am.

Tris has survived a brutal attack on her former home and family. But she has paid a terrible price. Wracked by grief and guilt, she becomes ever more reckless as she struggles to accept her new future.

Yet if Tris wants to uncover the truth about her world, she must be stronger than ever… because more shocking choices and sacrifices lie ahead.
I don't know if I said this when I reviewed book one, but I am super glad that I waited such a long time to read this series. If I had had to wait ANY length of time in between reading Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth, I think I would have gone crazy. I don't recall ever having read a book before that literally had my heart pounding like mad. So Insurgent had a lot to live up to.

It starts off where book one left us. Tris and Four have just been completely devestated by the loss of almost all of the Abnegation factor and Tris's family, on top of the fact that she had to kill one of her closest Dauntless friends who was going to murder her under the simulation serum. After revealing that fact under a truth serum, she has to suffer through the fall out while Christina wants nothing to do with her and Four is upset that she seems to have issues being honest with him.

They seek refuge in Amity who decides to remain neutral. But, in an effort to remain the ever peace-keeping faction, Tris and her crew are not out of the woods yet.

I loved that we got to take a look in to all of the different factions more closely than before. We were so saturated with Dauntless and were only given glimpses of  the others. The world building and the descriptions and depth that's gone into during this story is absolutely fantastic. I've read a lot of stories where you get JUST ENOUGH to know what's going on, but nothing else. And those types of books always leave me wanting more. This series, though, Roth is wonderful at describing everything in such incredible detail that I feel like I can close my eyes and picture it perfectly.

Along with setting, feelings and emotions were thrown at me with such ferocity that I found myself feeling them right along with the characters. I got this throbbing ache in my chest following Tris through her emotional turmoil and could totally feel Four's fear as Tris spiraled further and further down in to the black hole she had fallen in to.

She kind of had a Katniss Everdeen breakdown. More like a Katniss Everdeen/Bella Swan (sorry, I know.... I hate making the comparison, I promise) breakdown. She was so stricken by grief that she was reckless, thinking that the only way to honor the sacrifice made by so many before was to do everything she possibly could to join them.

As with the previous book, I really don't know what else to say. There were so many amazing characters to write about, but I don't feel like I can just pick one or two (apart from Tris and Four) to talk about and do them justice. Books with so many characters sometimes have a hard time giving life to all of them. But these characters are each given personality and flaws and back stories that are just fascinating.

Again, I recommend this book to dystopian fans. Fans of the Hunger Games series and... just exciting reads in general. It may be a little too complex for younger readers to understand so it's probably better for an older crowd, but I think EVERYONE should read this. After you've read book one of course. Because it literally picks up RIGHT where the first story left off. Go read it! Now!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Blast & Giveaway - Will You Be My Friend by Kim Heaton Ramsay

Title: Will You Be My Friend?
Genre: Childrens
Author: Kim Heaton Ramsay
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Pages: 16
Language: English
ISBN - 978-1-47729-503-8
Marley Mouse wants to make some new friends. During Marley's search she meets four kind creatures who are very different from her. Sweet Marley offers her friendship to each of them despite their differences and has lots of fun with her new friends.

Purchase Your Copy: AuthorHouse

About the Author:

Kim Heaton Ramsay works in healthcare and has spent her career helping people. Will You Be My Friend? is Kim’s first illustrated children’s book. She lives near Fort Worth, Texas with her husband, to whom she has been married for 27 years. Kim has two grown children, a son and a daughter.

To enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card: Go Here

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review - Pattern for Romance by Carla Olson Gade

Honour Metcalf s quilting needlework is admired by a wealthy customer of the Boston Mantua-maker for whom she works. In need of increasing her earnings, she agrees to create an elaborate white work bridal quilt for the dowager s niece. A beautiful design emerges as she carefully stitches the intricate patterns and she begins to dream of fashioning a wedding quilt of her own. When Honour is falsely accused of thievery and finds herself in a perilous position, merchant tailor Joshua Sutton comes to her aid. As he risks his relationships, reputation, and livelihood to prove her innocence, the two discover a grander plan a design for love.

I love love LOVE period stories. Pattern for Romance by Carla Olson Gade is set in post-Townshend Acts, colonial Boston. Honour is a quilter who has come to the United Sates by way of England and has taken up residence with the local Mantua-maker who she also works for. Her voyage to Boston had included, at first, her parents, brothers, sister, and herself... but only she and her sister remain, the result of being attacked by pirates and unable to find help soon enough.

