Books · Reviews

OUTCAST by Adrienne Kress

51JX0XBFxgL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Amazon.com – OUTCAST

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Fantasy

Plot: They come out of the sky and take you. Everyone knows that.

After six years of “angels” coming out of the sky and taking people from her town, 16-year-old Riley Carver has just about had it living with the constant fear. When one decides to terrorize her in her own backyard, it’s the final straw. She takes her mother’s shotgun and shoots the thing. So it’s dead. Or … not? In place of the creature she shot, is a guy. A really hot guy. A really hot alive and breathing guy. Oh, and he’s totally naked.

Not sure what to do, she drags his unconscious body to the tool shed and ties him up. After all, he’s an angel and they have tricks. When he regains consciousness she’s all set to interrogate him about why the angels come to her town, and how to get back her best friend (and almost boyfriend) Chris, who was taken the year before. But it turns out the naked guy in her shed is just as confused about everything as she is.

He thinks it’s 1956.

Set in the deep south, OUTCAST is a story of love, trust, and coming of age. It’s also a story about the supernatural, a girl with a strange sense of humor who’s got wicked aim, a greaser from the 50’s, and an army of misfits coming together for one purpose: To kick some serious angel ass.

Opinion: I LOVE a good adolescent fantasy story, as I am sure a lot of you can relate with. This story centers around angelic creatures, an angel-crazed town, a young man with a lost memory, and a young girl who wants to find the truth behind it all. This is another one of those books that just hooks you in, and one you can’t put down until you have read the last word.

It has been one year since Riley Carver lost her best friend and almost boyfriend, Chris, to the Taking. It has been six years since the first angels came from the sky and took people from her town, and this year it’s about to happen again. One day per year, everyone in Riley’s town gathers for a celebration called the Taking; which is when angelic creatures come down from above and take whom they please. But this year, Riley decides to stay home and not partake in the town’s delusional festivities; in which they think being taken by the angels is a good thing. Unfortunately for Riley, an angel comes for her. So naturally, she shoots the angel in the face with a shotgun. Now, all that is left of the angel is a naked boy, Gabe, with no recollection of being an angel. But to make matters worse, he thinks it’s 1956 still. Now Riley must get to the bottom of what is really going on in her town, and why so many people are being taken and never returned.

I highly enjoyed this read, and wish there was about fifteen more to accompany it! The story-line does spin off of the typical good/bad angel vibe, and the Nephilim idea works into it as well, but I really liked what the author did with those ideas to make this read creative and different. The character of Riley is living in a town that has, over the years, become crazed worshipers of the angels that come and basically kidnap their loved ones. Of course, Riley and her family don’t think the angels are something to worship or to love. The character of Riley is very interesting. She is just sixteen, and has only been kissed once in her life. She is the epitome of innocence and awkward adolescence, but this girl has spunk! After a year of her best friend and almost boyfriend being taken, Riley starts to get back into the life she had put on hold. But when Gabe comes into the picture, it changes everything, and she finds out about a lot more than what the angels are there for. Speaking of Gabe. GOODNESS GRACIOUS! Ladies, we have a James Dean clone on our hands! Gabe is one of those male characters that you can just imagine as being dreamy and making your knees weak. I was constantly smirking at his wit and sarcasm, this character is AWESOME! If you can’t get into the character of Riley, you will definitely be obsessing over Gabe and his charming yet eye roll worthy self.

There were a few things about the writing style that got on my nerves though. Though, as most books go, I stopped noticing it as I continued to read and got sucked into the story. This author took on a style where she was speaking through the character, but not giving complete sentences. Sort of like a train of thought, because as we know, sometimes they just aren’t complete. However, in a book I am NOT too keen on reading that. It was just bugging me to no end! Here is an example:

“We still looked at the angels like they were a bad thing, like those that were taken had died opposed to being chosen. Didn’t like the media taking advantage of that.”

