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Friday, September 30, 2016

#Book #Review: 5 out of 5 stars for The Recovery by Suzanne Young @suzanne_young @simonteen


TITLE: The Recovery
SERIES: The Program, #2.5
AUTHOR: Suzanne Young
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse
PUBLICATION DATE: February 24, 2015
FORMAT: Kindle
LENGTH: 50 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Science Fiction/Dystopia
Six months after the fall of The Program, ex-handler Michael Realm is struggling with his guilt. After all, he was instrumental in erasing the memories of several patients—including one he claimed to love. With a lifetime of regret stretched before him, Realm vows to set things right.

Along with his friend, James Murphy, Realm will track down those he’s hurt in an attempt to give them back their lives—starting with Dallas Stone. He’s not looking for forgiveness or redemption; he’s not a hero. But Realm hopes that with each recovered past, he’ll be able to reclaim a small bit of his own.
MY REVIEW:

This novella picks up where The Treatment leaves off, and it is all about the guy I love to hate: Michael Realm. Now I’m not so sure about that!

Realm is on a mission. He needs to right the wrongs that he did while in The Program. As an imbedded handler, he earned the trust of the “difficult” patients and betrayed them by feeding their secrets to the doctors to ensure that the right memories were targeted for removal. Now, he wants to return those stolen memories to the patients that he feels he wronged the most. As we saw at the end of The Treatment, he started with his old girlfriend, Dallas. James has not only forgiven Realm but has become his new bestie, and he accompanies him on this journey. The patients are surprised but happy to see their friend, Realm...that is, until he confesses how he betrayed them! Some of the patients are happy to have their memories back, and others can’t get past Realm’s deception.

This novella has totally changed my opinion of Michael Realm! It turns out that he does have a conscience after all. He is guilt-ridden and totally remorseful, and he really doesn't gain anything by confessing his dirty deeds. I loved this exchange between Realm and James:

"Is it worth it?" he asked James. "What I'm doing to them...is it worth it?"

"Yes," James said without hesitation. "You owe them the truth. And the more you give to them, the less you have to carry."

Well, that certainly is the truth! I like this new Realm! However, I am a bit sad with the direction of James' and Sloane's relationship. After everything they went through, it kind of sucks that Sloane will never love James like she used to. Maybe after she reads Realm's file, things will be different. I can hope, right?

MY RATING:

Thursday, September 29, 2016

#Audiobook #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for The Shadows by J.R. Ward @JRWard1 @PRHAudio

TITLE: The Shadows
SERIES: Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book #13
AUTHOR: J.R. Ward 
NARRATOR: Jim Frangione
PUBLISHER: Penguin Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: March 31, 2015
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 22 hrs and 8 mins 
GENRE: Romance/Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Two brothers bound by more than blood fight to change a brutal destiny in the heart-wrenching new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward.

Trez “Latimer” doesn’t really exist. And not just because the identity was created so that a Shadow could function in the underbelly of the human world. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the S’Hsibe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer in Caldwell, NY for years- all the while on the run from a destiny of sexual servitude. He’s never had anyone he could totally rely on... except for his brother, iAm.

iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing- and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Selena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around... but by then it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating.

Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice...

MY REVIEW:

This book was a very bittersweet addition to the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I had a few reservations about this one going in, because I wasn’t sure how much I was going to enjoy a book that centralized around Trez and iAm. We did not know much about the brothers, except that they were loyal to Rehvenge and Xhex. Of the two brothers, I preferred the quiet one, iAm. I wasn’t too crazy about Trez and his promiscuity.

In a nutshell, bad-boy Trez meets The Chosen Selena and falls for her. She’s too good for him, but he gets her anyway. Is he worthy of her? I struggled with this one!! I really wanted to swoon over their relationship, but I can’t help feeling that Selena would have made a better partner for iAm! A part of me feels that Trez was not 100% deserving of Selena and his “happily ever after,” so I am actually satisfied with where Ward went with their story. WARNING, SPOILER AHEAD: 




I loved learning more about The Shadows and their history, and with the Shadow Queen wanting to get her hands on Trez and get him back into the Shadow Territory to be mated to the princess. I am very happy that iAm gets the “happily ever after” that he so richly deserves! He has spent his lifetime putting Trez first, so it is nice to see him so happy and in love.


