Friday, November 25, 2016

Threading the Needle by Gabriel Valjan




Title: Threading the Needle
Author: Gabriel Valjan
Series: Roma Series #3
Rating: 4.5 STARS!!
For Review From

Milan, Italy. Bianca's curiosity gets a young university student murdered, but not before he gives her a file that details a secret weapon under development with defense contractor Adastra. Guilt may drive her to find justice for the slain Charlie Brooks, but she is warned by the mysterious Loki to stay away from this case that runs deep with conspiracy. Bianca must find a way to uncover government secrets and corporate alliances without returning Italy to one of its darkest hours, the decades of daily terrorism known as the "Years of Lead."

~MY THOUGHTS~

We have made it back to Italy in this book, Milan to be exact. And I love that the author changes things up a bit and puts another character in the lime light. I loved Bianca as a main character, but it was nice getting another perspective. It kept the reading experience new. Farrugia is the character we see the most of in this book, but we still get Bianca in the story as well, which was good.

This installment has a few murder mysteries thrown in, and I was continuing to read to find out who did.

I'm finding it harder and harder to talk about these books in a coherent way because I have become so engrossed in them. I have mentioned before that this will be my first suspense type series I have read. I have always seen this genre from afar, and with Gabriel's writing, I am now in the middle, trying to figure out the mysteries as Bianca does, and now Farrugia. I love the characters in these books, they all work well together, and each installment sees each one fleshed out even more than before. We see Bianca grow so much in these books, and it's nice to have a character with growing room...who isn't already so perfect and already knows all the answers before everyone else. This makes the series even more addicting because you are there for the ride and not just the story of the mystery. So many turns and its a fast paced read!

I loved the added information we got on a part of history I had previously not been aware. It was interesting reading about this time in Italy's history, Years of Lead, and it prompted me to look into in further. I love when books give the reader information that is factual that they might not have known.

Most definitely recommend reading this series! Great read!!!

Author's Bio:

Gabriel Valjan lives in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the author of the Roma Series, available from Winter Goose Publishing. Gabriel has also written numerous short stories and essays found online and in print.

Connect with the author:  Website ~Twitter  ~ Facebook

Monday, November 7, 2016

Bloodrealms by Aurora Whittet


Title: Bloodrealms
Author: Aurora Whittet
Series: Bloodmark Saga #2

Received for Review
RATING: 5 STARS
Werewolf princess Ashling Boru's eighteenth birthday is only a year away, which means that she only has twelve months before she is claimed and fulfills her prophecy to unite the packs and lead her people. Her father decrees that her four suitors must fight in the Bloodrealms, the werewolves' ancient underground fighting world, and the winner will have King Boru's choice to win Ashling's hand. The wolf laws are rigid and barbaric, and Ashling's illicit love for Grey, if discovered, will mean his death. But when Ashling and Grey get trapped in the blood-soaked depths of the Bloodrealms, they find ancient horrors far greater than Ashling's father's rule.

With betrayal around every corner and old nemeses set to destroy Ashling, she is more divided than ever between the destiny she didn't choose and the love that she did. To make matters worse, her decision will not only set the course of her future, but the future of her entire race.

Bloodrealms is the second novel in Whittet’s Bloodmark saga.
MY THOUGHTS

I didn't think I would enjoy this book as much as I did the first one. I have a tendency to find sequels lacking, so I went into this with slightly lower expectations. I think that kind of worked in it's favor, because I really enjoyed this installment of the series as well.

Without going into a lot of the plot, as I tend to let spoilers out when I love books and start talking about different aspects of the story, I will say that the relationships in this book are just as tension filled and page turning as the last book. I loved reading about Grey and Ashling, and was rooting for them in the entire book.

This book sees Ashling's father being a complete tool again. He sponsors a sort of competition for Ashling's hand in marriage, even though she loves someone else... It's like he doesn't care. But I won't go into that either, because it will end in a rant of how much I thought that aspect of the book would make me hate this series. But, thankfully, it didn't.

I loved that again the characters were in the forefront of the story and all the action and plot were just kind of added background. It's really nice to read a story about a group of characters that you enjoy reading about, and they grow and transform right in front of you. I also feel that we get a better view of the culture of the wolves in this world. I liked that. I'm not very knowledgeable on werewolves in general, so to be informed on the ones in this series really helped solidify my love for this series.

I can't wait to get to the next one in the series. I highly recommend this series.

