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crushed cover Crushed by Eliza Crewe (book 2 of the Soul Eater series)

Published: September 22nd, 2014 by Eliza Crewe

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Google Play / Kobo (Print edition coming soon!)

 

Synopsis:

Meda’s back. This time, she has a friend.

The battle is over; the choice has been made. Meda Melange has officially hung up her monstrous mantle and planted her feet firmly on the holy and righteous path of a Crusader-in-training. Or, at least, she’s willing to give it a shot. It helps that the Crusaders are the only thing standing between her and the demon hordes who want her dead.

The problem is, the only people less convinced than Meda of her new-found role as Good Girl are the very Crusaders she’s trying to join. So when a devilishly handsome half-demon boy offers escape, how’s a girl supposed to say “no?”

After all, everyone knows a good girl’s greatest weakness is a bad boy.

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

**Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for a review. No promise of a good review or other compensation was provided.**

Alright folks, give me a moment here, I need to wipe my nose and then get a new tissue. Then it’s time to put on my big girl panties and write this review without needing more tissue. First, let me tell you a sad story. The first book in this series, Cracked, was one of my favorite books last year. I got the ARC and I loved it. I bought a copy, I bought a copy to lend out, I recommended it to anyone who would listen, I anxiously waited for the next book. Then I asked for an ARC, didn’t get it and was…crushed, pun fully intended. But, no worries, I pre-ordered the book, I’d just have to be patient. Then I got an email, there was going to be no publication of Crushed. I was distraught! How could this be? Well, it’s because the publisher, Strange Chemistry, was closing down. I was so upset that I immediately rushed over to the author’s website, surely she would have answers for me! And, she did. She was going to self publish it and was doing a blog tour, well you better beleive I was alllllll on board with that idea. And that’s why I’m here now. To tell you how awesome this book is (because it is) and to encourage you to go out and read it. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

So let’s catch up on what we learned from book one. Meda kicks ass….and eats souls. The two are not mutually exclusive. But she’s also, apparently a “Beacon”, someone who is capable of worl changing good. This is news to Meda, she mostly just wants to be left alone to kill and eat the souls of bad bad people who deserve it. The Crusaders have other ideas, she needs to be protected ad trained as a Crusader…well sort of trained.

And that’s where we come into Cracked. Meda is, essentially, being help captive. The Crusaders don’t like her, they don’t trust her, and they aren’t giving her any souls to eat which is really just torture. So, Meda does what she does best, she sneaks out to get herself some souls and reunites with Armand. We remember Armand right? She met him in Hell’s dungeon. And he has some bad intentions, which Meda knows but can’t seem to pull herself away from him anyway. Besides the Crusaders are torturing her anyway, why not have a little fun?

This book was a blast. It starts off hard and doesn’t let up for the whole book. I always get worried when we reach book two, because it often suffers from “middle book syndrome”. This one doesn’t though. Meda spends most of the book struggling with her choices. Can she really be a goody goody Crusader? As hard as she tries, it doesn’t seem like it. Can she just turn her back on it all and join the demons? Not really because of those pesky human emotions. She finds solace in Armand, who is also half-demon half-human, because he can understand her struggles of walking the line between good and evil. I loved this dynamic for Meda. It provided a lot of depth to her character that we had only began to see in Cracked. Honestly, by the end, I was rooting for Meda to join the demons, I can admit it. I was ready to flip the bird to the Crusaders for their treatment of her. But, of course, there are two sides to every pancake and this book was no different.

The ending rocked me. I was not ready for what happened to….the person….at the place….during that….thing. I can’t talk about it. I already cried my way through it once, I don’t want to relive it. As Meda is fond of saying, some bad things just shouldn’t be said. This is one. Then we got to the actual actual end and it both good and bad. Which I like. I can’t stand Steven Spielberg endings where everyone is okay and walks off into the sunset together holding hands and singing Kumbaya. I like things to be real. And in reality, even a happy ending is often tinged with despair, anger, loss, and grief. This was one of those endings.

I, for one, will be anxiously anticipating the next book to see where this path takes Meda next. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go get another tissue and text my mom to go buy this book…she’s been waiting since Cracked. Enjoy this author bio on your way to go buy this book:

 

 

 

eliza crewe Eliza Crewe always thought she’d be a lawyer, and even went so far as to complete law school. But as they say, you are what you eat, and considering the number of books Eliza has devoured since childhood, it was inevitable she’d end up in the literary world. She abandoned the lawyer-plan to instead become a librarian and now a writer.

