Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Remake by Ilima Todd & Giveaway!

Nine is the ninth female born in her batch of ten females and ten males. By design, her life in Freedom Province is without complications or consequences. However, such freedom comes with a price. The Prime Maker is determined to keep that price a secret from the new batches of citizens that are born, nurtured, and raised androgynously.

But Nine isn't like every other batcher. She harbors indecision 
and worries about her upcoming Remake Day -- her seventeenth birthday, the age when batchers fly to the Remake facility and have the freedom to choose who and what they'll be.

When Nine discovers the truth about life outside of Freedom 
Province, including the secret plan of the Prime Maker, she is 
pulled between two worlds and two lives. Her decisions will test 
her courage, her heart, and her beliefs. Who can she trust? Who does she love? And most importantly, who will she decide to be?

I loved Remake! I am a big fan of dystopian fiction, and this reminded me a bit of that splashed generously with science fiction.  In a society where procreation is heavily moderated, and if you disobey, you could be killed.  The babies are born monthly, ten males and ten females.  They have no names until they pick their own on their seventeenth birthday.  They choose their name, their gender, how they want to look and what trade they would like.  Until that date, they are raised together with shaven heads and neutrality.  

Nine still hasn't decided on her name or gender, but she knows she wants to be a maker.  Curses with red hair and freckles, she has been an outsider all of her life.  She wants to ensure that it won't happen to anyone else if she is the maker, making the decisions on genes for new batches.  However, once she makes her wishes known, the Prime Maker lets Nine know that she will never be a Maker and it leaves Nine confused more than ever.

On the eve of their remake, Nine and her fellow batchers are in a plane to their destination when it crashes into the ocean.  Nine wakes up on an island, with people who talk differently, have families and are basically the opposit of everything she has ever known.  It will be months before she can get back to Freedom so she tries to make the best of the situation.  But overtime, she finds herself with a choice.  Which life does she really want to live? And what is she willing to sacrifice to get it?

Like I said, I loved Remake! The world building, the characters, the plot twists, everything.  The only thing I disliked was that the book ended.  I wanted to know more about Nine and her world, what her choices meant for her.  If you enjoy dystopian science fiction, pick up Remake! I'll definitely be looking for more work from this gifted author!

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

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Children of the Revolution (Inspector Banks #21) by Peter Robinson

A disgraced college lecturer is found murdered with £5,000 in his pocket on a disused railway line near his home. Since being dismissed from his job for sexual misconduct four years previously, he has been living a poverty-stricken and hermit-like existence in this isolated spot.

The suspects range from several individuals at the college where he used to teach to a woman who knew the victim back in the early '70s at Essex University, then a hotbed of political activism. When Banks receives a warning to step away from the case, he realises there is much more to the mystery than meets the eye - for there are plenty more skeletons to come out of the closet . . 

Children of the Revolution is book 21 in the Inspector Banks Series of Mystery Novels.  Unfortunately it is a very boring and predictable book.  As someone who has not read this series I found myself confused over the personal lives of the main characters.  Peter Robinson is a good writer who weaves what could be a great story, but to those who are new to the series it is just confusing. 

I found the murder mystery to be very predictable.  The main detective goes to investigate a murder.  Has his team talk to all the victims’ family, friends and colleagues.  Comes to the wrong conclusion at first and then finally figures out the truth.   To me this book was very slow.  I actually found myself not wanting to continue, but I slowly plodded along and was actually relieved when I finished. 

To me this is not the best book.  But if you are a fan of the Inspector Banks Series go ahead and read.  But if you have never read this series you may want to go back to the beginning. 

Peter Robinson's award-winning novels have been named a Best-Book-of-the-Year by Publishers Weekly, a Notable Book by the New York Times, and a Page-Turner-of-the-Week by People magazine. Robinson was born and raised in Yorkshire but has lived in North America for over twenty-five years. He now divides his time between North America and the U.K. 

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

Monday, October 13, 2014

Destruction (The December People #1) by Sharon Bayliss

David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn't a choice.

Eleven years ago, David's secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without. 

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David's wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children. 