Wasp's Nest by Gabriel Valjan


Title: Wasp's Nest
Author: Gabriel Valjan
Series: Roma Series #2

Received for Review from:

RATING: 4.5 STARS


In the highly anticipated sequel to Roma, Underground, Bianca returns to the U.S. for her former employer, the covert organization Rendition, to investigate Cyril Sargent and Nasonia Pharmaceutical. Although ambivalent about the assignment and uneasy about her online “friend,” Loki, she is enticed into researching what Sargent is doing with insect genetics that might upset the world of cancer research and treatment. Old friends Farrugia and Gennaro uncover a twisted conspiracy from their past and join Bianca in Boston where they will experience conflicted loyalties, question allies, and confront uncertain enemies, as they're drawn into the wasp's nest.

MY THOUGHTS

This book brought a lot of my favorite things into play. I had never really been a huge fan of mystery books, but the first in this series made me a convert. But this sequel was so easy to enjoy because it brought in the concept of wasp genetics and an investigation of a pharmaceutical company. This made this book completely up my alley and I couldn't put it down. I picked it up this morning for a Halloween type read, and finished it in one sitting. I was so engrossed in the plot, and the characters, and the mystery that I couldn't stop reading. The added mystery of what the pharmaceutical company is doing with the wasp DNA kept me reading, and I liked that this case involved so much from my personal life (being a microbiology degree, it spoke to me :D )

I was excited to read about Bianca working back at Rendition, and has returned to Boston. I always like added intrigue in books, and it seems that her decision to come back to work for this organization might have lasting consequences? Like Dante. I am a sucker for these plot lines, and in this book it made me want to keep reading. 

I think that as a whole, I can say I'm loving this series. I never thought I would be attached to a series of mysteries, because I kind of thought they were one shot stand alones. But I know the appeal to them now. It's the characters that make the series worth reading on, and the mysteries and cases that crop up are added reading pleasure. I was on a small fence in the previous book, but Wasp's Nest pushed me over. I love this series, and can't wait to read book 3. 

This book was fast paced, and had so many surprises I didn't see coming. I loved that the plot took many different roads, and it takes the entire book and then some to finally grasp what is going on, or what you think is going on. 

I loved this book, and can't wait to read the next one in the series. I recommend this series to those who love mystery thriller series. I love the characters, and look forward to seeing what the author puts them through in the next installment. 

Author's Bio:

Gabriel Valjan lives in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the author of the Roma Series, available from Winter Goose Publishing. Gabriel has also written numerous short stories and essays found online and in print.

Connect with the author:  Website ~Twitter  ~ Facebook

Monday, October 17, 2016

Bloodmark by Aurora Whittet


Title: Bloodmark
Series: Bloodmark Saga #1
Author: Aurora Whittet
Buy Bloodmark:  Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

RATING: 5 STARS

Received for Review 

Sixteen-year-old werewolf princess Ashling Boru is different from other wolves—she was able to shift to wolf form at birth. Rather than bringing pride to her family, it brings fear, and as a result, she is forced to live in seclusion in Ireland’s countryside. Ashling’s reputation is further blackened when she refuses her betrothed and defies the ancient laws. When her pack’s oldest rivals begin hunting her, she finds herself in the small town of York Harbor, Maine—far from everything she’s ever known. 

In Maine, she crosses paths with the dark and rebellious Grey Donavan, and something ignites within her soul. There’s just one problem: Grey is human. Their instant connection turns into a passionate romance, and Ashling begins to believe she can create her own life outside of wolf laws. When she begins to uncover long-buried pack secrets—secrets that threaten to destroy all she holds dear—Ashling’s courage and tenacity are tested. Will she choose her deep and enduring love for Grey, or will she follow Old Mother’s path to her destiny?


~MY THOUGHTS~

I will start this review off by saying I completely enjoyed this book. Hands down, one of the best paranormal books I’ve read in a while. I used to be all about paranormal books: witches, vampires, shifters, all of them. And that’s all I read. But then it got to be the same story, over and over. So, I tried to stay away from that type of story. But for some reason, I signed up for this review tour on a whim. I think subconsciously I knew I would love it. And love it I did.


Ashling was a breath of fresh air as a main character for me. Especially in these type of books. Usually the main character seems to have it all together and knows what they are doing right away in terms of the supernatural aspect of the world. But Ashling was real. She struggled to fit in with her family, and had conflicting emotions about so much in the book. She didn’t know what to do next, and that was nice. I hate reading books where the main character just inherently KNOWS what to do. It gets old, because it is a huge plot hole. The author really took the time with this book, and with the characters of this story. Giving them weaknesses, as well as strengths. Letting each character play differently on another in the book. I loved it.


I haven’t read a werewolf book like this before. It was such a surprising twist that I was sucked into the story from the first few chapters. I wanted to know what was going to happen to Ashling. And wanted to know more about her father, and family as a whole.


The mystery/plot points of this book made it a fast paced read. I was constantly in a state of need to know when reading this book. Ashling has an enemy after her, and throughout the book I wanted to know why. And how she was going to escape. And would he turn out to be good? Would they fall in love instead of the character that is presented as the obvious love choice? I love when authors are able to elicit these questions even while finding out the answers. Each page answered something, but then caused me to ask three more questions.


