Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Book: Allegiant
Series: Divergent #3
Author: Veronica Roth

Review: I'm not sure how to start this review. I read this book about a month ago and initially disliked the book, then thought maybe I was being to harsh and it had it's good points, and after thinking about it, I'm giving it 2 stars (which I still think is generous). In Allegiant, Tris, Four and a few select others go beyond the fence to see what is out there. They find out everything they learned in the video was a lie and they learn how they got there: The government decided to manipulate genes to remove the qualities of selfishness, etc. and not shockingly, this plan backfired. So they decided to 'fix' this problem but recruiting people with 'defective genes', wiping their memories and putting them in enclosed cities until they started reproducing children with normal (Divergent) genes. This had been going on about 8 generations in Chicago by the time Tris left (I couldn't help wondering why there wasn't any inbreeding issues). 

This book was told in alternating narratives with Tris and Four. It was ridiculous they were even a couple anymore and adding Four's narrative was unnecessary. He came off as extremely emotional, indecisive and weak. Tris was her normal self sacrificing self. My biggest challenges with this book were the lack of characterization for secondary characters (i.e. Christina, Uriah, etc) and the plot holes. Several characters die in this book and I could barely muster any feelings for them (excluding a major death at the end, which I won't spoil but will say I'm probably in the minority for being okay with their demise). And the plot, there were a ton. The world building was lacking, many things weren't clearly explained, the resolution at the end didn't really make sense and characters actions were out of place. I'm avoiding spoilers here people but this book was all over the place. 

My least favorite of the series. I didn't hate it but it I didn't quite like it either. 

Grade: 2/5


Book: Insurgent
Series: Divergent #2
Author: Veronica Roth

Review: Picking up immediately were Divergent ended, Tris and her crew are battling Janine and the Erudite who are distributing a serum to control Dauntless. The only people immune are Divergent while the Fractionless are planning to stage an uprising. 

Hmm. I really liked the first book. It was fun and action packed. It seemed like nothing of importance happened for 3/4 of this book. There was a lot of teenage angst between Tris and Four (he didn't even seem like the same character from book 1). I was so done with their melodrama mid-way through the book I was hoping they would breakup so I wouldn't have to listen to Tris promise she wouldn't lie to him again...and then immediately break the promise. I'll avoid spoilers but I thought it was bizarre Tris would easily agree to work with Marcus given their history and there was a major death that should have been more thrilling (or satisfying is a better term) at the end. This book concludes with everyone finding out what is outside the gates....nothing shocking. 

Overall, it wasn't perfect but I still liked it. 

Grade: 3/5

Double Crossed: A Spy and Thieves Story

Book: Double Crossed: A Spy and Thieves Story
Series: Heist Society #2.5
Author: Ally Carter

Review: Macey is a society girl/spy in training. WW Hale V is a wealthy youth/grifter. Their unique skills are put to the test when the gala they are attending is held up by armed men. Finding themselves as hostages, can they figure out what the thieves want and make it out alive? 

This book blends characters from Carter's Gallagher Girls series (which I have not read but plan to after reading this) and Heist Society (I read the first book and really liked it). This was smart, fun and well crafted. I loved it!

Grade: 5/5

The Accidental Werewolf

Book: The Accidental Werewolf
Series: Accidentally Friends #1
Author: Dakota Cassidy

Review: Marty is dedicated to her job selling Bobbie Sue Cosmetics (imagine Mary Kay) but things start to change when she is bitten by a large dog one night. Her blond hair starts getting darker, her leg hair won't stop growing and she is becoming increasing emotional. When a strange sexy man shows up at her apartment a week later and tells her she is a werewolf, she does not believe him.

This was a very light, fluffy, cute read. It reminded me a lot of the first Sarah Dearly book (Immortality Bites by Michelle Rowan) although not as funny. Marty grew on me as the book progressed and while Keegan (the werewolf who accidentally bit her) was sexy, he was rather flat as a character. There wasn't much to him other than his hot body and the fact that he loved Marty's scent. I did like how Marty faced discrimination meeting the pack, I felt that was pretty realistic (in terms of an outsider coming in and trying to fit in). My main struggle with the book was the mystery element of 'who is trying to kidnap Marty and why' and the 'other woman' introduced in Keegan's life. I just didn't feel like they were big enough threats. Also, Marty's reaction to being kidnapped at the end...way too air headed and flinty. 

Although I didn't love this book, it was okay. The next book in the series focuses on Marty's friend Nina, who I is very outspoken and was a fun side character. I will give that book a chance. 

