Saturday, December 6, 2014

DiscernDiscern by Andrea Pearson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I took my time with this one because I knew as soon as I started it that I would like the protagonist and love the story. I received a copy of Discern through Ebooks For Review program in exchange for an honest review. Discern is the first book in a new series about Nicole Williams who is a fourth child in her family which makes her what is called an Arete or magical. I found that premise very interesting as the family dynamics and relationships were displayed for multiple students in Nicole's school in Seattle, Katon University. It has to be a strain on parents that want to fit in knowing that having a fourth child would allow them to produce a magical child, as well as a strain on the children that come before that fourth child knowing that they missed out on something special due to not being the fourth child. Sibling relationships are difficult enough but this seems like it would create a sibling rivalry that would be hard to manage, especially for the one child that is different. Also, what if the parents are not fourth children? Nicole was a product of just a family. I picked up on her having brothers and so far we only meet her mother so I am looking forward to meeting her entire family. After we meet Nicole's mother we are left with a huge desire to know the history of her family.

Katon University is a specialized university designed for Arete students. It teaches not only traditional subjects like math, science, but also subjects that relate to magic like magical objects. Each Arete's gifts typically are related to one of the elements, earth, air, fire or water, but there are so many things in between that makes this story exciting. Nicole starts at Katon with her best friend Lizzie, who is also her roommate at an apartment that leaves a lot to be desired. There are some interesting neighbors and their apartment can be truly weird and horrifying but it just adds to action in this story. Nicole applies to go on an expedition in the desert to try and help determine why people are disappearing when they visit that part of the desert. It is suspected that it is magic related so her professor is one of two professors hosting the expedition and boy is that trip action-packed. Nicole learns a lot about herself, her classmates that also are on the expedition, and other Aretes that are part of the expedition.

Discern is a strong, exciting, action-packed start to the Katon University series. The world building was really well done. The character development gives the readers some really great characters to love, dislike and also some that leave us on the fence waiting to see who they become as the series unfolds. I am really looking forward to see where it goes next and I really look forward to hopefully a book dedicated to Nicole's life before Katon University.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Vincent (Vampires in America, #8)Vincent by D.B. Reynolds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a great addition to the Vampires of America series. It just gets better and better with each book. I received an early copy via NetGalley and could not wait to dig into Vincent. It is great to see the differences in the vampire lords. Every once in a while I noticed a consistency in the descriptions of the effects of the vampire bite on their mates across the series but, that really is the only thing that I can say that is the same throughout each of these action-packed novels. They are each well written and I love that I get a different story each time. There are character details that make each lord stand out. My favorite character detail about Vincent was a scene regarding a classical guitarist deep in Mexico. Obviously, that each gets mated in their story is a consistent feature of each book, but, each of them is as diverse as their mates. Another great aspect of these stories is the really cool gifts displayed by each of the lords.

Vincent is Enrique's lieutenant. Enrique is the one hold out of the North America lords that does not seem to understand the risk that they are under from the European vampires. Raphael has great insight and has worked with everyone on the council, or maybe stacked the deck if you ask me, so that they might be successful in fighting the coming war. Enrique is a jerk who has other ideas that is putting everyone else at risk. Raphael does what he does best and sends a message via Lana to Vincent asking him to help Lana deliver a message and boy is that message jam packed with information. The method of the delivery is genius. The trip to make that delivery shows Vincent more about Enrique and helps him make make his plans for the future. Lana is a bounty hunter that Cyn is familiar with and she recommends her to Raphael and the partnership is interesting, full of action and great to read about. It is hard to believe we have to wait until March to see how things go with the upcoming war.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Seducing the Dragon: Part One (Stonefire Dragons, #5)Seducing the Dragon: Part One by Jessie Donovan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have a fascination with dragon stories and it is really interesting to read a dragon story where they are partially integrated within our society. It almost seems a bit like how the native tribes are here in the U.S., part of the U.S. but having their own territories and government. It is great that the story is written in the Scotland area with some aspects of the British government involved. I received Seducing the Dragon from the author with a promise to review it honestly. I have to admit that being new to romance/racy romance stories is quite new to me so I look around and see if anyone is reading over my shoulder and get a bit embarrassed at some of the words. Seducing the Dragon has some racy language but it is a great story. I hope that the author will write a full novel soon because she has a great backdrop set up in Scotland and a group of people with stories waiting to be told and I look forward to all of them. The relationships are contentious and interesting. The landscape is not as well flushed out but I hope that will be coming as I love to see pictures of Scotland and its cliffs.

