Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Review: Velveteen, by Daniel Marks

Title: Velveteen
Author: Daniel Marks
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.

The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.


Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days. 

It’ll be brutal... and awesome.

But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.

Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules... or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her."

My Opinion: I must admit I've had a hard time with this review. On the one hand, the synopsis of this book was what drew me in and made me want to read this book, but on the other hand, the book was much more about Velveteen's time in purgatory than it was about her getting revenge on the serial killer who murdered her. The book opens with a bang, with Velvet haunting her killer, Bonesaw, and trying to set free another of his victims. Then Velvet is pulled back to purgatory, and it all gets rather muddled. I definitely admired the world building of purgatory, even if I was confused half the time Velvet was down there. She's proud of the fact that she "has no emotions", but this made it a bit hard for me to like her. She was rude and bossy with her underlings, the gang she leads, and when a new very cute guy, Nick, arrives, she is rude to him, then she's making out with him, but then she treats him like crap again, which was very confusing. What could have been a very cute romance was almost embarrassing to watch.

Then it turns out that purgatory is suffering from earthquakes that could collapse it, which I don't understand, and Veltvet herself is contributing to this problem by going back and forth between purgatory and the real world to haunt Bonesaw, which causes more and more tremors every time she does this.

I know it sounds like I didn't like the book at all, which isn't true, hence the hard time I've had writing this review. There were some really good parts, and a lot of really confusing, although not terrible parts. 

Another problem I have is that this book was targeted towards "Teens and YA, and Children's Fiction," but I thought a lot of it would be too much for those age groups and should have been targeted to "New Adult." I think a lot of people will enjoy this book because it is dark and Gothic and does that well. For some reason I was just confused and felt like the book was murky and hard to navigate more often than not. 

I'm giving this book 4 stars because I think it will appeal to a large group of people, but I have to take off 1 star for the sheer confusion of it all. Part of the 4 stars is due to the absolutely gorgeous cover of the book! I loved it and thought it set the dark and Gothic stage for the book very well.

I received a copy of this book free of charge through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review: Domination (C.H.A.O.S. #3), by Jon S. Lewis

Title: Domination (C.H.A.O.S. #3)
Author: Jon S. Lewis
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

With six arms and jaws that can snap a man in two, the warmongering race of aliens known as the Thule has conquered every planet they’ve attacked.
And now their invasion of Earth has begun.
Humanity’s only hope springs from a mysterious Thule legend about a Betrayer, who they believe will rise up and destroy their people. The American government tried to manufacture their own Betrayer by injecting children with Thule blood but time after time the experiment failed . . . until Colt McAlister.
A decade later, Colt is a 16-year-old cadet at the CHAOS Military Academy where he’s training to defend mankind. But he’s afraid that the alien blood may be turning him into a Thule—and he’s beginning to suspect that fulfilling his role as the Betrayer may cost him everything.
Experience a cosmic battle filled with high-tech gear, gateways to other planets, and ultimate stakes. Not everyone will survive. But heroes will rise up and step into their destiny in this earth-shaking conclusion to the C.H.A.O.S trilogy."

My Opinion: I've enjoyed this series so far and had high expectations for the conclusion, Domination, and boy was I right! This book had some really bad ass action scenes - the descriptions were so intense you really did feel like you were there! 

At the beginning of the book you can tell that the Thule have continued their invasion of the Earth as the setting is dark and desolate. You jump right into the action as Colt and Danielle are out on patrol and encounter one of the Thule. Since Colt was injected when he was only 6 years old with Thule blood in an effort to create "super soldiers" who would be better equipped to fight the aliens, he is faster and stronger than his fellow cadets but he worries that along with the good comes the bad - he fears he is turning into a Thule himself.

I really, really enjoyed this book. It was a very fast read, as were the other two books in this series. The almost nonstop action keeps you glued to the pages, and most of the characters are very likable. The ones who aren't were purposely written that way so that is in no way a complaint. The ending was everything you would hope for and leaves you breathless. Colt changes from a scared boy at the beginning of the book to a young man who finally accepts himself for who he is and works with what he has. 

As a last point, my teenage son, who isn't much of a reader, actually read this whole series and loved it as much as I did. It not only got him reading, which is always good, but it gave us something to talk about and discuss. 

In summary, in case you can't tell by now, I loved this book and highly recommend it for YA lovers of sci-fi, action, romance and suspense. I give it a very enthusiastic 5 stars :D

I received a copy of this book free of charge through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review: Say You're Sorry (Joseph O'Loughlin #6), by Michael Robotham

Title: Say You're Sorry (Joseph O'Loughlin #6)
Author: Michael Robotham
Format: audiobook
Source: local library


When pretty and popular teenagers Piper Hadley and Tash McBain disappear one Sunday morning, the investigation captivates a nation but the girls are never found.

