Book Review: Unspeakable by Michelle K. Pickett

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Title: Unspeakable
Author: Michelle K. Pickett
Published: February 10th 2015
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
“Breathe. No one will break me. I’m strong. Breathe. Just breathe.”

On the outside, Willow appears to have it all. She’s beautiful, smart, from an influential family, and she dates the most popular guy in school—Jaden. But she would walk away from it all in a second. Willow is tormented by lies and suffocating guilt, not the hearts and flowers people believe her life is full of.

She carries a dark secret. Plagued by nightmares and pain, the secret dominates her life. If she hadn’t walked away. If she had just…but she didn’t. And now she has to live with her choice. But when someone uncovers her family’s past, they use it against her, crushing her spirit little by little. She tells herself she just has to make it to graduation. Then she can leave Middleton, and her secret, far behind.

When Brody transfers to Cassidy High, he turns Willow’s life upside down. He shows her what it feels like to live again, really live. And suddenly, she isn’t satisfied with just surviving until graduation. She wants a normal life—with Brody—and he wants her. But the closer they become, the more it threatens to unravel the secret she’s worked so hard to hide.

Willow finds true love with Brody. Will she let his love save her, or walk away from him to keep her secret safe?

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I feel a little weird saying that I really enjoyed this book considering the subject matter. That out of the way, I really enjoyed this book. The story is well written, the characters are engaging and have strong, solid voices. Willow really stood out for me and I really love how she grew and changed as the story progressed-it was refreshing to see her find her own footing and stand up for herself. Brody is a great character and he really works well with Willow. I love their relationship and how it changes both of them and really pushes Willow to stand on her own.

There were a few instances where I was a little skeptical of the authenticity of the story. Medical professionals are trained to recognize abuse, as are teachers, and most adults would question the amount of bruises/’accidents’, and injuries Willow happens to have. A few scenes slipped past me as well, as some of the abuse happened in front of witnesses. I understand Jaden’s hold on the school and student body, but someone would have spoken up at some point–and that could have been really interesting to explore. That being said, I did like how Willow didn’t instantly become able to stand on her own simply because Brody came into her life. It took time for her to be able to speak up, to do something other than suffer at the hands of her tormentors.

Overall: pink3 A well written, thoughtful read with memorable characters. I will be picking up more from this author.

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Book Review: More than Music by Elizabeth Briggs


Title: More than Music
Author: Elizabeth Briggs
Published: June 17th 2014
Publisher: Createspace.
Disclosure: I was sent this book by the author because it is ‘damaged’. It was a gift, all opinions are my own.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Music major Maddie Taylor just finished her junior year of college and has a summer internship lined up with the LA Philharmonic, yet every night she practices guitar and secretly dreams of a louder life. But geeky girls like her don’t get to be rock stars. That is, until tattooed singer Jared Cross catches her playing guitar and invites her to join his band on The Sound, a reality TV show competition.

Once on the show, Maddie discovers there’s more to Jared than his flirty smile and bad boy reputation – and that he’s just as big a geek as she is. With each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore, but when the show pressures them to stay single they’re forced to keep their relationship secret.

As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.

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This was an adorable, quick, fun little read. It took me on a wild and fantastical romp. I really got into Maddie’s head, and loved her story. It’s something that I’ve secretly always wanted to do–somehow get whisked away by my favorite band and play and tour with them. Plus, who hasn’t had a crush on a musician? Jared is one of those characters that I love to hate. He’s a good guy with a bad reputation of being a heartbreaker. What I did really love about Maggie and Jared’s courtship is while there’s intense chemistry between the two, there are just as many bumps and misunderstandings. It’s very natural rather than the two of them just falling into bed together and everything working out right away.

I love the support cast, and was really happy to find out there’s a novella about Kyle, and books planned for the other characters. In fact, according to goodreads the second book will be out soon, so I won’t be kept in suspense for too long. The main plot point revolving around the band on a reality tv show The Sound, very similar to the Voice. It was a neat twist on things, and the drama of the show really kept the story going. It added a few twists and turns, and in the end, really created something spectacular for Maddie and the rest of Villain Complex.

Overall: pink4 Looking for a swoony, rockstar day dream romance? Read this. The characters have scorching chemistry and the story moves quick with a great ending.

Book Review: Lunacy by R.A. Sears


Title: Lunacy
Author: R.A Sears
Published: December 2012
Publisher: Darq Deviant Press
Disclosure: I won Lunacy off of a Facebook contest. All opinions are my own–the author did not ask me to review in exchange for this book, it was a gift.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Kacea Meade is your average high school senior: a bit of an outcast, a good student, and looking forward to graduation so she can move on from little Elm Valley, New York. Or so she thinks. Unbeknownst to her, Kacea has a dark destiny heavily entrenched in magick, creatures meant to dwell only in nightmares, and Ragnarok: the Norse apocalypse.

