Monday, March 30, 2015

The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

Book Summary
The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.
In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.

Flo's Review
Let's do this review a little differently, okay?! Here are the top three things I liked about The Glass Arrow--

In third place, for the bronze... Kiran was full of surprises -- good ones: At least three times while reading this, Kiran did something that surprised me. But good surprises, so it was all good. It makes for an interesting read when you think you have someone figured out and then something drops and you realize that you do NOT. 

In second place, for the silver... the title: We discover why this book is named The Glass Arrow about 2/3 of the way into the story. I love the story behind it and how it relates to Aya.

And for the gold, the number number one thing I like most about the The Glass Arrow...

{Drumroll please...}

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The 5th Horseman by James Patterson

The 5th Horseman (Women's Murder Club, #5)

Jacque's Review: 

The 5th Horseman is the fifth book in the Women's Murder Club series.  In this installment, Lindsay, Claire, Yuki, and Cindy are working together to solve a suspected medical malpractice case.  Dozens of patients admitted to a local hospital through the ER with minor injuries and illnesses have died from apparent medication errors.  The director of the ER explained the increase in deaths with the quote "sometimes a bad wind blows".  SERIOUSLY?  Something is clearly amiss at this hospital and the ladies are determined to get to the bottom of it. 

Lindsay is also working on a case involving the murders of girls in their early twenties.  All of the women were found posed in luxury cars wearing designer clothing and an unusual perfume.  There doesn't appear to be a connection between any of the victims or a motive.  Just a crazy killer on the loose.  

I needed an audio book while I was traveling over spring break, so I picked this up from the library.  Even though this is a series and the characters' history and personal relationships develop with each book, they can be read as stand-alone novels.  Each book is about a new set of cases and there is a definite conclusion.  I really enjoy these murder mysteries, but they are not for younger readers.  I quickly discovered that I couldn't listen to this book with my 10 year-old son in the car.  There is graphic content and quite a bit of adult language that is not appropriate for even a PG-13 audience.

As a nurse, I was mystified by the explanations that were given for the medication errors.  There is no way those things could have happened if the nurse or doctor was checking the patient arm band and verifying the medication and dosage before administration.  If an error did occur, it certainly shouldn't have happened several dozen more times.  The hospital's administration should have caught onto the fact that there was a serious problem well before the women's murder club took on the case.

Overall, this was a fast read and an entertaining story.  One of the main characters was greatly impacted by one of the cases in this book, so it will be interesting to see how her character will progress in the sixth book. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly

Book Summary
The only thing worse than being a witch is living with one.
Camellia’s adopted mother wants Cam to grow up to be just like her. Problem is, Mom’s a seriously wicked witch.
Cam’s used to stopping the witch’s crazy schemes for world domination. But when the witch summons a demon, he gets loose—and into Devon, the cute new boy at school.
Now Cam’s suddenly got bigger problems than passing Algebra. Her friends are getting zombiefied. Their dragon is tired of hiding in the RV garage. For being a shy boy-band boy, Devon is sure kissing a bunch of girls. And a phoenix hidden in the school is going to explode on the night of the Halloween Dance.
To stop the demon before he destroys Devon’s soul, Cam might have to try a spell of her own. But if she’s willing to work spells like the witch...will that mean she’s wicked too?

Flo's Review

First things first: how great is this cover?? I love it so much, I went for my own attempt at a recreation:
I had a broom, but it wouldn't stay up. #WitchProblems
Now that I'm all lightheaded from being upside down for so long, let me tell you about this book! I went into Seriously Wicked knowing nothing about the book's plot. (I like to read books that way when I can.) But because of that, it took me a while to get into. Because, for one (1) thing, Cam's voice is quite ... maybe snarky is the word? I didn't really mesh well with her tone and style at first. But as I read on, I discovered that (2) the entire story felt almost like a ... maybe parody is the word?

In that context, Cam's voice started to fit better for how she was telling this story. This book felt like it was meant to just be fun! For example, the witch spells are seriously crazy, like insane math word problems. Also, Cam is trying to decide whether she is falling for a boy or for the demon who is possessing him? And does the demon like her back? Or the boy? It is definitely a tongue-in-cheek story, and should be read as such. I love that it takes a subject that historically has a patina of darkness around it, and just makes it silly.

But interspersed in the fun are some real struggles. Both Cam and Devon spend a large part of the book struggling to come to terms with their true selves and what they can do; though, for different reasons. And this book reminds us that things -- and people for that matter -- aren't always as they appear.

