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review 2016-01-25 14:36
Storme Doesn't Quit - A Teriffic Series!
Any Port in a Storm (Ayala Storme Book 2) - Emmie Mears
  “It's hard to tell who has your back, from who has it long enough just to stab you in it....”
― Nicole Richie

“Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.”
― Shannon L. Alder

There are monsters in Ayala Storme’s world. Real, live, honest-to-goddess monsters from the six and a half hells, crawling out into the night to eat your cats, your dogs. Your children. You. And it is Ayala’s, and the other Mediator’s, job to stop that from happening. Oh, they can’t actually stop the demons from crawling through holes in the veils between worlds, but up until recently they have done a pretty good job of keeping the balance between dark and light. But then? Well, let’s just say, everything went to the six and a half hells in a handbasket. For Ayala, Ben and Ripper watched the birthing of a new kind of demon. A demon who ripped into the world in true Ellen Ripley “Alien” fashion, out of the body of the young girl they were trying to track down and save.

But the thing is, you see, that the “demons” born in this fashion aren’t really demons at all, not all of them at least. For they remember. They remember the hopes and dreams of the women (and men) who bore them, and died to bring them into the world. Ayala and the Mediators slaughtered many of them. Then, something happened. One of them saved Ayala’s life. And now, her whole understanding of her life, and her place in the world, has changed.

Pain. Confusion. Guilt. It would send a lesser woman mad. But Ayala, for all it hurts, has the strength to get past that. To reach for something better. To stand up for what is right and good, and do what she can to protect those under her care. Even if they are a bit “different” from the norms.

“Any Port in a Storm” picks up a couple of months after “Storm in a Teacup” left off. And for all the issues in the Summit, the Mediator headquarters, that were brewing then, now things balance on a razor’s edge. Ayala has no idea who she can trust. And even those she has trusted the most from the time she was tiny, from the time when her first sword was thrust into her tiny fist at age three . . . can even they be trusted any longer? And then, outside of the political machinations, something Wicked definitely comes slouching into the world from the demon hells. For, instead of single demons minding their own business, staying away from groups of norms and picking off the outliers, they are grouping together. Snorbits and Rakaths, Slummoths and Harkast and Jeelings (Oh, My!) are working together. And when one looks at Ayala – looks at Ayala and smiles – well, let’s just say the hell-hole they are pouring out of, and the fact that Ayala was set-up to face a whole horde of them alone, dumps her right down a savage Alice’s twisted rabbit hole. And while there be monsters there . . . well, these monsters are human. And if she is going to save herself, the Shades under her protection, and possibly the whole of Tennessee from the same fate suffered by Mississippi, Alabama, and huge chunks of Louisiana and Arkansas, i.e., becoming uninhabitable hell swamps where no human survived, she is going to need friends. And she is going to need answers to the unanswerable. Fast.

SiaT is just as good as APiaS, and Ayala is just as strong and fragile, smart and caring, broken and focused as she was in the last book. She isn’t perfect, but she doesn’t pretend to be. Her goal is, and has always been, to protect those under her care. And when betrayal of the worst kind drapes her in unyielding misery, well, she just keeps right on swinging her sword, doing the right thing no matter the cost, trying to save the world. Or, at least her little part of it. She may be a prisoner, in a way, of her birthright. She may not like it. But she won’t turn her back on what is right. And for that? Well, for that I added Emmie Mears to my “gotta read, and read right now” list.

Downloading the next, “Taken By Storm” in a few. The one after, “Eye of the Storm” comes out this year (not sure when) but I will be downloading that one right away as well. I truly admire Ayala. She is strong without being a “Wonder Woman” character, mentally, physically and emotionally. She questions herself, but never allows her questioning to stop her from doing what she knows is right. A rare thing, and worth encouraging.

 

Source: soireadthisbooktoday.com
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text 2016-01-24 14:16
Well worth the sleepless night in my comfy chair
Storm in a Teacup (Ayala Storme Book 1) - Emmie Mears

“It used to be easy. Me Mediator. Here sword. Mediator stick sword in bad guy. Ugh.” – Ayala Storme, Storm in a Teacup (Ayala Storme Series, Book One)

 

Snork. Yeah. “Mediator.” What a sweet word for such a brutal excuse for a life. Ayala has been a ‘Mediator’ literally since birth, when she popped out of her mother’s womb and the nurses caught a look at her violet eyes. No more momma for Ayala. Instead, she gets swords and training, blood and death, from the time she is old enough to hold her first tiny little wooden sword and poke at all the other little violet-eyed babies snatched from their mothers at birth. Nothing like losing the genetic lottery. Especially in a world overrun with demon spawn from the six and a half hells.

 

Stuck in Nashville and the surrounding environs, effectively leashed by the violent seizures that debilitate her should she step outside her territory, there will never be beaches or mountains for Ayala. No trips to Venice, to Egypt, to New Orleans. Instead, her life is a cycle of her day job in advertising, home, out to slaughter, back home to wash away the demon goo – maybe a bit of television, then bed, only to start the cycle all over again in the morning. Well, until she finally slips up and gets dead. It’s going to happen one day, that’s a given. And, with the way things are going, that whole ‘slip up and get dead’ thing could come sooner than she expected.

