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tabula rosaTabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin

Expected publication: September 23rd, 2014 by EgmontUSA

Pre-order this book at: Amazon / B&N / Books A Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

The Bourne Identity meets Divergent in this heart-pounding debut.

Sixteen-year-old Sarah has a rare chance at a new life. Or so the doctors tell her. She’s been undergoing a cutting-edge procedure that will render her a tabula rasa—a blank slate. Memory by memory her troubled past is being taken away.

But when her final surgery is interrupted and a team of elite soldiers invades the isolated hospital under cover of a massive blizzard, her fresh start could be her end.

Navigating familiar halls that have become a dangerous maze with the help of a teen computer hacker who’s trying to bring the hospital down for his own reasons, Sarah starts to piece together who she is and why someone would want her erased. And she won’t be silenced again.

A high-stakes thriller featuring a non-stop race for survival and a smart heroine who will risk everything, Tabula Rasa is, in short, unforgettable.

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence by opinions in any way. Thank you EgmontUSA!

 

I must say that I really loved this book. I had a droolfest over the cover when I saw it the first time. I read the synopsis and drooled some more. And then I got the ARC and just about had a happiness seizure. Ask my hubby, he remembers that day. It was not perfect however, but the faults were minor at best.

The book opens with Sarah being prepared for surgery on her brain. They go through all the details, keeping her head still, running her through a few memory exercises, making sure she isn’t cold. They get prepared for the surgery and….the lights go out. In that short moment, someone presses something into Sarah’s palm and then her surgery is called off. At first she is annoyed. This was her final surgery. After this she was going to get a new life! Be a blank slate! And it all got postponed. But when she looks at what was in her hand, all of it changes.

The most fascinating thing about this book is that we know as little about the world Sarah lives in as she does. We don’t know if she was a victim of a horrible crime or the perpetrator or something else entirely, and neither does she. She only knows what she’s been told. After this she’ll have a new life and she shouldn’t ask too many questions about her old life because it might undo what the surgeons have tried to fix. That made for a great journey as a reader.

As far as the action sequences went, I had no complaints. I felt they were well written and engaging. This book gave me someone to root for, which I think is always necessary. But I did feel that we spent too long on one particular aspect of the plot when we could have been exploring what was hidden in Sarah’s brain. The romance was unnecessary but it didn’t come off too strong so in the end I didn’t mind too much.

My only real problem with this book was the ending. It just was sooooooooo sappy and sweet, I think I got a cavity honestly. Compared to the rest of that book being dark, foreboding, action packed, and occasionally funny the ending was sickly. It was a nice enough ending but it clashed with the rest of the book.

 

Review: Chance by Kem Nunn

chance Chance by Kem Nunn

Published February 18th, 2014 by Scribner

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

 

Synopsis:

In an intense tale of psychological suspense, a San Francisco psychiatrist becomes sexually involved with a female patient who suffers from multiple personality disorder, and whose pathological ex-husband is an Oakland homicide detective—from a Los Angeles Times Book Prize-winning author.Dr. Eldon Chance is a brilliant, lonely, forensic neuropsychologist with a long track record of getting involved with damaged, complicated women. While apartment hunting after separating from his wife, a series of bad decisions leads to Chance sleeping with a patient named Jaclyn Blackstone. Unfortunately her ex-husband is an Oakland homicide detective and the jealous type. Meanwhile, Dr. Chance meets a young man who goes by “D”; Chance believes he is a war-veteran, but he is in fact a deranged loner and self-styled Samurai skilled in the art of the blade. D is fascinated by Chance’s tales of his tormented and increasingly dangerous affair with Jaclyn and advises him that her ex-husband will find a way to destroy Chance.

As Detective Blackstone does indeed threaten the doctor, Chance and D plan a counter-strike. Meanwhile Chance continues his steamy affair with Jaclyn Blackstone (or is it one of her multiple personalities?) But the sexually voracious “Jackie Black” has a story that is far more complex and darker than he could have ever imagined…

Gritty, twisted, and impossible to put down, the surprises keep coming in Chance until the final page has been turned.

