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Fortune's Pawn
Rachel Bach
The Emperor's Blades
Brian Staveley
Love Letters to the Dead
Ava Dellaira
The Waking Engine
David Edison
Pantomime
Laura Lam
The Heavens Rise
Christopher Rice
The Troop
Nick Cutter
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, # 1)
J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré
The Reapers Are the Angels
Alden Bell
Red Rising
Pierce Brown

The Almost Girl

The Almost Girl - Amalie Howard As with a lot of YA books lately this one fell flat for me even though cover and description sounded promising.


The book starts with River “escaping” her world on a secret mission by the Prince to find his long lost hidden away brother. The first pages had me right into the story, with a kick ass heroine; wow … I was really rubbing my hands in anticipation of the coming story.



The first thing that didn’t work for me was the High School setting. The High School drama, the teen angst, the slut shaming. Oi
Let me introduce to you Sadie, Caden’s girlfriend, cheerleader and professional B!TCH


… just in time to see a willowy blonde swing her arms around Caden from the back. Her demeanor is not friendly, nor is the acid warning look she launches in my direction … her designer white pants like a second skin and a pink shirt unbuttoned enough to show a lacy pink bra, leaving little to the imagination … her tone dripping venom … she’s pure venomous angst

”… and your girlfriend is a bitch”
A lough. “No, she is, but Sadie’s harmless.”


I don’t get it. Is this pissing contest really necessary?

Even though I understand that Riven was tutored to be a Legion soldier from the time she was born, she now is seventeen and a General (no less) and works for the Prince (!) of her world. Unbelievable much? Seemingly, there isn’t anyone more perfect, a better fighter, strategist or more intelligent than her. So why then is she continuously making stupid mistakes? Instead of finding her target by looking for him, she sleeps during class, doesn’t even recognize him, although they have classes together and it even goes so far that she faints from an “anaphylactic shock” (or something like it), and subsequently falls from her bike to be rescued by said wanted Prince. How convenient to wake up in his bed taking care of you, like a Prince in shining armor coming to your rescue. Caden on the other hand had no backbone at all. He calls his girlfriend a bitch, he instantly falls in love with Riven and he is just so unbelievable indulgent. Gah.

This was simply a boring read. One of the few things I really enjoyed was the fighting scenes and the action back on Neospes. But even this could not take away my disappointment with the rest. The plot twists were just plain predictable you could see it coming from a mile long. The romance was a bit too insta-gooey-love. No surprises there. A lot of the story is simply cliché: like the fact that a prince has to wear a cape. Please show me one Prince that still wears a cape! Just look at Prince Harry:


Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book.

Chaos Bound

Chaos Bound - Rebekah Turner I have to say this was a really cool dark paranormal / urban fantasy novel, well written, with an interesting intricate world, numerous interesting characters and a captivating story in the style of Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series.

Our MC Lora Blackgoat is a mercenary in a world full of magic and supernatural beings. I haven’t read the prequel in this series, so I was at times quite overwhelmed by the entire paranormal personage but in the course of the story a lot of mysteries cleared up, were explained or simply didn’t matter too much. There are a lot of characters and sub characters, supernatural species, official and secret orders, and they make up a bizarre and intriguing world, which is full of possibilities.

I liked Lora a lot; she has a deep, well rounded personality, and is snarky enough to make it entertaining. Lora is an eccentric heroine with flaws. She's not the friendliest character but she is smart, loyal and brave. She might wobble on her path but she won't fall down.

This series is definitely worth a read.

With thanks to netgalley for providing me with a copy.

Wrecked

Wrecked - Priscilla West This was kind of a disappointment. When I read the description for ‘Wrecked’ I was excited to read it. I am not averse to the new adult genre as a whole or steamy college sex with a Mary Sue kind of girl and tattooed bad boy. I am a sucker for books featuring tall, muscled and tattooed guys practicing martial arts or sports like ice hockey, football etc (an equivalent for the tall, heavily muscled Viking / Indian / Earl or even the occasional Gypsy). I’ve read a few other new adult novels and sometimes it's fun. They are my guilty pleasures, just like the bodice-rippers from the 90es.