In Seducing the Dragon Evie, an employee with the Department of Dragon Affairs, has come to the clan Stonefire under the guise of investigating the welfare of a baby who lost his human mom and checking on the status of Melanie, the latest human sacrifice to the Stonefire clan. She also has an ulterior motive which requires the cooperation of Bram, the Dragon Lord of the Stonefire clan and has a plan to get his assistance. Determining if it will work is what we are waiting to see. It is great to see more about Bram though we do not get to read his story. We get a glimpse into who he is and a bit about him. I can see an entire novel written on Bram and Evie and hope that one day the author will suss that out. Another thing I would like to see is how the clan came to be and how the relationship between the dragon shifters and humans has come about. In addition, it would be great to see how humans became aware of the dragon shifters. Jessie Donovan has so much raw material to draw upon that I can see a lot more coming from these characters. Another thing I thought about was learning more about the dragon shifters' skills and magic. As I read each one I feel as if I walked into the middle of a great movie full of action and I'm asking questions to see what I missed, but the action is there, as are the great characters so I look forward to seeing what is next for Bram and Evie.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Own Mr. DarcyMy Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have wanted to read My Own Mr. Darcy for quite some time when I was offered the chance to review it through the Free Book in Exchange for Review program. I am not a Austenite or purist of Jane Austen books so I love all of the offshoots that I have seen over the last few years. My Own Mr. Darcy was a great addition to this category. It is about Elizabeth Barrett (close I know) who falls in love with a specific version of Mr. Darcy after seeing Pride and Prejudice on the big screen as a teenager. She lives her love life strictly by what she sees in this movie and will only accept 2nd dates from men that fit the criteria of what she fell in love with in the movie. It cannot be just any Fitzwilliam Darcy. It must be the one she saw in the movie. When she is an adult and sharing an apartment with her best childhood friend years later she is still living by this rule until her best friend makes her promise to give her next date a chance by dating him more than once. The unexpected occurs just when she meets "Mr. Darcy" in the flesh and has a shot at a relationship with him.

It was great watching Elizabeth as she grows from a smart-mouthed teen who has no interest in the classic Pride and Prejudice who falls in love with not only the movie, but also, Mr. Darcy, into someone who has a chance to live her dream and do her dream job into someone who understands that sometimes what we dream is not realistic. Sometimes what we think is perfect is maybe not so perfect. I have to admit that I am not a fan of what appears to be a love triangle but Karey White wrote one that was not too painful to read. Elizabeth was smart and sweet and realizes that Chad is someone who is great and worth having in her life. It is great reading My Own Mr. Darcy as everything unfolds and you see how things turn out with Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Extraordinary Life of Lara Craft (not Croft)The Extraordinary Life of Lara Craft by Lola Salt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lara Craft "not Croft" is a hilarious woman doing her best to find her place in the world and what she should be doing under the guise of finding new men to date after a terrible break up with her circus boyfriend. I received a copy of The Extraordinary of Lara Craft from NetGalley. I saw in the book details that there would be travel across the globe and really wanted to try it. I was not disappointed. There was a time when I was worried about Lara's wild ways but this book really does a good job of showing a person going through the paces of trying to figure things out for themselves. Lara Croft also loses her job as things start out, but the one thing I liked about her is that she didn't give up and along the way her trials are just entertaining. I laughed throughout the book, sometimes out loud. I have already started recommending this book to other people. It does contain adult content so it may not be for everyone but at the end you realize there is a bit of something for readers who like romance, something for those that like adventure and a bit of action even.

Lara had this great knack for making the best out of her situations and I loved that. She manages to have a good time under the worst circumstances. You have to envy someone that makes the best of their world no matter what is thrown at them, though sometimes she seemed to get off-track. It has to be said that sometimes she got a little too wild and I was concerned that maybe she might be missing the big picture but that is a part of life sometimes. Every once in a while we just feel like taking a day off from responsibility. Lola Salt does a great job of allowing us to see ourselves in Lara. One of the great things about The Extraordinary Life of Lara Craft is that it was just a bit off the beaten track, a bit fanciful and I loved that. There were these larger than life characters that Lara ran into during her travels and I have to admit that I would have loved that job. It had great pay and she got to travel across the globe. I wanted to try a cake that is only made in New York and Brazil where the cake originates. The shop did not ship and I looked around for a way to get that cake to Michigan so I can see how people's indulgences would result in shipping the oddest things around the world. I look forward to seeing more from this author, especially if her humor comes across in all of her work.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1)Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Burned for Me is a great start to a new series by Ilona Andrews. I received an early release copy through NetGalley. I know this book is great because I am quite off of Urban Fantasy right now and it burned right through my Urban Fantasy reading slump. Burn for Me starts the story of Nevada Baylor who is part of a pretty awesome family. She heads an investigative agency that she inherited from her parents. Her cousin Bern, whom I am particularly fond of, tends to be the person who she worked with most as he is super smart and a supernova when it comes to computers. Every once in a while even the younger siblings get involved, along with her mother, an ex-military with some serious skills with weapons, and her grandmother who is an excellent mechanic with special skills of her own. Unfortunately, she is tasked with capturing a Prime, an extremely gifted mage, with a power that she cannot possibly even defend herself against. She runs afowl another vested party named Mad Rogan who gets under skin. Well, actually they get under each other's skin. Unfortunately, they meet when he kidnaps her and she does not have much recourse initially since he is another Prime.

