Monday, June 18, 2018

EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN by Jessica Redmerski



Title: EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN
Author: Jessica Redmerski
Pub. Date: August 28, 2017
Publisher: Jessica Redmerski
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 656
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonTBD

Thais Fenwick was eleven-years-old when civilization fell, devastated by a virus that killed off the majority of the world’s population. For seven years, Thais and her family lived in a community of survivors deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. But when her town is attacked by raiders, she and her blind sister are taken away to the East-Central Territory where she is destined to live the cruel and unjust kind of life her late mother warned her about. 

Atticus Hunt is a troubled soldier in Lexington City who has spent the past seven years trying to conform to the vicious nature of men in a post-apocalyptic society. He knows that in order to survive, he must abandon his morals and his conscience and become like those he is surrounded by. But when he meets Thais, morals and conscience win out over conformity, and he risks his rank and his life to help her. They escape the city and set out together on a long and perilous journey to find safety in Shreveport, Louisiana. 

Struggling to survive in a world without electricity, food, shelter, and clean water, Atticus and Thais shed their fear of growing too close, and they fall hopelessly in love. But can love survive in such dark times, or is it fated to die with them?


About Jessica:
J.A. (Jessica) Redmerski is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, international bestseller, and award winner, who juggles several different genres. She began self-publishing in 2012, and later with the success of THE EDGE OF NEVER, signed on with Grand Central Publishing/Forever Romance. Her works have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Jessica is a hybrid author who, in addition to working with a traditional publisher, also continues to self-publish. Her popular crime and suspense series, In the Company of Killers, has been optioned for television and film by actor and model William Levy.

Website | Twitter | Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads


Excerpt:


 “IT WASN’T SUPPOSED TO BE THIS WAY.”

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I was supposed to travel with him until he got me out of Lexington City and then I was to make a run for it, kill him if I had to—but I didn’t. I was supposed to stay with these people and leave Atticus to do what he wanted, go where he wanted, without me—but I couldn’t. I was supposed to be afraid of him not only because of the terrible man he was when I first laid eyes on him, but also because he was a man—but I wasn’t. I wasn’t afraid of him.
I was afraid for him.
I was afraid of being without him…
“Thais?”
I looked up; my bottom lip quivered.
“I will wait for you,” I said, trying to be strong. I wiped my tears, swallowed hard and nodded.
Atticus dashed outside, pushing the barn door out of his way. Seconds later he came back with the horse. He tossed the quilt we’d slept on the night in the barn, over the horse’s back. Then he went over to the backpacks, stepping around Rachel’s unconscious body, and shoved everything back inside. He helped my arms into the straps of the larger backpack.
Fitting his hands on my hips, Atticus hoisted me up and set me on the horse; I grabbed a hold of the horse’s reins.
“Stay out of sight of the house,” he said as he fitted the smaller backpack and his jacket between my legs. “And cut through the woods there”—he pointed toward the back of the barn—“that’s west; just keep as straight as you can in that direction, but don’t leave the woods.”
I nodded.
He walked with me outside the barn, stopped to look out at the flat land beyond the highway where those who were coming for us would likely be, and then led me around the barn. The deep woods beckoned me out ahead; I couldn’t help but feel intimidated by them, as if they were some kind of final leg of our journey—or the beginning of my journey alone.
Steadying my breath, I looked down at Atticus once more, transfixed on his intense blue eyes, the sculpted shape and rough texture of his handsome face, and I couldn’t imagine at this point never seeing it again.
“I’ll come for you,” he promised.
Tearing my gaze from his, I faced forward and tightened my grip of the reins.

Giveaway Details:
5 winners will receive signed paperbacks of EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN with bookmarks and post cards (United States and Canada only).

