Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review - Redemption on the River by Loren DeShon

Redemption on the RiverTitle: Redemption on the River
Author: Loren DeShone
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 390
Published: July 2012 by Loren DeShon 
ISBN: 9780985925901
Source: Author sent for honest review

Description: Silas Jacobson pulled a trigger, killed his father, and ended up months later face down in Memphis mud, trying to forget the girl who betrayed him.  Silas buries his father on the farm, his guilt in himself and leaves home seeking to forget past mistakes. He travels on Mississippi steamboats and meets his best friend in a brawl, his worst enemy in a cathouse, and a mentor and lover at a New Orleans faro table. Fighting, fornicating, and cheating at cards are a grand time, but there's another woman, a girl on a mission of her own, who saves his life and offers the opportunity to redeem himself.  Silas staggers out of the mud to go to her, but he finds that she's deceived him from the start. He'll risk his neck for her—he owes her that much—but love is no longer possible. His shot at redemption comes down to his conscience, the two women, a poker game, and the turn of a card. 

I Give This ...

I tend to gravitate to European historical fiction and can't say that I've read anything set on the Mississippi River.  I was a little nervous about to be honest.  And while I don't think it ranks into my top historical fiction reads, I still found it enjoyable.

Silas is actually quite selfish for a good portion of this book.  He takes blame for his father's death and prior to that had felt trapped in his own life.  When opportunity presents itself, he bails.  I'm not sure what he thought he would find along the way, but it definitely taught him to grow up.  It's a wonder really that he survives it all.  He has a mouth that should get him into way more trouble than it does.  He angers one of the richest southern men in the area.  And he double crosses (basically anyway) one of the prolific dealers on the steamboats.  He does make some friends in all the right places and has a small amount of whits that help keep him alive.

The slave trade discussed throughout this book didn't really surprise me.  Offended...yes.   It's absolutely deplorable that humans can treat another human that one.  And this goes for today and much as then.  I liked the little authors note on the story that inspired the character of Hannah.  I had heard that it didn't matter how much "black" was in you.  Once it was identified, you were slave material.  The way it was presented didn't surprise me, but I was shocked at Silas' reaction.  He kind of made me mad there.  At that point, I had expected him to be a better person.

The funny thing is that I found that gambling in this book to be extremely intriguing.  It never dawned on me that it was as crooked as it was.  It makes me wonder how often dealers were actually caught doing this.  When did it become legit?  Or is there still some level of dishonesty in the game even in the best of places? 

It took me awhile to get into the story and to read it.  But, I'm glad I did.  I learned a few things, and that's always something I like to take away from historical fiction. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Review - Shadowfell (Shadowfell #1) by Juliet Marillier

Shadowfell (Shadowfell, #1)Title: Shadowfell
Author: Juliet Marillier
Series: 1st
Pages: 410
Published: September 11th 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers 
ISBN: 9780375869549
Source: Publisher for honest review

Description: Its name is spoken only in whispers, if the people of Alban dare to speak it at all: Shadowfell. The training ground for rebels seeking to free their land from the grip of the tyrannical king is so shrouded in mystery that most believe it to be a myth.  But for Neryn, Shadowfell's existence is her only hope. She is penniless, orphaned, and utterly alone--and concealing a treacherous magical power that will warrant her immediate enslavement should it be revealed. She finds hope of allies in the Good Folk, fey beings whom she must pretend she cannot see and who taunt her with chatter of prophecies and tests, and in a striking, mysterious stranger, who saves her from certain death but whose motives remain unclear. She knows she should not trust anyone with her plans, but something within her longs to confide in him.  Will Neryn be forced to make the dangerous journey alone? She must reach Shadowfell, not only to avenge her family and salvage her own life, but to rescue Alban itself.

I Give This ...

This called to me immediately because of the fey.  I have yet to read a fey book that I didn't at least partially enjoy.  I was sad when I missed this book on Netgalley, but so excited when I was contacted about it.  

I loved Neryn from the very start.  We really don't understand her gift at first, but we know that she's had to hide it her entire life.  We also learn that her father and her have been living on the run for a few years.  But, her father is not an easy man.  He's prone to drink and gambling, and in one crazy night he gambles Neryn against the pot...and looses.  The man who wins her and has heard whispers of a father and daughter traveling together to avoid capture.  She wants to trust him, but there are so many reasons not too.

Which brings us to the fey.  At first, their presence in the story is subtle.  Neryn leaves small gifts were ever she goes, just like her grandmother taught her to do.  But, slowly she opens up these beings and begins to learn that what she can not do is normal.  In fact, she has striking quality that match up an ancient prophecy.  I loved her determination to reach a place that may of really been a myth.  

