Book Review: The Reapers - Ali Winters

Title: The Reapers (The Hunted Series - Book 1)
Author: Ali Winters

Having been a reaper as long as she can remember, Nivian knows that what she does is essential in maintaining balance. After being assigned to a rushed mark she finds that there is more to this human than any other she has encountered.

Kain had been living an ordinary life without a second thought until he meets Nivian who turns his world upside down. He is thrust into a world of hunters and reapers. The keepers of life and death have been feuding for centuries over a reason no one can even remember.

With Kain having been marked for reaping, and Nivian being hunted, they forge a friendship and together must find the truth in order to keep balance in check. Wrong choices could destroy everything. As they journey they discover hidden histories, powers, and lies and truths that have been spun since the beginning of time. The consequence of failure, unimaginable.

My Review: I won The Reapers playing a game regarding author Ali Winters, where I had to answer three questions about her in order to win a copy of her book.  Ali has been one of my Facebook friends for a little while and I was nearly able to answer all of the questions off the top of my head.  So I did…for the win! 

What I Loved:  This is the first book I’ve read about Reapers (excluding On a Pale Horse, which I read in High School as part of a class, and is sort of in the same vein…great book btw!), though I know it’s not the only one out there, but first and foremost I loved being thrown into a world I never even thought to explore.  Ali Winters has created a backdrop that is both interesting and easy to follow.  

Her main character, Nivian, is very easy to like and while a little passive at times, she was also witty and smart.  She was curious about the world that she didn’t actually belong to, and compassionate.  She was exceptionally good at her job, but it wasn’t this ego chip resting on her shoulder.  As her backstory begins to unfold in the book, her character becomes even more interesting.

The Reapers took a few left turns that kept me engaged with the story and wanting to know more.  I’m a pretty big fan of the side characters making the story, and there were plenty of side-characters helping to create the shape of this book nicely.  Camira and Silas were a couple of my favorites.

Not So Much:  I kind of would have liked have seen a little bit more push pull play with the romantic interests in this book.  I get that both Kane and Caspian are very much into Niv, however I feel that while she has feeling for both of the guys, it kind of just feels like physical attraction and surface deep so far.  She is also played as innocent, but I kind of would think that given the way both of the guys act when they are around her – she would have some clue as to what is happening, and how she feels about it.  I hope to see something with a little more foundation grow in the future.

I was also pretty surprised at Kane’s acceptance of the world he was thrown into.  Perhaps it just didn’t seem like there was much “time” for him to accept the new reality, he kind of (metaphorically, not literally) shrugged and went with it.  By the end he was even claiming loyalty ties.  I think I probably would have been kicking and screaming and perhaps outright rejecting everything being thrown my way, despite evidence to the contrary.  He didn’t even have a mild panic attack. 

The Verdict:    
 I believe fans of Paranormal/Fantasy will enjoy this book a lot.  It’s YA, and appropriately labeled, as it is clean, with light romance that is on a constant simmer, however it is not the main purpose of this story.  There are twist and turns that keep the reader engaged with the story.


Book Review: There are No Vampires in This Book - Megan Bailey

Title: There are No Vampires in This Book
Author: Megan Bailey
Genre: NA - Fiction

TARYN HAD NEVER BEEN NORMAL.She wasn't like other girls- not after that night, that thing, took her parents from her. She made it through hospitals, doctors, and therapy by playing by their rules and saying all the things they wanted to hear. But, inside, she held on to the truth.
She knew what she saw.

With her two closest friends at her side, she dedicated herself to a mission. She would train and she would hunt. When the time came, she would be ready. No one she loved would be hurt by one of those monsters ever again

But with high school behind them, new found freedom comes with new responsibilities and new problems. Instead of weapons and self defense classes, she now has jobs and bills. The relation-ship with her best friend was suddenly shifting into new, scary territories. How could she take down bad guys if she couldn’t get her own life in order?

A mysterious stranger who pops up in suspicious places and throws off all sorts of bad vibes. His face now starred in her regular nightmares and plagued her thoughts in the day. Was she overre-acting? Or, was this finally the monster she had been waiting for? As the scars of Taryn’s past rise up to haunt her, she begins to question herself. With her mission faltering and her friendship off kilter, would life ever be the same again?
Would she ever be the same?