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Tour Schedule:
Week One:
6/1/2018- Here's to Happy EndingsReview

Week Two:
6/4/2018- Savings in SecondsReview
6/5/2018- Peaceful OblivionReview
6/6/2018- BookhoundsInterview
6/7/2018- Two Chicks on BooksExcerpt
6/8/2018- Vylithylia ReadsReview

Week Three:
6/11/2018- A Dream Within A DreamReview
6/12/2018- paseandoamissculturaReview
6/13/2018- Simply Daniel RadcliffeReview
6/14/2018- Rainy Day ReviewsGuest Post
6/15/2018- Perspective of a WriterReview

Week Four:
6/18/2018- Fall Into BooksExcerpt
6/19/2018- Infinite Lives, Infinite Stories - Review
6/20/2018- HauntedbybooksReview
6/21/2018- Literary ChaosSpotlight
6/22/2018- BITTERSWEET ENCHANTMENTExcerpt

Week Five:
6/25/2018- Dani Reviews ThingsReview
6/26/2018- Sincerely Karen JoReview
6/27/2018- Book-KeepingReview
6/28/2018- Ziggy's Reading Corner- Excerpt
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6/29/2018- The Desert BibliophileReview

Thursday, June 14, 2018

EVERLIFE by Gena Showalter

Grade: A-
Synopsis:
STAND TOGETHER OR FALL ALONE.

THE FATE OF THE EVERLIFE HANGS IN THE BALANCE.

At seventeen years old, Tenley “Ten” Lockwood had to make the ultimate choice—where to live after she died. Loyalty to her selected realm has not wavered…until now. She is out of time. Sacrifices must be made, and a terrible price must be paid. But is she too late? 

As the Everlife descends into darkness, a single truth becomes clear: Troika and Myriad must unite—or perish. In order to bring sworn enemies together, Ten must enter forbidden territory…and destroy the powerful Prince of Ravens. But there’s only one way inside—bonding with Killian Flynn, a deadly rival who sets her blood aflame.

When nothing goes as planned and betrayal leads to the edge of utter defeat, Ten and Killian will have to rebuild trust from the ashes of their hearts. Victory seems impossible, the odds stacked against them. In the end, how far will they be willing to go for the sake of their realms and the Everlife?


My thoughts on the book:
Everlife is a very uplifting conclusion to the series. The characters all grow in this last installment and become who they were meant to be. The novel is an action-packed rollercoaster from start to finish, and the writing is well done. There were still some things I didn't like about the book, and the series, but overall, I really enjoyed this novel. 

Ten, our leading lady, switches between mature, capable, and strong to annoying. I really didn't like her number obsession and recitations that she kept doing, but at least there were fewer of those in this novel than the previous one. For the most part, she was a strong and selfless character, and I enjoyed watching her grow. Killian disappointed me some in this book, but he disappointed himself, so I guess I can forgive him. None of the other characters really stood out to me, aside from Biscuit. I effing loved Biscuit. The guardian animals were my favorite addition to the storyline. 

The story itself had some moments where I couldn't achieve willing suspension of disbelief. They were just too far-fetched. For the most part, though, the story and the world were believable. The pacing was a little slow, and there were some over descriptions, but things moved relatively smoothly. The action was pretty much nonstop, so that kept me engaged. It was tragedy after tragedy after tragedy for poor Ten. The ending was bittersweet. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book and series to people who are looking for a squeaky clean YA read filled with mythology and fantasy and that discusses important topics such as free will and morality. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

ONYX AND IVORY by Mindee Arnett

Rating: B+
Synopsis:
They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.

The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.


My thoughts on the book:
Onyx and Ivory was a compelling fantasy adventure. I really enjoyed the world that Arnett created and the characters who inhabited it. The writing and world-building were very well done, and the characters were interesting and realistic. This is a wonderful addition to the fantasy genre. 