The only thing that started to bother me a little was how back and forth Neryn was on Flint.  Yes, there were times I really questioned him and I hoped to be proved wrong.  But, it often felt like she had no backbone or belief in her own instincts.  Maybe it stems for having to hide what she could do her entire life.  I'm glad she made a decision in the end and stuck to it.  Hopefully it won't be her downfall in the end.     

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Read Last Week: 

The Gilded LilyThe Lincoln Conspiracy: A NovelCrewel (Crewel World, #1)
  • The Gilded Lily by Deborah Swift
  • The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timonth O'Brien
  • Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Currently Reading: 

Eye of the Tempest (Jane True, #4)
  • Eye of the Tempest by Nicole Peeler
Up This Week: 
Scent of Magic (Healer, #2)Blood Moon (Drake Chronicles, #5)
  • Scent of the Magic by Maria V. Snyder
  • Blood Moon by Alyxandra Harvey

Sunday, November 25, 2012

In My Mailbox!

For Review:  

The Goddess Inheritance (Goddess Test, #3)Chantress

  • The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter
  • Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield


Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!  It's hosted by Tynga's Reviews!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren and she was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Review - Untraceable (The Nature of Grace #1) by S.R. Johannes

Untraceable (The Nature of Grace, #1)Title: Untraceable
Author: S.R. Johannes
Series: 1st
Pages: 315
Published:  November 29th 2011 by Coleman & Stott
ISBN:  9780984799121
Source: Author sent for honest review

Description:  Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival. When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he's dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father. Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she's enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it's going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves. 

I Give This ...

Wow!  This book was totally not what I thought it was going to be.  And mean that in the best way possible.  If you are looking for real and maybe something a little gritty this is for you.

Grace was undeniably the best part of the story.  I loved that she is so focused on finding her dad.  She knows in her heart that he is still alive and will stop at nothing to find out the truth.  I was a little disappointed that he mom did not share the same faith that she did.  But, there are many emotions that run through this story and that's just a small portion of the story.  I was completely in awe of her ability to maneuver throughout the forest the way she does.  This is a girl who can survive out in the wilderness.  And her abilities don't seem supernatural or exaggerated.  I felt it really gave this book an edge.

I also really enjoyed the romance.  We may have a slight love triangle between Mo and Wyn, but it doesn't feel forced.  Each one represents two different sides for Grace and two very different life paths I would think.  I liked them both and each also had things I didn't like.  Wyn often seemed like he was forcing Grace to be something she wasn't.  And I could tell that there were big secrets that Mo was holding back.  I was curious as to what might actually happen.

The conspiracy is way more wide spread that I could every imagine.  And it really was a little hard to stomach at first.  If you can no in anyway look past any sort of animal cruelty, I would not read this book.  I was able to separate it out and read the story for what it was and not focus on the bad.  

I'm really looking forward to the next one.  The story is very open ended.  I have no idea what will happen next.


Review - Velvet by Mary Hooper

VelvetTitle: Velvet
Author: Mary Hooper
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 336
Published: November 13th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens 
ISBN:  9781599909127
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: Velvet is a laundress in a Victorian steam laundry. With both her mother and father dead, she is an orphan and has to rely upon her own wits to make a living. The laundry's work is back-breaking and Velvet is desperate to create a better life for herself. Then Velvet is noticed by Madame Savoya, a famed medium, who asks Velvet to come to work for her. Velvet is dazzled at first by the young yet beautifully dressed and bejewelled Madame. But soon Velvet realises that Madame Savoya is not all that she says she is, and Velvet's very life is in danger ..

I Give This ....

I really have to be honest and say that I must not have read the book description accurately when I requested this book.  I think I saw the name Mary Hooper (who I've wanted to read) and Victorian age and just jumped.  I'm sure if I had really noticed that this focuses around spiritualism, I might not have been so eager to read it.

The only thing that kept me reading once I realized what this book was about was Velvet.  Her background was intriguing.  I admired her strength to survive because it couldn't have been easy to go from being provided for to having to get by on your own.  I was surprised at her own actions when her father died.  It may have made her feel incredibly guilty, but he made it easy to walk away.  The only flaw was that she was so eager to step up in the world she completely turned a blind eye to Madame Savoya and to George (her partner).   I know in this time period, it was far to easy to believe that mediums were real.  But, I kept wanting her to see the truth.  And that is why I kept reading.

So my dislike of this book completely lies in the spiritualism aspect.  Which really does not make it fair to this book.  I liked the style, the writing, and our lead character.  But for some reason, spiritualism just rubs me the wrong way.  I hate the idea that they were tricking people out of their money, especially when it came to lonely rich widows.   I dislike that each medium came up with new tricks to outdo their competitors.   I especially disliked some of the tactics that Madame Savoya pulls in this book.  She's a downright nasty women.

