Throwback Thursday: July 19th, 2018

I’ve decided to do Throwback Thursday but blog style. I am going to select a book I have read before and see if I would still read it.

This week’s Throwback Thursday is a fantasy

Stardust

Click on picture for Amazon link

Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall—named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester and for the coveted prize of her hand, Tristran vows to retrieve a fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends him over the ancient wall and into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining…

Other places you can find Stardust: Barnes and Noble


Did I like Stardust when I first read it: Yes. I had finished Neverwhere and was on the hunt for more Neil Gaiman’s books. Saw Stardust at Barnes and Noble, picked it up and the rest is history.

Age I first read StardustI was in my mid 20’s, I think.

Would I read Stardust now: Yes. I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan and love all of his books. But, I will say this…I refuse to watch the movie. My experience, the book is always better than the movie.

How many stars did I give Stardust back then: 4

How many stars would I give Stardust now: 4

Have you read Stardust?

Did you like it?

Let me know!!

Snow (The Black Ice Trilogy: Book 1) by Mikayla Elliot

Snow (The Black Ice Trilogy, #1)

3.5 Stars

Publisher: Independent Book Publishers Association, Member’s’ Titles

Date of publication: July 31st, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, New Adult

Where you can find Snow: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Series: Black Ice Trilogy

Snow – Book 1

Blizzard – Book 2

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Taken from all she has ever known and loved, Neva finds herself swept into a world of vampires where she learns she will determine their future. Yet she quickly discovers she is the target of a vampire, Zachariah, seeking to stop her from altering the vampire lineage. She must decide which path she will take while trying to protect the family she left behind and discovering a past she cannot escape.

My review:

When I started reading this book, I thought that it was going to be a vampire Snow White type of book. I don’t know why I thought that, but I did. If I paid more attention to the blurb, I would have seen that.  Oh well.

I don’t understand how Snow was labeled as a young adult novel. Neva, the main character, was married. If I were to guess at her age, I would put her in her early to mid 20’s. I thought that his book was better suited for the NA genre than YA. But that’s me. Someone else could have a different take on it. Which is the wonderful thing about writing reviews. No one’s opinions are wrong. Unless you didn’t read the book and give your opinion, then I don’t pay attention to the review.

I liked the plot of Snow. I thought that it was original. Neva is brought into the vampire world when her life was almost taken in an attack. She is thrust into the middle of a conspiracy that will leave everyone reeling. Can Neva bring Zachariah to his knees and save the vampire lineage? Or will she become a pawn in an ancient war?

I liked Neva but I found her whiny for most of the book. Yes, she had a terrible shock when she was turned. It would have been a huge shock for anyone. Even after Thedryk explained why she was turned and who she was, she still whined about it. She didn’t understand the danger she was in. For an adult, she didn’t act like one. I did like that she wised up during the last half of the book. Seeing what happened to her family shocked her into wising up.

I didn’t think that Zachariah wasn’t that bad of a guy for most of the book. Yes, he didn’t like Neva and yes, he was only with Eliza because he cared about the power. The author showed a 100% different side to him when he was interacting with his adopted daughter. He cared for them. I honestly don’t think that he is going to be as bad as he was made out to be. I do think it is awful what he did in the last half of the book. But it didn’t go with what the author showed. I wonder if there is more to his story and if it will be revealed in book 2.

I loved what the author did with the vampires in this book. While these vampires need human blood, they don’t need it that often. They can eat regular food but it doesn’t do anything for them. Not everyone can be turned into a vampire, though. The author explained that the people can be turned into vampires have a special aura. The vampires can see it but can only turn if they have permission from the Council. If someone is turned who doesn’t have the special aura, they become something out of a nightmare. The author also had the vampires have a special gift. Some are stronger than others but everyone has it.

There is even a science fiction angle of Snow. There is a vampire that can open portals into different dimensions. It is explained more thoroughly in the book. I found it fascinating and wished that it has been added sooner in the book.

The end of Snow was action packed and moved very fast. What happened to Zachariah, he deserved it. But it was the end of the book that made me go what. First with the introduction of a famous fictional character. Then it was who was introduced in the very last pages of the book. It is that revelation that makes me excited to read the next book in the series.

What I liked about Snow:

A) How the vampires were portrayed

B) Neva’s storyline

C) The science fiction angle

What I disliked about Snow:

A) Neva. She was a whine bag for most of the book

B) Zachariah. I was on the fence with him for most of the book. But the ending events turned me

C) What happened to Neva’s family

I would give Snow an Older Teen rating. There is no sex or sexual situations. There is violence. There is no language.

