Book Review: Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

Title: Don’t Even Think About It.
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Published: To Be Published: March 11, 2014. (I received this book as an ARC through Netgalley for my honest review)
Publisher: Delacorte Press

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The Summary:
We weren’t always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn’t expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we’ve kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what’s coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.
So stop obsessing about your ex. We’re always listening.

I really enjoyed this book, it was a cute quick read that made me laugh out loud at times. I do feel that there were a lot of characters to cover, and so it felt a little rushed at times. I liked the slow build from individual story lines to the one strong thread–the ‘we’ narrative. One character that really stood out to me was Olivia. I liked her development and her growth. She really came into her own and began to stand on her own feet, rather than hiding in the shadows from her peers.

I found the romance aspects a little silly, but it is about high school students, and the relationships are accurately portrayed. The big reveal was handled well and I liked the end. To me it felt complete. It’s a cute, quick read that’s laugh out loud silly at times, and emotional at others.

Overall: pink3

Book Review: Going Nowhere Fast by K.D. Bloodworth and Giveaway!

Title: Going Nowhere Fast
Author: K.D. Bloodworth
Published: December 2nd 2013
Publisher: Planettopia Publishing LLC

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The Summary:
Leave your mundane cares behind, sit in your favorite chair and be prepared to travel the road of love, loss and no return. Travel down roads most women would never dare. Delve into the lost and found of life’s trials and tribulations by ‘Going Nowhere Fast’.

Going Nowhere Fast is a fast paced, fly by the seat of your pants kind of read. Dawn and Kelley are two pool playing, country hopping friends that live on the road and make no promises to settle anytime soon. Dawn is a character that is very passionate and daring. She gets into trouble, and manages to get herself out. She’s adventurous, progressive for the time period of the book (1960s and 70s) and is a free spirit. She finds love, lust and a whole heap of trouble within the pages of this book. It got off to a rocky start for me and I had a lot of trouble connecting to Dawn as a character but as the story went along I came to really like her narrative.

Overall: pink3 Not really my speed when it comes to books, I found it a little fast paced and difficult to connect with, but the book is nicely written and Dawn is a force to be reckoned with.

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This book was provided by My Family’s Book Reviews & Tours solely for review purposes. I am not being compensated for my review.

Book Review: The Palace of the the Three Crosses by Christina Weigand

Title: The Palace of the Three Crosses
Author: Christina Weigand
Published: September 20, 2013
Publisher: Muse it Up
Disclosure: I was sent this for review

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The Summary:
Brandan and Joachim have returned from the brink of Hell, but everyone questions if they are truly healed and one with Asha.

As each prince tries to readjust to life, they must face the funeral of their father and their missing mother.

They each take on the responsibility of ruling a country with new wives by their sides, but can they and the countries survive the trials that will ensue because of their choices?

Book Two in this series starts out right where Palace of Twelve Pillars leaves off, and it even includes some recapping of the previous book. I would suggest reading both, since there are a few details that you wouldn’t quite get if you started with the second book. The brothers have grown a bit more into themselves, and are now faced with burying their father, and the fact that their mother is missing. There are plots against each other, against others, with action and double crossing and just a little bit of mystery thrown in. I caught on quickly with what was going on, and a little bit on where the story was headed.

Since this is Christian fiction, geared towards the younger age, there isn’t any sex, gratuitous violence, and clean language. The allegorical theme does continue with this book. There’s magic and a bit more action in this boook than it’s predecessor, and it sets up for the third volume of this saga.

Overall pink3 I liked this book more than the first, and I’m interested to see where it’s going with the third book.

Book Review: Palace of the Twelve Pillars by Christina Weigand

Title: Palace of the Twelve Pillars
Author: Christina Weigland
Published: 2013
Publisher: Muse it up
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this for review purposes.

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The Summary:
The Peace Summit was in shambles, the prince kidnapped.

When the rival king realizes he kidnapped the wrong prince, hostilities escalate. Loyalties to each other and country are tested for the twin princes of Crato, Joachim and Brandan.

Joachim, captive of King Waldrom, faces deception and betrayal as he struggles to find his way home. Brandan, at home with a father focused on rescuing Joachim, wrestles with his own demons as he searches for his place in the world and the favor of his father.