All they have left of their mother is the indigo quilt they sleep with, and the bag that Honour carries all her quilting supplies in. But she loses it during a hailstorm at the beginning of the book. Handsome, honorable Joshua Sutton comes to her rescue though... in more than one way. The two set out to find Honour's possessions and along the way encounter quite a few obstacles that would deter most people. Luckily, Joshua is not easily deterred.

He's kind and he's caring, and even though he's told himself he's not ready to fall in love, he does. As does Honour. He's the perfect gentleman. Ok, maybe not perfect, but he's pretty darn close if you ask me. He's kind to her and to her sister. He goes out of his way to help her when (at one point) she doesn't really deserve it. He never seeks to compromise her beliefs and does what he can to help her retain (or in some cases regain) her reputation.

Like I said, I love period stories. On top of being so much fun to read, you actually learn things. Who'da thunk it. I love the language in this story and the setting. I love the details that make it seem like something that could have actually happened a couple hundred years ago. And I love being able to picture the story in my head because everything is described so wonderfully.

With that being said... Honour has some of THE WORST luck I have ever seen. The worst. I don't know how many concussions a person can have or how many times a person can hurt themselves before they decide that maaaaaybe it's not safe for them to leave bed. Ever. She definitely had that kind of "damsel in distress" thing going on.

Joshua did not disappoint. He was the colonial equivalent of a chivalrous knight in shining armor and I thought he was wonderful. He was quite noble in his task to protect Honour and restore to her things that were rightfully hers, along with helping her out in other areas as well. If he were a real person, and alive today, you'd be hard pressed to find a better man I'd wager. Family oriented, professional, kind, sensitive, persistent.... ::sigh::

It was a pretty quick read once I really had a chance to sit down and focus on the story. It actually turned out to be perfect timing, too... my oldest is studying a lot of what the colonial settlers in the book were going through as far as the Townshend Acts and taxation without representation and things of that nature are concerned. 

The story was a fun one, albeit riddled with misfortune, mostly on Honour's part, but she has a lot of people around her who love her and care for her when she needs it most. When I read things like this it always makes me wish I could travel back in time and see it all first hand.

If you like colonial stories or period stories I definitely recommend this. It's easy to read and it's incredibly interesting in its history. It's suitable for any age, although it would probably be best understood by late teens and up.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Review - Divergent by Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
At the urging of a pretty cool tattooed chick with funky hair and facial piercings who works at the bookstore I frequent less than a mile from my house, I grabbed Divergent by Veronica Roth. I didn't read it right away, however. As a matter of fact, I didn't pick it back up off my bookshelf until after I saw the preview for the movie.

It's Choosing Day and Beatrice knows she won't be able to choose the faction she's grown up in, Abnegation. A faction full of selfless, invisible people. Instead, she chooses Dauntless... a faction full of wild and crazy people who just seem so... FREE... to her. She starts her new life with a new name, or at least a nickname, and sets to work attempting to make it through initiation so that she can become a permanent member.

Four is her instructor. And there is definitely chemistry there. And some confusion. She makes friends with the transfer initiates in her dormitory, or at least with a few of them. A handful seem to have it out for everyone they deem weaker than themselves and start to pick people off, vying for a coveted Top 10 spot and a place in the Dauntless faction for good.

Things aren't what they seem though. Not once initiation is over. Tris and her friends find out that there's an evil in the only city they've ever known. One that could take over their entire world and destroy it and everyone they love.


I would like to say.... it's been a while since I've LITERALLY not been able to put a book down. Since I've stayed up until 3 or 4 in the morning reading because I can't bear to go to sleep until I know what's going to happen. It's messed up my sleep schedule something awful, and I'm exhausted, but it was definitely worth it.

Tris, who thinks she's selfish actually ends up being one of the most selfless people in the entire book. She seems frail and afraid at the beginning, but (unlike SOME popular heroines in SOME popular noves (no hate, I've read them too, it's ok)) she doesn't stay that way. She doesn't depend on everyone else to take care of her. To protect her. She does the work and ends up being pretty badass.

Four is broken, that is painfully clear. But he is beautiful in his brokenness and his willingness to be vulnerable where Tris is concerned. And his willingness to let her help him try and put his pieces back together.

