Friday, November 29, 2013

Dark Prince (Dark Carpathian #1)

About Dark Prince (from Goodreads):
Enter the enchanting world of the Carpathians, where dark adventure, mystery, and love await, and the desires of two daring hearts unite in one irresistible passion.

A telepathic hunter of serial killers, Raven Whitney helps to catch some of the most depraved criminals. But her work keeps her from getting close to others, and has drained her body and spirit. In need of rest and rejuvenation, she embarks for a vacation far from home.

Mikhail Dubrinsky is the prince of the Carpathians, the powerful leader of a wise and secret ancient race that thrives in the night. Engulfed by despair, fearful of never finding the mate who can save him from the encroaching darkness, his soul cries out in loneliness—until the day that a beautiful voice full of light and love responds, softly soothing his pain and yearning.

From the moment they meet, Raven and Mikhail are helpless to resist the desire that sparks between them. But just as fate unexpectedly brings these life mates together, malevolent forces threaten to destroy them and their fragile love. Yet even if they survive, how can these two lovers—Carpathian and human—build a future together? And how can Mikhail bring Raven into his dark world without extinguishing her beautiful goodness and light?

I want to like this series. The first one I read was Dark Symphony.  It was alright.  Then I tried Dark Challenge and couldn't finish it because of the repetitiveness of the book. Dark Prince is the first book in the series and I had to force myself to finish it.  It is overly cliched (Man tries to control woman. Woman tries to resist, but falls for man's good looks) and repetitive. Here's how it goes:

Carpathian man meets beautiful human woman.  They have sex.  She's vulnerable and gets in trouble.  Man saves her.  They get into an argument.  They have makeup sex.  Next day he gets in trouble.  They get into an argument.  They have makeup sex.  Next day she gets in trouble again.  He has to turn her into a Carpathian (good thing they exchanged blood during their sex-capades--cause that's so very normal).  She wakes up turned and is upset because she isn't human.  They get into a disagreement. Guess what, they have makeup sex again. etc.  Do you agree that it is a bit repetitive?  Oh yes, very!

This book could easily be made into a drinking game.  It is so repetitive that you can take a drink every time any of the following are mentioned (Careful, it won't take long to feel your drink's effects):

  • little one
  • you are the light to my darkness
  • true lifemate
  • other half
  • velvet voice (sometimes black velvet)
  • white-hot
  • mind touch

Needless to say, I didn't truly enjoy this book. My eyes did get a workout from rolling every time something cliched happened.  Feehan's plot line was weak and the characters were a bit stereotypical.

The thing is, this series has all of the elements to be great. Are you tired of shifters, vampires, weres, or fae yet? Carpathians are a new paranormal being, and their abilities are like a mix of all of the paranormal creatures. They could be the king of all paranormal creatures.  If the plot lines were original, and not repetitive, then it could be a series I would recommend. Unfortunately this isn't the case.

I admit that this series has been out a while and has earned lots of awards. Although I didn't like it, there are some that will enjoy it. For me, this will be the last time I try this series. I think it is time to try something else.

About author Christine Feehan:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan has over 40 novels published, including four series. Each of her four series has hit #1 on the NY Times. Her debut novel Dark Prince received 3 of the 9 Paranormal Excellence Awards in Romantic Literature for 1999. Since then she has been published by Leisure Books, Pocket Books, and currently is writing for Berkley/Jove. She also has earned 7 more PEARL awards.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Insurgent (Divergent #2)

By Veronica Roth

After telling several of my friends about Divergent and how amazing it was/is (you can see my Divergent review here), one of them loaned me the second book, Insurgent, to read.  Too bad it was given during a time when I had several blog tours going on.  Sadly, I had to move it to the back burner.  As soon as I was caught up with my reading, I cracked open the book.  OMG, why did I wait so long? I'm kicking myself in the rear.  If you've read the first book, go ahead and continue on with the second book. I promise you won't regret it!

After Tris' initiation day turned into something nightmares are made of, she and her group must decide which faction(s) they can turn to for help.  With war looming on the horizon, every action counts, especially when the Erudite want to control everyone in each faction. When Tris learns that there is a secret about the reason for the Erudites attacking the Abegnations, Tris will stop at nothing to find out what that information is--even at the risk of betraying those that she loves.

Readers are thrust back into the action and chaos that they left in book 1, only this time it is a much darker world.  Tris and Tobias know that they must stick together in order to get through this ordeal, but learning who they can trust is a bit of trial and error. They also learn how true the mantra "faction before blood" is.

