Book Review: Black Ice - Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Black Ice
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick

Synopsis from Goodreads:   
Danger is hard to resist in this sexy thriller from Becca Fitzpatrick, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga.

Brit Pheiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn't prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants;but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage.

Britt is forced to guide the men off the mountain, and knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there and in uncovering this, she may become the killer's next target.

But nothing is as it seems, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally?

Black Ice is New York Times bestselling author Becca Fitzpatrick's riveting romantic thriller set against the treacherous backdrop of the mountains of Wyoming. Falling in love should never be this dangerous.

My Review:
Black Ice was a wonderful YA Suspense novel.  I was entranced with this book from the very start, and was getting irritable because I wasn’t finding time to finish it (my poor husband can attest to this).  Although I found the “mystery” of the novel easy to predict, the journey was the entertainment of the book.  I enjoyed how Britt was viewed differently by each person she did life with; and feel that this is a testament to her being whoever she needed to be to fit the scenario, however I found it ironic that the person she was when she was lost in the woods with Mason was probably the best interpretation of who she is when she is allowed to reach her full potential.   On one hand, this book was way different from the Hush, Hush series Becca Fitzpatrick wrote previously, however the elements of the ‘bad-boy’ guys she writes are definitely still present in this book!

Rated:  PG-13, Some violence, mild cussing
Genre: Young Adult - Romance, Suspense
Rating:  5 Stars

~* Books by Becca Fitzpatrick *~


Book Review: Doves for Sale - Lila Felix

Author: Lila Felix

Synopsis from Goodreads:   
“Love isn’t crazy. Love isn’t a degree of insanity. Love is sanity at its purest. It forces your soul to make a rational choice—a choice to make another person’s happiness your priority, to allow them access to your heart and soul. Letting Ezra go was choosing to love him. Letting him go was the best way you knew how to choose his joy over your own. I can see it in both of you. This love isn’t one that will go down without a fight.” 

Seven months is a long time to wait.
Ezra has three goals. There is no choice. He has to get better, for himself and for Aysa.
Except, his best friend Roman has moved in in his absence. He’s given Ezra’s girl a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, and a fighting chance at winning her heart.
Aysa knows who her heart belongs to.
But loving Ezra is no easy task.
Ezra never promised simple, he only promised his heart.
Aysa has two paths in front of her, one carries peace and one carries a love that never ends.

My Review:
Doves for Sale is what I would call a ‘big goofy grin book,’ as that is what was on my face for nearly the entire thing; I loved the fun-ness between Ezra and Aysa, yeah their lives are still pretty crazy (who’s isn’t, really?) and they still had stuff to work through, but I was just in love with these characters getting back together and finding some stability and trust between them.  Then there was the new friendship between Knox and Aysa, and their banter that at times had me laughing out loud – he is my new favorite supporting character….at least for this month.  While this book didn’t have as much conflict as Sparrows for Free, it provided that “sigh” worthy HEA that I love.  I truly did love this book and do recommend it, however you must read Sparrows for Free first, or else it will feel a bit lacking – the hardest parts of Ezra and Aysa’s story can be found in the first book.  While this book had some difficulties of it’s own, it wasn’t nearly as heavy nor, thankfully, as melancholy.

Rated: PG-13  
Genre: New Adult - Romance
Rating:  4 Stars


Book Review: Dethroning Crown - Lila Felix

Title: Dethroning Crown
Author: Lila Felix

Synopsis from Goodreads:   
Number ten is plastered on his team jersey and on his ego. In his own mind, Crown Sterling is the shit. He dates the prettiest women, he dominates on the soccer field, he pours money out of his pockets like it’s water. Until a debilitating knee injury puts him out of commission on and off the field. He’s sent to an isolated town in Louisiana to recoup, undergo physical therapy and heal. But it’s when you’re down that you find out who your real friends are, and what they value in you, if anything at all.

All Lyra wants out of life is peace and quiet. She grew up with a regular, everyday family. When she turned sixteen, rummaging through her grandmother’s hope chest in the attic, she discovered a secret that would turn her simple, normal life into a ball of chaos that revolved around her. But while she seems to face her fears head on in her career, she lives a life that’s secure and well hidden.