While she’s been filling notebooks with random scenes for years, Eliza didn’t seriously commit to writing an entire novel until the spring of 2011, when she and her husband bought a house. With that house came a half-hour commute, during which Eliza decided she needed something to think about other than her road-rage. Is it any surprise she wrote a book about a blood-thirsty, people-eating monster?

Eliza has lived in Illinois, Edinburgh, and Las Vegas, and now lives in North Carolina with her husband, her hens, her angry, talking, stuffed dwarf giraffe, and a sweet, mute, pantomiming bear. She likes to partially-complete craft projects, free-range her hens, and take long walks.

Coming tomorrow….

Crushed_banner_2I had the pleasure of receiving an ARC for this great book and the opportunity to participate in the blog tour. I read the first book in the series if you remember (http://stefani140.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/cracked-by-eliza-crewe/) and gave it 4 stars too. And if the ending of this book is anywhere as good as the rest of it has been, it’s gonna be a really fun ride.

So join me tomorrow for the review and lowdown on where to get this book tomorrow. But be patient, it won’t be posted until after work but I will try as I might to make it as soon as possible.

Until then, content yourself to visiting another blog tour participant, Bookshelf Reflections.

Confessions

I have severely neglected this blog lately, sorry about that. But I have a good reason, so I am confessing.

 

 

I haven’t been around because, I’ve been busy being pregnant. Yep, you heard me right I am 4 months pregnant with a baby girl. I was hoping to have a good ultrasound picture to post, but the little one didn’t want to cooperate today and was only showing us the butt lol.  Maybe next time.

 

 

girl

Destruction by Sharon Bayliss

Alright guys, I have been MIA long enough. I am literally dragging my fingers across the keyboard to post this, but here it is!

destruction Destruction by Sharon Bayliss

Published April 14th, 2014 by Curiosity Quills Press

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Books a Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

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.

 

Rating: 2 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Curiosity Quills!

This will probably be a short review because the book just wasn’t that good. My first annoyance with it was actually the blurb. It gives away so many big plot points. I mean, who writes these things? It tells me the entire arc of the story almost, guess I didn’t need to read the book after all.

I was highly annoyed with the magic in this book too. I hate it when books don’t give magic any consequences, it’s jut there to fix all your problems. The book claims that doing magic can make you deranged and evil, but the main characters seem to have no problem whipping out complex magic when it suits them…and seem to suffer no ill effects or other consequences. For example, fiddling around in someone’s brain? Well it was for their own good, so no consequences. The only possible consequence is that the person doing the meddling now had to remember all those bad memories they were erasing, oh the horror! End snark.

David was a fairly likeable character until he started excusing a rape (he’s a dark wizard, can’t help it) and then perving on a 17 year old (but she’s a fertility witch, he couldn’t help it!). Notice a pattern here? It is always the magic’s fault, not the character’s.

In the end, I didn’t care for this book. It was a fairly good idea but not executed very well. The characters were marginal but not unlikeable. The magic was poorly executed and seemed completely secondary to the story. I won’t be continuing with this series.

 

Scars by Kiru Taye

scarsScars by Kiru Taye

Published August 1st, 2013 by Evernight Publishing

Buy this story at: Amazon / B&N

 

Synopsis:

She clutches at control to cover her flaws.
He wants to strip her bare because she’s beautiful.

Selina Moss hides a secret beneath her controlled happy exterior. Her body is covered in scars and she’s never revealed them to anyone. She’s not beautiful and she doesn’t want pity.
However, it’s her wedding night and husband, Benjamin Moss, is determined to strip down her barriers.
Benjamin is not playing fair, not when he’s deploying breath-stealing seduction as well as mind-melting sex toys. But will he still want her when she bares all?

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thank you Evernight Publishing!

Warning: This short story is an erotica and features sexual content including light BDSM.

 

This little story was delightful. I have never heard of the author previously but I will seek out more of her work now. It was sexy and fun and well put together.

This is an author who knows what they are talking about when it comes to BDSM. While they did not touch upon this couples’ agreement in particular, but the context of the story lets you know that they are well aware of each other’s rules in this game. And the small snippet of the other story we got even used the BDSM mantra, SSC. That delighted me. There’s even a moment of aftercare! I think I swooned.

This main character is also great. She is a strong, determined, smart fighter of a woman. I kind of cringed when I saw she had a violent past, but it is not typically what you would see and honestly had nothing to do with her interest in BDSM. That was really refreshing since most female characters in BDSM are reliving some past abuse all of the time.