I was thrilled that Ward brought my favourite brother, Rhage, more into the forefront with this installment. He clearly is wrestling with his emotions. Is it just his guilt over being given a second chance with Mary while Trez loses his one true love, or is it something more? I guess time will tell.


Layla and Xcor are still on that see-saw, where they seem to be going in opposite directions. Now that Layla is actually expressing an interest in their relationship and taking it to the next level, Xcor is freaking out and pulling away and trying to get her out of his mind!


We are introduced to Abalone’s daughter, Paradise, who will be featured in the first installment of the spin-off BDB series, Black Dagger Legacy. I like her! She was trained in the Glymera ways of propriety, and she gives her poor father a near heart-attack when she tells him that she wants to learn to fight in the BDB’s training centre now that females are entitled to apply. She is another strong female, and she wants more to her life than just to be mated to her best friend, Peyton, who is the one she is unofficially berothed to. I am looking forward to reading more about her. We also meet Craeg, who is a hunky stranger who attends at Wrath’s mansion to pick up an application form. Paradise is a little star-struck when she meets him, and it looks like there will be a love triangle between Paradise, Craeg, and Peyton.


I have never had anything but high praise for Jim Frangione, who has been the only narrator of the BDB series. However, there are multiple inconsistencies in pronunciation in this installment. I counted five: Xhex (now "Hex" instead of "Zhex"), s’Ex, Xcor (now "Cor" instead of "Scor"), Havers (now with a short “a” vowel sound), and Primale (now "Pruh-MAH-lee" instead of "PRI-male"). I assumed that since the last 12 books were all consistent in these pronunciations that he is incorrect in this particular narration. Not so, at least not according to this interview with Jim Frangione. I really dislike narration inconsistencies! If the change in pronunciation was due to Ms. Ward's wishes, shouldn't that have been changed long before now?? Why was this not caught sooner? My opinion is that he should have been permitted to continue to pronounce the names as he has in the previous 12 books, or the previous narrations should be edited for consistency!


MY RATING:

4 stars! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR list if you enjoy paranormal romances!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

#Audiobook #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Kissing Christmas Goodbye by M.C. Beaton @mc_beaton @BlackstoneAudio

TITLE: Kissing Christmas Goodbye
SERIES: Agatha Raisin, Book #18
AUTHOR: M.C. Beaton 
NARRATOR: Wanda McCaddon
PUBLISHER: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
PUBLICATION DATE: October 30, 2015
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 5 hrs and 48 mins
GENRE: Mystery/Cozy Mystery, Holiday
Unlike quite a number of people, Agatha has not given up on Christmas. To have the perfect Christmas had been a childhood dream while surviving a rough upbringing in a Birmingham slum. Holly berries glistened, snow fell gently outside, and inside, all was Dickensian jollity. And in her dreams, James Lacey kissed her under the mistletoe, and like a middle-aged sleeping beauty, she would awake to passion once more...

Agatha Raisin is bored. Her detective agency in the Cotswolds is thriving, but she'll scream if she has to deal with another missing cat or dog. Only two things seem to offer potential excitement: Christmas and her ex, James Lacey. This year Agatha is sure that if she invites James to a splendid Christmas dinner, their love will rekindle like a warm Yule log. But that fantasy will have to wait for now. A wealthy widow - who had sent Agatha a letter saying a member of her family intended to kill her - has been found dead. Now Agatha must set out to find the murderer, even though, in her heart, she's still dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones she and James used to know.
MY REVIEW:

I always enjoy holiday fiction, and I did love this one! Agatha has always wanted a traditional Christmas feast, and she wants to invite all her friends and staff to the party. The most important guest on her list is, unfortunately, James Lacey. She fantasizes that James will kiss her under the mistletoe, and their love affair will be renewed. Do you think that’s really the way it is going to go? On to the mystery: Agatha receives a letter from Phyllis Tamworthy, who believes that one of her family members is trying to kill her.

