Friday, March 30, 2012

Book Review: Anasazi by Emma Michaels

by Emma Michaels 

Genre: Mystery/Paranormal
Reading Grade: New Adult
Publication Date: August 3, 2011
Source: publisher review copy
Age Rating: 14+

One year ago, something happened to David. Following the only clue he had he headed out into the desert. Now he has asked me to come see him. But when I arrived, he was gone. The people in town claim they have never heard of him and everyone wants me to leave. 
But I know he was here and he is in trouble. He can't survive out there for long.

Can he?

David. I will find you. 

My Review

  • Plot: Anasazi is the second book in the Sense of Truth series, and it picks up about a year after the first one left off. The main character is a young woman named Megan who never appears in the first book, but she is already a friend of David's. David is the first book's protagonist's ex-boyfriend. He texted Megan to come meet up with him in the Arizona desert, and already being keen on him, she didn't hesitate to hop on her motorcycle and head out there. But, David is nowhere to be found in the small desert town mostly inhabited by Hopi Native Americans. He had something to do with the town's big archeological dig, but she spends the novel trying to find him because someone has decided to eliminate him for his research on the dig.
  • Characters: Megan is an interesting girl with a troubled past who can kick-butt when needed. She's sassy and sarcastic and very stubborn about finding the missing David, even in an area she doesn't feel completely welcome in. David is a character I already like from the first book, but he's missing for most of Book 2. Still, he's the same old charming character I liked from The Thirteenth Chime. Lucas is a teenage Hopi character who ends up being the only character Megan can really trust to help her out, and I thought he was cute.
  • Technical Writing: I really didn't like how the first book was written, but this one shows good improvement on the technical side.
  • Storytelling: I think the storytelling shows continuous improvement in this installment, which I liked in the first one. I know nothing about the Hopi Nation, but this author clearly did her research. How she weaved this mystery together is a mystery to me, me being someone who just doesn't get how mystery authors do it. I'm very impressed. How she tied everything together from what was discovered at the dig site, the Rock City (which may or may not be fictional), and how the ancient Hopi could use a calendar to figure out when to plant crops so they'd grow perfectly... It was all so very expertly done.
  • Overall Quality: The quality of Anasazi is overall higher than The Thirteenth Chime, although I feel I might prefer the first book because I like David, and he appears in the first book a lot more. I think the mystery plot of the first book appealed to me more, as well.
  • Favorite Moment/Scene: When Megan finally finds David after searching for him for so long. He's in terrible shape, but he manages to help her help him because he's an EMT. Also, I was impressed with how Megan found him. She used a hawk, something straight out of Native American folklore/mythology, to locate him and I thought it was really cool, for lack of a better word.
  • My Score: 3 out of 5 stars.

*I received an e-copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Buy this title from | Amazon | for $2.99.

Read my review of the first book in this series, The Thirteenth Chime.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Book Review: The Thirteenth Chime by Emma Michaels

by Emma Michaels

Genre: Mystery/Paranormal
Reading Grade: New Adult
Publication Date: August 10, 2010
Source: Kindle Store
Age Rating: 14+

Destiny has finally found the life that she has always wanted. She is about to finish college, has a fiance that loves her, and a great summer on the West Coast planned with her friend, Stephanie. But her world is turned upside down when an antique clock mysteriously chimes thirteen times and someone attacks them, sending Stephanie and her mother to the hospital.

Alone, and without any help from the police, Destiny has no choice but to turn to the one man she had left behind a year ago—her ex-boyfriend, David. Together, they must solve the riddle of the thirteenth chime before the clock strikes thirteen again. Yet as they face their own past and hearts, a trap over half a century old is waiting for them to become its prey. For revenge, fifty years is never too long... 