Three years later, during the worst blizzard in a century, a husband and wife are brutally killed in the farmhouse where Tash McBain once lived. A suspect is in custody, a troubled young man who can hear voices and claims that he saw a girl that night being chased by a snowman.

Convinced that Piper or Tash might still be alive, clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin and ex-cop Vincent Ruiz, persuade the police to re-open the investigation. But they are racing against time to save the girls from someone with an evil, calculating and twisted mind.."

My Opinion: Michael Robotham is one of my all time favorite suspense writers and even though I haven't read any of the other books in the Joseph O'Loughlin series, I had heard that they can all be read as stand alone novels, and this proved to be true. I got caught up in the mystery right away and was kept interested clear to the end. 

Piper and Tash went missing three years ago and although the police investigated the disappearance, most people thought they had just run away, because that was in fact their plan. But something went wrong and three years later, Tash's body was found frozen in a lake following a terrible winter storm. Coincidentally (or not) Tash's old home, where two elderly people now lived, was the scene of a double homicide and fire that same night. 

The characters are all easy to relate to, as Michael Robotham's tend to be, and the reader is kept guessing throughout the book as to how all of the players fit and who did what to whom. As usual, I guessed who the perpetrator was, but then I second guessed myself, then third guessed, until I was as confused as I started out to be. The author drops clues in that throw you completely off, but that's a good thing in a suspense story - who wants to be able to figure it out easily? How boring would that be? 

The pacing was perfect as the story moves along at a steady pace, and the reader is kept guessing until the very end. I loved this book and highly recommend it to lovers of suspense, mysteries, and all around good story telling. I give it a very enthusiastic 5 stars and look forward to going back and starting the Joseph O'Loughlin series from the beginning. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Review: Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits #3), by Katie McGarry

Title: Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits #3)
Author: Katie McGarry
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a romance forged in the fast lane 

The girl with straight A's and the perfect life—that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy family…and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker—a guy she has no business even talking to. But after the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind. 

The last thing Isaiah needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks. But when their shared love of street racing puts their lives in jeopardy, Isaiah and Rachel will have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other."

My Opinion: I received a copy of this book free of charge through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

I read the first two books in this series and loved the character of Isaiah, and couldn't wait for him to get his own story, so you can imagine how excited I was to find out that he was the main male character in Crash Into You! He is totally my kind of guy in the real world: tattoos, bad boy, misunderstood - you know the type. I couldn't imagine anyone being good enough for him (yes, I get freakishly attached to and protective of the characters that I love!), but lo and behold, along comes Rachel Young, and I was sold. She isn't your stereotypical poor little rich girl from the right side of the tracks - she loves cars and decides to live dangerously and try her hand at street racing. Things don't go quite according to plan, and she ends up running with the help of a very attractive, dangerous, tattooed racer by the name of Isaiah Walker. They don't know if they care very much for each other at first but they're forced to work together to solve a problem, and if their chemistry has anything to say about it, it's just a matter of time before they can't fight it anymore and they get together.

I really liked the characters in this installment of Katie McGarry's very popular series Pushing the Limits. I already loved Isaiah and came to love Rachel's feisty self as well.

The pacing of the story was perfection as usual and I loved watching the characters change and grow as the story went along. I recommend this book to all lovers of YA and new adult contemporary romantic fiction and give it a very happy 5 stars :D

Review: A Bedtime Kiss for Chester Raccoon (Chester the Raccoon), by Audrey Penn

Title: A Bedtime Kiss for Chester Raccoon (Chester the Raccoon)
Author: Audrey Penn
Illustrator: Barbara L. Gibson
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "The sun is up, it's time for little Chester Raccoon to go to bed, but he is frightened by the shadows the sun is creating on the walls. Mrs. Raccoon soothes him with a Kissing Hand, and he is able to go to sleep.
This sweet and decidedly unscary board book is both a light-hearted way to calm children's fears at bedtime, along with a gentle introduction to Chester Raccoon and the Kissing Hand for the younger child. Funny illustrations will gentle the scary-looking shadows in a bedroom."

My Opinion: I received a copy of this book free of charge through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

I read this book for my grandson and I'll let his words be my review: "Again! Again!" He loved the fact that Chester Raccoon had to go to bed while "the rest of the world is waking up". He also thought the shadows were cool and "not scary at all because it's light out, silly!" I think he totally missed the subtext, haha, but he loved the book, so he and I both give the it 5 silly stars! I have to go now because he saw me typing this, saw the picture of the book above, and is requesting that I read it to him yet again :D

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Review: Death, the Devil, and the Goldfish, by Andrew Buckley

Title: Death, the Devil, and the Goldfish
Author: Andrew Buckley
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "From the Bahamas to Heathrow airport, to the rain soaked streets of London the dead have ceased dying. 

