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review 2014-03-20 11:50
New Release Review: The Line by J.D. Horn
The Line - J.D. Horn

Witchcraft, hoodoo, and even Jewish lore combine to create an enthralling narrative. The Line kept me on the edge of my seat with its unexpected twists and turns.

 

Savannah's paranormal side is brought to light in The Line. The Line is the first book in J.D. Horn's Witching Savannah series. The book focuses on the Taylor family witches, notably fraternal twin sisters Maisie and Mercy. Maisie is the golden child, the stunningly beautiful sister gifted with all the magical powers. Maisie was groomed to become her Aunt Ginny's replacement as anchor of the line and head of the family. In contrast, Mercy had little or no magic and was shunned by her aunt. Mercy sees herself as plain looking and passes her time working as a walking tour guide in Savannah.

 

Mercy comes under the radar of her aunt when she visits Jilo the root doctor for a love potion. There's some family history between the Taylors and Mother Jilo and any deal with Jilo may not turn out as expected. Mercy is hopelessly attracted to her sister's boyfriend even though her own boyfriend is smitten by her. Upon arriving at her Aunt Ginny's home, Mercy discovers that Ginny has been murdered which sets off a series of events that change Mercy's life.

 

I loved the atmosphere of this book. We're in Savannah, Georgia and it's hot, humid, and sweaty (in contrast to the freezing temperatures outside while I was reading this book). It's a perfect locale for witches and hoodoo. Then, as an added plus, there's some interesting ghosts and even a golem.

 

J.D. Horn is a natural storyteller. I was absolutely glued to this book. The Line is a solid debut and a fantastic start to a new urban fantasy series. I can't wait to see what comes next!

 

Christal and I discuss this book on Badass Book Reviews as part of the Jumble Your Genres challenge. Check it out!

Source: badassbookreviews.com/jumble-your-genres-reading-challenge-urban-fantasy-the-line-by-j-d-horn
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review 2014-03-19 12:01
Early Review: Sunrise by Mike Mullin
Sunrise - Mike Mullin

It’s been about 11 months since the eruption of the Yellowstone super volcano. Entire swaths of the United States lie in ruin. The devastation is inconceivable. It’s cold outside; there’s very little sunshine. The US government seems to have collapsed. The Midwest is in complete chaos. The roads are impassible and towns wage war on each other for very limited resources.

 

I’d have to say that reading this book brought about a whole mess of emotions in me. This is such a depressing world – full of anarchy, guns, violence, crazy people with guns, and the like. It literally seems to be a hopeless world. Instead of working together, the majority choose to battle it out. The brutality is alarming. I really had trouble reading this aspect of this world and I did have a moment where I would have flung the physical book across the room had it not been my precious e-reader. You see, I hate gratuitous violence. I’m a pacifist at heart and I believe that I would probably not survive this post-apocalyptic world.

 

After a short break, I dove back into this book. After all, I had invested a lot of time reading this series and I absolutely HAD to know what would happen next. This series will make you think. It will make you think about your own disaster preparedness plans and what items would be must haves and what items you could do without. It will make you think about hope, cooperation, rebuilding a society, and leadership. Despite all of the darkness and gray surroundings, there was a glimmer of hope. That’s what I hung on to, and that’s what kept me reading.

 

This hope was to be found in the youth of this series. Young characters like Alex and Darla, who were barely grown up as the book began but were forced to grow up quickly and improvise. Alex and Darla took on leadership roles despite their youth. They saw the need to rebuild an entire society – and this is the theme that stuck with me: the rebuilding and rebirth. &nbsp I was a little surprised by Alex. At the beginning of Ashfall, he was just a petulant teenager. In this book, adults defer to him for leadership. Surprisingly enough, Alex rises to the task. The amount of responsibility placed on Alex is daunting. Again – why would the adults abdicate their responsibilities to a teenager barely old enough to drive a car? (not that there are any around, but you get the picture).

 

I think that what makes this society work is the incredible teamwork. Alex is surrounded by some very capable people, most of whom are barely older than he is. Ben, who is autistic, made an excellent military tactician which enabled the settlement to be placed in a highly defensible position. Darla, the MacGyver of all things mechanical was able to get some turbines going to power up the settlement. Now that was an amazing accomplishment. Another member of the team assigned work tasks to the newcomers, and so on. Such teamwork enabled this settlement to function very well. &nbsp Of course, this world is far from perfect and our main characters encounter many obstacles. Probably the most annoying was Alex’s mother and how she treated Darla. Outside the settlement, others conspire to steal food and the limited technology on hand.

 

Sunrise was a satisfying conclusion to the Ashfall series. Even though it wasn’t my favorite book in the series, I’d recommend the series to readers in middle school and up.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Tanglewood Books for a review copy of this book. 

 

Review and blog tour giveaway posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!

Source: badassbookreviews.com/blog-tour-giveaway-and-early-review-sunrise-by-mike-mullin
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review 2014-03-13 21:26
New Release Review: Donners of the Dead by Karina Halle
Donners of the Dead - Karina Halle

Apparently history class in Canada is lacking. I had never heard about the Donner Party so I went into this book with an open mind. It's probably a good thing. Donners of the Dead is one spooky book.

 

 

Donners of the Dead is loosely based upon the events of the Donner Party who in the mid-19th century ventured through the Sierra Nevada mountains and were never seen again. Rumors about cannibalism persisted. This is a very different book for Ms. Halle, a historical romance western horror story. It starts off a little like the Experiment in Terror series with a creepy dream sequence that sets up the story for the reader.