I would reread Snow. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Independent Book Publisher’s Association, Member’s Titles, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Snow.

All opinions stated in this review of Snow are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

WWW Wednesday, July 18th 2018

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Wars. So here what I have read/are reading/will be reading.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I am happy to say that I am only 4 reviews away from clearing my review backlog. Yay!! Other than that, nothing too much going on here.


What I am currently reading:

The Third Step

(click on the picture for Amazon link)

Dark, gritty, and riddled with back alley characters, The Third Step is one man’s journey into the black recesses of his own soul…

Meet Frankie, a young, disaffected amateur boxer, really more of a punching bag, a drunk, and a drug addict. He is a loser at love, except for his relationship with his grandma, who, rumor has it, is a white witch. She, along with a handful of others, serve as his moral compass.

Frankie fights a lifelong struggle to find an understanding of the creator of the universe, not the poisoned caricature painted by the church and the “holy” people who seem to torment him.

His journey takes him from the East Coast down to New Orleans to face confrontations with his demons, both real and imagined. Along the way, the story is littered with tales of drug smuggling, murder, an affair with a woman who may be the devil herself, and an ultimate quest for revenge.

Frankie comes to terms with his addictions, but his search for a deeper understanding of this God entity and his need to connect with his soul could be his ultimate addiction, one that may follow him beyond the grave…

This book is different. It is a raw look at addiction and what it does to people. It is not an easy read. There have been times where I had to put this book down to take a break, that’s how intense this book can get. Look for my review within the next couple of weeks.


What I Finished Reading:

Immortals' Requiem

(click on the picture for Amazon link)

There are beings that live a shadow’s breadth from our reality. They are the dreams and nightmares of humanity, the ancient seeds of fairy-tale and superstition. 

These are the Immortals, creatures of magic that should live forever… and they are fading. 

When a horror two thousand years dead returns to contemporary England, creatures long thought lost to myth and legend collide in a scramble for survival that could tumble civilization back into the dark ages of blood and death. 

If you like urban fantasy, ravening zombies, terrifying shapeshifters, scheming vampires, and vast supernatural worlds, you’ll love Immortals’ Requiem! 

Content Advisory: This book is intended for mature audiences and contains graphic violence.

I flipping loved this book. It took me around 4 days to read it (it’s on the long side, 552 pages) but it was well worth the read. I couldn’t read this book fast enough. A word of caution, though. If you don’t like violence, graphic violence, then skip this book. Because it is blood-drenched.


What I think I am reading next (click on pictures for Amazon links):

Missing: The Morris Mysteries #1Diana ChristmasBroken PerfectionThe Ascending (Zola Flash, #3)

Missing: The Morris Mysteries: I can’t remember if this was an author request or if I saw it on a Free on Kindle email. So, I’m reviewing…lol. My review will be up at some point within the next couple of weeks.

Diana Christmas: This was an author request and I was intrigued by the plot. So, I accepted it. Be on the lookout for my review at some point in the near future.

Broken Perfection: I got this while exploring the Read Now section on NetGalley. Bad enough that I get an email but to have it at my fingertips. Trouble!! Anyways, I liked the plot. Be on the lookout for my review in the next few weeks.

The Ascending: I was thrilled when I got the email from the author asking if I wanted to review this book. I had enjoyed the first two Zola Flash books and was hoping to review the 3rd. Anyways, the book won’t be published until August 12th, be on the lookout for my review then.


So that’s it. Be on the lookout for the reviews of all these books in the near future.

Have you read any of these books?

Let me know what you thought of them!!

The Remnant by Channing Whitaker

The Remnant

4 Stars

Publisher: Off Speed Press

Date of publication: May 21st, 2018

Genre: Fantasy

Where you can find The Remnant: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

In this suspense-filled, neo-monster, horror novelette, a writer named Gene Winfield discovers an ominous, handwritten book among the belongings of his late, adventurer aunt. As Gene reads, he becomes captivated with the volume’s account of a savage, unearthly creature. In spite of the book’s warning, with his writing career failing, Gene can’t resist the inspiration. Near the roaring fire in his aunt’s otherwise cold, empty manor, Gene begins a story of his own, but will he unleash more than his imagination…

My Review:

Horror stories have always been hit or miss for me. I either love them or hate them. No middle ground. Same goes for short stories. Either they are fantastic or they aren’t. With The Remnant, it fell into the first categories. I loved the book and thought it was fantastic.