My Review

  • Plot: Destiny and her roommate Stephanie are staying with Stephanie's mother in an old Victorian house on the coast of a small Washington State town for the summer. An old grandfather clock has been part of the house since long before any of them ever set foot in it, and it has the tendency to chime thirteen times out of the blue. One night when that thirteenth chime rings out, Stephanie and her mother end up in the hospital. In a panic, Destiny calls her fearless ex-boyfriend, David, out from Cleveland to help her figure out how to unravel this paranormal mystery that has left her completely baffled.
  • Characters: Destiny is the main character, but a lot of this story revolves around her ex-boyfriend, David. Destiny calls him to fly out from their hometown instead of her fiance, Scott. She feels David is the more capable when she's feeling extreme terror, and David comes through for her. He's a really heroic character who has the tendency to be reckless in the face of danger, but always manages to come out unscathed. He still has feelings for Destiny, but Destiny sends him constant mixed signals as to whether or not she still has feelings for him. That's one thing I don't like about her—she seems to be unable to let him go, yet she is very determined to marry the guy she couldn't even reach out to when in crisis.
  • Technical Writing: The writing is weak in most areas, but does have some smooth patches here and there. I found countless writer's ticks that grated on me. Also some sentences are worded strangely, and I'm not fond of the clumsy use of adverbs. I have a personal preference for 3rd person-limited POV in adult fiction, yet this one was in 3rd person-omniscient, jumping from one character's head to another and then another, all in one scene. Very confusing and pulled me right out of the story. I think that type of 3rd person POV should only be used for children's fiction, but that's just my opinion.
  • Storytelling: Besides the likable characters (Stephanie's mother being one of the funniest), I think the story aspect was strong, too. It has an intriguing paranormal mystery premise that got me interested, and it did a great job keeping me just clueless enough to keep on reading to see the characters uncover the mystery. It uses a very different kind of paranormalcy that I've never heard about before, and it may even be the author's clever invention, this “Sense” phenomenon. I think for lovers of mysteries that can be a bit scary—scarier than Scooby-Doo, anyway—this would be a great fit, although, don't expect the rational explanation and the masked bad guy cursing those “meddling kids” at the end.
  • Overall Quality: It goes down on the technical writing, but back up again because of the effective storytelling and good characters, so it evens out to being average. I wouldn't read this if you hate reading any writing that is less than flawless. But, if you like a great paranormal mystery despite poor writing, then this one might work for you.
  • Favorite Moment/Scene: It's a spoilery scene at the end when Destiny and David are finally confronted with the spooky clock-dwelling thing that is causing so much trouble in the old Victorian. It was such a relief to finally arrive at that moment and find out what was behind that pesky mystery.
  • My Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Buy this ebook from | Amazon | for $0.99.

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's Finally Out! (1) A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont

It's Finally Out! is a new feature I've just started (hope to continue, but we'll see) in which I highlight a novel, or two, on the day it's actually released. Obviously, it's a book I don't have a review for, or I'd put the review up, instead.

This week, I have picked A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont to highlight. 


A Breath of Eyre (Unbound, #1)  
by Eve Marie Mont

Released Date: March 27, 2012 (today!)

Emma Townsend has always believed in stories—the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates in her head. Perhaps it’s because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn’t come close to filling the void left by her mother’s death. And her only romantic prospect—apart from a crush on her English teacher—is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma’s confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre…

Reading of Jane’s isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane’s body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she’s never known—and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane’s story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own…

I picked this one because it sounds so perfect for me! I love Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, so this obviously excites my interest. It's kind of like how people still love reading Jane Austen's novels and writing their own fiction about them--you can't just let those swoon-worthy heroes fade away into fictional history. 

It's Rochester.... *Sigh* Anyway, my favorite version of Mr. Rochester, although he is far too pretty to have played his part, is Michael Fassbender.

Did anyone else see him in that latest movie adaptation of Jane Eyre from 2011? Lord, who doesn't fall in love with Fassy once they get a gander of him!?

Wow... I love this guy, aside from his role as Rochester, even. Guess who has been recast as Rochester for me in this book. 

Yes, he is quite Fass-inating....

Friday, March 23, 2012

Book Review: Dark Passages by Kathyrn Leigh Scott

by Kathyrn Leigh Scott 

Genre: Period/Urban Fantasy
Reading Grade: Adult
Publication Date: August 9, 2011
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Age Rating: 16+

Dark Passages is a coming-of-age story encapsulating the romance and innocence of JFK’s Camelot era and the tumultuous "dark passages" of Meg Harrison, a vampire raised by her mother to resist the temptation of human blood. Meg arrives in New York determined not to use her vampiric gifts to fulfill her dream of becoming an actress. She joins the cast of the cult hit Dark Passages, only to face her nemesis, a beautiful 300-year-old witch bent on destroying her. Their rivalry leads to a final confrontation as the telekinetic vampire and spell-weaving sorceress engage in a spectacular battle for supremacy. It takes all of Meg’s wit and tenacity to defeat the witch and win the affections of a handsome young mortal with a secret life of his own. In the end, Meg realizes that the powers she always denied within herself are not a curse, but a blessing.