My Review:  
This is a book that was recommended by another blogger, and that was chosen by a group of us lovely blogger-people to read together. (You can find their reviews linked at the bottom!) I loved the idea of reading a book together and all posting a review. It’s even better when the book that is picked out is a good one!

What I Loved: I loved that this book wasn’t exactly predictable. I’ve been reading so many books lately that are lovely and wonderful but from the beginning you kind of know where it is going to go. It’s not that books like that are bad. In fact, I find sanctuary in those easy read kind of books at times, but I love it when one jumps out at you and keeps you guessing. I enjoy that it keeps my mind active, ‘what’s going to happen – perhaps this or that.’ This was true all the way up until the last chapters of the book, I was pretty sure I knew what was going to happen – and still yet there was that lingering thought that the author could throw me for a loop.

I loved the friendship bond in this book, and let me tell you it was quite a bond. The three of them were actually quite different people, but their dynamic worked so well. I loved the idea of just hanging out at home eating pizza and being goofy – is that even acceptable anymore? It seems like people always have to be doing something!

Not So Much: At first I had a hard time switching from first person journal entries to third person story – I got over it pretty quickly, but it sometimes had me thinking, ‘wait what?” or “why is she referring to herself…oh that’s right…” While I DID get over it – there is a part of me that wishes that it would have been told in first person, because there were questions regarding her parent's death that I wanted answered as a third person perspective that in first person perspective would have been easier for me to let go.

The Verdict:   
I really, really enjoyed this book. There was sufficient action, and mystery. There was the internal battle without having the sullen or moody vibe about it. I loved Taryn and her desire to do what she thought was right, as well as facing her fears. At the end of the book she said something about how the new her faced her fears, but I felt like she was doing that all along. This book is clean, and I’m not 100% sure if it’s because I was engrossed in the story and forgot to pay attention, or because there just wasn’t any – but I don’t even recall there being any cussing. There is alcohol – but the book is NA, and I recommend it for such. I do look forward to reading more from author Megan Bailey, as I enjoyed the adventure she took me on.

About the Author:
Megan Bailey is a novelist and short story author. When not writing, she loves playing video games for way too many hours and reading everything she can get her hands on. Megan is married to her own wise-cracking, romantic hero. They live in Central Illinois with their two devious/darling daughters and three furbabies: Minna the boxer dog, Logan the black cat, and Gimli the dwarf bunny.


Release Day Blitz: Bound by Prophecy - Stormy Smith

Purchase on Amazon: http://smarturl.it/26jybt
Purchase on B&N: http://smarturl.it/pmop5c
Purchase on iBooks: http://smarturl.it/3yso88
Purchase on Kobo: http://smarturl.it/5k5f40
Amelia Bradbury is finally free from Queen Julia and Cresthaven, but she isn’t safe yet. The Keeper power runs rampant inside her and it will take an ultimate act of selflessness to contain the darkness that threatens Amelia’s sanity and the future of the Immortal race. Aidan Montgomery refuses to give up on Amelia. Once she’s rescued from the Keeper’s hold, he intends to prove his love is more than a side effect of the prophecy, even if doing so leads him away from his pack and on a journey that will irrevocably change them both. When the past and the present collide and the shocking origin of the Immortals is revealed, Amelia and Aidan are forced back to Cresthaven to end a war that never should have started.

Have you read the first book in the Bound Series? Bound by Duty is FREE!
Free on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Q9EGRo
Free on B&N: http://bit.ly/1XGAAp2
Free on iBooks: http://apple.co/1JOoJL5
Free on Kobo: http://bit.ly/1Uo2Tcx
Amelia grew up in a world of half-truths. She knows she's an Elder, but has no idea what that means. Her father reminds her daily that she must maintain control, but he refuses to explain why. Even worse, she's betrothed to the prince of the Immortals and doesn't even know his name. Finally breaking free to live a few normal years at a community college, the last thing Amelia expects is to find her best friend in a cheeky southern girl, or fall for a self-assured human who sees her for who she is, not what she will become. As she learns more about herself, Amelia realizes the line between love and duty is a thin one. As her power continues to increase exponentially and her questions are slowly answered, Amelia must make the ultimate choice. The question is, will her head win the battle, or her heart?

