Sunday, March 29, 2015


Book: Sing
Series: Songs of Submission #7
Author: CD Reiss

Take my hand, my love.
On sinews of air we tread
Aught but distance our guide
With no tempo to our gait
No endpoint drawn
Neither plot nor plan
By the thorns of a compass rose
We bound toward the horizon-Goodreads

Review: “I want you to understand something. That man? He’s not some boyfriend in a line of them. He is my alpha and omega. He is the sky over me. Without him, I’m lost. There’s no one else, no one whose soul balances mine the way his does. I’ve waited my life for him, and when he came, I didn’t recognize him. Not until recently. If I lose him, I swear, as God is my witness, I will be alone. No man can match him.”- Monica

Wow-what a great conclusion to this excellent series. I'm definitely a fan of CD Reiss and I'm wondering why it's taken me so long to read her stuff (thank you Jill for giving me the first sequence!). I really enjoyed that this book had a totally different dynamic from the first 6 in the series. Jonathan spends most of the book in the hospital and most of the sexy sections are Monica telling him stories. I enjoyed seeing more of the Drazen family (especially his sisters) and it was interesting to see Monica's mother. 

Overall-a sexy, fun read!

Grade: 4/5

Songs of Submission: Sequence Two

Book: Control (#4), Burn (#5), Resist (#6) 
Series: Songs of Submission
Author: CD Reiss

What you're breaking isn't some little, meaningless coupling. We aren't some casual screw, and we never were. Not from the first night. Not from the first time I laid eyes on you. You were built for me. I denied it as long as I could, but we were meant to be together. You are the sea under my sky. We are bound at the horizon.

Here's how it's going to be, goddess. Until you surrender yourself to me fully, I will not touch you. Until the world can know you belong to me, I will not kiss you. I'm going to be inches away, at your side. I'm going to whisper in your ear and put my breath on your neck, but the heat of my skin will not feel the shudder of yours until you commit yourself to me completely.

I looked down at him, with his tourmaline eyes and copper hair, and believed him despite my better judgment. I forgave him despite my misgivings. I loved him just because I did. My heart wasn't sensible or guarded enough. Not by a sight. I was a walking raw nerve ending of emotion, as if the years I'd spent away from men and sex had made me more emotional, more vulnerable, more foolish. I ran my fingers through his hair, feeling like the victim of a crime of consent.-Goodreads

Review: “I never made the decision to love you. But I decided to trust you. That was a choice.” - Monica

Books 1-3 of the series focused on Jonathan and Monica starting their relationship, while books 4-6 focus on their decision to stay together and what their relationship would look like. In this series, they face a lot of challenges involving Jessica while Monica also has an important art project that could help her career. Once again, I could barely put this book down. Monica is such a strong main character (she is NOT Anastasia Steele) and there were some sections written from Jonathan's perspective. It was interesting peeling back some of his layers. 

Overall-really good!

Grade: 4/5

Songs of Submission: Sequence One

Books: Beg (#1), Tease (#2), Submit (#3)
Series: Songs of Submission
Author: CD Reiss

Jonathan Drazen is a known womanizer; a gorgeous piece of man I'm not letting into my heart.

Yeah, he's rich, beautiful, charming as hell, and he has a wit as sharp as a double-edged razor... but he's made it perfectly clear that this is a short-term f*ck. Three nights, tops, then we part like sexually satisfied grown-ups.

I believe him when he says he can't love me. I'm not trying to fall in love, either.

We get in. Get it on. Get the hell out. Done.



Review: Wow-this was a wonderful surprise. It was steamy, sexy and most importantly-well written. Monica is an aspiring singer when she meets Jonathan. He's successful, sexy and makes it clear he is still in love with his ex-wife. Monica hasn't dated in awhile and isn't looking for anything permanent. Things don't turn out the way either of them plan, but one thing is for certain: Monica and Jonathan can't get enough of each other. 

Grade: 5/5

The Wrath and the Dawn

Book: The Wrath and the Dawn
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Author: Renee Ahdieh

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.-Goodreads

Review: This is a fairy tale "re-telling" of A Thousand and One Nights. Shahrzad (Shazi) volunteers to be the bride of Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. Khalid has a history of murdering his wives the morning after their marriage ceremony and her best friend was a recent victim. Shazi has a plan to avenge her friends death but quickly discovers things aren't what they seem. Meanwhile, Tariq, Shazi's childhood sweetheart, sets out to save her from this suicide mission only to find that she has fallen in love with Khalid. 

This was beautifully written and I loved almost all the characters, especially Shazi. She was strong willed, funny and quick witted. I also loved Despina, her handmaiden. The relationship between Shazi and Khalid was a little quick for me. While the first 2/3 of the book were a little slow, the last third was hard to put down. 