That being said, I will still read another book by Mary Hooper.  I have my eye on another series of hers.  I will however, try to stay as far away from books were spiritualism is the focus from now on.  


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review - Thorns (The Frost Chronicles #2) by Kate Avery Ellison

Thorns (The Frost Chronicles, #2)Title: Thorns
Author: Kate Ellison
Series: 2nd (Frost)
Pages: 266
Published: September 6th 2012 by CreateSpace
ISBN: 9781479246366
Source: Author sent for honest review

Description: Lia Weaver went against everything she’d ever known when she risked her life to help a Farther fugitive named Gabe escape from the Aeralian soldiers, and her life changed forever. And the Frost changed, too—the Farthers have taken over her village, a new group of vigilantes calling themselves the Blackcoats are making plans to overthrow the Farther occupiers, and the Thorns are seeking for her to join them.  Lia seeks to fight back against the evil and injustice that has swallowed up her home, but danger lurks at every turn. The monsters that dwell in the deepest regions of the Frost are growing bolder and more dangerous every day, a Farther noble takes up residence in the village on a mysterious mission, and Lia discovers that her parents were harboring even more secrets.  As the frozen world of the Frost grows even more perilous, can Lia survive?

I Give This ...

I really enjoyed the first book in this series and was excited to learn there would more.   I jumped at the opportunity to review Thorns when it was presented to me.  For lack of better way to put it, this installment had a distinctive middle book feel to it.    

Lia spends a lot of this book pining for Gabe, never mind that fact that he crossed over into another world with no chance of coming back.   I get that she really liked him (maybe even loved him), but it this cold world she lives in you would think she wouldn't have much time for that.  I think her brother and sister get a little tired of her too.  I know in her heart that she thinks she's doing the best thing for them.  But, she needed to realize that she is their older sister and not their parent.  No matter what, they are in it together.

I did enjoy the addition of the Farther noble to the story.  It brought an element to the story that I was really expecting.  I'm curious to were this might lead, because I don't think he's being entirely truthful with anybody about what he wants.  I'm also hoping that the next book will show a better picture about who the Thorns really all.  We get just a glimpse of their organization and I really wasn't satisfied.  I'm also immensely curious about the PLD and what it can do.   It seems that there is nothing that people will do to get there hands on it.

I'm still enjoying the story so I look forward to the next one.     


Monday, November 19, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Read Last Week:
Undeadly (The Reaper Diaries, #1)Ironskin (Ironskin, #1)Sacrifice (Legacy, #3)
  • Undeadly by Michele Vail 
  • Ironskin by Tina Connolly
  • Sacrifice by Cayla Kluver 
Currently Reading: 

The Gilded Lily
  •  The Gilded Lily by Deborah Swift 
Up This Week:
The Lincoln Conspiracy: A NovelCrewel (Crewel World, #1)
  • The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timonth O'Brien 
  • Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Saturday, November 17, 2012

In My Mailbox!

For Review:  

Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)The Raven's Heart: A Story of a Quest, a Castle and Mary Queen of Scots

  • Pivot Point by Kasie West
  • The Raven's Heart by Jesse Blackadder

*I also received a draft of a potential book from a relative of my husbandIt's romance, which really isn't my genre, but I'm looking forward to reading it.  I'm also incredibly honored that value my opinion on a book in its infant stages!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review - Beta (Annex #1) by Rachel Cohn

Beta (Annex, #1)Title: Beta
Author: Rachel Cohn
Series: 1st
Pages: 331
Published: October 16th 2012 by Hyperion 
ISBN:  9781423157199
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: Elysia is created in a laboratory, born as a sixteen-year-old girl, an empty vessel with no life experience to draw from. She is a Beta, an experimental model of a teenage clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to exist.  Elysia's purpose is to serve the inhabitants of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on earth. Everything about Demesne is bioengineered for perfection. Even the air induces a strange, euphoric high, which only the island's workers--soulless clones like Elysia--are immune to.  At first, Elysia's life is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne's human residents, who should want for nothing, yearn. But for what, exactly? She also comes to realize that beneath the island's flawless exterior, there is an under-current of discontent among Demesne's worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care--so why are overpowering sensations cloud-ing Elysia's mind?  If anyone discovers that Elysia isn't the unfeeling clone she must pretend to be, she will suffer a fate too terrible to imagine. When her one chance at happi-ness is ripped away with breathtaking cruelty, emotions she's always had but never understood are unleashed. As rage, terror, and desire threaten to overwhelm her, Elysia must find the will to survive.  