Join Stormy Smith and Alys Arden for a LIVE Google Hangout to celebrate their latest releases! Here’s the Facebook event link. They will have ten guest authors, tons of book chat and lots of giveaways!

About Stormy Smith
A word nerd from the very beginning, Stormy Smith has always had her nose in a book or a pen in her hand. From a journalism degree to a public relations career, manipulating words has always been her forte. She never expected her love of stories to translate into writing them, but one day the words were there and couldn’t be stopped.
Stormy lives in Iowa’s capital with her husband and two crazy cats. When she isn’t working on, or thinking about, her books, Stormy’s favorite places include bar patios, live music shows, her yoga mat or anywhere she can relax with her husband or girlfriends.


Book Review: 99 Days - Katie Cotugno

Title: 99 Days
Author: Katie Cotugno
Genre: YA - Fiction, Coming of Age

Synopsis:  Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

My Review:  
I listened to 99 Days as an audiobook downloaded impulsively from the library.  The cover of this book stuck out to me at first, and I don’t know, I kind of just went with it.  This review is going to be a little bit weird because I both disliked and really liked this book – which makes me not know how to rate it or how to phrase what I want to say exactly.

What I Loved:  The writing in this book is great.  I know this because I was so engrossed in the story and the characters that it was impossible for me to put it down.  Several occasions I wanted to, trust me, I wanted to.  I was so frustrated and annoyed and disappointed in the characters, Molly especially.  But. I. Just. Couldn’t.  So that means it’s a good book, right?

I actually did like some of the flashback scenes, and the relationship between Molly and Patrick before it went off track. Though it made the relationship seem a little one-sided in a way, Molly seemed to be what Patrick needed at a particularly hard time in his life.  They had a  relationship that was cut off from the rest of the world, and they were engrossed in each other.  This is sort of a reflection of my husband and I in those same tender teen years.  We were completely engrossed and entangled with each other for the first couple years of our relationship – and while the book kind of indicated that it is an unhealthy way to be – I do agree that if it continues for years and years it probably is; most of the time teenagers turn into adults who come out of hiding and return to the real world with responsibilities and start interacting with people again.  I know.  I lived it!

Not So Much:  Love Triangle.  …but that’s unfair, right, because reading the description of the book before downloading it to my phone I knew about the triangle.  So it’s really unfair of me to list that here.  

So moving on…Molly as a person bothered me.  She was so engrossed with both Gabe and Patrick, and somehow she had them both wrapped around her little finger (sort of).  Some of the major points of this book, ie: it takes two to tango, rings true of course.  However, to continue to do the same thing over and over and expect different results; that’s insanity.  And I’m over here trying to figure out how she’s going to do the right thing, how this book is going to smooth over all this emo-teen-love junk and an important lesson is learned.  It did, in its way…but I’m not sure I’m convinced that anyone has learned anything, if I’m honest.

Also – I felt like the turmoil in the relationship between Molly and her mother, who is an author and did a horrible, horrible thing when she wrote a book based on her daughters experience, and then ADMITTED to it in an interview.  How could her mother not see how that would make her daughter feel?  I mean, really??  But outside of that,  why did this relationship/sub-plot not really move?  There was a scene where I thought there was going to be a breakthrough moment – where either Molly was going to see the book that was written in a different light, or her mother was going to truly understand the depth of the stupidity of her actions.  Nope, there was a flipped coin (a reference to the book mother had written) and end scene…never to be referred to again.

The Verdict:  
This is why it’s so difficult.  The book overwhelmed me with emotions, just not all the ones I usually like to have when reading.  It wasn’t satisfying in the way that I like stories to be.  But is that a bad thing?  I mean, I admitted already that I wanted to put the book down and be done with it.  I couldn’t.  I couldn’t leave them up in the air like that because my brain would have busted my butt, I would have been utterly distracted until I gave in and finished the stupid book.  I can’t say that just because I was unsatisfied that this wasn’t a good book.

So this book has cussing and talk of sex (no actual scenes), so mature YA would be my stance on this one – I know some look out for this portion of my review, I didn’t want to leave you hanging!