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first.  The magic.  It wasn't poorly written or even poorly researched.  Everything seemed to be pretty sound.  The problem I had was that it's overdone and I really wish it had been a bit more original.  It takes up such a huge part of the story and there are just so many things that could have been done with it, that I felt like it was just tossed in there instead of being the true meat of the story it could have been.

Actually, this was a pretty fascinating 'what if' story.  What if you had an affair and children and then they disappeared and suddenly reappeared years later?  What if you didn't have the courage to tell your wife, but you still needed to be there for your children?  Not just from Dave's perspective, but from the entire family's,  not to mention the poor children.  Not only did Bayliss run the gamut of possibilities, but she did so while exposing some pretty serious character studies.

The most fascinating part for me was just how much I despised one of the main characters.  We have bad people and good people and bad people who think they're good and good people who think they're bad.  Those that we know are 'bad', honestly, they sort of faded into the background for me.  It sucked that they weren't nice people, but they didn't really have any impact on me.  Dave, the main character, means well, but he's such a coward that I found myself having a hard time really caring about him either.  His wife, however.  Wow!  My jaw dropped several times at her.  I hate her with a fierce intensity that I worried would set my Kindle aflame.  She is so evil and horrible that I found myself ashamed to be a woman.  

This is the first book in a series and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.  I feel like this one did a great job of putting the 'family' into perspective for future adventures/mysteries.  

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

Friday, October 10, 2014

Alex (Verhœven Trilogy #2) by Pierre Lemaitre,

Alex Prévost—kidnapped, savagely beaten, suspended from the ceiling of an abandoned warehouse in a tiny wooden cage—is running out of time. Her abductor appears to want only to watch her die. Will hunger, thirst, or the rats get her first?

Apart from a shaky eyewitness report of the abduction, Police Commandant Camille Verhoeven has nothing to go on: no suspect, no leads, and no family or friends anxious to find a missing loved one. The diminutive and brilliant detective knows from bitter experience the urgency of finding the missing woman as quickly as possible—but first he must understand more about her.

As he uncovers the details of the young woman’s singular history, Camille is forced to acknowledge that the person he seeks is no ordinary victim. She is beautiful, yes, but also extremely tough and resourceful. Before long, saving Alex’s life will be the least of Commandant Verhoeven’s considerable challenges.

Wow! What a thrilling ride Lamaitre took me on with Alex! The very first pages grabbed my attention and didn't let go until the final pages were read. It was not only suspenseful, but only emotionally impacting. I empathized with Alex in the beginning, then I despised her and then I empathized with her again. I was shocked with some of her decisions yet I also cheered for her.

Camille, the investigator, was a great character as well. Given a big case after being out of the loop since his wife was murdered was, at first, a conundrum for him. But eventually, it became just what he needed to get closure in that chapter of his life. A very intelligent man who surprised me on many levels.

Alex is not only a thrilling suspense, it also packs a punch with it's gritty writing and no-nonsense characters. The plot pivots many times, taking the reader on a roller-roaster of a ride that leaves one breathless; with fear, shock, hope and more. I will be reading more of this author's work in the near future.

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

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Vampires of Manhattan (The new blue bloods coven #1) by Melissa de la Cruz

 Full disclosure:  I have never read any of the Blue Bloods vampire series that precedes Melissa De La Cruz’s new novel Vampires of Manhattan.  Did it make a difference?  Yes and no.  While I know that I missed out on a lot of the back-story for all of the characters, I was still able to follow along and enjoy this trip to the ritzy side of vampire life.
         From what I understand, there are vampires in New York who battle against the Nephiilim and against Lucifer as well.  Vampires have the option to take a human as a companion (“a familiar”) and they are organized into a coven.  This coven has been celebrating rather a peaceful time since they destroyed a Nephilim “hive”. The vampire leader, Oliver, is so pleased with the reinstatement of the coven that he has decided to throw a Four Hundred Year Ball.  All of the vampires are invited, but there is a bit of a problem.
         Young girls are disappearing and the pentagram symbol is showing up all over town.  Who could be doing this is a mystery that needs to be solved by the crime stoppers of the coven.  But can they find out in time to prevent the ball from being ruined and Oliver’s reign being destroyed?
         I liked Vampires of Manhattan and I think that De La Cruz did an admirable job of introducing the characters in a way that made sense and that enabled me to keep them straight.  Not an easy task, since there are a lot of characters in this one!  In addition, she told me enough about each character that I cared about them and understood where they fit in the dynamics of this world.  The story lines were thrilling—with unexpected hook-ups, twists, and turns.  What De La Cruz does well is write some angst.  Love and all its pain was front and center here.
         I cannot fault the author for me not having read her other books.  However, I know I would have enjoyed this book even more had I known exactly who the Blue Bloods were.  While it is clear that this is not a book for children (mature themes and sexual situations), it would be quite enjoyable for teens that read The Blue Bloods books and are now ready to graduate to more adult themes.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  Regina