I have read The Edge series and I also follow the Kate Daniel's series avidly and I have to say that this is another winning series for me. The location, a customized version of Houston, is nicely described, though I am not quite sure of the time period for this series. I get the feeling that it is more of an alternate version of now. The people appear to be ultimately what have evolved. I cannot decide which I loved most about Burn for Me, the action scenes which were very detailed and well-written or the descriptions of the magic. There were some great things left open regarding magic and those that have magic. There is the relationship/anti-relationship between Nevada and Mad. Given the ongoing relationship for Nevada's firm and the family it rolls up to I expect to see a lot more of several other interesting characters. Mad Morgan is a wonderful wild card that I cannot wait to to read more about.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sicilian EngagementSicilian Engagement by Rachel Lyndhurst
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sicilian Engagement was an enjoyable read. I received an early release copy from NetGalley. I always look for books based in the Mediterannean and this is one of the few that I have read so far based in Sicily. I always flash back to an episode of Anthony Bordain's No Reservation where he spent time in Sicily when he spoke with one of his hosts about whether there was still "family connections" there and she confirmed that it is not as obvious but every once in a while it reared its head so it is not completely gone. So when I read contemporary stories that hit on this I think about this and realize there is a bit of realism there and this story was quite interesting. It spent some time on "family" politics in Sicily and how this effects business. Lorenzo Ferrante's story delves into these relationships since Lorenzo has done his best to stay out of his father's "family" business. But Lorenzo has a plan for how to clear himself once and for all and try to do some good in Sicily but he needs to be married to sit at the table for the deal. But he has to start somewhere so he needs to find a fiancee fast and hires one but the person chosen to be his fiancee through a temp agency in London is blackmailed into it. She has no choice but to honor the contract but she goes in with her head on straight and is determined not to fall for Lorenzo, who of course is gorgeous. One of the best things about Sicilian Engagement is seeing Sicily's landscape through the author's eyes. There were some great descriptions of Sicily which are always my favorite. Although I am new to pure romance I love when they have a bit of a twist and there was a bit of excitement in this book which helped make it more enjoyable for me. I will look for more books by Rachel Lyndhurst!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Prince Who Loved Me (The Oxenburg Princes, #1)The Prince Who Loved Me by Karen Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a fun book! I received a copy via NetGalley and jumped right into the story. The Prince Who Loved Me is about a prince who is both Romany and a Prince of a country called Oxenburg. He comes to visit a small Scottish village where Bronwyn Murdoch lives with her father, stepmother and stepsisters. They actually seem to be a close family despite their differences. Bronwyn is a bookish or "bluestocking" who does not really think about the future other than helping her father file patents for his inventions and answering correspondence. Her stepmother is very hands on and traditional and tries to make Bronwyn more of a lady in how she behaves, dresses and in her extracurricular activities as she spends most of her time reading and hanging around her dogs. The dogs and a new doggie she meets in the woods are quite funny additions to the story. It is also in the woods when Bronwyn meets someone that changes how she sees her future. There are some very comical portions to the story and I enjoyed the goings on at the different events at the castle. There are some very colorful characters in this story including the Viscount, his uncle, the Romany grandmother and Bronwyn's stepsisters. I always get a little nervous when I try to read historical fiction and I was not disappointed. The Prince Who Loved Me is a great, funny story!

Review can also be seen at LadyTechies Book Musings http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Assassin's Game (David Slayton, #2)Assassin's Game by Ward Larsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received Assassin's Game as an eArc through NetGalley. Ward Larsen has a winning series on his hands. I love it!

Assassin's Game is the 2nd in the series that follows "David Slaton" (if that is his real name), the most lethal Kidon to be trained by the Mossad. In this book we see David under his new assumed identity and Christine as they have begun their new domesticated life. Christine has completed her residency and has flown to Sweden to attend a medical conference when David's former life comes back to haunt both of them. They both find out it is not so easy to leave the Mossad and secrets are very hard to keep if more than one person knows them. The Mossad wants its agent back and they have a huge problem with a nuclear weapons expert who works for one of Israel's biggest enemies.

David Slaton has to create a plan against the odds to kill the chemist and also try to protect his wife who is being chased across Europe by police and other forces. In the middle of all of this he has to try to figure out how to keep his marriage together. I have to admit that at the end of this action-packed story I had to remember this is not a romance. This is an action-packed thriller. But, Ward Larsen does a great job of portraying the tensions on a marriage that is fraught with violence, deception and betrayal. This portrays espionage and international politics in the best fashion. We also get to follow the stories of some of the side characters like the investigators and the villains. Another great aspect of this story is that it is a great mystery. I cannot wait for the next installment in this intriguing story.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Guest Blog by Suzy Vitele author of The Empress Chronicles on Who is the Audience of Young Adult Books?

