New Releases Wednesday

Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle

Published: June 9, 2020

Goodreads

Synopsis: When Charlotte married the wealthy widower Paul, it caused a ripple of gossip in their small lakeside town. They have a charmed life together, despite the cruel whispers about her humble past and his first marriage. But everything starts to unravel when she discovers a young woman’s body floating in the exact same spot where Paul’s first wife tragically drowned.

At first, it seems like a horrific coincidence, but the stranger in the lake is no stranger. Charlotte saw Paul talking to her the day before, even though Paul tells the police he’s never met the woman. His lie exposes cracks in their fragile new marriage, cracks Charlotte is determined to keep from breaking them in two.

As Charlotte uncovers dark mysteries about the man she married, she doesn’t know what to trust—her heart, which knows Paul to be a good man, or her growing suspicion that there’s something he’s hiding in the water.

My Thoughts: I am a big sucker for “is my new husband a murderer?” I can’t say no when I see another one. This one sounds interesting because the new wife suspects nothing until a second body shows up. Hmm, intriguing.

Broken People by Sam Lansky

Published: June 9, 2020

Goodreads

Synopsis: “He fixes everything that’s wrong with you in three days.”

This is what hooks Sam when he first overhears it at a fancy dinner party in the Hollywood hills: the story of a globe-trotting shaman who claims to perform “open-soul surgery” on emotionally damaged people. For neurotic, depressed Sam, new to Los Angeles after his life in New York imploded, the possibility of total transformation is utterly tantalizing. He’s desperate for something to believe in, and the shaman—who promises ancient rituals, plant medicine and encounters with the divine—seems convincing, enough for Sam to sign up for a weekend under his care.

But are the great spirits the shaman says he’s summoning real at all? Or are the ghosts in Sam’s memory more powerful than any magic?

At turns tender and acid, funny and wise, Broken People is a journey into the nature of truth and fiction—a story of discovering hope amid cynicism, intimacy within chaos and peace in our own skin.

My Thoughts: Dealing with our past and trying to move forward into the future as a better person is a common trait to all humans. It is a quest. This sounds kind of trippy, I hope it is.

Review: The Making of a Marquess by Lynne Connolly

The Making of a Marquess by Lynne Connolly

Published: March 31, 2020 by Kensington Books

Buy this book at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Rating:

Synopsis:

The Society for Single Ladies is a crime-solving club founded by the wealthiest woman in London. Yet even Miss Angela Childers’ charming detectives are not immune to the forces of love…

Dorothea Rowland attends a country house party to investigate a long-lost heir—not to find a husband. But when the dashing American claimant discovers her prowling for clues, she is startled—and then seduced—by his provocative kiss. It’s all Dorothea can do to remember her mission. Especially when a series of accidents adds up to something far more dangerous…

Benedict only meant to silence lovely Dorothea—not find himself enamored. What’s a gentleman to do but join forces—and propose to the clever beauty? Yet as Ben and Dorothea pursue the truth about his inheritance, their faux betrothal threatens to become the real thing. Soon, Ben’s plan to return to his life in America is upended—not only by his deepening bond with his bride, but by someone who wants his fortune badly enough to jeopardize his future—even end it. And Dorothea can’t let that happen. Not for the title, but for Ben…

Review:

***Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley and Kensington Books!***

This book was a fun ride and Dorothea was a delightful leading lady. Ben was an interesting bloke too but he was often times too serious and seemed to be blind to obvious things. Dorothea was sharp and didn’t miss a beat in contrast. I liked the fact that Dorothea being present when her former betrothed comes home is incidental. She was there on behalf of his cousin’s banker who wanted her to find out if he was good for the loans that had been given to him or not. The fact that Ben showed up was entirely unexpected and naturally throws her emotions through a loop.

I enjoyed the mystery that surrounded the pair, but honestly it felt like it took a long time to get going. I enjoyed all the slow burning romance that we had in the meantime, because Dorothea and Ben are fabulous together, but it seemed like we went from one incident that could have been an accident to murder all of a sudden. And there was not too much that happened in between. I did fall for the red herring though. I admit it, I did not suss out who was the real culprit.