There is less romance in the second book than there was in the first book.  Tris and Tobias' relationship is tested.  Secrets are kept from each other and that means they question how much the other trusts them. Tris repeatedly defies Tobias and puts herself in harms way. It is only when she is near death that she learns to value her own life. It will be interesting to see how that plays out in the third book.

Insurgent is the type of book where you want to speed read to find out what will happen, and at the same time you want to read it as slowly as possible so you can hang on to the story and savor it. I kept thinking YES, only X amount of pages left while at the same time thinking NO, only X amount of pages left.  The reason is that Ross' writing style sucks readers in and her plot keeps them glued to the pages.  It is very difficult to put the book down.

Readers beware though, the ending will make you want to pull your hair out. You find out what the Erudites were hiding and it is definitely a bombshell. Just like the end of Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2), you will need the third book ASAP. I recommend getting the third book, Allegiant, at the same time you get Insurgent. You will thank me for this advice.

About author Veronica Roth:
Veronica Roth is from a Chicago suburb. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University, and wrote DIVERGENT (Katherine Tegen Books, May 2011) and INSURGENT (May 2012). The third and final book in The Divergent Trilogy, ALLEGIANT, came out on October 22, 2013. She  spends endless hours browsing Wikipedia in her pajamas as she eats corn flakes. (Or some other kind of bland breakfast cereal.)

Want more info about insurgent? Check out the book trailer below

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dead Dreams Giveaway and Extra Content

Eighteen-year-old Brie O’Mara has so much going for her: a loving family in the sidelines, an heiress for a roommate, and dreamsthat might just come true. Big dreams--of going to acting school, finishing college and making a name for herself. She is about to be the envy of everyone she knew. What more could she hope for? Except her dreams are about to lead her down the road to nightmares. Nightmares that could turn into a deadly reality.

Dead Dreams, Book 1, a young adult psychological thriller and contemporary mystery.

Genre: YA for ages 13 AND UP
Published AUG 2013

Find it on Amazon

Book Trailer:

Want more extras? Check out who the author's dream cast would be!

Enter to win 1 Paperback copy of DEAD DREAMS (US only – ebook for International) and an Amazon Gift Card for $15.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About author Emma Right:
Emma Right is a happy wife and home school mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast of the USA. Besides running a busy home, and looking after their five pets, which includes two cats, two bunnies and a long-haired dachshund, she also writes stories for her children. When she doesn't have her nose in a book, she is telling her kids to get theirs in one.

Right worked as a copywriter for two major advertising agencies and won several awards, including the prestigious Clio Award for her ads, before she settled down to have children.

Find Emma:   Website   Blog   Twitter   Dead Dream Facebook Page   Facebook Page   Goodreads    Pinterest   Google+

Dead Dreams official music video: 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Let me introduce... Audio books

I've had several friends ask about audio books. Some have never listened to one, and others might have tried but didn't like it. For audio books, the narrator is extremely important and can make or break an author's work. I advise listeners to listen to at least the first CD before deciding if a book isn't for you. Sometimes it takes that long to get acclimated to a narrator's voice/style/tone. For those of you who would like to try one out (Check out your local library!), here are some I  recommend:

For kids and family:

Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan  (Narrator: Jesse Bernstein)
Fans of Greek mythology will enjoy this series about demigods. Even if you've seen the movies, still listen to the books, because they have completely different plots. Narrator Jesse Bernstein has a lot of enthusiasm and will be able to capture and keep your attention.
#Action #Adventure #Quests

Kane Chronicles series by Rick Riordan (Narrators: Kevin R. Free & Katherine Kellgren)
This series has the same author as the Percy Jackson series, but this time readers learn about Egyptian gods and the magicians that call on the gods. The main characters are a brother and sister, so there are two narrators. Both do a phenomenal job. They have tons of enthusiasm and give various dialects for the different characters.
#Action #Adventure #Magic

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (Narrator: Jim Dale)
This would be a perfect series for your first audio book especially if you are a fan of the original books and/or movies. Narrator Jim Dale does a phenomenal job giving voices to all the different characters. (I love when he does Delores Umbridge in book 5!)
#Magic #Adventure

For teens and young adults:

The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld (Narrator: Carine Montbertrand)
Westerfeld creates a futuristic dystopian society. It was my first dystopian novel that I read (or well, um, listened to), so it took me a while to accept the world and narrator. Now, I think she is the perfect voice for Westerfeld's main character, Tally. Carine Montbertrand does a great job channeling her inner teen. She gets Westerfeld's lingo down that is introduced in the second book. By the end of the series, I felt sad that I wouldn't get to hear her read any more for this character/series.
 #Post Apocalyptic #dramatic #dystopian