Jynxx Davison, Kacea’s classmate and long-time crush, has his own unnatural calling that is brought to light through her awakening. With their relationship just starting to blossom, a cloud of tragedy hangs overhead, threatening all she holds dear and forcing her hand. To keep her family and friends safe from these eldritch beings with godlike powers, can Kacea leave everything she’s ever known behind and trust in the word of a vampire?

picadillypink I could not put this down. I quickly fell in love with the main cast, two characters stole my heart completely, and at one point I was texting a friend going “THIS CHARACTER BETTER NOT DIE BECAUSE RAGE”. Lunacy is a fast paced read that is dense with world building and blazing imagery. I’m a visual person, and I really appreciate it when authors books are lush with description and images that can stand on their own.

Kacea just wants to finish high school and get on with her adult life. She’s smart, quirky and has a good group of friends that she can count on. She’s been crushing on Jynxx since middle school, and it seems that fate has brought them together. Their chemistry is off the charts, and melts the pages without being too explicit or hurried. Kacea is a strong female character, who knows what she wants and can stand on her own. Jynxx is a character that falls into the ‘tall dark and handsome with a tragic past’ but this is expanded and doesn’t fall into the trope territory.

I love the take on werewolves here, and the werewolf mythology that’s presented. Speaking of mythology, the subtitle of this book is The Ragnarok Legacy, so there’s Norse mythology intertwined with the world of the wolves, Kacea’s seemingly human world and with the addition of vampires it’s certainly jam packed with supernatural elements, but it doesn’t get cluttered. Everything works together and blends beautifully. I’m really interested in where this story goes as it ends on a cliff hanger (con #1). There is a novella that bridges between book one and book two. Book two isn’t out yet, so I’m going to wait somewhat patiently for it.

My only complaint about this book is the sheer amount of characters presented. It’s got a massive cast, both main and support and what I like to call mainsupport (those who are support, but have more of a storyline than the support cast normally do.) At times I had to stop and figure out who was who, making sure I had the right characters in the right place. I have a feeling that these characters will be important down the line, but it was kind of intimidating at times to have so many in the book.

Overall: pink4 I’m chomping at the bit for the second book, which isn’t out yet. I have the novella somewhere in the house so I’m going to be tracking that down as well. It’s a great read full of action, and really amazing lore. If you’re an anime/manga dork like I am, you’ll find little Easter eggs and connections.

Book Review: The Wolf by K.R. Thompson.


Title: The Wolf
Author: K. R. Thompson
Published: July 24th 2014
Publisher:
Disclosure: I was sent this for review.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Before the legend of the Keepers, came the story of the Wolf.

Once upon a time, there lived a man whose fate would rest with two sisters. One will hold his heart. With her, he will find a love that will last forever, though it will come with a price.

From the other sister, he will learn fortitude as he discovers that she holds the power to destroy all he holds dear. For as easily as one sister captures his heart, the other will trap his soul.

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Captivating and enticing from the first word, I was instantly hooked, and swept away in this story. There is a beautiful and authentic narration within this short and I really loved how it kept true to the Native American voice. The characters were well developed, their love and attraction real. I really fell for their love story, and the pain was so real when they were ripped apart. The Wolf is a prequel to Ms. Thompson’s upcoming Keepers series, and I have to say I’m really intrigued. Being a prequel it is a short read, but there’s romance, mystery, revenge, and one of my all time favorite things, shifters. Each page is worth it, and it doesn’t drag or linger too long on one thing. The history of the shifters is presented here, and it’s so neat to to see the world building so carefully tended.

Overall: pink5 A brilliant introduction to what will be an amazing series. Chock full of history and captivating details. It read more like an old folk story told around a campfire.

Book Review– 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil


Title: 3:59
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Published: September 17, 2013
Publisher:Balzer + Bray

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Josie Byrne’s life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend Nick has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she’s betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can’t get worse.

Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time—3:59 a.m.

Jo’s life is everything Josie wants: she’s popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they’re just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror – Jo. Josie and Jo realize that they are doppelgangers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo’s perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to jump through the portal and switch places for a day. But Jo’s world is far from perfect. Not only is Nick not Jo’s boyfriend, he hates her. Jo’s mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh. By the end of the day, Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there’s a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it’s too late?

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This is a quick read chock full of twists and turns, believable science fiction and a dark splash of fantasy and horror. Where it falls short however, is the entire plot is given away in the synopsis and the ending is a little too neat–a little too packaged.

I’m going to start with the things I did like. It’s got a very Alice In Wonderland, mirror flip-turned-upside down vibe going on. From the first page the author leaves the reader unsettled. Something’s coming, and it’s really hard to pin point just what is going on. I think what makes this really effective is that it’s not just one thing, but a group of things, stacking on top of each other. When Josie and Jo switch places, I think the story really starts to shine. The glaring contrast between the two girls really gives light to the ‘good twin v bad twin’ battle. Though in this case they’re doppelgangers. I figured out one of the twists early on, after Josie alters her appearance to look more like Jo.

