Thursday, January 26, 2017

REVIEW: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Title: Unbreakable (The Legion #1)
Author: Kami Garcia
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Publication Date: October, 2013
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Young Adult
Buy The Book: Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble

Description: Supernatural meets The Da Vinci Code in this action-packed paranormal thriller, the first book in a new series from New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia.

I never believed in ghosts. Until one tried to kill me.

When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn’t know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy’s room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon — a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother’s place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon — battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.

Suspense, romance, and the paranormal meet in this chilling urban fantasy, the first book in a new series from Kami Garcia, bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures novels.

My Thoughts: If I had to summarize my thoughts and feelings for Unbreakable by new to me author, Kami Garcia, into only one word, that word would be WOW! This story immediately grabbed me by the neck and ankles, dragged me in and wouldn’t let go. Upon finishing this story, the primary questions filling my mind are:

1. Where has this author been?
2. Why have I never read anything by this amazing author before now?
3. Why do I not have the second book in this series already residing on my Kindle?

I loved Kennedy and immediately felt a connection to this character. She’s a strong character and she has an old soul, despite her teenage chronology. Kennedy has to learn very quickly how to stand on her own two feet and survive in a world filled with evil demons and vengeance spirits determined to kill her. This story introduces four other equally amazing characters; twins Jared and Lukas, Alara and Priest. These characters make up The Legion, a secret society committed to protecting the world from a demon, who is hell-bent on killing them all. Members of their families were all murdered on the same night as Kennedy’s mother and when the demon tries to murder Kennedy in her sleep, she meets Jared and Lukas when they break into her home and save her life. Now all five are in a race against time to find the weapon they believe will destroy the demon once and for all, if they can survive that long.

This story gets high marks for intensity. The author does a brilliant job of illustrating the intensity to give the reader a very real sense of what the characters are feeling and experiencing. There is a very suspenseful scene in a well and another with an electric chair that had me on the edge of my seat feeling my blood pressure rising. This story also gets high marks for the character development. All of the characters demonstrate unique and interesting personalities that drew me to them. I also enjoyed the spark of romance…I mean really; you got to have some romance amongst all the death, destruction, murder and mayhem, right? The struggle for me is who I want to see Kennedy with more, Jared or Lukas. I need the next book, like yesterday, so I can find out what happens next!

My Final Verdict: If you have never read anything in the young adult or urban fantasy genre, Unbreakable is an excellent choice to begin with. Be prepared for a major cliff-hanger at the end, however. I highly recommend this story and encourage you to have the second book on hand so you can get right on it and find out what happens next!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Unbreakable from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

REVIEW: Hopelessly Devoted To You by Jill Steeples

Title: Hopelessly Devoted To You
Author: Jill Steeples
Publisher: Carina UK
Publication Date: August, 2014
Genre: Chick-Lit
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Description: Meet Ruby’s fiancĂ©, Finn. He’s gorgeous, thoughtful, successful and adoring – pretty much everything anyone could ever want in a man. In fact, he’s perfect. The catch? He’s just not perfect for her. But when Ruby finally plucks up the courage to come clean, Finn’s so furious that he misses his footing as he runs down the stairs – and suddenly, it’s not just his heart that’s broken!

When Finn wakes up, he can’t remember a thing. Not that Ruby dumped him – not even that they were ever engaged! It’s on the tip of Ruby’s tongue to come clean, but somehow, it never seems to be the right time... And as the weeks pass, she sees a new side to Finn. Arrogant and a shameless flirt, he’s irresistibly bad, and the chemistry between them is explosive!

It’s not that Ruby’s lying… she’s just withholding the truth. And seeing as things are going so well, perhaps there’s no need for Finn to have his memory jogged… The trouble is, there’s every chance that Finn might remember for himself!

My Thoughts: Hopelessly Devoted To You by new to me author Jill Steeples is a cute and entertaining story about a woman named Ruby who is at a cross-roads in her life. She and her long-term boyfriend, Finn, are due to get married in a few months and Ruby has come to the realization that she doesn’t love him the way a woman marrying a man should. She decides to tell Finn the truth and as one can expect, he does not take the news well. As he is leaving Ruby’s flat, he mis-steps and plunges down the stairs. After several weeks in a coma, Finn awakens but does not remember anything; especially that Ruby and he broke up or were even getting married in the first place. That’s not all that’s changed. Finn now speaks with an Australian accent and his personality has undergone a change as well. He is like a whole new man and one that Ruby finds herself drawn to in and out of the bedroom. Ruby fully intends to tell Finn the truth but the timing never seems right and she is constantly worried that his memory will come back suddenly before she has had the chance to tell him what happened that night and that she was wrong and that she is hopelessly, head-over-heels, in love with him.