About the Author:
Katie Cotugno went to Catholic school for thirteen years which makes her, as an adult, both extremely superstitious and prone to crushes on boys wearing blazers. She routinely finds herself talking about the romantic endeavors of characters on TV shows as if they actually exist in the world.

Katie is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared in The Broadkill Review, The Apalachee Review, and Argestes, as well as on Nerve.com. Her first novel, HOW TO LOVE, is due out from Balzer + Bray on October 1st, 2013.

The great loves of Katie's life include child's pose, her little sister, and mozzarella and honey sandwiches. She lives in Boston (and in sin) with her boyfriend, Tom.


Cover Reveal: Blood Moon - Kristy Centeno

Blood Moon
Secrets of the Moon Saga #3.5
By- Kristy Centeno
Genre- YA Paranormal
Published By- Inkspell Publishing
Publication Date- December 10th, 2015
Cover Designer- Najla Qamber

The mystery deepens…but the truth slowly begins to unravel.

In the midst of an impending war, comradeships will be forged, relationships mended, and bonds strengthened.

We’re closer to dismantling the alpha’s plan now than ever before, but when tragedy strikes, our commitment to a cause kept alive for the memory of our loved ones will be tested. Our ties tried. Our sanity preyed upon.

Darkness will shadow our lives. A common goal, however, can help us move forward.

Can we pick up the pieces long enough to ensure a future for Marjorie? Or will another loss be the evil that breaks me?


Book Review: A Wicked Thing - Rhiannon Thomas

Title: A Wicked Thing (A Wicked Thing, Book 1)
Author: Rhiannon Thomas
Genre: YA - Fairytale Retelling

Synopsis:  Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.

My Review: It is no secret that I’m a big fan of fairy tale retells, but I can say that Sleeping Beauty is not one that I have read previously.  I think that it really is the tale itself that kept me from it.  The idea of being asleep and woke up to insta-love, it just wasn’t appealing to me. So when I read the description of A Wicked Thing, I thought surely this version is one that I could get in to.
In this Sleeping Beauty rendition, nearly 100 years have passed and the kingdom that Aurora is waking to has changed completely.  She isn't given even  a moment to adjust to this new reality when a century of waiting and expectations falls to her shoulders, yet her instructions are to 'smile and wave, boys...smile and wave.' Okay, maybe not verbatim, but you get the idea...

What I Loved:  The characters were pretty great.  From Aurora and her ability to be both witty and prim and proper princess, to Rodric who was all blushes and shy self-conscious prince, to Finnegan who was full of arrogance yet quite smart and cunning (and fwiw, I'm totally team Finnegan), and Tristan who was charming, fun, and then surprises you completely.  I enjoyed even Queen Iris who was way too proper and seemed to have an agenda that was all her own.  Actually, her character threw me for a loop more than any of the others, I wasn’t really quite sure what to expect from her.  There were points where I think we were almost suppose to like Iris, though overall no.  The king was the least disappointing, and most predictable of them all, he was actually slightly reminiscent of the kings you see in The Throne of Glass and the Defy series.
I felt like the flow of this book was really good - I enjoyed the writing quite a lot.  Despite the fact that Aurora did spend a bit of time locked away (yes even in this version), the book didn’t really feel like it dragged any.  I feel like this is an accomplishment that many authors have struggled with; how to ‘pass time’ in one spot without causing the story to trickle away into the darkness.

 Not So Much:  So I kind of felt like Aurora was too paralyzed by her position and who she was and who she was taught to be throughout nearly this entire book.  It was like she knew something needed to be done, but felt that clearly she wasn’t the one to do it.  She had a ‘fate’ that she didn’t want, but then she didn’t want to leave because that was wrong.  She wasn’t really a mopey or melodramatic character, however her actions indicated that she was playing a victim of her circumstance.  DO SOMETHING besides think about how something needs to be done.  That was frustrating.

The Verdict:   
I most certainly will be sticking around for the remainder of the series.  I have some suspicions about what happens next, and I will have to satisfy that curiosity.  This book is perfect for the YA genre, very clean, very appropriate, and fun.  It does have action and adventure, and despite some main character frustration, it does keep your attention.