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Accidental Duchess (Fairbourne Quartet #4) by Madeline Hunter

When Lady Lydia Thornton is blackmailed over the shocking contents of a manuscript she once wrote, she must go to the most desperate of measures to raise the money to buy back the ill-considered prose: agreeing to an old wager posed by the arrogant, dangerous Duke of Penthurst. At least Penthurst is a man she wouldn’t mind fleecing—and she’s confident she’ll win.

Penthurst long ago concluded Lydia was a woman in search of ruinous adventure, but even he is surprised when she arrives at his house ready to bet her innocence against his ten thousand pounds—a wager he only proposed to warn her off gambling.

When she loses to a simple draw of the cards, Lydia is shocked. Now, her problems are twofold: a blackmailer determined to see her pay and a duke determined to tame her rebellious ways. One misstep and Lydia could find herself ruined—or bound to the seductive man who would make her his duchess.

I liked the book for the most part, however I was expecting more of a romance than the mystery that is involved.  When I picked this book up I was expecting a romance, the cover suggests as much.  The romance is on the back burner in relationship to this great mystery.

 The romance was forced in the beginning, but the mystery allowed the romance to become sweet when she actually fell for the Duke.  The mystery was packed with action, intrigue, and deceit  it allowed the reader to not be so conscious of the fact that the story was not strictly romance.   All of the characters had many likeable qualities.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  April M.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tempting Fate by Jane Green Audiobook

Number one bestselling author Jane Green gives a powerful portrayal of a marriage rocked by betrayal in the stunning Tempting Fate.

When Gabby first met Elliott she knew he was the man for her. In twenty years of marriage she has never doubted her love for him - even when he refused to give her the one thing she still wants most of all. But now their two daughters are growing up Gabby feels that time and her youth are slipping away. For the first time in her life she is restless. And then she meets Matt . . .

Intoxicated by the way this young, handsome and successful man makes her feel, Gabby is momentarily blind to what she stands to lose on this dangerous path. And in one reckless moment she destroys all that she holds dear.

Consumed by regret, Gabby does everything she can to repair the home she has broken. But are some betrayals too great to forgive?

Gabby and Elliot have been married for eighteen years and have two daughters that they love very much. Gabby thinks they have a steady marriage and that she is content, even though Elloit refuses to give her the third child she so desperately desires. She tries to push that desire away and almost convinces herself that she has. Although she is not a flaunty high maintenance woman it becomes apparent early on that she has some insecurities about her age. She thinks her friends silly to try so hard to feel young, dressing provocatively and flirting with strange men on their girls night out. Yet when a handsome young attractive man starts to talk her up she can't help but to feel special. 

 They strike up a friendship that Gabby keeps telling herself is innocent. Yet she lies and sneaks around to maintain it. She becomes thoroughly obsessed with his emails, yet she is still in denial that she wants more than friendship. It's a dramatic slippery slope that I watched with baited breath. I was obsessed with Gabby and Matt's interactions just the same as she. It was a trainwreck waiting to happen but I just couldn't turn away. The plot was at times predictable but never disappointing. I was completely mesmerized by Gabby's story and think that this book genuinely depicts human weakness in a very realistic way.Tempting Fate is an intoxicating strong cautionary tale of how our choices can lead to life-changing consequences - good, bad or sometimes an unexpected blend of both. 

I would like to note that I  listened to this as an audiobook with the author as the narrator. I loved that the book was being read by the author and felt that it really added to the feeling of truly understanding the characters true nature. I loved her English accent and found the whole experience to be quite enjoyable.  I wish more authors would narrate their own books!

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