Overall it was a short little story but one that was excellently executed.

butterflies wake

I posted about this author awhile ago on another site, and didn’t name any names because I was mostly just frustrated. But let me give you a timeline of this spammer named Arlene Lagos.

1 year ago: Approximately a year ago, this author data mined a group I was in. The intention of the group was to get ARCs to bloggers for guaranteed reviews (not guaranteed to be positive). In order to get the ARC, you provided your email on the thread and the ARC was sent to you. She wasn’t a part of the group, but took a bunch of email addresses from the group and used them to spam me and others. I blocked her on GR and stopped participating in the group when the moderators refused to make it private to protect that information.

After I reported her to GR about using my email that she got from the site and put in a status update about it, she PMd me to say she really wasn’t spamming but sorry if I thought she was. She was new to this and had no idea that was not acceptable. Yeah, right.

Past few months: Recently this author has been spamming me on Twitter. Mentioning me (and others) Twitter handle individually in tweet promotion about her stupid book. This happened repeatedly. So I blocked her and reported her for spamming. Apparently Twitter doesn’t think this is spamming, I don’t agree. https://twitter.com/ArleneLagos

Today: I get home and what do I find? Another fucking email from this fucking woman to spam me with her new fucking book.

lagos2

Leave me the fuck alone you lunatic woman! I am never, ever, ever going to read your books. You are a spammer and a really stupid one at that if you keep coming back to me no matter how much shit you get for it.

surrenderSurrender by Tawny Taylor

Published May 27th, 2014 by Aphrodisia

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Book Depository / Books a Million

 

Synopsis:

I was his.
To touch.
Anywhere.
Any time he wanted.

Abby is ready to agree to anything to stop her brother from going to prison, but Kameron Maldondo, the owner of MalTech Corporation, is asking for the unexpected. Enthralled by his commanding brilliance, she agrees to be his assistant, at his beck and call for whatever he needs–whenever and however he wants. What that means is for him to decide and for her to submit to. Frightened yet fascinated by what he promises, Abby becomes a willing captive to his caress, undone by his peerless touch, a quivering submission to an aching need for complete carnal surrender. . .

 

Rating: 3 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Aphrodisia!

Warning: This book is an erotica and contains explicit sex scenes. It features light BDSM and dubious consent. Be advised this review might also contain some explicit material.

 

On the whole this book was okay. It wasn’t great and it wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t the best erotica I’ve ever read. Honestly, on the sizzle scale it barely hit a simmer.

The sex scenes in this book were actually pretty alright. But I am not sure why the author termed this as a BDSM. The ONLY thing that happened was they used a few sex toys and he restrained her hands a few times….with some nibbling and nipple pinching. That is such vanilla BDSM that I don’t even know where to start. Then we have the issue of Kam and Abbie’s affair being started under dubious consent, he blackmails her into agreeing to his terms. Yes he retracts that very quickly and gives her back the choice but not before they had a few sexual encounters together. Also, there is no warning in the synopsis about it being a dubcon, bad author bad!

I had a few issues with the BDSM and I started to doubt whether the author had ANY knowledge of the BDSM community at all. You can’t choose a safeword after you already began play. You can’t start play without discussing what is and is not acceptable to the sub, where their hard and soft lines are. You can’t tell your sub that you respect that they are not comfortable with something and then press the issue and demand trust that it will be okay. All of these things make you a bad dom. If any of those things happened in group play, that dom would have to answer to the whole group before being thrown out of playing. These things annoy me, Google could have straightened all of that out. And all of those things happened in this book.

Another thing, while I’m on the BDSM topic, why do all people involved in BDSM in books have an abusive background? Literally all of them. That is not an accurate representation of the community at all. Not everyone who likes being tied up during sex was abused. Not everyone who gets horny when their lover takes a paddle to their ass was raped and beaten. Stop doing this already authors, seriously! Just one time I want to see a BDSM book where the participants had no abuse and just like it a little rough but are mentally healthy individuals.

Now, let’s move on to the characters. Kam was a typical alpha male character, but surprisingly not an offensive one apart from being a terrible dom. He takes care of Abbie, he respects her, and he protects her. These are things that a real alpha male does, and it’s sexy. Unfortunately Abbie is a moron. She seemed incapable of putting two and two together and not coming up with eight. She is responsible for getting the information that will free Kam from suspicion. She knows that her brother is to blame and then starts feeling funny (after being drugged once already) and has no clue what’s going on. Um hello dummy, this happened a handful of chapters ago. She also repeatedly asks herself whether something actually happened. Example, she almost gets shot. A few paragraphs later Abbie thinks to herself “Did I really almost just get shot? Like, for real?” No dummy, it was a hallucination. If you can’t be sure of what’s happening to you mere moments after it happened then you are beyond hope.