Thanks for inviting me to guest post on your blog!
Today’s topic is Young Adult versus Adult and the challenges and benefits of writing in multiple genres.
Let’s talk about audience first. Books are sold and marketed to specific audiences, and it’s commonly thought of as best practices to “target” a book visually, and with the right hook, to get it into the hands of its most appropriate readers.
Like my debut, THE MOMENT BEFORE, THE EMPRESS CHRONICLES is a bit of a crossover book. While I see teens as the main audience for EMPRESS, the subject matter and the historical/social/political context (fingers crossed!) will appeal to an older audience as well. This idea is certainly not new. Lewis Carroll’s ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND is a great example of a book that covers multiple genres and invites a spectrum of ages into its fantastical account of a girl’s journey.
If you ask most writers who their audience is, hopefully they’ll say themselves! Write the book you wish was written – to appeal to you as a reader. My “target” audience might be thought of as a set of qualities rather than an age. Daydreamers, loners, people who often feel out of step with popular culture. Artists, quiet types, bookish thinkers. Also, romantics, poets, people who enjoy suspending disbelief. For The Empress Chronicles, a fascination with European royalty would help, too. Generally, I like to think my characters offer a nod to those teens/adults who might be thought of as “stubborn” or “difficult.”
As far as process, in my experience, it helps to find a setting and a character whose voice you can’t get out of your head and go from there. As the story unfolds (I dabble in plot boards to establish a structure, but usually morph the plot points along the way), the audience becomes clearer. I made a conscious decision to avoid swear words in Empress because I think there are some 12-year-old precocious readers who would like the book, and I didn’t want parents to have an easy excuse for its exclusion in their home libraries.
The “difficult” subject matter in Empress includes mental illness, divorce, the pressure to party and have sex in high school – but, on the page, I try really hard to stay in the mindset of a “late bloomer” type 15-year old. I’ve raised three children (my youngest is 15), and I know that teens are bombarded with pressures all day long. For me, the journey of a young adult narrator should reflect the authenticity of today’s pressures.

As far as “genre,” Empress could be equally slotted in historical, contemporary, fantasy, issue, or teen romance. The cover alone gives the reader a hint that they’ll be journeying to at least a couple of places. In the most optimistic sense, we might think of the book as a genre mash. Or even, dare I say it, a literary smorgasbord! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Golem of HollywoodThe Golem of Hollywood by Jonathan Kellerman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to admit, I am quite fascinated by stories about the Golem ever since I went to Prague last year I have tried to read stories when I find them. Not just any golem story, but, The Golem, said to have been created long ago by a Rabbi in Prague. I received an early release copy of The Golem of Hollywood through the First To Read program by Penguin Group. I have to admit that I have been quite dismayed as I visit different cities in Europe and see what is called "Jewish Ghetto". I am quite familiar with the term ghetto since I was raised in a large city. Though I was not raised in the ghetto I remember the connotations that went along with the description. So, the biggest question I ask myself as I stood on the street on the outside of the Jewish Ghetto in Prague was "is this a good thing or a bad thing?" "Who gave it that name?" I honestly still do not know. I know it is a community and I saw signs for one in Rome, Italy but I have reserved judgment as I read and learn more. But, given Prague's tumultuous history The Golem sounded like an amazing creature and I was glad to have a chance to read The Golem of Hollywood.

The Golem of Hollywood is a book that gives me my armchair travel as it moves from the U.S. to Prague to England. The detective, Jacob Lev, is "recruited" to investigate a murder when he does not work for the homicide division. Why? This is the crux of the story and even when you think you know what is happening you are surprised. Initially, I was a little afraid it was horror. I stopped a couple of times as I started out to check and see what genre the book fell under because it has been a long time since I read anything that was pure horror and I needed to prepare myself. There were some graphic descriptions in the book initially but as the story took off and I began to understand what was happening I knew this book simply had some wonderfully written imagery. I could see things as if I were watching a movie and have to admit that I will be re-reading this one after some time. I know I will see things that I missed. The people, places and action were written with amazing descriptions. I fell into this book. Last Friday, I literally considered taking a half day so I could read it. I have to admit that I was left hoping that this is a first in a series. I would even take a trilogy. Of course, I immediately logged onto Jonathan Kellerman's website to see if there was a hint of a possible series forthcoming. I just couldn't tell but, I am hopeful.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Empress Chronicles by Suzy Vitello

When city girl Liz is banished to a rural goat farm on the outskirts of Portland, the 15-year-old feels her life spiraling out of control. She can’t connect to her father or his young girlfriend, and past trauma adds to her sense of upheaval. The only person who seems to keep her sane is a troubled boy who is fighting his own demons. But all of this changes in one historical instant.

One-hundred fifty years earlier, Elisabeth of Bavaria has troubles of her own. Her childhood is coming to a crashing end, and her destiny is written in the form of a soothsaying locket that has the ability to predict true love. But evil is afoot in the form of a wicked enchantress who connives to wield the power of the locket for her own destructive ends.

When Liz finds a timeworn diary, and within it a locket, she discovers the secrets and desires of the young Bavarian princess who will one day grow up to be the legendary Empress of Austria.
It is in the pages of the diary that these two heroines will meet, and it is through their interwoven story that Liz will discover she has the power to rewrite history—including her own...