The only drawback to the book was that I have no idea what the connection was to the Society for Single Ladies. I mean, that sounds fantastic. A group of society women who use their status as single women to investigate mysteries. And Dorothea was on assignment for the SSL. But all of that got sidetracked by an attack and romance. So, in the end, it didn’t seem to have much connection at all. I was rather looking forward to that part and it was more of an afterthought by the end. I might pick up the first book though and see if that quenches my desire for single society ladies solving crimes.

Overall this was a great romance and a decent mystery, but I wished for a bit more.

Review: The Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

44084930The Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

Published on: March 10, 2020 by St. Martins Press

Buy this book at: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Synopsis: In Oak Knoll, a verdant, tight-knit North Carolina neighborhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son. Xavier is headed to college in the fall, and after years of single parenting, Valerie is facing the prospect of an empty nest. All is well until the Whitmans move in next door – an apparently traditional family with new money, ambition, and a secretly troubled teenaged daughter.

Thanks to his thriving local business, Brad Whitman is something of a celebrity around town, and he’s made a small fortune on his customer service and charm, while his wife, Julia, escaped her trailer park upbringing for the security of marriage and homemaking. Their new house is more than she ever imagined for herself, and who wouldn’t want to live in Oak Knoll? With little in common except a property line, these two very different families quickly find themselves at odds: first, over an historic oak tree in Valerie’s yard, and soon after, the blossoming romance between their two teenagers.

Told from multiple points of view, A Good Neighborhood asks big questions about life in America today―What does it mean to be a good neighbor? How do we live alongside each other when we don’t see eye to eye?―as it explores the effects of class, race, and heartrending star-crossed love in a story that’s as provocative as it is powerful.

Rating: 1 star

Review: I have been looking forward to this book for months. The synopsis  made me expect a thriller and a tragedy all wrapped up into one. I could not have been more disappointed. Not just disappointed but angry too. I was supposed to write this review on Saturday but it just turned into a non-coherent rant with language that would make a sailor blush. So I decided to give it a few days before I tried again.

Be aware, from here on out there will be all variety of spoilers. Mainly because I am hoping that after reading all of it, you won’t have the desire to read this piece of propaganda, masquerading as a novel.

This book was an agenda. The author has political views that she feels are very important. So she constructed a story around those political views in order to make her reader feel guilty about how they felt about the book. I despise it when an author feels they need to manipulate me into thinking their worldview is so superior to any other.

First off, for an author who gives such a long winded explanation in the Acknowledgements about how she researched African American culture in order to represent them properly in her book, she did a piss poor job. There are a total of two black characters, and the mother gets very snippy if you refer to them as African American because she’s Haitian American. But apart from the author telling me their race every ten pages or so there is absolutely nothing about them that gives me any indication they are other than white. Xavier has no personality whatsoever except for us to be told how smart he is, how asexual he is, how generous and kind he is. Frankly, she tried to make him a saint. And in doing so made him barely better than a cardboard cutout. She even has the character tell us how his friends thing he should act more like he’s from the “hood”. It was insulting.

Speaking of his mother, she is an awful human being. I could tell right from the start that I wouldn’t like her. I got the feeling that the author wrote herself into this character and then changed her skin tone. I could also tell that the author was setting her up to be as “perfect” as her perfect son, and that if I disagreed with her being perfect then I was a racist. I knew that’s where this was going, and in the end, it did go that way. But she isn’t perfect. She’s a horrible, racist, sexist bigot. She decides to sue her neighbor because in the process of building his home he inadvertently killed her tree. The tree had some deeper history and some story about the slaves who used to live on the property and such, fair enough. But then she goes to see her attorney and laments that she would have preferred to hire a person of color but the white guy has better environmental credentials. And then she speculates that he’s gay and it must be nice to be able to pass as straight, she can’t pass for something beneficial as a Haitian American, people just think she’s African American and that’s not beneficial at all. She approaches every white person in the book (which is apparently the rest of the neighborhood) with an air of “you’re looking down at me because I’m not white aren’t you?”. It doesn’t matter what the person does or says, she feels the same way. Later her son asks her if she’s suing both the husband and wife and she replies no, just the husband, she assumes that he is the one who made all the decisions. In the same conversation she berates her son for dating the white neighbor girl because she’s just “so very white” and that purity vow thing she did was bizarre.