Now that Harry Beam has returned to university, Agatha needs someone to help out with the simple cases like the lost pets. Mrs. Freedman encourages her to hire a young girl as a trainee. She hires 17-year-old Toni Gilmour, a pretty but old-fashioned girl. Toni’s talent is wasted on looking for lost pets, and she proves her worth to Agatha by getting the dirt on a cheating spouse.

Agatha’s maternal instincts are developing! She takes Toni under her wing. When she finds out that Toni’s mother is a drunk and her brother is abusive, she buys a flat for Toni. Agatha insists that Toni learn how to drive, so not only does she pay for her lessons but also gets her a car! Having Toni around makes Agatha feel old, and that darn hip of hers is still bothering her, so maybe that’s why she feels maternal towards her? Or is it that Toni’s home life reminds Agatha of her own less-than-stellar upbringing? When Roy Silver shows up on Agatha’s doorstep in tears, the timing isn’t good for Agatha but she insists that he come in and tell her all about it. Roy was involved in the launch of a new perfume, but the client was impossible to work with and she complained to Mr. Pedman, who sent a rival Public Relations Officer in Roy’s place. Now Roy is distraught that his career is over. With a quick phone call, Agatha brings bad publicity to the perfume company which reflects badly on the new PR girl, so Mr. Pedman begs Roy to come back and fix it all. I love how Agatha has evolved throughout the series. Under her sometimes abrasive and brash exterior, she is compassionate and generous to those she cares about. I think a bit of Agatha is rubbing off on Mrs. Bloxby, and I think that’s a good thing! I loved that scene between her and Alf. I also enjoyed how Charles and Roy paired up to give Agatha the perfect Christmas gift!

Here is my only beef: Penelope Keith, where are you??? This is the first book in the series (really, a change in narrator at Book #18?) that is narrated by someone new, Wanda McCaddon. It wasn’t that her narration was terrible, just that she isn’t Penelope Keith! I love the verve and spunk that Ms. Keith brings to Agatha’s character. Ms. McCaddon’s version of Agatha just kind of fell flat for me. Bring back Ms. Keith! I miss her, and I have to knock a star off my rating because of the narration.

MY RATING:


4 stars! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR list if you enjoy cozy mysteries!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

#Audiobook #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Born to Die by Lisa Jackson @readlisajackson @recordedbooks

TITLE: Born to Die
SERIES: Montana - To Die, Book #3
AUTHOR: Lisa Jackson
NARRATOR: Alan Nebelthau
PUBLISHER: Recorded Books
PUBLICATION DATE: September 9, 2011
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 15 hrs and 2 mins
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense, Thriller, Romantic Suspense
With more than 10 million copies of her books in print, #1 New York Times best-selling author Lisa Jackson is among the world’s most popular thriller writers.

Two women who bear an uncanny resemblance to Dr. Kacey Lambert have been murdered. Kacey believes it is nothing more than a terrible coincidence, but the deeper she digs, the more worried she becomes. Soon, more victims emerge—all bearing a physical resemblance to Kacey—and she begins to wonder when the brutal killer will come hunting for her.

MY REVIEW:

This is the 3rd installment in the Montana - To Die series. While the first two books featured the same madman, this one was different. In terms of the timeline, this book takes place about a year after the previous one, Chosen to Die.

A serial killer is stalking victims with the same physical traits. First, there is an actress in California, whose murder is staged to look like a suicide attempt. When a cluster of murders takes place within the same small town in Montana, things start to look suspicious. Even more odd is that all the woman bear a strong resemblance to each other.

A schoolteacher, Jocelyn Wallis, supposedly falls down a ravine while jogging and is taken to the hospital in critical condition. The hospital staff is taken aback because she looks just like one of their doctors, Dr. Acacia “Kacey” Lambert. The resemblance is uncanny. Unfortunately, Jocelyn dies before she can reveal what happened to her. Trace O’Halleran, a rugged cowboy, recently dated Jocelyn and is questioned. When Trace’s son breaks his arm, he meets Dr. Lambert and feels an attraction to her. She reminds him of both Jocelyn and his ex-wife, Leanna, who all look as though they could pass for sisters. I guess Trace doesn’t find this attraction to the same “type” of woman strange!