My Review

  • Plot: First of all, the author of this novel was on a TV soap opera that ran from 1966 – 1971 called Dark Shadows, so she writes this novel largely from experience. It's about a girl named Meg who leaves 1960's Minnesota to work in New York City as a Playboy Bunny waitress, until she can get an acting job. She gets hired for a small role on a daytime soap opera, which eventually writes in a male vampire character into the script. Meg happens to be a real vampire and nobody knows about their existence, so she keeps her true identity a secret from everyone she knows. This is rather anti-climactic. It would have been better if even Ian, the soap opera vampire, had discovered her secret, but he doesn't. Halfway through, a witch named Camilla is thrown into the story, out of nowhere, to be the main villain character out to make Meg miserable, but I didn't understand Camilla's motivation. She has no reason for her vendetta against Meg and her family.
  • Characters: Meg isn't really a problematic character until she tries to hide her pregnancy from everyone. She constantly lies to everyone that she is fine when she should be saying something. But, I don't understand the point of her pregnancy at all. It means nothing to the plot. Ian, a sort of love-interest, is a nice character, but doesn't really do much to further the plot, either. I was thinking he'd get mixed up in Meg and Camilla's big boss fight at the end, maybe be held hostage by Camilla, but that never happens. Tons of characters are completely pointless. Haddie is a ghost that helps Meg with Camilla, but it's never explained how a dead guy's ghost can do anything supernatural. He just can.
  • Technical Writing: First, I'll have to narrow it down to mentioning sentence structure because that is good. But, the overall writing is not good because most of it is very “telly,” meaning it's like listening to someone blather on about their experience rather than feeling immersed in it. Not a single scene break can be found, other than normal chapter breaks, so it follows Meg every place she goes, no matter how pointless. There are some “showing” scenes, but not nearly enough. I never felt plunged into the story and it made this an arduously slow read for me.
  • Storytelling: My problem is with the world-building. This is fantasy, yet there is hardly any effort to develop it. Vampires are never explained and Meg never questions her mother about anything, which I find strange. Witches are never mentioned outright, and then suddenly one shows up halfway through to be the villain. I never bought it because it isn't set up properly. Also, Meg being a vampire seems moot. Because no one she works with ever finds out about her being a vampire, and it never helps her do anything significant regarding the Club or the TV show, I wonder why the author bothered to make Meg a vampire at all.
  • Overall Quality: Below average for me. I like the premise with the 1960's setting, the Bunny Club, even the soap opera, but 30% of the story could have been cut due to being unimportant. I wanted it to be an escape into a rare time in history that is fascinating, but it felt more like reading autobiographical nonfiction (except for the fantasy elements). I realize this author has an incredibly rare history that begged to be fictionalized, but I have to judge this book based on the standards all fiction is subjected to, and it doesn't hold up well.
  • Favorite Moment/Scene: I don't have one.
  • My Score: 2 out of 5 stars.

*I received this title from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review.

Buy this title from | AMAZON |

Look here for another possible savings on Dark Passages.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review: Peacemaker by Lindsay Buroker

by Lindsay Buroker 

Genre: Steampunk/Historical/Adventure
Reading Grade: Adult (novella)
Publication Date: March 5, 2012
Source: review copy from author
Age Rating: 14+

Half-breed tinkerer Kali McAlister doesn’t care that the gold rush has stormed into Dawson and prospectors are flooding the north—all she wants is to finish construction of her airship, so she can escape the Yukon and see the world.

Unfortunately, the world keeps chucking wrenches into her machinery: a mysterious gambler is pumping her for information on her bounty-hunting business partner Cedar; the notorious gangster Cudgel Conrad is after Kali’s knowledge of flash gold; and a series of gruesome murders is plaguing Dawson. Someone—or something—is ruthlessly slaying tribal women, and, if Kali and Cedar can’t find the killer, she might be the next target. 