But remember, you are told very clearly on every single page that she is the good guy. The fighter for justice! All the white people are horrible and just trying to ruin the lives of anyone non-white. Every single white person in this book was a pedophile, rapist, child abuser, sexual harasser, racist good ‘ole Southern boy. Literally every single one. And yet I found her just as offensive.

Also, pretty far fetched that anyone in North Carolina would be berating a teenage girl for a purity vow. Something like 80% of North Carolina residents are devoutly Christian. So that made absolutely no sense at all except to tell me that author thinks it’s weird and so it was weird to everyone else in the book too

So, then we come to the plot. Nothing actually happens until 75% of the way through. It involves Brad trying to set up Xavier for doing something awful, because then he can stop this nonsense of his step-daughter dating him and we all know everyone wants to pin it on the “black boy next door” right? Hell, even Xavier’s own attorney (who is an African American man) tells him that he’s just too non-white for it to matter that he’s basically a saint, he better plead guilty or he’s going to prison.

Brad is setting Xavier up for rape. Because his precious step-daughter (who he has disgusting sexual fantasies about) decided to have sex with her boyfriend. Brad calls the police and says, “OMG, this kid raped her!” And somehow everyone just goes along with it. Juniper tells everyone from the police, to the doctor, to the nurse, to the district attorney that she wasn’t raped. Every single one of them just pats her hand and says, “There, there dear, lots of rape victims don’t think they were raped.” Their basis for why it was rape is that he had a knife (for cutting up food since they were in the woods) and he brought alcohol (which they both drank). Now, as thousands of women can tell you, this is the exact opposite of any experience they ever had with reporting a rape to the authorities. But of course, Valerie has the answer for that too, it’s because her son is black…they want him to be guilty so they are all willing to set him up. I don’t buy it, not for a second. Many women can tell you that the average experience of reporting rape by a complete stranger is to be met with skepticism and even more so when it’s a romantic partner. “Come on honey, are you sure this isn’t about you being mad at him? Maybe he cheated and you’re upset.” The only circumstance in which rape accusations seem to favor the woman making the accusation is on college campuses. There you have insane laws, like in California, that if a woman has been drinking then it’s automatically rape, regardless of whether the male has been drinking or not. Men of every color are routinely run out of college campuses, with no criminal proceedings but their entire futures ruined over an allegation with zero evidence. But in the world of criminal prosecution the exact opposite is true. Yet, I’m supposed to believe that a “victim” can sit here and repeatedly tell everyone on the earth that she isn’t a victim and everyone just says “hush now dear, he’s black, of course it was rape.” Please. It was cheap and disgusting.

This book made me want to vomit. It was the single most racist piece of fiction I’ve ever read. The entire book was a lecture about how white people need to stop trying to intentionally ruin the lives of minorities. I can honestly say I will never pick up a book by this author ever again. I don’t need to be lectured when I read.

Blog Tour Review: Crushed by Eliza Crewe

crushed cover Crushed by Eliza Crewe (book 2 of the Soul Eater series)

Published: September 22nd, 2014 by Eliza Crewe

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Google Play / Kobo (Print edition coming soon!)

 

Synopsis:

Meda’s back. This time, she has a friend.

The battle is over; the choice has been made. Meda Melange has officially hung up her monstrous mantle and planted her feet firmly on the holy and righteous path of a Crusader-in-training. Or, at least, she’s willing to give it a shot. It helps that the Crusaders are the only thing standing between her and the demon hordes who want her dead.