Grade: 2.5/5

Better Read Than Dead

Book: Better Read Than Dead
Series: Psychic Eye Mystery #2
Author: Victoria Laurie

Review: Picking up a few months after the last book left off, Abby is recovering from her attack and happily dating Dutch (who is now an FBI agent on an out of town assignment). She agrees to read tarot cards at a wedding for a friend, only to realize once she is there that the bride's family is in the Greek mob. One the 'don' hears of her talents, he wants her help tracking down his wife who disappeared while shopping years ago. Meanwhile, one of Abby's clients is attacked and the police request her help in apprehending the killer. 

I liked this book much better than the first one. More dark and more meat to the plot. It was still fun and light but there were more twists and turns. I really loved how Abby was blackmailed (essentially) into helping the mob. Milo (Dutch's old partner) was also a welcome addition. Dutch is pretty much MIA in this book although in the few scenes he was in, I was very annoyed with Abby's immature behavior in how she communicated with him. It's really shocking she is supposed to be 31. I still haven't warmed up to Abby's sister who just doesn't read like a real person. Abby continues to grown on me and I like how her talent helps guide her (although she makes a lot of bad judgement calls, like only calling Dutch to warn him about danger on a Friday...going out of town for 2 days and then calling again Monday when she gets back. And she has a cell phone the whole time!). 

While I enjoyed this book, there seemed to be some editing errors (or lack of research may be the better word). The mobster is noted as living outside of Detroit on Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan is over 3H away from Detroit. I think the author meant Lake Huron or Lake Erie perhaps? Her sister's house is also described as quite large but the sq foot doesn't seem large enough to accommodate all of the bedrooms and rooms. Minor complaints but I couldn't help thinking about it while I was reading. 

Not perfect, but fun!!

Grade: 3.5/5

Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye

Book: Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye
Series: Psychic Eye Mystery #1
Author: Victoria Laurie

Review: Abby Cooper is a a psychic intuitive who lives a pretty boring life. When one of her clients is murdered, she feels responsible for not realizing her life was in danger. To make matters worse, she goes on a date (with someone she met online) and doesn't realize he's a police detective. Although she's vowed she won't use her talents to help police investigations (for fear they will suspect her), she ends up assisting anyway. When Abby becomes a target of the killer, can she figure out who it is before she becomes the next victim?

This was a quick, cute read and had a few laughs. Although Abby comes off as fairly immature for a woman in her early 30's, she grew on me throughout the book. I like the dynamic between Abby and Dutch (the sexy policeman she meets from a dating website) and there is potential for a good love story. I wasn't as on board with the relationship between Abby and her sister. I think the issue is that her sister  (very rich, CEO) just didn't seem like a real person.  There were also some phrases that were repeated too often (like 'liar liar pants on fire') but overall, I liked it. 

Grade: 3/5

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Fiery Heart

Book: The Fiery Heart
Series: Bloodlines #4
Author: Richelle Mead

Review: This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and I liked the book, I really did. I just didn't love it like the previous books in the series (I didn't stay up all night reading it like the previous installments). Sydney's younger sister Zoe is now at school to train under her and Sydney has to be very careful with her extracurricular activities-specifically her witchcraft, revolutionary Alchemist activities and of course, her forbidden romance with Adrian. 

Unlike the previous books, this was written in alternating narratives between Sydney and Adrian. I love Sydrain, love them (way more than Rose and Dmitri) but I really didn't need half of a book listening to a manic depressive lament about how pathetic he is and how much he misses his girlfriend. It was depressing to read. Sydney was her typical Sydney self and she is pretty fabulous. I liked the infusion of Zoe and wish she had a more visible role throughout the book. Where the previous books had a mystery element that took center stage and the romance was a side story, the romance seemed like the main point of this book. The exclusion of that would be the ending..although it is something we've been building to for the last few books, I can say I am SO EXCITED FOR THE NEXT BOOK!!! I think it is set up to be the best book yet. 

Overall-I liked it. Not my favorite book in the series but a must read to set up for #5. 

Grade: 3/5

Blood Bath & Beyond

Book: Blood Bath & Beyond
Series: Immortality Bites Mystery #1
Author: Michelle Rowen

Review: Sarah Dearly is adjusting to life with her fiancee Thierry when he takes a job 'he cannot refuse' with The Ring (organization that manages vampire affairs). They relocate to Vegas so he can investigate a beauty pageant contestant (think Honey Boo Boo). Things get complicated when a series of murders occur and Thierry becomes the main suspect. Have no fear-Sarah is on the case!