I figured maybe this was a typo, as there are a few tiny mistakes throughout the story. But this happens quite a few times, so I came to the conclusion that it was quite on purpose. For me, I NEED complete sentences. Unless the entire story is going to be random thoughts and discombobulation, DO NOT give me uncompleted sentences. Please. 😉

Overall, I really really LOVED this book. The romance isn’t completely in your face the entire story, so it really focuses on the plot. I thought the characters were well-developed, and the idea was executed perfectly. I think this author could totally through in another few books (PLEASE) because I am addicted!

4 Stars

612B40E9C1CD2F68AD9B9A8097CED4FF

Book Promo · Books · New Releases · Reviews

THE BROKEN ONE by Christine H. Bailey

51q3IOwzuSL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

This book is available now for Pre-order here on Amazon.com

It will become available for purchase on April 30, 2016.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Vinspire Publishing, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult

Plot: Sixteen-year-old Farris is picking up the pieces after the untimely death of her best friend. But even one year later, she can’t seem to find “normal” again—not until Lane Evans pops back into her life and pushes her to face reality.

When he offers her the chance to find the truth, Farris fears what will surface. Is it too much too soon or just what she needs to move forward?

Opinion: WHAT a book description we have up there, am I right? So. Descriptive.

From this book description above, I came to the obvious conclusion that this book was going to be about a boy helping a girl find out what really happened to her friend. That’s a pretty fair assumption given the “When he offers her the chance to find the truth…”, right? WRONGO. This is not as much a murder/mystery, as it is a about a young girl finding acceptance in the face of loss and confusion.

One year after the death of her best friend, Farris still cannot come to terms with the death of her best friend Kelsey. With the police ruling Kelsey’s death as a homicide, and Kelsey’s former boyfriend Garrett being thrown into prison; Farris’ only question is why? After a year of isolating herself from her friends, and everyone else for that matter, Farris is finally forced into having to come to terms with her loss. As Lane Evans, her crush before everything changed, comes back into her life with a letter from Garrett, she finally gets a chance to figure out what really happened to her best friend. But soon Farris realizes that sometimes answers are never truly enough, and that she only needs to learn how to let go.

So, as I said above, this is not a “search for who-done-it” story. I came into this book assuming that it was, so naturally I was a little surprised at the ending when I realized it OBVIOUSLY was not. This story perfectly captures the essence of a character that has been so emotionally distraught by tragedy, that she starts to obsess over the death of her best friend. She soon makes herself an outcast and the “weird girl” around her peers due to the fact that she will not let Kelsey’s death go. I feel like the author did a good job with the character of Farris. She has a beautiful and inspiring mind, and wonderful traits that slowly start to become known as you read. I think she is very relatable, but I do wish she was bit more spunky and stood up for herself in regards to her peers.

Her relationship with Lane Evans is the epitome of innocence. They have an obvious inkling towards each other, but past events has resorted in Farris putting distanced between them. Now with Lane Evans moving on to someone else, his sadness of the situation starts to really dawn on Farris throughout the story as she tries to work things through. I honestly wish this story had turned out to be a mystery or a hunt to find the real killer. At the end of this story, the reader is still left with questions and an unsure answer of what actually took place. In one way, I can understand how this mimics real life events; in which nobody ever really knows the truth in certain situations. However, I think the story would have been THAT much better if there was a little more to it. In the end, it’s an enjoyable read but nothing too memorable in my opinion.

3 Stars

612B40E9C1CD2F68AD9B9A8097CED4FF

Book Promo · Books · Reviews

SHOOT TO THRILL by TL Schaefer (CASI Book 2)

51UDIkvXBXL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Amazon.com – Shoot to Thrill (CASI Book 2)

Amazon.com – Behind Blue Eyes (CASI Book 1)

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, T.L. Schaefer, for an honest review.

Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller/Romance/Adult/Fiction

Plot: The Colorado Academy for Superior Intellect (CASI) …only the best and the brightest may attend…and only if they possess a Talent the Meece Foundation deems of value. Founded in the late sixties, the Academy is the brainchild of Hugh Meece, pharmaceutical groundbreaker…and CASI is its shining jewel. Their motto: Exploring the last frontier…the human mind.