I am going to keep this review super short. Why? Because if I gave my usual in-depth review, there would be spoilers. There is no way of writing my usual review without revealing something from The Remnant.

I thought the plot was original. Gene was a writer whose aunt dies. When he goes to her house to clean up, he finds a book in the embers of a fire with a warning to him. Ignoring the warning on the inside cover/first page, Gene reads the book. What happens afterward, well you need to read the book to find out. Let’s say that it was scary and kept me glued to the pages.

The author did a great job at keeping me up after I read this book. A fantastic job. I don’t scare easy, so you know that if this book scared me enough to keep me up at night then it is good.

The ending of The Remnant was eerie. I did an “Oh no” when I realized what happened and what was going to happen. I will say this. I am excited to read more by this author!!

I am not going to do a like/dislike section. Only because of how short the book was and I could let some spoilers out by accident.

I would give The Remnant an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is explicit violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Remnant and I plan on reading more books by the author. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read and review The Remnant.

All opinions stated in this review of The Remnant are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Hot & Heavy (Lightning: Book 2) by Tracy Wolff

Hot & Heavy (Lightning, #2)

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: July 17th, 2018

Genre: Romance

Series: Lightning

Down & Dirty – Book 1 (review here)

Hot & Heavy – Book 2

Where you can find Hot & Heavy: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

When a daredevil football stud tries to get into your yoga pants, you know class is about to get interesting. The New York Times bestselling author of Down & Dirty returns with Hot & Heavy.

Sage: Although I come from a long line of free-spirited yoga teachers, sometimes I wish my life could be just a little more normal. More ordinary. More boring. Easier said than done, especially since it’s on me to keep my family’s studio up and running every time my mother wanders off to find herself. But that’s when my best friend sends me a sexy new student: Shawn Wilson, a slick wide receiver with a death wish and a chip on his broad, muscular, irresistible . . . wait, what were we talking about again?

Shawn: They say I’m an adrenaline junkie. The truth is, I only really feel alive when I’m risking my life: Snowboarding, parachuting, BASE jumping . . . the kind of fun team management considers breach of contract. When my coach orders me to take yoga to “center myself,” I’m pissed—until I get an eyeful of delectable, flexible Sage Kaufmann. Unfortunately, she’s determined to keep things between us strictly business. But if Sage can get me to enjoy downward dog, maybe I can convince her that scorching hot sex could be the perfect shot of adrenaline.

With their own sweet HEAs, Tracy Wolff’s red-hot Lightning novels can be read together or separately:
DOWN & DIRTY | HOT & HEAVY

My review:

You know when a book starts off with the two main characters getting their freak on in a bar outside the bathroom that the main focus is going to be sex. So I wasn’t surprised by the amount of sex in this book. What I was surprised was how involved I got with the characters. I was thinking that this book was going to be heavy on the sex and light on the plot. Instead, I got surprised. The plot was as good as the sex.

I loved Sage. She has to be one of my favorite fictional characters to date. She had a childhood that left her craving for stability. So, what does she do? Becomes an accountant. Nothing more stable than that. She kept people at arm’s length, not willing to let anyone in. The only person she let in was Emerson. That was until she met Shaun. I felt that meeting Shaun was good for her. He made her go outside her comfort zone. He made her reevaluate what was important in her life. I loved watching her interact with Shaun. She didn’t know how to act with him. He threw her off-center. Loved it!!!

I thought Shaun was an idiot for most of the book. He did high risk, daredevil antics that put him in danger. He didn’t care. Then he hurt his shoulder and met Sage. But even then, he didn’t slow down. I mean, after Sage did a deep muscle massage plus taught him some yoga moves, he went flipping mountain climbing and REINJURED his shoulder. I did a facepalm when he did that. He acted like a child. Did what he want, when he wanted and forget everyone else. It wasn’t until he scared Sage and his friends free diving that he kind of woke up. I say kind of because I didn’t get the feeling that he was going to stop. Tone down, yes. Stop, no.