When a patient of Dr. Lambert’s is run off the road and killed in an accident, Kasey is suspicious that this murder might be related to the others and does some digging. Not only do all of the victims have a strong resemblance to each other, but they are all from the same small town. Trace also clues in that something is not right, and he tries to get in contact with his ex-wife who he has not been in touch with for some time. He always assumed that she had just abandoned her son, but could she also be a victim? When he goes to Kacey’s house to warn her that she might be in danger, he discovers that her home has been bugged. Detectives Regan Pescoli and Selena Alvarez are alerted, and they begin to conduct their own investigation as to how these deaths might be related to each other.

What was different about this story from the two previous ones in this series is that Detectives Pescoli and Alvarez were not featured as prominently. The story revolved more around Kasey and Trace, and Pescoli and Alvarez seemed more like secondary characters. We did learn more about Pescoli’s and Alvarez’s personal lives: Pescoli’s teenage kids are still driving her crazy, Pescoli’s boyfriend is pressuring her to live together, and Alvarez appears to be fighting an attraction to her boss.

It has been a while since I last read this series, and I enjoyed jumping back into it. Jackson builds the suspense, and the reader is aware that Kasey is in danger before she does. It is like watching a movie and screaming at the television in frustration to try to alert the target! Although it wasn’t quite as good as Chosen to Die, I still really enjoyed it and will continue on with the series.

Although I wasn’t really a fan of Alan Nebelthau’s narration of the first two books in this series, I actually didn’t mind him too much in this one. Either he is getting better or just growing on me!

MY RATING:

4 stars! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR list.

This book qualifies as: 

Tackle Your TBR Read-a-Thon: Wrap-up Post #TackleTBR


This is my Wrap-up Post for the 
Tackle Your TBR Read-a-Thon!

I was hoping to read four books, and I actually read more! However, my reading plans changed a bit because I had to set Winter Moon aside because I also joined "September Is For Sequels" challenge so I replaced that one with some sequels that have been sitting on my TBR mountain.

Here is what I finished:

(Monster Island, Book #1)
by David Wellington
[read]


Neverfall
(Everneath, Book #1.5)
by Brodi Ashton
[on my iPad]
MY REVIEW


Everbound
(Everneath, Book #2)
by Brodi Ashton
[read]
MY REVIEW



Father Mine: Zsadist and Bella's Story
(Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book #6.5)
by J.R. Ward
[on my iPad]
MY REVIEW



The Recovery
(The Program, Book #2.5)
by Suzanne Young
[on my iPad]


by Bentley Little
[on my iPod]



Born to Die
(To Die, Book #3)
by Lisa Jackson
[on my iPod]
MY REVIEW


Started But Not Finished:



Winter Moon
by Dean Koontz
[reading]



Dead Heat
(Alpha & Omega, Book #4)
by Patricia Briggs
[on my iPod]


Here are the final tallies for the read-a-thon:

Total books finished: 7
Total pages read: 922 pages
Total time listened: 29 hours and 29 mins

If I convert the audiobooks to pages, that's over 1,800 pages! That's my personal best for a read-a-thon! It was great to knock those off my TBR mountain :)

Thanks again to Tressa at Wishful Endings for hosting!

Books On My Fall TBR List #TopTenTuesday


This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers will answer. Everyone is welcome to join!

Today's list is: Books On My Fall TBR List.

I don't like to "plan" my reads. In fact, I don't even usually know what's up next because it really all depends on what genre I feel like reading! However, one of my reading goals this year was to try to finish off some of the series that I started years ago. So, here are some books that I'm hoping to get to by the end of the year:


Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs: I bought this on Audible, and this will bring me up-to-date on the Alpha & Omega series. The next book is not expected to be published until 2018.



The Last Mission of the Living by Rhiannon Frater: I bought this on Audible, and it is the second book in The Last Bastion series and will bring me up to date. I would like to listen to it before the end of October, as it would be a good one to count towards the RIPXI challenge.