The problem is, the only people less convinced than Meda of her new-found role as Good Girl are the very Crusaders she’s trying to join. So when a devilishly handsome half-demon boy offers escape, how’s a girl supposed to say “no?”

After all, everyone knows a good girl’s greatest weakness is a bad boy.

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

**Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for a review. No promise of a good review or other compensation was provided.**

Alright folks, give me a moment here, I need to wipe my nose and then get a new tissue. Then it’s time to put on my big girl panties and write this review without needing more tissue. First, let me tell you a sad story. The first book in this series, Cracked, was one of my favorite books last year. I got the ARC and I loved it. I bought a copy, I bought a copy to lend out, I recommended it to anyone who would listen, I anxiously waited for the next book. Then I asked for an ARC, didn’t get it and was…crushed, pun fully intended. But, no worries, I pre-ordered the book, I’d just have to be patient. Then I got an email, there was going to be no publication of Crushed. I was distraught! How could this be? Well, it’s because the publisher, Strange Chemistry, was closing down. I was so upset that I immediately rushed over to the author’s website, surely she would have answers for me! And, she did. She was going to self publish it and was doing a blog tour, well you better beleive I was alllllll on board with that idea. And that’s why I’m here now. To tell you how awesome this book is (because it is) and to encourage you to go out and read it. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

So let’s catch up on what we learned from book one. Meda kicks ass….and eats souls. The two are not mutually exclusive. But she’s also, apparently a “Beacon”, someone who is capable of worl changing good. This is news to Meda, she mostly just wants to be left alone to kill and eat the souls of bad bad people who deserve it. The Crusaders have other ideas, she needs to be protected ad trained as a Crusader…well sort of trained.

And that’s where we come into Cracked. Meda is, essentially, being help captive. The Crusaders don’t like her, they don’t trust her, and they aren’t giving her any souls to eat which is really just torture. So, Meda does what she does best, she sneaks out to get herself some souls and reunites with Armand. We remember Armand right? She met him in Hell’s dungeon. And he has some bad intentions, which Meda knows but can’t seem to pull herself away from him anyway. Besides the Crusaders are torturing her anyway, why not have a little fun?

This book was a blast. It starts off hard and doesn’t let up for the whole book. I always get worried when we reach book two, because it often suffers from “middle book syndrome”. This one doesn’t though. Meda spends most of the book struggling with her choices. Can she really be a goody goody Crusader? As hard as she tries, it doesn’t seem like it. Can she just turn her back on it all and join the demons? Not really because of those pesky human emotions. She finds solace in Armand, who is also half-demon half-human, because he can understand her struggles of walking the line between good and evil. I loved this dynamic for Meda. It provided a lot of depth to her character that we had only began to see in Cracked. Honestly, by the end, I was rooting for Meda to join the demons, I can admit it. I was ready to flip the bird to the Crusaders for their treatment of her. But, of course, there are two sides to every pancake and this book was no different.

The ending rocked me. I was not ready for what happened to….the person….at the place….during that….thing. I can’t talk about it. I already cried my way through it once, I don’t want to relive it. As Meda is fond of saying, some bad things just shouldn’t be said. This is one. Then we got to the actual actual end and it both good and bad. Which I like. I can’t stand Steven Spielberg endings where everyone is okay and walks off into the sunset together holding hands and singing Kumbaya. I like things to be real. And in reality, even a happy ending is often tinged with despair, anger, loss, and grief. This was one of those endings.

I, for one, will be anxiously anticipating the next book to see where this path takes Meda next. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go get another tissue and text my mom to go buy this book…she’s been waiting since Cracked. Enjoy this author bio on your way to go buy this book:

 

 

 

eliza crewe Eliza Crewe always thought she’d be a lawyer, and even went so far as to complete law school. But as they say, you are what you eat, and considering the number of books Eliza has devoured since childhood, it was inevitable she’d end up in the literary world. She abandoned the lawyer-plan to instead become a librarian and now a writer.