The plot was what ruined this book for me. It was so dumb. And so predictable. I knew exactly what was going on as soon as we found out the gender of the accomplice within the company. It seems the only people who didn’t know were Kam and Abbie, probably because they were busy screwing.

Final grade, not very good but not offensively bad.

 

the here and now The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Published April 8th, 2014 by Delacorte Press

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Book Depository / Books a Million

 

Synopsis:

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.

 

Rating: 2 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Delacorte!

 

This book was a bit boring and not exactly that I expected. Overall, I enjoyed parts of it but a large portion of it made me scratch my head with the WTF. Warning, from here on there will be spoilers.

Characters: I did not like Prenna. She was so boring! She did not do anything really. She acknowledged over and over again “I really shouldn’t do this” only to do it a paragraph later. She was incapable of doing anything for herself and had to be bailed out by people through the entire book. Ethan was okay but he was really just a plot device to save Prenna from her TSTL. The other characters really made no impression on me because they were so pointless.

Plot: This thing had plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon. The premise of it was not bad. Horrible things happen to the world in the future and a plague wipes out most of the world and the survivors go back in time to prevent the bad things from happening….except what they are really doing is just hiding out and doing not much of anything. Boring. Prenna and Ethan also spend most of the book doing nothing. They are on a mission to save the future but then they sit around on the beach and play cards for the majority of the book. Also boring. Now for the plot holes:

- Prenna says that in the future they have no technology to speak of. They don’t use computers, they use paper and pencils. But then…how exactly did they figure out time travel?

- Prenna says that there is no new manufacturing so things like clothes are scavenged from the current time period. Except she says that the downfall of society didn’t happen until twenty years or so before they traveled back in time, which was like 90 years before the current time. So what happened in that 50 years exactly? Were there no new clothes for 90 years even though sciety only fell apart for the last 20 of it?

- This plague is described as dengue fever. The mortality rate for dengue fever is actually pretty low, by catching it early enough and getting proper treatment then you will most likely pull through just fine. It still isn’t pleasant but it is uncommon for it to be deadly. Now, Prenna explains this as the virus mutating into something more deadly. Okay, fine, but isn’t 100 years a bit to quick for that drastic of a mutation. I almost feel like the author spent most of their research time reading stuff like this: http://greenbugallnatural.com/wordpress/infected-mosquitoes-become-more-effective-carriers-of-disease/ Which has a definite “OMG MOSQUITOES ARE COMING!” feel to it.

- Prenna goes on loooooooong rants about how this was all caused by global warming. And I do mean long and boring rants. But then when they actually figure out the answer, it had nothing to do with global warming at all, it was someone from a third alternate future that carried a virus back with him and infected humans…who then infected the mosquitoes, who in turn started the plague. So what the hell did all that global warming garbage have to do with anything at all? Answer, I have no fucking clue and I don’t think the author does either.

This story was not well thought out. For an author as acclaimed as this one, I expected a lot better.

red cellsRed Cells by Jeffrey Thomas

Published March 18th, 2014 by DarkFuse

Buy this story at: Amazon

 

Synopsis:

Private detective and mutant shapeshifter Jeremy Stake (hero of the novels Deadstock and Blue War) has fallen on hard times in the far-future city of Punktown. When he is offered an opportunity to masquerade as another man to do his prison sentence for him, Stake agrees, but this is a new type of penitentiary—existing in its own pocket universe.

In this isolated prison, a series of gruesome murders have occurred, and the inmates soon force Stake to investigate. Can Stake catch a killer that might not even be human, without becoming just another victim?

 

Rating: 3 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this story from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you DarkFuse!

A story that is under 100 pages has no excuse to be boring, this one was boring. But it was also not badly written. In fact, I think if the story was given more time and space to develop then it could have been really good. As a short story, however, it felt rushed and hectic.

The character of Stake was an interesting one. He is a mutant who can assume the physical form of another human. He is normally a private investigator but things are tough and he agrees to do a stint in prison for someone else. Naturally chaos follows and gives him a mystery to solve. I liked him as a character, though he was a tiny bit stereotypical for a private investigator type. However, because the story was so short I felt like I didn’t really learn much about him. Since he is the main character in two novels this is not to be expected, but it would have been a nice addition.

The story was also a good one. A prison that is located in pocket universe and something is killing the prisoners. That is very interesting. But unfortunately, the story was told to me almost exclusively instead of showing me. That was annoying. Don’t tell me! For heaven’s sake do a little bit of creative writing and show me.