Special Agent Arin Thomas always gets her man, but when she embarks on a personal mission to uncover the details behind her best friend’s death, she discovers a world she’s never even imagined. A world where extrasensory powers are exploited, and where her badge makes her a big, shiny target.
Dr. Jonah Summers would be more than happy to run the Colorado Academy for Superior Intellect (CASI) if only people would stop shooting at him. But that’s a pointless wish when someone with a bottomless bank account and a direct line to Russian special forces has CASI and everyone connected to it in the crosshairs.
Arin and Jonah find themselves dodging a merciless killer with a hidden agenda while trying to fight their own attraction. It’s only a matter of time before one of them has to Shoot to Thrill in order to kill—or be killed.

Opinion: So a few months back (probably a lot of months back) I did a review for Behind Blue Eyes which was book 1 in the CASI installment. Today I am back with the review for book 2, Shoot to Thrill, and OF COURSE TL Schaefer has NOT disappointed me in the slightest. From the writing and the well-thought plot, to the new characters and the romance, this author has once again gotten me hooked. In comparison to book 1, this story sticks with the CASI theme but follows a new female lead of the FBI named Special Agent Arin Thomas. In this story we dig deeper into the past of Wes Burke, and the children and employees at CASI from years prior. Do not fret however, we still get a little bit of the beloved characters Sara Covington and Brian Roney from book 1!

After working through a tragic and complicated past, Special Agent Arin Thomas has worked her way to being the best in her field. But the death of her former partner, Wes Burke, has left a yearning to find the truth about his death and to set things right. But when Arin starts snooping around, what she finds out about her former partner, and the school that he had been in as a child, puts her in immediate danger. As Arin becomes acquainted with Dr. Jonah Summers, the man who runs CASI, she starts to constantly fight off an overwhelming attraction to him. Not one to lose focus, Arin tries her best to keep her mind on not letting her or Jonah get killed; especially when she learns that it is Russian Special Forces that are after them. With the help of Sara Covington and Brian Roney, Arin must find out how Russia has become involved and who the person calling the shots is before it’s too late.

FIRSTLY, I must start with the romance. As I have rambled on to you all before, we all know I am NOT a big fan of the erotica and overly graphic mushy-mushy. I am somehow always finding an exception when it comes to TL Schaefer’s stories, partly because her writing is so awesome. If you are not a fan of erotica like me, not to worry. There are only two prominent “scenes” in this story that would make you uncomfortable, and you can easily skip over them without missing anything important. The reason I have started out saying this, is because the books are way too good to pass up because of the erotica. Trust me on this one.

Anyways! I am LOVING book 2 of CASI, and I cannot stress it enough. The writing makes me SO happy; it’s descriptive and creative, thoughtful and straightforward, witty and comical but also stressful all at once. The author really knows how to write a thriller and keep the reader interested, which lead me to not being able to walk away from this story. I love that this stays with the same general idea of book 1, but introduces new characters and conflicts. Arin Thomas is another great example of a fierce and strong female character. She doesn’t take any crap and has that same hilarious snarky attitude that Sara Covington possessed in book 1. There is honestly nothing better than a badass female who plays just as hard as the men do, and who doesn’t ever want to let them win.

“I could be pissy about him becoming overtly, pig male, but decided on the coldly-competent route I’d psyched myself into this morning. I could be professional in a swimsuit, damn it. I tucked my piece into the holster stashed in my carryall, pushed up from the lounge chair and lulled on the bikini’s matching skirt.”

-Agent Arin Thomas

This story digs deeper into the background of CASI and also touches on a lot of the aftermath effects of the institution. There is a lot of detail and thinking that has gone into these characters trying to find out “who-done-it”, and I think all of the evidence and clues were compiled fantastically. Granted, I couldn’t figure it out for the life of me. I am glad that the author reintroduced us to Sarah and Brian from book 1, I thought these were fantastic characters before so I am glad to have been reunited with them. I am not quite sure if there will be a book 3, but one can only hope that there will be! I HIGHLY recommend these books to any reader who is looking for a great thriller or mystery with an amazing story-line.