I would highly recommend this read to anyone who loves paranormal who thinks they might be over the genre. I think this offers something new to the genre, and is a wonderful read. I am looking forward to getting to the next book soon.

Author's Bio:

Aurora Whittet started out as a wild red-haired girl in Minnesota dreaming up stories for her friends to read. Mama’s Knight: A Cancer Story of Love is just the latest in a string of acclaimed works. Her first official writing endeavor became The Bloodmark Saga, featuring a werewolf princess-turned-ruler who falls in love with a human boy. Her first novel in the Bloodmark Saga, Bloodmark, came out in 2013, followed by Bloodrealms in 2014 and the final book Bloodmoon in 2016.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Roma, Underground by Gabriel Valijan



Title: Roma, Underground
Author: Gabriel Valijan
Series: Roma Series #1
Got: For Review

RATING: 3.5 STARS 

~MY THOUGHTS~

This book fulfilled a challenge in the Spooktober Read-a-Thon: Read a book with a creepy cover. The stairs in this cover kinda give me the creeps...so it fit.

I really did enjoy this book. I'm not always a mystery reader, as sometimes I don't enjoy the buildup of the plot of mysteries. I get impatient a lot of the time. But I found myself really enjoying the pacing of this book. It had just enough mystery, at the same time giving away details that kept me wanting to know more. I guess I never really gave mysteries a try, but this book makes me want to read more.

I liked the concept of this book. It is so unlike anything I see mysteries as. It had a financial twist in it, which I really liked. It just was an avenue of mysteries/suspense that I don't hear a lot about.

So, the story centers around Alabaster Black (love the name) who is hiding in Rome as Bianca. She was part of a secret organization that investigated financial issues in companies and uncovered crimes going on it that manner. She is hiding due to an issue she had with her last assignment.

Enter Dante. He has to be one of the most layered characters I have ever met. I mean in the beginning he is kind of painted as this Italian who is an auditor. But as the book kind of progresses, he is found out to have other "hobbies." Hobbies that are quite similar to Alabaster's life she is trying to hide from.

I will say that I enjoyed the mystery and plot of this book. As well as the characters. I didn't so much like the spattered Italian, as I had no idea what it meant, and kept having to look it up online. It just threw me out of the story. I understand that it takes place in Italy, but it just got confusing to me.

I loved the writing of the story. It flowed nicely and the pacing was spot on. For somebody who isn't into mystery pacing, it hooked me and kept me wanting to read. So for that, kudos. I think it takes a great book to introduce somebody into a new genre of reading, and I am glad I started mysteries with this one. I can't wait to get onto the next one in the series!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Fresh Brewed by Pamela Ford


Title: Fresh Brewed
Author: Pamela Ford
Series: The Continental Breakfast Club #2

RATING: 4 STARS

Source: For Review

Breanna Mitchell is on her way to a relaxing vacation at the ocean. Maybe she'll even have a beachside fling to help her get over a recent breakup. But when a tropical storm makes her destination hotel uninhabitable, a chance encounter at continental breakfast delivers a fabulous option—with a catch. 

She and her friends can stay at a privately-owned, three-story oceanfront home—if she pretends to be the girlfriend of the owner's heartbreaker grandson, Ethan. Since he won't even be there, how hard could it be? 

Everything is going swimmingly until Bree drinks too much wine and regales the family with romantic tales about her relationship with Ethan. His adorable brother Adam gets suspicious. His marriage-minded grandma gets engagement fever. The beautiful woman next door gets teary-eyed. 

And then, Ethan unexpectedly arrives. Suddenly Bree is about to get everything she's ever wished for—but is it what she really wants? 



~MY THOUGHTS~

I love romance series where each book focuses on a different character, but you still get appearances from your favorites. In this book, it's Bree's turn for love.

I loved the plot of this. It gave me an almost While You Were Sleeping vibe. Surrounding circumstances, Bree finds herself pretending to be engaged to somebody in order to spend a vacation at beach house after her original plans were changed due to a storm.

This book was just as fun as the first one. It had me laughing and smiling almost the entire way through. I just couldn't get enough of Bree and Ethan, and his family. It was adorable. It was the perfect way to end the summer, and I highly recommend picking up this series. I can't wait until the next one is released, which I hope we see Megan's love life come to bloom! :)

There isn't a lot to say, as I hate giving a lot of details away in books where the plot isn't always the main focus, so I am going to leave this review short and sweet. It's fun, its a perfect light read, and if you enjoy great friendship bonds, as well as a nice hardy dose of romance, then this series is for you.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

#ReadThemAllThon TBR


This read-a-thon has me so excited! Ever since I saw it on April's channel, I have been looking up TBRs, and have been trying to come up with mine. I love the idea and concept behind this read-a-thon, and the fact that it's 3 weeks is a huge added bonus. Week long read-a-thons are great, but unless you have the entire week off, it gets a bit stressful. At least for me. I think this one will be fun and relaxed, at the same time centered around a cool concept.