At just over 200 pages, this is a fast read and will be perfect for the lazy, hazy days of summer. It comes out in May, so grab yourself the witches brew of your choice and get reading. Though I don't recommend doing it upside down on the bed.

Thanks so much to the kind folks at Tor Teen for the Advance Reading Copy of this book.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

Book Summary
The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Rosie Project, starring the same extraordinary couple now living in New York and unexpectedly expecting their first child. Get ready to fall in love all over again.
Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are back. The Wife Project is complete, and Don and Rosie are happily married and living in New York. But they're about to face a new challenge because surprise! Rosie is pregnant. 
Don sets about learning the protocols of becoming a father, but his unusual research style gets him into trouble with the law. Fortunately his best friend Gene is on hand to offer advice: he's left Claudia and moved in with Don and Rosie. 
As Don tries to schedule time for pregnancy research, getting Gene and Claudia to reconcile, servicing the industrial refrigeration unit that occupies half his apartment, helping Dave the Baseball Fan save his business, and staying on the right side of Lydia the social worker, he almost misses the biggest problem of all: he might lose Rosie when she needs him the most. 

Flo's Review
I absolutely loved The Rosie Project. It was so adorable. But it felt complete to me. I was happy with the place where I left Don and Rosie and did not necessarily feel like their story warranted a continuation. But in this second book, we pick up right where the first one left off. I really enjoyed seeing Don change and adapt to his new world in New York with Rosie. He has several friends and there is no shortage of activities for him.

But I didn't like Rosie in this book. I know she's pregnant and going through a lot, but I felt she basically shut Don out without giving him an explanation. I mean, we all know that if Don knew exactly what the problem was, he would have found a way to resolve it -- because that's how Don rolls. But instead she just lied to him and yelled at him for being himself and didn't tell him anything. So the majority of this book is Don trying to solve what he thinks is the problem. I also was not a fan of the Lydia story line. I didn't like Lydia and couldn't Don's decided course of action have serious ramifications?

We did learn something about Gene that completely changes your view on his character. I like the arc his story took, and even the conclusion. I also enjoyed the addition of George and his story. And I'm on the fence with how I feel about the whole Lesbian Mother's Project, but admittedly these scenes had me chuckling quite a bit.

I'm not sure if the story continues, but I wouldn't mind if it did. It would be fun to see Don's solutions to common parenting problems and how exactly a child is going to fit into their lives.

Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster for providing me a copy for review.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

GIVEAWAY: Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Book Summary
Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. It’s a pretty standard dried-up western town.

There’s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There’s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there’s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he’s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own).

Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth...

The Giveaway!
The second book in the Midnight Crossroad series -- Day Shift -- comes out at the beginning of March. And you wanna be ready for it, right?! I thought so. So, to help get you ready, we're giving away a copy of Midnight Crossroad. Enter via the Rafflecoper; U.S. only. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 13, 2015

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park

Jacque's Review:

I read Fangirl and Landline by Rainbow Rowell when they were first released and loved them.  I'm trying to tackle some of the older books on my TBR list, so I decided it was time to read Eleanor & Park.

Eleanor comes from a broken family.  Her parents are divorced and her Mom is now married to Richie, who leaves much to be desired.  Eleanor is one of five siblings living in a two bedroom house that doesn't even have a real bathroom.  The family barely has enough to eat and new thrift store clothing is considered a privilege.

Eleanor meets Park on the bus her first day of school.  His mom is Korean and his dad is American, but he considers himself the only Asian kid in the neighborhood.  Even his brother takes after his dad and looks far more American than he does.  He reluctantly lets the new girl sit with him, but eventually they start to develop a true friendship.

I loved how Eleanor and Park bonded over the music and comics Park brought onto the bus.  Park even made Eleanor mix tapes to listen to at home, which I loved.  It is such an old school reference these days, but something I can definitely relate to.  While her family life was a complete disaster, she at least had her time on the bus to look forward to each day.

I was surprised by the direction Rainbow took with the last portion of the book.  We pretty much knew what was coming after reading the prologue, but I never expected the disconnect that came as a result. The ending seemed very abrupt to me.  It was like she was planning on writing an epilogue...or a short story...or perhaps a second novel in the future.  I would love to know what happens next!!