Great start to a series and I look forward to the second book!

*I received this book from the publisher for my honest review*

Grade: 4/5

Vivian Apple at the End of the World

Book: Vivian Apple at the End of the World
Series: Vivian Apple
Author: Katie Coyle

Seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple never believed in the evangelical Church of America, unlike her recently devout parents. But when Vivian returns home the night after the supposed "Rapture," all that’s left of her parents are two holes in the roof. Suddenly, she doesn't know who or what to believe. With her best friend Harp and a mysterious ally, Peter, Vivian embarks on a desperate cross-country roadtrip through a paranoid and panic-stricken America to find answers. Because at the end of the world, Vivan Apple isn't looking for a savior. She's looking for the truth.-Goodreads

Review: This is a YA book with no love triangle and no 'instant' love connection. Both huge 'wins' for me, so thank you Katie Coyle! This is about a religious cult that has penetrated main stream America. After 'Rapture,' Vivian and her best friend Harp's parents have both disappeared. The girls and a boy named Peter end up on a roadtrip to see if they can find out what happened. 

Now I'll be honest here-I loved the idea of the book and the religious cult theme. I think this series has huge potential. Most of this book was a group of teens on a roadtrip and it was pretty slow (it was also unbelievable that these kids could find their way around the US without a map or their phones to guide them). The last 80 pages so were excellent and really picked up. Vivian really grew as a character. There were a lot of plot holes that I hope are addressed in the next book (more people should have disappeared than noted..I'll avoid spoilers but seems like any detective worth his salt could have figured out what happened..the rest of the world must be laughing at how stupid the American's are that believe all this stuff). 

Overall, fun start to a series and I can't wait for the next one to come out!

(and as a side note-Vivian's mother may be one of the most awful people ever-rant over)

Grade: 3/5


Book: Arise
Series: Syrenka #3
Author: Amber Garr

With power comes the responsibility to accept its consequences.

After the betrayal of those closest to her, Eviana Dumahl struggles to cope with her new reality. Kidnapped, broken, and confused, she is forced to engage in a war that will alter merfolk politics forever. With her estranged father leading the charge, Eviana has no choice but to stand by his side. Her continued existence hinges on the acceptance of the power growing inside her, even when that means embracing the family’s dark lineage.

Kain Matthew will sacrifice the world for Eviana. And he is not alone. As time runs out, her friends fight to save her life and theirs. An unlikely alliance gives them the edge they need to take a stand, although it keeps Eviana’s heart trapped in the past. A new discovery explains some of her previous mistakes, but it may not be enough to stop her father’s plans. Merfolk, selkies, and water sprites work together to save their kind, only in this final battle, not everyone will survive.

In the striking series conclusion, Eviana will learn the true meaning of power, sacrifice, and love.-Goodreads

Review: I had high hopes for this book but I was ultimately disappointed. This book had a duel narrative and while I normally love that, it didn't work here. Kain, while one of my favorite characters, did not come to life in his sections. He was completely devoid of any personality. My favorite character was Graham and at the end of the book Garr had a brief section written from his perspective and it was fantastic. 

The final 'battle' was well orchestrated although I did not agree with how the final showdown went down with Graham. I'll avoid spoilers but someone with his power would have (should have) handled the situation differently. 

Although I'm giving this book 2 stars (I hate how 2 stars sounds so bad, I didn't dislike this book, it was okay and had some decent parts) I enjoyed how Eviana finally grew at the end of the book and I liked the epilogue. 

Grade: 2/5


Book: Betrayal
Series: Syrenrka #2
Author: Amber Garr

Life as a mermaid can be suffocating. Eviana Dumahl has returned home as a clan leader, an orphan, and a heartbroken teenage girl. Her parents are dead and her boyfriend, Brendan, has decided that he needs some time away. While battling her inner turmoil, Eviana is forced into the war that Lucian Sutherland has incited amongst her own kind. With the help of Kain, her friend and formally betrothed, the two work together to prove that they deserve their birthrights as young merfolk leaders. When the Council requests a demonstration of Eviana's mermaid powers, she finds herself with an opportunity to win back Brendan's heart. But her orders to train with a repulsive merman and the presence of an attractive new suitor challenges Eviana to embrace her leadership and resist temptation. Lucian is after her, and no one seems to understand why. Loyalties are tested as the casualties increase, showing Eviana that sometimes it is impossible to delineate between friends and enemies. Betrayal is the second book of The Syrenka Series trilogy following Eviana and her friends as they navigate through the challenges of existing in a secret world.-Goodreads

Review: A fun read! This was much stronger than book 1. There was action, adventure and several new characters that kept me interested. Evianna is still incredibly immature but trying to lead her people and do the right things. Brendan was also barely in this book which helped. :) I liked the introduction of the counsel and learning more about mermaid powers. 