The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness (Narrator: Nick Podehl)
I have a confession. The only reason I lasted so long in this series was because of narrator Nick Podehl. The story was unique, but Nick Podehl's animated narration made it much better. I love the twang to his voice too. Now, when I hear him narrate any other story, all I can think of is him yelling "Viola"! (Listen to the book, and you'll be thinking the same thing!)
#New Planet #dramatic

For adults:

The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich  (Narrator: Lorelei King)
This is another series I highly recommend for new audio book listeners. I actually got my husband hooked on this series. You don't have to read the series in order, so make sure you get the ones narrated by Lorelei King. The first few books in the series had a different narrator, but Loreli King does a better job with the different character voices.  I love how she voices the characters of Lula and Ranger!
#comedic #romantic #mystery

The Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones (Narrator: Lorelei King)
For fans who love the Stephanie Plum series and also love paranormal  elements, then the Charley Davidson series is perfect for you. The narrator is the same as the Stephanie Plum series. (Yeah, Lorelei King is that good. She makes the list twice!) She has the enthusiasm and energy to make a great story even better. Plus, Darynda Jones' characters and plot are fun to read/listen to.
#comedic #romantic #mystery #paranormal

The Cheshire Red Reports series by Cherie Priest  (Narrator: Natalie Ross)
I love narrator Natalie Ross in this series. Her voice is a bit deeper than some narrators, and it totally fits Cherie Priest's main character. It's low and can be seductive in the right situations. Only bad thing, there are only two books so far. Hopefully there will be more. There were enough items left undone in the plot to warrant more books.
#Vampire #mystery

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Earthman Jack vs. The Ghost Planet (The Earthman Jack Space Saga #1)

About the book (from Goodreads):
Jack Finnegan only has to worry about dealing with school bullies, suffering through detention with his homeroom teacher, and getting noticed by the girl of his dreams... at least until an army of evil aliens invade Earth. Suddenly, this teenage slacker finds himself at the center of a galaxy-spanning conflict - where the lives of everyone on the planet are in jeopardy, soldiers use Quantum Physics to become superheroes, and the enemy uses some mysterious form of magic to make themselves practically unstoppable.

The secret to ending the conflict and saving the universe may lie in a powerful ancient spaceship, which it seems can only be flown by Earthmen. Now, Jack and a rag-tag group of allies must overcome impossible odds, defeat an unkillable enemy, rescue the princess of the galaxy, and save the universe from a threat more terrifying than any it has ever faced.

Can this underachiever rise to the occasion and become the hero Earth needs? The fate of all life in the galaxy may rest in his hands.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I'll be honest, after reading the blurb, I was interested in the story, but reading the author bio, I knew I had to read this book (see bio below).  I mean, if you're that creative in you bio, then I know you should have loads of goodies in your book. In Earthman Jack vs the Ghost Planet, author Mathew Kadish didn't disappoint. It is an original story and is edited very well.

The story is told through multiple points of views. Thank goodness because many characters are split up from each other. They must overcome their own obstacles then meet back up as a group. I loved the multiple points of views-- especially the deathlord supreme's. The multiple points of views add depth to Kadish's story and really move the plot along.

The plot is well thought out. It is loaded with impossible situations that characters must overcome. As you read, you are constantly wondering how Kadish will allow his characters to escape. Many of his solutions are imaginative. They are not obvious solutions. (I mean, is there an obvious solution to escaping an alien death pit with no doors?) It is interesting to read.

The story reminds me of Men in Black meets Star Wars, but a different plot of course.  There's no "force" and there isn't much space fighting (although there is some space fighting). A lot of the story takes place on Earth, on the deathlord mothership or Ghost Planet.

This is basically a space opera, so it has lots of melodramatic adventure, while travelling (or jumping) through space. There are a lot of elements, so make sure you have plenty of time to sit down and read. The chapters are long, and it's about 564 pages. I thought I could read it in a few days, but it took me much longer than anticipated. It's worth the time, but just be prepared.

This is the first book in a series, so although this main story is resolved, there are still elements left unfinished. I think Kadish is holding Earth hostage. We have to read the rest of the series to get our planet back!

Wise advice in Earthman Jack (quotes from the book):
Kadish gives readers (and his character's) useful advice. Here are some that are noteworthy...