Suzy Vitello is a proud founding member of a critique group recently dubbed The Hottest Writing Group in Portland. Her short stories have won fellowships and prizes (including the Atlantic Monthly Student Writing Award, and an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship). Suzy's debut novel, THE MOMENT BEFORE, was published by Diversion Books in January, 2014. Find out more on


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Crossing the Line (Paris Homicide, #2)Crossing the Line by Frédérique Molay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received Crossing the Line as an eArc through NetGalley. It is the 2nd in a series based in Paris that follows a police officer, Nico Sirsky. In this book we get more of a glimpse into Nico's everyday life but our introduction to him and his family happens in the first novel, The 7th Woman. We meet his great team and follow each of the members as they investigate a great mystery. In Crossing the Line a group of dental students in Paris find a note under a tooth and this leads us to a great mystery that unfolds into something the reader does not see coming. Although we get to see a bit into the lives of the other officers on Nico's team I wish we had more character development for Nico and at least 1 or 2 of the other team members. I am especially interested in seeing more of Anya's life and hopefully one of the future books will allow us to see them in Russia.

In Crossing the Line we are faced with a question. We have to ask ourselves the same question that the antagonist is faced with to see if we would come up with the same answer. How far is too far? Do we know the answer or does it change if we are put in the position and have to face it ourselves? I still had the feeling of not being in the place with the story. It might be that this is a translation to American English but there does not seem to be the feeling that I am in Paris walking along the streets with Nico and his team. It feels more like only being told about it. I'm hoping the next book gives more of a feeling of being there and I look forward to reading it!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The 7th Woman (Paris Homicide, #1)The 7th Woman by Frédérique Molay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received The 7th Woman from Netgalley where I am really due to review this quite some time ago. Boy do I regret waiting. But, when my reading gets extremely fickle I back off of reviewing because I tend to start and stop books that I normally would love when I am in this kind of reading slump and I have been in one for over 6 months. I am glad I finally got into this book. One of the interesting things is I expected it to be more like armchair travel but I realize now that if the author lives in France then they would write about it as something they see everyday as opposed to making it more attractive to those who want to picture everything. There was good description of where things occurred but I didn't get the feeling of an armchair traveler. I had more of the feeling of this is where "we" live so things occur on this street or that street. But, it was great to have that feeling of living in Paris and not sightseeing there.

The 7th Woman was an intense mystery/thriller which I am happy to say I guessed correctly, not because it was easy but mainly because the bad guy just rubbed me the wrong way so I blamed it on that person. One thing that was harder for me to grasp was the emotional struggle that Nico was having between getting his behind back to finding the killer instead of worrying about a lady. I kept wanting to yell at him and say get back to work. But, I guess when people start falling they get a bit of tunnel vision. There were some great surprises and some pretty good character development also. The 7th Woman also jerked on the emotions because we start to learn about the other police officers and we start becoming invested in what happens to them. I have to admit that I did not notice that the French police carry weapons but I'm so glad they do because they really needed weapons with this kind of evil to handle. I look forward to reading Crossing the Line!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an early release e-Arc through NetGalley and I have to say with one exception this is the book I have been anticipating for a year. This is saying a lot since I have not been reading a lot of Urban Fantasy or Paranormal books in the last 6 months to a year. I had to take a break because I sort of burned myself out on them. But, I had the chance to read this one early and jumped at it, especially knowing it was the end of the series. My sister teased me saying “maybe they’ll add another book or another 3 books.” I was quite grumpy thinking this could happen. But, I have to say I am writing this without having even finished the books. I have had different thoughts as I read and wanted to start jotting them down so that I could get my review in just as the book is released.

As I read this my first impression is that Book of Life does not disappoint. There is wonderful character development as we meet new friends and see old ones. I almost went back and read Shadow of Night because some of the characters left my memory. I purchased both A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night in unabridged audiobook as well. I will be rounding out the series in audiobook and purchasing The Book of Life in unabridged audiobook when it is released. These will be great to listen to a 6 months to a year down the line. I am betting I will hear things I missed the first time through.

I have to say my biggest fear with this book before I have finished it is that someone I like in the series will be killed off. Both Diana and Matthew have survived a lot of losses in their lives so I’m hoping this doesn’t happen but, I know how these things go with series. The readers fall in love with a character like GallowGlass. How can you not love him? We want the best for him so much and worry for him. There are so many likeable characters in this book just as there are some truly bad villains. It is hard to decide who to dislike more, Benjamin, for being such an evil creature; Gerbert, for being Switzerland in front of everyone when he might just be evil and Peter Knox, for being so power hungry that he will do anything to get that power. The Congregation is not innocent either and it does not appear to only be because they want to stop humans from finding out about the otherworldly beings. Part of what they do seems to be steeped in prejudices and control as well.

I have to admit that Book of Life was a satisfying ending to a great trilogy. There were some individual stories I wished we could have had more information about but all in all things were drawn to a great conclusion. Diana and Matthew both have grown a lot and learned a lot about who they are and who they needed to be and their trials drew others to them and helped them grow as well. Sarah and Isabeau are two people that grew so much in this book. Isabeau just draws you to her more and more throughout the entire series. But, there was change and growth in the supernatural community as well which was all any of them could hope for along with the cute babies that we get to know a bit about since they are still small babies. But, maybe we’ll see them again one day. I wouldn’t be against that at all!