 

You see, things are a’changin’ – from Cincinnati to Nashville and further south, demons aren’t just nightcrawlers anymore. Nope. The critters are coming out into the sunlight. And what is happening may be more than even the Summit, the coalition of Mediators from around the world, can handle. Instead, they may all get very dead, in very bloody, very nasty ways.

 

Or, is that truly the case? Because something here is truly, awesomely weird. And Ayala is right in the middle of it. Are her friends truly her friends? Or her enemies truly her enemies? The lines are changing, the world she knows turned into an acid trip of immense proportions. Only Ayala has the key to what is really going on. And if she doesn’t do something, and do it fast, well, the innocent are going to die while the evil? Well, the evil will get exactly what they want – and the Summit and its mediators could very well be guilty of willful genocide of the very innocents they are supposed to protect. But is Ayala smart enough, strong enough, to stop the horror before it occurs?

 

I feel a deep and abiding admiration for Ayala. She is far from perfect. And who can blame her? You come out of your mother’s womb into a world where you are indoctrinated into a worldview of “We are right and good and all else is evil that must be eradicated at all costs” (wow, that sounds really familiar, doesn’t it?) she suddenly had to decide for herself what truly constitutes good and evil – and what she is willing to sacrifice to take a stand. She is immensely likable overall, snarky and focused by turns, by turns gentle and vicious, a mature woman with deeply held personal beliefs of her own, no matter the voices screaming at her at every turn, trying to hold her to their own ideals, whether good or evil. There are the common elements here of good storytelling. Pride, avarice, and the evil and downright ‘stoo-pidity’ and sheer bullheadedness of humanity in all its ridiculous glory steps front and center, handled with a deft and believable hand. Overall, highly enjoyable.

 

The Kindle edition has Audible Narration available if you like. Amber Benson reads, and she is always marvelous, so if you like narration I can recommend it. And narration is only $1.99, a real steal for a good listen for a cold winter evening. I read instead, and as I got to Read for Free on Kindle Unlimited? Bonus! The next is “Any Port in a Storm” and yes, I did just return this one and downloaded the next. Woo hoo, baby. Try it, I dare ya. Only, be prepared to stay up through the night . . .

Source: soireadthisbooktoday.com
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text 2016-01-04 07:55
Descendants of the Rose (The Selby Jensen Paranormal Mysteries Book 1) - Juliette Harper

It truly is darkest right around 3AM. Even the stars seem to dim, fading into the quiet of the night. The universe itself seems to sleep. But sometimes? Sometimes, not often, but often enough to keep your eyes turned to the sky in the darkest hours, a bright light flashes. Far off, and very quickly fading, a star explodes, giving off one brilliant flash before falling into the darkness, never to return.

 

Sometimes, I have that feeling with books. Even though my choices at that particular moment in time seem no more than dim stars, one will blast out through even the worst cover, worst blurb, the unknown (often only unknown to me, but well known to others, but not always) author, and, for whatever reason, simply take me someplace special.

 

It was a bit of a fluke that I picked up Juliette Harper’s Descendants of the Rose (The Selby Jensen Paranormal Mysteries Book 1). I am in no way a “Historical” lover. Long skirts and proper manners, they just don’t turn me on as they do some readers. So, when I saw the cover of this book, well, to say I was “put off” is a bit of an understatement. Although the cover is gorgeous, it screams historical romance. Or at least historical ghost story. But, for some reason, I went ahead and downloaded it (Free on Kindle!) and opened it up. Maybe it was the fates, maybe just sheer dumb luck, but I opened up a little world of wonders.

 

This is by no means a historical. Instead, it is a modern day jewel, filled with fascinating characters and a rich paranormal mystery (just as the title promised – imagine that).

 

Hi. My name is Selby Jensen. Now, unless you’re buying the coffee, get the hell out of my way.

 

Selby Jensen in a nutshell – the queen of snark. Of course, she has good reason for her attitude. Her life hasn’t exactly been rainbows and lollipops. Far from it. Her father was murdered by a monster, drawing her into a world she never knew existed. Then her beloved husband, Dex, met the same fate. Now, Selby spends her time with the dead, 24/7. Her vampire business partner. Her ‘died in Selby’s arms after a horrific car crash’ best friend Helen. Only, Dex apparently didn’t stick around after he died. And Selby? Well, after five long years, Selby hasn’t recovered, and it looks like she never will. So, why not face off with werewolves in filthy alleys, searching for the one who slaughtered her husband? Life as a blood bag just isn’t all that special any longer. Even though life is, well, ‘Interesting’ in the Chinese, “May you live in interesting times.” sort of interesting.

 

Burn all the sage you can find, but sleep with one eye open. The bogey man is real. I’ve met him. He’s from Bakersfield, and he did not have a happy childhood.

 

Well, the very fact that he is stuck living in Bakersfield would make anyone grumpy, just IMO.