Overall, I really enjoyed the book.  The pacing was great, it seemed very realistic, and I enjoyed hearing the story from both Eleanor and Park's perspective.  This would be a great choice for any YA fan.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer

The Inventor's Secret (The Inventor's Secret, #1)

Jacque's Review:

I've read and really enjoyed everything that Andrea has written that is set in the Nightshade world.  I've never read any steampunk, so this qualified for my "New to You" challenge.

Steampunk is very different from any other books I have read.  Everything is somehow altered and embellished with metal and there are "tinkerers" who are constantly working on their latest inventions.

The story takes place shortly after England won the Revolutionary war and the rebels were sentenced to 20 years of servitude.  Even the children are expected to repay this debt to the British Empire, so many have gone into hiding until they are eighteen and can join their parents in battle.  Charlotte and her brother Ash have been hiding in the Catacombs with several other children who's parents are part of the resistance.  

While Charlotte is out scavenging one day, she finds a boy running from one of the Empire's gathering machines.  She takes him back to the Catacombs, but there is something odd about him.  He is very cold, pale white, and he can't remember anything about his past.  He doesn't know his name, where he came from, or even why he was running when Charlotte found him.

Ash and Meg are the eldest in the Catacombs  and have taken on the leadership roles.  They decide their best course of action is to take the boy, who they refer to as Grave, to see Meg's mother in the city.  Hopefully they will be able to find out the truth about the boy and if he is a threat to the Catacombs.

I don't want to give away too much of the story, but the characters spend a considerable amount of time in the Floating City as we uncover the truth about several characters and the state of the war.  There is some relationship drama, which aids in keeping the pages turning.  I really hope the characters can sort out their feelings in the next book and we can get past some of the awkward and tense encounters that plagued this novel.  

This book did not leave me with the same...I can't wait to get my hands on the next installment...feeling I had at the end of each Nightshade book, but it was an entertaining story.  I am invested enough in the characters and the story to read the second book, The Conjurer's Riddle, which is expected to be released in November of 2015.  I don't think I will seek out additional steampunk books in the future, but I will continue with this series for now.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Siren's Fury by Mary Weber

Book Summary
"I thrust my hand toward the sky as my voice begs the Elemental inside me to waken and rise. But it's no use. The curse I've spent my entire life abhorring—the thing I trained so hard to control—no longer exists."
Nym has saved Faelen only to discover that Draewulf stole everything she valued. Now he’s destroyed her Elemental storm-summoning ability as well.
When Nym sneaks off with a host of delegates to Bron, Lord Myles offers her the chance for a new kind of power and the whispered hope that it may do more than simply defeat the monster she loathes. But the secrets the Bron people have kept concealed, along with the horrors Draewulf has developed, may require more than simply harnessing a darker ability.
They may require who she is.
Set against the stark metallic backdrop of the Bron kingdom, Nym is faced with the chance to change the future.
Or was that Draewulf’s plan for her all along?

Flo's Review
I'm pretty sure Mary Weber just likes to toy with my emotions. I always come out of her books with the all these FEELS. And also, she is the sweetest person on Twitter ever because she's very nice to me as I flail in my feels to a million tweets directed at her as soon as I put down the book.

Siren's Fury picks up right where Storm Siren left off -- so you're immediately wrapped back up into the emotion you felt at the end of the last book. From there it hits the ground running, because Nym has a BIG problem that she is trying to fix so of course she is going to go barreling into trying to fix it. The book is aptly titled, as a lot of what Nym feels in this part of the story is fury, anger, rage. The whole idea of not letting your emotions control you is taken to a whole different level when you have supernatural powers. There were times when she was so blinded by it that I was screaming at the book, "Nym!! NO!!" But then I always got to cheer when she came back to herself.

Nym has changed from the first book because now she has not just had owners and masters; she has had friends and she still does. This changes her motivations for action in a good way. There seemed to maybe be a few too many moments of, "He got away again?!?!" to the point where it was a little frustrating. Myles is a perfect shady character because I just feel creepy and slimy every time I read about it. And I really liked Rasha's unfailing support of Nym.

While not as much of a cliffhanger as the ending of Storm Siren, Mary did still leave us with some quite intense loose ends. However, while at the end of the first book it was like, "Everything hurts and how is she going to make this good again???" I left this book more optimistically -- I believe she can make it good again and I'm looking forward to seeing how she is going to do it.

Siren's Fury comes out in June 2015 and I encourage you to pick it up immediately if you've read Storm Siren. And if you haven't read Storm Siren yet, you've got some time to do so :)