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Sunday, September 25, 2016

#Book #Review: 5 out of 5 stars for Everbound by Brodi Ashton @Brodiashton @BalzerandBray


TITLE: Everbound
SERIES: Everneath, Book #2
AUTHOR: Brodi Ashton
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray
PUBLICATION DATE: December 23, 2013
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 384 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
ISBN: 9780062071170

Two months ago, the Tunnels of the underworld came for Nikki Beckett. That night, Nikki's boyfriend, Jack, made the ultimate sacrifice. All Nikki wants is to save Jack before it's too late. All Cole wants is to find his queen - and he thinks Nikki is the one. Both determined, both desperate, Nikki and Cole form a tense alliance, leading them on a dangerous journey to The Heart of The Everneath.

MY REVIEW:

This second book in the Everneath trilogy is even better than the first! Why did I wait so long to read it? I’m so glad that one of my reading goals this year is to get back to all the series that I started and didn’t get back to, because this one is such a gem.

At the end of Everneath, we were hit with a cliff-hanger: When the Tunnels came for Nikki, Jack sacrificed himself to save her. Now, it’s Nikki’s turn to save Jack. She learns that the secret of why she survived The Feed is because Jack was her anchor on The Surface. Even though she is reunited with Jack every night in her dreams, Jack is slipping away from her little by little. He is losing his memories of her, the ones that bind her to him. She is determined to return to the Everneath and help Jack find his way out of the Tunnels and return to The Surface, and her attempt to do that nearly gets her killed. The only way that she can return to the Everneath without being killed is for Cole to agree to take her, and she has to trust him with her life and Jack’s life.

Ashton totally sucked me into the Everneath with Nikki and Cole! She is such a gifted writer! I loved how Ashton described the layout of the land and the different areas. The journey through the four different rings to get to the Tunnels and Jack was an adventure, and it kind of reminded me of The Hobbit! In order to manifest her tether to Jack as a visual compass, Nikki had to draw upon memories of her past with Jack. I loved getting the backstory of their relationship, and how their love grew out of their friendship. Their romance is very sweet. On the other hand, there’s Cole…and his feelings for Nikki are also real, as things are revealed to her in the Everneath and she sees Cole’s memories of her through his eyes. Nikki has ties to both of them!

As a parent, my heart really broke for Nikki’s dad. He must have gone out of his mind with fear and worry for his daughter’s safety!

Everbound ends with another cliff-hanger, and I cannot wait to read Evertrue to find out how it all ends! 

MY RATING:
5 stars! It was superb, and I will likely re-read it again! You should definitely put it on your TBR list.

Friday, September 23, 2016

#Audiobook #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Unhinged by A.G. Howard @aghowardwrites @BlackstoneAudio @RebeccaGibel

TITLE: Unhinged
SERIES: Splintered #2
AUTHOR: A.G. Howard 
NARRATOR: Rebecca Gibel
PUBLISHER: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
PUBLICATION DATE: January 8, 2014
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 13 hrs and 12 mins 
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole. She was crowned Queen of the Red Court and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the boy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly appealing Morpheus. Now all she has to do is graduate high school.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn't show up at school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland - where she (partly) belongs.

Could she leave Jeb and her parents behind again, for the sake of a man she knows has manipulated her before? Will her mother and Jeb trust her to do what's right? Listeners will swoon over the satisfying return to Howard's bold, sensual reimagining of Carroll's classic.

MY REVIEW:

Unhinged is dark and delicious!! The second book in the Splintered series is just as good as the first!

This is such a weird and wonderful series! Unhinged picks up one year later after the events in Splintered, and Morpheus enters the human realm and rocks Alyssa’s world! There is so much going on in this installment, and I’m still loving the Jeb/Alyssa/Morpheus triangle. I can see why the girl is conflicted! However, I think I definitely fall on Team Morpheus. I just love him! There are so many facets to his personality, and Howard peels each layer like an onion and exposes more and more of him. Their chemistry is hot! Here is a sample:

“Of all the times you've undressed me in my fantasies, I never remember feeling this... unfulfilled."

"Please, Morpheus," I beg upon hearing Jeb stir in the background. 

"Ah, but those delectable words," Morpheus says with a provocative smirk, "those are always in the fantasy." 

I glare at him. "You're unbelievable." 

"And that sentiment is reserved for the end.”