While she’s been filling notebooks with random scenes for years, Eliza didn’t seriously commit to writing an entire novel until the spring of 2011, when she and her husband bought a house. With that house came a half-hour commute, during which Eliza decided she needed something to think about other than her road-rage. Is it any surprise she wrote a book about a blood-thirsty, people-eating monster?

Eliza has lived in Illinois, Edinburgh, and Las Vegas, and now lives in North Carolina with her husband, her hens, her angry, talking, stuffed dwarf giraffe, and a sweet, mute, pantomiming bear. She likes to partially-complete craft projects, free-range her hens, and take long walks.

Destruction by Sharon Bayliss

Alright guys, I have been MIA long enough. I am literally dragging my fingers across the keyboard to post this, but here it is!

destruction Destruction by Sharon Bayliss

Published April 14th, 2014 by Curiosity Quills Press

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Books a Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn’t a choice.

Eleven years ago, David’s secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David’s wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.

 

Rating: 2 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Curiosity Quills!

This will probably be a short review because the book just wasn’t that good. My first annoyance with it was actually the blurb. It gives away so many big plot points. I mean, who writes these things? It tells me the entire arc of the story almost, guess I didn’t need to read the book after all.

I was highly annoyed with the magic in this book too. I hate it when books don’t give magic any consequences, it’s jut there to fix all your problems. The book claims that doing magic can make you deranged and evil, but the main characters seem to have no problem whipping out complex magic when it suits them…and seem to suffer no ill effects or other consequences. For example, fiddling around in someone’s brain? Well it was for their own good, so no consequences. The only possible consequence is that the person doing the meddling now had to remember all those bad memories they were erasing, oh the horror! End snark.

David was a fairly likeable character until he started excusing a rape (he’s a dark wizard, can’t help it) and then perving on a 17 year old (but she’s a fertility witch, he couldn’t help it!). Notice a pattern here? It is always the magic’s fault, not the character’s.

In the end, I didn’t care for this book. It was a fairly good idea but not executed very well. The characters were marginal but not unlikeable. The magic was poorly executed and seemed completely secondary to the story. I won’t be continuing with this series.

 

Scars by Kiru Taye

scarsScars by Kiru Taye

Published August 1st, 2013 by Evernight Publishing

Buy this story at: Amazon / B&N

 

Synopsis:

She clutches at control to cover her flaws.
He wants to strip her bare because she’s beautiful.

Selina Moss hides a secret beneath her controlled happy exterior. Her body is covered in scars and she’s never revealed them to anyone. She’s not beautiful and she doesn’t want pity.
However, it’s her wedding night and husband, Benjamin Moss, is determined to strip down her barriers.
Benjamin is not playing fair, not when he’s deploying breath-stealing seduction as well as mind-melting sex toys. But will he still want her when she bares all?

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thank you Evernight Publishing!

Warning: This short story is an erotica and features sexual content including light BDSM.

 

This little story was delightful. I have never heard of the author previously but I will seek out more of her work now. It was sexy and fun and well put together.

This is an author who knows what they are talking about when it comes to BDSM. While they did not touch upon this couples’ agreement in particular, but the context of the story lets you know that they are well aware of each other’s rules in this game. And the small snippet of the other story we got even used the BDSM mantra, SSC. That delighted me. There’s even a moment of aftercare! I think I swooned.

This main character is also great. She is a strong, determined, smart fighter of a woman. I kind of cringed when I saw she had a violent past, but it is not typically what you would see and honestly had nothing to do with her interest in BDSM. That was really refreshing since most female characters in BDSM are reliving some past abuse all of the time.

Overall it was a short little story but one that was excellently executed.

Review: Surrender by Tawny Taylor

surrenderSurrender by Tawny Taylor

Published May 27th, 2014 by Aphrodisia

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Book Depository / Books a Million

 

Synopsis:

I was his.
To touch.
Anywhere.
Any time he wanted.