I believe honesty is the best policy in any relationship and without it, the relationship cannot survive. I felt bad for Ruby for the predicament she finds herself in though, for the life of me, I couldn’t understand why she let it go on so long. The writer does a wonderful job conveying the fear and anxiety Ruby feels after Finn’s accident, I felt like I was on pins and needles with her. Will Finn’s memory come back? If so, how will he react to what happened? Does their relationship stand a chance of weathering this storm? I was plagued with my own anxiety while reading this. I had a little difficulty warming up to the new Finn that emerged when he woke up. He was more arrogant than before and seemed more moody and insensitive towards his parents, which rubbed me the wrong way. My first thought was that Ruby made the right decision and should just tell him right then that the wedding was off and be done with it. Like Ruby, the more time spent it Finn’s company, the more interesting he seemed. He demonstrated more life and passion for things he hadn’t before. He didn’t seem to be so consumed with work and showed no interest in rushing back to the law firm, where he had made partner. He lost his “neat-freak” tendencies and brought a scraggly, dirty mutt home, much to Ruby’s shock and dismay. The more of the new Finn I saw, the more intrigued I was and couldn’t put the book down because I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next, though it may not be happy. I really like this author’s voice and the life she breathes into the characters and their lives. Her writing style is fun and flirty and tugs on the feminine heart-strings. This book will provide many hours of entertainment and delight.

My Final Verdict: I highly recommend this book if you enjoy chick-lit or women’s fiction or enjoy fun stories that deliver many unexpected twists. I don’t know how this author and her writing slipped by me, but I will be on the hunt for more by Ms. Steeples. If you are a book hoarder, like me, and you have any of her titles buried in your to be read pile or on your Kindle, dig those babies out and get them read!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Hopelessly Devoted To You from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

REVIEW: Virgin by Radhika Sanghani

Title: Virgin
Author: Radhika Sanghani
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August, 2014
Genre: Chick-Lit
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Description: Okay, I admit it…I didn’t do it.


This is normal, right? I mean, just because everyone I know has talked like they’ve already done it doesn’t mean that they’re telling the truth…right?

It’s not like I’m asking for that much. I don’t need the perfect guy. I don’t need candlelight or roses. Honestly, I don’t even need a real bed.

The guys I know complain that girls are always looking for Mr. Right—do I have to wear a sign that says I’m only looking for Mr. Right Now?

Sooooo…anyone out there want sex? Anyone? Hello? Just for fun?

I am not going to die a virgin. One way or another I am going to make this happen.

Hey, what have I got to lose? Besides the obvious.

My Thoughts: Hysterically funny, Virgin, by new to me author Radhika Sanghani, delivers a story that introduces us to Ellie, a twenty-one year old virgin who is desperate to remedy that situation. Her journey along the way dealing with issues like waxing pubes, oral sex without biting, STD’s, and the proper kissing techniques are just some of the side-stitch producing belly laughs I got to experience while reading. We can all relate to Ellie, whether we are still virgins or not. We have all been where she is, at some point in our lives. What she and the rest of us have learned afterward is that virginity should be viewed as a gift, not a curse.

I found the characters easy to relate to and the story very funny as well as poignant. I did feel a little sad for Ellie after she learns some painful truths about herself and her chosen partner and the mistakes she makes along the way. But, once again, we have all been where she is, it’s all part of the growing up process in life. What I really liked about Ellie is that she doesn’t let fear or heartbreak stop her from chasing her dreams and I couldn’t help but cheer for her. I loved her friend, Emma, who turns out to be a strong ally for Ellie and her quest. Ellie’s best friend, Lara, took a while to appeal to me. I won’t tell you why because you need to read the book to find out. I thought Jack was an OK character, if not a little typical typecast as the potential partner for Ellie’s journey.

My Final Verdict: Overall, this was a fantastic story that had me laughing out loud no matter where I happened to be reading. I recommend this story to everyone, whether or not you are sexually active is irrelevant. This story is not about getting laid. It’s about a woman’s journey to find the acceptance she feels she is missing in her life, only to learn she has to accept herself first. I look forward to reading more by this talented author.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Virgin from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 09, 2017

REVIEW: Guilt By Association by Marcia Clark

Title: Guilt By Association (Rachel Knight, #1)
Author: Marcia Clark
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publication Date: April, 2011
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Buy The Book: Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble

Description: Los Angeles D.A. Rachel Knight is a tenacious, wise-cracking, and fiercely intelligent prosecutor in the city's most elite division. When her colleague, Jake, is found dead at a grisly crime scene, Rachel is shaken to the core. She must take over his toughest case: the assault of a young woman from a prominent family.