I wish that there the romance was built up between Shaun and Sage. While I appreciate, like any red-blooded woman, hot sex in a book, I do like a romance first at times. Sage and Shaun could have benefited from a romantic build up instead of banging the heck out of each other. I felt that any romance that could have happened was overshadowed by the sex. I did yell at my book and say “Take her out to dinner, Shaun. Not to your bed” a couple of times…lol.

hot alyssa milano GIF

Speaking of sex, holy moly was it hot. This author loves having her characters do the dirty in public places. Hunter and Emerson (from Book 1) had a famous BJ while Emerson was showing him a house. Shaun and Sage, sex in a bar outside a bathroom. Yes!! Plus pool sex (which isn’t my thing, personally) was made fantastic and somewhat doable. Shaun and Sage also had insane sexual chemistry. INSANE!!! A look could get either of them going. Or in Shaun’s case, a touch when doing yoga…haha.

are you serious orphan black GIF

I need to talk about what I didn’t like about both characters (besides the obvious). Sage’s mother was a piece of freaking work. Who, in their right mind, would take money out of a business and use it to pay a guru in India? And what got me was that she didn’t care. When Sage opened up to her about how her upbringing affected her, the first thing her mother said was “I make no apologies for how I lived my life” (or something along that line). I was like “Seriously lady, your daughter has ISSUES because of that”. I loved that the author didn’t try to change Sage’s mother and didn’t make excuses for her.

What I didn’t like about Shaun was that he was feeling guilt over his mother and sister’s death. Yes, he was in a rush but he was also a child. Guess what, kids make parents rush. I wanted to hug him when he told Sage that. He also revealed why he did extreme sports. Which was also heartbreaking.

 

The end of the book was what I expected. Total HEA. I read it with a huge grin on my face. I couldn’t wipe it away. Loved it!!

What I liked about Hot & Heavy:

A) Sage. Loved her

B) The plot of the book

C) The sex

What I disliked about Hot & Heavy:

A) Shaun. He acted like a child for most of the book

B) Almost no romance. Wish there was more

C) Sage’s mother. Couldn’t stand her

I would give Hot & Heavy an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Hot & Heavy. I would also recommend to family and friends.

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Hot & Heavy.

All opinions stated in this review of Hot & Heavy are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: July 17th, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Where you can find Baby Teeth: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Sweetness can be deceptive. 

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

My review:

I enjoy reading thrillers. I love it when a book gets under my skin and I can’t stop thinking about it. When the publisher offered me the book through the widget and I read the synopsis, I thought “Sure, why not“. I figured that the book would be like John Saul’s books. Creepy kids who end up doing horrible things because they were possessed. For the first half of the book, it was that. Then it got creepy and got under my skin (not in a good way).

Baby Teeth’s plot is pretty straightforward. Hanna wants her Daddy to herself in the worse way. But to have that, her Mommy needs to go away. So Hanna starts a campaign to drive Suzette out of the house. When she realizes that isn’t working, Hanna decides that Mommy needs to go.

Suzette is stressed to the max. Taking care of a special needs child is a full-time job. She needs a break. But Hanna will not let that happen.

Alex is oblivious to what Hanna is doing and writes off Suzette’s complaints as petty. That is until something happens. What happened?? Read the book.

Hanna was so evil. The things she did to Suzette was awful. Like taking pictures of a naked, sleeping Suzette and putting that picture next to a dead woman. Or impersonating a long-dead witch. Or messing with Suzette’s Crohn’s medication. I was disturbed that a child could hate her mother that much and at such a young age.

Suzette did bother me for most of the book. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t record Hanna talking or even set up a nanny. It baffled me. Instead, she ranted and raved about how Hanna was doing this and doing that with no evidence. No wonder Alex was oblivious to what was going on. It wasn’t until the tack incident that he finally figured it out. Also, her attitude towards Hanna bothered me. She treated her like she was a burden for most of the book.

I mentioned in the first paragraph that I thought that this book was going to be like John Saul’s books. I did think that Hanna was possessed by the ghost of the witch. There was nothing that suggested otherwise. Until midway through the book. Then my mind was changed.

Like I said in the first paragraph, this book got under my skin. By the end of the book, I was disturbed by it. I have read reviews where people thought this book was fantastic. As a mother, I was disturbed by the lengths that a 7-year-old went through to try to kill her mother. I kept comparing this book to “Rosemary’s Baby” and other horror books that are similar. What made this book stand out from them was that it was raw and gritty and different from any other book in the thriller category.

There was not a happy ending to Baby Teeth. The implication in the last chapter was chilling and kept me up thinking about it the rest of the night.

I am not going to do a Pros/Cons of this book. I can’t do that without giving spoilers.