 

Rating: 1 star

 

Review:

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

 

I feel so deceived by this book, it is a classic case of false advertising. So for my review, I will go through the synopsis sentence by sentence and tell you how it was a lie.

 

 

In an intense tale of psychological suspense, a San Francisco psychiatrist becomes sexually involved with a female patient who suffers from multiple personality disorder, and whose pathological ex-husband is an Oakland homicide detective

 

First, that sentence is just too long, 33 words for one sentence. But anyway. Yes, the psychiatrist does sleep with a female patient, twice in the entire book. But it is not really his patient like the sentence implies. He sees her one time before referring her to another therapist. That’s the extent of their relationship until the doctor crosses every professional boundary there is to intentionally inject himself into her life. And ex-husband is subjective because they are still married but separated.

 

 

Dr. Eldon Chance is a brilliant, lonely, forensic neuropsychologist with a long track record of getting involved with damaged, complicated women.

 

I can’t really say whether Chance is lonely or not, all we hear about is his bitch of a soon to be ex-wife, his furniture and his obsession with Jaclyn. And I definitely wouldn’t call him brilliant because he violates the tenets of his profession in such a way as to potentially lose his license forever, puts himself in the line of fire of a maniac, and then commits several crimes. Sounds like something of an idiot actually. And if a track record can be made with a whole two instances over a lifetime, then sure he has a track record. But personally I think twice every does not really a pattern make.

 

While apartment hunting after separating from his wife, a series of bad decisions leads to Chance sleeping with a patient named Jaclyn Blackstone.

 

Apartment hunting…..sort of. He talks a lot about apartment hunting, but he doesn’t actually do it until about 300 pages in.

 

 

Unfortunately her ex-husband is an Oakland homicide detective and the jealous type.

 

Again, not an ex-husband….separated only. And Jaclyn claims he was horribly abusive and controlling, that’s just a tad bit different than jealous.

 

Meanwhile, Dr. Chance meets a young man who goes by “D”; Chance believes he is a war-veteran, but he is in fact a deranged loner and self-styled Samurai skilled in the art of the blade.

 

Because Dr. Chance is an idiot and just automatically believes everything that everyone tells him. Also he “meets” him when D creates pieces to attach to Chance’s furniture that will allow him to sell it as authentic instead of the duplicate that it is. We heard about that at length, for many chapters.

 

 

D is fascinated by Chance’s tales of his tormented and increasingly dangerous affair with Jaclyn and advises him that her ex-husband will find a way to destroy Chance.

 

Can you really call it an affair when they actually meet or speak less than 10 times, have sex only twice, and don’t really have any emotion toward each other except Chance’s obsession. Again, not an ex-husband, estranged husband.

 

 

As Detective Blackstone does indeed threaten the doctor, Chance and D plan a counter-strike.

 

Except that they have very little evidence that the detective has done anything except make a few veiled threats. So you have Crazy 1 and Crazy 2 plan to attack someone who hasn’t really done anything that they can prove. Great plan geniuses.

 

 

Meanwhile Chance continues his steamy affair with Jaclyn Blackstone (or is it one of her multiple personalities?)

 

Hardly steamy, the sex scenes were “fade to black…..so this is what happened during the time we didn’t see Chance. Vague details….vague details….his prostate is sore.” Wow, I am so turned on right now! /sarcasm  And who really cares if she has more than one personality, the author barely mentions it so why should it matter to me?

 

 

But the sexually voracious “Jackie Black” has a story that is far more complex and darker than he could have ever imagined…

 

Well….not really. Complex and dark if you imagine that she had a history that she didn’t tell Chance, to whom she spoke only a handful of times. Oh the horror! Also, this pissed me off. It implies that she is setting him up somehow, or has a larger plan at work than what she reveals, or is seducing him for some darker purpose. Except she isn’t. It’s exactly the way it appears to be.

 

 

Gritty, twisted, and impossible to put down, the surprises keep coming in Chance until the final page has been turned.

