Book List 2017, Reviews

Review: “Warcross” by Marie Lu

62Title: Warcross

Author: Marie Lu

Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Summary:

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

Review:

This book is like nothing I’ve ever read before, and I desperately want, but don’t want something like Warcross to exist in real life. It’s exciting, and intriguing but at the same time books like this have made me scared of computers and robots haha.

It is vibrantly described, and has a gritty, dark underbelly I appreciate, especially in a young adult novel. Warcross is an intriguing concept, and not so futuristic that it seems too hard to comprehend or picture.

Emika is a fun character, and extremely well written in my opinion, with stubbornness and determination in spades. She isn’t your normal YA protagonist which I appreciate, and she doesn’t let her judgment get clouded too much by her feelings.

Marie Lu has knocked it out of the park with this novel for me, giving me a series I can’t wait to read the next book in, and an ending that had me furrowing my brow and hugging the book wishing for more.

I wish I could explain how much I loved this book but I find that my words fail me. Just read it for yourself.

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Book List 2017, Reviews

Review: “A Cowboy to Keep” by Barbara Ankrum

61Title: A Cowboy to Keep

Author: Barbara Ankrum

Genre: Romance

Summary: On the run from her past, photographer Ali Thibeaux arrives undercover in Marietta to find her biological half-sister. Plan A: Meet Olivia, photograph her wedding, and disappear before endangering anyone. Plan B: All hell breaks loose.

Reclusive rancher Adam Wolfe’s only plan when he hires Ali to manage his dysfunctional household is to go on hiding from the world. But his scars don’t seem to matter to the beauty who unexpectedly turns his house into a home and heals the rift between him and the teen aged niece he’s taken in. Still, he suspects there’s more to Ali than meets the eye and he’s determined to uncover what she’s hiding from him before it’s too late.

Review: 

Ali is one tough cookie, and I like her. Plus I am big into photography so I have to admit that this novel may have caught my attention due to that. She is a fighter who thinks she’s a runner, and it makes her someone interesting to read about.

Adam is a character I can appreciate because he’s multifaceted and has some very real trauma to deal with that does extend to his niece, Carrie. He is one of those people who does the right thing no matter what, and sometimes at cost to himself.

Carrie is a great secondary character, who actually goes through the most development out of any of the characters in this book. The  thing I liked about her is she seems like a brat at first, until you realize why and then she becomes much easier to sympathize with.

The plot of this story is familiar, but it doesn’t seem too cliché. It is not slow burn, and does seem to be a rush to romance, but I am certainly not complaining as it was an enjoyable read with comfortable characters.

 

Received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

 

Book List 2017, Reviews

Review: “DJ Dangerfield” by Anyta Sunday

60Title: DJ Dangerfield

Author: Anyta Sunday

Genre: LGBTQIA+, Romance

Summary: “. . . and you’re listening to 91.3 FM.”

Justin knows three things for sure about DJ Dangerfield:

He has some questionable taste in music.
He always provokes Justin into ringing in.
And he might just be his favorite weekly distraction.

But who is this DJ Dangerfield in Real Life? And will Justin like him in the flesh as much as on the air?

Review:

I enjoyed this novella thoroughly, though I wouldn’t have minded a little bit more of a slow burn.

Justin is an interesting character, a little rough around the edges maybe? Without true knowledge of who he is as of yet, without giving too much away. He loves music in a way I can certainly identify with, and I enjoyed him.

This is cute, sweet and made me want to snuggle down in a blanket and read a little slower. But instead I devoured it. This book is a familiar-ish trope, especially for those who read fan fiction and I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Book List 2017

Review: “Scorpio Hates Virgo” by Anyta Sunday

59Title: Scorpio Hates Virgo

Author: Anyta Sunday

Genre: LGBTQIA+ Romance

Summary: This year is all about healing the heart, Scorpio. It’s time to leave negative attitudes and stoic facades at the door and let others see the real, more vulnerable you.

Percy Freedman is not grieving. Absolutely not, take that back at once. No, he’s entirely sure that selling his dead aunt’s home and leaving the neighbors he’s known for years is the sane thing to do. Who in their right mind would keep the house that smells like all the hugs he’ll never have again?

Nobody, that’s who.

Well, except his cul-de-sac neighbors. They all seem to think some paint and new furniture will clean the emotional slate. They all want him to stay.

Even his nemesis, Callaghan Glover. Especially his nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Lured into a game of Sherlock Gnomes, Percy finds himself hanging out with his neighbors more than might be considered healthy. Along with juggling new and surprising verbal grenades from Cal, and his burgeoning friendship with Gnomber9, Percy is starting to wonder if selling might have been the grief talking after all…

That’s right, Scorpio. With a little patience, heartbreak might be a thing of the past…

Review:

Anyta Sunday does it again, leaving me with a romance that had me flipping the pages so quickly that my poor Kobo kept freezing up. It just couldn’t keep up with my voracious appetite for more of this story and the nerdy, wonderful characters within it.

Percy is a character that is very identifiable to some, I believe. Afraid of the word home, and all the “trappings” that might come with it. Afraid of commitment, even though he does want his own happiness. Instead of trying to stick close to the one place he feels most comfortable, cared for and loved he seems to spend most of the book fighting against those feelings instead of treasuring them.

