Thursday, July 2, 2015

Audiobook Review: Rise & Fall

Rise & Fall (THIRDS, #4)Author: Charlie Cochet
Series: THIRDS, #4
Released: May 28th 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon
         Dreamspinner Press

After an attack by the Coalition leaves THIRDS Team Leader Sloane Brodie critically injured, agent Dexter J. Daley swears to make Beck Hogan pay for what he’s done. But Dex’s plans for retribution are short-lived. With Ash still on leave with his own injuries, Sloane in the hospital, and Destructive Delta in the Coalition’s crosshairs, Lieutenant Sparks isn’t taking any chances. Dex’s team is pulled from the case, with the investigation handed to Team Leader Sebastian Hobbs. Dex refuses to stand by while another team goes after Hogan, and decides to put his old HPF detective skills to work to find Hogan before Theta Destructive, no matter the cost. 
With a lengthy and painful recovery ahead of him, the last thing Sloane needs is his partner out scouring the city, especially when the lies—however well intentioned—begin to spiral out of control. Sloane is all too familiar with the desire to retaliate, but some things are more important, like the man who’s pledged to stand beside him. As Dex starts down a dark path, it’s up to Sloane to show him what’s at stake, and finally put a name to what’s in his heart. 

A quick note: This was supposed to be an LGBT Monday review, but the first thing you need to know about THIRDS agent Dexter J. Daley is that he lives to bend the rules. He never does what he’s told, so I knew better than to schedule this post on a day that would actually make sense. That’s Dex for you: loving, unruly, and hilarious.

In Dex’s world, being gay is perfectly normal and accepted, but the two co-existing species, humans and therians, are constantly at war. Humans fear the shapeshifting Therians, and Therians resent being forced to register and get tattoos on their necks. The conflict is always brewing and acts of terrorism from both sides are far too common. Enter Therian-Human Intelligence, Recon, Defense Squadron, also known as the THIRDS, whose only mission is to keep the peace between the two races.

Monday, June 29, 2015

LGBT Monday: The Deep of the Sound

The Deep of the Sound (Bluewater Bay, #8)Author: Amy Lane
Series: Bluewater Bay, #8
Released: June 15th 2015
Publisher: Riptide
Length: 309 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

Cal McCorkle has lived in Bluewater Bay his whole life. He works two jobs to support a brother with a laundry list of psychiatric diagnoses and a great uncle with Alzheimer’s, and his personal life amounts to impersonal hookups with his boss. He’s got no time, no ambition, and no hope. All he has is family, and they’re killing him one responsibility at a time.
Avery Kennedy left Los Angeles, his family, and his sleazy boyfriend to attend a Wolf’s Landing convention, and he has no plans to return. But when he finds himself broke and car-less in Bluewater Bay, he’s worried he’ll have to slink home with his tail between his legs. Then Cal McCorkle rides to his rescue, and his urge to run away dies a quick death.
Avery may seem helpless at first, but he can charm Cal’s fractious brother, so Cal can pretty much forgive him anything. Even being adorkable. And giving him hope. But Cal can only promise Avery “until we can’t”—and the cost of changing that to “until forever” might be too high, however much they both want it.

Bluewater Bay is a series published by Riptide Publishing as a collaborative effort of ten of their most prominent authors. Each author wrote (or will soon write) a single independent novel, but they are all set in the small town of Bluewater Bay where an insanely popular paranormal TV series called Wolf’s Landing is being filmed. Although this book counts as the eighth in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone since it has all new characters and situations and the only thing it shares with the others is the setting.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Middle Grade Recommendations

Hello, nocturnal readers!

Believe it or not, I've been known to recommend a book or two right here on this blog, but this time I'm the one asking for recommendations from trusted readers and friends. *gasp*  My daughter Nika, who turned 8 in March, is a pretty advanced reader in her first language (which is Croatian). She reads well above her grade level and she really loves books, which warms my little heart. 

Just recently, I challenged her to start reading in English, and let me tell you, she may take after her fatherin most other things, but she's her mama's daughter in that she never backs down from a challenge. But we're picky readers, she and I, and now we're looking for recommendations and ideas. 