 

Gritty…not really, try boring and overloaded with details that don’t matter. Twisted, I guess so but only if we’re counting Chance’s psyche. Impossible to put down….actually I couldn’t wait to put it down. Surprises until the last page! The only surprise was that Chance got exactly what he wanted. The story ends and there are no repercussions at all for any of the bad choices he made. Gee, great, feel surprised? A HEA ending for a scumbag.

 

 

 

 

allegiant Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Published October 22nd, 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books

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

 

Synopsis:

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

 

Rating: 3 star

 

Review:

SPOILER WARNING!!

I am not entirely sure what to think about this book. I didn’t dislike it but I didn’t think it was great either, it was……decent. That’s the best description I’ve come up with for how I feel about this book.

I was rather dismayed at the dual narration for a few reasons. First because both Tris and Tobias’ voices were nearly indistinguishable. A few times I found myself going back to the beginning of a chapter to figure out who was talking because I honestly couldn’t remember. That annoyed me because I’ve never thought their voices were so similar before, it seems like the author stopped trying to make them different. Second, because I knew what the dual narration meant for the larger story. Tris was the main narrator and replacing part of her story could only mean that she didn’t see the end of the story.

Most of the plot points were done fairly decently. But I didn’t really like the whole idea of striving for genetically pure people. i got sooooo many shades of the civil rights movement there. And it just seemed kind of dumb, an entire society that is supposedly so much more advanced than ours coming to the erroneous decision that our genetics create our personality and actions. Um, I took high school biology (at a public school!) and I know better than that, but these super scientists of the future who can create serums to wipe your memories or make your fears a reality couldn’t figure that one out? I didn’t buy that and it annoyed me.

I really did feel like we saw a lot of character development in this book, and I loved that part. I felt like both the plot and the characters completely stalled in Insurgent so I was pleased to see them get back on track.

The world building was alright, but still lacking a bit for my tastes. I felt like the world outside the city was much too similar to the world inside the city, so what was the point of any of it?

The bad guy was about par for the course. Not as great as Jeanine or Evelyn but a worthy adversary. Although I felt like the larger enemy was the world at large, which is too big of a target for a single book.

The biggest point that I questioned in this book was the ending. Making the choice between two bad options and I am not sure they picked the right one. Who made them the decision makers? Why did they get to choose who to save and who to sacrifice? That didn’t make it right. There were so many other options for how to fix things and none of them were even considered. I don’t really understand why that decision was made either.

I was not thrilled with this conclusion to the series, but it was okay. I enjoyed it, I shed a few tears, and I didn’t feel like I wasted my time. At the end of the day that is a pretty good way to say goodbye to this series. If it was my story I would have done it differently, but it’s not so I must just say that it satisfied me.

 

the traitors wifeThe Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki

Published February 11th 2014 by Howard Books

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

Synopsis:

A riveting historical novel about Peggy Shippen Arnold, the cunning wife of Benedict Arnold and mastermind behind America’s most infamous act of treason . . .

Everyone knows Benedict Arnold—the Revolutionary War general who betrayed America and fled to the British—as history’s most notorious turncoat. Many know Arnold’s co-conspirator, Major John André, who was apprehended with Arnold’s documents in his boots and hanged at the orders of General George Washington. But few know of the integral third character in the plot: a charming young woman who not only contributed to the betrayal but orchestrated it.

Socialite Peggy Shippen is half Benedict Arnold’s age when she seduces the war hero during his stint as military commander of Philadelphia. Blinded by his young bride’s beauty and wit, Arnold does not realize that she harbors a secret: loyalty to the British. Nor does he know that she hides a past romance with the handsome British spy John André. Peggy watches as her husband, crippled from battle wounds and in debt from years of service to the colonies, grows ever more disillusioned with his hero, Washington, and the American cause. Together with her former love and her disaffected husband, Peggy hatches the plot to deliver West Point to the British and, in exchange, win fame and fortune for herself and Arnold.