A new neighbor moved in next door and he’s decided that everyone needs to listen to his rap music, shattering Lyra’s quiet existence. Enraged, she stomps to the next townhouse over and who should open the door but a man whose good looks and charming smile knock her breathless.

How good looking? Just ask him.

How charming? He’ll tell you that too.

The king must be dethroned.

And a small town girl who’s been through hell is just the one to do it.

My Review:
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Dethroning Crown,  so much that if I had the time I probably would have read it all in one sitting.  When I first started the book I wasn't sure I was ever going to actually be able to like Crown by the end of the story; he was just too much ego and honestly, silly with entitlement issues, but as aspects of his life are revealed and you start to understand him, he is easy to fall for.   His sensitive side was wildly attractive. (And honestly, any time you pair a guy with a kitten, even for a short time, it's bound to be attractive. But that's just my opinion).  Lyra was such a sweet person even from the onset, I was ready for great things to happen for her right away.  So basically, these two characters got under my skin and I wanted to make them my friends.

I loved that the heat between Crown and Lyra was a growing process throughout the book and that the characters were not pinning for each other within the first few chapter.  Lyra and Crown may have appreciated each other's appearances from the start, but anything beyond that had to be cultivated, they had to learn to like each other before there was anything more.  The supporting characters helped out a lot with this too,  especially on Crown's side, as he was figuring out his life and the fact that he was basically a big ball of arrogant soccer player, and that was about it.  There was also Lyra's fears to work out and understand, and ienjoyed how even though we knew the reason why Crown was who he was pretty quickly, Lyra's whole story came out and bits and pieces.  All of these things made this story of two people that, from a distance should seem bigger than life, just regular people with issues that needed to be fleshed out.

Rated:  PG-13; Mild cussing, some sensuality but mostly clean
Genre: New Adult - Romance
Rating:  5 Stars


Book Review: The Winner's Curse & The Winner's Crime - Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy - Book 1)
Author: Marie Rutkoski

Synopsis from Goodreads:   
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

My Review:
Once again, what I am loving most about a book is the fact that the main character, Kestrel, is not this all perfect/powerful person;  while she’s smart and cunning, she is decisively not good at combat, despite being a famous general’s daughter.  She is drawn to things and activities that are  are not valued in her culture.  The Winner’s Curse focused a lot on strategy and games, but the beautifully woven words that developed the relationship between Kestrel and Arin created some of the best pictures of a budding  affection between our two points of view.  I loved that the book wasn't exactly an insta-love type attraction, but something that developed over time, and still has places to go.  The world and society that Marie Rutkoski builds are made up, yet are so very believable; the hatred and prejudices on both sides of the spectrum mixed with those who realize value in all people, and respect for their culture make this story so well rounded and easy to love.

Rated:  PG
Genre: Young Adult 
Rating:  5 Stars

Title: The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy - Book 2)
Author: Marie Rutkoski

Synopsis from Goodreads:   
Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

My Review:
I am the worst when it comes to the 2nd book of a series; it’s the book that I love to hate because it’s not the introduction, where you get to know the characters and establish the foundation of the world/story (which is kind of my favorite part) nor do you get to find out the end result.  It’s exactly what it is; the stuff in the middle – there’s typically action, but it’s not the explosion of events you would get at a conclusion, and since you already “know” the characters – well it’s just a lot of in-between and tension that is left unresolved.  The Winner’s Crime is no exception, it is the moving board between what is going on, and what is going to happen; and while I did enjoy Kestrel's devotion to Arin in her own way, and I absolutely love the word pictures that Marie Rutkoski draws especially in the area of Kestrel and Arin's relationship, I was frustrated beyond belief at Kestrel's avoidance of Arin and her inability to simply tell the truth.  In the end, this entire book was about the divide between her desire to make her father proud and the desire to help the guy she loves – and the consequences of both.  The Winner’s Crime was a good book – but it was the 2nd book of a series and I want more, bring on Book 3!