I was sure I would like this one, too. What a letdown. This book reminded me so much of Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, it felt partly as reading bad fan fiction.

So the college. There is not much to tell about that college, apparently it is super small, but it has a few coffee bars and of course a Starbucks. By the way, does Starbucks pay new adult authors for the in-book-advertisement? Almost every NA romance has a Starbucks in it. And I hate the Cappuccino from Starbucks. It has absolutely no flavor. Exactly like this book. Back to the college! I would have appreciated if we got a bit more college life experience into the book: funny / quirky teachers and students, frat life experience, hilarious stories about dorms, even the city you are living in, the problems with money and your next job. All this would have been nice, would have provided background noise to this bare stripped story. Come on there is this new girl in college who supposedly likes art and she doesn’t even go to a vernissage or visits a nearby art collection? My friends and I were all over the place going to the newest, most scandalous theater production during my time at the university studying dramaturgy and theater in Munich. And let me tell you that those sounds coming from my friend’s mouth when I took him to a modern dance production without his consent would have been frightening if they weren’t so hilarious.

I tried to overlook this missing background to the story (and character) hoping it would get better in time. No such luck because Lorrie is easily one of the most annoying female lead characters right along with Abby from Beautiful Disaster, Brooke from Real and Julia from Gabriel’s Inferno. They are all equally stupid. Lorrie was such a drama queen, like when she fell asleep on Hunter’s couch during a video night. Now you listen to me girl: I fell asleep on the shoulder of someone sitting next to me during a conference. It was the 3rd day of this mega conference, I was sleep deprived due to way too many parties and it was 10 o’clock in the morning. And the guy next to me was big and fat and his shoulder looked simply comfy. When he woke me up after the talk, I was terribly sorry to have drooled on his suit, and he was very happy to get a coffee for free.

Where is the drama in sleeping on someone’s couch? This whole friendship between Lorrie and Hunter is weird. Friendship is about trust, but Lorrie doesn’t even trust him with her last name. Even though half of the campus knows about her tragic past, she believes that not telling him her last name will prevent him finding out. LOL, stupid much, girl? This girl is neither funny, nor very bright and, to be honest, she isn’t the most likable person. I just couldn’t relate to her at all and that really ruined it for me.

*I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Remy (Real, Raw & Ripped, #3)

Remy (Real, Raw & Ripped, #3) - Katy Evans Wow, for you Katy Evans especially I added the shelf „gross“.
This book should be called “FUCK” because really the only thing Remy thinks about is FUCK. 24% into the story we have already reached 100 x FUCK. This should reach at least 350-400 mentions of the four-letter word by the end.



Don’t get me wrong, I kind of liked Real. But this is just the same book all over told from Remy’s perspective. That means minus the pseudo-medical plus more of the horny gore type. The whole smelling, petting and licking … Eeewwww ! I mean come on, we are human beings not copulating animals.

And at least a lion can lick his own balls.

Path Unchosen (Daughter of Ravenswood) (Volume 1)

Path Unchosen - Kim Cleary This book has one of the most amazing covers I ever came across. After reading the description I was almost drooling. Zombies, mysteries, necromancer … Give me this book NOW! I was ready with a cup of hot chocolate, I was in the right mood, I was prepared to be swept away by AWESOME.



I was not prepared for a major disappointment. Don’t judge a book by its cover is all I can say. I am almost mad this mouthwatering cover is bound around this crap content. I want to take the cover and write the story myself. This is so sad.


This book is frustrating on so many levels, because I was left questioning absolutely everything. It begins right from the start. Judy apparently revives a rabbit; a page later there’s an assembly at the abbey where they talk about zombies and steam trains and a few pages later her guardian tells her she is a witch. Aha! Wait no, are we talking about witchcraft or about zombies. Is she now a witch or a necromancer? Why does Judy need to leave the orphanage / abbey? Why is there no electricity, even though at one time there was? Is this a dystopia, a simple paranormal fantasy or a zombie novel? Or even steampunk, as it mentions steam trains? There are a lot of mysteries apparently: The mystery of her birth, the mystery of her magical abilities, and the mystery of the world. It’s a lot to take in in just 30 pages. Don’t get me wrong I dislike info dumping but a little bit more background information would have been helpful. Instead we get confused further, when Judy encounters and commands ghosts on a cemetery. The constant shift between a ghost story on a cemetery, a medieval abbey, a mystical Stonehenge scenario, the almost fey Ravensvood house with dusty libraries full of cobwebs, the modern Winterhurst with overgrown electricity towers, old bungalows, modern flats, ugly brick buildings, glass and steel fronted buildings and solar panels for electricity, makes me cringe inside. I like all of those settings, but not all of them together. It’s too much of a mishmash.