Told from the perspective of Peggy’s maid, whose faith in the new nation inspires her to intervene in her mistress’s affairs even when it could cost her everything, The Traitor’s Wife brings these infamous figures to life, illuminating the sordid details and the love triangle that nearly destroyed the American fight for freedom.

Rating: 2 star

 

Review:

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, no compensation nor promise of a good review was made. Thank you Howard Books!

Summary:

As much as I wanted to like this book, I just couldn’t get there. It should have been so good. Some parts of it were good but unfortunately the bad outweighed the good much of the time. Everyone knows the story of Benedict Arnold, even if it’s just the basics. It has been speculated that his wife Peggy was a much bigger part of that plot to betray the U.S. than history gave her credit for. So I was very excited to read a story about her part in things and how she orchestrated the entire plot. Spying, betrayal, secrets, and traitors is what I expected. That’s not what I got though.

Plot:

This part of the book was actually very good. The book begins by introducing us to Peggy Shippen, the future Mrs. Peggy Arnold. She is a society girl in Philadelphia whose entire existence revolves around the next big party and whether she’s been invited or not. She has been having a love affiar with a British office, Major John Andre. When the colonialists take over Philadelphia Major Andre is ordered to leave the city. With her main romantic match gone she fakes sympathies with the colonial cause in order to win the affection of the new big dog in town, Major General Benedict Arnold.

Eventually they marry but Peggy is not happy with this new lot in life. Her husband is accused of several crimes, most of which he is guilty of, but he manages to beat the charges with little more than a reprimand. They do not make enough money to occupy the vast estate that Arnold bought for his new bride and are forced to live on her parents’ property. Peggy mentions that she is a personal friend of John Andre, who is looking for colonial spies….and thus our treachery begins.

I liked seeing this side of a story, it was interesting and told from an objective POV, Peggy’s maid Clara.

Characters:

Peggy – I hated Peggy Shippen so much. She is vapid, shallow, selfish, narcissistic, manipulative, and mean spirited. Yet she had men falling all over her all the time, it was maddening. The only thought ever in her head was “How will that benefit me…and do I look pretty enough to do it?” It would have been different if she was subtle in her manipulations, then I could have liked her. But she wasn’t. She actually looked at her suitor one time and says, “if you love me then you’ll learn to walk for me. I don’t want to be married to a cripple.” Yeah, Peggy is about as subtle as a brick to the side of your head.

Clara Bell – Seriously, that’s her name. And EVERYONE insists on calling her by her full name too. I felt like I was watching an episode of Hee Haw. But the character was great. I found her to be observant, delightful, funny, and a great narrator.

Benedict Arnold – I don’t know what to say about this guy. What a pushover! I think Peggy took his cajones away and kept them in her jewelry box. He puts up with outright emotional and verbal abuse and calls it love. She insults him constantly, stokes the fire with his complaints about the colonial army, outright lies, and then puts him in correspondance with her former lover! This guy is a doormat with a capital D.

I have no real thoughts on any of the other main characters since they all seemed very secondary and I didn’t feel any particular emotion about them.

Writing:

This was the biggest problem with this book, the execution. Approximately 40 pages of this is told in flash forwards. We get a brief scene about what will happen on that fateful day that Benedict’s treachery is revealed, and then back to the main story. That’s fine on its own but the problem came at the end of the book when that same 40 pages is repeated again when the store caught up with itself. Either don’t do the flash forwards or don’t repeat it again later, that was massively annoying.

There were also some continuity problems with Peggy’s character. Yes she was petty and selfish and treated people poorly, but as far as the reader was aware she was never physically abusive. Then all of a sudden out of the blue Peggy hits Clara. And Clara goes on and on about how this is typical of her mistress and she’s been fed up with her abuse for years. But, wait, that’s the first time anything like that has happened. And it never happened again. So either it’s a pattern or a one time incident, it can’t be both.

I also felt the story took far too long to get going. I didn’t care about Peggy’s tantrums, I didn’t care about the next party she went to. If the author got rid of the extraneous details this book would have been half the length it is, and would have been a better story for it.