Alyssa finally learns the secrets of her mom’s past, and there were a couple of things that I did not expect! This causes Alyssa to evolve and come into her own, embracing who she is and I love that! I love all the weird and wonderful creatures that Howard has created, and she describes them in such vivid detail that I can clearly imagine them in my mind. Speaking of detail, I have to say that this series has the prettiest covers! They are just stunning!!

Howard’s revelations at the end of the book have left me very anxious for the final book in the series, Ensnared!

Rebecca Gibel is a fabulous narrator! She is never dull, and she has me swooning a bit when I hear Morpheus’ voice.

MY RATING:
4 stars! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR list if you enjoy fantasy or fairy tale retellings!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

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

TITLE: The King
SERIES: Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book #12
AUTHOR: J.R. Ward 
NARRATOR: Jim Frangione
PUBLISHER: Penguin Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: April 1, 2014
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 22 hrs and 4 mins 
GENRE: Romance/Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
J.R. Ward's number-one New York Times best-selling Black Dagger Brotherhood continues as a royal bloodline is compromised by a grave threat to the throne.

Long live the king.…

After turning his back on the throne for centuries, Wrath, son of Wrath, finally assumed his father's mantle - with the help of his beloved mate. But the crown sets heavily on his head. As the war with the Lessening Society rages on, and the threat from the Band of Bastards truly hits home, he is forced to make choices that put everything - and everyone - at risk.

Beth Randall thought she knew what she was getting into when she mated the last pure blooded vampire on the planet: An easy ride was not it. But when she decides she wants a child, she's unprepared for Wrath's response - or the distance it creates between them.

The question is, will true love win out... or tortured legacy take over?

MY REVIEW:

I received this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

Wow, wow, wow!! Was it just me, or did The King have everyone bursting into tears time and time again?

First off, I absolutely love Wrath and Beth. The BDB series started off with them and, even though we get snippets and sub-plots surrounding them in all the books, I really missed the first couple being front and centre in the storyline. It was painful hearing them wrestle over whether or not to have a child: With Beth expressing her desire to have a baby and even intentionally trying to bring on her Needing by spending time with pregnant Layla, and Wrath being Wrath – being afraid of anything that could harm his Beth but not being honest with her about it!!

I loved the history of Wrath’s parents and learning about the type of King his father was. It puts everything into perspective, firstly with why Wrath hated being King and secondly with his desire for change. Wrath truly becomes the people’s King, and it was so touching how he wanted to know the commoners on a personal level and to be involved in their lives. Having Abalone being the one to assist him, after Abalone’s regret at not standing up to the Glymera to overthrow Wrath, shows Wrath’s capacity for forgiveness and second chances.

The icing on this absolutely delectable heavenly piece of cake was seeing Wrath falling in love with his son, from the instant that Beth returned home from the doctor’s office with the ultrasound picture. Even though he couldn’t see it because of his blindness, he was such a proud father. If you didn’t love Wrath before (and I can’t imagine who didn’t!), he sure melted your heart with his love for a child he never knew that he wanted.

As usual, there are lots of sub-plots brewing in the mix. Layla and Xcor continue to be drawn to each other, and it was sweet how Xcor even cleaned himself up for her! As much as he wants her, he also wants Layla to want him in return and not to be with him simply because of her promise to him. I was totally rooting for Assail and Marisol, and I love that feisty grandmother of hers and how she very quickly took over ruling the roost when she stayed at Assail’s mansion. Then there are The Shadows: Trez and iAm. We previously only knew about their relationships with Xhex and Rehv. After they move into the BDB mansion, we learn much more about them. Trez falls for one of The Chosen, Selena. iAm and Beth develop a close friendship, as he escorts her to her doctor’s appointments, since Wrath cannot leave the house during the daytime. Of the two Shadows, I am definitely more intrigued with iAm.

The only thing that makes Ward's books better is having them narrated by Jim Frangione! He is flawless and perfect.