Torn from the safety and peace of their childhood, they are thrust into a world where bonds of family, brotherhood and roles as heirs to Crato are tested. Through war, spiritual journeys, death and marriage, will they choose the path of good or evil? Who can be trusted, as the world they know slips into a whirlpool of chaos.

Palace of the Twelve Pillars is the first in a Christian Fantasy trilogy by Christina Weigand. The story is complex and entertaining with heavy a heavy allegorical lean. There’s a story within a story here, presenting the battle between good and evil in a new way–on a fantastical world with twin brothers playing out the roles they’re handed. It’s an interesting read, the first in this genre that I’ve read. It blends fantasy and Christian teachings through story telling and characters. Character’s motives and roles are made clear from the start, save for one who is introduced later on.

It is the first book in a series, therefore it sets up for the stories that come after it. I would have liked a little more world building, but I’m very much a visual person, so the more the world is revealed through setting and prose the happier I am. The plot is multi-layered and full of twists to keep the reader guessing.

Overall: pink3 for my first introduction to this genre, I think it served it’s purpose.

Book Review: Girl Of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Title: Girl Of Nightmares
Author: Kendare Blake
Published: August 7, 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen

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The Synopsis:
It’s been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can’t move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they’re right, but in Cas’s eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he’s seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong…these aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor.

Anna Dressed in Blood blew me away. I read it in one sitting, and it kept me up all night, with visions of creepy things lurking in the corner of my bedroom. Girl of Nightmares on the other hand, took me a little longer to get into. I’m not sure exactly why, but it dragged for me until about the midway point. I really loved Cas’ character in the first book, but in the second there’s a shift, and it’s more than just losing the woman he loves. However, the secondary characters, grew a bit more. One of them pulls something really stupid though, and I really felt bad for Thomas.

For me the book really picked up gear in the last half. The introduction of another character however, really set my teeth on edge. She’s just Cas 2.0, and she flaunts it every chance she gets. I did like the ending, I thought it wrapped the book duet nicely. I want to read more of Kendra’s books, because I really enjoy her writing. Girl of Nightmares just didn’t do it for me.

Overall pink3 Pace is a bit sporadic, and the characters are a bit different than in the first novel, but still an enjoyable read.

Book Review: Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole

Title: Letters from Skye
Author: Jessica Brockmole
Published: July 19, 2013
Publisher: Ballatine Books
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The Summary:
A sweeping story told in letters, spanning two continents and two world wars, Jessica Brockmole’s atmospheric debut novel captures the indelible ways that people fall in love, and celebrates the power of the written word to stir the heart.

March 1912: Twenty-four-year-old Elspeth Dunn, a published poet, has never seen the world beyond her home on Scotland’s remote Isle of Skye. So she is astonished when her first fan letter arrives, from a college student, David Graham, in far-away America. As the two strike up a correspondence—sharing their favorite books, wildest hopes, and deepest secrets—their exchanges blossom into friendship, and eventually into love. But as World War I engulfs Europe and David volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western front, Elspeth can only wait for him on Skye, hoping he’ll survive.

June 1940: At the start of World War II, Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, has fallen for a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Her mother warns her against seeking love in wartime, an admonition Margaret doesn’t understand. Then, after a bomb rocks Elspeth’s house, and letters that were hidden in a wall come raining down, Elspeth disappears. Only a single letter remains as a clue to Elspeth’s whereabouts. As Margaret sets out to discover where her mother has gone, she must also face the truth of what happened to her family long ago.

The Review:

I haven’t read a lot of historical romance, it’s generally a genre I shy away from. My mom picked this book up, read it, and told me that I needed to read it. It stayed on my to-be-read mountain for a long time, and I finally broke down and started to read it. Overall I liked it. The character were well written, and so real. I could picture them in my head, and the story-within-the story and the way that Elspeth’s and Margaret’s stories weave together and intertwine.  This is a pretty heavy read, considering the time period and the character’s voices.

It’s a wonderful read, full of emotion, hope, love, loss and personal growth. The story is great, the settings and the letters transcending normal narrative. I enjoyed it a lot. I don’t think it’s the book that’s going to sway me into really loving historical romance, but it didn’t put me off of the genre at all. I’ll probably go scope out my library and see what else I can find.