Abby is ready to agree to anything to stop her brother from going to prison, but Kameron Maldondo, the owner of MalTech Corporation, is asking for the unexpected. Enthralled by his commanding brilliance, she agrees to be his assistant, at his beck and call for whatever he needs–whenever and however he wants. What that means is for him to decide and for her to submit to. Frightened yet fascinated by what he promises, Abby becomes a willing captive to his caress, undone by his peerless touch, a quivering submission to an aching need for complete carnal surrender. . .

 

Rating: 3 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Aphrodisia!

Warning: This book is an erotica and contains explicit sex scenes. It features light BDSM and dubious consent. Be advised this review might also contain some explicit material.

 

On the whole this book was okay. It wasn’t great and it wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t the best erotica I’ve ever read. Honestly, on the sizzle scale it barely hit a simmer.

The sex scenes in this book were actually pretty alright. But I am not sure why the author termed this as a BDSM. The ONLY thing that happened was they used a few sex toys and he restrained her hands a few times….with some nibbling and nipple pinching. That is such vanilla BDSM that I don’t even know where to start. Then we have the issue of Kam and Abbie’s affair being started under dubious consent, he blackmails her into agreeing to his terms. Yes he retracts that very quickly and gives her back the choice but not before they had a few sexual encounters together. Also, there is no warning in the synopsis about it being a dubcon, bad author bad!

I had a few issues with the BDSM and I started to doubt whether the author had ANY knowledge of the BDSM community at all. You can’t choose a safeword after you already began play. You can’t start play without discussing what is and is not acceptable to the sub, where their hard and soft lines are. You can’t tell your sub that you respect that they are not comfortable with something and then press the issue and demand trust that it will be okay. All of these things make you a bad dom. If any of those things happened in group play, that dom would have to answer to the whole group before being thrown out of playing. These things annoy me, Google could have straightened all of that out. And all of those things happened in this book.

Another thing, while I’m on the BDSM topic, why do all people involved in BDSM in books have an abusive background? Literally all of them. That is not an accurate representation of the community at all. Not everyone who likes being tied up during sex was abused. Not everyone who gets horny when their lover takes a paddle to their ass was raped and beaten. Stop doing this already authors, seriously! Just one time I want to see a BDSM book where the participants had no abuse and just like it a little rough but are mentally healthy individuals.

Now, let’s move on to the characters. Kam was a typical alpha male character, but surprisingly not an offensive one apart from being a terrible dom. He takes care of Abbie, he respects her, and he protects her. These are things that a real alpha male does, and it’s sexy. Unfortunately Abbie is a moron. She seemed incapable of putting two and two together and not coming up with eight. She is responsible for getting the information that will free Kam from suspicion. She knows that her brother is to blame and then starts feeling funny (after being drugged once already) and has no clue what’s going on. Um hello dummy, this happened a handful of chapters ago. She also repeatedly asks herself whether something actually happened. Example, she almost gets shot. A few paragraphs later Abbie thinks to herself “Did I really almost just get shot? Like, for real?” No dummy, it was a hallucination. If you can’t be sure of what’s happening to you mere moments after it happened then you are beyond hope.

The plot was what ruined this book for me. It was so dumb. And so predictable. I knew exactly what was going on as soon as we found out the gender of the accomplice within the company. It seems the only people who didn’t know were Kam and Abbie, probably because they were busy screwing.

Final grade, not very good but not offensively bad.

 

Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

the here and now The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Published April 8th, 2014 by Delacorte Press

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Book Depository / Books a Million

 

Synopsis:

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.

 

Rating: 2 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Delacorte!

 

This book was a bit boring and not exactly that I expected. Overall, I enjoyed parts of it but a large portion of it made me scratch my head with the WTF. Warning, from here on there will be spoilers.

Characters: I did not like Prenna. She was so boring! She did not do anything really. She acknowledged over and over again “I really shouldn’t do this” only to do it a paragraph later. She was incapable of doing anything for herself and had to be bailed out by people through the entire book. Ethan was okay but he was really just a plot device to save Prenna from her TSTL. The other characters really made no impression on me because they were so pointless.