My Review

  • Plot: (This is #3 in a novella series.) A mysterious man is looking for Cedar and a town murderer is on the loose, killing tribal women. Cedar takes it upon himself to hunt the killer down, fearing Kali may be the next victim. Kali just wants to build her own airship so she can leave Dawson, but she never seems to get the time because people are always after her flash gold. She does get to ride on an airship, although she must go to extremes to make a special fire-rifle and rescue another tribal woman in order to experience it. What I like is that she finally got to meet Cudgel, the man Cedar has been hunting since the first novella. It lends itself to more encounters with him in future installments, I hope.
  • Characters: I love Kali because she is so different from regular women of that era and even ours. She's always wearing overalls and carrying wrenches in her pockets, not caring about what she looks like. Cedar is a tall, handsome, swashbuckling hero who actually likes her, despite her being so different. At first, their romance seems to have taken a backseat, but in the end it rears its shy head. I also like this random old man on a boat who could curse his head off in old-fashioned-ese better than any character I've ever seen. “That boodle of a mother-kissing lickfinger pirates got all my cussed gold... Got me wrathier than a treed coon.” Can't get any wrathier than a treed coon!
  • Technical Writing: It's always good in The Flash Gold Chronicles , never fancy or purple-prosey, but, practical and efficient. The voice is one of my favorite things because it's all Kali's. It's fun to be inside her sarcastic mind.
  • Storytelling: There is a lot going on in this little story. Cedar has Lockhart after him, and Kali has to deal with Lockhart, too, and the perverted murderer, and Cudgel. All of these people have different reasons for being in the same place at the same time, wanting the same two people. It's hard to make this work in a novella, but Lindsay Buroker manages it easily. Like the other novellas, this one is high on adventure, and manages to raise Kali and Cedar's relationship up another notch. I want to see more of Cudgel now that he's been introduced. He seems like a really mysterious, intelligent villain.
  • Overall Quality: Excellent. Nothing about this self-published story needs tinkering, editing, fixing up or anything like that. It's very professional.
  • Favorite Moment/Scene: As much as I love all of Kali's and Cedar's romantic-like scenes, I'll say the part where she fires her makeshift flash gold rifle at the pirate on the airship is my favorite. The flames dance around in the air like nothing the eye has seen before. That was pretty darn cool, and Kali makes this rifle on-the-fly and under pressure. The girl is steampunk's answer to MacGyver.
  • My Score: 5 out of 5 stars. 

*I received this title from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Buy this title from | AMAZON |

Read my reviews of Book 1, Flash Gold and Book 2, Hunted

Monday, March 19, 2012

Top 10 Books for Spring 2012 (TTT #14)

"Top Ten Tuesday" is a weekly bookish meme hosted by

This week's list topic is...




1. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
I'm currently reading this and it's really good! Everybody on NetGalley got a chance to download this eARC and I think most people will be glad they did. Maybe I just like the idea of women turning into predators and assassinating men during a time when misogyny was at an all-time high. I'm loving this empowering, wicked book, so far! 

2. The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
I won an ARC of this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program and I'm SOOO excited! This one's getting a ton of early hype, so I need to see if it lives up to it. It's about an apocalyptic world where vampires hunt humans, and humans pretend to be vampires to stay alive.

3. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa 
I think this world setting is very similar to Andrew Fukuda's The Hunt with vampires ruling the world, feeding on humans like cattle. But, I'm sure it's going to be a very different story. I pre-ordered my copy of this already because I trust Julie as an author, since she authored one of my faves, The Iron Fey series. 

4. Tricked (Iron Druid Chronicles #4) by Kevin Hearne 
More Atticus and Oberon (and, hopefully, Leif)! These books are my favorite adult novels and always crack me up. I read an excerpt of the book (releasing April 24th) on Kevin's blog [click here] and it gives me great hope for it being perhaps the funniest one, yet. Although, since it's not about the vampire turf war in Arizona, it does have me worried. I hope Leif will at least make an appearance, but what happened to the turf war? I feel... tricked!

5. The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kadie Cross 
Got an ARC of this one from NetGalley. It's book 2 of the Steampunk Chronicles series. Excited! Steampunk and girls kicking butt, and Victorian England with long, elaborate gowns and balls, and even steam-powered horse-drawn carriages! Fun....

6. The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kadie Cross 
Well, I do have to read the first book first, so I will be doing that, too. I bought it last year after it came out and just haven't read it, yet. I've been kicking myself all this time, but I'm finally going to start it in a couple of weeks. Yay!

7. Cinder by Marissa Meyer 
I plan on checking this one out from my local library because they actually have it (shocked!). I'll buy if later on if I like it enough. It looks like the kind of read that suits me really well. Cyborgs, you say? Hand it over. Hardly a word need be said more....

8. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake 
This will be another library check out (shocked they have it, again!) because I am scared I might not like this one. But, the premise sounds like something I would like, so I'm getting impatient to read it. Hopefully, I can read it this Spring, but you know, library loaning can take forever, sometimes.

9. Blood Will Tell by Samantha Young 
I've been really wanting to read this one since last December, after I bought it on my Kindle. Samantha Young is a really popular self-published YA fantasy author, so I must know what her books are about. 

10. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor 
I bought this over Christmas last year and have been meaning to read it, but I knew that wouldn't happen right away. I've heard very mixed reviews on this one, but I'm still hopeful that I'll like it. Everybody keeps saying it's at least a very original read. 

That's my list, folks. What's on your Spring 2012 TBR list?   
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