MY RATING:



5 stars! It was superb! I loved it and will likely re-read it again in the future. You should definitely read it if you enjoy paranormal romances! Thanks for Penguin Audio for the opportunity to review this audiobook!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

#Audiobook #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Agatha Raisin and Love, Lies and Liquor by M.C. Beaton @mc_beaton @BlackstoneAudio @PeneKeith1

TITLE: Agatha Raisin and Love, Lies and Liquor
SERIES: Agatha Raisin, Book #17
AUTHOR: M.C. Beaton 
NARRATOR: Penelope Keith
PUBLISHER: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
PUBLICATION DATE: February 1, 2013
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 6 hrs and 15 mins
GENRE: Mystery/Cozy Mystery
Agatha Raisin thinks she’s in for a treat when her ex-husband, James Lacey, invites her on a holiday. But to her horror, his idea of an exotic destination is a small, rundown resort of Snoth-on-Sea. Needless to say, the break doesn’t go as planned. When a fellow guest in their hotel is found murdered, Agatha herself becomes a suspect - and it looks as if she will be solving this particular case from the confines of a prison cell....
MY REVIEW:

Oh, dear! Agatha’s reunion with James Lacey did not get off to a good start. He invites Agatha to accompany him to a friend’s barbecue, and she has such a miserable time that she goes home without him. Weeks go by afterwards, and Agatha continues to give James the cold shoulder. Charles comes to stay with Agatha, which makes James jealous (ha ha!), so he invites Agatha on a surprise trip to somewhere special where he had fond childhood memories. Agatha is thinking of a romantic holiday to some exotic destination, and she is so disappointed to wind up at a shabby hotel on the seafront. James tries to make it up to Agatha by offering to take her somewhere different, like Paris, after a few days and that makes Agatha happy for a bit. That is, until she gets into a heated altercation with another hotel guest, Geraldine Jankers. When Mrs. Jankers is murdered, Agatha and James are questioned. It appears that Mrs. Jankers was strangled to death with Agatha’s scarf! After being questioned, James bails the first chance he gets. Agatha invites two of her detectives, Patrick Mulligan and Harry Beam, to the resort to help her solve the case. Charles joins the crew, and James stews because Agatha won’t join him.

Let’s hope that this is the last time that James disappoints Agatha! She shouldn’t give him any more chances. I’m loving Harry Beam more and more. As this series goes on, we see more of Agatha’s vulnerable side. At 17 books into a series, you might think that one would get tired of it but Beaton holds my interest! The mysteries don’t wrack my brain too much, and I find that Agatha Raisin books are a fun escape.

Listening to Penelope Keith is always a delight! A good narrator enhances the book, and that's what Ms. Keith does for the Agatha Raisin series!

MY RATING:

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - #GothicSept Read-Along Discussion Two #MissPeregrines

Michelle at Castle Macabre is hosting this read-a-long of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. This is the second Discussion Post for the second section of the book, from Chapter 5 to Chapter 7.

Here are my thoughts:

I like Emma! It’s hard not to like someone as feisty as she is, whose first words to Jacob were, “Scream and I’ll cut you.” LOL! I also feel sad for her, that she misses Abe Portman so much. What a shock it must have been for her to meet Jacob and wrap her head around who he is!

I thought Chapter 6 was especially interesting, with Miss Peregrine explaining to Jacob all about the time loop and all the other ymbrynes. Can you imagine how eerie it would be to experience the changeover?

It is so sweet how Jacob and Emma bonded in Chapter 7. As for the sheep killings, my first thought as well was the creature that killed Jacob’s Grandpa.

I am continuing to enjoy the book so far! This section was especially interesting.

Favourite Audiobooks You Should Listen To #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: Favourite Audiobooks You Should Listen To. This is a great topic for me, because I am an avid audiobook listener. Most of the books that I read are by audio, simply because I lack the time to be able sit down and read.

Here are some of my favourites!

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini TaylorHands down, my favourite narration EVER. From my review: "This story was not narrated – it was PERFORMED – by Khristine Hvam. The word “narration” does not do Hvam justice! She has extraordinary vocal talents, and she created unique voices for each character. I highly recommend listening to this story as opposed to reading it. You will not be disappointed!!"



Blue Monday by Nicci French: For the mystery/suspense fan, I recommend the Frieda Klein series. This is the first one in the series. From my review: "New-to-me narrator Beth Chalmers did a wonderful job bringing the characters to life, and she adjusted the timbre of her voice to make each one distinct. I do not know whether her British accent is genuine or not, but she certainly is convincing! The voice she used to portray Matthew Farraday is creepy and haunting. I will definitely look for other books narrated by her."



Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: If you haven't listened to Davina Porter, you are missing out! From my review: "At nearly 33 hours, I was a little reluctant to start this audiobook because I worried that it would not hold my interest for the duration. Boy, was I wrong! Narrator Davina Porter is truly remarkable! Her voice is so rich with emotion. I loved her Scottish brogue, and she is quite convincing in her portrayal of Jamie and the other Scots. Even if you have read Outlander, I recommend listening to the audiobook. You will be captivated by Porter’s performance!"


Mayday by Nelson DeMille and Thomas BlockListen to this audiobook while on an airplane. Go ahead, I dare you!! It would make for a pulse-pounding flight! From my review: "This is also my first experience with Scott Brick as narrator. I thought Brick did a fabulous job, and the urgency in his voice had my shoulders tensed. Brick softened his voice for the female voices, and his reading made it easy to distinguish between characters."




Dark Lover by J.R. Ward: This is actually my least favourite book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, but it's the first one and you have to start there! Jim Frangione is wonderful, and this was the first book with steamy scenes that I listened to that was narrated by a man!


Shadow's Claim by Kresley Cole: Robert Petkoff is a fantastic narrator. The accent he used for Trehan just amped up his sex appeal! I was literally fanning myself while listening to him.



Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton: It is not my favourite book in the Agatha Raisin series, but it's the first one and I recommend that you start there to get the back-story on all the characters. From my review: "There could not be a more perfect narrator than Penelope Keith, who made me feel like I was sitting down with her over a cup of tea as she regaled me with Agatha’s exploits. I love Keith’s accent, and it made me feel even more immersed in England’s countryside."



Roast Mortem by Cleo Coyle: This is the 9th book in the Coffeehouse Mystery series, but it was my first narration by Rebecca Gibel. I had actually jumped into this series at Book #8, and I was hooked from there so it is okay to jump in. From my review: "This is my first narration by Rebecca Gibel, and she was wonderful! Her smooth, rich voice completely drew me into the story. I especially fell in love with her “Madame” vocalization, which was so endearing."  


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: This is the one that started it all for me: my VERY FIRST audiobook! With very young kids at that time, I had gone for about eight long years with no time to read. Ordinarily, this is NOT the type of book that I would ever pick up to read but it was recommended to me by my colleague. I never thought that I would ever be capable of listening to an audiobook, and I am so glad that I was wrong! Audiobooks are what got me back into reading! This audiobook is narrated by five different people, and it was like listening to a play. I loved it!!



So, what are your favourite audiobooks? 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 19, 2016

#Book #Review: 3 out of 5 stars for Neverfall by Brodi Ashton @Brodiashton @BalzerandBray

TITLE: Neverfall
SERIES: Everneath, Book #1.5
AUTHOR: Brodi Ashton
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray
PUBLICATION DATE: December 26, 2012
FORMAT: E-book
LENGTH: 99 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
A thrilling new novella from the author of the Everneath series!

Jack is trapped for eternity in the Tunnels while Nikki has managed to evade Cole's grasp . . . for now. But Cole is more desperate than ever to find answers about Nikki, his best chance for taking over the throne of the underworld. How did she survive the Feed? Can Cole find another Forfeit like her who can survive it too?

Cole's quest leads him to the other side of the world, to a mysterious, dangerous society known as the Delphinians, whose price for information might be higher than Cole can pay—a price that could destroy Nikki. But when Cole attempts to steal the answers instead, his mission ends in disaster. Faced with centuries in a Delphinian dungeon, Cole is confronted with questions he's been too scared to ask himself: Is he really obsessed with the throne—or is he obsessed with Nikki? And can she really give him a new beginning as the Everneath's king . . . or will she instead bring about his tragic end?

MY REVIEW:

This novella is told from Cole’s point of view, and it takes place following the events of what took place at the end of Everneath. The story jumps back and forth from the present to the past and Cole's interactions with Nikki before she went to the Everneath with him.

Cole is searching for answers as to how Nikki survived the Feed, and that leads him to confront the Daughters of Persephone, who keep records of every Forfeit. Strangely, the records relating to Nikki are missing. It seems that the Delphinians were also looking for these records. Cole has no choice now but to return to the Everneath to obtain the information that he seeks. He knows he must pay for this information and, when he reneges on the deal, he winds up in a Delphinian Dungeon where he must await his trial for three months. Meanwhile, he is living in darkness and being tortured by rats and hallucinations.