Overall:

This book was decent. I liked parts of it and I disliked parts of it. But ultimately it was my dislike of Peggy’s character that drove the rating down. The ending though was brilliant with Clara taking Peggy to task, I liked that scene a lot.

Night Owls by Lauren M Roy

night owlsNight Owls by Lauren M. Roy

Published February 25th 2014 by Ace

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

 

Synopsis:

Night Owls book store is the one spot on campus open late enough to help out even the most practiced slacker. The employees’ penchant for fighting the evil creatures of the night is just a perk.…

Valerie McTeague’s business model is simple: provide the students of Edgewood College with a late-night study haven and stay as far away from the underworld conflicts of her vampire brethren as possible. She’s lived that life, and the price she paid was far too high to ever want to return.

Elly Garrett hasn’t known any life except that of fighting the supernatural werewolf-like beings known as Creeps or Jackals. But she always had her mentor and foster father by her side—until he gave his life protecting a book that the Creeps desperately want to get their hands on.

When the book gets stashed at Night Owls for safe keeping, those Val holds nearest and dearest are put in mortal peril. Now Val and Elly will have to team up, along with a mismatched crew of humans, vampires, and lesbian succubi, to stop the Jackals from getting their claws on the book and unleashing unnamed horrors.

 

Rating: 5 star

 

Review:

I loved this book so much, it was a no brainer for it to be 5 stars for me. I loved the characters, I loved the setting, I loved the plot, I loved he bad guys, I loved the side characters, I loved everything! Yes, I literally mean everything. This is a series I will definitely be following. But let me break down for you just what made this so great.

Charaters: These characters were all so different and interesting that I had a different relationship with every one of them. Elly was a survivor who wanted so desperately to do everything right but got completely left in the dark with the death of her mentor. Val is a vampire who wants nothing to do with the life she left behind, she just wants to live in peace with her Renfield and run her all night bookstore. Chaz feels honored to be Val’s Renfield but is secretly in love with her. Cavale is the adopted brother of sorts of Elly who walked away from the hunter lifestyle but still does some of the work to pay the bills. Sunny and Lia are succubi and also lovers, and did I mention they are kick ass fighters too?

Oh and let me take a moment to say how much I fangirled that vampire’s assistants are called Renfields in this book. It was a lot.

Plot: This was multi faceted and yet everything fit together perfectly. That is a delicate balance to maintain but this book pulled it off. First we have the fact that Elly is hiding a book from the Creeps (aka Jackals, aka bad guys) and they want it more than anything. It gets hidden at Val’s bookstore and that’s where all hell breaks loose. But at the same time we have some of Val’s past coming back to haunt her. That part was not touched on quite as much but I still liked it and hope that it plays a bigger role in the future. Oh and that twist thrown in there with the Creeps and their hostages….bravo, I didn’t see it coming.

Bad Guys: My God, how creepy were the Creeps! They made my skin crawl. And every time we saw them I felt my stomach drop into my knees. And as their methods started to change and become more sinister it only added to the scariness that they brought to the story. I want to see more of them in the future books.

Random Fangirl:  Sunny and Lia were amazing! My favorite characters for sure. They were funny, sweet, loving, generous, and kick ass demons at the same time. I was very glad that romance did not play too big a factor in this book. Yes Chaz is all swoony for Val but it didn’t get in the way of the story, even though I kind of hope she falls for him at some point. The story moved too fast to spend time on a sappy love story, so I was pleased that it wasn’t a big deal.

Oh, I finally thought of something I didn’t like! The final battle scene at the bookstore. It hurt my heart. All those books, destroyed! I cringed every time the book mentioned the paperly carnage. It was an awesome battle scene to be sure but….the books!

 

broken wingsBroken Wings by Shannon Dittemore

Expected publication: February 19th, 2013 by Thomas Nelson

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

 

Synopsis:

Giant angels with metal wings and visible song. A blind demon restored from the pit of darkness. And a girl who has never felt more broken.