Ensnared by A.G. Howard: Here's another audiobook that I bought from Audible, which is the third book in the Splintered series. My library also has the collection of novellas, Untamed, available on Hoopla.



Fighting to Survive and Siege by Rhiannon Frater: More Rhiannon Frater! I borrowed these from the library, and they are the second and third books in the As the World Dies trilogy. I absolutely loved the first one, The First Days. More zombie books for the RIPXI challenge! 



The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood: Here's another audiobook that I bought from Audible. This classic has been on my TBR for years!



The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne: My library has this audiobook on Hoopla, and it's been on my TBR list for a while. Then I want to watch the movie!



Sever by Lauren DeStefano: I still haven't read the last book in The Chemical Garden trilogy! I own this book, and I'd like to finish off this series as well so that I can start some new ones!



Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison: I bought this audiobook on Audible years ago. It's the first book in The Hollows series. Now that I've finally caught up with the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, I am going to start this one!



We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: I received this audiobook for review waaaaaay back, and I still haven't gotten to it. I've heard good things about it, and it won lots of awards so it should be a good read!



So, have you read any of these books? If so, which ones should I push up to the top of the pile? What books are on your Fall TBR List? Please let me know in the comments, or leave me a link to your blog post if you are also participating in the meme!

Monday, September 26, 2016

#Book #Review: 5 out of 5 stars for Father Mine by J.R. Ward @JRWard1 @BerkleyPub

TITLE: Father Mine
SERIES: Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book #6.5
AUTHOR: J.R. Ward
PUBLISHER: NAL
PUBLICATION DATE: October 7, 2008
FORMAT: Kindle
LENGTH: 91 pages
GENRE: Paranormal Romance
ASIN: B001HQHCBQ
Ever since the birth of his daughter, Nalla, Zsadist has been regressing further and further into the life he led before he met Bella, his beautiful shellan. He has been waking up in cold sweats due to nightmares from his past, hasn't made love to his wife, and won't hold his baby girl, for fear that he might hurt her. While Nalla's presence had consisted of only joy and excitement in first couple months of her life, now it seems to be driving the couple apart. Bella is afraid that she and Nalla just may need to leave her hellren.

But then Zsadist gets injured on a mission to fight the lessers and because he hasn't been feeding from Bella, almost loses his life. Could this near-death experience create the motivation to pull this couple back together? Or has the gap between them spanned too far for redemption?
MY REVIEW:

I devoured Zsadist’s and Bella’s story in one bite! I could not put it down!! It was heart-wrenching. You need to keep the Kleenex box handy for this one!

It has been three months since Nalla’s birth, and anyone who has had children knows the change that a couple goes through during this time. Zsadist and Bella are no different, and they are struggling as a couple and Zsadist is also struggling as a father! Bella misses her hellren and needs to know that he still wants her and needs her, and that she’s not just a mahmen. Isn’t this the complaint of many new moms? She worries that Zsadist doesn’t find her attractive anymore. Meanwhile, Zsadist is so self-sacrificing that he puts Nalla’s needs before his own. He refuses to feed from Bella because he feels that Nalla needs her more than he does, and sex is non-existent. He also worries about bonding with Nalla, and he refuses to hold her or have anything to do with her. He worries what Nella will think of his slave bands once she understands what the marks mean. Bella gives Zsadist an ultimatum, and she says that she will leave the mansion with Nalla if things don’t change. Zsadist doesn’t even try to stop her or beg her to stay! When he gets injured in the field, he sends Bella a text as he is bleeding out and tells her loves her and is sorry and that he can’t live without her. Bella’s response? She loves him too, but she’s still leaving!

I started reading this late the other night, thinking that I would just read half of the book, but I could not put it down! I had to stay up and finish it, because I could not let Ward leave me hanging…wondering how Zsadist and Bella were going to work through their problems. This was such an emotional story. Even though Zsadist and Bella have had their “Happily Ever After,” I love that Ward shows us what comes next. It isn’t always rosy, and I love that the BDB and their shellens sometimes have real-life relationship issues!

MY RATING:

5 stars! It was superb, and I will likely re-read it again! You should definitely put it on your TBR list if you enjoy paranormal romances.

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