 

This is a short novel and a fairly quick read. I did like the main character Eve Smith, half-breed Native Indian. Eve lives with her Uncle's family along with her mute mother. It's hard to believe the amount of racism Eve endures, even from her own family. Eve is an accomplished tracker and when some strangers arrive waving large amounts of cash, Eve's uncle allows her to accompany the strangers into the mountains. Eve, along with chaperone Donna and Avery the farmhand join the men for a long and arduous trek into the mountains. It's a difficult trip, made worse by the change in weather and elevation. The men are incredibly racist, threatening Eve. One of the men takes an interest in Eve. At first, he is repulsed by her Indian heritage, however he grows very attached and protective of her as the story progresses. He begins to call her "Pine Nut" which I suppose was a bit of an endearment, though it was a little annoying after a while.

 

Jake and Eve hit it off and their attraction is intense. I guess being chased around the wilderness by scary hungry sharp toothed blue eyed zombie creatures will do that. Nothing like sex on the run.

 

Speaking of monsters, there really were two kinds in this book. First, the members of the search party were some very shady characters. Then, the monsters on the mountain - think land shark zombies. Truly scary. Fans of Karina Halle should enjoy this short novel.

 

Favorite Quote:

"I'm not a savage"

He smiled handsomely and with a shake of his head said, "No, you aren't. And you're not a lady either. I reckon you just might be perfect."

Thanks to Xpresso Tours for a review copy of this book.

 

Check out Badass Book Review's interview with author Karina Halle.

Source: badassbookreviews.com/karina-halle-interview-donners-of-the-dead-feature-and-giveaway
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review 2014-03-10 12:05
Early Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen
Stolen Songbird - Danielle L. Jensen

Never in my reading experience have I come across a sexy troll. Never. Ever. Until now.

 

Debut author Danielle Jensen managed to convince me that trolls could be attractive, even sexy. Especially a certain troll named Tristan.

 

Stolen Songbird was a captivating read. Once I got into the book, I really could not put it down. I think that I enjoyed it because it was told from the main characters’ points of view: Cecile de Troyes and Prince Tristan. Most of the first part of the story is told from Cecile’s point of view as she is kidnapped and sold for her weight in gold to the trolls. We learn a lot about her character. Cecile is a talented soprano, destined to join her mother in the big city to sing for large audiences. She’s smart, compassionate, and caring. What I like most about Cecile is her ability to take a horrible situation and see the good. She takes advantage of her captivity in Trollus to learn more about the world and the people around her. In doing so, she forms some very useful friendships.

 

It’s certainly not easy being a prince or a troll, let alone the Prince of the Trolls. Prince Tristan certainly has his work cut out for him. Expected to marry and bond to Cecile to fulfill a prophecy, Tristan is not happy with the situation. It’s not because he is not attracted to Cecile, he most certainly is, and he just doesn’t think that she belongs in his world. Prince Tristan comes off as being aloof and uncaring, when in fact he does care for Cecile a great deal. As a leader, Tristan is quite capable although others in his world vie for leadership roles. Tristan also possesses a very strong magic: it is his magic that keeps his world intact.

 

Tristan and Cecile develop a genuine affection for each other. When Cecile realizes that Tristan is not a threat, she begins to discover the world around her and sees the conditions of the people inhabiting Trollus. Trollus is a pretty brutal society. Trolls cannot leave the world at all. Humans can come and go at their own risk as the tunnels leading to Trollus are full of deadly creatures called Sluags. Trollus is full of full blooded trolls, half trolls, and humans. Full blooded trolls have the most magical power. Those without magic are given menial labor and are eventually fed to the sluags.

 

Stolen Songbird is an awesome debut for Danielle Jensen. I enjoyed her take on trolls, so very different from the childhood fairy tales I was used to. I’m eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.

 

Thank you to Strange Chemistry for a review copy of this book.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!

Source: badassbookreviews.com/early-review-stolen-songbird-by-danielle-jensen
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review 2014-03-06 14:22
New Release Review: Some Like it Wild by M. Leighton
Some Like It Wild - M. Leighton

Take one shy preacher’s daughter who just wants to marry and settle down. Add one hunky bad boy fireman. Watch the sparks fly…

 

New Adult romances are touch and go for me. On one hand, it’s kind of fun to relive that first love, the novelty of all those wonderful firsts. On the other hand, the New Adult genre is full of angst which causes that “been there, done that, got the t-shirt” reaction for me.

 

I did enjoy Some Like it Wild. It was a light, fun, and quick read.

 

I liked the two main characters. Laney led such a sheltered life and I loved watching her grow and mature. Laney’s back in town after breaking off her engagement to longtime boyfriend Shane after she caught him cheating with her best friend. Jake is back in town after the death of his father. All his life, Jake has been treated as the bad boy, though we’re not really told why. Jake believes he is unlovable and therefore avoids any kind of relationship. The two meet when Laney is sent to evaluate the market value of Jake’s father’s estate. The two are attracted to each other.

 

It must be hard to be the preacher’s daughter. So many expectations. Breaking off an engagement is unheard of in Laney’s family and they begin to meddle in her affairs. It doesn’t help that they absolutely love Shane and despise Jake and are unaware of the circumstances of Laney’s breakup. To make matters worse, Shane is a master manipulator. Jake shows Laney a whole new life. He shows her how to be adventurous, how to take chances, and to try new things. They share some wonderful moments together and fall in love. At the same time Laney grows and matures and is able to stand up to her overbearing father.

 

Some Like it Wild was an enjoyable read for me. My review copy also contained Wild Child, which takes place between the first and second book and is the story of Jake’s sister Jenna and her romantic interest Rusty. Note that while Some Like it Wild is the second book in the series it can be read as a stand-alone book. You will want to go back and read the other books in the series.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Berkley for a review copy of this book.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!

Source: badassbookreviews.com/blog-tour-and-new-release-review-some-like-it-wild-by-m-leighton
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