Callaghan amuses me for so many different reasons, including his verbosity. He is my kind of guy, with a word for every occasion, and a dictionary as a weapon. Sometimes almost literally. His love of dinosaurs is honestly what drew me to this book, as I’ve been obsessed since a child, and I want to own every single one of his t-shirts.

Their relationship is the type of slow burn I do love to read, and their quips and jibes at each other are truly amusing. Callaghan’s family honestly felt like spectators in the best possible way. Ellie and Marg have their own kind of heart, filling the pages they’re in with love, and amusement. It is the heart of this novel which burns brightest.

I can’t wait for the next Anyta Sunday book I can get my hands on, as she has truly made me fall in love with her writing.

** Received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. **

Book List 2017, Reviews

Review: “Rituals” by Kelley Armstrong

58

Title: Rituals

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Genre: Defying genres and taking names.

Summary:

Olivia Jones must make a choice. Caught between two rival supernatural forces, Liv was granted a brief period in which to make her decision. Now that time has run out. Whichever side she chooses, someone she loves will pay. Her lover, Ricky. Gabriel Walsh, the man she knows she cannot, must not love. Her parents, already trapped in prison.

And now there is a new, terrifying power rising – one that doesn’t distinguish between good and evil intentions. It feeds on chaos and destroys without mercy. Unless Liv acts fast, no one will survive. In this gripping thriller, international bestselling author Kelley Armstrong brings the Cainsville series to a powerful, richly rewarding climax. 

Review:

What should I say about this book? The last in a beloved series, whose characters I held close as though they were friends I wished to cherish.

This is a book that grasped me from the first word. It fulfilled my hopes for the three main characters, and yet it still left me wanting more. I am not one who wants to let go, and these stories and characters are going to be hard to let go of, even those I don’t like.

The plot was strong, twisting and turning, introducing new characters still, who I loved (some of them) and abhorred (one of them) which really is just the mark of good writing.

Liv, Gabriel and Ricky are each so different, but carry some similarities, and in this book you get to see what characteristics they’ve taken on from each other.

The thing that I think I appreciated most about this book is how there was humour imbued within it, even when bad things were happening it didn’t feel too dreadful and heavy.

I understand Kelley Armstrong will be writing more short fiction in Cainsville, which is good, because I don’t yet want to leave.

Book List 2017

Review: “Lost Souls” by Kelley Armstrong

lost souls

Title: Lost Souls

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Genre: Ghost story

Summary: 

The disappearing hitchhiker is one of the hoariest urban legends, and no one knows that better than Gabriel Walsh, a lawyer who grew up on folklore and myth. When author of books on the supernatural Patrick brings Gabriel a case of a hitchhiking woman in white who vanished on a country road after accepting a ride from a businessman, Gabriel knows the Cainsville elder is just trying to wheedle into his good graces. But Gabriel is a man in need of a mystery, one that will get him back into someone else’s good graces. His investigator, Olivia Taylor-Jones, has blown town supposedly on a simple vacation. But when she left there was a rift between them and…he misses her.

Gabriel is well aware the only thing Olivia loves more than a good mystery is a weird one, and this hitchhiker case more than fits the bill. As Gabriel digs into the story, he’s forced to face ghosts of his own and admit that the woman in white isn’t the only one who has lost her way.

Review:

I am a huge fan of urban myths and legends, I even did a speech on them in school. That is why this novella was awesome for me. So seriously awesome. Reason number two why this is awesome is because Gabriel might easily be one of my favourite characters in this, and I have a serious love/hate for Patrick.

This is from Gabriel’s point of view, which is interesting because there’s only really been few, fleeting moments where we get inside of his head, and I am certainly did appreciate the insight to this character.

This is a must for Cainsville fans.

 

Book List 2017

Review: “Betrayals” by Kelley Armstrong

betrayals

Title: Betrayals

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Genre: Magic, Mystery, Fantasy and defying genres

Summary:

When Olivia’s life exploded–after she found out she was not the adopted child of a privileged Chicago family but of a notorious pair of convicted serial killers–she found a refuge in the secluded but oddly welcoming town of Cainsville, Illinois. Working with Gabriel Walsh, a fiendishly successful criminal lawyer with links to the town, she discovered the truth about her parents’ crimes in an investigation that also revealed the darker forces at work in the place that had offered her a haven. As if that wasn’t enough, she also found out that she, Gabriel and her biker boyfriend Ricky were not caught in an ordinary sort of love triangle, but were hereditary actors in an ancient drama in which the elders of Cainsville and the mysterious Huntsmen who opposed them had a huge stake.

Now someone is killing street kids in the city, and the police have tied Ricky to the crimes. Setting out with Gabriel’s help to clear Ricky’s name, Olivia once again finds her own life at risk. Soon the three are tangled in a web of betrayals that threatens their uneasy equilibrium and is pushing them toward a hard choice: either they fulfill their destinies by trusting each other and staying true to their real bonds, or they succumb to the extraordinary forces trying to win an eternal war by tearing them apart.