5 Stars

612B40E9C1CD2F68AD9B9A8097CED4FF

Books · New Releases · Reviews

ENLIGHTENMENT (The Driel Trilogy Book 1) by Liz Keel

51aDRq5pN6L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

Amazon.com – Enlightenment (The Driel Trilogy Book 1)

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Fire Quill Publishing, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult

Similar Writings: The Splintered Series by A.G. Howard, The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Frost by E. Latimer

Plot: After losing everything, all seventeen-year-old Thea wanted was to be a normal teenager. Instead, she was attacked by a mysterious creature she thought only existed in fairy tales. Now thrown into the unknown realm of Faey, Thea is forced to determine the difference between reality and fantasy, in a world ruled by a dark elite and a society wracked by intolerance and prejudice.
With the support of her new friends and a mysterious dark haired, blue-eyed guardian watching her every move, Thea will discover that when it comes to Faey, nothing is what it seems. Will her courage and desire to save this new world from darkness be enough? Or will Thea be the next victim to fall to the dark whispers of fate…

Opinion: Alright readers, today I present you with book 1 in The Driel Trilogy, and unfortunately for all of us, book one just came out on April 18, 2016. So now we all must await the second and third books, which will hopefully be out soon?! FINGERS CROSSED! This is another take on the fantastical Faey and elvish creatures that we so love to read about, but keep in mind that this is quite a fast paced book.

Soon after Thea loses her family in a car accident, and is taken in by her best friend Eli’s family, her world changes forever. Not only must she cope with a tragic loss, but she also learns about an entire mystical realm that she was taken away from as a child in order to protect her. Not only is Thea actually an Elf, but she is the princess of a king and queen that mysteriously perished when she was a child. While she once thought that Eli was just a close friend that was very protective over her, she soon learns that he is a royal guard that was sent back to the human world in order to protect her. Now as threats from the Faey realm have come to the human world to try and kill Thea, she has no choice but to return to a place that was once her home called Aroben. But upon arriving in Aroben, Thea comes across another guardian named Isaac who quickly captures her heart. Now Thea must find a way to not only become Queen of Aroben, but to stop the current ruler who may also be the reason for her parent’s deaths.

Okay, so I finished this little gem yesterday and was actually feeling a bit wishy-washy about it. The story-line is great, I like the characters, and I enjoyed where the author took it. BUT, man does this book move FAST. From the beginning, the author just rushes you through a whole bunch of valuable information, and by the second or third chapter the main character is already being told she’s an Elf. I have seen a few books start out like this, literally jumping right into the premise of the story, so I wasn’t too perturbed by it. However, this fast pace continues throughout the ENTIRE read. It just feels like the author is completely rushing through everything to get to the end. I mean it keeps you enthralled, but where is all the “downtime”? As a reader, you will feel like you have a basic understanding of these characters because, let’s be real here, they are pretty much like every other character we have read about in a fantasy trilogy. A young female lead character with a tragic past but a purpose in life, a young man who is always by her side ready to protect her, another young male who is potentially the “badass” or “bad boy”, and an evil character who just tries to kill everyone and everything for power and just because he is a weirdo. See? Pretty much every character you already know. Here is what is bugging me; the author had a chance to really make these characters different and unique, but instead just rushed over their character development. I will say though, I am QUITE fond of how this love triangle thing turned out. Although, this is only book one. Don’t disappoint me Liz Keel!

Apart from all of that rambling above, today I have found my full appreciation for this story. It doesn’t have werewolves and vampires, or any demons. It purely focuses on one fantasy aspect, and that is Elves, and maybe the occasional dragon and goblin or two. Though I would have preferred if the author slowed down a bit during the writing, I can honestly express that it kept me very interested and I refused to put it down. I am very excited to see what book 2 will bring, and what will happen with the character of Thea. Hopefully the author puts a bit more detail into the characters and writing, but we shall see.

This book and trilogy would be suitable for young adult readers and adults alike. If you are buying this for a younger teen, please keep in mind that there is a bit of swearing and lusty moments that are strictly PG…maybe PG-13 depending on your level of modesty.