Immortality Bites is one of my favorite vampire series for one primary reason-Rowen has the ability to make me laugh. This book was no exception and I found my self constantly chuckling over Sarah's ability to get in harms way and her attempts to get out of trouble. I especially loved a scene where she finds herself tied up by vampire hunters and tries to talk her way out of it. I loved the Vegas backdrop and the serial killer mystery was fun. I didn't really warm up too much to beauty pageant contestant Victoria (a chain smoking 5 year old who loved sparkles and all things pageant) but overall, super fun, light, read.  **Readers who haven't read the first series may not warm to Thierry-he is a rather cold character but beneath the exterior, he and Sarah are really wonderful together.**

I look forward to reading the next book. 

Grade: 4/5


Book: Frigid
Series: Frigid #1
Author: J. Lynn

Review: College seniors Sydney and Kyler have been best friends forever. Sydney has secretly been in love him for years but doesn't want to say anything for fear of ruining their friendship. Kyler is also a complete man-whore which complicates her feelings. When they are stranded together during a ski vacation, they have to confront their feelings for each other and face a nefarious foe. 

This book had a fun premise-best friends who harbor secret feelings for each other are trapped in a house during a snow storm. Unfortunately, I just didn't buy Sydney and Kyler's relationship. Sydney (she had zero self esteem; imagine an older Bella Swan with even less backbone) was SO awkward in every interaction with Kyler I couldn't imagine them ever being friends, no less 'BFF.'  Kyler was essentially perfect (described like an Abercrombie model who loves animals) and his only fault was his man whoring ways. He also called Sydney "baby" quite often, an odd term of endearment for a friends. They both came off rather flat with little personality. I was surprised by the sex scenes (much sexier than I anticipated!). In terms of the mystery, I wish the author had thrown in a few red herrings because it was obvious who the perpetrator was.

Overall, this was an okay read. I've heard great things about this author so I will give some of her other books a try. 

Grade: 2/5

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Book: Divergent
Series: Divergent #1
Author: Veronica Roth

Review: Sometime in the future, Chicago is a closed off city where the citizens know nothing about what goes on outside their city. Society is divided into factions based on morals: Abnegation (selflessness), Candor (truth), Dauntless (bravery), Erudite (knowledge) and Amity (peacefulness). Every 16 year old takes an aptitude test that gauges what faction they are best suited for and then officially chooses their faction during a ceremony. Tris shocks her Abnegation family when she chooses Dauntless. While Tris goes through Dauntless training, she is physically and mentally challenged. She also discovers that she must keep her true aptitude test results-divergent (suited for multiple factions) secret. 

Good world building and an intriguing heroine. I loved the trials and tribulations of Dauntless training and the dynamic between the initiates. Of course, there was a chaste romance that slowly developed between Tris and her training instructor, Four. While these romances often bother me, I really loved Four as a character. He was someone I looked forward to learning more about in the rest of the series.

Fast paced, action packed book with an interesting world-fun! 

Grade: 4/5

Counting by 7's

Book: Counting by 7's
Author: Holly Goldberg Sloan

Review: Willow is a 12 year genius who loves the number 7, plants and diagnosing medical conditions. She is orphaned when her adoptive parents are killed in a car accident. With no family to speak of, she is temporarily taken in by a classmate's mother.

While the premise of the book sounds depressing, it was heartwarming and ended up in me "happy crying" at the end (of course it happened when I was at the dealership getting my oil changed and the mechanic came over to tell me my car was ready, embarrassing!). While Willow was a slightly frustrating protagonist (she was seemingly wonderful at almost everything she did, which wasn't believable) the people surrounding her were wonderful.  This was a slow read at times, but full of heart.

Grade: 4/5

Lost in Shadow, Part 1: The Contract

Book: Lost in Shadow, Part 1: The Contract
Series: Lost #1
Author: Scarlett Edwards

Review: After her junior year at Yale, a young woman travels to northern California for the opportunity of a lifetime. Things don't go according to plan when her job is cut short and she is kidnapped. Finding herself in a large room with a shock collar around her neck, she is presented with a contract that she is 'asked' to sign. If she signs, she is committing to 5 years of servitude to an unknown person with the initials JS. If she resists, she will starve to death. Can she figure out who JS is and find a way to survive without becoming a slave?

Wow-this book was quite a surprise. It's short with very little dialogue but it packs a psychological punch. It really made me question what I would do in her situation. The premise is unique (the timeline starts in 2014 and then it jumps back in time a few sections at a time). I read this book a few weeks ago and I'm still thinking about-and talking about it to other people. 