But she can't stop herself from digging deeper into Jake's death, a decision that exposes a world of power and violence and will have her risking her reputation--and her life--to find the truth.

With her tremendous expertise in the nuances of L.A. courts and crime, and with a vibrant ensemble cast of characters, Marcia Clark combines intimate detail, riotous humor, and visceral action in a debut thriller that marks the launch of a major new figure on the crime-writing scene.

My Thoughts: I was not sure what to expect when I started reading Guilt By Association. My memories of Marcia Clark extended solely as the prosecutor on the O.J. Simpson murder trial. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the writing, the vibrant characters and the intriguing story. I liked Rachel and Bailey immediately. Their friendship and working partnership is intermixed with snark, sarcasm and humor as they work to solve the mysterious death of their friend and colleague, Jake.

Ms. Clark does a brilliant job of weaving an intricate plot that held my interest while making the events relevant to the plot and not overly obvious so the end still held an element of surprise. The characters are easy to relate to and brought to life so realistically, the reader gets a sense of being around them and interacting with them.

My Final Verdict: Guilt By Association is my first Marcia Clark novel but it won’t be my last. I am looking forward to reading more by this talented author and getting to know Rachel and her friends better. I highly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys thrillers and mysteries without taking the drama too seriously while enjoying some humor mixed in.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Guilt By Association from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Honorable Mentions of 2016

For the books that didn't make the top reads list for the year, I want to give an honorable mention to the titles I read in 2016 that didn't make the cut for the best but were still good reads and recommended:

The Love List by Eve Devon
Difficult Husbands by Mary de Laszlo
A Christmas In Disguise by Katie Fforde

Annual Reading Review - 2016

Another year has come and gone and the best part of the reading year is upon me as I get to look back and evaluate what I read and how my stats measured up. Though I gave up on fewer books in 2016, 2 compared to 10 in 2015, I was unable to come close to meeting my goal. I began the year with a goal of 60 books, but it was lowered to 30. I read 23 books, which is a 77% completion rate.

Goal for 2017: 50 books.

There were not any noteworthy changes to my reading in 2016 except for the sheer lack of productivity. Review requests continue to dominate my reading pile and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future as I work towards getting caught up.

Overall, 2016 saw Chick-Lit and Mystery / Suspense / Thriller and Young Adult drop by over half. However, Erotica doubled, Paranormal Romance dropped by half and Historical Romance remained the same. New for 2016 was the addition of a memoir. I was fortunate to include 3 Christmas themed Chick Lit books for the holiday season. There was a complete absence of Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Urban Fantasy and General Fiction. Here's how 2016 stacked up:

Chick-Lit: 13
Erotica: 2
Historical Romance: 2
Memoir / Biography: 1
Mystery / Suspense / Thriller: 3
Paranormal Romance: 1
Young Adult: 1

A big shout out to the authors who were new to me and the authors that made multiple appearances in my reading year:

New To Me Authors In 2016
Kat Bastion
Betsy J. Bennett
Abby Clements
Vonnie Davis
Mary De Laszlo
Eve Devon
Katie Fforde
Kate Flora
Ellen Hawley
Charlotte V. Howard
Ashlyn Macnamara
Alexandra Petri
Nick Spalding
Samantha Tonge

Authors Read Multiple Times In 2016
Ashlyn Macnamara

My selection for the best reads of 2016 in the order they were read are:
Bella’s Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson
Santa Takes A Wife by Betsy J. Bennett
Obsession In Death by J.D. Robb
No Weddings by Kat Bastion
Worst Case by James Patterson
Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
A Highlander’s Obsession by Vonnie Davis
What A Lady Craves by Ashlyn Macnamara
Fat Chance by Nick Spalding
What A Lady Demands by Ashlyn Macnamara
All Shook Up by Chelsey Krause
Twitter Girl by Nic Tatano
The Black Door by Charlotte V. Howard
One Night In New Delhi by Kemberlee Shortland
Love Is A Four-Legged Word by Michele Gorman
Mistletoe Mansion by Samantha Tonge

Here's hoping 2017 will be a more productive year!


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About Me

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I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at Happy Reading! :o)