There are so many different characters that I could write about, but I just wouldn't know where to start or stop. Aside from Al, it seemed Tris chose her friends well. They were all super supportive of each other and even though they were from different factions with totally different personalities and completely different views on what was important in life, they ended up being amazing friends.

I love Dystopian novels. And I love them when they are similar to each other, but different enough that they don't just seem to be the same idea copied over and over again. The factions are supposed to help everyone find their place in the world and tell them what their function in society is going to be, but even the best laid plans don't work 100% of the time. Tris is proof of that. In spite of everything thrown at her though, she never quits.

The world Divergent is set in is a futuristic, post somekindofworldchangingevent, Chicago. It was interesting to see the specific nuances of each faction. Everything they chose, from their hair to their clothes to the decor in their houses screams what faction they're from. Abnegation don't look in mirrors. Dauntless wear tattoos and jump from trains. Erudite wear glasses even if they don't need them because it makes them appear more intelligent. Candor wear black and white clothing because that's how they see the world. And Amity are supposed to always appear happy and smiling.

I would like to think that I'd be in Dauntless. I definitely dig the tattoos for one thing. I can't NOT look in a mirror at least ONCE a day. Black and white all the time would bore me. I wear glasses, but not so I look smart... it's so I can see. And no one can be that happy all the time.

Anyway, long story short... Amazing book. Amazing story. I recommend it to any fan of dystopian in general or people who love books like The Hunger Games.

And cool tattooed chick with facial piercings and crazy hair who works at the bookstore.... thank you.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Book Blast & Giveaway - High Pressure the Executioner by Robert Davis

Title: High Pressure The Executioner

Genre: Fantasy

Author: Robert Davis

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 420

Language: English

ISBN - 978-1-47595-632-0

In central Africa, all seems well in the House of Ra, until a top Warlord finds his three daughters beheaded. Queen Ramala and three of her children have barely escaped a kidnapping by Warlords who believe the cunning Queen is the murderer. The Queen’s cousin, Tara, has not been so lucky. Kidnapped by Warlords, her life now hangs in the balance. But all is not lost as the Queen’s six children and their cousin prepare to spring into action. La, Dan, Shaya, Don, Ram, Danaaa, and Yin have just transformed into the Hammer-Axe Six.

Danaaa, a child prodigy and the youngest of the six children, takes her inherited fighting skills to outstanding levels. Danaaa is not exactly street-smart, but she is an expert at protocol. Because of her uncanny ability to swing an ax with lightning-fast accuracy, Danaaa becomes known as High Pressure Executioner—and it is not long before her siblings take advantage of her skills in order to gain power.

In this fantasy novel, as the Hammer-Axe Six begin their quest to find Tara and seek retribution for the murders, Danaaa embarks on a dangerous path that leads to the realization that sometimes even her trusty ax cannot save her from evil.

Purchase Your Copy:

About The Author:

Robert Davis loves to create unique and interesting family stories. He is the author of The Butcher, The House of Ra, The Hammer-Axe Six, and The Number One Princess. Robert currently lives in Cleveland, Ohio, where he enjoys local and state parks.

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Book Blast & Giveaway - To Kill for His Queen by Carolina West

Title: To Kill For His Queen
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy

Author: Carolina West

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 216

Language: English

 ISBN – 978-1-47590-345-4
Living in the world of werewolves, vampires, and dark magic can have a certain effect on a child, especially when that child is Hassen Mason, who seems destined to bring ruin to those he loves. Hassen was abandoned as a child and was immersed in the world of magic by the strange creatures that raised him. His lineage was a mystery, but no mystery buried in the past can stay buried for long—especially when that mystery is strong enough to span centuries.

An accident leaves Hassen without memories, and he must find a way to remember who he was and what his life meant to him before his past creeps up and kills him. He encounters evils worse than abandonment—vengeful demons and walking dead. Somehow, Hassen’s family was involved in this dark underworld. Now he has to fight his own internal battle: Is he a good guy or one of the villains?

Then he meets Carissa—a woman he suspects he knew before he lost his memory. She has had a similarly troubled past, and although the two of them are from different worlds, they find a common bond that even dark spirits cannot break. Will Hassen’s good side be strong enough to battle the side that longs to be bad? Will Carissa’s love keep him sane, or will the truth about his family finally cast him into the endless abyss of insanity?

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