Brielle sees the world as it really is: a place where the Celestial exists side by side with human reality. But in the aftermath of a supernatural showdown, her life begins to crumble. Her boyfriend, Jake, is keeping something from her—something important. Her overprotective father has started drinking again. He’s dating a much younger woman who makes Brielle’s skin crawl, and he’s downright hostile toward Jake. Haunting nightmares keep Brielle from sleeping, and flashes of Celestial vision keep her off kilter.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s been targeted. The Prince of Darkness himself has heard of the boy with healing in his hands and of the girl who sees through the Terrestrial Veil. When he plucks the blind demon, Damien, from the fiery chasm and sends him back to Earth with new eyes, the stage is set for a cataclysmic battle of good versus evil.

Then Brielle unearths the truth about her mother’s death and she must question everything she ever thought was true.

Brielle has no choice. She knows evil forces are converging and will soon rain their terror down upon the town of Stratus. She must master the weapons she’s been given. She must fight.

But can she fly with broken wings?

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

In the interest of full disclosure let me start by saying that I did not realize this book was the second in a series when I accepted the ARC. So there are some things I didn’t quite grasp and was confused by, which I believe was because I have not read the first book. But, on the other hand, I enjoyed the book so much I didn’t care.

I loved Brielle so much, I kind of wanted to kiss her. She is such a fantastic heroine. She is pretty but she is neither conceited about it nor denies it. She is talented and multi-faceted, her love of dance reminded me of my own love of singing. Elle is not reliant on some guy to make herself feel valuable, rather her boyfriend is a compliment to her but she doesn’t wait around for him to rescue her because she is a capable young woman all on her own. I loved her, I want to be able to write characters this well.

On the opposite side of Elle is her boyfriend, Jake. I didn’t really feel like we got to know Jake that well and it disappointed me because he seemed like a great guy. We mostly see him in the context of spending time with Elle. So it was difficult to judge him on his own because we honestly only see him without her maybe twice. Jake has the ability to heal with his hands, apparently this makes him a target for the Prince of Darkness and his demons. And since Brielle can see the “celestial” world and God himself has decreed that the two will be married then they are a great two for one deal. So this is how we get introduced to them in this book and it was interesting.

I was hoping that we would see more of Helen and Canaan, but they were very fleeting characters. They came and went and then came back just in time to explain things…like why God wanted to thin the veil over this little town. Honestly I’m still not sure I understand that but maybe that’s the subject of another book in the future.

I really likes the plot but I felt like we were going in circles at times. The entire idea was trying to figure out what Jake was being warned about and fearing that Elle might be killed and taken away from him. Bad people arrive in town and then bad things happen. Somewhere along the line we learn shocking things about the death of Elle’s mother. I am, again, not sure what the point of that was but I hope it will be explained later.

All in all, this was a great book. It had everything going for it and hopefully the things I didn’t quite get answered will be the subject of the next book.

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I am being featured this month on Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile, check out my post here. I know, I should have gotten this post up yesterday but….well, I was busy doing things with my husband. Get your minds out of the gutter, that’s not what I meant…..or is it? I guess we’ll never know!

Anyway, check out the Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile blog, it’s really awesome. And if you are seeing this because you saw my feature over there, welcome! Don’t be shy about posting, it’s a friendly place around here.

 

 

 

 

forever engine The Forever Engine by Frank Chadwick

Published January 7th, 2014 by Baen

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

 

Synopsis:

London 1888. His Majesty’s airships troll the sky powered by antigrav liftwood. Iron Lords tighten their hold on Britain choked by the fumes of industry. Mars has been colonized. Clockwork assassins stalk European corridors of power. Far to the east, the Old Man of the Mountains plots the end of the world with his Forever Engine.

2018 Jack Fargo, scholar, former American special forces agent in Afghanistan. Aided only by an elderly Scottish physicist, a young British officer of questionable courage, and a beautiful but mysterious spy for the French Commune, Fargo must save the future, the universe, from destruction.

