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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: No Test For The Wicked by Julie Moffett

No Test for the Wicked (Lexi Carmichael Mystery #5)
Kindle Edition
Expected publication: December 1st 2014 by Carina Press

A Geek's Worst Nightmare: Going Back to High School
     Returning to high school is not something I ever wanted to do over—it was awful the first time around. So why do I have to go back as part of a new undercover assignment? Because the universe loves playing jokes on me, obviously.
   I've been ordered to go all 21 Jump Street and track down the students who are breaking into the computer system, changing grades, and causing all kinds of havoc. Although I'm not thrilled about my new gig, at least it gives me something to do other than worry over the fact that I now have a boyfriend. And no freaking idea what to get him for Christmas.
     Or it did give me something else to worry about, until I stumbled across a more sinister threat. I was shocked to find distinct traces of a group of international hackers inside the network. Why would dangerous cyber mercenaries be interested in a high school in the middle of Washington, D.C.? What exactly have I gotten myself into?
     Don't miss Lexi's first case in No One Lives Twice!

Lexi Carmichael never disappoints. This is one amazing read. That is probably why I gave it 5 stars. I am so lucky to be allowed to read books like this. I have read one previous book by Julie Moffett and it was too. I bought all the rest of the books in Kindle form and am totally ready for a Lexi Carmichael marathon!

I love how the author can take these unassuming teenagers that you expect to hate and watch Lexi tear into and she makes them into these kids that we really care about. None of Moffett's characters are cardboard. They are flesh and blood. You expect one of them to knock on your door for a visit. That is how real they seem. I am in awe of an author that can create on such a high level.

I enjoy the awkward interactions between Lexi and virtually everybody. It is something that makes her unique. She is not good on the social scene but she can hack into anything.

The suspense was killer too. You find yourself holding your breath as Lexi is confronted by the uber bad guy she refers to as Ice Eyes. There is a lot of action going on behind the scenes too. And somehow the author manages to inform us of everything even when Lexi isn't present. 

I learn how to be a better writer when I read books like this. If you like mysteries that are a tad on the unusual side, then any Lexi Carmichael mystery is just your cup of tea.

5 Stars.

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) from Net Galley in return for an honest review. I thank Net Galley, the author and the publisher for allowing me to read this title.

Friday, November 14, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Death by Blue Water by Kait Carson

Death by Blue Water. A Hayden Kent Mystery (A Hayden Kent Mystery)
by Kait Carson (Goodreads Author)
Paperback, 226 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by Henery Press

Goodreads synopsis: Paralegal Hayden Kent knows first-hand that life in the Florida Keys can change from perfect to perilous in a heartbeat. When she discovers a man’s body at 120’ beneath the sea, she thinks she is witness to a tragic accident. She becomes the prime suspect when the man’s identity is revealed as Richard Anderson, the brother of the man who recently jilted her. A migraine stole Hayden’s memory of the night of Richard’s death. 
   As the evidence mounts, she joins forces with an Officer Janice Kirby. Together the two women follow the clues that uncover criminal activities at the highest levels and put Hayden’s life in jeopardy while she fights to stay free.

I truly enjoyed this mystery. I was captured from the very beginning. I was also very shocked by who the killer was. I was hoping for some appearances in future novels of this character. So to say I was disappointed is very true. But I see how the author came to the conclusion of who the killer should be. If I could have read this mystery straight through, I would have. I was turning pages so quickly when I had time to read. I wanted to know what in the heck was going on. Near the end I had who I thought was the best possible suspect. He was introduced early, had means and was what I considered a least likely suspect. Of course, I was WRONG! I love it when the author can fool me with their red herrings and amazing plot twists.

This is just a fantastic book. It is all about a gal who loves to do underwater diving. She is really good at it. Her boyfriend dumps her just when she thinks that he is going to give her a ring. This was a truly roller coaster ride for Hayden Kent. I loved it so much! I will definitely be reading more from this author! So Good! Please, you must read this book. Go get it today!

5 Stars!

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) from Net Galley in return for an honest review. I thank Net Galley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.