Every chapter in this book shouts loud and clear: This girl must be special because of all the mysteries surrounding her! Her specialness goes so far as to want to make me believe that she can read several books in a few ours, memorizing it, too. Judy is no plain vanilla witch, with her power one day she will control the undead as well as command spirits to rise (and shine *snicker*)
”Every word, every paragraph, every book fed something deep inside me, like I was finally growing aware of my own soul.”
Was that my purpose? Could I shine a light into the blackness, or would it devour me?


But it lacks proof. Because let’s face it. This girl is like a petal in the wind who can’t decide in which direction she wants to be swept away. Making matters worse, is that nobody ever answers questions straight.
”Where am I?” I cried out.
“You are where you need to be, my love.” Says the foreign man with the “lavender eyes” with “hair swinging in soft waves to the middle of his back” and his body moving like a “sleek cat”


More than anything it shows in her every move / thought how immature she is, complete with stomping feet, incessantly sniffing and weeping, her easily impressionable character, her petulant childlike behavior (“I want to have this, stomping my feet) and instantly falling in love with a man just because of his beautiful eyes and the way he looks at her:
His long eyelashes curved upwards and almost met his neat eyebrows, both of which he raised. He spoke with a beautiful voice, sweet and musical. I guessed him to be in his thirties, but his eyes and voice held a wisdom ages old. I’d called him? As handsome a devil as I’d ever seen and focused on me as if I mattered.

The story is told from Judy’s perspective, which wouldn’t have been bad in general if not every sentence started with an “I”: Example on p.49 8 sentences start out in the first person: I didn’t know, I ambled around, I stepped over, I peeked inside, I hadn’t thought, I glanced into, I looked out, I pulled. And p. 49 isn’t a single exception to the rule, no-hoooo, almost every page is the same lame. This anaphora serves no reason at all it just is unaesthetic and makes the reading awkward. Some editing would have done the book a big favor.

2 Stars because the cover really is beautiful, but writing, world building, characterization and the romance fell flat for me.

Thanks to netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book.

Jaran: Jaran Series, Book 1 (The Novels of the Jaran)

Jaran - Kate Elliott So I give up on this book. I’m simply not in the mood for this and honestly I couldn’t care less about the plot, its characters or the intrigue.

This really isn’t a bad novel in itself. I appreciated especially that the author took her time to show us a different world with a different culture. Our heroine is stranded on the planet Rhui without the means to communicate to her brother, the Duke in charge of the planets in this territory. Tess attempts to get to the bottom of a supposed conspiracy against her brother by the Chapalii, an alien race that rules all territories. All science fiction in this books stems from this background but isn’t an integral part to the story, as Rhui is a planet populated by nomadic people quite similar to Arabs 2000 years or more ago on Earth. I don’t mean this in the least pejorative. According to Wikipedia in Biblical etymology, "Arab" (in Hebrew Arvi {{he:ערבי}}) comes from the desert origin of the people (Arava means wilderness). It is quite interesting how intricate and realistic the Jaran society and customs are depicted throughout the plot. Kate Elliott really did a good job creating this nomadic world. And for a while there I was really immersed into the story.

But Jaran is not really a science fiction novel and I sorely missed this element. I mean if something is taking place in the future, and space travel, alien races and intergalactic politics and intrigues are mentioned you want to see them played out. But for the main part this story takes place in an environment equal to 500 BC in the Middle East on Earth. Why look so far afield when there is so much close at hand?

Another complaint from my part: this story moves damn slowly. I mean Tess is learning the language of the tribe of this planet and learning to ride and trying to understand the very different culture and them she learns songs and native legends and myths. That's all well and good, but 35% into the story the romance didn't even start, not even romantic interest is really shown. Instead she is having casual sex with someone else.