Review: Black Diamond by Jennifer Loiske

Black Diamond by Jennifer Loiske.
Release Date: January 22, 2013
Publisher: Self through Amazon.
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The Summary: After her mom’s sudden death, twelve-year-old Shannon McLean has to move from the US to the English countryside to live with her mysterious father, Connor McLean, whom she hasn’t seen since she was a baby. Soon she discovers that he doesn’t want her around and her moving into his huge manor, Greyman Hill, is nothing more to him than a compulsory deal. But if he does not exactly give her a warm welcome, his servant Robert is most likely an incarnation of evil. He runs the house with an iron touch and makes everyone who works there his little puppets.

Weird things start to happen and the whole place scares the crap out of Shannon. Her dad can control her just by looking at her. The walls are full of secret passages and apparently she has the talent to awaken the ghosts in them. Every day is worse than the day before and she wants badly to run away but discovers it’s impossible. If she wants to stay alive she has to do exactly as her dad says or else she will not only jeopardize her own life but also the lives of the people around her.

While Shannon struggles to find the magic inside her, Connor is slowly turning into a demon. One carelessly spoken word from her could either save or destroy them both. In the end she has to decide whether to save herself and her loved ones, or lose her dad to the darkness and evil that threaten to eat his soul.

Disclosure: I was gifted a copy of this book to read and review. I am not being compensated, nor am I influenced in any way. All opinions are my own.

The Review:

“Magic is all about words and believing. If you believe then anything is possible.”

I’m at odds with this book. I feel as though it’s a decent story, and has some great writing in it, but I didn’t really get into it. My main problem is that a lot of the details are spelled out word for word. It’s a classic story of telling rather than showing, and that really pushed me out of the story. I may sound a little harsh, but the potential for the story is there. It’s rushed at times and twists on itself becoming a little too convoluted for what it is.

It’s an interesting premise and a fun take on good vs. evil. Shannon is a great character, with a strong voice and she fits well with the story. She grows as the plot moves forward and learns as she does. I like that she’s not handed all of these abilities straight off the bat, it’s a journey of discovery and learning. I like the way the magic is presented, and the rules that go along with it. The world that Loiske has set up is amazing, and Greyman Hill is probably one of the creepiest settings ever. A lot of the characters are more than they seem and there are some really good points in this book.

Overall, it’s an okay book with some major potential. I actually rated this up to a three umbrella rating–I’d consider it more like a 2.5 rating. Some might really enjoy it, but in the end it wasn’t my cup of tea.

Purchase Black Diamond here Amazon

Review: The Abbey at World’s End by LL Watkin

The Abbey at World’s End by LL Watkin.
Release Date:June 5, 2012
Publisher: Self Published.
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The Summary: Keldaren just wanted an easy life. A job where the boss wouldn’t scream if she was five minutes late. A nice boyfriend. An apartment where the auto-programs actually worked. Treasure worth a not so small fortune. To go a week without a bomb going off in her near vicinity. Was that so much to ask?
Unfortunately, when your best friend is a three thousand year old ghost with a chip on her insubstantial shoulders, nothing is as easy as you’d imagine.

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book as part of a read and review group. I am not compensated for this review, nor am I influenced in any way. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Review:This is an interesting read. It took me a little while to get into it, because the reader is immediately thrown into the world. No set up, no explanation of what’s going on, and the story just takes off from there. The world is a futuristic world where apartments decorate themselves, ids are needed for pretty much everything, and the law follows the leading/teachings of the Goddess. Keldaren is a woman who works in an office for her day job, but in actuality is a thief and she and a couple of associates are planning on pulling off a massive heist.

She plans on stealing the Goddess’ belongings.

The reason behind this is partially monetary gain, the other is to keep her best friend Missra, a ghost, from disappearing from existence completely. Keldaren and her associates accomplish this, and that’s when the story really takes off. Keldaren is thrust into a world of power plays, changes, power gain and to top it all off someone’s trying to kill her. The city around her is racked with bombings, packed with people due to the annual festival and she’s caught in the middle of everything.

Once you get past the first couple of chapters the book unfolds in a way and becomes easier to read. It’s a really fast paced, action packed story and it sets the groundwork nicely for the rest of the series. (Did I mention that this was the first in a series?). The mystery elements to the plot I didn’t figure out until the very end, and I really fell in love with a couple of the characters. I only wish that the beginning had been rounded out a bit more so I could get into it a bit easier–but it might be just me. It’s a good book, a wild ride, but it did take me a while to get into it.

Purchase The Abbey at World’s End: on Kindle