Rated:  PG
Genre: Young Adult
Rating:  4 Stars


Book Review: Sparrows for Free - Lila Felix

Author: Lila Felix

Synopsis from Goodreads:   
There are skeletons in every closet. Some stay quiet—and some rule your soul with an iron fist.

Ezra is ruled by the ghosts of his past—and needled by the guilt they create. Not only does he have to manage his own guilt—his friends are forced to bear the weight as well. He lives in limbo, never dreaming of anything that lies beyond the grave.
In his mind, he’s a murderer, pure and simple.

Hide and seek is Aysa’s game. She begs for small spaces and empty places. But, she secretly desires so much more.
When they find each other, a hope for something new is sprung.
But Ezra’s skeletons are out for blood.

“I hide shock well. I’m a pro at hiding. I have no idea that whatever he had to tell me would be so personal—so heartbreaking. But, I quickly remembered that heartbreak was all around him every time he turned around. He needs no more empathy or sympathy in his life. He craves someone to give him a different take on a tired situation.
And different is practically my middle name.”

My Review:
I had read Lila Felix’s Love and Skate book a few months ago, and while the story line was really good and I did like the characters, the whole book felt a little stiff and needed quite a bit of editing; the lesson I have learned is never judge an author by previous work, and honestly I never would have pegged myself for doing something like that, but I know that is exactly what I was doing every time I scrolled past Sparrows for Free on my kindle and bumping it down the line of my TBR pile; thankfully a friend talked some sense into me and told me I would really like this book, and she was right!  The story of two messed up people and the road to their recovery was beautifully written. The characters were people I really wanted to get to know.  Asya, was someone I could realate to in some ways; not necessairily in the hiding from life - but while growing up there were moments when I felt like I was invisible.  I loved Asya's gradual increase of self esteem and how she  stood up for herself; she didn’t wake up one day and decide to be different – it was a work in process.  If nothing else, Sparrows for Free will trap you into a story that you absolutely have to finished, if for no other reason than to see Asya and Ezra find themselves and begin to move past who they are and into who they should be.

Rated:  PG-13 - Mild cussing, a bit of sensuality
Genre: New Adult - Romance
Rating:  4 Stars


Book Review: Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard

Title:Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard

Synopsis from Goodreads:   
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

The Red Queen started popping up in my newsfeeds and emails a couple months ago, and despite the hype, mentally I was prepared to be disappointed. I was finding it compared to The Selection Series and Graceling, both books (series) I have read, and both of them I started out loving and ended up not very happy with them for different reasons.  Also, with big named publishers, books tend to get a lot of hype and advertismenet because of who is backing them.  What I'm trying to say is, I wasn't buying into the hype.  I saw the book on my library's Overdrive Ebooks list and thought it was at least worth a chance.

The Verdict??
I.want.to.own.these.books.  ...and only the first book is out.

(Edited 4/21/14 - I DO own this book!)

So, I can see the relationship to The Selection and Graceling, and I would add The Hunger Games in the mix too, because of the arrogant turning their noses on those who provide them basically everything.  The world building was absolutely excellent!  I didn't feel lost or confused about what was going on or why.  I also really enjoyed that none of the characters were perfect, every last one of them had their strengths and flaws, making the story feel more believable.  This is a bit rare in dystopian type novels - usually at least one of the characters is unnaturally good at almost everything.  I did find that much of the book was predictable due to foreshadowing, so I really wasn't surprised by much of the story at all.  

If I were to pick a favorite part of the book I would say it would be all the conversations between Mere and Cal, and Mere and Maven (the Princes of the Kingdom); and how while the book was about the ruling class of super-humans and the normal humans living as a secondary slave class, both sides of the spectrum felt trapped and confined by their lives.  It really plays on the whole "grass is not always greener on the other side" concept, although there truly is a lesser more oppressed side.

The biggest downside of this series.... the wait for book 2 has begun!

Rated:  PG-13; Some Cussing
Genre: Young Adult: Dystopian, Romance
Rating:  5 Stars

~* Books by Victoria Aveyard *~