I was very intrigued with Devon, the man in the cell next to Cole in the Delphinian Dungeon. The Delphinians stole a relic from the woman he loved, and Devon was able to steal it back but they killed his beloved in retaliation. Because he refuses to tell the Delphinians where he hid the relic, they have locked him away. However, Devon reveals to Cole the location of the mysterious relic. What is it, and will Cole go after it?

I enjoyed this novella, and I loved seeing Cole's character growth. He started off trying to convince himself that he didn't need Nikki and that he could find someone else just like her. By the end of the book, he finally comes to terms with how he feels about her, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next in Everbound!


MY RATING:

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.


I'm reading:
(something from my TBR mountain, and a good fit for September is for SequelsTackle Your TBR Read-a-Thon, and RIPXI)

TITLE: Everbound
SERIES: Everneath, Book #2
AUTHOR: Brodi Ashton
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray
PUBLICATION DATE: February 14, 2013
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 368 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
ISBN: 9780857074614
Two months ago, the Tunnels of the underworld came for Nikki Beckett. That night, Nikki's boyfriend, Jack, made the ultimate sacrifice. All Nikki wants is to save Jack before it's too late. All Cole wants is to find his queen - and he thinks Nikki is the one. Both determined, both desperate, Nikki and Cole form a tense alliance, leading them on a dangerous journey to The Heart of The Everneath.



I'm listening to:
(something from my TBR mountain, and also a good fit for September is for SequelsTackle Your TBR Read-a-Thonand RIPXI)

TITLE: Born to Die
SERIES: 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.


I just finished:

TITLE: Monster Island
SERIES: Monster Island, Book #1
AUTHOR: David Wellington
PUBLISHER: Running Press
PUBLICATION DATE: March 24, 2006
FORMAT: Paperback, 282 pages
GENRE: Horror
ISBN: 9781560258506

It's one month after a global disaster. The most "developed" nations of the world have fallen to the shambling zombie masses. Only a few pockets of humanity survive — in places rife with high-powered weaponry, such as Somalia. In New York City, the dead walk the streets, driven by an insatiable hunger for all things living. One amongst them is different; though he shares their appetites he has retained his human intelligence. Alone among the mindless zombies, Gary Fleck is an eyewitness to the end of the world — and perhaps the evil genius behind it all. From the other side of the planet, a small but heavily-armed group of schoolgirls-turned-soldiers has come in search of desperately needed medicine. Dekalb, a former United Nations weapons inspector, leads them as their local guide. Ayaan, a crack shot at the age of sixteen, will stop at nothing to complete her mission. They think they are prepared for anything. On Monster Island they will find that there is something worse even than being undead, as Gary learns the true price of survival.




TITLE: The Haunted
AUTHOR: Bentley Little
NARRATOR: Dan Butler
PUBLISHER: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
PUBLICATION DATE: April 3, 2012
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 11 hrs and 54 mins
GENRE: Horror
The Perry family's new house is perfect - except for the weird behavior of the neighbors, and that odd smell coming from a dark corner in the basement. Pity no one warned the family about the house. Now it's too late. Because the darkness at the bottom of the basement stairs is rising.



TITLE: Neverfall
SERIES: Everneath, Book #1.5
AUTHOR: Brodi Ashton
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray
PUBLICATION DATE: December 26, 2012
FORMAT: E-book
LENGTH: 96 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
A thrilling new novella from the author of the Everneath series!

Jack is trapped for eternity in the Tunnels while Nikki has managed to evade Cole's grasp . . . for now. But Cole is more desperate than ever to find answers about Nikki, his best chance for taking over the throne of the underworld. How did she survive the Feed? Can Cole find another Forfeit like her who can survive it too?

Cole's quest leads him to the other side of the world, to a mysterious, dangerous society known as the Delphinians, whose price for information might be higher than Cole can pay—a price that could destroy Nikki. But when Cole attempts to steal the answers instead, his mission ends in disaster. Faced with centuries in a Delphinian dungeon, Cole is confronted with questions he's been too scared to ask himself: Is he really obsessed with the throne—or is he obsessed with Nikki? And can she really give him a new beginning as the Everneath's king . . . or will she instead bring about his tragic end?


What are you reading? Have you read any of these books and, if so, what did you think? Please let me know in the comments and, if you are also participating in this meme, leave me a link to your blog post so that I can stop by!
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