Review can also be seen at

The Bleiberg Project: A Consortium ThrillerThe Bleiberg Project: A Consortium Thriller by David Khara

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an e-copy of The Bleiberg Project by David Khara from Netgalley. I have to admit when I think about reading anything related to the Holocaust it makes me want to run the other way. Knowing everything that was done and probably not being aware of some things makes it a hard subject to digest. I have to admit this is my first foray into reading about this topic for that very reason. But, when I read the synopsis I thought this sounds really good and just maybe there is a good enough ending that I will not feel totally depressed afterwards.

The characterization in the story was done really well. I have to admit that Jeremy Corbin, even without knowing his secret, makes it hard to like him. He is quite witty and also so darn down on himself it makes you want to avoid him. But, as the book goes on you start to become invested in his pain and hope that somewhere down the line things get better for him. Oddly enough his thoughts about Jackie Wells at first seemed a bit off to me, then as I read on I decided he is just a bit self-centered and immature and kind of thinks of her in high-school terms. Jeremy takes body blow after body blow in losses and as he deals with them throughout the book you start to see him maturing and growing and realizing how he lost more than he realized with his father.

I love reading books based in other countries, especially Europe and Eastern Europe. This book did a good job of giving me a bit of armchair travel. There was not a lot by way of describing the sites in the different places they visited when they arrived in Switzerland and made their way across to Poland but, there were enough of the descriptions that it grabbed my interest. What was really great was the tie-in to some of the rumors of some of the medical testing that happened in the camps. They were nicely woven into this book. But, my all-time favorite part of this book was Eytan Morg. I love reading about and seeing stories on television about the Kidon unit of The Mossad. Granted they are not nice people but, this was my first book that I got to read about some of what they do and what is known about their skills. It took me back to my favorite parts of NCIS and the character Ziva who was also Kidon. Eytan was larger than life and not just due to his size. He was this amazing, scarred man who didn’t allow himself to have anything other than the work he did and we find out why in The Bleiberg Project. That part of the story was riveting. Eytan’s fight scenes were awesome and jumped off the page when you read them. Interestingly enough at the beginning of the book you don’t know whose side he is on so he comes off as if he might be one of the bad guys but, he is so much more.

I just read on Goodreads that this is the start of a series and I have to say a very good start and I look forward to following this series every step of the way!

Monday, July 7, 2014

From Paris with Love (Doubting Abbey, #2)From Paris with Love by Samantha Tonge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the most interesting things happened with this title. I requested it on NetGalley without even knowing it was the follow-up to Doubting Abbey which I really enjoyed. I started reading it and had a deja vu with the characters so I went and looked up the author's name and realized this was the next step in the hilarious antics from Lord Edward and Gemma. I think of that story and the first thing that pops in my mind is the imitation of Titanic.

This story had some great Gemma antics as well. Her internal dialogue was hilarious as always. She also gets to further her adoration of Kate Middleton. Who knew I would ever have a reason to type that name? In From Paris with Love, Gemma is visiting Paris with Edward and he is still waiting for a response to his marriage proposal. She's also in Paris to enhance her cooking skills at a famous Parisian restaurant. Edward is working to increase his skills as a host. They have a bit of notoriety from the reality show they both participated in from Doubting Abbey. They introduce us to a host of Parisian characters that really enhance the enjoyment of this book. There is a side story that just makes things more fun and gives From Paris with Love its adventure and fun. I do not know if there will be more books in this series but, I can say that I will definitely read them if there are more.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I Am the Mission (The Unknown Assassin, #2)I Am the Mission by Allen Zadoff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Unknown assassin is back and this time he is Daniel. I love that we don’t know his real name. We are returned to the series right after he finishes his previous assignment and is found at a camp training to be a camp counselor of sorts. There are some bumps in the road just before he is given his new assignment, to eliminate the leader of a right wing camp for kids. The problem is that there was someone else on this mission and they have disappeared. Daniel is brought in to complete the mission. The problem is it starts off with massive problems and he doesn’t know who he can trust.

Daniel meets new kids his age and starts again experiencing confusion because he starts having memories of his father and of course continues to remember his previous assignment in New York. He made a friend or two there and that is not is against the rules. He is supposed to be alone with minimal exposure to those around him, and that exposure is only supposed to be cursory, enough to do his job. I find it weird that Father and Mother and whoever else is running this organization think that a teenager would be able to not have any feelings when they are full of jumbled up emotions. I like that Daniel does what he needs to do to finish his task and get out alive. The only problem is that anyone else he involves is in danger.