This read-a-thon goes from August 14th- September 4th, and has 8 badges to complete. You also get to pick a Pokemon, and for every book you read, the # of pages completed, and posting reviews and on social media sites, you power up your Pokemon. At the end of the three weeks, whoever has the highest CP Pokemon wins.

You can find out more information, as well as sign up for the read-a-thon yourself at the creator, Read at Midnight's blog.

This is my TBR for the challenges.  I am for sure going to read these books, but more might be added as the read-a-thon progresses. Originally I had wanted to do 16 books, 2 for each challenge, but decided I didn't want to over stress myself out for the read-a-thon.

This is the Pokemon I chose, and plan to update the stats as I progress through the read-a-thon. I plan on making update posts as well.


Trainer: Kari
Blog: Bookishly Devoted
Type: Fire
Evolution: 3 Stages
Evolves @ 150 CP and 400 CP







CHARMANDER
                CP 12


I have been wanting to read this book since it was released. I finally picked it up a few months ago, so figured I would tackle it for this challenge. The premise sounds really engaging, so I am hoping it will be a quick read. 


Zodiac by Romina Russell


439 Pages

43 CP 
20 CP for completing
20 CP for reviewing


Potential 83 CP for this book :)










It's hard to predict what books will make me cry, but I am betting that this one will do the trick. It's about a boy whose father was killed in 9/11. I will have the tissues ready when I read this one. It is a movie also, with Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks, which I didn't know, so that is another reason I wanted to get this read.



Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

326 Pages

32 CP
20 CP for completing
20 CP for reviewing


Potential 72 CP for this book :)










I had a whole long explanation as to why I had chosen two books, but it made the post SO LONG. So basically I chose these two books because I had heard a lot of things about each one in a sort of different type of "thunderous hype." One is literally EVERYWHERE and the other book I chose I have just recently started to see/hear about a lot recently, so it's hyped to me in what I've been reading/watching/listening to. :)


City of Bones by Cassandra Clare



485 Pages


48 CP
20 CP for completing
20 CP for reviewing


Potential 82 CP for this book :)  







The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin



468 Pages

46 CP
20 CP for completing
20 CP for reviewing

Potential 86 CP for this book :)










Again, had a LONG explanation as to why I had to choose two books for this badge. One book I've been dying to read since it was released (the first one) and the other was a recent acquisition to fill a void left by another book I read. I just needed anther RomCom in the same vain as Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. :)  


Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat

289 Pages

28 CP
20 CP for completing
20 CP for reviewing

Potential 68 CP for this book












One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

255 Pages


25 CP
20 CP for completing
20 CP for reviewing


Potential 55 CP for this book








Don't know what constitutes as "epic" but I know this book has a romance in it...and it spans like 5 books, so I'm sure there is something epic about it. Plus, I've been needing to read this book for a while now, and now is the time. It's got aliens in it, so I'm there!



Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

335 Pages


33 CP
20 CP for completing
20 CP for reviewing

Potential 53 CP for this book :)









I was torn between choosing a smaller book that I knew I could finish, or picking one I have been really wanting to read that was on the longer side. And since we are reading for CP in this read-a-thon, I chose the book I have been wanting to read because I think that with the motivation of wanting to read it, and the read-a-thon atmosphere, I can push through the massive tome.



Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind


836 Pages


83 CP
20 CP for completing
20 CP for reviewing

 Potential 123 CP for this book! :)









This badge was easy, because I only had two books with completely red covers, and I just read one of them. So that left me with one choice. Which I don't mind because it's been one that I have wanted to pick up for ages. :)


The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre


352 Pages


35 CP
20 CP for completing
20 CP for reviewing

Potential 75 CP for this book









I get dystopian and post-apocalyptic books confused, so this might not "technically" count, but it was the one I want to read the most....and that's what this is all about right? :)


Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

380 Pages


38 CP
20 CP for completing
20 CP for reviewing


Potential 78 CP for this book








So...there it is. An extremely LONG post, but I did it! I have chosen the books I want to read to fit the badges guidelines! :) These might change, as I'm a heavy mood reader, and what I want to read now will change by tomorrow morning. I am excited for all the books I have chosen, so I am going to do my best to get to these...but I have A LOT of books that I want to get to...so who knows. :) I'm extremely excited for this read-a-thon and can't wait to talk to everybody about the books that they are reading and get ideas for books to add to my TBR.