"Family is what you make of it. You don't have to be related to people for them to be family. They just need to love you, and you just need to love them back. It's that simple."

"There are people out there that believe life is just something that happens to them. That they have no control over the events and circumstances they find themselves in. But the truth is, we are the ones who shape the lives we live. We are the ones that allow good things and bad things happen to us. By taking responsibility for our actions, we are able to make our lives better. When we play the victim, we allow out lives to be miserable. If you can take responsibility for yourself, decide to make your life better - and take action to that effect - then you are the master of your own destiny. And when that happens, you are capable of great things."

"...Live life in fear, running away- or live fighting for something greater than self."

About author Matthew Kadish:
Matthew Kadish is an independent author and world-recognized evil genius. When he isn't writing or being evil, he enjoys relaxing at the beach and videos of puppies. Much like Scottish cuisine, most of his literary works have been based on dares. He currently lives in Las Vegas and always bets on black, because Westley Snipes has yet to steer him wrong in life. He is the most talented author ever. His mother tells him so every day.

Find Matthew  Website   Twitter  Facebook

Monday, November 4, 2013

Blast of the Dragon's Fury (Andy Smithson #1)

By L.R.W. Lee

About the Book:
From the After Life, ten-year-old Andy Smithson’s relatives initiated a curse 500 years ago. Now they no longer agree it should continue and one is willing to sacrifice Andy’s life to end it. Unaware of the disagreement and with no say in the matter, Andy is unexpectedly and magically transported from his home. He finds himself in the Land of Oomaldee, facing mortal danger at every turn as he seeks to find a scale from a rare red dragon, the most ferocious of dragon species, to break the curse and save his life.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I absolutely love a good fantasy story, especially when it is set in a new world/realm/dimension. It takes an imaginative author with strong world building skills to even tackle a fantasy story. In Blast of the Dragon's Fury, author L.R.W. Lee's imagination creates a realistic fantasy world that middle graders and adults alike can enjoy.

Though the main city is cursed with fog, Lee uses a bit of potty humor to assist with clearing the air. I literally had to reread the paragraph explaining how they cleared the air. I thought surely I didn't just read that. Yup, I did. I burst out laughing. This is perfect for middle graders, and I have to admit adults will smile too.

I loved how Lee subtly entwined morals and ethics in the plot line of her book. The book begins with a ghost princess seeking revenge. The revenge lesson doesn't come full circle in the book-- because it's the basis of the series--but readers see how a bad guy can actually turn into a good guy and regret his previous actions. I wonder if Lee will add a plot twist so that the revenge seeking ghost learns to forgive and let go of grudges. Lee also sneaks other lessons in her story such as tell the truth, even if you think it will cause more trouble for yourself, and do the right thing, even if you don't feel like it. These are good lessons for kids, teens and adults.

My one push back would be that Andy didn't question getting home to his family. He accepted the new world and quickly acclimated himself to his situation and surroundings. I liked that he had a go with the flow attitude because it allowed the action to happen quicker. As an adult reader though, if I were in his shoes, I would be trying to figure out how I was able to come to Oomaldee and what my exit strategy would be to get back to my family.

Lee sets the pace of the story to capture middle grade reader's attention spans. There are spurts of adventure/danger/action/etc. followed by a brief down time before the characters are thrown back into more adventure/danger/action/etc. This is perfect for readers (of any age), who don't want to read a book in one sitting, but only have time (or attention spans) to read through one or two thrilling scene at a time. It makes reading fun.

One thing readers will notice (because Andy surely did), is that the story ends abruptly. Andy is pulled back into the real world as quickly as he left it. This just allows readers to eagerly await the release of the next book in the series to see if the curse can be broken. It isn't a bad cliffhanger because Andy's quest was completed, but it's not the entire tale either.

I would definitely recommend this to readers who enjoy a good fantasy adventure story. There's no romance and only mild violence  (Andy has to battle dragons, after all). This is perfect for middle graders, but teens and adults can easily enjoy it as well.

About author L.R.W. Lee:

Since the age of eight, L. R. W. Lee wanted to write a children’s book, but felt she did not have anything significant to share; she sought to change lives while entertaining. A degree in Accounting did not provide riveting fodder for a best seller, so she waited. Over a decade, she founded and grew a company, during which, she worked closely with a mentor from whom she learned uncommon thinking that changed her life. After selling her business in early 2012, she had time to write and, more importantly, something significant to share.

L. R. W. Lee lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband, daughter and son.

Find her on Twitter    Website   Goodreads