Monday, November 10, 2014

If You've Got It, Haunt It by Rose Pressey

If You've Got It, Haunt It (A Haunted Vintage Mystery #1)
by Rose Pressey (Goodreads Author)
Paperback, 304 pages
Expected publication: December 2nd 2014 by Kensington

Goodreads synopsis: Cookie Chanel has a passion for fashion--and a murder mystery to solve!
   Cookie Chanel has opened her own vintage clothing boutique, It's Vintage, Y'All, in the charming town of Sugar Creek, Georgia. Always on the lookout for stylish second-hand steals, she attends the estate sale of deceased socialite Charlotte Meadows. But she gets a lot more than she bargained for when Charlotte's ghost appears before her--offering fashion advice and begging Cookie to find out who murdered her.
   As the persistent poltergeist tags along and a possibly psychic pussycat moves into the shop, Cookie sorts through racks of suspects to see who may be hiding some skeletons in the closet. Do a clothing store owner and a disembodied socialite have a ghost of a chance of collaring a killer--or will Cookie's life be the next one hanging by a thread?

I always enjoy a good Rose Pressey mystery. It is like my guilty pleasure. I am not much of a fashionista, but I do enjoy seeing people get dressed up and looking all dapper. Add a dose of mystery to that and I am there!

This is the first book in a new series for Pressey. It is called "A Haunted Vintage Mystery" series. I recently read another book that paired fashion and mystery solving but the other book of which I refer was about haute couture. That book was called Model Undercover. These two books are worlds apart in scope but really go together if you wanted to do a fashion mystery read along.

I couldn't help but be reminded of the tv series Ghost Whisperer. That lady dressed in the most unique creations much like Cookie Chanel. I wish I had a similar style but I am not the type to put a lot of thought into what I am wearing. I am glad others have this slant in their lives.

I thought it was funny that the quote-unquote psychic that owned the new age shop next to Cookie's "It's Vintage, Y'all!" was not really a psychic at all. I do read tarot cards and found it amusing how Heather, the psychic, interpreted the cards that the cat pulled.

If you are looking for a light read that will make you want to pick up the sequel, then this book is definitely for you. I thought some of the driving around from place to place was a bit long-winded and I would have loved to see more of an interaction between Cookie and Detective Valentine, but that is here nor there. Pick this book up when it is published in December!

4 Stars

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) on Net Galley in return for an honest review. I thank the publisher, the author and Net Galley for allowing me to read this title.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Unbreakable (The Legion #1)
by Kami Garcia (Goodreads Author)
Hardcover, 305 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 

Goodreads synopsis: When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn’t know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy’s room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon — a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.
   Now Kennedy has to take her mother’s place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon — battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.

When I started this book I was in a reading slump. The slump had nothing to do with how excellent this book is but instead how my life had just taken over in October. When I got to the end of the title, I was like... NO WAY! I am sure Kami Garcia got a lot of glee out of ending the book like that but now I must, must, must read the next book in the series in order to find out exactly what happens next. I won't spoil you but if you like stories like in the show Supernatural, then this book is definitely for you.

I found the romance aspect of this book a bit lacking. It felt disconnected to me, but the romance wasn't what pushed the action forward. I did enjoy the antics of the character, Priest. I almost wish the author would do a prequel to this story so we can see what happened before and why Kennedy's parents decided not to tell her about her special powers and how she was connected to "the Legion."

I knew something a little fishy was going on when Kennedy didn't get her supernatural tattoo when she killed the vengeance spirit near the middle of the book. I thought the book started off a bit slow. But I think that is to be expected when you are starting a series like this. There is a heck of a lot of back story to introduce.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes the paranormal and enjoys watching tv shows or reading books about the subject. I think this would make a great tv show and I hope a network decides to pick it up.