 

Rating: 2 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Baen!

I wanted to like this book, really I did. I am far more often reading and liking steampunk, so when I hear the words time travel, steampunk, and Nikola Tesla I was all over this book. But in the end it was just boring.

Time travel is a tricky issue in any book. It can be done well and in certain aspects this was done well. It plays with the idea of infinite universes, that somewhere out there is a universe where the exact opposite of every decision and outcome in this world has taken place. However, time travel can also be used as a crutch to aid lazy writing and suspense building. To a larger extent this book did that too. Toward the end I felt like the time travel aspect was the go-to answer to creating drama and tension. That was annoying.

The characters were very thin and had no real life to them. I had a hard time keeping track of who everybody was because they were largely so interchangeable. Even when we started learning more about Fargo’s past I just felt……confused I guess because it was so out of the blue.And I HATED that the author kept trying to give everyone an Asperger’s diagnosis. First off, you’re a history professor and a former soldier, not a psychologist or psychiatrist so shut up. And second, I don’t get it. These two characters seemed more Obsessive Compulsive to me. And believe me, I am speaking from personal knowledge here. I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and my brother is an Aspie. Yes, there are areas where the two things overlap but I didn’t see the Aspie in these two characters at all. I think the author just wanted to use it to force us to see the similarities between the two characters, which didn’t make the ultimate connection he gave them any more realistic.

If the blurb didn’t tell me this was steampunk, I probably wouldn’t have known. There was a few pages in London where we saw steam powered airships, and coal engines, and everyone having to wear goggles out in public. But after that the entire cast of characters were in the middle of the desert with weapons that actually existed in that time and so…..that’s it? That’s my steampunk? Cause that’s a pretty poor effort if it is.

The ending was stupid. I felt like the final climactic finale was very contrived. The most obvious and logical course was discarded as a trick and the most complicated and unlikely to succeed course was taken, more than once. And the ending didn’t seem realistic to me. After 300 pages of Fargo going on and on at length about missing his daughter and being willing to do anything to get back to her, he totally screws over any chance he has of seeing her again and just happily moves on in the other universe without even mentioning her again. Wait, what? And what about his theory that him and Thomson could recreate the device and get him back to his own time anyway? What happened to that? I didn’t like or understand this ending at all.

Overall it wasn’t terrible, there were some enjoyable moments. But I felt the book was much too flawed for me to enjoy it enough that I overlooked the problems.

 

 

 

Defy by Sara B Larson

defy Defy by Sara B. Larson

Published January 7th, 2014 by Scholastic Press

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

 

Synopsis:

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king’s army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince’s guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can’t prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she’s sworn to protect?

 

Rating: 3 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Scholastic!

Where oh where did this story go wrong? It had everything that a good story should. Wars being waged, girls being kickass soldiers, sorcerers, loyalty, honor, revenge, and betrayal! And it started off so well, I just don’t understand what happened in the middle.

So let’s start at the beginning. I liked Alexa, she was interesting and brave. I liked everything I saw from her. Okay fine, so she tended to blush and quaver when an attractive male was around. But since that would most likely just make her fellow soldiers think she was gay…well, no big deal in the end I guess. But she was smart and brave and loyal to a fault. The story was also very interesting in the beginning to. The prince was clearly up to something but I had no idea what. I had suspicions but I wasn’t sure exactly where it would go.

Now let’s skip to the end. I also really liked the end….mostly.The part where Alexa has to convince the king to allow her near him during the battle, it was a good bit. And then the actual battle was excellently written and I enjoyed it a lot. I didn’t even mind the ending too much, though it fell short after the excellence of the battle scene.

Here is where I hated this book, the entire middle. Alexa was supposed to be this big kick ass fighter and she was…at times. And then as soon as the prince gave her the side eye she got all wussy and pathetic! In that moment she became every pathetic, cliched YA heroine ever. She cried, she quavered, she had a heart that flip flopped around in her chest. I was flummoxed! What happened to the Alexa from the beginning of the book? Where on earth did she go?! She didn’t return until the very end and even then she started slipping back into it a little bit. Her character became an utter disaster.