In addition, the charismatic Jaran ruler, Ilya, is not that charismatic to me. He doesn’t talk much, he has a beard and imho he is something of a fanatic, who tries to lead a holy war. I couldn’t get this picture out of my head, and even the fluid grace of his walk, couldn’t make up for the facial hair and his brooding character.



The missing romance is a minor part compared to the overall missing emotions. I don’t care about the characters. I don’t care about the supposed conspiracy and Kate Elliott didn’t make me care. Conversations are ruled by customary phrasings and conduct: men talk to women this way, women to women talk this way. If a man touches you on your arm it means this, if he touches you on your shoulder it means something completely different. It’s all a bunch of traditions and norms, semantic nuances and honestly: Who the fuck cares? And to top it off there is this moment where they ride through the landscape and Ilya and Tess suddenly start talking about Newton and Aristotle and Plato.



My conclusion: this book is simply not for me, but I really understand what people like about it. It’s just not the right time for me to read it.

Where My Heart Breaks

Where My Heart Breaks - Ivy Sinclair Every once in a while I like to give an indie author a chance and a read a book that is not well known or hyped. It’s not out of the goodness of my heart, because really I am not that good. But sometimes, if you’re lucky you find a diamond in a sea full of stones. And in light of it, this really is a good read, even partially outstanding. What really got me hooked into the story was that book in a book leitmotif. The book within the book interacts within the literary environment. It gives the novel an ever-present, lingering impression of a big tragic love. The book in a book motif is not unique, but here it is really well done and it kept me interested in the novel long after I admitted to myself that I absolute dislike the main character Kate. I have a lot of conflicting feelings about this book. Part of me really liked it, but elements of the book made me really dislike it, too.

So apart from a very good setting and the great book in a book motif I had some issues with the characterization. We are being told that Kate behaved REALLY badly in her last year. But what exactly is not clear. Just because she might have partied to hard and has made some bad decisions along the way by going to bed with the wrong guy doesn’t warrant being treated like a child, sent to a shrink and having to submit to her aunt and her mother like a slave to its master as an act of atonement. Which 21 year old college girl hasn’t been once too drunk, or made a bad decision along the way? This whole “I don’t know who I am” thing didn’t convince me. But it annoyed me A LOT. Kate is just simply weak and she hasn’t the guts to stand up to her aunt or her mother or anybody else, not for herself and not for others either. Her holier-than-you best friend Millie was so clean like a freshly wiped and powdered baby bum.

Reed is being introduced as the bad boy and notorious player. But again we are being told and not shown. Instead of acting like a bad boy, we find out he cares for his mother, has a master degree in English literature and doesn’t do dates because of tragic event 10 years ago. Well, that makes him pretty decent boyfriend material in my book. Just because an author paints a tattoo on a guy and gives him dark hair doesn’t make him a bad boy. You want to know how to write a bad boy? This book is a very good example:

[b:Wasted Heart|17450943|Wasted Heart (Ruining, #3)|Nicole Reed|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1381161496s/17450943.jpg|24337260]
[bc:Wasted Heart|17450943|Wasted Heart (Ruining, #3)|Nicole Reed|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1381161496s/17450943.jpg|24337260]

In spite of Kate’s annoying character and Reed’s not so believable bad boy status, the chemistry between those two and the space in which their relationship develops started out really well. I mean I didn’t wet my panties, or some such, but the love relationship is described pretty decent. The premises were really awesome, the romantic suspense was ok, but Kate as MC was a small disaster. Still this is a good and pleasant read.

World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)

I don't know how better to express my love for this apocalyptic / angels and demons infested / bizarre world and Penryn and Raffe.



Next book please!

The Naturals

The Naturals - Jennifer Lynn Barnes I think I reached the point of no return with the Young Adult Genre.

This is what I think about the story



This is what I want to do to the love triangle



And this is what everybody interested in reading the story should do

These Broken Stars

These Broken Stars - Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner I really like dystopia and science fiction novels. Put in a decent love story and a mystery the main characters have to solve and it should be a real winner. Despite the freaking cover that I most certainly did not like and it being marketed as "If you like The Selection”, I was persuaded by the 4 and 5 star reviews to give it a try.