I've been reading to her in both languages from day one, but the first book she finished in English all on her own was Sideways Stories from Wayside School, which was a gift from my wonderful friend Flannery. She absolutely adored it, and the format (very short connected stories) made it easier for her to follow in a foreign language. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review: Wicked Charms

Wicked Charms (Lizzy & Diesel, #3)Author: Janet Evanovich
Series: Lizzy & Diesel, #3
Released: June 23rd 2015
Publisher: Bantam
Length: 320 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

Lizzy and Diesel return once again in an all-new adventure in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Janet Evanovich and her co-author, Phoef Sutton!
Murdered and mummified more than ninety years ago, bootlegger Collier “Peg Leg” Dazzle once found and re-hid a famous pirate’s treasure somewhere along the coast of New England. A vast collection of gold and silver coins and precious gems, the bounty also contains the Stone of Avarice — the very item reluctant treasure seeker, Lizzy Tucker, and her partner, Diesel, have been enlisted to find. While Lizzy would just like to live a quiet, semi-normal life, Diesel is all about the hunt. And this hunt is going to require a genuine treasure map and a ship worthy of sailing the seven seas . . . or at least getting them from Salem Harbor to Maine.
Greed is eternal and insatiable, and Lizzy and Diesel aren’t the only ones searching for the lost pirate’s chest. There are people who have dedicated their entire lives to finding it, and are willing to commit murder or make a deal with the devil, just to hold the fortune in their hands. One of those people may even be Wulf, Diesel’s deceptively charming and enigmatic cousin. Wulf desires the Stone of Avarice. He also desires Lizzy. It’s hard to say how far he’s willing to go to gain either one.
It’s a swashbuckling adventure full of raiders, monkeys, minions, and mayhem. Lizzy and Diesel are going to have to do everything they can to keep their heads above water and hope they are living a charmed life.


Could I leave just that in lieu of my review? Because in this unique case, it might just be enough. Ridiculous. And sort of wonderful, but that goes without saying – after all, we’re dealing with Janet Evanovich, the uncrowned queen of wicked humor and unresolved sexual tension.

Monday, June 22, 2015

LGBT Monday Minis: Thrown a Curve and The Right Time

Thrown a Curve (The Rainbow League, #2)Author: Kate McMurray
Series: Rainbow League, #2
Released: June 19th 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Length: 210 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon
         Dreamspinner Press

Mason made headlines when, after his professional baseball career was sidelined by an injury, he very publicly came out of the closet. Now he’s scratching the baseball itch playing in the Rainbow League while making his way through New York’s population of beefcakes, even though they all come up short. Plus, he’s still thinking about last summer’s encounter with hot, effeminate, pierced and tattooed Patrick—pretty much the opposite of the sort of man he has long pictured himself with.
Patrick hasn’t been able to forget Mason either, and now that baseball season is back upon them, he’s determined to have him again. Mason is unlike any man Patrick has ever been with before, and not just because he’s an ex-Yankee. All Patrick has to do is convince a reluctant Mason that their one night wasn’t just a crazy fluke and that they could be great together…if only Mason could get past his old hang-ups and his intolerant family.

Kate McMurray returns to the world of baseball in her new series about the players of Rainbow League, an LGBT baseball league in NewYork. I enjoyed several of her previous works, including Out in the Field and The Stars That Tremble, and while Thrown a Curve wasn’t quite up to par, it still showed her considerable experience and heart.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

What I Love About Darynda Jones' Books Is...

Welcome to Darynda Jones week, organized by Piatkus! Really, if there's an author out there who deserves a whole week dedicated to them, it's definitely our Darynda. So when I was offered a chance to share with you my endless love for Darynda and everything she writes, I happily accepted, even though I've been doing precisely that for years already. 

My job today was to list all the things I love about Darynda’s books, but it turned out to be a very difficult task. There are simply too many characters, too many quotes and situations, so much enjoyment and uncontrolled laughter… trying to put it all into a limited number of words proved to be next to impossible. 