My other big problem and the biggest reason behind just 3 stars was the constant use of rape as a plot measure. They have breeding houses, aka rape houses, and yes that’s exactly like it sounds. Apparently girls captured in war are repeatedly raped so breed new soldiers. Okay, here the huge logic fail here. The war has only been going on for just longer than 17 years…so maybe 20 years. How exactly are these babies helping the army? You could only have had maybe one generation, how the hell does that even work?! And then the king has a son conceived in rape, and that one served no purpose either. I will not accept author’s using rape just as a device to say “hey look, he’s a bad guy!”. It’s lazy and it’s disgusting.

I was disappointed because this book had so much potential. Some of it was realized and some was not.

 

Restoration by Elaine D. Walsh

?????????????????????????????Restoration by Elaine D. Walsh

Published September 18th, 2013 by Barks Out Loud

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

Synopsis:

When your life is shattered you can live damaged or repair it.

With a signed death warrant and final appeals running out, Tess Olsen anticipates the execution of the man her mother deserted her family for thirteen years ago. Randall Wright s death will expel his disturbing legacy and return her mother to her; it s as simple as that, or so she believes. But Wright robbed her life of more than just her mother and like a splinter slowly and painfully working its way to the surface, those stolen pieces begin emerging.

Working as an art conservator in New York City, Tess keeps an emotional distance from co-workers. She has no close ties since isolating herself during her teen years when the tale of Wright s crimes, trial, and marriage to her mother was published in a Pulitzer Prize winning article. She yearns for the family she had and is unable to accept who they are now.

Tess is dating Ben Elliot, an art critic for the New York Times. The relationship both intrigues and unnerves her. Unlike men she s dated in the past, he is more interested in her than her physical attributes and any sex she can offer. Although drawn to Ben, she is more comfortable with men like Kenyon LeMere, a brazen artist Ben introduces her to who has a reputation for translating his sexual liaisons into art.

Restoration chronicles Tess Olsen s challenge to restore her life, relationships, and dreams back to the promise they held before Randal Wright.

Rating: 4 star

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. This did not affect my opinion of the book, thank you Barks Out Loud!

This book was not long but every word served its purpose perfectly. This little tome follows Tess. Her mother married a serial killer when she was a young girl. She used to be a painter, but she isn’t anymore because she feels that her new stepfather has ruined her gift. She doesn’t speak to her mother and she avoids closeness at all costs. Randall is about to be executed and Tess is overjoyed that she can finally move on with her life. Tess is a very damaged woman who is clearly living in the past, this is obvious to the reader but not to Tess.

I was not exactly sure what to expect when I started this book. Yes, I had read the synopsis but I still didn’t know just what kind of story I was getting into.It was an emotional ride. My heart broke for Tess. I cried for her. I wanted to help her. I hurt for her and wanted to protect the little girl that she used to be. I followed her journey to figuring out some of her issues and felt the pain right along with her.

This story though is not about Tess and her acceptance that Randall’s execution won’t fix her life. It’s about her and her relationship with her mother. It was about Tess realizing that her mother was much more responsible for ruining her childhood than Randall. Because her mother consciously made the choice to let evil into her children’s lives and did nothing to stop it. The book is about realizing the part that her mother played in all of the things she blamed Randall for. I could sympathize with Tess on this front. We don’t want to believe that our parents are flawed and make mistakes, and sometimes they choose evil over their children. It can be a very painful thing to finally make that leap in your mind. But it is incredibly freeing once you finally get there.

The biggest complaint I had about this book was the Francesca storyline. While I liked Francesca as a character, I didn’t like what the author did with her story. I realize that they were trying to parallel Tess and her mother with this one, but I just didn’t get it. In fact I thought that the resolution to that story was a bit selfish on Tess’ part and Francesca’s part. So I just didn’t get it, nor did I agree with how it was handled. But this small complaint aside, this was a great read.

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