On my path to finally enjoy this piece of space opera there were obstacles to overcome: Apparently there are hundreds of people who got approved for an ARC. I was not one of them. Disney Hyperion and I have not a very good relationship. They denied me almost every time I tried to apply for an ARC on Netgalley. I have to tell you it makes me not like them either. So instead I got an ARC copy of “These broken stars” via a friend of mine. This is still an honest review despite my misgievings for the publisher.

In anticipation of a good story I made myself a hot chocolate with marshmallows, enveloped in very comfy blanket and started reading. Unfortunately my hopes for a good novel to read on a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon were dashed pretty fast. Pretty rich girl (the richest in the whole galaxy of course) meets decorated soldier, a war hero no less. Because her father doesn’t like her to date, he kills all boys who even look at her twice let alone have the audacity to talk to her and ask her on a date. So the pretty rich girl is being very unfriendly to our poor Major which leads to a long lasting animosity between our two protagonists. On their extended trip on an abandoned planet they overcome their misunderstandings and develop real deep feelings for each other. Nice enough love setup but it was the mystery behind the planet that kept me reading, not the epic love the author intended to create here.

Maybe it would have been better to make this a New Adult novel and let the characters be older. Come on you want me to believe in epic love at 16, or that there are war heroes at the age of 18? The characters don’t even behave like teens. They are much more grown-up. Another point that didn’t work for me much is this regency crap dress she’s wearing throughout the story. Why does it always have to be wide flaring ball gowns? There’s a reason why this fashion is outdated today. Please don’t try to make me believe we would actually return to old fashion standards in the future. In the middle ages people thought that washing was unhealthy. In the 17th century men and women wore wigs and bonnets. If as an author you take the time to create such a splendid science fiction world with hyperspace travel and terraforming at least you could take 5 minutes to think of a futuristic fashion style that is convincing. One of my favorites for example is shown in the movie The 5th Element.

The setup reminded me simply too much of the Titanic. But whereas Kate Winslett and Leonardo diCaprio had me convinced Lilac and Tarver made me yawn. Another small point that might have benefitted the story: secondary characters. There are for the most part none because from 50.000 passengers onboard the ship only those two survive. (Of course only Lilac the rich spoiled 16 year old girl was able to shortcircuit the "life raft")10% into the story the ship breaks down and our teen rich girl and war hero are alone until almost to the end. Another reviewer here wrote that Tarver and Lilac had less chemistry than Tom Hanks and Wilson the volleyball. And she’s right. When almost 90% of the story is made up by the interaction of only two characters they better be real good.

The opening chapters are so interesting and intense, full of action, but with their landing on the planet the momentum is lost and I never got caught back up with the novel after that.



Pawn by Aimee Carter

[(Pawn)] [Author: Aimee Carter] published on (November, 2013) - Aimee Carter

I really liked the first half of the book, unfortunately the second half took a turn in the wrong direction for me. So I started to skip over the next chapters and by the time I reached the ending I was seriously not a fan of this book any longer.

One of the things I so appreciated at the start was the description of the totalitarian / dictatorial political system with exams that define your future life once and for all, prosecution of political suspects, forced abortion after the first child and the hunt as favorite leisure activity for the idle rich, or the fact that a lot of the politicians are only string puppets, pieces in a chess game to be manipulated and, coersed or discarded as the player sees fit. What was missing was how this came to be. There was no reasonable explanation given how a very democratic country with billions of people like the USA would tolerate a dictatorship for the last 71 years with the leadership passed down the family line. What the story also lacks is a believable account of international political and social developments. As an European I often experienced that Americans seldom or only marginaly think about other countries in the world. But if the USA had someone like Hitler or Stalin or Saddam Hussein rising to leadership, don't you think the world would take notice?

So apart from a dystopian world that was convicing after a fashion, the plot was rather nicely done with a lot of action. But then the characters. I am not so sure about this point. I was disappointed that the love interest was already in place and apart from a few 17-year olds swearing "I can't live without you, I love you so much" and a bit of kissing, nothing really happens in this department. I was rather disappointed in the romance would be an understatement. I was not convinced on the whole "Love you foerver" thing.