I would give Baby Teeth an Adult rating. There is sex, language, and violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

There are triggers in this book. They are abuse (of a parent by a child), PTSD like symptoms, and Crohn’s disease.

I am on the fence about recommending Baby Teeth to family and friends. I would have to make sure that they like thrillers and can deal with what this book is about. I would also include a warning about the triggers. I am on the fence about rereading this book too.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Baby Teeth.

All opinions stated in this review of Baby Teeth are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

The Family Tabor by Cherise Wolas

The Family Tabor

1 Stars

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Date of publication: July 17, 2018

Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Where you can find The Family Tabor: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Harry Tabor is about to be named Man of the Decade, a distinction that feels like the culmination of a life well lived. Gathering together in Palm Springs for the celebration are his wife, Roma, a distinguished child psychologist, and their children: Phoebe, a high-powered attorney; Camille, a brilliant social anthropologist; and Simon, a big-firm lawyer, who brings his glamorous wife and two young daughters. 

But immediately, cracks begin to appear in this smooth facade: Simon hasn’t been sleeping through the night, Camille can’t decide what to do with her life, and Phoebe is a little too cagey about her new boyfriend. Roma knows her children are hiding things. What she doesn’t know, what none of them know, is that Harry is suddenly haunted by the long-buried secret that drove him, decades ago, to relocate his young family to the California desert. As the ceremony nears, the family members are forced to confront the falsehoods upon which their lives are built. 

Set over the course of a single weekend, and deftly alternating between the five Tabors, this provocative, gorgeously rendered novel reckons with the nature of the stories we tell ourselves and our family and the price we pay for second chances.

My Review:

There are times when I request a book from NetGalley, get accepted and immediately think “Oh man, what am I in for“. The Family Tabor is such a book. When I saw it on NetGalley, I immediately thought it would be a book like The Ring by Danielle Steele. A drama that crosses generations of the same family. In a way, The Family Tabor is like that. But it also is not like that. This book isn’t a multigenerational drama. Instead, it focuses on secrets and how they can wreak havoc with lives.

I found The Family Tabor to be confusing to read. The 3rd person perspective jumped from family member to family member in the same chapter. I could be reading about what Roma was thinking and then it switched to Phoebe with no warning. There were times that I had to reread the chapter to understand who I was reading about. I do not like it when I have to do that. It ruins the flow of reading for me.

While I understand Harry’s guilt over something that happened over 20 years ago, I don’t understand how he suppressed the memory of it. I am not an expert on these things but his company was funded with some of the missing money. You would think that he would remember something like that. It didn’t scream realistic to me. It also didn’t make me like him once the full truth came out. He took advantage of a situation and got away with it.

Out of the 3 kids’ issues, the only one that I actually connected with was Camille’s. I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. Simon’s issues were spiritual. Phoebe was the one that I couldn’t understand. She didn’t have to lie about having a boyfriend. But she did. It made no sense.

I didn’t like Simon’s wife. When he told her that he wanted to look more into his religion, she flipped her wig. She didn’t want him to be a Jew? Seriously? And to end her marriage of 10 years because of that was ridiculous. So much for true love. Also, her irritation with Lucy and her repeating words was beyond annoying. To be honest, after that bigoted comment, I skimmed over her parts. I didn’t want to read anything more about her.

I wish more attention had been paid to Roma. I was fascinated by her grandmother’s story and how it shaped Roma’s life. I was also fascinated by Roma’s profession. I wanted to know more about her patient and why that child was running.

The last half of the book was as awkward to read as the first half. I barely hung in throughout Harry’s epiphany and disappearance. The only thing that perked me up was the almost mystical dreams that Camille, Simon, and Phoebe had. I felt that their resolutions to their problems were convenient. Even the end of the book was blah. I saw it coming from a mile away.

What I liked about The Family Tabor:

A) Nothing. Normally I find something nice to put here but yeah, not this time

What I disliked about The Family Tabor:

A) Confusing to read

B) Simon’s bigoted wife

C) Everything after Harry’s disappearance

I would give The Family Tabor a rating of Adult. There is mild violence. There is mild language. There are sexual situations and sex but they are very vague. I would not recommend this book to anyone under the age of 21.

There are no triggers in The Family Tabor.

The Family Tabor is a book that I would not recommend to family and friends. I would not reread this book or be willing to read any other books by the author.

I would like to thank Flatiron Books and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Family Tabor.

All opinions stated in this review of The Family Tabor are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**