Definitely a book to check out if you want something short and unique. 

Grade: 4/5


Book: Trouble
Author: Samantha Towle

Review: Mia seems perfect. She's beautiful, smart and a med student at Harvard. But Mia is anything close to perfect. She was physically abused by her father until his death, her boyfriend beats her and she has an eating disorder. She's never had the strength to stop the cycle of violence until her boyfriend tries to rape her. After learning her mother (who she thought died) signed away her parental rights, Mia flees Boston for Colorado to try to find her. Mia meets Jordan, a womanizer with a gambling problem who is trying to turn his life around. 

Mia is a flawed character and Towle did a great job with her back story. Domestic violence is a tough topic and she didn't hold back. I did find it odd that her feelings for Jordan was so strong given what she just went through. His instant love for her was also a little far fetched. I'll avoid spoilers, but there is a twist about 3/4 through the book relating to Mia's mother that I didn't see coming, but made the relationship between Jordan and Mia to be icky. There is another scene where Jordan does not warn Mia about a destructive person who is in close physical proximity and it seemed very out of character for him, especially given what they had been through and her history with the individual. I was happy with the resolution of the book and Mia's decisions about her health. 

Overall-not perfect but I liked it. 

Grade: 3/5

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Beautiful Beginning

Book: Beautiful Beginning
Series: Beautiful Bastard #3.5
Author: Christina Lauren

Review: Two years after they declared their feelings for each other in San Diego, Chloe and Bennett are getting married. Bennett' decides to hold off on sex for a few days until their wedding night and Chloe takes this as a personal challenge to seduce him. Add in drama surrounding the rehearsal dinner, family and wedding preparations and they have quite the adventure.

Overall, this final installment in the BB series was light and fun. It had it's funny moments as well as sexy. It was a tad ridiculous over how upset Chloe was with Bennett over the no sex rule before the wedding-it was literally only for a few days but she was acting like it was a month. However, seeing her attempt to seduce him was amusing as well as how he tried to thwart her. We get some glimpses into Max (love him!) and Sara as well as Hannah and Will (love them as a couple!). 

A fun conclusion to a series I'm happily recommending to friends. 

Grade: 3/5

Beautiful Player

Book: Beautiful Player
Series: Beautiful Bastard #3
Author: Christina Lauren

Review: Hanna is a grad student who spends almost all her time in a lab. When her brother suggests she call his old college roommate to get out and be social, she takes him up on the offer. Will is surprised to fine that his good friend's little sister has grown into a beautiful woman. When sparks start to fly, they both need to reconcile their feelings for each other.

The BB series is back on track with this installment! Will is a player with a heart of gold and Hanna is an inexperienced nerd who needs Will's help to get into the dating pool. This is funny, sweet and very sexy. The progression of their relationship (from both a friendship and physical aspect) was relatively realistic as well. I could totally understand Will's hesitation to get involved with his friend's sister and Hanna's concerns regarding Will and his extracurricular activities were on point. Bennett, Chloe, Max and Sarah also make some appearances here as well. 

Overall-super fun!!

Grade: 4.5/5

Monday, December 2, 2013

Beautiful Stranger

Book: Beautiful Stranger
Series: Beautiful Bastard #2
Author: Christina Lauren

Review: After leaving Chicago and her cheating fiance, Sara decides to start over in New York. When she meets Max at a dance club one night, she decides a quick hook up is exactly what she needs. Max feels differently as he actively pursues Sara.

I really wanted to love this book. Max is smart, sexy, witty and British-did I mention he's British? He was all around fabulous. My challenge with this book was Sara and the evolution of their relationship. I never warmed up to Sara and wish she was written a little more dynamically to make them a more believable couple.  The writers did add in a element that she enjoys public sex but I took it more as that thrill of getting caught-it went a little further toward the latter part of the book. I'll avoid specific spoilers but while it was sexy, it didn't really seem to fit her personality as something she "needed." In terms of their relationship, there was almost zero conversation. Their interactions were almost exclusively physical and I believed they were in lust, but being in love was a jump. The drama at the end to drive a wedge in between them seemed a little rushed as did their reunion. 

Overall, I was disappointed in this although it's still a fun book and very readable (I read it in pretty much one sitting). 

Grade: 2.5 stars

Beautiful Bitch

Book: Beautiful Bitch
Series: Beautiful Bastard #1.5
Author: Christina Lauren

Review: Chloe and Bennett are officially a couple but their busy work schedules making spending time together difficult. Bennett decides to plan a vacation for them, of course things don't go according to plan. 