Landry Park (Landry Park, #1)

Landry Park (Landry Park, #1) - Bethany Hagen The blurb was promising but then all this regency era (walzing around in ball gawns with corsets) and all characters just so unlikable ... DNF

Alienated

Alienated - Melissa Landers I feel very ambivalent about this book. I liked some aspects (characterization, interesting world building, and fast narration) a lot and others I found simply boring or cliché: The mind speaking, the legends that L’eihrs are responsible for human mutation / evolution 10000 years ago, the high school drama. Nonetheless, I was surprised to see how fast I reached the end of the book. The story is interesting enough, but the paranormal romance was nothing different from any other young adult romance.

I would have wished that the aliens were less human, less Vulcan (Mr. Spock) and more I don’t know Klingon (Worf/warrior)-like. Aelick’s change of heart & behavior was a bit hasty. I found the Cara’s blogging somehow unnecessary and not well integrated into the overall storyline. Why create the illusion of something global / international when all the action is reduced to a small town high school somewhere in the middle if nowwhere. I wished there would have been more shown interaction with the other two exchange alien ambassadors and their respective new families or how Cara’s brother fared on L’eihr.I have to admit the book was too much focused on Caras an Aelicks love interest and the high school drama evolving with the animosity of the lacrosse team towards Aelick and the new romantic relationship between Cara’s best friend and her ex-boyfriend.

Anyway, in the end the book was entertaining enough and had some sweet moments.

Rebel

Rebel - Elle Casey Actually this book was a fun read. I enjoyed it very much

Gabriel's Inferno

Gabriel's Inferno - Sylvain Reynard this is so not my book

Cracked

Cracked  - Eliza Crewe The dialogue and 1st person narration are absolutely terrific. I seldom encountered a MC wittier, snarkier or more shrewish than Meda.

“When Mom told me I was special and unique, I thought she literally meant I was special and unique. … Turns out I’m only ‘mom-special’. Special like a snowflake is special. Special like a school kid on honor roll.”

You not often encounter a convincing antihero in the young adult department. Meda has in the beginning almost no redeeming qualities. She kills people because she needs their souls to survive, but she isn’t one to cry about the unfairness of it all like Louis de Pointe du Lac in Interview with a Vampire. Even if it was Brad Pitt. This vamp was insufferably whiny.



Meda actually revels in the killing, stages some of her slayings even like a dramatic play, and she absolutely enjoys the powerplay.



As unapologetic as her opinion is about humans (fodder), Meda is not completely without conscience. She knows moral and honor as is apparent when she talks about her human mother. But those terms are at first only almost blank concepts for her. Canvases to be filled with color and meaning in the course of the story. She lies, cheats, steals, and is really a bad girl with a hilarious POV. The part I loved most about Meda was her attitude. She’s witty and intelligent and comments in her unique snarky and sarcastic way on everything that happens and what is being said.

This boy might have the answers; I just have to take them from him. My eyes fill with tears. “Wha-“ I swallow hard “- what were those things?”
“Demons.” Thanks, Einstein. I got that part. “Turns out spiritual warfare is a lot less theoretical than you probably think.”
He hurries to reassure me. “Don’t cry – I’ll protect you.”
Humiliating. Absolutely humiliating.


This book was terrific! I loved so much about it: from the characters to the dialogue and the history of both groups. Thankfully there was no love triangle, regrettably there was almost no romance either, at least for Meda. I can understand that she might be a bit too young, and also it wouldn't have fit the overall story. Meda has to come to terms with herself first. But everything else fit together so well that I was immediately immersed in Meda's world. She is a truly fascinating and multi-layered main character. She's smart, witty, and determined to figure out who and what she really is. This was an hilariously entertaining and fast paced read. I wasn't sure this would work with a main character that eats human souls but it was a unique idea and worked really well. The secondary characters are well written too - especially those of the three Crusaders. They each have a unique personality with flaws and strengths.


If you are looking for a fun read with a sarcastic heroine this is the right book for you.