I am the Mission is full of action, emotion and that dreaded betrayal, or is it betrayal. It is time for Daniel, or whatever his name is, to find out. In comes Mike, the biggest contradiction that Daniel has come against. Can you be friends with the person that murdered your father in front of you? Did he really murder Daniel’s father? The next book is ramping up already and as much as I hate cliffhangers I cannot wait until the next installment in the Unknown Assassin series comes out.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Model Undercover: ParisModel Undercover: Paris by Carina Axelsson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an early release copy of Model Undercover: Paris via NetGalley. One of the things I like about this book and other books that have teens in them is that they are quite enjoyable for adults as well. In between travels I love to read fiction based in countries outside of the U.S. Of course, Italy and Paris are my favorites so when I saw this title available at the NetGalley site my first thought was "this sounds great!" I was not disappointed. Off the top I can say that there was only thing I found odd. Axelle Anderson is a British teen who is given a trip of a lifetime, a few weeks in Paris to work as an intern in the fashion industry for her aunt. But, to Axelle it's more of a punishment since she is not interested in fashion. She hopes to be a top-notch detective and spends her spare time investigating small crimes. Her parents are trying to steer her away from this and give her the trip.

There is one thing I found a bit off. Though Axelle and her family were British the text of the book was written in American English so the characters felt American instead of British. I kept expecting Axelle to speak like a British teen but she felt very American to me. Outside of that the characters were great. Axelle makes two great friends and has some surprising things happen to her while in Paris. She gets her chance to investigate a great crime and spend some time with her Aunt Venetia who is huge in the fashion industry in Paris as an editor of a fashion magazine. She introduces Axelle to designers and Axelle in the process of becoming engrossed in the fashion industry in a huge way she gets a chance at investigating a huge case. She sees this as her opportunity to make a name for herself as a detective and discovers some surprising things in the course of her investigation. You cannot help but like Axelle and cheer her on as she works to find the answers and also as she gets a chance to do something she had absolutely no interest in and gets a bit closer to her mom, who also loves fashion.

I look forward to seeing Axelle travel and investigate more mysteries!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

An American Girl in ItalyAn American Girl in Italy by Aubrie Dionne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a great read for me. I tend to inhale anything based in Italy, more so when the author does a great job with imagery. Aubrie Dionne gave a good view of Italy. Carly is a gifted musician who plays with an orchestra traveling in Italy. She plays an instrument that I have little experience with so it was great to read the descriptions of her playing and the solo that she was trying to achieve with the opera singer, diva. They worked really hard from venue to venue and it was amazing to read the descriptions of how music is affected by our moods and interpretations. The author did a wonderful job describing their attempts at the song, so much so that, I literally cringed for them when the song did not go the way they intended. Reading about some of the other orchestra members also went a long way for me with liking this story.

Michaelangelo was a wonderful man who we learn about slowly as the story goes along. But, the reader is not sorry they get to know him because not only was he a great tour guide, despite his lack of experience, as well as showing himself to be a great man. Unfortunately, I did not realize there was a book before this one so I have not read it yet so I did not know the history of Carly and Melody's friendship though that did not distract from the story. It did make me want to get to know the characters better and spend more time reading other work by this author.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Royally LostRoyally Lost by Angie Stanton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to admit that I see where people are calling falling in love in one week instalove but, in my experience that is exactly what a lot of teens do, fall in love very quickly. Speaking as a teen that detested everything my mom tried to expose me to including ballets, anything that included spending time with my family and anything that took me away from my friends. Those very same things I love to do now. I also had a habit of hating my mom's boyfriend because he wasn't my dad. Later when I realized he wasn't trying to replace my dad I regretted my behavior but, as a teenager I was horrible towards him and misinterpreted everything he said and did. I never wanted to go to visit family in California and see the amazing things my family tried to introduce me to because it took me away from my friends and I would be missing the things they were doing. So, this book really resonated with me and likely wouldn't with teens that mostly behaved in a manner expected of their parents and enjoyed doing things with their family, all things I do now and regret not doing while growing up. Yes, I fell in "love" at the drop of a dime and now realize it wasn't actually love but telling me that had me convinced you did not know what you were talking about. I love seeing how our own experiences affect how we rate books. If the behavior is completely not something we can identify with we tend to give it a lower rating and if we identify with it then we give it a higher rating. This is what makes books so great! Since I saw so many of the things in Prague last October and loved it this book just brought back great memories for me. I am in armchair travel love with this book.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Boy Nobody (The Unknown Assassin, #1)Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I always get excited about secret agent/assassin books and really love it when they are young adult. I was a bit confused by the title because on my version of the book I Am the Weapon is in bold and there is nothing on it that says Boy Nobody. Once I ironed out I had the correct book as the book descriptions were slightly different also I jumped in and was very happy that I did. I have been in a weird reading slump for several months and have been reading outside of my normal genre, Urban Fantasy, now. I have spurts of time when I love anything with secret agents and assassins so I saw Boy Nobody and decided to go for it. I have to admit that I fell into deep like for this book. I am sitting here and thinking to myself "I don't remember his name!" Wow he really is good at keeping his identity a secret because it just will not come to me. For the purposes of this review I will call him Ben since that is his cover name in this story.

Ben was "recruited" at the age of 12 by the organization that he works for who also is nameless. It appears they are likely part of the government and he is constantly in the field. Outside of his covert contact with his handlers, "Mom" and "Dad" he is out in the field alone. Or is he? This story showed that even when you think you are on your own there is always someone watching. Ben, who normally followed the rules to the letter of the assassin law found himself up against some things that made him question what he was doing and how he should do it and even he began questioning his instructions.