It was also pretty predictable. As soon as they described the killer to me, I thought….well of course it’s that X thing/person that they told us about. And it was. This could have been done a lot better. I have no doubt that the author can write better than this, I can see the talent there. But this story did not showcase that talent at all.

extinctExtinct by Charles Wilson

Published May 15th, 1997 by St. Martin’s.

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Books a Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

From the Gulf of Mexico’s warm shallow waters…to the deepest parts of the Pacific…terror comes to the surface…

Six-year-old Paul Haines watches as two older boys dive into a coastal river…and don’t come up. His mother, Carolyn, a charter boat captain on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, finds herself embroiled in the tragedy to an extent she could never have imagined.

Carolyn joins the marine biologist Alan Freeman in the hunt for a creature that is terrorizing the waters along the Gulf Coast. But neither of them could have envisioned exactly what kind of danger they are facing.

Yet one man, Admiral Vandiver, does know what this creature is, and how it has come into the shallows. And his secret obsession with it will force him, as well as Paul, Carolyn and Alan, into a race against time…and a race toward death.

 

Rating: 1 star

 

Review:

This book was a serious letdown. I was told that it was different from other books in the “giant shark killing people” genre. But it’s not. It is exactly the same as every other book on the subject out there, but with even more confusion and irritation.

Let me start off with a bit of a rant. I NEVER EVER EEEEVVVVVEEERR want to see any of the following in a monster megalodon shark killing people book/movie again:

 

1. A story about the megamouth shark or coelacanth. Anybody who has ever read a single one of these stories knows those stories already! We already know about how the coelcanth was thought extinct for millions of years until one was caught in 1938. I could recite the story for you word for word with the amount of times I’ve heard it in these books. And we already know that the megamouth shark wasn’t even known to exist until 1976, and so the existence of one giant shark without anyone knowing means it’s possible for the megalodon too. I KNOW THESE THINGS, STOP TELLING ME!

2. Also, can we please stop telling the story of the shark attacks on the Jersey shore in 1916. First, I know the story like the back of my hand. But also, can we please stop saying that it was a great white shark that was responsible. Some of the attacks took place in a river. The only shark known to mankind who can survive in rivers is the bull shark. The attack pattern fits a bull shark. Most scientists have been split more than 20 years ago that it was not a white shark but a bull shark, even though officially the attacks are still recorded as white shark attacks. But seriously, stop it already.

3. I realize the the Marianas Trench is a fabulous place to say that a 100 foot long shark has been hiding for millions of years, and that’s a find theory. However, then the shark comes back to shallow water and hasn’t evolved in the last however many years to reflect their new environment? They still have exactly the same coloring as a great white, which is a shallow water predator. But I have a feeling that over many millions of years spent in deep trenches with no light, these predators would have changed and evolved their coloring and hunting patterns. Why would they still need to be able to use their eyes for sight? Living in the Marianas Trench they would have no need for sight. Why would they still have dual coloring, they don’t need to disguise themselves from prey because there is no light for their prey to see them.

4. Please please please stop giving killer sharks families that they go on revenge sprees for! Sharks do not have families. Sharks do not have mates. Sharks do not care for their babies. They get pregnant (often violently) and then they give birth and the babies are on their own. Expecting me to believe that a whole family of sharks is out there and getting revenge when one of them is killed is so laughable. Two second on Google would tell you that it was stupid and ludicrous.

 

Alright, now that I’ve had my little rant, lets move on to the flaws in the writing of this book:

 

1. I did not know until 200 pages into this crappy book that it actually was taking place in different places, Florida and Mississippi. That is not the mark of a good author. I thought they were in Florida and all of a sudden someone mentions Mississippi and I had no idea where that came from.

2. I have the ability to suspend my disbelief a great deal, but I couldn’t with this. There was two 25-foot megalodons, one 50 foot megalodon, and two 200-foot megalodons….but they only manage to eat about 10 people total. What the fuck is up with that? And why are these mega-predators eating scrawny bony little humans when there are whales and seals to be had? And if these sharks had so much food to eat in the depths, why come to the surface at all? Again, no logical sense made.

3. Switching between different character POVs literally every 4 paragraphs is not an effective way to tell a story. All it did was confuse me. It took me almost the whole book to figure out who all the characters were because I never spent more than a page with any of them. Boring, and annoying.

 

If I want a giant killer shark book that is at least funny in its stupidity I’ll go back to the MEG series, because this sucked.

 

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