It’s no secret that Darynda Jones is one of my favorite authors. She makes me laugh, she makes me swoon, and she occasionally makes me bite my nails while pacing furiously around my living room. In other words, she’s part sadist, part romantic soul and two parts class clown. What’s not to like?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Review: Tangled Webs

Tangled Webs (Tangled Webs, #1)Author: Lee Bross
Series: Tangled Webs, #1
Released: June 23rd 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Length: 400 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

London, 1725. Everybody has a secret. Lady A will keep yours—for a price. This sumptuous, scandalous YA novel is wickedly addictive.
Lady A is the most notorious blackmailer in the city. With just a mask and a gown to disguise her, she sweeps into lavish balls and exclusive events collecting the most valuable currency in 1725 London—secrets.
But leading a double life isn't easy. By day Lady A is just a sixteen-year-old girl named Arista who lives in fear of her abusive master, Bones, and passes herself off as a boy to move safely through the squalor of London's slums. When Bones attempts to dispose of his pawn forever, Arista is rescued by the last person she expects: Jonathan Wild, the infamous Thief Taker General who moves seamlessly between the city's criminal underworld and its most elite upper circles. Arista partners with Wild on her own terms in the hopes of saving enough money to buy passage out of London.
Everything changes when she meets Graeden Sinclair, the son of a wealthy merchant. Grae has traveled the world, has seen the exotic lands Arista has longed to escape to her whole life, and he loves Arista for who she is—not for what she can do for him. Being with Grae gives something Arista something precious that she swore off long ago: hope. He has promised to help Arista escape the life of crime that has claimed her since she was a child. But can you ever truly escape the past?

Beautiful exteriors often hide the nastiest things, in life and literature alike. We learn that lesson very early in life, and we readers quickly learn to be wary of gorgeous covers. But the wariness can make us miss out, and Tangled Webs has a lot more to offer than just the pretty swirls and colors on its dust jacket.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Review: Revolution

Revolution (Replica, #3)Author: Jenna Black
Series: Replica, #3
Released: November 11th 2014
Publisher: Tor Teen
Length: 400 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

Nadia Lake and Nate Hayes find themselves at the center of a horrifying conspiracy in this action-packed finale of Jenna Black’s SF romance series that began with Replica
From the author of the Faeriewalker series comes the stunning conclusion to the young adult science fiction thriller series that began with Replica and continued in Resistance.
At the conclusion of Resistance, Nadia Lake and the Replica of her best friend, Nate Hayes, found themselves at the center of a horrifying conspiracy. Framed for murder and wanted by the government, they have no choice but to go underground and seek refuge in the dangerous, gang-ridden slums of the Basement. 
Jenna Black brings readers an action-packed final installment that will have them racing to the finish. 

Saying goodbye to dear characters is never easy, but when they’ve been through hell and back in the time you’ve spent with them, it’s even harder to let them go. My time with Nadia, Nate, Bishop, Agnes and Dante was exciting and wonderful, and I'll gladly join them again if Jenna Black ever decides to revisit them.

Monday, June 15, 2015

LGBT Monday: Murder and Mayhem

Murder and Mayhem (Murder and Mayhem, #1)Author: Rhys Ford
Series: Murder and Mayhem
Released: June 5th 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Length: 236 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Dreamspinner Press

Dead women tell no tales.
Former cat burglar Rook Stevens stole many a priceless thing in the past, but he’s never been accused of taking a life—until now. It was one thing to find a former associate inside Potter’s Field, his pop culture memorabilia shop, but quite another to stumble across her dead body.
Detective Dante Montoya thought he’d never see Rook Stevens again—not after his former partner’d falsified evidence to entrap the jewelry thief and Stevens walked off scot-free. So when he tackled a fleeing murder suspect, Dante was shocked to discover the blood-covered man was none other than the thief he’d fought to put in prison and who still made his blood sing. 
Rook is determined to shake loose the murder charge against him, even if it means putting distance between him and the rugged Cuban-Mexican detective who brought him down. If one dead con artist wasn’t bad enough, others soon follow, and as the bodies pile up around Rook’s feet, he’s forced to reach out to the last man he’d expect to believe in his innocence—and the only man who’s ever gotten under Rook’s skin. 