Overall-a fun read with a good ending. 

Grade: 3/5


Book: Promises
Series: Syrenka #1
Author: Amber Garr

Sometimes following your heart can end up destroying the ones you love.

When seventeen-year-old Eviana Dumahl is faced with the responsibility of an arranged marriage and clan leadership, she is forced to choose between the life required of a mermaid and one of a teenage girl simply infatuated with the wrong guy. Kain, her devoted fiance, would make a wonderful husband except that she's been in love with Brendan, a shape-shifting selkie, ever since they were kids. Choosing to abandon her family, her clan, and her life with Kain will have dire consequences far beyond anything she could have imagined.

A war is brewing amongst the clans and Eviana unwittingly becomes a pawn in the intricate schemes of a twisted mastermind. With Brendan's life on the line, she has no choice but to involve those she once considered friends. Amidst encountering senseless tragedies and immense loss, Eviana discovers that she is more valuable as a clan leader than anyone ever suspected. Her survival is not only dependent upon the loyalty of her friends, but also on her acceptance of a life she so adamantly tried to escape.-Goodreads

Review: This is book 1 in a series about mermaids, so I thought, why not? I love mermaids and I've never read a mermaid book. I think the premise of this was interesting but I wish there was more of a focus on world building rather than Evianna and her boy drama. Evianna is engaged to Kain, who is by all accounts pretty amazing. She supposedly only loves him as a friend but gets angry (jealous) is he pays any other female attention. Evianna is in love with Brendan, a selkie (he shape shifts into a seal) who she's been dating for years. I can't say anything positive about him, I never warmed up to him as a character. Evianna's family is a very high ranking mermaid family and I wish more time was spent with them, especially her mother. 

Overall, interesting premise and and okay read. 

Grade: 2/5

Cracked Up To Be

Book: Cracked Up To Be
Author: Courtney Summers

When "Perfect" Parker Fadley starts drinking at school and failing her classes, all of St. Peter's High goes on alert. How has the cheerleading captain, girlfriend of the most popular guy in school, consummate teacher's pet, and future valedictorian fallen so far from grace?

Parker doesn't want to talk about it. She'd just like to be left alone, to disappear, to be ignored. But her parents have placed her on suicide watch and her conselors are demanding the truth. Worse, there's a nice guy falling in love with her and he's making her feel things again when she'd really rather not be feeling anything at all.

Nobody would have guessed she'd turn out like this. But nobody knows the truth.

Something horrible has happened, and it just might be her fault.-Goodreads

Review: Parker Fadley is a perfectionist who quickly takes a turn for the worse. When the book starts, she is pretty horrible to her classmates, parents..pretty much everyone. It's inconceivable that her ex-boyfriend and a new boy at school would be interested in her, she is that nasty (to be fair she is pretty snarky at times which I found funny). It's clear something bad happened and it's slowly revealed throughout the book, a scene at a time. I enjoyed the writing style and while I didn't like Parker, I understood her on many levels. I was one of those high school kids who strove for perfection. It's a lot of pressure. I'll avoid spoilers but when we finally find out what happened....well, I'm not going to say what happened was her fault but she definitely should have spoken up earlier.

Overall-well written book with I enjoyed it. 

Grade: 4/5

Silent Whisper

Book: Silent Whisper
Series: Limbo #1
Author: Andrea Smith

What was I thinking that night as I drove over the mountain on the narrow, icy road that seemed to wind around like a coiled up snake? Certainly not that my life would be changed forever when my car careened off the side and landed in a cemetery. I never could have imagined that Chester, West Virginia held some old secrets that only I would be privy to, and expected to resolve.

I'm Parrish Locke. A model on assignment in Chester, WV. Not a resident by any means, but a witness nevertheless . . . to murder.

Karlee's murder.

This is her story--not mine, but I'm the only one that can tell it and trust me, it needs to be told. This is about love and the mafia and how sometimes, the two just aren't meant to be - or are they?

I'll let you decide. -Goodreads

Review: This book was unique in that it had paranormal aspects and romance but I wouldn't classify it as a paranormal romance. In present day, Parrish Locke is a model who gets in a car accident. The story shifts to the early 80's and we follow the story of a prostitute who ends up becoming the mistress of a mobster. I really enjoyed the 80's storyline and the love story between the characters. When this book shifted back to present day and Parrish was our main character again, I didn't enjoy it as much. It's hard to talk about this book without spoilers, but I did not find Parrish likable and her interaction with a ghost was frustrating at best. 

Overall, I did enjoy this book and I'll read the next one in the series. 