Review

This book is a thing of beauty. It’s delicately woven plot and mystery pulled me right in and kept me turning the pages and absorbing the words as quickly as I possibly could. It is un-put-downable.

Olivia is stronger than I’ve ever seen her being in the books before, especially when it comes to her mother, and her father and her relationship with them.

Gabriel is softening, just slightly, and only for one person. I can’t really complain about that though. His character is still one of my favourite in the books.

Ricky remains steadfast, and his tale begins to unravel a little more in an interesting way.

The visions are still horrific, but so well written that I can see them in my mind’s eye as though they are right in front of me.

The world of the fae opens up more in this as well, and I’m glad to see it and found myself looking up stories and background for some of the things mentioned here, wanting to know more. Needing to know more.

 

Book List 2017, Reviews

Review: “The Orange Cat and Other Cainsville Tales” by Kelley Armstrong

orange cat.jpg

Title: The Orange Cat and other Cainsville Tales

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Genre: Mystery and Magic (Though really, defies all genre)

Review:

The Orange Cat

This may have been one of my favourite of the tales in this book. It gives us more insight into Gabriel as a professional before the beginning of the Cainsville series. It is almost like gothic satire, reminding me a bit of a classic horror tale with a satirical modern spin on it. It also shows why Gabriel is so open to the thought of magic, and something otherworldly, other than Rose’s powers to foretell the future.

Bad Publicity

God, does Patrick have an ego or what? I hate to say it but he is still one of my favourite characters even though I know he’s not the best guy in the fight. I actually really liked this story because it actually showed how his ego might be his downfall one day.

Lady of the Lake

This was an interesting story for me, skirting the edges of Cainsville, and taking place somewhere I’ve driven along here in Canada. I found it interesting, as Olivia and Ricky did to find out how different places, and cultures have many of the same fae tales but under different names.

The Lady of the Lake was a formidable opponent and the danger, despite this being an in between tale, felt quite real for these two.

The visions as always were a little horrific, and I did appreciate getting a little bit more of Ricky’s point of view on Olivia’s relationship with Gabriel. It only served to flesh out his character more.

 

Book List 2017, Reviews

Review: “Deceptions” by Kelley Armstrong

deceptions

Title: Deceptions

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Genre: Defies genres but magic and fae ahead

In the exciting new novel in bestselling author Kelley Armstrong’s compelling Cainsville series, Olivia realizes that she is at the heart of a tug-of-war between ancient forces–and that everyone around her risks becoming collateral damage. 

When Olivia’s life exploded–after she found out she was not the only child of a privileged Chicago family, but of a notorious pair of serial killers–she found a refuge in the oddly secluded but welcoming town of Cainsville, Illinois. Working with Gabriel Walsh, a precociously successful criminal lawyer with links to the town, she managed to partially clear her parents’ name in an investigation that also revealed darker forces at work in the town that had offered her a haven.

Fleeing Cainsville after she is almost killed, Olivia finds herself not only the target of the Cainsville elders and of the Huntsmen, but also of her ex-fiancé, James, who stalks her and even tries to have her kidnapped. All this as her feelings for Ricky deepen, and confusingly her feelings for Gabriel too.

Visions continue to haunt her: particularly a little blond girl in a green sundress who insists she has an important message for Olivia, and holds out in her palm a black stone and a white stone that swirl together to create a balance of light and dark. Death stalks them all, as Olivia desperately searches to understand whether ancient scripts are dictating the triangle that links her to Gabriel and Ricky, or whether she has the power to change the tragic outcome.

Continue reading “Review: “Deceptions” by Kelley Armstrong”

Book List 2017, Genre: Fantasy, Genre: Mystery, Reviews

Review: “Visions” by Kelley Armstrong

Visions

Title: Visions

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Genre: Defies all genre

Summary:

In the second book in bestselling author Kelley Armstrong’s exciting new Cainsville series, Olivia’s newly discovered power to read omens leads to the discovery of a gruesome crime with troubling connections to her hometown.

Omens, the first installment in Kelley Armstrong’s Cainsville series, introduced Olivia Taylor-Jones, daughter of notorious serial killers, and Gabriel Walsh, the self-serving, morally ambiguous lawyer who became her unlikely ally. Together, they chased down a devious killer and partially cleared her parents of their horrifying crimes.

Their success, however, is short lived. While Olivia takes refuge in the old, secluded town of Cainsville, Gabriel’s past mistakes come to light, creating a rift between them just when she needs his help the most.

Olivia finds a dead woman in her car, dressed to look like her, but the body vanishes before anyone else sees it. Olivia’s certain it’s another omen, a sign of impending danger.

But then she learns that a troubled young woman with a connection to Cainsville went missing just days earlier–the same woman Olivia found dead in her car. Someone has gone to great lengths to kill and leave this young woman as a warning. But why? And what role has Olivia’s new home played in this disturbing murder?

Olivia’s effort to uncover the truth places her in the crosshairs of old and powerful forces, forces that have their own agenda, and closely guarded secrets they don’t want revealed.

Continue reading “Review: “Visions” by Kelley Armstrong”