I felt like the main characters were well-developed and decently easy to relate to. I've recently lost my father, so I understood the grief that Kate was going through, even though she'd had a few years to process it. I know in her position, I'd want to know why he did what he did, too. I also liked that she was a strong character and made her own way. She wasn't completely ridiculous with the decisions she made, though some of them weren't brilliant, but she was only 19, so she still had a lot to learn (her age is why I classified this as new adult instead of YA). Corwin wasn't swoon-worthy in my opinion, but he was a good match for Kate. They complemented each other well. I wasn't a fan of Dal and Signe, or their relationship (it was just too convenient), and I felt that the other secondary characters could have been better developed. 

I thought that Arnett's writing was superb. The alternating perspectives, told from a third person's POV, which allowed for free, indirect discourse, was nicely done. I could always tell whose chapter it was from their "voices," even in third person. That's hard to accomplish. Some of the descriptions were a bit overdone, and the drakes' descriptions were not clear enough, but overall, I had a good what kind of world the characters inhabited, as well as the rules of that world. The pacing was a bit slow to begin with, but for the most part, the pages flew by. The ending tied things up nicely and set the stage for a sequel. Thankfully there were no cliffhangers.

Overall, I'd recommend this novel for people who enjoy high fantasy books, such as Orphan Queen, The Red Queen, and An Ember in the Ashes. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

BONE DRIVEN by Hailey Edwards

Rating: A+
Release Date: May 31, 2018
Synopsis:
The bayou is burning, the battle is just beginning - and Luce Boudreau is smack in the middle of no-man's land . . .
Life as a cop in Canton Town, Mississippi, is never dull - particularly when hiding deep within you is a demon bent on the apocalypse. Luce is doing her best to pretend her two worlds aren't crashing into each other, but what should be a routine arson investigation takes a shocking turn when Luce discovers a link between the suspects and her own dark secrets. There's no turning back, even though her search for the truth threatens to burn her old life down around her.
Lines are being drawn in a war Luce barely understands, and she just might be on the wrong side of them. Now she must embrace her powerful destiny, or the ones she loves most will pay the ultimate price.
My thoughts on the book:
I absolutely love Hailey Edwards. I have ever since I read Everlong back in 2010. Her novels are steamy and sexy, but they also have heart. Her characters are real, and they are funny and heartbreaking and flawed and wonderful. The plots will always keep you on the edge of your seat, and the writing is wonderful. Bone Driven is no exception to this. I stayed up half the night reading this novel because I had to see what happened to Luce next. Edwards writes novels with heart, and that is so hard to come by, especially in the paranormal romance genre. 
Edwards excels in making you care about her characters. Luce may be a demon and she may be one of the four horsewomen of the apocalypse, more or less, but she is also so human. She's someone that anyone could relate to. She's such a strong character. She doesn't need any men to save her. I love how she makes the tough decisions, but they chip away at her soul, like they would anyone else's. The author does a terrific job of showing the inner struggle that Luce is feeling every second of her existence, and that's absolutely beautiful. Luce's coterie is also amazing. My favorite member is Thom, but that's because he shifts into a black Manx or bobtail, (or nubbin cat, as I call mine) and I have a black Manx, and it just made me picture my little Finnegan every time Thom shifted. All of the coterie members are extremely complicated, and their complex and evolving relationship with Luce is interesting to watch. Luce shows how a bit of kindness can soften even the harshest of "monsters." 
The plot of this book is mysterious and thrilling, and at some points, heartbreaking. I could not put this novel down. The book is fast-paced, and Luce doesn't get a moment of peace in the entire thing. I was white knuckling my Kindle for the majority of this novel. It was one hell of a rollercoaster ride. The writing is wonderful. Edwards has a very strong voice, and I love how she explains things. There are moments of hilarity, and I found myself laughing out loud a few times while reading (which always alarms the cats). The world-building is done perfectly. I feel like I have a good grasp on the mythology of this universe that Edwards created. The mythology has some unique twists to it that I really enjoyed. It's not your typical angels/demons/good/evil/end of the world/save the world type of story. There are layers to it (and to the world itself), and it's fascinating. I absolutely can't wait until the third book. 
Overall, I'd recommend this book and series to anyone who is looking for a paranormal romance that has a lot of heart, some serious sexual tension, real and fully-developed characters, and a unique mythology. I think this is my favorite series that Edwards has written, and that says a lot. Do yourself a favor and give these books a try. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

EVERY LAST BREATH by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Rating: A-
Synopsis:
Some loves will last ’til your dying breath

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.

Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.

Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…


My thoughts on the book:
Clearly I'm in a JLA mood lately, since this is the second book of hers that I read in a row. Every Last Breath did not disappoint. On the surface, this novel is a YA paranormal romance, but it has so much more going on than that. There is a lot of mythology, philosophy, and ethics thrown in there. It really makes you think. Also, JLA's writing is flawless. She made me both laugh and cry with this novel, and I needed both forms of catharsis very badly. The romance in this book is more cute than steamy, since it's a YA novel, but it's by no means G rated. The characters are wonderful, as usual, and the plot is engaging. My only problem with this book is the love triangle. I hate love triangles.

Layla grew up a lot in this book, and I appreciated that. She handled most things like an adult, and she really made some tough decisions. My heart broke for her several times because of all of the stuff she was going through, but she emerged from each battle stronger. That's always inspiring to me when characters do that. It gives me hope that I, too, can overcome my obstacles and emerge stronger than before. Roth was Roth, and I loved him as always. The familiars were fantastic, and I really felt like I got to see another side of Cayman in this novel. Zayne was Zayne, and I didn't like him that much still. He was a good guy, but not for me. 

The romance was adorable and sweet and somewhat steamy... It was pretty damn steamy for a YA novel. The writing was wonderful, and there was actually one quote that made me laugh until I cried: "He’s as old as time and has the temperament of someone who shit the bed and has been rolling around in it all day.” Cayman said that, and I laughed for at least 15-20 minutes before I could collect myself. My cats thought I'd lost my mind. There were also some heartbreaking moments that had me in tears because I was so sad for the characters. I love novels that can make me feel what the characters are feeling, and this one definitely did that. 

The action was nonstop, and this was a fast-paced book. Every time I thought the characters would get a break, something else was thrown at them. I mean I thought my life was a shit show, but Layla had me beat by a long shot in this novel... and at least my problems are mine and don't affect the entire world. 


Overall, I'd recommend this book and series to anyone who loves mythology, loves books that make you think, and loves books that make you feel. Armentrout did not disappoint with this trilogy's ending. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

MOONLIGHT SEDUCTION by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Rating: A+
Release date: June 26, 2018
Synopsis:
The de Vincent brothers are back—and so is the intrigue that surrounds them—in New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout’s sizzling new novel...

Nicolette Bresson never thought she’d return to the de Vincents’ bayou compound. It’s where her parents work, where Nikki grew up... and where she got her heart broken by Gabriel de Vincent himself. Yet here she is, filling in for her sick mother. Avoiding Gabe should be easy, especially when so much of Nikki’s time is spent trying not to be stabbed in the back by the malicious hangers-on who frequent the mansion. But escaping memories of Gabe, much less his smoking-hot presence, is harder than expected—especially since he seems determined to be in Nikki’s space as much as possible.

Gabriel spent years beating himself up over his last encounter with Nikki. He’d wanted her then, but for reasons that were bad for both of them. Things have now changed. Gabe sees more than a girl he’s known forever; he sees a smart, talented, and heartbreakingly beautiful woman... one who’s being stalked from the shadows. Now, Gabe will do anything to keep Nikki safe—and to stop the de Vincent curse from striking again.


My thoughts on the book:
I absolutely LOVE Jennifer L. Armentrout. Words cannot express how much I love JLA and her writing. I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing her at BEA 2016, and she is a lovely person and a phenomenal author. No one can write romance like she can. Her characters are always realistic, and her pacing and plotting are just amazing. Moonlight Seduction is a beautiful, touching, and steamy romance. If you want a book that you can't put down with a strong female lead and a swoon-worthy bad boy, then this novel is for you. 