Grade: 2.5/5

The Ruby Circle

Book: The Ruby Circle
Series: Bloodlines #6
Author: Richelle Mead

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.-Goodreads

Review: I've read almost all of Richelle Mead's s books and her series finales are usually not my favorites. So I went into this with low expectations. That being said, I think this is her best series finale so far. I really love Sydney and Adrian together and I enjoyed how she wrapped up their story. The 'big bad' was someone I barely remembered from a previous book, so that was a little weak for me. I think the biggest surprise were the chapters written from Adrian's perspective. I could not stand him in the last few books but I enjoyed him this time.

Side note about the book-I traveled to Austin last month for a book signing. Richelle Mead (she is tiny!) read a scene from this book and answered questions from fans. She initially planned to write a spin-off series with Jill as the main character before settling on Sydney. She said it was very challenging writing Sydney's character (because Sydney knows almost everything!). She didn't commit to writing a spin-off (the way this book ends there is definitely a spin off possibility) but she did say several times that her focus is YA. She has a stand alone YA coming out this fall and she is still working on the next age of X. 

Grade: 4/5


Book: Hide
Series: Detective DD Warren #2
Author: Lisa Gardner

You have good reason to be afraid. . . .

It was a case that haunts Bobby Dodge to this day—the case that nearly killed him and changed his life forever. Now, in an underground chamber on the grounds of an abandoned Massachusetts mental hospital, the gruesome discovery of six mummified corpses resurrects his worst nightmare: the return of a killer he thought dead and buried. There’s no place to run. . . . Bobby’s only lead is wrapped around a dead woman’s neck. Annabelle Granger has been in hiding for as long as she can remember. Her childhood was a blur of new cities and assumed identities. But what—or who—her family was running from, she never knew. Now a body is unearthed from a grave, wearing a necklace bearing Annabelle’s name, and the danger is too close to escape. This time, she’s not going to run. You know he will find you. . . .

The new threat could be the dead psychopath’s copycat, his protégé—or something far more terrifying. Dodge knows the only way to find him is to solve the mystery of Annabelle Granger, and to do that he must team up with his former lover, partner, and friend D. D. Warren from the Boston P.D. But the trail leads back to a woman from Bobby’s past who may be every bit as dangerous as the new killer—a beautiful survivor-turned-avenger with an eerie link to Annabelle. From its tense opening pages to its shocking climax, Hide is a thriller that delves into our deepest, darkest fears. Where there is no one to trust. Where there is no place left to hide.-Goodreads

Review: Another fun thrilled book from one of my new favorite authors, Lisa Gardner. This book takes place two years after the first installment. Bobby is now working as a detective for the state police when DD calls him in to consult on a case.  I really liked that DD had more of a presence in this book (she was definitely a secondary character in book 1 which is a little odd for a series named after her)). I also liked the writing style. Some chapters were a first person narrative from Annabelle and the rest were third person narrative focused mostly on Bobby's activities. Gardner did a good job giving Annabelle a unique voice and the dual narrative provided insight into how the characters all viewed each other. I thought I had this book all figured out but...nope! The ending was not what I was expecting. The final 'showdown' was a little anticlimactic, but overall, I really enjoyed this read.  

Grade: 4/5


Book: Alone
Series: Detective DD Warren #1
Author: Lisa Gardner

Alone . . . Massachusetts State Trooper Bobby Dodge watches a tense hostage standoff unfold through the scope of his sniper rifle. Just across the street, in wealthy Back Bay, Boston, an armed man has barricaded himself with his wife and child. The man’s finger tightens on the trigger and Dodge has only a split second to react . . . and forever pay the consequences.

Alone . . . that’s where the nightmare began for cool, beautiful, and dangerously sexy Catherine Rose Gagnon. Twenty-five years ago, she was buried underground during a month-long nightmare of abduction and abuse. Now her husband has just been killed. Her father-in-law, the powerful Judge Gagnon, blames Catherine for his son’s death . . . and for the series of unexplained illnesses that have sent her own young son repeatedly to the hospital.

Alone . . . a madman survived solitary confinement in a maximum security prison where he’d done hard time for the most sadistic of crimes. Now he walks the streets a free man, invisible, anonymous . . . and filled with an unquenchable rage for vengeance. What brings them together is a moment of violence—but what connects them is a passion far deeper and much more dangerous. For a killer is loose who’s woven such an intricate web of evil that no one is above suspicion, no one is beyond harm, and no one will see death coming until it has them cornered, helpless, and alone.-Goodreads

Review: Wow-what a fun read. This was my first Lisa Gardner book and I am definitely a fan. I found the story engrossing and I literally could not put the book down. A fantastic start to a new series and I can't wait to read the rest. 

Grade: 4.5/5