In Boy Nobody, Ben is placed in a school full of affluent students and assigned to move in close to a very public figure in New York. He does the magic that he can do and things start to happen that make him question everything. He starts putting himself at risk and I have to admit that his skills appear to be excellent though I wish there was more action. The author did a great job of writing in the background of the mission and giving the reader great details for how Ben worked the mission but I wish there was more that showed his skills as an assassin. The scenes where he did demonstrate those were great! I look forward to the next installment!

Review can also be seen at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...

Monday, March 3, 2014

Maid of Secrets (Maids of Honor, #1)Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If I were a poet I'd write an Ode to this series. I love it. When I described the book to my sister she said "but you don't like period books". I told her that after I read the excellent convent of nuns series I was looking for something else in the same realm and I am not disappointed. Maid of Secrets is the story of 5 young ladies recruited to work for Elizabeth I to help protect her and let her know what is going on at Court. Boy, does she need it because there is more machinations happening in her Court. There are visitors from Scotland and Spain along with all the citizens coming to report problems with which they need help. Maid of Secrets focuses on the delegation from Spain visiting and is also Meg's story. Meg is the last to join the Maids and she comes from a life with an acting troupe where she primarily served as a pickpocket because women were still not allowed to act though she is an excellent actress. She has another gift that apparently her minders, Cecil and the head of security know about, though she hasn't shared it with anyone. It makes her more invaluable as a spy for the queen. I normally don't like series where each story is from a different character's point of view but I think I will really enjoy this one! I have already begun Maid of Deception and though Beatrice is my least favorite I think by the end of this book I am really going to like her. I can't wait for Jane's story.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Killer Frost (Mythos Academy, #6)Killer Frost by Jennifer Estep
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, today marks the day we say goodbye to a great cast of characters. I have to admit I was hoping the series would continue with a different story arc outside of fighting the Reapers. It must be quite difficult to carry a story line for 6 books and keep the reader's interest. Jennifer Estep did a great job of that while we all waited with anticipation for the next book to see what happened next.

One of the best things about the Mythos Academy series was the growth of the characters as they tackled not only the fight against the Reapers of Chaos but also as they fought their own demons. In Killer Frost we learn so much more about Gwen Frost and we are introduced to new characters that I would not mind seeing in a novella or two in the future. But, one of the best things about this book is getting to see the culmination of Gwen and Logan's story and I was quite happy with it.

This story has the gang visiting another school that has students like those at the Mythos Academy with different strengths and skills and what is great is the development of Gwen's relationship with them. We also get to learn more about Gwen's family outside of what happened to her mom. This part of the book in my opinion is what makes the final book stand out and though there is a tough fight and everything might not have happened the way I would have liked Killer Frost has a great ending and all I could think when closing the book was, Satisfying!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Raphael (Vampires in America, #1)Raphael by D.B. Reynolds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read and re-read Raphael so many times I cannot count them. It is my favorite in the series because we are introduced to Cyn and Raphael. Then the new covers came out and they are lovely! I have to say in a world where vampire books abound and I have shied away from the sub-genre with the exception of a few series that I am dedicated to, the Vampires in America series is one of those series. One of those things I love about this series it is "old-school" vampires with very cool powers and very old-fashioned values that I didn't really realize I was missing until this series.

Raphael hires Cyn to investigate a problem he is having. Someone has kidnapped one of his vampires and he needs investigative help finding her. He doesn't need help getting the female back because, hey, he's Raphael, Vampire Lord and a series kick-butt character.

We are introduced to some great characters in this book, including Raphael's chief of security, Duncan who tends to have the most contact with Cyn. Things get harry and the kidnappers push back and Cyn and Raphael have to kick up their game if they are going to get the vampire back and take care of the kidnappers. This story has a big twist and I loved it and will re-read it again.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Some Like it RoyalSome Like it Royal by Heather Long
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book as an eArc from Netgalley and I really enjoyed it. It was quirky and fun and drew the reader in from the start. It is always great to see a techie meet someone and have him get the girl. This story has a great set up where the techie, Daniel Voldakov, who is a self-made billionaire that needs a bit of help breaking into the market in the EU due to the proclivity of companies over there only selecting vendors where the owner/officers have pedigrees. You're a prince or related to one, sure we'll consider you as a vendor. Daniel comes up with an idea where he finds an unknown royal in the U.S. that is linked to the EU and has pedigree. Will marrying her help him break into the tech world in the EU? It looks that way. Of course, he can't even give a demo so they can see how great his product is so he has to take extreme measures. He sets up a meeting with Alyx Dagmar in the greatest way which I will not divulge because it is one of the best scenes in the book. He gets Alyx to agree to come aboard as an employee and explains what he is trying to do and if things go well maybe they may both get more out of it. I did have one thing I would like to know that the book does not address. Why was the maid so upset? I can guess but it would have been nice if the story told me just in case there was something else there. Either way, great story!

London Prep by Jillian Dodd My rating: 5 of 5 stars What a great adventure! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book...