About the Author:  Rhiannon Thomas is a recent graduate from Princeton University, where she studied English and Japanese, and smuggled bubble tea into the library on a regular basis. She now lives in York, England.

As well as reading and writing YA fiction, she runs the blog FeministFiction.com, where she discusses TV, books, and all kinds of fannish things from a feminist perspective.

I don't hang out on Goodreads much, so if you want to contact me, please swing by my personal website or message me on Twitter.


Book Review: Enchanted Revenge - Theresa M. Jones

Enchanted Revenge
Empyrean Chronicles # 1
By- Theresa M. Jones
Genre- YA Fantasy

When seventeen year old Lily finds her parents brutally murdered, leaving her broken and alone, she is determined to bring justice to the fairies responsible. Her quest leads her to infiltrate The Empyrean, the land of the Fae where terrifying creatures lurk in every shadow. But with a political rebellion mounting, bloodshed y battles and foreign enemies stand in her way. Alec, a mysterious and secretive fairy, gradually becomes her guide and dear friend in the unfamiliar world, and restores her faith in love.

Disturbing secrets about her parent’s true identity are revealed, causing her to be more involved with the devastating fairy war than she can afford. Her vengeful mission becomes compromised and her growing romance with Alec wavers. She must conquer her fear of the unknown, ignore her grief, and overcome her growing list of enemies if she is to succeed in avenging her parents’ death. Or ever make it out alive.

Enchanted Revenge will appeal to fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout and Julie Kagawa.



2016 TBR List Reading Challenge

So I've been talking up my 2016 TBR List Reading Challenge on Social Media lately, and I thought I'd go ahead and type out my resolution now.  Mostly because if I type it up - I have accountability.  But also because I have 2 months to finish the list before it starts...and trust me, I have been adding to the list.

So what is the 2016 TBR Reading Challenge?  Well, like most readers/reading bloggers out there, I have a TBR List.  And it's a mile long.  I also have a buying problem - when a book goes on a great sale, or it's free and I remotely like the premise, I one-click.  I've also had a variety of B&N Gift Cards and have purchased Nook Books as well - so that adds to the fun as well.  The number of books on my tablet has become so overwhelming that when I decide to pick a new book to read, I look through the list, can't decide, then go and get something new instead.  Which is unfair to all of those authors who's book I've already purchased.  I'm sure I have some absolutely wonderful books on my list.  I'm sure I have dud's as well.  I'd really like to discover those awesome books though.

So here's the challenge.  In 2016 I will not be buying ANY new books (except for series that I'm really invested in: IE The Raven Cycle..) and anything written by Michelle Bolanger, because best friend trumps all.   I have created a list of all of the books on both my Nook and Kindle Apps that I've yet to read (so far 416 books).  I am going to use a randomizer to pick a number and that is the book I will be reading next.  Sounds great, right?  Well, I have a few rules I've set for myself..mostly for my sanity:

1.  No buying new books - also means no review requests.  Sorry guys, but I'll be starting a new spreadsheet of books I want to buy in 2017.
2.  Each book gets 3 chapters to rope me in.  If it doesn't make it, I don't have to read it.  It's gone.  Bye-bye.
3.  Because of the three chapter rule, I am not going to be posting "now reading" on Goodreads, and I am under no obligation to review the books.  I WILL be reviewing books, don't you worry.  I just don't want to be strapped into trying to review a book I didn't finish.  OR if I happen to have a book that isn't a clean read (books can be decieving, I'm sure there are a few that are going to surprise me). 
4.  If  a book that is in a series comes up I default to the next book in the series that I have yet to read.  IE, if I get book 3 on the randomizer but haven't read book 2, Book 2 is up next instead.
5. Have Fun, and enjoy the challenge!

I am under no delusions that I'll get through all 416+ books on my list.  That's just silliness.  But I do think I can make a serious dent in the TBR Pile, and hopefully in 2017 the list won't seem so overwhelming!  I'm looking forward to discovering new authors, new worlds, and new friends!  

(That all being said...I have about $11 on a Nook gift card.  Anyone have any books on Nook they would recommend to add to my list??)