You know how sometimes you finish a book and wish it kept going? Well, that's we get here but all of the tension and cat/mouse is gone so there was nothing new or exciting here. This is told mostly in flashbacks and while some of them were funny (specifically Bennett meeting Chloe's dad for the first time), it was just okay. 

Grade: 2 stars

Beautiful Bastard

Book: Beautiful Bastard
Series: Beautiful Bastard #1
Author: Christina Lauren

Review:  Chloe Mills is ambitious, smart, hardworking and trying to finish her MBA. She loves every aspect of her job except for her boss, Bennett Ryan. Bennett is rude, arrogant and likes to bark orders. When an after hours presentation goes from professional to sexy, Chloe has to decide what to do with her Beautiful Bastard.

This is my first Christina Lauren book and wow! Light, fun, sexy with witty dialogue. I loved this book. Told in alternating narratives, we learn how Chloe and Bennett both see each other. She Thinks: he's a super hot asshole. He thinks: she wears sexy shoes just to tease him and she's kind of a bitch. Seeing them go from professionals (boss/intern) to inappropriate work relationship (sexy times at the office) to falling in love (I love you but we work together) was an adventure. Chloe's apprehensions about being in a relationship with her boss and the possible career ramifications rang true for anyone in that situation and I liked how everything was resolved toward the end. 

Overall-super fun!

Grade: 5 stars

Being Me

Book: Being Me
Series: Inside Out #2
Author: Lisa Renee Jones

Review: I'm not sure how to write up a quick plot summary because there wasn't much of one. This book picked up immediately after the first one ended and primarily focused on Sara and Chris' relationship issues. While Chris is now helping Sara with the Rebecca mystery, not much happened on that front. Sara may be a school teacher/art professional, but Agatha Christie she is not. Mark has several memorable scenes and I like how he pushes Sara on a professional level. Some questions are answered at the end of the book, I'll avoid spoilers but I didn't feel like there was enough character development for some of the actions taken by one of the characters at the end. In terms of Sara and Chris, they both have issues and it will be interesting to see how the author resolves everything in the next installment. Sara has a "big secret" in this book that is revealed that was a tad ridiculous. It which makes me worried that Mark's past may not be as scandalous or tragic as originally thought. 

Overall, I enjoyed this. I wish it was less filler and more plot but it was still a fun read. 

Grade: 3 stars

If I Were You

Book: If I Were You
Series: Inside Out #1
Author: Lisa Renee Jones

Review: It's summer break and school teacher Sara needs some excitement in her life. When her neighbor leaves a journal at her apartment that she found in a storage unit, Sara cannot help reading it. She finds the author (Rebecca) and her sexual escapades intriguing. Convinced something sinister may have happened to Rebecca, Sara goes to the art gallery Rebecca worked at and quickly finds herself immersed in the elusive writer's life.

This book was a pleasant surprise. The premise was sexy with a mysterious flare (what happened to Rebecca?!).  Two males were introduced early and it wasn't clear who the primary love interest would be, which was fun. I also liked how the males tried to one up each other. The idea that Sara (the teacher) had enough art knowledge to work in a high end gallery was far fetched (although the author did provide an explanation) but I liked the art background because it made this unique. 

Overall, fun book with a cliffhanger. I'm excited to read the next one! 

Grade: 3.5 stars

City of Lost Souls

Book: City of Lost Souls
Series: Mortal Instruments #5
Author: Cassandra Claire

Review: Jace has been bound to Sebastian and does his bidding. Meanwhile, the Clave is after Sebastian. While Magnus, Simon and the crew try to find a way to safely break the bond, Clary decides to take matters into her own hands to stay close to Jace.

The Good: The good/controlled Jace (I won't say bad or evil because even in his trance state he wasn't that bad) was fun and I enjoyed the dynamic between him and Sebastian. Simon is my favorite MI character and his sections provided good comic relief. I also really like him and Isabelle's relationship. 

The Not so Good: Clary. She was tolerable in book #4 but she was so whiny and ridiculous in this book I found myself constantly rolling my eyes. And while I love Magnus (can he get his own series? Pretty please?) his relationship with Alec (**spoiler alert**) needed to end a lot faster than it did. The fabulous Magnus Bane should not be putting up with immature Alec! Other than being good looking, I'm not sure what Alec brings to the table. 

Overall, I still enjoyed this book and look forward to the last one. 

Grade:  3 stars