3 Stars

612B40E9C1CD2F68AD9B9A8097CED4FF

Books · New Releases · Reviews

REMEMBER by Shannon Dermott

remember

Amazon.com – Remember

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Red Coat PR, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult

Plot: Sixteen-year-old, Charlize Daniels, is resigned to her place in the shadows until one day with a rush of death, she meets him.

He’s everything she’s not. Tall with face like an angel, a mouth like a sinner, tattoos and piercings to rival those of rock gods, in one word, he’s cocky. And worse, he comes with his own personal fan club.

Only their every meeting is suspect, leaving her to question why he only ever turns up when her life is headed south, backwards or upside down. His explanations are shady, and his hot and cold gives her whiplash. But his lips on hers burn and take her places she’s never been.

If only she can trust him. If only he reveals what he really is? Then hopefully they won’t end up on opposite sides of a frenemy line, and she’s forced to take him down. Worse case, he’s already planned to take her out first. And not on a date, but in a dead kind of way.

Opinion: I read through this book CRAZY fast! So obviously, it has the “hook-you-in” factor going for it. Though I might lose some readers with this next sentence, I know I will hook a few others. This book feels like a different take on the ever so popular Twilight books, but it THANKFULLY lacks the sparkly vampires and awkwardness that Twilight ultimately is.

A few weeks after the recent and mysterious death of her father, Charlize Daniels is just now going back through her normal daily activities. Her high school is filled with eyes constantly following her, waiting for her to break down. But among those eyes is her old best friend, Alex, who is just as much dreamy as he is protective over Charlize. But one day when Charlize, or Charlie, is alone in the forest, she becomes face to face with a boy that saves her life. Peter is mysterious and dark, but always seems to be there right when Charlie needs him the most. Soon Charlie’s world becomes engulfed in a whirlwind of adventures and secrets, and she learns that not everything has been what it seems.

One great thing about this book is that for the most part of this story, the author keeps you completely confused and blind to what is going on. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s that purposefully vague book description; but I was STILL guessing after I had read much more than half of this story. I love a story that can ACTUALLY keep a reader confused, but also how an author can be so subtle with their hints is fairly desirable in any book. In that sense, I found the overall pace and lead up to the end, perfect.

WOOHOO for another badass female lead! Ahhh, I just love when a young woman isn’t afraid to speak her mind and get a little feisty. Charlie is the epitome of a tomboy, and has no qualms with telling unwanted people to get off her back. I found her relationship with Alex to be VERY interesting. As they had grown up together being best friends, their relationship shifted once those wonderful hormones started to shift; which ultimately resulted in them becoming distant in their freshmen year of high school. Throughout this read we see Alex acting very protective over Charlie, but we also see Charlie having a lot of conflicting feelings about how she feels about Alex. As soon as the reader starts to catch the drift that something might arise between these two characters…WHAM! Enter Peter, the “game changer”. Peter is ALSO another male character in this story that is constantly watching Charlie in order to protect her. He is the complete opposite of Alex, a complete “bad boy”. Now the ultimate tug-of-war for Charlie comes out, and these boys get serious about her fast. Obviously by this point, the reader will have an understanding that some S*** is about to go down since these boys have this SERIOUS need to basically stalk her around in case she trips and falls on a pebble. Basically what I’m saying is, you start to realize there MUST be something these guys know that Charlie doesn’t. Nobody needs that much saving, especially when you’re a woman who can take care of herself.

Honestly, these fantasy stories with the overpowering adolescent drama is starting to weigh on me a bit. It seems like every story now has a female lead who just can’t seem to decide which guy she likes. This story left me sitting there screaming “OH JUST PICK ONE ALREADY!” Apart from this annoying and ridiculous love story, the plot was just as basic as the romance was. It is just something we have all already seen before. But did I enjoy reading it, well yeah. The writing keeps you intrigued, the characters are fairly developed, and the story-line is exciting because the reader has to figure out what is going on. I actually did enjoy this book, I just wish the author would have put some originality into it.

3 Stars

612B40E9C1CD2F68AD9B9A8097CED4FF