I Give This ...

Oh man I wanted this to be good.  I loved the idea of robot clones created from a human counterpart upon their death.  It just sounds awesome.  But sadly, I was extremely underwhelmed by this book.

 I think my problem lies with Elysia.  She's not an annoying character, but she isn't exciting either.  She's just dull.  She's created to be soulless and blindly follow all orders given to her.  Sorry that I don't get all wound up because she likes the taste of chocolate when she shouldn't have any feeling about it at all.  I felt like so much of her actions lack any heart and soul.  Which really makes me wonder if she was rogue at all.  I guess if she's was completely robotic, she wouldn't question every little around her.  But sometimes her questions seem idiotic.  I think she would have given herself away as rogue long before she did.

I never really latched on to the secondary characters as well.  Elysia latches on to Tahir instantly, while it too me almost as long to figure out his secret.  I found the family Elysia lives with to be shallow and a little appalling when it came to their treatment of their clones.  They definitely don't seem them as people.

The only think that kept me reading is that I was curious how this island worked.  Why would people want clones based off a human counterpart?  Why are so many of them going rogue?  What secrets is everyone hiding?  While I did get some answers, I'm not sure I'm invested enough to read the next in the series. 


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Boundless by Cynthia Hand

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
Boundless (Unearthly, #3)Title: Boundless 
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publication Date:  January 22nd 2013 by HarperTeen 
Description: The past few years have held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner could ever have anticipated. Yet from the dizzying highs of first love, to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she can no longer deny is that she was never meant to live a normal life.

Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seems like the best option, so she’s headed back to California - and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place. 
As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfil her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.
I think anybody who has read this series is looking forward to this final book.  I just got back from Jackson Hole, Wyoming were most of this series takes places (and drove through many other areas mentioned), so I'm particularly looking forward to diving back into this series! 



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review - Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

Eve and AdamTitle: Eve and Adam 
Author: Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 291
Published: October 2nd 2012 by Feiwel & Friends 
ISBN: 9780312583514
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description:   And girl created boy… In the beginning, there was an apple— And then there was a car crash, a horrible injury, and a hospital. But before Evening Spiker’s head clears a strange boy named Solo is rushing her to her mother’s research facility. There, under the best care available, Eve is left alone to heal.  Just when Eve thinks she will die—not from her injuries, but from boredom—her mother gives her a special project: Create the perfect boy.  Using an amazingly detailed simulation, Eve starts building a boy from the ground up. Eve is creating Adam. And he will be just perfect... won’t he?

I Give This ...

I wavered back and forth when it came to reading this one.  There was something that both intrigued me and repelled me when it came to concept behind this book.  I decided to go for and was pleasantly surprised.

Eve was an interesting character.  She had very little relationship with her mother.   And with the little dealing we see of them together in the beginning, it's not hard to understand why.  Her mother seems cold and calculating and Eve seems just the opposite.  When the accident puts them in close proximity to one another for an extended amount of time, it no wonder that they start to but heads.   In hindsight, I wonder what the true purpose was behind having Eve create Adam?  

It was interesting to watch Eve create Adam.  I can't imagine that it would be easy to create a "perfect" person.  Everyone's idea are different when it comes to those attributes.  And Eve can't know exactly what she wants.  She may think she does, but the reality of the matter is that she can't.  That was my major problem with this story even before I read it, which I flowed over into my actual enjoyment of the book.   It dealt with a matter I have a hard time thinking about, the idea that our advancement in science may lead to the very act of "playing god." 

The good news is that Eve quickly discovers that her Adam isn't quite as perfect as she had imagined.  Turns out a flesh and blood person with flaws in way more interesting.   I"m extremely happy that the story played out that way.  I would have been highly disappointed and frustrated if it had gone any other way.

Overall an average book.   It had its up and downs.  If you don't mind that idea of created humans, you might enjoy this more that I did.


Monday, November 12, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Read Last Week:  

Shadowfell (Shadowfell, #1)Redemption on the River
  • Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier 
  • Redemption on the River by Loren DeShon
Currently Reading: 
Undeadly (The Reaper Diaries, #1)
  • Undeadly by Michele Vail 
Up This Week:  
Ironskin (Ironskin, #1)
Ironskin by Tina Connolly

Sunday, November 11, 2012

In My Mailbox!

For Review:  

Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy, #4)PoisonShadow on the Crown

  • Crimson Frost by Jennifer Estep
  • Poison by Bridget Zinn
  •  Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell


Dark SoulsDragonfly

  • Dark Souls by Paula Morris 
  • Dragonfly by Julia Golding   


Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!  It's hosted by Tynga's Reviews!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren and she was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie!


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