There’s a strange comfort in starting a book and knowing full well you’re going to love it, but not many authors can provide it. For me, Rhys Ford is one of those authors, proven by the fact that I just finished her 9th book, and enjoyed every single one of them. My favorite thing about Rhys is that she always brings cultural diversity in her books, allowing me to learn about different languages, customs and even food. It was Korea and Japan in her Cole McGinnis series, and now she brings us a touch of Mexico and just a dash of Cuba, all mixed together in one Dante Montoya.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Review: The Stars Never Rise

The Stars Never RiseAuthor: Rachel Vincent
Series: Untitled, #1
Released: June 18th 2015
Publisher: Mira INK
Length: 384 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

There’s no turning back…
In the town of New Temperance, souls are in short supply and Nina should be worrying about protecting hers. Yet she’s too busy trying to keep her sister Mellie safe.
When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their existence, she’ll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal church.
To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a mysterious fugitive who has already saved her life once. Wanted by the church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she needs Finn and his group of rogue friends.
But what do they need from her in return?

A blend of futuristic dystopia and urban fantasy, The Stars Never Rise follows in the famous footsteps of Downside Ghosts and Kate Daniels, at least genre-wise. In her new series, as of yet untitled, Vincent takes us to a world of demon possessions and fallen governments, where souls are a hot commodity and terrified people are ruled by the Church’s iron fist.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Review: Delete

Delete (Shifter Series)Author: Kim Curran
Series: Shift, #3
Released: March 31st 2015
Publisher: Xist Publishing
Length: 352 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

The country is at war. Beset by enemies within and without. And all because of the decisions changed by one boy, Scott Tyler. In this ravaged alternative world, Scott hardly recognizes himself. He's a war hero, a leader of a unit of Shifters and maybe the only one who can prevent the country's frail defenses from crumbling.
But all Scott wants to do is find a way back to the reality he knew, without losing the girl he loves. With every Shift he makes, Scott edges closer towards oblivion. With no one to trust - not even himself - how much is he willing to risk to get home? 

Once upon a time, there was a lovely imprint called Strange Chemistry. It was small, but reliable, and it always published the very best titles. But these days, quality often isn’t enough, and overnight, Strange Chemistry simply stopped existing. Everything about this was a tragedy, but no one suffered as much damage as Kim Curran and several other authors whose books were set for release. Delete was meant to be out ages ago, but with the disappearance of its publisher, this wonderful conclusion to Curran’s Shift trilogy was pushed back until Kim decided what to do with it. Now it’s finally out and we can say goodbye to Scott and Aubrey.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Hit

HitAuthor: Delilah S. Dawson
Narrator: Rebekkah Ross
Series: The Hit, #1
Released: April 15th 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Length: 7 hrs and 55 mins
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Audible

The good news is that the USA is finally out of debt. The bad news is that we were bought out by Valor National Bank, and debtors are the new big game, thanks to a tricky little clause hidden deep in the fine print of a credit card application. Now, after a swift and silent takeover that leaves 9-1-1 calls going through to Valor voicemail, they’re unleashing a wave of anarchy across the country.
Patsy didn’t have much of a choice. When the suits showed up at her house threatening to kill her mother then and there for outstanding debt unless Patsy agreed to be an indentured assassin, what was she supposed to do? Let her own mother die?
Patsy is forced to take on a five-day mission to complete a hit list of ten names. Each name on Patsy's list has only three choices: pay the debt on the spot, agree to work as a bounty hunter, or die. And Patsy has to kill them personally, or else her mom takes a bullet of her own.
Since yarn bombing is the only rebellion in Patsy's past, she’s horrified and overwhelmed, especially as she realizes that most of the ten people on her list aren't strangers. Things get even more complicated when a moment of mercy lands her with a sidekick: a hot rich kid named Wyatt whose brother is the last name on Patsy's list. The two share an intense chemistry even as every tick of the clock draws them closer to an impossible choice.
Delilah S. Dawson offers an absorbing, frightening glimpse at a reality just steps away from ours—a taut, suspenseful thriller that absolutely mesmerizes from start to finish. 

Delilah S. Dawson is an author whose previous work I thoroughly enjoyed. Her adult paranormal romance series fought through my PNR allergies thanks to Ann Aguirre’s wholehearted recommendation, so when Delilah started writing in a genre I actually enjoy, I was over the moon. Her first YA book, Servants of the Storm, certainly had its problems, but it was delightfully creepy overall and I really enjoyed the tone. Hit is a very different book, with a very different dynamic, although no less spine-chilling.