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) from Net Galley in return for an honest review. I thank Net Galley, the author and the publisher for allowing me to read this title.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Spellbound Falls by Janet Chapman

Spellbound Falls (Spellbound Falls #1)

Paperback, 325 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Jove

Goodreads synopsis: Maximilian Oceanus arrives in Spellbound Falls just in time to save Olivia Baldwin from an overly aggressive suitor, only to find himself attracted to the beautiful, if rather aloof, widow. And although Mac has come to Inglenook to get a handle on fatherhood, his newly discovered six-year-old son has set his sights on finding his father a wife.
   Olivia, however, is busy getting Inglenook ready for its new season, so she doesn’t have time to deal with her growing attraction to the dangerously seductive Mac. Besides, weird stuff seems to happen all around him. Take the fact that her seatbelt keeps getting stuck in his presence, or locks magically open for him without keys, and that he seems to have a talent for sensing things. Never mind the three lost albatrosses walking down the road in the middle of the night. Since when are there albatrosses in Maine?
   But despite Olivia’s resistance to falling under the sexy man’s spell, Olivia is having trouble fighting her longing. Because she knows Mac is just the man to unlock the powerful passion deep within her

I found this book to have a bit of a slow start. I just couldn't get my mind in the right place to read it. And I am sure that is just me and not the author. I loved the concept.

Olivia has been hiding from the world about as far away as one can get without being in outer space. She has spent her life in Spellbound Falls under the guise of raising her daughter but in truth she is protecting her own heart. Her life up to this point hasn't been a stellar one. She has been through the hard knocks of life and come out the other side wounded and scared.

Enter Maximilian Oceanus, large, strapping man who makes all the other residents of Spellbound Falls look like mere mortals to his out of this world physique. There is a reason for that comparison, but I don't want to give anything away. Let's just say that he is quite the Adonis. He has come to Spellbound Falls in order to get help with his newly discovered son and he wants to make sure he has the techniques to be a good parent.

The two are attracted to each other right at the beginning but Olivia has had so many of life's knocks that she is a bit gun shy. Once she gives in to her instincts, this is when the book really takes off.

If you want a book that gets you out of your head and into a whole new world, then this is for you. I was truly engaged.

4 Stars.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Book Review: Happiness: The Art Of Living With Peace, Confidence And Joy

Happiness: The Art Of Living With Peace, Confidence And Joy

Paperback, 192 pages
Published January 2nd 2014 by White Pine Mountain

Goodreads synopsis: In the midst of a successful business career, Doug Smith received life-altering news that set him on an entirely new journey to understand what leads to truly joyful, meaningful living—-in other words, what leads to happiness. Through research and study he begins to understand what the most joyful among us have in common is that they remember the past with peace, anticipate the future with confidence and live in the present with joy and exuberance. He further discovers that what gives them this perspective is a set of skills that they consistently, even if subconsciously, practice. He also realizes that he is not particularly good at several of these skills. In Happiness: The Art of Living with Peace, Confidence and Joy the author recounts, with insight and humor his journey to better understand and practice the skills of happiness with the goal of helping others on their own paths to joyful, meaningful living.

I did enjoy this book. I found it quite helpful on many levels. But I only wish there were more techniques and things we can personally do to make our journey a happier one. I felt like I needed to take Mr. Smith's Happiness course in order to find out exactly what tools I truly needed to be emotionally happy. He referenced "What Happy People Know" by Dan Baker, Ph. D and Cameron Stauth. I read this book back when it was published in 2004. I am a big follower of people who like to write about happiness. I like to re-read these books because it is always good to be reminded of things we tend to forget.
I hope you give this book a try. It does take a hot minute to get into it. And it is  not a strictly "text book" sort of book. The author gives quite a lot of personal examples which is really helpful when you are trying to apply a technique to you own life.

4 Stars

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) from Net Galley in return for an honest review. I thank Net Galley, the author and the publisher for allowing me to read this title.

Book Review: The Busy Writer's One Hour Plot by Marg McAlister

The Busy Writer's One Hour Plot
44 pages
Published May 14th 2012

If you're a busy writer who loves to write, but hates to plot... the One-Hour Plot System is just what you've been looking for!
Lots of people have great ideas for a book. They're so excited that they just can't wait to fire up the computer and start writing. Dizzying visions of being a popular author with fans lining up for the next book have them bashing out page after page... for a few days. Or maybe even a few weeks. 

According to my instant order update on Amazon, I bought this mid-year in 2012. I think I read three-fourths of it back then. I revisited it at the end of October and I found it to be quite insightful. I like how they break everything down. I quickly realized in my story where my big holes were. So, I am truly thankful for this book pointing out my errors. I think this is book one in a series of books and I definitely will check out the others.

4 Stars.