This is inconvenient for a number of reasons but what’s the real reason behind the chaos?

In London we find Nigel Reinhardt, a disgraced, confused, and gifted London police constable who owns a prophetic goldfish. In Ireland the Angel of Death questions the value and position of his current employment. At Majestic Technologies Celina McMannis works diligently on a top secret project. At the South Pole there lives a very unhappy penguin.
When the Devil hatches a nefarious plot to take over the world by possessing a cute little kitty and seizing a factory of robotic Christmas elves it’s up to Nigel and his group of unlikely companions to save the world or die trying… or both."

My Opinion: If you like British humor, you will love this book! I was very surprised to find out that this was Andrew Buckley's first book because it is crazy, totally out of control, and in my humble opinion, very, very well written. I can't imagine how he kept track of everything that was gong on because it was hard for me to do it, and I was just reading it!

The Devil possesses a cat and convinces Death, over many drinks in an Irish pub, to quit his job. Thus, people stop dying, or do die but can't get into heaven or hell without going through Death, which is becoming quite a nuisance! To add to the fun, we have a goldfish who can predict the future and sends out messages telepathically, but he has an attention span of 3 seconds so once he sends it, it's gone from his memory! My favorite part is how after each message is sent, he swims around his fishbowl and discovers the castle in it, again, and again, and again, and it makes him so happy every time!

My other favorite character is the penguin turned human, who has a very interesting way of viewing the world!

There is also a detective, a bunch of evil elves, including Eggnogg the dancing elf, an AI genius of Scottish ancestry, and many more, too many to list here! I loved them all, but the Angel of Death was especially fun because he traveled in a cloak of magic that made everyone who saw him or interacted with him in any way completely forget him as soon as they turned away, which made ordering a drink at a local bar somewhat difficult!

Overall I thought this book was terribly funny in a way that reminded me of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which I absolutely loved! There is a special kind of humor to these two books - what I've heard called throwaway humor, with one liners thrown this way and that, and each of them funnier than the one before. It is very entertaining and definitely worth your time to read. I recommend it to lovers of British humor, which is pithy and fabulous, and anyone who likes to reads Terry Pratchett, as this book brings his books to mind when you are reading it.

I give this book a very enthusiastic 5 stars :D

I received a copy of this book free of charge through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Classic Elite Quick Knits: 100 Fabulous Patterns for Wraps, Socks, Hats, and More, by Classic Elite

Title: Classic Elite Quick Knits: 100 Fabulous Patterns for Wraps, Socks, Hats, and More
By: Classic Elite
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "Pair soft, supple yarns in eye-catching colors with timeless yet contemporary designs and you have answered every knitter's dream. For more than 20 years, the studios of Classic Elite Yarns have created enduring patterns that beg to be knitted with their sumptuous products. In this pattern collection, a follow-up to best-selling "Classic Elite Knits," the focus is on quick-to-make accessories. Knitters of all skill levels will love this value-packed collection of 100 patterns for socks, wraps, hats, gloves, bags, scarves, and more. Knitters can indulge themselves or find something to knit for every member of the family. The 120 color photos showcase the range of high-quality yarns as well, including cotton, wool, bamboo, angora, cashmere, and blended yarns. "Classic Elite Quick Knits "will keep knitters' hands busy for a long time to come."

My Opinion: Classic Elite yarns are some of my all time favorites to work with, and I love anything that is quick to make (I get distracted easily so long involved patterns are sometimes hard for me to stick with until they are finished!), so saying this is the perfect book for me is indeed an understatement! I also crochet and there are some crochet patterns in the book so that was a bonus for me. 

The description above describes the book perfectly so I'm not going to go over how many patterns there were, how many photos, etc. What I am going to say is that I loved this book! They have patterns that range from beginner to experienced and the photos are spot on! I love making lace projects and they had plenty of those in the book, and I've been wanting to try some more advanced sock patterns, which they also had plenty of. Hats, scarves and mittens are always needed in my house, and are great quick projects to make for friends and family.

In summary, this is now one of my favorite quick knits books and I can't wait to delve into some of the projects! I would highly recommend it for beginning knitters all the way up to advanced knitters, with a touch of crochet thrown in to keep it interesting for people who enjoy both. This is a great book to check out when you have to make a gift quickly for someone you care about, or just to treat yourself. 

I give this book a very enthusiastic 5 stars :D

I received a copy of this book free of charge through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.