 

Then, school calls. Well, “The Good News Educational and Salvation Academy” calls. One of those, “Praise God and don’t spare the Rod” sort of places (Well, their new headmistress is a bit ‘different’, but that is a part of the charm of making you wait to read it yourself) where your “embarrassing” daughters are sent away to be out-of-sight, out-of-mind. You see, they have a bit of a demon problem . . .

 

Ugh. Talk about your understatements. Now, a human, a ghost, a vampire, a witch and a smoke demon have a bit more than a ‘bit of a kerfuffle’ on their hands. And how’s that for the New Scooby Doo Crew?

 

Of course, now I have to wait (Impatiently, I might add!) for the next, Lost in Room 636. I have to wonder, now that I have researched Ms. Harper’s bibliography, if the publisher was simply kowtowing to the fact that the team of Patricia Pauletti and Randa K. Williamson (writing as Juliette Harper) are apparently well-known for a series called The Lockwood Legacy, a “nine-book chronicle of the lives of three sisters who inherit a ranch in Central Texas following their father’s suicide.” Hum… well, it seems to be set in the 1960’s (?) not the 1800’s, so I guess I am off on the whole “lady in the long dress” cover style. Boo me.

 

Well, well. Lookie there – the first three are a free box set (Kindle Unlimited) so maybe I will have to check that story line out and see if I like their previous works, but I think I will read “Witch at Heart” first. The first in the “Jinx Hamilton Mysteries” it looks like it could be a really fun series. Looks like there are three of those in print, another three (at least) up to bat (wink wink, nudge nudge) so I will let you know what I think. WaH is free on Kindle Unlimited, so I just downloaded it. Will let you know what I think!

Source: soireadthisbooktoday.com
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review 2015-12-05 10:31
Almost Murakamiesque: Moon Palace
Mond über Manhattan - Paul Auster

Moon Palace was a really good book, so much that it reminded me a lot of Haruki Murakami’s novels. Not that there was any Magical Realism in it, although some of the occurrences seemed to happen so much by sheer coincidence, that they almost had a touch of magic to them.

But Moon Palace had something that has always fascinated me in Murakami’s books, which is that the language was so wonderful that, no matter what sad or weird things happened in the story, they were coated. Coated by the marvelous wording, so that at first they didn’t seem as dreadful or strange as they actually were. As if the language distracted the reader for a moment when something bad occurred, just to make them realize with a bit of a shock few moments later that indeed something had happened, so that their belated reaction to the events was even more intense than it normally would have been.

 

Still I have to deduct one star, because I could not really get into my reading flow with this book. I usually read a Murakami novel in one or two days; Moon Palace took me twenty days to finish. I am not sure if it was the book’s or my fault, so I guess I will have to read more of Auster’s work to find out. I have already bought Sunset Park, and if he continues to amaze me with his language, I think I might have found a new favorite author.

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review 2015-07-24 20:43
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
More Happy Than Not - Adam Silvera

The boy with no direction taught me something unforgettable: happiness comes again if you let it.

This book is freaking fantastic. It deserves all the stars and more. If you haven’t read this book then um, what are you waiting for?! Read this book now if you haven’t because EVERYONE should read this book.

 

Besides the creative premise of this plot being that Aaron (our main character) wants to go through a memory procedure to forget that he’s gay because he’s not ready to accept his sexuality, there are so many other things to read in this book.

 

Adam Silvera creates all kinds of realistic characters. I may have never met someone as amazing and life-changing as Aaron, but I do have the unfortunate fate of meeting some Brendan’s and others. But I’ve also met some amazing Genevieve's and Thomas’s; you decide: is that more happy or not?

 

This book isn’t a cute-sy tale to read for fun, this book has it’s dark moments. It deals with suicide, accepting one’s sexuality, and abuse (either self or inflicted on). Aaron goes through some pretty dark moments, where I had to put this book down and calm my breathing because it was seriously a lot.

She pulls away—and then I see why: she’s holding out her palm as a landing place for a firefly. It’s easy to forget it’s there when it’s not glowing, until all of a sudden it comes back and surprises you; it reminds me of grief.

There were points in this book where I was laughing with Aaron, sometimes almost wanting to cry for him, and wanting to yell things to him that he should also realize. This book was an emotional rollercoaster ride and I’m glad it went beyond my expectations.

I’ve become this happiness scavenger who picks away at the ugliness of the world, because if there’s happiness tucked away in my tragedies, I’ll find it no matter what. If the blind can find joy in music, and the deaf can discover it with colors, I will do my best to always find the sun in the darkness because my life isn’t one sad ending—it’s a series of endless happy beginnings.

I really can’t say if this book is heart-breaking or funny and sad, but there’s a little bit of everything. I can say that this book will stay with you long after you’re finished reading this. At least, it’s still with me after all this time.

 

Overall, More Happy Than Not is recommended to EVERYONE by me! It’s an emotional rollercoaster and will leave you MORE than satisfied! I’m still not over this book, to be honest, and I’m glad that I gave this one a go.

 

Thanks for reading my review everyone, and hope you have a great day! :D

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