The story doesn’t really pick up until after the switch, when Josie learns that there’s more to Jo’s world than the girl had initially let on. Josie for a few chapters flounders, trying to get her footing and deal with the people who look just like those she left in her own universe, but act so very different. The characters are different enough that they stand out and separate from their alternates. One of the very obvious differences in Jo’s world is the introduction of the Nox. I really would have loved to see more about them, rather than the flash bang description and then a rather disturbing scene further along in the book.

One of the things that I did really enjoy is nothing was exactly what it seemed. Everyone had their own agendas and secrets. I did see the major twist coming from a mile away, but it didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the book. I did feel as though everything was packaged up neatly with a bow–even the heart-wrenching moment, there was closure there. I would have preferred a little rawness to this, but I can see why the author kept it neat.

Overall: pink5 Quick read that plays with science and fantasy on a real world scope. A little too neat of a finish, and predictable but still enjoyable.

Book Review: Beasthood by A.Z. Green


Title: Beasthood
Author: A.Z. Green
Published: February 17, 2014
Publisher: Self

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
What would you do if you discovered you weren’t human? That you turned into a bloodthirsty monster against your will?
What if your instincts, emotions and desires were torn between your own and the dark, dangerous animal lurking inside of you?
If it could make you yearn for someone you shouldn’t, make you say and act in ways you wouldn’t and overwhelm your whole existence?
If everything you’d ever known about your life was a lie?

In a world where a deeply hidden community is swathed in mystery, deadly secrets, betrayal and murder, Jaz Barker struggles to fight against the dangerous Beast within her and the emotions and desires it thrusts her way.

When tensions ride high and people she cares about are put in danger, she will have to decide how much of her newly awakened animal-side she’s willing to let in.

And if it is worth the risk…

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Beasthood is a wonderful urban fantasy book with some great horror/mystery elements to it as well. This is a quick read full of twists and turns and no one is who they say they are. The prologue sets up a great driving plot and also introduces the bit of intrigue and mystery into the story. Jaz is a great character. I like that she’s well developed, has a backbone and frankly doesn’t take too much crap from anyone. What really fuels my slight obsession with this book is the werewolf culture. These shifters are different from others that I’ve read, and I really appreciate that. I like their society and reading about their laws and the way that they act with each other.

There’s a lot going on, but the story doesn’t seem rushed at all. It’s beautifully thought out, paced well and there’s always just enough hinted at to keep me engaged and wanting to read. I didn’t want this book to end, and I’m sorry to say that the second hasn’t been released. I love the scenes between Jaz and Nic and I want more. This is a great fast paced story. It kept me guessing to the end and wanting to keep reading long after it was over.

Overall: pink5 I’d love to read more of this world.


I was given a copy of this book for review by My Family’s Heart Book Reviews and Tours. I am not being compensated or influenced in any way.

Book Review: Night’s Embrace by Brandy L. Rivers

Title: Night’s Embrace
Author: Brandy L. Rivers.
Published: April 2, 2014
Publisher: self

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a
Synopsis:
It all started with a song.

Roxana Nights was late to another gig, thanks to her first love, and drummer. It’s been years since she left Jordan, but he won’t let her go. Then she hears a voice that pulls her under a spell and changes her whole world.

Trevor Malone just moved to Seattle with his band. Music is his only passion, until he lays eyes on Roxana. He’s never felt anything as strong as the pull to her. Now he needs to find a way to introduce her to his world.

There’s only one problem. A rival clan won’t rest until they’ve taken Trevor’s down. Unwilling to let old grudges die, they target Roxy. Trevor will do anything to keep her safe.

Roxy learns that the world she writes is closer to reality than she ever imagined, and that not all monsters are evil, though some are ruthless.

Will love stay strong when the past comes out? Can they survive the centuries old vendetta?

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I LOVE this book. This is my first time reading anything by Brandy Rivers, and I’m kicking myself for not getting into her books sooner. She’s got an impressive way with words, and her characters are to die for. Trevor is a great male lead, alpha male, without being over the top, and Roxy is a wonderful female lead. I like that she’s strong and can speak her own mind, but at the same time has issues and things that she needs to keep close to herself. Their chemistry together is off the charts. There’s insta-lust, but being that there are shifters/mates involved I’m not too upset by that.

This is a spin off of another series by the same author, but it doesn’t feel like you’re walking into the middle of a story already in progress. A few characters from her main series do cross over, and it just makes me want to read the other books even more. The story itself was great. There was tons of action, a bit of mystery and all around great writing. I loved Roxy and Trevor and how their relationship grew. I seriously cannot get enough of this book. I’m tracking down the other stories written by Brandy and I’ll be sharing them with you guys.

Overall: pink4 It’s a fast paced, sweet urban fantasy featuring shifters. Amazing characters and scorching scenes and chemistry between the two leads, plus it’s set in one of my favorite cities. I could feel the Seattle vibe and it made me want to go up and get lost in the city for a day (though at this point, it’s hard for me to get lost in the city). Great story and I highly recommend it.


I received a copy of this for review.