Plot: This thing had plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon. The premise of it was not bad. Horrible things happen to the world in the future and a plague wipes out most of the world and the survivors go back in time to prevent the bad things from happening….except what they are really doing is just hiding out and doing not much of anything. Boring. Prenna and Ethan also spend most of the book doing nothing. They are on a mission to save the future but then they sit around on the beach and play cards for the majority of the book. Also boring. Now for the plot holes:

– Prenna says that in the future they have no technology to speak of. They don’t use computers, they use paper and pencils. But then…how exactly did they figure out time travel?

– Prenna says that there is no new manufacturing so things like clothes are scavenged from the current time period. Except she says that the downfall of society didn’t happen until twenty years or so before they traveled back in time, which was like 90 years before the current time. So what happened in that 50 years exactly? Were there no new clothes for 90 years even though sciety only fell apart for the last 20 of it?

– This plague is described as dengue fever. The mortality rate for dengue fever is actually pretty low, by catching it early enough and getting proper treatment then you will most likely pull through just fine. It still isn’t pleasant but it is uncommon for it to be deadly. Now, Prenna explains this as the virus mutating into something more deadly. Okay, fine, but isn’t 100 years a bit to quick for that drastic of a mutation. I almost feel like the author spent most of their research time reading stuff like this: http://greenbugallnatural.com/wordpress/infected-mosquitoes-become-more-effective-carriers-of-disease/ Which has a definite “OMG MOSQUITOES ARE COMING!” feel to it.

– Prenna goes on loooooooong rants about how this was all caused by global warming. And I do mean long and boring rants. But then when they actually figure out the answer, it had nothing to do with global warming at all, it was someone from a third alternate future that carried a virus back with him and infected humans…who then infected the mosquitoes, who in turn started the plague. So what the hell did all that global warming garbage have to do with anything at all? Answer, I have no fucking clue and I don’t think the author does either.

This story was not well thought out. For an author as acclaimed as this one, I expected a lot better.

Review: Red Cells by Jeffrey Thomas

red cellsRed Cells by Jeffrey Thomas

Published March 18th, 2014 by DarkFuse

Buy this story at: Amazon

 

Synopsis:

Private detective and mutant shapeshifter Jeremy Stake (hero of the novels Deadstock and Blue War) has fallen on hard times in the far-future city of Punktown. When he is offered an opportunity to masquerade as another man to do his prison sentence for him, Stake agrees, but this is a new type of penitentiary—existing in its own pocket universe.

In this isolated prison, a series of gruesome murders have occurred, and the inmates soon force Stake to investigate. Can Stake catch a killer that might not even be human, without becoming just another victim?

 

Rating: 3 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this story from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you DarkFuse!

A story that is under 100 pages has no excuse to be boring, this one was boring. But it was also not badly written. In fact, I think if the story was given more time and space to develop then it could have been really good. As a short story, however, it felt rushed and hectic.

The character of Stake was an interesting one. He is a mutant who can assume the physical form of another human. He is normally a private investigator but things are tough and he agrees to do a stint in prison for someone else. Naturally chaos follows and gives him a mystery to solve. I liked him as a character, though he was a tiny bit stereotypical for a private investigator type. However, because the story was so short I felt like I didn’t really learn much about him. Since he is the main character in two novels this is not to be expected, but it would have been a nice addition.

The story was also a good one. A prison that is located in pocket universe and something is killing the prisoners. That is very interesting. But unfortunately, the story was told to me almost exclusively instead of showing me. That was annoying. Don’t tell me! For heaven’s sake do a little bit of creative writing and show me.

It was also pretty predictable. As soon as they described the killer to me, I thought….well of course it’s that X thing/person that they told us about. And it was. This could have been done a lot better. I have no doubt that the author can write better than this, I can see the talent there. But this story did not showcase that talent at all.

Review: Extinct by Charles Wilson

extinctExtinct by Charles Wilson

Published May 15th, 1997 by St. Martin’s.