Nikki is one of my favorite female characters of all time. I'm a "helper," and an animal lover, and a bleeding heart, more or less, and it is so hard not to be a doormat. Then I feel bad because I refuse to be a doormat, but I just let myself feel guilty because it's better than being walked on. ANYWAY, because of this, I absolutely loved her character. She is a person who cares about the world around her, and she grows into someone who will protect herself, no matter what, and I had an immense amount of respect for her. I wish she was real so we could be friends. I'd also like my own Gabe, please. Yes, he's dark and somewhat broody and makes stupid mistakes, but he's good deep down, and he really does a lot for those he cares about. Seeing things from his perspective and Nikki's perspective really made me feel a connection to both of them. I also wish he was real, and would clone himself. I wouldn't steal him from Nikki because they are just beautiful together, so cloning it is. 

The plot made me not want to put this book down. Watching the characters grow and interact while also wondering who the worst of the bad guys were (let's face it, there are a lot of bad guys in these novels haha) made this book hard to put down. The pacing is spot on, and nothing feels rushed or too slow. Everything unraveled at the perfect time. There was one thing I didn't see coming, though I had the "bad guys" figured out, and it shocked me. The romance was super hot and steamy. There was nothing PG13 about this book, that's for sure. The writing was fantastic, of course. 

Overall, this is a fantastic, and hot, summer read. Give this book (and series) a try, if you haven't already. You won't be sorry. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

LIFEBLOOD by Gena Showalter

Rating: C
Synopsis:
My Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is only now beginning.

With her last living breath, Tenley "Ten" Lockwood made her choice and picked her realm in the Everlife. Now, as the war between Troika and Myriad rages, she must face the consequences. 

Because Ten possesses a rare supernatural ability to absorb and share light, the Powers That Be have the highest expectations for her future—and the enemy wants her neutralized. Fighting to save her Secondlife, she must learn about her realm from the ground up while launching her first mission: convincing a select group of humans to join her side before they die. No pressure, right? 

But Ten's competition is Killian, the boy she can't forget—the one who gave up everything for her happiness. He has only one shot at redemption: beating Ten at a game she's never even played. As their throw-downs heat up, so do their undeniable feelings, and soon, Ten will have to make another choice. Love…or victory.


My thoughts on the book:
Lifeblood fell a little short for me. I usually love Gena Showalter's novels, and while this was a good story, it just dragged on a bit, in my opinion. The characters weren't as engaging and the world-building wasn't descriptive enough. The plot itself was fine, and that's the only thing that kept me reading. 

Ten's incessant counting got on my nerves. I felt like I had ADD or something because SHE couldn't focus on anything. It distracted from the story and made me skim a lot. The other characters didn't really stand out much. I mean Killian did, but the "ye's" and things like that got on my nerves. Irish accents can be talked about and don't have to be demonstrated. Authors trying to imitate accents when they're writing is a pet peeve of mine. I can't help it. Additionally, I just think the book would have been a lot shorter and more engaging if Ten hadn't counted at least 5 times in every paragraph. 

Another issue I had was that the world-building wasn't done as well as it could have been. I found the whole concept to be confusing. Some of this could be because I started skimming every time Ten started counting, but I just really don't understand how things work still. I had a better understanding by the end of the book, but I still wasn't comfortable with my knowledge of the two realms. Aside from my complaints, the story was well plotted, and I did enjoy the story itself. I am looking forward to reading the last book in the series, just to see what happens next. Also, I like the philosophical bent that these novels have; it makes the reader think, which is always a good thing. 

Overall, I'd recommend this novel to people who like quirky characters and books that pose philosophical questions. If you get annoyed easily by quirks, you may not enjoy this series as much as Showalter's other books, so I'd recommend checking it out from the library first.