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Books a Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

From the Gulf of Mexico’s warm shallow waters…to the deepest parts of the Pacific…terror comes to the surface…

Six-year-old Paul Haines watches as two older boys dive into a coastal river…and don’t come up. His mother, Carolyn, a charter boat captain on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, finds herself embroiled in the tragedy to an extent she could never have imagined.

Carolyn joins the marine biologist Alan Freeman in the hunt for a creature that is terrorizing the waters along the Gulf Coast. But neither of them could have envisioned exactly what kind of danger they are facing.

Yet one man, Admiral Vandiver, does know what this creature is, and how it has come into the shallows. And his secret obsession with it will force him, as well as Paul, Carolyn and Alan, into a race against time…and a race toward death.

 

Rating: 1 star

 

Review:

This book was a serious letdown. I was told that it was different from other books in the “giant shark killing people” genre. But it’s not. It is exactly the same as every other book on the subject out there, but with even more confusion and irritation.

Let me start off with a bit of a rant. I NEVER EVER EEEEVVVVVEEERR want to see any of the following in a monster megalodon shark killing people book/movie again:

 

1. A story about the megamouth shark or coelacanth. Anybody who has ever read a single one of these stories knows those stories already! We already know about how the coelcanth was thought extinct for millions of years until one was caught in 1938. I could recite the story for you word for word with the amount of times I’ve heard it in these books. And we already know that the megamouth shark wasn’t even known to exist until 1976, and so the existence of one giant shark without anyone knowing means it’s possible for the megalodon too. I KNOW THESE THINGS, STOP TELLING ME!

2. Also, can we please stop telling the story of the shark attacks on the Jersey shore in 1916. First, I know the story like the back of my hand. But also, can we please stop saying that it was a great white shark that was responsible. Some of the attacks took place in a river. The only shark known to mankind who can survive in rivers is the bull shark. The attack pattern fits a bull shark. Most scientists have been split more than 20 years ago that it was not a white shark but a bull shark, even though officially the attacks are still recorded as white shark attacks. But seriously, stop it already.

3. I realize the the Marianas Trench is a fabulous place to say that a 100 foot long shark has been hiding for millions of years, and that’s a find theory. However, then the shark comes back to shallow water and hasn’t evolved in the last however many years to reflect their new environment? They still have exactly the same coloring as a great white, which is a shallow water predator. But I have a feeling that over many millions of years spent in deep trenches with no light, these predators would have changed and evolved their coloring and hunting patterns. Why would they still need to be able to use their eyes for sight? Living in the Marianas Trench they would have no need for sight. Why would they still have dual coloring, they don’t need to disguise themselves from prey because there is no light for their prey to see them.

4. Please please please stop giving killer sharks families that they go on revenge sprees for! Sharks do not have families. Sharks do not have mates. Sharks do not care for their babies. They get pregnant (often violently) and then they give birth and the babies are on their own. Expecting me to believe that a whole family of sharks is out there and getting revenge when one of them is killed is so laughable. Two second on Google would tell you that it was stupid and ludicrous.

 

Alright, now that I’ve had my little rant, lets move on to the flaws in the writing of this book:

 

1. I did not know until 200 pages into this crappy book that it actually was taking place in different places, Florida and Mississippi. That is not the mark of a good author. I thought they were in Florida and all of a sudden someone mentions Mississippi and I had no idea where that came from.

2. I have the ability to suspend my disbelief a great deal, but I couldn’t with this. There was two 25-foot megalodons, one 50 foot megalodon, and two 200-foot megalodons….but they only manage to eat about 10 people total. What the fuck is up with that? And why are these mega-predators eating scrawny bony little humans when there are whales and seals to be had? And if these sharks had so much food to eat in the depths, why come to the surface at all? Again, no logical sense made.

3. Switching between different character POVs literally every 4 paragraphs is not an effective way to tell a story. All it did was confuse me. It took me almost the whole book to figure out who all the characters were because I never spent more than a page with any of them. Boring, and annoying.

 

If I want a giant killer shark book that is at least funny in its stupidity I’ll go back to the MEG series, because this sucked.